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July 12, 2007

Stage 5 on the road

Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis, who could have taken the King of the Mountains jersey yesterday, is on the attack, alongside FdJeux's Philippe Gilbert, Credit Agricole's William Bonnet, and Barloworld's Gianpaolo Cheula, who caught the trio after a long chase.

Chavanel has taken 1st over each of the minor climbs so far, and looks likely to take over the polka-dot jersey tonight.

CSC has announced it won't defend the yellow jersey today, as a late 2nd Category climb and a 3rd Category climb only 8 kilometers from the finish should shake up the overall classification. We're likely to see the first gruppetto, as the big sprinters huddle together, working together to finish before the time limit.

Milram's Brett Lancaster of Australia withdrew after 2 hours of riding today, complaining of ongoing stomach problems. That leaves 184 riders in the race.

Lots of little crashes have happened as the Tour's first real climbs approach. Saunier Duval's Iban Mayo was paced back to the peloton by all 8 teammates, while Astana's Andreas Klöden fell with a teammate and visited the medical car. More serious was a fall just after the feed zone by Geoffroy Lequatre of Cofidis, who spent several minutes sitting by the side of the road after as doctors examined his arm.

Chavanel's group has led by nearly 15 minutes, but they're slowly being reeled in, with a 7:42 lead with 60 miles/97 kms to ride.

On the day's biggest climb, Chavanel turned on the heat, and only Philippe Gilbert could match him. Over the top, Chavanel led Gilbert, with Cheula and Bonnet 3rd and 4th, and Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank jumped from the field to take 6 pts in 5th place ahead of Sergio Paulinho of Discovery Channel leading the pack.

The gap is hovering a little over 2 minutes, and Bonnet and Cheula have been captured, so only Chavanel and Gilbert still lead, with less than 40 kilometers/25 miles to ride.

Vinokourov has gone down hard! His whole team besides Andreas Klöden and Andrey Kashechkin come back to chase, and Vinokourov blows each in turn, until he's left with nothing but the team car to draft, working up through the back traffic.

Chavanel and Gilbert are captured just before the day's final summit, with CSC pounding the field forward, and Vinokourov struggling to rejoin.

Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych launched an attack on the capture of Chavanel, and yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (!) powered the chase, which was short-circuited when Popovych and Cancellara overshot a corner and lost their momentum.

Coming into the finish, David Millar took a flier, with a Bouygues Telecom rider (probably Anthony Geslin), but they just dangled off the front into the final kilometer.

In the last 500 meters, Zabel and Freire looked well positioned, there comes George Hincapie, Bennati, and coming up fast through the middle, it's Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas taking the sprint! Pozzato took Milan-San Remo in 2006 and Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour, and told CyclingNews.com this morning that this was his stage.

The best way to follow the action in real time is to subscribe to my Twitter feed, which you can direct to your IM client or cell phone. A number of others are also Twittering the Tour, including David Bernstein of FredCast, CyclingNews.com (whose updates are usually truncated), Phil from Spinopsys, and Ken Conley.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2007 in 2007 Stage 5, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, David Millar, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Michael Rasmussen | Permalink


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Can Chavanel win today?

Posted by: Dragosh at Jul 12, 2007 9:29:05 AM


THis is s listing of the audio and video feeds from around the world for the TDF 2007!

Posted by: jimmy at Jul 12, 2007 9:40:39 AM