The journalists said Lance's team wasn't up to snuff after they left him isolated the first time the road turned uphill. Some of the OLN commentators wondered what the problem was. We were concerned, too. And now we know we needn't have worried at all.
Italy's Paolo Savoldelli became Lance's second teammate to take a stage win in this year's Tour, outsprinting Norway's Kurt Asle Arvesen to the line after being in a breakaway that had gained over 20 minutes on the main field at one point. Lance's teammates have never won stages in his previous wins, and now there have been two Discovery Channel wins - and Lance himself has yet to win a stage!
In a brief post-race interview on OLN, Lance said that they were still pedaling along, over 20 minutes behind the breakaway, when a crackling voice came across their radios. They all looked at one another and said, "Did they just say that Paolo won the stage?!?" Great stuff. Especially wonderful because, as a two-time Giro d'Italia winner, Paolo has been doing nothing for himself in this Tour so far - he's been a workhorse for Lance, even carrying water bottles to him from the team car. That's humility. That's knowing your role on the team. And that's why it's got to be a great moment in the sun for him in a race that's about someone else completely.
Other Tour news - Andreas Kloden, Jan Ullrich's teammate, fractured a wrist yesterday in an incident involving another teammate, and though he started today's stage (in a cast, no less), he eventually pulled out. He had been in 11th place overall, meaning everyone below him in the coveted top-20 moves up a bit. Also, due to Paolo's great finish, the Discovery Channel team was able to move ahead of T-Mobile (Ullrich's squad) in the team competition. It's likely that with the individual time trial on Saturday, Discovery will be able to solidify that position. I can only imagine how sweet it would be for Lance to not only win this Tour himself, but to have the team on the podium's top spot in Paris as well.