observations in the middle of the 'Queen Stage'
**T-Mobile has 5, count 'em, 5 riders in the lead group- Rogers, Kloden, Guerini, Kessler, Sinkiwitz
**AG2R has freaking 4, count 'em, 4 in the lead group- Dessel, Moreau, Astarloza, Calzati
**Floyd has a grand total of 1 teammate, Axel, dangling off the back of the group.
**Disco counts 1 rider, Azevedo, as their representative.
Levi attacks and gains a max of 3 minutes. now on the Col d'Mollard, the lead is back to 2min. he'll need as much or more time, plus a crack or two from one of the other favs, to get further up the rankings.
Pereiro and teammate attack on descent of CdF, gaining a smidge of time. up the Mollard you have Caisse d'Espagne and T-Mobile driving the pace. Landis has spent the latter stages of the CdF in the back third of the group, and now on the Mollard he's in a similar spot. as Paul and Phil are asking, as am i, is he playing an Armstrong bluffing game or is he bad? la Toissure will tell (i really love to butcher French spellings and i'm too lazy to look them up right now).
Rasmussen, 'Chicken', will almost certainly get a very nice stage win and the polka-dot jersey. questions to remain.
**can Levi keep the gap to the contenders?
**how actually is Floyd?
**will T-Mobile- or CSC or Caisse d'Espagne- try to blow the race apart on the last climb?
fact is, the gaps among the contenders are only 2 minutes. that's not an Armstrong or an Indurain gap. hell, Pereiro and Dessel are still with the leaders and are maintaining their podium spots. did i not tell you a few days ago that Pereiro might cause the other favs some grief.
and imagine how different this Tour would be with cheaters Basso, Jan, and Vino. the present favs right now look like they're in slow motion.
more to come...