July 07, 2009
Stage 4 TTT: Astana firing on all cylinders
If yesterday's Stage 3 was The Columbia Show, today was Astana Hour. Whatever the situation on the team bus, they worked as a single cohesive unit on the twisties around Montpellier, and built time gaps on many of the Tour's GC threats.
Early on, some big names hit the pavement, including Rabobank's Denis Menchov and Lampre's Alessandro Ballan. Four Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders misjudged a bend, and wound up in the rough. Later, Skil-Shimano's Piet Rooijakers broke his arm and left the course, leaving 178 riders in the race.
After the stage, many riders complained that the course was too technical for a TTT.
“We have bikes worth 10,000 Euro, and in the end we can't use them properly because we're just busy trying to hold balance instead of putting our power on the pedals."
Cadel Evans, who has made a point in the press how much more relaxed he is in this year's Tour, sprinted away from his squad as they approached the finish, leaving his teammates struggling to the line in 49:05, which would be 13th best on the day.
Garmin lost 4 riders in the first 12k, but were left with their five best TT men, who set new best times at the final three intermediate checkpoints, and finished in 46:29.
Saxo Bank, with yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara doing long, draft-horse quality pulls, turned in a very strong 47:09.
Columbia, possibly feeling the effects of that 30k race to the line on Stage 3, came in with a respectable 47:28, but trailed Garmin, Liquigas, and Saxo Bank at every intermediate check.
And then there was Astana. Leading the team competition, they were last to start, and they rotated smoothly with big pulls from Klöden, Leipheimer, Contador, and Armstrong. At the first time check, they were a little slower than Caisse d'Epargne, which had kicked the day off with a jackrabbit start they couldn't maintain, but Astana led at every later checkpoint. Once Saxo Bank finished, everyone was looking toward 46:29, the time that would put 7-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong back into yellow.
In the last few k, it became clear it would be pretty close. In the final k, it looked very close. In the last meters, it looked insanely, ridiculously close, until Astana came through in … 46:29. The Tour's offical website put Armstrong into yellow (and I followed suit), but not so fast. That 46:29 put Cancellara and Armstrong in a tie, so officials looked at the fractions of a second in Stage 1, and found that Cancellara had held the race lead by .22 second.
Officially, the leaderboard shows Cancellara first, with Armstrong second “at :00.” There was a suggestion (notably from Robbie McEwen via Twitter) that Armstrong sat up to leave Cancellara in yellow; I've watched it a couple of times, and can't see why you would go that hard to the line if you were that close to taking a yellow jersey you didn't want.
Of note: Liquigas was 4th, a big boost for Roman Kreuziger; my apologies to the Euskaltels, who were middle of the pack, finishing 10th at 2:09. Sastre ends the day 29th at 2:44, Evans 35th at 2:59, Pereiro 40th at 3:03. Menchov, who looked invincible in May, is in 72nd, 3:52 back.
1) Astana, in 46:29
2) Garmin-Slipstream, at :18
3) Team Saxo Bank, at :40
4) Liquigas, at :58
5) Team Columbia-HTC, at :58
6) Team Katusha, at 1:23
7) Caisse d'Epargne at 1:29
8) Cervelo Test Team, at 1:37
9) AG2R-La Mondiale, at 1:48
10) Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 2:09
GC after Stage 4:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team Saxo Bank, in 10:38:07
2) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :00
3) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :19
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :23
5) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :31
6) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :38
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Astana, at :51
8) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at :52
9) David Zabriskie, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:06
10) David Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:07
Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in 2009 Stage 4 TTT, 2009 Tour de France, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, Garmin-Chipotle, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 26, 2008
Schumacher takes 2nd TT as Sastre holds yellow
Team CSC has been the best-ranked team in the world for years, but has never taken the sport's biggest victory. Today, Carlos Sastre nailed down his first Grand Tour victory, and his team's first TdF win, with a 12th place in the longest time trial of the 2008 Tour.
Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher, who won the Stage 4 TT and has been active in attacks throughout the Tour, was the stage winner today, clocking a 1:03:50, again beating out world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and Team Columbia's Kim Kirchen.
Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto, widely expected to put serious time into Sastre, was unable to gap the Spaniard. At each time check, Sastre trailed Evans by less than 30 seconds, and Evans would finish in an unspectacular 7th on the stage, in 1:05:56. Combined with Bernhard Kohl's 1:06:11, Evans will move up to 2nd, with Kohl falling to 3rd. Kirchen climbs to 8th overall, while Garmin-Chipotle's Christian Vande Velde moved into the Top 5 overall.
Fränk Schleck had a rough day, finishing in 1:09:28 and getting caught by Sastre on the road, and falling to 6th overall.
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, 1:03:50
2. Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, @ :21
3. Kim Kirchen, Team Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:01
4. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ 1:05
5. David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, @ 1:37
6. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 1:55
7. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:05
8. Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, Germany, @ 2:19
9. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 2:21
10. George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, @ 2:28
General Classification, after Stage 20:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, 84:01:00
2. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:05
3. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:20
4. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 2:00
5. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, @ 3:12
6. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ 4:28
7. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:32
8. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 7:02
9. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 7:26
10. Tadej Valjavec, AG2R-La Mondiale, Slovakia, @ 9:12
Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2008 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 23, 2008
Sastre takes stage, yellow jersey on l'Alpe d'HuezCSC-Saxo Bank struck the Luxembourg flag, posted Spanish colors, and opened up on the field on the Tour's queen stage today.
Yellow jersey Fränk Schleck played the loyal lieutenant as Carlos Sastre put 2 full minutes into the whole field, with a dominating climb of l'Alpe d'Huez, the Tour's most famous climb. Meanwhile, Fränk and Andy Schleck shadowed Cadel Evans, covering every attack through switchback after switchback.
Sastre launched immediately as the field left Bourg d'Oisans at the base of the climb. He was briefly joined by Rabobank's Denis Menchov, but a second attack dropped Menchov not only from Sastre's wheel, but from the yellow jesrsey group, as well. Menchov would claw his way back into that group well up the climb.
While first Valverde, then Efimkin, then Vande Velde would try to escape the gravitational field around the Schlecks, every attack was pulled back while Sastre continued to climb into the yellow jersey, steadily building a lead of more than a kilometer on the road that was worth 2:15 to Evans, Menchov, and Kohl on the line.
Even though Sastre looks to be in command right now, with the stage win and the leader's jersey, it seems unlikely he can hang within 1:35 of Cadel Evans on Saturday's long 53k/33-mile time trial. In the final TT last year, Evans made 2:33 on Sastre, even more than Sastre's winning margin today.
Stage 17 Top 10:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, in 6:07:58
2. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain @ 2:03
3. Andy Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, same time
4. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:13
5. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, same time
6. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R, Russia, @ 2:15
7. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, same time
8. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, s.t.
9. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, s.t.
10. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
General Classification after Stage 17:
1. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, in 74:39:03
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ 1:24
3. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:33
4. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:34
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 2:39
6. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ 4:41
7. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 5:35
8. Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:52
9. Tadej Valjavec, AG2R-La Mondiale, Slovakia, @ 8:10
10. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 8:24
VeloNews | Who won: Sastre or Evans?
July 20, 2008
Schleck in yellow as Gerrans takes Stage 15
It was a day for the breakaway, as the overall contenders had bigger fish to fry, with the Tour climbing into the Alps.
Credit Agricole's Simon Gerrans, who fell off the breakaway but battled back to Egoi Martinez and Danny Pate, found a second wind on the mountaintop and easily dropped Martinez and Pate for his first career stage victory.
Back in the field, CSC again stamped a jackhammer tempo at the front to shatter the field, leaving Cadel Evans without teammates on the day's last climb, up to Prato Nevoso, and putting three CSC men -- both Schlecks and Carlos Sastre -- in the final group of 10 that included Evans.
Andy Schleck did the lion's share of the pacesetting on the 11-kilometer final climb, and Sastre, Menchov, Kohl, Alejandro Valverde and Fränk Schleck forced a gap to Evans, who tried to keep his head and ride to the summit with Christian Vande Velde,
Oscar Pereiro left the race after a tumble over a guardrail from the top to the bottom of a hairpin turn. Pereiro, who was awarded the 2006 Tour when Floyd Landis was disqualified, injured his shoulder and couldn't continue.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2008 in 2008 Stage 15, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Egoi Martinez, Frank Schleck, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 14, 2008
Saunier Duval 1-2 for Piepoli and Cobo
Team CSC shook up the standings today, setting a blistering pace on the Col du Tourmalet, and putting the Luxembourg national champion Fränk Schleck just 1 second out of the overall race lead.
But it was Saunier Duval who came out with another stage win, as their Leonardo Piepoli and Juan José Cobo tag-teamed Shleck on the day's final climb, the Hautacam.
We finally had a glimpse of contenders and pretenders, as well, with some big surprises. Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego crumbled on the Tourmalet, losing almost 6 minutes by stage's end. Kim Kirchen lost the yellow jersey, falling to 7th overall, and Stefan Schumacher tumbled to 18th overall.
On the other hand, Christian Vande Velde rode axle-to-axle with the best riders of the Tour, and gave as well as he got. Denis Menchov shadowed Cadel Evans all day, and Carlos Sastre rode comfortably among the overall leaders, as well.
Piepoli completes the set, now with a victory in all three Grand Tours.
Stage 10 Results
1. Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval, Italy, in 4:19:27
2. Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, same time
3. Frank Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ :28
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:06
5. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, @ 2:05
6. Riccardo Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:17
7. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, same time
8. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
9. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, s.t.
10. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, s.t.
Evans just barely held off Schleck in the overall, with Vande Velde and Ricco's sprint to the line probably saving his first-ever yellow jersey. Kohl's attack took him up into the top 5 overall.
General Classification, overall after Stage 10
1. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg @ :01
3. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :38
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria @ :46
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ :57
6. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, @ 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:56
8. Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:10
9. Riccado Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:29
10. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 2:32
Ricco takes the KoM lead with the double points on the final climb today, and takes over the white jersey lead on a day that was tough for Andy Schleck.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10, Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Kim Kirchen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 10: The climb to Hautacam
At the base of Hautacam, 24 riders are chasing Remy de Gregorio:
- Evans, Silence-Lotto
- Sastre, Cancellara, A. Schleck, F. Schleck, Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank
- Kirchen, Columbia
- Duenas Nevado, Barloworld
- Nibali, Liquigas
- Fothen and Kohl, Gerolsteiner
- Menchov and Freire, Rabobank
- Ricco, Cobo and Piepoli, Saunier Duval
- Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
- Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi
- Dupont, Efimkin and Goubert, AG2R
- Roy, Française des Jeux
- Duque, Cofidis
Cancellara and Voigt are quickly dropped, Di Gregorio is swept up, and Piepoli attacks. Schleck matches, then Sastre tries a testing attack. Kirchen is dropped from the leaders group. Sastre caught and Fränk Schleck attacks, followed by Piepoli and Efimkin. Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, and Christian Vandevelde, ride alongside Carlos Sastre, Cobo, and Kohl.
Kohl launches, matched by Cobo, and there goes Christian Vande Velde, riding away from Sastre, Evans, Menchov.
Valverde, already well behind the leaders, has a mechanical.
Vande Velde can't make it up to Schleck's group, and comes back to the Evans/Menchov group. Kohl and Cobo successfully bridge up to Piepoli, Schleck, and Efimkin.
Kirchen begins to make up time on the Evans group, and Evans attacks! It's not enough to drop his group, but it does increase the gap to Kirchen. Evans rides with Vande Velde, Menchov, Nibali, Sastre, and Ricco.
Up front, Schleck's group begins to splinter. Cobo launches off the front, and Piepoli and Schleck are the only riders who can bridge up.
Nibali yo-yoes off the back of the Evans group. Valverde and Cunego ride together, about 4:30 back of Piepoli, and abut 3:00 behind Sastre, Evans, Menchov, and Vande Velde. Kirchen is 1:00 down on Evans.
Schleck, who started the day 1:50 behind Evans in GC, has build enough of a gap that he's riding (barely) in the virtual yellow jersey, with less than 4km to ride.
In the final 3km, Cobo and Piepoli lift the pace, and Schleck can't match the teammates. They ride together to the finish, with Schleck alone, and the remnants of the Schleck group (Kohl, Efimkin) spread out back toward Evans.
At the line, it's Leonardo Piepoli taking the stage, with Cobo on his wheel, and Schleck about 26 seconds back. It's going to be close for Evans...
As the Evans group comes into the final km, Christian Vande Velde goes to the front and raises the pace, then Riccardo Ricco comes by. Evans bumps the tempo to hold contact, and the group holds together to the line, coming in at about 2:15, giving Evans the yellow jersey by 1 narrow second.
July 08, 2008
Schumacher takes the time trial!
Classics specialist Stefan Schumacher of Gerolsteiner turned in a head-turning performance to dominate the Stage 4 time trial at the Tour.
Schumacher was the only man to go under 36:00 on the day, finishing in 35:44. Team Columbia's Kim Kirchen just edged Garmin-Chipotle's David Millar, both in 36:02 to round out the stage podium.
Stage 4 results
1. Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, 35:44
2. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, 36:02
3. David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, 36:02.53
4. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, 36:11
5. Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, 36:17.22
6. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, 36:18.01
7. Jens Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank, Germany, 36:19
8. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, 36:21
9. George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, 36:25
10. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, 36:31
Among the overall GC threats, Cadel Evans had the best day, finishing 4th on the day in 36:11, better than world champion Fabian Cancellara, who finished in 36:18. Denis Menchov showed he's here to win, only 7 seconds slower than Evans, while riding from a very early start, without benefit of many time checks.
Damian Cunego scored a 37:10, Alejandro Valverde a 37:18, while Carlos Sastre managed only a 37:27. Mauricio Soler, tipped by some as a longshot, must still be suffering from his accident on Stage 2, and was 161st on the day in 40:24, already 17:46 back of the race lead.
Overall standings mirror the stage finish, with Schumacher taking the overall race lead.
Overall after Stage 4:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, in 14:04:41
2) Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ :12
3) David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, @ :12
4) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ :21
5) Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, @ :33
6) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :37
7) George Hincapie, Columbia, USA, @ :41
8) Thomas Lövkvist, Columbia, Sweden, @ :48
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, @ :58
10) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 1:01
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 1:12
Columbia's Kirchen leads the green jersey competition, teammate Thomas Lövkvist leads in the white jersey competition, Thomas Voeckler holds the polka-dots, and Garmin-Chipotle extends its team competition lead, now leading Team Columbia.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2008 in 2008 Stage 4, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Mauricio Soler, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 23, 2007
Stage 15 on the road
VS. broadcaster picks:
The early story is the big 25-man breakaway including a couple of former GC candidates. Denis Menchov of Rabobank is there, as is Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) are here, as are Caisse d'Epargne's David Arroyo, Euskaltel's Haimar Zubeldia, Inigo Landaluze and Ruben Perez; T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen; FdJeux's Benoit Vaugrenard; Quick Step's Juan Manuel Garate; Saunier Duval's Juan José Cobo; Bouygues Telecom's Laurent Lefevre and Johann Tschopp; AG2R's Ludovic Turpin; Liquigas' Michael Albasini; Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Daniele Bennati and Patxi Vila of Lampre; Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner; Christian Knees of Milram; Vino's Astana teammates Serguei Ivanov and Daniel Navarro.
2nd Category Col de Port:
1) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step, +10 pts
2) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +9pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +8 pts
4) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +6 pts
6) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, +5 pts
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +2 pts/2 secs
2nd Category Col de Portet d'Aspet:
1) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +10 pts
2) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +9 pts
3) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +8 pts
4) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +7 pts
5) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel, +6 pts
The 25 have led the way over the day's first two climbs, but today's sting is in the tail, as we finish with a 1st Category, then the hors categorie Port de Bales, then the Col de Peyresourde. It's not a mountaintop finish -- there's a descent of almost 12 kilometers after the top of Col de Peyresourde.
The gap is just under 8 minutes, with 108 kilometers/67 miles ridden and 88 kilometers/55 miles to go.
On the way up the Col de Mente, Rabobank continues to lead the peloton, and the gap is up around 8:29. Near the summit, Juan Manuel Garate outsprinted Laurent Lefevre for max points.
1st Category Col de Mente
1) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +15 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +13pts
3) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +11 pts
4) Daniel Bennati, Lampre, +9 pts
5) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +8 pts
6) Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, +6 pts
8) Christian Knees, Milram, +5 pts
2nd (final) Intermediate Sprint, Marignac
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Kurt-Asle Arvesen, CSC, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux +2 pts/2 secs
Just before the start of the HC climb, 5 riders rode away from the 25-man breakaway: Inigo Landaluze of Euskaltel, David Arroyo of Caisse e'Epargne, Johan Tschopp of Bouyges Telecom, Serguei Ivanov of Astana, and Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner quickly built a lead of more than a minute to the 20 other break survivors, and 8:20 to the peloton.
On the climb, everything splintered. Kirchen bridged to the leaders, then Vinokourov attacked, again splitting the lead breakaway, and briefly catching the inital split. Riding with Vinokourov were Menchov, Turpin, Zubeldia, Cobo, and Garate. This group caught the initial attack, then fractured. Tschopp, Kirchen and Arroyo went off the front, while Vinokourov's group shed riders.
Back in the peloton, the pace and the climb cooked Pereiro, Moreau, and others. Rasmussen's group looked much like it did yesterday: Evans, Leipheimer, Contador, Soler, Boogerd, Mayo, Sastre, Chris Horner, Frank Schleck, Michael Boogerd, and a few others. Klöden and Kashechkin ride just behind.
Freddie Rodriguez abandoned today on the road.
Port de Bales (HC)
1) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, +20 pts
2) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, +18 pts
3) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +16 pts
4) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step,+14 pts, at :45
5) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts
6) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts
7) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +8 pts
8) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +7 pts
9) Ludovic Turpin, AG2R, +6 pts
10) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +5 pts, @1:35
On the descent, with Rasmussen: Boogerd, Contador, Popovych, Leipheimer, Evans, Horner, Mayo, Soler, Klöden, Kashechkin, Sastre, Schleck, Astarloza, Valverde. Others are joining, and Denis Menchov has slipped back to help Rasmussen on the final climb.
Vinokourov attacked at the base of the Peyresourde, matched by Zubeldia, Garate, and Cobo, and they're only 20 seconds behind Arroyo and Kirchen. Garate's dropped. Vinokourov kept attacking, and only Cobo could match, and the pair have caught Kirchen and Arroyo, as the 4 riders lead the race, while the yellow jersey rides 7:15 back.
Zubeldia rides back up to Vinokourov, and in the yellow jersey group, Yaroslav Popovych has attacked off the front. Moreau has caught back on to the yellow jersey group.
Vino goes again, and Kirchen can't match the new pace. Vino sits up, and Kirchen rejoins Cobo, Zubeldia, Arroyo, and Vino.
As they near the steepest part of the Peyresourde, Zubeldia attacks from Vino's group, Cobo drags Vino back to him, and Vino goes hard again! He quickly gets a gap, Kirchen is dropped. Vinokourov rides alone, with Cobo and Zubeldia chasing less than 20 seconds behind. Vinokourov would die before he would be caught on this descent. He's flying.
Back in the field, Contador attacks, Rasmussen slowly matches, but he's working hard. Contador gets a gap, but Rasmussen slowly pulls it back. Evans, Klöden, Sastre, Leipheimer, Astarloza can't handle this pace on the climb, and fall back.
Contador and Rasmussen ride alone toward the summit. Contador launches a couple of tests, but Rasmussen matches every one. As Contador and Rasmussen reach the summit, there's George Hincapie, waiting to escort Contador to the finish, and maybe gap Rasmussen.
Hincapie nails the descent. There's still a small rise at about 2k to go -- Will Contador try to get time on the finish? He does! He attacks again, and Hincapie falls away, but Rasmussen again is able to match his move.
Vinokourov comes to the line with a healthy victory margin, after an epic stage win.
More than 5 minutes later, Contador and Rasmussen came to the line, with Contador leading. They tripped the lights at 5:25, with Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Valverde, and Evans more than a minute behind at 6:27.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2007 in 2007 Stage 15, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 22, 2007
Stage 14: Contador opens Tour account
Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador took an aggressive stage win as the Tour moves into the Pyrenees, and elevated himself from 1 of 10 candidates to win this year's Tour to one of the two favorites.
Contador, just 24 and riding in the white jersey of the race's best-placed young rider, waited as teammate Yaroslav Popovych reduced the group riding with race leader Michael Rasmussen, then launched a blistering attack, initially answered by Rasmussen and Evans, that only Rasmussen could ultimately match. By doing so, Rasmussen moved one stage nearer a possible win in Paris, and Contador took his 1st career Tour stage win.
Many of the pre-race favorites lost buckets of time today: Alexandre Vinokourov, who won on Saturday, lost 28:50 to Contador today. Christophe Moreau lost 34:52. Iban Mayo lost 9:31. A few riders managed to limit their losses to Rasmussen and Contador, who dominated the field today: Juan Mauricio Soler, riding in his 1st Tour, lost only 37 seconds; Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre were close behind.
Evans finished with Andreas Klöden at 1:52. Caisse d'Epargne's two leaders, Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde, finished together at 3:45.
A lot of discussion has resulted from a brief discussion between Contador and Rasmussen in the climb's last kilometers. Rasmussen came up to Contador, and Contador pointed to himself twice. The riders differ on the discussion: Contador said Rasmussen promised the stage win for Contador's cooperation to the finish, while Rasmussen echoed Lance Armstrong: “This is the Tour de France -- you don't give any presents here.”
Possibly the dumbest move of the day came from Saunier Duval, which sent David Millar to set a fast pace few riders could match, only to find team leader Iban Mayo was among the riders who couldn't.
Stage 14 Top 20:
1) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, in 5:25:48
2) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, same time
3) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at :37
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at :40
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :53
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 1:52
7) Cadel Evans, Predictor - Lotto, Australia, same time
8) Antonio Colom, Astana, Spain, at 2:23
9) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, same time
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 3:06
11) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, same time
12) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:45
14) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, same time
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
16) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
17) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:47
18) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:04
19) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, same time
20) John Gadret, AG2R, France, at 4:48
Major changes in the GC; Rasmussen gets a cushion on everyone but Contador.
Overall Standings after Stage 14:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 64:12:15
2) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 2:23
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 3:04
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 4:29
5) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 4:38
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 5:50
7) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 6:58
8) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 8:25
9) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 9:45
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 10:55
11) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 11:01
12) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at 11:31
13) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:15
14) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 13:16
15) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 14:58
16) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 15:31
17) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, at 17:23
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 18:57
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:19
20) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:33
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2007 in 2007 Stage 14, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 18, 2007
Stage 10: Vasseur victorious
The Tour youth movement stepped aside for at least one last stage as a veteran took a smart breakaway victory.
Cedric Vasseur, 36, of Quick Step gave France its first Tour victory of 2007 ten years after his other Tour stage win.
Vasseur was in an 11-man group that was the most powerful breakaway of the Tour so far, but with all more than 45 minutes behind Michael Rasmussen. Over the day's penultimate climb, the group was whittled down to 3, but Jens Voigt and Vasseur were able to chase across to join Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Michael Albasini of Liquigas, and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux.
Halgand tried to shed the others on the day's final climb, but every attack was matched, and the 5 came down into Marseilles together. Albasini shadowed Voigt, while the three Frenchman rode offset in a line, with Vasseur at the back as they came into the final kilometer. With less than 300 meters to ride, but a little beyond sprint range, Vasseur went full throttle along the right barricades, and the surprise was enough to take the win ahead of Sandy Casar sprinting left of the centerline and Albasini in between.
Tom Boonen showed he's serious about defending his green jersey, riding near the front of the field all day, and winding up the Quick Step train to launch him in the field sprint for 12th place on the day. Boonen was outfoxed by Sebastien Chavanel, but clipped Erik Zabel, his primary competition, taking 13th on the day to Zabel's 16th.
1) Cédric Vasseur, Quick Step, France in 5:20:24
2) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux, France, same time
3) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, Switzerland, s.t.
4) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
5) Jens Voigt, CSC, Germany, s.t.
6) Staf Scheirlinckx, Cofidis, Belgium, @ :36
7) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, same time
8) Marcus Burghardt, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 1:01
9) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, Belarus, @ 2:34
10) Juan Antonio Flecha, Rabobank, Spain, same time
11) Andriy Grivko, Milram, Kazakhstan, @ 3:42
12) Sébastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, @ 10:36
12) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, same time
14) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
15) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
16) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
17) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
18) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, s.t.
19) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, France, s.t.
20) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
Overall Standings after Stage 10:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, in 49:23:48
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, at 3:08
6) Christophe Moreau, Ag2R, at 3:18
7) Carlos Sastre, Team CSC, at 3:39
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 3:50
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, at 3:53
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, at 5:06
11) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:20
12) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, at 5:34
13) Fränk Schleck, Team CSC, at 5:56
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at 6:36
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, at 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, at 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 7:10
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d’Epargne, at 7:33
20) Tadej Valjavec, Lampre, at 7:45
21) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, at 8:05
CSC moves back into the lead in the team competition, courtesy of Voigt's long day in the break, and Halgand takes the most aggressive rider jersey.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2007 in 2007 Stage 10, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Cedric Vasseur, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 17, 2007
Stage 9 on the road
A rude beginning to the stage today, as riders immediately start up the hors categorie Col de l'Iseran, followed by a long descent to St. Michel-de-Maurienne. Then, the double whammy of the Col du Télégraphe (a 1st Category) and the Col du Galibier, another hors categorie. Finally, a 37.5 kilometer/23 mile descent into Briançon.
VS. broadcaster picks:
Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych attacked up the Col de l'Iseran, and led the field by 30 seconds over the top:
Col de l'Iseran (HC):
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channe, +20 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +18 pts, @ 30 secs
3) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +16 pts, same time
4) Anthony Charteau, Credit Agricole, +14 pts, @ 35 secs
5) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts, @ 40 secs
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +10 pts, same time
7) Francisco Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +8 pts, s.t.
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, +7 pts, s.t.
9) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts, s.t.
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts, s.t.
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts/2 secs
Popovych has been joined on the descent by teammate Vladimir Gusev, Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Bouygues Telecom's Stef Clement, Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux, and Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel-Euskadi. They've got 2:45 on the peloton with more than 55 kms/34 miles ridden.
T-Mobile's troubles continue, as Marcus Burghardt tacoed his front wheel hitting a dog wandering unleashed across the road. Both dog and rider appeared unhurt.
At the day's 2nd and last sprint, the 6 riders don't even break their rotation:
2nd Intermediate Sprint:
1) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +4 pts/4 secs
3) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
At the base of the Col du Télégraphe, Astarloza, Clement, Gusev, Gutierrez, Popovych, and Vaugrenard have 3:25 on the peloton, with Rabobank leading the field.
Early in the climb, Mikel Astarloza attacked, and Clement and Vaugrenard couldn't counter. Gusev was first to rejoin, then Gutierrez leading Popovych. Astarloza went again, and quickly built a lead of 10, then 20, seconds.
Meanwhile in the main field, David Millar was setting a fast pace alongside the Rabobanks, and Sandy Casar, Stefan Schumacher and the usual sprinters (including Zabel) are all dropped. The main field is down under 60 riders, about 2:55 behind Astarloza, with more gradually falling by the wayside.
When Millar popped, his place was taken by teammate Iker Camano. Over the top of the Col du Telegraphe, Mikel Astarloza still had a healthy 3 minutes:
1) Astaloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi +15 pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +13 pts, at :21
3) Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +11 pts
4) Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +9 pts
5) Gusev, Discovery Channel, +8 pts
6) Soler, Barloworld, +7 pts, at :55
7) Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, +6 pts, at 1:05
8) Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +5 pts, at 2:45
The peloton was at 3:12.
At the beginning of the climb to the Col du Galibier, Astarloza was recaptured by Gusev, Popovych, and Gutierrez, with Clement suffering a few seconds behind.
Camano fell off, and Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd are the last Rabobank teammates left for yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen.
Juan Mauricio Soler attacked out of the peloton, and quickly worked his way through the leaders and led at the summit:
Col du Galibier
1) Soler, Barloworld, +40pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +36 pts, at 2:05
3) Contador, Discovery Channel +32 pts, same time
4) Evans, Predictor-Lotto, +28 pts, at 2:20
5) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +24 pts, at 3:00
6) Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, +20 pts, at 3:15
7) Rasmussen, Rabobank, +16 pts, same time
8) Moreau, AG2R, +14 pts, s.t.
9) Klöden, Astana, +12 pts, s.t.
10) Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts, s.t.
Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov was at 4:55, 1:40 behind Rasmussen's group, which also included Carlos Sastre and Levi Leipheimer.
Contador caught Popovych just over the top of the Galibier, and the pair have made up about 40 seconds on Soler, and ride 1:25 back with 25 kilometers to the finish.
But the yellow jersey group was gaining, as well, catching Evans, then splitting in two when Evans let a gap form. Rasmussen, Valverde, Kim Kirchen, David Arroyo, and Astarloza made the front group, which captured Popovych and Contador, while Moreau, Mayo, Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Evans and Cobo chased ineffectually behind.
Finally, Klöden pulled his group back into contact with Rasmussen's group, still closing on Soler with a 1.5-kilometer/1 mile climb to the finish.
The gap dropped to :58, then :49, but Soler made it stick, finishing it with :38 seconds on Alejandro Valverde, who attacked looking for a time gap and bonus points, but was matched by Evans, then Contador at :40, with Mayo, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer at :42.
Alexandre Vinokourov finished at 3:24.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 15, 2007
Stage 8 on the road
Day 2 of the Alps ratchets the difficulty up another notch, with 6 categorized climbs, the last three 1st Category. There are 3 riders who have shown an interest in the King of the Mountains competition: Michael Rasmussen, David de la Fuente, and Sylvain Chavanel.
Rasmussen has won his polka-dot jerseys through a strategy sometimes called the “Chicken Run,” a day-long Alpine breakaway where he takes major mountain points while riding alone. There's a chance of that, but he's still placed highly in the GC, and may not be allowed to get away.
Versus broacaster picks:
First climb, a 4th Cat:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +3 pts
2) Alexandre Efimkin, Barloworld, +2 pts
3) Marcel Sieberg, Milram, +1 pt
2nd climb, a 3rd Cat:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +4 pts
2) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +3 pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel +2 pts
4) Stephane Goubert (AG2R)+1 pt
Schumacher was recaptured, and Thomas Voeckler made a break. He was quickly countered by 18 riders, including Michael Rogers, George Hincapie, David Millar, Stephan Schumacher, and Jens Voigt.
1) Thomas Voeckler, Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Lilian Jegou, Française des Jeux, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Stephane Goubert (A2R) +2 pts/2 secs
3rd climb, 2nd Cat:
1) Thomas Voeckler, Bouygues Telecom, 10 pts
2) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, 9 pts
3) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, 8 pts
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval, 7 pts
5) Bernard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 6 pts
6) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, 5 pts
Voeckler was captured and the group of 18 quickly built a 2:00 lead on the peloton, driven primarily by Rabobank.
2nd (and final) intermediate sprint:
1) Frederik Willems, Liquigas, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Antonio Colom, Astana, +2 pts/2 secs
Early on the day's biggest climb, David Millar falls off the lead group, and Michael Rasmussen rides off the peloton, joined by 7 other riders.
Bernard Kohl of Gerolsteiner has ridden away from the Rogers group and leads the race, with Antonio Colom and Christophe Le Mevel chasing.
Rasmussen has caught up to the splinters of the Rogers group, with David Arroyo, who bridged with him, and Goubert and Rogers join them to chase down Kohl, Le Mevel, and Colom. The 7 of them now lead the race.
Le Mevel is dropped late on the climb. Over the top, Rasmussen takes max points. He's been doing most of the work, but will be glad to have some other riders to pick the best line on the descent. The main field is more than 5 minutes behind with 2 more 1st Category climbs.
Cormet de Roselend, 1st Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 15 pts
2) Bernard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 13 pts
3) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, 11 pts
4) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, 9 pts
5) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, 8 pts
6) Antonio Colom, Astana, 7 pts
7) Christphe Le Mevel, 6 pts (@ :52)
8) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 5 pts (@1:25)
On the descent, Michael Rogers crashes, and David Arroyo goes over a guardrail. Both are quickly back on the road, but have to chase to get back with Rasmussen/Kohl/Colom.
On the 2nd 1st Category climb, Rogers is first to fall off the Rasmussen group, quickly followed by Goubert and Kohl. Colom and Arroyo match Rasmussen, letting the Dane do all the work.
Rogers can't hang with Goubert and Kohl, and it's quickly apparent that he's injured from the fall. He falls back to Hincapie's group, then back to the peloton, then off the back of the peloton to see the race doctor. Rogers refuses help from a domestique, then pulls to the side of the road. He collapses over his top tube, then dismounts and exits the Tour.
Less than 5 minutes later, his teammate Marcus Burghardt is reported to have abandoned, but it's yet another race radio screwup.
Over the summit, it's Rasmussen again, and Astana comes to the front of the field, 6:12 behind Rasmussen's trio. Most of the GC men are close by. Rasmussen is back in his familiar polka-dots, and could take the overall lead -- Arroyo is only 2 seconds behind Rasmussen in GC, and would take the race lead if he beats Rasmussen to the line for the stage win.
Montée d'Hauteville, 1st Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 15 pts
2) Antonio Colom, Astana, 13 pts
3) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, 11 pts
4) Sergio Paulinho, Discovery Channel, 9 pts
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 8 pts
6) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, 7 pts
7) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 6 pts
8) Christophe le Mevel, Credit Agricole, 5 pts
Knowing Arroyo is a threat, Rasmussen rides the other two off his wheel on the day's last climb. Christophe Moreau is the first GC man to attack -- Mayo, Evans, Contador, Kashechkin, Valverde and Shleck (and briefly, Popovych) matched the French champion. Mayo, Moreau and Contador look like the strongest men in this group, which has built a lead of more than 1:30 on the peloton, which include Vino, Klöden, Leipheimer, Menchov, and others.
Contador has a mechanical that takes him back to the Vino group, but as soon as he's back on his bike, he goes back on the attack. Meanwhile, Moreau's group sweeps up Arroyo and Colom, and nearing the summit, Mayo jumps easily away. Only Moreau will work to reel him in, and Mayo builds a gap.
Rasmussen crosses the line with a textbook Rasmussen victory. Today, though, there's more than the polka-dots as a reward: Rasmussen takes over as the overall race leader.
Mayo is 2nd on the day, 2:47 back, then Valverde.
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Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Sylvain Chavanel, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
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)
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.
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.
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
Rabobank announce Tour squad
CyclingPost.com reports that Rabobank has named its final Tour squad:
- Rabobank Tour squad:
- Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)
- Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
- Bram de Groot (Netherlands)
- Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain)
- Oscar Freire (Spain)
- Denis Menchov (Russia)
- Grischa Niermann (Germany)
- Michael Rasmussen (Denmark)
- Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
Menchov is the team's GC threat, and was best young rider of the Tour in 2003. Rasmussen won the king of the mountains competition in 2005 and 2006. Six Rabobank riders have won Tour stages: Boogerd, Flecha, Freire, Menchov, Rasmussen, and Weening.
June 13, 2007
Vinokourov wins Dauphine TT, takes race lead
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
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
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)
September 14, 2006
Danielson wins Vuelta stage, Vinokourov takes race lead
It's nice to have a little racing news, as Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel took Wednesday's Stage 17 of the Vuelta a España, leading Alexandre Vinokourov across the line. Vinokourov took a 9-second lead on Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde.
Valverde doesn't want to see things go down to the final time trial on Saturday, so he told Eurosport he'll be all-out in today's final mountain stage, up the Pandera:
“Nothing is lost. Things will happen on the Pandera. You can't forget that I won here two years ago and have lots of affection for this climb.”
Danielson, who came to the Vuelta as Discovery's GC contender, couldn't hang during the early stages of the Vuelta, but rebounded to take the day after dropping 5 breakaway mates on the day's second 1st-Category climb.
Vinokourov, who has never worn a Grand Tour leader's jersey until now, was able to ride away from Valverde and Sastre on the day's last major climb after teammate Andrey Kashechkin and Jose Angel Gomez Marchante of Saunier Duval cranked up the pace to make a wicked selection. Valverde fought back onto Vino's wheel early in the descent, but the Astana leader slowly pulled away until, with 9 kilometers to ride, he had 32 seconds on Valverde, and sat 13 seconds behind Danielson.
When Vino caught Danielson, the two worked together to maximize the break, while Valverde had to do almost all the work in his small group alone, shadowed by Kashechkin. Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez attacked out of this group to take 3rd on the day.
1) Tom Danielson, Discovery Channel, USA
2) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, same time
3) Samuel Sanchez, Euskeltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 1:10
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 1:39
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, same time
6) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Luis Perez, Cofidis, Spain, s.t.
8) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, s.t.
9) Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval, s.t.
10) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval, s.t.
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, 67:29:41
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :09
3) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:51
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 2:14
5) Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval, at 4:32
6) Tom Danielson, Discovery Channel, USA, at 6:07
7) Manuel Beltran, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 6:33
8) Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 7:25
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 7:49
10) Luis Perez, Cofidis, Spain, at 9:04
CyclingNews | Vinokourov and Danielson combine to unseat Valverde | Results | Photo Gallery
GrahamWatson.com | Vuelta a España Stage 17 photo gallery
Posted by Frank Steele on September 14, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Vuelta a España, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
August 26, 2006
It's Vuelta time
It's time to kick off the year's 3rd grand tour, and it feels more like the 15th round of a prizefight.
Even though all riders passed their pre-Vuelta blood screens, one rider will miss the start over doping concerns. Saunier Duval-Prodir has dropped their Vuelta leader Koldo Gil on a belief that he's implicated in Operación Puerto. It apparently results from his days with Manolo Saiz and Liberty Seguros, but Saunier Duval's Joxean Fernandez told AS (in Spanish) “we don't want to take any risks over a potential problem that has nothing to do with us.” Gil rode strongly at the Tour of Switzerland, coming second to Jan Ullrich.
Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, back from a broken collarbone at the Tour de France, is the race favorite, with Tour winner-in-waiting Oscar Pereiro as his superdomestique.
CSC's Carlos Sastre has never met a grand tour he didn't like, as he takes the start of his 5th consecutive GT, last missing the 2005 Giro.
Conversely, Alexandre Vinokourov wasn't allowed to start the Tour in July, but Astana (who has signed to use BMC's funky Swiss carbon-fiber frames now that Phonak is leaving the sport) will have a full squad backing Vinokourov in the Vuelta, while wrangling continues over the future of the team's ProTour license and management.
Best hope for the United States is Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, riding his first GT as the undisputed team leader. Danielson, 28, talked with Andrew Hood of VeloNews about his Vuelta hopes.
Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is back to racing, but poormouthing his Vuelta chances, tapping teammate Erik Zabel for the sprinter's jersey. Robbie McEwen looks to join Petacchi as the 4th rider to win multiple stages of all 3 GTs in a single year -- Petacchi in 2003 as well as Miguel Poblet in 1956 and Pierino Baffi in 1958 are the others.
Reigning Vuelta champ Denis Menchov, who won the race when Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO and was stripped of the title, says the Vuelta was his “secondary objective” behind the Tour, and he doesn't “feel as sharp and this affects you physically as well.” Menchov's Rabobank squad won't be distracted trying to set Oscar Freire up for wins, as Freire pulled out earlier this week, citing a neck injury.
The TV coverage is debuting a “seatpost camera,” that will mimic the rear-facing cameras used in NASCAR, and rotate among riders daily. Also new will be in-car cameras for interviews with team directors. On the other hand, the Vuelta will dispense with publishing heart rate monitor data, since most teams wouldn't allow their key riders' data to be published. In the US, to see the coverage, you'll have to subscribe to Cycling.TV's web streaming feed.
Posted by Frank Steele on August 26, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 23, 2006
Hushovd adds Paris to Strasbourg; Landis triumphs
A late escape attempt by Discovery Channel may have overcooked Robbie McEwen, as Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd easily outsprinted Davitamon-Lotto's sprint king to take the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France. CSC's Stuart O'Grady, recovering from a fractured spine suffered early in the race, took 3rd on the day.
Hushovd completed an unusual set of bookends, winning the Prologue time trial 3 weeks ago yesterday and now taking the final stage into Paris.
Floyd Landis stayed near the front early and stayed out of the dicey sprint at the end to nail down his first-ever Tour de France victory, finishing 69th on the day, 8 seconds behind Hushovd. It's the 8th straight US win of the race, after Lance Armstrong's 7 consecutive wins.
McEwen can take some solace from his 3rd green jersey win, resulting from his 3 stage wins.
Michael Rasmussen's tremendous breakaway win to La Toussuire, overshadowed by Landis's attack the following day, shot him to the lead, and the overall win, in the climber's polka-dot jersey competition.
Damiano Cunego, already a winner of the Giro d'Italia, takes the best young rider's white jersey, just 38 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The pair were about 90 minutes ahead of the next competitor in the under-25 competition.
Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, the climbing jersey leader until Rasmussen's big day out front, takes the overall “most combative rider” prize.
Landis took his final yellow jersey of the Tour with his daughter Ryan on the podium.
Post-race interview with Frankie Andreu: Landis says, “Right now, I have no intention of switching teams.” Leaves a little wiggle room, but sounds like the iShares team (as Phonak will be called next year) has its Tour captain for 2007.
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, in 3:56:52
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
6) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, Austria, s.t.
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, France, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 22, 2006
Stage 19 ITT underway
Today, we have the most important Tour time trial of the last 10 years, at least. The only recent TT that comes close is 2003's Stage 19, when Jan Ullrich crashed, allowing a vulnerable Lance Armstrong to take the thinnest Tour victory of his career.
It's 57 kilometers, and Floyd Landis will leave at 10:09 Eastern, 3 minutes before CSC's Carlos Sastre, who will leave 3 minutes before Caisse d'Epargne's Oscar Pereiro. We should get plenty of split-screen action, as Pereiro leads Sastre by only 12 seconds and Landis by only 30 seconds.
One for the old guys early, as Discovery Channel's Viatcheslav Ekimov has come in with the best time of the first 60 riders, at 1:11:26.59.
Second is Landis teammate Bert Grabsch, just 2 seconds behind.
Zabriskie comes through, scorching the 2nd half of the course. He didn't show up in the top 5 at either of the early time checks, he was 3rd at the 3rd time check, and he's 6 seconds faster than Ekimov, at 1:11:20.9. And almost immediately, Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang, the 69th finisher, cuts 17 seconds off Zabriskie's time: 1:11:03.83.
Sergei Honchar has beaten Lang's times at TC1 and TC2; 2:07 (!) faster than Lang at the 34-kilometer check.
Hincapie rolls out; 31 riders to go. Out on the course, he fidgets with his computer sensor. He's sporting a new paint scheme on his helmet -- a Flying Tigers-style shark head. Pavel Padrnos has the same, so it's probably a team thing -- promoting Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, perhaps?
David Millar comes in at 1:11:46, 5th for now.
Chavanel comes through TC2 with a tissue stuffed in his left nostril; the commentators think he's had a nosebleed.
Honchar 1:07:45.81! That's likely to be the time to beat.
Phonak's Robbie Hunter, who finished in 1:25:54, will be outside the (fastest time + 25 percent) elimination time.
Michael Rasmussen has set off; he had a catastrophic last time trial last year, falling off, switching bikes, and losing 7:47 to Lance Armstrong.
Marcus Fothen is on the course, looking to retake the young rider's white jersey, currently worn by Damiano Cunego, who sets off next.
Levi Leipheimer is off, wearing the red race numbers awarded to yesterday's most agressive rider.
World time trial champion Michael Rogers is off, and we're down to the Top 10.
Vande Velde comes through TC2 just behind teammate Zabriskie.
Chris Horner finished in 1:16:41, which will be mid-pack.
Chavanel finishes in a respectable 1:12:17.44.
Menchov sets off, currently 6th.
Cadel Evans sets off, looking for the best placing ever in the Tour by an Australian. Phil Anderson twice finished 5th, which is where Evans sits, 39 seconds behind T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, who sets off 3 minutes behind him.
Hincapie finishes in 1:13:15. Cunego has actually been faster than Fothen at TC1, coming through 4 seconds slower than Lang. Is he going too hard early?
Landis is waiting in the start house. No smiles this morning. Karpets 1:12:42.
Landis is out. Looks smooth. Sastre rolls, as Pereiro waits just behind.
Sastre looks tentative to me -- he's staying up on the brake hoods on sections where Landis was on his aerobars.
Pereiro is rolling. Everyone is on the course or done now.
Vande Velde finishes in 1:12:37.44. That will factor in to the CSC/T-Mobile battle for the team competition.
Sastre is 1:05 slower than Landis at TC1! Pereiro is the only one left, and he comes through only 10 seconds slower than Landis; that's an amazing time for Pereiro after 16kms of 57 today.
Cunego likes that white jersey; at TC3, he's 5 seconds slower than Zabriskie, and 35 seconds faster than Fothen.
The split screen view has Landis and Pereiro sitting equal on the road now, with Landis 4 minutes shy of Time Check 2.
Evans hits TC2 in 43:34; Klöden hits it in 41:52.9 behind only Honchar so far.
Landis is losing time to Honchar: 41:45.9 at the 2nd time check.
Sastre is riding off the podium: He hits TC2 in 44:05. Klöden is already 2 minutes faster than that.
Pereiro: 42.42:50 -- Landis is the leader on the road!
T-Mobile's Rogers comes through the finish in 1:12:20.72. Looks like T-Mobile will win the team competition.
Landis nears the 3rd time check, at 51.5 kilometers. Pereiro looks like he's hurting on the road. Klöden is closing in on Cadel Evans; he hit TC3 47 seconds behind Honchar 1:03:22 to Honchars 1:02:36. Landis comes in 1:03:43.
Dessel finishes in 1:13:43.57. Menchov comes to the line: 1:12:18.55; he'll go top 20 on the day, maybe top 15.
Klöden catches Evans with about a kilometer to go. He sits way too long in Evans' draft, and sprints to the finish in 1:08:26.17. He didn't catch Honchar, but may be 2nd on the stage.
Sastre hits TC3 in 1:07:02, more than 3:30 behind Klöden. Pereiro clocks 1:05:14. Looks like Pereiro will hold Klöden off for 2nd -- he was faster than Lang, Zabriskie, and Ekimov at TC3.
Sastre comes to the line in 1:12:27.58; he'll be 20th on the day. Here comes Pereiro, gritting his teeth, comes out of the saddle: 1:10:25.19, and that does it: Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)
July 19, 2006
Rasmussen takes Stage 16; disaster for Landis
Rabobank's monster climber Michael Rasmussen went on a day-long breakaway, reminiscent of his Stage 9 breakaway last year. He led the field over four climbs, to take a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition, which he won last year.
Yellow jersey Floyd Landis had a nightmare day, when he couldn't match an attack by Carlos Sastre on the day's last climb, and just went backward out of the race lead. Meanwhile, Oscar Pereiro dropped Denis Menchov and Cyril Dessel, finishing with Andreas Klöden and Cadel Evans to retake the overall race lead.
Landis was initially helped out when T-Mobile chased down their own Michael Rogers, covering a break by Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and Oscar Pereiro, where Landis just sat in. But when Sastre launched, the pace rose, and Landis just vanished. He eventually recovered some energy, but was paced to the line by Axel Merckx 10:04 behind Rasmussen, and more than 8 minutes behind Pereiro.
July 19th is a very happy day in the Pereiro household; last year, he won Stage 16 on July 19th, and this year, he takes back the yellow jersey.
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 5:36:04
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:41
3) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 1:54
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:56
5) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:56
6) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 2:37
7) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, Italy, at 2:37
8) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:37
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 3:24
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 3:42
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:42
12) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:42
23) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 10:04
1) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, in 74:38:05
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:50
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
4) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:43
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:56
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:58
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 6:47
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 7:03
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 7:46
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 8:06
11) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 8:08
Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Stage 16: The Battle of La Toussuire
With 27 kilometers to ride, Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen leads all riders, 4:40 ahead of Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer and Lampre's Tadej Valjavec, and 7:21 ahead of a very dangerous group that includes Floyd Landis and all his rivals.
Valjavec has gapped Leipheimer on the descent by a few seconds. Landis sits 4th wheel on the descent, while Matthias Kessler is having a hard time hanging on the back of the descending yellow jersey group.
Leipheimer has gone through the banner for 25 kilometers to ride. Maybe 3 minutes later, Rasmussen is through 20 kilometers to ride.
Kessler has lost sight of the leaders' group. Leipheimer catches Valjavec, and Rasmussen is back on the rise, as he starts up the 18-kilometer climb to the finish line atop La Toussuire.
Leipheimer won here during his Dauphiné Libéré win in June. I don't think he'll catch Rasmussen, though.
Moreau, Goubert, and Calzati are dropped with Sylvain Calzati as the yellow jersey group hits the climb. Merckx leads the group, with Landis sitting just behind. Boogerd sits next to Merckx.
Moreau has caught back on. Now Leipheimer attacks, dropping Valjavec. He's got 2:00 on the Landis group.
Kessler chased back on, but he's done; pulls to the side, and he's off the back. Schleck has come to the front, and sets pace as Merckx falls to the back. Fothen is also sitting on the back, with Cunego comfortably in the group. Merckx is gone, Patxi Vila is gone.
Rogers has gone to the front, with Boogerd, then Landis on his wheel. Cyril Dessel (!) is still in this group, while Christophe Moreau has struggled.
Leipheimer is 4:00 behind Rasmussen, as T-Mobile's Guerini falls off the leaders group.
There goes Menchov hard, with Rogers and Oscar Pereiro. Evans and Azevedo attack. Landis doesn't counter; he's marking Klöden.
Menchov, Rogers, Pereiro and Evans ride, just up the road from Klöden. Azevedo falls back into the Landis group, and once again T-Mobile is attacking their own rider. Boogerd is off the back; T-Mobile is going to destroy this break. Mazzoleni has towed Klöden and Landis back to Menchov, Rogers, Evans, and Pereiro.
Cunego sits at the back of the select group now.
That attack has put some time into Rasmussen; he's only 5:42 up the road now.
There goes Sastre; he's 2:17 back in the GC. Landis is cracked. He's off the back! There's 10 kilometers to ride; he's back with Azevedo, and he can't match Sastre's attack.
Landis is just dead. He's got to find somebody to work with. Zubeldia is off the back. Sastre is riding hard. Boogerd has passed Landis, who can't match him. They're running the team cars past Landis, who's suffering mightily at the back.
Sastre's already got 55 seconds on Landis; and 30 seconds on Kloden's group.
With about 7 kilometers to ride (4.5 miles) Leipheimer is 3:33 behind Rasmussen, with Sastre only 20 seconds behind Levi. Landis is only passing under the 10 kilometer banner. Marcus Fothen passes, along with Frank Schleck, and Landis can't get on their wheel.
Sastre catches Leipheimer. Leipheimer sits in, and there's a chance that this pair could catch Rasmussen. Not anymore: Sastre drops Leipheimer, while Rasmussen is starting to look like he's hurting with less than 5 kilometers to ride.
Rogers has dropped back to the rear of Klöden's group, where Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Oscar Pereiro, Cyril Dessel, and Michael Rogers are still sitting behind Eddy Mazzoleni.
Landis now looks like he's found another gear; he's turning the pedals again, but he's going to lose a lot of time today.
Menchov raises the pace, and Mazzoleni and Rogers are gone. The Pereiro/Klöden/Menchov group overtakes Leipheimer. Moreau and Caucchioli are gone, and Menchov is off the back. Dessel is gone, leaving only Klöden, Pereiro, and Evans at the front.
Rasmussen has 3 k to ride. Sastre is 2:36 behind. Pereiro has gone to the front, with Klöden sitting in, and Cadel Evans trying to hang on the back.
Moreau, Dessel, Caucchioli, Leipheimer and Menchov have formed a chase group. First Menchov, and now Leipheimer have been dropped. They'll ride alone to the finish.
At 5k to ride, Landis is 9:23 back of Rasmussen. Rasmussen passes under the flamme rouge, and his epic stage-long breakaway will pay off; he'll take the stage, and a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Sastre is within sight of Klöden, Pereiro and Evans, maybe 30 seconds up the road.
There's the finish line, and Rasmussen is almost in tears. He throws out his arms, and he's won the hardest day of the 2006 Tour.
Sastre is 2nd, at about 1:42. Pereiro is sprinting away from Evans and Klöden for 3rd through 5th. Pereiro moves back into the yellow jersey. Here comes Cyril Dessel at 2:37, alongside Christophe Moreau and Pietro Caucchioli. Leipheimer is 9th at about 3:23. Zubeldia leads Menchov around 3:47, with 2 others. Cunego comes in at 4:21; he's gained time on Fothen for the white jersey.
Merckx has gotten back up to Landis and is pacing him in.
Azevedo comes in at about 7:54. Here's Fothen with Schleck at about 8:36. Still awaiting Landis at the finish.
There's 10 minutes; he's through at about 10:03. It's a disaster for Landis, who will fall to about 8 minutes behind yellow jersey Pereiro.
July 18, 2006
Tale of the teammates
Today's stage was a beautiful show of cycling as a team sport. Everywhere you looked, there were riders making moves or countering moves through the assistance of teammates who sacrificed their own chances for the team or team leader.
The best and biggest example was Jens Voigt, who got to contest two different races today. After a long tempo ride at the head of the break, then crashing while roasting the breakaway, Voigt chased back on and took a few more pulls, until he couldn't pull any more. Zabriskie took over escort duties for Schleck, who noted the work they put in to set up his victory.
Voigt, though, wasn't finished. As the GC contenders came by, he took up lead duties for Carlos Sastre, helping pace Sastre up toward Klöden and Landis, and setting a pace that Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans couldn't match. He finally shuffled in 13:52 behind winning teammate Schleck.
Landis had Axel Merckx, who was also in the early break, and looked unprepared to jump in amongst the race's strongest riders when Landis, Klöden, Leipheimer, and Sastre came alongside. Ready or not, he pulled without relief for more than a kilometer up the Alpe.
Similarly, Andreas Klöden had Eddy Mazzoleni, who pulled almost to the line after dropping (or falling) off the break with Cunego and Schleck.
Denis Menchov is being labeled the day's big loser, but he could have lost more time if not for his arachnoid teammate Michael Rasmussen, who caught his leader from behind to set pace and offer support and a water bottle Menchov couldn't spare the strength to take.
David Arroyo paced yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro for miles, and Mikel Astarloza likewise gave his all to protect Cyril Dessel's tenuous 3rd place for at least one more day.
That was an awesome stage. I wouldn't want to be chasing Landis tomorrow, when they give him back that yellow bicycle.
Schleck conquers l'Alpe d'HuezCSC's Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck rode away from 2004 Giro champion Damiano Cunego near the top of the legendary Alpe d'Huez to take his first Tour de France stage win.
The 26-year-old Schleck got into a big break with teammates Jens Voigt and David Zabriskie, and each helped thin the herd by setting a wicked pace on the early slopes of the climb. Voigt chased back onto the break after a late crash, went right to the front, and still had the power to pace Sastre back into contention, cracking Cadel Evans, later on the climb.
Meanwhile, a few minutes behind them, the longed-for battle for the yellow jersey commenced, with Floyd Landis and Andreas Klöden riding more than a minute ahead of Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and reigning race leader Oscar Pereiro, and putting a few seconds into CSC's Carlos Sastre and Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer.Klöden and Landis each matched the other's moves, slowly whittling their group down, until they were the only GC contenders left, riding with three survivors of the early break. Each was helped by a teammate who got up the road in the break; Landis by Merckx, who paced the small group for more than a kilometer, and Klöden by Mazzoleni, who did likewise near the top of the mountain. When OLN's team questioned Phonak's performance, saying Landis was alone on the mountain, they apparently blotted Merckx completely out, despite a very strong performance by Merckx, who recently extended his contract through next year.
1) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, in 4:52:22
2) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at :11
3) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, Italy, at 1:10
4) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, same time
5) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, same time
6) Ruben Lobato, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 1:14
7) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, at 1:18
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, Italy, at 1:28
9) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:35
10) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 1:49
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:21
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:49
15) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, same time
16) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 69:00:05
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10
3) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:02
4) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:12
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 2:17
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:56
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 5:01
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 6:18
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 6:20
Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Stage 15: Up to Alpe d'Huez
Vila and de la Fuente are back with the lead group, which has encountered some rain on the way down to the village of Bourg d'Oisans. The gap to the peloton is 3:40.
Vila and Cunego lead de la Fuente and the other escapees. Voigt is off the back of that group. He might be setting up to join Sastre near the foot of the climb. Zabriskie moves up and leads the break. He's showing off more moves than this morning (at right).
Rabobank is working at the head of the field. Sergei Honchar has also been up front, and now Giuseppe Guerini, a former winner on l'Alpe d'Huez, has attacked from the yellow jersey's group.
Roads have dried out, and it turns out Voigt crashed. He's back with the leaders now. It's a 3:13 gap with 15 kilometers to ride, and falling fast. The leaders are getting ready to climb.
They've hit the climb, and Zabriskie is gone, Arrietta is gone. Chavanel, Garzelli, and Hincapie are at the back of the lead group, with Cunego and Lobato leading. De la Fuente has come off. There are 5 leaders: Schleck, Lobato, Cunego, Mazzoleni, and David Arroyo. Schleck leads, now Cunego comes around. Arroyo is falling away.
Back in the GC group, there are 5 men: Landis loses his last teammate, and it's 4: Klöden, Rogers, Landis, Cadel Evans. Menchov isn't here, Pereiro isn't here.
Up front Schleck and Cunego have ridden away; Mazzoleni and Logato have them in sight.
Landis sits third wheel, and Menchov is back! Three other riders are 15 meters back, then there's a big gap back. Sinkewitz is well down in the field. Boogerd is just behind the Landis group, and probably Rasmussen with him.
The Landis group isn't pushing the pace too hard, and may let Boogerd, Rasmussen and Leipheimer sneak back on. Klöden has pressed the pace, and Rogers is gone, and Menchov is gapped. Azevedo rides with Pereiro 25 seconds or less back. Klöden leads Landis, then Evans, with Menchov off the back, but likely to have Boogerd and Rasmussen's help momentarily.
Pereiro is fighting, riding his own pace. He's got Chris Horner on his wheel. Menchov is 100 meters or so behind the leaders. Landis looks comfortable.
Voigt fights to bring Sastre back up onto Menchov's wheel. Voigt and Sastre push the pace, and Menchov is falling behind Leipheimer, Voigt and Sastre. Voigt = major badass. With 10 kilometers to ride Schleck and Cunego have 2:50 on the Landis trio. Eddy Mazzoleni is climbing back up to the leaders.
Landis takes the opportunity to gap Evans and Klöden, but Klöden goes right back up to him, but Evans can't. He's falling back! He's caught by Sastre and Leipheimer, who pass him easily.
Mazzoleni has caught Cunego and Schleck.
Landis and Klöden catch Vila, and now Euskaltel's Inigo Landaluze. Leipheimer and Sastre are closing down Landis and Klöden. The gap is no more than 5 seconds. The leaders lead Landis and Klöden by 2:35 with 7.2 kilometers to race.
Landis is about to get some help: Leipheimer and Sastre have coupled up with Landis and Klöden, and they catch Merckx, and Landis attacks across to his teammate, takes one of Axel's bottles. and Klöden and Sastre match the attack, but Leipheimer is gapped.
July 13, 2006
Contenders emerge: Menchov the stage, Landis in yellow
Floyd Landis shadowed every move, riding the long and strong pulls by Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen and Michael Boogerd into the race lead. Denis Menchov made their efforts pay, taking the stage win, his first. Levi Leipheimer took 2nd on the day, ahead of Landis.
Landis becomes the 5th American in yellow, riding a steady hard tempo, rather than taking an explosive stage win. Landis admitted that he would have preferred to take the jersey later in the game, but as he said, you can't turn down a chance at the yellow jersey.
T-Mobile showed its strength early, cracking the field over the Col du Portillon, but team leaders Andreas Klöden and Michael Rogers were dropped on the day's final climb. Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans and CSC's Carlos Sastre did better, only faltering in the last kilometers, and finishing only 17 seconds behind Menchov.
Menchov, at 1:01, emerges as the biggest threat to a Landis overall victory. Evans sits at 1:17 and Sastre at 1:52. Klöden, Rogers, and everybody else are more than 2 minutes down, with a long time trial scheduled for Stage 19.
Michael Boogerd was incredible at the front of the select group, but the day's revelation was Marcus Fothen, who controls the white jersey competition, 12 minutes ahead of Damiano Cunego, and sits 10th overall.
It looks like Discovery Channel may have no leaders, not four as previously suggested. Jose Azevedo was the best placed Disco rider, 4:10 back, while Popovych was at 6:25, Hincapie at 21:23, and Savoldelli at 23:04.
T-Mobile takes the team lead back from AG2R.
Dessel goes from two jerseys to none, as Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente takes over the King of the Mountains lead, with 80 points to Dessel's 62, Wegmann's 61, and Rasmussen's 49.
1) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, in 6:06:25
2) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, same time
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, s.t.
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at :17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :17
6) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, 1:04
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, Spain, at 1:31
8) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 1:31
9) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:31
10) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 2:29
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, 49:18:07
2) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at :08
3) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 1:01
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:52
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:22
8) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Span, at 3:33
9) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:44
10) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 4:17
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)
Stage 11 final climbs
De la Fuente and Wegmann ride together almost 3:30 ahead of the pack, down to around 40 riders.
AG2R still has 6 riders up front.
Wegmann is gapped; De la Fuente is 25 seconds ahead of him already. AG2R has been replaced at the front by T-Mobile. Four T-Mobiles lead. Moncoutié is off the back, Voeckler is gone. Sastre's here, Boogerd is here, Landis, Cadel Evans. Guerini is off the back, Calzati is cooked. Popovych, Mercado and Vande Velde are at the back, not yet dropped but likely to be soon.
Moreau, Landis, Kessler, Rogers, Boogerd, Azevedo, Arroyo, Sastre, Schleck, Cunego, Zubeldia, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Menchov all are together at the front. Fothen, Totschnig, Hincapie are at the back of the lead group.
Wegmann is caught and instantly dropped. Cunego is falling off the pace.
Hincapie is falling off the lead group, behind Mercado. Kessler is done. He's barely moving up the Portillon. Parra is dropped from the front group. Only one T-Mobile at the front, and it's Rogers, as Klöden is back a few places. Simoni is at the back of the lead group. I thought he was dropped, but he's still there.
Now Boogerd and Rasmussen lead the field, ahead of Leipheimer, Landis, and Klöden. De la Fuente is still alone 2 minutes up the road. He's 1 kilometer from the summit, where the race will pass into Spain.
De la Fuente cements his King of the Mountains lead atop the Portillon. Rasmussen is 2nd over the top, ahead of Boogerd and Landis. Carlos Sastre falls just over the top of the climb. He's chasing, and should catch up before the climb to the Pla de Beret.
Hincapie is reportedly 5 minutes down, behind Dessel's group, which is 3:40 behind Landis and Klöden, who are 1:40 behind De la Fuente.
David Arroyo and Damiano Cunego have attacked from the Landis group. Landis is near the back of the 14 leaders. They have about 20 miles to ride. Menchov and Rasmussen lead Landis, Leipheimer, Boogerd, Fothen, Evans, Sastre, Schleck, Zubeldia, Simoni, Totschnig, Moreau, Klöden, Rogers, Parra, and Azevedo. Arroyo and Cunego are 33 seconds behind De la Fuente and 37 seconds ahead of the Landis group.
De la Fuente is caught, and tucks in behind Arroyo. They're 40 seconds ahead of the Landis group, which is 1:05 up on the yellow jersey group. Now Cunego sits up, and the trio is captured, leaving 21 riders on the lower slopes of the Pla de Beret with a shot at the stage win.
The three Rabobanks lead the select group, with Simoni just behind. Cunego is dropped with 20 kilometers/12.5 miles to ride.
The leaders are onto the final climb, with 15 kilometers to go. This one's not as steep as the day's previous climbs, but plenty long.
The lead group is splitting up: Michael Rogers is gone, Azevedo's gone, Fothen, Simoni is gone, Parra is gone. Who is doing this damage? It's Michael Boogerd driving the pack. Frank Schleck is gone. Zubeldia is 8 meters off the back. Rasmussen is gone.
Still Boogerd driving, and Moreau is gone.
It's Sastre, Klöden, Landis, Boogerd, Menchov, Evans, Leipheimer with less than 10 kilometers to go. Boogerd is still at the front.
Boogerd is finished, and Menchov has another gear. He goes and Klöden is gone. Landis, Sastre, Leipheimer and Evans match him. Leipheimer tries an attack, but they won't let him go.
There are some games among the five leaders, and Landis has moved to the front. Now he pulls off, and looks for somebody to set the pace. Dessel the yellow jersey is less than 3:30 behind. He may hold the yellow jersey. The top is only 4 kilometers away. Boogerd and Klöden are less than 20 seconds behind.
There's one kilometer to the top, and the yellow jersey is now more than 4 minutes behind. Klöden is now 45 seconds back.
Leipheimer goes full steam, Menchov matches him, and Landis. Sastre and Evans can't respond. Menchov attacks as they pull Leipheimer back, and Landis goes with him. Leipheimer is third wheel, now he's dropped by 5 meters. Menchov and Landis ride side by side. Now there are three. But they've slowed, and Sastre may get back up there.
Menchov leads over the top. It's down to Landis, Menchov and Leipheimer with 2 kilometers to the finish. Leiphiemer comes around, it's going to be a finishing sprint, and Menchov leads in the two Americans. Menchov takes the stage win, with Leipheimer 2nd and Landis 3rd. Evans maybe 17 seconds back, with Sastre. Boogerd is 6th at 1:05. Zubeldia, Schleck, and Klöden at 1:35. Landis gets a time bonus for 3rd, and Dessel is fighting to the line.
Moreau finishes at 2:29. Dessel is over the summit. Totschnig, Fothen, Parra, Rogers at around 3:10. Dessel's got his head down with 1k to ride. Landis is going to be very close to the yellow jersey.
Azevedo, Simoni, and Arroyo finish at 4:10 or so. Dessel will finish next, with Caucchioli and Cunego. Floyd Landis will pull on the leader's jersey as Dessel comes in at 4:45!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack
July 08, 2006
So who are the team leaders?
Today was supposed to be the day when we found out the GC men for the teams with podium dreams. A few things have definitely cleared up.
There are a few guys who stepped up and showed they're the leaders of their teams, with hopes for high overall places: Landis is the man for Phonak, as expected; Cadel Evans for Davitamon-Lotto, Denis Menchov for Rabobank, Vladimir Karpets for Caisse d'Epargne, Christophe Moreau at AG2R. All finished within about 2 minutes of the Ukraine Train today.
CSC is back to one leader: Carlos Sastre. It was funny the first week of the Tour to read, within 24 hours, a US source touting Bobby Julich as the rider who would have to step up to fill Basso's shoes, Eurosport Germany referring to “new CSC leader Jens Voigt,” and to read that the team itself voted Sastre its captain. Sastre is the best rider of those three, and Julich's crash and Voigt's easy ride today reinforce that.
A bunch of other things are way foggier than they were yesterday.
Gerolsteiner claimed to have two co-captains, Totschnig and Leipheimer, coming into the Tour. After today, they're both 4+ minutes down, and Leipheimer may not be generating much power. They've got Marcus Fothen, who sits 5th, 1:50 back, and finished 12th in the 2005 Giro, but he's only 25 years old. He could compete for the young rider's jersey.
T-Mobile opened a big old powerful Pandora's Box full of superstrong riders. Their slowest rider today finished 14 seconds faster than Britain's TT specialist David Millar. They've got the 4 potential leaders we all thought Discovery Channel might show: Honchar, Michael Rogers, Andreas Klöden, and Patrik Sinkewitz, and I could make a case for any of them. Chris Carmichael tips Klöden, and I could see that: he's German and he's been through this before.
And what about Discovery Channel? Savoldelli has 20 seconds on George Hincapie, who had suggested the road would choose the team's leader through the first week and today's ITT. I've never seen Hincapie as crestfallen as on OLN's prime-time coverage; he really looked flattened. Popovych and Azevedo were even farther back today; I say Savoldelli's the horse to back. Marcello at VeloChimp.com agrees.
There are also a number of team leaders who are really hard to take seriously now, even with mad climbing skills: Gilberto Simoni is 5:34 down, Thomas Voeckler 5:35, Iban Mayo sits 6:11 down, and Damiano Cunego is at 7:06. David Moncoutié? 12:15 down.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Georg Totschnig, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Sergei Honchar, Thomas Voeckler, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 7 ITT underway
Some times from riders of interest who have already ridden: Viatcheslav Ekimov 1:04:23; Chris Horner 1:05:57; Jens Voigt has the slowest yet at 1:11:44, suggesting he may have plans to go stage-hunting in the next couple of days.
On the course now are Sandy Casar, Iban Mayo, Pietro Caucchioli, and Thomas Voeckler, among others.
Casar came in 1:05:11; Mayo 1:07:20 -- that's got to hurt. Thomas Voeckler 1:05:47. Caucchioli in 1:08:21.
Sastre, Leipheimer and Popovych are on the course. Julich is off.
Sastre is the first one to shake things up; at the first time check, he comes in at 20:22, 5 seconds ahead of Lovkvist's time.
Julich has crashed! He went down very hard at a left-right chicane, hitting the pavement and sliding into and over the curb. He's sitting by the side of the road, and may be the next casualty of the 2006 Tour. That's confirmed; Julich has been taken away in an ambulance. Liggett points out that the only other Tour Julich hasn't finished was because of an accident in the time trial, in 1999.
Menchov hits the 1st time check in 20:07, best so far, 15 seconds better than Sastre.
Zabriskie takes his start.
David Millar is out of the starthouse, slowly spinning up to speed.
Leipheimer reportedly hit the 1st time check at 1:32 behind Menchov! That's 61st-fastest at that point, with a lot of riders to come.
Cadel Evans is ready to roll, and he's off.
T-Mobile's Eddy Mazzoleni is 2nd fastest through the 16.5 kilometer 1st check, 8 seconds slower than Menchov.
Landis is in the start house on time, and he's off. His coach Robbie Ventura said they pre-raced the course at 75 percent this morning, and Landis likes his chances.
Klöden comes through Time Check 1 at 19:58!
Savoldelli is off; Hushovd is off; Hincapie awaits, looking solemn, and he's gone.
Zabriskie is 4th at TC 1, 15 seconds behind Klöden. Menchov sets the new fastest time at the 2nd check, a fraction of a second ahead of Larsson.
Michael Rogers is off, smelling yellow.
Moreau hits TC1 at 25 seconds.
Here goes McEwen, and Boonen is setting up in the start house, and he's off, last to leave as the yellow jersey.
It's a full-on, Michael Rasmussen-style disaster for Leipheimer. He's already been passed by Christian Vande Velde, his 2-minute man.
Menchov finishes his ride fading, at 1:03:27.
Zabriskie is 9th at the 2nd time check. There are reports the wind has picked up since the fast times this morning.
Hincapie is 15th at the first time check, 52 seconds down on Honchar. Rogers is only slightly better, 46 seconds down on Honchar at TC 1.
Vande Velde finishes in 1:04:57.
Leipheimer is coming in, tripping the sensors in 1:07:49. What a nightmare for Leipheimer.
Popovych finishes in 1:05:00.
Boonen is through the first time check (at 1:26), so Honchar's 19:37 is the fastest time there, followed by Landis at :17, Klöden at :22, Marcus Fothen at :29, and Denis Menchov at :30.
Zabriskie hits TC3 39 seconds slower than Lang; Sergei Honcar sets the new best time at the 2nd time check in 43:50, just flying!
Klöden is coming up to the line, and trips the clock in 1:03:26, 4th for now.
Zabriskie is finishing; he won't win the stage, and he finishes in 1:03:40.
Hincapie at TC2: 45:53, slower than Ekimov and Savoldelli.
David Millar hasn't factored in the intermediate checks at all, and finishes in 1:05:17. Christophe Moreau finishes close behind, in 1:03:47.
Rogers comes to TC2 in 45:06, more than 30 seconds behind Landis.
Honchar is fastest again at Time Check 3: 55:09 against Lang's previous-best 56:20.
Honchar is roaring up to the finish; there he comes in 1:01:43!
Landis is 57 seconds down at the 3rd time check on Honchar. He'll be finishing soon. Here he comes; he can't catch Honchar, but he's going to have a strong time, it's 1:02:44 for Landis. Honchar is almost guaranteed the stage win and the yellow jersey tonight.
Savoldelli is coming into the last kilometer and brings home a 1:03:55.
Hincapie is 23rd at the last time check, 2:32 off Honchar.
Rogers comes through the last time check in 56:31, so he's coming in strong.
Hincapie to the line in 1:04:25.
Rogers catches Hushovd, his 6-minute man, just outside the 1-kilometer mark. He won't match Landis: 1:03:07 for the world TT champion.
Boonen's taking his yellow jersey seriously; he caught McEwen on the road, and Boonen finishes his reign in 1:05:35, 41st on the day. McEwen closes out the day, in 1:08:10.
Sergei Honchar has a stage win and a yellow jersey for T-Mobile!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Patrik Sinkewitz, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 04, 2006
Kessler gets his stage, Boonen gets his yellow jersey
Matthias Kessler attacked over the Cauberg and kept his lead to the line, avenging his last second loss yesterday, earning T-Mobile probably its first bright spot of the 2006 Tour.
Just 5 seconds behind, world time trial champion Michael Rogers led in a group of strongman sprinters and GC candidates. In 3rd on the day was Lampre's Daniele Bennati, ahead of world champion Tom Boonen, who had made no secret of his intent to take today's stage.
He can take solace in the yellow jersey, the first ever for the 25-year-old world road champion, as Thor Hushovd came in 62nd, at 17 seconds back. He'll wear it in Belgium tomorrow, where he's a huge celebrity. Boonen also takes the lead in the green jersey competition as Robbie McEwen came in 34 seconds back in 89th. Lampre's Daniele Bennati, 4th on the day moves into 2nd in the points competition: Boonen 67, Bennati 66, McEwen 65, Hushovd 62, Zabel 59.
This was a “declare your intentions” day for the GC; if you're not riding for the overall, why break your legs on the Cauberg? Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Carlos Sastre, Paolo Savoldelli, Yarolav Popovych, Jose Azevedeo, Denis Menchov, Andreas Klöden, David Millar, Sergei Honchar, Cadel Evans, and even Gilberto Simoni all made the break to come in 5 seconds behind Kessler.
Bookie favorite Alejandro Valverde crashed and broke his collarbone with about 20 kilometers to ride in an overlap of wheels -- a wide-open Tour de France is even more so this evening. Also out are Freddie Rodriguez and Erik Dekker, who went down together and were taken to a local hospital.
Chris Horner came in 159th on the day, at 8:05. Stuart O'Grady rode in alone after an accident, 11:35 back, and Magnus Backstedt and Filippo Pozzato, 18:36 back, were the day's final finishers.
1) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, in 4:57:54
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :05
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
7) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
10) Fabian Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :01
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :05
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :07
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :15
9) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :17
10) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at :17
Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Georg Totschnig, Magnus Backstedt, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 28, 2006
TdFblog GC preview
It's going to be an amazing Tour.
I am obligated, as a writer for a Tour-centric web site, to make some predictions. This year, it is incredibly hard. A lot of riders either have badly screwed up their preparation or haven't shown us what they can do this season (and another, Alexandre Vinokourov, hasn't and may not get the chance to), and we won't find out which it is for a week or 10 days.
Sitting here, three days from Strasbourg, I believe in the two favorites, Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. I believe in Francisco Mancebo. Alejandro Valverde may be the future of the sport (depending on what's in those damn bags), and he's at the point in his career to break out some surprises. These guys have all shown they're ready to rock and roll.
For some reason, I don't really believe in Levi Leipheimer. Gorgeous wife, great results, but I have to agree with his DS: Top 10 probably, Top 5 maybe. Floyd Landis and Alexandre Vinokourov both flummoxed me with sub-par Dauphiné results, but I want to believe.
Total wildcards: Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Cadel Evans. I think Evans will finish higest of these three, but Mayo could take a spotlight stage, like l'Alpe d'Huez.
I can't read Johan Bruyneel's mind any better than anyone else, but I suspect Popovych and Azevedo will be the two most highly-placed Discovery Channel riders. Savoldelli and Hincapie will be well-placed up to the mountains, then lose time to the better climbers.
Enough procrastination; here's my Top 5:
1) Ivan Basso, CSC
2) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak
4) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel
5) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne
I don't see Ullrich gaining 4 minutes on Basso in the TTs, and here's why: The Stage 7 TT profile. It's long enough, at 52 kilometers, but it's a fairly technical course. Even if it's dry, I could easily see Ullrich overcooking a couple of corners, getting out of his rhythm, and not going as fast as he's capable. If it rains, even worse.
I could also see Basso gaining some time on stages with downhill finishes, like Stage 17, where Basso could go over the top of the Col de Joux-Plane with time in hand and conserve all or most of that lead for the 12 kilometers into Morzine. Ullrich's bike-handling has always scared me.
I'm also discounting the Floyd Landis nay-sayers, who say he's got no team. I think with a race as open as this year's, the team strength matters less. Landis needs to identify the real team leaders fast, then cover moves only by the real GC threats. Remember Armstrong watching Vinokourov go up the road, and waiting for Ullrich and Klöden (T-Mobile's “official” GC threats) to bring him back? Same idea. There are plenty of other strong riders who will be chasing down the pretenders.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour 2006 previews, Tour de France 2006, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1)
June 18, 2006
Rabobank finalizes Tour team
It will be a double-Dekker squad at the Tour for Rabobank, which will introduce budding superstar Thomas Dekker to the Tour, riding alongside 12-time Tour rider Erik Dekker.
Denis Menchov is showing excellent form, taking the stage to the top of Mont Ventoux during this month's Dauphiné Libéré. He'll have help in the mountains from last year's King of the Mountains, Michael Rasmussen.
There are stage wins all over this team: Erik Dekker has 4, Freire, Boogerd, Rasmussen, Juan Antonio Flecha, Pieter Weening (nipped Klöden on Stage 8 last year); and that doesn't even mention Menchov's Vuelta championship (when Roberto Heras was DQ'ed) or his white jersey at the 2003 Tour.
- Rabobank 2006 Tour de France squad:
- Denis Menchov
- Michael Boogerd
- Erik Dekker
- Michael Rasmussen
- Thomas Dekker
- Oscar Freire
- Juan Antonio Flecha
- Pieter Weening
- Joost Posthuma
- Bram de Groot
- Pedro Horrillo
June 11, 2006
Leipheimer wins Dauphiné; Hushovd takes last stage
Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer took one of the most important Tour warmups, while Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd took a confidence-building stage win ahead of his effort to repeat as the Tour sprint jersey champion.
CSC's Stuart O'Grady, QuickStep's Amer-Italian Guido Trenti, and Agritubel's Coutouly were in an early breakaway, that got more than 4:30 on the field. O'Grady survived almost to the bitter end, with Credit Agricole, AG2R, and eventually QuickStep driving the peloton hard. O'Grady was reabsorbed with about 2-3 kilometers to ride.
Hushovd took the field sprint ahead of Samuel Dumoulin of AG2R, Philippe Gilbert of Française des Jeux, and Discovery Channel's George Hincapie.
Leipheimer took the win despite being frequently isolated without teammates in the mountains, but gave all the credit to his team:
"That we could win it this year says a lot about myself and a lot about Gerolsteiner as a team."
"This win will give them and me a lot of confidence in the Tour.
Leipheimer and especially 2nd place finisher Christophe Moreau showed they're coming into the Tour in terrific climbing shape, and 3rd place rider Bernhard Kohl of T-Mobile is the revelation of the race, finishing 2:51 behind Leipheimer. Discovery Channel's Jose Azevedo was 4th; he's a dark horse for the Tour.
Other Tour names in the top 20: Francisco Mancebo of AG2R in 5th; Denis Menchov of Rabobank in 6th, despite an injury in yesterday's stage; Alejandro Valverde in 7th at 4:21; George Hincapie 10th at 6:48; Sylvain Chavanel 12th; Iban Mayo 16th at 11:00.
A couple of Tour favorites were here, but nowhere to be seen when the action heated up: Floyd Landis finished 60th overall, at 57:06, Alexandre Vinokourov was 49th at 51:08.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 09, 2006
Ludovic Turpin takes Dauphiné Stage 5; Leipheimer holds race lead
I tuned in about 400 meters before the finish, so I have no details, but AG2R's Ludovic Turpin rode in alone at Briançon, with Iban Mayo and Francisco Mancebo chasing hard.
Apparently, and this is pretty hard to believe, Turpin survived from a longish breakaway with Jerome Pineau and (the funny part) Thor Hushovd on the Col d'Izoard! Turpin had just 38 seconds at the summit, but held off the leaders on the descent to the town of Briançon and the short climb to the finish outside the village.
Mayo gapped Mancebo at the end, finishing at 26 seconds to Mancebo's 27.
Next came Credit Agricole's Pietro Caucchioli, at :37.
Leonardo Piepoli of Saunier Duval-Prodir was (correction) 5th on the day, at :41. Leipheimer rode in with George Hincapie, Christophe Moreau, and Denis Menchov at :48 to maintain his overall race lead, but Mancebo moves closer, and gives AG2R 2 men (Mancebo and Moreau) within 2 minutes of Gerolsteiner's leader. Moreau sits 3rd overall -- it's Leipheimer, Menchov, Moreau, Mancebo.
CSC's David Zabriskie finished at about 1:28, Alejandro Valverde at 1:47, and Floyd Landis came in way back at 8:47. I'd like to think he's sandbagging here, but we really haven't seen him dominate on a climb this year. He matched Danielson on Brasstown Bald, but Discovery inexplicably didn't really take him to the limit.
Turpin called it his best career victory. ProCycling called it “that rarest of things, a victory by a French rider in a ProTour event in the Alps.” You can pick your favorite.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 9, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 08, 2006
Menchov takes Ventoux, Leipheimer Dauphiné leader's jersey
On the first major climbing stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, Rabobank's Denis Menchov showed form last seen in the 2005 Vuelta a España, and Christophe Moreau showed form unseen in years to lead the peloton up the Giant of Provence. Menchov narrowly held off Moreau at the very top of the climb.
A number of early favorites saw their shot at a Dauphiné title fall by the wayside, including Floyd Landis, who finished a disappointing 56th, 9:30 back of Menchov. His Girona neighbor Dave Zabriskie actually outclimbed Landis, finishing 50th at 8:10. Alexandre Vinokourov was 81st at 13:10, while Iban Mayo was 65th at 10:35; both have won this race (Vino in 1999; Mayo in 2004).
On the other hand, Levi Leipheimer showed he used his time out of racing to good advantage, and finished 3rd on the day, just 15 seconds behind Menchov. That was good enough to put him in the race lead, 28 seconds ahead of Menchov, and 1:08 ahead of Stage 2 winner Philippe Gilbert of Française des Jeux, still hanging around after a creditable 38th today.
Leipheimer told CyclingNews he was focused on getting the race lead today:
“I know from last year that you have to pay a lot of respect to Le Mont Ventoux,” Leipheimer declared. “It's long. You have to be patient and wait. I could have waited even longer, but I wanted the jersey. I knew I couldn't get both stage win and yellow jersey, so I went for the jersey.”
José Azevedo, who was in an early attack with 9 kilometers to ride, didn't explode when the leaders came through, and took 4th on the day.
Moreau's AG2R teammate Francisco Mancebo was 7th on the day, at 1:04, while George Hincapie and Alejandro Valverde finished together, 18th and 20th, 3:13 back.
Your Top 11 (Valverde sits 11th) in GC:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, in 15:47:53
2) Denis Menchov, Rabobank. at :28
3) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, at 1:08
4) Jose Azevedo, Discovery Channel, at 1:47
5) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, at 1:48
6) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, at 2:08
7) Francisco Mancebo, AG2R, at 2:10
8) Bernhard Kohl, T-Mobile, at 2:25
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 3:02
10) Sergio Paulinho, Würth, at 3:20
11) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 3:36
Kind of says it all right there in the headline, no?
Posted by Frank Steele on June 8, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 15, 2006
Leipheimer back in Europe for Tour of Catalonia
Levi Leipheimer is back in Europe for the Tour of Catalonia (aka the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya). A number of other 2006 Tour likelies will also take the start, including Phonak's Santigo Botero, Rabobank's Denis Menchov, T-Mobile's Giusepe Guerini, CSC's Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady, Cadel Evans, Francisco Mancebo, Inigo Landaluze (fresh from an overturned suspension), Thor Hushovd, Erik Zabel, and Filippo Pozzato.
Today's stage is a short time trial, 12.6 km (about 7.5 miles) in length.
Update: VeloNews reports this morning that, in pre-race blood tests, former Liberty Seguros rider Jan Hruska of the Czech Republic, now riding for 3 Molinos (sponsored by The Wallflowers?) failed his hematocrit and is barred from racing for 2 weeks.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 15, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Francisco Mancebo, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 09, 2006
Heras suspended for 2 years
Spain's Roberto Heras has been banned for two years for EPO.
Heras, who tested positive while riding for a record fourth Vuelta a España win last year, is considering whether to appeal to Spain's cycling federation or directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Said Jose Maria Buxeda, Heras' lawyer:
"We need to study the decision carefully to see where we will take the appeal," Buxeda was quoted as saying by Spanish daily El Pais (link in Spanish). "If we take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport it will take at least five months for a resolution."
The finding hands the 2005 Vuelta title to Denis Menchov of Rabobank, who finished 2nd overall.
Heras, of course, insists he is innocent.
"I never doped myself," he said. "I didn't do it during the Vuelta nor at any other time. I've always won cleanly. I can't allow all my sacrifices to be trampled due to an error. I have to take the result on board, but I question it."
July 12, 2005
Your current GC:
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 37:11:04
2) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at :38
3) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 2:40
4) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 2:42
5) Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Illes Balears, at 3:16
6) Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner at 3:58
7) Francisco Mancebo (Spain) Illes Balears at 4:00
8) Jan Ullrich (Germany) T-Mobile at 4:02
9) Andreas Klöden (Germany) T-Mobile at 4:16
10) Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak at 4:16
Looking farther back:
11) Botero, at 5:20
16) Vinokourov, 6:32
17) Julich, 6:32
21) Beloki at 8:31
23) Karpets at 9:03
24) Chris Horner, at 9:05
25) Michael Rogers, at 9:10
30) Georg Totschnig, at 11:43
36) Roberto Heras, at 12:59
45) Denis Menchov, at 16:16
50) Brad McGee, at 18:28
66) Iban Mayo, at 27:31
Basso, Leipheimer, Valverde, and Rasmussen all sit closer to the race lead than they did yesterday. They had the best days for riders not born in Texas. Unfortunately for them, they're not chasing down Jens Voigt from here on out.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 10 underway
First rider to drop out on the day was Lampre's Gerrit Glomser; he's the 16th rider out, leaving 173 in the race.
An opportunistic break was allowed to get 13:30 out in front; the biggest name and highest placed rider to make that break is Laurent Brochard, the former world champion, sitting 49th, 7:58 back this morning. Brochard, of course, has the peloton's worst mullet.
So much for "making CSC control the pace": Discovery is still doing most of the work on Cormet de Roselend. Discovery looks to be performing to expectations: Their pace is sending more than just pack fodder off the back: Iban Mayo has fallen off, and yellow jersey Jens Voigt is at the back of the lead group. Beltran is doing the pacemaking, and even Padrnos is still in the lead group, shadowing Voigt.
Brochard's group is 4:45 up the road from Armstrong, Ullirch, Leipheimer, Landis, Pereiro, Julich, Moreau, Vinokourov, and others. Voigt has yo-yoed off the back of the lead group and rejoined.
Over the top of the Col de Roselend, Pereiro attacks, and is joined by Jorg Jaksche of Liberty Seguros. The Brochard-to-big guns gap is 3:43 at the summit.
Popovych crashed on the descent, apparently with a team car, but got a new bike, and is chasing back onto Armstrong's group. Looks like he hit CSC's team car, and may have tangled and lost with the front fender of one of Discovery's Subarus.
The peloton has grown as riders dropped on the first climb chase back on. Discovery is still doing all the pacemaking.
Jaksche and Pereiro have caught the break, which is now composed of Brochard (Bouyges), Jaksche (Liberty), Pereiro (Phonak), Luis Sanchez (Liberty), Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), Mauro Facci (Fassa Bortolo), Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R), Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel), and Joost Posthuma (Rabobank). Pereiro started 5:12 behind Voigt this morning.
Discovery has brought back everyone from the early break except Jaksche, Pereiro and Brochard, and it won't be long on those three.
Roberto Heras and Denis Menchov are toasted and off the back. Mayo reportedly likewise, Beloki is off the back. CSC finally is making a move, sending Sastre off the front. Discovery lets him dangle off the front, but he doesn't have the legs to go.
Guerini off the back, Moreau off the back, Vladimir Karpets off the back. Horner off the back. Julich off the back. Botero off the back. Five Discovery riders up front. Only about 20 riders in total still in contention. Sastre falling off this group, paying for his attempted break.
Leipheimer, Vino, Landis, Ullrich, Basso all are still in Armstrong's group. Valverde is also there. Discovery has started to pay for the pace; Popovych is the only Discovery left. Vinokourov is back at the back of the group of 16 riders; Mancebo is there. Vinokourov is dropped! T-Mobile has Klöden and Ullrich up front.
Popovych is popped, and IT'S ON! Armstrong blows the group of 14 into a group of 5 or so: Armstrong, Basso, Valverde, Rasmussen, and Mancebo! Goodbye, Klöden, Ullrich, Leipheimer, Julich, and Landis. They've still got 10 kilometers to ride!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Francisco Mancebo, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Laurent Brochard, Michael Rasmussen, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack
June 29, 2005
Daily Peloton previews GC candidates
One of the most entertaining web Tour de France reports is The Daily Peloton's Jambon Report, where they award their Golden Hams and Ham-gazers to the riders who ruled and drooled, respectively, during the day's stage.
Today, Locutus has their GC preview up. Some highlights: he thinks Chris Horner "is the team leader, and the team just doesn't know it yet", expects Brad McGee to take the prologue-that's-not-really-a-prologue on Saturday, and thinks Ullrich will lose serious time on the first major mountain stage, as he does every year.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack
July 17, 2004
Hamilton, Zubeldia, Menchov abandon on Stage 13
Tyler Hamilton pulled out of the 2004 Tour de France on the same day his foundation is sponsoring a big-screen viewing of the stage to Plateau de Beille.
"I'm still not 100% since the crash last week. The legs are just not turning right," said Hamilton.
In his absence, his Phonak team's ambitions look set to be headed by Santos Gonzalez, who is ninth overall.
Also dropping out today was Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo's teammate on the Euskaltel-Euskadi team. Zubeldia was 5th in last year's Tour, and had been suffering from a knee injury.
Also also dropping out was Denis Menchov of Illes Balears-Banesto, who won last year's white jersey for the best rider 25 and under. Menchov finished 7th yesterday, but also had knee problems.
Hamilton on the TV coverage:
"I had the perfect team, I have no excuses. It's just unfortunate I had the accident."
"It's a sad day. I've never dropped out of the Tour. When they mentioned it this morning that I should do it, it wasn't even on my mind."
Hamilton said he just can't use his lower back on climbs, and couldn't see the purpose in continuing with no likely role in the race.
March 13, 2004
Paris-Nice: Menchov a smart victory, Jaksche holds overall
After three riders gapped the field with about 6 miles to go, 2003 Tour white jersey winner Denis Menchov crossed over to the three — Floyd Landis of US Postal, Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, and Dave Bruylandts of Chocolade Jacques — then took the 4-man sprint at the line, aided when Landis threw a chain in the final hundred meters.
"One of the things that helped me achieve this was the fact that I hadn't really worked that hard for most of the day," the 26-year-old Russian said afterward. "I quietly stayed in the peloton so that I could approach the end of the stage in a relatively fresh state. As I felt good, and I remembered the course a bit from the Tour de France last year, I thought I'd try my luck."
Friday's stage was considered the hardest of the race, which ends Sunday. CSC's Jorg Jaksche, the overall leader, said he's still not comfortable with 14 seconds on Davide Rebellin:
"It's not over even if I think that today was the most difficult," said the German. "I fear above all Sunday's stage, the last day. Vandenbroucke is getting stronger and stronger, and I would have liked to have a bit more of a lead on Rebellin."
CSC remains bunched atop the standings, with Jaksche first, Bobby Julich 3rd at 42 seconds, and Jens Voigt 4th at 46 seconds. Among the non-CSC riders, Gerolsteiner's Rebellin is 2nd at 14 seconds, US Postal's George Hincapie is 5th at 48 seconds, then Frank Vandenbroucke is 6th at 58 seconds.