July 14, 2005
Stage 11 wrapup
I found myself wanting Discovery Channel to chase Vinokourov down Wednesday: they still had 5 or 6 strong guys on the Galibier, and I think they could have closed a 2 minute gap. Glancing through Bob Martin's Stage 11 summary, though, they clearly did exactly the right thing.
Just four guys made time on Armstong Wednesday: Vinokourov got 1:45, Botero 1:32; Christophe Moreau got 8 seconds; José Azevedo got 2 seconds.
Botero and Vinokourov are potentially dangerous guys, but their damage was contained, and the rest of the field has lost one more day's opportunity to put Lance Armstrong under a hammer. Armstrong's retirement is now 10 stages and 11 days away.
It's clear Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras, or Brad McGee won't be knocking Armstrong off the podium; Heras lost another 17 minutes, Mayo 22:35, and McGee almost 40 minutes. The performances of Heras and Beloki have led Liberty Seguros to reportedly make Jorg Jaksche the team captain for the rest of the Tour.
Today, Discovery will mostly work to keep GC contenders out of any successful break: If Basso tries to go off, they'll chase. On the other hand, there are so many riders facing disappointing Tours, and lowly placed, that it shouldn't be hard to find a quality break and let it go. Especially after Vinokourov's break succeeded Wednesday.
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