July 05, 2008

Valverde makes a statement in Stage 1

Spanish champion Alejandro Valverde showed tremendous power in closing down late attacks by Kim Kirchen and Stefan Schumacher and smoking to the first stage victory and overall leadership.

Stage 1 Results and Overall Classification (updated)
1) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne
2) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, @ :01
3) Jerome Pineau, Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
4) Kim Kirchen, Team Columbia, s.t.
5) Riccardo Ricco, Saunier Duval-Scott, s.t.
6) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, s.t.
7) Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, s.t.
8) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, s.t.
9) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.

It's the first day in yellow for Valverde, in his 4th Tour. He also leads the green jersey competition, which Philippe Gilbert will wear tomorrow. Valverde made time on all the contenders, from 1 second on Evans, 7 on Sastre and Menchov, up to 3:04 on Mauricio Soler, who crashed late in the stage.

Thomas Voeckler takes the first King of the Mountains jersey, by finishing ahead of Bjorn Schroeder, with whom he's tied on points.

Riccardo Ricco is the first leader of the white jersey competition.

Lillian Jegou was awarded the red most combative race numbers for tomorrow.

First lanterne rouge is Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas, 4:56 back.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2008 in Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Oscar Freire, Oscar Pereiro, Riccardo Ricco, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Stage 15 on the road

VS. broadcaster picks:
Roll: Schleck
Liggett: Klöden
Trautwig: Contador
Sherwen: Valverde

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 19, 2007

Stage 11: At last, Robbie Hunter

Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took advantage of a late-stage crash to win his first Tour stage in his 6th career Tour appearance. It's the first Tour stage by a South African, or any African.

Hunter had been following Tom Boonen in the last kilometers, but went to the front in time to miss a crash that took out Boonen, Credit Agricole's Julian Dean, Predictor-Lotto's Fred Rodriguez, and others. Hunter then outcornered two Liquigas riders on the right-hander with 500 meters to ride. From there, he kicked all the way to the line, and Murilo Fischer and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas and Fabian Cancellara of CSC couldn't close him down.

The biggest action of the day was an all-out assault by Astana, who set a blistering pace in a stiff wind that split the field, with AG2R's Christophe Moreau, Erik Zabel, and Thor Hushovd among the riders caught behind the gap. Astana did most of the work to grow the gap, and Moreau crossed the line 3:20 behind Hunter. Astana's attack helped push the average speed for the stage to 48.061 kms/h (29.86 mph), the fastest of this year's Tour.

Hunter now trails Boonen by 11 points in the green jersey competition, 5 points ahead of Erik Zabel.

Two riders pulled out during the stage: Sylvain Calzati of AG2R and Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Stage Top 10:
1) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
2) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time
3) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t.
4) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
7) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
8) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t.
9) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.

GC Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:20
11) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 5:34
12) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, @ 5:56
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 6:36
14) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ 6:38
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, @ 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 7:10
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 8:05
20) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 8:16

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Stage 6: Boonen gets his groove back

Tom Boonen's reputation was suffering in this year's Tour, as he finished second to his leadout man Gert Steegmans in Stage 2, and couldn't quite close the deal in the other field sprints. With Thor Hushovd and Robbie McEwen nursing injuries, today was the last opportunity for Boonen to take a stage win until Wednesday's Stage 10.

In an all-hands sprint into Bourg-en-Bresse, Boonen outkicked Rabobank's Oscar Freire and yesterday's green jersey, Erik Zabel, to retake the green jersey. Barloworld's Robbie Hunter jumped a little too soon, and '07 Tour sprint revelation Romain Feilleu was coming on strong at the line after waiting too long, but Boonen timed it just right.

Only two riders left the shelter of the peloton today. Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis attacked after 2 kilometers and rode alone for 190 kilometers/115 miles, and at one point was the virtual race leader with a 17:00 gap to the field. Andrey Grivko of Milram briefly tried to join Wiggins, but quickly returned to the pack. It was clear that the sprinters had marked this stage on their race bible, as they pulled Wiggins back within 2 minutes and let him dangle, finally making the capture with only 7 kilometers/4.5 miles to ride.

Top 15 (all same time)
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
2) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
4) Sébastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy
7) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
8) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
9) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France
10) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil
11) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, Spain
12) Jérôme Pineau, Bouygues Telecom, France
13) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
14) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy
15) Geraint Thomas, Barloworld, Great Britain

Boonen retakes the green jersey.

In the overall, Freire gains enough bonus time to move ahead of George Hincapie, up into 5th overall. Gusev holds white, Chavanel holds the polka-dots, and Brad Wiggins gets the red race numbers (“most combative rider”) for tomorrow. A lot of riders on the list below won't be on the list below tomorrow night.

Overall standings after Stage 6:
1) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, in 29:49:55
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, at :35
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, at :41
5) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, at :43
6) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, at :43
7) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at :46
9) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, at :48
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at :49

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2007 in 2007 Stage 6, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Filippo Pozzato, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Romain Feillu, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stage 5 on the road

Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis, who could have taken the King of the Mountains jersey yesterday, is on the attack, alongside FdJeux's Philippe Gilbert, Credit Agricole's William Bonnet, and Barloworld's Gianpaolo Cheula, who caught the trio after a long chase.

Chavanel has taken 1st over each of the minor climbs so far, and looks likely to take over the polka-dot jersey tonight.

CSC has announced it won't defend the yellow jersey today, as a late 2nd Category climb and a 3rd Category climb only 8 kilometers from the finish should shake up the overall classification. We're likely to see the first gruppetto, as the big sprinters huddle together, working together to finish before the time limit.

Milram's Brett Lancaster of Australia withdrew after 2 hours of riding today, complaining of ongoing stomach problems. That leaves 184 riders in the race.

Lots of little crashes have happened as the Tour's first real climbs approach. Saunier Duval's Iban Mayo was paced back to the peloton by all 8 teammates, while Astana's Andreas Klöden fell with a teammate and visited the medical car. More serious was a fall just after the feed zone by Geoffroy Lequatre of Cofidis, who spent several minutes sitting by the side of the road after as doctors examined his arm.

Chavanel's group has led by nearly 15 minutes, but they're slowly being reeled in, with a 7:42 lead with 60 miles/97 kms to ride.

On the day's biggest climb, Chavanel turned on the heat, and only Philippe Gilbert could match him. Over the top, Chavanel led Gilbert, with Cheula and Bonnet 3rd and 4th, and Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank jumped from the field to take 6 pts in 5th place ahead of Sergio Paulinho of Discovery Channel leading the pack.

The gap is hovering a little over 2 minutes, and Bonnet and Cheula have been captured, so only Chavanel and Gilbert still lead, with less than 40 kilometers/25 miles to ride.

Vinokourov has gone down hard! His whole team besides Andreas Klöden and Andrey Kashechkin come back to chase, and Vinokourov blows each in turn, until he's left with nothing but the team car to draft, working up through the back traffic.

Chavanel and Gilbert are captured just before the day's final summit, with CSC pounding the field forward, and Vinokourov struggling to rejoin.

Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych launched an attack on the capture of Chavanel, and yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (!) powered the chase, which was short-circuited when Popovych and Cancellara overshot a corner and lost their momentum.

Coming into the finish, David Millar took a flier, with a Bouygues Telecom rider (probably Anthony Geslin), but they just dangled off the front into the final kilometer.

In the last 500 meters, Zabel and Freire looked well positioned, there comes George Hincapie, Bennati, and coming up fast through the middle, it's Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas taking the sprint! Pozzato took Milan-San Remo in 2006 and Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour, and told CyclingNews.com this morning that this was his stage.

The best way to follow the action in real time is to subscribe to my Twitter feed, which you can direct to your IM client or cell phone. A number of others are also Twittering the Tour, including David Bernstein of FredCast, CyclingNews.com (whose updates are usually truncated), Phil from Spinopsys, and Ken Conley.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2007 in 2007 Stage 5, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Michael Rasmussen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Minus Magnus: Liquigas finalizes Tour team

de Wielersite | Here’s Liquigas for the Tour de France

    Liquigas 2007 Tour de France roster:
  • Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
  • Manuel Beltran (Spain)
  • Kjell Carlström (Finland)
  • Murilo Fischer (Brazil)
  • Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Belarus)
  • Filippo Pozzato (Italy)
  • Manuel Quinziato (Italy)
  • Charles Wegelius (Great Britain)
  • Frederik Willems (Belgium)

Too bad we won't see Magnus Backstedt in his new Swedish national champion's jersey. Wegelius should help the team get some publicity during the British stages.

Here's all I have of the provisional lineups.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Filippo Pozzato, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2007

Giro champ Di Luca will skip Tour de France

Yahoo! eurosport | Di Luca will skip TdF

After locking up his first Giro d'Italia victory yesterday, Danilo Di Luca announced he will skip the Tour de France and try to peak again for late season races, including the World Championships in Germany.

“I won the season-long ProTour in 2005 and now it's an objective again this year. This is my first Giro victory but I want to continue winning to make 2007 the best season of my career,” he said.

The plan looks to leave Liquigas without a GC contender for the Tour: Manuel Beltran is their rider with the highest Tour placing, when he was 13th back in 2003, riding for Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel. Triki also has 2 top 10s at the Vuelta, including last year, when he was 9th.

Look for Liquigas to instead seek out opportunistic breaks for Filippo Pozzato, Luca Paolini, Magnus Backstedt, and Franco Pellizotti, depending on who winds up on their Tour squad.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2007 in Danilo Di Luca, Filippo Pozzato, Giro d'Italia 2007, Magnus Backstedt, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | 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.

Top 10:
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.

General Classification:
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)

July 03, 2006

Google Maps + GPS + heart rate data = Ubilabs TdF tracker

Ubilabs | Tour de France - Google Maps Tracks

Using rider GPS and heart-rate monitor data, Ubilabs has set up a cool Tour tracker that lets you monitor the position of 8 riders: Jens Voigt and Christian Vande Velde of CSC, Filippo Pozzato and Bram Tankink of QuickStep, Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz of T-Mobile, and Sebastian Lang and Beat Zberg of Gerolsteiner.

It also shows the course with intermediate sprints, king of the mountain lines, and feed zones.

Very cool.

(Via Typolis and Martin - Thanks!.)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in Christian Vande Velde, Filippo Pozzato, Jens Voigt, Links, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 19, 2006

QuickStep welcomes Rujano, rests Bettini

Monday's EuroFile | Quick Step names Tour nine

QuickStep is looking to put reigning world champion Tom Boonen in green at Tour's end.

They've got 2006 Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato, 2006 Giro Stage 19 winner Juan Mañuel Garate, and QuickStep's latest addition, José Rujano.

Venezuela's Rujano owned the mountains at last year's Giro, but dropped out of this year's Giro early, just before his bizarre contract expired with Selle Italia, and his contract with QuickStep started. Rujano has since apologized for his season thus far, and for withdrawing from the Giro when he did (see Rujano says thanks and goodbye to Selle Italia, from CyclingNews.com).

Paolo Bettini will not race the Tour, likely looking toward September's World Championship in Salzburg.

    QuickStep-Innergetic 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Tom Boonen
  • José Rujano
  • Cedric Vasseur
  • Wilfried Cretskens
  • Steven De Jongh
  • Juan Manuel Garate
  • Filippo Pozzato
  • Bram Tankink
  • Mateo Tosatto

Posted by Frank Steele on June 19, 2006 in Filippo Pozzato, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

Bettini stays with QuickStep

Eurosport | Bettini extends with Quick Step

QuickStep's reigning Olympic champion, Paolo Bettini, will stay with the team for another two years.

QuickStep's manager Patrick Lefevere had fueled speculation that Bettini would jump ship to T-Mobile when he said the team couldn't afford the salaries of its three superstars: Bettini, reigning world champion Tom Boonen, and Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato.

Eurosport reports Bettini walked away from a 2 million euro proposal from T-Mobile to re-sign with QuickStep, and that the signing is likely to leave Pozzato looking for a new squad next year. He's been linked to Cofidis, and has said he would like to take teammate Guido Trenti with him.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 16, 2006 in Filippo Pozzato, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2006

Piepoli pips Basso on shortened Stage 17

Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli took another stage win today, as organizers chopped off the brutal final 5.5-kilometer final climb to Plan de Corones in recognition of the nasty weather. Race temperatures were below freezing on the mountaintops, and a steady rain fell for much of the stage.

Piepoli sheltered team leader Gilberto Simoni until late on the climb, then rode across when the leading pack broke into two 4-man bunches, joining CSC's Ivan Basso, Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez, and Ceramica Panaria's Julio Perez. Gutierrez saw Simoni was isolated and pushed the pace, but in the last kilometer, he gave way to the Italian duo, and Piepoli showed a little in the last few meters to discourage Basso from contesting the finish.

The stage conclusion pretty much mirrored what we've been seeing throughout the Giro: Basso and Piepoli are the strongest climbers in the Giro, and Gutierrez of Phonak is a tick behind. Double Giro winner Simoni of Saunier Duval-Prodir just doesn't have the legs to contend in the overall, but he did back onto the podium today, with Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli losing 1:29 and third place overall, and being shepherded in by (major correction: provisional results had Tom Danielson) teammate José Rubiera in 16th place. Savoldelli told CyclingNews:

“Well my Giro is getting worse day by day,” lamented Savoldelli. “I still have motivation, but I'm not competitive. But I'm hanging tough and my team is working really well. Because of the rain, I'm feeling better today from my allergies, but I'm still not competitive. I want to do more but I just don't have the legs.”

Damiano Cunego climbed much of the final ascent on his own, down around 9th place, then caught and passed Simoni in the day's last meters, to finish 7th on the day at :41, improving to 5th overall.

Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti managed to bridge to Basso in the last couple of kilometers, but was dropped along with Gutierrez when Piepoli and Basso smelled the finish line. Look for more from him tomorrow, as the Giro travels to his home region.

Ullrich watchers: He was 120th, at 11:11.

Top 10:

1) Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval-Prodir, in 3:21:26
2) Ivan Basso, Team CSC, same time
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :15
4) Franco Pellizotti, Liquigas, at :19
5) Julio Perez, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at :28
6) John Gadret, AG2R, at :37
7) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, at :41
8) Gilberto Simoni, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :48
9) Sergio Ghisalberti, Team Milram, at :58
10) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Filippo Pozzato, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Leipheimer back in Europe for Tour of Catalonia

IOL | Leipheimer seeks strong showing in 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

March 20, 2006

Milan-San Remo wrapup

PezCycling News | Milano-Sanremo 2006: New Prince Crowned in Primavera!

Pozzato's perfect move
Pozzato's perfect move
AP/Antonio Callani
I just finished watching the OLN coverage of Milan-San Remo. What an awesome race. Filippo Pozzato played it exactly right both strategically and tactically. Reading the live text feeds on the web, I couldn't tell whether the Frank Schleck group with Sanchez and Pozzato got swallowed up or not, and now I see why.

The peloton made contact with the six leaders, who were fighting every inch of the way, so instead of the typically engulfing end to the break, the break members stayed out at the tip of the spear. As Milram tried to set up its finishing sprint, coming around the break remnants, Igor Astarloa (the OLN commentators thought it was Rinaldo Nocentini of Acqua e Sapone) just put the hammer down. Pozzato not only caught him, but came around him, charging super hard, and the gap held up. Astarloa wound up 11th.

If you watched the TV coverage, VeloNews fingers Ivan Gutierrez as the Caisse d'Espargne rider trying to wave off the motorcycles -- he thought they were hovering a little too close to Petacchi's chasers, giving the peloton a bit of a draft.

Petacchi was all class in defeat:

"I was in top form, but I didn't have the luck today," Petacchi said. "You need to have the luck to win Milan-San Remo. Our team rode great today and I wanted to pay back their efforts with a victory. But my compliments go to Pozzato. Quick Step worked the tactics perfectly with Pozzato on the wheel and they left the chase up to us."

Top 10:

1) Filippo Pozzato, Quick Step, in 6:29:41

2) Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, same time

3) Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas, s.t.

4) Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.

5) Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre, s.t.

6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.

7) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, s.t.

8) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.

9) Martin Elmiger, Phonak, s.t.

10) Matteo Carrara, Lampre, s.t.


VeloNews.com | Pozzato outfoxes favorites to win Milan-San Remo

Daily Peloton | 97th Milan-San Remo Rider Comments

rec.bicycles.racing | What's written on Pozzato's right arm?

VeloNews.com | Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Igor Astarloa, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 18, 2006

Filippo Pozzato denies the sprinters at Milan-San Remo

Everybody had their eye on Quick Step at Milan-San Remo, with current and former world champions Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini.

But with Bettini still hurting from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, and Boonen drawing more attention than that Specialized angel at the Tour of California, Quick Step found another way to get the job done.

Filippo Pozzato covered every late break, then attacked in the last kilometer to take the year's first classic.

It's another sign of the changing of the guard in cycling -- Pozzato is 24. He won Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour in a late-stage escape.

Your other heavy pre-race favorite, Pozzato's former teammate Alessandro Petacchi, takes 2nd. Luca Paolini of Liquigas was 3rd, with Boonen 4th.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 18, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Milan-San Remo 2006, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2004

Pozzato takes Stage 7

A beautiful tactical finish as 7 men thwarted the sprinters with a late break through the up-and-down streets of Saint-Brieuc.

Filippo Pozzato took the sprint over Francisco Mancebo and Iker Flores. It's Pozzato's first Tour stage win, in his 1st Tour. He's another sign of the generational change that's underway in pro cycling.

Mancebo will move up from 25th to 18th in the GC because of his time bonus, but none of the others are in the overall running. Mancebo is now 43 seconds behind Armstrong, ahead of Jan Ullrich.

O'Grady finished 3 spots up on Robbie McEwen; I'm not sure if that's enough of a difference in bonus points to keep O'Grady in green tomorrow.

1) Pozzato, Fassa Bortolo
2) Iker Flores, Euskaltel-Euskadi
3) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears-Banesto
4) Laurent Brochard, AG2R
5) Sebastien Hinault, Credit Agricole
6) Michele Scarponi, Domina Vacanze
7) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step
8) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
9) Scott Sunderland, Alessio-Bianchi
10) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis
11) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile
12) Tom Boonen, Quick Step
13) Robbie McEwen, Lotto-Domo

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2004 in Filippo Pozzato, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2004

Fassa Bortolo announce Tour lineup; Sacchi stays home

Yahoo! Sport | Super sprinter Petacchi leads Fassa Bortolo's Tour lineup

Fassa Bortolo announced their Tour de France squad today. No suprise, it's headlined by super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, along with Juan Antonio Flecha, who won a stage of last year's Tour, Aitor Gonzalez, Kim Kerchen, Marco Velo, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Matteo Tosatto, and Marzio Bruseghin.

There are three Tour rookies on the roster: Kirchen, Pozzato, and Cancellara.

Notably absent is Fabio Sacchi, one of the Italian riders currently under investigation. The team hasn't formally suspended Sacchi, but it he won't be on the start line July 3rd.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2004 in Alessandro Petacchi, Doping, Filippo Pozzato, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (3)