Results tagged “Gap” from spare cycles

Stage 15: Gap - L'Alpe-d'Huez

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Frank Schleck won the day and Landis probably won the Tour. Scheck's victory was earned by the hard work of his CSC team. CSC put three riders into a 24-man break and Zabriskie and Voigt pushed that break through rain and shine until it was whittled down to a select group at the base of Alpe d'Huez. Lampre also did a bit of work in that break and both Schleck and Cunego were launched on the final climb. Schleck and Cunego rode up together most of the way, but with 3k to go, Schleck attacked and put in the gap he needed to win, having enough time to zip up his jersey at the end. It's Schleck's first Tour de France and first Tour victory.

Landis finished in fourth and it looks like in all certainty he'll be wearing this yellow jersey in Paris. He took his yellow jersey back from Pereiro, who fought hard but lost out by 10 seconds. Landis never showed a second's weakness while all of his GC competitors did. Menchov couldn't hold Landis' wheel, not even with Rasmussen somehow bridging up to Menchov to help out. Evans couldn't hold on either and Sastre made a good effort, but was dropped further up the climb. Kloden was the only GC contender that stayed with Landis the whole way, but even when his T-Mobile teammate Mazzolini dropped back from the break, Kloden could never get a gap.

The breakway was a big factor in the finish as riders in the break dropped back on the Alpe d'Huez to help out their GC hopefuls. Voigt was first, putting in a big effort for Sastre not long after helping to launch Schleck -- Voigt may have done the biggest effort on the day. Merckx was next, as Landis jumped onto his wheel and shouted for him to go. Merckx was a caught a bit by surprise, but quickly jumped to the front and handed over a bottle. Mazzolini was last, coming back to pace Kloden.

The big abandon on the day was Tom Boonen, who leaves with some yellow jerseys but no stage win or green jerseys. Most would be happy with that sort of haul, but the Belgian press is probably letting him have it today.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Azevedo * Actual: Azevedo, where did you finish? Somewhere way back (7+ minutes)

Stage 14: Montelimar - Gap

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JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images

JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images

Fredrigo takes it as the long breakaway on the day was able to hold off a charging chase group of 32 ridres over the final climb and down into the finish. The French fans have to be happy: three stage wins so far this Tour. Fredrigo and Commesso were the only surviving riders of a six-man break that was hit hard by a crash earlier in the stage. Verbrugghe had trouble holding the line for the break through a gravel-strewn turn; Verbrugghe went over the guard rail, cutting himself badly and possibly breaking his leg, while, a couple riders behind, Canada lost control of his front wheel and went sliding and broke his collarbone. The most spectacular part of the crash came from Kessler, riding in back, who did his best to get around a crashing Canada and ended up flipping himself and his bike over the guard rail as well. Kessler amazingly got back on the bike, even with large bits of rock stuck in his helmet. With their riders reduced by half, the break still continued to hold off the peloton being led by Liquigas and Milram, and even as the break dropped Aerts on the final climb of the day, there simply wasn't enough concerted chase to bring them back.

Discovery made a go for the stage win near the end, with Popovych and Azevedo trying to help bridge a group of riders containing George Hincapie up to the lead break. There were attacks within that chase group that Discovery had trouble containing and ended up killing the chase of the lead. CSC's Christian Vandevelde tried to bridge it alone, but he was a couple seconds too short to catch Commesso and Fredrigo. Rabobank also made a go for the win. Boogerd initially appeared to be leading out Rasmussen for some KOM points, but Rasmussen wasn't on full form so Boogerd shifted into attack mode for the win, but wasn't able to get enough of a gap.

Phonak got what they wanted out of the yellow jersey giveaway. Caisse controlled the pace, and even they got a break as the sprint teams seemed a bit more interested in trying to bring back the break for a stage win, knowing that the Alps lie ahead.

Abandons: Simoni, Backstedt

Prediction check: * My prediction: Discovery didn't make any moves yesterday, tomorrow is a rest day, and Hincapie is far enough down that he could be in a break without Phonak or Caisse-I.B. caring -- Hincapie in a breakaway. * Actual: Discovery made a go for it, with Popovych and Azevedo trying to pull back the breakaway for Hincapie, but there was too much chaos in the chase and they ended up a few seconds too short.

Tour de France Stage 10: Gap-Marseilles

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stage profile

Not much to report on this light day. Piil had a good sprint with Sacchi at the end, and some protesters slowed down the peloton a bit, but everyone was pretty much resting their legs for the alps going into the off day.

stage profile

photoVinokourov gets his first tour win but the real news from this stage was the crash. On the final descent Armstrong, Beloki, and others were bombing down in pursuit of Vinokourov, who was less than a minute ahead. The heat had actually melted the tar on the road and as Beloki headed into a minor right turn his tire blew out. His bike slid and Beloki hi-sided in the concrete hard right on his hip and right elbow. Armstrong, who was right on Beloki's wheel, dodged left into an open field, crossed to the other side of the switchback, swiftly dismounted and jumped down a drop-off, and then remounted to join the pursuit group. Armstrong's instincts were amazing to watch. It just goes to show that anything can happen to anyone, even a rider as good as Beloki. (video)

The other stories of the day were:

  • Jaksche attacking to get the virtual yellow before being pulled back (Jaksche got the most combative award)
  • the last category 2 climb stringing out the peloton with its steepness
  • David Millar launching attack but being caught then dropped by the peloton

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