Tour de France: Let's look at the standings

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Thursday, July 20, 2006
By Yokota Fritz

1. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B. 3248.6km in 80:08:49
2. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 00:12
3. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 00:30
4. Andréas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, 02:29
5. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, 03:08
6. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, 04:14
7. Cyril Dessel (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 04:24
8. Christophe Moreau (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 05:45
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 08:16
10. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 12:13
11. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC, 13:48
12. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank, 13:52
13. Pietro Caucchioli (I), Credit Agricole, 15:46
14. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, 17:18
15. Marcus Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, 17:23
16. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Lampre, 20:50
17. Mickael Rasmussen (Dk), Rabobank, 21:04
18. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, 22:01
19. Azevedo José (P), Discovery Channel, 34:01
20. David Arroyo (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B., 37:11

Stage 18 tomorrow will depend a lot on teamwork. Floyd's done great as a Lone Ranger in le Tour this year, but it remains to be seen if he can use his team to help him out. Some talented sprinters are still in the running; like today's race demonstrated, anything can happen and it would be foolish to count anybody out.

That said, Pereiro and Sastre are both dead meat for the time trial stage coming up on Saturday.

What do you think? Who will win tomorrow and Saturday, and how will the standings change?

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Landis is going to have to have a serious conversation with his team tonight. It'll go something like this: "I did my part today. Your job tomorrow is to protect me or get fired."
Tomorrow, if there's a break, I see Milram and Rabobank pressing hard to pull'em back for the sprint points. I don't see McEwen & Co. doing anything 'til the end if they get the break back. McEwen doesn't need to win, although, if they're there at the end, I'm sure he'll be putting the hammer down. Just for sport, I'm picking Freire as #1 and McEwen as #2 on tomorrow's sprint. Paris will be a little more exciting then.

Saturday? Everyone's screaming Floyd , of course. I'd love to see him win too. I expect he's got it in him to put a minute or two into the boys above him unless he misses his start time or has a mechanical during the stage (wait, hasn't that already happened?); however, I'd like to see ole Levi put his stamp of approval on the ITT and redeem himself a bit too. That said, Floyd devours the ITT and rides to Paris drinking champagne.
Can't say I disagree with Sastre and Pereiro as being toast, the best TT'er on the day will win, but more importantly Landis, Kloden and Evans will be the ones with the podium in their sights.

Those are my first three. There are going to be a lot of tired legs on TT day and I expect a lot of guys to fade toward the end.
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