For all of you who are watching the race daily, get ready for some real action tomorrow. This is where and when the Tour will start this year--with the time trial!
As you have seen so far, the Tour has not shown much. The first attacks were usually the right ones and no one was really willing to show his real motivation except...for Alejandro Valverde and his win on the first stage.
To talk about this stage, some of you may think that it might not have been the best thing to do: Beginning the Tour with a strong win and clearly show that he wants to wear the Yellow jersey in Paris. But if you look closer, you will notice that any win can make the difference, and when a pro lines up on the start line, it's always (yes, always) to give his best and win the race if possible. This is why they are pros and this is why Valverde is one of my favourites.
The only thing I have noticed, and I was a little concerned about, is the general behaviour of Valverde's team: Caisse d'Epargne.
Did you guys notice how fast they ride...for nothing? Once again, today they did a strong race up front but the outcome was just zero. So I'm worried that the team is not backing up Valverde as he should be, and at some point, if they ride like this everyday, they will get tired and they won't be able to support him when needed. It's a bit strange and I invite you to check their behaviour. It's pretty interesting.
...And Romain Feillu is now wearing the Yellow jersey. You all know I'm French, but don't get me wrong; I'm not going to tease you. Romain is a great kid, he has some obvious skills to perform, but he is only in his second professional season and today was his day I guess. But when you ride 200K with only four guys, you loose a lot of energy and with the time trial tomorrow, I'm afraid that Romain will loose the jersey to Fabian Cancellara!
Cancellara is my favourite for tomorrow. Even if everybody is going to give his best shot in the time trial, I would bet on both a win on the stage and the yellow jersey at the end of the day for Cancellara. What about Valderde and Evans? They are outstanding cyclists but I think that Cancellera is just stronger on a time trial.
I will end up this post by answering a classic question that everybody asks all the time here: "Is the new Tour de France for this year?" Will we have the great event that we all want to see?
My answer is NO. We said back in 1999 and the Festina case that we would have a new Tour de France, a much cleaner event and all that. Look at the last ten years...it's been a real drama for the sport. This year's Tour de France can bring cycling back to where it belongs, among one of the best and most exciting sports on earth, or it can take it down for quite some time.
This sport only lives thanks to private companies who sponsor our favourite riders. What if tomorrow we have another case? It could be the end of it. We have been lucky enough this year to welcome two U.S. companies on the professional scene with Garmin and Columbia. Let's catch this great opportunity and trust to share more and more days like the ones we will enjoy for the next three weeks!
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.