acoralsea

life is like the tide…it comes and goes on its own time

TDF – Stage 15: Bring it On in the Alps

Embrun – Prato Nevoso 182km

OK, I lied – I did not come back yesterday, and I’ll tell you why: it was my husband’s birthday, our son’s best friend was in town, we just had other things to do. But, I did get my little 3 mile morning walk in yesterday, and a nice 6 miler this morning.

So, here we are in Stage 15 and I’m watching the video of a nasty crash on both sides of a huge rond point at somewhere around 50k to go. The initial word is that Vandevelde crashed, Garmin-Chipotle definitely did, on rain-slick roadway.

Vandevelde is back on his bike – phew!

Time for a little recap of this weekend’s events:

  • Cavendish won his 4th Stage, packed up and left for home where he will prepare for the Olympics. I was hoping he’d stick it out to Paris; but, there was always that expectation that he’d leave early. What a great way to bow out, though!
  • Baroloworld will no longer sponsor the Tour and out of cycling.
  • GC standings after Stage 14:
    1 001 Cadel EVANS AUS SIL 59h01’55” 00”
    2 017 Frank SCHLECK LUX CSC 59h01’56” 01”
    3 191 Christian VANDEVELDE USA TSL 59h02’33” 38”
    4 115 Bernhard KOHL AUT GST 59h02’41” 46”
    5 131 Denis MENCHOV RUS RAB 59h02’52” 57”
    6 011 Carlos SASTRE ESP CSC 59h03’23” 1’28”
    7 041 Kim KIRCHEN LUX THR 59h03’51” 1’56”
    8 104 Vladimir EFIMKIN RUS ALM 59h04’27” 2’32”
    9 022 Mikel ASTARLOZA ESP EUS 59h05’46” 3’51”
    10 067 Vincenzo NIBALI ITA LIQ 59h06’13” 4’18”
  • Stage 14 results:
    1 133 FREIRE, Oscar ESP RAB
    2 186 DUQUE, Leonardo COL COF
    3 151 ZABEL, Erik GER MRM
    4 193 DEAN, Julian NZL TSL
    5 094 DE JONGH, Steven NED QST
    6 072 BALLAN, Alessandro ITA LAM
    7 026 PEREZ, Ruben ESP EUS
    8 145 PINEAU, Jérôme FRA BTL
    9 098 TOSATTO, Matteo ITA QST
    10 081 HUSHOVD, Thor NOR C.A

I just noticed that the markings on the rond point the riders just passed through – safely – has I-Ching markings…interesting…I’ll get back to this, later.

UPDATE on the earlier nasty crash involving Oscar Pereiro and Robbie Hunter: Oscar – broken shoulder and femur, he’s in hospital, otherwise okay; but out of the race. Best wishes to Oscar!

David Millar was also in that earlier rond point crash; looks like Robbie Hunter is on his bike.

So, we’re headed into Italian territory before tomorrow’s rest day.

Had to scan back through the route reports to see what happened on the HC climb: Danny Pate shoved a bunch of newspapers under his jersey for warmth on the descent. Y’know – I always wondered what that was all about!

Egoi Martinez – go Eqgoi! – took the HC points. Mark Renshaw abandoned, one less support man for Huschovd.

Martinez allowed another rider to take the next points on the Cat 3 climb. Let me double-check spelling for Arriete – Arrieta (AG2R) – how very gentlemanly of Egoi – go Egoi! Another example of why we love this sport!!

Will there be a change in the GC standings? Most likely another rider will be in yellow, making the 6th change this year. Am I speaking too soon? Are the commentators speaking too soon? Is Paul Sherwin ever wrong? haha!

CSC is making their move on the Cat 1 climb! The last of the stage – CSC wants to upset Cadel Evans with either Frank Schleck or Carlo Sastre – but, who would they be kidding. Wouldn’t Cadel already expect this?

Sprinters hate to climb.

My apologies if you’re refreshing your browser while I’m editing my commentary – my live feeds have been slow to recover from that first nasty crash around the rond point (everyone’s scrambling to figure out what happened to whom), and I’m trying to keep up with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, LOL!

Where in blazes is Team Columbia? C’mon guys!

I have to say, along with a million other fans I’m sure, that Garmin-Chipotle is certainly performing incredibly well in their first appearance in the Tour. Way to go, G-C (hey, I like that)!

Inside 10K to go and it’s finally getting fun!

Frank Schleck wants to shut down that 1 second lead of Cadel Evans.’ Meanwhile, Cadel is every vigilant; he doesn’t need to react right now, with 5K to go.

If you were Andy, would you sacrifice yourself for Frank?

Vandevelde is still hanging in; Kirchen is not having the best of days; Danny Pate is working hard.

Team CSC is on a mission!

Martinez surprised Danny Pate with an unexpected attack, but Pate is right after his wheel. Menchov went down! He’s back up, but the rain had just started – no fun on a hard uphill push!

Andy Schleck is doing his brother proud by pushing the lead group hard up the climb to the summit with 2k to go!

Cadel Evans is in trouble, but Menchov’s attack didn’t deter him.

Frank Schleck may be in a little trouble, sitting on Cadel’s wheel. Andy is wavering at the front of the lead group. Valverde is moving ahead.

1k to go and Danny Pate takes the lead!

Valverde has lost time, Andy has dropped back, Cadel Evans and Frank Schleck are battling for position.

I’m exhausted just watching!

Simon Gerrans takes the stage!

Gerolsteiner’s Bernhard Kohl pushes forward, trying to take the yellow jersey away!

Kohl crosses the line and Cadel must cross inside of 4’49” to keep the yellow!

Frank Schleck is in!

Results are still coming in, but this is what I have, so far:

Stage 15 results:
1 086 GERRANS, Simon AUS C.A
2 024 MARTINEZ, Egoi ESP EUS
3 199 PATE, Danny USA TSL
4 102 ARRIETA, Jose Luis ESP ALM
5 115 KOHL, Bernhard AUT GST
6 011 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC
7 031 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE
8 131 MENCHOV, Denis RUS RAB
9 017 SCHLECK, Frank LUX CSC
10 191 VANDEVELDE, Christian USA TSL

GC Standings after Stage 15:
1. SCHLECK Frank 17 TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 63h 57′ 21″
2. KOHL Bernhard 115 GEROLSTEINER 63h 57′ 28″ + 00′ 07″
3. EVANS Cadel 1 SILENCE – LOTTO 63h 57′ 29″ + 00′ 08″
4. MENCHOV Denis 131 RABOBANK 63h 57′ 59″ + 00′ 38″
5. VANDEVELDE Christian 191 GARMIN CHIPOTLE 63h 58′ 00″ + 00′ 39″
6. SASTRE Carlos 11 TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 63h 58′ 10″ + 00′ 49″
7. KIRCHEN Kim 41 TEAM COLUMBIA 64h 00′ 09″ + 02′ 48″
8. EFIMKIN Vladimir 104 AG2R-LA MONDIALE 64h 00′ 57″ + 03′ 36″
9. VALVERDE Alejandro 31 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 64h 01′ 32″ + 04′ 11″
10. SANCHEZ Samuel 27 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 64h 01′ 55″ + 04′ 34″
11. ASTARLOZA Mikel 22 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 64h 02′ 39″

Well, so there it is: the yellow jersey will change hands, perhaps to Cadel’s relief. Andy did his brother Frank proud. Danny Pate was vocally disappointed (but, word is he’s typically pessimistic, anyway). CSC will most likely keep pushing toward greatness in the Alps.

The monster climb is 3 days away.

Have a terrific weekend.

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