Results tagged “Phonak” from spare cycles

So it ends for Phonak

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I'm hardly a Phonak fan, but I'm sad to see them go:

Andy Rihs Disbands Phonak Cycling Team

Two American hopes -- Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis -- have risen then crashed through the Phonak team, so perhaps it's best that Phonak go the way of many cycling teams and disband, but for the riders who only recently were celebrating a Tour de France win and two-year extensions on their contracts, it is another terrible blow.

Speculate no more, B-sample confirms

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As anticipated, the B sample results arrived today and confirmed the original A sample rumored results: exogenous testosterone and an 11:1 T/E ratio. Landis has now been fired from the Phonak team, and if previous cases are our guide, this will take quite awhile to reseolve itself.

Landis' Web site has been taken out again by traffic, but yesterday he had posted a personal message titled, "Keep the Faith," that pointed out that the A sample results showed "the T value returned has been determined to be in the normal range. The E value returned was LOW." Landis does not yet have a defense for the exogenous testosterone results, but he is going out on the attack against the UCI for their leaks.

Landis B sample result announced

Looking a bit worse for Landis

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It's all rumor mill still, as Landis has not yet divulged what his A-sample results were, but L'Equipe reported over the weekend that Landis' A sample showed signs of exogenous testosterone -- exogenous testosterone is derived from plants and looks different in a mass spectrometry test. Previous media attention and rumors focused on the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio -- speculating it to be 11:1 -- and Landis' current defense is focused on showing this ratio to be natural, but if it is true that Landis' sample showed exogenous testosterone, Landis might as well start serving his suspension ASAP.

This is all to fill the gap until we hear back on the B sample, but it seems that everyone is expecting the B sample to be the same.

Contract news

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Landis got a one-year contract extension and the rest of the team got two-year extensions. I'm not sure what the difference means for Landis' future, but at the very least we know that the iShares logo will move from his butt to his chest as iShares takes over lead sponsorship.

Discovery will announce a major signing tomorrow. Well, we know it's not Landis. Update: It's Levi! (paceline registration req'd for link. via)

Trouble is brewing at T-Mobile, as if there weren't enough trouble for the team that fired its former leader by fax. The speculation is that general manager Ludwig and team manager Kummer will be shown the door for their inability to use cycling tactics, among other things.

Gonchar wins the stage, but Landis won what mattered. Floyd Landis will become the third American to win the Tour de France. America will be lucky enough to see the eighth straight year of Tour victories. It's a comeback that surpasses Lemond's. While Lemond also won a yellow jersey with an unexpected -- fastest ever -- time trial victory, Lemond didn't lose 10 minutes to fall from 1st to 11th, outrace the entire peloton the next day to claw his way back into third, and then race into first on the final time trial.

As unwanted as Landis' collapse was for him, the comeback got him a stage victory he probably never would have had and mucho 'panache' credit. What would have been a conservative, well-defended, but ultimately doping-overshadowed victory instead has become the most memorable Tour of this century.

There were other battles on the road today. Cunego put in an unexpectedly great time trial to defend the white jersey, Kloden clawed his way onto the podium while passing Evans on the road, Pereiro put in a strong 4th place finish to earn respect for his podium spot, and Sastre fell off the podium as he couldn't change the fact that he is a climber.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Zabriskie (though it will probably be Landis) * Actual: Gonchar, in a repeat of the first time trial, with Landis second and Zabriskie three minutes behind

Best. Ride. Ever.

AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati

AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati

Floyd Landis at a dinner full of carbs and panache last night and hit the peloton hard out of the gates -- the Tour is his to win once more. What do you do when your team is weak and you lost ten minutes yesterday? You burn them up at the start of the race to jump free from the pack then ride solo across the entire stage, watching as the top ten contenders can't figure out what to do about it. With water bottle in hand, constantly pouring water over his head and back, Landis delivered the ride of the century, winning the stage, 5:42 ahead of Sastre, 7:08 ahead of Pereiro, jumping back on the podium, and positioning himself one time trial away from victory in Paris. Landis' quote at the end of the race talking to his wife, "I wanted six."

As Landis built up a lead of over nine minutes, the top ten continued to let Caisse do all the work, even as their team whittled down to only one rider in front of Oscar Pereiro. CSC and T-Mobile finally sent their riders to the front on the penultimate climb to do some serious chasing, but they still gave Landis 6:32 at the start of the final Joux Plane climb. Voigt and Vandevelde pulled off the CSC train and Schleck pulled through to launch Sastre. From there, it was absolute chaos as Sastre raced ahead, pulling back time on Landis, while Menchov, Kloden, Pereiro, and Evans yo-yo'd back and forth further back. Moreau and Cunego managed to jump ahead, but everyone else eventually fell behind Pereiro's wheel as the yellow jersey fought hard to stay in yellow.

This is the GC after today's stage. The Stage 19 time trial will be one for the ages: 1. Oscar Pereiro Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 80:08:49 2. Carlos Sastre Team CSC 0:11 3. Floyd Landis Phonak 0:31 4. Andreas Kl�den T-Mobile 2:29 5. Cadel Evans Davitamon-Lotto 3:08 6. Denis Menchov Rabobank 4:14


* VeloNews Stage 17 summary * Cycling News Stage 17 summary * Graham Watson Stage 17 photo gallery * Bob Martin's Stage 17 by the numbers * Floyd Landis Stage 17 interview * Dave Zabriskie Stage 17 diary

Prediction check: * My prediction: It's going to be hard for a non-GC contender to win given the GC battle that will occur today. This is Discovery's last chance to go for a stage win so they'll be in a break up front. Landis needs to recover and claw back some of those ten minutes he lost. Sastre will jump but Kl�den's charge will be hard to hold off. I'm going to say Landis if he can descend that final peak like he stole something. * Actual: all of that happened, except Kloden's charge wasn't hard to hold off, and I never thought that Landis would get over seven minutes on the yellow jersey. Striking distance of the podium? Perhaps. On the podium, wow.

Stage 13: Beziers - Montelimar

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FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Voigt! Whenever there's a break, you're likely to see Voigt, and today Voigt finally found the one that worked for him. He and Oscar Pereiro whittled the break down until it was just them. Voigt then went with 800m to go; Pereiro pulled it back. They sat and talked a bit, and then Voigt went again and was able to hold off Pereiro.

It was an ideal situation for a break, as Phonak was completely uninterested in chasing as were the sprint teams. It seems that everyone in the peloton is still too tired and will do some pessimal pacing with Alpe d'Huez and the rest of the Alps on their minds. The weather has been hot, the stages have been long, and the rest day isn't until Monday.

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty ImagesThe big news is a transfer of yellow jersey to Oscar Pereiro. I don't know what the Vegas line was on Pereiro moving into the yellow jersey from 28 minutes back -- heck, the odds of a break getting a half an hour on the field was probably pretty slim. The appears to have been Landis' tactic, as he's been hinting at his desire to hand over the yellow jersey temporarily in order to take some pressure off of his team. Landis didn't want to use up his team before the Alps, especially since they were barely there for the Pyrenees. But Oscar Pereiro moving into yellow on a Stage 13 break? I don't think I saw that in anyone's predictions. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

The mountains return tomorrow. Oscar Pereiro will be handing over that yellow jersey again soon -- we're getting close to breaking the record for most yellow jersey changes. Pereiro can climb, but I can't see him defending well after riding in a break like that. Other riders that are way down should take note -- the peloton and leaders are going to allow long breaks (Hincapie, you there?).

Prediction check: * My prediction: A breakaway. Hincapie from the dartboard. McEwen wins the bunch sprint. * Actual: A breakaway (not Hincapie), McEwen wins the bunch sprint.

Stage 12: Luchon - Carcassonne

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One, two, three, four times the charm -- Popovych attacked four times from the break. Four times Ballan and Freire gave chase, but Popovych had too much power. Discovery may have lost two riders today -- Savoldelli and Noval -- but today they looked a bit more like the team they were expected to be as they finally have a rider in the top ten again. The strategy for Discovery seemed fairly clear -- send their 'GC' riders into the breaks and hope for a win. Hincapie was in the first, Popovych covered the next and was rewarded with a stage win and 4:25 in the overall, which netted him tenth place by two seconds.

Freire had a decent day as well, as the intermediate sprint and third place got him 26 points while McEwen only got 15.

It was a long hot day, 99 degrees with a road temp of 122. The stage was long, windy, and just after yesterday's queen stage. The riders were tired, Phonak didn't want to spend too much energy chasing on a day like this, and the sprinters are still recovering from yesterday's climbs. In otherwords, this was a day for a break, and Discovery played it well.

Prediction check: * A breakaway, probably someone French. I jokingly guessed Horner * Actual: The break succeeded, but Horner finished in 150, 2 minutes behind the peloton, clearly still suffering

Post Stage 11 Analysis

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Some times you need pre-race plan, sometimes you don't. Discovery, already on the ropes from a poor time trial showing, probably came in with a race plan, but they disintegrated well before execution. T-Mobile, vaulted into the top of everyone's mind after a strong time trial performance, came in with a plan and over executed: they went so hard on the penultimate climb that they couldn't hold onto their own pace -- a mistake they made last year as well. Gerolsteiner, which had all the pieces for a plan -- three riders in the lead on the penultimate climb -- no longer had a leader to call the plan into play. Rabobank, which seemed more concerned with helping Rasmussen pick up third-place KOM points, suddenly came together on the penultimate climb and decided, hey, our leader Menchov is strong, let's give it a go.

Boogerd and Rasmussen were the uber domestiques, the true stage winners on the day. Rasmussen, previously criticized for being too selfish, sacrificed himself pulling Menchov and the rest of the lead pack to the final Pla da Beret climb. Granted, he did get beat by Voeckler going for some KOM points, so Rasmussen may not have had full chicken-leg power today, but he had more than enough power to give over the Menchov. Boogerd then put in the super effort on the Pla da Beret, an effort that reminded me of Landis' super pulls for Armstrong. Boogerd created the final selection, and then was able to finish in a descent position himself... all of this after helping lead out Rasmussen for his KOM points earlier in the day.

Menchov did his job as leader -- he took the setup, and then delivered the final punch. Landis was stronger, but Menchov was the better sprinter, and Levi just couldn't time it right. In a game of what-if, Levi might have been in the same position had he not had a disasterous time trial. Menchov had two teammates going over the penultimate climb, but so did Levi: Totschnig and Fothen. Instead of riding for Levi, though, Totschnig seemed to be protecting their rider in the best young rider jersey, guiding him along. Levi was no longer in a position to ask for a sadistic effort from them, and he essentially rode alone.

Landis also rode alone, but it didn't matter. He had delivered in the time trial, all he needed to do today was defend and pad. He had no riders to send to the front to set the tempo, so he sat on the T-Mobile train instead. When the T-Mobile train ran out of gas, he sat on the Rabobank train. And when the Rabobank train was just Menchov, Landis lead the train himself.

The race is far from over, as the five-minute gaps that were made today could easily become five-minute deficits in the Alps, but no rider has looked nearly as strong as Landis. As predicted, Landis' team is nowhere to be found, but it's going to take a lot more than an imploding Discovery and an exploding T-Mobile to take him down. Cadel Evans' Lotto seems to have no riders to throw at Landis in the mountains, as Chris Horner went backwards today, and CSC only has six riders left, though the Sastre/Schleck combination could definitely net a stage win. Rabobank could enact a plan -- they didn't have one before, but perhaps they'll have one now. Denis Menchov looks to have his podium spot sealed up, they just have to fight for the top seat.

Well, a day with five hard climbs will sort out the standings, won't it? Menchov takes the stage win on a day that Rabobank controlled the end, but it's Floyd Landis that takes the yellow jersey. Menchov and Landis are the clear leaders now; Kloden, Evans, and Sastre are close, but they will have to look towards the Alps to prove themselves better than they were today. If Landis continues to ride the way he did today, without any teammates to really help him, then he should be in yellow in Paris. It won't be an easy defense as Menchov's Rabobank showed themselves to be a strong mountain threat. T-Mobile hasn't given up yet either, though all their bets are riding on Kloden now. One team that won't give Landis any trouble is Discovery. I picked them as the strongest team going into this Tour, and let me say I couldn't have been more entirely wrong. They haven't controlled a second of this race and certainly weren't ready for today's attacks.

Leipheimer hung in there with Landis and Menchov, hoping that his loss of contender status would allow him to escape for the win, but Menchov kept nailing back his attacks. It didn't seem like it was going to be a Rabobank day: T-Mobile did the initial damage on the penultimate Col du Portilon climb, dropping all of Discovery except Azevedo as well as Caisse rider Vladimir Karpets; however, T-Mobile did the most damage to itself, knocking all of their highly placed riders out of contention, except Kloden, who they pushed into cramping. Rabobank seemed more concerned with helping Rasmussen get some KOM points, as Boogerd led out Rasmussen twice to collect points. On the lead-in to the final climb, though, Rasmussen moved to the front of the surviving 18 riders and set a pace that kept the peloton from closing down the gap. Then on the final climb it was Boogerd who shattered the rest of the group, shedding Azevedo, Fothen, Parra, Schleck, Simoni, Moreau, and Zubeldia. With a final push he popped off Kloden.

Menchov, Landis, Leipheimer, Evans, and Sastre were the only riders to survive Boogerd's final acceleration. Leipheimer made several attacks, but wasn't going to be allowed to get the win by Menchov. Landis did the majority of the work, with Menchov and Evans doing a bit of pacing as well. An attack by Levi and counterattacks by Menchov and Landis were enough to drop Sastre and Evans. Menchov timed his final sprint perfectly, coming around the final corner ahead and holding off Levi and Landis. From there it was a race to see if Dessel could pull a Voeckler and stay in the yellow jersey. Dessel needed to limit the time gap to about four and a half minutes, but was eight seconds too slow in the end -- the difference was Landis' twelve-second time bonus.

David de la Fuente deserves a big mention as he and Fabian Wegmann duked it out for KOM points early in the day. de la Fuente won that battle and was able to stay away until the final climb.

Prediction check:

  • Prediction: First I picked Sastre and then swapped for Rasmussen, with Floyd in yellow.
  • Actual: Rasmussen was nowhere close as he sacrificed himself for Menchov, who took the stage win. Sastre got dropped near the very top and came in fifth.

Stage 16: Mourenx - Pau

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arm pereiro finish

(AP Photo/Ena/Edme/Trovati)

Pereiro loudly complained about Hincapie's victory yesterday -- Hincapie had sat on Pereiro's wheel on the final climb and came around at the end to take the victory. That was uphill, where drafting doesn't matter as much.

Today, Pereiro and two other riders sat on Evans wheel on a flat stage sprint, letting Evans pull for the final 5k or so. In the final sprint Pereiro jumped around Evans' wheel and took the stage victory. Evans did all the work because he wanted to jump into the top ten in the overall standings, so he had no time to lose time and play games.

This is not to say Pereiro didn't deserve to win today -- he more than earned this finish after riding himself into the "Most Aggressive Rider" designation and doing his work for teammates Botero and Landis. He also nearly soloed his way to victory on this stage but was stopped short by a rock in his wheel that forced him to wait for repairs. Perhaps he should be more careful, though, about what he chooses to complain about, lest people like me make these snarky comparisons.

Despite not getting the stage victory, it was a big day for Evans who climbed all the way into seventh place, with Landis and Vino right behind him. It should make for a good time trial performance by all three. The Tour from here on out is about the sprinters green jersey competition and a time trial to determine who places in the Top Ten, or rather, in 2nd-10th place, as everyone has long conceded that Armstrong is The Boss. Rasmussen is probably in the toughest spot right now: he's riding in a podium position right now (3rd), but sitting in 4th place in Jan Ullrich who can tear the cranks off his bike when it comes to the time trial. Rasmussen has already accomplished all of his goals for this Tour -- King of the Mountains and a stage win -- but those suprise accomplishments are always welcome.

Stage profile and my stage log in the extended.