Lance Armstrong just missed his chance to cap off his 2009 comeback Tour with a Maillot Jaune presented by Ben Stiller. Instead, Fabian Cancellara had to accept Greg Focker’s kisses on the podium. Maybe it was a calculated move to not have the guy who cost him an $85 fine for lingering at a French coffee shop put a yellow jersey on his back. Plus, you don’t want to tire out your Astana team too soon with the job of defending the Jersey for more time than necessary. One cyclist “in the know” noted that Lance was the fifth person across the line and let up every so slightly to maybe cause the close micro-second difference.
But who has that much presence of mind after rocketing through 39km on a twisty TTT course that caused some top riders and half the Bbox Bouyges Team to crash?
The prospect of donning the Yellow and stamping his authority on the team as they head into the tougher stages would be tempting. But the true GC leaders don’t worry about wearing the Yellow in the fourth stage of the Tour, they would rather wait until the last day.
For Bjarne Riis, keeping the Yellow after another battle in the TTT with Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong must be sweet. In 2005 Team CSC was defending the Yellow Jersey vs. the Discovery Channel team when David Zabriske mysteriously crashed in the last kilometer. Zabriske lost the jersey to Lance Armstrong and probably left the CSC squad stinging from the bad luck. Today Saxo Bank pulled back one second in the last section to keep Cancellara in Yellow. Cancellara could be seen at the front for most of the final sector pulling his team along to a respectable finish. This is no small task since the Andy and Franck Schleck are not very good Time Trialers, while Astana is stacked with TT experts.