April 17, 2008

Tour de Georgia rosters released

Tour de Georgia | Team Rosters 2008 (pdf file)

Rosters for next week's Tour de Georgia are up. Defending champion Janez Brajkovic won't defend his title, while Santiago Botero, Tyler Hamilton, and Oscar Sevilla, held out of the Tour of California, are all listed starters.

US fans of the TdF will also have a chance to see Leon Van Bon race in the States. Van Bon won Stage 6 back in 2000, and will lead the “GE Marco Polo Presented by Trek” team, China's first pro team, which also features former Discovery rider Fuyu Li and two other Chinese racers, and one from Malaysia.

For more detail, check out my rundown at TdGblog.com, or the official startlist (a PDF).

Posted by Frank Steele on April 17, 2008 in Janez Brajkovic, Santiago Botero, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Rock to roll, Saunier to rest during '08 TdG

VeloNews | Saunier Duval won't be in Georgia, Rock will

Hamilton comes forwardWith the race only 5 days away, there's a last-minute switcheroo atop the 2008 Tour de Georgia start list. Saunier Duval-Prodir, which has participated in most (all?) of the Tours de Georgia, has backed out, citing injuries and a need to rest up before the Giro in May.

Rock Racing, which was suing to get into the race, now finds a spot open. Whether they'll bring the theatrics, as they did in California, remains to be seen. It seems likely they'll bring Redlands winner Santiago Botero, multiple Tour de Georgia stage winner Freddie Rodriguez, and Tyler Hamilton, who raced here last year for Tinkoff as the wheels began to come off his season.

There could be more intrigue to come, as Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla, and Botero were prevented from starting the Tour of California.

This post is cross-posted from my Tour de Georgia weblog, but not all TdG posts will be. If you want to follow that race, you should follow that weblog as well.


cyclingnews.com | Rock to race Tour de Georgia

Rock Racing | Rock Racing Will Rock the 2008 Tour de Georgia

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Santiago Botero, Tour de Georgia, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 01, 2006

Why the 9 riders were suspended

procycling | What the Puerto dossier revealed

What made T-Mobile so quickly sever its relationship with Jan Ullrich? What's been shown to teams so far is the 38-page summary of the 500-page Spanish Civil Guard report, and it turns out that Spanish Civil Guard authorities had phone and SMS records that appear to show a chain of communications between someone calling himself “Rudicio” and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

Late on May 17, Fuentes got an SMS message from “Rudicio,” trying to set up a conversation. The next day, around noon, he got a call from the same number, and told the caller he was busy, and could talk that evening. “But there's a time trial,” the dossier quotes the caller as saying. Ullrich's longtime trainer is Rudy Pevenage, and on May 18, Jan Ullrich won the Giro time trial.

Additionally, the codename ‘Jan’ (and I hope we somehow find that these guys weren't so dumb as to think ‘Jan’ is a good codename for someone named, um, ‘Jan’) is 4 times listed in a lab document concerning stored blood, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, and testosterone patches.

At Ignacio Labarta's home, police found documents on Francisco Mancebo's annual training regimen, with symbols the police recognized from other lab documents as relating to blood transfusions and medicines, and which the Civil Guard claims identifies Mancebo as client number 17 on the numbered blood bags.

Oscar Sevilla, Santiago Botero, and Jorg Jaksche were allegedly seen arriving with Fuentes and Labarta at an apartment where “four bags of blood were refrigerated.” I don't know if they mean the four bags were found when the raids went down, but I assume that's the implication.

As for Basso, the case against him seems more circumstantial: Investigators claim Labarto referred to him, and José-Enrique Gutierrez, on the phone with Fuentes as Fuentes clients, and the Civil Guard then made the link with the codename “Barrillo,” Basso's dog's name.

Manolo Saiz apparently established the relationship between Roberto Heras and Dr. Fuentes. When he was questioned May 24, Saiz told Spanish officials that Heras insisted on using Fuentes as his team doctor, over the objections of Saiz. That seems a little strange, given that Heras is out of the sport, but Saiz was still involved with Fuentes.

Finally, officials claim they found references to Joseba Beloki in a lab document with notations for HGH, IGF-1, testosterone patches, EPO, anabolic steroids, and blood transfusions.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Joseba Beloki, Manolo Saiz, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

Basso, Ullrich, Mancebo among riders in Puerto report

Eurosport | Basso, Ullrich fingered in Spain

Spanish radio network Cadena Ser reports that both Tour de France favorites are named in the Operación Puerto evidence files, unsealed by a Spanish judge today.

Phonak riders José Enrique Gutierrez and Santiago Botero, withheld by the team from competition until the case was cleared up, and former Phonak rider Tyler Hamilton are also listed.

Roberto Heras, suspended from Liberty Seguros (now Astaná-Würth), and AG2R's Francisco Mancebo, have also been named, with about 50 other athletes (not all cyclists) likely to follow as the press gets the evidence files.

Tour organizers had pressed for the names of implicated riders to be released. Now they may be wishing they hadn't.

The story at El Pais (in Spanish) doesn't mention Basso, but adds T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, suspended Phonak rider Santago Perez, Astaná-Würth's Joseba Beloki, Angel Edo and Quiquie Gutierrez (?).

De Telegraaf claims that Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha and Denis Menchov (in Dutch) are also named in the 500 page report.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2006 in Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Manolo Saiz, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2006

Phonak names final Tour squad

Phonak Cycling Team | Phonak presents the Tour de France team

Phonak finalized its Tour squad Sunday, making good on the team's promise to exclude Santiago Botero and Juan Enrique Gutierrez until the Operación Puerto investigation shakes out.

Without Botero and Gutierrez, two riders who have gone Top 5 in a grand tour, Phonak has riders from 9 different countries focused on placing Floyd Landis of the United States as high as he can climb.

South Africa's Robbie Hunter is already back from a shoulder and hand injury suffered a month ago at the Volta a Catalunya, and reports that he's free of pain. Axel Merckx of Belgium is riding his 7th Tour in what may be his final season, and Nicolas Jalabert of France starts his 8th Tour.

    Phonak 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Floyd Landis
  • Axel Merckx
  • Nicolas Jalabert
  • Robert Hunter
  • Miguel Angel Perdiguero (Spain)
  • Bert Grabsch (Germany)
  • Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands)
  • Alexandre Moos (Switzerland)
  • Victor Hugo Peña (Colombia)


Eurosport | Phonak: Floyd not sitting pretty

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Santiago Botero, Tour de France 2006, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2006

Phonak idles Gutierrez, Botero

Phonak Cycling Team | Press Release

Phonak has sidelined two of its biggest names as a result of Operation Puerto. José Enrique Gutierrez, whose 2nd in the Giro will certainly have a giant asterisk now, and Santiago Botero. The riders won't race “until the examinations bring more clarity to the picture.”

Said manager John Lelangue:

“If further investigations show that the riders have used methods that are not permitted, they will of course be dismissed immediately.”

If the two should be dropped before the Tour, Phonak would lose two of its three strongest Tour riders.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 2, 2006 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Santiago Botero, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

Labarta resigns: Will it save CV's Tour spot?

Eurosport | Labarta resigns over investigation

José Ignacio Labarta, the assistant director of Comunidad Valenciana, resigned today “so that the shadow of suspicion does not fall on [the CV squad] and their staff.”

Labarta is reportedly one of the figures involved in a blood doping operation headquartered in Madrid that is currently under investigation.

VeloNews quotes team manager Vicente Belda:

"If we are not in the Tour it will be the biggest injustice that can be committed in the world of cycling," Belda told reporters at the Euskal Bizikleta bike race. "We have a clear conscience. We hope the bad news stops right there. We´ve been doing things the past few years as they should be done. We have nothing to hide and have nothing that can make us guilty."

Eurosport also cites claims in the Spanish magazine Interviu that investigators taped clinic visits by Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez and Santiago Botero, T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, and Liberty Seguros' Angel Vicioso, all of whom raced for Kelme when Eufemiano Fuentes was the team doctor.

Sevilla's T-Mobile team manager, Olaf Ludwig, is quoted on the team website that Sevilla “confirmed to me by phone that he hasn't had any contact with Fuentes.” As for the taped visits to the clinic? “The doctor he worked with had a clinic in the same building as Fuentes,” says Ludwig.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 1, 2006 in Doping, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Santiago Botero, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Next up: The Dauphiné Libéré

Cycling4all | Dauphiné Libéré provisional start list

We're just a few days from the race that's become the most important Tour warm-up, the Dauphiné Libéré. Cycling4All has a running start list, and there are few surprises. Lots of Americans have team leader numbers, including Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie at CSC, and Chris Horner at Davitamon-Lotto.

It's a South American riding in Phonak's lowest number, Santiago Botero, although of course Floyd Landis is using the race to test his fitness before the Tour. Yaroslav Popovych wears 31 for Discovery, which also brings George Hincapie and Jose Azevedo.

Vinokourov and Kaschechkin both will start for the team formerly known as Liberty Seguros, while Alejandro Valverde leads Caisse d'Espargne.

Missing riders? Quick Step's Tom Boonen, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, and T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, as well as Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso.

Some of these guys have 4 weeks of racing in their legs since April 20: A lot of the Saunier Duval (Pinotti, Olson) and Davitamon-Lotto riders (Henk Vogels, Jan Kuyckx, Nick Gates, Van Hecke) started both the Tour de Georgia and the Giro d'Italia.

Action kicks off Sunday with a 4-km prologue in Annecy.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Chris Horner, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Leipheimer back in Europe for Tour of Catalonia

IOL | Leipheimer seeks strong showing in Catalonia

Levi Leipheimer is back in Europe for the Tour of Catalonia (aka the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya). A number of other 2006 Tour likelies will also take the start, including Phonak's Santigo Botero, Rabobank's Denis Menchov, T-Mobile's Giusepe Guerini, CSC's Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady, Cadel Evans, Francisco Mancebo, Inigo Landaluze (fresh from an overturned suspension), Thor Hushovd, Erik Zabel, and Filippo Pozzato.

Today's stage is a short time trial, 12.6 km (about 7.5 miles) in length.

Update: VeloNews reports this morning that, in pre-race blood tests, former Liberty Seguros rider Jan Hruska of the Czech Republic, now riding for 3 Molinos (sponsored by The Wallflowers?) failed his hematocrit and is barred from racing for 2 weeks.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 15, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Francisco Mancebo, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 16, 2005

Stage 14 underway

On the Port de Pailhères, T-Mobile is ready to rumble. They go to the front, and launch an attack with more than 10 k left in the HC climb. Guerini pushed the pace, then Vinokourov attacked! Armstrong is isolated against Vinokourov, Guerini, and Ullrich. After the initial gap, some riders are catching up to the leaders' group. Basso, Rasmussen, Mancebo, Landis, Leipheimer are there. Popovych is trying to get back to the group, struggling a few seconds back. There goes Vinokourov again. Basso matches him, and Christophe Moreau. Basso has ridden past Vino! Botero, Mayo, Heras dropped in the first big attack. Ullrich, Basso, Vinokourov are riding together, with Armstrong back a few seconds, with Mancebo and Rasmussen. Mancebo and Armstrong attack from that group, and Armstrong drops him, bridging to Ullrich and Basso. Rasmussen and Mancebo are trying to climb back onto Armstrong/Ullrich/Basso. Heads of state group: Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Leipheimer, Cadel Evans, and Andrey Kaschechkin (bless you) who looks likely to take the white jersey tonight. Still up the road are Stefano Garzelli and Georg Totschnig, about 5 minutes ahead, and a few other remnants of an early breakaway. Now another selection: Only Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, and Landis are still together. Evans, Leipheimer, and Kaschechkin are off the back, with Mancebo, Rasmussen, and Leonardo Piepoli about 1 minute behind the Armstrong group. Vinokourov is 18 seconds behind them: He's not freewheeling to the finish; he's giving it his all to try to get back among the leaders. Now seven leaders: Leipheimer from behind and Daniele Nardello and Alexander Moos, formerly of the breakaway, join Armstrong, Basso, Landis, and Ullrich. That means Landis (with Moos) and Ullrich (with Nardello) have teammates in the bunch. If Totschnig is caught, Leipheimer will as well. Back to the five leaders: Armstrong, Basso, Landis, Leipheimer, and Ullrich. They're nearing the top of the Port de Pailhères. Totschnig is going to be first over the top, but the leaders won't be far behind. It's about a 4 minute gap, with 29 kilometers for the leader to ride. On the descent, Rasmussen's group (with Klöden, Evans, Mancebo and Zubeldia) is making up time, now about 20 seconds behind Armstrong; Vinokourov is another 25 seconds behind that. Garzelli is 2:45 ahead of Armstrong's group, and Totschnig is 1:10 ahead of that. It's all back together: Vinokourov is reintegrating; already there is Rasmussen's group. That puts 3 T-Mobiles and 2 Euskaltel-Euskadis in front. Totschnig is on the day's final climb, so I'm going to start a new "final climb" post. If you've been reloading this page, you can find it on the home page.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Stage 11 wrapup

I found myself wanting Discovery Channel to chase Vinokourov down Wednesday: they still had 5 or 6 strong guys on the Galibier, and I think they could have closed a 2 minute gap. Glancing through Bob Martin's Stage 11 summary, though, they clearly did exactly the right thing.

Just four guys made time on Armstong Wednesday: Vinokourov got 1:45, Botero 1:32; Christophe Moreau got 8 seconds; José Azevedo got 2 seconds.

Botero and Vinokourov are potentially dangerous guys, but their damage was contained, and the rest of the field has lost one more day's opportunity to put Lance Armstrong under a hammer. Armstrong's retirement is now 10 stages and 11 days away.

It's clear Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras, or Brad McGee won't be knocking Armstrong off the podium; Heras lost another 17 minutes, Mayo 22:35, and McGee almost 40 minutes. The performances of Heras and Beloki have led Liberty Seguros to reportedly make Jorg Jaksche the team captain for the rest of the Tour.

Today, Discovery will mostly work to keep GC contenders out of any successful break: If Basso tries to go off, they'll chase. On the other hand, there are so many riders facing disappointing Tours, and lowly placed, that it shouldn't be hard to find a quality break and let it go. Especially after Vinokourov's break succeeded Wednesday.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bradley McGee, Christophe Moreau, Iban Mayo, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Vinokourov battles back for stage win

T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov takes Stage 11 with a tremendous day-long breakaway. Spending much of the break with former teammate Santiago Botero, Vinokourov repaired some of the damage done to his GC hopes in Tuesday's Stage 10.

The stage victory is the first for T-Mobile, whose director said Tuesday night that the team "are just not any good."

Christophe Moreau moved up into 3rd place in the overall with a sprint for the finish line bonus points. Bobby Julich finished 4th on the day.

Botero moves up into 6th for his day-long efforts, and Vinokourov moves into 12th, at 4:47.

Overall race leader Lance Armstrong lost a little more than a minute to Botero and Vinokourov, but further roasted a number of former GC hopefuls.

The autobus topped the Galibier just after the leading group finished the stage.

Stage Top 10:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 4:47:38
2) Santiago Botero, Phonak, at :01
3) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 1:15
4) Bobby Julich, CSC, same time
5) Eddy Mazzoleni, Lampre-Caffita, s.t.
6) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, s.t.
7) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
8) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner
9) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank
10) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Georg Totschnig, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Santiago Botero, Stage results, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Stage 11: Descent to Briançon

Over the top of the Galibier, it was Vinokourov, then Botero at :41, Rasmussen at 2:23, with Moreau leading the field over at 2:40.

Rasmussen has come back to Armstrong! He was just making sure he got max king of the mountains points.

Botero has caught Vinokourov. He's clearly a faster descender, but now Vinokourov can use Botero as a guide for the rest of the descent, so they'll likely stay together.

Armstrong and the Discovery men are flying down the hill; the gap has shrunk only to 2:24 with 20 kilometers to go.

At 15 kilometers to go, it's 2:16. Vinokourov's transponder has come loose and is flapping around his dropouts. In a bit of mechanic magic, a team mechanic comes alongside in a car and snips the zip-ties holding it on, keeping all his fingers in the process. That may cost the escapees a few seconds.

At 5 kilometers to go, the gap is down to 1:40.

The leaders are inside the last 3 kilometers. Botero could easily sit in, since Vinokourov has the most to gain, but they're both taking strong pulls. I don't think we'll see any games in the last kilometer.

Vino is sitting on Botero's wheel. They're shadowing each other, there goes Vinokourov, and Botero grabs his wheel, but he doesn't have the juice. It's Vinokourov taking the win, and a 20 second time bonus.

Discovery is finishing in a team time trial. Azevedo falls off, Savoldelli falls off, third place is still up for grabs with a time bonus. Armstrong is contesting it, and Christophe Moreau takes the sprint!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Lance Armstrong, Michael Rasmussen, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (2)

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 12, 2005

GC update

Your current GC:
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 37:11:04
2) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at :38
3) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 2:40
4) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 2:42
5) Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Illes Balears, at 3:16
6) Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner at 3:58
7) Francisco Mancebo (Spain) Illes Balears at 4:00
8) Jan Ullrich (Germany) T-Mobile at 4:02
9) Andreas Klöden (Germany) T-Mobile at 4:16
10) Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak at 4:16

Looking farther back:

11) Botero, at 5:20
16) Vinokourov, 6:32
17) Julich, 6:32
21) Beloki at 8:31
23) Karpets at 9:03
24) Chris Horner, at 9:05
25) Michael Rogers, at 9:10
30) Georg Totschnig, at 11:43
36) Roberto Heras, at 12:59
45) Denis Menchov, at 16:16
50) Brad McGee, at 18:28
66) Iban Mayo, at 27:31

Basso, Leipheimer, Valverde, and Rasmussen all sit closer to the race lead than they did yesterday. They had the best days for riders not born in Texas. Unfortunately for them, they're not chasing down Jens Voigt from here on out.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 10 underway

First rider to drop out on the day was Lampre's Gerrit Glomser; he's the 16th rider out, leaving 173 in the race.

An opportunistic break was allowed to get 13:30 out in front; the biggest name and highest placed rider to make that break is Laurent Brochard, the former world champion, sitting 49th, 7:58 back this morning. Brochard, of course, has the peloton's worst mullet.

So much for "making CSC control the pace": Discovery is still doing most of the work on Cormet de Roselend. Discovery looks to be performing to expectations: Their pace is sending more than just pack fodder off the back: Iban Mayo has fallen off, and yellow jersey Jens Voigt is at the back of the lead group. Beltran is doing the pacemaking, and even Padrnos is still in the lead group, shadowing Voigt.

Brochard's group is 4:45 up the road from Armstrong, Ullirch, Leipheimer, Landis, Pereiro, Julich, Moreau, Vinokourov, and others. Voigt has yo-yoed off the back of the lead group and rejoined.

Over the top of the Col de Roselend, Pereiro attacks, and is joined by Jorg Jaksche of Liberty Seguros. The Brochard-to-big guns gap is 3:43 at the summit.

Popovych crashed on the descent, apparently with a team car, but got a new bike, and is chasing back onto Armstrong's group. Looks like he hit CSC's team car, and may have tangled and lost with the front fender of one of Discovery's Subarus.

The peloton has grown as riders dropped on the first climb chase back on. Discovery is still doing all the pacemaking.

Jaksche and Pereiro have caught the break, which is now composed of Brochard (Bouyges), Jaksche (Liberty), Pereiro (Phonak), Luis Sanchez (Liberty), Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), Mauro Facci (Fassa Bortolo), Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R), Inaki Isasi (Euskaltel), and Joost Posthuma (Rabobank). Pereiro started 5:12 behind Voigt this morning.

Discovery has brought back everyone from the early break except Jaksche, Pereiro and Brochard, and it won't be long on those three.

Roberto Heras and Denis Menchov are toasted and off the back. Mayo reportedly likewise, Beloki is off the back. CSC finally is making a move, sending Sastre off the front. Discovery lets him dangle off the front, but he doesn't have the legs to go.

Guerini off the back, Moreau off the back, Vladimir Karpets off the back. Horner off the back. Julich off the back. Botero off the back. Five Discovery riders up front. Only about 20 riders in total still in contention. Sastre falling off this group, paying for his attempted break.

Leipheimer, Vino, Landis, Ullrich, Basso all are still in Armstrong's group. Valverde is also there. Discovery has started to pay for the pace; Popovych is the only Discovery left. Vinokourov is back at the back of the group of 16 riders; Mancebo is there. Vinokourov is dropped! T-Mobile has Klöden and Ullrich up front.

Popovych is popped, and IT'S ON! Armstrong blows the group of 14 into a group of 5 or so: Armstrong, Basso, Valverde, Rasmussen, and Mancebo! Goodbye, Klöden, Ullrich, Leipheimer, Julich, and Landis. They've still got 10 kilometers to ride!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Francisco Mancebo, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Laurent Brochard, Michael Rasmussen, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005

Rest day checkup

Daily Peloton | Jambon Report Rest Day 1

Over at dailypeloton.com, Locutus offers his update on the race so far: Who's outperforming expectations, and who's underperforming.

The big thing to remember is how many people with big expectations haven't shown anything this year: Just among the Americans, there are Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, and Chris Horner, but also Heras and Beloki, Santiago Botero, Vinokourov, Ullrich, Iban Mayo and especially Ivan Basso. Most of these guys have picked out a stage they think plays to their strength in the mountains.

For at least a few of them, I think it's going to be tomorrow. Vinokourov and Armstrong have a history of making their bones on the mountaintop finishes. Given all the talk about Discovery's strength or weakness as a team, they're going to want to stamp their name all over a mountain stage, and soon.


procycling.com | Bruyneel on voyage of Discovery

So would tomorrow’s stage, which at first glance looks tailor-made for an Armstrong attack, see more of the champion’s trademark summit spectaculars[?] “Well, I hope it’s the same this time,” said Bruyneel. “This is the first big mountain stage so in theory there will be attacks. A lot of teams are ready. But we will see.

“Maybe it’s going to come down to the final time trial,” he said. “There’s nothing that can tell me today that Lance will definitely be in yellow tomorrow.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Chris Horner, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

Daily Peloton previews GC candidates

Daily Peloton | Tour de France: Jambon Preview

One of the most entertaining web Tour de France reports is The Daily Peloton's Jambon Report, where they award their Golden Hams and Ham-gazers to the riders who ruled and drooled, respectively, during the day's stage.

Today, Locutus has their GC preview up. Some highlights: he thinks Chris Horner "is the team leader, and the team just doesn't know it yet", expects Brad McGee to take the prologue-that's-not-really-a-prologue on Saturday, and thinks Ullrich will lose serious time on the first major mountain stage, as he does every year.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 26, 2005

Phonak unveils their nanobike

Roadcycling.com | Landis, Botero Get Secret Weapon for the 2005 Tour de France

Phonak's bike supplier, BMC, makes some of the coolest looking frames on the planet. By building primarily with carbon fiber, the company is able to shape the frame members to optimize aerodynamics and function, not just as a collection of tubes.

This year, BMC is providing Phonak with its latest "carbon nanotube technology" bike, dubbed the BMC Pro Machine. RoadCycling.com has the first look at what Phonak's co-leaders, Santiago Botero and Floyd Landis, will be riding in the 2005 Tour.

The only metal in this frame is reportedly the threading for the bottom bracket.

This isn't the first use of nanotubes in sports: Wilson has three different golf clubs that use nanotubes in their shaft.

No word on pricing for the BMC Pro Machine.


Futurespeak column on nanotubes in sports, October 2003

Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2005 in Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero, Tour Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 12, 2005

Hink the alpha and omega at Dauphiné; Landaluze holds on GC

VeloNews.com | Hincapie wins final stage at Dauphiné; Landaluze takes overall Discovery Channel waved the flag high on Sunday, finishing 1-2-3 at Stage 7 of the Dauphiné Libéré, and giving George Hincapie an unusual double, taking the race's prologue and the last stage. Euskaltel's Inigo Landaluze was thoroughly tested, but hung on to take his biggest professional win. Hincapie and teammate Yaroslav Popovych broke away less than an hour into the stage, which included seven laps of a finishing circuit including a 2.5 km climb, where Bernard Hinault won the 1980 world championship. The two class-A all-rounders worked smoothly together and finished with 22 seconds in hand. Finally, on the last circuit, 2nd-placed Santiago Botero launched an attack, covered by Armstrong, Vinokourov, and Leipheimer, but gained only 38 seconds on Landaluze, leaving Landaluze an 11-second margin of victory. Armstrong, presumably helped by not having to pull with two teammates up the road, took the sprint, giving Discovery the top 3 spots on the day. Armstrong wound up with the Dauphiné overall points jersey, with Discovery Channel taking the team prize. Top 10: 1) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 3:07:10 2) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, same time 3) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at :22 4) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, same time 5) Santiago Botero, Phonak, same time 6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, same time, 7) David Moncoutie, Cofidis, at :24 8) Wim Van Huffel, Davitamon-Lotto, same time 9) Jose Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :45 10) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at :59 General classification: 1) Inigo Landaluze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, 28:24:46 2) Santiago Botero, Phonak, at :11 3) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :38 4) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at :59 5) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 1:02 6) David Moncoutie, Cofidis, at 1:56 7) Jose Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 3:54 8) Marzio Bruseghin, Fassa Bortolo, at 3:58 9) Andrey Kashechkin, Credit Agricole, at 5:04 10) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at 6:20 Also: cyclingnews.com | Stage and overall results | Stage 7 recap

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2005 in Andrey Kashechkin, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, David Moncoutié, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Graham Watson on US civil war at Dauphiné

ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.) | Graham Watson: Dauphine Stage 6

Graham Watson confirms what I thought about yesterday's stage -- he calls it the “best day's racing of the year.”

There was certainly a lot to like, with the re-emergence of Santiago Botero, the strong showing by traditional Tour strengths like Francisco Mancebo, David Moncoutie, and Christophe Moreau, and the gutty performance by Inigo Landaluze to narrowly protect his overall race lead.

Watson, however, is focused on what was going on with Armstrong, Leipheimer, and Floyd Landis. Watson believes Armstrong was riding partly to demoralize the World's Fastest Mennonite:

If there was ever any doubts still, it was when Lance eased off the Vino-Gomez attack to allow Leipheimer to catch up again that we knew they were working together against Landis.

If you are as puzzled as you should be, don’t worry. This is Lance’s way of showing Landis what life is like ‘after US Postal’ – and there will be more to come in the Tour de France, be sure of that. To make Landis’s day even worse, he overshot a bend with two-kilometres to go and skidded into the dirt, making it back to the race with only his pride hurting.

Shades of Brasstown Bald in there.

One story I saw had Armstrong catching Vinokourov and Gomez, then dropping back to tow Leipheimer onto their tails. Armstrong's not going to get a tremendous result out of the Dauphiné, but he definitely got a chance to test himself under fire, and he's looking both strong and sassy for next month's Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, David Moncoutié, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2005

Botero's back -- takes Stage 6, Landaluze holds lead at Dauphiné

Eurosport | Botero steals stage, Landaluze still leads After a tremendous Tour de France in 2002 (he was 4th overall, beat Lance Armstrong in the long time trial, and took a mountain stage win), Santiago Botero signed with T-Mobile and promptly disappeared. Since joining Phonak at the beginning of this season, Botero has won the Tour of Romandy and the individual time trial at the Dauphiné Libéré Wednesday, edging Levi Leipheimer by a second. During Thursday's stage to Mont Ventoux, Botero wasn't a factor, and finished 16th on the day, 2:59 behind former teammate Alexandre Vinokourov. Today, on the hardest stage of the race, Botero showed he's rediscovered his form. On the hors categorie Col de Joux Plane, Botero broke from the leaders, and only David Moncoutie of Cofidis could hold his wheel. Lance Armstrong was content to sit in the field early, leaving chase duties to the guys with more to lose: Alexandre Vinokourov, who needed to gap the other GC riders to have a shot at a 2nd Dauphiné title; Levi Leipheimer, who could retake the race lead if he could gap Euskaltel's Inigo Landaluze, and Landaluze himself, who risked losing the race lead to Botero if the Colombian got far enough up the road. The first select group was 8 leaders, who gapped Landaluze, and included Armstrong, Landis, Leipheimer, and Vinokourov. Then Vinokourov broke away, getting about 20 seconds, and forcing Armstrong to reel him in about 1 km short of the top of Jeux Plane. At the summit, Armstrong, Leipheimer, Vinokourov, and Saunier-Duval's Jose Gomez-Marchante were the last remnants of the select group, and on the 9 km descent to Morzine, they were joined by David Arroyo of Illes Balears. Leipheimer and Vinokourov were riding hard to gain time on Landaluze, who spent much of the climb alone, about 30 seconds behind the Armstrong group. The leaders never were able to close down Botero, who finally shed Moncoutie on the descent. Landaluze battled all day, and in the end, saved his race lead, now leading Botero by :49, Leipheimer by 1:16, Armstrong by 1:37, and Vinokourov by 1:40. Top 13: 1) Santiago Botero, Phonak, 4:30:54 2) David Moncoutie, Cofidis, at :23 3) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at :53 4) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at :58 5) Marzio Bruseghin, Fassa Bortolo, at 2:27 6) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 2:50 7) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at 2:52 8) David Arroyo, Illes Balears, same time 9) Jose Gomez Marchante, Saunier Duval-Prodir, same time                    10) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, same time, 11) Andrey Kashechkin, Credit Agricole, at 3:43 12) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 4:02 13) Inigo Landaluze, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 4:17 Thor Hushovd and Christian Vande Velde were among the riders who didn't finish the stage. Also: BBC Sport | Botero fires warning to Armstrong Botero certainly bears watching, but I'm not sure that's a fair headline: Botero had somewhat fresher legs than the guys who fought it out on Ventoux Thursday. In the Tour, the overall leader typically can't finish 3 minutes down on any stage (except, of course, the early suicide breaks by riders with no GC chance). Yahoo! Sports | I didn't feel comfortable in mountains, says Armstrong VeloNews.com | Botero wins mountain stage as Landaluze clings to lead in Dauphiné cyclingnews.com | Dauphiné Libéré Stage 6 Results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, David Moncoutié, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 10, 2005

Phonak announces Tour squad

Phonak Cycling Team | Phonak Hearing Systems team nominates its Tour de France line-up

I think this makes the Swiss team, likely to be led by American Floyd Landis, the first team to announce a final lineup of nine riders. Many of the other included teams have narrowed the field to a "pre-selection."

The Phonak Tour squad:

Santiago Botero (Colombia)
Bert Grabsch (Germany)
Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Spain)
Robert Hunter (South Africa)
Nicolas Jalabert (France)
Floyd Landis (USA)
Alexandre Moos (Switzerland)
Oscar Pereiro (Spain)
Steve Zampieri (Switzerland)

Update (6/12): Going by Botero's performance at the Dauphiné, he might be the more likely team leader. Landis has said in the past he wasn't sure he was ready to lead a Tour team this year.

Cycling4all.com has a running tally of likely Tour starters.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2005 in Floyd Landis, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Oscar Pereiro, Santiago Botero, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2005

Leipheimer in Dauphiné yellow as Botero wins ITT

BBC SPORT | Botero leaves Armstrong gasping

Phonak's Santiago Botero took the individual time trial at the Dauphiné Libéré today, with Levi Leipheimer's 2nd place catapulting him into the race lead.

Botero beat Leipheimer by just 1 second, with Discovery's Lance Armstrong 26 seconds back, and Phonak's Floyd Landis at 39 seconds. T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov rounded out the top 5, at 1:00 back of Botero.

As expected, the time trial totally reshuffles the GC, with Leipheimer moving in to the overall race lead, Botero at 12 seconds, Armstrong at 30 seconds, and Landis at 42 seconds.

Tomorrow's stage to the top of Mont Ventoux is the next obstacle for whomever is going to win this thing; it's hard not to think back to Brasstown Bald at the Tour de Georgia in April, where Tom Danielson (not at the Dauphiné) took the stage, followed closely by Leipheimer, then Armstrong just gapping Landis at the top of the mountain a minute behind.

Leipheimer is clearly in tremendous shape this year. Armstrong is clearly in very good shape, as well, but whether it's Tour-winning shape is still to be seen.

Top 10:

1) Santiago Botero, Phonak, 1:00:06
2) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :01
3) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at :26
4) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :39
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 1:00
6) Oscar Pereiro, Phonak, at 1:09
7) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
8) Marzio Bruseghin, Fassa Bortolo, at 1:14
9) Ivan Gutierrez, Illes Balears, at 1:16
10) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at 1:19


Yahoo! Sport | Armstrong stunned as Botero wins Dauphine TT


"I'm not overwhelmingly pleased but not too disappointed. I'm on schedule (for the Tour)," he added.

"I'm better than I was at the Tour of Georgia. I'm more comfortable on the bike. My position is better and my cadence is better.

"Today wasn't perfect but the overall sensation is good."

Still unaware of Botero's time, Armstrong added: "I was six seconds behind Botero at the second checkpoint but if I was 30 seconds behind him at the finish line then that would be a little disappointing."

cyclingnews.com | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 8, 2005 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2005

Maybe it's the pink jerseys

VeloNews.com | Analysis: Why T-Mobile fails

In light of Paolo Savoldelli's win at the Giro d'Italia, the re-emergence of Bobby Julich once he joined CSC, and Santiago Botero's return to the top rank of EuroPros (winning this year's Tour de Romandie), VeloNews.com has an interesting analysis piece, "Why T-Mobile fails."

First off, there's almost no debate that, as a team, they do. Until Vinokourov finally broke through at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the best-paid team on the planet had zero results to speak of for the season.

Moll chalks it up largely to the disconnect between T-Mobile's two leaders, Walter Godefroot and the strange two-headed beast of Mario Kummer, the team's directeur sportif, and former DS Rudy Pevenage, now Ullrich's dedicated coach.

Agree or disagree, it's an interesting read.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Jan Ullrich, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack