The route for this time trial was a circuit around the town of Albi in the Midi-Pyrénées. As the riders did not venture far there were not many views of local scenery, though one attractive place was the village of Castelnau-de-Lévis with its ruined château. The helicopter circled giving us good aerial views of Albi, with its distinctive gothic red brick Cathedral St Cécile, colourful formal gardens and
fine views of the River Tarn (pictured), spanned by a number of attractive bridges. Albi was the birthplace of the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, famous for his paintings of the dancers and personalities at the Moulin Rouge in Paris during the late 19th Century. The town has a museum of his work.
The riders, in particular the early starters, endured pouring rain making the roads very dangerous and quite a number arrived at the finish with ripped clothing and injuries from sliding on the greasy surfaces. Towards the end of the race the rain had eased and the later starters, those who were highest up the overall standings, found the road to be drying a little. Britain’s Bradley Wiggins rode the fastest lap at the worst of the bad weather holding first place for a considerable time. In the end Alexander Vinokourov showed his ability and determination taking first place by over a minute, despite having over sixty stitches in his knees from his Stage 5 accident and understandably riding a little cautiously. Wiggins ended up an extremely commendable fifth place behind Cadel Evans, Andreas Klöden, also still carrying an injury and Andrey Kashechkin.
RESULTS (British riders in italics)
STAGE WINNER – Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
2nd Cadel Evans (Predictor Lotto) – 3rd Andreas Klöden (Astana)
5th Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)
YELLOW (individual) – Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
POLKA DOT (climber) – Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
GREEN (points) – Tom Boonen (Quickstep Innergetic)
WHITE (under 25) – Alberto Contador (Discovery)
COMBATIVE – (not awarded for Time Trials)
LEADING TEAM – Astana