Illes Balears and Michael Rasmussen keep their good form going, the French gendarmes are doing well
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Illes Balears: Twenty-four hours after being drunk on the success of Alejandro Valverde and Francisco Mancebo at Courchevel , there was always a real risk that the Spaniards could suffer a hangover on the second leg of the Tour’s Alpine double-header. That risk appeared even greater when Valverde had to drop to his team car to receive treatment for a niggling knee problem early on today’s stage to Brianon. Happily, after cruising home in the main bunch tonight, Valverde reported that the pain had gone and that he and Mancebo were confident of improving on their GC positions of fifth and eighth respectively in the Pyrenees.
Michael Rasmussen: The revelation of this year’s Tour, the Dane makes climbing mountains look like shelling peas. Rasmussen said at the finish-line tonight that he would have prolonged his surge to gain King of the Mountains points over the Galibier if Botero and Vinokourov had been within catching range. Fighting talk from the man in dots who makes most cat-walk models look like candidates for fat camp.
The Haute Savoie gendarmes: The boys in blue from this region of the French Alps have a better wife-baiting record than Casanova. And no, that’s, not the name of another once-promising Italian climber with a pesky habit of getting caught with his hands in the EPO jar. After Edita Rumsas, Susanna Frigo on Tuesday became the Savoie force’s latest high-profile catch, provoking speculation about who will be their next victim. Dopers, never mind your daughters, lock up your wives before the gendarmes do it for you.
Jens Voigt: Never mind the curse of the rainbow jersey, what about its yellow cousin? After David Zabriske, Jens Voigt today became the second CSC rider to abandon after having led the Tour. It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that Ivan Basso has been avoiding the top of the general classification like drugs mules will avoid the Chambry-Albertville autoroute from today onwards.
Giancarlo Ferretti: ‘Ferron’, the doyen of directeurs, has been away from the Tour trying to encourage an as yet unnamed company to take over from Fassa Bortolo next season. But it can’t be easy trying to broker a multi-million euro deal when one of your riders begins the day not in the start village but the local nick.