Results tagged “Agritubel” from spare cycles

letour.jpgCofidis' Dumoulin took the stage, Agritubel's Feillu the yellow jersey, and Garmin-Chipotle's Frishkorn some podium respect as a breakaway went from start to finish with over two minutes on the pack. Dumoulin attacked with a kilometer to go, Frishkorn followed, Feillu countered, and Dumoulin countered the counter. As a fan of Frishkorn's diaries on VeloNews, I hoped he could cross the line first instead of second, but any podium spot is spectacular. Frishkorn's face was a mixture of disappointment and joy after the race. You have to appreciate the excitement of Jonathan Vaughters, who posted this to Twitter during the race when it became clear the break would win:

Willy is going to make it!!! Now can he win??? Mass confusion behind, crashes, wind... Le Guerre!!! JV

Le Guerre indeed -- today was supposed to be the first proper sprint stage, but crashes and winds were thrown into the mix and changed everything. A crash as the peloton split around a median ended up splitting the peloton into three, sending white jersey Ricco and Menchov into the second group. Saunier Duval and Rabobank worked hard to bring their riders back, but Quick Step and Liquigas were busy putting the hammer down in the tailwind.

Robbie McEwen took the field sprint over Erik Zabel at 2:03 back. It was another half a minute to the Menchov/Ricco group and even longer to the peloton. The crash cost many riders, though none more than Jose Angel Gomez, who hit the deck with another big crash (see Flanders).

The chaos of a stage wouldn't be complete without protests. Christian Prudhomme was able to negotiate a hole in a large group of protesters blocking the road just in time for the breakaway to just scoot past. Bernard Hinault handled a protester on the podium less diplomatically, giving him a good shove off the stage.

Stage 10: Cambo-les-Bains - Pau

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Mercado takes a stage win over Dessel on a long break of attrition. What was originally a 13-man break became a battle between Mercado and Dessel as the two managed to drop the rest of the break going over the massive Col du Soudet. Five riders caught back on in the runup to the Col du Marie Blanc, but Mercado and Dessel dropped them once more and held onto the finish. As they approached the line, Dessel had already secured his new KOM and yellow jerseys, but he wanted it all -- overall, mountain, and stage. Mercado asked Dessel to let him have the win, Dessel said no, so Mercado decided to sit on Dessel's wheel in the final kilometers. Dessel still made it a go in the final sprint and was just barely beat to the line. The smartest move they made on the day was probably not allowing Landaluze to join their break. Landaluze managed to get within ten seconds of latching onto their break, but they pushed away from him and kept the spoils to themselves. Dessel is now the fifth rider to wear yellow this Tour in just ten stages, and I'm betting on that jersey passing to someone else's shoulders tomorrow. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Bennati took the field sprint just over Zabel for some more points in the green jersey competition. Bennati also made it into the break earlier in the day and took an intermediate sprint for more points.

The mountains are finally here, but this wasn't a stage designed to be decisive in the overall competition. The long run-in to the finish meant that none of the overall contenders were going to waste too much energy attacking, and tomorrow's very difficult stage means that everyone wants to save as much energy as possible. The result was a breakaway that the peloton barely gave chase to -- it held about a ten minute lead nearly the whole day that was only pulled back to seven-and-a-half minutes by day's end. T-Mobile set tempo most of the day but probably didn't want to given their seven-man status, and we may have seen some of the effect of the departure of the Tour boss, Lance Armstrong: there's no clear leader or favorite in the peloton anymore, so every team is doing its best to pretend that it doesn't have to do work, that it doesn't have a clear leader. Hopefully this will sort itself out tomorrow, or else the breakaways will have a huge advantage in the mountains.

Seventy-three riders made the selection in the main peloton, which doesn't whittle things down too much. Cunego and Levi had been dropped but reintegrated, as was Simoni, but Simoni had a flat tire to blame Zabriskie barely held on, but he's probably working for Sastre. The only real surprise was how bad Mayo did -- he's not really an overall favorite anymore, but now it's doubtful that he'll even do well in the mountain stages to come. Mayo was dropped early and finished with the likes of McEwen.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Sprinters win, Freire first, Zabel second, Hincapie third, Gonchar still in yellow * Actual: Minus the breakaway, I might have actually done quite well :). Zabel finished second in the field sprint behind Bennati, but with the breakaway this put Zabel in 9th place. Gonchar lost the yellow to Dessel. Freire made the first selection over to the Col du Soudet but got dropped on the Col du Marie Blanc.