June 29, 2007

Astana names final Tour 9

VeloNews | Friday's EuroFile: Tour rosters shaping up

The Astana team of Alexandre Vinokourov named its Tour roster today. Matthias Kessler and Eddy Mazzoleni both are off the Tour squad, while investigators look into possible doping involvement by each.

Vinokourov is the favorite going into this year's Tour, and even without Mazzoleni (3rd at the Giro d'Italia this year) and Kessler (who won a Tour stage last year), he brings a potent squad.

It includes Andreas Klöden, who was 2nd in the 2004 Tour, reigning Kazakhstan national champion Andrey Kashechkin, and double Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli.

    Astana 2007 Tour roster:
  • Antonio Colom (Spain)
  • Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)
  • Serguei Ivanov (Russia)
  • Andrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan)
  • Andreas Klöden (Germany)
  • Daniel Navarro (Spain)
  • Gregory Rast (Switzerland)
  • Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
  • Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Giro 2007 rosters announced

Gazzetta.it: Giro d'Italia | Le squadre

Giro organizers unveiled rosters for the 2007 Giro d'Italia today.

Four former winners of the race -- Astana's Paolo Savoldelli, Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni, Lampre's Damiano Cunego, and Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli -- will feature in this year's edition, but a lot of media attention will be on the missing defending champion, Ivan Basso, who admitted today he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes.

The shadow of Operación Puerto appears to have fallen on Tyler Hamilton of Tinkoff Credit Systems and Jorg Jaksche of Astana, as well. Neither is on their team's race roster, despite claims by Tinkoff that Hamilton is clear to race.

There are some other interesting plot points that actually involve racing: Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi are set to renew their rivalry, possibly challenged by a couple of transplants from US racing: Argentina's Juan José Haedo of CSC and New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile. Paolo Bettini wears number 1 in Basso's absence. Danilo Di Luca continues to try to evolve into a Grand Tour contender.

Three US riders are set to make the start: Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, Saunier Duval's Aaron Olson, and CSC's Dave Zabriskie.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2007, Giro d’Italia, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007

Savoldelli takes Romandie prologue

Eurosport | Savoldelli wins second consecutive title

Astana's Paolo Savoldelli is the first leader of the Tour of Romandy/Tour de Romandie, after a 4:35.12 over a 3.5-kilometer time trial in Fribourg today.

Savoldelli was 5 seconds faster than Czech rider Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas and 7 seconds faster than Predictor-Lotto's Chris Horner, of the United States.

David Millar, fresh from a somewhat disappointing time trial at the Tour de Georgia, was 15 seconds back of Savoldelli, but he still is focused on the Tour de France prologue, where he hopes to take the yellow jersey in London.

Defending champion Cadel Evans was 16th on the day, 14 seconds behind Savoldelli. Robbie McEwen brought up the ceremonial rear, 166th at 1:30 back.

Other notable times:

13) David Zabriskie, USA, CSC, at :12
24) Thomas Dekker, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :16
27) Oscar Pereiro, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :16
37) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at :17
29) Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, Discovery Channel, at :17
59) Carlos Sastre, Spain, CSC, at :20

Posted by Frank Steele on May 1, 2007 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tour de Romandie | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 14, 2006

Popovych outsmarts the sprinters

When Johan Bruyneel threw in the towel for Discovery Channel's overall hopes yesterday, he said the team would concentrate on stage wins.

That's exactly what they did today, getting George Hincapie and then Yaroslav Popovych into breaks, and Popovych cracked two top-rank sprinters to take the stage.

Riding along with Lampre's Allesandro Ballan and Rabobank's Oscar Freire, Popovych attacked 4 times, dropping Credit Agricole's Christophe Le Mevel but not the two danger men. Ballan and Freire reeled him in every time, but more slowly after each attack, and when Popovych launched a 5th attack, the two sprinters watched him go.

Popovych moves back up into the top 10 overall.

Top 10:
1) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine
2) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, at :27
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, at :29
4) Christophe Le Mevel, Credit Agricole, France, at :35
5) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, Belgium, at 4:25
6) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 4:25
7) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, at 4:25
8) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, at 4:25
9) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy, at 4:25
10) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at 4:25

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA,
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, Spain, at 3:33
9) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:44
10) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, at 4:15

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2006 in Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (7)

Stage 12 on the road

Phonak's Floyd Landis is rolling in yellow today, unveiling a yellow and black BMC frame, contrasting with the rest of his team's red and black.

Discovery Channel has been very active in the day's probing breaks, with George Hincapie getting in a 15-man break that included 7 other previous stage winners. Davitamon-Lotto shut that break down, since it included Daniele Bennati, who could pose a threat to Robbie McEwen's green jersey.

As that group was caught, Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych, Rabobank's Oscar Freire, Lampre's Alessandro Ballan, and Credit Agricole's Christophe Le Mevel attacked, and Phonak took over the chase. Popovych is 9 minutes back, the best placed rider in the break. Freire will be looking for green jersey points, while Le Mevel will want the stage win on Bastille Day.

Some more bad news for Discovery Channel: Paolo Savoldelli abandoned at 43 kilometers into the stage, followed a few kilometers later by Benjamin Noval. Agritubel's Jose Martinez and Caisse d'Epargne's Isaac Galvez have also abandoned.

With about 65 kilometers left to ride, the four-man break has 3:50 on the peloton.

With about 50 kilometers to ride, the gap is 4:15, and the breakaway approaches the final sprint line. Freire leads Ballan, Le Mevel, and Popovych over the line, to move up one point behind Tom Boonen in 3rd in the green jersey competition.

With 20 miles/31 kilometers to ride, the gap is still 4:25. Milram is helping Phonak at the front.

The 4-man break is going to stay away. Freire and Ballan are good sprinters. Popovych is a level below that; look for him to try to launch late. And Le Mevel? I think he'll be hoping for strategic tacks in the road; I don't see him taking this stage.

At 20 kilometers to ride, they have 4:40, and are working very well together. Eight Phonaks are on the front of the peloton.

With 7 kilometers to ride, Popovych blisters the break, launching a strong attack. Freire goes all-out to catch back on, and Ballan comes across, but Le Mevel is done.

Now Freire probes them, then Popovych attacks again, but he only gets 20 meters. Popovych goes again, but then softpedals. And again from the back, and he's got 30 meters, as they go through the 3 kilometer arch. Ballan has had to chase Popovych every time, and he's now hesitant to tow Freire up.

Popovych has got 15 seconds now, with 2 kilometers to go. Freire and Ballan are chatting side-by-side. They're not going to bring him back like that.

Popovych is in the town square, in sight of the line. He looks back, sees he's clear. Shifts up, zips the jersey, crosses himself 3 times, and takes the victory! Ballan is sitting on Freire's wheel; Le Mevel is coming back up. Freire doesn't contest 2nd, so it's Popovych, Ballan, Freire, Le Mevel.

Now we'll see how Popovych moves up; the pack is coming into the final straight. Zabel and Hushovd are up front; Boonen has a leadout, Bennati is up there, and here comes McEwen...It's Boonen for the 5th-place field sprint, at about 4:30.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2006 in Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 13, 2006

You know you're having a bad day when...

VeloNews.com | Savoldelli crashes on evacuation

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli crashed after hitting a spectator coming down from the stage finish today. Savoldelli reportedly needed 15 stitches in his right eyebrow.

Many Tour riders chose to ride down to their hotels rather than wait for the traffic to sort itself out.

Savoldelli, who finished 50th on Thursday, 23:04 behind stage winner Denis Menchov, is expected to make the start Friday.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2006 in Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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 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 10, 2006

Awesome Race to Replace posters

Le Tour
Le Tour,
originally uploaded by Telstar Logistics.
I was going to banish these cool “hero of the proletariat” style posters to the sidebar, but just couldn't.

These are posted in San Francisco to promote Discovery Channel's “Race To Replace” in Indianapolis. There's at least one more, probably of Hincapie: That light blue below Savoldelli's poster has a Race2Replace logo at the top.

Has anybody seen a full set? Are the posters available anywhere?

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2006 in Paolo Savoldelli, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

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

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

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 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

Discovery Channel prologue report

Discovery Channel clearly wants Hincapie to look like the team leader here. “Friend of Lance” Bob Roll is touting him, and Graham Watson touts him in his prologue analysis at ThePaceline.com (the Discovery Channel's fan club). We'll find out in a couple of weeks if that's the plan or just the bluff. Liz Kreutz has two (1 | 2) great galleries of Discovery Channel riders prepping for and riding the prologue; my favorite is the portrait of Ekimov at right. Procycling.com has Page 6-worthy dish on Hincapie:
It has been suggested that Armstrong-acolyte Hincapie needs to develop a nasty streak if he’s ever to fill the Lance-shaped void in the Discovery Channel ranks. Judging by George’s bike and helmet-throwing antics beyond the finish-line today, that search can be considered over. Not since Robbie McEwen last sprinted has a bicycle been wielded with such menace.
The Houston Chronicle offers an interview with Johan Bruyneel and George Hincapie on Discovery post-Armstrong, as well.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink

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 28, 2006

TdFblog GC preview

It's going to be an amazing Tour.

I am obligated, as a writer for a Tour-centric web site, to make some predictions. This year, it is incredibly hard. A lot of riders either have badly screwed up their preparation or haven't shown us what they can do this season (and another, Alexandre Vinokourov, hasn't and may not get the chance to), and we won't find out which it is for a week or 10 days.

Sitting here, three days from Strasbourg, I believe in the two favorites, Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. I believe in Francisco Mancebo. Alejandro Valverde may be the future of the sport (depending on what's in those damn bags), and he's at the point in his career to break out some surprises. These guys have all shown they're ready to rock and roll.

For some reason, I don't really believe in Levi Leipheimer. Gorgeous wife, great results, but I have to agree with his DS: Top 10 probably, Top 5 maybe. Floyd Landis and Alexandre Vinokourov both flummoxed me with sub-par Dauphiné results, but I want to believe.

Total wildcards: Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Cadel Evans. I think Evans will finish higest of these three, but Mayo could take a spotlight stage, like l'Alpe d'Huez.

I can't read Johan Bruyneel's mind any better than anyone else, but I suspect Popovych and Azevedo will be the two most highly-placed Discovery Channel riders. Savoldelli and Hincapie will be well-placed up to the mountains, then lose time to the better climbers.

Enough procrastination; here's my Top 5:
1) Ivan Basso, CSC
2) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak
4) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel
5) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne

I don't see Ullrich gaining 4 minutes on Basso in the TTs, and here's why: The Stage 7 TT profile. It's long enough, at 52 kilometers, but it's a fairly technical course. Even if it's dry, I could easily see Ullrich overcooking a couple of corners, getting out of his rhythm, and not going as fast as he's capable. If it rains, even worse.

I could also see Basso gaining some time on stages with downhill finishes, like Stage 17, where Basso could go over the top of the Col de Joux-Plane with time in hand and conserve all or most of that lead for the 12 kilometers into Morzine. Ullrich's bike-handling has always scared me.

I'm also discounting the Floyd Landis nay-sayers, who say he's got no team. I think with a race as open as this year's, the team strength matters less. Landis needs to identify the real team leaders fast, then cover moves only by the real GC threats. Remember Armstrong watching Vinokourov go up the road, and waiting for Ullrich and Klöden (T-Mobile's “official” GC threats) to bring him back? Same idea. There are plenty of other strong riders who will be chasing down the pretenders.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour 2006 previews, Tour de France 2006, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 16, 2006

Discovery Channel names Tour team

Discovery Channel named its Tour squad today. With Lance Armstrong out of the picture, Discovery has 4 different riders who could finish highly: George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych, Paolo Savoldelli, and Jose Azevedo.

Their metamorphosis is going to be one of the big storylines of the 2006 Tour.

    Discovery Channel 2006 Tour squad:
  • George Hincapie
  • Yaroslav Popovych
  • Paolo Savoldelli
  • Jose Azevedo
  • Viatcheslav Ekimov
  • Egoi Martinez
  • José-Luis Rubiera
  • Benjamin Noval
  • Pavel Padrnos
  • Vladimir Gusev
  • Michael Barry

There's a special announcement webisode available on the Team Discovery Channel webpage; I can't link it directly since the site is all-Flash. ThePaceline.com (free registration required) has the full press release.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 16, 2006 in George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 29, 2006

Basso triumphant, anointed Tour favorite

Eurosport | Ivan Basso wins Tour of Italy

Ivan Basso took the next step in his development as a rider, wrapping up the Giro d'Italia in Milan yesterday. Basso nailed down a dominating 9:18 margin of victory, and became the consensus favorite to win the 2006 Tour.

Gerolsteiner's Robert Forster took the sprint finish to take Stage 21, but Team CSC wasn't letting anything else happen on the stage.

Gilberto Simoni is still mouthing off about Basso's win in Saturday's Stage 20, when Simoni claims Basso asked for money to let Simoni take the stage win. Basso admits that he convinced Simoni they should ride together on the descent of the Mortirolo, but says the rest of Simoni's story is a fabrication.

The two biggest surprises of the Giro have to be defending champion Paolo Savoldelli's 6th overall and José Enrique Gutierrez taking 2nd.

Juan Manuel Garate takes the climber's jersey, Paolo Bettini both the points jersey and the 110 Gazzetta competition (normally the Intergiro).

Jan Ullrich, who still plans to show up at the start of the Tour July 1, held a press conference Friday night to discuss his Giro exit and his condition after almost 3 weeks of competitive racing. Ullrich says he and director Rudy Pevanage had planned to withdraw Thursday night, but decided that would look “ill-timed” in light of the doping allegations coming out in the Spanish press. With his back hurting on Friday, apparently the result of a strength imbalance between Ullrich's legs, the two decided there was no reason for Ullrich to continue.

On Basso's Giro mastery:

Ullrich: He makes a strong impression. And his CSC team is well-balanced. Ivan is on top of his game. However, I don’t think he will win the Tour. The competition is Italy is distinctively weaker than the one in France. And I want to have a say in it, too. (laughs)


IHT.com | Cycling: Above the pack, but not suspicion?

Samuel Abt gives Gutierrez a well-deserved callout, and examines Simoni's comment on Saturday that Basso “seems like an extraterrestrial,” with the connotation that something more than good training habits were responsible for his performance.

ProCycling | Basso crowned Giro king

Eurosport | Ivan Basso wins Tour of Italy

CyclingNews.com | General Classification | Stage 21 Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 29, 2006 in Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

Basso wins Stage 20, Giro

Ivan Basso flashed a picture of his newborn son Santiago as he crossed the finish line with a Stage 20 victory today, leading Gilberto Simoni across the line by 1:18.

Basso again showed an extra gear that no one else could match. He and Simoni shed the field to top the Mortirolo together, and stayed away together until the final 2 kilometers of the Passo Aprica, when Basso just flew away from the 2-time Giro champion.

At 2:51, Damiano Cunego led in José Enrique Gutierrez, who cemented his 2nd place overall. Defending champ Paolo Savoldelli could manage no better than 5th, at 6:03, and that moves Cunego into 4th overall, dropping Savoldelli into 5th.

Barring a lightning strike, Basso will win his first Giro d'Italia championship tomorrow in Milan.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 27, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 26, 2006

Garate takes Stage 19, new papa Basso comfortable in Giro lead

On paper, Stage 17 was this year's Giro queen stage. But when weather and team dissent led organizers to behead the queen, chopping off the top of the stage, today's stage stepped in. With four big climbs in 224 kilometers, it was the best chance for somebody to try to put the hurt on king-to-be Ivan Basso, celebrating the birth this morning of his second child, a son.

A solid early break got 5 minutes on the field over the second major climb. The highest placed rider was Danilo Di Luca, 12th at 18:27, and some other familiar names were along, including Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt of CSC, Paolo Bettini and Juan Manuel Garate of QuickStep, Johan Tschopp of Phonak, and Francisco Vila of Lampre.

On the Pordoi, Bettini and Julich were quickly off the back, and Ceramica Panaria's Fortunato Baliani led the group over the top, nearly 7 minutes ahead of the pack, to take the lead in the climber's jersey competition.

At the foot of the last climb, Di Luca, Garate, and Voigt were riding with Tschopp, Lampre's Evgeni Petrov, Tadej Valjavec, and Francisco Vila, Ceramica Panaria's Baliani, Laverde, and Emanuele Sella, Patrice Halgand, and Ivan Parra.

Valjavec launched the first attack, joined quickly by Voigt. Parra and Villa tried to bridge, but never quite made it. Parra fell off Villa's pace, to be replaced by Garate, and that pair caught Valjavec and Voigt. Valjavec quickly attacked again, and was countered by Garate, who gapped the trio, only to have Voigt (!) jump out and catch his wheel.

Back in the field, Piepoli turned on the burners, and Simoni, Cunego, and Basso were the only ones who could match him. Once again, Savoldelli was quickly off the back, and once again Discovery's Tom Danielson led him in. Gutierrez drifted off the leaders' group, and Simoni smelled 2nd on the GC, and attacked. Basso and Cunego countered, but Cunego couldn't match the pace, and yo-yoed desperately on and off Basso and Simoni, slowly drifting back, but passing break survivors along the way.

In the last few kilometers, everyone had to be thinking back to the 2005 Tour, and George Hincapie's win over Phonak's Oscar Pereiro after Pereiro had set pace all day. Today, we had a big generalist/superdomestique, Voigt, teammate of the overall race leader, riding alongside a climber, Garate, with an uphill finish, and again, it looked like the big man, Voigt, had played all his cards right for the win. Voigt patiently sat in, and then, with less than 300 meters to go, he patted Garate on the back, gave him a little push, and sat up.

Garate couldn't believe his luck; he had tried to ride Voigt off his wheel unsuccessfully, and now, he was handing Garate the win? The little man, riding in his Spanish champion's jersey, put a safe cushion behind him, still glancing nervously several times back at Voigt, then with 50 meters to ride, he pointed back, acknowledging the gift, zipped his jersey, and took the stage.

Back with the GC riders, the question was, where's Gutierrez? Simoni looked a little like Gibos past, and he and Basso led in all riders not involved in the break, finishing 7th and 8th at 2:15. Behind them, Cunego and Gutierrez, both of whom had looked near popping, were clawing for every inch, and Gutierrez came 11th at 2:39 and Cunego 12th at 2:40. Savoldelli, Piepoli, Baliani, Danielson, Sandy Casar and Victor Hugo Peña finished together at 4:16, while Pellizotti came in at 5:11.

On GC, that means Basso leads by 6:07, with Gutierrez in 2nd, 4:27 clear of Simoni, who now has a 2:25 cushion on Savoldelli. Pellizotti falls from 5th to 6th, while Cunego pole-vaults from 8th to 5th, now 15:13 back.

One notable DNF, as Jan Ullrich drops out, complaining of back pain.

Five riders were still competing in Liberty Seguros jerseys, and the team ownership promises the team will continue through the end of the season, even without a large portion of the 8 million euros Liberty was kicking in.

cyclingnews.com | Report & Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Piepoli pips Basso on shortened Stage 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10:

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

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

May 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 18, 2006

Ullrich rocks Giro, takes TT

VeloNews.com | Ullrich shows his form; Basso solidifies grip on jersey

Looks like Jan Ullrich is TT-fit for the Tour de France.

T-Mobile's 1997 Tour champion scorched the 50-kilometer (31 mile) time trial course today, finishing in 58:48, for his first race victory since last year's Tour of Germany.

Ullrich showed he's got the numerator down on the power-to-weight ratio, and the upcoming mountains should help him shrink his, um, denominator.

"To beat Ivan Basso is going to give me a huge morale boost. I knew right from the start that I was going to have a good day.

Giro leader Ivan Basso of CSC was 2nd on the day in 59:16, 28 seconds back, but ahead of Italian TT champion Marco Pinotti, at 1:01, T-Mobile's Sergei Honchar, at 1:09, and Paolo Savoldelli, at 1:19. Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez rounds out the top 6 at 1:42.

Damiano Cunego, who was best able to hang with Basso on Sunday's first big climb of the Giro, lost 5:06 (!) to Basso in today's TT, and Gilberto Simoni and Danilo Di Luca did only slightly better.

In the GC, Gutierrez remains in 2nd, now 2:48 back, while Savoldelli slips to 3rd behind Honchar at 3:24 and 3:26. Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson is now 5th overall, 5:38 back, with Cunego 8th at 6:54, Simoni 9th at 7:13, and Di Luca 10th at 7:33.


cyclingnews.com | Jan's one mean motor scooter

Enormous picture of Ullrich at Gazzetta dello Sport

Posted by Frank Steele on May 18, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Lindsey: Race to Replace has "excellent disaster potential"

Mountain Bike | There’ll Never Be Another Lance

Joe Lindsey is afraid that the gimmick casting/reality show that is Discovery Channel's Race to Replace is a bad, bad, idea.

In case you've been under a rock, here's the basic idea: Team Discovery needs to find the next Lance Armstrong to lead the team. Contestants will sign up online, and on August 12th, some group of contestants will race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The contest winner will line up with the team at the US Pro Championships in Greenville, SC, in September.

Says Lindsey:

Details at this time are, as they say, sketchy. Is it mass-start or a time trial? Will there be categories? Is it part of any official USA Cycling program? Will pro racers like Danielson, or even USAC-licensed elite amateurs, be allowed to compete?

We don’t know. Here’s what we do know: This has excellent disaster potential.

What if the winner's a Fred, and wipes out half the field? What if he's dropped 500 yards into the race? Lindsey thinks the whole thing belittles the long monastic struggle most riders face before they can line up with the elite pros.

I'm a little more sanguine about the whole thing. The whole idea still isn't fleshed out, but I'll bet there's no intention for somebody with zero pack racing experience to actually race the full pro championships in September. I'm betting the winner will either a) be part of the U23 team Discovery sponsors (or another national-level amateur), or b) some member of Joe Public. If it's “A”, this is a great chance for the Discovery networks to showcase the talented young racers out there. If it's “B”, I imagine he'll get to ride with the pack through the neutral start, then, with loud cheers and plenty of media attention, be escorted off the course.

And it may yet wind up that the contest is only for “team leadership”: The team has promised a series of “webisodes” looking at candidates to replace Armstrong as the leader of Team Discovery starting today. They're pretty much who you would expect: Danielson, Popovych, Hincapie, Ekimov, Rubiera, Savoldelli, and Azevedo. How this “contest” links to the other contest is anybody's guess.

In any case, the ads (featuring personalities from Discovery shows) are cute and memorable, any interest in the contest is a plus for US cycling awareness, and the whole project should help maintain Discovery's image as the leading American cycling team.

For now, there's this teaser, a free iTunes version of the RtR's TV ad (All the other ads are available free, as well), and “raw footage” from the making of the webisodes here.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 15, 2006 in George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Links, Paolo Savoldelli, Television, Tom Danielson, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2006

Basso ascendant: Takes Stage 8, Giro lead

CyclingNews.com | Stage 8 - Sunday, May 14

Ivan Basso announced his presence with authority on Sunday, taking control of the 2006 Giro d'Italia.

Basso rode alongside the other race favorites on the day's final climb, and one by one, they cracked. Race leader Sergei Honchar was among the first, but surprisingly, Discovery Channel's defending Giro champ Paolo Savoldelli also quickly went off the back, as did 2005 Giro revelation José Rujano.

Hometown hero Danilo Di Luca was next, yoyoing off a small group, while Basso sat spinning comfortably on the wheel of teammate Carlos Sastre. Like Basso, Gilberto Simoni was riding with a teammate, Leonardo Piepoli, and also in the leading group were Damiano Cunego, Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Luca Mazzanti and Giampaolo Caruso.

Rujano bravely fought back onto the select group, and launched the first attack. Sastre let him dangle off the front like a rabbit leading the greyhounds, and Rujano was recaptured within a kilometer or so. Next to go was Cunego with 4k to the summit, and he went hard. Only Basso could hold his wheel, but he did so with seeming ease, and after perhaps 150 meters, Basso soloed off the front.

Cunego couldn't respond, and 2-time Giro champ Simoni watched Basso ride away, seemingly content to ease in, riding on Piepoli's wheel. This was a stage where Simoni needed to regain some of the time lost in Saunier Duval-Prodir's team time trial, but instead, he lost another 1:15. That's got to depress his team, which spent much of today controlling the race to give Simoni a chance at the stage and some GC. Simoni after the stage:

"When Cunego went I was already at my limit, so I couldn't respond," said the two-time Giro champion. "Basso, on the contrary, had no fear. This was impressive. He did a great climb today. He's going to be difficult to beat, because he also has a very strong team."

Di Luca was trapped in no-man's land, behind the leaders, but ahead of the group that formed around Savoldelli and Andrea Noè.

When the dust cleared, Basso had won the stage, and sits 1:34 up on Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez in the GC. Savoldelli was shepherded to the line by Tom Danielson, but lost 2:20 on the day. Il Falco's Giro may not be over, but he's going to need some extraordinary performances and extraordinary luck to win it - he's 2:35 back, with 2 weeks featuring loads more of the same to go.

Savoldelli quoted in CyclingNews:

"The Giro is not finished here...I knew Basso was strongest and I knew that I wasn't on a good day right away when the climb started. I went into the red zone right away and couldn't hold the pace. Thanks to Danielson, I was able to limit the loss. But the next step is the TT and then, the last week is so hard. But to lose 2'35 on the first climb, that's a lot... it should be 1'20". But I'm still optimistic."

Basso's ride was just stunning. He looked so comfortable, turning an easy rhythm and dropping everyone in sight, and credit for his freshness has to go largely to Carlos Sastre, who did a monster turn setting tempo on the final climb to Maielletta.


Eurosport.com | Basso claims pink jersey in style

VeloNews.com | Advantage Basso

CyclingNews.com | Results | General Classification | Photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 14, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

May 08, 2006

Schumacher takes classics-style Giro stage, Petacchi out

VeloNews.com | Schumacher takes lead after wet, ugly day at Giro

Schumacher's powerful win
Schumacher's win at Namur
Fotoreporter Sirotti/cyclingnews.com
Stefan Schumacher took an enormous win in Belgium today, winning Stage 3 of the Giro on the ascent to the citadel of Namur.

Schumacher wisely marked QuickStep's Paolo Bettini, who dropped the field to try to reel in Discovery Channel's Jose-Luis Rubiera, but couldn't close the gap. At about 800 meters to ride, Schumacher squashed the Cricket, kung-fued Chechu, and took the biggest win of his career. Chechu was 2 seconds back for 2nd, and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin led in the field 6 seconds back.

Factoring in his margin of victory over Paolo Savoldelli, and the 20-second stage win bonus, Schumacher finds himself in the race leader's jersey, 13 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, 23 seconds ahead of Davide Rebellin.

Despite losing the race lead, Paolo Savoldelli gained time on most of his overall GC rivals, and now leads Sergei Honchar by 18 seconds, Danilo Di Luca by :23, Ivan Basso by :28, Damiano Cunego by :30, and Gilberto Simoni by :49.

Team Milram sprint superstar Alessandro Petacchi got tangled up in a late race pileup, needed medical attention, and came in 14:38 back. After the race, he abandoned, with a fractured kneecap. He's returning to Italy for surgery, and may not be able to start the Tour. Petacchi has 19 stage wins in the last 3 Giros.

Tomorrow's the Giro's last day in Belgium, with a rest day Wednesday and the team time trial from Piacenza to Cremona on Thursday.


Eurosport.com | Petacchi leaves the race

cyclingnews.com | Giro Stage 3 wrapup | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giro Stage 2 photo galleries

Aaron Olson w/Simoni, Missaglia, McEwen outfoxes Petacchi

Click through to GrahamWatson.com

Savoldelli, McEwen (click through to CyclingNews.com)

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2006

McEwen rides Milram train to Giro Stage 2 win

Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi had made no secret of his desire to take today's Giro d'Italia Stage 2, from Mons to Charleroi.

As the peloton approached the finish line, his Milram team executed the plan to perfection, as his teammates slowly fell off, keeping the pace high enough to discourage opportunistic attacks, and launching Petacchi with 200 meters to go.

But today, the sun didn't rise in the East, the roadrunner didn't escape, and Petacchi couldn't finish out the sprint. Instead, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, following Petacchi's wheel, was able to come around and take the first road victory of the 2006 Giro.

T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack (who took the sprinters' points jersey at the Tour of California) was 2nd, Paolo Bettini of QuickStep was 3rd, and Petacchi was 4th. Leonardo "L." Duque of Cofidis rounds out the top 5.

Maybe there's still some life in the old-timers: McEwen is 33, Pollack, Bettini, and Petacchi are 32.

With the sprint finish, there was no significant change in the overall, where Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli (celebrating his 33rd birthday) still leads Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee by 11 seconds, and José Enrique Gutierrez by 13 seconds.

Top 10:
1) Robbie Mcewen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 4:51:40
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
4) Alessandro Petacchi, Team Milram, s.t.
5) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
6) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
7) Alberto Loddo, Selle Italia, s.t.
8) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Graeme Brown, Rabobank, s.t.

As it happened tickers:

cyclingnews.com | VeloNews | Eurosport | Daily Peloton

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bradley McGee, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giro Stage 1 photo galleries posted

Graham Watson:

(l-r) Simoni, Cunego, Basso, Savoldelli

(Click through to GrahamWatson.com for full-size images)


José Enrique Gutierrez, Danilo Di Luca

Click through to cyclingnews.com for full-size images)


Ullrich looks big.

Click for AP cycling photo wire. Unlike the others, this will be current when you click through.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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

Giro visiting extreme northern Italy

The Giro d'Italia kicks off today, in Seraing, Belgium.

Today's stage is another of those “non-prologue prologues,” 6.2 kilometers (or about 4 miles) in length, with a healthy climb in the middle.

The official Giro page calls this year's race the five-star edition, with defending champion Paolo Savoldelli, Ivan Basso, 2004 winner Damiano Cunego, 2003 winner Gilberto Simoni, and Danilo Di Luca the five favorites.

We'll also get to watch Jan Ullrich riding into condition, facing a very difficult final week of racing.

To follow today's stage, check out:

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia LIVE race ticker

VeloNews.com | Giro Race Viewer (having problems at 10:40 Eastern)

I'll be posting a Giro roundup later today.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Discovery in training camp; Ekimov healthy and strong

ThePaceLine.com | Solvang Camp: Day 1 (free reg. req.)

Discovery Channel's team leaders are already in camp in Solvang, with the balance expected tonight.

Hincapie, Danielson, Savoldelli, Ekimov, Popovych and others did some velodrome laps to improve their TT form.

Bruyneel says Ekimov has no residual problems from the bad back injury that kept him out of last year's Tour, and didn't really need the time on the velodrome:

Bruyneel also noted that even though last year was Eki’s first time in the wind tunnel ever, the Olympic TT champion was close to dead-on just through his own personal set up. And today bore that out once again; Eki did his first test with his old set up, then after trying a couple of tweaks here and there the numbers said it all – his best run was with his original set up and leave it alone.

Sammarye "Velogal" Lewis is on the scene, and trying an interesting experiment: She's audioblogging from Solvang. As usual, she's also got a training camp photo gallery up at SmugMug, including some shots of Michael and Dede Demet Barry's son, Liam.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 18, 2006 in George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Di Luca still heads ProTour rankings

UCI ProTour | Results/rankings

Lance Armstrong, who would generally take over the World Cup lead with a strong Tour showing, moves only into 2nd in the new ProTour's post-Tour rankings, trailing Danilo DiLuca by 45 points. Alexandre Vinokourov will move up when Armstrong is removed from the listings: He's third, just 3 points behind Armstrong.

Top 10:

1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, 184 pts
2) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 139 pts
3) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 136 pts
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 120 pts
5) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
6) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, 98 pts
7) Santiago Botero, Phonak, 95 pts
8) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
9) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 92 pts
10) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 89 pts

Other Americans in the Top 20 are Levi Leipheimer, 15th at 80 points, and Bobby Julich, 16th at 79.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

CN.com Stage 17 photo gallery

www.cyclingnews.com | Stage 17 photo gallery

Klöden Savoldelli Armstrong
Klöden, Savoldelli, Armstrong
-- from cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2005 in Andreas Klöden, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

GrahamWatson.com Stage 17 photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 17 photo gallery

Armstrong Hushovd Savoldelli
Armstrong, Hushovd, Savoldelli
-- from GrahamWatson.com

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2005 in 2005 Tour photo galleries, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0)

Savoldelli takes longest stage

Savoldelli passes Arvesen
Savoldelli passes
Arvesen at the line

After George Hincapie won the Tour's hardest stage, Discovery Channel went out and took the longest stage, as well.

Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli spent the day in a big breakaway, then held the pace as it dropped to 8, then 4 riders. When CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen made his move, just outside of the 1k to ride marker, it looked like the winning move, but Savoldelli came back, catching Arvesen and passing him in the final 50 meters of the stage, for his first career Tour stage win.

Back in the field, Alexandre Vinokourov decided he's not content with his GC placing, and blew the field in two at the day's final climb. Only 10 men were able to stay with Vinokourov, dropping Floyd Landis, Cadel Evans, and Christophe Moreau 20 seconds farther down the GC.

Surprisingly, today's stage had no effect whatsoever on the green jersey competition, where Thor Hushovd continues to lead Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen.

Top 10:
1) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, in 5:41:19
2) Kurt-Asle Arvesen, CSC, same time
3) Simon Gerrans, AG2R, at :08
4) Sébastien Hinault, Credit Agricole, at :11
5) Andriy Grivko, Domina Vacanze, at :24
6) Oscar Sevilla, T-Mobile, at :51
7) Bram Tankink, QuickStep, at :51
8) Daniele Righi, Lampre-Caffita, at :53
9) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, at 3:14
10) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros, at 3:14

Team competition update: Savoldelli's gap over Sevilla gives Discovery Channel the overall lead in the team classification: They're up by 37 seconds over T-Mobile, with CSC at 22:04 in 3rd.

Popovych picked up 20 seconds in the white jersey competition by hanging on Vinokourov's late break. Sébastien Hinault takes the red race numbers of the day's most combative rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2005 in Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Stage 17 underway

There's an enormous break up the road: 17 guys, including representatives from 14 teams. Discovery has placed Savoldelli and Rubiera, T-Mobile has Oscar Sevilla, CSC has Kurt-Asle Arvesen. Bouyges Telecom's French national champion Pierrick Fedrigo is there as well, leading by 20 minutes plus. With 2 riders up front, it's possible that Discovery will take back the team competition lead from T-Mobile, where they trail by just under 20 minutes. The leading 17 has split in two: Paolo Savoldelli, Oscar Sevilla, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Bram Tankink, Sebastien Hinault, Daniele Righi and Andrey Grivko, and Simon Gerrans have made the front group, while Erik Dekker, Rubiera, Allan Davis, Dario Cioni, Stephane Auge, Pierrick Fedrigo, Carlos Da Cruz, Samuel Dumoulin, and Thomas Lovkvist are about a minute back. The peloton is 22 minutes plus behind the Sevilla group. Finally, with 20 or so kilometers to ride, T-Mobile has come to the front to defend their team lead. The gap between the two lead groups is up to around 2:30. At 10 km, the 8 leaders have 2:49 on the chase group and more than 24 minutes on the peloton. On the day's last climb, Savoldelli and Hinault get a 10-second gap on the lead group. Gerrens and Arvesen try to bridge, and chase for about 4 kilometers. As they close, Savoldelli attacks Hinault, but it's short-lived and the four ride together with less than 2km to ride. Now Arvesen attacks! He's gone with 1 k to go. Hinault and Savoldelli are chasing, winding up the sprint with under 500 meters to ride, they're to Arvesen, and Savoldelli comes around and takes the stage! On the final 3rd-Category climb, Vinokourov launches an attack! He's split the peloton in half, and yesterday's big winner, Cadel Evans is in a group off the back, with Christophe Moreau and Floyd Landis. They're almost 15 seconds back. Evans is working at the front of the dropped group, but it looks like the gap will hold. Armstrong's group of just 10 men comes in at 22:28, with Popovych, Leipheimer, Ullrich, Rasmussen, Basso, and Mancebo. Then, 20 seconds back, comes a group containing Evans, Christophe Moreau, and Floyd Landis. Vinokourov climbs up to 7th overall, as Landis slides to 9th.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 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

July 09, 2005

Weening nips Klöden for stage win; Armstrong isolated

Rabobank's Pieter Weening took a terrific win as the Tour de France finally hits some real climbs.

Weening was the last survivor of a long breakaway. His lead dropped to as little as 10 seconds on the chasing group of Tour contenders, but he was reinvigorated when Andreas Klöden of T-Mobile came across the gap and took most of the pulls into Gérardme.

As the line approached, Klöden and Weening wound it up, and it took race judges to determine the winner: from the photo finish, it looked like a dead heat. Liggett says it was estimated he won by 2 millimeters!

Armstrong was isolated -- Hincapie, Savoldelli, Popovych: All these guys fell off the group that mattered on a 2nd Category climb. That's a big surprise.

Armstrong: "For whatever reason, I was left alone -- we didn't have a great day as a team."

Vladimir Karpets takes the white jersey from Yaroslav Popovych; Michael Rasmussen took the polka-dots from Fabian Wegmann.

T-Mobile has got to smell blood in the water with Ullrich, Klöden and Vinokourov all surviving to the end against a lone Armstrong.

Top 10:
1) Pieter Weening, Rabobank
2) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, same time
3) Alejandro Valverde, Illes Balears, at :27
4) Kim Kirchen, Fassa Bortolo, same time
5) Jens Voigt, CSC, same time
6) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, same time
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
8) Christophe Moreaus, Credit Agricole, s.t.
9) Chris Horner, Saunier Duval-Prodier, s.t.
10) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, s.t.
17) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
19) Michael Rogers, Quick Step, s.t.
20) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, same time

Azevedo and Hincapie were back at 1:25, while Savoldelli, Padrnos, Rubiera and Beltran were at 2:57.

This shakes up the GC, as well:

1) Armstrong
2) Voigt, at 1:00
3) Vinokourov, at 1:02
4) Julich, at 1:07
5) Basso, at 1:26
6) Ullrich, at 1:36 (his first appearance in the top 10 this year)
7) Carlos Sastre, CSC, at 1:36
8) Hincapie, at 1:47
9) Klöden, at 1:50
10) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 1:50

Dave Zabriskie came in 179th on the day, at 1:01:13, but survived elimination for another day.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

Discovery announces final TdF team

Yahoo! Sport | Armstrong Confident Despite Ekimov Blow

Armstrong @ TdG ITT
Armstrong at Tour de Georgia.
Photo by Frank Steele.
Discovery Channel's final Tour squad:

Lance Armstrong
George Hincapie
Jose Azevedo
Yaroslav Popovych
Paolo Savoldelli
José Luis Rubiera
Manuel Beltran
Benjamin Noval
Pavel Padrnos

"I think we have fielded our strongest team ever with this formation," said Armstrong.

"It has many consistent elements from years past, like the Spanish armada for the climbs, strong guys like George, Pavel and Benjamin, the Giro winner in Savoldelli plus a guy like Popo (Popovych) with a very bright future."

Armstrong regrets the absence of ageless wonder Viatcheslav Ekimov, injured training near Austin in April, but says he "plan[s] on riding the race with all the toughness he (Eki) has shown over the years."


VeloNews.com | No surprises - or controversy - in Discovery's Tour line-up

team.discovery.com | 2005 Tour de France Team Announced

Posted by Frank Steele on June 22, 2005 in George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

CyclingNews interview with Lance Armstrong

cyclingnews.com | Suddenly Seven

Tim Maloney got a chance to talk to Lance Armstrong yesterday after Stage 4 at the Dauphiné Libéré yesterday, and covers a range of topics, from both the new Trek frames Armstrong is testing this week (the TTX for time trials, and the lighter SSLx he's riding on other stages) to Paolo Savoldelli's Giro win to what he's looking forward to after the Tour.

One interesting nugget: Armstrong is still considering riding the ProTour team time trial in Eindhoven June 19th. There had been reports in March that he was a lock for the TTT.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2005 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2005

Armstrong picks Ullrich as Tour "big threat"

BBC SPORT | Armstrong hails Savoldelli form

In an audio interview with Eurosport, Lance Armstrong said he's facing an "especially strong" field in the 2005 Tour de France.

Apparently, Discovery Channel has 7 members of its Tour squad nailed down: Armstrong, Azevedo, Beltran, Hincapie, Popovych, Rubiera, and Savoldelli, with 2 spots still to be determined.

Next up is the Dauphiné Libéré, starting Saturday, expected to be Armstrong's final tune-up for the Tour in July.

"Jan is the big threat," Armstrong told Eurosport. "He's the one who wakes me up early every morning. He says he wants to beat me in the Tour de France.

"Well, this is his last chance."

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong 2004, Paolo Savoldelli, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Di Luca holds ProTour lead

UCI ProTour | Rankings as of 5/29/05

Danilo Di Luca continued to lead the inaugural UCI ProTour competition, ahead of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.

Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli leapfrogged into 5th overall with his Giro d'Italia win, while Bobby Julich and George Hincapie, still deadlocked at 75 points, are now tied for 8th in the standings.

Current Top 10:
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, 184 pts
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 112 pts
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 89 pts
6) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 86 pts
7) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, 80 pts
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, 75 pts
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 75 pts
10) Jens Voigt, Team CSC, 72 pts

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie, Jens Voigt, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giro Stage 20 photo galleries

More Stage 20 photos @ GrahamWatson.com

Petacchi and Bettini from cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Savoldelli seals Giro, Petacchi takes final stage

VeloNews.com | Savoldelli wins Giro; Petacchi takes finale

No big surprises on Sunday, as Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli held his race lead into Milan, and Alessandro Petacchi took one last sprint win for his 4th of the Giro.

With Lampre's Gilberto Simoni 2nd by 28 seconds, the Giro saw its closest finish since 1976.

Savoldelli told procycling.com he doesn't see himself as Discovery Channel's next Tour de France threat:

“We have another young rider on the team, Popovych, who is the future of the team for the Tour,” Savoldelli said. “The team believes they can build him up and win the Tour once Lance retires. That’s fine with me. The Tour is a special kind of race and I’ve already been there a few times.”

Big news of the Giro:

  • The ProTour appears to have kicked the race up a notch, as the required participation by all 20 ProTour teams led to one of the most exciting and competitive Italian tours of the last 10 years.
  • Danilo Di Luca showed he can develop into more than a classics rider, as he contended right up to the race's last weekend.
  • Ivan Basso had an up-and-down Giro, getting knocked out of overall contention, but coming back to win two straight stages. His fitness is clearly excellent.
  • Congratulations to Dave Zabriskie, who took a TT stage for the Americans.
  • Savoldelli will be a tremendous asset to Lance Armstrong at the Tour -- he and Azevedo can climb with almost anybody, certainly any of the GC contenders.
  • José Rujano is a name to remember: he was able to ride away from anybody at will anytime he wanted to during the Giro.

Jersey winners:

  • Paolo Bettini: Points jersey
  • José Rujanoz: Climber's jersey
  • Stefano Zanini: Intergiro jersey


DailyPeloton.com | Giro Stage 20, GC, and Jersey Finals
The Paceline.com (free reg. req.) | SAVOLDELLI WINS GIRO!

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2005

Rujano conquers Finestre, Savoldelli solidifies Giro lead

cyclingpost.com | Savoldelli survives, Rujano takes stage victory

José Rujano took a spectacular win on Saturday, doing his Giro king of the mountains jersey proud. On a day when the Giro rode a dirt road up the side of its only Categoria Speciale climb (equivalent but typically harder than the Tour's HC climbs), Rujano rode away from 2-time Giro winner Gilberto Simoni on the final climb to Sestrière.

Meanwhile, Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli found his leader's jersey under constant attack: Simoni, trailing by 2:09 at the start of the day, got a gap on the day's worst climb, and had Di Luca and Rujano along, in an attempt to break the race open. Simoni occasionally had the lead on the road, but Savoldelli battled all day long, and found help from Juan-Manuel Garate, Sergei Gonchar, and Tadej Valjavec, who had been dropped by Simoni and Rujano.

A reflection of how hard this day was: the 10th-placed rider, Emanuele Sella of Panaria, came in 5:06 back!

Top 10:

1) José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, 5:49:30
2) Gilberto Simoni, Lampre-Caffita, at :26
3) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, at 1:37
4) Juan Manuel Garate, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:53
5) Wim Van Huffel, Davitamon-Lotto, at 1:55
6) Serguei Gonchar, Domina Vacanze, same time
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, same time
8) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, same time
9) Mauricio Alberto Ardila, Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:38
10) Emanuele Sella, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 5:06


CyclingNews.com | Preliminary results
ThePaceline.com (members only) | Giro d'Italia Stage 19 Report

Posted by Frank Steele on May 28, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack