The start times

Scot David Millar has been under the weather in the last few days, but still put in a solid ride today.



He finished with a time of 1h05’16”, two minutes and 32 seconds behind Bert Grabsch (HTC-Columbia).  



“The conditions are good now, but it is going to be a lot harder for the late starters because the wind is going to pick up,” said Millar. “Alberto Contador will win.”



Below are the start times for all the key riders in this year’s race. All times are local.



Key times:

10:25 David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)

13:29 Geraint Thomas (Sky)

14:15 Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack)

14.31 Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia)

14:53 Cadel Evans (BMC Racing)

14:57 Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

14:59 Lance Armstrong (RadioShack)

15:41 Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions)

15:47 Robert Gesink (Rabobank)

15:50 Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

15:53 Denis Menchov (Rabobank)

15:56 Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

15:59 Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)

16:02 Alberto Contador (Astana)



A close battle

As it stands now, this Tour de France is the closest ahead of the final time trial since Claudio Chiappucci and Greg LeMond in 1990.  Below is a list of the closest classification battles ahead of final time trial (with eventual Tour winner first unless noted).



5″ – LeMond/Chiappucci (1990)

8″ – Contador/Schleck (2010, winner ?)

12″ – Van Springel/San Miguel (1968, winner Janssen)

14″ – Anquetil/Poulidor (1964)

14″ – Hinault/Zoetemelk (1978)

21″ – Roche/Delgado (1987)

28″ – Anquetil/Bahamontes (1963)

36″ – Thévenet/Kuiper (1977)

39″ – Favero/Gemignani (1958, winner Gaul)

50″ – LeMond/Fignon (1989)



Aussie heckler

After Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) claimed his white jersey yesterday, he met with the press in the “mix zone” to explain the day to Bordeaux and what is coming up in the time trial.   Normally, the cyclists are one side of the barrier and the journalists crane over from the other side for juicy quotes.



Schleck was joined on his side by A drunk supporter, smile encouraged by the1664 beer in his hand and noticeable with an Australian flag draped over his shoulders.



“Who are you?” Schleck said with a half-smile.  “Can’t you see I am being interviewed on live TV?”



The supporter gave some creepy smile in return before an ASO crew member booted him out.



The supporter returned to heckle stage winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) later.  At first, Cavendish smiled, but then he too was put off.



Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) had nothing but kind words to say for Hollywood star Cameron Diaz.  She jetted to France with Tom Cruise to support new film Knight and Day.



The stars made a side trip to Bordeaux to meet with Cavendish, Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) after the stage.



What was that?

Mark Cavendish is one of cycling’s stars and a point of reference for any topic related to the sport.   Cavendish, though, did  not really want to play the game after his win in Bordeaux Friday.



One reporter asked, “Will Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck continue to duel in future editions of the Tour de France or will there be another rider to challenge them?”



Cavendish gave a rather short answer without much thought.



“There are some great riders in cycling right now,” he said. “In this Tour de France, it has been exciting to watch the duel between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador.”



Those nearby had a hard time to not laugh.



In fairness to the super sprinter, he had been answering all sorts of questions for the last half hour and was probably just getting sick of it all.



Zabel still lean

Erik Zabel may have been working throughout this year’s Tour with HTC Columbia, but that hasn’t stopped him keeping fit. Showing the kind of desire that used to frustrate his T-Mobile team mates when he wanted to win every race he started, the German kept fit by training two hours every day.



We can reveal that the six-time green jersey winner has been training between seven and nine every morning. His goal? Last week’s Etape du Tour.



He was due to ride the event for a bike manufacturer with a bunch of cycling journalists. But yet again his desire kicked in again and he raced off to a time of six hours 52 minutes to finish 152nd. The winner did 5-59-23hrs. Two hours a day maybe wasn’t enough though, he reportedly blew on the Tourmalet riding that in 1hr 22.



Boulting ready for home

This years Phileas Fogg award for the person who has spent the most amount of time away from home goes to ITV4’s Ned Boulting. The roving reporter left home at the end of May to cover the world cup and then came straight out to the Tour when that was finished.