Stage Results Within: Ax-3 Domaines Looms Large

Posted: July 17, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

Pronounced (X twa doh man).  You will want to watch Sunday.  This one is going to be good.

Four days of punishment begins Sunday.  This will decide who is wearing yellow and polka dots on July 25th in Paris.

The 115-mile ride from Revel to the ski station of Ax-3 Domaines goads the riders up two extreme climbs, first the Port de Pailheres — one of the toughest ascents in cycling — and the long uphill finish to the ski station at Ax-3 Domaines.

The Tour is celebrating 100 years of racing the Pyrenees by going LARGE.  They are serving up a four-day mountain fest. All of the equipment, training methods and scale have dramatically changed, but cycling is essentially the same.  One guy pedals his machine for 100+ miles up and down some of the most dramatic ascents and descents in the world.

Before that final climb, riders tackle the daunting Pailheres Pass, the climb Alberto Contador considers the toughest in the Pyrenees. “The air is always heavy there,” he said during a recent visit to the Pyrenees. “It’s long and very steep. The combination makes it just terrible. It’s a great climb.”

I predict that Alberto will win, but desperately hope that Schleck can smoke him to the top.  Andy needs to gain another 1:30 to have a chance to win.  Regardless, these two guys are the class of the field and should give us a GREAT show.

TODAY:

Returning to the Tour de France after a doping ban, Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the 13th stage Saturday while Andy Schleck of Luxembourg kept the yellow jersey.

Cavendish took out the field sprint and his slowly making his way toward the green jersey.

“It was a beautiful victory, a beautiful reward,” Vinokourov said after winning the fourth Tour stage of his career. “I heard fans shouting ‘Vino’ at the start … that gave me a lot of motivation.”

This time Lance crashed BEFORE the start line during the warm-up ride.

RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens said Armstrong believed he simply bumped a teammate and fell, scraping his left elbow. He returned to the race quickly.

Armstrong, in response to a Twitter posting suggesting that he might be planning “a big surprise” for Sunday, replied: “I like the sound of it.”

Stay tuned the next four days will be good.

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