Last off the line, Astana had to put 40 seconds on Saxo Bank to put Lance Armstrong in the Yellow Jersey…and they darn near did it. Ã‚Â Only fractions of Ã‚Â second separated the two at the end of the day. Ã‚Â Per the rules, when times are tied, the referees give the win based on fractions in the time trial, and Fabian Cancellara remained in Yellow.
Referring to the Team Time Trial, Armstrong said “It’s a damn hard event…it’s one of the hardest things we do.”
He was then asked if he’d try anything tomorrow to get into Yellow, he said “I think with no time bonuses…it’s still going to be windy and it’s a tricky stage, but I don’t think the jersey changes (tomorrow).” Of course, he also said he felt weak today…the mind games begin! Want more? OK, he also said “In my mind, there’s always been multiple leaders on our team…” during which he also referenced Leipheimer’s excellent riding thus far this year. Ã‚Â Now he’s just playing with us.
If nothing else, Astana has cemented their role as the dominant team in the tour, with five riders now in the top 10 general classification.
Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov fell more than two minutes behind the leaders, with Menchov’s trouble beginning after sliding out in a corner and getting a push-start from a fan. Ã‚Â Alessandro Ballan fell in the same spot, but was quickly back on the bike. Ã‚Â The technical nature of the course sent four BBox Boygues Telecom riders into the grass.
Hit ‘more’ for results, stories and pictures from today’s stage…
Yep, Ben Stiller (left) had the honors of presenting the yellow jersey to Cancellara.
Silence Lotto’s Jurgen Van den Broeck brushed the wheel of the rider in front of him and went down and, to Cadel Evan’s likely dismay, the team then dropped two other riders, waited for one, and ended up finishing well behing the GC leaders’ teams. Ã‚Â Maybe it’s just me, but it pains me to see Evans fall behind…it would be great to see him contest the GC when it comes to the mountain stages. Ã‚Â He chalked the team’s lackluster performance on TT inexperience, get some choice quotes here.
Garmin, who started later in the day, steadily dropped it’s own riders, ending up with just five riders as they crossed the finish line (team time registers as the fifth rider crosses the line), but still managed to beat every team before it by setting a 50km/h average (31.07).
Astana built speed steadily after matching Garmin-Slipstream’s time at the 10k mark, with Armstrong actually in yellow by the clock for a brief second. Ã‚Â While they didn’t manage to wrest the Maillot Jaune, they did take their first team stage win.
Cavendish remained in the Green Jersey with a margin of 16 points over next-in-line Thor Hushovd.
Tune in tomorrow at 8:30am for live coverage of Stage 5 fromÃ‚Â La Cap d’Adge to Perpignan.
2009 TOUR de FRANCE: STAGE 4 TEAM TIME TRIAL RESULTS (Top 10)
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TOP 10 GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 4
And if you’re playing, the code word for today’s Cadillac/TdF/Versus promo is “teamtimetrial”.