One week in yellow and Fabian Cancellara almost saved the RadioShack-Nissan’s Tour. Almost.
With the dream week for Cancellara likely to come to an end tomorrow, RadioShack-Nissan will look to Andreas Kloden to shoulder the team’s hopes for a high GC placing. After the carnage in Metz knocked Frank Schleck off his bike and with Chris Horner already 1:29 down heading into the stage, Kloden is the last man standing with a shot at the overall, and he’s an outside chance at best. While he’s a very strong time trialer, he’s already behind two men with better pedigree, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins. With Janez Brajkovic now over two minutes down after joining Schleck on the asphalt, Kloden is one of the last best chances for a dark horse to get in on the overall party. One rider RadioShack-Nissan is quietly keeping in the wings is the rider kolo t.c. has oft-referred to as the most underrated rider in the professional peloton. Maxime Monfort has been a do-it-all rider at every team he’s stopped at, and since joining the Schlecks and Fabulous Fabian Cancellara, he’s been just a big a factor in the team’s success as the much-praised Jens Vought. Now, Maxime is just 19 seconds back from yellow and is on the same time as Kloden. Who would have thought back in May that the two-pronged attack RadioShack-Nissan would be waving in July would be Kloden-Monfort, not the Schlecks, or even Fuglsang-Horner. Those riders aren’t even a third option, with Haimar Zubeldia next on the GC at 24 seconds.
Perhaps the most disheartening wreck of the day was Ryder Hesjedal’s dramatic crash and chase. The Giro winner won’t get the chance to go for the Grand Tour double after losing 13 minutes on the stage. For the Canadian himself and the American squad, it was the last straw. With Tom Danielson out, Farrar banged up, David Millar still finding his legs and Johan Van Summeran battling injuries, the Garmin-Sharp team is looking like a triage station in Lycra.