« Stage 10 on last climb | Main | GC update »

July 12, 2005

Valverde takes Stage 10; Armstrong smokes the field!

It may have been a look at the past, present and future of the Tour on Stage 10. Alejandro Valverde, the next big thing in Spanish cycling, was one of only 3 men who could stay with Lance Armstrong's acceleration after the Discovery team thinned the herd with a wicked tempo. Yaroslav Popovych showed why Discovery sees him as Armstrong's successor: He was the last support rider for Armstrong, and lifted the team's pace high enough to spit out all but about 15 riders. When Armstrong moved to the front, he instantly dumped 10 more, including T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden. Ivan Basso was able to ride with Armstrong for a while, but Armstrong lifted the tempo in the last few miles of the climb, and found himself with Rabobank's revelation Michael Rasmussen and two Illes Balears riders, Francisco Mancebo and Alejandro Valverde. In the last kilometer, Rasmussen tried a few probing attacks, easily countered, and then Armstrong went hard along the right barricades. Valverde was the only rider who could hold him, and he rode Armstrong's wheel right to his first career Tour de France stage win. 1) Valverde 2) Armstrong, s.t. 3) Rasmussen, at :09 4) Mancebo, same time 5) Basso, at 1:02 6) Levi Leipheimer, at 1:15 7) Eddy Mazzoleni, at 2:14 8) Cadel Evans, same time 9) Andreas Klöden, same time 10) Andrey Kaschechkin, same time 11) Floyd Landis, s.t. 12) Leonardo Piepoli, s.t. 13) Ullrich, s.t. 14) Jorg Jaksch, at 2:19 Rasmussen is sitting 2nd with lots of mountains still to climb. He's got to be considered a real GC threat. Valverde will probably move into the top 5. Roberto Heras lost more than 10 minutes on the day. Mark him done.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink


Check Rasmussen's time trial, he is not a threat to GC this year that's for sure.

Posted by: Ziggy at Jul 12, 2005 11:50:39 AM

Agreed- Unless Rasmussen puts on another huge breakaway ala stage 9, he's not a threat to GC. He placed, what, 174th (3'14" back) in the prologue?

Posted by: elton at Jul 12, 2005 11:54:50 AM

Disco won't give Rasumussen another breakaway now that he's 2nd. He lost over 3 min in the 19km prologue so he's not a GC threat if all things remain equal. If he can hang in the mountains, he'll win the polka dots - but unless the former GC contenders lose even more time they should be able to bounce him off the podium in the final TT.

Posted by: kokaku at Jul 12, 2005 12:16:17 PM

Boy was I off base with my prediction that Vinokourov would be the only one of the T-Mobsters with a chance of hanging with Armstrong on the big climbs - that didn't look at all like the same Vino who won the Ventoux climb in the Dauphine'. The rest day seems to have not done him any good...

...in stark contrast to "Rooster Cogturn" Rassmussen, who's proving to be the big revelation of this year's Tour.

Nice to see Popovych snatch back the White Jersey for his efforts today, as well.

Voigt's prediction just after he took the lead after stage 9 was spot on: jokemeister that he is, Jensie promised to defend the yellow jersey during the rest day, but didn't figure to wear it long after that.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 12, 2005 12:47:13 PM

I would have thought Valverde has the white jersey? Is he not classified as a young rider?

Posted by: Tony at Jul 12, 2005 12:56:10 PM

Valverde does have the white jersey.

Posted by: cameron at Jul 12, 2005 1:00:04 PM

My bad ... I was so focused on Valverde taking the stage win I forgot he's also in the young rider competition. Thanks for the catch, guys.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 12, 2005 1:03:57 PM

rasmussen lost very time in the last timetrial, but this next timetrial is completely different , it´s more suitable to rasmussen. it gots some mountain in that time trial.. but thats for sure he will going to loose time, but maybe not that much.
ullrich is done, too old for this. even with armstrong out of the competetion he wouldn´t have a chance to win the tour.

Posted by: name at Jul 12, 2005 1:12:26 PM

Perhaps Armstrong has worn out his own team and will not have anyone to help him counter the countless attacks that are sure to come. The closest DSC teammate at the end of stage 10 was way back in 19th 4 minutes back!

Posted by: cameron at Jul 12, 2005 1:28:46 PM

From what I can recall over the last 6 years, the reason DSC (Postal) teammates are so far back is because after they burn all the other teams off the back with systematic surges, each member (like the stages of a rocket falling away) relaxes on the remainder of the climb to recharge for the next stage. I think this is much better than the spent energy that all the other teams are using with ALL their members trying to keep pace. In fact, if a DSC teammate or 2 stays the whole way to the top, he may be spent for the next stage. The system works so that Lance just has to push for 5 or 10 km.

Posted by: jerome at Jul 12, 2005 1:47:49 PM

it ain't over 'til the fat cyclist wails... I think there are a few more surprises in store. There are at least four riders that could still challenge LA: Valverde, Rassmussen, Vinokourov, and my pick, Basso. There is still some climbing to come!

Posted by: giovanni at Jul 12, 2005 4:25:08 PM

All that really needs to be said is...
Lance + Yellow + more climbing = 7

Posted by: Scotter at Jul 12, 2005 6:05:26 PM

I have to say Valverde was impressve at in stage 10 today. But lets face it with 5klm to go there were three riders sucking the wheel of a GOD all the way to the top. Lance set the pace and they sucked his wheel, Valverde didn't do much leading that may explain why he had a little more to give with only a few yard to go. Valverde(s) stage win was pretty cheap if you really think about it.

Posted by: Blake at Jul 12, 2005 6:45:27 PM

Blake: What exactly would you have done in Valverde's shoes? You're a better sprinter than Armstrong, you know he's going to be motivated to turn as much energy as he can into time on his competitors -- what better strategy than to sit in and take the sprint?

To me, that doesn't cheapen the win. He used his brain and his legs to earn that one.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 12, 2005 7:03:06 PM

I wholly concur with Frank in regards to Valverde. Being the young rider he is, he had no experience sitting at the front of such a momentous stage. My hat's off to him, along with all four of those riders that went hard with Lance at the end.

Posted by: george richards at Jul 13, 2005 2:17:35 AM

Nothing cheap about Valverde's win. And it was no gift. Look at their faces on the video. Valverde was suffering the least. Lance is the padron, but at least one young gun is trying to make it interesting

Posted by: Steve J at Jul 13, 2005 3:00:24 AM