Saturday, 26 July 2008

Le Tour d'Apres Travail

A much anticipated stage that was sure to see some changes in the GC. Before a pedal had been turned though, the news was all about more riders abandoning – following the sacking of their young rider Tom Carter the entire Team Egniol withdrew, which immediately raised questions about some of their recent impressive performances.

The EA team leader Matt Strickland and super-domestique James Camis also failed to make the start line, saying that "with the GC out of reach we're pulling out now to focus on the BBQ, hopefully we can come away from that with a big haul of medallions".

With points available at intermediate sprint stages (30mph signs) it was pretty frantic from the off, Guy bagging the first points at Deiniolen and again at Mynedd Llandegai (even though he didn't even notice that one). Ali pulled back some points at Bethesda as Guy had by this point completely forgotten about the sprints, but was still leading by 5 points as they approached the mountains. A vicious headwind on the climb up the Col d'Ogwen made it difficult for any attacks to go clear, but Ali and Guy worked together to isolate and then drop Craig the only surviving member of the EA team. Ali took the first KOM points and the bunch regrouped for the descent to Capel Curig.

Guy attacked early on the approach to Capel and bagged another 5 points before the feedzone at Plas y Brenin. At the foot of the hors categorie Courmet de Pen y Pass Ali road away from the groupetto to take the second summit of the stage and secure the KOM jersey. He stayed clear on the descent to take the sprint points at Nant Peris but the group reformed on the valley road, before Guy burst away again to easily win the Llanberis sprint. Showing Cavendish-like dominance Guy took the final points at Clwt-y-bont too, the NHS rider winning the green jersey by a massive 15 point margin.

Great BBQ too, thanks to Matt & Asa.

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