July 03, 2009

Garmin-Slipstream: Blood, Sweat + Gears

Slipstream celebrates
Slipstream celebrates,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Sundance Channel | Blood, Sweat + Gears

This month, Sundance Channel is showing a documentary by Nick Davis on the 2008 campaign by Garmin-Chipotle. It focuses on Magnus Backstedt, Mike Friedman, David Millar, and Christian Vande Velde, as they prepare for their season goals.

The rider selection is interesting, showing the breadth of the team (Friedman is a track specialist, Backstedt best in classics), but maybe shortchanging the development of the Tour team as a result (If the team's Giro is mentioned, I don't remember it). The only road races in the film are the Tour of Qatar, Tour of California, Paris-Roubaix, and the Tour de France.

And I would have enjoyed more Zabriskie.

Still, if you're a fan of the Tour, and especially if you're a Garmin fan, you need to check it out.

The show's scheduled to run 6 more times this month, with the next showing Saturday night at 8 p.m. Eastern. You can see a preview here.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2009 in 2008 Tour de France, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, David Millar, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

Zabriskie repeats as US TT champ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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 15, 2007

Colom, Vinokourov win Dauphiné Stage 5 side by side

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

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

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

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

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

Abandoning during the stage were Alejandro Valverde and Bobby Julich.

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

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

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

June 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

January 10, 2007

Taking the DeLorean back to 1998

Peleton 3
Peleton 3,
originally uploaded by conibonjovi.
Somebody posted photos from the Tour's 1998 visit to Ireland today. That was, of course, the Tour made infamous by the Festina affair, and eventually won by Marco Pantani.

I see a few recognizable faces here, and in shots of the body of the peloton here and here. It would be very cool if you could tag the photo with notes of riders you recognize.

Also, does anyone know which stage this is? I think that's Chris Boardman in yellow, which means it's Stage 1 or the beginning of Stage 2, when he crashed out. The pictures are marked as “March 2004”, which is obviously wrong.

Some help: the 1998 review from letour.fr, including team rosters.

I promise no more games like this once there's some actual racing...

Posted by Frank Steele on January 10, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Erik Dekker, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Magnus Backstedt, Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

“Tour Fever” photoset

There's a great photoset from last year's Tour on Flickr. It was posted to support a new book, J.P. Partland's Tour Fever, about the Tour.

The photoset is “A Day on the Tour,” and features pictures of riders, fans, and the caravan.

At left, Michael Albasini stands by the internet kiosk, while Jose Enrique Gutierrez is the Phonak rider with his back to the camera, and big Magnus Backstedt looks toward the camera at right center.

There's also a website and a MySpace weblog to support the book.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2006 in Links, Magnus Backstedt, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

Stage 6 on the road

It's Tom Boonen's last chance to win a stage wearing the yellow jersey today, as tomorrow's time trial is likely to completely reshuffle the general classification leaderboard.

Fabio Sacchi dropped out before the stage, leaving 171 riders in the peloton.

The suicide break of the day is a quality one: 2004 Paris-Roubaix and 1998 Tour stage winner Magnus Backstedt, French national champion Florent Brard, and Anthony Geslin of the Bouyges Telecom team. After the Tour's smallest rider, Samuel Dumoulin, was in the break yesterday, Backstedt, the Tour's heaviest rider at 90 kg or 198 lbs, is off the front today.

Earlier in the stage, yellow jersey Tom Boonen chased a break and found himself in a big leading group of 17 that got 1:40 on the field. CSC (which didn't have a rider in the group), Lampre, and Davitamon-Lotto led the chase, and Backstedt, Brard, and Geslin attacked out of that group.

Benoit Vaugrenard retook the white young rider's jersey lead with bonus time at the day's first sprint.

Geslin is the highest-placed rider of the 3 breakaways, in 73rd, 1:15 back, so he's the “virtual yellow jersey” or yellow jersey on the road right now.

Their gap reached more than 5 minutes, but with 70 kilometers to ride, it's about 4:15 and coming down quickly.

Today is Erik Zabel's birthday, and Bob Roll's.

OLN has moved their “mileage to ride” ribbon up, so it's not getting cut off on traditional TVs anymore.

With 60 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:30. We'll see if the chase slows to keep them dangling out there a little longer; if they're caught, there will be a lot of riders who might try another breakaway with 50-60 k to ride.

And just inside of 30 miles/48 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:10, with the peloton taking it pretty easy, with the front rank stretched all across the road.

At 40 k, the gap falls to 2:00. The chase is accelerating, with the front of the group thinning out. There's a final intermediate sprint just a few kilometers up the road.

At 30k, there's a long open straight, and the peloton can see the chasers. It's down to 1:30 to the breakaway. Looks like same script, different day. Over the line, it's Brard, Geslin, Backstedt for the final intermediate sprint points. That means Robbie McEwen can't take the yellow jersey tonight on bonus time.

Down around 20 kilometers to ride, and the gap is wobbling around just outside of 1:00. There's no way they'll stay away, but these guys aren't going to just sit up, either.

As the leaders go under 15 kilometers, the gap goes under a minute. Credit Agricole and QuickStep are driving the peloton, as they have been for the last hour. It's no wonder Boonen can't get a leadout train set up in the last 2 kilometers.

Less than 10 k to go, and the gap is only 22 seconds. The break is pushing hard, but the peloton is charging.

The whole Lampre team has come to the front now, and the gap is under 10 seconds with 7 k, about 4.2 miles to go. They're getting reeled in steadily now, it's down to 5 seconds, and climbing back up to 12 seconds now!

Here the field comes again, inching the gap down second by second. It's at 4 seconds with 5 kilometers to ride. Through a curve they hold the gap, and just after they come under the 4 kilometers to go flag, the Lampres and QuickSteps finally bring them back.

In the last 3 kilometers, Boonen is well-placed, McEwen near him, Lampre is taking the line up to 2 k to ride.

One Lampre left on the front, ahead of a few QuickStep riders, Credit Agricole is back 10 meters, now a Milram (Zabel?) is sitting on Boonen's wheel. Here come a couple of Rabobanks alongside Boonen, and it's 1 kilometer to race. Boonen is 7th in line, QuickStep is peeling off. Boonen is 4th, Davitamon-Lotto winds it up, and Boonen is tied up in traffic, moving right, then back left, and Robbie McEwen takes the hat trick! McEwen's got his 3rd stage win of the 2006 Tour.

McEwen's leadout man Gert Steegmans went way too early yesterday, knocking McEwen out of the sprint, and he apologized. At the line today, Steegmans threw his arms up, clearly as happy as McEwen himself.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2006 in Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen | 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)

Stage 3 on the road

Jerome Pineau of Bouygues Telecom, former yellow jersey Jens Voigt of CSC, Unai Etxebarria of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Christophe Laurent of Agritubel, and José Luis Arrieta of AG2R are about 4:30 off the front. Voigt is one of the riders being tracked on the Ubilabs Google Maps mashup. Pineau has taken max climber's points over the first climb, while Voigt went hard to take the 6 seconds (and 6 points) at the first two sprint lines.

At the day's second climb, a 3rd Category, Pineau again took max points, ahead of Etxebarria, Laurent, and Voigt.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez was involved in a crash, apparently with Rabobank's Erik Dekker. Doctors were looking at Rodriguez' right collarbone, and Dekker had facial injuries. Both have been taken away by ambulance, and are both out of this year's Tour. Rodriguez was Robbie McEwen's leadout man, although McEwen seems just as likely to use another sprinter for that. Dekker was probably in his final Tour at 35.

The day's last intermediate sprint went to Arrieta ahead of Voigt and Laurent. That means Boonen's only chance to move up to the yellow jersey is to make 5 seconds on a finish line bonus. First takes 20 seconds, second takes 12, and third is 8 seconds. Backstedt and Pozzatto have both been at the back of the pack today. I was hoping Backstedt was taking it easy yesterday in preparation for an effort today, but it may be he's not in good Tour shape.

Gap is down to less than 2 minutes, but Jerome Pineau led the break over the day's 4th climb, so he's currently leading the King of the Mountains competition, with a 3rd Category and 4th Category climb to go.

With less than 20 kilometers to go, it's down to 1:20, and the breakaway is splitting. Laurent was first to attack; Arrieta bridged, and Voigt finally came across. Etxebarria and Pineau have fallen off the back.

There's a big crash in the peloton. Alejandro Valverde has hit the pavement! He's sitting on the roadside in obvious pain. Again, they're looking at his right collarbone. He was the oddsmakers favorite to take the Tour, and a smart pick for today's stage as well. They've brought a stretcher and Valverde, one of the sport's rising superstars, is out of the Tour in Stage 3.

Meanwhile, Arrieta has attacked out of the leading group of 3. He leads over the day's 5th climb, 10 seconds up on Agritubel's Christophe Laurent and 15 seconds on Voigt. Etxebarria and Pineau are in no-man's land with the peloton at 1:15 behind Arrieta.

The Tour website reports that Stuart O'Grady has been involved in yet another accident, but the OLN broadcasters haven't mentioned it.

Laurent is caught, Voigt is caught, and only Arrieta is still up the road. Boonen is just off the front of the pack, Michael Boogerd is right there, and the gap is down to 49 seconds with 5 kilometers to ride. O'Grady is off the back, so it looks like he was caught in an accident, but he's back on the bike.

Arrieta is rocking as the peloton closes him down. Arrieta has 14 seconds in hand. He's onto the Cauberg, and a Credit Agricole rider has tried to bridge. Oscar Friere, Michael Boogerd, Philippe Gilbert, and Tom Boonen (all Benelux riders or on Benelux teams) are killing themselves up the Cauberg as they capture Arrieta. Sandy Casar has punctured on the Cauberg. The Française des Jeux leader will lose a minute or more on the day.

T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler attacks out of the local boys! He takes the points over the top of the Cauberg, ahead of Sebastian Joly and Michael Boogerd. After getting caught with 50 meters yesterday, he's attacked with 2 kilometers to ride today. At the 1 kilometer mark he's got a few seconds in hand, and the Cauberg has broken up the leadout trains. This one may work.

Kessler is going hard all the way to the line, and he's got the win for T-Mobile. The select group that survived over the Cauberg is coming just behind, and there's another T-Mobile rider who takes the sprint. It's Australia's world TT champion, Michael Rogers, just ahead of Daniele Bennati of Lampre.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Erik Dekker, Fred Rodriguez, Jens Voigt, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 17, 2006

Liquigas finalizes Tour squad

Liquigas ready for Tour de France

CyclingPost reports that Liquigas has finalized its Tour roster, with Stefano Garzelli and Danilo DiLuca leading the team.

TdFblog favorite (and 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner) Magnus Backstedt will look for a good break to take a 2nd career stage win and help to set up Luca Paolini in the early sprints.

    Liquigas 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Stefano Garzelli
  • Danilo Di Luca
  • Magnus Backstedt
  • Luca Paolini
  • Michael Albasini
  • Patrick Calcagni
  • Kjell Carlström
  • Matej Mugerli
  • Manuel Quinziato

Posted by Frank Steele on June 17, 2006 in Danilo Di Luca, Magnus Backstedt, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2006

Giro 2006 web resource roundup

Get on the Giro train
It's the Giro train, and it's left the station
Flickr photo by Benoit Veys
Here's everything you need to know to successfully follow the 2006 Giro via the web.


OLN is repeating their approach from last year, providing a weekly recap show on their Cyclysm Sundays show and live coverage of Monday - Saturday stages through a partnership with Cycling.TV, at $19.99 for the entire Giro. If you already subscribe to Cycling.TV, that's another $19.99 to get the Giro. Mac users note: it works if you've installed Windows Media/Mac and/or Flip4Mac; I had better luck in Firefox and Safari than Camino.

OLN | Broadcast schedule | OLN/Cycling.TV web streaming


Look for live text coverage from VeloNews, cyclingnews.com, and Eurosport, with commentary most days at Daily Peloton.

Online Resources:

The official site, in English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German.

cyclingnews.com | Giro Preview | Stage breakdown | Giro map | Start list



A team-by-team look at the Giro d'Italia

Basso (and CSC) ready to dominate the Giro

Eurosport | Giro by numbers

Daily Peloton team previews:
Team CSC | Euskaltel-Euskadi | Liquigas | Lampre/Fondital | Milram | Panaria-Navigare | Phonak | QuickStep

Cycloblog.com | Giro 2006: One for the mountain goats

Riders in the race:

Jason McCartney's Giro Blog

cyclingnews.com | Interview with Bobby Julich, May 3, 2006

Riders sitting out the Giro:

PezCycling News | Magnus Maximus : Giro Watching

AMDProCycling | Michael Barry : Grande Giro

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Links, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Stage 16 underway

Several early probing attacks have gone and been captured. Currently, a 10-man break that includes Saunier Duval-Prodir's Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans, and Juan Antonio "Never Seen an Attack He Didn't Like" Flecha, is almost 7 minutes in front of the leader's group.

Magnus bummer as Magnus Backstedt, who battled over the worst of the Pyrenees over the last two days, didn't take the start. He was 40 seconds inside the time cut yesterday. Also not starting today was Gianluca Bortolami of Lampre-Caffita.

Former pro mountain biker Cadel Evans is off the front of his breakaway with about 7 kilometers to climb on the Col d'Aubisque.

A number of riders are in between the break and the peloton; notably Oscar Pereiro, still smarting over his 2nd place finish Sunday, and Alexandre Vinokourov. Roberto Heras has hooked up with Alexandre Vinokourov out in front.

The peloton is being whittled down to the team leaders. Down to 8 including Landis, Leipheimer, Mancebo, Mayo, Rasmussen, Ullrich, Basso, and (correction) Kaschechkin. Ullrich probes the group, and off drop Leipheimer, Landis, and Mancebo. They've reintegrated, and that group has caught Freddie Rodriguez, who was off the front with Cadel Evans earlier.

The gap from Evans all the way back to Armstrong's group is between 5 and 6 minutes, and dropping. Hincapie has caught back up to Armstrong's group. Kashechkin was accidentally hit spot on the nose by a spectator earlier in the stage, and had to get medical treatment for a nosebleed. If he can stay near the lead today, he could take the white jersey tonight; he's second to Popovych by 6 minutes.

Hincapie is off the back, Mancebo and Kaschechkin are dropped; the Armstrong group has caught Vinokourov. Armstrong is riding at the front of his group. Vinokourov attacks again!

Rasmussen moves to the front for the summit. Armstrong's group catches Chris Horner, they've recaught Vinokourov.

At the summit, it's:
Pereiro at :47
Mazzoleni/Zandio at :59
Serrano at 1:15
Ludewig at 1:33

Armstrong's group is at 2:53.

Hincapie is back with Armstrong, as is Popovych, hurting Kashechkin's shot at white. Paul Sherwen reports that Stuart O'Grady is over the descent as the first of the sprinters. There comes Thor Hushovd, so they may get to O'Grady before the day's last sprint or any finishing sprint.

On the descent, Oscar Pereiro has caught Cadel Evans, as has Eddy Mazzoleni.

Close to 20 riders are now in the group with Armstrong and Ullrich, including a number of Discovery riders, Andreas Klöden, and Roberto Heras. They're riding about 5.5 minutes behind Pereiro.

Pereiro flats! He gets a wheel change quickly, and he and Zandio have chased onto Evans and Mazzoleni.

Back in the Armstrong group, Horner flats. He should have no trouble catching up, since Armstrong and the 5 Discovery riders are taking it pretty easy. That group has grown to around 50 riders, and Evans/Pereiro/Zandio/Mazzoleni have 6:38 on that group. The day's final intermediate sprint goes to Pereiro.

Evans started the day at 12:57 in 11th place, and some of the riders filling out the GC Top 10 are starting to get nervous. Discovery has come off the front, and Credit Agricole, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner, and T-Mobile are putting guys up there to chase the break.

If he picked up 6 minutes, he would move ahead of Klöden, Moreau, Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, and Levi Leipheimer, and threaten Mancebo and Ullrich.

The chasers have brought the break back down to 4:45 with about 20 kilometers to ride.

I'm switching posts for the rest of the stage; check the home page for the new post.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2005 in Cadel Evans, Magnus Backstedt, Oscar Pereiro | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005

Stage 15 wrapup

I haven't been willing to say this Tour's race for yellow is over, but I get that feeling tonight. There aren't a lot of opportunities left to put time into Lance Armstrong, and he's got quite a bit in hand.

Jan Ullrich and T-Mobile apparently agree: over at the T-Mobile team website, Andreas Klöden suggests T-Mobile isn't aiming for the win anymore, when he says “My position on the GC doesn’t matter to me. We want to get Jan on the podium, and we can achieve that.”

Papers, please
Your papers, please
VeloNews/Casey B. Gibson
CyclingNews.com translates and quotes from JanUllrich.de, Ullrich's website:
Thinking back on the final ascent to Ax-3-Domaines yesterday, when T-Mobile had isolated Armstrong in the Pailhères climb and the ever more courageous Vinokourov attacked again, Ullrich admitted his defeat in his personal website: "That was the moment where I should have gotten Armstrong," he wrote. "But in the end, on the last kilometre, he was stronger than me again. But it was a great fight on a sporting level and that's why I'm satisfied with my performance."

Ullrich also got stopped by French police as he rode down the mountain after the stage (photo at right). Once they realized who he was, he was allowed to continue, but it's a sign of how things are going for the 1997 Tour champ.

Phonak's Oscar Pereiro, 2nd on the day, wasn't happy about Hincapie's wheelsucking ways.

"This is a sporting competition and sometimes the strongest man doesn't win," said Pereiro, who couldn't respond when Hincapie punched the accelerator in the final kilometers.

"It was all day on the wheel, this is something you have to take notice of. I had hoped to drop him because I knew he would be strong in the sprint," he said. "He said, ‘Let's work together and try to get to the finish line,' then it seemed like I was doing all the work. It just didn't work out for me."

You could compare it to Chris Horner's anger at Carlos da Cruz during Stage 13, except that drafting plays a smaller role on climbing stages. Given their styles, Pereiro was doomed when his testing accelerations, and the attack by Pietro Caucchioli, failed to dislodge Hincapie, presumably a weaker climber. After that, of course Hincapie was content to sit in for the two-up sprint.

GC Update:
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 62:09:59
2) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 2:46
3) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 3:09
4) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at 5:58
5) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at 6:31
6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 7:35
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 9:33
8) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 9:38
9) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 11:47
10) Andreas Kloden, T-Mobile, at 12:01

Note to cycling press: Hincapie was born in New York, but now lives in Greenville, S.C. Other fairly high-level riders with homes in the Southeast include Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin of Dalton, Georgia, and Australia's Nathan O'Neill of Navigators, who lives in Braselton, Georgia.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2005 in Andreas Klöden, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Saul Raisin | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

McEwen sneaks by for Stage 7 win

Magnus comes up short
Magnus comes up short
from BBC Sport
Things were dicey in the finishing sprint today, as some of the big-name sprinters found themselves slowed by another crash, this one 200 meters shy of the line, involving Angelo Furlan of Domina Vacanze and Isaac Galvez of Illes Balears.

Robbie McEwen, who has terrific positional awareness on the bike, once again picked the right place to be, and sprinted for the 7th Tour stage win of his career.

TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt, trailing McEwen up the right side of the field, couldn't match the Aussie champion's finishing kick, and took 2nd on the day. Backstedt, winner at Paris-Roubaix in 2004, was the first Swede to win a Tour stage back in 1998.

McEwen moves up to third in the green-jersey race, but says he's already out of the overall points competition after race judges relegated him for rough riding in Stage 3. On the road today, points leader Tom Boonen mixed it up with Thor Hushovd, sitting in 2nd in the competition, and beat Hushovd over 2 intermediate sprint lines and the finish line, to increase his lead in the competition to 11 points, 133 to 122, with McEwen at 96.

Fabian Wegmann's long breakaway earns him the polka-dot jersey -- the last cheap climber's jersey of the race. Tomorrow, there are four 3rd category climbs and a 2nd category climb in a 231.5-km stage from Pforzheim to Gérardmer.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2005 in Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 04, 2005

Boonen again! Takes Stage 3 into Tours

Tom Boonen confirmed he's the favorite for the green jersey this year, exploding out of a catfight to take the stage win.

Boonen actually used McEwen as his leadout man, while Credit Agricole was trying to build a train for Hushovd, trailing Jaan Kirsipuu with 100 meters to ride.

McEwen really leaned hard into Stuart O'Grady, and race officials "relegated" McEwen to the back of the field for his frustration-driven maneuvering.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step
2) Wrolich, Gerolsteiner
3) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis
4) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux
5) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros
6) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner
7) Magnus Backstedt, Liquigas-Bianchi
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
10) Angelo Furlan, Domina Vacanze

Credit Agricole needs some new moves: Looked like they were executing exactly to plan, but Hushovd couldn't bring either the funk or the noise.

And I didn't see Baden Cooke: Are FdJeux switching off their sprinters, with Eisel one day, Cooke another, or is it every FDJ sprinter for himself?

Zabriskie will hold the yellow jersey into tomorrow's team time trial showdown, likely to be between Phonak, CSC, and Discovery. CSC will start last, and have intermediate splits for every other team, since the lead the team competition.

Erik Dekker takes over the King of the Mountains jersey, while Boonen holds the green sprinters' jersey and Fabian Cancellara hangs on to the white jersey for riders under 25. Boonen is sneaking up on Cancellara: He's now 3rd, 7 seconds behind Cancellara. Dekker also wins the red race numbers for most aggressive rider for the tremendous heart he showed trying to keep his break away to the finish.


cyclingnews.com | Full stage results

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2005 in Erik Dekker, Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

Magnus is in: Liquigas-Bianchi name TdF squad

Daily Peloton - Pro Cycling News

Danilo Di Luca, coming off a very strong Giro d'Italia, will skip the Tour to focus on defending his ProTour leader's jersey in the later ProTour races.

That leaves Liquigas-Bianchi with a squad built toward stage wins:

Dario Andriotti
Dario Cioni
Franco Pellizotti
Kljell Carlstrom
Luciano Pagliarini
Magnus Backstedt
Marcus Lungqvist
Michael Albasini
Patrick Calcagni
Stefano Garzelli

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 05, 2005

Dauphiné prologue photo galleries

Armstrong, Lepheimer, Hincapie; more @ GrahamWatson.com

Backstedt (50th on the day) and Landis from cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2005 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2005

Paris-Roubaix in pictures

GrahamWatson.com Paris-Roubaix photo gallery

CyclingNews Paris-Roubaix photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on April 11, 2005 in George Hincapie, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Boonen takes Paris-Roubaix, Hincapie second

Eurosport | Boonen paves way to historic double

Tom Boonen was the odds-on favorite going into Paris-Roubaix, but in a bicycle race, like a golf tournament, the favorites are never prohibitive. On a day when Tiger Woods took his fourth Masters championship, Boonen showed why they both were favored.

As with Tiger, this Paris-Roubaix went the distance, with Boonen just edging out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha.

Boonen, who also won the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, takes over the lead of the ProTour from Alessandro Petacchi, who has never started the Hell of the North. The 24-year-old, formerly a US Postal rider, has firmly established himself as one of the world's best one-day riders.

Sunday's big move had 2004 winner Magnus Backstedt, Boonen, Flecha and teammate Fabian Cancellara, Hincapie, and CSC's Lars Michaelsen -- everything but a big sign that said "Winning break departing now."

Cancellara flatted, then as the pace increased, Michaelsen and then TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt were dropped about 16 km out. From Yahoo! Sport:

"I was on the last wheel and as we went round a corner Mickaelsen swung out and left a bit of a gap," explained Backstedt who finished fourth. "I tried to close it but just couldn't. The front three were just far too strong for me."

Boonen said he had most feared Backstedt and Michaelson in a finishing sprint over the roleurs Hincapie and Flecha. Left with Hincapie and Flecha, Boonen picked their pocket, holding third position into the Roubaix velodrome, choosing his attack, and outkicking Hincapie for the win.

Hincapie becomes the first American to make the Paris-Roubaix podium.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen (Quick-Step), 6:27:31
2) George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), same time
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), same time
4. Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas), at 1:09
5. Lars Michaelsen (Team CSC), at 2:43
6. Leon van Bon (Davitamon - Lotto), at 3:49
7. Florent Brard (Agritubel), same time
8. Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), same time
9. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), same time
10. Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), same time

VeloNews | Full results

CSC's Andrea Tafi, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1999, made his last career start, but withdrew early, as did Peter Van Petegem, among others. Former US Postal rider Victor Hugo Peña crashed in the neutral zone, before racing even got under way, and DNF'ed.


procycling.com | Boonen realises Roubaix dream

With his early season goals achieved, Boonen said he'll concentrate on the Tour de France green jersey and the World Championships in Madrid:

“This is a dream for me,” said Boonen. “Flanders and Roubaix are the two races I’ve wanted to win the most, and I’ve now won them both. This gives me a huge amount of confidence for the rest of the season. I’m going to go on holiday now and try to find new motivation for my remaining two goals this season, which are to win the points title at the Tour de France and the Worlds.”

Fassa Bortolo's supersprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, has previously announced he won't ride the 2005 Tour, to focus on worlds, and Oscar Freire is bound to target world's, since they're in Spain, so it looks like the stage is set for a major showdown in Madrid.

Daily Peloton | Paris-Roubaix race report

VeloNews | Oh so close: Boonen takes Roubaix ahead of Hincapie

"I'm satisfied, yet disappointed at the same time," said Hincapie, who couldn't counter when Boonen shot away high off the final turn in the velodrome. "This gives me even more motivation to come back here and win next year."

The Paceline | Paris-Roubaix, Team Report

Why did Hincapie let it go to a sprint against Boonen?

[Discovery assistant DS Dirk] Demol added, "it wasn't possible to attack in the final 20 kms." On Boonen, he added, "every kilometer closer to the finish, we kept thinking 'how can we beat him?'"

The second place finish moved Hincapie up into fourth place in the ProTour standings.

CyclingRevealed | Flahute and "The Lion of Flanders"

CyclingRevealed.com offers a look at the Belgian Classics, and Johan Museeuw, who won Paris-Roubaix three times.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 11, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Johan Museeuw, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 04, 2005

Homeboy Boonen wins Flanders in a breakaway

procycling.com | Boonen comes of age at Flanders

Tom Boonen won perhaps the biggest race of his stellar career Sunday, and established himself as more than Belgium's outstanding sprinter in a dramatic win at the Tour of Flanders.

At the first Belgian classic of the year, Boonen animated a six-man breakaway group, then rode away from a class bunch, including two-time Flanders winner Peter Van Petegem, Erik Zabel and his T-Mobile teammate Andreas Klier, Fassa Bortolo's Roberto Petito, and Lampre-Caffita's Alessandro Ballan, the only survivor of an earlier break, to which the strongmen bridged with less than 40 kilometers to ride.

Boonen has won race after race in his 3-year pro career with a killer finishing kick, but Sunday, he didn't want to risk dicing it out with Zabel, Klier, and PVP:

“I didn’t want to wait,” he explained about his late attack. “I couldn’t win against Zabel and a team-mate, I had to attack. I simply couldn’t risk a sprint with Zabel and Van Petegem.”

Instead, Boonen countered one of Van Petegem's attacks, and immediately got a 10-second gap on the breakaway, which pretty quickly started racing for second, letting Boonen win by 33 seconds.

Team Discovery Channel has to be a little disappointed. Lance Armstrong flew the flag in a late but futile chase of the leaders, and George Hincapie, Stijn Devolder, and Viatcheslav Ekimov were in the chasing group in the last 10 kilometers, but none of the Discos covered Boonen, van Petegem, and Zabel's decisive move. Hincapie led the field sprint, taking 7th on the day, but that's small comfort. CyclingNews has Johan Bruyneel telling "Belgian TV tersely that 'for the team, it was a big disappointment.' "

TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt was in the longest break of the day.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen (QuickStep), 6:22:49
2) Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), at :35
3) Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto), at :40
4) Erik Zabel (T-Mobile), same time
5) Roberto Petito (Fassa Bortolo), same time
6) Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Caffita), same time
7) George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), at 1:42
8) Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto), same time
9) Sergei Ivanov (T-Mobile), same time
10) Vladimir Gusev (Team CSC), same time

Cycling4all.com | Full results


VeloNews.com | Big, big win for Boonen at Flanders

ThePaceline.com | Chris Brewer's Tour of Flanders Race Report

Posted by Frank Steele on April 4, 2005 in Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2005

Freire takes lead at Tirreno-Adriatico

VeloNews | Freire takes over at Tirreno-Adriatico

Three-time world road champion Oscar Freire of Rabobank took Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico Thursday, outsprinting fellow former world champ Laurent Brochard and Angel Vicioso in Tivoli.

Discovery Channel's Stijn Devolder was 4th on the day, while Stuart O'Grady was 6th in the field sprint.

You can throw a blanket over a big chunk of the field, as the top 42 are within 10 seconds of each other.

TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt is 19:36 back, in 180th overall.

Full stage and overall standings are available at RoadCycling.com.

Posted by Frank Steele on March 10, 2005 in Magnus Backstedt, Oscar Freire | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 13, 2005


BBC Sport | Paris-Roubaix to bypass 'trench'

This year's Hell of the North will bypass the Arenberg trench, probably the most famous cobbled section in the race, because a section of the road badly deteriorated:

"Organisers have decided not to ride on the 2,400m of the famous Arenberg trench for safety reasons," said a statement from organisers.

"The condition of the road has seriously deteriorated in recent years and a 200m section has collapsed and turned into a pool."

Magnus Backstedt scored probably the biggest win of his career in last year's edition. This year's race is scheduled for April 10.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 13, 2005 in Magnus Backstedt, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Backstedt abandons

The peloton's biggest rider, Alessio-Bianchi's Magnus Backstedt, has abandoned during Stage 11.

The 216-pound Swede was one of my favorites, but I'll try to keep watching in spite of his absence.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 10, 2004

Magnus on Stage 7

VeloNews | Magnus Opus: A big split, an interesting finish and a looming sense of dread

Magnus Backstedt is a weimaraner among the whippets on this year's Tour de France; the Swede riding for Alessio-Bianchi weighs in at 98 kgs, or about 217 pounds.

In his rider's diary at VeloNews, Backstedt offers a good description of yesterday's finish:

Today's finish was a nice change of pace, with rolling hills all the way toward the line. It was quite an interesting finish, really, with those hard little drags over the last five or ten kilometers. A lot of guys were really hurting once it got to a sprint - including me.

It was a nice finish, though, and a real change of pace from the usual. These days you don't see a lot of groups getting away in the last five or ten kilometers like you did today. Usually if things regroup with 10 or 20 kilometers to go, you know it's going to be a bunch kick, but today the guys managed to get away and hold it all the way to the finish. That makes for quite a nice end to the day, really.

Backstedt likes the profile of Tuesday's stage ("maybe that's a day when I can try my hand"), but is not looking forward to the 9 categorized climbs on Wednesday's stage:

The thing is 240k long and there a million bloody climbs in there. It never stops. There will be a lot of people suffering that day. It's going to be awful. Nine categorized climbs.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt, Rider diaries | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

O'Grady the stage; Voeckler takes yellow

The first successful breakaway (take that, Al Trautwig!) of this year's Tour de France puts a Frenchman in yellow, as Thomas Voeckler of Brioches la Boulangere puts on the maillot jaune.

Australia's Stuart O'Grady of Cofidis showed great road smarts, matching a series of attacks from Voeckler, then sprinting off the wheel of Magnus Backstedt from a long way out.

The field came in about 12 minutes back. Robbie McEwen is likely to keep his green jersey, winning the field sprint for 6th place sprint points. Voeckler will hold the white jersey, but it will continue to be worn by Matthias Kessler.

Stage Top 5:

1) O'Grady
2) Jakob Piil (CSC)
3) Sandy Casar (Fdjeux.com)
4) Voeckler (Brioches la Boulangere)
5) Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi)

With the GC still pretty close before the stage, these guys will take over the general classification, as well:

1) Voeckler
2) O'Grady at 3:13
3) Sandy Casar at 4:06
4) Magnus Backstedt at 6:03
5) Jakob Piil at 6:58
6) Lance Armstrong at 9:35
7) George Hincapie at 9:45

Full results are up over at RoadCycling.com.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2004 in Lance Armstrong 2004, Magnus Backstedt, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Voeckler, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 5 underway

There's a group of five 15 minutes up the road this morning:

Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi)
Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis)
Jakob Piil (CSC)
Sandy Casar (Fdjeux.com)
Thomas Voeckler (Brioches la Boulangere)

French national champion Voeckler looks likely to take the yellow jersey tonight, and O'Grady has taken a couple of intermediate sprints; given a bonus at the finish, he's made a great start in his announced goal of the green jersey. It's a major turnaround for the French, who had little success in last year's Tour until Jean-Patrick Nazon took the last stage.

We could have a French yellow jersey, and a rider from a French team (O'Grady) take the stage today. Heck, Voeckler could do both; he's launched several sharp attacks to try to break from the group.

There have been a few crashes today, including Manuel Beltran and Jose-Luis Rubiera from US Postal, who went down with Alessandro Petacchi, Roberto Heras, and others. Beltran and Rubiera needed medical assistance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Voeckler | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Ars Magnus: Backstedt diary updated

VeloNews | Magnus Opus: Rain, crashes and I'm feeling good

Magnus Backstedt reports he's feeling a little better, especially with some time in the team time trial under his belt:

Team time trials are really what the early part of my racing career was all about. Being taller and stronger on the flats I offer up a pretty good draft, eh?

Alessio-Bianchi led at some of the checkpoints, but lost two riders on a slippery turn, then waited and finally left without them. Magnus himself flatted 15k from the finish and had to pace in on his own.

Still, I have quite a positive frame of mind today. I felt heaps better than I did even yesterday. This really has changed my attitude here. It's hard to approach the Tour with enthusiasm feeling the way I had been. This is a big step up for me.

I don't mean to demean the stars here, but this is what it's like for 150+ of the riders; trying to get recovered so they can do more work tomorrow, usually in service to another rider who gets all the credit. That's why I love the team time trial: When US Postal uses it to put Armstrong in the yellow jersey, there's some more focus on just how hard Hincapie, Ekimov, and the rest are working to make Lance look good.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt, Rider diaries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

US Postal takes team time trial; Armstrong in yellow

US Postal took the team time trial. Armstrong is in yellow, and the real leaders will start to emerge on GC.

Phonak finished 2nd on the day, 67 seconds back, but that will be capped at 20 seconds.

Illes Balears-Banesto, at 1:15, are capped at 30 seconds, and so on.

Top 10:
1) US Postal                    1.12.03
2) Phonak                       at 1:07 adjusted - :20
3) Illes Balears                at 1:15 adj - :30
4) T-Mobile                      at 1:19 adj - :40
5) CSC                            at 1:46 adj - :50
6) Rabobank                    at 1:53 adj - 1:00
7) Liberty Seguros            at 2:25 adj - 1:10
8) Euskaltel - Euskadi        at 2:35 adj - 1:20
9) Saeco                         at 2:37 adj - 1:30
10) Alessio - Bianchi            at 2:57 adj - 1:40

Early reports are that this puts US Postal in the Top 5 on the general classification (GC), much as last year:

1. Lance Armstrong (USP)
2. George Hincapie (USP) at 10"
3. Floyd Landis (USP) at 16"
4. Jose Azevedo (USP) at 22"
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (USP) at 24"
6. Jose Enrique Gutierrez (PHO) at 27"
7. Viatcheslav Ekimov (USP) at 30"
8. Tyler Hamilton (PHO) at 36"
9. Santos Gonzalez (PHO) at 37"
10. Bert Grabsch (PHO) at 41"

Looking at the team leaders, and anyone else I'm keeping an eye on, it's:

1) Armstrong (USPS)
2) Hamilton (Phonak) at 36"
3) Jens Voigt (CSC) at 43"
4) Ullrich (T-Mobile) at 55"
5) Bobby Julich (CSC) at 1:00
6) Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) at 1:01
7) Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) at 1:08
8) Ivan Basso (CSC) at 1:17
9) Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty Seguros) at 1:29
10) Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) at 1:45
11) Carlos Sastre (CSC) at 2:02
12) Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) at 2:25
13) Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) at 2:29
14) Laurent Brochard (AG2R) at 2:30
15) Richard Virenque (Quick Step) at 2:39
16) Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches la Boulangere) at 2:45

Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) at 3:22
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 5:27
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 5:33
Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) at 5:58
Michael Rogers (Quick Step) at 6:16
Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi) at 9:09 (and the roads haven't turned up yet!)
Benjamin Noval (US Postal) at 22:37
Bradley McGee (Fdjeux.com) at 22:49

And our new lanterne rouge:
Davide Bramati (Quick Step) at 27:51

Bramati and a few others were dropped by their teams during the TTT, and had to straggle in alone (or in one pair's case, with a teammate). Eddy Seigneur of RAGT was also dropped, but couldn't finish within the time limit, and was eliminated.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2004 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Lance Armstrong 2004, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Roberto Heras, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour news, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 05, 2004

Armstrong adds to 3rd-stage jitters

BBC SPORT | Armstrong voices Tour fears

A lot of the riders are very nervous about the 2+ miles of cobblestones on tomorrow's Stage 3 of the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong spoke for the peloton:

"I think everybody is worried about the cobbles - even the riders who are good on them are worried," Armstrong said.

"You could be involved in a crash and that would mean the end of your Tour. Somebody's Tour will be over on Tuesday and I could be one of those people."

The second stretch of cobbles are part of Paris-Roubaix, the spring classic also known as "The Hell of the North." Magnus Backstedt won the 2004 edition, but their inclusion on the Tour is controversial, because it's not that big a deal to lose 5 minutes in a classic; you're just smoked for the day. In a grand tour, you can be hosed for 3 weeks.

Armstrong acknowledged the historical place of the pavé:

"At the same time, the cobbles are a big part of French cycling. If you look at Paris-Roubaix, they are a beautiful thing, if you look at it like that, you should say they should be part of the Tour."

Some teams will likely want to conserve effort in advance of Wednesday's team time trial.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2004 in Lance Armstrong 2004, Magnus Backstedt, Stage profiles, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Riders' diaries update: Dean, Hamilton, Backstedt

RoadCycling.com | Julian Dean Diary: Yellow Fever

Dean provided the leadout for Thor Hushovd today, and Thor looked, well, thunder-ific, and Dean gives you a look inside the head of a lead-out man:

The sprint was crazy, crazy, crazy. It was a case of quack or be quacked. So I quacked a lot to get Thor to the front with 300m to go. It was a little too early but at around 700m to go we were pretty far back and Fassa Bortolo were going all out for Petacchi. I had to move Thor up so I went around the outside as the road curved gently to the left. As we came up beside the Fassa train, it began to die. Next thing I knew, I had blown straight past them and was at the front. All I could do was keep going. I wasn’t really sprinting but in the saddle powering it. At around 350m to go I began [to] blow up. The last of the Fassa Bortolo lead-out guys came underneath me with Thor on his wheel. Perfect. I had done my job and I was done.

RoadCycling.com | Tyler Hamilton Diary: NAMUR, Belgium

Tyler's clearly on eggshells about tomorrow's pavé:

Tomorrow will be another difficult day. It's the Paris-Roubaix stage of the Tour this year. I'm not a big guy so I'm not really looking forward to riding the cobblestones. I'm glad we had a chance to preview the roads before the start of the race. So we know what's ahead, and what we have to do to stay out of trouble. Now it's just a matter of doing it. Wasn't I just saying something about stress?

VeloNews | Magnus Opus: I don't feel so hot

One of my favorite riders isn't going so well in the early stages:

These are supposed to me my kinds of days and, as I said, I am sort of on home turf, but it was all I could do just to stay in the field. If I knew what was wrong with me, I'd be a happy man, because I could do something about it. As it is, I have no idea why I feel like I lack power and struggling on the bike.

It's really tough on my head. I want to get my body to do more, but it just doesn't seem to want to follow through.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2004 in Julian Dean, Magnus Backstedt, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

Backstedt back; seeks stage win

ic Wales | Backstedt targets Tour stage win

Magnus Backstedt is one of my favorite riders. With a name more suited to the World's Strongest Man competition, Backstedt towers over most of his compatriots at around 6' 4" and 200 pounds. He's unlikely to win any mountaintop finishes.

He's a smart rider with a good finish, though, and took a stage of the 1998 Tour on a 220-kilometer 4-man breakaway (right) to become the first Swede ever to win a Tour stage. After doing some time in the equivalent of cycling's minor leagues, Backstedt is back in the bigs this year, riding for Alessio-Bianchi, and with some good results already.

He won Paris-Roubaix this spring, the legendary "Hell of the North," featuring sections of cobbled pavé that jars the riders and led to Rock Shox developing a road shock called the Roubaix.

Backstedt will be sniffing for a stage win in the Tour, and looking to maintain his fitness for the road and time trial events at the Olympics.

"I will be looking to get in a break in this year's Tour and see what happens."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2004

Graham Watson Paris-Roubaix gallery posted

(Click through to GrahamWatson.com gallery)

Some great shots of a couple of early miscues, including US Postal's Max Van Heeswijk, who was slightly injured in one early fall, and a shot of Johan Museeuw crossing the line at Paris-Roubaix for the last time.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 12, 2004 in George Hincapie, Johan Museeuw, Magnus Backstedt, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peloton's biggest rider snags his biggest win

Eurosport | Backstedt blisters sprint

What a week for Magnus Backstedt, the nearly 200-pound Swede, formerly of Credit Agricole, now back in the big leagues with Alessio. Second in Wednesday's Ghent-Wevelgem, Backstedt was not to be denied today at Paris-Roubaix, for the biggest win of his career and the first-ever Swedish win in the race.

Johan Museeuw, looking for a 4th win in Paris-Roubaix, flatted 4+ miles from the finish, riding in the winning break with Backstedt, Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), Tristan Hoffman (CSC), and Roger Hammond (Mr. Bookmaker). Museeuw will retire after next week's GP L'Escaut at 38.

Backstedt took advantage of his track experience to dive to the inside of the group in the last 100 meters in the velodrome at Roubaix and led Hoffman, Hammond (his 3rd matched Barry Hoban for the best Paris-Roubaix finish by a British rider), and Cancellara over the line. Museeuw of QuickStep was 5th. George Hincapie was the highest-placed American at 8th.

Backstedt after the race:

"Its been a dream my whole life to win this race and I just can't believe I have done it," he said.

"Coming out of the last [cobblestone] section I turned around and saw there was only five of us left and I thought hang on -- this is the chance of a lifetime to do something here."

"I do a lot of track riding in the winter and I just knew that I had to keep high on the last corner [on the velodrome] and then dive down on the inside as we hit the last straight. After that... Wow!"


Procycling.com | Paris-Roubaix race report: Backstedt victorious as bad luck strikes Museeuw

Bike.com | Lion of Flanders To Roar No More at Roubaix

VeloNews | Backstedt a big surprise at Paris-Roubaix

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Roubaix coverage: Post-race comments


Posted by Frank Steele on April 12, 2004 in George Hincapie, Johan Museeuw, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0)