KRUSHING THE TOUR: Stage 10

The Tour will cross the Col de la Croix de Fer tomorrow after 93kms of racing.


Finally. The real Tour begins.
The Tour went over its first HC climb today (Col de Grand Colombier), and for the first time in this year's race, I was really excited. Was I excited because Liquigas played a really good strategy sending Sagan up the road and later helping Nibali on the descent off the Gran Colombier? A little. Was I excited because Richie Porte and Boasson Hagen are two of the the best domestiques Wiggins could have asked for? A little. Was I excited because Van Den Broeck went up the front and tighten the screws 4 or 5 times? A little. However, the reason I was really excited was that RadioShack refused to wear the stupid yellow helmets as leaders in the team classification. Good for you RadioShack-Nissan!

The Youngens.
Remember last year's quest for the White Jersey? Uran, Taaramae, Rolland, Coppel, Jeannesson... All with a good chance, all fighting for it. And remember this year's Giro? Uran, Henao, Brambilla, Caruso, Ulissi...
This year Tejay and Taaramae's battle looks to be getting pretty exciting, too. Thibaut Pinot, in third right now, could provide another contender if the two leaders have a bad day. Not to jinx anyone here, but both of those guys have had bad days already, so anything could happen.

The Not-So Youngens.
I'm sure Jens told his legs to shut up more than once today. The German rode a gutsy stage, only to come in third, after Voeckler and Scarponi.
Today's battle between old man Voigt (40) and old man Voeckler (33), was actually the battle between two of the hardest and most stubborn men riding a bike professionally these days. It was amazing.

"Shut up, legs!"

Sad, But True.
Sorry for that lame Metallica reference. I guess it can't be the Tour without cops and suspensions and arrests and other dopping related shenanigans. Remy DiGregorio of Cofidis was forced to retire from the race because of some shit he did or didn't do while in Astana. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Tony Martin also left the race along with Lampre's Matthew Lloyd. That brings the total of retirees to 23. The worst affected teams are:
- 4 Euskaltel-Euskadi
- 3 Garmin-Sharp
- 3 Movistar
- 2 Lampre-ISD
- 2 Rabobank
- 2 Argos-Shimano


What's Next?
Well, the Cols of la Madeline, la Croix de Fer (I call this one the Col de Motorhead, since it translates to the Pass of the Iron Cross), Mollard and La Toussuire. Should be another exciting one, epecially with the mountain-top finish.
Let's hope for continued attempts by Liquigas and Lotto, and, if we are lucky, BMC. Tomorrow is the last chance to attack before we go back to medium mountain and back to flat stages.

Col de la Madeline will open the festivities tomorrow.