Stage 4, Team Time Trial for the 2009 Tour de France start for Team Robo Bank. Image Credit: steephill.tv
TDF Stage Four - Team Time Trial Shows The Way
At the beginning of the day, Lance Armstrong was interviewed by the press corps and in his view, he stated that
if he were a betting man, his money would be on Team Saxo Bank would win and Fabian Cancellara would retain the
Asked how would it feel if Team Astana were to win the stage ... and by enough time to win the Yellow Jersey,
Lance said, "That would be cool, not realistic but very cool indeed."
Stage 4, Team Time Trial for the 2009 Tour de France (ctrl-click to launch map). Image and Link Credit: steephill.tv
During the interview, Lance was very clear to make the point that Team Astana has at least four riders that could contest as team leader and possible winner of the Tour de France. Of course, Lance would have to be considered due to the fact he has won seven previous TDF's but Alberto Contador (who has been riding and winning well over the last 18 months), Levi Leipheimer (who is having a good year this year), and Andreas Kloden (a strong rider in his own right) all could become factors when the team reaches the mountains. "The mountains will tell." said Lance.
Team Astana driving toward the finish line in a last big push. VERSUS broadcast video edit of Team Astana, Team Garmin-Slipstream, and Team Saxo Bank in competition - crtl-click on photo to launch video. Image Credit: AFP
Team Astana has been able to finish exactly 40 seconds ahead of Team Saxo Bank as well as finish first in the Team Time Trial. The Yellow Jersey is still in doubt at this very moment because the timing has to come down to the tenths of a second and the judges need to review the individual and the team time trial timings between Armstrong and Cancellara in order to determine who will be in the Yellow Jersey tomorrow!
It's official ... the time advantage is virtually ZERO (tenths and possibly thousandths of a second) so the Yellow Jersey is retained by Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank going on into the Pyrenees.
This excerpted and edited from VeloNews -
Astana steamrolls team time trial
Cancellara keeps the jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong
By VeloNews.com - Published: Jul. 7, 2009
Team Astana blazed through the team time trial to win stage 4. Astana came across the line 40 seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank squad of race leader Fabian Cancellara — the exact margin by which Cancellara led Lance Armstrong on general classification. After some careful math by race officials, Cancellara now holds the yellow jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong.
Garmin-Slipstream finished second on the day, 18 seconds down.
Astana came into the stage with four riders in the top 10 thanks to their time trialing ability, and that strength showed again on the 39km stage around Montpellier. Held largely on narrow roads, the technical course featured more than a few dicey corners that put riders from several teams on the ground.
Giro d’Italia champion Denis Menchov (Rabobank) was the first to go down, sliding out on a tight left-hand bend that soon felled World champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre).
But Astana, having previewed the course several times, rode with precision and focused determination, avoiding any mishaps. They were rewarded for their efforts with Armstrong slotting into second overall, followed by Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer in third through fifth, respectively.
"It's a little bit of a disappointment," Armstrong said of the narrow miss. "But the yellow jersey is on the horizon. Astana did their maximum."