Well now, aren’t I feeling good about my debut into the realms of punditry? Thanks to everyone that read my first post and commented, read it and didn’t comment and even to Freelance, who commented without apparently reading it. There’s nothing worse than talking into a vacuum – just ask Phil Goff.
I’m very pleased to have name-checked two of yesterday’s first three places (shame I didn’t tell the TAB) but Gilbert’s win is overshadowed by the time lost by the race favourite after he was held up by a crash in the closing kilometers of the race. Even at this early stage the 1 minute 20 seconds he lost to the Schleck brothers, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins could prove crucial. Tours have been decided on smaller margins that that.
The same could be said for Mark Cavendish’s miscalculation at the intermediate sprint point, seemingly having pole position and the points in the bag he was caught napping by Tyler "No Relation" Farrar’s kick and “sat up”. The green jersey can also be decided by the narrowest of margins and the Garmin rider will be boosted by his early victory over the Manxman.
Tonight’s second stage sees the return to Le Tour of the team time trial discipline, and discipline it certainly is. The win will go to the team with the greatest overall strength and organisation. I expect all the American teams to be up there so we could see Julian Dean on the podium again and possibly on the top step for the first time, but I’m going to pick Leopard-Trek. They have the motivation to increase the gap on Contador, plus the presence of Fabian “Spartacus” Cancellara and cult hero Jens Voigt, add in the Trek machinery and I think you have an unbeatable package.