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July 18, 2007

Stage 10 on the road

Stage 10 is a transitional stage. The peloton covers 229.5 kms/142 miles down to the Mediterranean town of Marseilles. Two 4th Category climbs in the first half and two 3rd Category climbs in the second half, with 2 intermediate sprints.

Plenty of riders have marked themselves no danger to the overall standings, and can be allowed to get away in a breakaway today. Temperatures are in the high 90s.

VS. broadcaster picks:
Sherwen: Erik Zabel
Roll: Jens Voigt
Liggett: David Millar
Trautwig: George Hincapie

A couple of early testing breakaways have been recaptured, then Marcus Burghardt got free and led over the day's first climb, the 4th Category Cote de Chateauneuf:

Cote de Chateauneuf:
1) Marcus Burghardt, T-Mobile, +3 pts
2) Xavier Florencio, Bouygues Telecom, +2 pts
3) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, +1 pt

With 73 kilometers gone, a group of 10 strong riders bridged up, including former stage winners Jens Voigt of CSC, Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Juan Antonio Flecha of Rabobank, and Cedric Vasseur of Quick Step. Also there are Andriy Grivko of Milram, Michael Albasini and Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas, Burghardt of T-Mobile, Paolo Bossoni of Lampre, Staf Scheirlinckx of Cofidis, and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux.

1st Intermediate Sprint:
1) Cedric Vasseur, Quick Step, +6 pts/6 secs
2) Andriy Grivko, Milram, +4 pts/4 secs
3) Paolo Bossoni, Lampre, +2 pts/2 secs

The gap continues to climb for the breakaway, 7:50 with 101 kilometers to ride.

Code de Villedieu, a 4th Cat:
1) Patrice Halgand (CA) +3 pts
2) Staf Scheirlinckx (COF) +2 pts
3) Jens Voigt (CSC) +1 pt

At the feedzone, the 11 leaders have 10:10 on the field. The gap went out as high as 14:00, but has started to fall. It's now about 10:18 with 88 kilometers to ride. The 2nd intermediate sprint is a few kilometers up the road.

At the sprint, the 11-rider breakaway doesn't even hesitate in its rotation:

2nd (final) Intermediate Sprint:
1) Staf Scheirlinckx (COF) +6 pts/6 secs
2) Jens Voigt (CSC) +4 pts/4 secs
3) Paolo Bossoni (LAM) +2 pts/2 secs

The gap has hovered around 10:30 to 11:00; the peloton is content to have the day's winner come from these 11 breakaway riders. They've got two 3rd-Category climbs to shake up the group yet.

On the first, Jens Voigt is first to attack, but he's easily matched, and the 11 ride together. Then Patrice Halgand launches, matched by Michael Albasini of Liquigas and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux. Voigt was in a 2nd group, chasing with Burghardt, Cedric Vasseur, and Scheirlinckx, while Flecha, Bossoni, Kuschynski, and Grivko are farther back.

Cote des Bastides, 3rd Category:
1) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +4 pts
2) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, +3 pts
3) Sandy Casar, Française des Jeux, +2 pts
4) Jens Voigt, CSC, +1 pt

Coming down, Voigt and Vasseur have joined the three leaders, and the other 6 survivors of the earlier break are riding together almost 35 seconds behind.

On the day's last climb, Patrice Halgand launches a few tests, but nobody can get a gap to stick. Over the top, the 5 riders are all together, while behind, the chasers break into smaller pieces, with Burghardt chasing ahead of Scheirlinckx and Flecha.

Col de la Gineste, 3rd Category:
1) Patrice Halgand, Credit Agricole, +4 pts
2) Jens Voigt, CSC, +3 pts
3) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, +2 pts
4) Cedric Vasseur, Quick Step, +1 pt

In the last 5 kilometers Voigt attacks and is matched, Vasseur attacks, matched by Albasini, then the others. With 2 kilometers to ride, they're all together. Voigt rides in 1st, with Albasini shadowing him, and Casar, then Halgand, then Vasseur offset to the side. It's a dead straight last kilometer, and they're through the flamme rouge.

Nobody has been able to get a gap, so it looks like we'll get a 5-up sprint. Here's 400 meters, Vasseur shoots up the right at 250 meters, Casar is coming up fast, with Albasini on the left, and Vasseur is first to the line!

Stage Top 5:
1) Vasseur
2) Casar
3) Albasini
4) Halgand
5) Voigt

My Tour Twitter feed is the best way to track updates in real-time. I typically will post a few dozen comments during each Tour stage, including more time gaps than I post here.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2007 in 2007 Stage 10, Cedric Vasseur, Erik Zabel, Jens Voigt, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink


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