July 21, 2009
Armstrong attack highlight of Stage 16
Lance Armstrong looked exhausted at the end of Sunday's Stage 15. After his teammate Alberto Contador launched what would be a winning attack, Armstrong couldn't follow attacks through the gap by Wiggins, Nibali, Sastre, or Evans, and finished 9th at 1:35, hanging onto 2nd place, but by a bare 9 seconds.
What a difference a (rest) day makes! On today's Stage 16, when Andy Schleck went off the front, Armstrong was again dropped, this time by teammates Contador and Andreas Klöden, the Schleck brothers, Bradley Wiggins of Garmin-Slipstream, and Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas.
Armstrong rode within himself, and found shelter briefly in a group of GC hopes, including Vande Velde, Sastre, Evans, and Kreuziger. With a little less than 5k to ride, Armstrong launched a very 2003-era Armstrong attack. Kim Kirchen and Christian Vande Velde briefly tried to follow, but couldn't. When he flew by Frank Schleck, Schleck gave it just about one second's thought before he thought better of it.
With Armstrong back alongside Contador, Astana had 3 riders in a 6-man group, and once again, they were content to conserve energy and wait for Schleck or Nibali (or Wiggins, but he doesn't really need the time) to attack, but neither wanted to take on Contador, Armstrong, and Klöden. At the lower pace, all the GC candidates but Cadel Evans rejoined, and then coordinated to put serious time into Evans.
Astana continues to ride a very smart race, running out the clock for the climbing specialists, with just two big Alpine climbing stages left.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2009 in Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 20, 2009
Contador takes Stage 15, race lead
Alberto Contador showed why he's the dominant stage racer of the moment on the climb to Verbier Sunday.
On the day's final climb, Saxo Bank and Garmin came to the front and Saxo Bank took charge. Jens Voigt did a withering 1.5 kilometers, forcing a major selection and putting the yellow jersey of Rinaldo Nocentini in jeopardy.
When Voigt was caught, Fränk Schleck came to the front, but soon after, the contenders reached Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, part of the day's breakaway, and Cancellara pulled so strongly that he briefly shattered the GC group, dispatching Nocentini. When he was done, he was really done, and there were only 5 men left standing: The Schleck brothers, Astana's Cane and Abel Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, and Bradley Wiggins. That's what I said, Bradley Wiggins.
After a couple of quick feints, Contador did his thing, almost instantly putting 10-15 seconds into the chasers. Andy Schleck set out in pursuit, while Armstrong tended Wiggins and Fränk Schleck. As Contador pushed his lead, some of the other GC hopefuls started to come back onto the Armstrong group, including Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Andreas Klöden, Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger. Noticeably absent was Carlos Sastre, who was riding at his own pace well behind the leaders.
Vande Velde struggled at the rear of this elite group, and as he fell off, he was passed by none other than Carlos Sastre! Sastre, looking recovered now, bridged up to Armstrong's group.
By now, Contador had :45 on the Armstrong group, and Bradley Wiggins was the first to try to join Andy Schleck up the road. Frank Schleck bridged, matched by the rest of the Armstrong group, then attacked toward his brother. Contador was getting a little too much love from some of the fans, and swatted at them with about 2.5 kilometers to ride.
Wiggins was still feeling strong, and attacked out of the Armstrong group, with Nibali on his wheel. When they caught Frank Schleck, the three rode together, with Wiggins (Wiggins!) doing the majority of the work.
Sastre then attacked out of the Armstrong group, and Evans, who later said it was his worst day ever on the Tour de France, followed, leaving Klöden and Armstrong behind. Sastre would catch what protocol demands I call “the Wiggins group” in the final k, but nobody was going to pull back significant time on Contador on today's course.
He would cross the finish line in 5:03:58, enough to put him more than 90 seconds clear in the overall. As the stage winner, he also won a Saint Bernard.
Afterward, Lance Armstrong said Contador had shown he was the strongest rider in the race, and that Armstrong and Klöden would ride in support of Contador for the rest of the Tour.
1) Alberto Contador, Astana, 5:03:58
2) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at :43
3) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 1:03
4) Frank Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 1:06
5) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, same time
6) Carlos Sastre, Cervelo Test Team, s.t.
7) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, at 1:26
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 1:29
9) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at 1:35
10) Kim Kirchen, Columbia-HTC, at 1:55
General Classification after Stage 15:
1) Alberto Contador, Astana, in 63:17:56
2) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at 1:37
3) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:46
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 2:17
5) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 2:26
6) Rinaldo Nocentini, AG2R-La Mondiale, at 2:30
7) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 2:51
8) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at 3:07
9) Christophe Le Mevel, Française des Jeux, at 3:09
10) Fränk Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 3:25
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2009 in 2009 Stage 15, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Fabian Cancellara, Franco Pellizotti, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, Rinaldo Nocentini, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 11, 2009
Assessing the GC threats
John Wilcockson dismisses the Tour hopes of Carlos Sastre, in an article explaining how race ornanizers have taken the sting out of the Pyrenean stages by adding long descents (which encourage regrouping) after the marquee climbs.
To me, It seems like this works to Sastre's advantage, since, if he survives Stage 9 on Sunday, he's got almost a week to find his best legs before the stage through the Vosges on Friday.
It also complicates Alberto Contador's efforts. His best opportunity to make time is an uphill finish, and there are just two left: Verbier on Stage 15 and Ventoux on Stage 20. I think that's the main reason Contador decided to go on Stage 7, because he doesn't want to be in a position where everything rides on the Ventoux climb.
I may disagree that Sastre's out after his problems Saturday, but it's impossible to disagree with Wilcockson's list of top GC threats:
- Andy Schleck
- Fränk Schleck
- Alberto Contador
- Lance Armstrong
- Levi Leipheimer
- Andreas Klöden
- Christian Vande Velde
- Bradley Wiggins
- Cadel Evans
- Tony Martin
- Vincenzo Nibali
With Pereiro's exit from the race today, it will be interesting to see if Caisse d'Epargne turns to Stage 8 winner Luis Leon Sanchez, who sits 11th at 2:16, or if they hunt stages.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2009 in Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 07, 2009
Stage 4 TTT: Astana firing on all cylinders
If yesterday's Stage 3 was The Columbia Show, today was Astana Hour. Whatever the situation on the team bus, they worked as a single cohesive unit on the twisties around Montpellier, and built time gaps on many of the Tour's GC threats.
Early on, some big names hit the pavement, including Rabobank's Denis Menchov and Lampre's Alessandro Ballan. Four Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders misjudged a bend, and wound up in the rough. Later, Skil-Shimano's Piet Rooijakers broke his arm and left the course, leaving 178 riders in the race.
After the stage, many riders complained that the course was too technical for a TTT.
“We have bikes worth 10,000 Euro, and in the end we can't use them properly because we're just busy trying to hold balance instead of putting our power on the pedals."
Cadel Evans, who has made a point in the press how much more relaxed he is in this year's Tour, sprinted away from his squad as they approached the finish, leaving his teammates struggling to the line in 49:05, which would be 13th best on the day.
Garmin lost 4 riders in the first 12k, but were left with their five best TT men, who set new best times at the final three intermediate checkpoints, and finished in 46:29.
Saxo Bank, with yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara doing long, draft-horse quality pulls, turned in a very strong 47:09.
Columbia, possibly feeling the effects of that 30k race to the line on Stage 3, came in with a respectable 47:28, but trailed Garmin, Liquigas, and Saxo Bank at every intermediate check.
And then there was Astana. Leading the team competition, they were last to start, and they rotated smoothly with big pulls from Klöden, Leipheimer, Contador, and Armstrong. At the first time check, they were a little slower than Caisse d'Epargne, which had kicked the day off with a jackrabbit start they couldn't maintain, but Astana led at every later checkpoint. Once Saxo Bank finished, everyone was looking toward 46:29, the time that would put 7-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong back into yellow.
In the last few k, it became clear it would be pretty close. In the final k, it looked very close. In the last meters, it looked insanely, ridiculously close, until Astana came through in … 46:29. The Tour's offical website put Armstrong into yellow (and I followed suit), but not so fast. That 46:29 put Cancellara and Armstrong in a tie, so officials looked at the fractions of a second in Stage 1, and found that Cancellara had held the race lead by .22 second.
Officially, the leaderboard shows Cancellara first, with Armstrong second “at :00.” There was a suggestion (notably from Robbie McEwen via Twitter) that Armstrong sat up to leave Cancellara in yellow; I've watched it a couple of times, and can't see why you would go that hard to the line if you were that close to taking a yellow jersey you didn't want.
Of note: Liquigas was 4th, a big boost for Roman Kreuziger; my apologies to the Euskaltels, who were middle of the pack, finishing 10th at 2:09. Sastre ends the day 29th at 2:44, Evans 35th at 2:59, Pereiro 40th at 3:03. Menchov, who looked invincible in May, is in 72nd, 3:52 back.
1) Astana, in 46:29
2) Garmin-Slipstream, at :18
3) Team Saxo Bank, at :40
4) Liquigas, at :58
5) Team Columbia-HTC, at :58
6) Team Katusha, at 1:23
7) Caisse d'Epargne at 1:29
8) Cervelo Test Team, at 1:37
9) AG2R-La Mondiale, at 1:48
10) Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 2:09
GC after Stage 4:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team Saxo Bank, in 10:38:07
2) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :00
3) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :19
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :23
5) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :31
6) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :38
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Astana, at :51
8) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at :52
9) David Zabriskie, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:06
10) David Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:07
Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in 2009 Stage 4 TTT, 2009 Tour de France, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, Garmin-Chipotle, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tour de TwitterLance Armstrong has been one of the top celebrities to adopt Twitter, alongside Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher (I almost typed “Astana Kutcher”), and Barack Obama.
I've developed quite a list of riders, journalists, bloggers, and photographers in preparation for the Tour, and thought I would share it with you.
I started with Carlton Reid's massive, 600+ strong list of “Bike Trade Tweeps”. As I've found more, I've been adding them. I left off a few that appear inactive, like @carlossastre, who has nearly 4,000 followers awaiting his first tweet (what pressure!); likewise Denis Menchov and Robert Gesink, and a few fakes.
Also, these are all in English. Please send me additions, either on Twitter (@TdFblog) or by commenting this post. Thanks!
- @TeamAstana : The official team ID
- @lancearmstrong : The 7-time Tour winner
- @johanbruyneel : Team director Johan Bruyneel
- @levileipheimer : Levi Leipheimer (He finally lost the underscore)
- @TeamSlipstream : The official team Twitter feed
- @Vaughters : Team Director Jonathan Vaughters (Newly unshackled from the official team Twitter ID)
- @dzabriskie : David Zabriskie
- @christianvdv : Christian Vande Velde
- @Bradwiggins : Bradley Wiggins
- @thedpate : Danny Pate
- @allencolim : Team physiologist Allen Lim
- @TeamColumbiaHTC : Team updates
- @ghincapie : George Hincapie
- @mickrogers : Michael Rogers
- @markrenshaw1 : Mark Renshaw
- @isleofmanhood : “Cav” (??)
- @cadelofficial : Cadel Evans
- @wegelius: Silence-Lotto's Charlie Wegelius, author of my two favorite rider tweets of the Tour so far
Cervelo Test Team
- @stevendejongh : Steven De Jongh
- @laurenstendam : Laurens Ten Dam
- @bicyclingmag : Official Bicycling feed
- @julietmacur : NYTimes Tour reporter Juliet Macur
- @velonews : VeloNews official feed
- @cyclingweekly : Cycling Weekly
- @cyclesportmag : UK's CycleSport magazine
- @cyclingnewsfeed : CyclingNews official feed
- @neilroad : Neil Browne of ROAD Magazine
- @eurohoody : Andrew Hood of VeloNews
- @rupertguinness : Australia's Rupert Guinness
- @johnwilcockson : VeloNews correspondent emeritus
- @bonnie_d_ford : Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN's Tour reporter
- @jeremyschaap : Jeremy Schaap, ESPN reporter
- @vscycling : the official feed of the US Tour TV network
- @philliggett : Phil Liggett
- @paulsherwen : Paul Sherwen
- @bobkeroll : Head schlug Bob Roll
- @h2o007 : Craig Hummer
- @RobbieVentura : Robbie Ventura
- @GWcom : Graham Watson
- @lizkreutz : Liz Kreutz, who's been photographing Lance Armstrong's comeback
- @kwc - Ken Conley of Spare Cycles
Pros not racing this year
- @allandavis27 : Allan Davis, the 181st rider in the 2009 Tour
- @ivanbasso : Ivan Basso
- @hornerakg : Chris Horner
- @robbiehunter : South African sprinter Robbie Hunter
- @mcewenrobbie : Katusha's Robbie McEwen
- @janibrajkovic : Astana's Jani Brajkovic
- @TdFblog : That's me!
- @cyclingfans - Pete Geyer of CyclingFans
- @cyclelicious - Fritz at Cyclelicious
- @steephill - Steve from Steephill.TV<
- @_gavia_ - Gavia from Steephill.TV
- @bikehugger - Main feed for Bike Hugger
- @TDFLanterne - Nancy Toby's TdF Lanterne Rouge
- @lambsimon - Simon Lamb of La Gazzetta dello Bici
- @cyclingfansanon - cycling fans anonymous.com
- @cyclocosm - Cosmo from Cyclocosm
Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in About the Tour, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Janez Brajkovic, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tour news, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack
July 06, 2009
Stage 3: Columbia puts on a show
Early on, the stage showed all the cliché elements of the early-Tour sprinters’ stage. A four-man breakaway featuring two French riders was allowed to take more than 12 minutes out of a field that didn't want to chase. Samuel Dumoulin would end the day with the “most agressive” red race numbers for his hours in service to this break and 4th place at the finish.
Finally, with 50 miles/80 kilometers to go, the field started slowly reeling in the break. With the expectation of a sprint finish and the prospect of a difficult team time trial tomorrow, few teams were willing to cooperate with Columbia, which was heavily favored to take the stage. It looked like a formula chase, with the capture to come in the final 10 kilometers, unfolding to another sprint showdown.
But steaming along the Mediterranean coast in the Camargue, the winds can be stiff, and with about 20 miles to ride, a crosswind forced a gap near the head of the peloton. Ahead of the break was the entire Columbia squad, which hit full gas to widen the breach. Michael Rogers said after the stage he asked his teammates to give “5 kilometers as hard as they could,” and by that point, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Frank and Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador were almost 30 seconds off the pace.
Not so Lance Armstrong. Armstrong found himself with 26 other riders ahead of the split, with longtime teammate George Hincapie and current teammates Yaroslav Popovych and Haimar Zubeldia. Also in the lead group was yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara, whose Saxo Bank team initially chased, then seemed satisfied to hold the Columbia bunch at around 30 seconds.
When it was time to deliver the goods, Thor Hushovd kept it close, but Cavendish found that green suits him, and took his second straight stage win. Matching last year's four wins looks in reach for Columbia's sprinter, and he may not have enough top tube for all the “kill” decals he's going to need on that frame.
The field rolled through 41 seconds behind the escape, and the contenders who were caught out commented to a man that this is a three-week race, and that a small gap on the road like this won't make a difference in the overall. We'll know in 3 weeks.
So Columbia, like Nuke LaLoosh, has announced its presence with authority. To show for a ton of effort, they have a second stage win, and the white jersey, which moves over to Tony Martin, after Roman Kreuziger was also caught out. We'll see tomorrow what those cost them.
Stage 3 Top 10:
1) Mark Cavendish, Columbia, 5:01:24
2) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, same time
3) Cyril Lemoine, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
4) Samuel Dumoulin, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Jerome Pineau, Quick Step, s.t.
6) Fabian Cancellara, Saxo Bank, s.t.
7) Fabian Wegmann, Milram, s.t.
8) Fumiyuki Beppu, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
9) Maxime Bouet, Agritubel, s.t.
10) Linus Gerdemann, Milram, s.t.
1) Fabian Cancellara, Saxo Bank, in 9:50:58
2) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at :33
3) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :40
4) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :59
5) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin, at 1:00
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 1:03
7) Linus Gerdemann, Milram, at 1:03
8) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, at 1:04
9) Maxime Monfort, Columbia-HTC, at 1:10
10) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at 1:11
Jussi Veikkanen holds the polka-dots of the King of the Mountains, Martin takes over the white jersey, Cavendish holds green, and Astana hangs onto the team classification lead.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2009 in 2009 Stage 3, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Haimar Zubeldia, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Tony Martin | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 04, 2009
Sastre prevented from racing in yellow
Tour officials refused to let defending champion Carlos Sastre race today's Stage 1 in Monaco in the yellow jersey.
Since Armstrong's retirement, there was no returning champion in 2006 (Armstrong retired), 2007 (Landis banned, Pereiro not yet named champion), or 2008 (Contador and the rest of Astana barred from racing).
Sastre has been the Rodney Dangerfield of GC candidates, and would probably have liked to remind teams and fans that he was good enough to win this race last year, but the ASO decided the tradition had run its course.
Hood quotes Tour spokesman Mathieu Desplats:
“We decided to stop this tradition,” said Tour spokesman Mathieu Desplats. “It was a tradition, not a rule. It’s a new race, with a new start and new contenders. There’s no reason why to wear the yellow jersey.”
Armstrong's 2003 prologue start looks to stand as the last initial Tour stage with a rider in yellow.
July 26, 2008
Schumacher takes 2nd TT as Sastre holds yellow
Team CSC has been the best-ranked team in the world for years, but has never taken the sport's biggest victory. Today, Carlos Sastre nailed down his first Grand Tour victory, and his team's first TdF win, with a 12th place in the longest time trial of the 2008 Tour.
Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher, who won the Stage 4 TT and has been active in attacks throughout the Tour, was the stage winner today, clocking a 1:03:50, again beating out world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and Team Columbia's Kim Kirchen.
Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto, widely expected to put serious time into Sastre, was unable to gap the Spaniard. At each time check, Sastre trailed Evans by less than 30 seconds, and Evans would finish in an unspectacular 7th on the stage, in 1:05:56. Combined with Bernhard Kohl's 1:06:11, Evans will move up to 2nd, with Kohl falling to 3rd. Kirchen climbs to 8th overall, while Garmin-Chipotle's Christian Vande Velde moved into the Top 5 overall.
Fränk Schleck had a rough day, finishing in 1:09:28 and getting caught by Sastre on the road, and falling to 6th overall.
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, 1:03:50
2. Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, @ :21
3. Kim Kirchen, Team Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:01
4. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ 1:05
5. David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, @ 1:37
6. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 1:55
7. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:05
8. Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, Germany, @ 2:19
9. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 2:21
10. George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, @ 2:28
General Classification, after Stage 20:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, 84:01:00
2. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:05
3. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:20
4. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 2:00
5. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, @ 3:12
6. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ 4:28
7. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:32
8. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 7:02
9. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 7:26
10. Tadej Valjavec, AG2R-La Mondiale, Slovakia, @ 9:12
Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2008 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Stage 20 ITT underway
So the whole Tour comes down to today's TT. Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans needs 1:34 to overtake yellow jersey Carlos Sastre for the race lead. Sastre will have the advantage of starting last and the mythic power of the maillot jaune on his side.
The battle's not only for the top spot today. Bernhard Kohl, Denis Menchov, Fränk Schleck, and Christian Vande Velde all hold hopes of making the podium, and will burn their last matches to try to get there today.
It's a pity they can't borrow matches from Wim Vansevenant and Bernhard Eisel, locked in a struggle to be the lanterne rouge of this year's Tour. Vansevenant was last-placed overall in the 2006 and 2007 Tours, and can become the first man ever to finish last in three Tours. Vansevenant took advantage of starting second on the TT and rolled in 2:00 behind Eisel to retake the cellar.
- Vs. Broadcaster Picks:
- Hummer: Cadel Evans
- Sherwen: Fabian Cancellara
- Liggett: Christian Vande Velde
- Roll: Kim Kirchen
They also discussed the overall podium: Roll wouldn't commit on placings, but tipped Menchov, Sastre, and Evans as the podium. Sherwen picks Sastre to win, Evans second, then Vande Velde; Liggett and Hummer both say Evans, then Sastre, then Menchov.
Danny Pate of Garmin-Chipotle was an early leader, finishing in 1:06:45, but his teammate David Millar and world TT champion Fabian Cancellara are on the road now, beating Pate's time at each Time Check.
At the finish, it's David Millar in 1:05:27, and Cancellara coming just behind, looks like he's got time to take the lead; he comes in with a 1:04:11.88! There are a lot of strong riders left to ride, but that's an impressive time that could easily take the day.
Out on course, Stefan Schumacher, who won Stage 4's 29-km time trial, equals Cancellara at TC1, loses 12 seconds at TC2, but finishes in 1:03:50.48. That's going to be tough to beat.
Vande Velde hits TC1 with the 4th best time, a 21:58. Menchov is next, it's a 21:52. Evans is coming , and puts up a 22:08. He's got a little more than a minute on Menchov on GC, but he's already lost 16 seconds of that. Now Bernhard Kohl comes through in a 22:06. Things are looking tight!
- Time Check 2
- Fabian Cancellara 42:38
- Stefan Schumacher 42:50
- Kim Kirchen 43:35
- Christian Vande Velde 43:35.13
- Denis Menchov 43:46.50
- Cadel Evans 44:08
- Bernhard Kohl 44:11.77
- Carlos Sastre 44:31.23
- Finishing times, riders of note:
- Schumacher 1:03:50
- Cancellara 1:04:12
- Kim Kirchen 1:04:51
- Christian Vande Velde, 1:04:55
- Millar 1:05:27
- Menchov 1:05:45
- Cadel Evans 1:05:55.54
- Bernhard Kohl 1:06:11.01
- Hincapie 1:06:19
- Carlos Sastre 1:06:24.79
- Pate 1:06:45
- Andy Schleck 1:07:52
- Voeckler (last placed today) 1:15:09
Andy Schleck was caught by Bernhard Kohl, who started 3 minutes behind him, but held off Roman Kreuziger to hold on to his white jersey.
Cadel Evans never was able to put serious time into Carlos Sastre, finishing in 1:05:56. Sastre, for his part, reeled in teammate Fränk Schleck on the road, limiting his losses to Evans to only about 30 seconds, and Carlos Sastre and CSC will take the 2008 Tour de France.
As always, you can follow these updates and more at my Twitter feed.
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?
July 20, 2008
Schleck in yellow as Gerrans takes Stage 15
It was a day for the breakaway, as the overall contenders had bigger fish to fry, with the Tour climbing into the Alps.
Credit Agricole's Simon Gerrans, who fell off the breakaway but battled back to Egoi Martinez and Danny Pate, found a second wind on the mountaintop and easily dropped Martinez and Pate for his first career stage victory.
Back in the field, CSC again stamped a jackhammer tempo at the front to shatter the field, leaving Cadel Evans without teammates on the day's last climb, up to Prato Nevoso, and putting three CSC men -- both Schlecks and Carlos Sastre -- in the final group of 10 that included Evans.
Andy Schleck did the lion's share of the pacesetting on the 11-kilometer final climb, and Sastre, Menchov, Kohl, Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck forced a gap to Evans, who tried to keep his head and ride to the summit with Christian Vande Velde,
Oscar Pereiro left the race after a tumble over a guardrail from the top to the bottom of a hairpin turn. Pereiro, who was awarded the 2006 Tour when Floyd Landis was disqualified, injured his shoulder and couldn't continue.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2008 in 2008 Stage 15, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Egoi Martinez, Frank Schleck, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 14, 2008
Saunier Duval 1-2 for Piepoli and Cobo
Team CSC shook up the standings today, setting a blistering pace on the Col du Tourmalet, and putting the Luxembourg national champion Fränk Schleck just 1 second out of the overall race lead.
But it was Saunier Duval who came out with another stage win, as their Leonardo Piepoli and Juan José Cobo tag-teamed Shleck on the day's final climb, the Hautacam.
We finally had a glimpse of contenders and pretenders, as well, with some big surprises. Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego crumbled on the Tourmalet, losing almost 6 minutes by stage's end. Kim Kirchen lost the yellow jersey, falling to 7th overall, and Stefan Schumacher tumbled to 18th overall.
On the other hand, Christian Vande Velde rode axle-to-axle with the best riders of the Tour, and gave as well as he got. Denis Menchov shadowed Cadel Evans all day, and Carlos Sastre rode comfortably among the overall leaders, as well.
Piepoli completes the set, now with a victory in all three Grand Tours.
Stage 10 Results
1. Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval, Italy, in 4:19:27
2. Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, same time
3. Frank Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ :28
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:06
5. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, @ 2:05
6. Riccardo Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:17
7. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, same time
8. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
9. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, s.t.
10. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, s.t.
Evans just barely held off Schleck in the overall, with Vande Velde and Ricco's sprint to the line probably saving his first-ever yellow jersey. Kohl's attack took him up into the top 5 overall.
General Classification, overall after Stage 10
1. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg @ :01
3. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :38
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria @ :46
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ :57
6. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, @ 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:56
8. Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:10
9. Riccado Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:29
10. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 2:32
Ricco takes the KoM lead with the double points on the final climb today, and takes over the white jersey lead on a day that was tough for Andy Schleck.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10, Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Kim Kirchen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 10: The climb to Hautacam
At the base of Hautacam, 24 riders are chasing Remy de Gregorio:
- Evans, Silence-Lotto
- Sastre, Cancellara, A. Schleck, F. Schleck, Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank
- Kirchen, Columbia
- Duenas Nevado, Barloworld
- Nibali, Liquigas
- Fothen and Kohl, Gerolsteiner
- Menchov and Freire, Rabobank
- Ricco, Cobo and Piepoli, Saunier Duval
- Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
- Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi
- Dupont, Efimkin and Goubert, AG2R
- Roy, Française des Jeux
- Duque, Cofidis
Cancellara and Voigt are quickly dropped, Di Gregorio is swept up, and Piepoli attacks. Schleck matches, then Sastre tries a testing attack. Kirchen is dropped from the leaders group. Sastre caught and Fränk Schleck attacks, followed by Piepoli and Efimkin. Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, and Christian Vandevelde, ride alongside Carlos Sastre, Cobo, and Kohl.
Kohl launches, matched by Cobo, and there goes Christian Vande Velde, riding away from Sastre, Evans, Menchov.
Valverde, already well behind the leaders, has a mechanical.
Vande Velde can't make it up to Schleck's group, and comes back to the Evans/Menchov group. Kohl and Cobo successfully bridge up to Piepoli, Schleck, and Efimkin.
Kirchen begins to make up time on the Evans group, and Evans attacks! It's not enough to drop his group, but it does increase the gap to Kirchen. Evans rides with Vande Velde, Menchov, Nibali, Sastre, and Ricco.
Up front, Schleck's group begins to splinter. Cobo launches off the front, and Piepoli and Schleck are the only riders who can bridge up.
Nibali yo-yoes off the back of the Evans group. Valverde and Cunego ride together, about 4:30 back of Piepoli, and abut 3:00 behind Sastre, Evans, Menchov, and Vande Velde. Kirchen is 1:00 down on Evans.
Schleck, who started the day 1:50 behind Evans in GC, has build enough of a gap that he's riding (barely) in the virtual yellow jersey, with less than 4km to ride.
In the final 3km, Cobo and Piepoli lift the pace, and Schleck can't match the teammates. They ride together to the finish, with Schleck alone, and the remnants of the Schleck group (Kohl, Efimkin) spread out back toward Evans.
At the line, it's Leonardo Piepoli taking the stage, with Cobo on his wheel, and Schleck about 26 seconds back. It's going to be close for Evans...
As the Evans group comes into the final km, Christian Vande Velde goes to the front and raises the pace, then Riccardo Ricco comes by. Evans bumps the tempo to hold contact, and the group holds together to the line, coming in at about 2:15, giving Evans the yellow jersey by 1 narrow second.
July 08, 2008
Schumacher takes the time trial!
Classics specialist Stefan Schumacher of Gerolsteiner turned in a head-turning performance to dominate the Stage 4 time trial at the Tour.
Schumacher was the only man to go under 36:00 on the day, finishing in 35:44. Team Columbia's Kim Kirchen just edged Garmin-Chipotle's David Millar, both in 36:02 to round out the stage podium.
Stage 4 results
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, 35:44
2. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, 36:02
3. David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, 36:02.53
4. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, 36:11
5. Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, 36:17.22
6. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, 36:18.01
7. Jens Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank, Germany, 36:19
8. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, 36:21
9. George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, 36:25
10. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, 36:31
Among the overall GC threats, Cadel Evans had the best day, finishing 4th on the day in 36:11, better than world champion Fabian Cancellara, who finished in 36:18. Denis Menchov showed he's here to win, only 7 seconds slower than Evans, while riding from a very early start, without benefit of many time checks.
Damian Cunego scored a 37:10, Alejandro Valverde a 37:18, while Carlos Sastre managed only a 37:27. Mauricio Soler, tipped by some as a longshot, must still be suffering from his accident on Stage 2, and was 161st on the day in 40:24, already 17:46 back of the race lead.
Overall standings mirror the stage finish, with Schumacher taking the overall race lead.
Overall after Stage 4:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, in 14:04:41
2) Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ :12
3) David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, @ :12
4) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ :21
5) Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, @ :33
6) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :37
7) George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, @ :41
8) Thomas Lövkvist, Columbia, Sweden, @ :48
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, @ :58
10) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 1:01
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 1:12
Columbia's Kirchen leads the green jersey competition, teammate Thomas Lövkvist leads in the white jersey competition, Thomas Voeckler holds the polka-dots, and Garmin-Chipotle extends its team competition lead, now leading Team Columbia.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2008 in 2008 Stage 4, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Mauricio Soler, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 23, 2007
Stage 15 on the road
VS. broadcaster picks:
The early story is the big 25-man breakaway including a couple of former GC candidates. Denis Menchov of Rabobank is there, as is Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) are here, as are Caisse d'Epargne's David Arroyo, Euskaltel's Haimar Zubeldia, Inigo Landaluze and Ruben Perez; T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen; FdJeux's Benoit Vaugrenard; Quick Step's Juan Manuel Garate; Saunier Duval's Juan José Cobo; Bouygues Telecom's Laurent Lefevre and Johann Tschopp; AG2R's Ludovic Turpin; Liquigas' Michael Albasini; Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Daniele Bennati and Patxi Vila of Lampre; Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner; Christian Knees of Milram; Vino's Astana teammates Serguei Ivanov and Daniel Navarro.
2nd Category Col de Port:
1) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step, +10 pts
2) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +9pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +8 pts
4) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +6 pts
6) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, +5 pts
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +2 pts/2 secs
2nd Category Col de Portet d'Aspet:
1) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +10 pts
2) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +9 pts
3) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +8 pts
4) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +7 pts
5) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel, +6 pts
The 25 have led the way over the day's first two climbs, but today's sting is in the tail, as we finish with a 1st Category, then the hors categorie Port de Bales, then the Col de Peyresourde. It's not a mountaintop finish -- there's a descent of almost 12 kilometers after the top of Col de Peyresourde.
The gap is just under 8 minutes, with 108 kilometers/67 miles ridden and 88 kilometers/55 miles to go.
On the way up the Col de Mente, Rabobank continues to lead the peloton, and the gap is up around 8:29. Near the summit, Juan Manuel Garate outsprinted Laurent Lefevre for max points.
1st Category Col de Mente
1) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +15 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +13pts
3) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +11 pts
4) Daniel Bennati, Lampre, +9 pts
5) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +8 pts
6) Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, +6 pts
8) Christian Knees, Milram, +5 pts
2nd (final) Intermediate Sprint, Marignac
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Kurt-Asle Arvesen, CSC, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux +2 pts/2 secs
Just before the start of the HC climb, 5 riders rode away from the 25-man breakaway: Inigo Landaluze of Euskaltel, David Arroyo of Caisse e'Epargne, Johan Tschopp of Bouyges Telecom, Serguei Ivanov of Astana, and Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner quickly built a lead of more than a minute to the 20 other break survivors, and 8:20 to the peloton.
On the climb, everything splintered. Kirchen bridged to the leaders, then Vinokourov attacked, again splitting the lead breakaway, and briefly catching the inital split. Riding with Vinokourov were Menchov, Turpin, Zubeldia, Cobo, and Garate. This group caught the initial attack, then fractured. Tschopp, Kirchen and Arroyo went off the front, while Vinokourov's group shed riders.
Back in the peloton, the pace and the climb cooked Pereiro, Moreau, and others. Rasmussen's group looked much like it did yesterday: Evans, Leipheimer, Contador, Soler, Boogerd, Mayo, Sastre, Chris Horner, Frank Schleck, Michael Boogerd, and a few others. Klöden and Kashechkin ride just behind.
Freddie Rodriguez abandoned today on the road.
Port de Bales (HC)
1) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, +20 pts
2) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, +18 pts
3) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +16 pts
4) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step,+14 pts, at :45
5) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts
6) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts
7) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +8 pts
8) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +7 pts
9) Ludovic Turpin, AG2R, +6 pts
10) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +5 pts, @1:35
On the descent, with Rasmussen: Boogerd, Contador, Popovych, Leipheimer, Evans, Horner, Mayo, Soler, Klöden, Kashechkin, Sastre, Schleck, Astarloza, Valverde. Others are joining, and Denis Menchov has slipped back to help Rasmussen on the final climb.
Vinokourov attacked at the base of the Peyresourde, matched by Zubeldia, Garate, and Cobo, and they're only 20 seconds behind Arroyo and Kirchen. Garate's dropped. Vinokourov kept attacking, and only Cobo could match, and the pair have caught Kirchen and Arroyo, as the 4 riders lead the race, while the yellow jersey rides 7:15 back.
Zubeldia rides back up to Vinokourov, and in the yellow jersey group, Yaroslav Popovych has attacked off the front. Moreau has caught back on to the yellow jersey group.
Vino goes again, and Kirchen can't match the new pace. Vino sits up, and Kirchen rejoins Cobo, Zubeldia, Arroyo, and Vino.
As they near the steepest part of the Peyresourde, Zubeldia attacks from Vino's group, Cobo drags Vino back to him, and Vino goes hard again! He quickly gets a gap, Kirchen is dropped. Vinokourov rides alone, with Cobo and Zubeldia chasing less than 20 seconds behind. Vinokourov would die before he would be caught on this descent. He's flying.
Back in the field, Contador attacks, Rasmussen slowly matches, but he's working hard. Contador gets a gap, but Rasmussen slowly pulls it back. Evans, Klöden, Sastre, Leipheimer, Astarloza can't handle this pace on the climb, and fall back.
Contador and Rasmussen ride alone toward the summit. Contador launches a couple of tests, but Rasmussen matches every one. As Contador and Rasmussen reach the summit, there's George Hincapie, waiting to escort Contador to the finish, and maybe gap Rasmussen.
Hincapie nails the descent. There's still a small rise at about 2k to go -- Will Contador try to get time on the finish? He does! He attacks again, and Hincapie falls away, but Rasmussen again is able to match his move.
Vinokourov comes to the line with a healthy victory margin, after an epic stage win.
More than 5 minutes later, Contador and Rasmussen came to the line, with Contador leading. They tripped the lights at 5:25, with Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Valverde, and Evans more than a minute behind at 6:27.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2007 in 2007 Stage 15, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 22, 2007
Stage 14: Contador opens Tour account
Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador took an aggressive stage win as the Tour moves into the Pyrenees, and elevated himself from 1 of 10 candidates to win this year's Tour to one of the two favorites.
Contador, just 24 and riding in the white jersey of the race's best-placed young rider, waited as teammate Yaroslav Popovych reduced the group riding with race leader Michael Rasmussen, then launched a blistering attack, initially answered by Rasmussen and Evans, that only Rasmussen could ultimately match. By doing so, Rasmussen moved one stage nearer a possible win in Paris, and Contador took his 1st career Tour stage win.
Many of the pre-race favorites lost buckets of time today: Alexandre Vinokourov, who won on Saturday, lost 28:50 to Contador today. Christophe Moreau lost 34:52. Iban Mayo lost 9:31. A few riders managed to limit their losses to Rasmussen and Contador, who dominated the field today: Juan Mauricio Soler, riding in his 1st Tour, lost only 37 seconds; Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre were close behind.
Evans finished with Andreas Klöden at 1:52. Caisse d'Epargne's two leaders, Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde, finished together at 3:45.
A lot of discussion has resulted from a brief discussion between Contador and Rasmussen in the climb's last kilometers. Rasmussen came up to Contador, and Contador pointed to himself twice. The riders differ on the discussion: Contador said Rasmussen promised the stage win for Contador's cooperation to the finish, while Rasmussen echoed Lance Armstrong: “This is the Tour de France -- you don't give any presents here.”
Possibly the dumbest move of the day came from Saunier Duval, which sent David Millar to set a fast pace few riders could match, only to find team leader Iban Mayo was among the riders who couldn't.
Stage 14 Top 20:
1) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, in 5:25:48
2) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, same time
3) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at :37
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at :40
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :53
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 1:52
7) Cadel Evans, Predictor - Lotto, Australia, same time
8) Antonio Colom, Astana, Spain, at 2:23
9) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, same time
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 3:06
11) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, same time
12) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:45
14) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, same time
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
16) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
17) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:47
18) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:04
19) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, same time
20) John Gadret, AG2R, France, at 4:48
Major changes in the GC; Rasmussen gets a cushion on everyone but Contador.
Overall Standings after Stage 14:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 64:12:15
2) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 2:23
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 3:04
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 4:29
5) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 4:38
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 5:50
7) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 6:58
8) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 8:25
9) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 9:45
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 10:55
11) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 11:01
12) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at 11:31
13) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:15
14) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 13:16
15) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 14:58
16) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 15:31
17) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, at 17:23
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 18:57
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:19
20) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:33
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2007 in 2007 Stage 14, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 14 on the road
The race enters a new phase, as yesterday's TT reorganized the standings, creating some interesting tactical possibilities.
Race leader Michael Rasmussen has to be glad to have escaped with the yellow jersey, but looks like he has to find more time in the Pyrenees before the Tour's 2nd individual time trial. Valverde, Mayo, and Sastre must also look for time after disappointing TTs, while Vinokourov must look for more time despite an awesome TT.
Astana and Discovery Channel both have 3 riders within 8 minutes of the overall lead, one of them -- Yaroslav Popovych -- apparently chasing the King of the Mountains title. Discovery Channel looks more likely to switch off leaders than Astana (would Astana really let Klöden win while Vinokourov is still in the race?), which may give them more options in the mountains.
VS. broadcast picks
1st climb, the 2nd Category Cote de St. Saraille:
1) David De La Fuente, Saunier Duval, +10 pts
2) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +9 pts
3) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +8 pts
4) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +7 pts
5) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +6 pts
6) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +5 pts
Soler moves into a tie atop the King of the Mountains standings, for now.
A 6-man breakaway formed about 30 kilometers into the stage, just as Predictor-Lotto reeled in a 26-rider escape that included race leader Michael Rasmussen. In the breakaway are Ruben Perez and Amets Txurruka of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Antonio Colom of Astanta, Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas, José Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epargne, and Carlos Barredo of Quick Step. Their gap went out as high as 11:20.
1st intermediate sprint:
1) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
2nd intermediate sprint:
1) Carlos Barredo, Quick Step, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
With the Port de Pailheres looming, the peloton has brought the leaders back to 9:45. The gap continued to fall, and on the climb, David Millar set a tempo that quickly shed riders from the yellow jersey group. Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd were predictable early exits, but Christophe Moreau fell back just after Boonen.
Late in the climb, yesterday's hero, Alexandre Vinokourov was dropped. He briefly visited the race doctor and rode with teammate Daniel Navarro. Near the top, Saunier Duval's leader, Iban Mayo was dropped, but may chase back onto the field on the descent.
The breakaway survived over the top of the Port de Pailheres, and Juan Mauricio Soler, racing in a borrowed King of the Mountains jersey that rightfully belongs to Michael Rasmussen, sprinted ahead of the select group to take 10 points at the summit. Rasmussen moved to the lead of his group to be next across, taking 8 points.
HC Port de Pailheres
1) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +20 pts
2) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +18 pts
3) Antonio Colom, Astana, +16 pts
4) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +14 pts
5) Carlos Barredo, Quick Step, +12 pts, @1:05
6) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +10 pts, @ 2:45
7) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +8 pts - @ 2:55
8) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, +7 pts
9) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, +6 pts
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts
Vinokourov crossed the summit 8:16 behind Perez.
On the descent, Mayo, Hincapie and Popovych caught back onto the leading group.
As the group started up Plateau de Beille, Ruben Perez quickly fell off the lead group, then Carlos Barredo, who battled on and off the leaders.
Meanwhile, George Hincapie spent miles leading the 40-strong yellow jersey group. On the Plateau de Beille, Rabobank briefly led, and then Yaroslav Popovych just redlined the front of the group, and riders started to fall.
Valverde, Pereiro, and Mayo were among the first dropped. Then Denis Menchov and Michael Boogerd, leaving Rasmussen without teammates. Only 9 riders remained: Popovych, Rasmussen, Soler, Sastre, Contador, Leipheimer, Evans, Kashechkin, and Klöden, and Klöden looked to be suffering at the back. Klöden was finally gapped.
After reeling in José Ivan Gutierrez from the early break, Popovych was done, and Levi Leipheimer attacked, quickly matched, and Contador hit the turbos, and Sastre matched the attack, but Kashechkin was dropped.
As Txurruka was caught, Rasmussen attacked, matched by Contador and Evans, and the survivors were split into 2 trios: Rasmussen/Contador/Evans and Sastre/Soler/Leipheimer. Sastre pulled the group back together, then Soler went hard. Rasmussen sprinted up to him, then Contador and Evans, and finally Sastre and Leipheimer.
Soler attacked again, and Contador attacked past the Colombian, Sastre passed Soler, Rasmussen and Evans came by. Leipheimer struggled back onto the tail, and Contador hit the turbos, quickly gaining 30-40 meters. Rasmussen and Evans tried to cross to Contador, but Sastre and Soler were gapped, and Leipheimer yet another gap behind.
Evans couldn't stay with Rasmussen, and Rasmussen captured Contador, only about 30 seconds behind Antonio Colom, last survivor of the early breakaway. Evans, Leipheimer, Sastre, and Soler worked briefly together. Then Sastre attacked, and Evans was parboiled. Leipheimer and Soler matched CSC's leader. Leipheimer refused to work with Sastre with a teammate up the road.
With Colom captured, it appeared the stage win would go to Contador or Rasmussen, but then Soler attacked into the :25 gap. Rasmussen wanted the stage win, but Contador sat in the draft, wisely letting Ras do the work for a larger GC gap, and conserving his energy for the finish.
With about a kilometer to ride, Leipheimer dropped Sastre, chasing Soler. As the leaders came to the line, Contador sprinted around Rasmussen to take the stage win.
Soler was 3rd, just a little ahead of Leipheimer, while Sastre was 5th at about :52. Klöden and Evans finished around 1:52.
A sign of the day's high pace: Only about 20 riders finished within 20 minutes of Contador. Vinokourov appears not to have been among them.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 21, 2007
Stage 13 ITT: Vino, Astana awesome in Albi
Vinokourov, with only his right knee bandaged, led at every time check by healthy margins to clock a 1:06:34.
Predictor-Lotto's Cadel Evans slotted in 2nd, 1:14 back, ahead of Vinokourov's teammates Andreas Klöden, at 1:39, and Andrey Kashechkin, at 1:44.
Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis set the early standard and finished 5th, at 2:14.
Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank rode a creditable TT, passing his 3-minute man, Alejandro Valverde, and finishing 11th on the day to retain the yellow jersey.
For Valverde and Mayo, starting the day in 2nd and 3rd, it was a disastrous day: Mayo was 6:04 slower than Vino, Valverde 6:08 down on the stage winner.
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, in 1:06:34
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:14
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 1:39
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 1:44
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, @ 2:14
6) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 2:16
7) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 2:18
8) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, @ 2:38
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 2:39
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 2:42
11) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, @ 2:55
12) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, @ 2:56
13) Leif Hoste, Predictor-Lotto, Belgium, @ 2:56
14) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 3:09
15) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, Spain, @ 3:12
16) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 3:13
17) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, @ 3:17
18) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 3:18
19) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 3:23
20) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, @ 3:27
Major shakeups in the GC:
Overall standings after Stage 13:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 58:46:39
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 1:00
3) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 2:31
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 2:34
5) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:37
6) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 4:23
7) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 4:45
8) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 5:07
9) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 5:10
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 5:29
11) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 5:48
12) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 4:48
13) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at 6:59
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 7:04
15) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 7:37
There was a 4th-Category climb on the stage, and max points (3) go to Alberto Contador of Discovery Channel, with Cadel Evans taking 2 points and Michael Boogerd of Rabobank a single point as the 3 fastest riders on the climb.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2007 in 2007 Stage 13 ITT, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, David Millar, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Dekker, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Stage 13 ITT on the road
VS. Broadcaster Picks:
Trautwig: Klöden (per Hinault)
Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis is the early leader in the first long individual time trial of the 2007 Tour.
Over the up-and-down 54 km course in Albi, Wiggins finished in 1:08:48.
David Millar has come through the time checks as high as 3rd, and finishes in 3rd at 1:10:01.
World TT champion Fabian Cancellara was 2nd-fastest at the 1st time check, then faded, finishing in 1:15:19. Cancellara had bike handling problems on the wet roads, and crashed in a 90-degree left-hander.
Yaroslav Popovych is followed onto the course by Alexandre Vinokourov. Vino has a bandage only on his right knee today.
Vinokourov is scorching the course. He's fastest at the first two time checks, by 52 seconds at the 2nd. He's closing on Popovych, even though Popovych is racing the 4th best TT so far.
At TC 3 (38.5 km), Vinokourov came through at 50:06, 1:19 faster than Wiggins. Popovych finished almost even with Wiggins, but Vinokourov still finished close behind, with Vino setting the standard at 1:06:34.
Discovery's Levi Leipheimer was 19th at the first time check, and Carlos Sastre passed TC1 1:41 slower than Vinokourov.
Popovych appeared to have fallen on the course, and Klöden slid out on what seemed a tame right-hander.
Kashechkin also had an early accident, but kept improving at each time check, finishing 2nd only to Vinokourov in 1:08:19.
Christophe Moreau's early time checks put him many minutes behind Vinokourov. He finished in 1:16:01, 9:26 down to Vino.
Cadel Evans was 2nd best at the 3rd time check, just 1:01 behind Vinokourov.
Klöden hit the line in 1:08:13, putting Astana in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on the day, but Cadel Evans broke up the set, coming in at 1:07:48, 2nd at that point.
Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador, Discovery's supposed two leaders, finished 21 seconds apart, in 1:09:13 and 1:08:52, respectively. Teammate Yaroslav Popovych was better still, in 1:08:50.
The time checks were cruel to Alejandro Valverde, sitting in 2nd overall -- he was 46th at the 4th check, 4:34 down on Vinokourov. In fact, race leader Michael Rasmussen passed Alejandro Valverde late in his ride, rocking more like a duck than a Chicken.
Iban Mayo struggled to the line in 1:12:38, a disappointment for the rider who started in 3rd today.
Rasmussen fights all the way to the line, finishing in 1:09:29. That will save the yellow jersey for Rasmussen, and the race returns to the high mountains tomorrow.
Current Top riders:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, 1:06:34
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, 1:07:49
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, 1:08:13
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, 1:08:19
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, in 1:08:48
6) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, in 1:08:50
7) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, in 1:08:52
8) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, in 1:09:12
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, in 1:09:13
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:09:16
11) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 1:09:29
12) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, 1:09:30
13) Leif Hoste, Predictor-Lotto, in 1:09:30
14) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, in 1:09:43
15) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, in 1:09:47
16) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, 1:09:47
17) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, 1:09:51
18) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile 1:09:52
19) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, 1:09:57
20) David Millar, Saunier Duval, in 1:10:01
21) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, 1:10:04
22) Sébastien Rosseler, Quick Step, in 1:10:09
23) Markus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, in 1:10:14
24) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, in 1:10:16
25) George Hincapie, DSC, in 1:10:19
26) Carlos Sastre, CSC, in 1:10:35
27) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, in 1:10:39
28) Andrey Grivko, Milram, in 1:10:51
29) Kanstantsin Siutsou, Barloworld, in 1:10:54
30) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, in 1:10:56
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2007 in 2007 Stage 13 ITT, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Iban Mayo, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 19, 2007
Stage 11: At last, Robbie Hunter
Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took advantage of a late-stage crash to win his first Tour stage in his 6th career Tour appearance. It's the first Tour stage by a South African, or any African.
Hunter had been following Tom Boonen in the last kilometers, but went to the front in time to miss a crash that took out Boonen, Credit Agricole's Julian Dean, Predictor-Lotto's Fred Rodriguez, and others. Hunter then outcornered two Liquigas riders on the right-hander with 500 meters to ride. From there, he kicked all the way to the line, and Murilo Fischer and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas and Fabian Cancellara of CSC couldn't close him down.
The biggest action of the day was an all-out assault by Astana, who set a blistering pace in a stiff wind that split the field, with AG2R's Christophe Moreau, Erik Zabel, and Thor Hushovd among the riders caught behind the gap. Astana did most of the work to grow the gap, and Moreau crossed the line 3:20 behind Hunter. Astana's attack helped push the average speed for the stage to 48.061 kms/h (29.86 mph), the fastest of this year's Tour.
Hunter now trails Boonen by 11 points in the green jersey competition, 5 points ahead of Erik Zabel.
Two riders pulled out during the stage: Sylvain Calzati of AG2R and Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Stage Top 10:
1) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
2) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time
3) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t.
4) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
7) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
8) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t.
9) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.
GC Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:20
11) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 5:34
12) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, @ 5:56
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 6:36
14) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ 6:38
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, @ 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 7:10
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 8:05
20) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 8:16
Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 18, 2007
Stage 10: Vasseur victorious
The Tour youth movement stepped aside for at least one last stage as a veteran took a smart breakaway victory.
Cedric Vasseur, 36, of Quick Step gave France its first Tour victory of 2007 ten years after his other Tour stage win.
Vasseur was in an 11-man group that was the most powerful breakaway of the Tour so far, but with all more than 45 minutes behind Michael Rasmussen. Over the day's penultimate climb, the group was whittled down to 3, but Jens Voigt and Vasseur were able to chase across to join Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Michael Albasini of Liquigas, and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux.
Halgand tried to shed the others on the day's final climb, but every attack was matched, and the 5 came down into Marseilles together. Albasini shadowed Voigt, while the three Frenchman rode offset in a line, with Vasseur at the back as they came into the final kilometer. With less than 300 meters to ride, but a little beyond sprint range, Vasseur went full throttle along the right barricades, and the surprise was enough to take the win ahead of Sandy Casar sprinting left of the centerline and Albasini in between.
Tom Boonen showed he's serious about defending his green jersey, riding near the front of the field all day, and winding up the Quick Step train to launch him in the field sprint for 12th place on the day. Boonen was outfoxed by Sebastien Chavanel, but clipped Erik Zabel, his primary competition, taking 13th on the day to Zabel's 16th.
1) Cédric Vasseur, Quick Step, France in 5:20:24
2) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux, France, same time
3) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, Switzerland, s.t.
4) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
5) Jens Voigt, CSC, Germany, s.t.
6) Staf Scheirlinckx, Cofidis, Belgium, @ :36
7) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, same time
8) Marcus Burghardt, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 1:01
9) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, Belarus, @ 2:34
10) Juan Antonio Flecha, Rabobank, Spain, same time
11) Andriy Grivko, Milram, Kazakhstan, @ 3:42
12) Sébastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, @ 10:36
12) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, same time
14) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
15) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
16) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
17) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
18) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, s.t.
19) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, France, s.t.
20) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
Overall Standings after Stage 10:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, in 49:23:48
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, at 3:08
6) Christophe Moreau, Ag2R, at 3:18
7) Carlos Sastre, Team CSC, at 3:39
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 3:50
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, at 3:53
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, at 5:06
11) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:20
12) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, at 5:34
13) Fränk Schleck, Team CSC, at 5:56
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at 6:36
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, at 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, at 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 7:10
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d’Epargne, at 7:33
20) Tadej Valjavec, Lampre, at 7:45
21) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, at 8:05
CSC moves back into the lead in the team competition, courtesy of Voigt's long day in the break, and Halgand takes the most aggressive rider jersey.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2007 in 2007 Stage 10, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Cedric Vasseur, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Projecting TT time gaps
Over at PodiumCafe, Kevin Kimmich took each GC contender's prologue average speed, estimated that riders could maintain 95 percent of the prologue pace over the 110 kilometers of time trialing that remain, and projected likely time gaps among the GC contenders just on the 2 TTs.
With prologue winner Fabian Cancellara now 80 minutes back, Andreas Klöden was the strongest contender in the London prologue, followed by his Astana teammates Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin. Worst of the bunch is, unsurprisingly, Michael Rasmussen, who rode the worst TT in recent Tour history in 2005. Klöden was also very strong on the long TTs in last year's Tour, overshadowed somewhat by T-Mobile teammate Sergei Honchar.
As a commenter has already pointed out, this is the simplest possible projection of times, but it's a fun bit of speculation. If he's right, Evans needs a 5:34 cushion on Klöden, Leipheimer 6:32, and Rasmussen 15:29. Note that Christophe Moreau, not on the list, was 6 seconds behind Valverde and 7 seconds ahead of Sastre in the Prologue, so he would slot in somewhere around 9 minutes behind Klöden.
Kimmich also ignored two riders who placed highly in the prologue and still sit near the leaders: Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel was 2 seconds faster than Kashechkin, and Alberto Contador matched him within a fraction of a second, so Astarloza might be projected to lose as little as 4:35 or 4:45 to Klöden, and Contador projects to about 5:20.
July 17, 2007
Stage 9: Soler streaks to stage win
Tour first-timer Juan Mauricio Soler of Barloworld launched an audacious attack on the Col du Télégraphe and fighting all the way to Briançon to take the win for Barloworld.
Colombia's Soler, the rider with the highest Tour race number (219), was shadowed for a time by Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych, but no one could hold Soler's wheel today.
Back in the main field, Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde pushed the pace, and Alexandre Vinokourov couldn't hang. Today, it was Kashechkin who shepherded Vinokourov to the line while Andreas Klöden matched the GC riders.
Christophe Moreau dropped repeatedly off the back, but fought back again and again, while Rabobank's Denis Menchov couldn't stand the heat, and finished with Vinokourov. Levi Leipheimer, with 2 teammates up the road, was again content to let the race unfold and shadowed the yellow jersey of Michael Rasmussen.
Discovery's Alberto Contador, however, launched a withering assault on the Col du Galibier, and only Cadel Evans chased. When Contador met up with teammate Popovych at the summit, the two launched a chase of Soler, then 2 minutes up the road, and slowly closed the gap.
Meanwhile, the yellow jersey group split in two, with Valverde, Rasmussen, Kim Kirchen, David Arroyo and Mikel Astarloza ahead, and Moreau, Sastre, Evans, Klöden, Leipheimer, Cobo, and Mayo behind.
Rasmussen's group swept up Contador and Popovych, then were finally recaptured by the Leipheimer/Klöden/Sastre group, with all still closing on Soler.
The gap was down to 49 seconds in the last kilometer, and Alejandro Valverde attacked, splintering the yellow jersey group and taking 2nd on the stage, with Cadel Evans just behind.
1) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia in 4:14:24
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :38
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, same time
4) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ :40
5) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ :42
6) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, same time
7) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, s.t.
8) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ :46
9) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, same time
10) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, s.t.
11) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ :54
12) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, same time
13) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @1:33
14) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 1:36
15) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 1:49
16) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:24
17) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, same time
18) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, s.t.
19) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, France s.t.
20) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan
Overall Standings after Stage 9:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 43:52:48
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:08
6) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:18
7) Carlos Sastre, Team CSC, Spain, at 3:39
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 3:50
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:53
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 5:06
Schleck is 13th at 5:56, Vinokourov is 21st at 8:05. Gerdemann loses the white jersey to Contador. Soler is now 2nd in both the Mountains jersey and Young Riders jersey competitions.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2007 in 2007 Stage 9, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Mauricio Soler, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 9 on the road
A rude beginning to the stage today, as riders immediately start up the hors categorie Col de l'Iseran, followed by a long descent to St. Michel-de-Maurienne. Then, the double whammy of the Col du Télégraphe (a 1st Category) and the Col du Galibier, another hors categorie. Finally, a 37.5 kilometer/23 mile descent into Briançon.
VS. broadcaster picks:
Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych attacked up the Col de l'Iseran, and led the field by 30 seconds over the top:
Col de l'Iseran (HC):
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channe, +20 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +18 pts, @ 30 secs
3) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +16 pts, same time
4) Anthony Charteau, Credit Agricole, +14 pts, @ 35 secs
5) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts, @ 40 secs
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +10 pts, same time
7) Francisco Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +8 pts, s.t.
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, +7 pts, s.t.
9) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts, s.t.
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts, s.t.
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts/2 secs
Popovych has been joined on the descent by teammate Vladimir Gusev, Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Bouygues Telecom's Stef Clement, Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux, and Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel-Euskadi. They've got 2:45 on the peloton with more than 55 kms/34 miles ridden.
T-Mobile's troubles continue, as Marcus Burghardt tacoed his front wheel hitting a dog wandering unleashed across the road. Both dog and rider appeared unhurt.
At the day's 2nd and last sprint, the 6 riders don't even break their rotation:
2nd Intermediate Sprint:
1) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +4 pts/4 secs
3) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
At the base of the Col du Télégraphe, Astarloza, Clement, Gusev, Gutierrez, Popovych, and Vaugrenard have 3:25 on the peloton, with Rabobank leading the field.
Early in the climb, Mikel Astarloza attacked, and Clement and Vaugrenard couldn't counter. Gusev was first to rejoin, then Gutierrez leading Popovych. Astarloza went again, and quickly built a lead of 10, then 20, seconds.
Meanwhile in the main field, David Millar was setting a fast pace alongside the Rabobanks, and Sandy Casar, Stefan Schumacher and the usual sprinters (including Zabel) are all dropped. The main field is down under 60 riders, about 2:55 behind Astarloza, with more gradually falling by the wayside.
When Millar popped, his place was taken by teammate Iker Camano. Over the top of the Col du Telegraphe, Mikel Astarloza still had a healthy 3 minutes:
1) Astaloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi +15 pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +13 pts, at :21
3) Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +11 pts
4) Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +9 pts
5) Gusev, Discovery Channel, +8 pts
6) Soler, Barloworld, +7 pts, at :55
7) Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, +6 pts, at 1:05
8) Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +5 pts, at 2:45
The peloton was at 3:12.
At the beginning of the climb to the Col du Galibier, Astarloza was recaptured by Gusev, Popovych, and Gutierrez, with Clement suffering a few seconds behind.
Camano fell off, and Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd are the last Rabobank teammates left for yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen.
Juan Mauricio Soler attacked out of the peloton, and quickly worked his way through the leaders and led at the summit:
Col du Galibier
1) Soler, Barloworld, +40pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +36 pts, at 2:05
3) Contador, Discovery Channel +32 pts, same time
4) Evans, Predictor-Lotto, +28 pts, at 2:20
5) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +24 pts, at 3:00
6) Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, +20 pts, at 3:15
7) Rasmussen, Rabobank, +16 pts, same time
8) Moreau, AG2R, +14 pts, s.t.
9) Klöden, Astana, +12 pts, s.t.
10) Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts, s.t.
Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov was at 4:55, 1:40 behind Rasmussen's group, which also included Carlos Sastre and Levi Leipheimer.
Contador caught Popovych just over the top of the Galibier, and the pair have made up about 40 seconds on Soler, and ride 1:25 back with 25 kilometers to the finish.
But the yellow jersey group was gaining, as well, catching Evans, then splitting in two when Evans let a gap form. Rasmussen, Valverde, Kim Kirchen, David Arroyo, and Astarloza made the front group, which captured Popovych and Contador, while Moreau, Mayo, Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Evans and Cobo chased ineffectually behind.
Finally, Klöden pulled his group back into contact with Rasmussen's group, still closing on Soler with a 1.5-kilometer/1 mile climb to the finish.
The gap dropped to :58, then :49, but Soler made it stick, finishing it with :38 seconds on Alejandro Valverde, who attacked looking for a time gap and bonus points, but was matched by Evans, then Contador at :40, with Mayo, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer at :42.
Alexandre Vinokourov finished at 3:24.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
June 29, 2007
Z's in! CSC announces Tour roster
- Team CSC 2007 Tour roster:
- Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)
- Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
- Inigo Cuesta (Spain)
- Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
- Carlos Sastre (Spain)
- Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg)
- Christian Vande Velde (USA)
- Jens Voigt
- David Zabriskie (USA)
Two of the peloton's best time triallists in Cancellara and Zabriskie and two possible GC threats in Sastre and Schleck.
Left off were veterans Bobby Julich, and Karsten Kroon.
Update: And I somehow left off Jens Voigt, leaving CSC with only 8 riders. Fixed.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Bobby Julich, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 18, 2007
Proni wins at Tour de Suisse; Cancellara holds race lead
Proni broke away along with Luis Pasamontes of Unibet.com and Daniel Navarro of Astana early in the Tour de Suisse's longest stage, and the trio stretched their advantage to 11 minutes. Near the base of the last climb, Proni shed his breakmates, with the peloton closing fast. Over the top, with about 10 kilometers to race, Proni led the field by 10 seconds, and held off the slashing field to take the day by 7 seconds, with Bouygues Telecom's Xavier Florencio 2nd and T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen 3rd.
“It's not only the biggest win of my career, it's the first win of my professional career,” Proni said. “I'm used to winning as an amateur but not as a pro. This is still hard for me to believe.”
Swiss race leader Fabian Cancellara was 1st Saturday in a TT, 3rd Sunday in a sprint, and 12th today in a mountain stage. David Zabriskie isn't the only CSC time trialist who's improving their overall skills:
“It's a very tough, very long stage,” Cancellara said. “But the yellow jersey was just too beautiful. I didn't want to give up. I think I've shown I've made a lot of progress and I'm no longer just a time trial specialist.”
Proni, racing in just his 2nd year as a pro, moves up to 2nd overall, 2 seconds back, with Kirchen 3rd at 14 seconds. Pre-race favorites are lurking 20 seconds and more back, including Vladimir Karpets, 9th at :21; Michael Rogers, 12th at :23; Chris Horner, 14th at :25; Damiano Cunego, 27th at :34; and Carlos Sastre, 33rd at :36.
May 01, 2007
Savoldelli takes Romandie prologue
Astana's Paolo Savoldelli is the first leader of the Tour of Romandy/Tour de Romandie, after a 4:35.12 over a 3.5-kilometer time trial in Fribourg today.
Savoldelli was 5 seconds faster than Czech rider Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas and 7 seconds faster than Predictor-Lotto's Chris Horner, of the United States.
David Millar, fresh from a somewhat disappointing time trial at the Tour de Georgia, was 15 seconds back of Savoldelli, but he still is focused on the Tour de France prologue, where he hopes to take the yellow jersey in London.
Defending champion Cadel Evans was 16th on the day, 14 seconds behind Savoldelli. Robbie McEwen brought up the ceremonial rear, 166th at 1:30 back.
Other notable times:
13) David Zabriskie, USA, CSC, at :12
24) Thomas Dekker, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :16
27) Oscar Pereiro, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :16
37) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at :17
29) Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, Discovery Channel, at :17
59) Carlos Sastre, Spain, CSC, at :20
September 14, 2006
Danielson wins Vuelta stage, Vinokourov takes race lead
It's nice to have a little racing news, as Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel took Wednesday's Stage 17 of the Vuelta a España, leading Alexandre Vinokourov across the line. Vinokourov took a 9-second lead on Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde.
Valverde doesn't want to see things go down to the final time trial on Saturday, so he told Eurosport he'll be all-out in today's final mountain stage, up the Pandera:
“Nothing is lost. Things will happen on the Pandera. You can't forget that I won here two years ago and have lots of affection for this climb.”
Danielson, who came to the Vuelta as Discovery's GC contender, couldn't hang during the early stages of the Vuelta, but rebounded to take the day after dropping 5 breakaway mates on the day's second 1st-Category climb.
Vinokourov, who has never worn a Grand Tour leader's jersey until now, was able to ride away from Valverde and Sastre on the day's last major climb after teammate Andrey Kashechkin and Jose Angel Gomez Marchante of Saunier Duval cranked up the pace to make a wicked selection. Valverde fought back onto Vino's wheel early in the descent, but the Astana leader slowly pulled away until, with 9 kilometers to ride, he had 32 seconds on Valverde, and sat 13 seconds behind Danielson.
When Vino caught Danielson, the two worked together to maximize the break, while Valverde had to do almost all the work in his small group alone, shadowed by Kashechkin. Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez attacked out of this group to take 3rd on the day.
1) Tom Danielson, Discovery Channel, USA
2) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, same time
3) Samuel Sanchez, Euskeltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 1:10
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 1:39
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, same time
6) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Luis Perez, Cofidis, Spain, s.t.
8) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, s.t.
9) Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval, s.t.
10) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval, s.t.
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, 67:29:41
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :09
3) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:51
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 2:14
5) Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval, at 4:32
6) Tom Danielson, Discovery Channel, USA, at 6:07
7) Manuel Beltran, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 6:33
8) Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 7:25
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 7:49
10) Luis Perez, Cofidis, Spain, at 9:04
CyclingNews | Vinokourov and Danielson combine to unseat Valverde | Results | Photo Gallery
GrahamWatson.com | Vuelta a España Stage 17 photo gallery
Posted by Frank Steele on September 14, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Vuelta a España, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 26, 2006
Sastre Vuelta's first leader
CSC showed it's still the fastest time-trialing team in the business, as they won the unusual team time trial kickoff at the 2006 Vuelta a España. The 7.3-kilometer effort kicked off from inside the stadium in Málaga, and Magnus Backstedt told VeloNews, "It was almost like riding a team pursuit on the track. I loved it.”
The TTT added another dimension to the race, as teams had to rotate their leader to the head of their paceline for the finish line to set placings. Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi must loom large in the mirrors for Sastre, as Milram turned in an impressive 3rd, 8 seconds back, and either or both could spend time in the Maillot Oro this week.
1) CSC, in 7:36
2) Caisse d'Epargne, at :07
3) Team Milram, at :08
4) Discovery Channel, at :09
5) T-Mobile, at :11
6) Astana, at :12
7) Saunier Duval-Proder, at :13
8) Credit Agricole, same time
9) Liquigas, s.t.
10) QuickStep, at :15
11) Euskaltel-Euskadi, at :18
12) Rabobank, same time
13) Gerolsteiner, at :19
14) Lampre-Fondital, at :21
15) Bouyges Telecom, at :24
16) Davitamon-Lotto, at :25
17) Phonak, at :27
18) AG2R Prevoyance, same time
19) Française des Jeux, at :28
20) Cofidis, at :30
21) Relax, at :37
CSC's 9 riders have the top 9 spots in the overall, with José Garcia Acosta of Caisse d'Epargne 10th at 7 seconds.
It's Vuelta time
It's time to kick off the year's 3rd grand tour, and it feels more like the 15th round of a prizefight.
Even though all riders passed their pre-Vuelta blood screens, one rider will miss the start over doping concerns. Saunier Duval-Prodir has dropped their Vuelta leader Koldo Gil on a belief that he's implicated in Operación Puerto. It apparently results from his days with Manolo Saiz and Liberty Seguros, but Saunier Duval's Joxean Fernandez told AS (in Spanish) “we don't want to take any risks over a potential problem that has nothing to do with us.” Gil rode strongly at the Tour of Switzerland, coming second to Jan Ullrich.
Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, back from a broken collarbone at the Tour de France, is the race favorite, with Tour winner-in-waiting Oscar Pereiro as his superdomestique.
CSC's Carlos Sastre has never met a grand tour he didn't like, as he takes the start of his 5th consecutive GT, last missing the 2005 Giro.
Conversely, Alexandre Vinokourov wasn't allowed to start the Tour in July, but Astana (who has signed to use BMC's funky Swiss carbon-fiber frames now that Phonak is leaving the sport) will have a full squad backing Vinokourov in the Vuelta, while wrangling continues over the future of the team's ProTour license and management.
Best hope for the United States is Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, riding his first GT as the undisputed team leader. Danielson, 28, talked with Andrew Hood of VeloNews about his Vuelta hopes.
Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is back to racing, but poormouthing his Vuelta chances, tapping teammate Erik Zabel for the sprinter's jersey. Robbie McEwen looks to join Petacchi as the 4th rider to win multiple stages of all 3 GTs in a single year -- Petacchi in 2003 as well as Miguel Poblet in 1956 and Pierino Baffi in 1958 are the others.
Reigning Vuelta champ Denis Menchov, who won the race when Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO and was stripped of the title, says the Vuelta was his “secondary objective” behind the Tour, and he doesn't “feel as sharp and this affects you physically as well.” Menchov's Rabobank squad won't be distracted trying to set Oscar Freire up for wins, as Freire pulled out earlier this week, citing a neck injury.
The TV coverage is debuting a “seatpost camera,” that will mimic the rear-facing cameras used in NASCAR, and rotate among riders daily. Also new will be in-car cameras for interviews with team directors. On the other hand, the Vuelta will dispense with publishing heart rate monitor data, since most teams wouldn't allow their key riders' data to be published. In the US, to see the coverage, you'll have to subscribe to Cycling.TV's web streaming feed.
Posted by Frank Steele on August 26, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 22, 2006
Honchar takes ITT, Landis takes the Tour
I'm hesitant to predict anything in this unpredictable Tour, but Floyd Landis will win the 2006 Tour de France.
Ukraine's Sergei Honchar took his 2nd time trial stage win of the Tour, ahead of teammate Andreas Klöden, while overnight 2nd-place rider Carlos Sastre couldn't hang, and dropped to 4th overall.
Overnight yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro did the fleece proud, finishing 4th on the day, ahead of scads of time-trial specialists, to keep 2nd place, only 59 seconds behind Landis, and 30 seconds ahead of Klöden.
But the big story was Landis, who rode his own race, setting the fastest time at the first time check and taking 3rd on the day. He'll be the 3rd American to win the Tour, following 3 by Greg Lemond, and the last 7 by Lance Armstrong.
Damiano Cunego solidified his hold on the white jersey, now 36 seconds ahead of Gerolsteiner's Marcus Fothen, with a 10th-place finish on the day.
T-Mobile, with the top 2 finishers and world time trial champion Michael Rogers in 19th, moves 17:20 ahead of CSC in the team competition, which they'll most likely win for the 3rd straight year.
1) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, Ukraine, in 1:07:45
2) Andreas Klödën, T-Mobile, Germany, at :41
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 1:11
4) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:40
5) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 3:18
6) David Zabriskie, CSC, USA, at 3:35
7) Viatcheslav Ekimov, Discovery Channel, Russia, at 3:41
8) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 3:41
9) Bert Grabsch, Phonak, Germany, at 3:43
10) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at 3:44
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 85:42:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :59
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Carlos Sastre, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Stage 19 ITT underway
Today, we have the most important Tour time trial of the last 10 years, at least. The only recent TT that comes close is 2003's Stage 19, when Jan Ullrich crashed, allowing a vulnerable Lance Armstrong to take the thinnest Tour victory of his career.
It's 57 kilometers, and Floyd Landis will leave at 10:09 Eastern, 3 minutes before CSC's Carlos Sastre, who will leave 3 minutes before Caisse d'Epargne's Oscar Pereiro. We should get plenty of split-screen action, as Pereiro leads Sastre by only 12 seconds and Landis by only 30 seconds.
One for the old guys early, as Discovery Channel's Viatcheslav Ekimov has come in with the best time of the first 60 riders, at 1:11:26.59.
Second is Landis teammate Bert Grabsch, just 2 seconds behind.
Zabriskie comes through, scorching the 2nd half of the course. He didn't show up in the top 5 at either of the early time checks, he was 3rd at the 3rd time check, and he's 6 seconds faster than Ekimov, at 1:11:20.9. And almost immediately, Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang, the 69th finisher, cuts 17 seconds off Zabriskie's time: 1:11:03.83.
Sergei Honchar has beaten Lang's times at TC1 and TC2; 2:07 (!) faster than Lang at the 34-kilometer check.
Hincapie rolls out; 31 riders to go. Out on the course, he fidgets with his computer sensor. He's sporting a new paint scheme on his helmet -- a Flying Tigers-style shark head. Pavel Padrnos has the same, so it's probably a team thing -- promoting Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, perhaps?
David Millar comes in at 1:11:46, 5th for now.
Chavanel comes through TC2 with a tissue stuffed in his left nostril; the commentators think he's had a nosebleed.
Honchar 1:07:45.81! That's likely to be the time to beat.
Phonak's Robbie Hunter, who finished in 1:25:54, will be outside the (fastest time + 25 percent) elimination time.
Michael Rasmussen has set off; he had a catastrophic last time trial last year, falling off, switching bikes, and losing 7:47 to Lance Armstrong.
Marcus Fothen is on the course, looking to retake the young rider's white jersey, currently worn by Damiano Cunego, who sets off next.
Levi Leipheimer is off, wearing the red race numbers awarded to yesterday's most agressive rider.
World time trial champion Michael Rogers is off, and we're down to the Top 10.
Vande Velde comes through TC2 just behind teammate Zabriskie.
Chris Horner finished in 1:16:41, which will be mid-pack.
Chavanel finishes in a respectable 1:12:17.44.
Menchov sets off, currently 6th.
Cadel Evans sets off, looking for the best placing ever in the Tour by an Australian. Phil Anderson twice finished 5th, which is where Evans sits, 39 seconds behind T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, who sets off 3 minutes behind him.
Hincapie finishes in 1:13:15. Cunego has actually been faster than Fothen at TC1, coming through 4 seconds slower than Lang. Is he going too hard early?
Landis is waiting in the start house. No smiles this morning. Karpets 1:12:42.
Landis is out. Looks smooth. Sastre rolls, as Pereiro waits just behind.
Sastre looks tentative to me -- he's staying up on the brake hoods on sections where Landis was on his aerobars.
Pereiro is rolling. Everyone is on the course or done now.
Vande Velde finishes in 1:12:37.44. That will factor in to the CSC/T-Mobile battle for the team competition.
Sastre is 1:05 slower than Landis at TC1! Pereiro is the only one left, and he comes through only 10 seconds slower than Landis; that's an amazing time for Pereiro after 16kms of 57 today.
Cunego likes that white jersey; at TC3, he's 5 seconds slower than Zabriskie, and 35 seconds faster than Fothen.
The split screen view has Landis and Pereiro sitting equal on the road now, with Landis 4 minutes shy of Time Check 2.
Evans hits TC2 in 43:34; Klöden hits it in 41:52.9 behind only Honchar so far.
Landis is losing time to Honchar: 41:45.9 at the 2nd time check.
Sastre is riding off the podium: He hits TC2 in 44:05. Klöden is already 2 minutes faster than that.
Pereiro: 42.42:50 -- Landis is the leader on the road!
T-Mobile's Rogers comes through the finish in 1:12:20.72. Looks like T-Mobile will win the team competition.
Landis nears the 3rd time check, at 51.5 kilometers. Pereiro looks like he's hurting on the road. Klöden is closing in on Cadel Evans; he hit TC3 47 seconds behind Honchar 1:03:22 to Honchars 1:02:36. Landis comes in 1:03:43.
Dessel finishes in 1:13:43.57. Menchov comes to the line: 1:12:18.55; he'll go top 20 on the day, maybe top 15.
Klöden catches Evans with about a kilometer to go. He sits way too long in Evans' draft, and sprints to the finish in 1:08:26.17. He didn't catch Honchar, but may be 2nd on the stage.
Sastre hits TC3 in 1:07:02, more than 3:30 behind Klöden. Pereiro clocks 1:05:14. Looks like Pereiro will hold Klöden off for 2nd -- he was faster than Lang, Zabriskie, and Ekimov at TC3.
Sastre comes to the line in 1:12:27.58; he'll be 20th on the day. Here comes Pereiro, gritting his teeth, comes out of the saddle: 1:10:25.19, and that does it: Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)
July 21, 2006
Stage 17 photo galleries
Landis, Sastre, Cunego, by Caroline Yang.
See ya, more water, and Sastre, by Graham Watson.
July 21, 2005
Stage 18 underway
Alexandre Vinokourov attacked ahead of the day's first sprint, and took 2nd for 4 pts, and a 4-second time bonus. After a number of early breakaways, all pulled back, a group of 10 has gotten away and built a lead, now at 12:45. In it are Davitamon-Lotto's Axel Merckx, CSC's Luke Roberts, Cofidis' Cedric Vasseur, Bouyges Telecom's Thomas Voeckler, T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler, Illes Balears' Xabier Zandio, Carlos da Cruz of Française des Jeux, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas, and Marcos Serrano of Liberty Seguros. Kessler's presence in this breakaway, and the absence of Discovery Channel, would likely give T-Mobile the team lead, since they trail Discovery by 37 seconds. In the break, Kessler is wearing his race number upside down: He's highly superstitious and riding in number 13. With the gap at 15 minutes, Discovery has put all its riders at the head of the peloton. Armstrong apparently predicted Axel Merckx for today's stage, being run on Belgium's National Day. On the second-to-last climb, Carlos Da Cruz has attacked. He's gotten out to 25 seconds on the 9 other breakaway riders. Now Merckx counters, and goes right over the top of Da Cruz. Serrano is trying to come back up. And there goes Voeckler trying to bridge up. Zandio, Serrano, and Vasseur are just a few seconds behind Mercx and Voeckler, and chasing on the descent. Zandio, Serran, Vasseur, Merckx, and Voeckler are joined by Pellizotti on the descent, and they're starting up the very steep, short final climb. Inside of 4 km, and Merckx has picked up the pace. Zandio and Pellizotti are dropped. Serrano pushes it, and Voeckler is dropped. It's Serrano, Vasseur, and Merckx. Merckx is gapped, but not yet really dropped. As the climb steepens, Serrano pulls away, and Merckx tries to counter, but Serrano has a gap. They're 1 k to the top, 2.5 to the finish. At the top, Serrano has 14 seconds on Merckx and Vasseur. The peloton is now at 12 minutes plus, with Andrey Kashechkin holding a 20 second advantage: he's looking to get back into the white jersey. Marcos Serrano has taken the first stage for Liberty Seguros! As they roll in, Vasseur comes off Merckx's wheel for 2nd. Zandio is 4th, then Pellizotti. Back with the peloton, there's been another big selection on the 2nd-to-last climb of the day, with Sastre, Popovych, Armstrong, Basso, Ullrich, Rasmussen, Evans, Landis, Leipheimer. Now they've dropped Rasmussen, Vinokourov and Leipheimer. Basso, Armstrong, Ullrich, and Evans are riding together. Vino, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer are the first chase group. Don't know about Landis. Ullrich is at the back of the leaders, falling back. Now he's clawed his way back onto the other three! Armstrong leads over the top. They've got 1.5 kilometers to go. He leads the group up to the line, and there comes Cadel Evans, who pips him at the line for 11th, with Basso and Ullrich behind. Mancebo has rejoined Leiphemer, Rasmussen, and Vino for the finish. A Saunier Duval is in between, then Landis comes in with Eddy Mazzoleni.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Thomas Voeckler, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)