As promised months ago, I'm launching a short series on the leadership in the Tour de France -- specifically, I am following team Leopard Trek, a Luxemburg-based group of riders that includes the Schleck brothers (Andy finished 39 seconds behind last year's winner, Alberto Contador). These riders are young (the vast majority of them), and I'm keen to see how they work as a team. They've been successful so far this season, but the Tour de France is the most grueling race of them all.
Yesterday, July 2, marked the first stage of the Tour. As always, the goal in the first few stages is to race well and stay safe; serious contenders are not looking to grab the lead from the starting line. There were two rather nasty accidents in yesterday's stage, but fortunately Leopard Trek finished strong, as their riders were not as affected by the crashes as other teams. They stand at 3rd place overall (team standings), just 6 seconds behind the lead team, Omega-Pharma Lotto.
Fabien Cancellara, team member, attacked during the last kilometers of the race, hoping to win the stage, but was bested by another rider who was waiting for him to do just that! Fabien thinks that he attacked too quickly. We will see if he has learned from that episode, as we continue to follow the team over the next few days in the early stages.
What I'm really enjoying about following team Leopard Trek is their use of Twitter in particular. The riders tweet from time to time throughout the day; followers are given snapshots of what their day is like -- when they rest, when and where they're eating, the fact that they've just shaved their legs again, that they're excited for the team time trial (today, July 3).