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July 16, 2006

Stage 14 final climb

As the peloton comes under the 15 kilometers banner, the gap to Commesso, Aerts, and Fedrigo is 2:00.

AG2R's Sylvain Calzati is the first to attack on the climb. Boonen is dropped, David Millar, Juan Antonio Flecha are also gone.

Aerts is done, now Commesso and Fedrigo are riding together. Commesso is trying to drop Fedrigo, but the former French champion is sitting comfortably on his wheel.

Michael Boogerd has come to the front. The gap to the leaders is 1:34. Aerts is 30 seconds ahead of the peloton. Saunier Duval has 2 riders at the front, looking to get David de la Fuente the double points over the top of the day's final climb.

Rasmussen has launched, with Boogerd alongside; there's a Discovery rider there, and de la Fuente covers the move, as well. Now Haimar Zubeldia launches. De la Fuente has exploded. He's dropping like a rock.

Commesso and Fedrigo are over the top; they've got 10 kilometers to ride, with a 45 second gap. Boogerd launches an attack over the summit, Schleck follows, and a Disco is trying to catch the pair. Rasmussen takes 5th, good for 12 points in the King of the Mountains competition.

Commesso/Fedrigo have only 25 seconds. Discovery has 3 riders in the select group of around 40. Popovych and Azevedo are driving the chase, with Christophe Moreau on their wheel, and Hincapie a few places behind that. An Agritubel rider attacks (Mercado?), covered by Michael Freaking Boogerd. That man is strong this year. Gap is down to 15 seconds and falling.

With 2 kilometers to go, the leading pair has 14 seconds. Popovych is attacking hard on the front. The select group is single-file all the way back.

Commesso sits on Fedrigo's wheel with 1 kilometer to go. Just inside he goes to the front, but they're not going full boil. Commesso looks back, and a CSC rider is coming hard. Seeing the chasers, the leading pair wind it back up to full speed.

CSC's Vande Velde is coming fast but there's only 200 meters to go, and the two leaders kick, and Fedrigo finishes the sprint. Commesso is 2nd, and Christian Vande Velde 3rd, ahead of the sprint by the strong men. France's renaissance continues at the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2006 | Permalink