Today, on the cobbles, the crashes were less devastating, and we were treated to a fine day of real racing. Some of the top contenders, like Van deVelde, are already out (Christain VdV is out because of the crashes yesterday). Frank Schleck, Andy's brother and right hand man, crashed today, and may not continue. So the cobbles did what they were supposed to do - sort out the crowd a bit, and change the overall results. It was a great race today, tho, and very typical of races over the cobbles - where large pelotons simply do not work well.
So, now we should have a few "quiet" days, and the sprinters will get a little chance. On stage 7, or maybe it was 8, we have a few more cobble sections, but no one seems to expect them to change the results as much as today.
We have some time differences, which may, or may not, be major. Typical of this stage of the Tour, several riders who are in the top now we won't expect to see much of after the mountains. Cancellara is one of these - but what a marvelous strong man he is growing to be. He has poise, and status in the peloton, along with some color in his character, and the ability to speak with the public. The ability to speak is something we often don't find in the strong men - think of Cadel Evans, or Wiggins. Even Cav - who can be charming - seems to suffer from Mike Tyson like lapses in public judgement.
But, for now, out of the top contenders for yellow in Paris, we have Cadel Evans in top position. Andy Schleck is half a minute behind, but that time difference he should be able to pick up over Evans when we hit the Alps. At one minute back, we see Vino and Contador. I don't really count Vino in it for the end, but he could surprise us. Contador is next, and should be able to easily pull in the small time between himself and Evans in the mountains. If Andy, however, can stick to Contador's tail, this could get tough. Menchov, Kreuziger, Lance, Martin, and Rogers are two minutes back. They might find someplace to make up time - they probably won't, but we can't count Lance out yet. Basso and Sastre are two and a half minutes back, same reasoning as Lance. The probably won't find a way to get back up, but they still can. It is certainly still a race, and all of these results could get turned on their head by a lucky - or unlucky - day in the Pyrennees!