Circle of Pain

Voeckler showing his Circle of Grimace.

Watching Thomas Voeckler grimaced with pain on today's Circle of Death (Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin & Peyresourde) in the Pyrenees was a dizzying display of his panache.

Second stage win for the rider called, 'le Chou-Chou' (sweetheart). The man with a panache size heart, the French call him a national hero, dominated over the course (the hardest stage by far). He led over the four summits collected the KOMs points and took over the cool polka dot jersey from Fredrik Kessiakoff. But, there's only a four-point difference between the two climbers and Kessiakoff vows to challenge tomorrow. Can the Swede re-take it from le Chou-Chou?

Vincenzo, The Shark, Nibal has the better chance, not today as he tried hard to shake off the Wiggins/Froome tandem, and proved that a third place is looking pretty good. Tomorrow's stage with a mountain top finish looks a tantalizing target for the Shark to take a bite for a stage victory.

But, the worst pain came from Cadel Evans losing many minutes, suffering from heat and stomach problems having "just a bad day." Evans' Tour repeat is over but perhaps the diamond in the rough is Tejay Van Garderen riding well to consolidate the young riders classification. BMC DS, John Lelangue said, "We will defend the white jersey and our two top ten placings."

Frank Schleck DNS due to his possible doping case, casts a shadow for RadioShack-Nissan and this Tour.

We'll have to find some solace in what promises to be yet another exciting stage... tomorrow!

A painful day over for the classy men of BMC...
Evans shakes hands with Hincapie.