June 20, 2005
cyclingnews.com Stage 9 photo gallery
Ullrich, Gonzalez on attack and taking the win from cyclingnews.com
Gonzalez takes stage and Tour de Suisse
Euskaltel-Euskadi were having an atrocious season. Now, after Inigo Landaluze grabbed victory at the Dauphiné Libéré and Aitor Gonzalez turned up the heat on the hardest stage of the race to win the Tour of Switzerland, the Basque team looks like a team to watch in the mountains at the Tour de France.
Gonzalez drove the train on Saturday, when Pablo Lastras took the stage win, but on Sunday, he was riding with the overall in sight.
Gonzalez escaped on the Ulrichen-Ulrichen stage (no relation), attacking about 1 km into the climb of the Furka Pass, and quickly put Jan Ullrich in difficulty. Michael Rogers was able to hang with Jens Voigt and Frank Schleck, who together dropped Ullrich, who rode his own pace for the rest of the stage.
Rogers never closed down Gonzalez, despite Schleck, Atienza, Chris Horner, and Leonardo Piepoli riding alongside for the last part of the climb, and most of the descent, so Rogers dropped to 2nd on GC. Schleck had a chance to kick Ullrich off the podium, while Horner stood to climb well up the standings. Schleck didn't get the time he needed, finishing 4th, 5 seconds behind Ullrich, but Horner did move up to a 5th place overall, at 2:02 behind Gonzalez.
1) Aitor Gonzalez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 3:03:52
2) Frank Schleck, CSC, at :46
3) Daniel Atienza, Cofidis, at :58
4) Michael Rogers, Quick Step, same time
5) Chris Horner, Saunier Duval-Prodir, same time
6) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval-Prodir, same time
7) Beat Zberg, Gerolsteiner, at 1:42
8) Alexandre Moos, Phonak, same time
9) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, same time
10) Koldo Gil Perez, Liberty Seguros, same time
11) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, same time
Ullrich on the TdS:
"I'm happy with my Tour de Suisse," said Ullrich in a brief statement before disappearing into his team's bus. "It was a beautiful race, and it was good preparation for the Tour de France, which was what I intended."
Cyclingnews spoke to a bitter Michael Rogers after the finish, and asked whether he was satisfied with the fact that he did everything he could today. "Yeah, but really disappointed," said Rogers.
It seemed only Horner was helping you? "Yeah, well, Horner had his own objectives."
June 19, 2005
Tour de Suisse Stage 9 underway
Aitor Gonzalez, who animated yesterday's stage, is moving into the virtual yellow jersey at the Tour de Suisse this afternoon. With 33 kilometers to ride, climbing the hors categorie Furka Pass, Gonzalez threw off Jan Ullrich and Michael Rogers, who he trails by 36 seconds in the overall classification.
Rogers is a minute back now, riding in a group with Chris Horner, Koldo Gil, Daniel Atienza, Frank Schleck, and Leonardo Piepoli. Gonzalez, the Spanish climbing specialist, is going to have to make his time solo.
The Ullrich group is another 30 seconds behind Rogers.
At the summit, the gap is about 1:07. Rogers has 20 kms to make up 32 seconds on Gonzalez, or Aitor will take the Tour of Switzerland title. Scratch that -- there are bonus seconds to work out: 10, 6, and 4, so to be safe he needs to finish no more than 25 seconds behind.
The gap is hovering in the upper 50s, sometimes the low 1-minute range. Ullrich is now almost a minute behind Rogers, close to 2 minutes behind Gonzalez. There are only 5 kms to ride, so it looks like Gonzalez is going to make this work.
Brad McGee is 3 minutes plus back, and will lose his podium place at stage end.
Gonzalez finishes with 46 seconds in hand, to take the stage and the Tour of Switzerland!
Rogers made a show of sprinting for the bonus time, but Frank Schleck of CSC was second and Daniel Atienza third. Rogers comes third (with a time gap, no less), then Chris Horner is fourth and Leonardo Piepoli 5th. Ullrich's group came 58 seconds later, at 1:42 on Gonzalez.
Daily Peloton reports that Rogers threw a mini-tantrum at the finish, throwing his helmet down.
March 13, 2005
Julich takes Paris-Nice!
Alejandro Valverde won the final stage at Paris-Nice, but he couldn't close a 19 second gap to race leader Bobby Julich, who becomes the first winner of a ProTour stage race and the first US winner of Paris-Nice.
Valverde was 2nd overall, jumping over Saunier Duval's Constantino Zaballa, who finished 3rd. Julich's teammate Jens Voigt was 4th overall, at 44 seconds, just ahead of Liberty Seguros' Jorg Jaksche at 45 seconds.
It was CSC's 2nd consecutive win in the Race to the Sun, as Jaksche took the overall last year, while riding for CSC.
David Moncoutie ensured himself the climber's jersey with his part in a breakaway over today's climbs, while Voigt took the sprinter's jersey off Tom Boonen, who abandoned during the stage along with almost 50 other riders, by winning some points at the intermediate sprints today. Valverde takes the (blue) young rider's jersey.
T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov made a serious go at the stage win, but his break-mate, Alberto Contador, wouldn't work, and the pair's jockeying helped the field overtake Vinokourov in the last 100 meters.
Julich will likely sit atop the ProTour standings only until Tuesday, when Oscar Freire is likely to win Tirreno-Adriatico.
Discovery Channel briefly set the pace late in the stage, trying to place Yaroslav Popovych in position for a stage win, and Popovych was 4th on the day.
July 18, 2004
Gonzalez win Spain's 100th Tour win ever
Aitor Gonzalez took his first Tour stage win on Sunday, giving Spain 100 all-time wins in the Tour. Gonzalez himself completed a cycling triple crown, joining the group of riders with wins in the 3 Grand Tours: the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, and the Vuelta a Espana.
Gonzalez won the Vuelta in 2002 while riding with Kelme, but hadn't done much since joining Fassa Bortolo.
"I managed to win one-week races and then a three-week race. When you've won a race like the Vuelta, it's difficult to convince yourself that you should now reconsider your ambitions and go for one-day races."
"But I will think about my future after the Tour," said Gonzalez, who is far from certain to retain his place with Fassa Bortolo next season.
Aitor Gonzalez takes Stage 14
Spain took its first win of the 2004 Tour de France, as Aitor Gonzalez of Fassa Bortolo timed an attack perfectly and time-trialed away from 9 other riders who had been on a long breakaway.
His break companions could only look at each other, waiting for someone else to reel Gonzalez in, while he rode through the streets of Nîmes to the finish. Nicolas Jalabert of Phonak bridged to Christophe Mengin of fdjeux.com when Mengin launched his attack, and Jalabert and Mengin finished 2nd and 3rd on the day.
7) G de G
10) Egoi Martinez
Euskaltel squandered their numerical advantage in the breakaway, and their riders finished 9th and 10th on the day.
The field finished 14:12 back of the 10 man breakaway. As usual, Robbie McEwen came out of nowhere to take the field sprint, ahead of Thor Hushovd, then Danilo Hondo, Stuart O'Grady and Erik Zabel. McEwen picks up sprint points on all the major green jersey contenders.
No effect on the overall GC, the climber's jersey, or the white jersey today.