In what Team Garmin director Jonathan Vaughters called "the ride of his life" in a Twitter update, Christian Vande Velde tamed the mountains between Pau and Hautacam to hold on to third place in the overall GC standings of the Tour de France. Vande Velde, or CVV in cycling shorthand, survived a shakeup in the GC that saw Cadel Evans wrestle the overall lead from Kim Kirchen, who had grown quite comfortable in the yellow jersey before slipping to seventh nearly two minutes behind Evans. Rounding out the top five are Frank Schleck (1 second back), CVV (38"), Bernhard Kohl (46") and Denis Menchov (57").
One of the great things about the Tour is finding new ways to track the action, especially the Edge 705/VeloNews widget and Twitter updates from Team Slipstream and JakesJournal. We also follow live coverage at CyclingNews.com and Bicycling.com, where praise for Vande Velde was coming just about as fast as the peloton itself. "Wow. Matt White just told Christian not to be afraid to attack in the final Ks," blogged Joe Lindsey at Bicycling.com, "That could go…interestingly. I don’t think Christian has the legs, but would love to be proved wrong. He needs :38 to Cadel to take yellow today." Joe classified CVV’s ride as amazing, a sentiment echoed over at CyclingNews.com.
"Vande Velde had a superb performance," wrote Shane Stokes in his live coverage. "What does his compatriot think? Bobby Julich: Christian has proven to himself and the world that he is a contender. There is no reason to question his result because he has been solid from the first day. Remember, he is also a great TT rider and could make up for any hiccup in the mountains in the final TT. Great job VdV!!!"