July 05, 2011
Stage 4 Preview: Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne
Today's 172.5-km stage is classified as a flat stage, but Mur-de-Bretagne translates to “Wall of Brittany,” so we'll finish with a quick, 2-kilometer climb of around 200 meters, which is the first 3rd-Category climb of the Tour. There's also another 1-point 4th-Category climb at the 79-kilometer mark.
Just as we did Monday, we have a stage favorite with motivation from a national holiday. Today, that favorite is Philippe Gilbert, and the Belgian national holiday celebrated today is Philippe Gilbert's birthday. Gilbert is a heavy favorite to take a second victory in this very young Tour. Other stage favorites include Cadel Evans, who might be able to grab seconds and yellow with a high placing, Sammy Sanchez, or Damiano Cunego.
The intermediate sprint comes 92.5 kilometers into the stage in Spézet.
All 198 riders who started the Tour are expected to make the start.
Thor Hushovd races in the yellow jersey, José Rojas in the green jersey, Gilbert in the polka-dots, and Geraint Thomas in the white jersey.
July 24, 2008
Cunego drops out after Stage 18 crash
AFP is reporting that Lampre team leader Damiano Cunego has pulled of the Tour, after injuries suffered on a crash during today's 18th stage. Cunego fell face-first, and injured his chin and chest.
He struggled alongside 3 teammates to finish within today's time cutoff (20:12 behind winner Marcus Burghardt), falling from 14th overall before today's stage to 20th at stage's end.
It was the 3rd crash of the 2008 Tour for Cunego, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2004, then took the white jersey in the 2006 Tour de France. His biggest win of 2008 was the Amstel Gold Race, and he reportedly was targeting the Beijing Olympic road race in August.
"I want to really thank my teammates — they waited for me and helped me back, although at one point I wasn't sure of finishing within the time limit,” he said.
"One of our team managers suggested I should just pull out. I didn't want to as that would have risked my teammates missing the time limit as well."
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
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
June 21, 2007
Dekker takes TdS Stage 6, Efimkin in yellow
With a major hailstorm striking during the race, organizers shortened the day's stage, skipping the Nufenenpass, and restarting the stage at Ulrichen at the 95 kilometers to ride point. Some riders reportedly needed medical treatment from hail strikes, and some team cars were damaged.
With the finish line just 1.7 kilometers below the day's last climb, the peloton's climbers had their eye on today's stage. Lampre's Damiano Cunego attacked on the slope, to be matched by (who else?) Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni.
When the select group brought those two back, Simoni's teammate José Angel Gomez Marchante attacked, but Cunego countered (shadowed by Simoni), and as the top of the climb approached, it looked like the strong group of 8 riders, including two Vladimirs, Karpets and Efimkin, as well as Simoni, Cunego, and Gomez Marchante, would come down to a sprint.
But Rabobank had a rider sitting quietly at the back of that group, fighting to hang on, and perhaps 200 meters before the top, Thomas Dekker gapped the leading group. Once over the top, Dekker streaked away on the downhill to the finish, going hard, tongue out, all the way to the 200-meter mark, when he finally felt comfortable sitting up, zipping the jersey, and enjoying the big win.
Former race leader Frank Shleck managed to stay with the climbers until the day's last 5 kilometers or so, but lost 1:20 on the day, and passes the jersey to Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Efimkin.
Dekker, the Tour of Romandy winner this year, said he was here starting his training for the Tour, and was surprised to feel so strong.
Tour of Switzerland Stage 6 Top 10
1) Thomas Dekker, Netherlands, Rabobank
2) Gerrit Glomser, Austria, Volksbank
3) Gilberto Simoni, Italy, Saunier Duval-Prodir
4) Vladimir Karpets, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
5) Damiano Cunego, Italy, Lampre
6) José Angel Gomez-Marchante, Spain, Saunier Duval
7) Vladimir Efimkin, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
8) Matteo Carrara, Italy, Unibet.com
9) Andreas Klöden, Germany, Astana
Overall standings after Stage 6
1) Efimkin, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
2) Gomez-Marchante, Spain, Saunier Duval
3) Frank Schleck, Luxembourg, CSC
4) Carrara, Italy, Unibet.com
5) Vladimir Karpets, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
6) Kim Kirchen
7) Damiano Cunego
8) Xavier Florencio
9) Gilberto Simoni
10) Stijn Devolder
Bennati holds the sprint jersey, while Alessandro Proni holds the King of the Mountains jersey.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Gilberto Simoni, Thomas Dekker, Tour de Suisse 2007, Vladimir Karpets | 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.
June 14, 2007
Cunego won't race Tour
Defending white jersey winner Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital won't participate in this year's Tour de France.
On the team website, Cunego detailed his upcoming race schedule: The Tour of Swizerland next, then the Italian national championship and “rest for some weeks.”
Cunego, 25, won the Giro d'Italia in 2004, finished 5th this year, and was best young rider at the Tour last year.
May 30, 2007
Simoni takes stage win, Di Luca holds jersey at Giro
Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni dominated the last mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia, but couldn't kill the Killer.
Simoni, who won atop Monte Zoncolan in 2003, repeated the success, finishing with teammate Leonardo Piepoli 7 seconds ahead of CSC's Andy Schleck. Race leader Danilo (Killer) Di Luca, dropped 6 kilometers from the finish, scratched his way to the line 31 seconds behind Simoni in 4th, leaving him a healthy 2:24 gap in the overall standings to Schleck in 2nd and 2:28 to Simoni in 3rd.
It was the first race up the climb's difficult western side, but Di Luca didn't crack, and it looks like the Saturday time trial will be decisive. It's unlikely but possible that Di Luca could lose 2:24 to Andy Schleck in a TT, but Simoni's grip on 3rd looks especially tenuous. And who is nipping at Simoni's heels? Former teammate and archrival Damiano Cunego, who sits 1:01 behind Simoni's final podium spot.
CSC's David Zabriskie, who was 5th in the 2004 TT world championships (run on Saturday's course), told CyclingNews:
“You know, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. I'm just a big hairy American winnin' machine.”
More seriously, Zabriskie said he's been working for Schleck, but hopes to do well in Saturday's TT. He was 4th in Stage 13's uphill time trial.
May 07, 2007
Giro 2007 rosters announced
Giro organizers unveiled rosters for the 2007 Giro d'Italia today.
Four former winners of the race -- Astana's Paolo Savoldelli, Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni, Lampre's Damiano Cunego, and Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli -- will feature in this year's edition, but a lot of media attention will be on the missing defending champion, Ivan Basso, who admitted today he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes.
The shadow of Operación Puerto appears to have fallen on Tyler Hamilton of Tinkoff Credit Systems and Jorg Jaksche of Astana, as well. Neither is on their team's race roster, despite claims by Tinkoff that Hamilton is clear to race.
There are some other interesting plot points that actually involve racing: Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi are set to renew their rivalry, possibly challenged by a couple of transplants from US racing: Argentina's Juan José Haedo of CSC and New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile. Paolo Bettini wears number 1 in Basso's absence. Danilo Di Luca continues to try to evolve into a Grand Tour contender.
Three US riders are set to make the start: Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, Saunier Duval's Aaron Olson, and CSC's Dave Zabriskie.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2007, Giro d’Italia, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 23, 2006
Stage 19 ITT photo galleries
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 20, 2006
Stage 17: the other competitions
No question who today's “Most competitive rider” was: Landis rides with red race numbers tomorrow.
T-Mobile's passive day may have ridden Klöden out of the Tour, but they've moved clearly into the lead of the team competition, 8:41 ahead of CSC. Turns out CSC foolishly burned its riders out getting Sastre up the road to contest the overall race win.
Landis probably sewed up the King of the Mountains for Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen today. Flying Floyd took max points over most of the day's climbs, including double points on Joux-Plane, and moved up into 2nd in the competition. There are very few points left to contest.
Similarly, McEwen has pretty much sewed up the green jersey, leading by 45 points with 2 flattish road stages to go.
That leaves yellow, and it's hard to see any other way to cut it than that Floyd Landis is again the favorite to win the Tour de France on Sunday. He's certainly a 30-second better time trial rider than Pereiro, 18 seconds better than Sastre, and has a 2-minute cushion on everybody else.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack
July 19, 2006
Stage 16: The Battle of La Toussuire
With 27 kilometers to ride, Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen leads all riders, 4:40 ahead of Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer and Lampre's Tadej Valjavec, and 7:21 ahead of a very dangerous group that includes Floyd Landis and all his rivals.
Valjavec has gapped Leipheimer on the descent by a few seconds. Landis sits 4th wheel on the descent, while Matthias Kessler is having a hard time hanging on the back of the descending yellow jersey group.
Leipheimer has gone through the banner for 25 kilometers to ride. Maybe 3 minutes later, Rasmussen is through 20 kilometers to ride.
Kessler has lost sight of the leaders' group. Leipheimer catches Valjavec, and Rasmussen is back on the rise, as he starts up the 18-kilometer climb to the finish line atop La Toussuire.
Leipheimer won here during his Dauphiné Libéré win in June. I don't think he'll catch Rasmussen, though.
Moreau, Goubert, and Calzati are dropped with Sylvain Calzati as the yellow jersey group hits the climb. Merckx leads the group, with Landis sitting just behind. Boogerd sits next to Merckx.
Moreau has caught back on. Now Leipheimer attacks, dropping Valjavec. He's got 2:00 on the Landis group.
Kessler chased back on, but he's done; pulls to the side, and he's off the back. Schleck has come to the front, and sets pace as Merckx falls to the back. Fothen is also sitting on the back, with Cunego comfortably in the group. Merckx is gone, Patxi Vila is gone.
Rogers has gone to the front, with Boogerd, then Landis on his wheel. Cyril Dessel (!) is still in this group, while Christophe Moreau has struggled.
Leipheimer is 4:00 behind Rasmussen, as T-Mobile's Guerini falls off the leaders group.
There goes Menchov hard, with Rogers and Oscar Pereiro. Evans and Azevedo attack. Landis doesn't counter; he's marking Klöden.
Menchov, Rogers, Pereiro and Evans ride, just up the road from Klöden. Azevedo falls back into the Landis group, and once again T-Mobile is attacking their own rider. Boogerd is off the back; T-Mobile is going to destroy this break. Mazzoleni has towed Klöden and Landis back to Menchov, Rogers, Evans, and Pereiro.
Cunego sits at the back of the select group now.
That attack has put some time into Rasmussen; he's only 5:42 up the road now.
There goes Sastre; he's 2:17 back in the GC. Landis is cracked. He's off the back! There's 10 kilometers to ride; he's back with Azevedo, and he can't match Sastre's attack.
Landis is just dead. He's got to find somebody to work with. Zubeldia is off the back. Sastre is riding hard. Boogerd has passed Landis, who can't match him. They're running the team cars past Landis, who's suffering mightily at the back.
Sastre's already got 55 seconds on Landis; and 30 seconds on Kloden's group.
With about 7 kilometers to ride (4.5 miles) Leipheimer is 3:33 behind Rasmussen, with Sastre only 20 seconds behind Levi. Landis is only passing under the 10 kilometer banner. Marcus Fothen passes, along with Frank Schleck, and Landis can't get on their wheel.
Sastre catches Leipheimer. Leipheimer sits in, and there's a chance that this pair could catch Rasmussen. Not anymore: Sastre drops Leipheimer, while Rasmussen is starting to look like he's hurting with less than 5 kilometers to ride.
Rogers has dropped back to the rear of Klöden's group, where Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Oscar Pereiro, Cyril Dessel, and Michael Rogers are still sitting behind Eddy Mazzoleni.
Landis now looks like he's found another gear; he's turning the pedals again, but he's going to lose a lot of time today.
Menchov raises the pace, and Mazzoleni and Rogers are gone. The Pereiro/Klöden/Menchov group overtakes Leipheimer. Moreau and Caucchioli are gone, and Menchov is off the back. Dessel is gone, leaving only Klöden, Pereiro, and Evans at the front.
Rasmussen has 3 k to ride. Sastre is 2:36 behind. Pereiro has gone to the front, with Klöden sitting in, and Cadel Evans trying to hang on the back.
Moreau, Dessel, Caucchioli, Leipheimer and Menchov have formed a chase group. First Menchov, and now Leipheimer have been dropped. They'll ride alone to the finish.
At 5k to ride, Landis is 9:23 back of Rasmussen. Rasmussen passes under the flamme rouge, and his epic stage-long breakaway will pay off; he'll take the stage, and a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Sastre is within sight of Klöden, Pereiro and Evans, maybe 30 seconds up the road.
There's the finish line, and Rasmussen is almost in tears. He throws out his arms, and he's won the hardest day of the 2006 Tour.
Sastre is 2nd, at about 1:42. Pereiro is sprinting away from Evans and Klöden for 3rd through 5th. Pereiro moves back into the yellow jersey. Here comes Cyril Dessel at 2:37, alongside Christophe Moreau and Pietro Caucchioli. Leipheimer is 9th at about 3:23. Zubeldia leads Menchov around 3:47, with 2 others. Cunego comes in at 4:21; he's gained time on Fothen for the white jersey.
Merckx has gotten back up to Landis and is pacing him in.
Azevedo comes in at about 7:54. Here's Fothen with Schleck at about 8:36. Still awaiting Landis at the finish.
There's 10 minutes; he's through at about 10:03. It's a disaster for Landis, who will fall to about 8 minutes behind yellow jersey Pereiro.
July 18, 2006
Schleck conquers l'Alpe d'HuezCSC's Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck rode away from 2004 Giro champion Damiano Cunego near the top of the legendary Alpe d'Huez to take his first Tour de France stage win.
The 26-year-old Schleck got into a big break with teammates Jens Voigt and David Zabriskie, and each helped thin the herd by setting a wicked pace on the early slopes of the climb. Voigt chased back onto the break after a late crash, went right to the front, and still had the power to pace Sastre back into contention, cracking Cadel Evans, later on the climb.
Meanwhile, a few minutes behind them, the longed-for battle for the yellow jersey commenced, with Floyd Landis and Andreas Klöden riding more than a minute ahead of Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and reigning race leader Oscar Pereiro, and putting a few seconds into CSC's Carlos Sastre and Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer.Klöden and Landis each matched the other's moves, slowly whittling their group down, until they were the only GC contenders left, riding with three survivors of the early break. Each was helped by a teammate who got up the road in the break; Landis by Merckx, who paced the small group for more than a kilometer, and Klöden by Mazzoleni, who did likewise near the top of the mountain. When OLN's team questioned Phonak's performance, saying Landis was alone on the mountain, they apparently blotted Merckx completely out, despite a very strong performance by Merckx, who recently extended his contract through next year.
1) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, in 4:52:22
2) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at :11
3) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, Italy, at 1:10
4) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, same time
5) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, same time
6) Ruben Lobato, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 1:14
7) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, at 1:18
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, Italy, at 1:28
9) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:35
10) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 1:49
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:21
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:49
15) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, same time
16) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 69:00:05
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10
3) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:02
4) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:12
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 2:17
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:56
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 5:01
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 6:18
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 6:20
Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Stage 15: Up to Alpe d'Huez
Vila and de la Fuente are back with the lead group, which has encountered some rain on the way down to the village of Bourg d'Oisans. The gap to the peloton is 3:40.
Vila and Cunego lead de la Fuente and the other escapees. Voigt is off the back of that group. He might be setting up to join Sastre near the foot of the climb. Zabriskie moves up and leads the break. He's showing off more moves than this morning (at right).
Rabobank is working at the head of the field. Sergei Honchar has also been up front, and now Giuseppe Guerini, a former winner on l'Alpe d'Huez, has attacked from the yellow jersey's group.
Roads have dried out, and it turns out Voigt crashed. He's back with the leaders now. It's a 3:13 gap with 15 kilometers to ride, and falling fast. The leaders are getting ready to climb.
They've hit the climb, and Zabriskie is gone, Arrietta is gone. Chavanel, Garzelli, and Hincapie are at the back of the lead group, with Cunego and Lobato leading. De la Fuente has come off. There are 5 leaders: Schleck, Lobato, Cunego, Mazzoleni, and David Arroyo. Schleck leads, now Cunego comes around. Arroyo is falling away.
Back in the GC group, there are 5 men: Landis loses his last teammate, and it's 4: Klöden, Rogers, Landis, Cadel Evans. Menchov isn't here, Pereiro isn't here.
Up front Schleck and Cunego have ridden away; Mazzoleni and Logato have them in sight.
Landis sits third wheel, and Menchov is back! Three other riders are 15 meters back, then there's a big gap back. Sinkewitz is well down in the field. Boogerd is just behind the Landis group, and probably Rasmussen with him.
The Landis group isn't pushing the pace too hard, and may let Boogerd, Rasmussen and Leipheimer sneak back on. Klöden has pressed the pace, and Rogers is gone, and Menchov is gapped. Azevedo rides with Pereiro 25 seconds or less back. Klöden leads Landis, then Evans, with Menchov off the back, but likely to have Boogerd and Rasmussen's help momentarily.
Pereiro is fighting, riding his own pace. He's got Chris Horner on his wheel. Menchov is 100 meters or so behind the leaders. Landis looks comfortable.
Voigt fights to bring Sastre back up onto Menchov's wheel. Voigt and Sastre push the pace, and Menchov is falling behind Leipheimer, Voigt and Sastre. Voigt = major badass. With 10 kilometers to ride Schleck and Cunego have 2:50 on the Landis trio. Eddy Mazzoleni is climbing back up to the leaders.
Landis takes the opportunity to gap Evans and Klöden, but Klöden goes right back up to him, but Evans can't. He's falling back! He's caught by Sastre and Leipheimer, who pass him easily.
Mazzoleni has caught Cunego and Schleck.
Landis and Klöden catch Vila, and now Euskaltel's Inigo Landaluze. Leipheimer and Sastre are closing down Landis and Klöden. The gap is no more than 5 seconds. The leaders lead Landis and Klöden by 2:35 with 7.2 kilometers to race.
Landis is about to get some help: Leipheimer and Sastre have coupled up with Landis and Klöden, and they catch Merckx, and Landis attacks across to his teammate, takes one of Axel's bottles. and Klöden and Sastre match the attack, but Leipheimer is gapped.
July 13, 2006
Contenders emerge: Menchov the stage, Landis in yellow
Floyd Landis shadowed every move, riding the long and strong pulls by Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen and Michael Boogerd into the race lead. Denis Menchov made their efforts pay, taking the stage win, his first. Levi Leipheimer took 2nd on the day, ahead of Landis.
Landis becomes the 5th American in yellow, riding a steady hard tempo, rather than taking an explosive stage win. Landis admitted that he would have preferred to take the jersey later in the game, but as he said, you can't turn down a chance at the yellow jersey.
T-Mobile showed its strength early, cracking the field over the Col du Portillon, but team leaders Andreas Klöden and Michael Rogers were dropped on the day's final climb. Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans and CSC's Carlos Sastre did better, only faltering in the last kilometers, and finishing only 17 seconds behind Menchov.
Menchov, at 1:01, emerges as the biggest threat to a Landis overall victory. Evans sits at 1:17 and Sastre at 1:52. Klöden, Rogers, and everybody else are more than 2 minutes down, with a long time trial scheduled for Stage 19.
Michael Boogerd was incredible at the front of the select group, but the day's revelation was Marcus Fothen, who controls the white jersey competition, 12 minutes ahead of Damiano Cunego, and sits 10th overall.
It looks like Discovery Channel may have no leaders, not four as previously suggested. Jose Azevedo was the best placed Disco rider, 4:10 back, while Popovych was at 6:25, Hincapie at 21:23, and Savoldelli at 23:04.
T-Mobile takes the team lead back from AG2R.
Dessel goes from two jerseys to none, as Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente takes over the King of the Mountains lead, with 80 points to Dessel's 62, Wegmann's 61, and Rasmussen's 49.
1) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, in 6:06:25
2) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, same time
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, s.t.
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at :17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :17
6) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, 1:04
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, Spain, at 1:31
8) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 1:31
9) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:31
10) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 2:29
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, 49:18:07
2) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at :08
3) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 1:01
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:52
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:22
8) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Span, at 3:33
9) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:44
10) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 4:17
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)
Stage 11 final climbs
De la Fuente and Wegmann ride together almost 3:30 ahead of the pack, down to around 40 riders.
AG2R still has 6 riders up front.
Wegmann is gapped; De la Fuente is 25 seconds ahead of him already. AG2R has been replaced at the front by T-Mobile. Four T-Mobiles lead. Moncoutié is off the back, Voeckler is gone. Sastre's here, Boogerd is here, Landis, Cadel Evans. Guerini is off the back, Calzati is cooked. Popovych, Mercado and Vande Velde are at the back, not yet dropped but likely to be soon.
Moreau, Landis, Kessler, Rogers, Boogerd, Azevedo, Arroyo, Sastre, Schleck, Cunego, Zubeldia, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Menchov all are together at the front. Fothen, Totschnig, Hincapie are at the back of the lead group.
Wegmann is caught and instantly dropped. Cunego is falling off the pace.
Hincapie is falling off the lead group, behind Mercado. Kessler is done. He's barely moving up the Portillon. Parra is dropped from the front group. Only one T-Mobile at the front, and it's Rogers, as Klöden is back a few places. Simoni is at the back of the lead group. I thought he was dropped, but he's still there.
Now Boogerd and Rasmussen lead the field, ahead of Leipheimer, Landis, and Klöden. De la Fuente is still alone 2 minutes up the road. He's 1 kilometer from the summit, where the race will pass into Spain.
De la Fuente cements his King of the Mountains lead atop the Portillon. Rasmussen is 2nd over the top, ahead of Boogerd and Landis. Carlos Sastre falls just over the top of the climb. He's chasing, and should catch up before the climb to the Pla de Beret.
Hincapie is reportedly 5 minutes down, behind Dessel's group, which is 3:40 behind Landis and Klöden, who are 1:40 behind De la Fuente.
David Arroyo and Damiano Cunego have attacked from the Landis group. Landis is near the back of the 14 leaders. They have about 20 miles to ride. Menchov and Rasmussen lead Landis, Leipheimer, Boogerd, Fothen, Evans, Sastre, Schleck, Zubeldia, Simoni, Totschnig, Moreau, Klöden, Rogers, Parra, and Azevedo. Arroyo and Cunego are 33 seconds behind De la Fuente and 37 seconds ahead of the Landis group.
De la Fuente is caught, and tucks in behind Arroyo. They're 40 seconds ahead of the Landis group, which is 1:05 up on the yellow jersey group. Now Cunego sits up, and the trio is captured, leaving 21 riders on the lower slopes of the Pla de Beret with a shot at the stage win.
The three Rabobanks lead the select group, with Simoni just behind. Cunego is dropped with 20 kilometers/12.5 miles to ride.
The leaders are onto the final climb, with 15 kilometers to go. This one's not as steep as the day's previous climbs, but plenty long.
The lead group is splitting up: Michael Rogers is gone, Azevedo's gone, Fothen, Simoni is gone, Parra is gone. Who is doing this damage? It's Michael Boogerd driving the pack. Frank Schleck is gone. Zubeldia is 8 meters off the back. Rasmussen is gone.
Still Boogerd driving, and Moreau is gone.
It's Sastre, Klöden, Landis, Boogerd, Menchov, Evans, Leipheimer with less than 10 kilometers to go. Boogerd is still at the front.
Boogerd is finished, and Menchov has another gear. He goes and Klöden is gone. Landis, Sastre, Leipheimer and Evans match him. Leipheimer tries an attack, but they won't let him go.
There are some games among the five leaders, and Landis has moved to the front. Now he pulls off, and looks for somebody to set the pace. Dessel the yellow jersey is less than 3:30 behind. He may hold the yellow jersey. The top is only 4 kilometers away. Boogerd and Klöden are less than 20 seconds behind.
There's one kilometer to the top, and the yellow jersey is now more than 4 minutes behind. Klöden is now 45 seconds back.
Leipheimer goes full steam, Menchov matches him, and Landis. Sastre and Evans can't respond. Menchov attacks as they pull Leipheimer back, and Landis goes with him. Leipheimer is third wheel, now he's dropped by 5 meters. Menchov and Landis ride side by side. Now there are three. But they've slowed, and Sastre may get back up there.
Menchov leads over the top. It's down to Landis, Menchov and Leipheimer with 2 kilometers to the finish. Leiphiemer comes around, it's going to be a finishing sprint, and Menchov leads in the two Americans. Menchov takes the stage win, with Leipheimer 2nd and Landis 3rd. Evans maybe 17 seconds back, with Sastre. Boogerd is 6th at 1:05. Zubeldia, Schleck, and Klöden at 1:35. Landis gets a time bonus for 3rd, and Dessel is fighting to the line.
Moreau finishes at 2:29. Dessel is over the summit. Totschnig, Fothen, Parra, Rogers at around 3:10. Dessel's got his head down with 1k to ride. Landis is going to be very close to the yellow jersey.
Azevedo, Simoni, and Arroyo finish at 4:10 or so. Dessel will finish next, with Caucchioli and Cunego. Floyd Landis will pull on the leader's jersey as Dessel comes in at 4:45!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack
July 08, 2006
So who are the team leaders?
Today was supposed to be the day when we found out the GC men for the teams with podium dreams. A few things have definitely cleared up.
There are a few guys who stepped up and showed they're the leaders of their teams, with hopes for high overall places: Landis is the man for Phonak, as expected; Cadel Evans for Davitamon-Lotto, Denis Menchov for Rabobank, Vladimir Karpets for Caisse d'Epargne, Christophe Moreau at AG2R. All finished within about 2 minutes of the Ukraine Train today.
CSC is back to one leader: Carlos Sastre. It was funny the first week of the Tour to read, within 24 hours, a US source touting Bobby Julich as the rider who would have to step up to fill Basso's shoes, Eurosport Germany referring to “new CSC leader Jens Voigt,” and to read that the team itself voted Sastre its captain. Sastre is the best rider of those three, and Julich's crash and Voigt's easy ride today reinforce that.
A bunch of other things are way foggier than they were yesterday.
Gerolsteiner claimed to have two co-captains, Totschnig and Leipheimer, coming into the Tour. After today, they're both 4+ minutes down, and Leipheimer may not be generating much power. They've got Marcus Fothen, who sits 5th, 1:50 back, and finished 12th in the 2005 Giro, but he's only 25 years old. He could compete for the young rider's jersey.
T-Mobile opened a big old powerful Pandora's Box full of superstrong riders. Their slowest rider today finished 14 seconds faster than Britain's TT specialist David Millar. They've got the 4 potential leaders we all thought Discovery Channel might show: Honchar, Michael Rogers, Andreas Klöden, and Patrik Sinkewitz, and I could make a case for any of them. Chris Carmichael tips Klöden, and I could see that: he's German and he's been through this before.
And what about Discovery Channel? Savoldelli has 20 seconds on George Hincapie, who had suggested the road would choose the team's leader through the first week and today's ITT. I've never seen Hincapie as crestfallen as on OLN's prime-time coverage; he really looked flattened. Popovych and Azevedo were even farther back today; I say Savoldelli's the horse to back. Marcello at VeloChimp.com agrees.
There are also a number of team leaders who are really hard to take seriously now, even with mad climbing skills: Gilberto Simoni is 5:34 down, Thomas Voeckler 5:35, Iban Mayo sits 6:11 down, and Damiano Cunego is at 7:06. David Moncoutié? 12:15 down.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Georg Totschnig, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Sergei Honchar, Thomas Voeckler, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 28, 2006
Commesso confirmed for Tour
There had been some doubt that Salvatore Commesso could take the start Saturday, after a collar-bone fracture and dislocated shoulder in training. Team doctors say he's all right, so the team is as originally announced on the Tour's provisional start list.
- Lampre-Fondital 2006 Tour de France squad:
- Alessandro Ballan
- Daniele Bennati
- Marzio Bruseghin
- Damiano Cunego
- Daniele Righi
- Paolo Tiralongo
- Tadej Valjavec
- Patxi Vila Errandonea
May 27, 2006
Basso wins Stage 20, Giro
Ivan Basso flashed a picture of his newborn son Santiago as he crossed the finish line with a Stage 20 victory today, leading Gilberto Simoni across the line by 1:18.
Basso again showed an extra gear that no one else could match. He and Simoni shed the field to top the Mortirolo together, and stayed away together until the final 2 kilometers of the Passo Aprica, when Basso just flew away from the 2-time Giro champion.
At 2:51, Damiano Cunego led in José Enrique Gutierrez, who cemented his 2nd place overall. Defending champ Paolo Savoldelli could manage no better than 5th, at 6:03, and that moves Cunego into 4th overall, dropping Savoldelli into 5th.
Barring a lightning strike, Basso will win his first Giro d'Italia championship tomorrow in Milan.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 27, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 26, 2006
Garate takes Stage 19, new papa Basso comfortable in Giro lead
On paper, Stage 17 was this year's Giro queen stage. But when weather and team dissent led organizers to behead the queen, chopping off the top of the stage, today's stage stepped in. With four big climbs in 224 kilometers, it was the best chance for somebody to try to put the hurt on king-to-be Ivan Basso, celebrating the birth this morning of his second child, a son.
A solid early break got 5 minutes on the field over the second major climb. The highest placed rider was Danilo Di Luca, 12th at 18:27, and some other familiar names were along, including Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt of CSC, Paolo Bettini and Juan Manuel Garate of QuickStep, Johan Tschopp of Phonak, and Francisco Vila of Lampre.
On the Pordoi, Bettini and Julich were quickly off the back, and Ceramica Panaria's Fortunato Baliani led the group over the top, nearly 7 minutes ahead of the pack, to take the lead in the climber's jersey competition.
At the foot of the last climb, Di Luca, Garate, and Voigt were riding with Tschopp, Lampre's Evgeni Petrov, Tadej Valjavec, and Francisco Vila, Ceramica Panaria's Baliani, Laverde, and Emanuele Sella, Patrice Halgand, and Ivan Parra.
Valjavec launched the first attack, joined quickly by Voigt. Parra and Villa tried to bridge, but never quite made it. Parra fell off Villa's pace, to be replaced by Garate, and that pair caught Valjavec and Voigt. Valjavec quickly attacked again, and was countered by Garate, who gapped the trio, only to have Voigt (!) jump out and catch his wheel.
Back in the field, Piepoli turned on the burners, and Simoni, Cunego, and Basso were the only ones who could match him. Once again, Savoldelli was quickly off the back, and once again Discovery's Tom Danielson led him in. Gutierrez drifted off the leaders' group, and Simoni smelled 2nd on the GC, and attacked. Basso and Cunego countered, but Cunego couldn't match the pace, and yo-yoed desperately on and off Basso and Simoni, slowly drifting back, but passing break survivors along the way.
In the last few kilometers, everyone had to be thinking back to the 2005 Tour, and George Hincapie's win over Phonak's Oscar Pereiro after Pereiro had set pace all day. Today, we had a big generalist/superdomestique, Voigt, teammate of the overall race leader, riding alongside a climber, Garate, with an uphill finish, and again, it looked like the big man, Voigt, had played all his cards right for the win. Voigt patiently sat in, and then, with less than 300 meters to go, he patted Garate on the back, gave him a little push, and sat up.
Garate couldn't believe his luck; he had tried to ride Voigt off his wheel unsuccessfully, and now, he was handing Garate the win? The little man, riding in his Spanish champion's jersey, put a safe cushion behind him, still glancing nervously several times back at Voigt, then with 50 meters to ride, he pointed back, acknowledging the gift, zipped his jersey, and took the stage.
Back with the GC riders, the question was, where's Gutierrez? Simoni looked a little like Gibos past, and he and Basso led in all riders not involved in the break, finishing 7th and 8th at 2:15. Behind them, Cunego and Gutierrez, both of whom had looked near popping, were clawing for every inch, and Gutierrez came 11th at 2:39 and Cunego 12th at 2:40. Savoldelli, Piepoli, Baliani, Danielson, Sandy Casar and Victor Hugo Peña finished together at 4:16, while Pellizotti came in at 5:11.
On GC, that means Basso leads by 6:07, with Gutierrez in 2nd, 4:27 clear of Simoni, who now has a 2:25 cushion on Savoldelli. Pellizotti falls from 5th to 6th, while Cunego pole-vaults from 8th to 5th, now 15:13 back.
One notable DNF, as Jan Ullrich drops out, complaining of back pain.
Five riders were still competing in Liberty Seguros jerseys, and the team ownership promises the team will continue through the end of the season, even without a large portion of the 8 million euros Liberty was kicking in.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 24, 2006
Piepoli pips Basso on shortened Stage 17
Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli took another stage win today, as organizers chopped off the brutal final 5.5-kilometer final climb to Plan de Corones in recognition of the nasty weather. Race temperatures were below freezing on the mountaintops, and a steady rain fell for much of the stage.
Piepoli sheltered team leader Gilberto Simoni until late on the climb, then rode across when the leading pack broke into two 4-man bunches, joining CSC's Ivan Basso, Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez, and Ceramica Panaria's Julio Perez. Gutierrez saw Simoni was isolated and pushed the pace, but in the last kilometer, he gave way to the Italian duo, and Piepoli showed a little in the last few meters to discourage Basso from contesting the finish.
The stage conclusion pretty much mirrored what we've been seeing throughout the Giro: Basso and Piepoli are the strongest climbers in the Giro, and Gutierrez of Phonak is a tick behind. Double Giro winner Simoni of Saunier Duval-Prodir just doesn't have the legs to contend in the overall, but he did back onto the podium today, with Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli losing 1:29 and third place overall, and being shepherded in by (major correction: provisional results had Tom Danielson) teammate José Rubiera in 16th place. Savoldelli told CyclingNews:
“Well my Giro is getting worse day by day,” lamented Savoldelli. “I still have motivation, but I'm not competitive. But I'm hanging tough and my team is working really well. Because of the rain, I'm feeling better today from my allergies, but I'm still not competitive. I want to do more but I just don't have the legs.”
Damiano Cunego climbed much of the final ascent on his own, down around 9th place, then caught and passed Simoni in the day's last meters, to finish 7th on the day at :41, improving to 5th overall.
Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti managed to bridge to Basso in the last couple of kilometers, but was dropped along with Gutierrez when Piepoli and Basso smelled the finish line. Look for more from him tomorrow, as the Giro travels to his home region.
Ullrich watchers: He was 120th, at 11:11.
1) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval-Prodir, in 3:21:26
2) Ivan Basso, Team CSC, same time
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :15
4) Franco Pellizotti, Liquigas, at :19
5) Julio Perez, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at :28
6) John Gadret, AG2R, at :37
7) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, at :41
8) Gilberto Simoni, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :48
9) Sergio Ghisalberti, Team Milram, at :58
10) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, same time
Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Filippo Pozzato, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 20, 2006
Piepoli takes Stage 13; Basso still the man
Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli descended faster than a Falco Saturday to win Stage 13 at the Giro. Piepoli, a climbing specialist, took his first Giro win.
Ivan Basso once again showed he's the class of the contenders, blowing up the field on the ascent of Colle San Carlo, and actually losing time on the closing descent to La Thuile, as he took it gently on slick roads.
Piepoli, who spent last Sunday's climb to the Maielletta shepherding team leader Gilberto Simoni, was given free rein Saturday, and made the most of it. He crested the last climb with Basso, then put 44 seconds into CSC's leader on the descent.
José Enrique Gutierrez of Phonak and Simoni, were 3rd and 4th on the day, at 1:19 to Piepoli, losing 35 seconds to Basso. They topped the climb at 1:24, but pulled Basso back somewhat on the descent. Damiano Cunego, who looked like the most promising contender on last Sunday, rode in with Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, 2:36 back of Piepoli.
Basso just keeps building his cushion on the GC, now leading Gutierrez by 3:27, Savoldelli by 5:30, Wladimir Belli by 7:35, and Simoni by 8:00. Danielson's 7th, at 8:35, Cunego's 8th, at 8:58, and Di Luca is 9th at 10:36.
Selle Italia's José Rujano, who animated last year's Giro, abandoned on the road, possibly owing to his strange contract, which has him moving to Quick Step June 1. Thomas Vaitkus, who won Stage 9, also abandoned on the road. T-Mobile's Michael Rogers didn't start because of a toothache, while triple stage winner Robbie McEwen didn't start, complaining of a minor illness.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 20, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 18, 2006
Ullrich rocks Giro, takes TT
Looks like Jan Ullrich is TT-fit for the Tour de France.
T-Mobile's 1997 Tour champion scorched the 50-kilometer (31 mile) time trial course today, finishing in 58:48, for his first race victory since last year's Tour of Germany.
Ullrich showed he's got the numerator down on the power-to-weight ratio, and the upcoming mountains should help him shrink his, um, denominator.
"To beat Ivan Basso is going to give me a huge morale boost. I knew right from the start that I was going to have a good day.
Giro leader Ivan Basso of CSC was 2nd on the day in 59:16, 28 seconds back, but ahead of Italian TT champion Marco Pinotti, at 1:01, T-Mobile's Sergei Honchar, at 1:09, and Paolo Savoldelli, at 1:19. Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez rounds out the top 6 at 1:42.
Damiano Cunego, who was best able to hang with Basso on Sunday's first big climb of the Giro, lost 5:06 (!) to Basso in today's TT, and Gilberto Simoni and Danilo Di Luca did only slightly better.
In the GC, Gutierrez remains in 2nd, now 2:48 back, while Savoldelli slips to 3rd behind Honchar at 3:24 and 3:26. Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson is now 5th overall, 5:38 back, with Cunego 8th at 6:54, Simoni 9th at 7:13, and Di Luca 10th at 7:33.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 18, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
May 14, 2006
Basso ascendant: Takes Stage 8, Giro lead
Basso rode alongside the other race favorites on the day's final climb, and one by one, they cracked. Race leader Sergei Honchar was among the first, but surprisingly, Discovery Channel's defending Giro champ Paolo Savoldelli also quickly went off the back, as did 2005 Giro revelation José Rujano.
Hometown hero Danilo Di Luca was next, yoyoing off a small group, while Basso sat spinning comfortably on the wheel of teammate Carlos Sastre. Like Basso, Gilberto Simoni was riding with a teammate, Leonardo Piepoli, and also in the leading group were Damiano Cunego, Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Luca Mazzanti and Giampaolo Caruso.
Rujano bravely fought back onto the select group, and launched the first attack. Sastre let him dangle off the front like a rabbit leading the greyhounds, and Rujano was recaptured within a kilometer or so. Next to go was Cunego with 4k to the summit, and he went hard. Only Basso could hold his wheel, but he did so with seeming ease, and after perhaps 150 meters, Basso soloed off the front.
Cunego couldn't respond, and 2-time Giro champ Simoni watched Basso ride away, seemingly content to ease in, riding on Piepoli's wheel. This was a stage where Simoni needed to regain some of the time lost in Saunier Duval-Prodir's team time trial, but instead, he lost another 1:15. That's got to depress his team, which spent much of today controlling the race to give Simoni a chance at the stage and some GC. Simoni after the stage:
"When Cunego went I was already at my limit, so I couldn't respond," said the two-time Giro champion. "Basso, on the contrary, had no fear. This was impressive. He did a great climb today. He's going to be difficult to beat, because he also has a very strong team."
Di Luca was trapped in no-man's land, behind the leaders, but ahead of the group that formed around Savoldelli and Andrea Noè.
When the dust cleared, Basso had won the stage, and sits 1:34 up on Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez in the GC. Savoldelli was shepherded to the line by Tom Danielson, but lost 2:20 on the day. Il Falco's Giro may not be over, but he's going to need some extraordinary performances and extraordinary luck to win it - he's 2:35 back, with 2 weeks featuring loads more of the same to go.
Savoldelli quoted in CyclingNews:
"The Giro is not finished here...I knew Basso was strongest and I knew that I wasn't on a good day right away when the climb started. I went into the red zone right away and couldn't hold the pace. Thanks to Danielson, I was able to limit the loss. But the next step is the TT and then, the last week is so hard. But to lose 2'35 on the first climb, that's a lot... it should be 1'20". But I'm still optimistic."
Basso's ride was just stunning. He looked so comfortable, turning an easy rhythm and dropping everyone in sight, and credit for his freshness has to go largely to Carlos Sastre, who did a monster turn setting tempo on the final climb to Maielletta.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 14, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 11, 2006
CSC takes Giro TTT; T-Mobile's Honchar new race leader
Team CSC turned on the afterburners today to scorch the Giro d'Italia's team time trial. One of my favorite cycling stages, the TTT is a combination of power and cooperation, with teams riding in tight rotating pacelines, varying the workload so their strongest TT men spend more time pulling, and lead-group riders are awarded the time of the 5th member of their team to cross the line. The course today was a pure power course, flat to gently descending, with few turns and wide roads.
Most of the early teams came in around 38 minutes, but CSC, starting 5th from last, came in at 36:56. Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile squad, riding here in support of Ukraine's Sergei Honchar, departed 5 minutes after CSC, and four of their riders finished in 36:55, but Matthias Kessler was gapped at the finish, and came in 2 seconds back to give T-Mobile a 2nd place in (correction) 36:57.
Then came Team Discovery, which had dominated the TTT of recent Tours de France. Without Armstrong and Hincapie, this was a different Discovery, and they finished at the front of the 2nd tier, 39 seconds behind CSC, which held up for 3rd on the day. They were already 24 seconds down at the 10 km (6-mile) mark, and didn't put on the late-stage rush they've shown in the Tour.
Gerolsteiner, riding last with race leader Stefan Schumacher, could manage only 6th, at 1:03.
T-Mobile can take solace in the race leadership, as Sergei Honchar now leads CSC's Jens Voigt and T-Mobile teammate Michael Rogers by 6 seconds. Among GC threats, Basso is 4th at 11 seconds, Savoldelli drops to 5th at 20 seconds, Danilo Di Luca is 12th at 44 seconds. Damiano Cunego's Lampre squad was 1:04 back, and Gilberto Simoni's squad was 1:26 behind CSC. I'll post their new placings when I see them.
The day's big winner has to be Ivan Basso. He's picked up 39 seconds or more against the real Giro threats (sorry, Sergei), and he's no slouch in the mountains. Di Luca, too has to be pleased, as Liquigas limited the damage, finishing 4th on the day at 42 seconds.
The big loser is Gilberto Simoni, who just took 90 seconds of damage in a 40 minute ride.
This was the first TTT in the Giro in 17 years, and there will be none in the Tour de France this year. Organizers had watered down the TTT the last few years to help the Euskaltel-Euskadis of the world, but it's a shame to see it eliminated. The TTT is a very photogenic (and telegenic) event, and it emphasizes the team aspect of cycling in a very visible way.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Michael Rogers, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)
May 08, 2006
Schumacher takes classics-style Giro stage, Petacchi out
Schumacher wisely marked QuickStep's Paolo Bettini, who dropped the field to try to reel in Discovery Channel's Jose-Luis Rubiera, but couldn't close the gap. At about 800 meters to ride, Schumacher squashed the Cricket, kung-fued Chechu, and took the biggest win of his career. Chechu was 2 seconds back for 2nd, and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin led in the field 6 seconds back.
Factoring in his margin of victory over Paolo Savoldelli, and the 20-second stage win bonus, Schumacher finds himself in the race leader's jersey, 13 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, 23 seconds ahead of Davide Rebellin.
Despite losing the race lead, Paolo Savoldelli gained time on most of his overall GC rivals, and now leads Sergei Honchar by 18 seconds, Danilo Di Luca by :23, Ivan Basso by :28, Damiano Cunego by :30, and Gilberto Simoni by :49.
Team Milram sprint superstar Alessandro Petacchi got tangled up in a late race pileup, needed medical attention, and came in 14:38 back. After the race, he abandoned, with a fractured kneecap. He's returning to Italy for surgery, and may not be able to start the Tour. Petacchi has 19 stage wins in the last 3 Giros.
Tomorrow's the Giro's last day in Belgium, with a rest day Wednesday and the team time trial from Piacenza to Cremona on Thursday.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
May 07, 2006
Giro Stage 1 photo galleries posted
(l-r) Simoni, Cunego, Basso, Savoldelli
José Enrique Gutierrez, Danilo Di Luca
Ullrich looks big.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
May 06, 2006
Savoldelli takes Giro Stage 1
Defending Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel took today's short time trial in Belgium.
Savoldelli was the only rider to covered the 6.2 kilometers in less than 8 minutes. His 7:50 was 11 seconds faster than Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, and 13 seconds ahead of José Enrigue Gutierrez of Phonak.
Among other favorites, Danilo Di Luca was 10th on the day, at 19 seconds, Ivan Basso was at 23 seconds, Cunego was at :25, and Gilberto Simoni was at :26.
Paolo Bettini, who had hoped to wear the race leader's jersey after Stage 3, came in at 8:32, so he'll need to take 42 seconds out of Savoldelli.
Among Americans, Bobby Julich finished in 8:35, Tom Danielson was in at 8:11, Jason McCartney at 8:21, Phonak's Patrick McCarty, starting his first grand tour, was 93rd in 8:44, and Saunier-Duval's Aaron Olson, likewise starting his first GT, finished in 9:07.
Jan Ullrich finished in 8:39 for 80th on the day.
1) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, in 7:50
2) Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at :11
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :13
4) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
5) Serguei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :15
6) Francisco Perez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, at :16
7 José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, same time
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :17
9) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, at :18
10) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, at :19
Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Giro visiting extreme northern Italy
The Giro d'Italia kicks off today, in Seraing, Belgium.
Today's stage is another of those “non-prologue prologues,” 6.2 kilometers (or about 4 miles) in length, with a healthy climb in the middle.
The official Giro page calls this year's race the five-star edition, with defending champion Paolo Savoldelli, Ivan Basso, 2004 winner Damiano Cunego, 2003 winner Gilberto Simoni, and Danilo Di Luca the five favorites.
We'll also get to watch Jan Ullrich riding into condition, facing a very difficult final week of racing.
To follow today's stage, check out:
VeloNews.com | Giro Race Viewer (having problems at 10:40 Eastern)
I'll be posting a Giro roundup later today.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
June 27, 2005
Surprise! Simoni will miss Tour
When Lampre Tour hope Damiano Cunego was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, fans could take comfort in the team's other leader, Gilberto Simoni, who won the 2003 Giro d'Italia, and was 2nd this year. Simoni is rumored to be leaving the team at the end of the year (his contract's up).
Simoni talked a great deal of trash before the 2003 Tour, and then lost time by the bucketful, salvaging his Tour with a brilliant victory in Stage 14. Today, Lampre released their Tour roster, and Simoni is nowhere to be seen:
Seems like Simoni would have had at least as good a shot at a stage win as any of these guys...
Update: This update by Juan Fuentes at BiciRace.com might help explain it: After explaining that Patxi Villa will take his slot on the Tour squad, he notes:
They want me to save energy for the Vuelta because we will have to do a great second half of the year to get some results.
They may want to save Simoni for a run at the Vuelta.
Update (6/28): BBC Sport says Simoni is suffering from "muscle fatigue."
June 21, 2005
Cunego to miss Tour
Lampre's Damiano Cunego, the 2004 Giro d'Italia winner and the presumed future of the squad, will miss the Tour de France as he continues to battle Epstein-Barr virus.
His absence should give Gilberto Simoni a last hurrah as the leader of the squad. The two have bickered over their roles, and Simoni is rumored to be headed to a different team next year.
June 09, 2005
Cunego diagnosed with Epstein-Barr, likely to miss Tour
Last year's Giro d'Italia winner, Damiano Cunego of Lampre, didn't come near repeating, though he did contribute to teammate Gilberto Simoni's 2nd overall at the 2005 race.
Afterward, he underwent medical tests that diagnosed Epstein-Barr virus that's likely to keep him out of this year's Tour de France.
May 22, 2005
Stage 14 photo galleries
More Stage 14 photos @ GrahamWatson.com
Cunego & Bye, bye, Basso from cyclingnews.com
May 11, 2005
Start the Petacchi watch as Di Luca breaks the sprinters
Tell me the truth: Did anyone out there believe we would be waiting for Stage 4 of the Giro with no wins by Alessandro Petacchi? How about that his best result so far would be in the prologue (he was also 3rd in Stage 1, but 3 seconds back)?
Today, Danilo Di Luca and his Liquigas-Bianchi squad helped make a break with all of the GC hopefuls as the race thundered up a climb at Santa Tecla, about 10 kilometers from the finish. Petacchi found himself on the wrong side of the break, along with race leader Robbie McEwen, trailing the 50 riders in the break by about a minute.
At the line, Di Luca nipped Lampre's Damiano Cunego and Liquigas teammate Stefano Garzelli for the win. Paolo Bettini was 6th on the day, and moves back into overall race leadership, but Di Luca looms 9 seconds back, and Cunego, the defending Giro champ is 3rd at 17 seconds.
Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli sits 5th overall, just 26 seconds behind Bettini, with Gilberto Simoni (Cunego's teammate/rival) 9th at 33 seconds. Ivan Basso is 14th at 36 seconds.
Di Luca has had a fantastic season, winning Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne, and the Tour of the Basque Country, and currently leading the ProTour competition. It was Di Luca's 3rd career win at the Giro, and first since 2001. After the stage, he said he would be gunning for race leadership Thursday.
The field of sprinters was thinned out a bit on Wednesday when Davitamon-Lotto's Tom Steels abandoned, citing stomach problems.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 09, 2005
It's going to be an interesting Giro
QuickStep's Paolo Bettini found Stage 1 of the 2005 Giro suited him perfectly.
Bettini made a move in the last kilometer of the race, where the course came to a short steep uphill. It was a trademark Bettini move, and Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo squad wasn't able to respond in time to reel in the 2004 Olympic road race champion.
Coming up to the line, Lotto's sprint specialist Robbie McEwen showed he's back in terrific form after an early-season flu led him to skip the spring classics, as he put a second into Petacchi and took 2nd on the day. Petacchi, who took 9 stages of last year's Giro, was 3rd, followed by Baden Cooke and Manuele Mori.
The full top 10:
1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 5:09:32
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :03
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :04
4) Baden Cooke, Francaise Des Jeux, at :04
5) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :04
6) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile Team, at :04
7) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, at :04
8) Mirko Celestino, Domina Vacanze, at :04
9) Damiano Cunego, Lampre-Caffita, at :04
10) Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano, Davitamon-Lotto, at :04
It was Bettini's first-ever Giro win, and he'll wear the maglia rosa for the first time.
Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished with the leaders, and sits 4th overall, 22 seconds behind Bettini, and 3 seconds ahead of Lampre's Cunego. Ivan Basso finished at 9 seconds today.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 9, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Baden Cooke, Damiano Cunego, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 05, 2005
A look at Giro rosters
Time for the annual Gilberto Simoni drama-fest, as he and Cunego slug it out for the overall, and leadership of their own Lampre team, all over Italy. Time, of course, for the Giro d'Italia.
Of course, the last few Giros have also seen the emergence of Alessandro Petacchi, whose Fassa Bortolo blue train has placed him perfectly for so many sprint wins. Potentially adding to the sprint drama this year is T-Mobile's Erik Zabel, who believes that some of this year's stages will be hard enough to neutralize Petacchi, and give Zabel (and teammate Olaf Pollack) a shot at a stage win in a select group.
Over at CSC, Ivan Basso has said he's riding for the Giro-Tour double, and raring to go. CSC will be riding two Americans, Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde, in Basso's support.
Discovery Channel will finally get a real look at new team member Paolo Savoldelli, who won the 2002 Giro, and has a reputation for finishing long tours strongly. Tony Cruz, Tom Danielson, Jason McCartney and Michael Barry are coming off April's Tour de Georgia.
The Daily Peloton has individual pieces on each squad, looking at who's got a shot at the overall, who will be fishing for stages, and who's just killing time.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 5, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Tom Danielson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 06, 2005
Liberty Seguros takes stage and overall at Vuelta a Murcia
Allen Davis took the last stage of the Tour of Murcia, with his teammate Koldo Gil taking the overall.
Davis won two of five stages on the Tour, and Gil took the overall lead on Saturday's stage, when he and Pedro Arreitunandia rode away from Damiano Cunego on the day's last climb.
Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer was 6th overall.
January 22, 2005
2005 Giro route announced
The route for this year's Giro d'Italia was unveiled on Saturday.
Of note is the "prologue" May 7th: It's 1.15 km long. That's not a misprint -- the Giro will kick off with every rider giving his all for 2 minutes.
Last year's winner Damiano Cunego, whose Saeco team has morphed into Lampre-Caffitta, told Yahoo! Sport he thinks the profile is well-suited to a title defense:
"I can only say that on paper I like this Giro, but I will need to go and have a look at it to get a better idea," said the 23-year-old. "It seems to me like the tour will suit the climbers, but we'll see."
There are 5 big climber's stages, 2 ITTs (plus the prologue), and 10 sprinter-friendly stages already marked on Alessandro Petacchi's calendar.
Over at Cyclingnews, Tim Maloney tips a battle between Cunego and CSC's Ivan Basso, who hasn't ridden the Giro in 5 years. Maloney gives longer odds on Stefano Garzelli, or Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, nursing a broken collarbone.
November 23, 2004
Svorada, Astarloa to exit Lampre?
The Lampre team has inherited many of the riders from the dissolved Saeco team, including Damiano Cunego and best bud Gilberto Simoni. That leaves less room for some of the team's previous leaders, and today Jan Svorada announced that he'll move down to cycling's minor leagues, signing with eD'system ZVVZ (don't ask me how to pronounce THAT).
Procycling also reports that former world champion Igor Astarloa is on the prowl for a new team. Astarloa has hotfooted it from Saeco to Cofidis to Lamppre since his rainbow jersey in 2003. Bjarne Riis says he looked at signing Astarloa, but couldn't afford him on the team's current budget.
Procycling also quotes La Gazzetta dello Sport, interviewing Simoni, who says Cunego "betrayed" him at Bormio in last year's Giro, and that he will target the 2005 Giro, "but I don't trust anyone anymore."
July 01, 2004
Petacchi new world No. 1
Bassed on his record Giro d'Italia, Alessandro Petacchi has taken over the lead in the UCI world rankings. Jumping from number 227 all the way to number 6 is Damiano Cunego, who jumps ahead of Lance Armstrong through his overall Giro victory.
Erik Zabel is a tiny 15 points back of Petacchi, with Quick Step's Paolo Bettini another 56 points behind Zabel. Jan Ullrich cracks the top 10, based on his Tour de Suisse win, and Tom Boonen jumps from 90 to 12.
June 01, 2004
Simoni vs. Cunego: the aftermath
There are rumors Saeco's Gilberto Simoni, winner of the 2001 and 2003 Giro d'Italia, may try to get out of the final year of his contract, rather than share team leadership with 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego.
On Sunday, twenty-four hours after Simoni called Cunego a “bastard and an ignoramus”, he had claimed the pair had “patched up their differences”. Few, though, were convinced.
Asked whether Simoni and Cunego, the master and the undergraduate, were now friends again, Simoni could only reply: “we’ll have to work together in the future for the common good of the team, so we need to be.”
Simoni insisted his conditioning was good enough to win the race:
“Even if I am finishing the Giro in third place, I don’t consider myself beaten,” Simoni asserted. “I could have brought the world crashing down in those last couple of stages. Had I really wanted to win the Giro, I would have attacked earlier on the Mortirolo [stage 19, Bormio – Presolana]. Or I could have followed Garzelli on the Gavia [stage 18, Cles Val di Non – Bormio 2000]… Why didn’t I? I couldn’t.”
(Here I think "couldn't" is "was not allowed to".)
May 31, 2004
Graham Watson Giro d'Italia Stage 20 gallery updated
All the standard last-stage shots are here: the jersey winners all together, the winner's team (notably missing is Simoni), and the sprint winner, Petacchi.
Cunego crowned, Petacchi extends record at Giro
Italy's newest cycling hero had his coming-out party in Milan on Sunday, as Damiano Cunego finished off his biggest victory, in the 2004 Giro d'Italia. Cunego becomes the races youngest winner since Giuseppe Saronni in 1979.
On the stage, Alessandro Petacchi extended his modern Giro record for stage wins to 8, ahead of Marco Zannotti in 2nd.
Cunego's GC lead was attacked, by Saeco teammate Gilberto Simoni among others, on Saturday, but Sunday's flat stage was more of a coronation.
Serhiy Honchar finished in second overall, 2:02 back, while 2001 and 2003 Giro winner Simoni was 3rd.
"His future is incredible, he can win many races. He's already four or five years ahead of the others," said Saeco's sport director, Giuseppe Martinelli. "He's not your typical rider. He's a strong climber, but has a quick sprint.
Petacchi on the stage win record:
"The first win was a liberation and the last was something special, but all the victories were important," Petacchi told Reuters after leading the pack home again on Sunday.
"After three weeks of racing and all the mountain stages I was very tired, but I was pleased the way I won the sprint. I had another great lead-out from my teammates and Zanotti and the other sprinters were well behind me at the line."
VeloNews on the internecine squabble between teammates Simoni and Cunego:
Though team officials tried to play it down, the split within the Saeco team has been the major story in the Italian press.
"Cunego deserved to win this Giro," Martinelli insisted. "He proved he was the strongest and the team supported him. For him to win is incredible. No one expected it."
Following Cunego's Saturday-morning press conference, Saeco riders and staff dressed in pink to pose for a picture - except Simoni, who refused to join the love fest. One newspaper reported Simoni would try to break his final year with Saeco to join another team, possibly Quick Step or his former team Lampre.
It's certain that the two men will not ride this year's Tour de France together, whether as teammates or as rivals - Cunego says he might not tackle that grand tour until 2006. As for Simoni, he refused to talk about the upcoming Tour. Part of his plan for the 2004 season was to come into the Giro fresher with the idea to be stronger in July.
"I don't want to think about the Tour. I've been racing for 20 days, and all I want to do is go home and see my family," Simoni said. "After that I'll come up with some plan to conquer the world."
May 30, 2004
Eurosport has an excellent look at the career of Damiano Cunego, the Giro d'Italia champion-in-waiting, who's likely to take the biggest victory in his career later today in Milan.
The Eurosport article goes so far as to compare Cunego to 3 former champions: Marco Pantani, Bernard Hinault (the only Giro winner with more stage victories than Cunego's 4), and Fausto Coppi himself (one of few Giro winners younger than 22-year-old Cunego).
When during Thursday's first Dolomites stage from San Vendemiano to Falzes, it became clear that it was not Simoni's day, Cunego pounced on his date with destiny, securing the pink jersey and signing the deed the next day with the win in Bormio.
And what's next for Cunego? He won his junior world championship in Verona, his hometown in 1999, and the city plays host to the senior road worlds this year, so mark Cunego as a favorite there.
May 25, 2004
GrahamWatson.com Giro Stage 16 photo gallery posted
Graham Watson has posted his photos from today's potentially decisive stage at the Giro d'Italia. As usual, he's right in the middle of the action.
Cunego in pink jersey after Tuesday stage win
Damiano Cunego of Italy's Saeco team has taken over the lead at the Giro d'Italia. Cunego put more than a minute into all opponents with a solo breakaway with 12 kilometers to ride.
Two-time defending champion Gilberto Simoni, Cunego's teammate, lost 2:30 on the stage, and sits 4th, 2:38 back.
Cunego is one of the great young hopes of Italian cycling; he was the world junior road champion in 1999.
Cunego paid justifiable tribute to his team-mates, especially Simoni as the two-time champion had set out at the start of the race as the team leader but had confessed earlier in the event that if Cunego was stronger than him then he should go for it.
"'Gibo' (Simoni) is a great leader, a true champion" said Cunego.
"He left it to me to race my race. The situation is a little complex but he accepts it at the moment.
"We will carry on racing alongside each other, without annoying one another."
Former race leader Yaroslav Popovych lost more than 4 minutes Tuesday, with more climbing to come.
Cunego isn't counting his chickens just yet:
"The pink jersey in Milan? There is still a long way to go," said Cunego.
Simoni played along with Saeco's team tactics, perhaps at his own expense. The two-time Giro champion could only watch as Cunego rode to victory in the 217km stage from San Vendemiano to Falzes.
"Damiano was the strongest today and the team supported him," said Simoni, who fell to fourth at 2:38 back of his young protégé. "It puts us in good position to win the Giro once again, which is the top goal for the team."
May 19, 2004
Giro rest day update: Fast Freddy stage win; which Saeco?Tuesday was a rest day in the Giro d'Italia, so the riders take stock and look forward to the more tactical stages over the next 2 weeks. One of the big surprises of the Giro so far was Monday's victory by Fred Rodriguez of the United States, riding for Acqua e Sapone, who took Alessandro Petacchi straight up in a sprint, something almost no one has been able to do this year. “Fast Freddy” has his account of the victory online at VeloNews. Rodriguez timed his sprint masterfully, out-thinking Petacchi to the line:
“Usually right before the sprint, there's a little let-down. It comes just as the lead out guy finally starts to die, but before, say Petacchi, surges to the line. So I really just tried to anticipate that surge and, at that point, I jumped on the left side into the headwind, put it in my 54x11 and put my head down. Somewhere along there - maybe 100 meters from the line - I saw Petacchi come along side me, but he didn't have the legs to come around.”VeloNews handicaps the current standings, and suggest keeping an eye on Australia's Bradley McGee, who's 1:49 back. There are two Saecos atop the standings, but the team minimizes any friction between Damiano Cunego and 2-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni. From The Daily Peloton:
“I learn something new from Gilberto everyday,” Damiano Cunego says. “Damiano is giving me a big hand by sharing the responsibilty of the team leadership,” explains Gilberto Simoni.Simoni says he's marking Stefano Garzelli as a rival for the overall race victory. The Daily Peloton also has three pages of photos from the Giro prologue, back on May 8th. Friday is a key stage for Alessandro Petacchi, whose team sponsor, Fassa Bortolo, and bike sponsor, Pinarello, both hail from Treviso, where the stage ends.