Review of the tour so far: Lance creams everyone.
So lets look at the upcoming stages. Stage 16, tomorrow, is interesting. It starts with a Cat 3 climb, then a Cat 1 climb, and finally an All Categories climb. But then its 70 clicks to the finish either downhill or flat. Its not unlike stage 11 when Vino broke away and stayed away for the win. If he were to try that again, I wonder if Discovery would send George or someone else to go with Vino on the break. It is also similar to stage 9 when Rasmussen made his big move. There is no way that Discovery will let Rasmussen loose again, so that won't happen! Looking at the top 20 riders, my guess would be that Discovery covers any move by a rider in the top 10. Beyond that, they will let them have a go at it!
Stage 17 is pretty much flat and will not be much of a challenge for Discovery to defend yellow. Look for McKwen to go for a stage win here.
Stage 18 is interesting as it has five climbs including a 10.1% Cat 2 climb at the finish. This will be the last chance to shake out additional time before the TT. Basso, and everyone else have given up on trying to break lance. So this stage will feature Basso trying to add time to his current second place finish and show that he is he heir to Lance. It will also feature Rasmussen trying to claw some time from Ulrich. Look for Rasmussen to attack on the final two climbs. Look for Basso and Lance to go with the Dane.
Stage 19 Starts with three climbs including a gnarly Cat 2, but then ends with 90K of flat to downhill. Discovery will cover any of the top 10 that try to get away.
Stage 20 is the final TT. Its 55K and features a Cat 3 climb at 35K. Lance has been unstoppable in the TT. Ulrich will look to smack Rasmussen back to third place. Basso will hope for a miracle that will allow him to steal the yellow from Lance. Was it two years ago that it was pouring rain for the Final TT with Ulrich crashing? (Yes see great photo of a wet Lance here.) Anything could happen on this stage. Stage 19 will be the last chance for drama in the 2005 tour.
Stage 21 is the ride to Paris. Whoever is in Yellow at the end of Stage 20, should be standing at the top of the podium at the end of Stage 21. Once again McKwen will go for the stage win and an outside shot at a third Green Jersey!
Remember ain't over until the fat lady sings, and that won't happen until Sunday.
Six days to go!
All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012