July 10, 2011

Stage 9: Luis Leon Sanchez wins ‘Tour de Fracture’

Stage 9 looked like one for the break, but no one could predict just how many breaks we would see.

Juan Mañuel Garate of Rabobank didn't make the start, leaving 188 riders active. Early in the stage, there were three more abandons: Pavel Brutt of Katusha, Wouter Poels of Vacansoleil, and Amets Txurruka of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Veteran escape artists Thomas Voeckler of Europcar, Luis Leon Sanchez of Rabobank, Juan Antonio Flecha of Sky and Sandy Casar of FDJ broke away with Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland. All but Hoogerland are past stage winners, while Hoogerland, in his first Tour, was apparently in search of the King of the Mountains jersey, where he started the stage a point behind Tejay Van Garderen. They were initially joined by Quick Step's Nicki Terpstra, who faded back to the field when the group found the mountains. Hoogerland would take maximum points over most of the day's climbs, with Voeckler, best placed of the breakaway, looking to finally take the yellow jersey from Garmin-Cervelo's Thor Hushovd, who had held it since the team time trial last Sunday.

There were a few minor falls early in the stage, including one by defending champ Alberto Contador that looked like he had had been body-checked off the course Katusha's Vladimir Karpets. After the stage, Contador and Karpets agreed that Contador had caught his brake hood on Karpets' seat.

On the descent from the Puy Mary, the field carried too much speed into too little corner, and a number of riders went down. Astana's leader Alexandre Vinokourov tumbled down an embankement into some trees, and was helped back to the roadside by his teammates. Omega Pharma's GC hopeful, Jurgen van den Broeck, his teammate Frederik Willems, and Garmin-Cervelo's Dave Zabriskie were alll down in the same crash, and all would have to abandon the race. Zabriskie apparently fractured his hand, van den Broeck his shoulder blade, and initial reports were that Vinokourov had fractured his pelvis and femur, ending the Tour he had said would be his last.

Caught in the crash but continuing were Christian Vande Velde and David Millar of Garmin-Cervelo and RadioShack GC hopeful Andreas Klöden, who went to the hospital for X-rays after the stage. Klöden was heavily bruised on his back, but X-rays showed no breaks.

At the front of the pack, Cancellara and Gilbert neutralized the chase, allowing many of the downed riders to rejoin but also giving new life to the breakaway, which saw its lead balloon from around 4:00 to nearly 8:00 before the field could reorganize.

With around 43k to race, a television car tried to pass the lead group, cut back to avoid a tree, and took out Flecha and Hoogerland. Hoogerland was propelled off the road, into the air, and onto a barbed wire fence. After medical attention, and needing only to reach the finish line to take the King of the Mountains jersey, Hoogerland mounted up and rode, bleeding heavily from his left leg. Voeckler, Casar, and Sanchez considered waiting for Flecha, but finally had to continue as a trio, with Hoogerland, then Flecha being reabsorbed by the peloton and finishing with the laughing group, which was undoubtedly dire today.

The day's intermediate sprint came with only about 30 kilometers to ride, and Philippe Gilbert led the field in to hold the green jersey and widen his lead on Cavendish, Rojas and Hushovd. Garmin-Cervelo rode to limit Voeckler's gains until about 12k to the line, then handed the job over to BMC, then LeopardTrek.

Voeckler, who spent 10 days in yellow back in 2004, was clearly burying himself for a chance to repeat the experience. In the last kilometer, Voeckler tried to lose his passengers, but Luis Leon Sanchez was waiting for the move and easily distanced Voeckler, with Casar unable to even respond, to take the third Tour stage victory of his career. Voeckler would take yellow with a 1:49 advantage on Sanchez and 2:26 on Cadel Evans.

Philippe Gilbert would again lead in the field sprint, in a group with Evans, both Schlecks, Martin and Velits of HTC, Cunego, Contador, Danielson and Sanchez (among others) at 3:59 and Leipheimer, Gesink, Thomas, Basso, and Klöden (among others) at 4:07 down on Voeckler.

Stage 9:
1) Luis-Leon Sanchez, Rabobank, 5:27:09
2) Thomas Voeckler, Europcar, at :05
3) Sandy Casar, FDJ, at :13
4) Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 3:59
5) Peter Velits, HTC-Highroad, same time
6) Cadel Evans, BMC, s.t.
7) Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek, s.t.
8) Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad, s.t.
9) Frank Schleck, Leopard Trek, s.t.
10) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, s.t.

GC, after Stage 9:
1) Thomas Voeckler, Europcar, in 38:35:11
2) Luis Leon Sanchez, Rabobank, at 1:49
3) Cadel Evans, BMC, at 2:26
4) Frank Schleck, Leopard Trek, at 2:29
5) Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek, at 2:37
6) Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad, at 2:38
7) Peter Velits, HTC-Highroad, at 2:38
8) Andréas Klöden, RadioShack, at 2:43
9) Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 2:55
10) Jakob Fuglsang, Leopard Trek at 3:08


VeloNews | Thomas Voeckler takes lead in 2011 Tour de France as Luis-Leon Sanchez wins stage 9
cyclingnews.com | Luis León Sánchez wins crash-hit stage
GrahamWatson.com | Tour de France: Stage 9

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2011 in 2011 Stage 9, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Jurgen van den Broeck, Levi Leipheimer, Luis Sanchez, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Tony Martin, Top Stories, Vuelta a España | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2011

Updating the list of Americans with Tour stage wins

Depending on how you count Floyd Landis, Garmin's Tyler Farrar is the 10th or 11th American to win a Tour stage, and the first on July 4th.

    The list (alphabetically):
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Tyler Farrar
  • Andy Hampsten
  • Tyler Hamilton
  • George Hincapie
  • Floyd Landis *
  • Levi Leipheimer
  • Greg LeMond
  • Davis Phinney
  • Jeff Pierce
  • Dave Zabriskie

* Landis, of course, had his victory in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour vacated after testing positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

(I also added Farrar to the category so he shows up on the associated Wikipedia page.)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2011 in 2011 Stage 3, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Tyler Farrar, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2011

Garmin takes narrow TTT win, puts Hushovd in yellow

Garmin's riders have been no stranger to the podium since the team debuted in the Tour in 2008, but the team has never taken the top step. Sunday, in a nail-biter team time trial in Les Essarts, Garmin-Cervelo got the monkey off their back, taking a 4-second stage win and putting world champion Thor Hushovd in yellow.

Alberto Contador, the overall race favorite, saw his chances take another blow, as his Saxo Bank team lost time against many of his rivals, notably both Schlecks, Cadel Evans, Brad Wiggins, Robert Gesink, and Radio Shack's Four Horsemen of the Cyclopalypse, Andreas Klöden, Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer.

On the other hand, Cadel Evans again took advantage of a chance to make some time, leading his BMC squad to a smooth and surprising 2nd on the day, and missing the yellow jersey by just one second.

Team Leopard-Trek had a rainbow-striped lion among its smaller cats, and world TT champion Fabian Cancellara looked strong enough to drag 4 men and their bikes to the finish. Leopard-Trek was 4th on the day, one of 3 teams (with BMC and Wiggins' Team Sky) to finish 4 seconds back of Garmin.

HTC-High Road was just one further second off the win, likely on Bernhard Eisel's fall in the first turn that left them one rider down for the stage.

Hushovd becomes the first Garmin rider in yellow.

Even before the stage started, there was controversy, as the UCI decided to interpret its geometry regulations to mean that all riders had to race with their saddles level to the ground, apparently a change to how rules were enforced at the recent Tour de Suisse and Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré. Saxo Bank director Bradley McGee and Radio Shack director Johan Bruyneel were fined for “improper conduct” toward officials in the bike check area. Even recreational riders will notice a change to normal saddle position, and take some time to adjust to a new position.


Reuters | Blazing row over saddles on the Tour de France

Bicycling.com | Joe Lindsey: Garmin's Gamble Pays Off

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2011 in 2011 Stage 2, Alberto Contador, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Levi Leipheimer, Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2010

Shades of gray

Landis preparingThere are a lot of cycling fans who still believe in black and white.

Some rider or another, they'll say, has never tested positive, or is the most tested athlete in the world. Team X, they'll say, has the strictest anti-doping program in the peloton. Sure, there used to be a lot of doping in the sport, they'll say, but no sport has such extensive athlete testing, and the sport today is clean.

I've been following the sport for 25 years, through the mysterious deaths while riders slept, the 60 hematocrits, and now the biological passport, and I'm convinced the sport has never in that time approached clean. I don't believe in black and white.

The way I've come to see modern cycling is that every rider exists in a Heisenberg bubble, balanced somewhere on a scale between pure as the driven snow white and Floyd Landis “hell yeah I doped” black. As a fan, we all calculate the likelihood a particular rider is juicing, and all most of us have to go on is the rider and his team's public pronouncements, and the rider's race performance. How much you like a rider has to be balanced against how likely you think it is a) that he or she has doped, and b) that he or she will get caught. This is why I and many others breathed a sigh of relief when Vinokourov lost the maglia rosa at the Giro. I believe Vino's failed dope test was accurate, and I fear he has likely returned to his previously successful ways. You, of course, may disagree, or feel just as fearful about Giro winner Ivan Basso, who was ultimately banned for his involvement in Operación Puerto, and now says he's gunning for a podium spot at the Tour. One of the things about the bubble is that every fan's is slightly different. Maybe you assume that everyone who came out of the sports mills of Eastern Europe is tainted. Maybe you believe that the recent popularity of Spain as a training center was a direct result of tighter French anti-doping laws.

Tyler Hamilton & David MillarOccasionally, especially in the case of a superstar rider, there may be other information, from former teammates, employees, trainers, or other people in the rider's circle. In the absence of positive dope tests, which it still appears can be manipulated without a great deal of trouble, all we can do is take the data and put it together with our own prejudices and preferences to decide who we believe is clean and who's not. If an ex-teammate says you've doped, that moves you 3 spaces to the right. Coming out of nowhere to contend for the climber's jersey at the Tour? Move 10 spaces to the right. If you get caught, suspended, then come back as an anti-dope crusader, that might move you a space or two to the left.

It's apparent that there's a continuing arms race in cycling, and the enforcers are losing. Like any arms race, the advantage goes to those with money and technology, and those belong to the teams.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 01: Cyclist Lance Armstrong pauses at the start of the team presentations for the 97th Tour de France on July 1, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Following a prologue time trial in Rotterdam on Saturday, the iconic race will include 20 stages and will cover 3,642km. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Far be it from me to identify where I think any particular rider falls on the 0-to-100 scale. Clearly, though, the recent Landis revelations, outlined in detail in the Wall Street Journal today, push Armstrong farther to the right, and at least nudge Zabriskie, Hincapie, and Leipheimer in that direction. Sure, it's easy to impeach Landis' credibility, but it's clear to me that Landis didn't come up with the sophisticated doping program he's described, and he's far from the first person to allege that Armstrong has relied on more than spring water in previous Tour wins.

Let's run through the allegations in the WSJ article by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell. First and foremost, there are dates and details of blood transfusions during the Tour de France itself in 2004, and a partial list of riders who received them, including Armstrong. Next most damaging is probably Landis' claim that Armstrong himself was the source of his first collection of testosterone patches. Finally, there is the allegation that as many as 60 team bikes were sold for cash to support the Postal doping program. For me, mentions of Armstrong's possible visits to strip bars and cocaine use are just distractions; my interest is in Armstrong as an athlete or a cheat.

According to Albergotti and O'Connell, three other U.S. Postal riders confirmed doping while Armstrong rode for the team, and one admitted he himself doped.

Frankie AndreuLooking through the article, though, I don't see anything that's going to change the mind of rabid Armstrong fans, or of people who have believed he's a doper since 1999. We already know of former teammates who have alleged doping, including Frankie Andreu, who admitted his own EPO use in 2006. The claim that team bikes were improperly sold to pay for the doping program can't be proven by the mere appearance of team bikes on eBay: Someone would have to connect their proceeds to a doping program to really make something of it. Otherwise, those frames could just as easily have gone toward Armstrong's Shiner Bock habit as toward dope. I can see no way to tie Armstrong to the foil-packeted testosterone Landis claims he was provided.

But the addition of FDA special agent Jeff Novitzky adds a new dimension to the sport's doping problem. Teammates and staff who don't hesitate to cover for a rider with the media may feel differently when a federal agent starts threatening purgery charges and deploys subpoena powers. Novitzky seems unlikely to tolerate the shades of gray we as fans have grown to accept.


ESPN.com | Lance Armstrong: Crunch Time

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2010 in Dave Zabriskie, Doping, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Where are they from, 2010 edition

Each year, I take a look at where the Tour's riders are from, with special attention to the traditionally English-speaking countries.

Here's this year's rundown:

Cadel Evans, BMC
Simon Gerrans, Sky
Adam Hansen, HTC-Columbia
Brett Lancaster, Cervelo
Matthew Lloyd, Omega Pharma-Lotto
Robbie McEwen, Katusha
Stuart O'Grady, Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, HTC-Columbia
Luke Roberts, Milram
Michael Rogers, HTC-Columbia
Wesley Sulzberger, Française des Jeux

Eleven! Up from 6 last year, and it's largely a return of the “Lone Australian” phenomenon -- only HTC-Columbia, with Hansen, Renshaw, and Rogers has more than one Aussie on the squad. Every 2009 Aussie returns, and add Gerrans and Hansen, alternates last year, plus Roberts, Sulzberger, and perennial sprint threat McEwen.

Lance Armstrong, Radio Shack
Brent Bookwalter, BMC
Tyler Farrar, Garmin
George Hincapie, BMC
Chris Horner, Radio Shack
Levi Leipheimer, Radio Shack
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin
David Zabriskie, Garmin

Eight is up from seven last year, and four in 2008. First-timer Bookwalter is here, Garmin's Danny Pate is not, and Chris Horner returns. The excellent showings of both Farrar and Bookwalter at today's prologue are great news for US cycling, which has a glut of over-30 Tour riders, essentially everybody else on the list above.

Michael Barry, Sky
Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin

Canada climbs from one to two, and long-suffering Michael Barry finally gets a Tour start at 34.

Great Britain
Mark Cavendish, HTC-Columbia
Stephen Cummings, Sky
Jeremy Hunt, Cervelo
Daniel Lloyd, Cervelo
David Millar, Garmin
Geraint Thomas, Sky
Charlie Wegelius, Omega Pharma-Lotto
Bradley Wiggins, Sky

Great Britain doubles up, with eight riders versus last year's four. Cavendish and Wiggins have dreams of winner's jerseys.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin

Hayden Roulston wasn't invited by HTC-Columbia, Greg Henderson wasn't invited by Team Sky.

Nicolas Roche, AG2R-La Mondiale

Roche repeats as the only Irish rider.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Garmin

Up from an unusual zero last year.

Other countries (2009 in parentheses):
35: France (40)
31: Spain (doesn't count Florencio, pulled by Cervelo before start) (28)
17: Italy (16)
15: Germany (15)
12: Belgium (11)
11: Australia (6)
8: Netherlands (11), USA (7)
6: Russia (8)
5: Denmark (3), Switzerland (3)
4: Slovenia (1)
3: Austria (2), Belarus (2), Kazakhstan (1), Portugal (2), Ukraine (2)
2: Canada (1), Luxembourg (3), Norway (2)
1: Czech Republic (1), Estonia (0), Ireland (1), Japan (2), Lithuania (0), Moldova (0), New Zealand (2), Poland (1), South Africa (0), Sweden (1)


TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2009 edition

TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2008 edition

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2010 in About the Tour, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2009

Zabriskie takes 4th consecutive US TT title

Grade Triple ZGarmin-Slipstream's Dave Zabriskie continued his domination of the US time trial pro championship with a blistering 39:37 on the 20.7 mile course.

Bissell's Tom Zirbel was 2nd, in 40:21, which was 10 seconds faster than Zabriskie's 2008 time on the same course. Unfortunately for Zirbel, Zabriskie went nearly a minute faster than 2008 Dave Z.

Rounding out the podium was another Z, Kelly Benefit's Scott Zwizanski, with a 41:18.

Floyd Landis' first showing at the Greenville championships was unimpressive, in 21st of 23 with a 46:30. Landis was reportedly coasting on a number of the course downhills, and may have been saving his energy for the tough road race on Sunday.

I've posted a few of my TT pictures -- there are definitely more to come.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 30, 2009 in Dave Zabriskie, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2009

US Pro Time Trial Championship today

The pros are contesting the US time trial title later today in Greenville. I'm on the scene, snapping photos like crazy, and am looking forward to the Tweetup at 3:30 at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville.

It's the same course as last year, won by David Zabriskie for his third consecutive title. It's an up-and-down course, very well-suited to spectators, and Zabriskie has to be the favorite to repeat. Here's the start list and a course map. The TT at the Tour of Utah last week threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the works, as Tom Zirbel, 2nd in Greenville last year, beat Captain America by 25 seconds on a flatter course. Other guys to watch are Stephen Cozza, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Scott Zwizanski. Floyd Landis races the Greenville circuit for the first time.

Here are my photos from last year's TT, and here's 2007.


VeloNews: American pros head to Greenville

Posted by Frank Steele on August 29, 2009 in Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2009

Jetting to Limoges

videozone | Grapjes uithalen op het vliegtuig (commentary in Flemish)

The Belgium Sporza network had cameras on the plane flying half the Tour riders to Limoges this afternoon. The commentators are speaking Flemish, but they turn their cameras on Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong, then Levi Leipheimer, then Dave Zabriskie, all of whom are speaking English, so you don't need to speak Flemish to enjoy their comments.

Here's a little context for Armstrong's comment (“Hey, Johan, Sporza!”):

CyclingNews.com | Bruyneel, Astana boycott Sporza

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2009 in Dave Zabriskie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2009

Stage 8: Sanchez loves Saint-Girons

AP Photo by Bogdan Cristel

Today's Stage 8 was one for the breakaway men, while two contenders launched testing attacks that ultimately came to nothing.

On the day's first big climb, right out of the gate, Cadel Evans set off, with Vladimir Efimkin, David Zabriskie, Egoi Martinez, and Christophe Kern in pursuit of Sandy Casar. The group would grow to include Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, and Thor Hushovd, who had seen Mark Cavendish off the back, and collected enough intermediate sprint points to take the green jersey for tomorrow.

The presence of Evans in the break put Astana on the defensive, and they slowly reeled it in. Cancellara exchanged words with Cadel Evans, and the broadcasters felt he was accusing Evans of not working, but I think Cancellara wanted Evans to go back to the field, and give the fairly strong escape a chance to make a break that could stick (Evans confirmed on his site: “Pro cyclists start carrying on like 3 y.o's in a temper tantrum when a G.C contender in their break is no longer to their advantage. Oh well, that's racing, and a little bit to do with why you don't often see serious GC threats in breaks - usually a waste of energy... Landis and Rasmussen have been the exceptions in the last few years.”) As Evans was recaptured, Luis Leon Sanchez and Mikhail Inatiev bridged to the escape, which was finally given some room to roam by the peloton.

Later, early on the climb of the Col d'Agnes, Andy and Frank Schleck turned up the heat, shedding riders faster than Rock Racing, Yellow jersey Rinaldo Nocentini was among those dropped, but none of the overall contenders, so the Schlecks came off the front and the peloton reformed.

As the climb progressed, the leading group shrank, until over the top, 4 riders rode alone at the front of the stage: Sanchez, Efimkin, Mikel Astarloza, and Sandy Casar. Efimkin refused to work in the break, since his teammate Nocentini could potentially lose his race lead if the break gained 4:10 on the field, so he looked to the freshest on the run-in.

With 5k, Astarloza was the first to attack. When Sanchez responded, Efimkin went hard up the left curb, and gained about 5 seconds on his former breakmates. Closing to the line, it looked like Efimkin might have the stamina to hold the trio off to the line, but well into the final kilometer, Sanchez finally got across.

As he did, Casar attacked hard, but Sanchez expected it, grabbed his wheel, checked the back door for Astarloza or Efimkin, and powered by for the stage win.

The field came in at 1:54, led in by Sanchez teammate Jose Rojas.

Stage 8 Top 10
1) Luis-Leon Sanchez, Caisse d'Epargne, 4:31:50
2) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux, same time
3) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time
4) Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, at :03
5) Jose Rojas, Caisse d'Epargne, at 1:54
6) Christophe Riblon, AG2R-La Mondiale, same time
7) Peter Velits, Team Milram, s.t.
8) Sebastien Minard, Cofidis, s.t.
9) Jeremy Roy, Française des Jeux, s.t.
10) Thomas Voeckler, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

General Classification
1) Rinaldo Nocentini, AG2R-La Mondiale, 30:18:16
2) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :06
3) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :08
4) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :39
5) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :46
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :54
7) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at 1:00
8) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:24
9) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 1:49
10) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 1:54

The King of the Mountains jersey also changes hands, moving over to Christophe Kern of Cofidis.

Astana falls out of the team classification lead, now trailing AG2R-La Mondiale by a scant 3 seconds.


CyclingNews.com | Sanchez wins Tour's second day in Pyrenees | photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | 2009 Tour de France Stage 8 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2009 in 2009 Stage 8, Andy Schleck, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Luis Sanchez, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2009

Tour de Twitter

JV on the Crackberry,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
This is the third Tour de France I've Twittered. In 2007, it was pretty lonely. Last year, we had a core group of fans using the service. This year, Twitter has exploded. Lance 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!






Cervelo Test Team

Quick Step


Saxo Bank



VS broadcasters


Pros not racing this year


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 02, 2009

Where are they from, 2009 edition

Every year, I run down the riders' countries of origin, with special attention to the English-speaking countries. Here's last year's, for comparison.

Lance Armstrong, Astana
Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Slipstream
George Hincapie, Columbia-HTC
Levi Leipheimer, Astana
Danny Pate, Garmin-Slipstream
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream
David Zabriskie, Garmin-Slipstream

Seven is up from four last year. Gone is Will Frischkorn, left off the Garmin team, but back are Armstrong, Zabriskie, and Leipheimer. Tyler Farrar starts his first Tour. Not just more riders, but riders with more chances -- 3 guys with Top 5 hopes, and Farrar stage-hunting.

Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto
Brett Lancaster, Cervelo
Matthew Lloyd, Silence-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, Columbia-HTC
Michael Rogers, Columbia-HTC
Allan Davis, Quick Step

Down from 9 last year, with Robbie McEwen recovering from surgery, Baden Cooke riding for the Continental Vacansoleil team, Trent Lowe home, and Simon Gerrans and Adam Hansen alternates. Michael Rogers is back. Matthew Lloyd makes his first Tour start. 7/3 Update: With Tom Boonen back in the Tour, Allan Davis stays home, reducing Australia's count to 6. And a half, given Heinrich Haussler, who lives and trains in Australia.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, Columbia-HTC
David Millar, Garmin-Slipstream
Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream
Charly Wegelius, Silence-Lotto

Chris Froome's Barloworld squad is not in the Tour this year, back is Bradley Wiggins, and Wegelius returns thanks to Dekker's EPO positive. Cavendish has to be the pre-Tour favorite for green, and his success or failure will be one of this Tour's major plotlines.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Slipstream
Hayden Roulston, Cervelo

Tour rookie Roulston joins the returning Dean.

Dan Martin, Garmin-Slipstream
Nicolas Roche, AG2R

With Martin's tendinitis, Roche will be the first Irish participant since Mark Scanlon in 2004. Roche is reigning Irish road champion, having dethroned Martin last weekend.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Slipstream

After ending a 10-year Canadian drought last year, Hesjedal returns.

With no Barloworld participation, Robbie Hunter and John Lee Augustyn won't make the start for South Africa.

All nations breakdown:
40: France (2008 count in parentheses: 40)
28: Spain (30)
16: Italy (21)
15: Germany (16)
11: Netherlands (10)
11: Belgium (12)
8: Russia (4)
7: USA (4)
6: Australia (9)
4: United Kingdom (3)
3: Denmark (1), Luxembourg (2), Switzerland (4)
2: Austria (2), Belarus (2), Colombia (3), Japan (0), New Zealand (1), Norway (2), Portugal (0), Ukraine (2)
1: Canada (1), Czech Republic (1), Finland (0), Ireland (0), Kazakhstan (1), Poland (1), Slovakia (1), Slovenia (1), Sweden (2)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2009 in About the Tour, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 24, 2009

Garmin-Slipstream makes Tour squad announcement

Garmin-Slipstream has announced their Tour squad.


  • Julian Dean
  • Tyler Farrar
  • Ryder Hesjedal
  • Dan Martin
  • David Millar
  • Danny Pate
  • Christian Vande Velde
  • Bradley Wiggins
  • David Zabriskie

Martijn Maaskant has been announced as the alternate. NOT riding the Tour are Tom Danielson, who also missed out last year; Will Frischkorn, who made it last year; or Canadian TT champion Svein Tuft.

Garmin's phenom Tyler Farrar will have one of the great lead-out men trying to put him in front of Mark Cavendish at the finish line, and Irish champion Dan Martin, nephew to 1987 Tour and Giro champ and world champion Stephen Roche, makes his first Tour start.

It's a team with great TT riders: Zabriskie, Millar, Vande Velde, Pate, Wiggins, and Hesjedal. As with Farrar, you have to wonder if they'll be fast enough to take revenge on Columbia-High Road, which beat Garmin by six seconds at the Giro d'Italia team time trial in May.


Slipstream Sports | Team Garmin-Slipstream announces Tour de France roster

CyclingNews.com | Garmin-Slipstream names its nine for the Tour

Posted by Frank Steele on June 24, 2009 in 2009 Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Julian Dean, Tom Danielson, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2008

Zabriskie rolls to 3rd US title

Fierce and fast

Dave Zabriskie was seen by many as a question mark coming into the race, but he took a 3rd consecutive US title at the USA Cycling Pro Time Trial Championship today.

Zabriskie edged out Bissell's Tom Zirbel, with Garmin-Chipotle teammate Christian Vande Velde 3rd.

Here's my time trial photoset. I'll probably add a few more photos over the next couple of days. If you have photos of your own, please add them to Flickr's USA Cycling Championships pool.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 30, 2008 in 2008 USA Cycling Pro Championships, Dave Zabriskie, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2008

Stars and Stripes on offer this weekend in Greenville

Zabriskie hammersThe 2008 US Pro Cycling championships are this weekend in Greenville, and organizers have made a few changes I think will improve the fan experience. I've been to each of the Greenville championships, and had a great time at each -- if you're in the Southeast or mid-Atlantic, you should definitely consider the drive.

In 2005, the time trial championship (Dave Zabriskie's first title) was run on Friday, with the road race on Sunday. This had the advantage of a rest day between hard efforts for the riders, but the Friday TT drew crowds on par with a neighborhood swim meet.

Last year, organizers switched to a Saturday/Sunday alignment, which is probably best for fans (I might argue for Saturday/Monday, which would fill more Greenville hotel rooms and give riders trying to double a rest day). The TT course was a modified point-to-point, so there were only a few points on the course where you could see riders more than once. Additionally, access to the finish line was somewhat controlled by the community that hosted the finish, which ran satellite parking with shuttle buses to the finish.

This year, time trial action moves to Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research, where the 20.7-mile course is 3 laps of 6.9 miles. Because of looping and turnarounds, there will be spots on the course where you'll be able to see each rider 6 times, and parking and course access are reportedly far more open.

For Sunday's road race, organizers didn't monkey much with a successful formula, again bridging early and late laps of downtown Greenville with 4 longer loops that include the race-making climb of Paris Mountain.

Shirley, Leipheimer, HincapieUnfortunately, defending US champ Levi Leipheimer (left, with '07 2nd place Hincapie and 3rd place Neil Shirley) will be across the pond, racing in the Vuelta with Astana. Almost all the other usual suspects are penciled in: Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Fred Rodriguez, Tyler Hamilton, Tom Danielson, Danny Pate, and more, more, more. Two notable exceptions are Chris Horner and Bobby Julich.

I'll be there, as will Byron from Bike Hugger, Briggs from Euro Peloton and James from Bicycle Design. We're planning a meetup at Barley's Taproom Saturday at 5.

Look for live-blogging here and on Twitter, and for photos through the weekend in my Flickr photostream.


VeloNews.com | US Pro start lists

Time Trial course map (PDF version) | Road Race course map(PDF version)

Podium Cafe | Preview: USA Cycling Pro Championship

The PdC preview is intensely entertaining -- don't miss it.

podium in sight | US Pro Preview

Posted by Frank Steele on August 29, 2008 in 2008 USA Cycling Pro Championships, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Where are they from?

I always review the nationalities breakdown for the Tour, with a special eye toward the English-speaking countries. Here's last year's, for comparison.

George Hincapie, Team Columbia
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
Will Frischkorn, Garmin-Chipotle
Danny Pate, Garmin-Chipotle

This is the least in years, with Freddie Rodriguez riding in the U.S., Bobby Julich not selected, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer barred with Astana, and David Zabriskie nursing a back injury.

Baden Cooke, Barloworld
Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, Credit Agricole
Adam Hansen, Team Columbia
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Trent Lowe, Garmin-Chipotle
Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC-Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, Credit Agricole

Baden Cooke is back; Adam Hansen, Trent Lowe, and Mark Renshaw are new, and Michael Rogers is out.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia
Christopher Froome, Barloworld
David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle

Out are Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Charlie Wegelius. I've got Christopher Froome as being from Kenya, which isn't in the list below. Put him there, and Great Britain drops to just a pair.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle

As last year.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld
John-Lee Augustyn, Barloworld

Adds Augustyn.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Chipotle

First Canuck since 1997. Maybe Michael Barry will join him one year.

Here's the official breakdown, according to the Tour website:

40: France (2007 count in parentheses: 35)
30: Spain (42)
21: Italy (18)
16: Germany (19)
12: Belgium (13)
10: The Netherlands (7)
9: Australia (6)
4: USA (6), Russia (6) and Switzerland (5)
3: Colombia (3), Great Britain (5) and Luxembourg (2)
2: South Africa (1), Austria (3), Belarus (2), Norway (2), Sweden (1) and Ukraine (2)
1: Brazil (1), Canada (0), Denmark (1), Kazakhstan (4), New Zealand (1), Poland (0), Czech Republic (0), Slovakia (0) and Slovenia (1)

Spanish representation drops from 42 riders last year to 30 this year, with France jumping from 35 to 40.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2008 in About the Tour, Baden Cooke, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 25, 2008

Write your own caption

Write your own caption
Write your own caption,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Couldn't resist this shot: Not only does Dave Zabriskie have the facial hair of a silent film villain, but also the expression.

What's the caption to go with this frame?

Posted by Frank Steele on April 25, 2008 in Dave Zabriskie | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Team Slipstream takes Georgia TTT

Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Team Slipstream took off fairly early today, edging CSC's leading lap times as they rode. They were amazingly smooth and disciplined, quietly storming around the course.

When Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner's Astana squad took the course, they quickly outpaced Slipstream's time on Laps 1 and 2 of the Road Atlanta race course, and it looked like we might have a new best time of the day, but a slow third lap left Astana 3 seconds short of the Argyle Army.

Last to leave the start house was George Hincapie and race leader Greg Henderson's Team High Road. Again, their early laps set the standard, but they faded late, charging to the line 5.2 seconds slower than Team Slipstream. High Road's Greg Henderson holds the lead by virtue of a few bonus seconds earned on the road, but Slipstream's got a strong quartet sitting at 15 seconds -- Tom Danielson, Trent Lowe, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie.

CSC was 4th on the day at 12.72 seconds, Toyota-United 5th at 23.43. One team that has to be disappointed is Rock Racing, 10th at 52.35. If one of Rock's riders is going to contend, they'll have to climb over a lot of bodies to get there.

More, and many more photos, tonight.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 24, 2008 in Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Pre-previewing the 2008 Tour de Georgia

The countdown continues to the 2008 edition of the Tour de Georgia. It's great to see the race surviving, even if it has slipped to the 2nd-biggest US stage race, behind the Tour of California.

Cañada, Brajkovic, Vande VeldeThis year's edition adds a few interesting twists. First, the race starts all the way down on Tybee Island, near Savannah, taking the riders farther below the gnat line than ever before.

Second, there's no individual time trial, as it's been dropped in favor of a team time trial to be run as Stage 4 on Thursday on the fairly hilly road course at Braselton's Road Atlanta. It's a TTT, but no funny bikes are allowed, apparently to keep costs and complications down for teams traveling from Europe.

Two stages essentially repeat from last year: Stage 6 starts in Blairsville and runs up Brasstown Bald, which has become the craggy face of the race, and Stage 7 is again a circuit race beginning and ending at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. I drove through downtown on Sunday, and there are still signs of the tornado that hit the area around the park on March 14th during the SEC basketball tournament.

For your race planning, Medalist Sports has provided a Tour de Georgia Google Maps file that details KoM lines, bonus sprints and starts and finishes.

Juan José HaedoIf you're in the Southeast, it's a fabulous show, well worth the drive. If somehow you can't make it, SportSouth will provide 30-minute daily race updates at 10:30 p.m. most nights (kicked back as late as 1 a.m. on Friday night/Saturday morning).

As for riders, there are no official start lists yet, but Team CSC has posted their TdG roster, including Jason McCartney, Bobby Julich, Iñigo Cuesta, Bradley McGee, and Juan José Haedo (at left).

Haedo has been the most successful sprinter in the TdG's history, and McCartney has absolutely torn up the hilly bits of two previous TdGs.

Cycling Startlists has defending champ Janez Brajkovic and José Luis Rubiera riding for Astana, with others coming from their full 2008 roster.

Slipstream/Chipotle will probably bring last year's race runner-up Christian Vande Velde, and 7 of Blake Caldwell, Tom Danielson (who himself was a close 2nd to Floyd Landis here in 2006), Timmy Duggan, Lucas Euser, Tyler Farrar, Trent Lowe, Danny Pate, and David Zabriskie.

Full startlists should be up in the next day or two.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Janez Brajkovic, Tour de Georgia | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 04, 2007

Leipheimer rides away with US road championship

Disco sign-inLevi Leipheimer took his first US national championship on Sunday, riding away from the elite field and soloing in from 23 miles out.

Leipheimer said the win put the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the sundae that's been his 2007 season, which started with his win at the Tour of California, included road and TT stage wins at the Tour de Georgia, and a stage win and podium placing at the Tour de France, as well as wins at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia and the overall Tour de France title for Leipheimer's Discovery Channel team, which is disbanding after this season.

Leipheimer and HamiltonLeipheimer has yet to announce his 2008 plans, but at 34, another go at an overall Tour de France title doesn't seem out of the question.

Leipheimer looked to be the dominant rider in the 2006 US championships, as well, but worked for hometown hero George Hincapie. This year, the two reversed places, with Hincapie covering attacks and finishing 2nd. Jittery Joe's rider Neil Shirley distanced Freddie Rodriguez in the last kilometer to take 3rd.

Leipheimer in the select groupDiscovery Channel brought twice as many riders as last year, and John Devine and Tony Cruz were at the front of the peloton for most of the day. Where the ProTour riders appeared to nail last year's pace from the start, this year, the domestic teams made early attacks, with BMC, HealthNet, Slipstream, and Successfulliving.com populating the first breakaway of 7 riders.

Leipheimer attacked on the 3rd of four long laps that included the climb of Paris Mountain. He and Chris Baldwin swept up remnants of the early break by BMC's Jackson Stewart, Slipstream's Pat McCarty, and HealthNet's Doug Ollerenshaw, with Slipstream's Ian McGregor and William Frischkorn, HealthNet's Roman Kilun, and Successfulliving.com's Daniel Ramsay close behind.

Leipheimer aloneComing to the base of Paris Mountain for the final time, Leipheimer was with a small group with a healthy but not unassailable gap. On the last climb, he changed that (from cyclingnews.com:

The rest of the remaining 30 or so riders in the race could only pick their jaws up off the ground as Levi put on a time trial clinic. “Levi was just... what can you say, he was third in the Tour and probably should have won it,” said former USPRO champ Chris Wherry (Toyota-United). “He is incredible and just rode away from everyone; there were no tactics he was just the strongest one. He went up the climb with two to go and just kept going, it was unbelievable.”

Shirley, Leipheimer, HincapieOn the one hand, Leipheimer was clearly very strong. On the other, 23 miles is a long way to cover with some of the world's best riders trying to reel you in.

But Leipheimer's gap hovered out beyond a minute all the way to the end, with Hincapie coming in at 1:11.

Neil Shirley, whipped but happyTop 10:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, in 4:22:19
2) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
3) Neil Shirley, Jittery Joe's, at 1:14
4) Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:18
5) Danny Pate, Team Slipstream-Chipotle, at 1:29
6) Shawn Milne, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 1:56
7) Kirk O'Bee, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 2:00
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, at 2:00
9) Christopher Jones, Nerac, at 2:00
10) Burke Swindlehurst, Toyota-United, at 2:04

Tyler Hamilton was 12th at 2:11.

Click through any photos for larger versions, or go straight to my Flickr photoset.

Complete results

My Flickr set from the road race (80 photos) | Flickr pool - if you've got pictures you want to add, let me know

cyclingnews.com | Leipheimer rides alone to national title | Photo gallery

DailyPeloton.com | 2007 USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship | Ben Ross photo gallery

VeloNews.com | Leipheimer wins U.S. pro road crown | Casey Gibson photo gallery (by the way, here's Casey shooting the rest of us shooting the riders)

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zabriskie repeats as US TT champ

Zabriskie hammersTeam CSC's David Zabriskie repeated as US champion in the individual time trial on Saturday.

Zabriskie was pushed hard by teammate-to-be Danny Pate of Team Slipstream-Chipotle, just one second slower over the 18.7 mile course. In fact, Team Slipstream '08 owned the podium, as Tim Duggan finished 8 seconds down.

Just as last year, Zabriskie raced without an earpiece, and the lack of intermediate splits meant he had to sprint flat-out on the finishing straight to pip Pate.

Jonathan Vaughters announced the '08 Team Slipstream squad in Greenville over the weekend, and they're going to have incredible results: Zabriskie, Pate, Duggan, Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Julian Dean, Ryder Hesjedal, Pat McCarty, Will Frischkorn, Christophe Laurent, Jason Donald, Steven Cozza, Trent Lowe, Maartijn Maaskant, perennial TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt, Tyler Farrar, Dan Martin, Chris Sutton, Lucas Euser, Huub Duyn, Mike Friedman, and Kilian Patour.

In fact, the team is apparently too sexy for their shirts, so they're having a design contest for next year's team jersey through September 15. “The design must incorporate the Slipstream argyle pattern...”

Saul Raisin is backReturning to competition was Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin, who has battled back from a devastating head injury suffered in April 2006 at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Starting first, Raisin turned in a creditable 44:07. (Click through either picture to be taken to my Flickr pics of the event).

Also back in competition was Tyler Hamilton, wearing a neutral jersey because of an ongoing legal battle with his Tinkoff Credit Systems team, which he claims has tried to change the terms of his 2007 contract in early May, after the season started. Hamilton recorded a 40:23, just a fraction of a second behind Bobby Julich for 6th on the day.

Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie again skipped the TT, prepping for Sunday's road race, which rips through downtown Greenville and makes 4 climbs of Paris Mountain.

Some logistical issues meant I didn't make it up to the finish line, and only got pictures from the riders coming down the opening chute. VeloNews, CyclingNews and Daily Peloton all had photographers at the awards ceremony -- links below.


2007 USA Cycling Pro TT championships - My Flickr set - I got pictures of almost all the 33 starters

VeloNews.com | Zabriskie defends pro ITT title | Casey Gibson photo gallery

Daily Peloton | 2007 USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship | Ben Ross photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Zabriskie barely holds off challengers to defend TT title | Time Trial photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Magnus Backstedt, Saul Raisin, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 31, 2007

US Pro Championships preview

The US Pro Championships return to Greenville, South Carolina this weekend. It's a fantastic course in a lovely small-town setting, with a terrific river park less than 300 yards from the finish, sidewalk cafés, barbecue, and top-notch bike racing.

Levi LeipheimerRace organizers took half my advice, shifting the little-attended time trial from Friday to Saturday, but left the road race on Sunday, so the likelihood of an already-difficult double national champion seems even a little more remote. For Southeastern fans, though, it means you can see both races for the cost of a single night's hotel room, and still get home for Labor Day.

I've always pulled for Levi Leipheimer, but I've never really believed in him. After this year's Tour, I believe. He was the strongest rider in last year's USPro road race, this year's Tour de Georgia, and the strongest American at the Tour de France. He's my favorite to take the Stars and Stripes to his new team, whatever it may be.

Last year, I felt Leipheimer's support was critical for George Hincapie, who will look to repeat as US champion and carry the Stars and Stripes to the T-Mobile team as Team Discovery Channel ends its successful run.

On the other hand, you can bet Team Slipstream would love to kick off its reign as the top US team with the US title onboard. Danny Pate was 3rd last year, while his teammates packed the top 15. A win for Dave Zabriskie is a win for Slipstream, as he transfers to the Argyles after this season.

And Bobby Julich has suggested wearing the Stars and Stripes at 35 would be a great career capper, and one thing he's yet to achieve in a very successful career:

“I'd like to try to win a national jersey finally. Either the time trial or the road race, I don't care. I'd take anything,” Julich said. “It would be fun to have the jersey in the last year of my career. I've never had it.”

Zabriskie at 3k to rideIn the time trial, the course has been slightly altered from last year, getting cut off before the hard right-hander in this photo. Last year, that led up to a twisty last 3 kilometers, where 2005 TT champion Chris Baldwin, neck and neck with Zabriskie, went into a ditch, and lost at least 30 seconds getting back up to steam. If Zabriskie's knee is back in racing shape after his forced withdrawal from this year's Tour, this is his race to lose: Nobody without a funny accent TTs faster than Z.

Dalton, Georgia's Saul Raisin returns to competition, just like he said he would, with a ride in the ITT Saturday. Also expected to return to competition (in both events) is Tyler Hamilton, whose team has kept him from racing since the Tour de Georgia in April.

There are 99 riders scheduled to start Sunday's road race. Missing this year? Christian Vande Velde, Freddie Rodriguez, Tom Danielson, Jason McCartney, and Aaron Olson.

I'll be there, so look for race updates and photos as soon as I can post them.


2007 USPro Championship Time Trial riders (34) | Road Race riders (99)

Course Maps and Profiles

GoUpstate.com | Battle for the stars and stripes, or just admire

ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.) | The Mehlting Pot: The Last Dance

From last year's race:

Flickr.com | US Pro Championships pool | My road race set | My TT set

Posted by Frank Steele on August 31, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Saul Raisin, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

Vaughters confirms Millar, Zabriskie, Vande Velde to Slipstream

CyclingNews.com | Vaughters confirms Millar, Vande Velde, and Zabriskie

David Millar to Slipstream for '08Jonathan Vaughters, looking to win a 2008 Tour de France wildcard invitation for Team Slipstream, has confirmed three major signings for the 2008 season: Saunier Duval's David Millar and CSC's Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde.

Vande Velde confirmed the signing during Sunday's VS. broadcast, while Millar apparently planned to announce the change during the rest day Saunier Duval press conference where Vinokourov's positive became public.

The doping circus around this year's Tour would seem to only help Slipstream's chances. The team performs extensive longitudinal testing of each rider throughout the year, including blood profiling to discourage EPO use or blood transfusions.

Very nice Flickr photo of Millar warming up in London by graspnext.


quickrelease.tv | Millar switches tacos

VeloNews.com | Vande Velde's View: The dust settles

Posted by Frank Steele on July 30, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Top Stories, Tour de France 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Vaughters on Slipstream's next goal: the Tour

CyclingNews | Slipstreaming with Le Tour in sight

Jonathan Vaughters manages the US Continental Slipstream-Chipotle team, which spent almost half its season racing in Europe this year, and hopes to become a ProTour (or ProTour level, if the UCI designation doesn't survive) team in 2009. To that end, they're aiming at a Tour wildcard next season. In this interview with CyclingNews (conducted after the Sinkewitz positive was made public Wednesday), Vaughters talks about the team's next steps:

“2008 is going to be a very transitionary year, we are going to have some very high-profile riders and we are going to gun specifically for the Tour de France,” said Vaughters. “We have been very careful in who we hired to make that happen and we are going to have to perform very well in a very French calendar in the early part of the season to actuate that as well.”

The CyclingNews.com article mentions speculation on the team's possible 2008 roster, but Vaughters refused to jump the gun, announcing rider signings before September 1. “I have signed a lot of high-level riders,” CN.com's Mark Zalewski quotes Vaughters.

Bart Hazen at Daily Peloton offered rumors of possible Team Slipstream signees in a Tour preview on Saunier Duval in early July, including David Millar (openly attached to Slipstream in the British press), David Zabriskie, Christophe Laurent, Thomas Voeckler, David Cañada, Marcus Burghardt, Martijn Maaskant, and Jerome Pineau.

Vaughters will continue the team's anti-doping program, one of the most extensive longitudinal programs in the sport.

The team will be in action in August at the Tour of Ireland.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Thomas Voeckler, Tour de France 2008, Tour de France 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zabriskie eliminated, outside Stage 11 time limit

CSC's Dave Zabriskie, the US time trial champion, wasn't just sandbagging to try to take the Lanterne Rouge. Zabriskie finished more than 30 minutes behind Stage 11 winner Robbie Hunter, and was eliminated.

The Team CSC website mentions only “persistent knee pain” as the reason for Zabriskie's exit. He must have gotten caught behind even the Moreau peloton, chasing two desperate groups while riding solo.
By the way, this reminds me of one of my primary irritations with the Versus coverage -- they don't seem to address anything that happens after they leave the finish line. I suspect the logistics and time change issues would make this difficult, but there have been several times I've wished they would do an injury update as they finished their “Extended Primetime Coverage,” even if it was from a studio back in the US.


VeloNews | Stage Notes: Zabriskie heads home; German cycling on the ropes

NYTimes.com | In a Notably Speedy 11th Stage, Hunter Sprints to Victory

Edward Wyatt at The New York Times suggests Zabriskie has hurt his marketability:

Zabriskie’s contract with the CSC team ends this year, meaning that he is looking for a new contract – an effort that is not likely to be helped by his Tour performance this year.

Given Zabriskie's much improved climbing, in evidence at the Giro and Dauphiné Libéré, and his TT cred, I don't think he'll have any trouble finding a new team.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Dave Zabriskie, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

Stage 5: Pozzato powers through, but where's Vino?

Filippo Pozzato was as good as his word Thursday. The Liquigas classics specialist, winner at Milan-San Remo in 2006, told CyclingNews that Stage 5 was right for him, and he followed through with a magnificent sprint through a select group of power riders that survived over a hilly course.

Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis built a healthy lead in the King of the Mountains competition by leading the race over 7 of the day's 8 climbs, in a break with FdJeux's Philippe Gilbert, Credit Agricole's William Bonnet, and break latecomer Gianpaolo Cheula of Barloworld.

Meanwhile, many of the race favorites spent time on the tarmac, most notably Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished 1:21 back on the day after spending almost 25 kilometers/16 miles chasing, first with 6 teammates (all but Klöden and Kashechkin) then behind the team car, and finally with the help of Tom Boonen and other dropped traffic he collected as he made up time. Astana's team competition lead (the yellow race numbers) was lost, as well, and Team CSC takes over the team lead.

As the field came to the finish, 74 riders were together, but most of the marquee sprinters were dropped, including Boonen, McEwen, and Thor Hushovd, so the classics specialists came to the fore, with Zabel and Freire initially looking strong, then Hincapie and Bennati closing them down, before Pozzato came on through the center for the win, less than a foot ahead of Rabobank's Oscar Freire.

Top 20 (all same time):
1) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy
2) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy
4) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg
5) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
6) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA
7) Christian Moreni, Cofidis, Italy
8) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany
9) Bram Tankink, Quick Step, Netherlands
10) Jérôme Pineau, Bouygues Telecom, France
11) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
12) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland
13) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain
14) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA
15) Fränk Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg
16) Martin Elmiger, AG2R, Switzerland
17) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany
18) Inigo Landaluze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain
19) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, T-Mobile, Australia
20) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, France

Once again, Fabian Cancellara did the yellow jersey proud, personally heading the peloton when Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych made a late break, and finishing 12th on a day when many expected him to lose the yellow jersey. As expected there was a heavy shuffle of the overall classification:

Overall standings after Stage 5
1) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, in 28:56
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ :33
3) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, @ :35
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, @ :41
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, @ :43
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, @ :45
7) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, @ :46
8) Mikel Atarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ :49
9) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, Netherlands, @ :51
10) Benoît Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, France, @ :52
11) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ :53
12) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ :55
13) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, @ :55
14) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ :55
15) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ :55
22) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 1:00
23) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 1:00
25) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 1:03
81) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 2:10

Zabel, the 6-time winner, is in the green jersey for the first time since 2002. Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis takes the King of the Mountains jersey from teammate Stéphane Augé, and Gusev maintains the lead in the young riders' white jersey competition.

And let's have no more talk of Dave Zabriskie as the Lanterne Rouge, please, as Dave Z finished in a big group @ 11:15 back, and jumps to 178th, 18:24 behind teammate Cancellara. Geoffroy Lequatre, a Cofidis rider who appeared to injure his right arm in a heavy fall and wobbled in 44:04 back, is 45:38 behind Cancellara to lead the Lanterne Rouge standings.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2007 in 2007 Stage 5, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Filippo Pozzato, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Stefan Schumacher, Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Dekker, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Flickr'ing the Prologue

I think that Saturday's Prologue must be the most Flickr'ed sports event in history. With a million spectators viewing an event on public roads, there are at least hundreds of photos from the London Prologue posted on Flickr.

And the growth of the digital SLR means that a lot of them are really good quality pictures. Graham Watson doesn't have to worry yet, but the pros can't provide the coverage that a million spectators can.

Some of my favorites:

Didi, by One Del?

Christophe Moreau, by Rider Planto

Here's a quick rundown of notable photos of favorite riders:
Cancellara 2 in maillot jaune

Vinokourov 2 3 4

Andreas Klöden

Zabriskie 2 3


Thomas Dekker

Fränk Schleck

Levi Leipheimer 2

David Millar

Bradley “Oasis” Wiggins, and underway

Beautiful shot of Benoit Vaugrenard, who finished 10th Saturday.

by popsarmchair


Tour de France, by One Del?

Tour de France 2007, by Rider Planto (131)

Tour de France - Prologue (London) 2007, by seanieh66

Le Tour de France 2007 - Prologue, by photoverulam

Le Tour de France 2007 - Prologue, by resmith100 (92)

Le Tour de France 2007, by Adrian Perry (549!)

Le Tour, by Simon Clayson, who caught the angry bike change by Mark Cavendish yesterday and the group towing eventual stage winner Robbie McEwen back to the field.

Tour de France, by sarflondondunc

2007 july 07 tour de france prologue, by Dave Reinhardt (33)

Tour de France Prologue, by b3n bR0WN

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in 2007 Tour de France photo galleries, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, Christophe Moreau, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Voeckler | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saul Raisin returns to competition in Utah

Salt Lake Tribune | CYCLING: Utahn beats odds after brain injury

While his Credit Agricole teammates soloed in front of a million people in London Saturday, Saul Raisin was getting beaten by US amateurs -- and loving it. Raisin returned to competition at Utah's Porcupine Hill Climb, a 14.7-mile race with 3800 feet of climbing.

He finished 7:20 behind HealthNet's Jeff Louder, but completed another step on the ladder he hopes will see him race at the US Pro National TT Championships in Greenville, SC, in September, and return to the European peloton next season.

Raisin is recovering from brain injuries suffered in April 2006 at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Recently engaged to David Zabriskie's sister Aleeza, Raisin has moved to Utah, and is documenting his training rides on his website using Motion Based. He's coauthored a book, Tour de Life: From Coma to Competition, with Dave Shields, about the accident and his recovery. He's on his way to France this week for more tests to determine his fitness to race, and hopes to visit the Tour while he's there.


Porcupine Cycling site | Porcupine Hill Climb licensed rider results (PDF)

Tour de Life site | Tour de Life excerpt

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Saul Raisin | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2007

Cancellara hammers Tour prologue

CSC's Fabian Cancellara takes the first yellow jersey of the 2007 Tour, with a dominant time trial, 13 seconds faster than Astana's Andreas Klöden.

Klöden's performance looked like it wouldn't be matched, as Britain's Prologue favorites Brad Wiggins and David Millar clocked 9:13.92 and 9:23.60, respectively. But Fabian Cancellara predicted he would win this stage, and went out like a jet, scorching the flat, super-fast course.

George Hincapie makes yet another Prologue podium in 3rd, with Wiggins 4th for Cofidis. Discovery Channel and Astana both put 3 riders in the top 20: Hincapie, Vladimir Gusev, and Alberto Contador for Disco; and Klöden, Vinokourov, and Kashechkin for Astana.

Stage and Overall Top 20:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, 8:50.74
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, 9:03.29
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, 9:13.75
4) Brad Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, 9:13.92
5) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, 9:15.99
6) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia
7) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, 9:20
8) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, Netherlands, 9:21
9) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, Italy, 9:23
10) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, France, 9:23
11) Dave Zabriskie, Team CSC, USA, 9:23
12) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, 9:23
13) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, USA, 9:24
14) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, 9:24
15) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, 9:25
16) Andrey Kaschechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, 9:26
17) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, 9:26
18) William Bonnet, Credit Agricole, France, 9:26
19) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, 9:27
20) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, 9:28

Cancellara takes the first yellow jersey, while Vladimir Gusev takes the first white jersey.

My back-of-the-envelope math puts this at 53.586 kms/hour or about 33.3 miles/hour, assuming a course that's exactly 7.9 kilometers long.

David Millar was philosophical about his 13th place finish: “I was as good as I could be today,” he said. “I'm going to win a stage -- I guarantee I'm going to win a stage.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Thomas Dekker, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Prologue underway

Mikel Astarloza had the best early time with a 9:23.88.

Stuart O'Grady overcooked a left-hander and crashed into some barriers with a little more than 1 kilometer to ride after setting the best time at 5 kilometers.

One thing to watch are the riders' handlebars: VeloNews this morning has a story about some “clarifications” to UCI rules that have caused some riders to switch their aero bars. At the Dauphiné Libéré, officials seemed to be focused on whether the rider had more than 2 points of contact with the bars, but now they're more concerned with the angle of the extensions, which they want essentially parallel to the ground. Some riders were experimenting with variations on the more steeply angled position (the “Praying Landis”) that Floyd Landis used last year.

Dave Zabriskie sets out in the Stars and Stripes. By the way, he's got “These colors don't run” printed on the inside of his left sleeve. You can see it in this photo (look at the large version). Zabriskie is fastest at the time check. Coming to the finish now, and Zabriskie sprints to the line at 9:22.98. I don't think that will last.

Right behind Zabriskie is Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Karpets, and the former white jersey is very strong: 9:16.77 takes over the lead. I thought Z's time would last longer than that...

Robbie McEwen looks like he's out for a club ride, and comes in at 9:59.15.

Discovery Channel is wearing jerseys with big green stripes across the arms and back, as part of Discovery Channel Goes Green. The team will plant trees in Mendocino to offset the team cars' carbon emissions, and an additional 30 trees for each stage win or leader's jersey a Disco rider wears.

Speaking of the Discos, here comes Russian TT champion Vladimir Gusev, whose intermediate time check was even with Karpets. At the line, he's going really hard, and he moves into the lead with a 9:15.99. Russians sit 1st and 2nd.

José Ivan Gutierrez, the Spanish TT champion, barely clears the barricade that claimed O'Grady earlier, and finishes in 9:23.66, putting him 4th with lots of talent yet to ride.

Valverde is the first of the race favorites to set out. He looks fantastic on his bike -- he's got a very quiet upper body, but going like hell below. He's 9 seconds down at the time check, and he finishes in 9:33.40. That's an OK start for Valverde.

Manuel Quinziato of Liquigas is Top 5 for now with a 9:22 and change.

Andreas Klöden comes through the checkpoint in 5:13 -- that's 8 seconds faster than 2nd-place Vladimir Gusev!

And here comes Klöden to the line, and he takes the lead with a 9:03.29! That's 52 km/hr.

George Hincapie sets off. He's got his work cut out for him. He's 2nd at the checkpoint, 7 seconds behind Klöden. He's going hard for the line, but he cant' match Klöden with a 9:13.75, 2nd for now.

Millar is on the course, and 1 minute behind is Alexandre Vinokourov. Millar goes hard, sprinting out of the start house, and the 500,000+ fans roar for the Scot.

And Wiggins is off, pushing a bigger gear than Millar, and drawing a bigger cheer from the thick crowds.

Millar comes in at 9:23.60, which will be outside the top 10. Vinokourov is next in, and he's charging, out of the saddle, to finish in 9:20.47. That's 5th for now, possibly to slip.

Wiggins is 3rd at the time check, 8 seconds back. Klöden has really scorched it today. Wggins is coming to the line, and won't catch Klöden, but maybe Hincapie -- here he comes in 9:13.92, a split-second behind Hincapie.

There goes world TT champ Cancellara, sporting the rainbow stripes. Leipheimer isn't in the top 5 at the time check. Michael Rogers sets out, a triple world champion in the time trial.

Leipheimer finishes in 9:30.34, 22nd with some good riders to go. That probably will drop to around 25th by the end of the day.

Cancellara hits the check at 5:07 -- 7 seconds faster than Klöden!

Cadel Evans comes in at 9:26.05, with Cancellara in sight behind him. Here comes Cancellara, hammering it all the way to the line, and he sets an unbelievable 8:50.74!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2007 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

2007 Tour nationalities breakdown

Great Britain makes a great leap forward in its Tour participation, as the Grand Depart host, shut out in 2005, brings 5 riders to the 2007 Tour. US participation continues to slip, from 9 in Armstrong's final year to 6 this year.

George Hincapie, Discovery Channel
Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto
Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel
Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto
Christian Vande Velde, CSC
Dave Zabriskie, CSC

The Americans must have been two for a dollar, as three teams each have a pair of Yanks starting. This is down from eight in '06, as Landis awaits his hearing results and Bobby Julich was left home.

Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, AG2R
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC
Michael Rogers, T-Mobile

Australia brings 6 riders, one more than actually started last year, with legitimate yellow and green jersey candidates. Lancaster won the freak 1150-meter prologue of the 2005 Giro, and makes his debut in the Tour. All the others started last year's Tour, and Allan Davis was on the ill-fated Astana-Würth squad.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile
David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
Geraint Thomas, Barloworld
Charlie Wegelius, Liquigas
Brad Wiggins, Cofidis

Thomas and Cavendish are two of the youngest riders in the race, while Wegelius makes his first Tour start after being a Giro fixture for years. Wiggins is primarily here for the Prologue, while Millar also has a chance in the Tour's longer time trials.

New Zealand:
Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

South Africa:
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld

The former Phonak has to be glad Alessandro Petacchi will miss the Tour.

Spain leads the way among all countries, with 41 starters. France is close behind with 36. Riders from 25 different countries will start tomorrow in London.

Spain: 42 riders
France: 35 riders
Germany: 19 riders
Italy: 18 riders
Belgium: 13 riders
Netherlands: 7 riders
Russia: 6 riders
Switzerland: 5 riders
Kazakhstan: 4 riders
Austria: 3 riders
Colombia: 3 riders
Belarus: 2 riders
Luxembourg: 2 riders
Norway: 2 riders
Ukraine: 2 riders
Brazil: 1 rider
Denmark: 1 rider
Finland: 1 rider
Lithuania: 1 rider
Portugal: 1 rider
Slovenia: 1 rider
Sweden: 1 rider

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rider numbers, Prologue start times assigned

cyclingnews.com | Tour de France start list

Rider numbers are out. As expected, Pereiro has the lowest number in the Tour, but at 11, since Tour organizers chose to skip the coveted number 1. Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne squad is number 11-19; followed by T-Mobile with Michael Rogers at 21; CSC with Sastre at 31; Predictor-Lotto with Evans at 41; Rabobank's Menchov at Phil Liggett's favorite, number 51; AG2R with Moreau at 61; Zubeldia leading Euskaltel-Euskadi in 71; Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer in 111; Tour favorite Alexandre Vinokourov wears 191 for Astana; and David Millar in 201 for Saunier Duval-Prodir.

Other Americans: George Hincapie wears 114; Dave Zabriskie 39; Christian Vande Velde 37; Chris Horner 44; and Fred Rodriguez 47.

Prologue start times for tomorrow are apparently available, but I can't find a complete listing yet; links welcome.

VeloNews notes that:

Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) is the first American out of the gate at 3:38 p.m. in 39th position.

Other Americans include:
• 61. Dave Zabriskie (CSC), 4 p.m.
• 102. Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto), 4:41 p.m.
• 103. Christian Vande Velde (CSC), 4:42 p.m.
• 158. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), 5:37 p.m.
• 179. Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), 5:58 p.m.

Those are London times, so that's 10:38 a.m. Eastern for Horner and 12:58 p.m. Eastern for Leipheimer. Looks like Versus will be live for all of them.

Zabriskie's early start time suggests he's not looking for a prologue victory to match his win in 2005, which put him in the yellow jersey. If he were, team management would let him start later, when he would have time splits from many of his competitors. CyclingNews.com said Zabriskie confirmed that he “only has one task at this year's Tour: to be a mountain domestique for Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre.”


VeloNews | Pereiro will start with bib No. 11

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Z's in! CSC announces Tour roster

David Zabriskie
David Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Team CSC | Team CSC Announces Line-Up for Tour de France 2007

    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 27, 2007

Zabriskie signs The Pledge

David Zabriskie
David Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
www.cyclingnews.com | Zabriskie wants 100 percent transparency

US time trial champion and former Tour yellow jersey David Zabriskie has signed the UCI's Riders' commitment to a new cycling.

Cyclingnews.com reports that Zabriskie becomes the 4th American to sign, after Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin, T-Mobile's Aaron Olson, and Tyler Farrar of Cofidis.

Zabriskie's teammate Fabian Cancellara told tuttobiciweb.com the UCI statement “is truly stupid. I am 100 percent against it.”

Zabriskie awaits the CSC Tour squad announcement:

“I am sitting here in limbo, in space. ... I am waiting to see if I can go to the Tour,” he said. “I am should know in the next couple of days. The way I performed my chances should be good. I have improved a lot in mountains and I will help Carlos [Sastre] and Fränk [Schleck] in the mountains.”

Update: The latest provisional start list at Cycling4All.com has 7 CSCs confirmed: Arvesen, Cancellara, Kroon, O'Grady, Sastre, Schleck, and Voigt; and says the final 2 riders will come from Lars Bak, Inigo Cuesta, Bobby Julich, or Nicki Sørensen.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2007

CSC takes ProTour team TT championship

procycling | Team CSC wins second ProTour TTT

Even with world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara competing (and winning) at the Tour de Suisse, Team CSC took the ProTour team time trial championship in Eindhoven.

Team Tinkoff took 2nd, a second behind CSC, with Milram about 13 seconds back. Discovery Channel led in the race's last kilometer, but Tomas Vaitkus and Steve Cummings wiped out in the greasy conditions, leaving Disco short at the line. They finished 4th at 24 seconds.

CSC's TT squad included:

• Michael Blaudzun
• Matthew Goss
• Bobby Julich
• Marcus Ljungqvist
• Luke Roberts
• Nicki Sørensen
• Christian Vande Velde
• Dave Zabriskie

Unfortunately, there is once again no Team Time Trial in this year's Tour.


VeloNews | CSC defends title in ProTour TTT

cyclingnews.com | Masters of the TTT, CSC makes it two for two | photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 25, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2007

Colom, Vinokourov win Dauphiné Stage 5 side by side

VeloNews | Colom, Vino' tag-team stage 5 at Dauphiné

Astana teammates Antonio Colom and Alexandre Vinokourov finished one-two in Digne-les-Bains today, the second time in the last three days that Astana has taken the day's top two podium spots.

Colom and Vinokourov were both in a 22-man break that shattered on the Col du Corobin, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the day's finish. Colom went first, with Vinokourov bridging up and away from the likes of Tom Boonen, Magnus Backstedt, Stef Clement, Rik Verbrugghe, and Leonardo Duque. Over the top, the Astanas had 35 seconds, which got out as far as a minute, but fell to 15 seconds at the finish, where Leonardo “L.” Duque was charging.

The main field, which had trailed the break by 6:30 at one point, finished 3:26 back, with AG2R doing the lion's share in protection of Christophe Moreau's 2nd place overall. Moreau, the 2001 Dauphiné champ, has a good shot at overall victory with a very mountainous stage tomorrow.

The main impact of the stage on the overall classification was to catapult Vinokourov back into the Top 10, even after he lost more than 7 minutes on yesterday's stage to the summit of Mont Ventoux.

Abandoning during the stage were Alejandro Valverde and Bobby Julich.

1) Antonio Colom, Spain, Astana
2) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
3) Leonardo Duque, Colombia, Cofidis, at :15
4) Matej Mugerli, Slovenia, Liquigas
5) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
6) Preben Van Hecke, Belgium, Predictor-Lotto
7) Anthony Charteau, France, Crédit Agricole
8) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel
9) Heinrich Haussler, Germany, Gerolsteiner
10) Philippe Gilbert, Belgium, Française Des Jeux

1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana
2) Christophe Moreau, France, Ag2r Prévoyance
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto
5) David Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel
7) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
8) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
9) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre-Fondital
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

Moreau conquers Ventoux

AG2R's Christophe Moreau took a 2nd win at this year's Dauphiné Libéré, riding the wheels off the whole peloton on the leg-breaking climb to Mont Ventoux.

Moreau won Tuesday's stage to Saint Etienne, which put him into the overall race lead, a lead he relinquished to Alexandre Vinokourov after yesterday's time trial.

Vinokourov quickly fell away on the day's final climb (finishing 7:20 back), but he had suggested yesterday that he wasn't interested in chasing an overall here at the Dauphiné, and his teammate, Andrey Kashechkin, took over the race leadership by finishing 2:04 behind Moreau.

The day's revelation had to be the climbing of CSC's Dave Zabriskie, who stayed with the main chase group almost to the summit, and finished just out of the day's top 10 at 2:01.

Moreau's teammate Sylvain Calzati spent more than 190 kilometers leading the race, first with 3 breakaway companions, then alone, before finally being caught a few kilometers from the observatory atop Mont Ventoux.

Top 10:
1) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R
2) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre, at 1:08
3) Igor Anton, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:21
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:51
5) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, same time
6) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:55
7) Miguel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, same time
8) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, s.t.
9) Leonardo Piepoli, Italy, Saunier Duval, 1:57
10) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
11) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at 2:00
13)Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at 2:04

General classification (CORRECTED 4:40 p.m.):
1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, in 16:17.21
2) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R, at :14
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :25
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :26
5) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, same time
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :53
7) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis, at 1:50
8) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 3:15
9) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
10) Manuel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, at 3:34

Moreau leads the points, mountains, and combination jersey competitions.


cyclingnews.com | Moreau reaches his nirvana on the Ventoux | Full Results

VeloNews | Moreau wins atop Ventoux; Kashechkin leads Dauphiné

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Leonardo Piepoli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

Vinokourov wins Dauphine TT, takes race lead

Vinokourov takes the leadAstana put on a time trialing show in Anneyron today, with Alexandre Vinokourov powering in 9 seconds faster than teammate Andrey Kashechkin, and 38 seconds ahead of CSC's Dave Zabriskie.

As expected, the TT shuffled the leaderboard ahead of the stage up Mont Ventoux tomorrow. Vinokourov, the defending Vuelta champion who was prevented from starting last year's Tour because many of his teammates were allegedly connected to Operación Puerto, showed he's the pre-race Tour favorite. He moves into the overall race lead.

Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer finished 8th on the day, 1:11 slower than Vinokourov, while teammate George Hincapie was caught on the course by Kashechkin, his 2-minute man.

Denis Menchov of Rabobank, currently in 4th place and 40 seconds back, won the climb of Ventoux at the Dauphiné last year, where Vinokourov was a disappointing 81st, 13:10 back. Tomorrow should be an interesting race.

Preliminary Top 10:
1) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana, in 52:08
2) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :09
3) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :38
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :39
5) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :40
6) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom, same time
7) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis, at 1:10
8) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
9) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at 1:18
10) David Millar, UK, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:40
13) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at 2:10
28) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at 3:02
Christian Vande Velde, USA, CSC, at 5:48

Preliminary overall:
1) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
2) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :02
3) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :32
4) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :40
5) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :41
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at 1:03
7) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
8) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis
9) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne


VeloNews | Kazakhs crush in Dauphiné TT

cyclingnews.com | Vino in perfect timing promotes Kash | Photo Gallery | Results | Standings

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Georg Totschnig, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moreau takes Dauphiné stage, overall lead

cyclingnews.com | Christophe Moreau restores the French panache

Moreau takes Stage 2AG2R's Christophe Moreau took over the lead at the Dauphiné Libére with an attack into Saint Etienne, dedicated to his new daughter.

With Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas and Jerome Pineau of Bouygues Telecom off the front, Moreau launched a testing attack, saw it was working, and drew company in the form of Astana's Jose Redondo, Quick Step's Kevin Seeldrayers, Credit Agricole's Alexandre Botcharov, and Caisse d'Epargne's Xabier Zandio. Moreau, Seeldraeyers, and Redondo were the final survivors, and had about a minute with 20 kilometers to ride.

At 7 km to go Seeldraeyers lost at least his chain, and the gap to the field was dropping. Redondo looked for a deal, but Moreau just kept powering toward the line, chasing a day in yellow.

And it worked: Moreau, 36, took the stage, 33 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde leading in a group that included all the overall contenders.

Tomorrow, it's a 40.7-kilometer (25.3-mile) time trial. In what I hope is about 5 different quotes strung together awkwardly, Moreau downplayed his chances in the TT:

"it's going to be hard to maintain the yellow jersey after the time trial. The time I've gained today, I'll lose it tomorrow; it might be a good balance. My favourite terrain is switching slowly from time trialling to climbing. But I've showed today that my legs of an old man still work correctly. I haven't decided anything for my future. We must see how the old machine goes before calling it a career."

No GC listing, because there still are 90 riders within a minute of the lead. Notably, three good US TT riders sit top 10: Levi Leipheimer, 4th at :25; George Hincapie, 6th at :27; and David Zabriskie, 8th at :27. David Millar sits 11th, at :30.

Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler leads the points classification, while Sylvain Chavanel holds the mountains jersey lead, and Moreau leads in the combination classification, for the rider ranked the lowest in all the jersey competitions.


cyclingnews.com | Results

VeloNews | Moreau wins Dauphiné stage, grabs lead


GrahamWatson.com | Dauphiné Libéré Stage 2 photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Dauphiné Libéré Stage 2

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2007

Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins, clearly focused on the London Tour prologue less than a month away, stormed the Dauphné Libéré prologue TT in Grenoble today.

Wiggins edged Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer, the 2006 Dauphiné champion, and Astana's Andrey Kashechkin at the biggest tuneup for Tour contenders. Wiggins, with a long list of palmares on the track, takes the Dauphiné leader's jersey.

Discovery Channel placed 3 riders in the top 10, with Leipheimer 2nd, George Hincapie 4th at :02, and Egoi Martinez 9th at :05. Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde was 5th on the day.

Saunier Duval's David Millar, the other British hope for the prologue, was 11th on the day, at :06. Millar may have been slowed by wet roads that hampered earlier starters.

A strong prologue (7th) has Tom Boonen well positioned to take over the race lead with a sprint bonus during the race's early stages.

Top 10 (Stage and Overall)

1) Bradley Wiggins, UK, Cofidis, 4:50

2) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :01

3) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :02

4) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at :02

5) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :03

6) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :03

7) Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step, at :04

8) Nick Nuyens, Belgium, Cofidis, at :05

9) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, at :05

10) Sebastien Joly, France, Française des Jeux, at :06


VeloNews | Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

GrahamWatson.com | Dauphiné Libéré prologue photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2007

Simoni takes stage win, Di Luca holds jersey at Giro

Yahoo! eurosport | Simoni conquers the Zoncolan

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.


CyclingNews.com | Giro Stage 17 - Simoni: King of Zoncolan | Stage 17 photos

GrahamWatson.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 17 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2007 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2007, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 07, 2007

Giro 2007 rosters announced

Gazzetta.it: Giro d'Italia | Le squadre

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

May 01, 2007

Savoldelli takes Romandie prologue

Eurosport | Savoldelli wins second consecutive title

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

Posted by Frank Steele on May 1, 2007 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tour de Romandie | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 20, 2007

Leipheimer takes Georgia TT; Brajkovic takes race lead

Dave Zabriskie
Dave Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Discovery Channel won 2 races Thursday, as Levi Leipheimer topped CSC's Dave Zabriskie and Health Net's Nathan O'Neill for the stage win, and Janez Brajkovic was the fastest of the riders who made the break on Stage 3.

Brajkovic's time was enough to put him in the race leader's jersey in advance of today's climb up Brasstown Bald, but just 12 seconds ahead of Christian Vande Velde of CSC.

I've posted 96 pictures from the stage, including shots of Brajkovic, Dave Zabriskie (and at left), David Millar, Tyler Hamilton, and others.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

2007 Tour de Georgia teams announced

Rome News - Tribune | Top cycling teams to compete in Tour de Georgia

Tyler Hamilton and his Tinkoff Credit System team and David Millar of Prodir-Saunier Duval are two new additions likely to ride in this year's Tour de Georgia. Rider lists aren't confirmed, but it looks like Leipheimer, Hincapie, and Danielson highlight Discovery Channel; Chris Horner, Cadel Evans, and maybe Freddy Rodriguez for Predictor-Lotto; and Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Juan José Haedo for CSC.

This is a great chance for East Coast fans to see ProTour teams compete, and a great chance for US racers to make a splash against Euro-quality talent.

Among ProTour teams:

• Team CSC
• Discovery Channel
• Quick Step-Innergetic
• Predictor-Lotto
• Prodir-Saunier Duval (which races in Europe as Saunier Duval-Prodir)

Three familiar Pro Continental squads are joined by Hamilton's Tinkoff Credit System:

• Health Net presented by Maxxis
• Team Slipstream presented by Chipotle
• Navigators Insurance
• Tinkoff Credit System

Five US Continental squads:

• Jittery Joe's
• Priority Health presented by Bissell
• Toyota-United
• Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light

And, of course, the USA Cycling National Development Team.

More at my Tour de Georgia weblog.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Disco revival: Popovych takes Paris-Nice Stage 5

VeloNews | Popo' doubles down for Disco'; Rebellin holds lead at Paris-Nice

AFP/Frank Fife

Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych took his first victory of 2007 with a signature attack out of a strong breakaway group to win Stage 5 at Paris-Nice.

Popovych got in a quality break, along with Dave Zabriskie, Predictor-Lotto's Johan Van Summeren, Rabobank's Koos Moerenhout, T-Mobile's Bert Grabsch, and 8 others, right after the start. The lead group, whittled down to 7, stretched its advantage to 4 minutes at the summit of the Côte des Agnels. Gerolsteiner set a furious pace to keep Popovych from threatening leader Davide Rebellin.

Indeed, Gerolsteiner set such a fast pace on the mountainous stage that they dropped their own Heinrich Haussler, who started the stage in the race's climber's jersey and had to solo in alone for 60 kilometers, finishing dead last on the day. Almost half the field finished more than 5 minutes back, with 60 riders more than 12 minutes back. Haussler somehow holds the polka-dot jersey for at least another day.

With about 20 miles to ride, Popovych decided to go it alone, and was the only member of the break who could outdistance the chase, finishing with 14 seconds in hand. Francisco Ventoso of Saunier Duval took the field sprint, ahead of AG2R's Samuel Dumoulin and Caisse d'Epargne's David Lopez.

It's been a very good year so far for the Discovery Channel team. Levi Leipheimer took the Tour of California, his first appearance for the team. Thursday, Alberto Contador, a late signing after being linked with Operación Puerto, took Stage 4 at Paris-Nice, and sits just 6 seconds back of Rebellin. Look for Discovery Channel and Gerolsteiner to slug it out Saturday and Sunday.

T-Mobile's Michael Barry didn't make the start, choosing to return to his European base, recover from a cold, and and return at the Vuelta al País Vasco in April.

There was one possible setback for Discovery Channel, as Ivan Basso took a fall with teammate Vladimir Gusev at Tirreno-Adriatico on Friday, and injured his wrist. X-rays were negative, but Basso may have to pull out of the race.

cyclingnews.com | Popovych rides glorious day away | photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 5

rec.bicycles.racing | Bob Martin's Paris-Nice Stage 5 summary

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Dave Zabriskie, Davide Rebellin, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 11, 2007

Millar takes Paris-Nice prologue

VeloNews | Millar takes Paris-Nice prologue

David Millar made it all the way back, with his biggest win since returning from an EPO suspension.

Saunier-Duval's Scottish time trial specialist scorched the 4.7 km course in 6:01. CSC's Bobby Julich won the prologue last year, but was slightly slower this year, finishing 11th on the day, at 6 seconds. Roman Kreuzinger of Czechoslovakia, riding for Liquigas, was just a tick back of Millar, and a tick ahead of FdJ's Sebastian Joly to fill out the podium.

Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer was 6th, 3 seconds behind Millar.

Dave Zabriskie was back in action after his accident at the Tour of California, finishing 40th, 14 seconds behind Millar. Discovery Channel's late signing, Alberto Contador, was 5th on the day.

Prologue standings
1) David Millar, Great Britain, Saunier Duval, in 6:01
2) Roman Kreuzinger, Czechoslovakia, Liquigas, at :01
3) Sébastien Joly, France, Francaise des Jeux, at :02
4) Luis Sanchez, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :02
5) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, at :02
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :03
7) Francisco Ventoso, Spain, Saunier Duval, at :04
8) Reinbert Wielinga, Netherlands, Saunier Duval, at :04
9) Thomas Lövkvist, Sweden, Française des Jeux, at :04
10) Joost Posthuma, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :05
11) Bobby Julich, USA, Team CSC, at :06
12) Thomas Voeckler, France, Bouygues Telecom, at :06
14) Franco Pellizotti, Italy, Liquigas, at :06
17) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :08
21) Luke Roberts, Australia, Team CSC, at :09
38) Simon Gerrans, Australia, AG2R, at :11
40) David Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :11
43) Tom Danielson, USA, Discovery Channel, at :11
44) Yaroslav Popovych, Ukraine, Discovery Channel, at :11
49) Brett Lancaster, Australia, Milram, at :12
54) Tyler Farrar, USA, Cofidis, at :14
56) Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step, at :14
62) Greg Henderson, New Zealand, T-Mobile, at :15
70) Chris Horner, USA, Predictor-Lotto, at :16
74) Christian Vande Velde, USA, Team CSC, at :17
86) Aaron Kemps, Australia, Astana, at :18
95) Mathew Hayman, Australia, Rabobank, at :21
125) Axel Merckx, Belgium, T-Mobile, at :26
126) Matthew White, Australia, Discovery Channel, at :26
136) Michael Barry, Canada, T-Mobile, at :28


cyclingnews.com | A new beginning for avowed anti-doper Millar | photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice prologue photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 11, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Thomas Voeckler, Tom Boonen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

The neutral that wasn't

VeloNews | Down but not out: Leipheimer leads Amgen Tour despite crash

CyclingNews | Rule Changes at the Tour of California

Davis, Brown, Henderson

Allan Davis, Graeme Brown, Greg Henderson
By Graham Watson (prints available)

So race officials at the Tour of California made a decision yesterday to neutralize the finishing circuits of Santa Rosa after a big crash caused a massive pileup, isolating a number of highly placed riders, including race leader Levi Leipheimer of Discovery Channel, and 2nd-placed Jason Donald of Team Slipstream. Ken Conley at Spare Cycles found himself right on top of the crash, and got some great pictures of the pileup and the finish.

Over the last decade or so, the UCI has established a neutral zone at the end of races. Initially, this was set at 1 kilometer to ride, specifically targeting the sport's fairly common final-sprint crashes. Each time a big crash has affected a race a little bit outside the current neutral zone distance, the sport has expanded it, first to 2 kilometers, then to 3 km, where it stands now. But yesterday's crash didn't happen at 3.2 kilometers to ride -- it was at nearly 10 kilometers, when some Bott's dots relocated a rider's wheel, causing a chain reaction in the field.

Chris at Podium Cafe offered up a satirical news story, calling it a “military-style assault” by Discovery Channel and adding by way of commentary:

Seriously. Neutralizing the race from 9km. It's just February, but this is not cool.

CyclingNews talked to the Chief Commissaire, Fabrizio Darnellio, who Kirsten Robbins reports initiated discussion of extending the neutral zone:

"Due to the size of the crash and the large number of riders that went down in the crash, our panel of commissaries made a decision to award all the riders with the time of the winner," Jim Birrell, race director said. "I think it was a fair decision and the right decision."

PodiumCafe reports that Allan Davis, Leipheimer's Discovery Channel teammate, would have assumed the race lead, barring the judge's decision, but at least one story at VeloNews suggested that Ben Jacques-Maynes had made the break and would have assumed race leadership, and the CyclingNews story confirms that. Jacques-Maynes and his DS at Priority Health took a fairly high road. Here's the rider:

"Thinking that I was going to be in the leader's jersey is an honour and a dream but that is counting chickens before the eggs hatch," Jacques Maynes said. "The commissaries ruling is sticking and we just have to live with that. We have a lot more racing and my team is motivated to keep going and to race our hearts out. I'm trying not to pay attention to all these details and get on with the job at hand."

Jacques Maynes adds, "I'm not in a position to question the commissaries and I just gave to live with it keep racing my bike. I'm paid to pedal and they are paid to make those decisions. It is hard to swallow that but that is what we have to do."

CN also reports that no protest was lodged. David Zabriskie's crash was apparently out on the road, before the race entered Santa Rosa. Head and wrist injuries forced him out of the race, but X-rays came up clear.

For me, I think the decision is counter to the traditions of bike racing. I've always been a fan of Leipheimer's, but it rubbed me the wrong way to hear him, in a post-race interview, talking about how he had come out and “defended the leader's jersey” in his hometown. I hope Discovery Channel didn't pull any strings to manipulate the finish.

Update: The New York Times weighs in, with quotes from Erik Breukink and Bjarne Riis. Also Leipheimer, who “said he did not hear complaints from fellow riders.”

Posted by Frank Steele on February 20, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 19, 2007

Graeme Brown takes Cali Stage 1

Rabobank's Graeme Brown led a down-under charge into Santa Rosa today, outsprinting New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile and fellow Australian Allan Davis of Discovery Channel.

A crash in the field with about 6 miles to ride led to chaos in the lead group. Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer, the race leader, and Team Slipstream's Jason Donald both were involved in the crash during a downtown circuit of Santa Rosa.

Leipheimer initially finished 35 seconds back of the stage winners, but judges decided to neutralize the finishing laps of Santa Rosa, and therefore the crash, which leaves him in the race lead.

Other team leaders may have been caught out behind the crash. CyclingNews reports that Dave Zabriskie was involved in the crash, and sent to the hospital; he apparently didn't finish the stage.

More as it comes in. Looks like the perfect place to plug the Vs. coverage at 10 Eastern.

CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 1 live report

VeloNews.com | Tour of California Stage 1

Posted by Frank Steele on February 19, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Leipheimer ekes out ToC prologue win

Jason Donald of Team Slipstream (formerly TIAA-CREF) shocked the field with a 4:50.497 on the course up to Coit Tower.

Donald was 7th to start the prologue, and as the riders got more and more established, nobody could top his early time. Discovery Channel's George Hincapie rode a 4:57 and change, US time trial champion Dave Zabriskie finished in 4:59.169, and even current world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara could manage only 4:55.098.

The last man to go was Levi Leipheimer, who won the inaugural Tour of California prologue last year, but in 4:53. Riding this year as the leader of Discovery Channel's squad, Leipheimer streaked through the course in 4:49.050, to take the first leader's jersey of the race. He'll wear it into his hometown, Santa Rosa, during tomorrow's stage.

1) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, 4:49.050
2) Jason Donald, US, Slipstream-Chipotle, + 1.447
3) Ben Jacques-Maynes, US, Priority Health-Bissel, +5.176
4) Rory Sutherland, Australia, Health Net-Maxxis, +5.649
5) Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland, Team CSC, +6.048
6) Adam Hansen, Australia, T-Mobile, +6.55
7) Mauricio Ardila, Colombia, Rabobank, +7.86
8) Hilton Clarke, Australia, Navigators, +7.91
9) George Hincapie, US, Discovery Channel, +8.19
10) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators, +8.25

Jason Donald, 2nd on the day, is a climbing specialist out of Colorado, and had Phil Liggett doubting the race timekeepers during the broadcast. His 2 previous wins were a stage at the Tour of the Gila and the Colorado state criterium championship.

Priority Health-Bissel's Ben Jacques-Maynes rounds out the podium.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 18, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Tour of California rosters released

Amgen Tour of California | 2007 Rider Roster Announced

I am going to hate missing the Tour of California. With the obvious exception of Floyd Landis, fans will get to see pretty much every American racing in the ProTour, and many of the world's best riders will be racing in the US for the first time.

The race, kicking off Sunday, will feature the winners of 4 stages and the prologue of the 2006 Tour de France: Thor Hushovd, who took the prologue and Stage 21, CSC's Jens Voigt, Stage 13, Michael (Spider) Rasmussen, who dominated the Alpine climbs and won Stage 16 and the king of the mountains, and Matteo Tosatto, who won Stage 18.

You want Americans? They got 'em: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, and Jason McCartney from Discovery Channel; Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Christian Vandevelde from Team CSC; Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner from Predictor-Lotto; Aaron Olson, now with T-Mobile; and of course the US-based Pro Continental and Continental teams, mostly populated by US riders.

You want ProTour royalty? They got 'em: World champion Paolo Bettini, world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, reigning Giro champion Ivan Basso, and former world TT champion Michael Rogers.

There are also lots of old faces on new teams, as with Michael Barry, Greg Henderson and Jakob Piil, all now with T-Mobile, Juan-José Haedo, dominant in US sprints last year, and now racing for CSC, and Henk Vogels, now racing for the Continental Toyota-United squad.

Also, injured Credit Agricole rider Saul Raisin, whose recovery continues, plans to ride each stage noncompetitively and visit with fans at the start and finish. He's also promoting a ride March 31st in Dalton, Ga. called Raisin Hope.

Should be a heck of a race.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 14, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Igor Astarloa, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Saul Raisin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)