It's brother against brother in the Tour de France -- quite literally. Ralf Grabsch rides for Team Milram while his older brother Bert is employed by T-Mobile, but the two would-be rivals couldn't be much closer. Going into today's stage, the two are in places 132 (Bert) and 133 (Ralf), separated by a grand total of 13 seconds.
They finished with the same time in Thursday's stage, both in the first group, with Ralf winning the family duel in 24th, ahead of Bert in 30th. But they have finished even closer together in this race. Bert "won" the second Alps stage, but just barely, as they came in in places 108 and 109. "We came in with the same large group," he said on team-milram.de. "But he must have been on the other side of the pack. I didn't notice that we placed together."
The other pair of brothers are the Chavanels. Sébastien rides for Française Des Jeux, Sylvain is a Cofidis member. And they couldn't be further apart, being separated by almost 1 hour and 20 minutes in the overall, although they came in together at 105 and 106 in yesterday's stage, 3'20" off the pace.
Before the start of stage 10 French TV chatted to the pair and asked if they ever see each other during the stages. Sylvain was quickest to reply, saying "not so much in the mountain stages. I usually see him [Sébastien] on TV when he comes in with the gruppetto."
The two are very different type of racers. Sylvain has been going in several breakaways and wearing the mountain leader's jersey for a few days, whereas Sébastien is a sprinter and has finished in the top ten four times this Tour, with a fourth place on two occasions the best result.
They expected stage 10 to be better suited for Sylvain and the run-in the day after to Montpellier an affair for the sprinters.