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Archive for Kirchen

TDF – Stage 17: Awaken the Dragon, Part Deux

Voekler led the chase group, that included the Schleck brothers, Evans, Kohl et al, over the summit. The peoloton are nearing the summit and one has to wonder how much longer the CSC group will be able to control them.

Kohl looks positioned to keep the King of the Mountain title into Paris.

Cancellara is playing domestique for his mates, what a guy!

Velits leads the way toward Bourg-d’Oisans. There, the beast will be awakened. Meanwhile, my butt is getting sore from sitting here and waiting for something to happen. So far, it’s been pretty much the same story – CSC in control, a couple of guys who haven’t a chance in hell break loose, the chasers are all GC contenders, people drop like flies.

Are there any Dutch out there? The Alpe d’Huez has a Dutch parish priest, and a long association with the Dutch, and is known as the Dutch Mountain.

The yellow jersey group is chasing Pineau and Velits. They include Valverde, Vandevelde, Kohl, Menchov, Evans, Cancellara and Popo. The peloton is 1:49 minutes behind.

The lakeside peace of this lovely part of the Isere will soon give way to the mountain battle ahead. Who are you pulling for to wear the yellow jersey in Paris?

Speaking of awakening the beast – my readers are starting to wake up, too, haha!

CSC just passed the 20K to go banner and continue to lead the charge toward the beast.

The battle begins!

As expected, Velits hits the wall and Pineau pushes ahead on the steepest of the climbs on Alpe d’Huez. Cancellara falls off the front, Menchov and Sastre break away. Evans and Vandevelde hang in with the Schleck crew. Hang on to your seats, boys, it’s going to be a 21-hairpin-turn ride!

The Dragon has beaten Menchov! He’s falling behind by 30 bike lengths. Just don’t come out and say the entire CSC Team has been taken mystery drugs!!

Sastre turns up the heat. Evans and Kohl have taken turns at the lead. Andy is leading his brother, again. What brotherly love! Vandevelde moves ahead (can’t wait to see the enhanced re-broadcast with Paul Sherwin jumping up and down in the background).

Valverde attacks, to no avail. Vandevelde and Evans remain calm and strong. Will CSC crack under the pressure?

Menchov returns! Sastre is the virtual yellow…but, things change when the beast awakens, and the beast is wide awake!

hehe…CSC got to cheer Sastre under their bridge before Team CSC got there.

Unless he falls, Sastre will be the lead after today, and on the mountain. Sanchez followed by Andy Schleck complete the first three to the finish.

Valverde is in…followed by F. Schleck…

Stage results
1. SASTRE Carlos 11 TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 6h 07′ 58″
2. SANCHEZ Samuel 27 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 6h 10′ 01″ + 02′ 03″
3. SCHLECK Andy 16 TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 6h 10′ 01″ + 02′ 03″
4. VALVERDE Alejandro 31 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 6h 10′ 11″ + 02′ 13″
5. SCHLECK Frank 17 TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 6h 10′ 11″ + 02′ 13″
6. EFIMKIN Vladimir 104 AG2R-LA MONDIALE 6h 10′ 13″ + 02′ 15″
7. EVANS Cadel 1 SILENCE – LOTTO 6h 10′ 13″ + 02′ 15″
8. MENCHOV Denis 131 RABOBANK 6h 10′ 13″ + 02′ 15″
9. VANDEVELDE Christian 191 GARMIN CHIPOTLE 6h 10′ 13″ + 02′ 15″
10. KOHL Bernhard 115 GEROLSTEINER 6h 10′ 13″ + 02′ 15″

GC Standings
1 011 Carlos SASTRE ESP CSC 74h39’03” 00”
2 017 Frank SCHLECK LUX CSC 74h40’27” 1’24”
3 115 Bernhard KOHL AUT GST 74h40’36” 1’33”
4 001 Cadel EVANS AUS SIL 74h40’37” 1’34”
5 131 Denis MENCHOV RUS RAB 74h41’42” 2’39”
6 191 Christian VANDEVELDE USA TSL 74h43’44” 4’41”

Team CSC has kept the yellow jersey, even though it changes shoulders. Kirchen’s hopes are 8 minutes behind, Vandevelde needs to make up 4 minutes, while Evans is a minute behind.

The forthcoming Time Trial can’t make up for too much, disasters notwithstanding.

OK, my boss has been patient enough with me this morning; I need to get to work! Cya later, thanks for reading!

TDF – Stage 10: Shakeout in the mountains

Pau – Hautacam 156k

We’ve been waiting for this day, when the “real” contenders will be revealed after the first truly hard mountain battle to shake and wake up the competition. Caisse d’Espagne took the lead early, not so smart in my opinion, on a day that otherwise should be all about the French. It is, after all, Bastille Day, but the Pyrenees, well, they *are* the Pyrenees.

Big George Hincapie (why can’t Craig Hummer pronounce his name!) and former teammate Popovych slid behind at 55km. Valverde has been fading, but one never knows what he has up his sleeve, and Di Gregorio takes Tourmalet.

Who will take Hautacam – toss out all predictions, this has been a bumpy ride! Kirchen already seemed ready to let go of the yellow jersey, but he’s no slacker. Evans is riding amazingly well after his nasty crash and is headed for the summit with an impressive group that includes Vandevelde, Sastre and Ricco, leaving Kirchen now 2.5 mins behind. BUT – it looks as though Frank Schleck will take the yellow today!

Saunier Duval takes the summit with a Peipoli and Cobbo 1-2 punch. Evans takes the yellow by a single second!

Stage 10 results
1. Leonardo PIEPOLI
2. Juan Jose COBO ACEBO
3. Frank SCHLECK
4. Bernhard KOHL
5. Vladimir EFIMKIN

GC Standings
1 001 Cadel EVANS AUS SIL 42h29’09” 00”
2 017 Frank SCHLECK LUX CSC 42h29’10” 01”
3 191 C VANDEVELDE USA TSL 42h29’47” 38”
4 115 Bernhard KOHL AUT GST 42h29’55” 46”
5 131 Denis MENCHOV RUS RAB 42h30’06” 57”
6 011 Carlos SASTRE ESP CSC 42h30’37” 1’28”
7 041 Kim KIRCHEN LUX THR 42h31’05” 1’56”
8 173 Juan Jose COBO ESP SDV 42h31’19” 2’10”
9 171 Riccardo RICCO ITA SDV 42h31’38” 2’29”
10 104 Vlad EFIMKIN RUS ALM 42h31’41” 2’32”

TDF 2008 – Stage 4: Shumacher sets best time, takes GC lead

Time Trial: Cholet 29.5k

It’s a relatively quiet day at the office and I was anxiously watching my favorite live commentary, but got completely confused as to where Kim Kirchen finished up. So, here are the standings after Stage 4 Time Trials at Cholet:

General classification after stage 4
Pos. No. Name Nat. Team Time Gap (in secs)
1 111 SCHUMACHER, Stefan GER GST 14:04:41 :00
2 041 KIRCHEN, Kim LUX THR 14:04:53 :12
3 198 MILLAR, David GBR TSL 14:04:53 :12
4 001 EVANS, Cadel AUS SIL 14:05:02 :21
5 013 CANCELLARA, Fabian SUI CSC 14:05:14 :33
6 191 VANDEVELDE, Christian USA TSL 14:05:18 :37
7 047 HINCAPIE, George USA THR 14:05:22 :41
8 048 LÖVKVIST, Thomas SWE THR 14:05:28 :47
9 067 NIBALI, Vincenzo ITA LIQ 14:05:39 :58
10 035 GUTIERREZ, José Ivan ESP GCE 14:05:42 :01:01

Great results for both our USA teams just over the midpoint of week 1 of the Tour!

TDF 2008 – Stage 3: Feillu takes the maillot jaune for France

St. Malo – Nantes

I’m relegated to following live commentary today, so all I know is that the maillot jaune has passed to French cyclist, Feillu (AGR), and the stage won by Dumoulin (Cofidis), which should make their country proud and very happy. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the predictions for tomorrow’s time trial place Millar, Evans, Kirchen and Valverde at the top of the list of contenders to capture the golden fleece.

Can’t wait to watch the enhanced Versus broadcast tonight!

Sound off: Granted, Greg LeMond was the first American cyclist to win the Tour, and 3X; but, is he simply trying to re-establish his voice in Lance’s absence? Does anyone really care all that much? Is he a whiner, or what!?

TDF 2008 – Stage 2: Versus jersey changes hands

Auray – St. Brieuc

What I’m enjoying the most is that this Tour is not so predictable as in the past because the human variables have changed drastically as the organization embarks upon a “brand new start.” On a blustery, partially rainy day with a lovely start from Bernard Hinaut’s home town (what’s with that little silver plate presented to the legendary cyclist?), the mighty Thor stole the finish line from a potential Columbia win. Team Columbia, with Kirchen (place 2) and Ciolek(place 3), makes another good showing on their second day, leaving teammate Cavendish, one of today’s favorites to take the finish, out of the top 10. Perhaps Big George Hincapie’s unparalleled experience and wisdom is proving a powerful influence on this new team. As for Garmin-Chipotle, where the heck are they?

Overall, Valverde keeps a 1 second advantage and the mellow yellow. Kirchen takes the green jersey, hail Columbia! (And Craig Hummer takes the Versus commentator’s yellow jersey out of suspension and away from Paul Sherwin.) Whatever happened to Al Trautweig?

Sound off: What do you think about no Prologue and no time bonuses for the top 3 finishers in this year’s Tour? Do you think the French organizations are simply trying to stack the deck in their favor?