Pretty significant move from Barloworld today, as they have decided to take the name of their company off of their team's jersey. They said the recent news has been affecting the company's image. Barloworld is still under contract until 2009, so even if they wanted to just end the relationship, they couldn't do anything other than removing their name. I think it's pretty smart move from Barloworld and I like the idea. It would have been a shame to penalize the other riders on the team who may not have taken any drugs.
As for today's stage, there is not much to say. I was hoping to see some early echappée as I told you yesterday, but the race was so fast during the first two hours that nobody could have run away from the peloton. They rode at 52km/h (32 mph) during the first hour and 48km/h (29,8 mph) during the second. Impressive.
That's one of the reasons why I felt after the finish line that most of the riders were really tired today. I agree that the weather was really hot, but I think that the guys gave a lot already. Most of them were already talking about Monday, the next day off.
Tomorrow doesn't seem to be a tough stage but given their fatigue, I wouldn't be surprised to see some serious damages after the finish line. This means that tomorrow will be crucial for many riders.
Today's good news comes from Oscar Freire who keeps his green jersey and won the stage and also from Mark Cavendish. It's always a bit sad when the green jersey doesn't win a stage on the Tour. Talking about Cavendish, it's also good news that he didn't win today. It means that he is human and it will now be interesting to see his reaction in Paris for the final sprint. Will he have the mental strength to win in Paris?
Well, there is only one way to know it. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.
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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.