July 30, 2007
Rabobank to investigate Rasmussen ouster; rider feels robbed
Rabobank says it will investigate the ouster of Michael Rasmussen from its Tour squad, but also committed to continuing its team sponsorship.
Rasmussen, for his part, told Danish television that he feels he was “robbed of the Tour de France victory.”
Rasmussen refused to provide evidence to corroborate his claim that he was in Mexico when RAI TV commentator Davide Cassani says he saw the rider training in the Dolomites, in Italy:
“Well, what I am saying is that now we have to see what the [legal] case brings and we will take it from there.”
And why would a team, with the biggest victory in cycling in its grasp, desert an innocent rider that they had vigorously defended through two weeks of questioning?
Rasmussen suggested that the pressure from Tour organizers finally wore down team director Theo de Rooy:
“There is no doubt that he has been under enormous pressure and he has been accused of many things during the Tour,” said Rasmussen. “At some point his façade cracked and he made this decision.”
Rasmussen also said that if there were a chance for him to ride in next year's Tour, he would take it.
July 27, 2007
The Daily Show on Rasmussen
July 26, 2007
France reacts to Tour's three strikes: Vino, Moreni, Rasmussen
Hugh Schofield, writing in The Independent, provides some reaction from French newspapers: from Aujourd'hui en France: “Cheats, Get Out!” (in French, “Tricheurs dehors!”); in La Nouvelle Republique, “It's the Tour of Shame.”
The Associated Press notes France Soir's front page obituary (at right), which said the Tour died today, “at age 104, after a long illness.” Any names pointedly missing?
"The Tour must be stopped.”
“This procession of cyclists has been transformed into a caravan of ridicule,” Liberation wrote. “If the organizers really want to save cycling, they should stop the competition and declare a pause of a few years, enough time to treat these athletes-turned-druggies.”
Liberation.fr | La mort du Tour (in French)
Rasmussen: "I was not in Italy"
When Michael Rasmussen's withdrawal was announced by Rabobank, their press officer said it was because Rasmussen had admitted to director Theo de Rooij that he was in Italy when Davide Cassani claimed to see him on June 13 or 14th:
"When Rasmussen was confronted with this information he confirmed to [team manager] Theo de Rooij he was at that moment in Italy," said Rabobank press officer Jacob Bergsma. "That was the reason De Rooij decided to get him out of the Tour and the team."
Today, Rasmussen denied this to the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD.nl story and video, in Dutch):
“I am shattered. I am on the verge of tears. I was not in Italy. Not at all. That's the story of one man who believes he recognised me. There is no hint of evidence.”
“My career is ruined. I have no idea what I should do or where I will go. This is an enormous blow for me, and also for all the guys from the Rabo team. They're devastated.”
July 25, 2007
Rasmussen withdrawn, fired by Rabobank
CyclingNews reports that Rabobank has withdrawn Michael Rasmussen from the Tour, and that he will not take the start tomorrow.
CyclingNews suggests it could relate to a report by Italian TV commentator Davide Cassani, who claims to have seen Rasmussen training in the Dolomites on June 13th or 14th, while Rasmussen claims he was in Mexico for training.
DeRooy will not withdraw the entire team, but will allow the riders to choose to start the stage tomorrow.
Adds that Rasmussen is also fired from the team.
However the team has learnt that Rasmussen lied to them over where and what he was up to during the month of June when he was in fact in Italy and not in Mexico as he had told them.
Stage 16: Rasmussen unstoppable
Michael Rasmussen took full ownership of this Tour de France today, outriding the entire field and pushing his overall lead out to more than 3 minutes on Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador.
It looked like Discovery Channel had played their cards to perfection. On the day's last climb, Yaroslav Popovych absolutely slayed an elite group that had been riding with Rasmussen, leaving three Discos in a 5-man group: Popovych, Leipheimer and Contador vs. Rasmussen and Cadel Evans. His job done, Popovych fell away, and Contador and Leipheimer looked to make the race.
Each would attack Rasmussen, who repeatedly led the other Disco and Evans back onto the attacker's wheel. Late in the climb, Leipheimer looked cracked, and the field was whittled down to three, then two as Evans couldn't stay with probably the two strongest climbers in this year's Tour.
I say probably, because Barolworld's Juan Mauricio Soler, who had taken the lead in the King of the Mountains competition while riding in an early breakaway, was gaining time on Contador and Rasmussen and passing men who had earlier dropped him.
Back on the front, Leipheimer somehow scratched his way past Evans and back up to the leaders, and even launched an attack when he got there, but none of the trio wanted to attack as the stage wound down into its last kilometers. Then, with just over 1 kilometer to the summit, Rasmussen put on a yellow-jersey worthy display, dropping the Discos, and riding solo to the summit of the Col d'Aubisque for his second stage win of this Tour and 4th ever.
Leipheimer shepherded Contador briefly, then made haste to try to gain some time on Cadel Evans, currently sitting on the bottom step of the podium, where Leipheimer wants to be in Paris. He finished 26 seconds back, and picks up some bonus time, so he now sits 4th overall, :56 behind Evans.
Carlos Sastre, who went in a long early breakaway with Soler, takes the most aggressive rider recognition, while Soler takes over the King of the Mountains competition lead.
Stage 16 Top 10:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 6:23:21
2) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at :25
3) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at :35
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Astralia, at :43
5) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at 1:25
6) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 1:52
7) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Spain, at 1:54
8) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 2:12
9) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:27
10) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, same time
Overall Standings after Stage 16:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark
2) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:10
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 5:03
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 5:59
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 9:12
6) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, in 9:39
7) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 13:28
8) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 14:46
9) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 16:00
10) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, at 16:41
Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2007 in 2007 Stage 16, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Stage 16 on the road
It's here. The ultimate Mountain Showdown of the 2007 Tour. Michael Rasmussen is looking to survive without losing time on a stage that looks made for him. Alberto Contador seems likely to attack on the day's last climb, using that explosive jump to break Rasmussen and move up at least within striking distance.
Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer, who haven't looked quite as strong, need to find some time, but that's going to be hard with the support Rasmussen has been getting from Denis Menchov, Michael Boogerd, and Thomas Dekker, and perhaps complicated for Leipheimer by Contador's position in 2nd overall.
It's a 218.5-km stage, with two hors categorie climbs, a 3rd-Category, and two 1st Category. The race will visit Spain, so look for the roads to be swathed in orange-clad fans.
Racing kicked off early, with 4 riders getting almost 9 minutes: Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Vincente Garcia-Acosta (Caisse d'Epargne), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Christophe Rinero (Saunier Duval).
At the day's first sprint:
1) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Stephane Auge, Cofidis, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +2 pts/2 secs
On the day's first climb, the HC Port de Larrau, Cardenas and Soler of Barloworld went right to the front and decimated the field. Yaroslav Popovych, Manuel Beltran, and most notably Carlos Sastre hooked on and rode away from the yellow jersey group. Iban Mayo saw the move and bridged to Soler and Sastre. Sergio Paulinho of Discovery also tried a move, but he and Popovych fell back to the yellow jersey group. Michael Rasmussen climbed with Dekker, Boogerd, and Menchov.
1st Climb, Port de Larrau (HC)
1) Vicente Garcia-Acosta, Caisse d'Epargne +20 pts
2) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +18 pts
3) Rinero, Saunier Duval, +16 pts, at :55
4) Stephane Auge, Cofidis, +14 pts, at 1:05
5) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +12 pts, at 3:05
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, +10 pts
7) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, +8 pts
8) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +7 pts, at 4:35
9) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, +6 pts
10) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, +5 pts
Next up, the little 3rd Category Alto Laza climb, where again Garcia-Acosta leads Verdugo to the line. Riders continue to catch onto the back of the yellow jersey group.
2nd Climb, 3rd Category Alto Laza
1) Vicente Garcia-Acosta, Caisse d'Epargne +4 pts
2) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +3 pts
3) Stephane Auge, Cofidis, +2 pts, at 2:00
4) Rinero, Saunier Duval, +1 pt, at 2:10
Next up the Col de la Pierre St. Martin, a 1st Category. The leaders mostly coalesced into a group including Soler, Sastre, Verdugo, Garcia-Acosta, and Mayo, with Auge and Rinero suffering between those 5 and Rasmussen's group. At the summit, Jens Voigt (of all people) sprints out of the yellow jersey group to deny Rasmussen mountain points.
3rd Climb, the 1st Category Col de la Pierre St. Martin
1) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +15 pts
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, +13 pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +11 pts
4) Vincente Garcia-Acosta, Caisse d'Epargne, +9 pts
5) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, +8 pts
6) Stephane Auge, Cofidis, +7 pts, at 3:55
7) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, +6 pts, at 4:10
8) Jens Voigt, CSC, +5 pts, at 4:50
Rasmussen's group arrived at 4:55. At this point, Soler would take over the lead in the King of the Mountains competition, but the 1st Category Col de Marie Blanque and the HC Col d'Aubisque (with points doubled) remain.
Again on the Marie-Blanque, Rabobank kept the pace high enough to discourage attacks, and brought back more than 2 minutes of the Sastre group's lead.
4th climb, the 1st Category Col de Marie Blanque
1) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +15 pts
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC +13 pts
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, +11 pts
4) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +9 pts
5) Vicente Garcia-Acosta, Caisse d'Epargne, +8 pts, at 1:25
6) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +7 pts, at 2:25
7) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, +6 pts
8) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts
Rasmussen's group amounted to only 12 at the climb; a few will likely chase back on the descent before the Col d'Aubisque.
Rabobank continued to reel in Sastre, whose group survived through the day's last intermediate sprint at around 200kms ridden.
2nd (final) intermediate sprint:
1) Sastre, CSC, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Soler, Barloworld, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Mayo, Saunier Duval, +2 pts/2 secs
It looks like that will be all Sastre takes away from today's breakaway - the gap is down to 40 seconds. Menchov and Boogerd still shepherd Rasmussen as the riders hit the day's final climb, the Col d'Aubisque, with about 16 kilometers/10 miles to ride.
Sastre refuses to be captured, and attacks out of his group. Soler and Mayo match him, then Soler can't hang, and Mayo crosses the gap to rejoin Sastre. Sastre and Mayo got their gap almost out to a minute, but as Menchov and Horner fell out of the yellow jersey group, Yaroslav Popovych brought the pain at the front of the group.
Through his efforts, the group was whittled down to only Popo, Contador and Leipheimer from Discovery Channel, Cadel Evans, and Michael Rasmussen. Popovych faded with 9.5 kilometers/6.1 miles to ride.
Leipheimer then moved to the front, and he and Contador took turns attacking Rasmussen. Each would get 10-20 meters, then Rasmussen would tow his teammate and Evans back up to his wheel. At one point, Leipheimer fell away, leaving Contador, Rasmussen and Evans, who was struggling to match the climbers. Finally, Evans fell away.
Leipheimer caught and passed Evans, then started to claw back the advantage of Contador and Rasmussen. Back in the field, Soler was making great time, and eventually would pass Sastre, to move into 5th on the course.
Rasmussen grew more and more distracted by the race motorcycles, which he apparently thought were providing the Discos a draft, but over the last 4 kilometers or so, the Discovery Channel duo looked content to ride with Rasmussen, refraining from attacks. Are they saving one of Contador's vicious strikes for the final stretch of the day?
Just outside the last kilometer, Rasmussen went hard, and Leipheimer and Contador had to watch him ride away. Leipheimer briefly squired Contador toward the line, then rode away in search of time that might move him nearer the Tour podium, as Evans chased solo :45 behind the leaders.
Rasmussen comes to the line, looks back to make sure, zips the jersey, and takes his 2nd stage win of this Tour, and more importantly closes the books on the Tour's high mountain stages with a healthy gap on 2nd place Alberto Contador.
Leipheimer came in 2nd, 26 seconds back, with Contador 3rd at :35.
July 24, 2007
Tour will continue after Vino bombshell
Tour director Christian Prudhomme and ASO president Patrice Clerc addressed Alexandre Vinokourov's positive doping test in a press conference in Pau.
Asked whether the Tour should just be canceled, Clerc seemed to think it inconceivable:
“We have started a war on doping, and unfortunately in war there are losses, but it is out of the question to quit,” Clerc said. “There was never a question the Tour would stop. Then the cheaters would win.”
Clerc also said that neither Astana nor race leader Michael Rasmussen should have been invited to the 2007 Tour. Clerc said of Rasmussen, leading the race by 2:23:
“In a period of crisis such as we are living in at the moment, a champion must be a good example,” said Clerc. “His attitude, his lack of respect shown to the administrative rules, which is unacceptable, should be made known to us and we would have refused his participation, because he is not a good role model for the others in the peloton.”
No news yet on the reassignment of Vinokourov's stage wins.
Prudhomme blamed the UCI:
“The system is a complete failure. It does not protect the greatest cycling race. We have to blow this system,” he said.
He added that organisers had been informed of Vinokourov's positive test by Astana, not the UCI.
July 23, 2007
Stage 15 on the road
VS. broadcaster picks:
The early story is the big 25-man breakaway including a couple of former GC candidates. Denis Menchov of Rabobank is there, as is Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Christian Vande Velde and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) are here, as are Caisse d'Epargne's David Arroyo, Euskaltel's Haimar Zubeldia, Inigo Landaluze and Ruben Perez; T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen; FdJeux's Benoit Vaugrenard; Quick Step's Juan Manuel Garate; Saunier Duval's Juan José Cobo; Bouygues Telecom's Laurent Lefevre and Johann Tschopp; AG2R's Ludovic Turpin; Liquigas' Michael Albasini; Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Daniele Bennati and Patxi Vila of Lampre; Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner; Christian Knees of Milram; Vino's Astana teammates Serguei Ivanov and Daniel Navarro.
2nd Category Col de Port:
1) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step, +10 pts
2) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +9pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +8 pts
4) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +6 pts
6) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, +5 pts
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +2 pts/2 secs
2nd Category Col de Portet d'Aspet:
1) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +10 pts
2) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +9 pts
3) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +8 pts
4) Serguei Ivanov, Astana, +7 pts
5) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel, +6 pts
The 25 have led the way over the day's first two climbs, but today's sting is in the tail, as we finish with a 1st Category, then the hors categorie Port de Bales, then the Col de Peyresourde. It's not a mountaintop finish -- there's a descent of almost 12 kilometers after the top of Col de Peyresourde.
The gap is just under 8 minutes, with 108 kilometers/67 miles ridden and 88 kilometers/55 miles to go.
On the way up the Col de Mente, Rabobank continues to lead the peloton, and the gap is up around 8:29. Near the summit, Juan Manuel Garate outsprinted Laurent Lefevre for max points.
1st Category Col de Mente
1) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +15 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +13pts
3) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +11 pts
4) Daniel Bennati, Lampre, +9 pts
5) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +8 pts
6) Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, +7 pts
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, +6 pts
8) Christian Knees, Milram, +5 pts
2nd (final) Intermediate Sprint, Marignac
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Kurt-Asle Arvesen, CSC, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux +2 pts/2 secs
Just before the start of the HC climb, 5 riders rode away from the 25-man breakaway: Inigo Landaluze of Euskaltel, David Arroyo of Caisse e'Epargne, Johan Tschopp of Bouyges Telecom, Serguei Ivanov of Astana, and Bernhard Kohl of Gerolsteiner quickly built a lead of more than a minute to the 20 other break survivors, and 8:20 to the peloton.
On the climb, everything splintered. Kirchen bridged to the leaders, then Vinokourov attacked, again splitting the lead breakaway, and briefly catching the inital split. Riding with Vinokourov were Menchov, Turpin, Zubeldia, Cobo, and Garate. This group caught the initial attack, then fractured. Tschopp, Kirchen and Arroyo went off the front, while Vinokourov's group shed riders.
Back in the peloton, the pace and the climb cooked Pereiro, Moreau, and others. Rasmussen's group looked much like it did yesterday: Evans, Leipheimer, Contador, Soler, Boogerd, Mayo, Sastre, Chris Horner, Frank Schleck, Michael Boogerd, and a few others. Klöden and Kashechkin ride just behind.
Freddie Rodriguez abandoned today on the road.
Port de Bales (HC)
1) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, +20 pts
2) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, +18 pts
3) Johan Tschopp, Bouygues Telecom, +16 pts
4) Juan Mañuel Garate, Quick Step,+14 pts, at :45
5) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts
6) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts
7) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, +8 pts
8) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +7 pts
9) Ludovic Turpin, AG2R, +6 pts
10) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, +5 pts, @1:35
On the descent, with Rasmussen: Boogerd, Contador, Popovych, Leipheimer, Evans, Horner, Mayo, Soler, Klöden, Kashechkin, Sastre, Schleck, Astarloza, Valverde. Others are joining, and Denis Menchov has slipped back to help Rasmussen on the final climb.
Vinokourov attacked at the base of the Peyresourde, matched by Zubeldia, Garate, and Cobo, and they're only 20 seconds behind Arroyo and Kirchen. Garate's dropped. Vinokourov kept attacking, and only Cobo could match, and the pair have caught Kirchen and Arroyo, as the 4 riders lead the race, while the yellow jersey rides 7:15 back.
Zubeldia rides back up to Vinokourov, and in the yellow jersey group, Yaroslav Popovych has attacked off the front. Moreau has caught back on to the yellow jersey group.
Vino goes again, and Kirchen can't match the new pace. Vino sits up, and Kirchen rejoins Cobo, Zubeldia, Arroyo, and Vino.
As they near the steepest part of the Peyresourde, Zubeldia attacks from Vino's group, Cobo drags Vino back to him, and Vino goes hard again! He quickly gets a gap, Kirchen is dropped. Vinokourov rides alone, with Cobo and Zubeldia chasing less than 20 seconds behind. Vinokourov would die before he would be caught on this descent. He's flying.
Back in the field, Contador attacks, Rasmussen slowly matches, but he's working hard. Contador gets a gap, but Rasmussen slowly pulls it back. Evans, Klöden, Sastre, Leipheimer, Astarloza can't handle this pace on the climb, and fall back.
Contador and Rasmussen ride alone toward the summit. Contador launches a couple of tests, but Rasmussen matches every one. As Contador and Rasmussen reach the summit, there's George Hincapie, waiting to escort Contador to the finish, and maybe gap Rasmussen.
Hincapie nails the descent. There's still a small rise at about 2k to go -- Will Contador try to get time on the finish? He does! He attacks again, and Hincapie falls away, but Rasmussen again is able to match his move.
Vinokourov comes to the line with a healthy victory margin, after an epic stage win.
More than 5 minutes later, Contador and Rasmussen came to the line, with Contador leading. They tripped the lights at 5:25, with Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Valverde, and Evans more than a minute behind at 6:27.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2007 in 2007 Stage 15, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 22, 2007
Stage 14: Contador opens Tour account
Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador took an aggressive stage win as the Tour moves into the Pyrenees, and elevated himself from 1 of 10 candidates to win this year's Tour to one of the two favorites.
Contador, just 24 and riding in the white jersey of the race's best-placed young rider, waited as teammate Yaroslav Popovych reduced the group riding with race leader Michael Rasmussen, then launched a blistering attack, initially answered by Rasmussen and Evans, that only Rasmussen could ultimately match. By doing so, Rasmussen moved one stage nearer a possible win in Paris, and Contador took his 1st career Tour stage win.
Many of the pre-race favorites lost buckets of time today: Alexandre Vinokourov, who won on Saturday, lost 28:50 to Contador today. Christophe Moreau lost 34:52. Iban Mayo lost 9:31. A few riders managed to limit their losses to Rasmussen and Contador, who dominated the field today: Juan Mauricio Soler, riding in his 1st Tour, lost only 37 seconds; Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre were close behind.
Evans finished with Andreas Klöden at 1:52. Caisse d'Epargne's two leaders, Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde, finished together at 3:45.
A lot of discussion has resulted from a brief discussion between Contador and Rasmussen in the climb's last kilometers. Rasmussen came up to Contador, and Contador pointed to himself twice. The riders differ on the discussion: Contador said Rasmussen promised the stage win for Contador's cooperation to the finish, while Rasmussen echoed Lance Armstrong: “This is the Tour de France -- you don't give any presents here.”
Possibly the dumbest move of the day came from Saunier Duval, which sent David Millar to set a fast pace few riders could match, only to find team leader Iban Mayo was among the riders who couldn't.
Stage 14 Top 20:
1) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, in 5:25:48
2) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, same time
3) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at :37
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at :40
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :53
6) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 1:52
7) Cadel Evans, Predictor - Lotto, Australia, same time
8) Antonio Colom, Astana, Spain, at 2:23
9) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, same time
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 3:06
11) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, same time
12) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:45
14) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, same time
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, s.t.
16) Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
17) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:47
18) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:04
19) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, same time
20) John Gadret, AG2R, France, at 4:48
Major changes in the GC; Rasmussen gets a cushion on everyone but Contador.
Overall Standings after Stage 14:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 64:12:15
2) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 2:23
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 3:04
4) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 4:29
5) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 4:38
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 5:50
7) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 6:58
8) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 8:25
9) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 9:45
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 10:55
11) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 11:01
12) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, at 11:31
13) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:15
14) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 13:16
15) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 14:58
16) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 15:31
17) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, at 17:23
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 18:57
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:19
20) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 19:33
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2007 in 2007 Stage 14, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 14 on the road
The race enters a new phase, as yesterday's TT reorganized the standings, creating some interesting tactical possibilities.
Race leader Michael Rasmussen has to be glad to have escaped with the yellow jersey, but looks like he has to find more time in the Pyrenees before the Tour's 2nd individual time trial. Valverde, Mayo, and Sastre must also look for time after disappointing TTs, while Vinokourov must look for more time despite an awesome TT.
Astana and Discovery Channel both have 3 riders within 8 minutes of the overall lead, one of them -- Yaroslav Popovych -- apparently chasing the King of the Mountains title. Discovery Channel looks more likely to switch off leaders than Astana (would Astana really let Klöden win while Vinokourov is still in the race?), which may give them more options in the mountains.
VS. broadcast picks
1st climb, the 2nd Category Cote de St. Saraille:
1) David De La Fuente, Saunier Duval, +10 pts
2) Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +9 pts
3) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +8 pts
4) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +7 pts
5) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel, +6 pts
6) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +5 pts
Soler moves into a tie atop the King of the Mountains standings, for now.
A 6-man breakaway formed about 30 kilometers into the stage, just as Predictor-Lotto reeled in a 26-rider escape that included race leader Michael Rasmussen. In the breakaway are Ruben Perez and Amets Txurruka of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Antonio Colom of Astanta, Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas, José Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epargne, and Carlos Barredo of Quick Step. Their gap went out as high as 11:20.
1st intermediate sprint:
1) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
2nd intermediate sprint:
1) Carlos Barredo, Quick Step, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
With the Port de Pailheres looming, the peloton has brought the leaders back to 9:45. The gap continued to fall, and on the climb, David Millar set a tempo that quickly shed riders from the yellow jersey group. Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd were predictable early exits, but Christophe Moreau fell back just after Boonen.
Late in the climb, yesterday's hero, Alexandre Vinokourov was dropped. He briefly visited the race doctor and rode with teammate Daniel Navarro. Near the top, Saunier Duval's leader, Iban Mayo was dropped, but may chase back onto the field on the descent.
The breakaway survived over the top of the Port de Pailheres, and Juan Mauricio Soler, racing in a borrowed King of the Mountains jersey that rightfully belongs to Michael Rasmussen, sprinted ahead of the select group to take 10 points at the summit. Rasmussen moved to the lead of his group to be next across, taking 8 points.
HC Port de Pailheres
1) Ruben Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +20 pts
2) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +18 pts
3) Antonio Colom, Astana, +16 pts
4) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +14 pts
5) Carlos Barredo, Quick Step, +12 pts, @1:05
6) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +10 pts, @ 2:45
7) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +8 pts - @ 2:55
8) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, +7 pts
9) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, +6 pts
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts
Vinokourov crossed the summit 8:16 behind Perez.
On the descent, Mayo, Hincapie and Popovych caught back onto the leading group.
As the group started up Plateau de Beille, Ruben Perez quickly fell off the lead group, then Carlos Barredo, who battled on and off the leaders.
Meanwhile, George Hincapie spent miles leading the 40-strong yellow jersey group. On the Plateau de Beille, Rabobank briefly led, and then Yaroslav Popovych just redlined the front of the group, and riders started to fall.
Valverde, Pereiro, and Mayo were among the first dropped. Then Denis Menchov and Michael Boogerd, leaving Rasmussen without teammates. Only 9 riders remained: Popovych, Rasmussen, Soler, Sastre, Contador, Leipheimer, Evans, Kashechkin, and Klöden, and Klöden looked to be suffering at the back. Klöden was finally gapped.
After reeling in José Ivan Gutierrez from the early break, Popovych was done, and Levi Leipheimer attacked, quickly matched, and Contador hit the turbos, and Sastre matched the attack, but Kashechkin was dropped.
As Txurruka was caught, Rasmussen attacked, matched by Contador and Evans, and the survivors were split into 2 trios: Rasmussen/Contador/Evans and Sastre/Soler/Leipheimer. Sastre pulled the group back together, then Soler went hard. Rasmussen sprinted up to him, then Contador and Evans, and finally Sastre and Leipheimer.
Soler attacked again, and Contador attacked past the Colombian, Sastre passed Soler, Rasmussen and Evans came by. Leipheimer struggled back onto the tail, and Contador hit the turbos, quickly gaining 30-40 meters. Rasmussen and Evans tried to cross to Contador, but Sastre and Soler were gapped, and Leipheimer yet another gap behind.
Evans couldn't stay with Rasmussen, and Rasmussen captured Contador, only about 30 seconds behind Antonio Colom, last survivor of the early breakaway. Evans, Leipheimer, Sastre, and Soler worked briefly together. Then Sastre attacked, and Evans was parboiled. Leipheimer and Soler matched CSC's leader. Leipheimer refused to work with Sastre with a teammate up the road.
With Colom captured, it appeared the stage win would go to Contador or Rasmussen, but then Soler attacked into the :25 gap. Rasmussen wanted the stage win, but Contador sat in the draft, wisely letting Ras do the work for a larger GC gap, and conserving his energy for the finish.
With about a kilometer to ride, Leipheimer dropped Sastre, chasing Soler. As the leaders came to the line, Contador sprinted around Rasmussen to take the stage win.
Soler was 3rd, just a little ahead of Leipheimer, while Sastre was 5th at about :52. Klöden and Evans finished around 1:52.
A sign of the day's high pace: Only about 20 riders finished within 20 minutes of Contador. Vinokourov appears not to have been among them.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 21, 2007
Stage 13 ITT: Vino, Astana awesome in Albi
Vinokourov, with only his right knee bandaged, led at every time check by healthy margins to clock a 1:06:34.
Predictor-Lotto's Cadel Evans slotted in 2nd, 1:14 back, ahead of Vinokourov's teammates Andreas Klöden, at 1:39, and Andrey Kashechkin, at 1:44.
Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis set the early standard and finished 5th, at 2:14.
Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank rode a creditable TT, passing his 3-minute man, Alejandro Valverde, and finishing 11th on the day to retain the yellow jersey.
For Valverde and Mayo, starting the day in 2nd and 3rd, it was a disastrous day: Mayo was 6:04 slower than Vino, Valverde 6:08 down on the stage winner.
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, in 1:06:34
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 1:14
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 1:39
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 1:44
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, @ 2:14
6) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 2:16
7) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 2:18
8) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, @ 2:38
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 2:39
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 2:42
11) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, @ 2:55
12) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, @ 2:56
13) Leif Hoste, Predictor-Lotto, Belgium, @ 2:56
14) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 3:09
15) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, Spain, @ 3:12
16) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 3:13
17) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, @ 3:17
18) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 3:18
19) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 3:23
20) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, @ 3:27
Major shakeups in the GC:
Overall standings after Stage 13:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 58:46:39
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 1:00
3) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 2:31
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 2:34
5) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:37
6) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 4:23
7) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 4:45
8) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 5:07
9) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 5:10
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 5:29
11) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 5:48
12) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 4:48
13) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at 6:59
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 7:04
15) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 7:37
There was a 4th-Category climb on the stage, and max points (3) go to Alberto Contador of Discovery Channel, with Cadel Evans taking 2 points and Michael Boogerd of Rabobank a single point as the 3 fastest riders on the climb.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2007 in 2007 Stage 13 ITT, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, David Millar, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Dekker, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Stage 13 ITT on the road
VS. Broadcaster Picks:
Trautwig: Klöden (per Hinault)
Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis is the early leader in the first long individual time trial of the 2007 Tour.
Over the up-and-down 54 km course in Albi, Wiggins finished in 1:08:48.
David Millar has come through the time checks as high as 3rd, and finishes in 3rd at 1:10:01.
World TT champion Fabian Cancellara was 2nd-fastest at the 1st time check, then faded, finishing in 1:15:19. Cancellara had bike handling problems on the wet roads, and crashed in a 90-degree left-hander.
Yaroslav Popovych is followed onto the course by Alexandre Vinokourov. Vino has a bandage only on his right knee today.
Vinokourov is scorching the course. He's fastest at the first two time checks, by 52 seconds at the 2nd. He's closing on Popovych, even though Popovych is racing the 4th best TT so far.
At TC 3 (38.5 km), Vinokourov came through at 50:06, 1:19 faster than Wiggins. Popovych finished almost even with Wiggins, but Vinokourov still finished close behind, with Vino setting the standard at 1:06:34.
Discovery's Levi Leipheimer was 19th at the first time check, and Carlos Sastre passed TC1 1:41 slower than Vinokourov.
Popovych appeared to have fallen on the course, and Klöden slid out on what seemed a tame right-hander.
Kashechkin also had an early accident, but kept improving at each time check, finishing 2nd only to Vinokourov in 1:08:19.
Christophe Moreau's early time checks put him many minutes behind Vinokourov. He finished in 1:16:01, 9:26 down to Vino.
Cadel Evans was 2nd best at the 3rd time check, just 1:01 behind Vinokourov.
Klöden hit the line in 1:08:13, putting Astana in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on the day, but Cadel Evans broke up the set, coming in at 1:07:48, 2nd at that point.
Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador, Discovery's supposed two leaders, finished 21 seconds apart, in 1:09:13 and 1:08:52, respectively. Teammate Yaroslav Popovych was better still, in 1:08:50.
The time checks were cruel to Alejandro Valverde, sitting in 2nd overall -- he was 46th at the 4th check, 4:34 down on Vinokourov. In fact, race leader Michael Rasmussen passed Alejandro Valverde late in his ride, rocking more like a duck than a Chicken.
Iban Mayo struggled to the line in 1:12:38, a disappointment for the rider who started in 3rd today.
Rasmussen fights all the way to the line, finishing in 1:09:29. That will save the yellow jersey for Rasmussen, and the race returns to the high mountains tomorrow.
Current Top riders:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, 1:06:34
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, 1:07:49
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, 1:08:13
4) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, 1:08:19
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, in 1:08:48
6) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, in 1:08:50
7) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, in 1:08:52
8) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, in 1:09:12
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, in 1:09:13
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:09:16
11) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 1:09:29
12) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, 1:09:30
13) Leif Hoste, Predictor-Lotto, in 1:09:30
14) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, in 1:09:43
15) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, in 1:09:47
16) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, 1:09:47
17) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, 1:09:51
18) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile 1:09:52
19) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, 1:09:57
20) David Millar, Saunier Duval, in 1:10:01
21) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, 1:10:04
22) Sébastien Rosseler, Quick Step, in 1:10:09
23) Markus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, in 1:10:14
24) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, in 1:10:16
25) George Hincapie, DSC, in 1:10:19
26) Carlos Sastre, CSC, in 1:10:35
27) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, in 1:10:39
28) Andrey Grivko, Milram, in 1:10:51
29) Kanstantsin Siutsou, Barloworld, in 1:10:54
30) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, in 1:10:56
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2007 in 2007 Stage 13 ITT, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Iban Mayo, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 20, 2007
VeloNews: Rasmussen had blood substitute in 2002
VeloNews is reporting that yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen asked an American mountain bike racer to carry blood substitute to Italy for him in 2002.
The racer, Whitney Richards, says Rasmussen asked him to bring a pair of cycling shoes he had left in the United States to Italy when he moved there to live with his girlfriend in March 2002.
A mutual friend delivered the box to Richards, who opened the box while packing, thinking he could save space by packing the shoes and leaving the box. Richards says the box was full of silver envelopes labeled “Biopure.”
Richards said he called a friend, Taro Smith, who holds a Ph.D. in physiology, and Smith recognized the contents as Hemopure, a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier derived from cow's blood.
Richards and Smith said they poured the contents down the sink, rather than risking Richards being detained at customs.
Richards claims that Rasmussen was angry when Richards arrived without the package, asking if Richards had “any idea how much that shit cost?”
“The nerve of the guy," Richards added. "Not only is he a drug cheat, but he didn't give a damn about anybody else. He was willing to put me out there to carry that crap through customs... into Italy at a time when they were investigating Dr. [Michele] Ferrari and people were lobbing accusations at Lance Armstrong. Think about what it would have been like for Italian customs to catch an American with a bunch of bike gear and cows blood at the border.“
Richards talked to VeloNews later in 2002, but only off the record, and asking that Rasmussen not be identified. He later was a source for David Walsh's current book, From Lance to Landis but again asked that neither he nor Rasmussen be identified.
Why did he come forward now?
“[Rasmussen has] won Tour stages before,” Richards said. “It's not that. It was the press conference on Monday that got to me. Someone asked him about Bjarne Riis' involvement with drugs and he went on about how he's clean and then added, ‘You can trust me.' That's what set me off.”
Asked about the allegations on Friday, Rasmussen said he knew Richards' name but “I cannot confirm any of that.”
Rasmussen off Danish national team, will boycott Tour of Denmark
Current Tour de France race leader Michael Rasmussen has been dropped from Denmark's national team, which will keep him from competing at the World Championships in Stuttgart.
It will likely also stop him from competing in the Danish national mountain bike championships in August, and keeping him out of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where Rasmussen had discussed racing a mountain bike.
Rasmussen apparently didn't report his whereabouts before two random drug tests that were to be conducted May 8 and June 28. The UCI then warned Rasmussen that a third no-show “would be considered as a positive test.”
Rasmussen talked to Danish reporters: “I have tried to give my explanations to the DCU but they haven't accepted them,” he said. “But this isn't something that will interfere with my participation in the Tour de France.”
Tour race director Christian Prudhomme sided with Rasmussen:
“Some questions seem legitimate to me. Why now since the warning dates back to June 29? Why did Mr Worre wait until July 19 with Rasmussen in the yellow jersey to give elements he had at his disposal since June 28,” he said.
“Why has he not talked before the start of the Tour de France, why issue a statement late yesterday? Why speak yesterday about competitions that will take place in September and next year?”
Prudhomme also mentioned that Rasmussen was cleared to race at the Danish national championships June 30th, and was tested both there, and several times during the Tour.
Rasmussen said he won't participate in August's Tour of Denmark:
“I cannot take part in a race arranged by an organization which looks to thwart me in this way,” he said.
July 19, 2007
Stage 11: At last, Robbie Hunter
Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took advantage of a late-stage crash to win his first Tour stage in his 6th career Tour appearance. It's the first Tour stage by a South African, or any African.
Hunter had been following Tom Boonen in the last kilometers, but went to the front in time to miss a crash that took out Boonen, Credit Agricole's Julian Dean, Predictor-Lotto's Fred Rodriguez, and others. Hunter then outcornered two Liquigas riders on the right-hander with 500 meters to ride. From there, he kicked all the way to the line, and Murilo Fischer and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas and Fabian Cancellara of CSC couldn't close him down.
The biggest action of the day was an all-out assault by Astana, who set a blistering pace in a stiff wind that split the field, with AG2R's Christophe Moreau, Erik Zabel, and Thor Hushovd among the riders caught behind the gap. Astana did most of the work to grow the gap, and Moreau crossed the line 3:20 behind Hunter. Astana's attack helped push the average speed for the stage to 48.061 kms/h (29.86 mph), the fastest of this year's Tour.
Hunter now trails Boonen by 11 points in the green jersey competition, 5 points ahead of Erik Zabel.
Two riders pulled out during the stage: Sylvain Calzati of AG2R and Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Stage Top 10:
1) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
2) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time
3) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t.
4) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
7) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
8) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t.
9) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.
GC Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:20
11) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 5:34
12) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, @ 5:56
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 6:36
14) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ 6:38
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, @ 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 7:10
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 8:05
20) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 8:16
Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 18, 2007
Stage 10: Vasseur victorious
The Tour youth movement stepped aside for at least one last stage as a veteran took a smart breakaway victory.
Cedric Vasseur, 36, of Quick Step gave France its first Tour victory of 2007 ten years after his other Tour stage win.
Vasseur was in an 11-man group that was the most powerful breakaway of the Tour so far, but with all more than 45 minutes behind Michael Rasmussen. Over the day's penultimate climb, the group was whittled down to 3, but Jens Voigt and Vasseur were able to chase across to join Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Michael Albasini of Liquigas, and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux.
Halgand tried to shed the others on the day's final climb, but every attack was matched, and the 5 came down into Marseilles together. Albasini shadowed Voigt, while the three Frenchman rode offset in a line, with Vasseur at the back as they came into the final kilometer. With less than 300 meters to ride, but a little beyond sprint range, Vasseur went full throttle along the right barricades, and the surprise was enough to take the win ahead of Sandy Casar sprinting left of the centerline and Albasini in between.
Tom Boonen showed he's serious about defending his green jersey, riding near the front of the field all day, and winding up the Quick Step train to launch him in the field sprint for 12th place on the day. Boonen was outfoxed by Sebastien Chavanel, but clipped Erik Zabel, his primary competition, taking 13th on the day to Zabel's 16th.
1) Cédric Vasseur, Quick Step, France in 5:20:24
2) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux, France, same time
3) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, Switzerland, s.t.
4) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
5) Jens Voigt, CSC, Germany, s.t.
6) Staf Scheirlinckx, Cofidis, Belgium, @ :36
7) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, same time
8) Marcus Burghardt, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 1:01
9) Aleksandr Kuschynski, Liquigas, Belarus, @ 2:34
10) Juan Antonio Flecha, Rabobank, Spain, same time
11) Andriy Grivko, Milram, Kazakhstan, @ 3:42
12) Sébastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, @ 10:36
12) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, same time
14) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
15) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
16) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
17) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
18) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, s.t.
19) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, France, s.t.
20) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, s.t.
Overall Standings after Stage 10:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, in 49:23:48
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, at 3:08
6) Christophe Moreau, Ag2R, at 3:18
7) Carlos Sastre, Team CSC, at 3:39
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at 3:50
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, at 3:53
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, at 5:06
11) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:20
12) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, at 5:34
13) Fränk Schleck, Team CSC, at 5:56
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at 6:36
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, at 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, at 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 7:10
19) David Arroyo, Caisse d’Epargne, at 7:33
20) Tadej Valjavec, Lampre, at 7:45
21) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, at 8:05
CSC moves back into the lead in the team competition, courtesy of Voigt's long day in the break, and Halgand takes the most aggressive rider jersey.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2007 in 2007 Stage 10, Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Cedric Vasseur, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Projecting TT time gaps
Over at PodiumCafe, Kevin Kimmich took each GC contender's prologue average speed, estimated that riders could maintain 95 percent of the prologue pace over the 110 kilometers of time trialing that remain, and projected likely time gaps among the GC contenders just on the 2 TTs.
With prologue winner Fabian Cancellara now 80 minutes back, Andreas Klöden was the strongest contender in the London prologue, followed by his Astana teammates Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin. Worst of the bunch is, unsurprisingly, Michael Rasmussen, who rode the worst TT in recent Tour history in 2005. Klöden was also very strong on the long TTs in last year's Tour, overshadowed somewhat by T-Mobile teammate Sergei Honchar.
As a commenter has already pointed out, this is the simplest possible projection of times, but it's a fun bit of speculation. If he's right, Evans needs a 5:34 cushion on Klöden, Leipheimer 6:32, and Rasmussen 15:29. Note that Christophe Moreau, not on the list, was 6 seconds behind Valverde and 7 seconds ahead of Sastre in the Prologue, so he would slot in somewhere around 9 minutes behind Klöden.
Kimmich also ignored two riders who placed highly in the prologue and still sit near the leaders: Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel was 2 seconds faster than Kashechkin, and Alberto Contador matched him within a fraction of a second, so Astarloza might be projected to lose as little as 4:35 or 4:45 to Klöden, and Contador projects to about 5:20.
July 17, 2007
Stage 9: Soler streaks to stage win
Tour first-timer Juan Mauricio Soler of Barloworld launched an audacious attack on the Col du Télégraphe and fighting all the way to Briançon to take the win for Barloworld.
Colombia's Soler, the rider with the highest Tour race number (219), was shadowed for a time by Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych, but no one could hold Soler's wheel today.
Back in the main field, Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde pushed the pace, and Alexandre Vinokourov couldn't hang. Today, it was Kashechkin who shepherded Vinokourov to the line while Andreas Klöden matched the GC riders.
Christophe Moreau dropped repeatedly off the back, but fought back again and again, while Rabobank's Denis Menchov couldn't stand the heat, and finished with Vinokourov. Levi Leipheimer, with 2 teammates up the road, was again content to let the race unfold and shadowed the yellow jersey of Michael Rasmussen.
Discovery's Alberto Contador, however, launched a withering assault on the Col du Galibier, and only Cadel Evans chased. When Contador met up with teammate Popovych at the summit, the two launched a chase of Soler, then 2 minutes up the road, and slowly closed the gap.
Meanwhile, the yellow jersey group split in two, with Valverde, Rasmussen, Kim Kirchen, David Arroyo and Mikel Astarloza ahead, and Moreau, Sastre, Evans, Klöden, Leipheimer, Cobo, and Mayo behind.
Rasmussen's group swept up Contador and Popovych, then were finally recaptured by the Leipheimer/Klöden/Sastre group, with all still closing on Soler.
The gap was down to 49 seconds in the last kilometer, and Alejandro Valverde attacked, splintering the yellow jersey group and taking 2nd on the stage, with Cadel Evans just behind.
1) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia in 4:14:24
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :38
3) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, same time
4) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ :40
5) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ :42
6) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, same time
7) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, s.t.
8) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ :46
9) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, same time
10) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, s.t.
11) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ :54
12) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, same time
13) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @1:33
14) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 1:36
15) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 1:49
16) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:24
17) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, same time
18) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, s.t.
19) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, France s.t.
20) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan
Overall Standings after Stage 9:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 43:52:48
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:08
6) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:18
7) Carlos Sastre, Team CSC, Spain, at 3:39
8) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 3:50
9) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:53
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 5:06
Schleck is 13th at 5:56, Vinokourov is 21st at 8:05. Gerdemann loses the white jersey to Contador. Soler is now 2nd in both the Mountains jersey and Young Riders jersey competitions.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2007 in 2007 Stage 9, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Iban Mayo, Juan Mauricio Soler, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Mauricio Soler, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 9 on the road
A rude beginning to the stage today, as riders immediately start up the hors categorie Col de l'Iseran, followed by a long descent to St. Michel-de-Maurienne. Then, the double whammy of the Col du Télégraphe (a 1st Category) and the Col du Galibier, another hors categorie. Finally, a 37.5 kilometer/23 mile descent into Briançon.
VS. broadcaster picks:
Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych attacked up the Col de l'Iseran, and led the field by 30 seconds over the top:
Col de l'Iseran (HC):
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channe, +20 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +18 pts, @ 30 secs
3) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, +16 pts, same time
4) Anthony Charteau, Credit Agricole, +14 pts, @ 35 secs
5) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +12 pts, @ 40 secs
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +10 pts, same time
7) Francisco Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +8 pts, s.t.
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, +7 pts, s.t.
9) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts, s.t.
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, +5 pts, s.t.
1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Stef Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts/2 secs
Popovych has been joined on the descent by teammate Vladimir Gusev, Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Bouygues Telecom's Stef Clement, Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux, and Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel-Euskadi. They've got 2:45 on the peloton with more than 55 kms/34 miles ridden.
T-Mobile's troubles continue, as Marcus Burghardt tacoed his front wheel hitting a dog wandering unleashed across the road. Both dog and rider appeared unhurt.
At the day's 2nd and last sprint, the 6 riders don't even break their rotation:
2nd Intermediate Sprint:
1) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, +4 pts/4 secs
3) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +2 pts/2 secs
At the base of the Col du Télégraphe, Astarloza, Clement, Gusev, Gutierrez, Popovych, and Vaugrenard have 3:25 on the peloton, with Rabobank leading the field.
Early in the climb, Mikel Astarloza attacked, and Clement and Vaugrenard couldn't counter. Gusev was first to rejoin, then Gutierrez leading Popovych. Astarloza went again, and quickly built a lead of 10, then 20, seconds.
Meanwhile in the main field, David Millar was setting a fast pace alongside the Rabobanks, and Sandy Casar, Stefan Schumacher and the usual sprinters (including Zabel) are all dropped. The main field is down under 60 riders, about 2:55 behind Astarloza, with more gradually falling by the wayside.
When Millar popped, his place was taken by teammate Iker Camano. Over the top of the Col du Telegraphe, Mikel Astarloza still had a healthy 3 minutes:
1) Astaloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi +15 pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +13 pts, at :21
3) Clement, Bouygues Telecom, +11 pts
4) Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, +9 pts
5) Gusev, Discovery Channel, +8 pts
6) Soler, Barloworld, +7 pts, at :55
7) Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, +6 pts, at 1:05
8) Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +5 pts, at 2:45
The peloton was at 3:12.
At the beginning of the climb to the Col du Galibier, Astarloza was recaptured by Gusev, Popovych, and Gutierrez, with Clement suffering a few seconds behind.
Camano fell off, and Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd are the last Rabobank teammates left for yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen.
Juan Mauricio Soler attacked out of the peloton, and quickly worked his way through the leaders and led at the summit:
Col du Galibier
1) Soler, Barloworld, +40pts
2) Popovych, Discovery Channel, +36 pts, at 2:05
3) Contador, Discovery Channel +32 pts, same time
4) Evans, Predictor-Lotto, +28 pts, at 2:20
5) Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +24 pts, at 3:00
6) Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, +20 pts, at 3:15
7) Rasmussen, Rabobank, +16 pts, same time
8) Moreau, AG2R, +14 pts, s.t.
9) Klöden, Astana, +12 pts, s.t.
10) Cobo, Saunier Duval, +10 pts, s.t.
Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov was at 4:55, 1:40 behind Rasmussen's group, which also included Carlos Sastre and Levi Leipheimer.
Contador caught Popovych just over the top of the Galibier, and the pair have made up about 40 seconds on Soler, and ride 1:25 back with 25 kilometers to the finish.
But the yellow jersey group was gaining, as well, catching Evans, then splitting in two when Evans let a gap form. Rasmussen, Valverde, Kim Kirchen, David Arroyo, and Astarloza made the front group, which captured Popovych and Contador, while Moreau, Mayo, Leipheimer, Klöden, Sastre, Evans and Cobo chased ineffectually behind.
Finally, Klöden pulled his group back into contact with Rasmussen's group, still closing on Soler with a 1.5-kilometer/1 mile climb to the finish.
The gap dropped to :58, then :49, but Soler made it stick, finishing it with :38 seconds on Alejandro Valverde, who attacked looking for a time gap and bonus points, but was matched by Evans, then Contador at :40, with Mayo, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer at :42.
Alexandre Vinokourov finished at 3:24.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
July 15, 2007
Stage 8: 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.
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)
Stage 8 on the road
Day 2 of the Alps ratchets the difficulty up another notch, with 6 categorized climbs, the last three 1st Category. There are 3 riders who have shown an interest in the King of the Mountains competition: Michael Rasmussen, David de la Fuente, and Sylvain Chavanel.
Rasmussen has won his polka-dot jerseys through a strategy sometimes called the “Chicken Run,” a day-long Alpine breakaway where he takes major mountain points while riding alone. There's a chance of that, but he's still placed highly in the GC, and may not be allowed to get away.
Versus broacaster picks:
First climb, a 4th Cat:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +3 pts
2) Alexandre Efimkin, Barloworld, +2 pts
3) Marcel Sieberg, Milram, +1 pt
2nd climb, a 3rd Cat:
1) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +4 pts
2) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, +3 pts
3) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel +2 pts
4) Stephane Goubert (AG2R)+1 pt
Schumacher was recaptured, and Thomas Voeckler made a break. He was quickly countered by 18 riders, including Michael Rogers, George Hincapie, David Millar, Stephan Schumacher, and Jens Voigt.
1) Thomas Voeckler, Bouygues Telecom, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Lilian Jegou, Française des Jeux, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Stephane Goubert (A2R) +2 pts/2 secs
3rd climb, 2nd Cat:
1) Thomas Voeckler, Bouygues Telecom, 10 pts
2) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, 9 pts
3) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, 8 pts
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval, 7 pts
5) Bernard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 6 pts
6) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, 5 pts
Voeckler was captured and the group of 18 quickly built a 2:00 lead on the peloton, driven primarily by Rabobank.
2nd (and final) intermediate sprint:
1) Frederik Willems, Liquigas, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Antonio Colom, Astana, +2 pts/2 secs
Early on the day's biggest climb, David Millar falls off the lead group, and Michael Rasmussen rides off the peloton, joined by 7 other riders.
Bernard Kohl of Gerolsteiner has ridden away from the Rogers group and leads the race, with Antonio Colom and Christophe Le Mevel chasing.
Rasmussen has caught up to the splinters of the Rogers group, with David Arroyo, who bridged with him, and Goubert and Rogers join them to chase down Kohl, Le Mevel, and Colom. The 7 of them now lead the race.
Le Mevel is dropped late on the climb. Over the top, Rasmussen takes max points. He's been doing most of the work, but will be glad to have some other riders to pick the best line on the descent. The main field is more than 5 minutes behind with 2 more 1st Category climbs.
Cormet de Roselend, 1st Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 15 pts
2) Bernard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, 13 pts
3) Stephane Goubert, AG2R, 11 pts
4) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, 9 pts
5) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, 8 pts
6) Antonio Colom, Astana, 7 pts
7) Christphe Le Mevel, 6 pts (@ :52)
8) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 5 pts (@1:25)
On the descent, Michael Rogers crashes, and David Arroyo goes over a guardrail. Both are quickly back on the road, but have to chase to get back with Rasmussen/Kohl/Colom.
On the 2nd 1st Category climb, Rogers is first to fall off the Rasmussen group, quickly followed by Goubert and Kohl. Colom and Arroyo match Rasmussen, letting the Dane do all the work.
Rogers can't hang with Goubert and Kohl, and it's quickly apparent that he's injured from the fall. He falls back to Hincapie's group, then back to the peloton, then off the back of the peloton to see the race doctor. Rogers refuses help from a domestique, then pulls to the side of the road. He collapses over his top tube, then dismounts and exits the Tour.
Less than 5 minutes later, his teammate Marcus Burghardt is reported to have abandoned, but it's yet another race radio screwup.
Over the summit, it's Rasmussen again, and Astana comes to the front of the field, 6:12 behind Rasmussen's trio. Most of the GC men are close by. Rasmussen is back in his familiar polka-dots, and could take the overall lead -- Arroyo is only 2 seconds behind Rasmussen in GC, and would take the race lead if he beats Rasmussen to the line for the stage win.
Montée d'Hauteville, 1st Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 15 pts
2) Antonio Colom, Astana, 13 pts
3) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, 11 pts
4) Sergio Paulinho, Discovery Channel, 9 pts
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 8 pts
6) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, 7 pts
7) Amets Txurruka, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 6 pts
8) Christophe le Mevel, Credit Agricole, 5 pts
Knowing Arroyo is a threat, Rasmussen rides the other two off his wheel on the day's last climb. Christophe Moreau is the first GC man to attack -- Mayo, Evans, Contador, Kashechkin, Valverde and Shleck (and briefly, Popovych) matched the French champion. Mayo, Moreau and Contador look like the strongest men in this group, which has built a lead of more than 1:30 on the peloton, which include Vino, Klöden, Leipheimer, Menchov, and others.
Contador has a mechanical that takes him back to the Vino group, but as soon as he's back on his bike, he goes back on the attack. Meanwhile, Moreau's group sweeps up Arroyo and Colom, and nearing the summit, Mayo jumps easily away. Only Moreau will work to reel him in, and Mayo builds a gap.
Rasmussen crosses the line with a textbook Rasmussen victory. Today, though, there's more than the polka-dots as a reward: Rasmussen takes over as the overall race leader.
Mayo is 2nd on the day, 2:47 back, then Valverde.
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Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Sylvain Chavanel, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 14, 2007
Stage 7 on the road
Today is the Tour's hardest stage, so far, with two 3rd Category climbs, then a 4th Category, and finally the 1st Category Col de la Colombiére, whose summit comes about 15 kilometers/9.3 miles from the finish.
It's Bastille Day, as well, so many of the French riders will be angling for the stage. Christophe Moreau looks like a favorite for the stage win to me.
Oscar Freire of Rabobank and Rubens Lobato of Saunier Duval didn't take the start this morning. Enrico Degano, who was reported out of the race yesterday, actually finished 16th yesterday and took the start, but has already abandoned on the course. Or so they claim.
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, +2 pts/2 secs
On the day's first climb, a 3rd Category:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, +4 pts
2) Gorka Verdugo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, +3 pts
3) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, +2 pts
4) Sergio Paulinho, Discovery Channel, +1 pt
Fifteen riders are off the front:
David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval)
Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole)
Egoi Martinez (Discovery)
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile)
Benoît Vaugrenard (FdJeux)
Iñigo Landaluze and Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel)
Paolo Savoldelli (Astana)
Martin Elmiger (AG2R)
Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
Bram Tankink (Quick Step)
José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Laurent Lefevre and Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom)
Most notably missing in the break are Team CSC and Predictor-Lotto. Cancellara was off the back of the field on earlier, but is back with the field now, more than 8 minutes behind the 15 with Predictor-Lotto leading.
Over the day's 2nd climb, a 3rd Category:
1) David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval, +4 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +3 pts
3) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, +2 pts
4) Ruben Pérez, Euskaltel-Euskadi +1 pt
The peloton is 6:30 behind. The 4th Category Côte de Peguin is close behind, and again de la Fuente takes max points:
3rd climb, the 4th Category Côte de Peguin:
1) David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval, +3 pts
2) Laurent Lefevre, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts
3) Dmitriy Fofonov, Credit Agricole, +1 pt
The gap is 6:40 when the peloton crosses the summit. Less than 60 kilometers/37 miles to ride.
At the base of the big climb, both groups splintered. José Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epargne was the first to attack from the leaders, quickly countered by de la Fuente. Gerdemann and Fofonov bridged up individually, then dropped the two Spaniards.
In the field, Cancellara quickly found himself off the back, and waved cheerily to the camera as he fell out of the race lead, in the gruppetto with Boonen, McEwen, Zabel, Wiggins and many others.
Gerdemann quickly dropped Fofonov and led all riders over the top of the day's biggest climb. He had 3:30 at the top, and a 10-kilometer descent to the finish. Landaluze trailed by only 18 seconds at the top, but it looks like one of the early breakaway riders must win the day.
Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank drives ahead of the field to make some climbers' points at the summit, taking 8th over the climb.
4th climb, 1st Category Col de la Colombiére (points doubled):
1) Gerdemann (TMO) +30 pts
2) Landaluze (EUS) +26 pts
3) de la Fuente (SDV) +22 pts
4) Lefevre (BTL) +18 pts
5) Soler (BAR) +16 pts
6) Fofonov (CA) +14 pts
7) Elmiger (AG2R) +12 pts
8) Rasmussen (RAB) +10 pts
Gerdemann is nailing the descent, fluidly stretching the gap back to Landaluze. It looks like Gerdemann will have a double victory -- the stage win and the yellow jersey.
With 5 kilometers to ride, Landaluze trails by 32 seconds and the peloton is at 3:26.
Gerdemann keeps his head down all the way to the line for the biggest victory of his career. He'll take over the yellow and white jersey leads, as well. Landaluze crosses 40 seconds back, then de la Fuente at 1:39. The select group with the GC threats was 3:38 back, with Juan Manuel Garate leading the way.
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July 12, 2007
Stage 5 on the road
Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis, who could have taken the King of the Mountains jersey yesterday, is on the attack, alongside FdJeux's Philippe Gilbert, Credit Agricole's William Bonnet, and Barloworld's Gianpaolo Cheula, who caught the trio after a long chase.
Chavanel has taken 1st over each of the minor climbs so far, and looks likely to take over the polka-dot jersey tonight.
CSC has announced it won't defend the yellow jersey today, as a late 2nd Category climb and a 3rd Category climb only 8 kilometers from the finish should shake up the overall classification. We're likely to see the first gruppetto, as the big sprinters huddle together, working together to finish before the time limit.
Milram's Brett Lancaster of Australia withdrew after 2 hours of riding today, complaining of ongoing stomach problems. That leaves 184 riders in the race.
Lots of little crashes have happened as the Tour's first real climbs approach. Saunier Duval's Iban Mayo was paced back to the peloton by all 8 teammates, while Astana's Andreas Klöden fell with a teammate and visited the medical car. More serious was a fall just after the feed zone by Geoffroy Lequatre of Cofidis, who spent several minutes sitting by the side of the road after as doctors examined his arm.
Chavanel's group has led by nearly 15 minutes, but they're slowly being reeled in, with a 7:42 lead with 60 miles/97 kms to ride.
On the day's biggest climb, Chavanel turned on the heat, and only Philippe Gilbert could match him. Over the top, Chavanel led Gilbert, with Cheula and Bonnet 3rd and 4th, and Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank jumped from the field to take 6 pts in 5th place ahead of Sergio Paulinho of Discovery Channel leading the pack.
The gap is hovering a little over 2 minutes, and Bonnet and Cheula have been captured, so only Chavanel and Gilbert still lead, with less than 40 kilometers/25 miles to ride.
Vinokourov has gone down hard! His whole team besides Andreas Klöden and Andrey Kashechkin come back to chase, and Vinokourov blows each in turn, until he's left with nothing but the team car to draft, working up through the back traffic.
Chavanel and Gilbert are captured just before the day's final summit, with CSC pounding the field forward, and Vinokourov struggling to rejoin.
Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych launched an attack on the capture of Chavanel, and yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (!) powered the chase, which was short-circuited when Popovych and Cancellara overshot a corner and lost their momentum.
Coming into the finish, David Millar took a flier, with a Bouygues Telecom rider (probably Anthony Geslin), but they just dangled off the front into the final kilometer.
In the last 500 meters, Zabel and Freire looked well positioned, there comes George Hincapie, Bennati, and coming up fast through the middle, it's Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas taking the sprint! Pozzato took Milan-San Remo in 2006 and Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour, and told CyclingNews.com this morning that this was his stage.
The best way to follow the action in real time is to subscribe to my Twitter feed, which you can direct to your IM client or cell phone. A number of others are also Twittering the Tour, including David Bernstein of FredCast, CyclingNews.com (whose updates are usually truncated), Phil from Spinopsys, and Ken Conley.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2007 in 2007 Stage 5, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Michael Rasmussen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
June 14, 2007
Rabobank announce Tour squad
CyclingPost.com reports that Rabobank has named its final Tour squad:
- Rabobank Tour squad:
- Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)
- Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
- Bram de Groot (Netherlands)
- Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain)
- Oscar Freire (Spain)
- Denis Menchov (Russia)
- Grischa Niermann (Germany)
- Michael Rasmussen (Denmark)
- Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
Menchov is the team's GC threat, and was best young rider of the Tour in 2003. Rasmussen won the king of the mountains competition in 2005 and 2006. Six Rabobank riders have won Tour stages: Boogerd, Flecha, Freire, Menchov, Rasmussen, and Weening.
February 14, 2007
Tour of California rosters released
I am going to hate missing the Tour of California. With the obvious exception of Floyd Landis, fans will get to see pretty much every American racing in the ProTour, and many of the world's best riders will be racing in the US for the first time.
The race, kicking off Sunday, will feature the winners of 4 stages and the prologue of the 2006 Tour de France: Thor Hushovd, who took the prologue and Stage 21, CSC's Jens Voigt, Stage 13, Michael (Spider) Rasmussen, who dominated the Alpine climbs and won Stage 16 and the king of the mountains, and Matteo Tosatto, who won Stage 18.
You want Americans? They got 'em: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, and Jason McCartney from Discovery Channel; Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Christian Vandevelde from Team CSC; Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner from Predictor-Lotto; Aaron Olson, now with T-Mobile; and of course the US-based Pro Continental and Continental teams, mostly populated by US riders.
You want ProTour royalty? They got 'em: World champion Paolo Bettini, world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, reigning Giro champion Ivan Basso, and former world TT champion Michael Rogers.
There are also lots of old faces on new teams, as with Michael Barry, Greg Henderson and Jakob Piil, all now with T-Mobile, Juan-José Haedo, dominant in US sprints last year, and now racing for CSC, and Henk Vogels, now racing for the Continental Toyota-United squad.
Also, injured Credit Agricole rider Saul Raisin, whose recovery continues, plans to ride each stage noncompetitively and visit with fans at the start and finish. He's also promoting a ride March 31st in Dalton, Ga. called Raisin Hope.
Should be a heck of a race.
Posted by Frank Steele on February 14, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Igor Astarloa, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Saul Raisin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 23, 2006
Hushovd adds Paris to Strasbourg; Landis triumphs
A late escape attempt by Discovery Channel may have overcooked Robbie McEwen, as Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd easily outsprinted Davitamon-Lotto's sprint king to take the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France. CSC's Stuart O'Grady, recovering from a fractured spine suffered early in the race, took 3rd on the day.
Hushovd completed an unusual set of bookends, winning the Prologue time trial 3 weeks ago yesterday and now taking the final stage into Paris.
Floyd Landis stayed near the front early and stayed out of the dicey sprint at the end to nail down his first-ever Tour de France victory, finishing 69th on the day, 8 seconds behind Hushovd. It's the 8th straight US win of the race, after Lance Armstrong's 7 consecutive wins.
McEwen can take some solace from his 3rd green jersey win, resulting from his 3 stage wins.
Michael Rasmussen's tremendous breakaway win to La Toussuire, overshadowed by Landis's attack the following day, shot him to the lead, and the overall win, in the climber's polka-dot jersey competition.
Damiano Cunego, already a winner of the Giro d'Italia, takes the best young rider's white jersey, just 38 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The pair were about 90 minutes ahead of the next competitor in the under-25 competition.
Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, the climbing jersey leader until Rasmussen's big day out front, takes the overall “most combative rider” prize.
Landis took his final yellow jersey of the Tour with his daughter Ryan on the podium.
Post-race interview with Frankie Andreu: Landis says, “Right now, I have no intention of switching teams.” Leaves a little wiggle room, but sounds like the iShares team (as Phonak will be called next year) has its Tour captain for 2007.
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, in 3:56:52
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
6) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, Austria, s.t.
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, France, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 20, 2006
Stage 17: the other competitions
No question who today's “Most competitive rider” was: Landis rides with red race numbers tomorrow.
T-Mobile's passive day may have ridden Klöden out of the Tour, but they've moved clearly into the lead of the team competition, 8:41 ahead of CSC. Turns out CSC foolishly burned its riders out getting Sastre up the road to contest the overall race win.
Landis probably sewed up the King of the Mountains for Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen today. Flying Floyd took max points over most of the day's climbs, including double points on Joux-Plane, and moved up into 2nd in the competition. There are very few points left to contest.
Similarly, McEwen has pretty much sewed up the green jersey, leading by 45 points with 2 flattish road stages to go.
That leaves yellow, and it's hard to see any other way to cut it than that Floyd Landis is again the favorite to win the Tour de France on Sunday. He's certainly a 30-second better time trial rider than Pereiro, 18 seconds better than Sastre, and has a 2-minute cushion on everybody else.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack
July 19, 2006
Rasmussen takes Stage 16; disaster for Landis
Rabobank's monster climber Michael Rasmussen went on a day-long breakaway, reminiscent of his Stage 9 breakaway last year. He led the field over four climbs, to take a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition, which he won last year.
Yellow jersey Floyd Landis had a nightmare day, when he couldn't match an attack by Carlos Sastre on the day's last climb, and just went backward out of the race lead. Meanwhile, Oscar Pereiro dropped Denis Menchov and Cyril Dessel, finishing with Andreas Klöden and Cadel Evans to retake the overall race lead.
Landis was initially helped out when T-Mobile chased down their own Michael Rogers, covering a break by Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and Oscar Pereiro, where Landis just sat in. But when Sastre launched, the pace rose, and Landis just vanished. He eventually recovered some energy, but was paced to the line by Axel Merckx 10:04 behind Rasmussen, and more than 8 minutes behind Pereiro.
July 19th is a very happy day in the Pereiro household; last year, he won Stage 16 on July 19th, and this year, he takes back the yellow jersey.
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 5:36:04
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:41
3) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 1:54
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:56
5) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:56
6) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 2:37
7) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, Italy, at 2:37
8) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:37
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 3:24
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 3:42
11) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:42
12) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:42
23) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 10:04
1) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, in 74:38:05
2) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:50
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
4) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 2:43
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:56
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:58
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 6:47
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 7:03
9) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, at 7:46
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 8:06
11) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 8:08
Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Stage 16: The Battle of La Toussuire
With 27 kilometers to ride, Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen leads all riders, 4:40 ahead of Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer and Lampre's Tadej Valjavec, and 7:21 ahead of a very dangerous group that includes Floyd Landis and all his rivals.
Valjavec has gapped Leipheimer on the descent by a few seconds. Landis sits 4th wheel on the descent, while Matthias Kessler is having a hard time hanging on the back of the descending yellow jersey group.
Leipheimer has gone through the banner for 25 kilometers to ride. Maybe 3 minutes later, Rasmussen is through 20 kilometers to ride.
Kessler has lost sight of the leaders' group. Leipheimer catches Valjavec, and Rasmussen is back on the rise, as he starts up the 18-kilometer climb to the finish line atop La Toussuire.
Leipheimer won here during his Dauphiné Libéré win in June. I don't think he'll catch Rasmussen, though.
Moreau, Goubert, and Calzati are dropped with Sylvain Calzati as the yellow jersey group hits the climb. Merckx leads the group, with Landis sitting just behind. Boogerd sits next to Merckx.
Moreau has caught back on. Now Leipheimer attacks, dropping Valjavec. He's got 2:00 on the Landis group.
Kessler chased back on, but he's done; pulls to the side, and he's off the back. Schleck has come to the front, and sets pace as Merckx falls to the back. Fothen is also sitting on the back, with Cunego comfortably in the group. Merckx is gone, Patxi Vila is gone.
Rogers has gone to the front, with Boogerd, then Landis on his wheel. Cyril Dessel (!) is still in this group, while Christophe Moreau has struggled.
Leipheimer is 4:00 behind Rasmussen, as T-Mobile's Guerini falls off the leaders group.
There goes Menchov hard, with Rogers and Oscar Pereiro. Evans and Azevedo attack. Landis doesn't counter; he's marking Klöden.
Menchov, Rogers, Pereiro and Evans ride, just up the road from Klöden. Azevedo falls back into the Landis group, and once again T-Mobile is attacking their own rider. Boogerd is off the back; T-Mobile is going to destroy this break. Mazzoleni has towed Klöden and Landis back to Menchov, Rogers, Evans, and Pereiro.
Cunego sits at the back of the select group now.
That attack has put some time into Rasmussen; he's only 5:42 up the road now.
There goes Sastre; he's 2:17 back in the GC. Landis is cracked. He's off the back! There's 10 kilometers to ride; he's back with Azevedo, and he can't match Sastre's attack.
Landis is just dead. He's got to find somebody to work with. Zubeldia is off the back. Sastre is riding hard. Boogerd has passed Landis, who can't match him. They're running the team cars past Landis, who's suffering mightily at the back.
Sastre's already got 55 seconds on Landis; and 30 seconds on Kloden's group.
With about 7 kilometers to ride (4.5 miles) Leipheimer is 3:33 behind Rasmussen, with Sastre only 20 seconds behind Levi. Landis is only passing under the 10 kilometer banner. Marcus Fothen passes, along with Frank Schleck, and Landis can't get on their wheel.
Sastre catches Leipheimer. Leipheimer sits in, and there's a chance that this pair could catch Rasmussen. Not anymore: Sastre drops Leipheimer, while Rasmussen is starting to look like he's hurting with less than 5 kilometers to ride.
Rogers has dropped back to the rear of Klöden's group, where Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Oscar Pereiro, Cyril Dessel, and Michael Rogers are still sitting behind Eddy Mazzoleni.
Landis now looks like he's found another gear; he's turning the pedals again, but he's going to lose a lot of time today.
Menchov raises the pace, and Mazzoleni and Rogers are gone. The Pereiro/Klöden/Menchov group overtakes Leipheimer. Moreau and Caucchioli are gone, and Menchov is off the back. Dessel is gone, leaving only Klöden, Pereiro, and Evans at the front.
Rasmussen has 3 k to ride. Sastre is 2:36 behind. Pereiro has gone to the front, with Klöden sitting in, and Cadel Evans trying to hang on the back.
Moreau, Dessel, Caucchioli, Leipheimer and Menchov have formed a chase group. First Menchov, and now Leipheimer have been dropped. They'll ride alone to the finish.
At 5k to ride, Landis is 9:23 back of Rasmussen. Rasmussen passes under the flamme rouge, and his epic stage-long breakaway will pay off; he'll take the stage, and a commanding lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Sastre is within sight of Klöden, Pereiro and Evans, maybe 30 seconds up the road.
There's the finish line, and Rasmussen is almost in tears. He throws out his arms, and he's won the hardest day of the 2006 Tour.
Sastre is 2nd, at about 1:42. Pereiro is sprinting away from Evans and Klöden for 3rd through 5th. Pereiro moves back into the yellow jersey. Here comes Cyril Dessel at 2:37, alongside Christophe Moreau and Pietro Caucchioli. Leipheimer is 9th at about 3:23. Zubeldia leads Menchov around 3:47, with 2 others. Cunego comes in at 4:21; he's gained time on Fothen for the white jersey.
Merckx has gotten back up to Landis and is pacing him in.
Azevedo comes in at about 7:54. Here's Fothen with Schleck at about 8:36. Still awaiting Landis at the finish.
There's 10 minutes; he's through at about 10:03. It's a disaster for Landis, who will fall to about 8 minutes behind yellow jersey Pereiro.
July 18, 2006
Tale of the teammates
Today's stage was a beautiful show of cycling as a team sport. Everywhere you looked, there were riders making moves or countering moves through the assistance of teammates who sacrificed their own chances for the team or team leader.
The best and biggest example was Jens Voigt, who got to contest two different races today. After a long tempo ride at the head of the break, then crashing while roasting the breakaway, Voigt chased back on and took a few more pulls, until he couldn't pull any more. Zabriskie took over escort duties for Schleck, who noted the work they put in to set up his victory.
Voigt, though, wasn't finished. As the GC contenders came by, he took up lead duties for Carlos Sastre, helping pace Sastre up toward Klöden and Landis, and setting a pace that Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans couldn't match. He finally shuffled in 13:52 behind winning teammate Schleck.
Landis had Axel Merckx, who was also in the early break, and looked unprepared to jump in amongst the race's strongest riders when Landis, Klöden, Leipheimer, and Sastre came alongside. Ready or not, he pulled without relief for more than a kilometer up the Alpe.
Similarly, Andreas Klöden had Eddy Mazzoleni, who pulled almost to the line after dropping (or falling) off the break with Cunego and Schleck.
Denis Menchov is being labeled the day's big loser, but he could have lost more time if not for his arachnoid teammate Michael Rasmussen, who caught his leader from behind to set pace and offer support and a water bottle Menchov couldn't spare the strength to take.
David Arroyo paced yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro for miles, and Mikel Astarloza likewise gave his all to protect Cyril Dessel's tenuous 3rd place for at least one more day.
That was an awesome stage. I wouldn't want to be chasing Landis tomorrow, when they give him back that yellow bicycle.
July 13, 2006
Stage 11 final climbs
De la Fuente and Wegmann ride together almost 3:30 ahead of the pack, down to around 40 riders.
AG2R still has 6 riders up front.
Wegmann is gapped; De la Fuente is 25 seconds ahead of him already. AG2R has been replaced at the front by T-Mobile. Four T-Mobiles lead. Moncoutié is off the back, Voeckler is gone. Sastre's here, Boogerd is here, Landis, Cadel Evans. Guerini is off the back, Calzati is cooked. Popovych, Mercado and Vande Velde are at the back, not yet dropped but likely to be soon.
Moreau, Landis, Kessler, Rogers, Boogerd, Azevedo, Arroyo, Sastre, Schleck, Cunego, Zubeldia, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Menchov all are together at the front. Fothen, Totschnig, Hincapie are at the back of the lead group.
Wegmann is caught and instantly dropped. Cunego is falling off the pace.
Hincapie is falling off the lead group, behind Mercado. Kessler is done. He's barely moving up the Portillon. Parra is dropped from the front group. Only one T-Mobile at the front, and it's Rogers, as Klöden is back a few places. Simoni is at the back of the lead group. I thought he was dropped, but he's still there.
Now Boogerd and Rasmussen lead the field, ahead of Leipheimer, Landis, and Klöden. De la Fuente is still alone 2 minutes up the road. He's 1 kilometer from the summit, where the race will pass into Spain.
De la Fuente cements his King of the Mountains lead atop the Portillon. Rasmussen is 2nd over the top, ahead of Boogerd and Landis. Carlos Sastre falls just over the top of the climb. He's chasing, and should catch up before the climb to the Pla de Beret.
Hincapie is reportedly 5 minutes down, behind Dessel's group, which is 3:40 behind Landis and Klöden, who are 1:40 behind De la Fuente.
David Arroyo and Damiano Cunego have attacked from the Landis group. Landis is near the back of the 14 leaders. They have about 20 miles to ride. Menchov and Rasmussen lead Landis, Leipheimer, Boogerd, Fothen, Evans, Sastre, Schleck, Zubeldia, Simoni, Totschnig, Moreau, Klöden, Rogers, Parra, and Azevedo. Arroyo and Cunego are 33 seconds behind De la Fuente and 37 seconds ahead of the Landis group.
De la Fuente is caught, and tucks in behind Arroyo. They're 40 seconds ahead of the Landis group, which is 1:05 up on the yellow jersey group. Now Cunego sits up, and the trio is captured, leaving 21 riders on the lower slopes of the Pla de Beret with a shot at the stage win.
The three Rabobanks lead the select group, with Simoni just behind. Cunego is dropped with 20 kilometers/12.5 miles to ride.
The leaders are onto the final climb, with 15 kilometers to go. This one's not as steep as the day's previous climbs, but plenty long.
The lead group is splitting up: Michael Rogers is gone, Azevedo's gone, Fothen, Simoni is gone, Parra is gone. Who is doing this damage? It's Michael Boogerd driving the pack. Frank Schleck is gone. Zubeldia is 8 meters off the back. Rasmussen is gone.
Still Boogerd driving, and Moreau is gone.
It's Sastre, Klöden, Landis, Boogerd, Menchov, Evans, Leipheimer with less than 10 kilometers to go. Boogerd is still at the front.
Boogerd is finished, and Menchov has another gear. He goes and Klöden is gone. Landis, Sastre, Leipheimer and Evans match him. Leipheimer tries an attack, but they won't let him go.
There are some games among the five leaders, and Landis has moved to the front. Now he pulls off, and looks for somebody to set the pace. Dessel the yellow jersey is less than 3:30 behind. He may hold the yellow jersey. The top is only 4 kilometers away. Boogerd and Klöden are less than 20 seconds behind.
There's one kilometer to the top, and the yellow jersey is now more than 4 minutes behind. Klöden is now 45 seconds back.
Leipheimer goes full steam, Menchov matches him, and Landis. Sastre and Evans can't respond. Menchov attacks as they pull Leipheimer back, and Landis goes with him. Leipheimer is third wheel, now he's dropped by 5 meters. Menchov and Landis ride side by side. Now there are three. But they've slowed, and Sastre may get back up there.
Menchov leads over the top. It's down to Landis, Menchov and Leipheimer with 2 kilometers to the finish. Leiphiemer comes around, it's going to be a finishing sprint, and Menchov leads in the two Americans. Menchov takes the stage win, with Leipheimer 2nd and Landis 3rd. Evans maybe 17 seconds back, with Sastre. Boogerd is 6th at 1:05. Zubeldia, Schleck, and Klöden at 1:35. Landis gets a time bonus for 3rd, and Dessel is fighting to the line.
Moreau finishes at 2:29. Dessel is over the summit. Totschnig, Fothen, Parra, Rogers at around 3:10. Dessel's got his head down with 1k to ride. Landis is going to be very close to the yellow jersey.
Azevedo, Simoni, and Arroyo finish at 4:10 or so. Dessel will finish next, with Caucchioli and Cunego. Floyd Landis will pull on the leader's jersey as Dessel comes in at 4:45!
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Stage 11 on the road
First up is the Col du Tourmalet, one of the Tour's legendary climbs.
CSC's Giovanni Lombardi withdrew low on the climb of the Tourmalet, and Iban Mayo sits almost 3 minutes behind the main field, gesturing angrily at the race motorcycle, hovering nearby in case he drops out.
AG2R and Phonak are leading the peloton, with Merckx, Perdiguero, and Robbie Hunter (!) leading Landis. Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann, Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha, and Euskaltel's Iker Camano are 5:11 ahead of the field. Wegmann apparently wasn't joking earlier in the Tour when he went out grabbing king of the mountains points, and he's doing most of the work in the leading quartet today.
Rubiera is off the back for Discovery, Thor Hushovd, Samuel Dumoulin. Gilberto Simoni is off the back. Boonen, Brard and Voeckler have reportedly also fallen off the pace. Chris Horner is reportedly dropped, and Paolo Savoldelli (!). Some of these guys will chase back on, but they've got 4 more 1st-Category climbs to go. Sandy Casar is off the back.
Zabriskie is maybe a minute back, and three Discovery riders are sitting together at the back of the leading group. Egoi Martinez finally falls off the back, and Ekimov and Noval work back up into the field. AG2R still has 6 riders in the front, doing their yellow jersey proud.
As the leading quartet approach the summit, they all are climbing out of the saddle, and De la Fuente marks Wegmann. Wegmann keeps the pace low, and finally, De la Fuente launches an attack. Wegmann sits on his wheel, looking for the summit points and cash prize, but De la Fuente has the inside line and gets the prize. As the main chase group approaches the summit, Rasmussen attacks, joined by Voeckler, and Voeckler outscraps the skinny Dane for 5th place points. Yellow Jersey Dessel takes 7th, good for 8 points.
There was a split in the front group, but they're back together now, approaching the base of the Col d'Aspin, our next climb. The peloton is growing on the descent, and Voeckler attacked over the Tourmalet and has more than a minute on the field, sitting about 4 minutes behind Camano, Wegmann, De la Fuente, and Flecha.
Col d'Aspin is not splitting the field like the Tourmalet. The peloton is still 70-80 strong. Casar is off the back, and Benjamin Noval, among a few others. Voeckler is 2:20 behind the leaders, and more than 3 minutes ahead of the field. Zabel and Garate have fallen out of the field; Rinero, David Millar, Philippe Gilbert, Chechu Rubiera are also dropped. Voeckler is closing fast on the leaders.
Wegmann launches with more than 300 meters to the summit, and De la Fuente wasn't ready to contest it, so Wegmann takes the 18 points over the top, ahead of De la Fuente, Flecha and Camano. Voeckler 5th at 1:30, and Michael Boogerd leads Rasmussen up to the line for 6th place points at 4:05.
Next, the Col de Peyresourde.
Voeckler continues to close, 35 seconds to the leaders, while the peloton is now 3:49 back as the leading quartet pass the "10 kilometers to the summit" sign.
Camano is falling off the lead group as Voeckler approaches from behind. They're about 15 seconds back. Flecha is laboring hard, and he's dropped. Voeckler goes by Camano.
Egoi Martinez and Stefano Garzelli have fallen off the field. Klöden is right up front, with Michael Rogers on his left shoulder. Pereiro is off the back for, and Popovych is "stretching the elastic" at the back of the pack.
Wegmann and De la Fuente are riding alone for the summit, gaining time on Voeckler and Flecha. Flecha's 1:00 back, Voeckler's at 1:39. The sweat is dripping out of his helmet.
Leaders are 1k to the top; let's see how the games go. De la Fuente is trying to get Wegmann to come around. They're side-by-side. De la Fuente hits the afterburners from pretty far out, and Wegmann couldn't match him. De la Fuente may be cramping, but he's the new leader of the King of the Mountains competition, for now at least. Camano is caught by the main field. Flecha is 3rd to the summit at 2:10, but Voeckler is caught, and Rasmussen gets 4th over the top at 3:00.
Popovych is 40 meters off the back, and looking for the team car.
I'm going to start a new post for the Portillon and the Pla de Beret.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Gilberto Simoni, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Tour de France 2006, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 12, 2006
Mercado takes Stage 10; Cyril Dessel the new yellow jersey
Nothing says “wide-open Tour” better than lightly regarded Cyril Dessel of AG2R, who leads the world's biggest bike race halfway through. Wildcard Agritubel's team leader, Juan Miguel Mercado, sat in for the last part of the stage, and just barely nipped Dessel after a very long breakaway.
T-Mobile spent almost the whole day at the front of the chase, but their yellow jersey, Sergei Honchar, fell off the pace at both the day's big climbs. He finished in the main group, as did Landis, Hincapie, Moreau, Evans, and, after struggling on the Marie Blanque, Leipheimer, Fothen and Simoni. One surprise was Iban Mayo; he came in with the grupetto 24:24 back.
1) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Spain, 4:49:10
2) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, same time
3) Inigo Landaluze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at :56
4) Cristian Moreni, Cofidis, Italy, at 2:24
5) Christophe Rinero, Saunier Duval, France, at 2:25
6) Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 5:03
7) Cedric Vasseur, QuickStep, France, at 5:35
8) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy, at 7:23
9) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, same time
10) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, Italy, same time
Full stage results
1) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, 43:07:05
2) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Spain, at 2:34
3) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, Ukraine, at 3:45
4) Cristian Moreni, Cofidis, Italy, at 3:51
5) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 4:45
6) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 4:53
7) Inigo Landaluze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 5:22
8) Patrik Sinkewitz, T-Mobile, Germany, at 5:30
9) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 5:35
10) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at 5:37
Full general classification
Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Stage 10 on the road
Former world champion Laurent Brochard of AG2R didn't make today's start, and Jimmy Engoulvent of Cofidis abandoned on the road, leaving 168 riders in the race.
A 13-rider break formed at about 45 kilometers, taking the points over the 3rd-Category climb and at the 2nd sprint line.
That break: CSC's Jens Voigt, AG2R's Cyril Dessel, Rabobank's Joost Posthuma, Lampre's Daniele Bennati, QuickStep's Cedric Vasseur, Euskaltel's Inaki Isasi and Inigo Landaluze, Saunier Duval's Christophe Rinero, Française des Jeux's Carlos da Cruz, Liquigas's Manuel Quinziato, Agritubel's Juan Miguel Mercado, Bouyges Telecom's Matthieu Sprick, and Cofidis's Cristian Moreni.
Dessel led Rinero, Sprick and Mercado, the Agritubel team leader, over the Col d'Osquich, which is sort of today's warm-up climb.
Bennati is a fair sprinter, and took max points at the day's last intermediate sprint, ahead of Da Cruz and Voigt.
About 80 kilometers into the 191-kilometer day, the gap is up to about 8 minutes, and the leaders have started up today's longest climb, the Col de Soudet. T-Mobile and Phonak are setting pace in the peloton.
The leaders are splitting now, with Voigt, Quinziato, Posthuma and Da Cruz off the back, and Sprick at the back.
Rinero, Dessel, Mercado, and Landaluze are riding together for the top of the Soudet, with the peloton about 9:15 back. The other 9 former breakaway riders are spread out back down the slope.
Hushovd off the back of the peloton. He'll be looking for the grupetto. Brad Wiggins is back there. Iban Mayo is at the back of the field! He's got two teammates with him; Sandy Casar is at the back. The peloton is still 80 or more riders, but Mayo is about to lose contact, on the first major climb of the Tour. Boonen is back here, as well.
Conversely, Levi Leipheimer is riding right next to the 6 T-Mobiles leading the main group. Hincapie, Moreau, Sastre, Landis, and Evans are all there, as well.
Mercado has attacked in the break, and Dessel is riding with him, but Landaluze and Rinero are dropped.
The grupetto has been gapped; all the sprinters are together back there. Matthias Kessler is doing most of the T-Mobile pacesetting. Near the summit, Mercado attacks, Dessel comes back and passes and gaps Mercado. Dessel takes max points over the summit, with Mercado 50 meters back, which will put Dessel up into 2nd in the King of the Mountains competition.
Honchar is one of the last riders in the main chasing group, with his T-Mobile teammates still leading it. Gilberto Simoni is only a few riders ahead, and Thomas Voeckler has fallen off and sprinted back into the field.
Over the top, the gap to Mercado and Dessel is 9:42, and Landaluze is rejoining them at the front of the race. Now Rinero catches on, and there are 4 leaders. Their gap is up over 10 minutes, with Michael Rogers descending a little ahead of his T-Mobile teammates on the front of the chase group.
Cyril Dessel in the yellow jersey? He's the highest placed rider in the break, which is now up at 10:30, and Inaki Isasi is back in the group.
Now Moreni and Vasseur are very close to rejoining the leaders, which would put 7 riders in the lead, with 10:40 on the primary chasing group, where you'll find most of the team leaders. Mayo has caught back onto this group, as well.
The 7 leaders now have 11 minutes in hand, and have started up the Col de Marie Blanque, with less than 50 kilometers to ride.
Voigt, Quinziato and Posthuma have been caught on the lower part of the Marie Blanque; The gap to Mercado's lead group is 10:20. Mercado and Dessel have gapped the other 5 riders, and quickly got 100 meters on them. Landaluze is coming off the front, and rides between Dessel/Mercado, and Christophe Rinero.
Main chase group has brought it back under 10 minutes. Mercado and Dessel are only 2 kilometers from the summit, then will have 40 kilometers down into Pau.
Peña leads Landis near the front of the main chase group, two Discovery riders are also there. T-Mobile still is doing most of the work, but Honchar has been two-thirds back in that group for a while. Sprick is recaptured from the earlier break. Mercado and Dessel are 9:40 up the road.
The main chase group is slimming down again, as Rubiera, Zabriskie, Jerome Pineau, David Monoutié, Axel Merckx, and others are falling off the pace. Honchar is dropped, as well, but only 20 meters off the back. He'll get back on the descent.
Rasmussen has attacked out of the chase group, presumably to take some mountain points. Marcus Fothen is goiing the other way, off the back of the chase group, a few bike lengths behind Leipheimer, who's suffering. Just ahead of him is Damiano Cunego. Honchar is consistently one of the last 2-3 riders in the chase group, but he hasn't lost contact, as have Leipheimer and Cunego.
Over the top, it's 9:20 between the day's leaders and the main chase group. Mercado, Dessel, or Landaluze (13 seconds behind) is almost guaranteed the stage win now.
Twenty kilometers to go, and the chase group is at 9:33. Landaluze has never caught Mercado and Dessel, and rides almost 30 seconds behind. AG2R have sent 5 riders to the front of the chase group to disrupt the chase. Mercado won Stage 8 of the 2004 Tour.
The gap is steady at about 9:35, with only about 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) to ride. Dessel is doing all the pacesetting, as Mercado sits in.
Honchar, who was on bottle duty earlier, now has moved to the front, and will lead T-Mobile and the chase group into Pau in the yellow jersey.
The peloton is finally closing the gap a bit. As the leaders come inside the final 3 kilometers, the gap drops to about 9 minutes.
They're under the flamme rouge, with 1 k to ride. Dessel is watching Mercado closely. They're side-by-side through an S-bend, and Mercado is back on the wheel. Dessel is slowing, there he snaps the whip, Mercado comes around, they're both going hard for the line, and Dessel tries to get around at the last second, and almost does, but Mercado takes the stage win.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Laurent Brochard, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 28, 2006
Basso the oddsmakers' pick
European oddsmakers have Ivan Basso a big favorite in the 2006 Tour, sitting at 5-to-4 odds right now.
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner, is a 5-to-2 pick, followed by Alejandro Valverde at 10.9-to-1, Floyd Landis at 16-1, and Alexandre Vinokourov at 20-1 (and shortening: maybe somebody knows a guy who knows a guy at the CAS?).
For the mountains jersey, it's Michael Rasmussen 2-to-1 ahead of Christophe Moreau (8-1), and Oscar Pereiro (11-1).
For the green jersey, Tom Boonen is a major favorite at 6-5, followed by Robbie McEwen at 9-4 and Thor Hushovd a polite 5-1.
Proving that people will bet on anything, oddsmakers put T-Mobile and CSC even to win the team competition, each at 15-8, while Discovery Channel sits at 11-4.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 18, 2006
Rabobank finalizes Tour team
It will be a double-Dekker squad at the Tour for Rabobank, which will introduce budding superstar Thomas Dekker to the Tour, riding alongside 12-time Tour rider Erik Dekker.
Denis Menchov is showing excellent form, taking the stage to the top of Mont Ventoux during this month's Dauphiné Libéré. He'll have help in the mountains from last year's King of the Mountains, Michael Rasmussen.
There are stage wins all over this team: Erik Dekker has 4, Freire, Boogerd, Rasmussen, Juan Antonio Flecha, Pieter Weening (nipped Klöden on Stage 8 last year); and that doesn't even mention Menchov's Vuelta championship (when Roberto Heras was DQ'ed) or his white jersey at the 2003 Tour.
- Rabobank 2006 Tour de France squad:
- Denis Menchov
- Michael Boogerd
- Erik Dekker
- Michael Rasmussen
- Thomas Dekker
- Oscar Freire
- Juan Antonio Flecha
- Pieter Weening
- Joost Posthuma
- Bram de Groot
- Pedro Horrillo
June 15, 2006
Tour de Suisse Stage 6 underway
Simon Gerrans of AG2R is alone ahead of Rabobank's Michael “Spider” Rasmussen nearing the top of the final climb, long descent to La Punt to come.
Jan Ullrich and Kim Kirchen of T-Mobile, Koldo Gil and José Gomez of Saunier Duval and Jorg Jaksche of Astaná-Würth are chasing. José Gomez goes off the front, gets 25 yards, and Ullrich matches it, but loses Kirchen off the back. Now Koldo Gil takes his turn, and he's immediately put 10 seconds into Gomez, Ullrich, and Jaksche.
Now Gil and then Gomez, Jaksche and Ullrich have pulled by Michael Rasmussen as if he's riding backwards. Only Gerrans is still up the road.
Overall leader Angel Vicioso is about 1:40 back of Gerrans, but Gil is less than 20 seconds behind with 2 kilometers to climb. Ullrich's group is maybe 30 seconds behind Gil.
Gerrans is caught. Now it's just Gil riding for the stage win and race leadership. He's got 1:36 on Vicioso's group, and :37 on Ullrich, Jaksche, and Gomez, who is occasionally getting gapped off the back of the German pair.
Jaksche has 6 seconds on Gil in the GC, but Gil has gone out to 40 seconds on the road. Gerrans has caught on with Ullrich, and now Gomez and Gerrans are dropped. It's Ullrich and Jaksche attacking together as Gil goes over the top of the climb.
Vicioso, Giampaolo Caruso, Frank Schleck and Janez Brajkovic of Discovery Channel go over the top at 1:50, working together but losing time on the half-dozen riders ahead of them. We'll see if anyone can make up time on the 7 kilometers left to descend.
Ullrich and Jaksche are at 34 seconds with Gil at 4 kilometers to ride.
Looks like Gil will stay away, and will take the race lead — the Germans are at :35, with the yellow jersey group with Vicioso at 1:56, while Gil is in the last 2 kilometers.
Gil is riding hard all the way to the line, pumping hard in the last 100 meters to get every second, and he takes the stage win. Meanwhile Jaksche has attacked to gap Jan Ullrich. He's got 3-4 seconds on Ullrich, and he comes in around 36 seconds. Ullrich is at :40. Here comes Gomez for 4th at 1:39; Gerrans 5th at 1:48, Schleck is leading in the yellow jersey, at 2:07 with Brajkovic, Caruso, and Vicioso.
Linus Gerdemann is coming in with another Saunier Duval - he'll fall back out of his 3rd overall, coming in at about 3:28.
The overall top 5 will be Gil, Jaksche at :34 Ullrich at :54, Gomez at 2:00, Vicioso.
Ullrich is right where he needs to be. Even though he's 3rd overall, he can probably take all the necessary time out of Gil and Jaksche on Sunday's time trial, and there's still a lot of racing before that.
June 12, 2006
Nuyens takes Suisse Stage 3 and race lead
QuickStep's 26-year-old Nick Nuyens kept the freshest legs in a late-stage breakaway Monday to take the 3rd stage of the Tour de Suisse.
As a teammate of Paolo Bettini, also in the selection, Nuyens didn't work as hard to make the break stick, and easily outkicked T-Mobile's Linus Gerdemann, Astaná-Würth's Jorg Jacksche, and Saunier Duval's Koldo Gil.
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich was near the front for most of the day, and he, Bettini, Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, David Canada, Giampaolo Caruso, and the 4 who would break away formed a superstrong group of 10 with about 20 kilometers to ride.
Michael Rasmussen, Bradley McGee, and Robbie McEwen were shelled by the high tempo, and came in around 4 minutes back.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2006 in Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 10, 2006
Tour of Switzerland kicks off today
Cycling4All offers a final Tour de Suisse start list. Of course, Jan Ullrich is the biggest Tour GC threat at the race, starting today, but there are a lot of other Tour players involved.
Top sprinters Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen are here, and are the favorites for the Tour's green jersey this year. Thousand-time (okay, six-time) green jersey Erik Zabel is here, as well, leading Team Milram.
Others in competition: Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Bettini, Cadel Evans, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, and Bradley McGee.
Web streaming coverage is available from Cycling.TV's premium subscription service, where £19.99, or about $37, gets you a full year of racing. Today and tomorrow, subscribers have both the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse to choose from.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)
June 04, 2006
BiciRace.com offers Tour preview
BiciRace.com offers a preview of the placings in this year's Tour, still 4 weeks away. Maybe it's no surprise their Italian pride leads them to go with Basso, then Ullrich. A bigger surprise is the 3rd step, where they choose the World's Fastest Mennonite, Floyd Landis.
I'm not ready to count Ullrich out until we see him do some Tour de Suisse climbs, but Basso's Giro was indeed pretty impressive. As for Landis, I hope the possible exclusion of Botero and Gutierrez doesn't prove too distracting.
BiciRace puts 3 Americans in the Top 8. Click through to see who, and where.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Tour 2006 previews, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 24, 2005
Vino takes Champs victory
Breaking away on the last lap of the day, Vinokourov managed to gap and hold a gap to the teams trying to set up their sprinters: Cofidis, Davitamon-Lotto, Liberty Seguros, and FdJeux.
Joined by Fabian Cancellara, then by Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, Vinokourov put his head down, and countered an attack by McGee to take the stage.
Lance Armstrong, of course, nails down his 7th overall victory in the Tour, and took the podium flanked by his 3 children. He also spoke to the crowd (and TV audience) from the podium, an unprecedented act for the Tour winner.
After some debate, judges awarded bonus time to Vinokourov for the stage victory, which lifted him into 5th overall on the Tour and dropped Levi Leipheimer down to 6th.
Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd of Norway nailed down the green jersey competition.
Oscar Pereiro was named the most combative rider of the Tour.
T-Mobile took the team competition, along with 3 stage wins.
Stage Top 10:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, in 3:40:57
2) Brad McGee, Française des Jeux, same time
3) Fabian Cancellara, Fassa Bortolo, s.t.
4) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
5) Stuart O’Grady, Cofidis, s.t.
6) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros, s.t.
7) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
8) Baden Cooke, Française des Jeux, s.t.
9) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
10) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
Aussies in 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th on the day.
Overall Top 10 ("GC"):
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, in 86:15:02
2) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 4:40
3) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at 6:21
4) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at 9:59
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 11:01
6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 11:21
7) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 11:33
8) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 11:55
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 12:44
10) Oscar Pereiro, Phonak, at 16:14
Compared to last year's final GC, Pereiro is 10th again, Leipheimer climbs from 9th to 6th, Mancebo improves from 6th to 4th, Ullrich goes from 4th to 3rd, and Basso improves from 3rd to 2nd. New names in the Top 10 this year are Vinokourov, who will certainly keep things interesting wherever he winds up next year; Rasmussen, who owned the big mountains; Evans, who had an excellent 1st Tour at 8th; and Landis, who I felt rode a very defensive Tour, and was never really able to take the attack to the leaders.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bradley McGee, Fabian Cancellara, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (14)
July 23, 2005
Armstrong gets his stage, nails down 7th Tour victory
Armstrong's last win
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich came to play, but couldn't quite hang with Armstrong, finishing 2nd on the day, 23 seconds slower than Armstrong.
The top 10 is a good demonstrator of US power in the sport: Besides Armstrong atop the heap, CSC's Bobby Julich was 4th at 1:33, Phonak's Floyd Landis was 6th at 2:02, Discovery's George Hincapie was 8th at 2:25. A little farther down the standings was Levi Leipheimer, 14th at 3:13, which catapults Leipheimer into 5th overall. Leipheimer will have to watch his back tomorrow, because Vinokourov is only 2 seconds behind him, easily overcome with an intermediate bonus sprint.
CSC's Ivan Basso was 4th on the day after going out too hard and leading the race at the 1st time check.
Michael Rasmussen, the king of the mountains, was the joker against the clock, switching bikes 4 times, and crashing twice, while losing 7:47 against Armstrong, and 7:24 to Ullrich, who moved into 3rd overall.
Armstrong rolled through the finish and straight over to his children, who arrived yesterday to watch Daddy work.
1) Armstrong, in 1:11:46
2) Ullrich, at :23
3) Vinokourov, at 1:16
4) Julich, at 1:22
5) Basso, at 1:54
6) Landis, at 2:02
7) Evans, at 2:06
8) Hincapie, at 2:25
9) Mancebo, at 2:51 (!)
10) Karpets, at 3:05
2) Basso, at 4:40
3) Ullrich, at 6:21
4) Mancebo, at 9:59
5) Leipheimer, at 11:25
6) Vinokourov, at 11:27
7) Rasmussen, at 11:33
8) Evans, at 11:55
9) Landis, at 12:44
10) Pereiro, at 16:04
Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack
July 21, 2005
Stage 18 underway
Alexandre Vinokourov attacked ahead of the day's first sprint, and took 2nd for 4 pts, and a 4-second time bonus. After a number of early breakaways, all pulled back, a group of 10 has gotten away and built a lead, now at 12:45. In it are Davitamon-Lotto's Axel Merckx, CSC's Luke Roberts, Cofidis' Cedric Vasseur, Bouyges Telecom's Thomas Voeckler, T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler, Illes Balears' Xabier Zandio, Carlos da Cruz of Française des Jeux, Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas, and Marcos Serrano of Liberty Seguros. Kessler's presence in this breakaway, and the absence of Discovery Channel, would likely give T-Mobile the team lead, since they trail Discovery by 37 seconds. In the break, Kessler is wearing his race number upside down: He's highly superstitious and riding in number 13. With the gap at 15 minutes, Discovery has put all its riders at the head of the peloton. Armstrong apparently predicted Axel Merckx for today's stage, being run on Belgium's National Day. On the second-to-last climb, Carlos Da Cruz has attacked. He's gotten out to 25 seconds on the 9 other breakaway riders. Now Merckx counters, and goes right over the top of Da Cruz. Serrano is trying to come back up. And there goes Voeckler trying to bridge up. Zandio, Serrano, and Vasseur are just a few seconds behind Mercx and Voeckler, and chasing on the descent. Zandio, Serran, Vasseur, Merckx, and Voeckler are joined by Pellizotti on the descent, and they're starting up the very steep, short final climb. Inside of 4 km, and Merckx has picked up the pace. Zandio and Pellizotti are dropped. Serrano pushes it, and Voeckler is dropped. It's Serrano, Vasseur, and Merckx. Merckx is gapped, but not yet really dropped. As the climb steepens, Serrano pulls away, and Merckx tries to counter, but Serrano has a gap. They're 1 k to the top, 2.5 to the finish. At the top, Serrano has 14 seconds on Merckx and Vasseur. The peloton is now at 12 minutes plus, with Andrey Kashechkin holding a 20 second advantage: he's looking to get back into the white jersey. Marcos Serrano has taken the first stage for Liberty Seguros! As they roll in, Vasseur comes off Merckx's wheel for 2nd. Zandio is 4th, then Pellizotti. Back with the peloton, there's been another big selection on the 2nd-to-last climb of the day, with Sastre, Popovych, Armstrong, Basso, Ullrich, Rasmussen, Evans, Landis, Leipheimer. Now they've dropped Rasmussen, Vinokourov and Leipheimer. Basso, Armstrong, Ullrich, and Evans are riding together. Vino, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer are the first chase group. Don't know about Landis. Ullrich is at the back of the leaders, falling back. Now he's clawed his way back onto the other three! Armstrong leads over the top. They've got 1.5 kilometers to go. He leads the group up to the line, and there comes Cadel Evans, who pips him at the line for 11th, with Basso and Ullrich behind. Mancebo has rejoined Leiphemer, Rasmussen, and Vino for the finish. A Saunier Duval is in between, then Landis comes in with Eddy Mazzoleni.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Thomas Voeckler, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 20, 2005
Stage 17 underway
There's an enormous break up the road: 17 guys, including representatives from 14 teams. Discovery has placed Savoldelli and Rubiera, T-Mobile has Oscar Sevilla, CSC has Kurt-Asle Arvesen. Bouyges Telecom's French national champion Pierrick Fedrigo is there as well, leading by 20 minutes plus. With 2 riders up front, it's possible that Discovery will take back the team competition lead from T-Mobile, where they trail by just under 20 minutes. The leading 17 has split in two: Paolo Savoldelli, Oscar Sevilla, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Bram Tankink, Sebastien Hinault, Daniele Righi and Andrey Grivko, and Simon Gerrans have made the front group, while Erik Dekker, Rubiera, Allan Davis, Dario Cioni, Stephane Auge, Pierrick Fedrigo, Carlos Da Cruz, Samuel Dumoulin, and Thomas Lovkvist are about a minute back. The peloton is 22 minutes plus behind the Sevilla group. Finally, with 20 or so kilometers to ride, T-Mobile has come to the front to defend their team lead. The gap between the two lead groups is up to around 2:30. At 10 km, the 8 leaders have 2:49 on the chase group and more than 24 minutes on the peloton. On the day's last climb, Savoldelli and Hinault get a 10-second gap on the lead group. Gerrens and Arvesen try to bridge, and chase for about 4 kilometers. As they close, Savoldelli attacks Hinault, but it's short-lived and the four ride together with less than 2km to ride. Now Arvesen attacks! He's gone with 1 k to go. Hinault and Savoldelli are chasing, winding up the sprint with under 500 meters to ride, they're to Arvesen, and Savoldelli comes around and takes the stage! On the final 3rd-Category climb, Vinokourov launches an attack! He's split the peloton in half, and yesterday's big winner, Cadel Evans is in a group off the back, with Christophe Moreau and Floyd Landis. They're almost 15 seconds back. Evans is working at the front of the dropped group, but it looks like the gap will hold. Armstrong's group of just 10 men comes in at 22:28, with Popovych, Leipheimer, Ullrich, Rasmussen, Basso, and Mancebo. Then, 20 seconds back, comes a group containing Evans, Christophe Moreau, and Floyd Landis. Vinokourov climbs up to 7th overall, as Landis slides to 9th.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 18, 2005
Ullrich: "Won't be easy overtaking Rasmussen"
Jan Ullrich says he's through chasing a win in this year's Tour de France, and that he'll instead focus on Michael Rasmussen, the Danish Rabobank rider currently holding 3rd place in the overall classification, 3:09 behind Lance Armstrong, and 2:49 ahead of Ullrich.
"There are six stages left in the race and I'll be watching out for any opportunities where I can steal a few seconds here and there," Ullrich said here Monday on the race's second rest day.
"My aim now has to be the podium. I can't expect to do any better, but even then it won't be easy overtaking Michael Rasmussen. He's been the revelation of the Tour so far."
Ullrich's sense of humor was also on display:
"I've had enough crashes to make a Hollywood movie," he quipped.
July 16, 2005
Stage 14: Climb to Ax-3 Domaines
Georg Totschnig is first to the day's last climb.
Vinokourov, who's struggled to get back to Armstrong's group, just rode straight through and attacked. Somehow, once again, you've got T-Mobile chasing Vinokourov down. Klöden and Ullrich have brought him back.
Cadel Evans can't hold the new pace, and he's off the back. Vinokourov, Zubeldia, Mancebo, are in trouble at the back.
Klöden, Ullrich, Armstrong, Landis, Leipheimer, Basso, Mancebo, and Rasmussen together. One of the Euskaltels has come back with the pace returning to normal after Vino's attack. Zubeldia off the back.
Basso launches an exploratory attack, and Landis and Leipheimer are slightly gapped, but Rasmussen, Mancebo, and Klöden are off the back. They've caught another back marker, Walter Beneteau. Bye, bye, Beneteau. Now Leipheimer is off the back. Landis is gapped. Unless they do something special, Basso, Ullrich and Armstrong are going to make up time at the summit.
They're down under 3 minutes behind Totschnig. Armstrong takes the pace up a little, but he's matched. Garzelli, the last survivor of an early break, is caught, and the gap to Totschnig is 2:30.
Whatever's going to happen, it's going to be Armstrong, Basso, and Ullrich: Totschnig may take the stage, but he's 14+ minutes down on the GC. The gap is now 2:01.
Gap is 1:39. Armstrong, Ullrich and Basso all taking their turns. Armstrong can play defense here: He's got big gaps on both these guys. Seems like Basso or Ullrich has to attack.
Sorry, Byron: There goes Ullrich, off the back. Armstrong is doing all the work. Basso is on his wheel.
Totschnig gets the win in a 190-kilometer breakaway! It's down to Armstrong and Basso for 2nd and 3rd. They're picking up the pace, and Armstrong is getting a time gap, and he sprints in for 2nd. Basso third, Ullrich is coming in at 1:20 to Totschnig.
2) Armstrong, at :56
3) Basso, at :58
4) Ullrich, at 1:20
5) Leipheimer, at 1:31
6) Landis, same time
7) Mancebo, at 1:47
8) Rasmussen, same time
9) Andreas Klöden, at 2:06
10) Haimar Zubeldia, at 2:20
Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2005 in Cadel Evans, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Georg Totschnig, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen | Permalink | Comments (8)
Stage 14 underway
On the Port de Pailhères, T-Mobile is ready to rumble. They go to the front, and launch an attack with more than 10 k left in the HC climb. Guerini pushed the pace, then Vinokourov attacked! Armstrong is isolated against Vinokourov, Guerini, and Ullrich. After the initial gap, some riders are catching up to the leaders' group. Basso, Rasmussen, Mancebo, Landis, Leipheimer are there. Popovych is trying to get back to the group, struggling a few seconds back. There goes Vinokourov again. Basso matches him, and Christophe Moreau. Basso has ridden past Vino! Botero, Mayo, Heras dropped in the first big attack. Ullrich, Basso, Vinokourov are riding together, with Armstrong back a few seconds, with Mancebo and Rasmussen. Mancebo and Armstrong attack from that group, and Armstrong drops him, bridging to Ullrich and Basso. Rasmussen and Mancebo are trying to climb back onto Armstrong/Ullrich/Basso. Heads of state group: Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Leipheimer, Cadel Evans, and Andrey Kaschechkin (bless you) who looks likely to take the white jersey tonight. Still up the road are Stefano Garzelli and Georg Totschnig, about 5 minutes ahead, and a few other remnants of an early breakaway. Now another selection: Only Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, and Landis are still together. Evans, Leipheimer, and Kaschechkin are off the back, with Mancebo, Rasmussen, and Leonardo Piepoli about 1 minute behind the Armstrong group. Vinokourov is 18 seconds behind them: He's not freewheeling to the finish; he's giving it his all to try to get back among the leaders. Now seven leaders: Leipheimer from behind and Daniele Nardello and Alexander Moos, formerly of the breakaway, join Armstrong, Basso, Landis, and Ullrich. That means Landis (with Moos) and Ullrich (with Nardello) have teammates in the bunch. If Totschnig is caught, Leipheimer will as well. Back to the five leaders: Armstrong, Basso, Landis, Leipheimer, and Ullrich. They're nearing the top of the Port de Pailhères. Totschnig is going to be first over the top, but the leaders won't be far behind. It's about a 4 minute gap, with 29 kilometers for the leader to ride. On the descent, Rasmussen's group (with Klöden, Evans, Mancebo and Zubeldia) is making up time, now about 20 seconds behind Armstrong; Vinokourov is another 25 seconds behind that. Garzelli is 2:45 ahead of Armstrong's group, and Totschnig is 1:10 ahead of that. It's all back together: Vinokourov is reintegrating; already there is Rasmussen's group. That puts 3 T-Mobiles and 2 Euskaltel-Euskadis in front. Totschnig is on the day's final climb, so I'm going to start a new "final climb" post. If you've been reloading this page, you can find it on the home page.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 13, 2005
Vinokourov battles back for stage win
T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov takes Stage 11 with a tremendous day-long breakaway. Spending much of the break with former teammate Santiago Botero, Vinokourov repaired some of the damage done to his GC hopes in Tuesday's Stage 10.
The stage victory is the first for T-Mobile, whose director said Tuesday night that the team "are just not any good."
Christophe Moreau moved up into 3rd place in the overall with a sprint for the finish line bonus points. Bobby Julich finished 4th on the day.
Botero moves up into 6th for his day-long efforts, and Vinokourov moves into 12th, at 4:47.
Overall race leader Lance Armstrong lost a little more than a minute to Botero and Vinokourov, but further roasted a number of former GC hopefuls.
The autobus topped the Galibier just after the leading group finished the stage.
Stage Top 10:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 4:47:38
2) Santiago Botero, Phonak, at :01
3) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 1:15
4) Bobby Julich, CSC, same time
5) Eddy Mazzoleni, Lampre-Caffita, s.t.
6) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, s.t.
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
8) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner
9) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank
10) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner
Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Georg Totschnig, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Santiago Botero, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack
Stage 11: Descent to Briançon
Over the top of the Galibier, it was Vinokourov, then Botero at :41, Rasmussen at 2:23, with Moreau leading the field over at 2:40.
Rasmussen has come back to Armstrong! He was just making sure he got max king of the mountains points.
Botero has caught Vinokourov. He's clearly a faster descender, but now Vinokourov can use Botero as a guide for the rest of the descent, so they'll likely stay together.
Armstrong and the Discovery men are flying down the hill; the gap has shrunk only to 2:24 with 20 kilometers to go.
At 15 kilometers to go, it's 2:16. Vinokourov's transponder has come loose and is flapping around his dropouts. In a bit of mechanic magic, a team mechanic comes alongside in a car and snips the zip-ties holding it on, keeping all his fingers in the process. That may cost the escapees a few seconds.
At 5 kilometers to go, the gap is down to 1:40.
The leaders are inside the last 3 kilometers. Botero could easily sit in, since Vinokourov has the most to gain, but they're both taking strong pulls. I don't think we'll see any games in the last kilometer.
Vino is sitting on Botero's wheel. They're shadowing each other, there goes Vinokourov, and Botero grabs his wheel, but he doesn't have the juice. It's Vinokourov taking the win, and a 20 second time bonus.
Discovery is finishing in a team time trial. Azevedo falls off, Savoldelli falls off, third place is still up for grabs with a time bonus. Armstrong is contesting it, and Christophe Moreau takes the sprint!