I hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did here, as it was maybe the most exciting stage of the Tour so far. We were all expecting a pretty dynamic stage and I'm glad we had it. It wasn't the best stage ever, but it feeds my feeling that the Tour is showing a new face this year.
The only big surprise of the day has been Damiano Cunego, who I was expecting to be a bit stronger. I presume he will be performing in the Pyrénées in a few days, but I was hoping to see him launch some attack to put the pressure on his rivals.
Given what we have seen today, and even if it was a pretty light stage, I think we should pay attention to Riccardo Ricco, who could be a real outsider in the Pyrénées and the Alps. He has the skills and he seems to be in shape to launch several attacks in these stages. If he does so, he will be for sure forcing the other teams to race faster. This way he could surely have a real impact on the Tour. It's only a feeling, but it's worth paying attention on him.
As for the Tour itself, all signals are positive--we are recording a great audience in France and we now have tons of people along the roads, which wasn't the case last year. There is a real feeling of freshness on this Tour and I would bet that most of the riders have finally understood that it's in their best interest to stay clean. I hope the next two weeks will confirm that there is some sort of change on this Tour.
With a great new generation coming and this potential change in the rider's approach, we can have a great Tour.
Tomorrow's stage shouldn't have a huge impact on the ranking unless someone strikes early in the passes. The only thing that is sure is that tomorrow is for the dots jersey contenders. This is the first important stage for them. Get ready for some action!
Please do not hesitate to post your comments, as I will be glad to share ideas and comments with you. And remember, if you want to enjoy the Tour de France from the inside, do it with www.RonanPensecTravel.com , the official Tour de France operator. VIP passes, exclusive interviews with the pros, and so much more to live together!
Ronan Pensec participated in 8 Tours, and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Events , an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.