July 03, 2010

Where are they from, 2010 edition

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

Here's this year's rundown:

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

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

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

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

Michael Barry, Sky
Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin

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

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

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

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin

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

Nicolas Roche, AG2R-La Mondiale

Roche repeats as the only Irish rider.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Garmin

Up from an unusual zero last year.

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


TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2009 edition

TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2008 edition

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

July 25, 2009

Stage 19: Cavendish takes five on day for breakaway

Tour de France 2009 Stage Nineteen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2009

Sorensen adds some sizzle in Stage 12 win

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 07, 2009

Tour de Twitter

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

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

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

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






Cervelo Test Team

Quick Step


Saxo Bank



VS broadcasters


Pros not racing this year


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

July 06, 2009

Stage 3: Columbia puts on a show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 02, 2009

Where are they from, 2009 edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour rookie Roulston joins the returning Dean.

Dan Martin, Garmin-Slipstream
Nicolas Roche, AG2R

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

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Slipstream

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

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

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

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

July 05, 2008

Where are they from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle

As last year.

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

Adds Augustyn.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Chipotle

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

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

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

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

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

July 15, 2007

McEwen outside the time limit on Stage 8

Australian Broadcasting Corporation | McEwen third Aussie out of Tour

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

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

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

Eight riders in all exited the race on Sunday:

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

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

Stage 8: Chicken Run 3: The Dane Reigns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:
Liggett: Valverde
Trautwig: Contador
Sherwen: Rasmussen
Roll: Leipheimer

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.

1st sprint
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.

You can track the action in real time by subscribing to my Twitter feed.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Sylvain Chavanel, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 12, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 07, 2007

Cancellara hammers Tour prologue

CSC's Fabian Cancellara takes the first yellow jersey of the 2007 Tour, with a dominant time trial, 13 seconds faster than Astana's Andreas Klöden.

Klöden's performance looked like it wouldn't be matched, as Britain's Prologue favorites Brad Wiggins and David Millar clocked 9:13.92 and 9:23.60, respectively. But Fabian Cancellara predicted he would win this stage, and went out like a jet, scorching the flat, super-fast course.

George Hincapie makes yet another Prologue podium in 3rd, with Wiggins 4th for Cofidis. Discovery Channel and Astana both put 3 riders in the top 20: Hincapie, Vladimir Gusev, and Alberto Contador for Disco; and Klöden, Vinokourov, and Kashechkin for Astana.

Stage and Overall Top 20:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, 8:50.74
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, 9:03.29
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, 9:13.75
4) Brad Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, 9:13.92
5) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, 9:15.99
6) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia
7) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, 9:20
8) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, Netherlands, 9:21
9) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, Italy, 9:23
10) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, France, 9:23
11) Dave Zabriskie, Team CSC, USA, 9:23
12) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, 9:23
13) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, USA, 9:24
14) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, 9:24
15) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, 9:25
16) Andrey Kaschechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, 9:26
17) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, 9:26
18) William Bonnet, Credit Agricole, France, 9:26
19) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, 9:27
20) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, 9:28

Cancellara takes the first yellow jersey, while Vladimir Gusev takes the first white jersey.

My back-of-the-envelope math puts this at 53.586 kms/hour or about 33.3 miles/hour, assuming a course that's exactly 7.9 kilometers long.

David Millar was philosophical about his 13th place finish: “I was as good as I could be today,” he said. “I'm going to win a stage -- I guarantee I'm going to win a stage.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Thomas Dekker, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

2007 Tour nationalities breakdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand:
Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

South Africa:
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld

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

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

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

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

June 29, 2007

T-Mobile finalizes Tour roster

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

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

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

    T-Mobile 2007 Tour roster:

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

Update: The team will start Grabsch instead of Guerini.

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


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

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

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

Rogers still suffering from April knee injury

Canberra Times | Knee injury threatens to knock Rogers out of Tour de France

T-Mobile captain Michael Rogers could miss the Tour, as a micro-fracture in his right knee continues to plague him. Rogers missed the last three stages at the Tour de Suisse, but says he's still 90 percent to start in London next Saturday.

“For this to happen now it's a kick in the teeth for everyone. We're just going to deal with it the best we can,” Rogers said.

“The team's been relatively stressed too because my whole year has been based around the Tour and for this to come up now isn't ideal.”

“It tests your nerves. I just get up in the morning to go for a ride and pray my knee will be fine.”

Rogers, a 3-time world time trial champion, finished 10th at last year's Tour.

After extensive Tour preparation, Rogers has cut back on his mileage, and said he'll likely need to ride back into top condition if he's able to start the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in Michael Rogers, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Proni wins at Tour de Suisse; Cancellara holds race lead

procycling | Tour de Suisse 3: Proni wins longest stage; Cancellara holds yellow

Proni - TdG '07
Alessandro Proni,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Quick Step's Alessandro Proni took his first pro win on a big stage Monday, winning Stage 3 at the Tour of Switzerland.

Proni broke away along with Luis Pasamontes of Unibet.com and Daniel Navarro of Astana early in the Tour de Suisse's longest stage, and the trio stretched their advantage to 11 minutes. Near the base of the last climb, Proni shed his breakmates, with the peloton closing fast. Over the top, with about 10 kilometers to race, Proni led the field by 10 seconds, and held off the slashing field to take the day by 7 seconds, with Bouygues Telecom's Xavier Florencio 2nd and T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen 3rd.

“It's not only the biggest win of my career, it's the first win of my professional career,” Proni said. “I'm used to winning as an amateur but not as a pro. This is still hard for me to believe.”

Swiss race leader Fabian Cancellara was 1st Saturday in a TT, 3rd Sunday in a sprint, and 12th today in a mountain stage. David Zabriskie isn't the only CSC time trialist who's improving their overall skills:

“It's a very tough, very long stage,” Cancellara said. “But the yellow jersey was just too beautiful. I didn't want to give up. I think I've shown I've made a lot of progress and I'm no longer just a time trial specialist.”

Proni, racing in just his 2nd year as a pro, moves up to 2nd overall, 2 seconds back, with Kirchen 3rd at 14 seconds. Pre-race favorites are lurking 20 seconds and more back, including Vladimir Karpets, 9th at :21; Michael Rogers, 12th at :23; Chris Horner, 14th at :25; Damiano Cunego, 27th at :34; and Carlos Sastre, 33rd at :36.


cyclingnews.com | First pro win for Proni as race leader impresses once more | Results | Photo Gallery

VeloNews | Cancellara holds Swiss lead as Proni nails first mountain stage

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2007 in Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Damiano Cunego, Michael Rogers, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Suisse 2007, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2007

Leipheimer dominates Cali TT

Leipheimer extends Amgen Tour lead with superb TT victory

CyclingNews.com | Leipheimer puts stamp on California: “It's my turn!”

Voigt over the top

Levi Leipheimer
By Ken Conley.

Levi Leipheimer stamped his seal on the Tour of California with a dominant performance in today's 14.6 mile/23.5 kilometer time trial. Leipheimer put another 18 seconds into Jens Voigt, who was 2nd-fastest on the day, and Discovery Channel teammate Jason McCartney was 3rd on the day, almost 25 seconds behind Leipheimer.

Discovery Channel and Team CSC dominated the day, taking 9 of the top 10 places. The sole interloper was Priority Health's Ben Jacques-Maynes, who was 3rd in the race's prologue on Sunday.

World time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara could manage only 4th on the day.

Leipheimer, who had a very disappointing time trial in last year's Tour de France, partially credited the win to a change in his position discovered during an off-season wind tunnel session.

The results were enough to bump Rabobank's Robert Gesink ahead of Predictor-Lotto's Matthew Lloyd in the young rider's competition. All four race jerseys (overall, mountains, points, and young rider) are still in play, with the climber's jersey to be decided on Saturday.

Top 10 on the day:
1) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, in 29:40.44
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, Team CSC, at 18.07
3) Jason McCartney, USA, Discovery Channel, at 24.70
4) Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland, Team CSC, at 37.47
5) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at 40.10
6) Bobby Julich, USA, Team CSC, at 41.86
7) Christian Vandevelde, USA, Team CSC, at 56.66
8) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, Team CSC, at 59.95
9) Ivan Basso, Italy, Discovery Channel, at 1:02.66
10) Ben Jacques-Maynes, USA, Priority Health, at 1:14.17

General Classification:
1) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, in 18:21:52
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :21
3) Jason McCartney, USA, Discovery Channel, at :54
4) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at 1:06
5) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, at 1:20
6) Christian Vande Velde, USA, CSC, at 1:24
7) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, at 1:34
8) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators, at 1:38
9) Franco Pellizotti, Italy, Liquigas, at 1:41
10) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net, at 1:57

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 5 photo gallery

CyclingNews.com | Stage 5 ITT photo gallery

Ken Conley | Tour of California Stage 5 Flickr gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 23, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

Tour of California rosters released

Amgen Tour of California | 2007 Rider Roster Announced

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 24, 2006

T-Mobile turmoil

Eurosport.com | T-Mobile in upheaval

Quoting from a story today in Bild, Eurosport says that both manager Olaf Ludwig and director Mario Kummer have been fired by T-Mobile, to be replaced by T-Mobile women's team leader Bob Stapleton and former rider Rolf Aldag.

T-Mobile confirms that changes are coming, but says any greater role for Stapleton and Aldag wouldn't necessarily require a change in Ludwig's job.

Michael Rogers, their three-time world TT champion, has repeatedly complained about the team's tactics in the Tour, and the sponsors apparently agree, hence the changes.

Also, despite twice finishing on the Tour podium, and clearly riding as the team's leader in the Tour, Andreas Klöden says he's being ignored by the team's management:

“My agent Tony Rominger has already received three contract offers but none has come from T-Mobile even though I've already expressed my desire to continue to ride for this team.

This despite Klöden's impressive showing after missing the run-up to the Tour because of a March shoulder injury, and his conviction that he could win the 2007 Tour.

Also, over at ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.), Chris Brewer tips a major signing by Discovery Channel, to be announced tomorrow morning.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Michael Rogers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Hushovd adds Paris to Strasbourg; Landis triumphs

Two lions top the podiumA 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.

Top 10:
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.
Stage results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 22, 2006

Honchar takes ITT, Landis takes the Tour

I'm hesitant to predict anything in this unpredictable Tour, but Floyd Landis will win the 2006 Tour de France.

Ukraine's Sergei Honchar took his 2nd time trial stage win of the Tour, ahead of teammate Andreas Klöden, while overnight 2nd-place rider Carlos Sastre couldn't hang, and dropped to 4th overall.

Overnight yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro did the fleece proud, finishing 4th on the day, ahead of scads of time-trial specialists, to keep 2nd place, only 59 seconds behind Landis, and 30 seconds ahead of Klöden.

But the big story was Landis, who rode his own race, setting the fastest time at the first time check and taking 3rd on the day. He'll be the 3rd American to win the Tour, following 3 by Greg Lemond, and the last 7 by Lance Armstrong.

Damiano Cunego solidified his hold on the white jersey, now 36 seconds ahead of Gerolsteiner's Marcus Fothen, with a 10th-place finish on the day.

T-Mobile, with the top 2 finishers and world time trial champion Michael Rogers in 19th, moves 17:20 ahead of CSC in the team competition, which they'll most likely win for the 3rd straight year.

Top 10:
1) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, Ukraine, in 1:07:45
2) Andreas Klödën, T-Mobile, Germany, at :41
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 1:11
4) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, at 2:40
5) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 3:18
6) David Zabriskie, CSC, USA, at 3:35
7) Viatcheslav Ekimov, Discovery Channel, Russia, at 3:41
8) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 3:41
9) Bert Grabsch, Phonak, Germany, at 3:43
10) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, Italy, at 3:44
Full results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 85:42:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :59
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, 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
Overall standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Carlos Sastre, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Stage 19 ITT underway

Today, we have the most important Tour time trial of the last 10 years, at least. The only recent TT that comes close is 2003's Stage 19, when Jan Ullrich crashed, allowing a vulnerable Lance Armstrong to take the thinnest Tour victory of his career.

Landis warms upIt's 57 kilometers, and Floyd Landis will leave at 10:09 Eastern, 3 minutes before CSC's Carlos Sastre, who will leave 3 minutes before Caisse d'Epargne's Oscar Pereiro. We should get plenty of split-screen action, as Pereiro leads Sastre by only 12 seconds and Landis by only 30 seconds.

One for the old guys early, as Discovery Channel's Viatcheslav Ekimov has come in with the best time of the first 60 riders, at 1:11:26.59.

Second is Landis teammate Bert Grabsch, just 2 seconds behind.

Zabriskie sets offZabriskie comes through, scorching the 2nd half of the course. He didn't show up in the top 5 at either of the early time checks, he was 3rd at the 3rd time check, and he's 6 seconds faster than Ekimov, at 1:11:20.9. And almost immediately, Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang, the 69th finisher, cuts 17 seconds off Zabriskie's time: 1:11:03.83.

Sergei Honchar has beaten Lang's times at TC1 and TC2; 2:07 (!) faster than Lang at the 34-kilometer check.

Hincapie rolls out; 31 riders to go. Out on the course, he fidgets with his computer sensor. He's sporting a new paint scheme on his helmet -- a Flying Tigers-style shark head. Pavel Padrnos has the same, so it's probably a team thing -- promoting Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, perhaps?

David Millar comes in at 1:11:46, 5th for now.

Popovych starts.

Honchar sprints to the lineHonchar is 3:20 faster than Lang at the 51.5-kilometer time check!

Chavanel comes through TC2 with a tissue stuffed in his left nostril; the commentators think he's had a nosebleed.

Honchar 1:07:45.81! That's likely to be the time to beat.

Phonak's Robbie Hunter, who finished in 1:25:54, will be outside the (fastest time + 25 percent) elimination time.

Michael Rasmussen has set off; he had a catastrophic last time trial last year, falling off, switching bikes, and losing 7:47 to Lance Armstrong.

Marcus Fothen is on the course, looking to retake the young rider's white jersey, currently worn by Damiano Cunego, who sets off next.

Levi Leipheimer is off, wearing the red race numbers awarded to yesterday's most agressive rider.

World time trial champion Michael Rogers is off, and we're down to the Top 10.

Vande Velde comes through TC2 just behind teammate Zabriskie.

Chris Horner finished in 1:16:41, which will be mid-pack.

Chavanel finishes in a respectable 1:12:17.44.

Menchov sets off, currently 6th.

Klöden to the lineCadel Evans sets off, looking for the best placing ever in the Tour by an Australian. Phil Anderson twice finished 5th, which is where Evans sits, 39 seconds behind T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, who sets off 3 minutes behind him.

Hincapie finishes in 1:13:15. Cunego has actually been faster than Fothen at TC1, coming through 4 seconds slower than Lang. Is he going too hard early?

Landis is waiting in the start house. No smiles this morning. Karpets 1:12:42.

Landis is out. Looks smooth. Sastre rolls, as Pereiro waits just behind.

Sastre looks tentative to me -- he's staying up on the brake hoods on sections where Landis was on his aerobars.

Pereiro is rolling. Everyone is on the course or done now.

Vande Velde finishes in 1:12:37.44. That will factor in to the CSC/T-Mobile battle for the team competition.

Landis hammersKlöden is only 10 seconds slower than Honchar at the 1st time check! Landis is faster still! He's 2 seconds faster than Honchar at TC1, 19:45.

Sastre is 1:05 slower than Landis at TC1! Pereiro is the only one left, and he comes through only 10 seconds slower than Landis; that's an amazing time for Pereiro after 16kms of 57 today.

Cunego likes that white jersey; at TC3, he's 5 seconds slower than Zabriskie, and 35 seconds faster than Fothen.

The split screen view has Landis and Pereiro sitting equal on the road now, with Landis 4 minutes shy of Time Check 2.

Evans hits TC2 in 43:34; Klöden hits it in 41:52.9 behind only Honchar so far.

Landis is losing time to Honchar: 41:45.9 at the 2nd time check.

Sastre is riding off the podium: He hits TC2 in 44:05. Klöden is already 2 minutes faster than that.

Pereiro: 42.42:50 -- Landis is the leader on the road!

T-Mobile's Rogers comes through the finish in 1:12:20.72. Looks like T-Mobile will win the team competition.

Landis nears the 3rd time check, at 51.5 kilometers. Pereiro looks like he's hurting on the road. Klöden is closing in on Cadel Evans; he hit TC3 47 seconds behind Honchar 1:03:22 to Honchars 1:02:36. Landis comes in 1:03:43.

Dessel finishes in 1:13:43.57. Menchov comes to the line: 1:12:18.55; he'll go top 20 on the day, maybe top 15.

Klöden catches Evans with about a kilometer to go. He sits way too long in Evans' draft, and sprints to the finish in 1:08:26.17. He didn't catch Honchar, but may be 2nd on the stage.

Landis after the TTLandis comes in to the finish; he hits the line in 1:08:56.26, behind Honchar and Klöden.

Sastre hits TC3 in 1:07:02, more than 3:30 behind Klöden. Pereiro clocks 1:05:14. Looks like Pereiro will hold Klöden off for 2nd -- he was faster than Lang, Zabriskie, and Ekimov at TC3.

Sastre comes to the line in 1:12:27.58; he'll be 20th on the day. Here comes Pereiro, gritting his teeth, comes out of the saddle: 1:10:25.19, and that does it: Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)

July 13, 2006

Contenders emerge: Menchov the stage, Landis in yellow

Floyd Landis shadowed every move, riding the long and strong pulls by Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen and Michael Boogerd into the race lead. Denis Menchov made their efforts pay, taking the stage win, his first. Levi Leipheimer took 2nd on the day, ahead of Landis.

Landis becomes the 5th American in yellow, riding a steady hard tempo, rather than taking an explosive stage win. Landis admitted that he would have preferred to take the jersey later in the game, but as he said, you can't turn down a chance at the yellow jersey.

T-Mobile showed its strength early, cracking the field over the Col du Portillon, but team leaders Andreas Klöden and Michael Rogers were dropped on the day's final climb. Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel Evans and CSC's Carlos Sastre did better, only faltering in the last kilometers, and finishing only 17 seconds behind Menchov.

Menchov, at 1:01, emerges as the biggest threat to a Landis overall victory. Evans sits at 1:17 and Sastre at 1:52. Klöden, Rogers, and everybody else are more than 2 minutes down, with a long time trial scheduled for Stage 19.

Michael Boogerd was incredible at the front of the select group, but the day's revelation was Marcus Fothen, who controls the white jersey competition, 12 minutes ahead of Damiano Cunego, and sits 10th overall.

It looks like Discovery Channel may have no leaders, not four as previously suggested. Jose Azevedo was the best placed Disco rider, 4:10 back, while Popovych was at 6:25, Hincapie at 21:23, and Savoldelli at 23:04.

T-Mobile takes the team lead back from AG2R.

Dessel goes from two jerseys to none, as Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente takes over the King of the Mountains lead, with 80 points to Dessel's 62, Wegmann's 61, and Rasmussen's 49.

Top 10:
1) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, in 6:06:25
2) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, USA, same time
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, s.t.
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at :17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at :17
6) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, Netherlands, 1:04
7) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel, Spain, at 1:31
8) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 1:31
9) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:31
10) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 2:29

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, 49:18:07
2) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at :08
3) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 1:01
4) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 1:17
5) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 1:52
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 2:29
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 3:22
8) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Span, at 3:33
9) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:44
10) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, Germany, at 4:17

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Stage 11 final climbs

De la Fuente and Wegmann ride together almost 3:30 ahead of the pack, down to around 40 riders.

AG2R still has 6 riders up front.

Wegmann is gapped; De la Fuente is 25 seconds ahead of him already. AG2R has been replaced at the front by T-Mobile. Four T-Mobiles lead. Moncoutié is off the back, Voeckler is gone. Sastre's here, Boogerd is here, Landis, Cadel Evans. Guerini is off the back, Calzati is cooked. Popovych, Mercado and Vande Velde are at the back, not yet dropped but likely to be soon.

Dessel is dropped! The yellow jersey is in trouble, riding with Patrik Sinkewitz a few seconds behind the field. Mayo has abandoned many minutes behind the action. That leaves 166 riders in the Tour.

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

Today's a legbreaker; 5 major climbs, which are likely the reason the peloton was somewhat passive yesterday.

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

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.

Dessel leads Mercado over the Marie Blanque, which will put him in the lead in the mountains jersey; Landaluze is only a few seconds behind.

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

July 08, 2006

So who are the team leaders?

Today was supposed to be the day when we found out the GC men for the teams with podium dreams. A few things have definitely cleared up.

There are a few guys who stepped up and showed they're the leaders of their teams, with hopes for high overall places: Landis is the man for Phonak, as expected; Cadel Evans for Davitamon-Lotto, Denis Menchov for Rabobank, Vladimir Karpets for Caisse d'Epargne, Christophe Moreau at AG2R. All finished within about 2 minutes of the Ukraine Train today.

CSC is back to one leader: Carlos Sastre. It was funny the first week of the Tour to read, within 24 hours, a US source touting Bobby Julich as the rider who would have to step up to fill Basso's shoes, Eurosport Germany referring to “new CSC leader Jens Voigt,” and to read that the team itself voted Sastre its captain. Sastre is the best rider of those three, and Julich's crash and Voigt's easy ride today reinforce that.

A bunch of other things are way foggier than they were yesterday.

Gerolsteiner claimed to have two co-captains, Totschnig and Leipheimer, coming into the Tour. After today, they're both 4+ minutes down, and Leipheimer may not be generating much power. They've got Marcus Fothen, who sits 5th, 1:50 back, and finished 12th in the 2005 Giro, but he's only 25 years old. He could compete for the young rider's jersey.

T-Mobile opened a big old powerful Pandora's Box full of superstrong riders. Their slowest rider today finished 14 seconds faster than Britain's TT specialist David Millar. They've got the 4 potential leaders we all thought Discovery Channel might show: Honchar, Michael Rogers, Andreas Klöden, and Patrik Sinkewitz, and I could make a case for any of them. Chris Carmichael tips Klöden, and I could see that: he's German and he's been through this before.

And what about Discovery Channel? Savoldelli has 20 seconds on George Hincapie, who had suggested the road would choose the team's leader through the first week and today's ITT. I've never seen Hincapie as crestfallen as on OLN's prime-time coverage; he really looked flattened. Popovych and Azevedo were even farther back today; I say Savoldelli's the horse to back. Marcello at VeloChimp.com agrees.

There are also a number of team leaders who are really hard to take seriously now, even with mad climbing skills: Gilberto Simoni is 5:34 down, Thomas Voeckler 5:35, Iban Mayo sits 6:11 down, and Damiano Cunego is at 7:06. David Moncoutié? 12:15 down.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Damiano Cunego, David Moncoutié, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Georg Totschnig, Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Sergei Honchar, Thomas Voeckler, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Honchar dominates TT, takes yellow jersey

T-Mobile's Sergei Honchar totally obliterated the field in the Tour's first long time trial, leading all riders by more than a minute at the finish in Rennes. Honchar led at all the intermediate time checks, and becomes the first Ukrainian to wear the Tour leader's yellow jersey.

The expected American juggernaut was represented by only a single heavy cruiser, Floyd Landis, who took second on the day, 1:01 behind Honchar. The other US podium contenders finished well down the stage standings, with George Hincapie 24th, Levi Leipheimer 96th (!) at 6:06, and Bobby Julich out of the Tour after a hard crash early in his race that sent him off in an ambulance.

OLN said Floyd Landis was forced to lower his handlebar position at the last minute by the UCI, which may have led to a bike change when the clamp slipped.

Levi Leipheimer's troubles are still not explained.

Top 10:
1) Honchar
2) Landis, at 1:01
3) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at 1:04
4) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at 1:24
5) Gustav Larsson, Française des Jeux, at 1:34
6) Patrik Sinkewitz, T-Mobile, at 1:39
7) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, at 1:42
8) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, at 1:43
9) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 1:44
10) Joost Posthuma, Rabobank, at 1:45
13) Dave Zabriski, CSC, at 1:57
24) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 2:42
30) Christian Vande Velde, CSC, at 3:14
48) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, at 4:14
96) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 6:06

New overall:
1) Honchar
2) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 1:00
3) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at 1:08
4) Patrik Sinkewitz, T-Mobile, at 1:45
5) Marcus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, at 1:50
6) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, at 1:50
7) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at 1:52
8) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:52
9) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, at 2:00
10) Dave Zabriskie, CSC, at 2:03
12) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, at 2:07
13) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at 2:10
16) Carlos Sastre, CSC, at 2:27
17) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 2:30

T-Mobile, dominating the overall standings, moves into the clear lead in the team competition, 3:09 ahead of Phonak, with former leader Discovery Channel falling to 5th, 4:29 back.

Gerolsteiner's Fothen moves back into the lead in the young rider's white jersey competition, ahead of Thomas Lövkvist of Française des Jeux.


T-Mobile Team: Honcar scorches time trial and takes yellow

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Patrik Sinkewitz, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Stage 7 ITT underway

Early leader is once again Sebastian Lang, as in the prologue. He was the first man to go under 1:03, and leads Gustav Larsson and Joost Posthuma.

Some times from riders of interest who have already ridden: Viatcheslav Ekimov 1:04:23; Chris Horner 1:05:57; Jens Voigt has the slowest yet at 1:11:44, suggesting he may have plans to go stage-hunting in the next couple of days.

On the course now are Sandy Casar, Iban Mayo, Pietro Caucchioli, and Thomas Voeckler, among others.

Casar came in 1:05:11; Mayo 1:07:20 -- that's got to hurt. Thomas Voeckler 1:05:47. Caucchioli in 1:08:21.

Sastre, Leipheimer and Popovych are on the course. Julich is off.

Sastre is the first one to shake things up; at the first time check, he comes in at 20:22, 5 seconds ahead of Lovkvist's time.

Julich has crashed! He went down very hard at a left-right chicane, hitting the pavement and sliding into and over the curb. He's sitting by the side of the road, and may be the next casualty of the 2006 Tour. That's confirmed; Julich has been taken away in an ambulance. Liggett points out that the only other Tour Julich hasn't finished was because of an accident in the time trial, in 1999.

Menchov hits the 1st time check in 20:07, best so far, 15 seconds better than Sastre.

Zabriskie takes his start.

David Millar is out of the starthouse, slowly spinning up to speed.

Leipheimer reportedly hit the 1st time check at 1:32 behind Menchov! That's 61st-fastest at that point, with a lot of riders to come.

Cadel Evans is ready to roll, and he's off.

T-Mobile's Eddy Mazzoleni is 2nd fastest through the 16.5 kilometer 1st check, 8 seconds slower than Menchov.

Landis is in the start house on time, and he's off. His coach Robbie Ventura said they pre-raced the course at 75 percent this morning, and Landis likes his chances.

Klöden comes through Time Check 1 at 19:58!

Savoldelli is off; Hushovd is off; Hincapie awaits, looking solemn, and he's gone.

Zabriskie is 4th at TC 1, 15 seconds behind Klöden. Menchov sets the new fastest time at the 2nd check, a fraction of a second ahead of Larsson.

Michael Rogers is off, smelling yellow.

Moreau hits TC1 at 25 seconds.

Here goes McEwen, and Boonen is setting up in the start house, and he's off, last to leave as the yellow jersey.

It's a full-on, Michael Rasmussen-style disaster for Leipheimer. He's already been passed by Christian Vande Velde, his 2-minute man.

Landis reportedly had a bike swap. Sergei Honchar has come through TC1 at 19:37, setting a new benchmark. Landis hits TC1 in 19:54, 2nd best for now.

Menchov finishes his ride fading, at 1:03:27.

Zabriskie is 9th at the 2nd time check. There are reports the wind has picked up since the fast times this morning.

Hincapie is 15th at the first time check, 52 seconds down on Honchar. Rogers is only slightly better, 46 seconds down on Honchar at TC 1.

Vande Velde finishes in 1:04:57.

Leipheimer is coming in, tripping the sensors in 1:07:49. What a nightmare for Leipheimer.

Popovych finishes in 1:05:00.

Boonen is through the first time check (at 1:26), so Honchar's 19:37 is the fastest time there, followed by Landis at :17, Klöden at :22, Marcus Fothen at :29, and Denis Menchov at :30.

Zabriskie hits TC3 39 seconds slower than Lang; Sergei Honcar sets the new best time at the 2nd time check in 43:50, just flying!

Klöden is coming up to the line, and trips the clock in 1:03:26, 4th for now.

Landis at TC2 is 44:32, 42 seconds slower than Honchar, but faster than everyone else so far.

Zabriskie is finishing; he won't win the stage, and he finishes in 1:03:40.

Hincapie at TC2: 45:53, slower than Ekimov and Savoldelli.

David Millar hasn't factored in the intermediate checks at all, and finishes in 1:05:17. Christophe Moreau finishes close behind, in 1:03:47.

Rogers comes to TC2 in 45:06, more than 30 seconds behind Landis.

Honchar is fastest again at Time Check 3: 55:09 against Lang's previous-best 56:20.

Honchar is roaring up to the finish; there he comes in 1:01:43!

Landis is 57 seconds down at the 3rd time check on Honchar. He'll be finishing soon. Here he comes; he can't catch Honchar, but he's going to have a strong time, it's 1:02:44 for Landis. Honchar is almost guaranteed the stage win and the yellow jersey tonight.

Savoldelli is coming into the last kilometer and brings home a 1:03:55.

Hincapie is 23rd at the last time check, 2:32 off Honchar.

Rogers comes through the last time check in 56:31, so he's coming in strong.

Hincapie to the line in 1:04:25.

Rogers catches Hushovd, his 6-minute man, just outside the 1-kilometer mark. He won't match Landis: 1:03:07 for the world TT champion.

Boonen's taking his yellow jersey seriously; he caught McEwen on the road, and Boonen finishes his reign in 1:05:35, 41st on the day. McEwen closes out the day, in 1:08:10.

Sergei Honchar has a stage win and a yellow jersey for T-Mobile!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Patrik Sinkewitz, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

McEwen launched to third stage win

Tom Boonen was denied again, as Gert Steegmans launched Robbie McEwen like a booster rocket today straight up to his 3rd stage.

Boonen was in perfect position for the sprint, trailing a couple of leading teammates coming up the left side of the road, with the field stretching out behind him. But the field sprint launched before he did, swamping Boonen and holding him against the rail, so that by the time he kicked hard, he had to work through traffic to finish 3rd.

Boonen retains the yellow jersey, but honestly might just as soon be rid of it, and he will be tomorrow night. Tomorrow is the first long time trial of the Tour, where we'll finally separate the pretenders and contenders. I think that will make for better organized sprints on Sunday and Tuesday (rest day Monday), as it's likely one team will be defending the yellow jersey, and others trying to set up the sprint, instead of QuickStep doing both, as we've had the last couple of days.

Wednesday, the race hits the mountains.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
3) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
4) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
7) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
8) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
9) Gert Steegmans, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
10) Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
Full Stage 6 results

1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, in 29:21:00
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :12
3) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :21
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, at :25
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :25
6) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :27
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :35
8) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :36
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :37
10) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :37
Full GC standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 06, 2006

Doping roundup for July 6

cyclingnews.com | Latest Cycling News for July 6, 2006

Almost every story in today's CyclingNews daily roundup is doping related; here's a quick synopsis of recent developments.

Eufemiano Fuentes has gone on the offensive. The doctor, charged in the Operación Puerto investigation, says he is guilty of nothing other than safeguarding the health of his clients “because I think the sport at high level is not healthy.”

Fuentes made the point that he's treated all sorts of athletes, including football (soccer), tennis, and track and field competitors.

As for The List, Fuentes says it's a mess:

“The Tour direction sent home riders that I never treated, and there are now clients of mine in the peloton. I'm furious. People were named that I don't even know but other names were concealed.”

A German press agency says Levi Leipheimer stayed in the same hotel as Michele Ferrari, the Italian sports doctor, in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, last year. Ferrari has been persona non grata since being convicted in October 2004 of sports fraud and illegally acting as a pharmacist.

Last week, it turned out that three T-Mobile Tour riders: Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, and Eddy Mazzoleni have had their training plans arranged by Ferrari. The team says Rogers, sitting a bare 1 second behind Tom Boonen in the Tour, cut off contact 2 months ago, and that “all medical arrangements for T-Mobile's 29 riders will in future by handled by the University Clinic in Freiburg.” Ferrari also worked with Lance Armstrong, who publicly ended their relationship after Ferrari's trial, but in 2005, during the publicity for his book Lance Armstrong's War, Daniel Coyle said Ferrari had been spotted in Girona in March.

Discovery Channel, pretty much unscathed by the Puerto files, has agreed to a deal with Astaná-Würth's Sergio Paulinho, named by Spanish authorities, but team director Johan Bruyneel says Portuguese officials believe Paulinho has been “linked wrongly to the case.”

Finally, Astaná has bought out the interest of Manolo Saiz in Active Bay, the company that holds the UCI license for the Liberty Seguros/Astaná-Würth/Astaná team. Tony Rominger will direct the team, at least for next year, as team leader Alexandre Vinokourov has said he'll direct the team in 2 years.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Doping, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (0)

Freire fastest on 5; Boonen holds yellow

Rabobank's former world champion Oscar Freire launched a perfect sprint to win the Tour's Stage 5. Freire uncoiled from about 12th place in the field at about 250 meters to go, put on an incredible burst of speed up the right side of the road, then just kept his head down to the line, as current world champion Tom Boonen couldn't close him down.

Euskaltel-Euskadi's Inaki Isasi takes 3rd, for what must be Euskaltel's earliest stage podium in a recent Tour. Usually, you only see them pacing crashes and flats back into the field until the mountains start.

Boonen pads his lead, by virtue of the 12 bonus seconds for 2nd. A few other GC changes, as misfortune claims Egoi Martinez, and Freire powered to the podium, sitting 3rd, for now.

Dollars to donuts Dumoulin will be the most combative rider, by virtue of being a Frenchman in a suicide break.

Top 10:
1) Oscar Freire, Rabobank
2) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, same time
3) Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
4) David Kopp, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
5) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
6) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.
7) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
8) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, s.t.
9) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.

1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, in 25:10:51
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :13
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, at :17
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :17
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :19
6) Robbie Mcewen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :24
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :27
8) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :28
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :29
10) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :29

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Tour Salad: Stage 3

rec.bicycles.racing | The Millar Line Explained

On rec.bicycles.racing, Ryan Cousineau is keeping track of the “Millar Line:” since Saunier Duval's David Millar is so loudly proclaiming that he's clean, anyone who finishes before him in a flat stage must therefore be doping, right?

Sprinters are excepted, by decree. There's some very funny stuff in the related threads.

Today, not so good: Millar Line Stage 3: They're all Guilty.

Also from rec.bicycles.racing, here's Bob Martin's summary for Stage 3. Michael Rogers isn't a complete slouch in the mountains. He may make things interesting.

Near the finish on Flickr: Kessler, Boogerd, Boonen, Freire, Bennati, then Totschnig (maybe Wegmann) and Rogers.

Oskar van Rijswijk is back! He had closed down his weblog for June, but he'll be joining the party now. Oskar's got a very complete list of Tour and ProTour links that he's currently updating.

PodiumCafe.com offers links to many of the rider diaries from around the web. I try to keep up with these, but it's a low-percentage play -- so many of them get updated before the prologue, and then sit idle for stage after stage. Of the listed diaries, O'Grady's was updated last night (understandable: he has a cracked vertebra), Leipheimer's is post-Prologue, Zabriskie's is from before the Tour, and Backstedt's was written before Stage 2.

Maybe it's a team budget thing, because a notable exception is Discovery Channel, which presumably knows how to run a network: Chris Brewer makes sure they have more than daily updates on their fansite, including daily Liz Kreutz photo galleries (here's today's) at ThePaceline.com (free registration required): Where else can you find out that Discovery sports director Johan Bruyneel got Belgian fritjes (i.e. french fries) delivered to the team car today, Vincent Vega-style.

They've also got daily Disco-centric updates on the team page, and an honest-to-God podcast.

T-Mobile also has an excellent (and linkable -- not all in Flash) site: Andreas Klöden's Tour diary is fresh, and there's an interview with today's winner Matthias Kessler already up: He says he won today “Vino-style.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, David Millar, Georg Totschnig, Links, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kessler gets his stage, Boonen gets his yellow jersey

Matthias Kessler attacked over the Cauberg and kept his lead to the line, avenging his last second loss yesterday, earning T-Mobile probably its first bright spot of the 2006 Tour.

Just 5 seconds behind, world time trial champion Michael Rogers led in a group of strongman sprinters and GC candidates. In 3rd on the day was Lampre's Daniele Bennati, ahead of world champion Tom Boonen, who had made no secret of his intent to take today's stage.

He can take solace in the yellow jersey, the first ever for the 25-year-old world road champion, as Thor Hushovd came in 62nd, at 17 seconds back. He'll wear it in Belgium tomorrow, where he's a huge celebrity. Boonen also takes the lead in the green jersey competition as Robbie McEwen came in 34 seconds back in 89th. Lampre's Daniele Bennati, 4th on the day moves into 2nd in the points competition: Boonen 67, Bennati 66, McEwen 65, Hushovd 62, Zabel 59.

This was a “declare your intentions” day for the GC; if you're not riding for the overall, why break your legs on the Cauberg? Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Carlos Sastre, Paolo Savoldelli, Yarolav Popovych, Jose Azevedeo, Denis Menchov, Andreas Klöden, David Millar, Sergei Honchar, Cadel Evans, and even Gilberto Simoni all made the break to come in 5 seconds behind Kessler.

Bookie favorite Alejandro Valverde crashed and broke his collarbone with about 20 kilometers to ride in an overlap of wheels -- a wide-open Tour de France is even more so this evening. Also out are Freddie Rodriguez and Erik Dekker, who went down together and were taken to a local hospital.

Chris Horner came in 159th on the day, at 8:05. Stuart O'Grady rode in alone after an accident, 11:35 back, and Magnus Backstedt and Filippo Pozzato, 18:36 back, were the day's final finishers.

Top 10:
1) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, in 4:57:54
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :05
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
7) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
10) Fabian Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :01
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :05
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :07
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :15
9) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :17
10) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at :17

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Georg Totschnig, Magnus Backstedt, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

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

Ubilabs | Tour de France - Google Maps Tracks

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

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

Very cool.

(Via Typolis and Martin - Thanks!.)

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

July 02, 2006

Casper the stage, Hincapie in yellow, Hushovd injured in sprint

Race leader Thor Hushovd was taken away in an ambulance at the end of Stage 1 in Strasbourg. It appeared that Hushovd, sprinting right along the right edge of the road, caught a fan's hand-shaped poster, cutting his arm with less than 50 meters to race.

It was a chaotic sprint, and favorite Tom Boonen went too soon, and couldn't go top 10 (cyclingnews.com says Boonen may also have hit a fan). Robbie McEwen switched off wheels from Hushovd to Boonen, and as he does, appeared in the thick of it at the last instant, but he waited a touch too long, and the French got their first stage win of the year: Jimmy Casper of Cofidis, who edged McEwen and Milram's Erik Zabel.

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie takes the race leadership, after a cagey attack for an intermediate sprint that gave him 2 seconds bonus, against the possibility that none of the riders near the top of the GC competition would take bonus time from a top-3 finish on the day.

Top 10:
1) Casper, in 4:10:00
2) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
4) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
6) Isaac Galvez, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
7) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, s.t.
8) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
10) Oscar Freire, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Hincapie, Discovery Channel
2) Hushovd, at :02
3) David Zabriskie, CSC, at :03
4) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :06
5) Alejandro Valverde, at :06
6) Stuart O'Grady, CSC
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :08
8) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :10
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :11
10) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, at :11

Wegmann takes the first (cheap) mountains jersey, while Vaugrenard, involved in a long break where he took some bonus time, takes the young riders' white jersey.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Hushovd takes 2006 Tour prologue

Thor Hushovd will wear yellow for at least a couple of days, after an astounding ride at the Tour prologue in Strasbourg.

Hushovd is an annual combatant in the sprinter's jersey competition, which he won last year, but is more a pure power rider than some of the other sprinters (Robbie McEwen, I'm looking at you). He should be able to stay close enough to the sprinters over the next few stages to hold the overall race lead.

He edged out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and CSC's Dave Zabriskie, with Sebastian Lang 4th and Spain's Alejandro Valverde 5th.

Phonak's Floyd Landis missed his start time, and lost nearly 10 seconds before his Tour even started. His 9th place at 8:26.26 would certainly have bettered Zabriskie, and would have rivalled Hincapie and Hushovd if he had ridden the same ride with an on-time start. OLN reports Landis had a flat tire as he came to the start.

David Millar, returning from a 2-year suspension for EPO, could manage only 17th, in 8:31.65.

    Top 10:
  1. Hushovd, Credit Agricole, in 8:17.00
  2. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :01
  3. Dave Zabriskie, CSC, at :04
  4. Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :05
  5. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at :05
  6. Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :05
  7. Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :06
  8. Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :08
  9. Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :09
  10. Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10

Other Americans:
19) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, at :16

29) Bobby Julich, CSC, at :19

35) Christian Vande Velde, CSC, at :21

36) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :22

112) Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, at :38


This story doesn't really seem to capture the whole moment.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

Tour starters: English-speaking countries roundup

Since most of my readership comes from English speaking countries, I thought I would post a quick roundup of which (and how many) citizens of the former colonies are scheduled to ride in this year's Tour.

    United States (8 riders, 1 reserve)

  • George Hincapie, Discovery
  • Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Bobby Julich, CSC
  • Floyd Landis, Phonak
  • Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner
  • Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Christian Vande Velde, CSC
  • Dave Zabriskie, CSC
  • Reserve: AmerItalian Guido Trenti

Last year, all of these plus Lance Armstrong and Trenti, but minus Vande Velde.

    Australia (6 riders):

  • Allan Davis, Astaná-Würth
  • Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Simon Gerrans, AG2R
  • Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Stuart O'Grady, CSC
  • Michael Rogers, T-Mobile

Last year, Australia had all these, plus Baden Cooke, Brad McGee, Luke Roberts, and Matthew White.

    Great Britain (2 riders):

  • David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
  • Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis

Great Britain was shut out last year.

    South Africa (1 rider):

  • Robbie Hunter, Phonak

As last year.

    New Zealand (1 rider):

  • Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

None last year, although Dean rode in 2004.

    Canada (1 alternate):

  • Michael Barry, Discovery Channel

Plus permission to root for David Canada. The last Canadian in the Tour was Gord Fraser in 1997, but Ryder Hesjedal or Barry should break that streak soon.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2006 in Baden Cooke, Bradley McGee, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

T-Mobile announce Tour squad

T-Mobile Team | 2006 Tour de France roster announced

T-Mobile has officially announced their team, identical to that previously listed on the Tour's provisional start list.

It's a talented and experienced squad, and looks to have the horses to bring Jan Ullrich a 2nd Tour victory. Whether they do or not will be up to der Kaiser himself.

Where Phonak left Gutierrez and Botero off their squad after the Spanish press named them as part of the Operación Puerto investigation, T-Mobile will start Oscar Sevilla, also mentioned as a visitor to Dr. Fuentes' lab.

    T-Mobile 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Jan Ullrich
  • Andreas Klöden
  • Patrik Sinkewitz
  • Serhiy Honchar
  • Giuseppe Guerini
  • Michael Rogers
  • Eddy Mazzoleni
  • Matthias Kessler
  • Oscar Sevilla

T-Mobile also named Lorenzo Bernucci their first alternate.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 18, 2006

Tour de Suisse ITT underway

The final stage of the Tour of Switzerland is underway; it's an up-and-down 30 kilometers from Kerzera to Bern.

Jan Ullrich lurks in 3rd, only 50 seconds behind yellow jersey Koldo Gil. He's the favorite to win the stage and the tour.

Early leader is CSC's Fabian Cancellara in 40:11.31.

T-Mobile's Michael Rogers is 2nd at 40:36.

Liquigas' Stefano Garzelli comes in in 40:22 to move into 2nd, so far. His teammate Michael Albasini will finish with both the climbers' and points jersey for the Tour de Suisse, and both are on the just-named Liquigas Tour squad.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2006 in Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rogers, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Tour of Switzerland kicks off today

Cycling4all | Tour de Suisse start list

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 01, 2006

Ullrich will return at Tour de Suisse

BBC SPORT | Injured Ullrich eyes Swiss return

Jan Ullrich, who pulled out of the Giro d'Italia last week complaining of a back injury, will next race at the Tour of Switzerland, starting a week from Saturday.

Ullrich has long preferred the 9-day Swiss race to the Dauphiné Libéré as Tour prep, and this year, he'll be joined by T-Moble Tour squad compatriots Michael Rogers, who also abandoned at the Giro, in his case for a severe toothache, and Andreas Klöden.


T-Mobile Team | Jan Ullrich to ride the Tour de Suisse

Posted by Frank Steele on June 1, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rogers, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2006

Piepoli takes Stage 13; Basso still the man

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 13

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli descended faster than a Falco Saturday to win Stage 13 at the Giro. Piepoli, a climbing specialist, took his first Giro win.

Ivan Basso once again showed he's the class of the contenders, blowing up the field on the ascent of Colle San Carlo, and actually losing time on the closing descent to La Thuile, as he took it gently on slick roads.

Piepoli, who spent last Sunday's climb to the Maielletta shepherding team leader Gilberto Simoni, was given free rein Saturday, and made the most of it. He crested the last climb with Basso, then put 44 seconds into CSC's leader on the descent.

José Enrique Gutierrez of Phonak and Simoni, were 3rd and 4th on the day, at 1:19 to Piepoli, losing 35 seconds to Basso. They topped the climb at 1:24, but pulled Basso back somewhat on the descent. Damiano Cunego, who looked like the most promising contender on last Sunday, rode in with Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, 2:36 back of Piepoli.

Basso just keeps building his cushion on the GC, now leading Gutierrez by 3:27, Savoldelli by 5:30, Wladimir Belli by 7:35, and Simoni by 8:00. Danielson's 7th, at 8:35, Cunego's 8th, at 8:58, and Di Luca is 9th at 10:36.

Selle Italia's José Rujano, who animated last year's Giro, abandoned on the road, possibly owing to his strange contract, which has him moving to Quick Step June 1. Thomas Vaitkus, who won Stage 9, also abandoned on the road. T-Mobile's Michael Rogers didn't start because of a toothache, while triple stage winner Robbie McEwen didn't start, complaining of a minor illness.


VeloNews.com | Basso tightens grip on Giro as Piepoli earns tough win

cyclingnews.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 20, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 12, 2006

McEwen again, as Pollack takes Giro lead

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 Live Report

With Alessandro Petacchi recovering from a fractured kneecap, Robbie McEwen is clearly the class of the sprinters at the Giro. Today's stage reminded me of a pro basketball game -- not that much reason to tune in until the last 5 minutes.

The doomed break of the day was Ceramica Panaria's Sergiy Matveyev, Dredit Agricole's Christophe Edalaine, and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Andoni Aranaga, who spent 200+ kilometers (about 125 miles) in front, and were relentlessly reeled back by a field powered mostly by Jan Kuyckx and Preben Van Hecke of Davitamon-Lotto.

The D-L riders' efforts would pay off handsomely at the line. In a finishing field sprint that reportedly hit 71 km/hour (44 mph), McEwen beat T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack by half a bike's length, and took his 3rd stage win of this Giro. With a time bonus, Pollack moves into the overall race leadership. AG2R's Tomas Vaitkus was 3rd, with Leonardo "L." Duque 4th.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 5:24:13
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
4) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
6) Fabrizio Guidi, Phonak, s.t.
7) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
8) Elia Rigotto, Team Milram, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.

Pollack's bonus time moves everyone around, but doesn't really affect the gaps between overall hopefuls. Honchar's at :02, Voigt and Rogers at :08, Basso at :13, and Savoldelli at :22.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 12, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

So what happened to Discovery?

VeloNews.com | Basso gets big boost as CSC storms TTT

ThePaceLine.com (free reg. required) | Graham Watson: Stage 5 TTT Analysis

ThePaceline.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 5 TTT Report

Maybe the biggest surprise today was the subpar showing from Discovery, which has been dominant in recent Tour TTTs, and finished 3rd, 39 seconds back, or to make it sound worse, 3 seconds in front of Liquigas.

The Paceline's TTT wrapup noted that the team wasn't using aerobars across the board, with only the first 3 riders tucking. Graham Watson points out that Savoldelli wasn't taking many pulls, which he says “hints that the team was saving his legs and energy for a forthcoming stage.” Danielson, on the other hand, was “doing long, long turns on the front of the train, a demonstration imitated by Jason McCartney as well.” Somebody wasn't pulling through, though, because Ekimov got so cooked he was dropped on the finishing straight.

My guess, from seeing the web stream and the photographs, is that the team's inexperience in the discipline is what cost them. Neither Danielson nor McCartney had ever done a TTT before. The squad lost most of their time on the front end, dropping 24 seconds in the first 9.7 kms, 9th best. From then on, Discovery was a solid 3rd at each time check. Danielson told VeloNews he had trouble grabbing a wheel after his pulls, and perhaps the team wasn't as coordinated as in past years, when Discovery reportedly practiced the TTT with an eye toward the Tour.

And hey -- maybe it was just bad luck. Sean Yates is running the team here, and rode in the Giro's last team time trial in 1989. Near the finish, a black cat ran onto the course, catching Yates's wheel and causing a chain reaction in the 7-Eleven squad.

Either way, the damage was slight, and Danielson also told VeloNews, “I feel like I'm getting stronger every day of this Giro.”

Jan Ullrich's teammate, race leader Sergei Honchar, says the team is focused on July, not May, and that it was all he could do to stay with the squad when Ullrich and Rogers reached full boil: "In the last 5k I was having trouble breathing, they were pulling so hard."

Of course, mad TTT skillz won't mean diddly come July -- the Tour won't feature a team time trial this year.


cyclingnews.com | Driver's seat: Scott Sunderland's Giro diary 2006

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CSC takes Giro TTT; T-Mobile's Honchar new race leader

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 results

Team CSC turned on the afterburners today to scorch the Giro d'Italia's team time trial. One of my favorite cycling stages, the TTT is a combination of power and cooperation, with teams riding in tight rotating pacelines, varying the workload so their strongest TT men spend more time pulling, and lead-group riders are awarded the time of the 5th member of their team to cross the line. The course today was a pure power course, flat to gently descending, with few turns and wide roads.

Most of the early teams came in around 38 minutes, but CSC, starting 5th from last, came in at 36:56. Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile squad, riding here in support of Ukraine's Sergei Honchar, departed 5 minutes after CSC, and four of their riders finished in 36:55, but Matthias Kessler was gapped at the finish, and came in 2 seconds back to give T-Mobile a 2nd place in (correction) 36:57.

Then came Team Discovery, which had dominated the TTT of recent Tours de France. Without Armstrong and Hincapie, this was a different Discovery, and they finished at the front of the 2nd tier, 39 seconds behind CSC, which held up for 3rd on the day. They were already 24 seconds down at the 10 km (6-mile) mark, and didn't put on the late-stage rush they've shown in the Tour.

Gerolsteiner, riding last with race leader Stefan Schumacher, could manage only 6th, at 1:03.

T-Mobile can take solace in the race leadership, as Sergei Honchar now leads CSC's Jens Voigt and T-Mobile teammate Michael Rogers by 6 seconds. Among GC threats, Basso is 4th at 11 seconds, Savoldelli drops to 5th at 20 seconds, Danilo Di Luca is 12th at 44 seconds. Damiano Cunego's Lampre squad was 1:04 back, and Gilberto Simoni's squad was 1:26 behind CSC. I'll post their new placings when I see them.

The day's big winner has to be Ivan Basso. He's picked up 39 seconds or more against the real Giro threats (sorry, Sergei), and he's no slouch in the mountains. Di Luca, too has to be pleased, as Liquigas limited the damage, finishing 4th on the day at 42 seconds.

The big loser is Gilberto Simoni, who just took 90 seconds of damage in a 40 minute ride.

This was the first TTT in the Giro in 17 years, and there will be none in the Tour de France this year. Organizers had watered down the TTT the last few years to help the Euskaltel-Euskadis of the world, but it's a shame to see it eliminated. The TTT is a very photogenic (and telegenic) event, and it emphasizes the team aspect of cycling in a very visible way.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Michael Rogers, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 06, 2006

Savoldelli takes Giro Stage 1

Defending Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel took today's short time trial in Belgium.

Savoldelli was the only rider to covered the 6.2 kilometers in less than 8 minutes. His 7:50 was 11 seconds faster than Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, and 13 seconds ahead of José Enrigue Gutierrez of Phonak.

Among other favorites, Danilo Di Luca was 10th on the day, at 19 seconds, Ivan Basso was at 23 seconds, Cunego was at :25, and Gilberto Simoni was at :26.

Paolo Bettini, who had hoped to wear the race leader's jersey after Stage 3, came in at 8:32, so he'll need to take 42 seconds out of Savoldelli.

Among Americans, Bobby Julich finished in 8:35, Tom Danielson was in at 8:11, Jason McCartney at 8:21, Phonak's Patrick McCarty, starting his first grand tour, was 93rd in 8:44, and Saunier-Duval's Aaron Olson, likewise starting his first GT, finished in 9:07.

Jan Ullrich finished in 8:39 for 80th on the day.

Top 10:
1) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, in 7:50
2) Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at :11
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :13
4) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
5) Serguei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :15
6) Francisco Perez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, at :16
7 José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, same time
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :17
9) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, at :18
10) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, at :19


VeloNews.com | Savoldelli throws down the gauntlet

Eurosport | Back in pink for Savoldelli

cyclingnews.com | Full results | Photo gallery

Tickers: Daily Peloton | VeloNews | cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

T-Mobile picks first 5 for Tour squad

Monday's EuroFile | T-Mobile names five to '06 team

In its bid to bring Jan Ullrich a second overall victory in the Tour de France, T-Mobile named the first five riders who, barring injuries, will take the start line July 1st in Strasbourg.

They are:

Should be a strong squad, and I think free of the last few years' tension about who's REALLY the team leader.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rogers, Sergei Honchar, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Rogers, Sinkewitz sign with T-Mobile

Eurosport | T-Mobile seal deal for QuickStep duo T-Mobile has signed world time-trial champion Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz, who won last year's Tour of Germany. Eurosport also quotes from L'Equipe that Liberty Seguros will go even more Kazakh next season, as Andrey Kashechkin, currently with Credit Agricole (and 2nd in the white jersey competition), is expected to sign with Alexandre Vinokourov's new team.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Stage 11 underway

There have been a couple of opportunistic breakaways this morning, with the biggest being an attack from Alexandre Vinokourov, who is now riding with Santiago Botero and Oscar Pereiro of Phonak, and Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel-Euskadi. Initially, their group also included Francisco Mancebo, Roberto Heras, Pietro Caucchioli, and Chris Horner, but those four were dropped on the Madeleine.

Pereiro had a dramatic off-road experience going off the side of the road on the descent, and down a small hill. He was able to come back up, get on board, and recapture the break.

Thor Hushovd (!) and Samuel Dumoulin also spent some time in front. Presumably, Hushovd had an eye toward the first intermediate sprint of the day, but he's been picked up by the main field.

Green jersey Tom Boonen crashed again, around 10 kilometers into the stage. The race doctor spent time working on his knee, and Guido Trenti spent quite a while pacing Boonen back to the field.

On the Col de la Madeleine, Botero took max mountain points, followed by Vinokourov, Pereiro, Martinez, and then Christophe Moreau and Michael Rasmussen in the peloton.

Discovery shucked a lot of riders on the day's first climb, but there are still 6 or 7 Discos driving the field. There may be 40 riders in the Armstrong group, and they're letting Botero and Vinokourov's group sit around 1:30 up the road. They must be able to see them on some of these roads.

Vinokourov picks up a 6 second time bonus at the sprint line; his group is closing on a 2 minute gap to the peloton. They're also closing on the Col du Telegraphe -- time to climb.

Egoi Martinez is off the lead group early on the Telegraphe, and now so is Botero. Botero battles back up to Vino and Pereiro!

The trio is 1:58 in front of Armstrong's group, which includes Rubiera, Savoldelli, Popovych, Hincapie, and Beltran, and Azevedo.

Jean-Patrick Nazon and Kim Kirchen have both abandoned today. On the Galibier, Quick Step's Stefano Zanini joins them.

As the lead three hit the summit of the Telegraphe, their gap has stretched to almost 3 minutes. Ullrich, Valverde, Basso, Klöden, Landis, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Moreau, and Chris Horner are all still in the 40-strong Armstrong group. Botero again gets max mountain points, then Vinokourov, then Pereiro.

On the Galibier, Vinokourov and Botero have dropped Pereiro; looks like he's toasted. Mayo keeps falling off the Armstrong group. The gap reached 3:30, but it's coming down now, at about 3:00.

Beltran has finally fallen off the lead group.

Vinokourov has dropped Botero.

Down to 26 riders in the Armstrong group. Vinokourov is 3:15 up on Armstrong with 6 kilometers to the top. I don't think Armstrong can count on catching Vinokourov on the descent.

Rubiera is popped. Armstrong catches Pereiro; Horner is off the back; Armstrong has Azevedo, Hincapie, Popovych and Savoldelli. The gap is 3:06.

Armstrong's group is down below 20 with 4 supporting Discos. Guerini is off the back with Klöden and Michael Rogers. The gap has dropped to 2:47.

Vinokourov is going to take the Henri Desgrange prize for the first man to the Tour's highest point. Less than 1 kilometer to the top for Vino.

Armstrong has lost another Disco. Botero continues to struggle in between Vinokourov and the chasers. He may catch Vinokourov on the descent.

Vino is first over, Botero is :38 seconds back. Rasmussen has launched an attack and has a good gap on Armstrong. Rasmussen showed us his descending skills the other day. It's going to be an interesting run-in to Briançon.

I'm starting a new post for the last 40 k; if you've been reloading this page, check the home page for the new post.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack