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July 26, 2008

Stage 20 ITT underway

So the whole Tour comes down to today's TT. Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans needs 1:34 to overtake yellow jersey Carlos Sastre for the race lead. Sastre will have the advantage of starting last and the mythic power of the maillot jaune on his side.

The battle's not only for the top spot today. Bernhard Kohl, Denis Menchov, Fränk Schleck, and Christian Vande Velde all hold hopes of making the podium, and will burn their last matches to try to get there today.

It's a pity they can't borrow matches from Wim Vansevenant and Bernhard Eisel, locked in a struggle to be the lanterne rouge of this year's Tour. Vansevenant was last-placed overall in the 2006 and 2007 Tours, and can become the first man ever to finish last in three Tours. Vansevenant took advantage of starting second on the TT and rolled in 2:00 behind Eisel to retake the cellar.

    Vs. Broadcaster Picks:
  • Hummer: Cadel Evans
  • Sherwen: Fabian Cancellara
  • Liggett: Christian Vande Velde
  • Roll: Kim Kirchen

They also discussed the overall podium: Roll wouldn't commit on placings, but tipped Menchov, Sastre, and Evans as the podium. Sherwen picks Sastre to win, Evans second, then Vande Velde; Liggett and Hummer both say Evans, then Sastre, then Menchov.

Danny Pate of Garmin-Chipotle was an early leader, finishing in 1:06:45, but his teammate David Millar and world TT champion Fabian Cancellara are on the road now, beating Pate's time at each Time Check.

At the finish, it's David Millar in 1:05:27, and Cancellara coming just behind, looks like he's got time to take the lead; he comes in with a 1:04:11.88! There are a lot of strong riders left to ride, but that's an impressive time that could easily take the day.

Out on course, Stefan Schumacher, who won Stage 4's 29-km time trial, equals Cancellara at TC1, loses 12 seconds at TC2, but finishes in 1:03:50.48. That's going to be tough to beat.

Vande Velde hits TC1 with the 4th best time, a 21:58. Menchov is next, it's a 21:52. Evans is coming , and puts up a 22:08. He's got a little more than a minute on Menchov on GC, but he's already lost 16 seconds of that. Now Bernhard Kohl comes through in a 22:06. Things are looking tight!

    Time Check 2
  • Fabian Cancellara 42:38
  • Stefan Schumacher 42:50
  • Kim Kirchen 43:35
  • Christian Vande Velde 43:35.13
  • Denis Menchov 43:46.50
  • Cadel Evans 44:08
  • Bernhard Kohl 44:11.77
  • Carlos Sastre 44:31.23
    Finishing times, riders of note:
  • Schumacher 1:03:50
  • Cancellara 1:04:12
  • Kim Kirchen 1:04:51
  • Christian Vande Velde, 1:04:55
  • Millar 1:05:27
  • Menchov 1:05:45
  • Cadel Evans 1:05:55.54
  • Bernhard Kohl 1:06:11.01
  • Hincapie 1:06:19
  • Carlos Sastre 1:06:24.79
  • Pate 1:06:45
  • Andy Schleck 1:07:52
  • Voeckler (last placed today) 1:15:09

Andy Schleck was caught by Bernhard Kohl, who started 3 minutes behind him, but held off Roman Kreuziger to hold on to his white jersey.

Cadel Evans never was able to put serious time into Carlos Sastre, finishing in 1:05:56. Sastre, for his part, reeled in teammate Fränk Schleck on the road, limiting his losses to Evans to only about 30 seconds, and Carlos Sastre and CSC will take the 2008 Tour de France.

As always, you can follow these updates and more at my Twitter feed.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2008 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Fabian Cancellara, Stefan Schumacher | Permalink

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