July 06, 2011

Stage 5: Cavendish opens his account

Nobody was counting Mark Cavendish out of this Tour, except in Cav's imagination. But the well-oiled HTC-Highroad machine has sputtered at a couple of key junctures so far, and Cavendish has been unable to seal the deal.

Wednesday, the wheels again came off HTC-Highroad's leadout, but Cavendish wouldn't be denied, streaking easily through the competition to take his first win of the 2011 Tour.

The longest breakaway of the day featured José Ivan Gutierrez, Anthony Delaplace, Tristan Valentin and Sébastien Turgot, who escaped just after the racing began and were caught with about 45 kilometers to race. It was a nervous day in the field, with crosswinds threatening echelons that never quite formed, and narrow roads that wouldn't qualify as driveways in some parts of the United States.

The result was dozens of crashes. Radio Shack's Janez Brajkovic suffered a concussion and broken collarbone and abandoned the Tour after he was caught up in a crash that also injured Rabobank leader Robert Gesink. Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Quick Step's French road champion Sylvain Chavanel also spent time in the horizontal plane.

Defending champion Alberto Contador was down in two separate incidents, while Saxo Bank teammate Nicki Sørensen found his bike wedged against a photo motorcycle trying to edge past on a very narrow road. Sørensen flipped to the ground then slid to a stop in the roadside.

At the day's intermediate sprint, green jersey José Rojas and Tom Boonen got caught up and swept almost from edge to edge, leading Cavendish to gesture at what he thought was a flagrant foul. The pair were stripped of points earned in that sprint after the stage, dropping Rojas out of the green jersey lead (now led by Philippe Gilbert).

Boonen would also hit the deck quite hard and spent the rest of the stage fighting just to try to get in under the time limit for the stage.

The early capture opened the door for a pair of French opportunists, FDJ's Jeremy Roy and Europcar's Thomas Voeckler, who escaped with 32k to ride and yo-yo'ed off the front until less than 3k to ride.

HTC-Highroad throttled up its train, but the cars got scrambled late as Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen tried to escape. Separated from usual leadout man Mark Renshaw, Cavendish found the wheel of Geraint Thomas, then Philippe Gilbert and shot through the leaders in the final 200 meters to take the stage.

The stage had little impact on the overall race lead, but tossed the green a bit, with Gilbert inheriting the leader's jersey only late in the afternoon when Rojas was docked for the squirrely intermediate sprint, and Cavendish moving up to 4th overall.

Green Jersey (after Stage 5)

1) Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 120 pts
2) Jose Rojas, Movistar, 112 pts
3) Cadel Evans, BMC 90 pts
4) Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, 84 pts
5) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, 82 pts
6) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervelo, 68 pts
7) André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, 48 pts
8) Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil-DCM, 47 pts
9) Borut Bozic, Vacansoleil-DCM, 47 pts
10) Geraint Thomas, Sky, 44 pts


Cyclingnews.com | Cavendish gets his win the hard way | photos

GrahamWatson.com | Tour de France Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2011 in 2011 Stage 5, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Janez Brajkovic, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Sylvain Chavanel, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2009

Boonen exits after lackluster Tour

Times Online | Tom Boonen abandons Tour de France as demons take a hold

2007 green jersey Tom Boonen withdrew from the Tour today, with only poor placings in this year's Tour and only one likely sprint stage (Stage 21 next Sunday) remaining.

Boonen, the 2005 world champion, has been seen off the back of the field for mechanicals more this year than he's been seen in the front of the field preparing for the sprint. His best finish was 16th in Stage 11.

The reigning Belgian champion, Boonen announced yesterday that he would ride the Vuelta a España in September.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2009 in Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2009

Cosmo presents "How the Race Was Won" for Stage 2

2009 Tour de France - Stage Two - How The Race Was Won from Cosmo Catalano on Vimeo.

Sit back and let your Uncle Cosmo show you some of the things you may have missed on yesterday's Stage 2. Cosmo's done a few of these before — you can find them on his Vimeo channel or over at his weblog, Cyclocosm.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2009 in 2009 Stage 2, 2009 Tour de France, Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2009

Stage 2: Cavendish strikes first for green

Mark Cavendish delivered the goods Sunday, easily outsprinting the field in Brignoles.

Cavendish won four stages in last year's Tour, but didn't win the overall green jersey because he dropped out to concentrate on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. That didn't work out so well. Cavendish has said his goals for the Tour are just to win a stage and make it to Paris, but wearing the green jersey tonight, he's got to be thinking bigger.

The victory was Cav's 15th this season, and continues the Columbia team's amazing run -- they won 6 stages of the Tour de Suisse (with 5 different riders) in June.

Garmin-Slipstream's Tyler Farrar played the sprint just right, finding and holding Cavendish's wheel, but just couldn't find the terminal velocity to stay with the Manx Express. Romain Feillu was 3rd, Thor Hushovd 4th, and Bbox's Yukiya Arashiro, one of two Japanese riders making the start this year, was 5th.

No sign of Tom Boonen, who may have been caught by a crash in the final kilometer, and was 174th on the stage.

For much of the day, four riders: Jussi Veikkanen of FdJeux; Stef Clement of Rabobank; Stéphane Auge of Cofidis; and Cyril Dessel of AG2R, rode alone, and Veikkanen collected enough King of the Mountain points to take over the lead in that competition. That makes him the first Finn ever to wear the polka-dots in the Tour.

Stage 2 Top Ten:
1) Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia-HTC, 4:30:02
2) Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Slipstream, same time
3) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team, s.t.
5) Yukiya Arashiro, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
6) Gerald Ciolek, Team Milram, s.t.
7) William Bonnet, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
8) Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale, s.t.
9) Koen de Kort, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
10) Lloyd Mondory, AG2R La Mondiale, s.t.

General Classification, after Stage 2:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team Saxo Bank, 4:49:34
2) Alberto Contador, Astana, at :18
3) Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream, at :19
4) Andreas Klöden, Astana, at :22
5) Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, at :23
6) Levi Leipheimer, Astana, at :30
7) Roman Kreuziger, Liquigas, at :32
8) Tony Martin, Team Columbia-HTC, at :33
9) Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at :37
10) Lance Armstrong, Astana, at :40


VeloNews | Cavendish wins second stage; Cancellara keeps lead

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2009 in 2009 Stage 2, Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Romain Feillu, Stage results, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2009

French ruling: Boonen can start Tour

CyclingNews | Boonen can start in the Tour

The French Olympic Committee's Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled today that Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen may start the 2009 Tour de France.

Boonen, who tested positive for cocaine in an out-of-competition test in April, had been barred from racing this year's Tour by ASO, the Tour's owner and organizer. It was his third positive for the drug since November 2007, and led ASO to bar him from last year's Tour, as well. Australia's Allan Davis had been announced as Boonen's replacement at the Tour.

Boonen, one of the sport's best sprinters, should make the fight for the green jersey much more interesting, and his presence could deny Mark Cavendish a chance at bettering his four stage wins from 2008.

The 2005 world champion and 2007 Tour green jersey, Boonen claimed his first Belgian national championship last weekend.


VeloNews | Boonen gets green light

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2009 in 2009 Tour de France, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Boonen: 'next big target is the green jersey'

VeloNews | Boonen to focus on green jersey defense

Tommeke Boonen says he's focused on the first week of this year's Tour, which will be key to defending his victory in the Tour's green jersey competition. “If I can collect enough points then there will be a good chance,” Boonen told VeloNews.

Boonen, who Sunday won a 2nd Paris-Roubaix, hopes to build to a third peak later in the season, for the world championships at Varese in Italy this fall.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 16, 2008 in Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

Stage 20: Bennati the sprint, Contador the Tour

Lampre's Daniele Bennati disrupted Tom Boonen's leadout train, taking a big pull from Sebastien Rosseler up to victory on the Champs-Elysees.

Boonen was surrounded by the other green jersey hopefuls, and the leadout men were scrambled. Bennati found himself behind Rosseler, pulling hard, with about 250 meters to ride, and when Rosseler pulled off to his left, Bennati had an unimpeded line to the finish, and just hammered. Robbie Hunter went hard up the right, with Hushovd and Zabel in between, but it was Bennati on the line, ahead of Hushovd, Zabel, Hunter, and finally Boonen. It's Bennati's 2nd stage win after Stage 17.

The slight loss of points won't take the green jersey of Boonen's shoulders, so he'll finish in the final points lead with 2 stage wins.

Cadel Evans chose not to go hunting for bonus seconds, and he and Contador finished safely in the peloton, giving 24-year-old Alberto Contador his first overall Tour de France title. It's by far the closest Tour podium in history, eclipsing Stephen Roche's 1987 victory, where the 3rd-place rider, Jean-François Bernard, was 2:13 behind Roche.

Stage results
1) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy, 3:51:03
2) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, same time
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
4) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
5) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
6) Sebastian Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
7) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, s.t.
8) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, s.t.
9) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
10) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.

Overall final standings:
1) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, 91:00:26
2) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ :23
3) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ :31
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 7:08
5) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 8:17
6) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 11:37
7) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 12:18
8) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 12:25
9) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 14:14
10) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 14:25

Contador becomes the first rider since Jan Ullrich in 1997 to take the white and yellow jerseys. Discovery Channel wins the team competition. Barloworld's Juan Mauricio Soler wins the King of the Mountains, and Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka was named the most agressive rider of the entier Tour.

Tom Boonen takes his first career overall green jersey.

It's another indicator of the arrival of a new generation of riders, as Contador, Soler, and Txurruka are 24, while Boonen is 26.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 29, 2007 in 2007 Stage 20, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Daniele Bennati, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Mauricio Soler, Robbie Hunter, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stage 20 on the road

It's the closest Tour de France final stage in history, with only 31 seconds between 1st and 3rd.

Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador is the golden boy, dressed in yellow and riding a yellow bike. Riding through the neutral zone, French national champion Christophe Moreau and the 4 jersey wearers (Contador, Tom Boonen in green, Mauricio Soler in polka-dots, and Amets Txurruka in white, where Contador and Soler lead the competition) go off the front of the field for pictures. Txurruka has also been named the most combative rider of the entire Tour.

VS. broadcaster picks:
Liggett: Boonen
Trautwig: Hushovd
Sherwen: Hunter
Roll: Contador

Sherwen has wrapped up the VS. competition.

We'll see whether Cadel Evans wants to contest today's stage. Levi Leipheimer won't attack his own teammate, and it's hard to see any way for him to make time on Evans without threatening Contador. CyclingNews.com yesterday reported on the possibility of a “spectacular” rider demonstration during the stage.

Should the gaps hold, we'll have the closest podium in Tour history. The current closest was in 1987, when Stephen Roche beat Pedro Delgado by :40 and Jean-François Bernard by 2:13. Also close was Greg Lemond's final win in 1990, where he beat Claudio Chiappucci by 2:16 with Erik Breukink at 2:29. (In 1989, when Lemond beat Fignon by :08, Delgado was 3rd at 3:34.)

We've got two 4th Category climbs before the first intermediate sprints, where those all important bonus seconds are on offer.

1st climb, Cote de Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse, 4th Category:
1) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step, +3 pts
2) Thomas Lovkvist, Française des Jeux, +2 pts
3) Frederick Willems, Liquigas, +1 pt

Gert Steegmans has launched a campaign to win the King of the Mountains jersey. Unfortunately, it looks as if Tom Boonen's big leadout man may have waited a bit too long.

2nd climb, a 4th Category:
1) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step, +3 pts
2) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, +2 pts
3) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +1 pt

And that does it for the KoM competition for the year. Just two intermediate sprints and the finish on the Champs-Elysees are left.

So, will he or won't he? The big question as the race approaches the Châtenay-Malabry intermediate sprint is whether Cadel Evans will be hunting for bonus seconds on the course. Discovery Channel puts 3 men at the front of the field, and Evans moves up near the front, while Quick Step, protecting the green jersey of Tom Boonen, has 4 men up front.

With a kilometer to the line, Quick Step's Carlos Barredo and Steven de Jongh ride off the front of the field to take the points (and therefore the bonus seconds) off the board. Française des Jeux's Lilian Jegou tries to bridge up, and as the line nears, he comes around the Quick Steps, who don't contest the sprint. Evans stays in the field. Looks like he's content with 2nd.

1st intermediate sprint:
1) Lilian Jegou, Française des Jeux, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Carlos Barredo, Quick Step, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Steven de Jongh, Quick Step, +2 pts/2 secs

Coming onto the Champs-Elysees, Discovery Channel moves to the front, and it's George Hincapie, who may switch teams in the off-season, who leads the field onto the finishing laps, ahead of the 8 surviving Discovery Channel riders.

Agritubel's Freddy Bichot launches the first real attack of the stage, quickly matched by Chris Horner. They're pulled back.

A big group gets away with 40 kilometers to ride. It's Caisse d'Epargne's José Ivan Gutierrez and Nicolas Portal, Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha, Milram's Christian Knees, AG2R's Simon Gerrans, Lampre's Alessandro Ballan, Liquigas' Maurilo Fischer, Credit Agricole's Anthony Charteau, Gerolsteiner's Ronny Scholz, and Française des Jeux's Mickael Delage. Flecha's a former stage winner, and Fischer a sprint specialist. Their gap quickly grows to around 30 seconds, and they take the points at the 2nd intermediate sprint.

2nd intermediate sprint:
1) Gerrans, AG2R, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Ballan, Lampre, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Portal, Caisse d'Epargne +2 pts/2 secs

Barloworld, looking to set up Robbie Hunter for a 2nd sprint stage win, moves to the front to bring the 10 men back, but to little effect, and with 3 laps to ride, the gap was out to :45.

Finally, Credit Agricole joined in the chase, and the lead started to fall. With 15 kms to ride, the gap was 30 seconds. With 9 kms/5.5 miles to ride, it was 18 seconds. With 7.5 kilometers to ride, Gutierrez attacked from the leaders group, matched by Flecha, avoiding the recapture of the 8 surviving members of the escape group, but they were quickly overtaken, and the field rode as one with 5.5 kilometers to the finish.

Lampre moved to the front, trying to set up Daniele Bennati for the win, and all the sprinters' teams started to try to set up their lead-outs. As they came back up out of the tunnel and onto the finishing straight with 250 meters to go, Lampre had a man at the front, Quick Step had a lead-out behind him, Robbie Hunter was set up ahead of Tom Boonen, and here we go! Hunter swings way to his right, Bennati is the man behind the Quick Step leadout, and he's got an unimpeded line, going hard, there comes Zabel, Huter's going hard, here comes Hushovd, where's Boonen, and it's Bennati taking the stage!

Bennati leads Hushovd then Zabel, Hunter and Boonen to take his 2nd stage win of the 2007 Tour.

Back in the field, there are no time gaps, no miracle attacks by Cadel Evans, and Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador has nailed down the overall victory in the Tour de France at 24!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 29, 2007 in 2007 Stage 20, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Daniele Bennati, George Hincapie, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2007

Rodriguez blames Stage 11 crash on poor Tour planning

Active.com | Tour de France: Fast Freddie Rodriguez: Stage 11...Where Do I Start?

Freddie RodriguezThree-time US champion Freddie Rodriguez has been vocal about his concerns that Tour organizers should give more weight to rider safety when choosing the finish line of Tour stages.

Rodriguez says the crash that took him out of Stage 11, along with Tom Boonen, Francisco Ventoso (still hurting), Julian Dean, and Fränk Schleck, was clearly the planners' fault:

Once again, they’ve proven to have little respect for the rider’s health in this race. As a pro for over 10 years, I just don't get their ignorance in thinking that the peloton, coming in at 65 km/hr, was going to make it in one piece through an S-turn like that. I would have bet money that a crash would have happened in that corner.

What the organizers keep forgetting is that we have no idea how dangerous the road is ahead at many points. We again put our lives in their hands, and again they have let us down. I guess the saddest part is that I have been trying to be vocal about their mistakes, but they seem to just choose to ignore.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2007 in About the Tour, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Julian Dean, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Stage 12: Boonen finds a bonus

Most commentators saw today's stage as a long breakaway or a sprint from a select group, with a 2nd-Category climb about 45 kilometers/28 miles from the finish.

But things didn't follow the script. A long breakaway by Euskaltel-Euskadi's Amets Txurruka and Bouygues Telecom's Pierrick Fedrigo looked like it might stay away, but after the day's big climb, Lampre and Française des Jeux, both still seeking stage wins, powered the chase along a plateau and down into Castres.

By the time Txurruka and Fedrigo were caught, just outside of 1 kilometer to ride, Quick Step was setting up the blue train for Boonen, peeling its riders off one by one, and keeping the pace high enough that no one could counter.

Boonen came off of Gert Steegmans' wheel with around 200 meters to ride, and Erik Zabel and Robbie Hunter, trailing Belgium's former world champion, launched to either side of Boonen. Neither could match Boonen's finishing speed, and he took his 2nd stage win of the 2007 Tour.

Boonen also pads his lead in the green jersey competition, where his 195 points lead Robbie Hunter's 175 and Zabel's 174, with Thor Hushovd a distant 4th with 132.

Stage 12 Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, same time
3) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, S. Africa, s.t.
4) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
6) Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile, Austria, s.t.
7) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
8) Nicolas Jalabert, Agritubel, France, s.t.
9) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
10) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, s.t.

No significant changes to the overall standings.

Overall Standings after Stage 12:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 57:37:10
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, at 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 5:20

Stef Clement of Bouygues Telecom finished outside the time limit, after a crash at 35 kilometers.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2007 in 2007 Stage 12, Erik Zabel, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Stage 11: At last, Robbie Hunter

Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took advantage of a late-stage crash to win his first Tour stage in his 6th career Tour appearance. It's the first Tour stage by a South African, or any African.

Hunter had been following Tom Boonen in the last kilometers, but went to the front in time to miss a crash that took out Boonen, Credit Agricole's Julian Dean, Predictor-Lotto's Fred Rodriguez, and others. Hunter then outcornered two Liquigas riders on the right-hander with 500 meters to ride. From there, he kicked all the way to the line, and Murilo Fischer and Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas and Fabian Cancellara of CSC couldn't close him down.

The biggest action of the day was an all-out assault by Astana, who set a blistering pace in a stiff wind that split the field, with AG2R's Christophe Moreau, Erik Zabel, and Thor Hushovd among the riders caught behind the gap. Astana did most of the work to grow the gap, and Moreau crossed the line 3:20 behind Hunter. Astana's attack helped push the average speed for the stage to 48.061 kms/h (29.86 mph), the fastest of this year's Tour.

Hunter now trails Boonen by 11 points in the green jersey competition, 5 points ahead of Erik Zabel.

Two riders pulled out during the stage: Sylvain Calzati of AG2R and Igor Anton of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Stage Top 10:
1) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
2) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, same time
3) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil, s.t.
4) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
7) Claudio Corioni, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
8) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, Belgium, s.t.
9) William Bonney, Credit Agricole, France, s.t.
10) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, s.t.

GC Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 53:11:38
2) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 2:35
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:39
4) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, @ 2:41
5) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, @ 3:08
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, @ 3:39
7) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, @ 3:50
8) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, @ 3:53
9) Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile, Luxembourg, @ 5:06
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 5:20
11) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 5:34
12) Frank Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, @ 5:56
13) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, @ 6:36
14) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, @ 6:38
15) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 6:42
16) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, @ 6:45
17) Juan Mauricio Soler, Barloworld, Colombia, @ 6:49
18) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ 7:10
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ 8:05
20) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, Ukraine, @ 8:16

Posted by Frank Steele on July 19, 2007 in 2007 Stage 11, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Fred Rodriguez, Iban Mayo, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie Hunter, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Stage 6: Boonen gets his groove back

Tom Boonen's reputation was suffering in this year's Tour, as he finished second to his leadout man Gert Steegmans in Stage 2, and couldn't quite close the deal in the other field sprints. With Thor Hushovd and Robbie McEwen nursing injuries, today was the last opportunity for Boonen to take a stage win until Wednesday's Stage 10.

In an all-hands sprint into Bourg-en-Bresse, Boonen outkicked Rabobank's Oscar Freire and yesterday's green jersey, Erik Zabel, to retake the green jersey. Barloworld's Robbie Hunter jumped a little too soon, and '07 Tour sprint revelation Romain Feilleu was coming on strong at the line after waiting too long, but Boonen timed it just right.

Only two riders left the shelter of the peloton today. Bradley Wiggins of Cofidis attacked after 2 kilometers and rode alone for 190 kilometers/115 miles, and at one point was the virtual race leader with a 17:00 gap to the field. Andrey Grivko of Milram briefly tried to join Wiggins, but quickly returned to the pack. It was clear that the sprinters had marked this stage on their race bible, as they pulled Wiggins back within 2 minutes and let him dangle, finally making the capture with only 7 kilometers/4.5 miles to ride.

Top 15 (all same time)
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
2) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
4) Sébastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, Italy
7) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
8) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
9) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France
10) Murilo Fischer, Liquigas, Brazil
11) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, Spain
12) Jérôme Pineau, Bouygues Telecom, France
13) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
14) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy
15) Geraint Thomas, Barloworld, Great Britain

Boonen retakes the green jersey.

In the overall, Freire gains enough bonus time to move ahead of George Hincapie, up into 5th overall. Gusev holds white, Chavanel holds the polka-dots, and Brad Wiggins gets the red race numbers (“most combative rider”) for tomorrow. A lot of riders on the list below won't be on the list below tomorrow night.

Overall standings after Stage 6:
1) Fabian Cancellara, CSC, Switzerland, in 29:49:55
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3) Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, at :35
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval, Great Britain, at :41
5) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, at :43
6) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, at :43
7) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at :46
9) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, at :48
10) Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at :49

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2007 in 2007 Stage 6, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Filippo Pozzato, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Romain Feillu, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Stage 4: Hushovd holds off Hunter

Thor Hushovd took his 1st victory of the season on Stage 4 of the Toru de France today. Hushovd's teammate Julian Dean provided an incredible leadout to put Hushovd in perfect position to outlast a charging Robbie Hunter at the line.

It was Hushovd's 5th career stage win, at the end of a chaotic sprint, that followed a day-long breakaway by 5 men: Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis, Juan Antonio Flecha of Rabobank, Matthieu Sprick of Bouygues Telecom, Christian Knees of Milram, and Gorko Verduga of Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Top 10:
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway
2) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, S. Africa, same time
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
5) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
7) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
8) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
9) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
10) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain, s.t.

The stage bonus moves Hushovd up to 2nd in the overall classifcation, and Sylvain Chavanel (brother of 9th place Sebastien Chavanel of FdJeux) collected some time throughout the stage to move up to 6th in the GC.

Caisse d'Epargne's Xabier Zandio was involved in a crash, the 2nd significant crash of the Tour for him, and broke his collarbone. He exited the Tour during today's stage, leaving 186 riders in competition.

GC Top 10:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :29
3) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
4) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain, at :41
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, at :43
6) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, at :43
7) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, at :33
8) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
9) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, at :46
10) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, at :46

Tom Boonen holds the green jersey, but still lacks a stage win, while Stéphane Augé holds the King of the Mountains jersey for another day, with some real climbs arriving tomorrow.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 11, 2007 in 2007 Stage 4, Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Robbie Hunter, Sylvain Chavanel, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 10, 2007

Stage 3: The best jersey defense is a brilliant attack

Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara showed brilliant tactical sense to take a beautiful stage win in Campiégne.

A 4-man break of Stéphane Augé, Matthieu Ladagnous, Frederik Willems, and Nicolas Vogondy were being reeled in with less than a kilometer to ride, and Cancellara attacked out of the field as the peloton neared the foursome. Like a flash, the world TT champion was past the four and flying. The chaos of setting up their finish sprints, the chaos of the catch, and the sudden and vicious attack put the sprinters on their heels, and by the time they could wind it up to speed, Cancellara was out of reach for a dramatic win.

It was Cancellara's 3rd career stage win, the first outside of a Prologue.

Top 10:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
3) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre-Fondital, Italy
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
5) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
6) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
7) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
8) Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile, Austria
9) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain
10) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany

Stéphane Augé takes over the King of the Mountains jersey from David Millar, and Cancellara extends his yellow jersey lead with the bonus time from the stage win.

Overall standings after Stage 3:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, in 15:12:08
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3) David Millar Saunier Duval, at :41
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :43
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, same time
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
7) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, at :46
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, same time
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :49
10) Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2007 in Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

Stage 2 photo galleries

Stage 2's breakaway Boonen and Steegmans Vaitkus struggles to the line
The day's breakaway, Boonen and Steegmans at the line, and Vaitkus struggles to the finish, by Graham Watson, from his Stage 2 gallery.

Fred Rodriguez Boonen takes over green jersey
Fred Rodriguez and Tom Boonen, by Sirotti, from CyclingNews.com's Stage 2 Gallery.


VeloNews | The Tour comes to Ghent - A Casey Gibson Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2007 in 2007 Tour de France photo galleries, Fred Rodriguez, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

Stage 2: Steegmans leads self out for win

The story of the day is a late-stage crash, which took out a number of key riders with about 2 kms/1.25 miles to ride. It appeared a Milram rider pulled out of his pedal, slid out on the narrow road, and took a number of riders with him. Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara went down hard, and riders filtered in for several minutes after the day's winners.

Most of the sprint specialists were positioned in front of the wreckage, including Stage 1 winner Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, and Robbie Hunter. Quick Step had Tom Boonen's leadout underway before the crash, and they followed through almost to perfection. The team asked Steegmans, Boonen's final draft, to stay on the front longer than normal because of a finishing hill. Boonen then had trouble getting around his big Belgian teammate, and Steegmans led Boonen across the line for a Quick Step, and Belgian, 1-2 on the day.

Afterward, Steegmans said if Boonen let him win, “it's the best present I have ever had,” Steegmans said.

“Anyway the important thing is we were first and second. It's my biggest win and at the best possible place and I won my first race as a child just 200m from this finishing line. I was overjoyed at the end.”

Top 10
1) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium, same time
3) Fillippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
4) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
5) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
6) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
7) Erik Zabel, Team Milram, Germany, s.t.
8) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
9) Oscar Freire, Spain, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, s.t.

UCI rules neutralize the effect of late crashes by giving everyone held up by the crash the same time as the winner, so there's no significant change in the overall standings.

Overall standings after Stage 2:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany
3) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain

Boonen takes over the green jersey and moves up to 7th in the GC based on bonus time awarded for his 2nd on the stage.

The Guardian reports that Cancellara's wrist is a “minor injury,” but that Lampre's Daniele Bennati was taken to a local hospital after injuring his hip in the crash. Over at ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.), Cathy Mehl reports George Hincapie appears to be all right after lacerating his knee in the crash, and Tomas Vaitkus may have broken his thumb.


SportingLife.com | Steegmans prevails as crash mars finish

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 08, 2007

Stage 1 on the road

Agritubel's Eduardo Gonzalo is the first man out of the 2007 Tour. He apparently touched wheels with someone and is out of the Tour almost before it's begun.

David Millar is trying to make good on his promise yesterday to win a Tour stage, and he wants it as soon as possible: He was solo off the front earlier, and now is part of a 5-man group. He's taken maximum sprint points at 2 intermediate sprints. Also in the break are Andrey Grivko, Freddy Bichot, Stephane Auge, and Aleksandr Kuschynski.

Millar has updated his rider diary over at Bicycling.com with his reaction to the Prologue.

With less than 80 kilometers/50 miles to ride, the break is about 5:50 ahead of the peloton.

CSC leads the chase, which is suddenly making some progress -- the gap is now 5:20.

With 74 kms/45 miles to ride, the gap is down to 4:45.

Credit Agricole, Quick Step, and Predictor-Lotto have put riders on the front to reel in the 5 leaders, with less than 40 miles to ride, the gap has fallen below 3:00.

Day's last intermediate sprint points go to Kuschynski (6), Bichot (4), and Grivko (2). The peloton rolls through 2:35 behind.

Auge, Bichot and Kuschynski raise the pace, and Grivko and Millar can't hang, so the 5 are now 3 with less than a 2:00 advantage, and less than 30 miles/49kms to ride.

Grivko and Millar are caught, and the gap hovers at 2:00. The sprinters' teams don't want to swallow the 3 breakaway riders too soon, which would just encourage another breakaway. On the other hand, David Millar leads the King of the Mountains competion, unless Freddy Bichot takes points at the final 4th-Category climb of the day, so Saunier Duval now is helping on the front of the peloton. Less than 24 miles/40kms to ride, and the gap is down to just over a minute.

With 27k/17m to ride, Bichot and Kuschynski are caught, and Auge has increased the advantage to 27 seconds. Auge will take over the KoM jersey if he's first over the upcoming climb and Millar doesn't take points there. Augé does his part, but Millar is next across, so David Millar will wear the King of the Mountains jersey tomorrow. Augé is captured.

Mark Cavendish and Robbie McEwen have been isolated by a crash or mechanicals. They're chasing along with about 20 other riders, with Quick Step driving the field and less than 10k to ride.

McEwen has caught the back of the field, but it remains to be seen whether he can thread his way through the field and figure in the sprint. We're at 4 miles to ride.

With 2 k to ride, Milram takes over from QuickStep, setting up 6-time green jersey Erik Zabel.

Into the last kilometer, and Zabel, Bennati, and Boonen are up front. Now there goes Robbie Hunter of Barloworld, with a Discovery rider in his wake. He's building a good lead, but he's gone from way out, and as he fades, here comes Robbie McEwen, appearing out of the crowd as always, and he rockets to the win!

Top Five was 1) McEwen, 2) Hushovd, 3) Boonen, 4) Sebastien Chavanel, 5) Feilleu.

To follow my comments alongside the Tour broadcast, or to keep up in real-time, I recommend my Tour de France Twitter updates -- there's no RSS lag, and you can get updates direct to your mobile phone with SMS.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2007 in David Millar, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Boonen leads Quick Step for Tour

Quick.Step Innergetic | Quick.Step Innergetic ready for Tour!

Quick Step's final Tour roster is out. Their new Italian national champion, Giovanni Visconti, won't be in the Tour, nor will Paolo Bettini. Looks like a hard team that can help Tom Boonen take a shot at the overall green jersey.

    Quick Step 2007 Tour de France roster:
  • Carlos Barredo (Spain)
  • Tom Boonen (Belgium)
  • Steven De Jongh (Netherlands)
  • Juan Manuel Garate (Spain)
  • Sebastien Rosseler (Belgium)
  • Gert Steegmans (Belgium)
  • Bram Tankink (Netherlands)
  • Matteo Tossato (Italy)
  • Cedric Vasseur (France)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2007

Colom, Vinokourov win Dauphiné Stage 5 side by side

VeloNews | Colom, Vino' tag-team stage 5 at Dauphiné

Astana teammates Antonio Colom and Alexandre Vinokourov finished one-two in Digne-les-Bains today, the second time in the last three days that Astana has taken the day's top two podium spots.

Colom and Vinokourov were both in a 22-man break that shattered on the Col du Corobin, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the day's finish. Colom went first, with Vinokourov bridging up and away from the likes of Tom Boonen, Magnus Backstedt, Stef Clement, Rik Verbrugghe, and Leonardo Duque. Over the top, the Astanas had 35 seconds, which got out as far as a minute, but fell to 15 seconds at the finish, where Leonardo “L.” Duque was charging.

The main field, which had trailed the break by 6:30 at one point, finished 3:26 back, with AG2R doing the lion's share in protection of Christophe Moreau's 2nd place overall. Moreau, the 2001 Dauphiné champ, has a good shot at overall victory with a very mountainous stage tomorrow.

The main impact of the stage on the overall classification was to catapult Vinokourov back into the Top 10, even after he lost more than 7 minutes on yesterday's stage to the summit of Mont Ventoux.

Abandoning during the stage were Alejandro Valverde and Bobby Julich.

1) Antonio Colom, Spain, Astana
2) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
3) Leonardo Duque, Colombia, Cofidis, at :15
4) Matej Mugerli, Slovenia, Liquigas
5) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
6) Preben Van Hecke, Belgium, Predictor-Lotto
7) Anthony Charteau, France, Crédit Agricole
8) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel
9) Heinrich Haussler, Germany, Gerolsteiner
10) Philippe Gilbert, Belgium, Française Des Jeux

1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana
2) Christophe Moreau, France, Ag2r Prévoyance
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto
5) David Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel
7) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
8) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
9) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre-Fondital
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2007

Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins, clearly focused on the London Tour prologue less than a month away, stormed the Dauphné Libéré prologue TT in Grenoble today.

Wiggins edged Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer, the 2006 Dauphiné champion, and Astana's Andrey Kashechkin at the biggest tuneup for Tour contenders. Wiggins, with a long list of palmares on the track, takes the Dauphiné leader's jersey.

Discovery Channel placed 3 riders in the top 10, with Leipheimer 2nd, George Hincapie 4th at :02, and Egoi Martinez 9th at :05. Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde was 5th on the day.

Saunier Duval's David Millar, the other British hope for the prologue, was 11th on the day, at :06. Millar may have been slowed by wet roads that hampered earlier starters.

A strong prologue (7th) has Tom Boonen well positioned to take over the race lead with a sprint bonus during the race's early stages.

Top 10 (Stage and Overall)

1) Bradley Wiggins, UK, Cofidis, 4:50

2) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :01

3) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :02

4) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at :02

5) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :03

6) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :03

7) Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step, at :04

8) Nick Nuyens, Belgium, Cofidis, at :05

9) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, at :05

10) Sebastien Joly, France, Française des Jeux, at :06


VeloNews | Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

GrahamWatson.com | Dauphiné Libéré prologue photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

Millar takes Paris-Nice prologue

VeloNews | Millar takes Paris-Nice prologue

David Millar made it all the way back, with his biggest win since returning from an EPO suspension.

Saunier-Duval's Scottish time trial specialist scorched the 4.7 km course in 6:01. CSC's Bobby Julich won the prologue last year, but was slightly slower this year, finishing 11th on the day, at 6 seconds. Roman Kreuzinger of Czechoslovakia, riding for Liquigas, was just a tick back of Millar, and a tick ahead of FdJ's Sebastian Joly to fill out the podium.

Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer was 6th, 3 seconds behind Millar.

Dave Zabriskie was back in action after his accident at the Tour of California, finishing 40th, 14 seconds behind Millar. Discovery Channel's late signing, Alberto Contador, was 5th on the day.

Prologue standings
1) David Millar, Great Britain, Saunier Duval, in 6:01
2) Roman Kreuzinger, Czechoslovakia, Liquigas, at :01
3) Sébastien Joly, France, Francaise des Jeux, at :02
4) Luis Sanchez, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :02
5) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, at :02
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :03
7) Francisco Ventoso, Spain, Saunier Duval, at :04
8) Reinbert Wielinga, Netherlands, Saunier Duval, at :04
9) Thomas Lövkvist, Sweden, Française des Jeux, at :04
10) Joost Posthuma, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :05
11) Bobby Julich, USA, Team CSC, at :06
12) Thomas Voeckler, France, Bouygues Telecom, at :06
14) Franco Pellizotti, Italy, Liquigas, at :06
17) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :08
21) Luke Roberts, Australia, Team CSC, at :09
38) Simon Gerrans, Australia, AG2R, at :11
40) David Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :11
43) Tom Danielson, USA, Discovery Channel, at :11
44) Yaroslav Popovych, Ukraine, Discovery Channel, at :11
49) Brett Lancaster, Australia, Milram, at :12
54) Tyler Farrar, USA, Cofidis, at :14
56) Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step, at :14
62) Greg Henderson, New Zealand, T-Mobile, at :15
70) Chris Horner, USA, Predictor-Lotto, at :16
74) Christian Vande Velde, USA, Team CSC, at :17
86) Aaron Kemps, Australia, Astana, at :18
95) Mathew Hayman, Australia, Rabobank, at :21
125) Axel Merckx, Belgium, T-Mobile, at :26
126) Matthew White, Australia, Discovery Channel, at :26
136) Michael Barry, Canada, T-Mobile, at :28


cyclingnews.com | A new beginning for avowed anti-doper Millar | photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice prologue photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 11, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Thomas Voeckler, Tom Boonen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Boonen takes Benelux Stage 5 at home

Boonen at home in winner's circleThe Eneco Tour of Benelux came to world road champion Tom Boonen's hometown of Balen today, and the Belgian supersprinter delivered for the local fans.

Thunderstorms and greasy conditions played havoc with the Cycling.TV live coverage, but they were able to show the finish seconds after Boonen outkicked Credit Agricole's Julian Dean and Milram's Simone Cadamuro. It was Boonen's 3rd sprint win of the race, and 20th of the season. He's got to be looking forward to the upcoming world championships, where he'll be a strong favorite to repeat.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen, Belgium, QuickStep, in 3:52:20
2) Julian Dean, New Zealand, Credit Agricole, same time
3) Simone Cadamuro, Italy, Milram, s.t.
4) Alexei Markov, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
5) Alessandro Ballan, Italy, Lampre, s.t.
6) Yuriy Krivtsov, Ukraine, AG2R, s.t.
7) Enrico Gasparotto, Italy, Liquigas, s.t.
8) David Kopp, Germany, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
9) Olaf Pollack, Germany, T-Mobile, s.t.
10) Lloyd Mondory, France, AG2R, s.t.

The stage had minimal effect on the overall classification, where George Hincapie continues to lead Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher by 3 slim seconds.

1) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, 17:24:44
2) Stefan Schumacher, Germany, Gerolsteiner, at :03
3) Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Liquigas, at :11
4) José Ivan Gutierrez, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :15
5) Manuel Quinziato, Italy, Liquigas, at :31
6) Philippe Gilbert, Belgium, Française des Jeux, at :32
7) Joost Posthuma, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :34
8) Alexei Markov, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne, at :50
9) Juan Antonio Flecha, Spain, Rabobank, at :51
10) Alessandro Ballan, Italy, Lampre, at :52


cyclingnews.com : Stage report | Results | Standings | Photo Gallery

VeloNews | Boonen takes another win at Benelux tour; Hincapie holds lead

Posted by Frank Steele on August 21, 2006 in George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hincapie TTs to Benelux lead

VeloNews | Hincapie takes lead in Benelux tour

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie broke his string of 2nd-place time trial finishes with a big win in Landgraaf.

Over a short but technical 16.1-kilometer course, Hincapie was .21 seconds faster than 21-year-old Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, and almost 7 seconds faster than Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher.

Hincapie takes over the Tour of Benelux lead from world champion Tom Boonen, who won the Tour's 1st and 3rd stages but finished 63rd on Sunday, 1:27 behind Hincapie. Schumacher moves into 2nd, at :03, and Nibali sits 3rd at :11.

Fast Freddie Rodriguez didn't take the day's start, joining defending champion Bobby Julich, who dropped out before Saturday's start, because he's “completely worn out both physically and mentally.”


CyclingNews wrapup | Results | Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on August 21, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Boonen takes Benelux Stage 1

World Champion Tom Boonen took the 1st stage at the Eneco Tour of Benelux today, outkicking Milram's Simone Cadamuro and Enrico Gaspartotto of Luquigas at the finish in Hoogeveen in the Netherlands.

With a time bonus, Boonen takes over the red race leader's jersey from prologue winner Stefan Schumacher of Gerolsteiner.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen, Belgium, QuickStep, in 4:12:52
2) Simone Cadamuro, Italy, Team Milram, same time
3) Enrico Gasparotto, Italy, Liquigas, s.t.
4) Julian Dean, New Zealand, Credit Agricole, s.t.
5) Marco Zanotti, Italy, Unibet.com
6) Alexei Markov, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
7) Fabio Sabatini, Italy, Team Milram, s.t.
8) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Italy, Lampre, s.t.
10) Aurelien Clerc, Switzerland, Phonak

General Classification (corrected, sorry):
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, at :04
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :07
4) José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne, at :08
5) Alexei Markov, Russia, Caisse d'Epargner, at :11

Posted by Frank Steele on August 17, 2006 in George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 15, 2006

Voigt wins Stage 13; Landis hands Pereiro yellow jersey

Floyd Landis gave his current Phonak teammates an easy day and former teammate Oscar Pereiro some time in the race leader's yellow jersey.

The move by Phonak is at once an expression of confidence in Landis and of concern at the team's strength, as Landis can now look to Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne team to help pacing the peloton for the next few days.

Jens Voigt, who gave away a stage at the Giro in May, took his second career Tour stage win after a very long break on the Tour's longest day, 230 kilometers. Pereiro was 2nd, followed by Sylvain Chavanel and Manuel Quinziato.

Voigt also pulled off a minor miracle, being named the day's “Most Agressive Rider” after being in a break with a Frenchman, Chavanel. That's a consolation prize that usually goes to the home team, but Voigt has been agressive all week, and deserves those red bib numbers.

Robbie McEwen led in the field sprint ahead of Bernhard Eisel and Tom Boonen. He's got a 30-point lead in the green jersey competition, 252 to Boonen's 222 to Freire's 207.

The stage also catapulted CSC into the lead in the team category, 15:53 ahead of Caisse d'Epargne, and 22:05 up on previous leader T-Mobile.

Reaction around the web varied; my favorite was probably Strange days in Montélimar from Men (in tights), who suggested 4 lessons from Saturday's stage:

  1. Don't play poker with ex-mennenite cyclists.
  2. Don't let Oscar in a break when he's wearing his angry red socks.
  3. Don't ever pick a break with Jens.
  4. Don't look directly at Boogards teeth.

As for me, I'm down with it, but I was also touting Savoldelli as Discovery's GC threat after the Stage 7 time trial.

Top 10:
1) Jens Voigt, CSC, Germany
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, same time
3) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, France, at :40
4) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, Italy, same time
5) Andriy Grivko, Milram, Ukraine, at 6:24
6) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at 29:57
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, same time
8) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, Belgium, s.t.
9) Carlos da Cruz, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
10) Arnaud Coyot, Cofidis, France, s.t.
Full results

1) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain
2) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, at 1:29
3) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 1:37
4) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 2:30
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 2:46
6) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:21
7) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 3:58
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 4:51
9) Juan Miguel Mercado, Agritubel, Spain, at 5:02
10) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 5:13
Full standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2006 in Jens Voigt, Oscar Freire, Oscar Pereiro, Stage results, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 09, 2006

Stage 8: A Big Day for the French

A win in the tour, the World Cup Final later today, most of the country is on vacation, and wow that's a big day for the French! Calzati, winner of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2004, took the stage proving how breaks work and can win (not just for TV coverage). It was also a good day T-Mobile for who kept the maillot jaune and didn't have to work. Boonen again lost the sprint to McEwen and Landis is in perfect place, a minute back. Zabriskie moved up to join Landis in the top ten.

Stage results

  1. Sylvain Calzati (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance
  2. Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas
  3. Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole
  4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
  5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
  6. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
  7. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise Des Jeux
  8. Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas
  9. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic
  10. David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner


  1. Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 34.38.53
  2. Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.00
  3. Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.08
  4. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile 1.45
  5. Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.50
  6. Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile
  7. Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 1.52
  8. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
  9. David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 1:53
  10. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 2.00

Posted by Byron on July 9, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

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)

Stage 6 on the road

It's Tom Boonen's last chance to win a stage wearing the yellow jersey today, as tomorrow's time trial is likely to completely reshuffle the general classification leaderboard.

Fabio Sacchi dropped out before the stage, leaving 171 riders in the peloton.

The suicide break of the day is a quality one: 2004 Paris-Roubaix and 1998 Tour stage winner Magnus Backstedt, French national champion Florent Brard, and Anthony Geslin of the Bouyges Telecom team. After the Tour's smallest rider, Samuel Dumoulin, was in the break yesterday, Backstedt, the Tour's heaviest rider at 90 kg or 198 lbs, is off the front today.

Earlier in the stage, yellow jersey Tom Boonen chased a break and found himself in a big leading group of 17 that got 1:40 on the field. CSC (which didn't have a rider in the group), Lampre, and Davitamon-Lotto led the chase, and Backstedt, Brard, and Geslin attacked out of that group.

Benoit Vaugrenard retook the white young rider's jersey lead with bonus time at the day's first sprint.

Geslin is the highest-placed rider of the 3 breakaways, in 73rd, 1:15 back, so he's the “virtual yellow jersey” or yellow jersey on the road right now.

Their gap reached more than 5 minutes, but with 70 kilometers to ride, it's about 4:15 and coming down quickly.

Today is Erik Zabel's birthday, and Bob Roll's.

OLN has moved their “mileage to ride” ribbon up, so it's not getting cut off on traditional TVs anymore.

With 60 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:30. We'll see if the chase slows to keep them dangling out there a little longer; if they're caught, there will be a lot of riders who might try another breakaway with 50-60 k to ride.

And just inside of 30 miles/48 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:10, with the peloton taking it pretty easy, with the front rank stretched all across the road.

At 40 k, the gap falls to 2:00. The chase is accelerating, with the front of the group thinning out. There's a final intermediate sprint just a few kilometers up the road.

At 30k, there's a long open straight, and the peloton can see the chasers. It's down to 1:30 to the breakaway. Looks like same script, different day. Over the line, it's Brard, Geslin, Backstedt for the final intermediate sprint points. That means Robbie McEwen can't take the yellow jersey tonight on bonus time.

Down around 20 kilometers to ride, and the gap is wobbling around just outside of 1:00. There's no way they'll stay away, but these guys aren't going to just sit up, either.

As the leaders go under 15 kilometers, the gap goes under a minute. Credit Agricole and QuickStep are driving the peloton, as they have been for the last hour. It's no wonder Boonen can't get a leadout train set up in the last 2 kilometers.

Less than 10 k to go, and the gap is only 22 seconds. The break is pushing hard, but the peloton is charging.

The whole Lampre team has come to the front now, and the gap is under 10 seconds with 7 k, about 4.2 miles to go. They're getting reeled in steadily now, it's down to 5 seconds, and climbing back up to 12 seconds now!

Here the field comes again, inching the gap down second by second. It's at 4 seconds with 5 kilometers to ride. Through a curve they hold the gap, and just after they come under the 4 kilometers to go flag, the Lampres and QuickSteps finally bring them back.

In the last 3 kilometers, Boonen is well-placed, McEwen near him, Lampre is taking the line up to 2 k to ride.

One Lampre left on the front, ahead of a few QuickStep riders, Credit Agricole is back 10 meters, now a Milram (Zabel?) is sitting on Boonen's wheel. Here come a couple of Rabobanks alongside Boonen, and it's 1 kilometer to race. Boonen is 7th in line, QuickStep is peeling off. Boonen is 4th, Davitamon-Lotto winds it up, and Boonen is tied up in traffic, moving right, then back left, and Robbie McEwen takes the hat trick! McEwen's got his 3rd stage win of the 2006 Tour.

McEwen's leadout man Gert Steegmans went way too early yesterday, knocking McEwen out of the sprint, and he apologized. At the line today, Steegmans threw his arms up, clearly as happy as McEwen himself.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2006 in Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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 05, 2006

McEwen masters Stage 4

Robbie McEwen showed his incredible dive-and-dash skills again today to take his 2nd stage win of the 2006 Tour. McEwen takes back the green jersey, his overall goal for the Tour.

Credit Agricole's Julian Dean of New Zealand fell just short of the line, bumping a QuickStep rider who in turn may have bumped yellow jersey Tom Boonen. Boonen is the first leader of this Tour to hold the jersey for consecutive days.

Egoi Martinez of Discovery Channel moves into 5th on the GC, picking up 18 seconds in intermediate sprint bonus points.

Top 10:
1) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Isaac Galvez, Caisse d'Epargne
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t. (relegated to 148th - irregular sprinting)
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) David Kopp, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, s.t.
7) Franisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, s.t.
8) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, s.t.
9) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
10) Jimmy Casper, Cofidis, s.t.

Current GC:
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) Egoi Martinez, Discovery Channel, at :10
6) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :12
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
8) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
10) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :17

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2006 in Julian Dean, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

Tour Salad: Stage 3

rec.bicycles.racing | The Millar Line Explained

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kessler gets his stage, Boonen gets his yellow jersey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 03, 2006

Stage 2 by the numbers

rec.bicycles.racing | Tour de France stage 2 summary

One of the most concise daily Tour wrapups is Bob Martin's stage summary, every day on the Usenet newsgroup rec.bicycles.racing.

Martin lists the day's biggest gainers and losers by position and time, and how all the favorites fared by time, by position (up or down), and the current standing of the favorites.

Today, for example, Aitor Hernandez paid for his long breakaway by coming in 13:25 behind McEwen, while only three riders gained time on the general classification — McEwen, Boonen, and Hushovd.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in Links, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

McEwen takes Stage 2

It looked like the sprinters would be denied today, as T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler put 14 seconds into the field over the day's final uncategorized climb. But the field wound it up, and caught Kessler within coasting distance of the line. Like a cobra, Robbie McEwen struck to take his first Tour victory of the year.

Tom Boonen was 2nd on the day, off camera (bad OLN), ahead of Thor Hushovd and Rabobank's Oscar Freire.

McEwen, who avoided the intermediate sprint warfare by Boonen and Hushovd, takes over the green jersey. Eurosport reports McEwen says he wants to keep it:

"The most important is to win a stage, then it's about winning a second. Then it's the fight for the green jersey. I have lost the green jersey twice in my career. This year I want to take it. Another stage is the priority, but I'm determined to take the green home."

Thor Hushovd takes back the yellow jersey, as the sprinters move up the GC as a result of sprint bonus seconds.

David de la Fuente, away for 200-odd kilometers, takes over the King of the Mountains jersey and was named the stage's most combative rider, which means he'll ride with red race numbers tomorrow.

There was a late crash that involved a large fraction of the field, right at 2 kilometers to go, reportedly including Floyd Landis, but no one seems to know if he went down, or was just caught behind it (Yahoo! Sport has a picture of Lampre's Patxi Vila being treated afterward). All those riders will get the same time at the finish as the leaders.

Top 10:
1) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
3) Hushovd
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank
5) Daniele Bennati, Lampre
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas
7) Stuart O'Grady, CSC
8) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux
9) Erik Zabel, Milram
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner

General classification:
1) Hushovd
2) Boonen, at :05
3) McEwen, at :08
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :10
5) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at :16
6) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :16
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :18
8) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :20
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :21
10) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, at :24

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Stage 2 on the road

This is being touted as a day for the sprinters, but there are a couple of small climbs late in the stage that could trigger a break by a classics-style rider or a small group.

Two Spaniards, Aitor Hernandez of Euskaltel-Euskadi and David de la Fuente of Saunier Duval, attacked from the line, and got as much as a 10:30 lead on the soft-pedaling peloton, led by Discovery Channel.

With 120 kilometers to ride, world champion Tom Boonen and former yellow jersey Thor Hushovd went mano a mano for a 2-second time bonus. Boonen edged out Hushovd, keeping Hincapie in yellow, for now.

At the second sprint of the day, Hushovd takes 3rd -- that gets him back the 2 seconds Hincapie took yesterday. If Hincapie wants to keep the yellow jersey (and it doesn't look like Discovery wants to work for it), he's going to have to either beat Hushovd at the last intermediate sprint, the final sprint, or both.

Gap is down to 3 minutes with 38 kilometers (around 23 miles) to ride. De la Fuente took the 3rd mountain sprint, ahead of Hernandez, who has fallen off de la Fuente's pace. Fabian Wegmann, riding in the polka-dots, went out and took 3rd over the 4th-category climb.

Hincapie is near the front, surrounded by Credit Agricole riders. De la Fuente takes the sprint, and the peloton has overtaken Hernandez with less than 1 kilometer to the sprint -- that means there's a 4-second and a 2-second bonus up for grabs.

CA is all over the front, Hincapie sits up, there goes Boonen, Hushovd, and O'Grady, and Boonen takes 4 seconds, Hushovd, 2 seconds, and O'Grady misses out. There are time bonuses for 1st through 3rd place on the finish as well.

Hincapie trails Hushovd by 2 seconds in the overall. Boonen is another 5 seconds back, with a shot at bonus time in the finish. The sprinters' teams are going to be all over anyone who tries to get away late -- the stakes are too high for them.

De la Fuente is still off the front, and will lead over the 2nd-to-last climb, but they'll probably catch him before the last climb. Fabian Wegmann has sprinted out of the field to take 2nd-place KoM points, ahead of Laurent Lefevre. Wegmann, Lefevre, and an Euskaltel-Euskadi have taken the opportunity to go after de la Fuente. Wegmann has caught de la Fuente to take max points on the last 4th-category climb of the day. Wegmann has shed his compatriots, and gone hard for the line, but he's getting reabsorbed.

All together now, with less than 8 kilometers (5 miles) to ride.

Calzati launches a probing attack, is caught, and T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler goes off the front. He's got 6 seconds on the last uncategorized climb. Kessler's out to 10 seconds with 5 k, and there's no organized chase.

At 4k Kessler has 12 seconds. At 3k, he's got 14 seconds. Milram is trying to chase him down, Lampre is chasing -- there's a crash in the field.

With 1k, he's got 9 seconds, and the field is chasing hard. Kessler's getting reeled in. He's caught in the last 50 meters, and Robbie McEwen pops up for the stage victory. Stuart O'Grady was on his wheel, Hushovd pulled out of the pedal right at the line, but he'll be back in yellow.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in George Hincapie, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

Hushovd will continue in race

VeloNews | Hushovd's injury not serious: Tour will ban giant PMU hands near finish

Thor Hushovd suffered an ugly gash on his upper right arm near the finish line of today's stage. He came to a stop just after the finish, and sat down against the barricades, where he proceeded to bleed all over his leg and jersey (and that should bring in some of those American fans!) as an onlooker pressed on his arm to stop the flow of blood.

Apparently, Hushovd was cut by a promotional hand brandished by a spectator as he went full-bore to the line.

After a brief hospital visit, and four stitches, Hushovd is expected back on the start line tomorrow morning.

World champ Tom Boonen said his deceleration late in the sprint wasn't because he was beaten, but because he was hit by a fan's camera, as he followed Hushovd's lead, sprinting a hair's-breadth off the right-hand barricades.

Tour organizers will prohibit PMU, sponsors of the green jersey contest, from distributing the hands in the last 2 kilometers of sprint stages, which is pretty much their only point.


Velogal's Cycling Race Blog

Sammarye shares her opinion on “those damn hands.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2006 in Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stage 1 on the road

There's a doomed break of 7 quality riders with about 20 miles to ride: Stephane Auge of Cofidis, Walter Beneteau and Matthieu Sprick of Bouyges Telecom, Unai Etxebarria of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Nicolas Portal of Caisse d'Epargne, Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux, and Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner. They had 4:30 in hand for a long time, bu the gap is now only about 90 seconds.

Wegmann took the first King of the Mountains points, over a 4th Category climb, so he'll be the first rider in polka-dots.

Tom Boonen told the Tour website he thinks he'll take the yellow jersey off Thor Hushovd today, and wear it into Belgium. There's a 20-second time bonus for the win, 12 seconds for 2nd and 8 seconds for 3rd, and Boonen finished just 11 seconds behind Hushovd in yesterday's Prologue: "If I’m first and Thor is third, then it’s enough for me to get the lead and I think I have the speed to beat him..."

Boonen told Jason Sumner of VeloNews he thinks Hushovd's performance yesterday gives Boonen a better chance today, since the training Hushovd has focused on endurance and time-trialling is likely to hurt his sprinting.

With 21 kilometers, about 12.5 miles to ride, the team cars are getting pulled, and the gap to the 7 breakaway riders is down around 45 seconds.

At 10 miles to ride, the break is splitting. Beneteau has attacked off the front, he'll be the last one caught. Portal and another rider are trying to get back up with Beneteau, while the other 4 are sitting up, waiting to be caught.

Portal and Wegmann have given up, so only Beneteau is out there. The peloton slowed down on the capture, so he's out to 35 seconds, but he's got long, long odds.

Beneteau took the final intermediate sprint points and a 6 second time bonus. As the peloton approached the line, George Hincapie threw down, sprinting out of the field for the bonus time. One of Hushovd's Credit Agricole teammates countered, and passed Hincapie for the 2nd-place and 4 seconds bonus, but Hincapie took 2 seconds and became the loneliest man in the race, “the Yellow Jersey on the road.” It's going to be an interesting race for the GC.

Beneteau is caught and we're down into the last 3 miles to ride.

Danilo Di Luca has gone off the back. Apparently, he's on antibiotics, but he's going to lose a couple of minutes at least today.

Rabobank goes, then falls back. Liquigas has a few riders together on the right of the field. Less than 2 kilometers to ride. Hincapie is in the top 15, Hushovd is in the front 10.

One of the Liquigas riders pulls off, Backstedt is 8 riders back. Zabel, Freire, Hushovd near the front with a k to ride. Hushovd is in 2nd wheel, with McEwen right on his wheel. Zabel right behind McEwen.

Now the chaos comes, Boonen may have gone early, shadowed by McEwen, Jimmy Casper drops Boonen, Zabel is right there. Hushovd is bleeding heavily from his right arm. He's sitting against the barricades after the stage finish.

Looks like Jimmy Casper of Cofidis for the stage win, but it's very close.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2006 in Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Basso the oddsmakers' pick

Oddschecker.com | Tour de France Betting Odds

European oddsmakers have Ivan Basso a big favorite in the 2006 Tour, sitting at 5-to-4 odds right now.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner, is a 5-to-2 pick, followed by Alejandro Valverde at 10.9-to-1, Floyd Landis at 16-1, and Alexandre Vinokourov at 20-1 (and shortening: maybe somebody knows a guy who knows a guy at the CAS?).

For the mountains jersey, it's Michael Rasmussen 2-to-1 ahead of Christophe Moreau (8-1), and Oscar Pereiro (11-1).

For the green jersey, Tom Boonen is a major favorite at 6-5, followed by Robbie McEwen at 9-4 and Thor Hushovd a polite 5-1.

Proving that people will bet on anything, oddsmakers put T-Mobile and CSC even to win the team competition, each at 15-8, while Discovery Channel sits at 11-4.

Here's OddsChecker.com's odds page for every rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 26, 2006

Boonen beaten in Belgium

cyclingnews.com | Eeckhout takes the Belgian title in Antwerp

Niko Eeckhout of Chocolade Jacques is the new Belgian national champion, after a last-kilometer attack that brought him home ahead of Française des Jeux's Philippe Gilbert and world champion Tom Boonen, the race favorite.

Discovery Channel's Leif Hoste, already signed to Davitamon-Lotto for next year, was 4th on the day.

The Belgian TT championship is in August.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2006 in Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2006

QuickStep welcomes Rujano, rests Bettini

Monday's EuroFile | Quick Step names Tour nine

QuickStep is looking to put reigning world champion Tom Boonen in green at Tour's end.

They've got 2006 Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato, 2006 Giro Stage 19 winner Juan Mañuel Garate, and QuickStep's latest addition, José Rujano.

Venezuela's Rujano owned the mountains at last year's Giro, but dropped out of this year's Giro early, just before his bizarre contract expired with Selle Italia, and his contract with QuickStep started. Rujano has since apologized for his season thus far, and for withdrawing from the Giro when he did (see Rujano says thanks and goodbye to Selle Italia, from CyclingNews.com).

Paolo Bettini will not race the Tour, likely looking toward September's World Championship in Salzburg.

    QuickStep-Innergetic 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Tom Boonen
  • José Rujano
  • Cedric Vasseur
  • Wilfried Cretskens
  • Steven De Jongh
  • Juan Manuel Garate
  • Filippo Pozzato
  • Bram Tankink
  • Mateo Tosatto

Posted by Frank Steele on June 19, 2006 in Filippo Pozzato, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

Bettini stays with QuickStep

Eurosport | Bettini extends with Quick Step

QuickStep's reigning Olympic champion, Paolo Bettini, will stay with the team for another two years.

QuickStep's manager Patrick Lefevere had fueled speculation that Bettini would jump ship to T-Mobile when he said the team couldn't afford the salaries of its three superstars: Bettini, reigning world champion Tom Boonen, and Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato.

Eurosport reports Bettini walked away from a 2 million euro proposal from T-Mobile to re-sign with QuickStep, and that the signing is likely to leave Pozzato looking for a new squad next year. He's been linked to Cofidis, and has said he would like to take teammate Guido Trenti with him.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 16, 2006 in Filippo Pozzato, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Boonen wins Tour de Suisse opener

cyclingnews.com | Another bouquet for Boonen

Boonen's 17th win of the season
Boonen's 17th win of the season,
CyclingNews.com/Fotoreporter Sirotti.

In Baden, Tom Boonen showed his stuff, outsprinting Lampre's Daniel Bennati and Rabobank's Oscar Freire for his 17th win of 2006.

Two other strong sprinters, Milram's Erik Zabel and Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, were dropped on a 4th category climb on the last finishing lap.

Because of time bonuses, Boonen leads Bennati by 4 seconds, and Liquigas' Michael Albasini by 5 seconds in the overall classification.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tour of Switzerland kicks off today

Cycling4all | Tour de Suisse start list

Cycling4All offers a final Tour de Suisse start list. Of course, Jan Ullrich is the biggest Tour GC threat at the race, starting today, but there are a lot of other Tour players involved.

Top sprinters Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen are here, and are the favorites for the Tour's green jersey this year. Thousand-time (okay, six-time) green jersey Erik Zabel is here, as well, leading Team Milram.

Others in competition: Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Bettini, Cadel Evans, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, and Bradley McGee.

Web streaming coverage is available from Cycling.TV's premium subscription service, where £19.99, or about $37, gets you a full year of racing. Today and tomorrow, subscribers have both the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse to choose from.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Paris-Roubaix: Cancellara conquers classic

VeloNews.com | Paris-Roubaix: Fabian the giant killer

Cancellara triumphant
Cancellara gives CSC a P-R
AP/Michel Spingler
CSC's Fabian Cancellara took his biggest win since the 2004 Tour prologue, escaping with classics specialist Peter Van Petegem and losing him on the Carrefour de l'Arbre.

Cancellara was aided by a train, whose inopportune timing led to Petegem and Discovery Channel's Leif Hoste and Vladimir Gusev being disqualified for going around the crossing barricades. Boonen and the rest of the field were held up for 15 seconds or so, and after that, with 10 kilometers to ride, Cancellara was home free. The judges' decision has unleashed a firestorm, since Boonen's group also went around the barricades, but after rather than before the train came through. CyclingNews.com offers UCI President Pat McQuaid's take on the ruling, and notes that Petegem's Davitamon-Lotto team has lodged a formal protest (in 3 languages).

Cancellara's DS, Bjarne Riis, on the win:

“This is perhaps the biggest result in the history of the team; it is most definitely one of them, but of course it's hard to compare the different races. In my eyes Paris-Roubaix is the most spectacular one day race of them all, and the way Fabian won it shows his great, great class.”
Hincapie crestfallen
Hincapie fractures shoulder
cyclingnews/Fotoreporter Sirotti
Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, who has long named a Paris-Roubaix victory as one of his goals, crashed out with a broken steerer tube. Hincapie was riding a custom Trek, featuring an elastomer suspension and other features to minimize the vibration and pounding of the most rugged of the classics. Hincapie went down hard on his right shoulder, and reports on Monday say Hincapie will have surgery and miss 15 days of racing. Hincapie's prototype featured an aluminum steerer bonded to an OCLV fork, which Trek will reportedly be examining closely. That puts him out of next week's Tour de Georgia. ThePaceline.com has photos of Hincapie with wife and daughter in his cast and sling at the Atlanta Airport Monday.

Over at DailyPeloton.com, Vaughn Trevi, summed up Hincapie's day:

Hincapie undoubtedly in the best form of his career in an opportune situation with two of his team in the break was given the worst decision of the fates on this Sunday in Hell.
Tom Boonen, the prohibitive favorite to repeat last year's victory, was isolated from the Quick.Step team that has controlled the spring classics calendar. CSC, Team Discovery, and some opportunists kept the pace at full hammer all day. The disqualifications left Boonen in 2nd, and meant he'll wear the hybrid World Champion/ProTour leader's jersey for a while longer.


Eurosport.com | “I was the strongest”

cyclingnews.com | 104th Paris-Roubaix: The mean machine takes first Roubaix win for CSC


GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Roubaix

cyclingnews.com | 104th Paris-Roubaix photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on April 10, 2006 in Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

Milan-San Remo wrapup

PezCycling News | Milano-Sanremo 2006: New Prince Crowned in Primavera!

Pozzato's perfect move
Pozzato's perfect move
AP/Antonio Callani
I just finished watching the OLN coverage of Milan-San Remo. What an awesome race. Filippo Pozzato played it exactly right both strategically and tactically. Reading the live text feeds on the web, I couldn't tell whether the Frank Schleck group with Sanchez and Pozzato got swallowed up or not, and now I see why.

The peloton made contact with the six leaders, who were fighting every inch of the way, so instead of the typically engulfing end to the break, the break members stayed out at the tip of the spear. As Milram tried to set up its finishing sprint, coming around the break remnants, Igor Astarloa (the OLN commentators thought it was Rinaldo Nocentini of Acqua e Sapone) just put the hammer down. Pozzato not only caught him, but came around him, charging super hard, and the gap held up. Astarloa wound up 11th.

If you watched the TV coverage, VeloNews fingers Ivan Gutierrez as the Caisse d'Espargne rider trying to wave off the motorcycles -- he thought they were hovering a little too close to Petacchi's chasers, giving the peloton a bit of a draft.

Petacchi was all class in defeat:

"I was in top form, but I didn't have the luck today," Petacchi said. "You need to have the luck to win Milan-San Remo. Our team rode great today and I wanted to pay back their efforts with a victory. But my compliments go to Pozzato. Quick Step worked the tactics perfectly with Pozzato on the wheel and they left the chase up to us."

Top 10:

1) Filippo Pozzato, Quick Step, in 6:29:41

2) Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, same time

3) Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas, s.t.

4) Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.

5) Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre, s.t.

6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.

7) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, s.t.

8) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.

9) Martin Elmiger, Phonak, s.t.

10) Matteo Carrara, Lampre, s.t.


VeloNews.com | Pozzato outfoxes favorites to win Milan-San Remo

Daily Peloton | 97th Milan-San Remo Rider Comments

rec.bicycles.racing | What's written on Pozzato's right arm?

VeloNews.com | Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Igor Astarloa, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 17, 2006

Milan-San Remo previews

Eurosport | Petacchi declares intent

Boonen (l) and Petacchi
MSR favorites: Boonen and Petacchi

Milram's Alessandro Petacchi says he's (duh!) the team's leader for Milan-San Remo tomorrow, and that he's glad to have Quick Step's Tom Boonen as the favorite in the season's first classic.

"It's no secret that Boonen wants to start the classics season with a win at Sanremo. This time, he is obligated to step up to the plate. Him and his [Quick Step] team, of course."

Boonen has said that though he does not like the race, his intention is to win the first, and longest, classic of the season.

"Last year, nobody talked about [Boonen] before the race and all the pressure was on me," Petacchi said. "This year the roles are reversed, and that doesn't bother me."

PezCycling News details the tactical considerations throughout the course, and notes that Boonen and Petacchi are even with oddsmakers at 4-1, with Thor Hushovd 9-1.

VeloNews reminds us that this race isn't always a sprinters' showdown. This year, I think it is, but I suppose we could see a repeat of 2003, with all those sprinter teams waiting for each other to put in an effort to chase down a quality break. I don't think we will, John Wilcockson doesn't think we will, and I'm sure neither Petacchi nor Boonen thinks we will. Wilcockson mentions again that organizers intend to add the Pompeiana to the route (PezCycling offers a report on the climb), between the Cipressa and Poggio, in an effort to eliminate an annual sprint finish.

Cycling4All has the final start list.


PezCycling News | SanRemo Primer: The Italian Translation

La Gazzetta dello Sport | Official Milano-San Remo site (in Italian)

VeloNews.com | Petacchi, Boonen top faves for MSR

VeloChimp.com | San Remo fever

rec.bicycles.racing | Milano-San Remo predictions

ThePaceline.com (free reg. required) | Discovery Channel Announces Milan-San Remo Squad

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Milan-San Remo 2006, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 14, 2006

Classics kick off Saturday with Milan-San Remo

IHT.com | Cycling: Sprinters savor the classics

With Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico out of the way, we can look forward to La Primavera, Milan-San Remo, the first classic of the year, running this Saturday in Italy.

It's the longest of the classics, at more than 180 miles and about 7 hours in the saddle. Last year, Alessandro Petacchi finally took his first win in San Remo, ahead of Danilo Hondo (and whatever became of him?) and Thor Hushovd.

In 2004, Erik Zabel timed his sprint perfectly, and looked to have his 5th Milan-San Remo locked up, only to sit up early and lose to Rabobank's Oscar Freire.

Over at the International Herald Tribune, Samuel Abt handicaps the 2006 edition of the race. The obvious favorites are Petacchi and Tom Boonen, both of whom are winning sprints seemingly at will this year. Both of them have some extra baggage, their teammates Zabel (with Petacchi at Milram) and Paolo Bettini (with Boonen at Quick Step), who won the race in 2003.

Bettini is banged up from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, but told Eurosport he'll definitely be racing on Saturday:

"I'm going to start the race on Saturday and then worry about getting to San Remo," he added on Tuesday ... "My back and my knee still hurts when I stand on the pedals but I'm optimistic things will improve," he said ... "Unfortunately, Milan-San Remo is the longest race of the season. I just hope my back and knee don't hold me back during the final part of the race."

Boonen toured the race finish Monday. If he could win here, he would be just the 5th man to win the race while world champion. Even so, he's my pick.


cycling4all.com | Milan-San Remo provisional start list

Milan-San Remo Maps and Profiles

Wikipedia.com | Milan-San Remo

CyclingRevealed | History of San Remo: The Beginning | Coppi's Grand Journey

Posted by Frank Steele on March 14, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Hondo, Erik Zabel, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

Floyd lands Paris-Nice

VeloNews | Landis triumphs at Paris-Nice

The World's Fastest Mennonite has done it again, adding the Paris-Nice title to his freshly won overall at the Tour of California.

Markus Zberg took the final stage, fighting back to Evgeni Petrov and Alberto Contador after getting dropped, then beating both to the line.

Landis said the victory was a confidence-builder for Phonak, who showed they could defend a leader's jersey, in a race not ideally fit to his strengths:

"It was a difficult race to win because there were no mountaintop finishes and there were no long time trials," Landis said. "In some ways I was lucky. I had a good day on a very difficult stage. At the Tour, you don't get lucky and win. You have to be good every day for three weeks."


The next races on Landis' calendar are the Criterium International, the Tour de Georgia, and the Giro d'Italia.

Patxi Vila was 2nd overall, and Antonio Colom, who soloed away from the field late Sunday to move up the leaderboard, took 3rd overall.

Bobby Julich didn't start Sunday's last stage, after crashing on Saturday. Tom Boonen is looking ahead to Milan-San Remo this weekend, and decided a day with 4 categorized climbs might take a little too much out of his legs.

Update: USA Today named Landis its U.S. Olympic Athlete of the Week for the win.


cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7: A new American hero

Daily Peloton | Paris Nice Final

Phonak Cycling Team | Floyd Landis: “This is my greatest triumph”


GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7 photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Paris-Nice Stage 7 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 13, 2006 in Alberto Contador, Bobby Julich, Paris-Nice '06, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack