By Brecht Decaluwé in Angoulême
Will they ride? Will they concede? Just seconds separate the top three riders heading in to the final stage into Paris, and after the finish of Saturday's time trial there was rampant speculation that we could see the overall contenders battling it out for time bonuses. One person foresaw the situation even before the first rider set out from Cognac: American Chris Horner seemed to be able to predict the results of the time trial. A day before the time trial he warned Cyclingnews that the GC-contenders might have race for it on Sunday in Paris.
"We're going into the last stage to Paris and we might be going full gas on the Champs Elysees," Horner said. "Now I've done that course twice and that course is more dangerous than anything I have ever witnessed in any race in my career I believe."
The forecast for Sunday predicts rain showers all day long, and could continue well until the peloton hits the paved cobbles of the Champs Elyses in Paris. "If we're doing that full gas - Lord help us when it's raining or something - it's going to be unbelievable," Horner feared a spectacle in Paris.
When asked if he felt the GC-contenders would race for it Horner didn't hesitate a moment. "Wouldn't you?" Horner asked, "I've never seen anyone not race for it if it's going to be that close. Thirty seconds is not do-able, twenty maybe is do-able but everything under that is definitely do-able." With a 23 second gap separating first and second overall, and eight back from second to third will the gentleman's agreement hold in to Paris?