We all knew that this was going to be the start of a four day showdown, out of which would emerge the winner of the Tour (probably). We all expected it to happen on the last two climbs of the day. What we didn’t expect was the story of the day to be a sprinter on the queen mountain stage, and for Astana yet again to perform tactically like a team that aren’t riding as a team. Thor Hushovd spurred on by the big mouth comments of Mark Cavendish went off the front on a descent, to show that the Green Jersey is won on the road and not on the finish line. There would be no tainted win, Thor was set on proving that he was a worthy winner through his own efforts and quashing any “opinion” Cavendish might have. It was very strange to see the Green jersey lead the field over two Cat 1 and a Cat 2 climbs, solo. A day where he spent most of it off the front by himself displaying some pretty amazing descending skills all but guaranteed him the green jersey. An amazing solo effort, a classy rider and a gent.
On the flip side Astana enter the last climb with the yellow Jersey. A group of four containing Kloden sitting Third on the road. All they had to do was not get dropped by the Schleck brothers and they would end up 1st and 3rd on GC. But oh no, “Monkeydor” Contador had to go jumping of the front to prove what we all already knew, he is the best climber in the Tour. Unfortunately the only one who suffered was Kloden, his “Team mate” who got dropped, loosing his 3rd place overall and gifting it to Frank Schleck. I don’t know if the Astana team car was saying anything in Contadors ear, but I would loved to have been listening in. Dinner at Chez Astana must be great. That being said the Schleck’s rode a perfect stage like team mates and brothers helping each other all the way up the climb. All that was missing was the carbon fiber tandem. An amazing team ride, classy riders and brothers.