Appropriately enough for 14 of July – Bastille Day – we’re seeing the mountain royalty denied the crown of King of the Mountains, instead so far the jersey is being contested by flatland peasants. Here’s the top-10 in the standings after Stage 9:
1 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 85 pts
2 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step 85
3 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne 62
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 56
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 50
6 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 47
7 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 43
8 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 40
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 36
10 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 32
Both Charteau and Pineau are tied on 85 points, a full 23 points ahead of Moreau. But neither are noted climbers, they are more all-rounders with a nose for a breakaway. This is yet to become a contest between real climbers.
Charteau’s win will cheer up BBox. Several riders have been hit by a virus, curtailing attacks from Voeckler and Fedrigo, so far the “highlight” of their race so far had been two sixth places for Séb Turgot in bunch sprints. Before you think I’m being too ironic, note that Turgot’s efforts generated a decent amount of airtime. But apparently the BBox riders are recovering, Charteau will need plenty of help as he’s got a fight on his hands to keep the jersey away from Pineau.
Note how many riders from yesterday’s breakaway bagged points. Andy Schleck has beaucoup points too and it’s possible he wins the jersey in Paris given he should be a consistent presence in the mountain and that the points are doubled on the final climb, something that favours the big name riders ahead of the plucky escapees.