Today is the last regular stage of the Tour. Tomorrow is the time trials. Sunday's ride into Paris is more parade than race. Only the sprint specialists are still racing on Sunday. The overall contenders will take it easy today. They will be saving their strength for the time trial tomorrow.
That's means we have a bunch of riders who have no chance of placing in any of the competitions who will be trying to grab their last chance at glory in France for theis year's Tour de France.
"Stage 19 - Issoire to Le Puy-en-Velay >153.5km
Course: At 153.5km, this is the 2005 Tour's second shortest road stage, but certainly not the easiest. The climbs aren't particularly difficult, but the roads are often narrow and twisting, the perfect ingredients for another breakaway. There's a fast downhill toward Le Puy before a final short, up-and-down loop into the backside of town.
History: Only two Tour stages have finished at Le Puy. The last time, in 1996, the stage went to the Swiss Pascal Richard, who went on to take the following month's Olympic title in Atlanta.
Favorites: Teams yet to win a stage will be going for the victory, which could go to a Dutchman like Dekker or Rabobank teammate Karsten Kroon. But it should go to whomever is the hungriest and not too bothered about the following day's time trial...."
Links for following the race...