Tour de France - Final Time TrialContador and Schleck are on the road; there is much discussion of whether Schleck can gain 8 seconds in a time-trial, a discipline that has been Contador's. For me there more interesting question is whether Contador wants to try to gain 40 seconds on Schleck, more or less what he gained by his questionable decision to take advantage of Schleck's chain malfunction. That could at least neutralize some of what will continue to be the discussion of ethics; on the other hand he seemed not to be being booed today as he started his time-trial.
UPDATE: (Tour Time 16:16) I am pleased that the Versus team are not ridiculously constrained by the defined checkpoints and are getting intermediate data; Contador is apparently up early by 4 seconds over Schleck. This all makes me wonder what makes a good time-trialer? Ryder Hesjedal is apparently closing the gap on Gessink and may move up in the general classification. Go Canada!
UPDATE (Tour Time 16:26) Hmm at the first tiem check Schleck has gained 6 seconds at the first time check! Ouch. Meanwhile Denis Menchov is making up time too; he is currently in fourth and was looking to third. We'll see. Drama! I need drama!
UPDATE: (Tour Time 16:33) The perversity of time trials. Not all the riders ride in the same conditions! In fact those at the top of the general classification are facing much worse winds than theesrlier starters.
UPDATE: (Tour Time 16:42) Menchov seemingly solidly in third now, having started out in fourth. Starting times here seem to be having effects as great as in the (British) Open Golf last week. It seems Schleck and Contador are still really close; I confess to having fallen for Schleck's twinkle in the eye last week.
UPDATE: (Tour Time 16:50 ) Contador goes through the second timecheck 6 seconds up on the day. Samuel Sanchez appears to be losing two places, which is a bit sad, as he suffered a really bad crash in the mountains. Mind you, the peloton held up and waited for him on the day. A truly weird sport.
UPDATE: (Tour Time 17:00) Did the organizers mean for the leaders to face bigger wind resistance? This is something that really matters in bike racing! It is clear from the results as they come in that Denis Menchov had the real ride of the day. Of all the leaders, only Menchov finishes anywhere high in the stage standings. Next year is starting to look so exciting. Contador hits the latest timecheck 20 seconds or so up.
UPDATE: (Tour Time: 17:19) Schleck finishes to amazing cheering, Contador at least to an apparent lack of booing. The gap in finish times raises a whole bunch of questions. It leaves Contador's certain victory this year forever tainted by his decision in the mountains. It must leave Contador stunned to find Schleck can now time-trial, and so next year is highly in question.
The good news for me - nothing to watch tomorrow (I do not care about the Green Jersey any more than I care about the 100 metres in Track and Field).
This has been a great Tour de France. I suspect they are all using "llegal" means to achieve their performance levels.