June 06, 2007

T-Mobile Tour plans: Barry, Honchar out

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

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

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

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

T-Mobile's team website has noted:

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

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

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


VeloNews | T-Mobile leaves Honchar off of Tour roster

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

May 09, 2007

Honchar out of Giro

Eurosport | T-Mobile lose Honchar

T-Mobile announced that Sergei Honchar will not start the Giro.

Honchar, who led the race briefly last year, and was 2nd overall in 2004, is recovering from a cold or tendinitis, depending on your source.

Honchar's illness opens the door for Michael Barry, who takes his spot on the start line. It also changes the team's focus to stage wins from TT specialists Marco Pinotti and Frantisek Rabon or from new sprint specialist Greg Henderson of New Zealand, starting his first Grand Tour. Also starting for T-Mobile is the USA's own Aaron Olson.


T-Mobile | T-Mobile Team to focus on stage wins

Posted by Frank Steele on May 9, 2007 in Giro d'Italia 2007, Sergei Honchar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2006

Honchar takes ITT, Landis takes the Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 85:42:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :59
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Overall standings

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

Stage 19 ITT underway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Popovych starts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vande Velde comes through TC2 just behind teammate Zabriskie.

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

Chavanel finishes in a respectable 1:12:17.44.

Menchov sets off, currently 6th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 09, 2006

Stage 7 photo galleries

Zabriskie, Honchar, Tour Devil Didi Senft, by Caroline Yang.

Graham Watson actually came up behind Landis and caught him during the bike change here; here's Watson's full TT gallery.

BikeZen's Mark Shimahara's TT gallery.

CyclingNews.com TT photo gallery.

BBC Sport Stage 7 photo gallery.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2006 in Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Photo galleries, Sergei Honchar, The Tour Devil, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 08, 2006

So who are the team leaders?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour Salad: Stage 7

VeloNews | Stage 7 by the numbers

VeloNews sheds light on the day's most important question: “How do you spell the stage winner's name?”

VeloNews says the man himself prefers “Sergei Gontchar,” insisting it's misspelled on his passport, and therefore on Tour result sheets, as “Serhiy Honchar.” As recently as the Giro in May, VeloNews was using Sergei Honchar. OLN also goes with Sergei Gontchar. But interestingly, the T-Mobile team website uses “Serhiy Honchar.” To add to the confusion, there's an NHL player named Sergei Gonchar. CyclingNews asked the rider, and will switch to “Serguei Gonchar.” I'm going to stick with Sergei Honchar for now, no disrespect to the man who smoked the field today.

rec.bicycles.racing | Tour de France stage 7 summary

Bob Martin's daily summary points up what a dominant performance Honchar put on: He's the only person who gained time on the race leadership today. Landis lost the least: He's just 24 seconds farther from the race lead than he was last night. Most of the day's big losers were sprinters, but Levi Leipheimer dropped 37 spots. Jens Voigt will be looking for a friendly break tomorrow, as the CSC strongman finished DFL on the day, clearly looking forward to a better day.

Eurosport | Tales from the Tour: Lance on his way

Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong will be in France for the Tour's final week. He told Suzanne Halliburton at the Austin American-Statesman:

“I'm not gonna run and hide like some other former champs might. With all that happened before the start, I feel as if the sport and even the event needs fans and supporters right now. It's not the time for me to run and hide. I need to stand up and say how great cycling and the racing is.”

rec.bicycles.racing | Chung Charts for stage 7 TT

The “Chung Chart” is a graph of rider performance over segments of a time-trial, traditionally with first-half speed on one axis, and second-half speed on the other. Robert Chung has traditionally posted these charts to rec.bicycles.racing, and they can sometimes show how the race broke down. The time checks weren't at the halfway point today, but the concept is the same. It's pretty clear: Honchar was about 2 kms/hour faster than everybody else over the whole course. That's a dominant performance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Jens Voigt, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Sergei Honchar, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Honchar dominates TT, takes yellow jersey

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

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

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

Levi Leipheimer's troubles are still not explained.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Stage 7 ITT underway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zabriskie takes his start.

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

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

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

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

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

Klöden comes through Time Check 1 at 19:58!

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

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

Michael Rogers is off, smelling yellow.

Moreau hits TC1 at 25 seconds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vande Velde finishes in 1:04:57.

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

Popovych finishes in 1:05:00.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hincapie to the line in 1:04:25.

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

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

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

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

July 07, 2006

McEwen launched to third stage win

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

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

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

Wednesday, the race hits the mountains.

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

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

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

July 06, 2006

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)

June 21, 2006

T-Mobile announce Tour squad

T-Mobile Team | 2006 Tour de France roster announced

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

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

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

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

T-Mobile also named Lorenzo Bernucci their first alternate.

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

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 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

Giro TTT photo galleries from around the web

Graham Watson:

(l-r) Disco slowdown, T-Mo gogo, Honchar trades magenta for pink

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


Armstrong hitchin' a ride; Basso, CSC on the top step

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


New pink jersey leading T-Mobile, old pink jersey w/Gerolsteiner squad.

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

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Lance Armstrong, Photo galleries, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher | Permalink | Comments (0)

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

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 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)

May 06, 2006

Savoldelli takes Giro Stage 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VeloNews.com | Savoldelli throws down the gauntlet

Eurosport | Back in pink for Savoldelli

cyclingnews.com | Full results | Photo gallery

Tickers: Daily Peloton | VeloNews | cyclingnews.com

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

January 23, 2006

T-Mobile picks first 5 for Tour squad

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

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

They are:

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

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

July 10, 2005

Zabriskie abandons

Dave Zabriskie of CSC, who stormed the first stage time trial and wore the yellow jersey until crashing during the team time trial, abandoned this morning about 10 kilometers into the Tour de France's 9th stage.

Zabriskie had been suffering on the bike since his fall, finishing more than 51 minutes back on Stage 8.

Also abandoning today was Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano of Liberty Seguros, who was involved in a crash at the 3-kilometer mark today that also included Bernhard Eisel and Alberto Contador.

Combined with yesterday's withdrawals of Leon Van Bon, Isaac Galvez, Sylvain Calzati, Serhiy Honchar, and Christophe Mengin, the race continues with 178 riders.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2005 in Alberto Contador, Dave Zabriskie, Sergei Honchar, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 31, 2004

Cunego crowned, Petacchi extends record at Giro

BBC SPORT | Cunego wins Giro d'Italia

Italy's newest cycling hero had his coming-out party in Milan on Sunday, as Damiano Cunego finished off his biggest victory, in the 2004 Giro d'Italia. Cunego becomes the races youngest winner since Giuseppe Saronni in 1979.

On the stage, Alessandro Petacchi extended his modern Giro record for stage wins to 8, ahead of Marco Zannotti in 2nd.

Cunego's GC lead was attacked, by Saeco teammate Gilberto Simoni among others, on Saturday, but Sunday's flat stage was more of a coronation.

Serhiy Honchar finished in second overall, 2:02 back, while 2001 and 2003 Giro winner Simoni was 3rd.


Yahoo! Sport | Cunego wins Giro as Petacchi claims stage number nine

cyclingnews.com | 87th Giro d'Italia photos

VeloNews | Cunego wins the Giro as Petacchi chalks up No. 9

On Cunego:

"His future is incredible, he can win many races. He's already four or five years ahead of the others," said Saeco's sport director, Giuseppe Martinelli. "He's not your typical rider. He's a strong climber, but has a quick sprint.

Petacchi on the stage win record:

"The first win was a liberation and the last was something special, but all the victories were important," Petacchi told Reuters after leading the pack home again on Sunday.

"After three weeks of racing and all the mountain stages I was very tired, but I was pleased the way I won the sprint. I had another great lead-out from my teammates and Zanotti and the other sprinters were well behind me at the line."

VeloNews on the internecine squabble between teammates Simoni and Cunego:

Though team officials tried to play it down, the split within the Saeco team has been the major story in the Italian press.

"Cunego deserved to win this Giro," Martinelli insisted. "He proved he was the strongest and the team supported him. For him to win is incredible. No one expected it."

Following Cunego's Saturday-morning press conference, Saeco riders and staff dressed in pink to pose for a picture - except Simoni, who refused to join the love fest. One newspaper reported Simoni would try to break his final year with Saeco to join another team, possibly Quick Step or his former team Lampre.

It's certain that the two men will not ride this year's Tour de France together, whether as teammates or as rivals - Cunego says he might not tackle that grand tour until 2006. As for Simoni, he refused to talk about the upcoming Tour. Part of his plan for the 2004 season was to come into the Giro fresher with the idea to be stronger in July.

"I don't want to think about the Tour. I've been racing for 20 days, and all I want to do is go home and see my family," Simoni said. "After that I'll come up with some plan to conquer the world."

ProCycling.com | Giro 2004: Petacchi, Cunego complete victory lap

PezCycling | GIRO Finale: Petacchi Again! New Boy Wins Overall

DailyPeloton.com | Final General Classifications

DailyPeloton.com | Final Jerseys Classifications

DailyPeloton.com | Final Teams Classifications

Posted by Frank Steele on May 31, 2004 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d’Italia, Sergei Honchar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Petacchi looks to set Giro stage record

Yahoo! Sport | Petacchi in seventh heaven after equalling Giro record

If he wants to win, nobody is stopping Alessandro Petacchi. He's won half the stages in this year's Giro d'Italia, with a week still to ride. That equals the modern record of 7 stage wins shared by Freddy Maertens, Roger De Vlaeminck, and Beppe Saronni. Back in the stone age, Alfredo Binda won 12 stages in 1927. Asked how many stages in total he thought he could win, Petacchi said he likes the profile of two more stages:

"There are still two stages left where sprints are possible, this Monday and next Sunday. But the next stage is long and the team is starting to feel the effects of working for me so much.

"Plus, the mountains are just around the corner and we have to think about saving some energy."

Petacchi added: "Seven victories - it hasn't quite sunk in. To equal Saronni is just unbelievable. He was on[e] of my idols."

Yaroslav Popovych of the Ukraine will spend at least today in the pink jersey, as he holds the overall lead by 3 seconds over Serhiy Honchar, with Bradley McGee of Australia 1:02 back, and 2-time defending Giro champion Gilberto Simoni looming 1:27 back. The last week is mostly one for the climbers, where Simoni has traditionally excelled. Also: VeloNews | Seven

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2004 in Alessandro Petacchi, Giro d’Italia, Sergei Honchar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack