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Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 17:19 UK

Tour de France Q&A

Tour de France 2010
Start: 3 July, Rotterdam Finish: 25 July, Paris
Coverage: Listen to the final hour of every stage on the BBC Sport website (UK only), with selected stages on BBC 5 live sports extra; Watch live on Eurosport and ITV4; Live text commentary each day on BBC Sport website

An exciting first week of the Tour de France has seen a host of crashes, the fall and rise again of Mark Cavendish and the end of Lance Armstrong's hopes of an eighth victory in the race.

As the riders took a well-earned rest on Monday, we asked BBC Radio 5 live commentator Peter Slater for his thoughts on events so far, and what we can expect for the rest of the week.

HOW ARE THE OVERALL CONTENDERS SHAPING UP?

One thing that struck me on Sunday's climb up to Avoriaz was the three contrasting riding styles of Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans.

Astana's Contador was out of his saddle and weaving up the hill, while Schleck, who is a tall man, was very upright in the saddle and Evans was huddled over his handlebars.

They are going to be the top three on the podium but in which order I don't know.

On the evidence of the opening week it's close and a lot less cut and dry for Contador than the bookmakers have suggested.

HAS BRADLEY WIGGINS BLOWN HIS PODIUM CHANCES ALREADY THEN?

Bradley fell off the back of the peloton and was left limiting his losses on Sunday's final climb up to Avoriaz.

It was disappointing and I wonder if his best moments in the Tour have already been and gone with his fourth-placed finish last year.

Wiggins himself said after Sunday's stage: "I'm happy to admit that I wasn't quite good enough." His quotes say a lot about his chances.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE DEMISE OF LANCE ARMSTRONG?

606: DEBATE
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The old man (Armstrong is 38) had three crashes on Sunday, a day when he lost almost 12 minutes.

The seven-time Tour winner might decide to support his RadioShack team-mate Levi Leipheimer for the rest of the race, but there's no doubt it's the end of an era.

CAN MARK CAVENDISH STILL WIN THE GREEN POINTS JERSEY?

I was among many who thought Cavendish was not at his best when he was outsprinted by Alessandro Petacchi on Wednesday's fourth stage but he redeemed himself on stages five and six.

He seemed to get the monkey off his back with Thursday's win and the emotion he showed with the tears on the podium proved that.

Cavendish will take heart from his win on the Champs Elysees last year and I think he can win two or three of the other flat stages still to come.

But it will be very difficult for the Manxman to win the green jersey with Thor Hushovd, who might survive the mountains in better shape, 33 points ahead.

HOW ARE TEAM SKY FARING IN THEIR DEBUT TOUR DE FRANCE?

The young Welshman Geraint Thomas has been the star of the show for Sky so far and has completely overshadowed Wiggins. To be second in the first week and wear the white jersey as the best young rider (under-25) is some achievement.

Sky rider Geraint Thomas
Sky rider Thomas spent much of the first week in the white jersey

However, Sky team principal Dave Brailsford told me before the race started that Geraint would get caught out in the mountains and this proved to be the case on Sunday.

Edvald Boasson Hagen has also impressed in the sprints although the team has not had as much exposure in the peloton as they would have hoped for. Their jerseys have not been in evidence as much as many of the other teams.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BRITS?

Scot David Millar has been the pick of the other Brits so far. He is having a solid ride for Garmin and has been up near the front, leading out sprints on a couple of occasions.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him in a break on one of the transition stages between the Alps and Pyrenees and challenging for a stage win.

ANY PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST WEEK?

Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel had a hollow stage victory on the wet roads of the Ardenne in stage two when the peloton rode over the line together in protest at the dangerous conditions.

But he certainly regained some kudos when he won Saturday's stage to Station des Rousses to regain the yellow jersey.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THIS WEEK?

The next couple of days in the Alps will be tough and I wonder if one of the leaders might go for it over the hors category climb up Col de la Madeleine late in Tuesday's ninth stage and try to put a marker down.

Contador's Astana team looked strong on Sunday's climb with Alexandre Vinokourov helping out and maybe the Spaniard will get off his seat and go for it.

(l-r) Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong
Andy Schleck (left) and Alberto Contador (centre) left Lance Armstrong (right) in their wake on Sunday's climb up to Avoriaz

Andy Schleck has been impressive, particularly riding away from Contador up to Avoriaz, but he may miss his brother Frank (who withdrew after a crash on Tuesday's third stage) - they have relied on each other in the mountains before.

Wednesday is a bit of an intermediate stage, it's also Bastille Day so expect a French winner. Someone like Tommy Voeckler may fancy the ride from Chambery to Gap.

Thursday is more of a sprinters stage before the race moves on down to the Pyrenees for four days in the mountains that will probably decide the winner.

Peter Slater was talking to BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener. Simon Brotherton will be taking over the microphone for 5 live's commentary on each stage from Tuesday, 13 July.

Follow the BBC Radio 5 live commentary team, and get in touch, on Twitter at twitter.com/5livecycling .



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see also
Wiggins Tour hopes suffer setback
12 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Armstrong's Tour hopes disappear
11 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Chavanel reclaims yellow with win
10 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish wins second Tour stage
09 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish roars back to win stage
08 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Petacchi wins as Cavendish fades
07 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Hushovd beats Thomas to stage win
06 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Chavanel wins dramatic Tour stage
05 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Petacchi wins crash-strewn stage
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Millar & Thomas shine in prologue
03 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France 2010 guide
02 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Tour de France day by day
04 Jul 10 |  Cycling
Brits on Tour
02 Jul 10 |  Cycling


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