July 03, 2010

Where are they from, 2010 edition

Each year, I take a look at where the Tour's riders are from, with special attention to the traditionally English-speaking countries.

Here's this year's rundown:

Cadel Evans, BMC
Simon Gerrans, Sky
Adam Hansen, HTC-Columbia
Brett Lancaster, Cervelo
Matthew Lloyd, Omega Pharma-Lotto
Robbie McEwen, Katusha
Stuart O'Grady, Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, HTC-Columbia
Luke Roberts, Milram
Michael Rogers, HTC-Columbia
Wesley Sulzberger, Française des Jeux

Eleven! Up from 6 last year, and it's largely a return of the “Lone Australian” phenomenon -- only HTC-Columbia, with Hansen, Renshaw, and Rogers has more than one Aussie on the squad. Every 2009 Aussie returns, and add Gerrans and Hansen, alternates last year, plus Roberts, Sulzberger, and perennial sprint threat McEwen.

Lance Armstrong, Radio Shack
Brent Bookwalter, BMC
Tyler Farrar, Garmin
George Hincapie, BMC
Chris Horner, Radio Shack
Levi Leipheimer, Radio Shack
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin
David Zabriskie, Garmin

Eight is up from seven last year, and four in 2008. First-timer Bookwalter is here, Garmin's Danny Pate is not, and Chris Horner returns. The excellent showings of both Farrar and Bookwalter at today's prologue are great news for US cycling, which has a glut of over-30 Tour riders, essentially everybody else on the list above.

Michael Barry, Sky
Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin

Canada climbs from one to two, and long-suffering Michael Barry finally gets a Tour start at 34.

Great Britain
Mark Cavendish, HTC-Columbia
Stephen Cummings, Sky
Jeremy Hunt, Cervelo
Daniel Lloyd, Cervelo
David Millar, Garmin
Geraint Thomas, Sky
Charlie Wegelius, Omega Pharma-Lotto
Bradley Wiggins, Sky

Great Britain doubles up, with eight riders versus last year's four. Cavendish and Wiggins have dreams of winner's jerseys.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin

Hayden Roulston wasn't invited by HTC-Columbia, Greg Henderson wasn't invited by Team Sky.

Nicolas Roche, AG2R-La Mondiale

Roche repeats as the only Irish rider.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Garmin

Up from an unusual zero last year.

Other countries (2009 in parentheses):
35: France (40)
31: Spain (doesn't count Florencio, pulled by Cervelo before start) (28)
17: Italy (16)
15: Germany (15)
12: Belgium (11)
11: Australia (6)
8: Netherlands (11), USA (7)
6: Russia (8)
5: Denmark (3), Switzerland (3)
4: Slovenia (1)
3: Austria (2), Belarus (2), Kazakhstan (1), Portugal (2), Ukraine (2)
2: Canada (1), Luxembourg (3), Norway (2)
1: Czech Republic (1), Estonia (0), Ireland (1), Japan (2), Lithuania (0), Moldova (0), New Zealand (2), Poland (1), South Africa (0), Sweden (1)


TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2009 edition

TdFblog.com | Where are they from, 2008 edition

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2010 in About the Tour, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2009

Tour de Twitter

JV on the Crackberry,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
This is the third Tour de France I've Twittered. In 2007, it was pretty lonely. Last year, we had a core group of fans using the service. This year, Twitter has exploded. Lance Armstrong has been one of the top celebrities to adopt Twitter, alongside Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher (I almost typed “Astana Kutcher”), and Barack Obama.

I've developed quite a list of riders, journalists, bloggers, and photographers in preparation for the Tour, and thought I would share it with you.

I started with Carlton Reid's massive, 600+ strong list of “Bike Trade Tweeps”. As I've found more, I've been adding them. I left off a few that appear inactive, like @carlossastre, who has nearly 4,000 followers awaiting his first tweet (what pressure!); likewise Denis Menchov and Robert Gesink, and a few fakes.

Also, these are all in English. Please send me additions, either on Twitter (@TdFblog) or by commenting this post. Thanks!






Cervelo Test Team

Quick Step


Saxo Bank



VS broadcasters


Pros not racing this year


Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in About the Tour, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Janez Brajkovic, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tour news, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 02, 2009

Where are they from, 2009 edition

Every year, I run down the riders' countries of origin, with special attention to the English-speaking countries. Here's last year's, for comparison.

Lance Armstrong, Astana
Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Slipstream
George Hincapie, Columbia-HTC
Levi Leipheimer, Astana
Danny Pate, Garmin-Slipstream
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream
David Zabriskie, Garmin-Slipstream

Seven is up from four last year. Gone is Will Frischkorn, left off the Garmin team, but back are Armstrong, Zabriskie, and Leipheimer. Tyler Farrar starts his first Tour. Not just more riders, but riders with more chances -- 3 guys with Top 5 hopes, and Farrar stage-hunting.

Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto
Brett Lancaster, Cervelo
Matthew Lloyd, Silence-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, Columbia-HTC
Michael Rogers, Columbia-HTC
Allan Davis, Quick Step

Down from 9 last year, with Robbie McEwen recovering from surgery, Baden Cooke riding for the Continental Vacansoleil team, Trent Lowe home, and Simon Gerrans and Adam Hansen alternates. Michael Rogers is back. Matthew Lloyd makes his first Tour start. 7/3 Update: With Tom Boonen back in the Tour, Allan Davis stays home, reducing Australia's count to 6. And a half, given Heinrich Haussler, who lives and trains in Australia.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, Columbia-HTC
David Millar, Garmin-Slipstream
Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream
Charly Wegelius, Silence-Lotto

Chris Froome's Barloworld squad is not in the Tour this year, back is Bradley Wiggins, and Wegelius returns thanks to Dekker's EPO positive. Cavendish has to be the pre-Tour favorite for green, and his success or failure will be one of this Tour's major plotlines.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Slipstream
Hayden Roulston, Cervelo

Tour rookie Roulston joins the returning Dean.

Dan Martin, Garmin-Slipstream
Nicolas Roche, AG2R

With Martin's tendinitis, Roche will be the first Irish participant since Mark Scanlon in 2004. Roche is reigning Irish road champion, having dethroned Martin last weekend.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Slipstream

After ending a 10-year Canadian drought last year, Hesjedal returns.

With no Barloworld participation, Robbie Hunter and John Lee Augustyn won't make the start for South Africa.

All nations breakdown:
40: France (2008 count in parentheses: 40)
28: Spain (30)
16: Italy (21)
15: Germany (16)
11: Netherlands (10)
11: Belgium (12)
8: Russia (4)
7: USA (4)
6: Australia (9)
4: United Kingdom (3)
3: Denmark (1), Luxembourg (2), Switzerland (4)
2: Austria (2), Belarus (2), Colombia (3), Japan (0), New Zealand (1), Norway (2), Portugal (0), Ukraine (2)
1: Canada (1), Czech Republic (1), Finland (0), Ireland (0), Kazakhstan (1), Poland (1), Slovakia (1), Slovenia (1), Sweden (2)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2009 in About the Tour, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 18, 2008

Manx cat pounces again: Cavendish takes 4th stage win

Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish continues to dominate the sprints of this year's Tour, today riding away from the field to take his 4th stage win of the 2008 Tour.

It was clearly a day for the sprinters, but former French champion Florent Brard and Milram's Belgian track star Niki Terpstra spent most of the day in a breakaway that took top points at all the day's intermediate climbs and sprints.

Milram, Liquigas and Columbia powered the peloton in the final kilometers, but the orderly leadout trains tangled up in the last 1000 meters, leaving a classic field sprint.

Silence-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, who has been largely invisible so far this year, marked the Manxman's wheel in the final 200 meters, but just couldn't ramp up the horsepower to get by Cavendish. It's the 6th career stage win for Cavendish, just 22.

Top 10, Stage 13:
1. Mark Cavendish, Columbia, Great Britain, in 4:25:42
2. Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto, Australia, same time
3. Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
4. Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
5. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
6. Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, s.t.
7. Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, Colombia, s.t.
8. Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
9. Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle, New Zealand, s.t.
10. Sebastian Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.

Freire will extend his gap on Thor Hushovd in the green jersey race, while Cavendish moves into a tie with Hushovd at 2nd.

Niki Terpstra takes the aggressive rider red number for today's stage.

The overall is unchanged, as well.

General Classification, after Stage 13:
1. Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto, Australia, in 56:48:47
2. Fränk Schleck, CSC-Saxo Bank, Luxembourg, @ :01
3. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle, USA, @ :38
4. Bernhard Kohl, Gerolsteiner, Germany, @ :46
5. Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, @ :57
6. Carlos Sastre, CSC-Saxo Bank, Span, @ 1:28
7. Kim Kirchen, Columbia, Luxembourg, @ 1:56
8. Vladimir Efimkin, AG2R-La Mondiale, Russia, @ 2:32
9. Mikel Astarloza, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, @ 3:51
10. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, Italy, @ 4:18

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2008 in 2008 Stage 13, Erik Zabel, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Where are they from?

I always review the nationalities breakdown for the Tour, with a special eye toward the English-speaking countries. Here's last year's, for comparison.

George Hincapie, Team Columbia
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Chipotle
Will Frischkorn, Garmin-Chipotle
Danny Pate, Garmin-Chipotle

This is the least in years, with Freddie Rodriguez riding in the U.S., Bobby Julich not selected, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer barred with Astana, and David Zabriskie nursing a back injury.

Baden Cooke, Barloworld
Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, Credit Agricole
Adam Hansen, Team Columbia
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Trent Lowe, Garmin-Chipotle
Robbie McEwen, Silence-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC-Saxo Bank
Mark Renshaw, Credit Agricole

Baden Cooke is back; Adam Hansen, Trent Lowe, and Mark Renshaw are new, and Michael Rogers is out.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia
Christopher Froome, Barloworld
David Millar, Garmin-Chipotle

Out are Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Charlie Wegelius. I've got Christopher Froome as being from Kenya, which isn't in the list below. Put him there, and Great Britain drops to just a pair.

New Zealand
Julian Dean, Garmin-Chipotle

As last year.

South Africa
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld
John-Lee Augustyn, Barloworld

Adds Augustyn.

Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Chipotle

First Canuck since 1997. Maybe Michael Barry will join him one year.

Here's the official breakdown, according to the Tour website:

40: France (2007 count in parentheses: 35)
30: Spain (42)
21: Italy (18)
16: Germany (19)
12: Belgium (13)
10: The Netherlands (7)
9: Australia (6)
4: USA (6), Russia (6) and Switzerland (5)
3: Colombia (3), Great Britain (5) and Luxembourg (2)
2: South Africa (1), Austria (3), Belarus (2), Norway (2), Sweden (1) and Ukraine (2)
1: Brazil (1), Canada (0), Denmark (1), Kazakhstan (4), New Zealand (1), Poland (0), Czech Republic (0), Slovakia (0) and Slovenia (1)

Spanish representation drops from 42 riders last year to 30 this year, with France jumping from 35 to 40.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2008 in About the Tour, Baden Cooke, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Will Frischkorn | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 15, 2007

McEwen outside the time limit on Stage 8

Australian Broadcasting Corporation | McEwen third Aussie out of Tour

Three-time green jersey winner Robbie McEwen failed to make the time limit on today's Stage 8, and was eliminated from the Tour.

McEwen, who won Stage 1 after being injured in a crash, finished 1:09:22 behind Michael Rasmussen on the stage. The time limit was a little over 40 minutes. Also eliminated were Danilo Napolitano of Lampre (@1:16:33) and Cedric Herve of Agritubel (@49:57).

McEwen was the third Aussie out of the Tour on Sunday, joining Michael Rogers and Stuart O'Grady.

Eight riders in all exited the race on Sunday:

• Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain (withdrew)
• Romain Feilleu, Agritubel, France (withdrew)
• Cédric Hervé, Agritubel, France (over time limit)
• McEwen (over time limit)
• Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy (over time limit)
• Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia (withdrew)
• Ivan Parra, Cofidis, Colombia (withdrew)
• Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia (withdrew)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 10, 2007

Stage 3: The best jersey defense is a brilliant attack

Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara showed brilliant tactical sense to take a beautiful stage win in Campiégne.

A 4-man break of Stéphane Augé, Matthieu Ladagnous, Frederik Willems, and Nicolas Vogondy were being reeled in with less than a kilometer to ride, and Cancellara attacked out of the field as the peloton neared the foursome. Like a flash, the world TT champion was past the four and flying. The chaos of setting up their finish sprints, the chaos of the catch, and the sudden and vicious attack put the sprinters on their heels, and by the time they could wind it up to speed, Cancellara was out of reach for a dramatic win.

It was Cancellara's 3rd career stage win, the first outside of a Prologue.

Top 10:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany
3) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre-Fondital, Italy
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium
5) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa
6) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany
7) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia
8) Bernhard Eisel, T-Mobile, Austria
9) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain
10) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany

Stéphane Augé takes over the King of the Mountains jersey from David Millar, and Cancellara extends his yellow jersey lead with the bonus time from the stage win.

Overall standings after Stage 3:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland, in 15:12:08
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
3) David Millar Saunier Duval, at :41
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :43
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, same time
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
7) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, at :46
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, same time
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :49
10) Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau, Euskaltel - Euskadi, Spain, same time

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2007 in Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 09, 2007

Stage 2: Steegmans leads self out for win

The story of the day is a late-stage crash, which took out a number of key riders with about 2 kms/1.25 miles to ride. It appeared a Milram rider pulled out of his pedal, slid out on the narrow road, and took a number of riders with him. Yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara went down hard, and riders filtered in for several minutes after the day's winners.

Most of the sprint specialists were positioned in front of the wreckage, including Stage 1 winner Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, and Robbie Hunter. Quick Step had Tom Boonen's leadout underway before the crash, and they followed through almost to perfection. The team asked Steegmans, Boonen's final draft, to stay on the front longer than normal because of a finishing hill. Boonen then had trouble getting around his big Belgian teammate, and Steegmans led Boonen across the line for a Quick Step, and Belgian, 1-2 on the day.

Afterward, Steegmans said if Boonen let him win, “it's the best present I have ever had,” Steegmans said.

“Anyway the important thing is we were first and second. It's my biggest win and at the best possible place and I won my first race as a child just 200m from this finishing line. I was overjoyed at the end.”

Top 10
1) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step-Innergetic, Belgium, same time
3) Fillippo Pozzato, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
4) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, South Africa, s.t.
5) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
6) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, s.t.
7) Erik Zabel, Team Milram, Germany, s.t.
8) Heinrich Haussler, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
9) Oscar Freire, Spain, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, s.t.

UCI rules neutralize the effect of late crashes by giving everyone held up by the crash the same time as the winner, so there's no significant change in the overall standings.

Overall standings after Stage 2:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany
3) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA
5) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain

Boonen takes over the green jersey and moves up to 7th in the GC based on bonus time awarded for his 2nd on the stage.

The Guardian reports that Cancellara's wrist is a “minor injury,” but that Lampre's Daniele Bennati was taken to a local hospital after injuring his hip in the crash. Over at ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.), Cathy Mehl reports George Hincapie appears to be all right after lacerating his knee in the crash, and Tomas Vaitkus may have broken his thumb.


SportingLife.com | Steegmans prevails as crash mars finish

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 08, 2007

Stage 1: Rapid Robbie scratches for the win

Struck from behind while waiting for a crash to clear with about 20 kms/12.5 miles to ride, Robbie McEwen went over the bars, injuring his wrist. Adding insult, he then had to organize a chase to get back to the peloton, and only hooked back up with less than 5 miles to ride.

But it apparently takes more than that to slow the fastest man on two wheels, who struck like lightning in the stage's last 200 meters, whipping the other sprinters' Canterbury tails. From at least 10 places back, McEwen catapulted past Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd and won with a bike length to spare.

It was McEwen's 12th career Tour stage win, ahead of Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, 4:39:01
2) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, same time
3) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
4) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
3) Romain Feillu, Agritubel, France, s.t.
6) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
7) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
8) Marcus Burghardt, T-Mobile, Germany, s.t.
9) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
10) Tomas Vaitkus, Discovery Channel, Lithuania, s.t.

McEwen said he landed on his knee, hand, and wrist in the fall. “At first, I couldn't bend my leg,” he said. “The guys rode like a team time trial to get me back in the bunch” for 13 or 15 kilometers, finally catching up in the last 5 miles of the stage.

McEwen takes over the green jersey, David Millar takes the cheap King of the Mountains, and Vladimir Gusev holds the white jersey.

Overall standings after Stage 1:
1) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland 4:47:51
2) Andreas Kloden, Astana, Germany, @ :13
3) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain, @ :21
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, @ :23
5) Brad Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, @ :23
6) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, @ :25
7) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, Russia, @ :26
8) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, @ :29
9) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, @ :30
10) Thomas Dekker, Rabobank, Netherlands, @ :31

There are 188 riders left, after Eduardo Gonzalo of Agritubel crashed through the rear window of a Caisse d'Epargne team car, and had to leave the race.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Romain Feillu, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (7)

Stage 1 on the road

Agritubel's Eduardo Gonzalo is the first man out of the 2007 Tour. He apparently touched wheels with someone and is out of the Tour almost before it's begun.

David Millar is trying to make good on his promise yesterday to win a Tour stage, and he wants it as soon as possible: He was solo off the front earlier, and now is part of a 5-man group. He's taken maximum sprint points at 2 intermediate sprints. Also in the break are Andrey Grivko, Freddy Bichot, Stephane Auge, and Aleksandr Kuschynski.

Millar has updated his rider diary over at Bicycling.com with his reaction to the Prologue.

With less than 80 kilometers/50 miles to ride, the break is about 5:50 ahead of the peloton.

CSC leads the chase, which is suddenly making some progress -- the gap is now 5:20.

With 74 kms/45 miles to ride, the gap is down to 4:45.

Credit Agricole, Quick Step, and Predictor-Lotto have put riders on the front to reel in the 5 leaders, with less than 40 miles to ride, the gap has fallen below 3:00.

Day's last intermediate sprint points go to Kuschynski (6), Bichot (4), and Grivko (2). The peloton rolls through 2:35 behind.

Auge, Bichot and Kuschynski raise the pace, and Grivko and Millar can't hang, so the 5 are now 3 with less than a 2:00 advantage, and less than 30 miles/49kms to ride.

Grivko and Millar are caught, and the gap hovers at 2:00. The sprinters' teams don't want to swallow the 3 breakaway riders too soon, which would just encourage another breakaway. On the other hand, David Millar leads the King of the Mountains competion, unless Freddy Bichot takes points at the final 4th-Category climb of the day, so Saunier Duval now is helping on the front of the peloton. Less than 24 miles/40kms to ride, and the gap is down to just over a minute.

With 27k/17m to ride, Bichot and Kuschynski are caught, and Auge has increased the advantage to 27 seconds. Auge will take over the KoM jersey if he's first over the upcoming climb and Millar doesn't take points there. Augé does his part, but Millar is next across, so David Millar will wear the King of the Mountains jersey tomorrow. Augé is captured.

Mark Cavendish and Robbie McEwen have been isolated by a crash or mechanicals. They're chasing along with about 20 other riders, with Quick Step driving the field and less than 10k to ride.

McEwen has caught the back of the field, but it remains to be seen whether he can thread his way through the field and figure in the sprint. We're at 4 miles to ride.

With 2 k to ride, Milram takes over from QuickStep, setting up 6-time green jersey Erik Zabel.

Into the last kilometer, and Zabel, Bennati, and Boonen are up front. Now there goes Robbie Hunter of Barloworld, with a Discovery rider in his wake. He's building a good lead, but he's gone from way out, and as he fades, here comes Robbie McEwen, appearing out of the crowd as always, and he rockets to the win!

Top Five was 1) McEwen, 2) Hushovd, 3) Boonen, 4) Sebastien Chavanel, 5) Feilleu.

To follow my comments alongside the Tour broadcast, or to keep up in real-time, I recommend my Tour de France Twitter updates -- there's no RSS lag, and you can get updates direct to your mobile phone with SMS.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2007 in David Millar, Mark Cavendish, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2007

Prologue underway

Mikel Astarloza had the best early time with a 9:23.88.

Stuart O'Grady overcooked a left-hander and crashed into some barriers with a little more than 1 kilometer to ride after setting the best time at 5 kilometers.

One thing to watch are the riders' handlebars: VeloNews this morning has a story about some “clarifications” to UCI rules that have caused some riders to switch their aero bars. At the Dauphiné Libéré, officials seemed to be focused on whether the rider had more than 2 points of contact with the bars, but now they're more concerned with the angle of the extensions, which they want essentially parallel to the ground. Some riders were experimenting with variations on the more steeply angled position (the “Praying Landis”) that Floyd Landis used last year.

Dave Zabriskie sets out in the Stars and Stripes. By the way, he's got “These colors don't run” printed on the inside of his left sleeve. You can see it in this photo (look at the large version). Zabriskie is fastest at the time check. Coming to the finish now, and Zabriskie sprints to the line at 9:22.98. I don't think that will last.

Right behind Zabriskie is Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Karpets, and the former white jersey is very strong: 9:16.77 takes over the lead. I thought Z's time would last longer than that...

Robbie McEwen looks like he's out for a club ride, and comes in at 9:59.15.

Discovery Channel is wearing jerseys with big green stripes across the arms and back, as part of Discovery Channel Goes Green. The team will plant trees in Mendocino to offset the team cars' carbon emissions, and an additional 30 trees for each stage win or leader's jersey a Disco rider wears.

Speaking of the Discos, here comes Russian TT champion Vladimir Gusev, whose intermediate time check was even with Karpets. At the line, he's going really hard, and he moves into the lead with a 9:15.99. Russians sit 1st and 2nd.

José Ivan Gutierrez, the Spanish TT champion, barely clears the barricade that claimed O'Grady earlier, and finishes in 9:23.66, putting him 4th with lots of talent yet to ride.

Valverde is the first of the race favorites to set out. He looks fantastic on his bike -- he's got a very quiet upper body, but going like hell below. He's 9 seconds down at the time check, and he finishes in 9:33.40. That's an OK start for Valverde.

Manuel Quinziato of Liquigas is Top 5 for now with a 9:22 and change.

Andreas Klöden comes through the checkpoint in 5:13 -- that's 8 seconds faster than 2nd-place Vladimir Gusev!

And here comes Klöden to the line, and he takes the lead with a 9:03.29! That's 52 km/hr.

George Hincapie sets off. He's got his work cut out for him. He's 2nd at the checkpoint, 7 seconds behind Klöden. He's going hard for the line, but he cant' match Klöden with a 9:13.75, 2nd for now.

Millar is on the course, and 1 minute behind is Alexandre Vinokourov. Millar goes hard, sprinting out of the start house, and the 500,000+ fans roar for the Scot.

And Wiggins is off, pushing a bigger gear than Millar, and drawing a bigger cheer from the thick crowds.

Millar comes in at 9:23.60, which will be outside the top 10. Vinokourov is next in, and he's charging, out of the saddle, to finish in 9:20.47. That's 5th for now, possibly to slip.

Wiggins is 3rd at the time check, 8 seconds back. Klöden has really scorched it today. Wggins is coming to the line, and won't catch Klöden, but maybe Hincapie -- here he comes in 9:13.92, a split-second behind Hincapie.

There goes world TT champ Cancellara, sporting the rainbow stripes. Leipheimer isn't in the top 5 at the time check. Michael Rogers sets out, a triple world champion in the time trial.

Leipheimer finishes in 9:30.34, 22nd with some good riders to go. That probably will drop to around 25th by the end of the day.

Cancellara hits the check at 5:07 -- 7 seconds faster than Klöden!

Cadel Evans comes in at 9:26.05, with Cancellara in sight behind him. Here comes Cancellara, hammering it all the way to the line, and he sets an unbelievable 8:50.74!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2007 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

2007 Tour nationalities breakdown

Great Britain makes a great leap forward in its Tour participation, as the Grand Depart host, shut out in 2005, brings 5 riders to the 2007 Tour. US participation continues to slip, from 9 in Armstrong's final year to 6 this year.

George Hincapie, Discovery Channel
Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto
Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel
Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto
Christian Vande Velde, CSC
Dave Zabriskie, CSC

The Americans must have been two for a dollar, as three teams each have a pair of Yanks starting. This is down from eight in '06, as Landis awaits his hearing results and Bobby Julich was left home.

Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, AG2R
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC
Michael Rogers, T-Mobile

Australia brings 6 riders, one more than actually started last year, with legitimate yellow and green jersey candidates. Lancaster won the freak 1150-meter prologue of the 2005 Giro, and makes his debut in the Tour. All the others started last year's Tour, and Allan Davis was on the ill-fated Astana-Würth squad.

Great Britain:
Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile
David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
Geraint Thomas, Barloworld
Charlie Wegelius, Liquigas
Brad Wiggins, Cofidis

Thomas and Cavendish are two of the youngest riders in the race, while Wegelius makes his first Tour start after being a Giro fixture for years. Wiggins is primarily here for the Prologue, while Millar also has a chance in the Tour's longer time trials.

New Zealand:
Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

South Africa:
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld

The former Phonak has to be glad Alessandro Petacchi will miss the Tour.

Spain leads the way among all countries, with 41 starters. France is close behind with 36. Riders from 25 different countries will start tomorrow in London.

Spain: 42 riders
France: 35 riders
Germany: 19 riders
Italy: 18 riders
Belgium: 13 riders
Netherlands: 7 riders
Russia: 6 riders
Switzerland: 5 riders
Kazakhstan: 4 riders
Austria: 3 riders
Colombia: 3 riders
Belarus: 2 riders
Luxembourg: 2 riders
Norway: 2 riders
Ukraine: 2 riders
Brazil: 1 rider
Denmark: 1 rider
Finland: 1 rider
Lithuania: 1 rider
Portugal: 1 rider
Slovenia: 1 rider
Sweden: 1 rider

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 02, 2007

Horner, Rodriguez both in: Predictor-Lotto finalized

Professional Cycling Team Predictor-Lotto | Final selection Tour de France

Predictor-Lotto brings a lot of different tools to the Tour this year. Robbie McEwen is looking for a 4th green jersey, while Cadel Evans looks to improve on his overall 5th place from last year.

Predictor-Lotto also ties with Discovery Channel and CSC for the most Americans on a single team, with McEwen setup man Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner.

    Predictor-Lotto 2007 Tour de France roster
  • Mario Aerts (Belgium)
  • Dario Cioni (Italy)
  • Cadel Evans (Australia)
  • Chris Horner (USA)
  • Leif Hoste (Belgium)
  • Robbie McEwen (Australia)
  • Fred Rodriguez (USA)
  • Wim Vansevenant (Belgium)
  • Johan Vansummeren (Belgium)

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Giro 2007 rosters announced

Gazzetta.it: Giro d'Italia | Le squadre

Giro organizers unveiled rosters for the 2007 Giro d'Italia today.

Four former winners of the race -- Astana's Paolo Savoldelli, Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni, Lampre's Damiano Cunego, and Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli -- will feature in this year's edition, but a lot of media attention will be on the missing defending champion, Ivan Basso, who admitted today he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes.

The shadow of Operación Puerto appears to have fallen on Tyler Hamilton of Tinkoff Credit Systems and Jorg Jaksche of Astana, as well. Neither is on their team's race roster, despite claims by Tinkoff that Hamilton is clear to race.

There are some other interesting plot points that actually involve racing: Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi are set to renew their rivalry, possibly challenged by a couple of transplants from US racing: Argentina's Juan José Haedo of CSC and New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile. Paolo Bettini wears number 1 in Basso's absence. Danilo Di Luca continues to try to evolve into a Grand Tour contender.

Three US riders are set to make the start: Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, Saunier Duval's Aaron Olson, and CSC's Dave Zabriskie.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2007, Giro d’Italia, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007

Savoldelli takes Romandie prologue

Eurosport | Savoldelli wins second consecutive title

Astana's Paolo Savoldelli is the first leader of the Tour of Romandy/Tour de Romandie, after a 4:35.12 over a 3.5-kilometer time trial in Fribourg today.

Savoldelli was 5 seconds faster than Czech rider Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas and 7 seconds faster than Predictor-Lotto's Chris Horner, of the United States.

David Millar, fresh from a somewhat disappointing time trial at the Tour de Georgia, was 15 seconds back of Savoldelli, but he still is focused on the Tour de France prologue, where he hopes to take the yellow jersey in London.

Defending champion Cadel Evans was 16th on the day, 14 seconds behind Savoldelli. Robbie McEwen brought up the ceremonial rear, 166th at 1:30 back.

Other notable times:

13) David Zabriskie, USA, CSC, at :12
24) Thomas Dekker, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :16
27) Oscar Pereiro, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :16
37) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at :17
29) Janez Brajkovic, Slovenia, Discovery Channel, at :17
59) Carlos Sastre, Spain, CSC, at :20

Posted by Frank Steele on May 1, 2007 in Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tour de Romandie | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 05, 2007

McEwen will skip Tour of Flanders

Eurosport | Robbie drops Flanders

After dropping out of the Three Days of De Panne yesterday, Robbie McEwen will not start Sunday's classic, the Tour of Flanders.

"Robbie McEwen isn't hurting anymore in his back, after his crashes at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, but is suffering from a stomach bug," said Predictor-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant.

Cycling4All has the provisional Tour of Flanders start list.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 5, 2007 in Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2007

Unheralded Lapthorne takes Aussie road title

VeloNews | Lapthorne takes Australian elite road title

Darren Lapthorne, just 23, beat out a crop of better-known racers to take the Australian national championship jersey. Lapthorne is an undergraduate studying business, and led Drapac Porsche teammate Robert McLachlan across the line by 15 seconds. Karl Menzies, of the US-based HealthNet team, was third.

“It's the happiest day of my life ... It is an unbelievable moment for me and I'll never forget it.”

McLachlan scored his third consecutive 2nd place in the Aussie championships.

Among the ProTour riders in the race were Simon Gerrans, Allan Davis, Matt Wilson, Henk Vogels, and Baden Cooke.

Meanwhile, Robbie McEwen's status for the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, is still unknown. The race starts Tuesday, and McEwen, the most prolific stage winner in the race's history, will be the last rider to arrive in Adelaide, skipping the rider presentation. From AdelaideNow:

McEwen has told veteran cycling commentator Phil Liggett he is hungry to add to his TDU stage win tally of 11 this week to underscore his early-season form and maximise his preparation for the Milan-San Remo spring classic in March he so dearly wants to win.

But the Queenslander is one of the most unpredictable riders in the world with a reputation for winning from out of the blue so, infection or not, only a fool would discount him tomorrow night.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 14, 2007 in Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

Taking the DeLorean back to 1998

Peleton 3
Peleton 3,
originally uploaded by conibonjovi.
Somebody posted photos from the Tour's 1998 visit to Ireland today. That was, of course, the Tour made infamous by the Festina affair, and eventually won by Marco Pantani.

I see a few recognizable faces here, and in shots of the body of the peloton here and here. It would be very cool if you could tag the photo with notes of riders you recognize.

Also, does anyone know which stage this is? I think that's Chris Boardman in yellow, which means it's Stage 1 or the beginning of Stage 2, when he crashed out. The pictures are marked as “March 2004”, which is obviously wrong.

Some help: the 1998 review from letour.fr, including team rosters.

I promise no more games like this once there's some actual racing...

Posted by Frank Steele on January 10, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Erik Dekker, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Magnus Backstedt, Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 09, 2007

More antipodean angst: McEwen doubtful for Aussie nats

The Australian | McEwen in doubt for title race

Henk Vogels @ Tour de GeorgiaRobbie McEwen looks doubtful for Sunday's Australian national championship, as he tries to recover from a chest infection.

McEwen, twice the Australian champion, withdrew from a race Sunday, and is being treated with antibiotics in the hope that he can return to action on Sunday, then race the Tour Down Under, which starts next Tuesday.

"At this stage Robbie is a 50-50 chance at best of racing," championship director John Craven said last night.

CSC's Stuart O'Grady has already begged off, citing the difficulty and length of the race (160 kms) and his early season fitness.

ProTour riders expected to make the start include Allan Davis, back from his Operación Puerto exile (and rumored to be on the verge of a contract with Discovery Channel), former Tour green jersey Baden Cooke, Henk Vogels (photo above) and reigning Aussie champ Matt Wilson.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 9, 2007 in Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 09, 2006

Cycling gets a urine-testing team sponsor

Davitamon-Lotto | Omega Pharma to repeat Davitamon sponsoring success with Predictor

Robbie McEwen is set to race in pink next season, but he's not changing teams.

The primary sponsor of Robbie McEwen's Davitamon-Lotto team is Omega Pharma. Satisfied with the boost their Davitamon supplement brand has gotten from the company's sponsorship, they're moving along to another company product, the Predictor early pregnancy test (and other home health tests).

The new jerseys aren't available yet, but the team will be called "Predictor-Lotto." If only they could help me predict the lotto...

Posted by Frank Steele on November 9, 2006 in Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

It's Vuelta time

It's time to kick off the year's 3rd grand tour, and it feels more like the 15th round of a prizefight.

Even though all riders passed their pre-Vuelta blood screens, one rider will miss the start over doping concerns. Saunier Duval-Prodir has dropped their Vuelta leader Koldo Gil on a belief that he's implicated in Operación Puerto. It apparently results from his days with Manolo Saiz and Liberty Seguros, but Saunier Duval's Joxean Fernandez told AS (in Spanish) “we don't want to take any risks over a potential problem that has nothing to do with us.” Gil rode strongly at the Tour of Switzerland, coming second to Jan Ullrich.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, back from a broken collarbone at the Tour de France, is the race favorite, with Tour winner-in-waiting Oscar Pereiro as his superdomestique.

CSC's Carlos Sastre has never met a grand tour he didn't like, as he takes the start of his 5th consecutive GT, last missing the 2005 Giro.

Conversely, Alexandre Vinokourov wasn't allowed to start the Tour in July, but Astana (who has signed to use BMC's funky Swiss carbon-fiber frames now that Phonak is leaving the sport) will have a full squad backing Vinokourov in the Vuelta, while wrangling continues over the future of the team's ProTour license and management.

Best hope for the United States is Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, riding his first GT as the undisputed team leader. Danielson, 28, talked with Andrew Hood of VeloNews about his Vuelta hopes.

Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is back to racing, but poormouthing his Vuelta chances, tapping teammate Erik Zabel for the sprinter's jersey. Robbie McEwen looks to join Petacchi as the 4th rider to win multiple stages of all 3 GTs in a single year -- Petacchi in 2003 as well as Miguel Poblet in 1956 and Pierino Baffi in 1958 are the others.

Reigning Vuelta champ Denis Menchov, who won the race when Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO and was stripped of the title, says the Vuelta was his “secondary objective” behind the Tour, and he doesn't “feel as sharp and this affects you physically as well.” Menchov's Rabobank squad won't be distracted trying to set Oscar Freire up for wins, as Freire pulled out earlier this week, citing a neck injury.

The TV coverage is debuting a “seatpost camera,” that will mimic the rear-facing cameras used in NASCAR, and rotate among riders daily. Also new will be in-car cameras for interviews with team directors. On the other hand, the Vuelta will dispense with publishing heart rate monitor data, since most teams wouldn't allow their key riders' data to be published. In the US, to see the coverage, you'll have to subscribe to Cycling.TV's web streaming feed.


Vuelta a España official site | (in English) | (in Spanish) | (in French)

cycling4all.com | Vuelta a España 2006 start list

Previews: CyclingNews | Cycloblog

Posted by Frank Steele on August 26, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 23, 2006

Hushovd adds Paris to Strasbourg; Landis triumphs

Two lions top the podiumA late escape attempt by Discovery Channel may have overcooked Robbie McEwen, as Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd easily outsprinted Davitamon-Lotto's sprint king to take the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France. CSC's Stuart O'Grady, recovering from a fractured spine suffered early in the race, took 3rd on the day.

Hushovd completed an unusual set of bookends, winning the Prologue time trial 3 weeks ago yesterday and now taking the final stage into Paris.

Floyd Landis stayed near the front early and stayed out of the dicey sprint at the end to nail down his first-ever Tour de France victory, finishing 69th on the day, 8 seconds behind Hushovd. It's the 8th straight US win of the race, after Lance Armstrong's 7 consecutive wins.

McEwen can take some solace from his 3rd green jersey win, resulting from his 3 stage wins.

Michael Rasmussen's tremendous breakaway win to La Toussuire, overshadowed by Landis's attack the following day, shot him to the lead, and the overall win, in the climber's polka-dot jersey competition.

Damiano Cunego, already a winner of the Giro d'Italia, takes the best young rider's white jersey, just 38 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The pair were about 90 minutes ahead of the next competitor in the under-25 competition.

Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, the climbing jersey leader until Rasmussen's big day out front, takes the overall “most combative rider” prize.

Landis took his final yellow jersey of the Tour with his daughter Ryan on the podium.

Post-race interview with Frankie Andreu: Landis says, “Right now, I have no intention of switching teams.” Leaves a little wiggle room, but sounds like the iShares team (as Phonak will be called next year) has its Tour captain for 2007.

Top 10:
1) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, in 3:56:52
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, same time
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, Australia, s.t.
4) Erik Zabel, Milram, Germany, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, Italy, s.t.
6) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, France, s.t.
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, Austria, s.t.
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, France, s.t.
9) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, Austria, s.t.
Stage results

1) Floyd Landis, Phonak, USA, in 89:39:30
2) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at :57
3) Andreas Klöden, T-Mobile, Germany, at 1:29
4) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:13
5) Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, Australia, at 5:08
6) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 7:06
7) Cyril Dessel, AG2R, France, at 8:41
8) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 9:37
9) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 12:05
10) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, Australia, at 15:07
Final overall standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Erik Dekker, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2006

Stage 17: the other competitions

No question who today's “Most competitive rider” was: Landis rides with red race numbers tomorrow.

Cunego takes over white jerseyThe white jersey for best young rider goes over to Damiano Cunego, but by only 5 seconds! Fothen was about 4:40 better than Cunego in the first time trial, so I expect Fothen to retake the lead.

CSC reeling Landis backT-Mobile's passive day may have ridden Klöden out of the Tour, but they've moved clearly into the lead of the team competition, 8:41 ahead of CSC. Turns out CSC foolishly burned its riders out getting Sastre up the road to contest the overall race win.

Rasmussen in polka-dotsLandis probably sewed up the King of the Mountains for Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen today. Flying Floyd took max points over most of the day's climbs, including double points on Joux-Plane, and moved up into 2nd in the competition. There are very few points left to contest.

Similarly, McEwen has pretty much sewed up the green jersey, leading by 45 points with 2 flattish road stages to go.

That leaves yellow, and it's hard to see any other way to cut it than that Floyd Landis is again the favorite to win the Tour de France on Sunday. He's certainly a 30-second better time trial rider than Pereiro, 18 seconds better than Sastre, and has a 2-minute cushion on everybody else.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Pereiro, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 18, 2006

Davitamon leading Tour prize money list

VeloNews | Tour prize distribution thus far

VeloNews notes that Davitamon-Lotto leads all teams in prize money so far (through Sunday's Stage 14), at 49,060 euros, on the strength of Robbie McEwen's three stage wins.

Rabobank is 2nd, T-Mobile 3rd, with Lampre and AG2R rounding out the top 5.

Dead last, behind even Agritubel, is Phonak. I'm starting to think they'll find a way to close that gap.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2006 in About the Tour, Robbie McEwen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

Stage 13 photo gallery roundup

Voigt on Stage 13 podium
Voigt on the podium, by Caroline Yang.

Lavender AND sunflowers Backstedt fights the heat Voigt edges Pereiro on line
Lavender+bikes+sunflowers=perfect Tour shot? , Backstedt fights the heat, and Voigt leads Pereiro over line, by Graham Watson.

Hincapie at rest McEwen and Landis Pereiro's dream day
Hincapie at rest, McEwen and Landis chat, Pereiro's big day from CyclingNews.com Stage 13 photo gallery.

Four-man break Jens Voigt Pereiro in yellow
The winning break, Voigt victorious, Pereiro in amarillo, by Mark Shimahara at BikeZen.


BBC Sport | Tour de France 2006 Stage 13 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2006 in Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Jens Voigt, Oscar Pereiro, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tour Salad: Stage 13

The Tour is all about shifting on-the-road alliances, and Landis may have burned some bridges on that front on Saturday.

Bobby Julich's diary entry at ESPN.com discusses this: He thinks Phonak not making a limited effort to help Rabobank chase once the stage was won was “a bad P.R. move,” although he still picks Landis to win the overall.

Rabobank's Denis Mencov warming up Maybe Phonak's refusal to ride tempo with Rabobank results from a rumor making the rounds that Oscar Freire was more than just tired at the end of Stage 12. CyclingNews mentions it in a quick interview with Alessandro Ballan, who finished 2nd Friday when Oscar Freire sat on his wheel as Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych attacked several times and took the stage win. The rumor says Discovery and Rabobank, whose director Erik Breukink is a former teammate of Discovery director Johan Bruyneel, agreed that Freire wouldn't contest Friday's stage, and that Discovery would help Rabobank out in the Alps, where they'll be looking to put Denis Menchov in yellow and possibly Michael Rasmussen in the climber's jersey.

I'm not sure Popovych wouldn't have won that stage straight up: It reminded me of his powerful attack over Clocktower Hill in Rome at the Tour de Georgia this year.

Martin Dugard notes another team that was frustrated with Phonak's performance Saturday: Davitamon-Lotto, whose Cadel Evans suggested “I'm not sure he gave it away on purpose,” and whose Robbie McEwen was still whining over having to chase down Hushovd and Bennati when they got in a break on Friday. And Sherwen and Liggett suggested AG2R was unhappy that Phonak allowed another rider to leapfrog Christophe Moreau (and Cyril Dessel, I suppose). Not unhappy enough to come to the front and work, but, you know, unhappy.

Favorite headline on Stage 13 is probably at Daily Peloton, where Dave Shields calls Phonak's strategy “The Brilliantly Executed Fumble.”

Hincapie at PrologueAn article in the Sunday Herald suggests Lance Armstrong, visiting the Tour tomorrow, may use whatever influence he has left in the peloton against Landis, who author Jeremy Whittle says discussed and refused an offer to return to Discovery Channel next year.

Podium Cafe looks at why Hincapie is having a rough Tour: You can, apparently, be too thin. In a story from the Gannett News Service, George's brother Rich says Hincapie arrived for the Tour down around 155 pounds, against his usual 175 (Hincapie is 6'3“ tall), and is having trouble eating enough to keep up with the Tour's demands.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Tour de France 2006, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 09, 2006

Stage 8: A Big Day for the French

A win in the tour, the World Cup Final later today, most of the country is on vacation, and wow that's a big day for the French! Calzati, winner of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2004, took the stage proving how breaks work and can win (not just for TV coverage). It was also a good day T-Mobile for who kept the maillot jaune and didn't have to work. Boonen again lost the sprint to McEwen and Landis is in perfect place, a minute back. Zabriskie moved up to join Landis in the top ten.

Stage results

  1. Sylvain Calzati (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance
  2. Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas
  3. Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole
  4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
  5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
  6. Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
  7. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise Des Jeux
  8. Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas
  9. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic
  10. David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner


  1. Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 34.38.53
  2. Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.00
  3. Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.08
  4. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile 1.45
  5. Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.50
  6. Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile
  7. Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 1.52
  8. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
  9. David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 1:53
  10. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 2.00

Posted by Byron on July 9, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

Stage 7 ITT underway

Early leader is once again Sebastian Lang, as in the prologue. He was the first man to go under 1:03, and leads Gustav Larsson and Joost Posthuma.

Some times from riders of interest who have already ridden: Viatcheslav Ekimov 1:04:23; Chris Horner 1:05:57; Jens Voigt has the slowest yet at 1:11:44, suggesting he may have plans to go stage-hunting in the next couple of days.

On the course now are Sandy Casar, Iban Mayo, Pietro Caucchioli, and Thomas Voeckler, among others.

Casar came in 1:05:11; Mayo 1:07:20 -- that's got to hurt. Thomas Voeckler 1:05:47. Caucchioli in 1:08:21.

Sastre, Leipheimer and Popovych are on the course. Julich is off.

Sastre is the first one to shake things up; at the first time check, he comes in at 20:22, 5 seconds ahead of Lovkvist's time.

Julich has crashed! He went down very hard at a left-right chicane, hitting the pavement and sliding into and over the curb. He's sitting by the side of the road, and may be the next casualty of the 2006 Tour. That's confirmed; Julich has been taken away in an ambulance. Liggett points out that the only other Tour Julich hasn't finished was because of an accident in the time trial, in 1999.

Menchov hits the 1st time check in 20:07, best so far, 15 seconds better than Sastre.

Zabriskie takes his start.

David Millar is out of the starthouse, slowly spinning up to speed.

Leipheimer reportedly hit the 1st time check at 1:32 behind Menchov! That's 61st-fastest at that point, with a lot of riders to come.

Cadel Evans is ready to roll, and he's off.

T-Mobile's Eddy Mazzoleni is 2nd fastest through the 16.5 kilometer 1st check, 8 seconds slower than Menchov.

Landis is in the start house on time, and he's off. His coach Robbie Ventura said they pre-raced the course at 75 percent this morning, and Landis likes his chances.

Klöden comes through Time Check 1 at 19:58!

Savoldelli is off; Hushovd is off; Hincapie awaits, looking solemn, and he's gone.

Zabriskie is 4th at TC 1, 15 seconds behind Klöden. Menchov sets the new fastest time at the 2nd check, a fraction of a second ahead of Larsson.

Michael Rogers is off, smelling yellow.

Moreau hits TC1 at 25 seconds.

Here goes McEwen, and Boonen is setting up in the start house, and he's off, last to leave as the yellow jersey.

It's a full-on, Michael Rasmussen-style disaster for Leipheimer. He's already been passed by Christian Vande Velde, his 2-minute man.

Landis reportedly had a bike swap. Sergei Honchar has come through TC1 at 19:37, setting a new benchmark. Landis hits TC1 in 19:54, 2nd best for now.

Menchov finishes his ride fading, at 1:03:27.

Zabriskie is 9th at the 2nd time check. There are reports the wind has picked up since the fast times this morning.

Hincapie is 15th at the first time check, 52 seconds down on Honchar. Rogers is only slightly better, 46 seconds down on Honchar at TC 1.

Vande Velde finishes in 1:04:57.

Leipheimer is coming in, tripping the sensors in 1:07:49. What a nightmare for Leipheimer.

Popovych finishes in 1:05:00.

Boonen is through the first time check (at 1:26), so Honchar's 19:37 is the fastest time there, followed by Landis at :17, Klöden at :22, Marcus Fothen at :29, and Denis Menchov at :30.

Zabriskie hits TC3 39 seconds slower than Lang; Sergei Honcar sets the new best time at the 2nd time check in 43:50, just flying!

Klöden is coming up to the line, and trips the clock in 1:03:26, 4th for now.

Landis at TC2 is 44:32, 42 seconds slower than Honchar, but faster than everyone else so far.

Zabriskie is finishing; he won't win the stage, and he finishes in 1:03:40.

Hincapie at TC2: 45:53, slower than Ekimov and Savoldelli.

David Millar hasn't factored in the intermediate checks at all, and finishes in 1:05:17. Christophe Moreau finishes close behind, in 1:03:47.

Rogers comes to TC2 in 45:06, more than 30 seconds behind Landis.

Honchar is fastest again at Time Check 3: 55:09 against Lang's previous-best 56:20.

Honchar is roaring up to the finish; there he comes in 1:01:43!

Landis is 57 seconds down at the 3rd time check on Honchar. He'll be finishing soon. Here he comes; he can't catch Honchar, but he's going to have a strong time, it's 1:02:44 for Landis. Honchar is almost guaranteed the stage win and the yellow jersey tonight.

Savoldelli is coming into the last kilometer and brings home a 1:03:55.

Hincapie is 23rd at the last time check, 2:32 off Honchar.

Rogers comes through the last time check in 56:31, so he's coming in strong.

Hincapie to the line in 1:04:25.

Rogers catches Hushovd, his 6-minute man, just outside the 1-kilometer mark. He won't match Landis: 1:03:07 for the world TT champion.

Boonen's taking his yellow jersey seriously; he caught McEwen on the road, and Boonen finishes his reign in 1:05:35, 41st on the day. McEwen closes out the day, in 1:08:10.

Sergei Honchar has a stage win and a yellow jersey for T-Mobile!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Patrik Sinkewitz, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

McEwen launched to third stage win

Tom Boonen was denied again, as Gert Steegmans launched Robbie McEwen like a booster rocket today straight up to his 3rd stage.

Boonen was in perfect position for the sprint, trailing a couple of leading teammates coming up the left side of the road, with the field stretching out behind him. But the field sprint launched before he did, swamping Boonen and holding him against the rail, so that by the time he kicked hard, he had to work through traffic to finish 3rd.

Boonen retains the yellow jersey, but honestly might just as soon be rid of it, and he will be tomorrow night. Tomorrow is the first long time trial of the Tour, where we'll finally separate the pretenders and contenders. I think that will make for better organized sprints on Sunday and Tuesday (rest day Monday), as it's likely one team will be defending the yellow jersey, and others trying to set up the sprint, instead of QuickStep doing both, as we've had the last couple of days.

Wednesday, the race hits the mountains.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
3) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
4) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
7) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
8) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
9) Gert Steegmans, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
10) Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
Full Stage 6 results

1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, in 29:21:00
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :12
3) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :21
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, at :25
5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :25
6) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :27
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :35
8) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :36
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :37
10) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :37
Full GC standings

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (2)

Stage 6 on the road

It's Tom Boonen's last chance to win a stage wearing the yellow jersey today, as tomorrow's time trial is likely to completely reshuffle the general classification leaderboard.

Fabio Sacchi dropped out before the stage, leaving 171 riders in the peloton.

The suicide break of the day is a quality one: 2004 Paris-Roubaix and 1998 Tour stage winner Magnus Backstedt, French national champion Florent Brard, and Anthony Geslin of the Bouyges Telecom team. After the Tour's smallest rider, Samuel Dumoulin, was in the break yesterday, Backstedt, the Tour's heaviest rider at 90 kg or 198 lbs, is off the front today.

Earlier in the stage, yellow jersey Tom Boonen chased a break and found himself in a big leading group of 17 that got 1:40 on the field. CSC (which didn't have a rider in the group), Lampre, and Davitamon-Lotto led the chase, and Backstedt, Brard, and Geslin attacked out of that group.

Benoit Vaugrenard retook the white young rider's jersey lead with bonus time at the day's first sprint.

Geslin is the highest-placed rider of the 3 breakaways, in 73rd, 1:15 back, so he's the “virtual yellow jersey” or yellow jersey on the road right now.

Their gap reached more than 5 minutes, but with 70 kilometers to ride, it's about 4:15 and coming down quickly.

Today is Erik Zabel's birthday, and Bob Roll's.

OLN has moved their “mileage to ride” ribbon up, so it's not getting cut off on traditional TVs anymore.

With 60 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:30. We'll see if the chase slows to keep them dangling out there a little longer; if they're caught, there will be a lot of riders who might try another breakaway with 50-60 k to ride.

And just inside of 30 miles/48 kilometers to ride, the gap is 3:10, with the peloton taking it pretty easy, with the front rank stretched all across the road.

At 40 k, the gap falls to 2:00. The chase is accelerating, with the front of the group thinning out. There's a final intermediate sprint just a few kilometers up the road.

At 30k, there's a long open straight, and the peloton can see the chasers. It's down to 1:30 to the breakaway. Looks like same script, different day. Over the line, it's Brard, Geslin, Backstedt for the final intermediate sprint points. That means Robbie McEwen can't take the yellow jersey tonight on bonus time.

Down around 20 kilometers to ride, and the gap is wobbling around just outside of 1:00. There's no way they'll stay away, but these guys aren't going to just sit up, either.

As the leaders go under 15 kilometers, the gap goes under a minute. Credit Agricole and QuickStep are driving the peloton, as they have been for the last hour. It's no wonder Boonen can't get a leadout train set up in the last 2 kilometers.

Less than 10 k to go, and the gap is only 22 seconds. The break is pushing hard, but the peloton is charging.

The whole Lampre team has come to the front now, and the gap is under 10 seconds with 7 k, about 4.2 miles to go. They're getting reeled in steadily now, it's down to 5 seconds, and climbing back up to 12 seconds now!

Here the field comes again, inching the gap down second by second. It's at 4 seconds with 5 kilometers to ride. Through a curve they hold the gap, and just after they come under the 4 kilometers to go flag, the Lampres and QuickSteps finally bring them back.

In the last 3 kilometers, Boonen is well-placed, McEwen near him, Lampre is taking the line up to 2 k to ride.

One Lampre left on the front, ahead of a few QuickStep riders, Credit Agricole is back 10 meters, now a Milram (Zabel?) is sitting on Boonen's wheel. Here come a couple of Rabobanks alongside Boonen, and it's 1 kilometer to race. Boonen is 7th in line, QuickStep is peeling off. Boonen is 4th, Davitamon-Lotto winds it up, and Boonen is tied up in traffic, moving right, then back left, and Robbie McEwen takes the hat trick! McEwen's got his 3rd stage win of the 2006 Tour.

McEwen's leadout man Gert Steegmans went way too early yesterday, knocking McEwen out of the sprint, and he apologized. At the line today, Steegmans threw his arms up, clearly as happy as McEwen himself.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2006 in Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Freire fastest on 5; Boonen holds yellow

Rabobank's former world champion Oscar Freire launched a perfect sprint to win the Tour's Stage 5. Freire uncoiled from about 12th place in the field at about 250 meters to go, put on an incredible burst of speed up the right side of the road, then just kept his head down to the line, as current world champion Tom Boonen couldn't close him down.

Euskaltel-Euskadi's Inaki Isasi takes 3rd, for what must be Euskaltel's earliest stage podium in a recent Tour. Usually, you only see them pacing crashes and flats back into the field until the mountains start.

Boonen pads his lead, by virtue of the 12 bonus seconds for 2nd. A few other GC changes, as misfortune claims Egoi Martinez, and Freire powered to the podium, sitting 3rd, for now.

Dollars to donuts Dumoulin will be the most combative rider, by virtue of being a Frenchman in a suicide break.

Top 10:
1) Oscar Freire, Rabobank
2) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, same time
3) Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
4) David Kopp, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
5) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
6) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.
7) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
8) Francisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, s.t.
9) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.

1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, in 25:10:51
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :13
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, at :17
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :17
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :19
6) Robbie Mcewen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :24
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :27
8) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :28
9) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :29
10) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :29

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 05, 2006

McEwen masters Stage 4

Robbie McEwen showed his incredible dive-and-dash skills again today to take his 2nd stage win of the 2006 Tour. McEwen takes back the green jersey, his overall goal for the Tour.

Credit Agricole's Julian Dean of New Zealand fell just short of the line, bumping a QuickStep rider who in turn may have bumped yellow jersey Tom Boonen. Boonen is the first leader of this Tour to hold the jersey for consecutive days.

Egoi Martinez of Discovery Channel moves into 5th on the GC, picking up 18 seconds in intermediate sprint bonus points.

Top 10:
1) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Isaac Galvez, Caisse d'Epargne
3) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t. (relegated to 148th - irregular sprinting)
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) David Kopp, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, s.t.
7) Franisco Ventoso, Saunier Duval, s.t.
8) Michael Albasini, Liquigas, s.t.
9) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
10) Jimmy Casper, Cofidis, s.t.

Current GC:
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :01
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :05
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :07
5) Egoi Martinez, Discovery Channel, at :10
6) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :12
7) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
8) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
10) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :17

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2006 in Julian Dean, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

Kessler gets his stage, Boonen gets his yellow jersey

Matthias Kessler attacked over the Cauberg and kept his lead to the line, avenging his last second loss yesterday, earning T-Mobile probably its first bright spot of the 2006 Tour.

Just 5 seconds behind, world time trial champion Michael Rogers led in a group of strongman sprinters and GC candidates. In 3rd on the day was Lampre's Daniele Bennati, ahead of world champion Tom Boonen, who had made no secret of his intent to take today's stage.

He can take solace in the yellow jersey, the first ever for the 25-year-old world road champion, as Thor Hushovd came in 62nd, at 17 seconds back. He'll wear it in Belgium tomorrow, where he's a huge celebrity. Boonen also takes the lead in the green jersey competition as Robbie McEwen came in 34 seconds back in 89th. Lampre's Daniele Bennati, 4th on the day moves into 2nd in the points competition: Boonen 67, Bennati 66, McEwen 65, Hushovd 62, Zabel 59.

This was a “declare your intentions” day for the GC; if you're not riding for the overall, why break your legs on the Cauberg? Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Carlos Sastre, Paolo Savoldelli, Yarolav Popovych, Jose Azevedeo, Denis Menchov, Andreas Klöden, David Millar, Sergei Honchar, Cadel Evans, and even Gilberto Simoni all made the break to come in 5 seconds behind Kessler.

Bookie favorite Alejandro Valverde crashed and broke his collarbone with about 20 kilometers to ride in an overlap of wheels -- a wide-open Tour de France is even more so this evening. Also out are Freddie Rodriguez and Erik Dekker, who went down together and were taken to a local hospital.

Chris Horner came in 159th on the day, at 8:05. Stuart O'Grady rode in alone after an accident, 11:35 back, and Magnus Backstedt and Filippo Pozzato, 18:36 back, were the day's final finishers.

Top 10:
1) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, in 4:57:54
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :05
3) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, same time
4) Tom Boonen, QuickStep, s.t.
5) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
7) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
8) Eddy Mazzoleni, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
10) Fabian Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
2) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :01
3) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :05
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :07
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :15
6) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, at :15
7) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :16
8) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :15
9) Sergei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :17
10) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at :17

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Chris Horner, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Filippo Pozzato, Georg Totschnig, Magnus Backstedt, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Stage results, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Stage 2 by the numbers

rec.bicycles.racing | Tour de France stage 2 summary

One of the most concise daily Tour wrapups is Bob Martin's stage summary, every day on the Usenet newsgroup rec.bicycles.racing.

Martin lists the day's biggest gainers and losers by position and time, and how all the favorites fared by time, by position (up or down), and the current standing of the favorites.

Today, for example, Aitor Hernandez paid for his long breakaway by coming in 13:25 behind McEwen, while only three riders gained time on the general classification — McEwen, Boonen, and Hushovd.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in Links, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

McEwen takes Stage 2

It looked like the sprinters would be denied today, as T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler put 14 seconds into the field over the day's final uncategorized climb. But the field wound it up, and caught Kessler within coasting distance of the line. Like a cobra, Robbie McEwen struck to take his first Tour victory of the year.

Tom Boonen was 2nd on the day, off camera (bad OLN), ahead of Thor Hushovd and Rabobank's Oscar Freire.

McEwen, who avoided the intermediate sprint warfare by Boonen and Hushovd, takes over the green jersey. Eurosport reports McEwen says he wants to keep it:

"The most important is to win a stage, then it's about winning a second. Then it's the fight for the green jersey. I have lost the green jersey twice in my career. This year I want to take it. Another stage is the priority, but I'm determined to take the green home."

Thor Hushovd takes back the yellow jersey, as the sprinters move up the GC as a result of sprint bonus seconds.

David de la Fuente, away for 200-odd kilometers, takes over the King of the Mountains jersey and was named the stage's most combative rider, which means he'll ride with red race numbers tomorrow.

There was a late crash that involved a large fraction of the field, right at 2 kilometers to go, reportedly including Floyd Landis, but no one seems to know if he went down, or was just caught behind it (Yahoo! Sport has a picture of Lampre's Patxi Vila being treated afterward). All those riders will get the same time at the finish as the leaders.

Top 10:
1) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Tom Boonen, QuickStep
3) Hushovd
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank
5) Daniele Bennati, Lampre
6) Luca Paolini, Liquigas
7) Stuart O'Grady, CSC
8) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux
9) Erik Zabel, Milram
10) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner

General classification:
1) Hushovd
2) Boonen, at :05
3) McEwen, at :08
4) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :10
5) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at :16
6) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :16
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :18
8) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :20
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :21
10) Manuel Quinziato, Liquigas, at :24

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Stage 2 on the road

This is being touted as a day for the sprinters, but there are a couple of small climbs late in the stage that could trigger a break by a classics-style rider or a small group.

Two Spaniards, Aitor Hernandez of Euskaltel-Euskadi and David de la Fuente of Saunier Duval, attacked from the line, and got as much as a 10:30 lead on the soft-pedaling peloton, led by Discovery Channel.

With 120 kilometers to ride, world champion Tom Boonen and former yellow jersey Thor Hushovd went mano a mano for a 2-second time bonus. Boonen edged out Hushovd, keeping Hincapie in yellow, for now.

At the second sprint of the day, Hushovd takes 3rd -- that gets him back the 2 seconds Hincapie took yesterday. If Hincapie wants to keep the yellow jersey (and it doesn't look like Discovery wants to work for it), he's going to have to either beat Hushovd at the last intermediate sprint, the final sprint, or both.

Gap is down to 3 minutes with 38 kilometers (around 23 miles) to ride. De la Fuente took the 3rd mountain sprint, ahead of Hernandez, who has fallen off de la Fuente's pace. Fabian Wegmann, riding in the polka-dots, went out and took 3rd over the 4th-category climb.

Hincapie is near the front, surrounded by Credit Agricole riders. De la Fuente takes the sprint, and the peloton has overtaken Hernandez with less than 1 kilometer to the sprint -- that means there's a 4-second and a 2-second bonus up for grabs.

CA is all over the front, Hincapie sits up, there goes Boonen, Hushovd, and O'Grady, and Boonen takes 4 seconds, Hushovd, 2 seconds, and O'Grady misses out. There are time bonuses for 1st through 3rd place on the finish as well.

Hincapie trails Hushovd by 2 seconds in the overall. Boonen is another 5 seconds back, with a shot at bonus time in the finish. The sprinters' teams are going to be all over anyone who tries to get away late -- the stakes are too high for them.

De la Fuente is still off the front, and will lead over the 2nd-to-last climb, but they'll probably catch him before the last climb. Fabian Wegmann has sprinted out of the field to take 2nd-place KoM points, ahead of Laurent Lefevre. Wegmann, Lefevre, and an Euskaltel-Euskadi have taken the opportunity to go after de la Fuente. Wegmann has caught de la Fuente to take max points on the last 4th-category climb of the day. Wegmann has shed his compatriots, and gone hard for the line, but he's getting reabsorbed.

All together now, with less than 8 kilometers (5 miles) to ride.

Calzati launches a probing attack, is caught, and T-Mobile's Matthias Kessler goes off the front. He's got 6 seconds on the last uncategorized climb. Kessler's out to 10 seconds with 5 k, and there's no organized chase.

At 4k Kessler has 12 seconds. At 3k, he's got 14 seconds. Milram is trying to chase him down, Lampre is chasing -- there's a crash in the field.

With 1k, he's got 9 seconds, and the field is chasing hard. Kessler's getting reeled in. He's caught in the last 50 meters, and Robbie McEwen pops up for the stage victory. Stuart O'Grady was on his wheel, Hushovd pulled out of the pedal right at the line, but he'll be back in yellow.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2006 in George Hincapie, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

Casper the stage, Hincapie in yellow, Hushovd injured in sprint

Race leader Thor Hushovd was taken away in an ambulance at the end of Stage 1 in Strasbourg. It appeared that Hushovd, sprinting right along the right edge of the road, caught a fan's hand-shaped poster, cutting his arm with less than 50 meters to race.

It was a chaotic sprint, and favorite Tom Boonen went too soon, and couldn't go top 10 (cyclingnews.com says Boonen may also have hit a fan). Robbie McEwen switched off wheels from Hushovd to Boonen, and as he does, appeared in the thick of it at the last instant, but he waited a touch too long, and the French got their first stage win of the year: Jimmy Casper of Cofidis, who edged McEwen and Milram's Erik Zabel.

Discovery Channel's George Hincapie takes the race leadership, after a cagey attack for an intermediate sprint that gave him 2 seconds bonus, against the possibility that none of the riders near the top of the GC competition would take bonus time from a top-3 finish on the day.

Top 10:
1) Casper, in 4:10:00
2) McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
3) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
4) Daniele Bennati, Lampre, s.t.
5) Luca Paolini, Liquigas, s.t.
6) Isaac Galvez, Caisse d'Epargne, s.t.
7) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, s.t.
8) Bernard Eisel, Française des Jeux, s.t.
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
10) Oscar Freire, s.t.

General Classification:
1) Hincapie, Discovery Channel
2) Hushovd, at :02
3) David Zabriskie, CSC, at :03
4) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :06
5) Alejandro Valverde, at :06
6) Stuart O'Grady, CSC
7) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :08
8) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :10
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :11
10) Benoit Vaugrenard, Française des Jeux, at :11

Wegmann takes the first (cheap) mountains jersey, while Vaugrenard, involved in a long break where he took some bonus time, takes the young riders' white jersey.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 2, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Basso the oddsmakers' pick

Oddschecker.com | Tour de France Betting Odds

European oddsmakers have Ivan Basso a big favorite in the 2006 Tour, sitting at 5-to-4 odds right now.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner, is a 5-to-2 pick, followed by Alejandro Valverde at 10.9-to-1, Floyd Landis at 16-1, and Alexandre Vinokourov at 20-1 (and shortening: maybe somebody knows a guy who knows a guy at the CAS?).

For the mountains jersey, it's Michael Rasmussen 2-to-1 ahead of Christophe Moreau (8-1), and Oscar Pereiro (11-1).

For the green jersey, Tom Boonen is a major favorite at 6-5, followed by Robbie McEwen at 9-4 and Thor Hushovd a polite 5-1.

Proving that people will bet on anything, oddsmakers put T-Mobile and CSC even to win the team competition, each at 15-8, while Discovery Channel sits at 11-4.

Here's OddsChecker.com's odds page for every rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 21, 2006

Tour starters: English-speaking countries roundup

Since most of my readership comes from English speaking countries, I thought I would post a quick roundup of which (and how many) citizens of the former colonies are scheduled to ride in this year's Tour.

    United States (8 riders, 1 reserve)

  • George Hincapie, Discovery
  • Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Bobby Julich, CSC
  • Floyd Landis, Phonak
  • Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner
  • Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Christian Vande Velde, CSC
  • Dave Zabriskie, CSC
  • Reserve: AmerItalian Guido Trenti

Last year, all of these plus Lance Armstrong and Trenti, but minus Vande Velde.

    Australia (6 riders):

  • Allan Davis, Astaná-Würth
  • Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Simon Gerrans, AG2R
  • Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
  • Stuart O'Grady, CSC
  • Michael Rogers, T-Mobile

Last year, Australia had all these, plus Baden Cooke, Brad McGee, Luke Roberts, and Matthew White.

    Great Britain (2 riders):

  • David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
  • Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis

Great Britain was shut out last year.

    South Africa (1 rider):

  • Robbie Hunter, Phonak

As last year.

    New Zealand (1 rider):

  • Julian Dean, Credit Agricole

None last year, although Dean rode in 2004.

    Canada (1 alternate):

  • Michael Barry, Discovery Channel

Plus permission to root for David Canada. The last Canadian in the Tour was Gord Fraser in 1997, but Ryder Hesjedal or Barry should break that streak soon.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2006 in Baden Cooke, Bradley McGee, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

Nuyens takes Suisse Stage 3 and race lead

VeloNews.com | Nuyens moves into Swiss Tour lead

QuickStep's 26-year-old Nick Nuyens kept the freshest legs in a late-stage breakaway Monday to take the 3rd stage of the Tour de Suisse.

As a teammate of Paolo Bettini, also in the selection, Nuyens didn't work as hard to make the break stick, and easily outkicked T-Mobile's Linus Gerdemann, Astaná-Würth's Jorg Jacksche, and Saunier Duval's Koldo Gil.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich was near the front for most of the day, and he, Bettini, Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, David Canada, Giampaolo Caruso, and the 4 who would break away formed a superstrong group of 10 with about 20 kilometers to ride.

Michael Rasmussen, Bradley McGee, and Robbie McEwen were shelled by the high tempo, and came in around 4 minutes back.


cyclingnews.com | Stage 3 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2006 in Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Linus Gerdemann, Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Boonen wins Tour de Suisse opener

cyclingnews.com | Another bouquet for Boonen

Boonen's 17th win of the season
Boonen's 17th win of the season,
CyclingNews.com/Fotoreporter Sirotti.

In Baden, Tom Boonen showed his stuff, outsprinting Lampre's Daniel Bennati and Rabobank's Oscar Freire for his 17th win of 2006.

Two other strong sprinters, Milram's Erik Zabel and Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, were dropped on a 4th category climb on the last finishing lap.

Because of time bonuses, Boonen leads Bennati by 4 seconds, and Liquigas' Michael Albasini by 5 seconds in the overall classification.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tour of Switzerland kicks off today

Cycling4all | Tour de Suisse start list

Cycling4All offers a final Tour de Suisse start list. Of course, Jan Ullrich is the biggest Tour GC threat at the race, starting today, but there are a lot of other Tour players involved.

Top sprinters Tom Boonen and Robbie McEwen are here, and are the favorites for the Tour's green jersey this year. Thousand-time (okay, six-time) green jersey Erik Zabel is here, as well, leading Team Milram.

Others in competition: Michael Rasmussen, Paolo Bettini, Cadel Evans, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, and Bradley McGee.

Web streaming coverage is available from Cycling.TV's premium subscription service, where £19.99, or about $37, gets you a full year of racing. Today and tomorrow, subscribers have both the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse to choose from.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Bradley McGee, Cadel Evans, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Tom Boonen, Tour de Suisse | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 20, 2006

Piepoli takes Stage 13; Basso still the man

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 13

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli descended faster than a Falco Saturday to win Stage 13 at the Giro. Piepoli, a climbing specialist, took his first Giro win.

Ivan Basso once again showed he's the class of the contenders, blowing up the field on the ascent of Colle San Carlo, and actually losing time on the closing descent to La Thuile, as he took it gently on slick roads.

Piepoli, who spent last Sunday's climb to the Maielletta shepherding team leader Gilberto Simoni, was given free rein Saturday, and made the most of it. He crested the last climb with Basso, then put 44 seconds into CSC's leader on the descent.

José Enrique Gutierrez of Phonak and Simoni, were 3rd and 4th on the day, at 1:19 to Piepoli, losing 35 seconds to Basso. They topped the climb at 1:24, but pulled Basso back somewhat on the descent. Damiano Cunego, who looked like the most promising contender on last Sunday, rode in with Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, 2:36 back of Piepoli.

Basso just keeps building his cushion on the GC, now leading Gutierrez by 3:27, Savoldelli by 5:30, Wladimir Belli by 7:35, and Simoni by 8:00. Danielson's 7th, at 8:35, Cunego's 8th, at 8:58, and Di Luca is 9th at 10:36.

Selle Italia's José Rujano, who animated last year's Giro, abandoned on the road, possibly owing to his strange contract, which has him moving to Quick Step June 1. Thomas Vaitkus, who won Stage 9, also abandoned on the road. T-Mobile's Michael Rogers didn't start because of a toothache, while triple stage winner Robbie McEwen didn't start, complaining of a minor illness.


VeloNews.com | Basso tightens grip on Giro as Piepoli earns tough win

cyclingnews.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 20, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 15, 2006

Vaitkus takes Giro Stage 9

Eurosport | Vaitkus wins in photo-finish

Finally, somebody managed to outkick Robbie McEwen at the Giro, and it was Lithuania's Thomas Vaitkus of AG2R.

Paolo Bettini threw up his arms in celebration as the leaders crossed the line, and he was moving faster than Vaitkus, but photo review showed that Vaitkus was first over the line, followed by Bettini and T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack.

Vaitkus has been among the leaders in the Giro's other sprint finishes, and his finishing kick today makes him the first Lithuanian to win a Giro stage, and also contributes to the cycling youth movement, as Vaitkus is just 24.

McEwen could salvage only 4th, as he followed Pollack's wheel, but started the sprint too late.

No change to the overall GC.


CyclingNews.com | Giro Stage 9 wrapup | Results< | Overall standings | Photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | 2006 Giro Stage 9 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 15, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2006

McEwen again, as Pollack takes Giro lead

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 Live Report

With Alessandro Petacchi recovering from a fractured kneecap, Robbie McEwen is clearly the class of the sprinters at the Giro. Today's stage reminded me of a pro basketball game -- not that much reason to tune in until the last 5 minutes.

The doomed break of the day was Ceramica Panaria's Sergiy Matveyev, Dredit Agricole's Christophe Edalaine, and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Andoni Aranaga, who spent 200+ kilometers (about 125 miles) in front, and were relentlessly reeled back by a field powered mostly by Jan Kuyckx and Preben Van Hecke of Davitamon-Lotto.

The D-L riders' efforts would pay off handsomely at the line. In a finishing field sprint that reportedly hit 71 km/hour (44 mph), McEwen beat T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack by half a bike's length, and took his 3rd stage win of this Giro. With a time bonus, Pollack moves into the overall race leadership. AG2R's Tomas Vaitkus was 3rd, with Leonardo "L." Duque 4th.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 5:24:13
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
4) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
6) Fabrizio Guidi, Phonak, s.t.
7) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
8) Elia Rigotto, Team Milram, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.

Pollack's bonus time moves everyone around, but doesn't really affect the gaps between overall hopefuls. Honchar's at :02, Voigt and Rogers at :08, Basso at :13, and Savoldelli at :22.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 12, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

Giro Stage 2 photo galleries

Aaron Olson w/Simoni, Missaglia, McEwen outfoxes Petacchi

Click through to GrahamWatson.com

Savoldelli, McEwen (click through to CyclingNews.com)

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 07, 2006

McEwen rides Milram train to Giro Stage 2 win

Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi had made no secret of his desire to take today's Giro d'Italia Stage 2, from Mons to Charleroi.

As the peloton approached the finish line, his Milram team executed the plan to perfection, as his teammates slowly fell off, keeping the pace high enough to discourage opportunistic attacks, and launching Petacchi with 200 meters to go.

But today, the sun didn't rise in the East, the roadrunner didn't escape, and Petacchi couldn't finish out the sprint. Instead, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, following Petacchi's wheel, was able to come around and take the first road victory of the 2006 Giro.

T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack (who took the sprinters' points jersey at the Tour of California) was 2nd, Paolo Bettini of QuickStep was 3rd, and Petacchi was 4th. Leonardo "L." Duque of Cofidis rounds out the top 5.

Maybe there's still some life in the old-timers: McEwen is 33, Pollack, Bettini, and Petacchi are 32.

With the sprint finish, there was no significant change in the overall, where Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli (celebrating his 33rd birthday) still leads Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee by 11 seconds, and José Enrique Gutierrez by 13 seconds.

Top 10:
1) Robbie Mcewen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 4:51:40
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
4) Alessandro Petacchi, Team Milram, s.t.
5) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
6) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
7) Alberto Loddo, Selle Italia, s.t.
8) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Graeme Brown, Rabobank, s.t.

As it happened tickers:

cyclingnews.com | VeloNews | Eurosport | Daily Peloton

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bradley McGee, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006

Tour de Georgia final rosters announced

Tour de Georgia 2006 | Teams

The Tour de Georgia has released the official final start list for the six-stage jaunt around Georgia, kicking off Tuesday in Augusta.

Last year's overall winner, Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, returns, supported by Yaroslav Popovych, Viatcheslav Ekimov, new Discos Trent Lowe and Egoi Martinez, Michael Barry, Jason McCartney, and Janez Brajkovic.

CSC will be headlined by David Zabriskie, Jakob Piil and Brian Vandborg, who won Stage 4 of last year's TdG.

Phonak brings Georgia veterans Floyd Landis, who won the time trial last year and took 3rd overall, South African sprinter Robbie Hunter, José Enrique Gutierrez, and Aurélien Clerc.

QuickStep is a new addition for the Tour de Georgia, possibly a result of their acquisition by Georgia's Mohawk Industries, but they can't spare Tom Boonen or Paolo Bettini right now. Instead, they'll feature American-Italian Guido Trenti and Davide Bramati.

The Tour de Georgia page mentions Robbie McEwen as the headliner for Davitamon-Lotto, but he's not listed on the team roster just below. Daily Peloton shows a different roster, with McEwen instead of Pieter Mertens. McEwen's official website is mum on his upcoming calendar. In either case, “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez and Henk Vogels both are former Tour de Georgia stage winners who will spice things up. Chris Horner is staying in Europe.

Prodir-Saunier Duval rounds out the ProTour squads, with Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Pinotti, American Aaron Olson, and Canadian national champion Charles Dionne.

HealthNet-Maxxis headlines the 'Continental' teams. Gord Fraser and 2005 TdG sprint jersey winner Greg Henderson are joined by Nathan O'Neill, the only 7-time Aussie time trial champion living in Braselton, Georgia, coming off an overall win at the Tour of Redlands and a Commonwealth Games gold medal already this season.

Also in the field is the new Toyota-United Pro team, with Ivan Dominguez, Chris Wherry, former Discovery rider Antonio Cruz, and Juan Jose Haedo.

Local favorites Jittery Joe's, out of Athens, Georgia, have added Trent Wilson, formerly of Colombia-Selle Italia. They're also sponsoring a party bus to the top of Brasstown Bald.

Ex-Jittery Joe's rider Cesar Grajales, who won the queen stage of the 2004 Tour de Georgia, now rides for Navigators, and will ride here with Ben Brooks and Phil Zajicek, and others.

Other Continental squads participating include the Colavita-Sutter Home team, Jelly Belly, Kodakgallery.com-Sierra Nevada, Targetraining, and Team TIAA-CREF, featuring Craig Lewis.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 12, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

Robbie McEwen, voice of reason

Yahoo! Sport | McEwen calls for cycling chiefs to stop monkeying around

Time's a-wasting for the UCI and organizers of the three Grand Tours to come up with a plan for this year's race calendar, and legendary cool head Robbie McEwen says it's time for the two sides to reach a compromise.

"To be honest, I think myself and the rest of the riders dont care what they call the calendar. If they call it the Pro Tour, or if they call it the monkey Tour, it (the races) remains the Tour of Flanders, it remains Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Milan-San Remo," [McEwen] told AFP. "They're the biggest, most prestigious races. Who cares what they call it or what umbrella they put it under? Those races remain the ones the guys want to win and have on their palmares."

McEwen just finished up the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in Australia.

Meanwhile, UCI president Pat McQuaid says no changes can be made to any ProTour regulations until after 2008, because existing regulations are governed by agreements with sponsors and teams.

It's starting to look like we could wind up with a CART/Indy Racing League situation.

Other TDU stories:

Simon Gerrans of AG2R Prevoyance took the overall win, leading from start to finish.

The Advertiser | TDU organizers hope to upgrade their UCI rating

Posted by Frank Steele on January 23, 2006 in Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

McEwen draws season's first blood at Tour Down Under

procycling | McEwen wins fourth Adelaide criterium

Robbie McEwen looks to be coming out of the blocks fast at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, just like last year.

McEwen took the final sprint ahead of Liquigas-Bianchi's Daniele Colli and Milram's Simone Cadamuro.

The only really A-level sprinter also in the race is Thor Hushovd, who was working a leadout for Aussie teammate Mark Renshaw, but timed it badly. and Renshaw was 6th on the day. Allan Davis of Liberty Seguros was 5th.

Thanks to a rules change, McEwen's win won't count toward the overall lead at the TDU, but it does count as his record 11th victory in the Australian tour.


RoadCycling.com | Tour Down Under Results - Prologue (Top 20)

VeloNews.com | McEwen takes Tour Down Under 'prelude'

Posted by Frank Steele on January 17, 2006 in Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack