!http://www.active.com/images/newsletters/cyclist/TourdeFrance2007/images/Pensec4150x150.jpg|style=padding:10px;|align=left|src=http://www.active.com/images/newsletters/cyclist/TourdeFrance2007/images/Pensec4150x150.jpg!Have you seen all these fights, échappées and all that? This is what the Tour is all about and we would all love to get days like this for three weeks but you can’t just ask these riders to be on top like that all the time, can you?
For me, today’s big news is that Vinokourov has “officially” lost his last chance to win the Tour...and he will now ride for Kloden who is now my big favourite. I know what you think: he changes his mind everyday, but this is what cycling is all about. It’s plenty of surprises, nothing is really rational and anyone can win especially this year.
So, if I look at the ratings, I see that Kloden is something like 3:50 behind the leader. I can also see that there is still 90 kilometers of time trial to go, so if Kloden gets 30 seconds on the leader for each 10 kilometers that he rides in a time trial, he could win. You will tell me that there are plenty of other guys who could make it too, but the riders that are ahead of Kloden are all great riders in the mountains, but when it comes to time trial, well, they will surely lose some time to Kloden.
So, this is just a feeling and we will see after Albi (the next time trial). If Kloden gets some seconds on each of these guys easily, then we can really think that he will get the yellow jersey in Paris.
Finally, I would like to answer Dan's comment: Dan, you are right. I got lost in my thoughts I guess, but I do think that Astana is the strongest team on the field this year...and I think it’s actually the only one.
I was first thinking that Vinokourov would play for the victory and all these teammates will back him up but as he is now “down”, I’m looking at their team and I see a strong Kloden who could now be backed up by someone like Vinokourov and what a strong backup don’t you think? What about Kashechkin? One more time, he is a very strong athlete. The three of them could be our musketeers for this year’s tour. How nice would that be?
Of course, you will ask me who is going to join them to play D’Artagnan...give me a few days and I will let you know. I have some ideas...
Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in the 1990. He now operates Ronan Pensec Events, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.