The second individual time trial of the 2007 Tour de France took us through the Charente with the riders starting Cognac, world famed for its fine brandy, and returning to Angoulême. Last year we visited Cognac at the end of a wet day, hurrying on to the Cognac branch of Flunch to have our evening meal after looking at the River Charente in the rain by this bridge for a while. There are old cobbled streets and some very elegant buildings, mostly connected in some way with distilling and decided Cognac would be worth visiting on a drier occasion. The time check points were at Sigogne, with its romanesque square towered church and Saint-Genis-d’Hiersac. At Angoulême we saw again the distinctive Cathedral St Pierre (pictured).
The first three placings were very close, separated by only 31 seconds. We saw a supreme effort by third overall placed Levi Leipheimer who won this stage recording the fastest time narrowing the gap between himself and overall second placed Cadel Evans to just 8 seconds. Alberto Contador worked hard enough to retain the yellow jersey keeping it from Evans who continues to breathe down his neck. It is unlikely, however, that Contador will be caught and barring mishap will almost certainly win the coveted general classification prize in Paris tomorrow. David Millar had a fortunate escape when his rear tyre exploded, coming off his carbon disc wheel during the early part of the race. Sadly this scuppered his chances of putting in a good time for this stage, where he had been expected to do well.
POLKA DOT (climber) – Juan Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
GREEN (points) – Tom Boonen (Quickstep Innergetic)
WHITE (under 25) – Alberto Contador (Discovery)
COMBATIVE – Amets Txurruka (Euskatel)
LEADING TEAM – Discovery Channel Team