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July 24, 2005


Vino takes Champs victory
Vino takes Champs victory
T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov put on an awesome show of force on Sunday, outriding half the field to take the Tour's final stage in Paris.

Breaking away on the last lap of the day, Vinokourov managed to gap and hold a gap to the teams trying to set up their sprinters: Cofidis, Davitamon-Lotto, Liberty Seguros, and FdJeux.

Joined by Fabian Cancellara, then by Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, Vinokourov put his head down, and countered an attack by McGee to take the stage.

Lance Armstrong, of course, nails down his 7th overall victory in the Tour, and took the podium flanked by his 3 children. He also spoke to the crowd (and TV audience) from the podium, an unprecedented act for the Tour winner.

After some debate, judges awarded bonus time to Vinokourov for the stage victory, which lifted him into 5th overall on the Tour and dropped Levi Leipheimer down to 6th.

Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd of Norway nailed down the green jersey competition.

Oscar Pereiro was named the most combative rider of the Tour.

T-Mobile took the team competition, along with 3 stage wins.

Stage Top 10:
1) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, in 3:40:57
2) Brad McGee, Française des Jeux, same time
3) Fabian Cancellara, Fassa Bortolo, s.t.
4) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
5) Stuart O’Grady, Cofidis, s.t.
6) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros, s.t.
7) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
8) Baden Cooke, Française des Jeux, s.t.
9) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
10) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, s.t.

Aussies in 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th on the day.

Overall Top 10 ("GC"):
1) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, in 86:15:02
2) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 4:40
3) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at 6:21
4) Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, at 9:59
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 11:01
6) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 11:21
7) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 11:33
8) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, at 11:55
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at 12:44
10) Oscar Pereiro, Phonak, at 16:14

Compared to last year's final GC, Pereiro is 10th again, Leipheimer climbs from 9th to 6th, Mancebo improves from 6th to 4th, Ullrich goes from 4th to 3rd, and Basso improves from 3rd to 2nd. New names in the Top 10 this year are Vinokourov, who will certainly keep things interesting wherever he winds up next year; Rasmussen, who owned the big mountains; Evans, who had an excellent 1st Tour at 8th; and Landis, who I felt rode a very defensive Tour, and was never really able to take the attack to the leaders.

Final Jerseys:

Lance Armstrong

Thor Hushovd

Michael Rasmussen

Yaroslav Popovych


letour.fr | Stage 21 standings | Overall standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2005 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Bradley McGee, Fabian Cancellara, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink


Some thoughts:
Vino did a fantastic race today. To stay so strong in the last 2 km is an awesome achievement.

But I think its good that he changes team. How do u race as a team with him in it? He does crazy break aways on the strangest spots. I think the T-Mobile director does need to decide whom the team are suppose to support. It seems they let Vino do what ever he wants to. That makes it hard for Ullrich and Klöden. Iam just curious how Credit Agricole (rumours) are going to handle Vino. I mean, a sprint team and a mountain team is almost impossible to combine.

What an amazing character he is. So confident, so strong. But I think that the one thing that has made Lance to what he is, a strength symbol, is marketing. Of course he is one of this planets largest athletes, all categories. No doubt. But he is also an open minded american. And if there is one thing americans do best it is marketing. His name has made millions and millions of people watch tv three weeks in the middle of the summer. His name has sold books, wrist-bands and Nike-clothes. He is moore than just a biking hero. Iam sorry he is gone, but everything that has an beginning has an end. Next year I will sit glued to the tv togehter with Lance and all u other bike fanatics out there.

Posted by: Gustav at Jul 24, 2005 1:44:54 PM

what a race, right to the bitter end i'm sure for levi.
thanks so much for the fantastic blog you have assembled over the course of the tour, and for the comments of all those over the same time. i'll be back next year, looking for tdfblog/2006.

Thanks everyone, for everything

Posted by: ian at Jul 24, 2005 3:01:53 PM

Exsqueeze me?! How can they change the rules like that? When race jury decided no bonus, they should have stuck with it. Levi's opportunity to secure his finish may have come earlier in the final stage, especially if he thought it was still up for grabs.

When the sun came out and jury decided to award bonus after all, did they tell all race directors? Did Levi know this? Perhaps he would have tried to chase Vino down.

I'm asking because this seems very odd to me. What do the more experienced cycling fans think of this?

Posted by: SayWhat at Jul 24, 2005 3:12:02 PM

That's exactly the question: Who knew what, when, about those finishing bonuses.

On the other hand, my hat's off to Vinokourov regardless. He rode a great time trial yesterday to get close to Leipheimer, and he never quit today. It's hard to believe that he had information about the time bonus that others didn't have.

Posted by: Dan Brekke at Jul 24, 2005 3:37:08 PM

I also thought it quite dodgy the way the Tour direction seemed to be making up special rules for the stage first midway through it, then even retroactively at the end. However, I don't think even the whole of Leipheimer's team could've chased down Vino the way he went at the end, so don't see the final outcome as an injustice by any means. If Levi was that obsessed about precisely where he wound up in the top 10, he should've been willing to take some risks like Vinokourov did. Vino paid dearly for his attacks on several of the mountain stages - why should he not reap some rewards for the same kind of ballsy riding when it succeeds?

Anyway, it was great that the rain ended just in time to allow for a truly memorable stage. Like most I will miss having a singular, once-in-a-lifetime legendary rider like LA in the race, but on the other hand the post-Armstring era will have its own excitement - lots of new faces, and genuine uncertainty about all facets of the outcome, not just about GC positions 2 on down.

It's been great fun - see you all next year, when the summer days grow long, the sunflowers begin to bloom, and the boys come out to play!

Posted by: EWM at Jul 24, 2005 3:41:59 PM

On the changing rules, we don't know what the officials were telling the team directors and if Levi knew or not. He got beat on the first sprint point. His whole team, against Vino! Regardless, he should be thrilled with 6, last year he was 9th. And for the US to have 3 in the top 10 is just amazing. What a thrilling tour, my only Lance criticism, was the conflict with Landis. You'd think Lance would be above that on his Lance ride, but who really knows what went down with that. Lance did diss him with that attack and split.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 24, 2005 4:29:48 PM

couple things...

As for the time bonuses, All they canceled were the sprints...they didn't cancel the finish entirely...so if you have a finish why would anyone think they would cancel the time bonus for placing? I think Levi should have been more aggressive and not just laid down like he did.

Vino is awesome, I love his gusto!!

I used to like Basso, but I don't know if he has the KILLER instinct that Vino has a hard time keeping under control. I would have to say Vino and Basso are top two for next year and Maybe Ullrich will make a last go of it now that he has the Lance monkey off his back.

Any thoughts??

Posted by: cameron at Jul 25, 2005 12:37:24 AM

If they can stay healthy, Basso and Ullrich will definitely be one the ones to beat next year. If any one can discipline Vino and harness that passion, he may give Lance a run for his money. Otherwise, Vinokourov will be a wild card again. Riding inspiredly one day, riding like a jackass the next day.

Posted by: Devans at Jul 25, 2005 2:37:09 AM

is it just me, or did Vino make a gesture to Lance that suggested he would like to ride for discovery? He pointed across his own chest and then pointed to Lance's chest (i.e. "discovery"). I don't know what the rumors are....but that's how I read this...

Posted by: konelch at Jul 25, 2005 6:38:20 AM

If Vino had to choose between 5th place and winning the final stage, I think he would have choosen the stage. Actually I though he would try to get his extra time by making a gap coming on to Champs before the finish times were frozen. Basso or Jan might win in 2006 but Vino will add the excitement.

Posted by: jrt at Jul 25, 2005 10:17:56 AM

For the first part of yesterday's stage, it appeared as though France were crying as she bid Armstrong adieu. She brightened only when the riders arrived at the Champs Elysee, as both a final sendoff to Lance and a recognition that the tour will go on without him. She understood Lance's importance in taking what was essentially a high profile regional bike race (no diss to the Le Tour intended, just a reality) and turning it into one of the world's most highly anticipated sporting events, almost on par with the Olympics (especially given the peleton's international flavor). Regardless of America's crass desire to over-market everything (please don't make me watch another "Survivor" commercial), the French should be thrilled with the position in which Lance left thier race.

Posted by: Jack Kranefuss at Jul 25, 2005 10:29:24 AM

Postscript: Apparently Vinokourov had more on his mind on Saturday than just blasting through the time-trial course - from a post-Tour interview yesterday:

"During the time trial in Saint-Etienne I couldn't help but frequently think of Kivi. This is where we lived when we first came to France from Kazakhstan. This is where he died", said Vinokourov, in reference to his close friend Andrei Kivilev, who suffered a fatal crash in the 2003 Paris-Nice race.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 25, 2005 2:25:53 PM

Vinokourov is extreme. he had my support since i started watching tour de fance. i am only fourteen now! HAHAH. =) he was intelligent to breakaway from the main pack in the final stage at the last 200m.

Posted by: priscilla luo at Jul 27, 2005 9:02:33 AM

Levi Leipheimer's Last Tour diary was very enlightening. Check out the middle paragraphs:

The next day in Paris is normally more of a parade race than anything. Usually, things are decided in the GC and we can roll into Paris comfortably. This was not the case for me. Vino was just two seconds behind me in the GC, so I had to follow him because of the time bonus sprints. At the first sprint, he attacked 1,500 meters before the line, and I and three of my teammates followed. I would have had four teammates, but Vino's teammate Danielle Nardello moved Peter ``Paco'' Wrolich into the barriers off of Vino's wheel. He thought it was me, but I went around the other way. Unfortunately, the 1,500 meters before the sprint were all uphill, and Vino ended up dropping everyone but me. He saved just a bit for the last 100 meters, and I just didn't have the power to come around him. So we were on the same time since he got six-second bonus and I got four seconds. I still had fifth place, because my fractions of a second were lower. Can you believe that? After 4,000 kilometers and three weeks we were separated by fractions of a second!

After the sprint there were a couple of attacks, which is unethical since we had not arrived on the Champs-Elysees yet and the yellow jersey and his team traditionally lead the peleton home. It had started to rain and there were two crashes, including a couple of Discovery riders. Because of the dangerous conditions the jury announced that there would be no time bonuses in Paris. Still, I stayed on Vino's wheel for the final time bonus before we came into Paris, just in case. I figured the sprinters would be up there for the final sprint, so I didn't worry about that. As you probably already know, Vino won the stage and I was bumped back to sixth place at the very end of the race. The jury did take away the second bonus sprint, but not the bonus at the finish. All I can do at this point is look ahead to next year's Tour.


Posted by: Devans at Jul 30, 2005 9:54:51 PM