July 13, 2011

Cavendish takes 3rd victory, green jersey on Stage 11

HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish continued his reign as the Tour's dominant sprinter, riding clear of André Greipel and Tyler Farrar for his 18th career Tour stage win.

The day's breakaway, and a competing effort to set up their sprinter by Garmin-Cervelo, splintered HTC's leadout train, but Cavendish and Mark Renshaw followed Sky's Geraint Thomas (rumored to be a teammate of Cav's in 2012), with Renshaw, then Cavendish going hard up the right side of the road. Stage 10 winner André Greipel and Stage 3 winner Tyler Farrar couldn't bring the speed to close down the Manxman, and Cavendish had his third stage win of the 2011 Tour.

The win gave Cavendish the lead in the green jersey contest, which up to now had favored Belgium's Philippe Gilbert of Omega Pharma-Lotto. There are two likely sprint
stages still to come, Stage 15 and the Stage 21 finale.

Green jersey:
1) Cavendish, HTC, 251
2) Rojas, Movistart, 235
3) Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 231
4) André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 164
5) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, 163
6) Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil-DCM, 141
7) Cadel Evans, BMC, 135
8) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervelo, 106
9) Sébastien Hinault, AG2R, 82
10) Denis Galimzyanov, Katusha, 81

The overall race leadership was unchanged. Here it is before the big changes that are likely to begin tomorrow:

GC, after Stage 11:
1) Thomas Voeckler, Europcar, in 4:52:39
2) Luis-Leon Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:49
3) Cadel Evans, BMC, at 2:26
4) Frank Schleck, Leopard-Trek, at 2:29
5) Andy Schleck, Leopard-Trek, at 2:29
6) Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad, at 2:38
7) Peter Velits, HTC-Highroad, at 2:38
8) Andréas Klöden, RadioShack, at 2:43
9) Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 2:55
10) Jakob Fuglsang, Leopard-Trek, at 3:08

Basso's at 3:36, Cunego 3:37, Roche 3:45, Gesink at 4:01, Contador 4:07, Danielson 4:22, and Samuel Sanchez at 5:01.

In the KoM, Johnny Hoogerland's time in the lead will soon come to an end:

KoM, after Stage 11:
1) Johnny Hoogerland, Vacansoleil, 22 pts
2) Thomas Voeckler, Europcar, 17 pts
3) Tejay Van Garderen, HTC, 5 pts
4) Marco Marcato, Vacansoleil-DCM, 5 pts
5) Rui Costa, Movistart, 5 pts
6) Sandy Casar, FDJ, 5 pts

Gesink holds the white jersey for at least another day. Europcar holds the team lead, while Mickael Delage of FDJ took the combativity prize for his role in the break on Wednesday.

VeloNews.com | Mark Cavendish wins stage 11 of the 2011 Tour de France, takes over green jersey

cyclingnews.com | Cavendish gets stage win number three and green jersey in Lavaur

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2011 in 2011 Stage 11, Andrei Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Thomas Voeckler, Top Stories, Tyler Farrar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

July 07, 2011

Boasson Hagen powers to Stage 6 win

Edvald Boasson Hagen won Stage 6 of the Tour on Thursday, holding off yellow jersey Thor Hushovd and Stage 1 winner Philippe Gilbert in the closing meters to take his first Tour stage and the first for his Team Sky.

The day's finish profile discouraged Cavendish, Farrar, and their ilk, favoring the torquier sprinters. With 1k to ride, Garmin-Cervelo's David Millar led the way, with Gilbert, Evans, and Hushovd close behind, and HTC trying to set up a leadout on the right of the pack, with Matthew Goss in its sweet spot. Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov tried to escape, but was countered by Rabobank's Bauke Mollema. With a few hundred meters to ride, Boasson Hagen launched off the wheel of teammate Geraint Thomas, outkicking Hushovd and Gilbert, stacked up behind him. At the line, in fact, it was Matthew Goss, closing fast, who would take 2nd on the stage, with Hushovd third.

Radio Shack's Levi Leipheimer suffered the only significant change in overall placing by a GC hopeful, limping in 1:05 back after falling on wet pavement late in the stage.

The break of the day at least factored in the jersey competitions, with Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil taking 3 King of the Mountain points to take over the jersey through Saturday, at least. Also in the break were Leonardo Duque, Anthony Roux, Lieuwe Westra, and Adriano Malori. The break surrendered bit by bit, with Malori holding out to about the 15k mark, and earning the most aggressive award for the day.

HTC's Mark Cavendish came out to play at the intermediate sprint behind the breakaway, easily taking 6th ahead of José Rojas, who was looking to get back into the green jersey after a nullification of points in Stage 5.

The selection at the finish demonstrates why Philippe Gilbert may be entertaining thoughts of competing for the overall green jersey:

Green Jersey Competition (after 6 stages):
1) Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 144 pts
2) Jose Rojas, Movistar, 143 pts
3) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, 112 pts
4) Cadel Evans, BMC, 98 pts
5) Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, 94 pts
6) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervelo, 76 pts
7) Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil-DCM, 73 pts
8) Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, 51 pts
9) Sébastien Hinault, AG2R La Mondiale, 48 pts
10) André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 48 pts

Cavendish complained after this year's course was unveiled that organizers included stages like today's to limit his opportunities for victory. That may be, but I would rather see a battle like today's than the HTC train catapulting Cavendish to a 5-bike-length victory, an all-too-common sight the last few Tours.

Tomorrow, look for the HTC train to catapult Cavendish to victory, as Stage 7 is the flattest of the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2011 in 2011 Stage 6, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2011

Cavendish: Great sprinter, or greatest sprinter?

Over at The Inner Ring, they're discussing whether Cavendish is the greatest sprinter of all time. He's certainly the greatest Tour sprinter of our time. In the time I've been following the Tour (since the late '80s), there's never been a sprinter so dominant in the Tour over 3+ seasons.

Petacchi won 4 stages in 2003, then went 7 years before taking a pair last year. Cipollini won stages every year from 1995-99, and 4 in 1999, but wasn't invited from 2000-2003, so he ended his career with 12 Tour stage wins. Boonen has won 2 stages in three different Tours. McEwen won two or three stages in each of 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006 (12 in total), but he was shut out in 2003.

The sprinter who came nearest to matching Cav's Tour record in recent memory was probably Tom Steels, who won 9 stages in three Tours from 1998-2000. In Cav's last three complete Tours, he's won FIFTEEN. And as he showed today, he blends Petacchi's finishing speed with McEwen's positional savvy.

In the days Before Cavendish, picking a sprint stage was about throwing a dart at which of the guys with a good finishing kick would be on a good day or get a great leadout. Given 4 choices, you would probably hit one or two podium spots. Today, if it's a sprinter's stage, you're crazy to pick against Cavendish. That's how dominant he has been.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2011 in Mark Cavendish | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 5: Cavendish opens his account

Nobody was counting Mark Cavendish out of this Tour, except in Cav's imagination. But the well-oiled HTC-Highroad machine has sputtered at a couple of key junctures so far, and Cavendish has been unable to seal the deal.

Wednesday, the wheels again came off HTC-Highroad's leadout, but Cavendish wouldn't be denied, streaking easily through the competition to take his first win of the 2011 Tour.

The longest breakaway of the day featured José Ivan Gutierrez, Anthony Delaplace, Tristan Valentin and Sébastien Turgot, who escaped just after the racing began and were caught with about 45 kilometers to race. It was a nervous day in the field, with crosswinds threatening echelons that never quite formed, and narrow roads that wouldn't qualify as driveways in some parts of the United States.

The result was dozens of crashes. Radio Shack's Janez Brajkovic suffered a concussion and broken collarbone and abandoned the Tour after he was caught up in a crash that also injured Rabobank leader Robert Gesink. Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Quick Step's French road champion Sylvain Chavanel also spent time in the horizontal plane.

Defending champion Alberto Contador was down in two separate incidents, while Saxo Bank teammate Nicki Sørensen found his bike wedged against a photo motorcycle trying to edge past on a very narrow road. Sørensen flipped to the ground then slid to a stop in the roadside.

At the day's intermediate sprint, green jersey José Rojas and Tom Boonen got caught up and swept almost from edge to edge, leading Cavendish to gesture at what he thought was a flagrant foul. The pair were stripped of points earned in that sprint after the stage, dropping Rojas out of the green jersey lead (now led by Philippe Gilbert).

Boonen would also hit the deck quite hard and spent the rest of the stage fighting just to try to get in under the time limit for the stage.

The early capture opened the door for a pair of French opportunists, FDJ's Jeremy Roy and Europcar's Thomas Voeckler, who escaped with 32k to ride and yo-yo'ed off the front until less than 3k to ride.

HTC-Highroad throttled up its train, but the cars got scrambled late as Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen tried to escape. Separated from usual leadout man Mark Renshaw, Cavendish found the wheel of Geraint Thomas, then Philippe Gilbert and shot through the leaders in the final 200 meters to take the stage.

The stage had little impact on the overall race lead, but tossed the green a bit, with Gilbert inheriting the leader's jersey only late in the afternoon when Rojas was docked for the squirrely intermediate sprint, and Cavendish moving up to 4th overall.

Green Jersey (after Stage 5)

1) Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 120 pts
2) Jose Rojas, Movistar, 112 pts
3) Cadel Evans, BMC 90 pts
4) Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, 84 pts
5) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, 82 pts
6) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervelo, 68 pts
7) André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 48 pts
8) Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil-DCM, 47 pts
9) Borut Bozic, Vacansoleil-DCM, 47 pts
10) Geraint Thomas, Sky, 44 pts


Cyclingnews.com | Cavendish gets his win the hard way | photos

GrahamWatson.com | Tour de France Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2011 in 2011 Stage 5, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Janez Brajkovic, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Sylvain Chavanel, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today's favorite Tour Twitterers

I'm working on an updated survey of all the Tour Twitterers worth following, but I wanted to give a nod to five who have already really added to my enjoyment of this year's Tour.

  • Craig Lewis, HTC-Highroad - Lewis is home recuperating from a crash at the Giro d'Italia. His loss has been our gain so far, as he's tweeting very actively, and giving a rider's perspective on stage tactics
  • Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad - Cav the Twitterer is like Cav the rider: brash and ready to go at the drop of a hat
  • The Inner Ring - Twitter feed for The Inner Ring weblog
  • Gerard Vroomen - The cofounder of Cervelo bikes has an interesting perspective, especially given Garmin-Cervelo's success so far this year
  • TdFLanterne - It's been a treat to watch @TdFLanterne morph from her single-purpose weblog to snarky crusader

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2011 in Mark Cavendish, Top Stories, Tour Tech, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2011

Stage 3: Garmin doubles up as Farrar brings the fireworks

Tyler Farrar has been the future of American sprinting for the last few years, notching victories at the Vuelta in 2009 and two stages each in the Giro and Vuelta in 2010. In America's favorite bike race, he had come close, but never edged HTC's Mark Cavendish.

Monday, with the team still aglow from its first Tour win in Sunday's TTT, Farrar finally sealed the deal, riding a beautiful leadout from world champion and yellow jersey Thor Hushovd and Julian Dean to a resounding Garmin victory. At the line, Farrar saluted his late friend and training partner Wouter Weylandt, flashing a "W" with his hands.

Cavendish, the favorite for the stage win, managed 5th on the day after the rails came off the HTC train in the final 2 kilometers of the stage. To add insult to injury, the 10 green jersey points Cavendish had won in the day's intermediate sprint (and 4 to Hushovd) were nullified by Tour commissaires for a fairly mild bump between Hushovd and Cavendish when both wanted Philippe Gilbert's wheel.

After the stage, Cavendish blamed Vacansoleil's Romain Feillu, who Cav said “causes havoc in every sprint.”

“He took me out in the last corner. I was 40 meters behind out the last corner with no speed whatsoever. I went full gas, I gained 40 meters and finished with the front four and I gained points and it just shows my form.”

José Rojas, who I think of as the Spanish Joe Rogan, took over the green jersey with his 3rd place finish on the day. Hushovd holds yellow, Geraint Thomas holds white, and Gilbert keeps the polka-dots, on the strength of a single point earned in Stage 1.

The sacrificial break of the day featured Nicki Terpstra, Mikael Delage, Maxime Bouet, Ivan Gutierrez, and Ruben Perez. Delage would take the red combativity race number and points in the sprint and mountains competition for his efforts.

With the win, Farrar joins two select clubs: Americans with Tour stage wins, and Americans with stage wins in all three grand tours (the only other member is Zabriskie, with an asterisk for Tyler Hamilton, who tested positive for blood doping during the 2004 Vuelta in which he won Stage 8).

Top 10 (all same time):
1) Tyler Farrar, Garmin, in 4:40:21
2) Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil
3) Jose Rojas, Movistar
4) Sebastien Hinault, AG2R
5) Mark Cavendish, HTC
6) Thor Hushovd, Garmin
7) Julian Dean, Garmin
8) Borut Bozic, Vacansoleil
9) André Greipel, Omega Pharma
10) Jimmy Engoulvent, Saur-Sojasun


cyclingnews | Farrar nabs his first Tour de France stage | photos

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2011 in 2011 Stage 3, Julian Dean, Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tyler Farrar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2010

Where are they from, 2010 edition

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

Here's this year's rundown:

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

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

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

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

Michael Barry, Sky
Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin

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

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

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

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin

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

Nicolas Roche, AG2R-La Mondiale

Roche repeats as the only Irish rider.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Garmin

Up from an unusual zero last year.

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


TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2009 edition

TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2008 edition

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

July 02, 2010

Welcome to 2010

Once again, it's time to clip in and ride. If you're a longtime reader of the site, thanks for coming back. I love the Tour, and I love chronicling the Tour every year here on TdFblog.

If you're new to the site, welcome. I've been yammering about the Tour de France here since 2003, and following the race since the late '80s. In addition to long-form summaries and commentary here, I also do a multitude of race updates on Twitter, at @TdFblog. This year, I'm going to extend the empire even a little farther, with a Tumblr site for that content that's too long for Twitter, too short for the main site, and that's at tumblr.tdfblog.com. Don't be too surprised if that site is in rapid flux for the next few days, as I figure out what goes where, and figure out how to do things with Tumblr.

Even though I'm tremendously depressed at the continuing scourge of doping in the sport, I'm really looking forward to this year's Tour. Last year's battle between Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers looks to repeat. We'll see if Bradley Wiggins can fulfill the promise he showed finishing 4th last year on the new Team Sky. Cav's back, and brash as ever. And it looks like Big Tex is serious about retirement this time around, so it's the last shot for Lance Armstrong to win an 8th Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2010 in About the site, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 25, 2009

Stage 19: Cavendish takes five on day for breakaway

Tour de France 2009 Stage Nineteen

Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish got schooled on Thursday, with Thor Hushovd launching a long solo attack that netted 12 points in the green jersey competition. Hushovd looked to be reacting to comments from Cavendish that a Hushovd green jersey would be stained after Cavendish was relegated back in Stage 14.

Saturday, Cavendish responded, as his squad shepherded their sprint ace over the day's biggest climb, the 2nd Category Col de l'Escrinet, despite losing Michael Rogers and Mark Renshaw to the fast finishing pace. Cavendish launched his sprint from a long way out, but held off Hushovd and Gerald Ciolek all the way to the line, to take his 5th stage of the 2009 Tour. No sprinter has won 5 Tour stages since Freddy Maertens in 1981, and Cavendish still has a chance in Sunday's Stage 21 to the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Cavendish also becomes the all-time British leader in stage wins, surpassing Barry Hoban with his 9th career stage win in just two Tour starts.

The day started like a typical transitional stage, with a large group of strong riders away, including Yaroslav Popovych, David Millar, Cadel Evans, José Gutierrez, Leonardo Duque, and 15 others. Rabobank did most of the chasing, since they were one of the teams absent in the break, and first 5 riders, then just Leonardo Duque, would escape the break in an attempt to stay clear of the peloton, riding way ahead of the projected arrival times along the route.

On the day's final climb, the Col de l'Escrinet, Laurent Lefevre launched from very low on the climb, and was matched by world champion Alessandro Ballan, who would survive until the final 2 kilometers, before being reeled in by the surviving 3 Columbia-HTC riders, trying to set up Cavendish, who survived the climb, shadowed by Hushovd.

Hushovd's 2nd place finish limits the damage to his green jersey lead, where he leads Cavendish now 260-235, with 35 points to the winner in Paris on Sunday. Even if Cavendish wins there, Hushovd will be safe in green if he can finish in the first 10 or 15 riders at the finish.

Lance Armstrong was attentive at the finish, and picked up 4 seconds when a gap formed in the field, with Klöden, Wiggins, both Schlecks, and Contador on the wrong side. It's unlikely that 4 seconds will make a difference, but it points up how Armstrong rides this race, always aware of every chance to make or lose time.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2009 in 2009 Stage 19, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, David Millar, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2009

Schlecks climb onto podium with Stage 17 win

Tour de France 2009 Stage Seventeen

Stage 17 is one that will be remembered for three things: The Schleck brothers finishing together with race leader Alberto Contador more than 2 minutes clear of the field, Thor Hushovd going out on an audacious solo Alpine attack to grab the green jersey by the throat, and a probing attack by Contador late on the stage that triggered an absolute Twit-storm.

Mark Cavendish has criticized Hushovd, who protested the Stage 14 finish, leading to a Cavendish relegation for irregular sprinting. This is nothing unusual -- Hushovd lost the jersey in 2006 partially as a result of a relegation in Stage 4, and won the jersey in 2005 partially due to Robbie McEwen's relegation in Stage X. Cavendish, who features in a Nike campaign that declares “green is my yellow,” said the green jersey would be stained if Hushovd won it through Cav's relegation.

So Hushovd set off on a little jersey-cleaning mission, attacking with Thomas Voeckler over the top of the Col de Roselend to join an early break, then setting off solo over the Col des Saisies and the Côte d'Araches, more than 70k alone, while Cavendish was getting unhitched from the back of the field. With the 12 points collected, Hushovd moves 30 points clear in the green jersey competition, with 35 available in Paris on Sunday. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hushovd off the front again on Friday.

The end of Hushovd, early on the Col de Romme, was the end of the break as well, with Saxo Bank stringing out the field for the inevitable attack by Frank and Andy Schleck. Carlos Sastre was the first to attack, but was soon reeled in, with Andy Schleck still sitting near the back of the GC group.

When Frank Schleck attacked, he was quickly joined by Armstrong, Wiggins, Contador, and Andy Schleck, who attacked again, gapping Wiggins, Vande Velde, Armstrong and Frank Schleck. When Schleck launched a bridge move, Armstrong and Wiggins followed. Andy Schleck pushed the pace again, and Wiggins was gapped, with Armstrong alongside. Once again, Frank Schleck jumped the gap, this time alone. The lead group on the road was Contador and Klöden for Astana, and the Schleck brothers for Saxo Bank.

Behind, Christian Vande Velde fought back up to Wiggins, Nibali, and Armstrong, setting pace for several kilometers, but slowly losing ground to the fearsome foursome up front, before Vande Velde fell away. With the gap to Wiggins, Armstrong, and Nibali over 2:00, and 2k to climb on the day's final climb, Contador launched an attack. Klöden, who had been sitting on the back of the group for several kilometers, didn't have the legs to match, and was suddenly 20 seconds back. Contador came off the attack, and spent the rest of the climb looking back for Klöden.

It was a testing attack, one that we would usually see 100 times in a normal Tour, but the Twitterverse exploded. Suddenly, Andreas Klöden was the most popular rider in the peloton and Contador was screwing a beloved teammate. Bruyneel would say after the stage he didn't want Contador to attack, and Armstrong would immediately question Contador's move on Twitter, as well, but it seems like the math is pretty simple: “I've got gas in the tank, most of my rivals are losing time, and if I can drop these two guys, I might take a stage in the yellow jersey and put time in everybody.”

The Schlecks covered and pushed the pace enough to guarantee Klöden wasn't coming back. Meanwhile, Armstrong was on full boil, 5th on the road, riding hard toward Klöden, and towing Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas. They would catch Klöden near the finish, with Nibali taking 4th on the stage.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2009 in 2009 Stage 17, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2009

Haussler descends to Stage 13 victory

Tour de France 2009 Stage Thirteen

In the words of the immortal Tom T. Hall, I love winners when they cry.

Cervelo Test Team's Heinrich Haussler is 25, and an up-and-coming star. He took Stage 2 at Paris-Nice this year, and was surprised by Mark Cavendish in the last 100 meters, taking 2nd at Milan-San Remo. A lot of pundits had suggested that Cervelo should consider letting Thor Hushovd lead out Haussler, instead of the other way around, but tonight, Cervelo looks pretty smart indeed.

Haussler went in one of the day's first breaks, just 3k out of the blocks, with Christophe Moreau, Jens Voigt, Juan-Manuel Garate, Ruben Perez, Sylvain Chavanel, and Rigoberto Uran, but Garate was highly enough placed that the field wouldn't let him go, so Haussler, Perez, and Chavanel took off after about 60k ridden.

The peloton was happy to let these three go, and the lead kept growing out to around 7:30 with about 85 kilometers ridden. On the day's first climb, Egoi Martinez was able to just nip Franco Pellizotti for KoM points, but on the Platzerwasel Martinez was dropped and Liquigas' Pellizotti would come off the front as the field reached each summit to pick up a few KoM points. The three men up the road prevented Thor Hushovd from doing likewise in the intermediate sprints.

Meanwhile, Perez was dropped by the leaders, and once over the top of the Platzerwasel, Haussler dropped like a rock on the wet roads. He pushed his advantage in just about every mile, prompting our Tweet of the day from Cycle Sport, “It's a good move by Haussler. You could say, a ‘Heinrich manoeuvre.’ ”

Amets Txurruka and Brice Feillu attacked out of the field, gradually closing on the leaders, but Haussler was not going to be caught on this stage, about 30 kilometers from his home. Behind, Chavanel just ran out of gas, and was caught by Txurruka, then Feillu as the riders approached Colmar.

As Haussler came to the line for his first Tour stage win, he was in tears.

Haussler's teammate Thor Hushovd finally could take advantage of Mark Cavendish, riding in the autobus, on the field sprint, but was nicked at the line by Peter Velits of Team Milram. Still, the 15 points for 6th catapulted Hushovd back into the green jersey for tomorrow.

Top 10:
1) Heinrich Haussler, Cervelo Test Team, in 4:56:26
2) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 4:10
3) Brice Feillu, Agritubel, at 6:12
4) Sylvain Chavanel, Quick Step, at 6:30
5) Peter Velits, Team Milram, at 6:46
6) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, same time
7) Vladimir Efmikin, AG2R, s.t.
8) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, s.t.
9) George Hincapie, Columbia-HTC, s.t.
10) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Rinaldo Nocentini, AG2R-La Mondiale, 53:30:30
2) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :06
3) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :08
4) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :46
5) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :54
6) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at 1:00
7) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:24
8) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 1:49
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 1:54
10) Luis Leon Sanchez, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:16

Thanks to Fritz at Cyclelicious, who turned me on to PicApp, a new service to use editorial art on your weblog. That's the provider for the Haussler picture above; you can click on the Gallery button to go to a Stage 13 gallery from Getty Images and others.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2009 in 2009 Stage 13, Amets Txurruka, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Brice Feillu, Egoi Martinez, Franco Pellizotti, George Hincapie, Heinrich Haussler, Mark Cavendish, Sylvain Chavanel, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2009

Sorensen adds some sizzle in Stage 12 win

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Saxo Bank's Nicki Sørensen used his head and his legs to outfox 7 breakaway compatriots and take Stage 12 of the 2009 Tour de France.

The breakaway that mattered featured Sørensen, Sylvain Calzati of Agritubel, Milram's Marcus Fothen, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas, Laurent Lefevre of Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, and Remi Pauriol of Cofidis. Each rider took out one team for chase purposes, and it soon became apparent that Columbia-HTC, which has been chasing breaks to set up Mark Cavendish, had no interest today, so the pool of riders to drive the capture was pretty small, and never brought the gap inside of about 3:30.

With 22.5k to ride, Sørensen decided he didn't like his chances against his breakmates, attacked, and was joined by Calzati. The pair rotated smoothly and built a gap of almost 20 seconds, but the 5 behind slowly closed the split.

Nearly caught with around 5.5k to ride, Sørensen turned his guts absolutely inside out, dropping Calzati, and briefly throwing the chase into disarray. Within a kilometer by himself, he had built a 22-second lead, which he stretched to 34 seconds with 1k to ride. At that point, it was a done deal, and Sørensen saluted the crowd as he crossed the line with a victory for the often-unheralded “pack fodder” of the Tour.

Sørensen's primary role for Saxo Bank at the Tour was expected to be taking long pulls on the front of the peloton, hunting down breaks to protect Andy Schleck's race lead. Today, he took a turn as the hunted, and took home the stage win.

With no General Classification risks being taken, the green and polka-dot jerseys each took a turn in the limelight today, with Cavendish and Hushovd going head to head at the day's 1st intermediate sprint, won by Cavendish, and in the field sprint, led out by Cervelo, but still won by Cavendish. Cavendish had been reluctant to name the green jersey as a goal here, but if he's chasing intermediate points, there's no doubt.

Pellizotti and Martinez engaged in a few rounds of sprint the mini-mountains, with Pellizotti getting the upper hand, and moving within 18 points of Martinez in the competition. It's still very possible that someone else entirely takes the climber's jersey with a long Alpine escape, but it looks like Pellizotti and Martinez plan to cover those moves.

Levi Leipheimer was involved in a late crash that also claimed Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans, but all three continued. Leipheimer was banged and scraped up, and should be able to continue, but there could be lingering effects as the Tour heads to the Vosges tomorrow.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2009 in 2009 Stage 12, Cadel Evans, Egoi Martinez, Franco Pellizotti, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Nicki Sørensen, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2009

Cavendish delivers a perfect 10

Cav for 3
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Mark Cavendish continued his dominance of the Tour's sprint stages, taking his third victory in three contested sprints this year.

The expected Bastille Day breakaway featured three French riders: Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis, who never met a break he didn't like, Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux, and Thierry Hupond of the “little wildcard who could” Skil-Shimano squad, plus Katusha's Mikhail Ignatiev.

With radios banned for the stage, the peloton never let the break get more than about 4 minutes up the road, and made the catch with less than 2 kilometers to ride, after a day raced at touring club speeds, as things picked up for the finish.

Garmin-Slipstream tried to disrupt the Columbia-HTC train, with Julian Dean squeezing in on the day's last right-hander, but Mark Renshaw led Cavendish in, and Thor Hushovd, perfectly positioned on Cavendish's rear wheel, never closed the gap to the Manxman.

Garmin-Slipstream's Tyler Farrar was 3rd on the stage. A break in the field cost quite a few riders 15 seconds in the overall. No changes to jerseys (Cavendish is now down only 6 in the green jersey hunt), while Hupond was “most aggressive rider” on the “least aggressive Tour stage” of recent memory.

Cavendish can equal his stage win total from last year's Tour with a win in Stage 11 tomorrow, which would also tie him with Barry Hoban for most career Tour wins by a Brit.

Hoban won his stages over 8 Tours, the last in 1975. Cavendish is in only his 2nd Tour.

Stage 10 Top 10:
1) Mark Cavendish, Columbia-HTC, 4:46:43
2) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, same time
3) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Slipstream, s.t.
4) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Jose Rojas, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
6) Lloyd Mondory, AG2R-La Mondiale, s.t.
7) Kenny Van Hummel, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
8) William Bonnet, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
9) Daniele Bennati, Liquigas, s.t.
10) Said Haddou, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Rinaldo Nocentini, AG2R-La Mondiale, 39:11:04
2) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :06
3) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :08
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :54
5) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :54
6) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at 1:00
7) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:01
8) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream, at 1:24
9) Andy Schleck, Saxo Bank, at 1:49
10) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 1:54

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2009 in 2009 Stage 10, Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2009

Stage 8 on the road

VS broadcaster picks: Liggett - Andy Schleck, Hummer - Kim Kirchen, Sherwen - Franco Pellizoti, Roll - Luis Leon Sanchez

Cadel Evans went almost from the gun, joined by David Zabriskie, Vladimir Efimkin, Fabian Cancellara. With Mark Cavendish dropped on the climb to Port l'Envalira, Thor Hushovd would join this group with an eye toward the intermediate sprints.

1st Category Port d'Envalira
1) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux +15 pts
2) Christophe Kern, Cofidis +13 pts
3) Egoi Martinez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +11 pts
4) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, +9 pts
5) Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R, +8
6) David Zabriksie, Garmin-Slipstream, +7
7) Juan Antonio Flecha, Rabobank, +6
6) George Hincapie, Columbia, +5 pts

Kern currently leads the King of the Mountains competition.

With the advantage vanishing on the descent, Juan Antonio Flecha attacked to shed marked men Evans and Martinez. Soon after, Evans, Zabriskie, Kern, and Martinez would be recaptured, leaving 6 riders out in front: Cancellara, Flecha, Casar, Efimkin, Hincapie, and Hushovd.

Hincapie led on the approach to the intermediate sprint in Luzenac, but Hushovd attacked and took 6 pounts as first man through.

Luzenac sprint:
1) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, +6 pts
2) George Hincapie, Columbia, +4 pts
3) Juan Antonio Flecha, Rabobank +2 pts

After Luzenac, a number of riders bridged to the leaders, including Mikel Astarloza. Luis Leon Sanchez, Sebastien Rosseler, and Mikhail Ignatiev, so with around 100k/63 miles to ride, 10 riders had about :40 on the field.

Tarascon-sur-Ariege sprint:
1) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, +6 pts
2) George Hincapie, Columbia, +4 pts
3) Fabian Cancellara, Saxo Bank, +2 pts

Hushovd moved to 11 points clear of Mark Cavendish in the green jersey competition.

As the 10 leaders began the climb of the Col de Port, they had about 2:20 on the main field, moving slowly enough that the sprinters' group rejoined from behind.

With 90k ridden, Oscar Pereiro of Caisse d'Epargne pulled out of the race. Pereiro was awarded the 2006 Tour title when Floyd Landis was disqualified for illegal testosterone levels.

In the last few kms to the summit of the Col de Port, Hushovd fell out of the break, followed by Rosseler. The remaining 8: Cancellara, Flecha, Casar, Ignatiev, Sanchez, Hincapie, Efimkin, and Astarloza.

2nd Category Col de Port
1) Casar, Française des Jeux +10 pts
2) Ignatiev, Katusha, +9 pts
3) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +8 pts
4) Flecha, Rabobank, +7 pts
5) Cancellara, Saxo Bank, +6 pts
6) Efimkin, AG2R, +5 pts

Rosseler would rejoin the break in time for the climb to the Col d'Agnes, but Hushovd's day in front was over. On teh day's final climb, the time gap began shrinking, falling below 2 minutes with around 60 kilometers/37 miles to ride.

The Col d'Agnes shook things up, as Andy Schleck launched an attack low on the climb, dropping Nocentini and whittling the contenders group down to around 15. Ultimately, the two groups reintegrated, but only after sweeping up a few of the earlier breakaway.

1st Category Col d'Agnes
1) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +15 pts
2) Sanchez, Caisse d'Epargne, +13 pts
3) Efimkin, AG2R, +11 pts
4) Casar, FdJeux, +9 pts, at :18
5) Hicapie, Columbia, +7 pts, at 1:28
6) Pierre Rolland, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts, at 2:05
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Astana, 6 pts, at 2:45
8) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, 5 pts, same time

Those results guarantee that Christophe Kern will be the new King of the Mountains tonight, deposing Brice Feillu.

On the descent, Casar quickly rejoined the three stage leaders, while George Hincapie attempted to do likewise. After a few kilometers, Hincapie sat up and left just Astarloza, Casar, Efimkin, and Sanchez leading the stage.

Vic d'Oust Sprint
1) Casar, Française des Jeux, +6 pts
2) Sanchez, Caisse d'Epargne, +4 pts
3) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +2 pts

The first attack in the breakaway came at 5k to go, as Mikel Astarloza, who has never won a single day event (a stage or one-day race), tried to get free. He was countered immediately by Sandy Casar, but Sanchez had to pull across a small gap with Efimkin on his wheel. As they caught up, Efimkin went hard up the left-hand side of the road, and took about a 5 second lead.

Efimkin's timing was perfect. The chasers didn't want to do the work to tow their breakmates up to Efimkin, only to lose a sprint, but they soon got together and, with Astarloza doing the majority of the chasing, the slowly reeled Efimkin back.

The final catch didn't come until the last kilometer, with Sanchez leading the catch. Casar chose that moment to go all-out to the line, but Sanchez was alert and covered Casar, then beat him to the finish line for the stage win.

The peloton, with Rinaldo Nocentini in place, rolled in at 1:54.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2009 in 2009 Stage 9, Andy Schleck, George Hincapie, Luis Sanchez, Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 09, 2009

Stage 6 on the road

Today's stage is 181.5 miles/112.8 miles, from Girona, where many US cyclists have been based in Europe, to Barcelona.

With Robert Gesink's broken wrist, 177 riders took the start, in rainy conditions.

Two 3rd Category climbs are the first on the Tour, so there's a good chance that Jussi Veikkanen's time in the polka-dots will come to an end.

There's a bit of a sting in the tail to today's stage, with the final categorized climb (if only a 4th Category) at 22 kilometers/13 miles to ride. There's also a 500-meter springboard at 2 k to ride that might play a role.

4th Category Côte de Sant Feliu de Guixols
1) Botcharov, Katusha, +3
2) Zabriskie, Garmin-Slipstream, +2
3) Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1

A 3-man break formed with Garmin-Slipstream's David Millar, Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel, and Cofidis' Stéphane Auge. These guys are all leaders on their squads, if not necessarily their team's Tour captain.

4th Category Côte de Tossa de Mar
1) Auge, Cofidis, +3 pts
2) Chavanel, Quick Step, +2 pts
3) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +1 pt

Sprint 1, Lloret de Mar:
1) Chavanel, Quick Step, +3 pts
2) Auge, Cofidis, +2 pts
3) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +1 pt

Sprint 2, Sant Pol de Mar:
1) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +6 pts
2) Chavanel, Quick Step, +4 pts
3) Auge, Cofidis, +2 pts

As the peloton neared the top of the race's first 3rd Category climb, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Amets Txurruka, last year's overall most aggressive rider for the Tour, went off the front of the main field.

3rd Category Côte de Sant Vincenc de Montalt
1) Auge, Cofidis, +4 pts
2) Chavanel, Quick Step, +3 pts
3) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +2 pts
4) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1 pt, at ~:50

Astana has moved to the front on the descent, and Txurruka continued to attempt to bridge to the escape. On the 3rd Category Collsacreu, Txurruka closed the gap, but Auge, looking to take over the King of the Mountains jersey, drove the trio, and they hit the top a few seconds clear, so Auge should take over the polka-dots tonight.

3rd Category Collsacreu
1) Auge, Cofidis, +4 pts
2) Chavanel, Quick Step, +3 pts
3) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +2 pts
4) Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1 pt, at ~:10

On the descent, Txurruka joined Auge, Chavanel, and Millar, and the gap stretched back out to around 1:45.

With 50k/31 miles to ride, the gap is 1:35.

Cardedeu sprint:
1) Chavanel, Quick Step, +6 pts
2) Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +4 pts
3) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +2 pts

As the leading quartet approached the day's last categorized climb with around :50 on the field, a crash on a roundabout took down Columbia's Michael Rogers and Tony Martin, Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler, and Garmin-Slipstream's Tyler Farrar. Rogers was very slow to get back on his bike.

At almost the same time, Millar dropped his breakaway companions, and quickly pushed his advantage back out around a minute. Just at 25 minutes to go, Auge and Chavanel were recaptured by the field, but Txurruka continued between Millar and the field.

At the summit, Millar led, with Txurruka close behind, and Cofidis sent Remi Pauriol, apparently to keep anyone from picking up ground on Auge in the KoM competition.

4th Category Côte de la Conreria
1) Millar, Garmin-Slipstream, +3 pts
2) Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +2 pts
3) Pauriol, Cofidis, +1 pt

Over the top, Pauriol continued the attack, and bridged to Txurruka, while Astana controlled the pace in the field. Millar pushed his advantage until it again just touched 1:06, making him the yellow jersey on the road. Pauriol and Txurruka rode :45 back.

As the riders rolled into Barcelona, Millar continued to drive it, giving up a few seconds per kilometer. With 11k, he had 1:11. At 7 kilometers, :45. On the run-in, Tom Boonen tangled with a white line (if I had a dollar for every time...), and was out of contention for the day.

Milram and Columbia moved to the front, and Millar's lead continued to erode. With 5k, it was :37; at 3k, :23. Just inside 2k, a 6.6 percent grade did the Garmin-Chipotle in. With 1.2 kilometers to ride, he was caught.

Cavendish was still in the lead group, but it looked to be Kim Kirchen that Columbia tipped today, with Tony Martin providing the lead-out. Around them, the sport's punchers: those guys with Classics-style power and speed, including Pippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan, Gerald Ciolek, Thor Hushovd, and Oscar Freire.

Feillu was first to go, tailed by Freire, when Thor Hushovd shot through on the left. Freire and Hushovd drag-raced to the line, with Hushovd getting the win.

It was Hushovd's 7th career victory in the Tour, and threatened Cavendish's hold on the green jersey. Adding 35 for the stage win Hushovd holds 105 points, just 1 fewer than Cavendish. Gerald Ciolek sits 3rd.

General classification is largely unchanged, although David Millar slipped from 10th to 20th, at 2:28.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2009 in 2009 Stage 6, Mark Cavendish, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voeckler snatches Stage 5

AP Photo by Laurent Rebours

Thomas Voeckler made his reputation in the 2004 Tour de France. As the best-placed rider in a breakaway (alongside stage winner Stuart O'Grady and TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt) that finished 12:33 ahead of the pack, he won and wore the yellow jersey for 10 days.

Since then, he's been one of the Tour's most (few?) entertaining Frenchmen, getting in breakaways seemingly every year, and wearing the King of the Mountains jersey in 2005 and 2008.

Today, Voeckler got in an aggressively international break from the starting gun, and rode with Russian Mikhail Ignatiev of Katusha, Dutch Skil-Shimano Albert Timmer, FdJeux's Belorussian Yauheni Hutarovich and France's Anthony Geslin, and Polish Lampre Marin Sapa. The break never got crazy gaps, and it looked like it had little chance of success, so the 6 soldiered on.

With around 60 kilometers to ride, just after a hard crash by Rabobank's Robert Gesink, strong ocean winds got an assist from Fabian Cancellara, and the peloton split. With no major GC contenders caught out, the field reformed a few kilometers later, but Gesink, accompanied by Joost Posthuma, never caught up. He would gut his way to the finish, only to discover a broken wrist that will keep him from starting Stage 6 (really excellent ANP photo from De Telegraafe here).

Several riders described the peloton as “restless,” and a variety of teams took turns at the front, but the pace was never enough to stick a stake through the heart of the escapees. Hutarovich was a threat in the sprint, so Voeckler waited out two testing attacks by Ignatiev, then showed the break his back wheel with a couple kilometers to ride, quickly gaining 10 seconds as the cars were pulled from between the break and the pack.

Ignatiev saw the stage going up the road, and tried to bridge to Voeckler, but it was not to be. Voeckler savored the final 500 meters, saluting the crowd and kissing his wedding ring, as the pack thundered toward the line just a few hundred meters behind. Ignatiev just survived the charge, led in by Mark Cavendish, who increased his lead in the green jersey competition.

With the pack coming in at 7 seconds, there were no significant changes to the standings. Ignatiev takes the red race numbers of the “most agressive rider.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2009 in 2009 Stage 5, Mark Cavendish, Thomas Voeckler, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2009

Beating Cav

Cavendish image courtesy Nike
With another flat stage on tap Wednesday, you can bet there's one thought on the mind of most of the directeurs sportif in the Tour tonight: How do we beat Cavendish?

He's 2-for-2 in the sprint, and neither finish was particularly close. I think one interpretation of Columbia's display on Stage 2 is that their “realistic GC goals” are to win the green jersey, and bunches of stages, like they did at the Tour de Suisse.

You can group successful sprinters on a continuum from “pure speed” to ”pure train.” Robbie McEwen may be the current sprinter who is farthest to the “pure speed” end of things. McEwen has often been successful even without a leadout train, by shadowing the guys who have one, and beating them in the final 250 meters. Alessandro Petacchi, on the other hand, is most successful with a long lead-out train that whittles down the field in the last few kilometers, with Petacchi essentially sprinting from the front for many of his wins.

Here comes Cavendish and he's got bushels of both kick and train. Columbia has powerful and experienced porters in Mick Rogers, George Hincapie, Mark Renshaw and Tony Martin, and they've got coal to spare for a formidable train. Cavendish himself has shown he's got a maximum speed nobody can match, and even when he's had to go to soon, he's had the stamina to make it to the line.

So how to beat the Manx Missile?

Since it appears nobody has a kick to match Cavendish, teams are left with two choices. First, disrupt the team's buildup to the line. We've already seen riders trying to get on board the Columbia train, leading to some pushing and shoving, without success. Competing sprinters can't launch their sprint early, because they would have to outsprint Renshaw AND Cavendish. Ocasionally, on a broad run-in, you'll see competing trains, with swirling, snarling tentacles of riders, splitting and joining as the line comes up. I think Milram tried this on Stage 2, leading from about 4k down to 2k to ride, but then Columbia hit the afterburners, and Milram's train disintegrated. We'll see if anybody else gives this a go.

A second approach is just not to let the stage come to a sprint. Send breaks early, and send them often. When they get caught (heck, before they get caught), send some more. We've already seen that nobody wants to help Columbia bring back escapes, so make them do it all day. If they won't chase, there's no stage win for Cavendish. Unfortunately for the pack, after the TTT, Astana would now probably help out with the chase duties, to maintain their stranglehold on the GC standings.

So what do you think? How can the pros stop the Tour from becoming a Cav-alanche?


CyclingNews | Ciolek: 'Cav Not Unbeatable'

BikeRadar.com | Brains not brawn required to beat Cavendish

CyclingWeekly | Tour de France analysis: Why Columbia must expect to do bulk of the chasing

forum.cyclingnews.com | Keys for Farrar to beat Cavendish at the line?

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2009 in Mark Cavendish | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 07, 2009

Tour de Twitter

JV on the Crackberry,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
This is the third Tour de France I've Twittered. In 2007, it was pretty lonely. Last year, we had a core group of fans using the service. This year, Twitter has exploded. Lance Armstrong has been one of the top celebrities to adopt Twitter, alongside Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher (I almost typed “Astana Kutcher”), and Barack Obama.

I've developed quite a list of riders, journalists, bloggers, and photographers in preparation for the Tour, and thought I would share it with you.

I started with Carlton Reid's massive, 600+ strong list of “Bike Trade Tweeps”. As I've found more, I've been adding them. I left off a few that appear inactive, like @carlossastre, who has nearly 4,000 followers awaiting his first tweet (what pressure!); likewise Denis Menchov and Robert Gesink, and a few fakes.

Also, these are all in English. Please send me additions, either on Twitter (@TdFblog) or by commenting this post. Thanks!






Cervelo Test Team

Quick Step


Saxo Bank



VS broadcasters


Pros not racing this year


Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in About the Tour, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Janez Brajkovic, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tour news, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 06, 2009

Stage 3: Columbia puts on a show

Columbia-HTC showed off Mark Cavendish's new green jersey on Monday, shelling most of the race's GC men with a powerful 20-mile effort that culminated in a 2nd straight victory for Cavendish.

Early on, the stage showed all the cliché elements of the early-Tour sprinters’ stage. A four-man breakaway featuring two French riders was allowed to take more than 12 minutes out of a field that didn't want to chase. Samuel Dumoulin would end the day with the “most agressive” red race numbers for his hours in service to this break and 4th place at the finish.

Finally, with 50 miles/80 kilometers to go, the field started slowly reeling in the break. With the expectation of a sprint finish and the prospect of a difficult team time trial tomorrow, few teams were willing to cooperate with Columbia, which was heavily favored to take the stage. It looked like a formula chase, with the capture to come in the final 10 kilometers, unfolding to another sprint showdown.

But steaming along the Mediterranean coast in the Camargue, the winds can be stiff, and with about 20 miles to ride, a crosswind forced a gap near the head of the peloton. Ahead of the break was the entire Columbia squad, which hit full gas to widen the breach. Michael Rogers said after the stage he asked his teammates to give “5 kilometers as hard as they could,” and by that point, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Frank and Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador were almost 30 seconds off the pace.

Not so Lance Armstrong. Armstrong found himself with 26 other riders ahead of the split, with longtime teammate George Hincapie and current teammates Yaroslav Popovych and Haimar Zubeldia. Also in the lead group was yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara, whose Saxo Bank team initially chased, then seemed satisfied to hold the Columbia bunch at around 30 seconds.

When it was time to deliver the goods, Thor Hushovd kept it close, but Cavendish found that green suits him, and took his second straight stage win. Matching last year's four wins looks in reach for Columbia's sprinter, and he may not have enough top tube for all the “kill” decals he's going to need on that frame.

The field rolled through 41 seconds behind the escape, and the contenders who were caught out commented to a man that this is a three-week race, and that a small gap on the road like this won't make a difference in the overall. We'll know in 3 weeks.

So Columbia, like Nuke LaLoosh, has announced its presence with authority. To show for a ton of effort, they have a second stage win, and the white jersey, which moves over to Tony Martin, after Roman Kreuziger was also caught out. We'll see tomorrow what those cost them.

Stage 3 Top 10:
1) Mark Cavendish, Columbia, 5:01:24
2) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, same time
3) Cyril Lemoine, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
4) Samuel Dumoulin, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Jerome Pineau, Quick Step, s.t.
6) Fabian Cancellara, Saxo Bank, s.t.
7) Fabian Wegmann, Milram, s.t.
8) Fumiyuki Beppu, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
9) Maxime Bouet, Agritubel, s.t.
10) Linus Gerdemann, Milram, s.t.

General Classification
1) Fabian Cancellara, Saxo Bank, in 9:50:58
2) Tony Martin, Columbia-HTC, at :33
3) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :40
4) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :59
5) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin, at 1:00
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 1:03
7) Linus Gerdemann, Milram, at 1:03
8) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, at 1:04
9) Maxime Monfort, Columbia-HTC, at 1:10
10) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at 1:11

Jussi Veikkanen holds the polka-dots of the King of the Mountains, Martin takes over the white jersey, Cavendish holds green, and Astana hangs onto the team classification lead.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2009 in 2009 Stage 3, Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Haimar Zubeldia, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Tony Martin | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cosmo presents "How the Race Was Won" for Stage 2

2009 Tour de France - Stage Two - How The Race Was Won from Cosmo Catalano on Vimeo.

Sit back and let your Uncle Cosmo show you some of the things you may have missed on yesterday's Stage 2. Cosmo's done a few of these before — you can find them on his Vimeo channel or over at his weblog, Cyclocosm.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2009 in 2009 Stage 2, 2009 Tour de France, Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2009

Stage 2: Cavendish strikes first for green

Mark Cavendish delivered the goods Sunday, easily outsprinting the field in Brignoles.

Cavendish won four stages in last year's Tour, but didn't win the overall green jersey because he dropped out to concentrate on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. That didn't work out so well. Cavendish has said his goals for the Tour are just to win a stage and make it to Paris, but wearing the green jersey tonight, he's got to be thinking bigger.

The victory was Cav's 15th this season, and continues the Columbia team's amazing run -- they won 6 stages of the Tour de Suisse (with 5 different riders) in June.

Garmin-Slipstream's Tyler Farrar played the sprint just right, finding and holding Cavendish's wheel, but just couldn't find the terminal velocity to stay with the Manx Express. Romain Feillu was 3rd, Thor Hushovd 4th, and Bbox's Yukiya Arashiro, one of two Japanese riders making the start this year, was 5th.

No sign of Tom Boonen, who may have been caught by a crash in the final kilometer, and was 174th on the stage.

For much of the day, four riders: Jussi Veikkanen of FdJeux; Stef Clement of Rabobank; Stéphane Auge of Cofidis; and Cyril Dessel of AG2R, rode alone, and Veikkanen collected enough King of the Mountain points to take over the lead in that competition. That makes him the first Finn ever to wear the polka-dots in the Tour.

Stage 2 Top Ten:
1) Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia-HTC, 4:30:02
2) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Slipstream, same time
3) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, s.t.
5) Yukiya Arashiro, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
6) Gerald Ciolek, Team Milram, s.t.
7) William Bonnet, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
8) Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale, s.t.
9) Koen de Kort, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
10) Lloyd Mondory, AG2R La Mondiale, s.t.

General Classification, after Stage 2:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team Saxo Bank, 4:49:34
2) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :18
3) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :19
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :22
5) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, at :23
6) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :30
7) Roman Kreuziger, Liquigas, at :32
8) Tony Martin, Team Columbia-HTC, at :33
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at :37
10) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :40


VeloNews | Cavendish wins second stage; Cancellara keeps lead

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2009 in 2009 Stage 2, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Romain Feillu, Stage results, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 02, 2009

Where are they from, 2009 edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour rookie Roulston joins the returning Dean.

Dan Martin, Garmin-Slipstream
Nicolas Roche, AG2R

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

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Slipstream

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

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

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

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

July 18, 2008

Manx cat pounces again: Cavendish takes 4th stage win

Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish continues to dominate the sprints of this year's Tour, today riding away from the field to take his 4th stage win of the 2008 Tour.

It was clearly a day for the sprinters, but former French champion Florent Brard and Milram's Belgian track star Niki Terpstra spent most of the day in a breakaway that took top points at all the day's intermediate climbs and sprints.

Milram, Liquigas and Columbia powered the peloton in the final kilometers, but the orderly leadout trains tangled up in the last 1000 meters, leaving a classic field sprint.

Silence-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, who has been largely invisible so far this year, marked the Manxman's wheel in the final 200 meters, but just couldn't ramp up the horsepower to get by Cavendish. It's the 6th career stage win for Cavendish, just 22.

Top 10, Stage 13:
1. Mark Cavendish, Columbia, Great Britain, in 4:25:42
2. Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto, Australia, same time
3. Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
4. Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
5. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
6. Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
7. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, Colombia, s.t.
8. Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
9. Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle, New Zealand, s.t.
10. Sebastian Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.

Freire will extend his gap on Thor Hushovd in the green jersey race, while Cavendish moves into a tie with Hushovd at 2nd.

Niki Terpstra takes the aggressive rider red number for today's stage.

The overall is unchanged, as well.

General Classification, after Stage 13:
1. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, in 56:48:47
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ :01
3. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :38
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Germany, @ :46
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ :57
6. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Span, @ 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:56
8. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 2:32
9. Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 3:51
10. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, @ 4:18

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2008 in 2008 Stage 13, Erik Zabel, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2008

Cavendish makes good on Stage 5

Legendary Tour de France commentator Joe Namath once said, “It's not bragging if you can do it.”

That's the motto for today's stage, the first (but doubtful the last) won by Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish.

Everybody and his brother thought today was a stage for Mark Cavendish. Team manager Bob Stapleton was even talking about whether his Team Columbia would be able to get help chasing down the breaks today.

It's insanely difficult for a sprinter to pick his stage -- it's so easy for someone to grab his wheel, and slingshot by for the win at the line. But Cavendish delivered the win in a finish complicated by the catch, at 50 meters (!) of French champion Nicolas Vogondy, who spent all day in the break.

Stage 5 results
1) Mark Cavendish, Columbia, Great Britain
2) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, same time
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
5) Baden Cooke, Barloworld, Australia, s.t.
6) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, S. Africa, s.t.
7) Leonardo “El” Duque, Cofidis, Colombia, s.t
8) Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
9) Francesco Chicchi, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
10) Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle, New Zealand, s.t.

There was essentially no change in the yellow, white, or polka-dot jersey competition, but Thor Hushovd takes over the green with his 4th on the stage.

General Classification after Stage 5
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, Germany, in 19:32:33
2) Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ :12
3) David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle, Great Britain, @ :12
4) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, @ :21
5) Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, Switzerland, @ :33
6) Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :37
7) Georgie Hincapie, Team Columbia, USA, @ :41
8) Thomas Lövkvist, Team Columbia, Sweden, @ :47
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, @ :58
10) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 1:01

Out of the race today was Maurcio Soler of Barloworld. Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler took a serious spill with less than 4 kms to ride, but finished the stage 6:30 behind Cavendish.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2008 in 2008 Stage 5, Baden Cooke, Erik Zabel, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Where are they from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle

As last year.

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

Adds Augustyn.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Chipotle

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

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

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

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

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

July 15, 2007

McEwen outside the time limit on Stage 8

Australian Broadcasting Corporation | McEwen third Aussie out of Tour

Three-time green jersey winner Robbie McEwen failed to make the time limit on today's Stage 8, and was eliminated from the Tour.

McEwen, who won Stage 1 after being injured in a crash, finished 1:09:22 behind Michael Rasmussen on the stage. The time limit was a little over 40 minutes. Also eliminated were Danilo Napolitano of Lampre (@1:16:33) and Cedric Herve of Agritubel (@49:57).

McEwen was the third Aussie out of the Tour on Sunday, joining Michael Rogers and Stuart O'Grady.

Eight riders in all exited the race on Sunday:

• Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain (withdrew)
• Romain Feilleu, Agritubel, France (withdrew)
• Cédric Hervé, Agritubel, France (over time limit)
• McEwen (over time limit)
• Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy (over time limit)
• Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia (withdrew)
• Ivan Parra, Cofidis, Colombia (withdrew)
• Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia (withdrew)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

Stage 8: Chicken Run 3: The Dane Reigns

Michael Rasmussen surprised absolutely no one with a long breakaway, but no one could counter the Tour's double King of the Mountains, who climbed right up to the podium's top step, taking over the race lead before tomorrow's rest day.

Rasmussen attacked from more than 80 kilometers/50 miles, and was shadowed for much of the day by David Arroyo, who started the day 2 seconds behind Rasmussen in the GC. It was his 3rd career Tour stage win, after a long escape on Stage 16 in the Alps last year (the day Floyd Landis lost so much time) and a long escape on Stage 9 in the Alps in 2005.

Out of the race is T-Mobile's team leader Michael Rogers, who overshot a lefthander on the day's longest descent, injuring his chin, wrist, and knee. Rogers, who had matched Rasmussen stroke for stroke, climbed back on the bike, then drifted back through the field before finally pulling off the road and out of the race. His teammate, sprinter Mark Cavendish, had already abandoned on the day after Linus Gerdemann's big stage win.

Another Australian, CSC's veteran hard man Stuart O'Grady, also crashed out of the race today.

Other than Rogers, the GC men were content to sit in, awaiting the day's last climb, where Christophe Moreau and then Iban Mayo finally threw down the gauntlet. Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Fränk Schleck, and Cadel Evans mixed it up at the front, while a second group of team leaders hovered a minute behind, featuring Alexandre Vinokourov, Andeas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Haimar Zubeldia, and Manuel Beltran.

Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 4:49:40
2) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:47
3) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:12
4) Christophe Moreau, A2R, France, at 3:13
5) Fränk Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 3:13
6) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 3:13
7) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 3:13
8) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:31
9) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:35
10) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:35
11) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 3:59
12) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:59
13) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 3:59
14) Manuel Beltran, Liquigas, Spain, at 4:13
15) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:13
16) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, Spain, at 4:29
17) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:29
18) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 4:29
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 4:29
20) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at 5:05

Overall standings after Stage 8:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 15:37:42
2) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at :43
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:39
4) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:51
5) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 2:52
6) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 2:53
7) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:06
8) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:10
9) Fränk Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 3:14
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:19
11) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:35
12) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 3:46
13) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, at 3:53
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:54
22) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 5:23
25) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, at 6:29

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Frank Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 13, 2007

Cavendish to ride through Sunday

BBC SPORT | Cavendish set for Alps experience

Many of the sprinters with no hope of competing for the overall green jersey exit the Tour once it enters the big mountains. This year, that day is tomorrow, as Stage 7 winds up with a climb of the Col de la Colombiére about 15 kilometers/10 miles before the finish at Le Grand-Bornand.

T-Mobile's Tour rookie Mark Cavendish says he's not quite ready to leave the race:

“There's no point in coming here for experience and not doing some Alpine stages,” he told BBC Sport. “I'm going to do the first two mountain stages then pull out on the rest day.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2007 in Mark Cavendish | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Stage 4: Hushovd holds off Hunter

Thor Hushovd took his 1st victory of the season on Stage 4 of the Toru de France today. Hushovd's teammate Julian Dean provided an incredible leadout to put Hushovd in perfect position to outlast a charging Robbie Hunter at the line.

It was Hushovd's 5th career stage win, at the end of a chaotic sprint, that followed a day-long breakaway by 5 men: Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis, Juan Antonio Flecha of Rabobank, Matthieu Sprick of Bouygues Telecom, Christian Knees of Milram, and Gorko Verduga of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Top 10:
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway
2) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, S. Africa, same time
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
5) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
7) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
8) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
9) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
10) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain, s.t.

The stage bonus moves Hushovd up to 2nd in the overall classifcation, and Sylvain Chavanel (brother of 9th place Sebastien Chavanel of FdJeux) collected some time throughout the stage to move up to 6th in the GC.

Caisse d'Epargne's Xabier Zandio was involved in a crash, the 2nd significant crash of the Tour for him, and broke his collarbone. He exited the Tour during today's stage, leaving 186 riders in competition.

GC Top 10:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :29
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain, at :41
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, at :43
6) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, at :43
7) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, at :33
8) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
9) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, at :46
10) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at :46

Tom Boonen holds the green jersey, but still lacks a stage win, while Stéphane Augé holds the King of the Mountains jersey for another day, with some real climbs arriving tomorrow.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2007 in 2007 Stage 4, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Robbie Hunter, Sylvain Chavanel, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 10, 2007

Stage 3: The best jersey defense is a brilliant attack

Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara showed brilliant tactical sense to take a beautiful stage win in Campiégne.

A 4-man break of Stéphane Augé, Matthieu Ladagnous, Frederik Willems, and Nicolas Vogondy were being reeled in with less than a kilometer to ride, and Cancellara attacked out of the field as the peloton neared the foursome. Like a flash, the world TT champion was past the four and flying. The chaos of setting up their finish sprints, the chaos of the catch, and the sudden and vicious attack put the sprinters on their heels, and by the time they could wind it up to speed, Cancellara was out of reach for a dramatic win.

It was Cancellara's 3rd career stage win, the first outside of a Prologue.

Top 10:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
3) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre-Fondital, Italy
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
5) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
6) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
7) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
8) Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile, Austria
9) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain
10) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany

Stéphane Augé takes over the King of the Mountains jersey from David Millar, and Cancellara extends his yellow jersey lead with the bonus time from the stage win.

Overall standings after Stage 3:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, in 15:12:08
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3) David Millar Saunier Duval, at :41
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :43
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, same time
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
7) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, at :46
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, same time
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :49
10) Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2007 in Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 09, 2007

Stage 2 crash roundup

Rodriguez checked after Stage 2 crash

Fabian Cancellara: The Guardian says it's a minor wrist injury for Cancellara, but that Lampre's sprint threat, Daniele Bennati was taken to the hospital and will have his hip scanned.

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and Tomas Vaitkus were also in the thick of the crash. Cathy Mehl reports at ThePaceline.com that Hincapie appears OK and Vaitkus is being checked for a possible broken thumb. Update: Vaitkus “suffered unstable fractures of the right thumb,” and “will undergo surgery this evening and will not start TDF Stage 3.”

T-Mobile team reports that Mark Cavendish “was thrown head-long into the barriers where he lay for some minutes on the tarmac.” Cavendish suffered mostly bruises and is expected to continue in the race.

I still haven't seen anything on Fred Rodriguez, other than Richard Martin's AP photo at right.

CNNSI.com reports that Chris Horner had a front-row seat for the crash:

"Everybody went down, Thor (Hushovd) went down, (Fabian) Cancellara down, (Francisco) Ventoso went down, two guys from my team -- Leif (Hoste) and Freddy Rodriguez -- both crashed," Horner said. "I was behind it ... I started backing off."

Eurosport notes:

“Given the size of the crash and the speed of the pack when it took place, it would be a surprise if all 188 riders who started the stage will be ready to resume on Tuesday morning.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in 2007 Stage 2, Chris Horner, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish | Permalink | Comments (7)

Flickr'ing the Prologue

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

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

Some of my favorites:

Didi, by One Del?

Christophe Moreau, by Rider Planto

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

Vinokourov 2 3 4

Andreas Klöden

Zabriskie 2 3


Thomas Dekker

Fränk Schleck

Levi Leipheimer 2

David Millar

Bradley “Oasis” Wiggins, and underway

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

by popsarmchair


Tour de France, by One Del?

Tour de France 2007, by Rider Planto (131)

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

Le Tour de France 2007 - Prologue, by photoverulam

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

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

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

Tour de France, by sarflondondunc

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

Tour de France Prologue, by b3n bR0WN

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

July 08, 2007

Stage 1 on the road

Agritubel's Eduardo Gonzalo is the first man out of the 2007 Tour. He apparently touched wheels with someone and is out of the Tour almost before it's begun.

David Millar is trying to make good on his promise yesterday to win a Tour stage, and he wants it as soon as possible: He was solo off the front earlier, and now is part of a 5-man group. He's taken maximum sprint points at 2 intermediate sprints. Also in the break are Andrey Grivko, Freddy Bichot, Stephane Auge, and Aleksandr Kuschynski.

Millar has updated his rider diary over at Bicycling.com with his reaction to the Prologue.

With less than 80 kilometers/50 miles to ride, the break is about 5:50 ahead of the peloton.

CSC leads the chase, which is suddenly making some progress -- the gap is now 5:20.

With 74 kms/45 miles to ride, the gap is down to 4:45.

Credit Agricole, Quick Step, and Predictor-Lotto have put riders on the front to reel in the 5 leaders, with less than 40 miles to ride, the gap has fallen below 3:00.

Day's last intermediate sprint points go to Kuschynski (6), Bichot (4), and Grivko (2). The peloton rolls through 2:35 behind.

Auge, Bichot and Kuschynski raise the pace, and Grivko and Millar can't hang, so the 5 are now 3 with less than a 2:00 advantage, and less than 30 miles/49kms to ride.

Grivko and Millar are caught, and the gap hovers at 2:00. The sprinters' teams don't want to swallow the 3 breakaway riders too soon, which would just encourage another breakaway. On the other hand, David Millar leads the King of the Mountains competion, unless Freddy Bichot takes points at the final 4th-Category climb of the day, so Saunier Duval now is helping on the front of the peloton. Less than 24 miles/40kms to ride, and the gap is down to just over a minute.

With 27k/17m to ride, Bichot and Kuschynski are caught, and Auge has increased the advantage to 27 seconds. Auge will take over the KoM jersey if he's first over the upcoming climb and Millar doesn't take points there. Augé does his part, but Millar is next across, so David Millar will wear the King of the Mountains jersey tomorrow. Augé is captured.

Mark Cavendish and Robbie McEwen have been isolated by a crash or mechanicals. They're chasing along with about 20 other riders, with Quick Step driving the field and less than 10k to ride.

McEwen has caught the back of the field, but it remains to be seen whether he can thread his way through the field and figure in the sprint. We're at 4 miles to ride.

With 2 k to ride, Milram takes over from QuickStep, setting up 6-time green jersey Erik Zabel.

Into the last kilometer, and Zabel, Bennati, and Boonen are up front. Now there goes Robbie Hunter of Barloworld, with a Discovery rider in his wake. He's building a good lead, but he's gone from way out, and as he fades, here comes Robbie McEwen, appearing out of the crowd as always, and he rockets to the win!

Top Five was 1) McEwen, 2) Hushovd, 3) Boonen, 4) Sebastien Chavanel, 5) Feilleu.

To follow my comments alongside the Tour broadcast, or to keep up in real-time, I recommend my Tour de France Twitter updates -- there's no RSS lag, and you can get updates direct to your mobile phone with SMS.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2007 in David Millar, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

2007 Tour nationalities breakdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand:
Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

South Africa:
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld

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

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

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

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

June 29, 2007

T-Mobile finalizes Tour roster

T-Mobile Team | T-Mobile Team selects Tour Nine

One Brit in, one Brit out at T-Mobile, as 22-year-old Mark Cavendish rides a string of early-season victories to a Tour start in London, but Roger Hammond misses out again.

The team will ride for Australia's Michael Rogers, who aims for a top-5 finish, with two sprint threats, Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel, and some experienced support riders in Kim Kirchen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Giuseppe Guerini, and Axel Merckx.

    T-Mobile 2007 Tour roster:

  • Marcus Burghardt (Germany)
  • Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
  • Bernhard Eisel (Austria)
  • Bert Grabsch (Germany) starts for Guerini
  • Giuseppe Guerini (Italy)
  • Linus Gerdemann (Germany)
  • Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
  • Axel Merckx (Belgium)
  • Michael Rogers (Australia)
  • Patrik Sinkewitz (Germany)

Update: The team will start Grabsch instead of Guerini.

Gerdemann, Cavendish, and Burghardt all are slated to make their first Tour starts.


Yahoo! Eurosport | Tour de France - Cavendish gets T-Mobile call

cyclingnews.com | Hammond hoping as Tour approaches: "The thought of the Tour in Britain is great," he said. "I am trying not to get too excited about it just in case… I don't like to get too built up for something and then not do it.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Linus Gerdemann, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

T-Mobile Tour plans: Barry, Honchar out

TheStar.com - Sports - Wheels come off Toronto cyclist's Tour dreams

Although he was named on T-Mobile's early-season projected Tour de France squad, Canadian Michael Barry will almost certainly miss the race after an early season case of pheumonia derailed his training.

Barry, 31, authored Inside the Postal Bus about his time with the US Postal team. He joined T-Mobile from Discovery Channel this season. Riding the Tour has been a goal of Barry's for several years, and he seems the most likely rider to eventually end Canada's TdF nonparticipation streak.

In more T-Mobile Tour news, the team's two Brits both have a shot at starting in London.

T-Mobile's team website has noted:

For Britain’s [Mark] Cavendish and [Roger] Hammond the prospect of riding a stage of the Tour de France in their home country could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and although the T-Mobile line-up for this year’s race has not yet been announced, they will both be out to impress over the coming weeks hoping to be included.

Cavendish has already had an impressive 2007, winning two stages at the 4 Days of Dunkirk and two more at the Tour of Catalonia, while Hammond was 2nd at Ghent-Wevelgem.

Also, Sergei Honchar, who dominated the time trials at last year's Tour, won't race the Tour after the team's new expanded medical program turned up some inconsistencies in Honchar's blood tests. The team says Honchar was within legal limits to race, but they have voluntarily withheld Honchar from racing while monitoring Honchar closely. Team manager Bob Stapleton told Eurosport the team will not re-sign Honchar for next season. “We will have another test done to decide whether he will be able to ride for us again. Apart from that, we do not expect him to be part of the team for the Tour de France.”


VeloNews | T-Mobile leaves Honchar off of Tour roster

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2007 in Mark Cavendish, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)