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So the first week of the...............


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................heavily anticipated and promoted TDF is almost over and I was wondering what other folk thought of it.


Personally, I havent been that impressed, stage 5 was the only one that stands out in my mind as been worthy of watching for 3 or 4 hours.


The other stages have been somewhat boring and repetitive and stage 4 has the dubious honour of been one of the slowest in the modern tour.


I havent checked, but overall, I think it must be one of the slowest first weeks as well.


Perhaps thats a sign that more riders are clean this year and unable to maintain the furious pace of the past.?


As far as teams go I have been impressed with Cofidis, they seem to have had a plan and have been chasing it aggressively.Chavanel is a good tour rider and I think he can easily get a top 10 place and keep the Polka dot jersey, especially with the problems in Astana.


Quickstep has been trying, but havent quite managed the precision of the old "Fassa Bortolo"team lead out.


Bouygues Telecom have (so far) been disappointing, one gets the feeling they have just been dozing in the peleton and waiting for the end.


Discovery too, has disappointed me, Popo must be seething, he is a class rider and definate yellow jersey and stage winning material.


But he has been relegated to playing second fiddle to Liephiemer, (who has only been in the team a few months - But of course he IS American) which must be a slap in the face for him. (especially after they also appointed Basso over him as well.)


Your contracts up this year Popo, scrape these "loosers" off your shoes and go to a team who will appreciate your ability and class.!!!


ASTANA, I am sure will welcome you.!Big%20smile


Riders that have also impressed me are Chavanel, Cancellara and Hunter who has shown some great spirit.


My prediction is that Liephiemer will fade in the mountains, Astana will give up the yellow jersey ambitions and look for stages,Rabobank will chase the Polka dot jersey and stage wins and hope Menchov can ride high in the classification and the Spanish Armada of Caisse D Epargne and CSC will assume the leaders mantle - certainly I think the winner will come from one of those two teams. 


Agree / disagree - lets hear.


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For the first week, this has been one of the more interesting weeks of racing.  The finishes have been especially good to watch.  We have had breakaways caught in the last kilometer, Cancellara winning a "sprint", some very good sprinting by Hunter and Feillu, not to mention Steegmans overcooking it and taking the win ahead of his captain.  Today will be interesting.  Leipheimer looks tranquil, but Sastre, Popovych and Evans have stretched their legs a little and looked good (Sastre after falling, Popo late in stage 5, and Evans has been able to move up through the peloton on his own in a few of the sprint stages).  The crashes have been less spectacular than normal for the first week but I can't complain about that.


I hope that Vino is abe to compete this weekend.  He is usually weak in the first few mountain stages, but comes back very strong.  If he can just hang on he will be a threat overall.  I am interested to see how Schleck does.  He has lost a bit of weight and will no doubt be spurred on by his brother's second place finish in the Giro.  I am hoping to see riders like him, Evans, Sastre, Valverde go for broke early in the Tour and test the others' legs.  Today's stage is actually perfect for a long range attack.  The big climb is not too difficult and a fair distance from the finish.


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In general I enjoyed the first week.  Must say that I am very impressed with Hunter's performance (and I am NOT one of his biggest fans).  I think he is very unlucky not to have a stage win already.  Will see what happens today.

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Enjoyed watching the whole prologue and about an hour each day after getting home from work (I am glad they are riding slowly!)


Can't wait for the mountains, the flat stage breakaways seem to always be reeled in, but a good climber on a good day, is going to do some serious damage.


Hunter has done well, will be interesting to see how BWR change tactics when the mountains arrive, or will they just hope to hang on.


My money is on CSC. They have seemed very well organised and are worthy of the Yellow.


Final note - the scenery and the aerial shots have been awesome!
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It's wide open and just for that fact alone it is really interesting. I was about to state that RH has made it especially exciting and that was true till today but all of a sudden have a few more TBL riders in the mix has really spiced it up for me.


Overall - just as exciting as any prior TdF

ps after today you can't cliam the "slow cause of drugs thing" - 41km/hr??!!


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