Paolo Savodelli can come and drink on my yacht anytime. The guy is about as cool and savvy as they come. If he had a little more raw power, he’d be unstoppable in the non-cobbled, hilly classics. (Amstel, Lombardi, Fleche, Liege etc). He did totally muff a corner on that final descent, though, letting and embarassingly outclassed Sebastien Hinault gap him. It was great, too, to have Hinault’s HR over the last few K, so that he looked like less of a whimp when he just sat up with 500m to go. And props to Kurt-Asle Arvesen for the “screw you guys” attack at 1.2k. If he’d gone at 1.1, he would have won it.
As for this best team ever business? Please. I’m baffled how Phil and Paul can be like “This is amazing! Lance’s best team every” in one breath, and then “But why hasn’t Lance won a stage yet?” the next. A good supporting team makes the leader win stages. If Lance rode this squad in 2003, Jan Ullrich would have won the Tour. It’s just lucky for Discovery that Basso lost time early and CSC has been hemorraging riders all Tour, and that T-Mobile is, well, T-Mobile. The Matt Stevenson of the professional peloton. I love how they keep attacking in big fits with 2+ riders, right as they crest hills. It’s like the team leadership has no comprehention of how easy it is to eat a gap on a descent. At least Vino’s realized what’s good for him and is jumping ship.
The battle for green remains tight. You could argue whether or not Stuart O’Grady scored an important psychological victory by taking the group sprint for 28th ahead of Hushoved. I really see no reason to bother here. All I gotta say is that once again, it should be fun all the way to the Champs Elysees.