Eight stages of the big loop have now been completed. As was the case for many other teams, the Russian ProTour team Katusha also had to deal with the consequences of numerous mass pile-ups in the first hectic week of the Tour. As early as stage 3 the Italian Giampaolo Caruso fell victim to a heavy crash. He sustained a chest injury, but was able to continue in the race. Toni Martin and the White Russian Aliksandr Kuchynsky are struggling on from stage to stage with broken scaphoid bones.
The retirement of Óscar Freire was an especially bitter pill to swallow. The triple Milan-San Remo winner broke a rib on stage 6 and was forced to retire from the race immediately.
The aggressive all-rounder Vladimir Gusev has also been in the wars in this year’s Tour de France. On stage 8 he sustained a nasty bruised shoulder. Thankfully, he is able to continue in the Tour and thus take part in today’s individual time-trial.
We wish all the injured riders a complete and speedy recovery!
…and a courageous and optimistic outlook for the future:
Despite all the bad luck there is also some very good news. The captain Denis Menchov was able to improve and is currently in 4th place in the overall classification! The newly crowned Russian time-trial champion is among the hot favourites for today’s 41.4km individual time-trial from Arc et Senans to Besacon. Denis has been hitherto quiet about his chances of scooping a podium place in Paris, but we are certain that he’ll be giving his all on his Speedmax CF in the race against the clock in order to gain time and position himself even further up in the overall classification.
Individual Time Trial – The Race of Truth! Today Denis has to give 100% again. In the time trials and mountain finishes the overall will be made. With its super-fast new Speedmax and optimized position Denis as brand new Russian time trial Champion will be one of the favorites for Top 3 in this stage. Furthermore he could consolidate his position in the general classification.
Vladimir is a good time trialist. He is also interested in a decent time trial because of the team classification. It´s possible that the third of this year’s Tour of Bavaria in the flat time trial to Besancon can make up some places in the overall standing he lost on the way to Porrentruy But strong bruises, which he has been captured in the early kilometers of stage 8, could make him a dash through the bill.
Good luck to all our riders.