Lance Armstrong got some comic relief from actor and friend Robin Williams in the Astana Team bus after Stage Nine of the Tour de France. (Click on the photo to watch the video.) You might find their chit-chat more exciting than today’s 100-mile race, which Armstrong called “uneventful.”
All the main race contenders stayed in the peloton today give or take a few short-lived breaks. Two men successfully got away and duked it out at the finish. Sound like yesterday? The peloton seems content to sit back and wait. Someone better remind them the Tour has started! The successful small breakaways are a scenario that has become routine over the Tour’s first week and doesn’t make for exciting viewing. The overall classification didn’t change either. Italy’s Rinaldo Nocentini is still in the lead with Armstrong’s teammate Alberto Contador back six seconds in second followed by third-placed Armstrong two seconds behind Contador.
Today’s stage could have been far better had the race ended at the top of the Col du Tourmalet rather than in the valley of Tarbes. Tourmalet is one of the toughest climbs in the Pyrenees and a mountain-top finish could have mixed things up more in the overall standings.
Tomorrow is a rest day and the riders have to fly to Limoges for Tuesday’s Stage 10–one of two stages where teams are not allowed to have radios in their ears. Race radios are also banned for stage eighteen’s individual time trial. Tour organizers say they are just trying to get back to basics. Critics of the radio ban say it makes things more difficult. The team managers will just have to shout a lot louder out of the car window.
–Le Tour Babe