Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stage 10: Into the Pyrenees

Kaboom! That is the sound of the peleton blowing apart. But not, I should add, causing the "Tour favorites [to] fail", as Julian Pretot claimed - sheesh! - though it did look like an unexpectedly rough day for Iban Mayo.

Jimmy Engoulvent, the French rider for Credit Agricole, did withdraw today after a slow finish yesterday where he appeared ill. He turned in his race number somewhere just before the peleton reached 68 km on the road.

Another French rider, Laurent Brochard of the Bouygues Telecom team, was a non-starter as well. He finished with the front group in yesterday's stage; no information yet about why he quit the Tour. He was the top finisher of the Bouygues Telecom team in the 2005 Tour.

That brought the peleton down to 168 riders, who were spread all over the road today. But by the end of the stage, the last 58 riders managed to all catch up with the autobus, which crossed the line 24:24 behind the stage winner.

That autobus today included Sébastien Joly, the French rider on the Française des Jeux team, still firmly in the Lanterne Rouge spot for the sixth consecutive stage, with no riders losing time to him. Anything can happen tomorrow, though, another tough mountain stage lies ahead.

Mayo was REALLY struggling, huh? I feel bad for him.
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