Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday's Rouge Report

Call it what you like, "B" is for Brutal, or Belittling, or the Bast%*d, maybe the Beast, or just Big B, or perhaps plain - the Balès, the climb up today's Port de Balès is one of the truly great ascents in the Pyrenees.

Amazingly it was only included for the first time as recently as 2007. I was fortunate and happy to have climbed it that same summer, two months after the Tour had suffered over it. The road was still graffiti'd in hopes and heroes. Half way up the climb Didi the Devil's pitchforks poked at our tires just as the road kicked up and the real devil - the first of several kilometers at 10-plus percent - bit at your legs like a feral dog.

Today the
Port de Balès was only beautiful if you were named Thomas and you were racing away from the field in your National Tricolor (or you were exhuberant club rider and busting your friends in the final couple K's - the memory is still sweet!) for the rest of the peloton the Port de Balès is over an hour of suffering with the boys at the back of the bus and avoiding the hawking voiture balai.

Chapeau to former rouge contender Anthony Roux, you caught an express bus and made up 15 minutes over the Port de Balès, building a buffer for the next two killer stages and left the temporary honor of Lanterne Rouge to the HTC-Columbia rider from Germany Bert Grabsch. Also making a return to the rouge race is Stage 10 laster Adriano Malori (Lampre-Farnese Vini).

Rest up guys, tomorrow's stage is why Henri Desgrange invented to the
voiture balai - broom wagon. The voiture's siren will sing, but resist, the rest day is only 5 Cols and 199.5 kms in the distance - just be delighted you aren't a century earlier, the day would be 326km long, 0ver 14 hours in the saddle.

Backing up a full half hour for today's Rouge Report - they will all play a roll in the next two days:

157 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions 2:57:19
158 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 2:58:21
159 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 2:58:39
160 Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:59:16
161 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 2:59:19
162 Iban Mayoz Echeverria (Spa) Footon-Servetto 2:59:24
163 Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 2:59:45
164 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3:00:54
165 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 3:01:12
166 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 3:01:58
167 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha 3:04:23
168 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 3:05:13
169 Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 3:10:38
170 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 3:14:48
171 Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux 3:14:59
172 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team Radioshack 3:16:17
173 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 3:25:06
174 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 3:27:07

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