Much as I respect Riis's tactical awareness, I was surprised his team was so quick to counter Ullrich's attack. The onus was squarely on USPS to bring back the break. By protecting the second place of Basso so nervously- the lead never rising far beyond a minute- they showed a somewhat conservative hand to USPS, rather than sitting in the wheels, then attacking themselves, after tiring Armstrong's team and testing it's leader's strength and nerve.
Even by adopting this strategy, I doubt CSC would have profited greatly, although Basso and Voight are clearly still in great form. The alpine climbs don't suit Sastre as well as the pyrenean ones did, and he seems weary. You obviously need two top guys for a one-two punch.
After the race, Ullrich told reporters that he wanted to 'irritate' Armstrong (with a smile on his face). Beyond the levity of his manner lies a tactical wish to adopt the approach of a Fignon, rather than an Indurain. Too little, too late for himself but possibly helpful to Kloden.
Talk of collusion between teams should only come as a shock to our more delicate correspondents. It has always taken place, with either money changing hands or favours being granted or repaid.
(the year Kelly sold the Tour Of Lombardy is still clear in my memory; bet he wishes he'd turned the offer down now.......)