CSC’s Carlos Sastre won today’s 130-mile stage ending in L’Alpe d’Huez, finishing more than two minutes ahead of his main rivals and taking over the yellow jersey from teammate Frank Schleck. It was the Spaniard’s first stage win in this year’s Tour, but a significant victory because of the race length and difficulty.
CSC proved again that it’s hard to win the Tour de France witout a strong team. The squad kept a fast tempo at the front of the peloton up three steep mountains and 15-thousand feet of climbing. Lungs burned, legs exploded and rider after rider fell behind. The pack shrank down to the same top riders we’ve seen in the previous mountain stages: Sastre, Cadel Evans, Frank and brother Andy Schleck, Denis Menchov, Bernard Kohl, Christian Vandevelde and Alejandro Valverde. Any one of them could win this year’s Tour because they are close enough in the general standings and there are four more days of racing left.