July 23, 2008
Sastre takes stage, yellow jersey on l'Alpe d'HuezCSC-Saxo Bank struck the Luxembourg flag, posted Spanish colors, and opened up on the field on the Tour's queen stage today.
Yellow jersey Fränk Schleck played the loyal lieutenant as Carlos Sastre put 2 full minutes into the whole field, with a dominating climb of l'Alpe d'Huez, the Tour's most famous climb. Meanwhile, Fränk and Andy Schleck shadowed Cadel Evans, covering every attack through switchback after switchback.
Sastre launched immediately as the field left Bourg d'Oisans at the base of the climb. He was briefly joined by Rabobank's Denis Menchov, but a second attack dropped Menchov not only from Sastre's wheel, but from the yellow jesrsey group, as well. Menchov would claw his way back into that group well up the climb.
While first Valverde, then Efimkin, then Vande Velde would try to escape the gravitational field around the Schlecks, every attack was pulled back while Sastre continued to climb into the yellow jersey, steadily building a lead of more than a kilometer on the road that was worth 2:15 to Evans, Menchov, and Kohl on the line.
Even though Sastre looks to be in command right now, with the stage win and the leader's jersey, it seems unlikely he can hang within 1:35 of Cadel Evans on Saturday's long 53k/33-mile time trial. In the final TT last year, Evans made 2:33 on Sastre, even more than Sastre's winning margin today.
Stage 17 Top 10:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, in 6:07:58
2. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain @ 2:03
3. Andy Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, same time
4. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:13
5. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, same time
6. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R, Russia, @ 2:15
7. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, same time
8. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, s.t.
9. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, s.t.
10. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
General Classification after Stage 17:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, in 74:39:03
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ 1:24
3. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:33
4. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:34
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 2:39
6. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ 4:41
7. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 5:35
8. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:52
9. Tadej Valjavec, AG2R-La Mondiale, Slovakia, @ 8:10
10. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 8:24
VeloNews | Who won: Sastre or Evans?
Stage 17 on the roadThe window of opportunity for the climbers pretty much slams shut after today, so Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre, and even race leader Fränk Schleck all need to put time into Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov, the better TT men in the overall contest.
Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank
Oscar Freire, Rabobank
Andy Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank
Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner
Versus broadcaster picks:
Sherwen: Fränk Schleck
Liggett: Denis Menchov
Roll: Carlos Sastre
Hummer: Bernhard Kohl
As yesterday, there's a breakway that could factorn on the late climbs: Kohl's Gerolsteiner teammate Stefan Schumacher, FdJ's Remy di Gregorio, Milram's Peter Velits, and Euskaltel's Ruben Perez.
1st Climb, 3rd Category:
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, 4 pts
2. Remy di Gregorio, Française des Jeux, 3 pts
3. Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2 pts
4. Peter Velits, Milram, 1 pt
1. Remy di Gregorio, Française des Jeux, 6 pts
2. Peter Velits, Milram, 4 pts
3. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, 2 pts
Once again, it's CSC running the peloton, but with Stuart O'Grady and Nicki Sorensen, for now.
Atop the Galibier, the gap to the peloton was 4:50.
Hors Categorie Col du Galibier:
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, 20 pts
2. Remy di Gregorio, Française des Jeux, 18 pts
3. Peter Velits, Milram, 16 pts
4. Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 14 pts
5. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 12 pts
6. Thomas Voeckler, Bouygues Telecom, 10 pts
7. John Lee Augustyn, Barloworld, 8 pts
8. Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 7 pts
9. Kantstantsin Siutsou, Team Columbia, 6 pts
10. Carlos Barredo, QuickStep, 5 pts
Voeckler, as he always seems to, continued his unlikely attack into the valley, and is riding ahead of the peloton. For now. Joined by Nibali and two others, Voeckler was quickly recaptured.
Up the Croix de Fer, CSC continued to set the pace, and reeled in the escape, one man at a time, until only Under-23 world champion Peter Velits rode alone over the top, with 54.5k to the finish and 1:15 in hand.
Hors Categorie Croix de Fer
1. Peter Velits, Milram, 20 pts
2. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 18 pts
3. Kurt-Asle Arvesen, CSC-Saxo Bank, 16 pts
4. Andy Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, 14 pts
5. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, 12 pts
6. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, 10 pts
7. Chris Froome, Barloworld, 8 pts
8. David Moncoutie, Cofidis, 7 pts
9. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, 6 pts
10. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, 5 pts
The group is reforming somewhat on the descent. Fabian Cancellara and Damiano Cunego are among those rejoining the Schleck group.
Jerome Pineau bridged to Velits on the descent, and the pair rode together into Bourg d'Oisans, but never more than 1:30 ahead. The two would lead across the days's last sprint.
1. Jerome Pineau, 6 pts
2. Peter Velits, 4 pts
3. Kurt-Asle Arvesen, 2 pts
Immediately at the base of l'Alpe d'Huez, Sastre was off like a shot. Denis Menchov matched him briefly, but couldn't stay with Sastre. Evans rode with both Schlecks, Christian Vande Velde, Bernhard Kohl, Alejandro Valverde, and Menchov was dropped from the yellow jersey group.