July 14, 2008

Saunier Duval 1-2 for Piepoli and Cobo

Team CSC shook up the standings today, setting a blistering pace on the Col du Tourmalet, and putting the Luxembourg national champion Fränk Schleck just 1 second out of the overall race lead.

But it was Saunier Duval who came out with another stage win, as their Leonardo Piepoli and Juan José Cobo tag-teamed Shleck on the day's final climb, the Hautacam.

We finally had a glimpse of contenders and pretenders, as well, with some big surprises. Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego crumbled on the Tourmalet, losing almost 6 minutes by stage's end. Kim Kirchen lost the yellow jersey, falling to 7th overall, and Stefan Schumacher tumbled to 18th overall.

On the other hand, Christian Vande Velde rode axle-to-axle with the best riders of the Tour, and gave as well as he got. Denis Menchov shadowed Cadel Evans all day, and Carlos Sastre rode comfortably among the overall leaders, as well.

Piepoli completes the set, now with a victory in all three Grand Tours.

Stage 10 Results
1. Leonardo Piepoli, Saunier Duval, Italy, in 4:19:27
2. Juan Jose Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, same time
3. Frank Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ :28
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria, @ 1:06
5. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, @ 2:05
6. Riccardo Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:17
7. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, same time
8. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
9. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, s.t.
10. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, s.t.

Evans just barely held off Schleck in the overall, with Vande Velde and Ricco's sprint to the line probably saving his first-ever yellow jersey. Kohl's attack took him up into the top 5 overall.

General Classification, overall after Stage 10
1. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg @ :01
3. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :38
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Austria @ :46
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ :57
6. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Spain, @ 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:56
8. Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, @ 2:10
9. Riccado Ricco, Saunier Duval, Italy, @ 2:29
10. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 2:32

Ricco takes the KoM lead with the double points on the final climb today, and takes over the white jersey lead on a day that was tough for Andy Schleck.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10, Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Kim Kirchen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 10: The climb to Hautacam

At the base of Hautacam, 24 riders are chasing Remy de Gregorio:

  • Evans, Silence-Lotto
  • Sastre, Cancellara, A. Schleck, F. Schleck, Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank
  • Kirchen, Columbia
  • Duenas Nevado, Barloworld
  • Nibali, Liquigas
  • Fothen and Kohl, Gerolsteiner
  • Menchov and Freire, Rabobank
  • Ricco, Cobo and Piepoli, Saunier Duval
  • Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
  • Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi
  • Dupont, Efimkin and Goubert, AG2R
  • Roy, Française des Jeux
  • Duque, Cofidis

Cancellara and Voigt are quickly dropped, Di Gregorio is swept up, and Piepoli attacks. Schleck matches, then Sastre tries a testing attack. Kirchen is dropped from the leaders group. Sastre caught and Fränk Schleck attacks, followed by Piepoli and Efimkin. Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, and Christian Vandevelde, ride alongside Carlos Sastre, Cobo, and Kohl.

Kohl launches, matched by Cobo, and there goes Christian Vande Velde, riding away from Sastre, Evans, Menchov.

Valverde, already well behind the leaders, has a mechanical.

Vande Velde can't make it up to Schleck's group, and comes back to the Evans/Menchov group. Kohl and Cobo successfully bridge up to Piepoli, Schleck, and Efimkin.

Kirchen begins to make up time on the Evans group, and Evans attacks! It's not enough to drop his group, but it does increase the gap to Kirchen. Evans rides with Vande Velde, Menchov, Nibali, Sastre, and Ricco.

Up front, Schleck's group begins to splinter. Cobo launches off the front, and Piepoli and Schleck are the only riders who can bridge up.

Nibali yo-yoes off the back of the Evans group. Valverde and Cunego ride together, about 4:30 back of Piepoli, and abut 3:00 behind Sastre, Evans, Menchov, and Vande Velde. Kirchen is 1:00 down on Evans.

Schleck, who started the day 1:50 behind Evans in GC, has build enough of a gap that he's riding (barely) in the virtual yellow jersey, with less than 4km to ride.

In the final 3km, Cobo and Piepoli lift the pace, and Schleck can't match the teammates. They ride together to the finish, with Schleck alone, and the remnants of the Schleck group (Kohl, Efimkin) spread out back toward Evans.

At the line, it's Leonardo Piepoli taking the stage, with Cobo on his wheel, and Schleck about 26 seconds back. It's going to be close for Evans...

As the Evans group comes into the final km, Christian Vande Velde goes to the front and raises the pace, then Riccardo Ricco comes by. Evans bumps the tempo to hold contact, and the group holds together to the line, coming in at about 2:15, giving Evans the yellow jersey by 1 narrow second.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Frank Schleck, Leonardo Piepoli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Stage 10 on the road

Almost from the gun, attacks went off, and with only 10 kilometers ridden, a group of 24 riders formed, including the climber's jersey of David de la Fuente and Oscar Freire, wearing the green jersey (on loan from Kim Kirchen).

Yaroslav Popovych is the highest-ranking rider of the group in 27th at 4:34. Only three teams have missed the break: Milram, Garmin-Chipotle, and Lampre. Milram is doing the chase work in the main field.

In the break:
* Silence-Lotto: Popovych
* Saunier Duval: Bertogliati and de la Fuente
* FdJeux: Sebastian Chavanel, di Gregorio, Roy
* Gerolsteiner: Fothen, Lang, Wegmann
* CSC-Saxo Bank: Cancellara
* Caisse d'Epargne: Gutierrez
* Barloworld: Augustyn, Cheula
* Cofidis: Duque
* Bouygues Telecom: Fedrigo
* Rabobank: Freire
* Agritubel: Feillu, Vogondy
* AG2R: Dupont
* QuickStep: Tosatto
* Credit Agricole: Le Mevel
* Liquigas: Pozzato
* Columbia: Burghardt
* Euskaltel-Euskadi: Isasi

1st Climb, 3rd Category Cote de Benejacq:
1. David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval, 4 pts
2. Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, 3 pts
3. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, 2 pts
4. Pierrick Fedrigo, Bouygues Telecom, 1 pt

Garmin-Chipotle has come to the front to try to bring the break back, but the gap is 1:20 with 113k/70 miles to ride.

Sprint 1:
1. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 6 pts 2. Romain Feillu, Agritubel, 4 pts 3. Filippo Pozzato, Liquigas, 2 pts

Freire retakes the lead in the green jersey competition, for now.

With about 56 miles left on the day, the break was mostly captured, whittling the break from 24 to 7 riders, including Cancellara, Dupont, Freire, Fothen, Roy, Di Gregorio, and Duque. They lead over the top of the 3rd Category Loucroup climb.

2nd Climb, 3rd Category Loucroup:
1. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, 4 pts 2. Remy di Gregorio, Française des Jeux, 3 pts 3. Markus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, 2 pts 4. Jeremy Roy, Française des Jeux, 1 pt

Hushovd attempted to bridge, but was quickly back in the field, and the pack seemed content to let the break take some time.

Sprint 2: 1. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 6 pts 2. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, 4 pts 3. Jeremy Roy, Française des Jeux, 2 pts

Gap to the 7 leaders is now out to 7:00, with Agritubel's Freddy Bichot chasing about 2 minutes behind the breakaway. We're approaching the feed zone. Next up, the Tourmalet.

Early on the Tourmalet, Saunier Duval launched Jufre with Riccardo Ricco, who were quickly recaptured, but the Sauniers launched Jufre again, and the field quickly strung out into small groups as the sprinters fell away.

Up in Freire's group, Remy di Gregorio rode away from the breakaway, and is the stage leader. His gap has climbed to about 50 seconds on his former breakmates.

CSC moved to the front and continued to push the pace, melting the field down to 40, then 25, now down to 14. Damiano Cunego was first to fall off the pace, followed quickly by Alejandro Valverde, with CSC's Jens Voigt towing Sastre and the Schlecks at the head of an elite group. Also in the 14-man group were Kim Kirchen, Christian Vande Velde, Denis Menchov, Cadel Evans, and Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli and Riccardo Ricco.

Di Gregorio took the points atop the Tourmalet. The field is over the top, and Valverde and Cunego will chase hard to try to rejoin what I'll call Group Voigt in recognition of the big German's massive effort.

Atop the Tourmalet:
1. Remy Di Gregorio, Française des Jeux, 20 pts
2. Jeremy Roy, Française des Jeux, 18 pts, @ 2:10
3. Hubert Dupont, AG2R, 16 pts
4. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, 14 pts
5. Markus Fothen, Gerolsteiner, 12 pts, @ 3:10
6. Fabian Cancellara, CSC-Saxo Bank, 10 pts, @ 3:45
7. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 8 pts, @ 4:30
8. Riccardo Ricco, Saunier Duval, 7 pts, @ 6:00
9. Jens Voigt, CSC-Saxo Bank, 6 pts
10. Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, 5 pts

You can follow these updates and more by following my Twitter feed.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 10 Preview: Forcing their hand

Today is the hardest day so far of the 2008 Tour. Two hors categorie climbs (“beyond categorization”) -- the 2115-meter Col du Tourmalet and the 1520-meter Hautacam -- make up the second half of the stage. It's just 96 miles/156 kms, but today will bring some answers.

Cadel Evans is suddenly one of the big questions. He injured his collarbone and split his helmet into three pieces in an accident yesterday; will he be able to counter the inevitable moves from the contending climbing specialists?

Another big question: Are Kirchen, Vande Velde, Devolder and Schumacher for real? They've been able to hang so far, but today come much longer climbs that may escort them to lower GC placings.

Finally, we'll answer some questions of form: Is Valverde the strongest climber among the favorites? How is Denis Menchov, who has been quietly sitting among the leaders every stage? What about the CSC triumverate? Are they really riding for Sastre, or has the time come for the Schlecks to lead the team?

Jersey leaders:
Yellow jersey Kim Kirchen, Columbia
Green jersey Kim Kirchen, Columbia (worn by Oscar Freire, Rabobank)
White jersey Andy Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank
Polka-dot jersey David de la Fuente, Saunier Duval

Versus broadcaster picks: Hummer continues to lead. Today, Liggett takes Alejandro Valverde, Roll takes Riccardo Ricco, Hummer takes Fränk Schleck, and Sherwen takes Carlos Sastre.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2008 in 2008 Stage 10 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack