July 17, 2005
Stage 15 wrapup
I haven't been willing to say this Tour's race for yellow is over, but I get that feeling tonight. There aren't a lot of opportunities left to put time into Lance Armstrong, and he's got quite a bit in hand.
Jan Ullrich and T-Mobile apparently agree: over at the T-Mobile team website, Andreas Klöden suggests T-Mobile isn't aiming for the win anymore, when he says “My position on the GC doesn’t matter to me. We want to get Jan on the podium, and we can achieve that.”
Your papers, please
VeloNews/Casey B. Gibson
Thinking back on the final ascent to Ax-3-Domaines yesterday, when T-Mobile had isolated Armstrong in the Pailhères climb and the ever more courageous Vinokourov attacked again, Ullrich admitted his defeat in his personal website: "That was the moment where I should have gotten Armstrong," he wrote. "But in the end, on the last kilometre, he was stronger than me again. But it was a great fight on a sporting level and that's why I'm satisfied with my performance."
Ullrich also got stopped by French police as he rode down the mountain after the stage (photo at right). Once they realized who he was, he was allowed to continue, but it's a sign of how things are going for the 1997 Tour champ.
Phonak's Oscar Pereiro, 2nd on the day, wasn't happy about Hincapie's wheelsucking ways.
"This is a sporting competition and sometimes the strongest man doesn't win," said Pereiro, who couldn't respond when Hincapie punched the accelerator in the final kilometers.
"It was all day on the wheel, this is something you have to take notice of. I had hoped to drop him because I knew he would be strong in the sprint," he said. "He said, ‘Let's work together and try to get to the finish line,' then it seemed like I was doing all the work. It just didn't work out for me."
You could compare it to Chris Horner's anger at Carlos da Cruz during Stage 13, except that drafting plays a smaller role on climbing stages. Given their styles, Pereiro was doomed when his testing accelerations, and the attack by Pietro Caucchioli, failed to dislodge Hincapie, presumably a weaker climber. After that, of course Hincapie was content to sit in for the two-up sprint.
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 62:09:59
2) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 2:46
3) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 3:09
4) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at 5:58
5) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at 6:31
6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 7:35
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 9:33
8) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 9:38
9) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 11:47
10) Andreas Kloden, T-Mobile, at 12:01
Note to cycling press: Hincapie was born in New York, but now lives in Greenville, S.C. Other fairly high-level riders with homes in the Southeast include Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin of Dalton, Georgia, and Australia's Nathan O'Neill of Navigators, who lives in Braselton, Georgia.
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What is proper etiquette? Should George have done a couple pulls near the top? Since he didn't, is that considered OK or poor form?
Posted by: e at Jul 17, 2005 11:45:19 PM
I agree with Jan and that's why he's a champion. He continues to fight and press on and I hope he makes it to the podium. Considering e's question, note how Jan took pulls on that climb knowing that Lance and Basso could drop him. In fact, he got dropped, came back, and pulled. It's tough with Hink, as he deserves to win after ten years, but if he didn't work, he didn't. A win's a win, but you can bet the peloton is talking about it and it's tainted. The reverse happened to Lance at, I think, at Amstel Gold with Boogerd.
Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 18, 2005 10:02:47 AM
Once again... IT'S RACING. The press will talk about it for years, but the peloton will maybe for 5 minutes. People talking about taking pulls 'on a climb' like it's the same as on the flat. It's not. Hincapie Rode a perfect stage.
Posted by: gundog99 at Jul 18, 2005 10:25:24 AM
Don't disagree at all. Ce's le Tour! George said he couldn't come around because of the crowds. On the other hand, Pereiro should know what happens when you drag a sprinter to a sprint.
Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 18, 2005 2:42:08 PM
Most of the time when Rasmussen tries to stay with the big boys in the mountains, he never goes to the front for a turn. He either sucks wind near the back of the group or tries to attack. You don't hear anyone implying he's a cheater. Instead he gets pats on the back for doing so well at his stage of development.
Posted by: Devans at Jul 18, 2005 3:00:54 PM
Possible caption for the Ullrich pic:
"Was bedeutet 'busted,' s'il vous plaît, monsieur gendarme?"
Posted by: EWM at Jul 18, 2005 3:19:21 PM
Even if it was a more flat stage, and taking a pull actually ment somthing, it's still a fair win. It happens all the time. It's part of racing. There are oppourtunities to take care of it, IF YOU HAVE THE LEGGS.
I'm sure this makes up for Paris-Roubaix when Boonen got the better of Hincapie, mainly because Hincapie didn't conserve enough, taking smaller pulls and such to be able to put an attack before the velodrome.
Posted by: gundog99 at Jul 18, 2005 3:53:36 PM
Well, wasn't George's tactic the same sort of thing that used to get Virenque accused of line-scabbing? It's legal, of course; it's not cheating; I was glad to see Hincapie win a stage; and I understood that he was conserving energy through much of the race in order to help Lance if need be. But still.
Posted by: senioritis at Jul 19, 2005 10:15:58 AM