And today a toll was taken - my ace in the hole is out, gone, headed for a little R&R, DNF'd - Tyler Farrar.
It was a case of climbing, as it usually is for Lanterne Rouge contenders, this time Tyler added a fractured wrist from Stage 2 to his challenge. Tyler slipped off the back and couldn't even hang on fellow drifter Lars Boom (of Rabobank), according to Garmin director Matt White. So, I'll admit to being a bit depressed about my day with the Tour - Tyler out and Andy Schleck missing Contador's wheel on the attack up the wicked "petit" Montée Laurent Jalabert.
Tyler told reporters after the race, "I am devastated to leave the Tour and my teammates. You never want to leave any race, but especially the Tour. It's the event we work for all year. I've been suffering since my crash on stage two and today the pain was just too much." Also going on early summer holiday with Farrar was Samuel Dumoulin, one of the bright French hopes for Rouge - dang! Sadly with the Pyrenees looming more devastation awaits.
So - with two great Lanterne Rouge contenders out below is what the race looks like heading to Revel and into the weekend, where the Tour de Soufffrance for our back-of-the-bus boys begins in full dread come Sunday as they face an HC and Cat 1 shaped tail-end of a mountainous demon. Don't look up - Monday it gets worse and Tuesday may the best man survive to enjoy the rest day in Pau. Good luck guys and may the grand sufferer finish last.
|167||Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne||1:59:32|
|168||Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Astana||2:02:03|
|169||Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||2:02:49|
|170||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team||2:04:02|
|171||Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step||2:04:20|
|172||Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team||2:06:35|
|173||Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team Radioshack||2:07:51|
|174||Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||2:16:59|
|175||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia||2:19:00|
|176||Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux||2:19:49|