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Archive for tour de france 2008

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 17: Enter the Dragon d’Huez

Embrun – l’Alpe d’Huez 210.5K

A CAT 3 precedes 2 HC climbs before meeting the dragon l’Alpe d’Huez. I have a feeling that we’ll know who will win the yellow jersey in Paris after today. Team CSC has been a formidable force this year. Both Schleck brothers are in the top 20 GC to make their parents, and all of Luxembourg, proud. Christian Vandevelde and Big George Hincapie turned in good, yet disappointing performances, and Kim Kirchen hung in Stage 16.

Here’s the starting jersey lineup:
GC Standings
yellow 17 SCHLECK Frank TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 68h 30′ 16″
green 133 FREIRE Oscar RABOBANK 219 pts
red 115 KOHL Bernhard GEROLSTEINER 85 pts
white 16 SCHLECK Andy TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 68h 39′ 17″
team TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 205h 22′ 34″

Withdrawals
Stage 16
162 CHAVANEL Sébastien (FRA) FRANCAISE DES JEUX withdrawls
63 CHICCHI Francesco (ITA) LIQUIGAS outside time limit

Let’s roll!

An early start on the broadcast this morning found me still asleep, sorry! Got to bed late last night. But, here’s where our boys on wheels are now:

The Cat 3 and the Giant of the Alps, Gallibier, the third highest climb of the Tour, are done. Hoschovd is slipping behind; Kirchen had mechanical trouble, but is catching up now. Before I left my house this morning, Paul Sherwin wasn’t so sure that CSC’s strategy was the best for today. I’m sorry to have missed any shots of Briancon; I used to spend some time there, during my university days.

There are more doping rumors circulating, this time about Christophe Moreau, who had mysteriously withdrawn, and even about Schumacher! But, those rumors have apparently been quashed.

Schumacher is visibly angry with the breakaway group, and apparently had some words with the Euskatel rider on the descent from Telegraphe hill. Cadel Evans isn’t happy about the cameramen getting in his way.

The lead group, Schumacher, Velits and Ruben Perez have just gone through the feed zone. Their chase group is 1 min 7 secs behind, while the peloton is distanced by nearly 5:30 minutes.

Did you see Augustyn’s spectacular drop off the side of the mountain yesterday? I wonder who went after his bike! Good to have seen Augustyn make his way, with a bit of spectator’s help, back up to the road and walking about.

The lead group is approaches Croix de Fer – the Iron Cross (yikes), the second HC climb. Man, after Gallibier, I can’t imagine how sore those collective legs must feel…and the worst is yet to come!

Just in: Saunier Duval are ceasing operations immediately, fallout following the Ricco and Piepoli doping scandal.

Bernhard Eisel crashes at a rond point, the second for Columbia riders today! Adam Hansel was the earlier rider who crashed. Di Gregorio, who looked so promising earlier in the day, has fallen behind after being dropped on the last descent, and is being paced by his FDJ team car; but, he still chases the lead two by 3 minutes.

Magnus Backstedt is in one of the studios feeding live reports and commented that Croix de Fer is the hardest climb in the Tour. Yeh, we knew that, Magnus – the guys out on the side of that mountain know that (now, if they didn’t before). Tell us something new. Like: have you EVER finished a Tour de France?

The commentators are hoping Denis Menchov can pull off a stage win. We’ll see – he hasn’t had the best of luck going downhill! Schumi is in a foul mood, hehe.

Speaking of foul mood – I can’t stand these coffee withdrawals I’ve been having since trying to go off the brew! So, I’m going to cave in and make some. Also – I’m going to start a second section of this report when our boys on wheels are about to wake the Dragon. Right now, they’re about halfway up HC #2.

Velits hangs in with Schumi as Perez drops back by 1:25 minutes. Oscar Freire is behind the peloton, which is led by Cancellara. If you think the CSC pace hurts now, just wait! But, it’s been a bit much for Stuart O’Grady, and he dropped off the back of their pack.

39 miles to the finish, with the sleeping dragon in between. Velits has left Schumi behind with less than 7k yet to climb to the summit. I wonder what Hincapie and Valverde are thinking about the peloton…

Kirchen and Sastre are trailing the peloton.

One commentator remarked that there are spectators packing the road from out of nowhere, lol! The stragglers, including Cadel Evans, Kohl, Vandevelde, are perking up.

Velits takes the summit!

And I am going to start Part Deux of Enter the Dragon d’Huez.

TDF – Rest to Meet the Dragon

With the dragon mountain, L’Alpe d’Huez, just two days away, the riders need this rest day. Their rest would be like hard workouts to most of us…make that VERY hard workouts!

Current standings:
yellow 17 SCHLECK Frank TEAM CSC 63h 57′ 21″
green 133 FREIRE Oscar RABOBANK 219 pts
red 115 KOHL Bernhard GEROLSTEINER 85 pts
white 67 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS 64h 02′ 43″
team TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 191h 43′ 49″

All withdrawals to date:
NO LONGER RIDING
Stage 15
91 DEVOLDER Stijn (BEL) QUICK STEP withdrawls
89 RENSHAW Mark (AUS) CREDIT AGRICOLE withdrawls
43 CAVENDISH Mark (GBR) TEAM COLUMBIA non-starter
37 PEREIRO SIO Oscar (ESP) CAISSE D’EPARGNE withdrawls
Stage 14
126 JALABERT Nicolas (FRA) AGRITUBEL withdrawls
Stage 12
179 PIEPOLI Leonardo (ITA) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
177 JUFRE POU Josep (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
175 DEL NERO Jesus (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
174 DE LA FUENTE David (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
173 COBO ACEBO Juan Jose (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
172 BERTOGLIATI Rubens (SUI) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
171 RICCO Riccardo (ITA) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
55 COOKE Baden (AUS) BARLOWORLD withdrawls
Stage 11
59 LONGO BORGHINI Paolo (ITA) BARLOWORLD withdrawls
56 DUENAS NEVADO Moises (ESP) BARLOWORLD non-starter
53 CARDENAS Félix (COL) BARLOWORLD withdrawls
Stage 10
147 TROFIMOV Yury (RUS) BOUYGUES TELECOM withdrawls
Stage 8
62 BELTRAN Manuel (ESP) LIQUIGAS non-starter
Stage 7
192 BACKSTEDT Magnus (SWE) GARMIN CHIPOTLE outside time limit
166 JEGOU Lilian (FRA) FRANCAISE DES JEUX withdrawls
121 MOREAU Christophe (FRA) AGRITUBEL withdrawls
106 GADRET John (FRA) AG2R-LA MONDIALE withdrawls
95 FACCI Mauro (ITA) QUICK STEP withdrawls
Stage 6
178 PASSERON Aurélien (FRA) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT non-starter
Stage 5
51 SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio (COL) BARLOWORLD withdrawls
Stage 3
176 GOMEZ Angel (ESP) SAUNIER DUVAL – SCOTT withdrawls
Stage 1
184 DUCLOS-LASSALLE Hervé (FRA) COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE withdrawls

Good luck to the Cav on his upcoming Olympic performance, what a ride he had in this year’s Tour! Wishing the injured riders well and speedy recovery. As for those who continued to injure the sport – well, there’s one outfit that believes in second chances. However, it remains to be seen who would still be worth offering that option.

TDF – Post Stage 13 updates

Late updates:

Because I left the office early to take my hubby to lunch in celebration of his birthday, I got a chance to catch a televised re-broadcast of today’s Stage 13. It was, as described earlier, fairly uneventful until the final sprint through the city of Nimes. Rounding a left turn, a Gerolsteiner rider (if I’m not mistaking the jersey) managed to slice his bike in half when he got caught in the wrong spot over the turn post in the road – that cement traffic control structure with a metal post in the middle). The cyclist took a nasty fall, but was up and walking. His bike is toast, but he, fortunately, looked okay. I’m searching for a video that is actually available in my zone – aaaarghhh!

The title sponsor announced they will drop sponsorship of Saunier Duval.

TDF – Stage 13: Another Big Sprint Opportunity

Narbonne – Nimes 182k

The riders have traversed one of the most heavily Roman occupied regions in history, evident by the massive fortifications, aqueducts and temples dotting the area. Trivia: the word “denim” comes from the name of the town Nimes. Just thought I’d toss in a bit of something different today.

As the riders travel parallel to the lovely Mediterranean Sea, one of my personal favorite locations, on another hot summer’s day, I’d like to start you off with a quote from another blogger:

“Just wanted to say, having watched the replays and highlights of yesterday, what a relief it is to only have one rider wearing yellow. I know that’s not the issue, but SDV’s yellow jerseys have been annoying me for ages. Can you ask them to sort that out, while they’re sorting out next year’s riders” Peter Gosselin

By the way – for my readers – you do know that I’m editing these entries as the races progress, don’t you? So, you’re getting live commentary as fast as I get the news and can type (barring interruptions from people like my boss, lol!). Just keep refreshing the page every few minutes!

The riders are at around 53k into the race and approaching their first climb of the day, a Cat 4 at Resclauze.

Two riders, Florent Brard (Cofidis) and Niki Terptsra (Milram) lead the peloton by 6.52 minutes; the peloton doesn’t seem very anxious to chase them down, just yet. They’re about to descend Resclauze.

What say we look to Cavendish for another spectacular sprint today?

Sebastien Lang, wearing the polka dot jersey, took the final point over the summit and the peloton is slightly over 7 mins behind. Anyone want to tell the guys out front that the peloton is happy to let them wear themselves out?

Seriously, folks, the most excitement among the Tour bloggers this morning is the celebrity look-alike “contest” – Cadel Evan’s spooky grin makes him look like Jim Carey’s Grinch; Andy Schleck looks like…well, Frank Schleck; Patani resembles Dumbo. The list is growing and rather hysterical. I’ll save you the pain, though.

By now, the riders have conquered their second Cat 4 of the day and enjoying a nice, easy descent to the flats with about 69k to go. Correction: 65k

Cavendish takes another stage!

McEwen, Feillu, Haussler follow.

Stage results
1 043 CAVENDISH, Mark GBR THR
2 006 MC EWEN, Robbie AUS SIL
3 124 FEILLU, Romain FRA AGR
4 114 HAUSSLER, Heinrich GER GST
5 133 FREIRE, Oscar ESP RAB
6 081 HUSHOVD, Thor NOR C.A
7 186 DUQUE, Leonardo COL COF
8 151 ZABEL, Erik GER MRM
9 193 DEAN, Julian NZL TSL
10 162 CHAVANEL, Sébastien FRA FDJ

GC standings
1 001 Cadel EVANS AUS SIL 54h48’47” 00”
2 017 Frank SCHLECK LUX CSC 54h48’48” 01”
3 191 Christian VANDEVELDE USA TSL 54h49’25” 38”
4 115 Bernhard KOHL AUT GST 54h49’33” 46”
5 131 Denis MENCHOV RUS RAB 54h49’44” 57”
6 011 Carlos SASTRE ESP CSC 54h50’15” 1’28”
7 041 Kim KIRCHEN LUX THR 54h50’43” 1’56”
8 104 Vladimir EFIMKIN RUS ALM 54h51’19” 2’32”
9 022 Mikel ASTARLOZA ESP EUS 54h52’38” 3’51”
10 067 Vincenzo NIBALI ITA LIQ 54h53’05” 4’18”

The Cav-man is on a roll, literally! I cannot believe he actually outpaced Robbie McEwen, the one who has been known to rocket out of nowhere. We are really seeing a changing of the guard in this Tour. woo-hoo!

I’ll be back sometime tomorrow (have a short 3-mile group run to kickoff a new training season). The boys on wheels will be back tomorrow as they head into the Alps. Two Cat 4 climbs on the second half of the route, the last being within the final 10k, should provide another shakeout in the GC and see the sprinters begin to drop off.

Have a good afternoon!

TDF – Saunier Made Paul Sherwin Mad

All the chatter today has been about Ricco’s arrest for EPO and Saunier Duval abandoning the race. Paul Sherwin said he was not only disappointed, he was mad about all this news. Well, there are casualties in every war, and this is a war in the cycling world.

Well, let’s give you some positive thoughts to close your evening with:

Mark Cavendish is the first Briton to win 3 stages in the same Tour. Go, Mark (he’s not tired enough, yet)! Go, Columbia!

Jersey standings:
yellow 1 EVANS Cadel SILENCE – LOTTO 50h 23′ 05″
green 133 FREIRE Oscar RABOBANK 162 pts
red 117 LANG Sebastian GEROLSTEINER 58 pts
white 67 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS 50h 27′ 23″
team TEAM CSC 151h 01′ 25″

TDF – Stage 12: They Fall Away

Lavelanet – Narbonne 168.5k

Already another withdrawal from the race as rising star Ricco tested positive and abandons Saunier Duval. Barloworld’s woes continue as Baden Cooke was involved in a very bad crash and Duenas Nevado is dismissed.

Here’s what happens with the jerseys: the white jersey goes Vincenzo Nibali, the polka dot jersey goes to Sebastien Lang. The GC lineup changes as Mikel Astarloza moves up into the top-ten.

The question of the day: why are Liquigas and Barloworld still there? Maybe this should be called the “Cleaning House Tour.”

Feed zone tidbit: Garmin-Chipotle was giving away chipotle burritos by their team car. Have you ever been to a Chipotle restaurant? You have to like the chile, and the cafeteria-like format, but it’s not all that bad! Better than doping!

Speaking of eating, forgive me while I take a short break to enjoy my dark berry protein smoothie made fresh this morning. 🙂

I was wondering last night (uh-oh, that can be dangerous!): is there a minimum number of riders a team must have to complete the Tour?

Well, back to the race: Gerard (Cofidis) and Dumoulin (FDJ) have been the breakaway leaders for some time. But, they still have around 60k to go.

I’ve been reading comments on other live blogs from all over the free world of people threatening to boycott the Tour. I’m sorry to say that the airwaves are occupied by commentaries of a negative nature, all spurred by the ongoing revelations of more doping, and serious disappointment in Ricco. Yep, what was he thinking?!

They’re now in the last 24K and the sprinters will break loose very soon. The peloton is already repositioning itself for them. Liquigas must try to save face (what’s that sulfuric smell?) and have moved to the front.

I hate to say that it has been more fun listening to a couple of good ol’ boys around my office talking Texas politics than reading live comments about Tour politics, lol!

10k, 10 seconds gap…Stuart O’Grady finally makes an appearance! The peloton has passed all three of the breakaway leaders.

The Cav-man does it again and takes the stage!

Stage results
1 043 CAVENDISH, Mark GBR THR
2 162 CHAVANEL, Sébastien FRA FDJ
3 097 STEEGMANS, Gert BEL QST
4 151 ZABEL, Erik GER MRM
5 133 FREIRE, Oscar ESP RAB
6 063 CHICCHI, Francesco ITA LIQ
7 081 HUSHOVD, Thor NOR C.A
8 186 DUQUE, Leonardo COL COF
9 193 DEAN, Julian NZL TSL
10 114 HAUSSLER, Heinrich GER GST

GC standings
1 001 Cadel EVANS AUS SIL 50h23’05” 00”
2 017 Frank SCHLECK LUX CSC 50h23’06” 01”
3 191 Christian VANDEVELDE USA TSL 50h23’43” 38”
4 115 Bernhard KOHL AUT GST 50h23’51” 46”
5 131 Denis MENCHOV RUS RAB 50h24’02” 57”
6 011 Carlos SASTRE ESP CSC 50h24’33” 1’28”
7 041 Kim KIRCHEN LUX THR 50h25’01” 1’56”
8 104 Vladimir EFIMKIN RUS ALM 50h25’37” 2’32”
9 022 Mikel ASTARLOZA ESP EUS 50h26’56” 3’51”
10 067 Vincenzo NIBALI ITA LIQ 50h27’23” 4’18”

Team standings
1 CSC TEAM CSC SAXO BANK 151h01’25” 00”
2 ALM AG2R-LA MONDIALE 151h06’14” 4’49”
3 GST GEROLSTEINER 151h16’48” 15’23”
4 RAB RABOBANK 151h20’11” 18’46”
5 LAM LAMPRE 151h31’28” 30’03”
6 GCE CAISSE DEPARGNE 151h34’10” 32’45”
7 EUS EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 151h37’10” 35’45”
8 C.A CREDIT AGRICOLE 151h43’14” 41’49”
9 SIL SILENCE – LOTTO 151h44’31” 43’06”
10 LIQ LIQUIGAS 151h45’29” 44’04”
11 THR TEAM COLUMBIA 151h48’55” 47’30”
12 FDJ FRANCAISE DES JEUX 151h50’42” 49’17”
13 COF COFIDIS 151h59’59” 58’34”
14 BAR BARLOWORLD 152h05’39” 1h04’14”
15 TSL GARMIN CHIPOTLE 152h08’49” 1h07’24”
16 QST QUICK STEP 152h14’55” 1h13’30”
17 BTL BOUYGUES TELECOM 152h16’49” 1h15’24”
18 MRM TEAM MILRAM 152h20’58” 1h19’33”
19 AGR AGRITUBEL 152h59’21” 1h57’56”