July 13, 2005
Stage 11 underway
There have been a couple of opportunistic breakaways this morning, with the biggest being an attack from Alexandre Vinokourov, who is now riding with Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro of Phonak, and Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi. Initially, their group also included Francisco Mancebo, Roberto Heras, Pietro Caucchioli, and Chris Horner, but those four were dropped on the Madeleine.
Pereiro had a dramatic off-road experience going off the side of the road on the descent, and down a small hill. He was able to come back up, get on board, and recapture the break.
Thor Hushovd (!) and Samuel Dumoulin also spent some time in front. Presumably, Hushovd had an eye toward the first intermediate sprint of the day, but he's been picked up by the main field.
Green jersey Tom Boonen crashed again, around 10 kilometers into the stage. The race doctor spent time working on his knee, and Guido Trenti spent quite a while pacing Boonen back to the field.
On the Col de la Madeleine, Botero took max mountain points, followed by Vinokourov, Pereiro, Martinez, and then Christophe Moreau and Michael Rasmussen in the peloton.
Discovery shucked a lot of riders on the day's first climb, but there are still 6 or 7 Discos driving the field. There may be 40 riders in the Armstrong group, and they're letting Botero and Vinokourov's group sit around 1:30 up the road. They must be able to see them on some of these roads.
Vinokourov picks up a 6 second time bonus at the sprint line; his group is closing on a 2 minute gap to the peloton. They're also closing on the Col du Telegraphe -- time to climb.
Egoi Martinez is off the lead group early on the Telegraphe, and now so is Botero. Botero battles back up to Vino and Pereiro!
The trio is 1:58 in front of Armstrong's group, which includes Rubiera, Savoldelli, Popovych, Hincapie, and Beltran, and Azevedo.
Jean-Patrick Nazon and Kim Kirchen have both abandoned today. On the Galibier, Quick Step's Stefano Zanini joins them.
As the lead three hit the summit of the Telegraphe, their gap has stretched to almost 3 minutes. Ullrich, Valverde, Basso, Klöden, Landis, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Moreau, and Chris Horner are all still in the 40-strong Armstrong group. Botero again gets max mountain points, then Vinokourov, then Pereiro.
On the Galibier, Vinokourov and Botero have dropped Pereiro; looks like he's toasted. Mayo keeps falling off the Armstrong group. The gap reached 3:30, but it's coming down now, at about 3:00.
Beltran has finally fallen off the lead group.
Vinokourov has dropped Botero.
Down to 26 riders in the Armstrong group. Vinokourov is 3:15 up on Armstrong with 6 kilometers to the top. I don't think Armstrong can count on catching Vinokourov on the descent.
Rubiera is popped. Armstrong catches Pereiro; Horner is off the back; Armstrong has Azevedo, Hincapie, Popovych and Savoldelli. The gap is 3:06.
Armstrong's group is down below 20 with 4 supporting Discos. Guerini is off the back with Klöden and Michael Rogers. The gap has dropped to 2:47.
Vinokourov is going to take the Henri Desgrange prize for the first man to the Tour's highest point. Less than 1 kilometer to the top for Vino.
Armstrong has lost another Disco. Botero continues to struggle in between Vinokourov and the chasers. He may catch Vinokourov on the descent.
Vino is first over, Botero is :38 seconds back. Rasmussen has launched an attack and has a good gap on Armstrong. Rasmussen showed us his descending skills the other day. It's going to be an interesting run-in to Briançon.
I'm starting a new post for the last 40 k; if you've been reloading this page, check the home page for the new post.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink
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Sorry, not sure this is the right place to be writing general stuff but I couldn't find a contact link.
Anyway - thanks for such a great blog. Really great writing and opinion and some fantastic insights, I'm hooked.
Thought I'd try an offer something back to your readers who might have been experiencing the problem that had been plaguing me all last week, namely Eurosport.com's supposed live audio feed.
I have a mac running tiger and I couldn't get the audio stream to work from the links on their site. However I've dug around the source code and found the url that can be pasted into Window Media Player (open URL) for the live audio feed.
Okay, you have to listen to the inane rambling of David Duffield and attempt to understand Sean Kelly's accent but if, like me, you can't get home in time for TV coverage and your wife forgets to set the video then it's better than continually refreshing the letour.com newsflash page.
Here's the url then...
Posted by: Gary Butcher at Jul 13, 2005 10:48:44 AM