Oh, there's a race, too!
While the Rasmussen news was coming out, let's not forget there was a race today. It was nice to finally see a "sprint royale" at the end of Friday's Stage 12. All of the top sprinters were up front and there were thankfully no crashes this time. It set up one of the best finishes of the Tour so far.
It all sets up for a dramatic individual time trial on Saturday.
A time trial is like a big carpet unrolling -- it's real big at first and then it's faster and faster toward the end. The most important thing is to quickly get into a rhythm, find it and hold it as long as you can.
If you're 2:00 behind the pace halfway through, you're most certainly going to be 4:00 back at the end of the stage. You can't say, "I'll make up time at the end." It never happens. You have a speed, that's your effort level and you hope to hold it. Knowing how to read your body just comes with training and knowing your limits. Time trial specialists can judge that better than others. You know when you're in trouble when you can feel the burn starting.
You see riders start out too fast, and then, halfway through, they're done. The first kilometer is not where you're going to win the race. You take it up easy, get it going after a kilometer and get into your rhythm.
I would have to say that Andreas Kloden would be my top favorite to watch. You should also keep an eye on Christian Vandevelde (he's had glimpses of strong time trials this season). I'll also be pulling for George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer to do well. Carlos Sastre and Alexandre Vinokourov could also be dangerous.
-- Bobby Julich