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 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

O'Grady update: 5 broken ribs, three cracked vertebrae, fractured shoulder

Radio New Zealand News | O'Grady crashes out of Tour de France

O'Grady smiles as he's loaded in ambulanceCSC's Stuart O'Grady was stretchered out of the Tour, and it appears he pretty much damaged everything between neck and navel: he's got 5 broken ribs, a fractured shoulder, a punctured lung, a broken collarbone, and 3 cracked vertebrae.

And he was still smiling as they loaded him into the ambulance.

Good on ya, Stuey.

Here's an update: O'Grady says the post that broke his ribs may have saved his life by keeping him from going over a cliff.


Team CSC | Stuart O'Grady in Bad Shape

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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)

Stage 8: Chicken Run 3: The Dane Reigns

Michael Rasmussen surprised absolutely no one with a long breakaway, but no one could counter the Tour's double King of the Mountains, who climbed right up to the podium's top step, taking over the race lead before tomorrow's rest day.

Rasmussen attacked from more than 80 kilometers/50 miles, and was shadowed for much of the day by David Arroyo, who started the day 2 seconds behind Rasmussen in the GC. It was his 3rd career Tour stage win, after a long escape on Stage 16 in the Alps last year (the day Floyd Landis lost so much time) and a long escape on Stage 9 in the Alps in 2005.

Out of the race is T-Mobile's team leader Michael Rogers, who overshot a lefthander on the day's longest descent, injuring his chin, wrist, and knee. Rogers, who had matched Rasmussen stroke for stroke, climbed back on the bike, then drifted back through the field before finally pulling off the road and out of the race. His teammate, sprinter Mark Cavendish, had already abandoned on the day after Linus Gerdemann's big stage win.

Another Australian, CSC's veteran hard man Stuart O'Grady, also crashed out of the race today.

Other than Rogers, the GC men were content to sit in, awaiting the day's last climb, where Christophe Moreau and then Iban Mayo finally threw down the gauntlet. Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador, Fränk Schleck, and Cadel Evans mixed it up at the front, while a second group of team leaders hovered a minute behind, featuring Alexandre Vinokourov, Andeas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Haimar Zubeldia, and Manuel Beltran.

Top 20:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 4:49:40
2) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:47
3) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:12
4) Christophe Moreau, A2R, France, at 3:13
5) Fränk Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 3:13
6) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 3:13
7) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 3:13
8) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:31
9) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:35
10) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:35
11) Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Spain, at 3:59
12) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, USA, at 3:59
13) Juan José Cobo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 3:59
14) Manuel Beltran, Liquigas, Spain, at 4:13
15) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:13
16) Juan Manuel Garate, Quick Step, Spain, at 4:29
17) David Arroyo, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 4:29
18) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 4:29
19) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 4:29
20) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at 5:05

Overall standings after Stage 8:
1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, Denmark, in 15:37:42
2) Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile, Germany, at :43
3) Iban Mayo, Saunier Duval, Spain, at 2:39
4) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 2:51
5) Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 2:52
6) Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto, Australia, at 2:53
7) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, France, at 3:06
8) Alberto Contador, Discovery Channel, Spain, at 3:10
9) Fränk Schleck, CSC, Luxembourg, at 3:14
10) Denis Menchov, Rabobank, Russia, at 3:19
11) Carlos Sastre, CSC, Spain, at 3:35
12) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at 3:46
13) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, at 3:53
14) Oscar Pereiro, Caisse d'Epargne, Spain, at 3:54
22) Alexandre Vinokourov, Astana, Kazakhstan, at 5:23
25) Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto, USA, at 6:29

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2007 in 2007 Stage 8, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christophe Moreau, Frank Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

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)

June 29, 2007

Z's in! CSC announces Tour roster

David Zabriskie
David Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Team CSC | Team CSC Announces Line-Up for Tour de France 2007

    Team CSC 2007 Tour roster:
  • Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)
  • Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
  • Inigo Cuesta (Spain)
  • Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
  • Carlos Sastre (Spain)
  • Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg)
  • Christian Vande Velde (USA)
  • Jens Voigt
  • David Zabriskie (USA)

Two of the peloton's best time triallists in Cancellara and Zabriskie and two possible GC threats in Sastre and Schleck.

Left off were veterans Bobby Julich, and Karsten Kroon.

Update: And I somehow left off Jens Voigt, leaving CSC with only 8 riders. Fixed.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Bobby Julich, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

Stage 3 to the old master: Jens Voigt leads the way

Voigt over the top

Jens at the top of Sierra Road
By Ken Conley.

It was a Tour de France style climb up Sierra Road today, and the cream of the field was first to the top.

A large break went away early, featuring CSC's Jens Voigt, Discovery Channel's Jason McCartney, three riders each from Liquigas and HealthNet-Maxxis, Steven Cozza and Will Frischkorn from Team Slipstream, Jelly Belly's Nick Reistad, QuickStep's Jurgen Van De Walle, and seven others. They got 5 minutes advantage on the field, and Discovery burned a lot of matches chasing.

Finally, Rabobank joined in, and the gap started to come down. Then came Sierra Road. The breakaway fell apart on the 10-kilometer climb, and Ivan Basso was the only Discovery Channel rider who could help team leader Levi Leipheimer, with Hincapie and Danielson falling off from the chase effort. Even Basso fell away shortly up the climb, leaving Leipheimer, Chris Horner, and Rabobank's Robert Gesink the strongest of the main field.

Voigt and McCartney were best of the break, but Leipheimer's group was sweeping through the break's remnants, closing fast. The five joined up a few kilometers from the summit.

Over the top, with 22 kilometers down into San Jose, Leipheimer led Voigt, Horner, Gesink, and McCartney. Fifteen riders were about a minute back, but Leipheimer and McCartney went all out to put some time into the field, and Voigt knew just how to play it.

Voigt saved himself for the last kilometers, and when the time came, he delivered. With Quick Step and Paolo Bettini reeling in the leaders, Voigt led Leipheimer, then Chris Horner over the line.

Voigt's bonus time moves him into 2nd overall, 3 seconds behind Leipheimer. Health Net's Rory Sutherland sits 3rd, at 15 seconds with Chris Horner 4th at 16 seconds back.

The day's Top 10:
1) Jens Voigt, Germany, Team CSC, 3:43:44
2) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, same time
3) Christopher Horner, US, Predictor-Lotto, s.t.
4) Robert Gesink, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :04
5) Paolo Bettini, Italy, Quick Step, s.t.
6) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.
7) Enrico Gasparotto, Italy, Liquigas, s.t.
8) Dimitri Fofonov, Kazakhstan, Credit Agricole, s.t.
9) Bram De Groot, Netherlands, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, s.t.

General classification:
1) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, 12:46:25
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :03
3) Rory Sutherland, Australia, Health Net-Maxxis, at :15
4) Chris Horner, USA, Predictor-Lotto, at :16
5) Mauricio Ardila Cano, Colombia, Rabobank, at :17
6) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators Insurance, at :18
7) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net-Maxxis, at :19
8) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, at :20
10) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.


CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 3

VeloNews | Voigt wins stae, Levi leads in Amgen Tour

Posted by Frank Steele on February 21, 2007 in Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 18, 2007

Flickr'ing the ToC prologue

So far, there are two sets of photos worth checking out at Flickr on today's Tour of California prologue: Leslie Veen's and David Schloss's.

My faves:

Paolo Bettini warms up, by Leslie Veen


CSC climb the hill, by David Schloss


Basso up close and personal

The Specialized Angel

Ken Conley checks in, with my favorites, I think, being this shot of Leipheimer passing a shreiking bright banner. and this one of Stuart O'Grady, suffering up Telegraph Hill.

Update Monday a.m.:

Graham Watson's prologue gallery

Casey Gibson checks in at VeloNews, and I would say he's got one shot where he outdoes the master.

CyclingNews.com | Prologue photo gallery

The Paceline (free subscription req.) | Three Sets of CA Prologue Pics

More from Flickr: Great shot of Hincapie showing the colors by 1115; Saul Raisin working the crowd, by on2wheelz (who has dozens of good shots); and just look at all of Ken Conley's pics (warmup set/race set): I especially love Jason Donald with the big burrito, the Angel, and this shot of Chris Baldwin.

Update to the update: Competitor.com has a nice gallery up, as does ProCyclingPress, a site I've never seen before.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 18, 2007 in Paolo Bettini, Photo galleries, Stuart O'Grady, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Tour of California rosters released

Amgen Tour of California | 2007 Rider Roster Announced

I am going to hate missing the Tour of California. With the obvious exception of Floyd Landis, fans will get to see pretty much every American racing in the ProTour, and many of the world's best riders will be racing in the US for the first time.

The race, kicking off Sunday, will feature the winners of 4 stages and the prologue of the 2006 Tour de France: Thor Hushovd, who took the prologue and Stage 21, CSC's Jens Voigt, Stage 13, Michael (Spider) Rasmussen, who dominated the Alpine climbs and won Stage 16 and the king of the mountains, and Matteo Tosatto, who won Stage 18.

You want Americans? They got 'em: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, and Jason McCartney from Discovery Channel; Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Christian Vandevelde from Team CSC; Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner from Predictor-Lotto; Aaron Olson, now with T-Mobile; and of course the US-based Pro Continental and Continental teams, mostly populated by US riders.

You want ProTour royalty? They got 'em: World champion Paolo Bettini, world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, reigning Giro champion Ivan Basso, and former world TT champion Michael Rogers.

There are also lots of old faces on new teams, as with Michael Barry, Greg Henderson and Jakob Piil, all now with T-Mobile, Juan-José Haedo, dominant in US sprints last year, and now racing for CSC, and Henk Vogels, now racing for the Continental Toyota-United squad.

Also, injured Credit Agricole rider Saul Raisin, whose recovery continues, plans to ride each stage noncompetitively and visit with fans at the start and finish. He's also promoting a ride March 31st in Dalton, Ga. called Raisin Hope.

Should be a heck of a race.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 14, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Igor Astarloa, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Saul Raisin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

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)

Crazy Jane, back with a vengeance

Some of the most literate and passionate weblogging on the Tour has come from “Crazy Jane,” who often contributes to Daily Peloton's Tour coverage (anywhere you see “Updated and Delicieux”), and whose weblog, Le Tour Delicieux, remains in my blogroll, despite being silent for two years (2! years!), in the hope that she'll turn her considerable talents back to the Tour. She's also (along with Velogal and Marianne's Twenty-One Stages, others?) one of the few women writing about the Tour.

Jane is in Paris for the Tour finale, and has posted a number of terrific pictures of riders before yesterday's La Creusot TT, including Hincapie (above), Viatcheslav Ekimov, Gilberto Simoni, Thomas Voeckler, Jens Voigt, Chris Horner, Axel Merckx (times two), Vladimir Karpets, Stefano Garzelli, Stuart O'Grady, and Didi “Tour devil” Senft, plus some fan shots.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2006 in George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Photo galleries, Stuart O'Grady, The Tour Devil, Thomas Voeckler | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

O'Grady doubtful for Stage 4

VeloNews | O'Grady doubtful after crash

Team CSC has suffered another blow, as Australian sprint specialist Stuart O'Grady may exit the Tour tomorrow. O'Grady finished the day's stage more than 11 minutes down, then was taken to a hospital where doctors diagnosed a fractured vertebra. CSC, already down a rider with the withdrawal of team leader Ivan Basso, will wait until Wednesday morning to decide whether O'Grady can ride Stage 4.

CyclingNews.com reports that American Chris Horner believed he had broken his hand during today's stage, but X-rays were negative, and Horner should start tomorrow.

CyclingNews also notes that Horner's teammate Fred Rodriguez suffered a concussion, and that Erik Dekker of Rabobank suffered both a concussion and “serious facial injuries: abrasions, facial trauma, a contusion, a ripped upper lip, as well as a couple of broken teeth. He was kept unconscious on Tuesday night so that his face could be cleaned.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2006 in Chris Horner, Erik Dekker, Fred Rodriguez, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2006

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

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

July 01, 2006

Hushovd takes 2006 Tour prologue

Thor Hushovd will wear yellow for at least a couple of days, after an astounding ride at the Tour prologue in Strasbourg.

Hushovd is an annual combatant in the sprinter's jersey competition, which he won last year, but is more a pure power rider than some of the other sprinters (Robbie McEwen, I'm looking at you). He should be able to stay close enough to the sprinters over the next few stages to hold the overall race lead.

He edged out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and CSC's Dave Zabriskie, with Sebastian Lang 4th and Spain's Alejandro Valverde 5th.

Phonak's Floyd Landis missed his start time, and lost nearly 10 seconds before his Tour even started. His 9th place at 8:26.26 would certainly have bettered Zabriskie, and would have rivalled Hincapie and Hushovd if he had ridden the same ride with an on-time start. OLN reports Landis had a flat tire as he came to the start.

David Millar, returning from a 2-year suspension for EPO, could manage only 17th, in 8:31.65.

    Top 10:
  1. Hushovd, Credit Agricole, in 8:17.00
  2. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :01
  3. Dave Zabriskie, CSC, at :04
  4. Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :05
  5. Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at :05
  6. Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :05
  7. Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :06
  8. Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :08
  9. Floyd Landis, Phonak, at :09
  10. Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d'Epargne, at :10

Other Americans:
19) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, at :16

29) Bobby Julich, CSC, at :19

35) Christian Vande Velde, CSC, at :21

36) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at :22

112) Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, at :38


This story doesn't really seem to capture the whole moment.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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 19, 2006

CSC names Tour nine; Cancellara left off

Team CSC | Team CSC's Tour de France line-up 2006

CSC named the nine men it hopes can lead Ivan Basso to his first Tour de France victory in July.

It's a deep squad, featuring both guys not named “Armstrong” to wear the yellow jersey last year (Zabriskie and Voigt), 1998 Tour podium finisher Bobby Julich, and lots of love from Luxembourg: National champion (for at least another week) and 2006 Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck, and 2006 Tour of Luxembourg winner Christian Vande Velde.

Biggest surprise is probably the exclusion of Fabian Cancellara; he's probably a victim of the missing team time trial.

Team director Bjarne Riis:

“We are bringing a fantastic team to Tour de France this year. When you look at the names, you cannot help but notice, that this is a team to be reckoned with – a team which has the foundation to be one of the dominating ones in the 2006 edition of the Tour. We go to France this year with one ambition: To win with Ivan Basso. After his victory in the Giro, and with the training he has done in the period since then, I have no doubt he is ready for this next big challenge. He has the class, the willpower and also the team behind him to be one of the favorites,” adds Bjarne Riis.
    CSC 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Ivan Basso
  • Carlos Sastre
  • Fränk Schleck
  • Jens Voigt
  • Giovanni Lombardi
  • Stuart O'Grady
  • Bobby Julich
  • David Zabriskie
  • Christian Vande Velde

Posted by Frank Steele on June 19, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 11, 2006

Leipheimer wins Dauphiné; Hushovd takes last stage

Eurosport | Leipheimer wins on road to Tour - Eurosport

Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer took one of the most important Tour warmups, while Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd took a confidence-building stage win ahead of his effort to repeat as the Tour sprint jersey champion.

CSC's Stuart O'Grady, QuickStep's Amer-Italian Guido Trenti, and Agritubel's Coutouly were in an early breakaway, that got more than 4:30 on the field. O'Grady survived almost to the bitter end, with Credit Agricole, AG2R, and eventually QuickStep driving the peloton hard. O'Grady was reabsorbed with about 2-3 kilometers to ride.

Hushovd took the field sprint ahead of Samuel Dumoulin of AG2R, Philippe Gilbert of Française des Jeux, and Discovery Channel's George Hincapie.

Leipheimer took the win despite being frequently isolated without teammates in the mountains, but gave all the credit to his team:

"That we could win it this year says a lot about myself and a lot about Gerolsteiner as a team."

"This win will give them and me a lot of confidence in the Tour.

Leipheimer and especially 2nd place finisher Christophe Moreau showed they're coming into the Tour in terrific climbing shape, and 3rd place rider Bernhard Kohl of T-Mobile is the revelation of the race, finishing 2:51 behind Leipheimer. Discovery Channel's Jose Azevedo was 4th; he's a dark horse for the Tour.

Other Tour names in the top 20: Francisco Mancebo of AG2R in 5th; Denis Menchov of Rabobank in 6th, despite an injury in yesterday's stage; Alejandro Valverde in 7th at 4:21; George Hincapie 10th at 6:48; Sylvain Chavanel 12th; Iban Mayo 16th at 11:00.

A couple of Tour favorites were here, but nowhere to be seen when the action heated up: Floyd Landis finished 60th overall, at 57:06, Alexandre Vinokourov was 49th at 51:08.


DailyPeloton.com | Stage 7 Live

CyclingNews.com | Stage 7 full results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2006

Zabriskie takes Dauphiné prologue

CSC's David Zabriskie hammered the field to take Sunday's Dauphiné Libéré prologue.

Zabriskie took the 4.1-kilometer out-and-back course by storm, finishing nearly 2 seconds faster than last year's Dauphiné prologue winner, Discovery Channel's George Hincapie.

This has to be seen as a good sign for both Zabriskie and Hincapie: Hincapie is clearly recovering well from that Paris-Roubaix crash, and Zabriskie looks like a favorite to repeat at the Tour's prologue in Strasbourg July 1.

Alexandre Vinokourov was 15th, at almost 10 seconds back, Levi Leipheimer was 48th, almost 16 seconds off Dave Z.

Very unofficial Top 10:
1) Zabriskie, CSC, 4:35.83
2) Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 4:37.62
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, 4:41.90
4) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner 4:42
5) Joost Posthuma, Rabobank, 4:42
6) Stijn Devolder, Discovery Channel, 4:42?
7) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Espargne, 4:43
8) Gusev, Discovery Chanel
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, 4:43.84
10) Andrey Kashechkin, Astaná-Würth Also: cyclngnews.com | Prologue full results Eurosport.com | Zabriskie wins, Hincapie impresses BBC Sport | Zabriskie puts Wiggins in shade

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Libéré prologue underway

Today's stage at the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré is a short, flat, 4-kilometer prologue.

Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang took the early lead in around 4:42. One big surprise is Bradley Wiggins, the Cofidis rider who has already predicted he'll win the 2006 Tour prologue.

Wiggins was able to do only a 4:46, 4 seconds slower than Lang, with a lot of strong riders to come.

Stuart O'Grady comes through in 4:41.9, and takes the stage lead! It won't stand up, but this is a guy who broke 5 ribs and his collarbone March 9th at Tirreno-Adriatico. Cyclingnews has a good interview with O'Grady from mid-May.

Thomas Dekker doesn't even go top 10, and again, there are a lot of riders to come.

Popovych 4:48.

Zabriskie is quickest at the turnaround. Coming to the line with a big cushion to O'Grady; 4:35.83 for Zabriskie! That one might stand up.

Alejandro Valverde is on course, all in white as the ProTour leader.

Chris Horner comes in at 4:50.45.

Valverde does a 4:43, dropping him into 6th for now. As soon as Valverde came in, George Hincapie left the start house. We'll see how his recovery is coming.

Landis is on course, sporting the Praying Landis, Vinokourov is on course, Leipheimer is on course, and Cycling.TV has gone black. D'Oh!

There comes Mayo, the last guy on the course, and he's not going to go anywhere near Dave Z.

Zabriskie takes the stage win!

Hincapie, who took last year's Dauphiné prologue, is 2nd in 4:37.62. O'Grady 3rd, Lang 4th. Posthuma 5th, Stijn Devolder was 6th. Valverde 7th. Landis 9th in 4:43.84.

The Cycling.TV guys say Zabriskie hasn't raced since March, but I've got pictures that say otherwise.

Coverage is still in and out, so I don't have Leipheimer or Vinokourov's results.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Dekker, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Leipheimer back in Europe for Tour of Catalonia

IOL | Leipheimer seeks strong showing in Catalonia

Levi Leipheimer is back in Europe for the Tour of Catalonia (aka the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya). A number of other 2006 Tour likelies will also take the start, including Phonak's Santigo Botero, Rabobank's Denis Menchov, T-Mobile's Giusepe Guerini, CSC's Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady, Cadel Evans, Francisco Mancebo, Inigo Landaluze (fresh from an overturned suspension), Thor Hushovd, Erik Zabel, and Filippo Pozzato.

Today's stage is a short time trial, 12.6 km (about 7.5 miles) in length.

Update: VeloNews reports this morning that, in pre-race blood tests, former Liberty Seguros rider Jan Hruska of the Czech Republic, now riding for 3 Molinos (sponsored by The Wallflowers?) failed his hematocrit and is barred from racing for 2 weeks.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 15, 2006 in Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Francisco Mancebo, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006

Bettini again at Tirreno-Adriatico, O'Grady out 4-6 weeks

www.cyclingnews.com | Deja vu for Bettini

Quick Step's triple world champion Paolo Bettini is 2-for-2 at Tirreno-Adriatico, after a 2nd stage win in Frascati on Thursday.

Said Bettini:

CSC's O'Grady broke 5 ribs and his collarbone
O'Grady hurting
Fotoreporter Sirotti/

"I'm not thinking about the general classification, I'm taking things on a day by day basis. Tomorrow's stage is one that I have already won twice, in 1999 and 2003. We'll have to see if I can make it three."

Bettini closed almost 30 seconds on Daniele Contrini in the last 2 kms, passing him in the last 500 meters and outsprinting Milram's Erik Zabel (again). It was Zabel's 9th 2nd-place on the young season. LPR's Mikhaylo Khalilov was 3rd. That's how the overall shakes out, so far, since both stages had the same 1st and 2nd-place riders.

Stuart O'Grady, now riding for CSC, was victim to a pothole, and broke five ribs and his collarbone.

Overall Standings
1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 8:11:54
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, at :08
3) Mikhaylo Khalilov, LPR, at :16
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, same time
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, and about 50 other riders, at :20

Eurosport | Bettini does it again
procycling.com | Bettini doubles up at Tirreno

cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 9, 2006 in Erik Zabel, Paolo Bettini, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tirreno-Adriatico '06, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

Team CSC bringing Tour heavyweights to Tour of California

Team CSC | CSC Announces Tour of California Riders

Team CSC has announced the Tour of California squad, and it's loaded with Tour de France veterans, including 2 of last year's yellow jersey wearers.

New CSC riders Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, and Karsten Kroon join Americans Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie. Rounding out the eight-man squad are Jens Voigt and Lars Bak.

Voigt and Zabriskie both held the yellow jersey during last year's Tour, the only riders not named Armstrong to spend time in the maillot jaune.

“I'm sending a very motivated group of riders who can win the Tour of California,” said Bjarne Riis, owner and manager of Team CSC. “And since the race finishes in Southern California, near the headquarters of CSC, our title sponsor, it's a race we'd clearly love to win.”

The first Tour of California kicks off Sunday with a prologue in San Francisco.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 15, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

Stage 13 wrapup

McEwen masters sprint

McEwen's lucky 13
McEwen triples up
An uneventful day in the overall race was a major day in the green jersey chase. Robbie McEwen proved what nobody could doubt -- that he's got the fastest finishing kick left in the field, and that O'Grady's and Hushovd's best chances may be to grab intermediate sprint points through the Pyrenees, where McEwen is likely to seek the safety of the autobus, working with other riders not interested in their overall placing to survive elimination each day.

Credit to McEwen, who thanked his team, which has spent a lot of time in the front chasing points the last two days:

"You saw who did the work today," stage winner McEwen said, blowing champagne kudos to his team.

"Today wasn't about me. It wasn't about my third win [McEwen also notched sprint wins in stages five and seven]. Today was about Davitamon-Lotto."

"What my teammates did today was absolutely incredible. To bring back nine minutes on day 13 of the Tour, when everybody is tired... It was an absolutely incredible effort."


VeloNews.com | McEwen dashes Horner's hopes; Armstrong holds lead

What about Horner, and the ill-fated breakaway?

As the duo built up a maximum lead of 22 seconds, it appeared they might just stay away, but instead Horner made up one-half of one of those "tragic breakaways" the Tour produces every year, caught by the field in the dying seconds.

"I've seen it happen to many other riders and I knew it was going to happen to me sooner or later," Horner said, still smiling about the day's dramatic outcome. "Too bad it had to come at the Tour. Still, it was a spectacular day. I thought we were going to get caught 30km from the finish, so to make it that close to the finish, it's a little disappointing, but I'll take it. It was a fantastic chance to be a part of the Tour."

Horner got to meet the race commissaires, as well:

Horner was later fined 200 Swiss francs for "incorrect behavior towards a rider" for reportedly throwing a water bottle at Da Cruz.

Said Horner, "We're doing 50 kph and he's pulling through at 43 and he's just killing our speed. He was saying, ‘No, no, we don't want any more time,' and I was like, ‘We don't want any more time? We're going to need at least 12 minutes,' and we only had nine. He started doing those cheap little pulls and he was pulling the least and pulling the slowest, and then he was the first one to attack us."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2005 in Chris Horner, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

McEwen takes Stage 13

Robbie McEwen is right back in the thick of the green jersey race with his 3rd stage win of the 2005 Tour.

Chris Horner spent 156 kilometers (almost 95 miles) out in front, first with a 5 man breakaway, then with Sylvain Chavanel, with the pair only getting caught in the last 200 meters. Horner still didn't give up, winding up his sprint and finishing 10th on the day.

McEwen's leadout man, Freddie Rodriguez, didn't let up when McEwen came around, and took 3rd on the day, denying precious sprint points to Thor Hushovd, who was 5th on the day.

Stuart O'Grady was 2nd on the day. Guido Trenti, an Italian with a US racing license, was 4th on the day.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, 3:43:14
2) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, same time
3) Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
4) Guido Trenti, Quick Step, same time
5) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, s.t.
6) Anthony Geslin, Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
7) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
8) Magnus Backstedt, Liquigas-Bianchi, s.t.
9) Gianluca Bortolami, Lampre-Caffita, s.t.
10) Chris Horner, Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.

Your new green jersey standings:
1) Hushovd 164
2) O'Grady 150
3) McEwen 142

The only major change to the overall standings is the departure of 5th place rider Alejandro Valverde, which also puts Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych back in the white jersey for best young rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2005 in Chris Horner, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Green jersey competition heats up with de-Boonen

ESPN.com | Aussies to fight Hushovd for green jersey

Thor ascends to Asgard
Thor's 1st green jersey
With Tom Boonen's withdrawal, the points competition is wide open. Credit Agricole's thunder god Thor Hushovd, with 142 points, leads Stuart O'Grady of Cofidis, with 120, and Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, with 107.

McEwen already owns 2 overall green jersey wins, in 2001 and 2003, and says he's not out of the points race yet:

"I'm still in with a chance and I don't want to let those guys get a free run and take heaps of points every day and increase their lead," he said.

"On the hard days I want to try and hold the points difference. Maybe on the other days something will happen and I'll come right back into contention but unfortunately it's not always the fastest sprinter that wins the green jersey."

Tomorrow is a much flatter profile, but McEwen downplays his chances, suspecting another breakaway. There may not be another field sprint for a win until Paris, he thinks.

O'Grady says he'll take it if it comes, but he's really looking to find a break that he could take for a stage win:

"My first objective is to win a stage and then if I'm in the points leader's green jersey on the Champs Elysees, it'll be the cherry on the cake."

As for Hushovd, who will spend his first day ever in the green jersey tomorrow:

"I've got the green jersey and I'm going to do everything I can to keep it all the way to Paris but it's going to be very hard because Stuart O'Grady is riding very well and McEwen is very fast in the sprints," Hushovd told reporters.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2005 in Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stage 12 underway

There's a large breakaway that looks to have the pedigree to stay away today.

In it are Stuart O'Grady and David Moncoutié of Cofidis, Thor Hushovd and Patrice Halgand of Credit Agricole, Stephan Schreck of T-Mobile, Giovanni Lombardi of Team CSC, José Luis Arrieta of Illes Balears, Axel Merckx of Davitamon-Lotto, Massimo Giunti of Fassa Bortolo, Juan Manuel Garate of Saunier Duval-Prodir, Angel Vicioso of Liberty Seguros, Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas, and Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux.

They're out around 6 minutes in front of the peloton. Davitamon-Lotto actually spent some time pulling the field today, thinking about getting Robbie McEwen back into the green jersey competition against O'Grady and Hushovd, who made the break, but they've decided their chances are better with Merckx, so Discovery is back leading the peloton.

On the Col du Corobin, the second 2nd Category climb of the day, the 13-man break is splintering. David Moncoutié has gone off the front.

O'Grady, Lombardi, Schreck and Hushovd are first to fall off.

Merckx is doing a lot of the work to chase Moncoutié, who has 30 seconds on the remnants of the breakaway.

Pellizotti, Giunti, and Vicioso are dropped, leaving Arrieta, Merckx, Garate, Halgand, and Casar chasing Moncoutie.

Moncoutié leads over the top 30 seconds ahead of Merckx's group; Pellizotti and Vicioso have gotten back to Merckx's group on the descent.

Hushovd and O'Grady are back together, after Hushovd chased back on. They're with Lombardi and Schreck.

The gap of the leading 13 to the field is climbing, now over 7:40. Moncoutié has 50 seconds on Merckx and company. Merckx's group is reeling him in: It's down to 25 seconds.

They're closing in on the last climb of the day, a 4th Cat climb. Moncoutie to the peloton is now 8:40.

Over the Col de l'Orme, it's Moncoutie leading by 32 seconds. Moncoutie looks good -- he may get the French a stage win today.

At 5 km, it's a 28 second gap.

The chasers have given it up -- with 1 kilometer to go, the gap is back out to 32 seconds. They're racing for 2nd now.

Moncoutie takes the stage!

And the French take 2nd as well, as Sandy Casar leads the Merckx group over the line after the group came to a near-stop as everyone looked for position.

The sprint for pride was for 9th, with Hushovd beating O'Grady, 1st and 2nd in the green jersey competition.

The field is coming to the line more than 9 minutes back, and Cofidis is leading the peloton. They're probably looking to give O'Grady some breathing room on McEwen, who's looking to get 14th-place points.

Nobody is going to deny McEwen -- he takes the field sprint at 10:32.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2005 in David Moncoutié, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 10, 2005

Rasmussen owns Stage 9; Voigt into the overall lead

Michael Rasmussen totally dominated Stage 9, cementing his lead in the Tour's King of the Mountains jersey, and moving high up in the General Classification.

Jens Voigt, who spent the day chasing Rasmussen, pulls on the yellow jersey for his trouble, becoming the 2nd CSC rider in yellow this year (and ever), after David Zabriskie, who was forced to abandon today.

Christophe Moreau of Credit Agricole, who was in Voigt's break, waved the French flag today: He's moved up to 2nd overall, and was 2nd on the stage.

For Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Channel team, things returned to normalcy, as the team controlled the race pace on the biggest climb of the day after their miscue yesterday.

T-Mobile had a very quiet day, with no attacks and nobody in the breakaway, after their aggressive moves in Stage 8.

Stuart O'Grady took back some ground in the green jersey competition by staying with the heads of state all day and taking the field sprint for 4th on the stage.

Top 10:

1) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, 4:08:20
2) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 3:04
3) Jens Voigt, CSC, at 3:04
4) Stuart O’Grady, Cofidis, at 6:04
5) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, s.t.
6) Antony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom, s.t.
7) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
8) Laurent Brochard, Bouyges Telecom, s.t.
9) Jerome Pineau, Bouyges Telecom, s.t.
10) Gerrit Glomser, Lampre-Caffita, s.t.

Your new, rejiggered GC:

1) Jens Voigt, CSC, 32:18:23
2) Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, at 1:50
3) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, at 2:18
4) Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, at 2:43
5) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, at 3:20
6) Bobby Julich, CSC, at 3:25
7) Ivan Basso, CSC, at 3:44
8) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, at 3:54
9) Carlos Sastre, CSC, at 3:54
10) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 4:05

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2005 in Christophe Moreau, Jens Voigt, Michael Rasmussen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (6)

Stage 9 underway

Who had 60 k in the Stage 9 Kirsipuu pool? Estonia's Jaan Kirsipuu, a four-time Tour stage winner who has started 12 Tours, has never made the race finish, and generally drops out early in the mountain stages. True to form, he's out of the race, leaving 177 riders contesting the stage.

José Angel Gomez of Saunier Duval-Prodir has dropped out, after possibly breaking his collarbone in a feed zone crash.

New polka-dot jersey Mickael Rasmussen rode out in a breakaway with fellow former mountain biker Dario Cioni of Liquigas-Bianchi. Rasmussen has taken max points over all the early 3rd Category climbs and the 2nd Category Grand Ballon. He's over Le Ballon d'Alsace, having led the field over every climb of the day.

Behind Rasmussen and are CSC's Jens Voigt and CA's Christophe Moreau. They've dropped Angel Vicioso and passed Cioni. Fallen off Voigt, Moreau, and Vicioso's group are Tour of Switzerland winner Inigo Landaluze, Alexandre Moos of Phonak, and Xabier Zandio of Illes Balears.

It looks likely that Armstrong will give up the yellow jersey tonight, but by how much and to whom? Either Rasmussen or Voigt could find himself in yellow tonight. Rasmussen will need 6 minutes on Voigt to take yellow, and over the top of the last climb, he had 4:20 in hand. Armstrong's group goes over 9:24 later.

Armstrong is down to 5 teammates, including Savoldelli, Azevedo, Hincapie, Popovych and Rubiera.

Advantage Voigt: Voigt and Moreau are taking some time back from Rasmussen.

Armstrong's group is down to perhaps 50 riders. We'll see if anybody can get back on the back. Voigt takes some bonus time at an intermediate sprint, so he needs no more than 54 seconds at the end of the day to take the race lead.

Didier Rous is involved in a crash back in the field. It looks like the 2-time French champion might have hit a road sign.

Voigt flats -- the team car was right there, but he'll lose a little time, and it will disrupt Voigt and Moreau's chase of Rasmussen, which had been under 4 minutes. Armstrong's group now trails Rasmussen by about 8:30.

Voigt is bringing time back on Rasmussen.

Rasmussen takes the stage -- how far back to Voigt? It's a 3:03 gap to Moreau, then Voigt.

Rabobank takes two consecutive stages. Now we'll wait to see what Voigt's yellow jersey lead will be.

Here come the big men, and, hello! It's Stuart O'Grady, who hung with the GC boys and will make some ground up in the green jersey competition with a 4th on the stage, with neither Hushovd nor Boonen anywhere to be seen. The gap to the Armstrong group is 6:04 -- Voigt will take off tomorrow with more than 2 minutes on Armstrong. Rasmussen is now in 4th on GC; he's somebody to keep an eye on.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 10, 2005 in Christophe Moreau, Jaan Kirsipuu, Jens Voigt, Michael Rasmussen, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

McEwen gets a stage win

It's all me, baby
McEwen takes the stage
Robbie McEwen found the right wheel today, shadowing Quick Step's Tom Boonen almost to the line, then outpowering Boonen to a stage win.

McEwen's victory salute may not go down with Juan Antonio Flecha's archer, as he repeatedly pointed with both hands at his chest. Yes, we get it, Robbie, you won a stage, even after the mean judges said you didn't work and play well with others.

Boonen was 2nd and Thor Hushovd of Credit Agricole 3rd on the stage. Stuart O'Grady continues to be near but not quite in on the action, taking 4th on the day.

Flecha himself, now riding for Fassa Bortolo, was in the day's longest breakaway, along with Lampre's Salvatore Commesso, Credit Agricole's Laszlo Bodrogi, and Liquigas-Bianchi's Kjell Carlstrom.

McEwen, twice the Tour's green jersey overall winner, said earlier this week that he thinks he's out of that competition after being relegated to the back of the field when he interfered with Stuart O'Grady at the end of Stage 3. He sits 4th in the points competition with today's win, 45 points behind Boonen.

Top 10 (all in 3:46:00):
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step
3) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
4) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis
5) Angelo Furlan, Domina Vacanze
6) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros
7) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux
8) Baden Cooke, Française des Jeux
9) Jens Voigt, CSC
10) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner

I still don't get what's going on with FdJ: You don't get bonus points for having extra guys near the front of the sprint.

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Constantino Zaballa withdrew today, the first rider out of the 2005 Tour.

No significant changes in the GC, but we have a new lanterne rouge, the imaginary competition for the last-placed rider: After Janeck Tomback of Cofidis rode into the hay bales with 4 kilometers to ride, he lost 2:21 on the stage, and took over last place, 13:13 behind Lance Armstrong.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2005 in Baden Cooke, Jens Voigt, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 04, 2005

McEwen: "I can forget winning the green jersey now"

Eurosport | McEwen: 'It's a bad decision'

Naturally, Robbie McEwen isn't happy about getting DQ'ed in the sprint finish today at Tours:

The officials think that I was leaning on O'Grady," said McEwen. "We're going as fast as possible and neither of us wants to fall. I can see that his arm is in front of me and I can't get through. He was trying to get in Boonen's slipstream, but I was already in Boonen's slipstream.

"It's not a problem if we touch, but when he put his arm against me, I couldn't keep my balance. But the officials don't understand the physics of a sprint.

"We might have had 20 people on the road if we had slipped. It's part of a sprint and I don't really see why I have been disqualified when I just didn't want to fall. I think it was a bad decision - I didn't do anything wrong."

Personally, it looked like McEwen was playing a little eye-for-an-eye, and stayed over on O'Grady a lot longer than necessary to restore any momentary imbalance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2005 in Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Boonen again! Takes Stage 3 into Tours

Tom Boonen confirmed he's the favorite for the green jersey this year, exploding out of a catfight to take the stage win.

Boonen actually used McEwen as his leadout man, while Credit Agricole was trying to build a train for Hushovd, trailing Jaan Kirsipuu with 100 meters to ride.

McEwen really leaned hard into Stuart O'Grady, and race officials "relegated" McEwen to the back of the field for his frustration-driven maneuvering.

Top 10:
1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step
2) Wrolich, Gerolsteiner
3) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis
4) Bernhard Eisel, Française des Jeux
5) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros
6) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner
7) Magnus Backstedt, Liquigas-Bianchi
8) Anthony Geslin, Bouyges Telecom
9) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
10) Angelo Furlan, Domina Vacanze

Credit Agricole needs some new moves: Looked like they were executing exactly to plan, but Hushovd couldn't bring either the funk or the noise.

And I didn't see Baden Cooke: Are FdJeux switching off their sprinters, with Eisel one day, Cooke another, or is it every FDJ sprinter for himself?

Zabriskie will hold the yellow jersey into tomorrow's team time trial showdown, likely to be between Phonak, CSC, and Discovery. CSC will start last, and have intermediate splits for every other team, since the lead the team competition.

Erik Dekker takes over the King of the Mountains jersey, while Boonen holds the green sprinters' jersey and Fabian Cancellara hangs on to the white jersey for riders under 25. Boonen is sneaking up on Cancellara: He's now 3rd, 7 seconds behind Cancellara. Dekker also wins the red race numbers for most aggressive rider for the tremendous heart he showed trying to keep his break away to the finish.


cyclingnews.com | Full stage results

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2005 in Erik Dekker, Magnus Backstedt, Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stage 3 underway

Typical sprint stage going. Three men are away: Erik Dekker of Rabobank, AG2R's Nicolas Portal, and Saunier Duval-Prodir's Rubens Bertogliati. Bertogliati briefly was the race leader on the road, and has taken 14 bonus seconds on the day, but the peloton is starting to close them down now.

Bertogliati was one of the last 2 riders named to their team's Tour squad.

Bouyges Telecom did a lot of the early chase work to try to preserve Thomas Voeckler's polka-dot jersey, taken over by Erik Dekker, who took 1st over the last two 4th-category climbs today.

There was a minor disruption near the back of the field when the road suddenly narrowed; doesn't look like anyone is hurt.

The leaders are only a little more than a minute up the road from the peloton now, with Davitamon-Lotto, Quick Step, and Credit Agricole driving the field.

Dekker is pouring his heart into staying away, but the field is 45 seconds back. I can't see the trio surviving.

Now Bertogliati has fallen back into the field, but Dekker and Portal continue to fight maybe 25 seconds up the road, with 10 kilometers to ride. The escapees are hoping there will be some hesitation in the peloton, but the gap is now 15 seconds -- the duo is doomed.

With 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to ride, the leaders are in sight. Dekker and Portal have 5 seconds, but they're still driving as hard as they can.

With 2 kms to ride, Dekker and Portal are swallowed up, and Fabian Cancellara takes a flyer! Strange to see a Fassa Bortolo breaking away late in a sprinters' stage. Cancellara is swept up with 1 km to go.

Sprinters to full boil, and Boonen takes another stage win, ahead of McEwen, Hushovd, Cooke, O'Grady: Right at the end, O'Grady and McEwen got into it as O'Grady tried to slingshot off Boonen as McEwen was trying to do likewise. McEwen leaned pretty heavily into O'Grady for a lot longer than was necessary.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 4, 2005 in Erik Dekker, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Boonen takes Stage 2, green jersey

Quick Step's Tom Boonen outsprinted the field to take the first sprint finish of the 2005 Tour.

The 25-year-old has had a terrific season, winning Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, two stages at Paris-Nice, and the Tour of Belgium. He took Stage 7 and Stage 21 of last year's Tour, as well.

One of the very interesting subplots this year is the battle for the green jersey: Boonen, Hushovd, and McEwen are the favorites, and Boonen takes the early lead in that competition.

Top 10 (all same time):

1) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 3:51:31
2) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
3) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto
4) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis
5) Luciano Pagliarini, Liquigas-Bianchi
6) Juan Antonio Flecha, Fassa Bortolo
7) Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner
8) Jerome Pineau, Bouygues Telecom
9) Baden Cooke, Française Des Jeux
10) Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros

I was discounting O'Grady this year, but that's a pretty competitive placing.

There was a late crash featuring Samuel Dumoulin; I guess this is as good a time as any to note that the “last 1 km” rule is now a “last 3 km” rule, where riders who crash in the peloton in the last 3 kilometers get the same time as the main field.

Armstrong post-race quote:

“I figure the faster I pedal, the faster I can retire.”

Bodrogi moves up into 3rd on the GC, based on an intermediate sprint bonus.


Yahoo! Sport | Boonen scares Belgium by almost quitting

Posted by Frank Steele on July 3, 2005 in Baden Cooke, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

Piil out, Roberts in on CSC Tour squad

procycling | Piil dropped from CSC team

Jakob Piil at Brasstown Bald, 2004
Dane out of water:
Piil @ Brasstown Bald, 2004
Photo by Frank Steele.
CSC has made its final Tour selection. Their last decision was whether to bring 2003 Stage 10 winner Jakob Piil of Denmark, or Australia's Luke Roberts. They're going with 28-year-old former trackie Roberts (a gold medalist in team pursuit at the Athens Olympics), who heard the news last night.

Piil has had a rough year, but thought he might convince Riis with a good placing in the Danish national championships yesterday. Unfortunately, Piil crashed out of yesterday's race, as well. CSC still took the top 3 placings, with Lars Bak 1st, Lars Michaelsen 2nd, and Matti Breschel 3rd.

Roberts took 4th in the 1st stage of the Dauphiné Libéré, his best placing for the season.


Team CSC | Luke Roberts Selected For the Tour | Roberts profile

cyclingnews.com | All dreams come true for Roberts

CyclingNews offers a full roundup of Australian participants in this year's Tour (barring a Matthew White-style mishap):

Ag2r: Simon Gerrans (VIC)

Quick Step:
Michael Rogers, 25 (ACT)

Cadel Evans, 28, (VIC)
Robbie McEwen, 33, (QLD)

Francaise des Jeux:
Brad McGee, 29, (NSW)
Baden Cooke, 26, (VIC)

Luke Roberts, 28, (SA)

Stuart O'Grady, 31, (SA)
Matt White, 31, (NSW)

Liberty Seguros:
Allan Davis, 24, (QLD)

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2005 in Baden Cooke, Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2005

Dumoulin wins Dauphiné Stage 2 in hometown

BBC SPORT | Dumoulin takes lead in Dauphine

Samuel Dumoulin was best of a very French breakaway at the Dauphiné Libéré today. With the win, Dumoulin captures the race's yellow leader's jersey in his hometown.

Dumoulin, Anthony Charteau, Frederic Finot, and Frederic Bessy joined up in a 180-kilometer break that had more than 17 minutes on the field at one point. At the end, the 3:16 gap was enough to drop Discovery's George Hincapie from the race lead.

Phonak's Robbie Hunter won the field sprint in front of Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd and Stuart O'Grady of Cofidis.

Tomorrow and Thursday will likely be the days that decide the overall. Tomorrow is a 46.5 kilometer time trial, and Thursday finishes atop Mont Ventoux. The press is building up the TT as make-or-break for Lance Armstrong as he prepares for his July campaign for a 7th consecutive Tour de France title.

Top 10:
1) Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R, 4:47:06
2) Anthony Charteau, Bouygues Telecom, same time
3) Frederic Finot, Francaise des Jeux, same time
4) Frederic Bessy, Cofidis, same time
5) Robbie Hunter, Phonak, at 3:16
6) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, same time
7) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, same time
8) Juan Antonio Flecha, Fassa Bortolo, same time
9) Enrico Franzoi, Lampre, same time
10) Enrico Gasparotto, Liquigas-Bianchi, same time


Eurosport.com | Dumoulin leads French Musketeers home

cyclingnews.com | Stage Results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2005 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2005, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Samuel Dumoulin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Parra takes Stage 13; il Falco poaches Basso for lead

BBC SPORT | Parra seals win as leader changes

Another stage win for the "minor" teams, as Ivan Parra of Selle Italia-Colombia managed to serve both team and self on a long breakaway through the Dolomites.

Parra was riding largely to support teammate José Rujano, seeking the overall Giro climber's jersey, but still had the legs to put 23 seconds into his breakmates and 4 minutes into the GC candidates.

Ivan Basso, complaining of stomach pains, couldn't hang on the day's last climb, and Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli took advantage, gaining 1:08 on Basso (and 6 seconds on Gilberto Simoni), and moving into the race lead, 50 seconds up on Basso. Danilo Di Luca is nipping at Basso's heels, 53 seconds behind Savoldelli. Simoni is back at 2:16 in 4th.

Stage Top 10:
1) Ivan Parra, Selle Italia-Colombia 6:31:35
2) Juan Manuel Garate, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :23
3) José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, at :23
4) Pietro Caucchioli, Credit Agricole, at :27
5) Tadej Valjavec, Phonak, at 1:45
6) Matthias Kessler, T-Mobile, at 2:55
7) Giampaolo Caruso, Liberty Seguros, at 3:03
8) Wladimir Belli, Domina Vacanze, at 3:48
9) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at 4:00
10) Gilberto Simoni, Lampre, at 4:06


Eurosport.com | Savoldelli ignores Armstrong advice

Savoldelli told Eurosport Armstrong told him to sit tight after the stage win on Thursday, and to rely on his time-trial performance to beat Ivan Basso.

"I decided not to take his advice and attacked today. Now I've got the pink jersey I think I did the right thing."

Daily Peloton | Giro d'Italia Riders and Abandons - Updated 21 May

Many, many abandons today, including Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Discovery Channel's Ryder Hesjedal, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, and, most surprisingly, potential GC contender Stefano Garzelli of Liquigas-Bianchi. Garzelli hurt his leg on a fall earlier this week, and just didn't have it when the road turned up. Perhaps with Di Luca riding so well, the team wanted to reset his season goals a bit, and avoid any conflict.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 21, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Jaan Kirsipuu, Joseba Beloki, Lance Armstrong, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2005

Bettini DQ'ed at Stage 4 finish; Luca Mazzanti awarded stage

www.cyclingnews.com | Stage 4 results

A hard-fought sprint at the line today left Baden Cooke with nowhere to go but into the barricades (shades of Djamolodine Abdoujaparov) and initially gave the pink jersey, Quick Step's Paolo Bettini, a second stage win.

After discussion among the judges, Bettini was "relegated" from the final sprint, and given the field's time. That won't endanger his maglia rosa, but it gives the day's win to Luca Mazzanti of the Panaria team, which has a second stage win to go with Brett Lancaster's prologue victory. Mazzanti also leapfrogs into 3rd overall, behind Bettini and Danilo Di Luca.

Cooke had told Eurosport he was worried about "tricky finish" of Stage 4.

Basso, Simoni, Cunego, Garzelli, and even many of the sprint specialists (including Petacchi, Zabel, O'Grady, and McEwen) finished in the main field, but Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli, who won the Giro in 2002, lost about 40 seconds on all the other GC contenders. Savoldelli sits 29th overall, at 1:09 from Bettini, and trailing his Discovery teammate Volodymyr Bileka by 5 seconds.

Former Tour de France contender Joseba Beloki, who has never returned to top form after his crash in the 2003 Tour, finished at 1:18 behind Mazzanti, and sits more than 10 minutes back overall.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Danilo Di Luca, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Joseba Beloki, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 07, 2005

Brett Lancaster Giro's first leader

Cipollini's last skinsuit fashion show

Australia's Brett Lancaster of Panaria was the fastest kilo man in the field Saturday evening, taking the prologue of the 88th Giro d'Italia.

The unusually short prologue favored riders with track experience and sprinters, and Lancaster, who took a gold medal in Athens in the team pursuit, made the most of it, covering 1.15 kilometers in 1:20.958. Of course, the shortness also means you can throw a blanket over about the top half of the field, with the top 10 all within 2 seconds of Lancaster. The last-placed rider was Australia's Trent Wilson, 17 seconds back of Lancaster.

The prologue was run under the lights, along the coast at Reggio Calabria, with prime-time TV coverage in Italy.

Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished highest among those with GC aspirations, in 1:21.923, fourth on the stage. Alessandro Petacchi was 3rd on the day, just behind teammate Matteo Tosatto. T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack rounded out the top 5.

Stuart O'Grady's special rig didn't get him the maglia rosa, as he had hoped, but did place him 6th on the stage and overall.

Michael Barry led North Americans in 15th; Discovery teammate Ryder Hesjedal, also of Canada, was 18th; Dave Zabriskie was 20th; Tom Danielson 75th; Tony Cruz 98th; Jason McCartney 113th; and Christian Vande Velde was 152nd.

Defending Giro champ Damiano Cunego was 22nd, while his teammate Gilberto Simoni, the 2003 winner, was 97th on the stage.

Mario Cipollini took a parade lap, starting last in a glow-in-the-dark pink skinsuit that featured the names of all the towns where he won his 42 career Giro stages.

The full top 10:

1) Brett Lancaster, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, 1:20.9
2) Matteo Tosatto, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
4) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :01
5) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, at :02
6) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, at :02
7) Jaan Kirsipuu, Credit Agricole, at :02
8) Mark Renshaw, Francaise des Jeux, at :02
9) Sergio Escobar Roure, Illes Balears, at :02
10) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner, at :02


Daily Peloton | Prologue Live Coverage

CyclingNews.com | Live Report | Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Dave Zabriskie, Giro d'Italia 2005, Mario Cipollini, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 08, 2005

Tirreno-Adriatico set to kick off

cyclingnews.com | Sprinters galore in 40th Tirreno-Adriatico

If you're wondering where the superstars of racing are, and why they're not at Paris-Nice, it's because they're in sunny Italy, readying for the 2nd race of the ProTour, which kicks off tomorrow in Civitavecchia.

Most of the world's best sprinters are on hand, including both Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi, Stuart O'Grady, Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Oscar Freire, and Paolo Bettini, last year's winner.

We'll get a look at Joseba Beloki, who's back on a Spanish squad with Liberty Seguros, T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, CSC's Ivan Basso, and Discovery's George Hincapie.

Tirreno-Adriatico runs seven stages, and most of these riders will also contest Milan-San Remo a week from Saturday.


Cycling4all.com | official startlist

Daily Peloton | Tirreno-Adriatico Preview

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Andreas Klöden, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Joseba Beloki, Mario Cipollini, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tirreno-Adriatico '05 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2005

Sanchez pads lead at Tour Down Under

BBC SPORT | Sanchez on course for Aussie win

Liberty Seguros took the top four places in Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under Saturday. The stage win went to Alberto Contador, coming back from brain surgery late last season.

Race leader Luis Sanchez was second, followed by teammates Allan Davis (at 22 seconds) and Javier Ramirez (at 25 seconds), who was accompanied by two-time Tour Down Under winner Stuart O'Grady of Cofidis and United Water's David McPartland.

Sanchez now leads his teammate Allan Davis by 35 seconds, and O'Grady by 47 seconds, with one stage to ride, 81 kms on a 4.5-km circuit through the streets of Adelaide on Sunday.


Full Results

Posted by Frank Steele on January 22, 2005 in Alberto Contador, Luis Sanchez, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Sanchez in lead down under

VeloNews | Shake-up Down Under as Sanchez takes over

Luis Sanchez of Liberty Seguros went on a 20-kilometer flyer with Belgium's Johan van Summeren, and took Thursday's stage and the overall leader's jersey at the Tour Down Under.

Liberty Seguros manager Marino Lejarreta, winner of the 1982 Vuelta a España, hailed Sanchez as a rising star of world cycling.

"He is one of the best talents in Spain," Lejarreta said. "It's only his second year, but even in his first year as a professional he did things that showed he has amazing class and potential.

"Like Miguel, he still has to improve his climbing, but it is early in his career. You could say they are twins in some ways."

Stuart O'Grady, who rode near the front all day, was outnumbered by a group of Sanchez' Liberty Seguros teammates, who covered O'Grady every time he tried to make a move.

"I was pretty marked there at the end," he said. "I had quite a few goes with young Gene Bates to get away, but constantly had two or three Liberty guys on the back wheel. It makes it a bit hard."

Robbie McEwen, who won the tour's first two stages, was among about half the field that lost more than a half-hour on the day.

The Quickstep team had to "run laps" today; after every team rider (including Aussie Michael Rogers) missed a key breakaway, the team had to do 100 extra kms as punishment.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 20, 2005 in Luis Sanchez, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 18, 2005

Aussies 1-2-3 Down Under

Yahoo! Sport | On form McEwen wins first stage of Tour Down Under

Robbie McEwen is off to a screaming start this year, taking the Australian national championship, and now the first stage of the Tour Down Under.

McEwen outsprinted Allan Davis of Liberty Seguros and Stuart O'Grady of Cofidis.


VeloNews | McEwen wins Tour Down Under opener (with Graham Watson photos):

With the new format of the race, McEwen gained a six-second time bonus for his win, and leads Davis by 2 seconds in the overall classification.

And while his early-season form has been without peer, McEwen said he was not about to predict an overall victory with five days and 669km still to race.

"I'll try, but if it doesn't work, then at least I've had a good start. I've got the national jersey, I've led the tour, won a stage, so the pressure's off us, and we can race the rest of this race and the rest of the season relaxed."

Posted by Frank Steele on January 18, 2005 in Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2005

O'Grady, Simoni headline Tour Down under

Yahoo! Sport | Aussie power inspires Giro winner Simoni

The Tour Down Under kicks off tomorrow, with six stages through South Australia.

Among Tour-level riders, Aussies Stuart O'Grady, Cadel Evans, and newly crowned Aussie champion Robbie McEwen (and newly dethroned Aussie champion Matthew Wilson, for that matter) will be racing close to home, while Gilberto Simoni headlines the visiting cast.

Given the time difference, racing should be kicking off in just a few hours.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 17, 2005 in Cadel Evans, Gilberto Simoni, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

Mercado takes Stage 18

Juan Miguel Mercado of Quick Step launched from a 6-man breakaway with a few kilometers to go, then sprinted by Vincente Garcia-Acosta for the stage win. Garcia-Acosta was second, while Cofidis rider Dmitry Fofonov led in 4 chasers.

Sandy Casar made an attack late in the stage to try to move up in the white jersey, but Illes Balear-Banesto shut it down in support of Vladimir Karpets.

An incredible field sprint today goes to Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd, then green jersey Robbie McEwen.

Stage results:

1) Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick Step)
2) Vincente Garcia-Acosta (Illes Balears-Banesto)
3) Dmitri Fofonov (Cofidis) at :11
4) Sebastian Joly (Credit Agricole) same time
5) Marc Lotz (Rabobank) s.t.
6) Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) s.t.
7) Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) at 11:29
8) Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) same time
9) Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) s.t.
10) Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) s.t.

McEwen hasn't quite locked up the maillot vert, but only Hushovd moved any closer.

1) McEwen 238
2) Hushovd 227
3) Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) 221
4) O'Grady 215
5) Hondo 201

The only points still available are on Sunday at 2 intermediate sprints and the finish line.

Complete results are available over at RoadCycling.com.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2004 in Robbie McEwen, Stage results, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

Alpe d'Huez time trial underway

Robbie McEwen came in at 47:22, which is unlikely to get him disqualified. He popped a wheelie over the finish line.

Lance Armstrong's bike failed the weigh-in by 180 grams. The team had to add some ballast before he took off. Coming soon, I'm sure, to a Trek commercial near you.

Mikel Astarloza of AG2R was the early leader in 43:06, but now David Moncoutié drops the time to a 42:04. Santos Gonzalez of Phonak drops the time to 41:52, matched by Giuseppe Guerini of T-Mobile, about a half-second slower. Now José Azevedo sets a new mark with a 41:26! But then, here comes Ullrich in 40:42! Look above for more on Armstrong, who wins the day with a 39:41!

Armstrong has caught Basso, his 2-minute man, and ridden by him! His last time check is 56 seconds faster than Ullrich. Looks like Armstrong will take his 3rd individual stage win of the 2004 Tour today.

Andreas Klöden: 41:23
Vladimir Karpets: 41:56
Carlos Sastre: 42:08
Michael Rogers: 42:15
Georg Totschnig: 42:56
Christophe Moreau: 43:06
Richard Virenque: 44:11
Bobby Julich:  44:23
Stuart O'Grady: 45:12
Roberto Heras: 45:19 (!!!)
Viatcheslav Ekimov: 45:56
Christian Vande Velde: 46:12

Thomas Voeckler finished with a 46:something. Vladimir Karpets will take a big chunk out of the white jersey.

Azevedo has set the top time at the 2nd time check with a 24:40, but now Jan Ullrich comes through even faster, a 24:07; Basso rode a 24:43 to the checkpoint, and Armstrong demolishes all their times with a 23:28 to the checkpoint!

Sheryl Crow is in the US Postal pace car. Take that, Robin Williams!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2004 in Andreas Klöden, Christian Vande Velde, Christophe Moreau, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong 2004, Richard Virenque, Robbie McEwen, Sheryl Crow, Stuart O'Grady | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

Sprinters look to Stage 18

cyclingnews.com | Green jersey race hinges on stage 18

Assuming Robbie McEwen survives the TT up Alpe d'Huez tomorrow, where can his pursuers make up points to take the green jersey away?

Stage 16 and 19 are time trials, so no points are up for grabs. Stage 20 is flat, and suits McEwen well; no one is going to build a big point differential on the stage to Paris.

Stage 17 is the last leg-breaker of the Tour, with an hors category, three 1st category, and a 2nd category climb. There's an early (9 km in) sprint, and one just before the last climb of the day, where Zabel or O'Grady are more likely to score than McEwen. Unfortunately for the sprinters, the finish of Stage 17 is only 13 kms down from the top of the 1st category Col de la Croix Fry.

So Stage 18 looks crucial from here. The biggest climb on the day is the 2nd category Col de la Faucille, after the 1st intermediate sprint. From there, it's mostly downhill to the finish, but with two 3rd category climbs before the 2nd intermediate sprint that might enforce a break in the peloton.

It is the stage that could completely turn the battle for the Maillot Vert, with the category 2 Col de la Faucille likely to be crucial. If O'Grady or Zabel make it over with the front group, and McEwen and Hushovd don't, whoever crosses the line first could grab all the points and put himself into green.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 20, 2004 in Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack