Today belonged to Vinokourov, the big Kazakh, who won the stage. At the beginning of this year's race, he was considered the main contender for the yellow jersey. Vino had been hurt in a crash early in the race, and had lost time on the leaders. He won the time trial two days ago and looked to be back in contention for the yellow. Yesterday, however, he cracked on the first day in the Pyrenees, coming in 28 minutes behind the winner of the stage, Contador. Today he pulled off a big win - too late to ever gain the yellow jersey (he remains over 20 minutes behind overall) - but nice that the guy showed his stuff.
There's one more day in the mountains on Wednesday (rest day tomorrow), and a difficult one. Unless one of the leaders cracks, we shouldn't see too much of a change in the standings since the top five or six will all be carefully marking each other. Contador likely cannot make up the 2:23 on Rasmussen during the time trial, so he will attack tomorrow in the mountains. Evans, Leipheimer, and Kloden will try to attack Rasmussen as well to gain a bit of time for the time trial.
Although we'll see furious attacks on Wednesday, Rasmussen has looked very strong in the mountains, and it appears that we're on our way to the time trial on Saturday. It will be worth watching. Rasmussen, the yellow jersey, is not known for his time trial prowess. Contador gained time on him in the first TT. Cadel Evans, currently in third at 4 minutes behind, is a good time trialist and will push for the yellow jersey. The sole American with a chance for the podium, Levi Leipheimer, is in fourth at 5:25 back. He's also a decent time trialist. And Andreas Kloden, another pre-race favorite, is fully capable of winning the TT. He's 5:34 back as of today. These are rather large time gaps and the race would be over if, barring accidents, Rasmussen and Contador were better time trialists. They're surprisingly solid for mountain specialists, but Evans, Leipheimer, and Kloden are all capable - especially with a bad day by Rasmussen - of having a place on the podium in Paris on Sunday.
UPDATE (24 July):
Tour de France rider Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a banned blood transfusion after winning last weekend's time trial, prompting his Astana team to pull out of the race Tuesday.