Results tagged “Robbie McEwen” from spare cycles

Amazingly, Vaitkus is the only rider not to start (shattered thumb). Everyone else is "sore" (quotes from cyclingnews live report):

  • Thor: "Thor fell heavily on his right side and has damaged his sciatic nerve. He has pain but he's a tough rider who will still be our protected man again today." A thousand PMU green hands couldn't take Thor out.
  • Hincapie: Sore knee
  • Bennati: Sore hip but will start. "We have decided that it’s best for him to take it easy today and instead of working for Daniele - the team’s objective is to protect Danilo Napolitano instead."
  • Fast Freddie: Sore collarbone. See also: Fast Freddie saved by Ti?](http://www.velonews.com/tour2007/news/articles/12658.0.html)
  • Cancellara: Sore wrist, but still strong enough to grab the stuffed lion and hoist the flowers. Vande Velde diary: "The Swiss bear was down but not out, he came back to dinner, loud as ever, turning on Shakira full blast during dinner. And to make it worse, he tries to sing along."
  • Cavendish: Sore left knee
  • McEwen: Stiff knee and back from Stage 1
  • Quinziato: Multiple contusions
  • Forster: Cut to left elbow. "Tonight it starts to hurt," he wrote, "I am all taped up and bathed in ice." (source)
  • Schleck: Sore elbow -- he's been riding near the back of the peloton, chatting away

An amazing sprint by Robbie McEwen for the win. McEwen had got caught up in a crash with 20km to go and had to spend the next 15km chasing back with the help of his teammates. McEwen was nowhere to be seen as Quick Step lead the peloton towards the last mile. Milram took over the sprint from Quick Step and had two riders to leadout Zabel. Boonen glued himself to Zabel's wheel, but they quickly found their leadout swamped as Robbie Hunter stirred things up. Hunter jumped early to the right with Discovery's Vaitkus just behind. Hunter ran out of gas and sat up just as McEwen accelerated out of nowhere around the outside of the pack and shot past ten+ riders. Boonen tried to catch McEwen's wheel but McEwen was accelerating too fast -- McEwen by at least a bike length (Steephill.tv video stills). Hushovd was able to jump off Boonen's wheel to take second.

McEwen fans will worry that this is his last of this year's Tour as McEwen's wrist is questionable: "When it happens you're not really thinking too much about it, you get back on your bike, you don't feel anything..But now I'm starting to feel the pain, in my hand, my wrist and my knee. It was a great day for me, but now I'm starting to get a bit worried for the rest of the Tour."

Today's race started across the famous London Tower Bridge. The early story was all about David Millar, who wanted to put on a show while the race was still on his soil. He helped launched an early break and then managed to drop the rest of the riders. He was eventually chased down by four riders from that break: Auge (Cofidis), Kuschynski (Liquigas), Grivoko (Milram), and Bichot (Agritubel). The break extended its lead to over 6 minutes with 90k to go. Along the way Millar picked up two early intermediate sprints, but it wasn't the green jersey he was going for: he was thinking of polka dots.

At first it wasn't clear what Millar was shooting for and I'm not sure he did either: "So today I thought, ‘You know what, I'm just going to go on a suicide mission.' And it ended up being productive, which is a real bonus." Millar didn't bother contesting the Goudhurst Hill KOM. Bichot put in an attack early up the climb-- it looked like he mistimed it as he was caught by Kuschynski, but the Cat 4 climb was longer than Kuschynski thought and Bichot was able to pass again. Millar's plan to take the KOM seemed to hatch once he got caught by the peloton after he was dropped from the break. Correction: According to Millar, "...I decided to radio behind and get my team riding and drop back to the peloton. I was not sure if I could hold my lead in the last KOM and it was 26 km away and we had 2minutes 20seconds. So I decided it would be best to shut the break down and get points after having a rest in the bunch."

Saunier Duval sent some riders to the front to reel in the rest of the break before the final KOM. Auge was the last of the break to stay off the front and managed to survive until the Farthing Common KOM to briefly move into the polka dot jersey. Millar was able to retake the lead by taking second in the KOM while the rest of the peloton was busy reorganizing itself due to the McEwen/etc crash.

McEwen's and Cavendish's troubles made things a bit more interesting for the sprint. Lotto had to organize a chaseback for McEwen and were joined by about 20 other riders. Cavendish appeared caught out by himself and looked very angry as he endured wheel changes then a bike change. Cavendish ended up losing 3:37. This left just Quick Step and Lampre to drive the peloton towards the finish.

Argritubel's Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez was the first abandon of the Tour, apparently due to a crash. There were several crashes today. Lancaster (Milram), Zandio (Caisse d'Epargne), and Mercado (Agritubel) were among riders who crashed into a road island. There was also the big crash that put McEwen and Cavendish (T-Mobile) into trouble.

Links:

Course profile, Versus predictions, my predictions after the jump.

Robbie McEwen took his 12th Giro di Italia stage victory and Danilo Di Luca was able to use a 12th-place finish to take the maglia rosa leader's jersey from Gasparotto, which should calm things down in the Liquigas team bus. Milram seemed to have things under control for Petacchi but the train ran out of cars on the final stretch. Petacchi launched his sprint too far out and McEwen and Bettini were able to easily come around for first and second. The sprint finish was sparser as a crash with a little over a kilometer to go broke off the back part of the field. QuickStep's Tonti seems the most injured with a broken nose.

Tinkoff's Pavel Brutt was able to claim the first mountain jersey of the Giro as he was clearly the strongest in a long and early breakaway.

Michael Barry fans will be sad that Barry is already out of the race due to illness -- as his pre-Giro diary notes, he wasn't exactly expecting to be riding a Grand Tour when he got the call due to Honchar's 30-day suspension.

FYI: Steephill points over to the RAI streaming video site for live Giro coverage. I haven't gotten it to work for me, yet, but I also haven't tried it live.

A great win by Calzati on a solo breakaway. Calzati went with Zabriskie, Aerts, Kessler, Carlstrom, and Halgand. It was an interesting break, with both a Lotto and Credit Agricole rider, which meant that QuickStep would be on its own chasing the break down for a sprint finish. With a long week in the yellow jersey for QuickStep, that seemed to be the last thing QuickStep was going to do. The presence of Kessler and Zabriskie, though, made the break too dangerous for the overall positions, so Phonak and FD Jeux gave mild chase. Calzati decided to jump from the break and try his chances on his own, and it played out well. The peloton stopped giving chase and Calzati was actually able to expand his lead by the finish. Calstrom and Halgand attempted to follow Calzati, but went too late to catch onto his wheel. Calzati's win was a great for the French fans; too bad about the World Cup...

Zabriskie's presence in the break gave him the opportunity to rack up 10 seconds in time bonuses and move up in the overall classification. In his post-race interviews, though, there doesn't appear to have been an actual strategy to move Zabriskie into a break today. In his words, it was his turn to cover a break and it just happened that it stayed away. When Calzati jumped, Zabriskie was a little too tired to follow and let it go, thinking it wouldn't succeed and also having to watch Kessler (according to VeloNews, Zabriskie had a bee sting). Zabriskie's teammate Voigt had tried a breakaway earlier in the day -- CSC is now saying that Voigt intentionally threw the previous day's time trial to save strength -- but that breakaway wasn't able to stick.

McEwen won the field sprint to take the fourth place sprint points. Boonen continues to by mystifyingly bad in planning the sprints as he went too early and ended up sitting up.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Boonen first, McEwen second * Actual: Calzati wins from the breakaway, McEwen wins the field sprint for 4th

Stage 6: Lisieux - Vitre

|

McEwen gets his sprinting hat trick (how can I not just pick this guy every day?). Lampre and Quickstep lead the charge to the finish with Boonen riding sixth wheel and McEwen way back, but McEwen had an excellent lead out from Steegmans that took him straight to the front. Boonen tried to catch McEwen's wheel but it looked like he got frozen up by Caspar jumping in from his right. Boonen tried to reaccelerate using Bennati's wheel, but neither Bennati nor Boonen could catch McEwen. Boonen has to be the unhappiest-looking man receiving the yellow jersey ever. Much has been made about how Steegmans was making up for his blown lead out yesterday -- he went too early and apologized to McEwen -- but if I could do a leadout like Steegmans I don't think I would ever apologize.

Robbie McEwen had some post-race commentary on that little arm waggling victory dance he did:

"I had a bet with Levi Leipheimer... we've been talking about it since March in Tirreno-Adriatico. He told me to do a victory salute, but a special one: the Dumb and Dumber move, from the movie. When you saw it, you know that it looks like you're running really fast," he said, swinging his arms. "Levi will be happy with that and now he owes me!"

This appeared to be an entirely uneventful day, leaving the peloton very thankful. Despite a bit of drizzle there were no casualties, the break stayed a way a bit long but was reeled in proper, and there wasn't much competition at the intermediate points except for Pineau going for a the third place KOM points on the only climb of the day. Boonen did make it into an early 18-man break, but with the yellow jersey on his shoulders that wasn't going to work. 15 of those riders were reeled in, leaving Backstedt, Geslin, and Brard to maintain the break for the rest of the day until the final kilometers.

Tomorrow is the time trial! My pick should be obvious. It'll be nice for the overall standings to start taking real shape.

Prediction check: * Boonen first, McEwen second * McEwen first, Boonen third

Stage 4: Huy - Saint-Quentin

|

McEwen got his second win on a relatively calm day for the peloton. The weather was slightly cooler and the Tour ended its road trip through the classics, leaving Belgium and entering France for good. McEwen made the win look easy, winning by at least five bike lengths. There was a bit of chaos in the final sprint as Hushovd's leadout man crashed, but Hushovd had already grabbed another wheel and the rest of the sprinters made it around on the uphill finish without any problem. Hushovd's arm must be feeling fairly good as he was able to hold the fourth spot ahead of Boonen. Zabel didn't get to compete in this sprint as he got a flat tire in the final kilometers.

As a result of the sprint, McEwen moves into the green jersey and 6th overall at 0.12 back. Boonen gets to hold onto his one second lead in the yellow jersey for at least one more day. The KOM jersey stays on Pineau's shoulders as he won the first KOM sprint on the day over the other KOM contenders.

Discovery put Egoi Martinez into the main breakaway on the day and Martinez was able to rack up 18-seconds worth of time bonuses through the three sprint points, leapfrogging him into fifth overall. Discovery now has the 3rd, 5th, and 7th position overall. So, to update my analysis from last night, Discovery is in a really, really strong position right now. Bruyneel will have a lot of cards to play if his riders do well in the time trial.

It nearly looked like the breakaway might succeed as none of the sprint teams were coming forward in the final kilometers to lead the charge, but with about 4k to go the pace really picked up and the remainder of the break was caught with 2k to go.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Boonen first, McEwen second * Actual: McEwen first, Boonen fifth (will I learn?)

Stage 2: Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette

|

McEwen took the stage win as the field frantically tried to catch a late breakaway by T-Mobile rider Mattias Kessler. There was a crash in the peloton with 2km to go that threw things in the field into chaos and it seemed that Kessler would be able to hold them off, but with 250m to go the field finally caught him and Robbie McEwen charged up through to take the win.

Thor Hushovd should be very happy even though he lost the sprint and pulled his foot out of his pedal in the process -- the time bonuses he picked up earlier in the day were more than enough to take the yellow jersey back from Hincapie. Hincapie did his best to stay up front on the wheels of the sprinters, but either he didn't have the legs to compete with the sprint specialists or he was choosing wisely not to get so involved in such risky business. It's probably the latter, especially with the many sprint stages left before the first time trial.

The long break on the day was by Hernandez and de la Fuente, who fought back and forth at the various KOM points along the route. Hernandez eventually cracked, which left de la Fuente in the position to take the KOM jersey away from Fabian Wegmann. Wegmann bridged up to De la Fuente at the end to take back some points, but de la Fuente racked up enough points to stay two points ahead of Wegmann.

The coming sprint stages should be very interesting with Hushovd in first, Boonen in second, and McEwen in third. There's a lot of incentive to take every little time bonus; Boonen will be racing to get that yellow jersey by the time the route hits Belgium and McEwen may be wanting another yellow to go with his greens.

Prediction check: * Prediction: Boonen first, McEwen second * Result: McEwen first, Boonen second

Stage 7: Luneville-Karlsruhe

|

keyhole.stage7.jpgMcEwen x 2

The finish line was in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the German rider Wegmann made a breakaway that lasted for about 150k on the long stage, but the peloton lazily pulled him back for the sprint at the end.

It was a messy sprint finish as it was a wide open boulevard finish with multiple sprint teams fighting for control. No team was strong enough to hold the leadout and there was a crash in the final sprint. Boonen couldn't find a wheel and McEwen sprinted up the side barrier to take the win.

Stage 3: La Chataigneraie-Tours

|

keyhole.stage3.s.jpgHappy Fourth of July! Today's stage started with an American rider in yellow and with this being a sprint stage the overall standings weren't going to change. The course was 212km (~San Diego to Los Angeles), which means that there would be about 200km of mostly boring riding followed by an exciting sprint setup and finish. There was some action on the day that came from a breakaway. There were two baby climbs near the end of the course that the breakaway managed to survive until, and Dekker took both and along with them the King of the Mountains jersey from Voeckler.


photoBoonen took the sprint again, jumping out from fairly far back to power through the messy field of riders. He's so strong this year that I'd do much better with my predictions just to keep picking him. My pick Robbie McEwen got boxed in behind Boonen and tried to push aside Stuart O'Grady, a move that got McEwen relegated to last place.

Tomorrow is the team time trial, which I love watching. The Tour is a team race, even if an individual gets the glory, and tomorrow is a reminder of that. The riders will have to drill in military-like formations trying to best cut through the wind as well use their collecive strength to power through. The forecast says rain, which means that there will probably be crashes and flat tires that will cause teams to have to decide whether or not to leave a man behind or wait up.

Stage profile and my live stage log are in the extended.

stage profile

A relatively flat stage still managed to provide it's mix of drama. In the first sprint of the day Armstrong and Ullrich followed McEwen out - McEwen predictably won the sprint and picked up six sprint points to move into a tie with Cooke, Ullrich took the 4" time bonus and Armstrong the 2".

From then on it was a sixteen rider breakaway of no one particularly important, but it provided an interesting contrast to yesterday's breakaway. Quick-Step tried to repeat the antics of yesterday's stage win of Knaven. The breakaway group split in two with 20km to go, and with around 10km to go Quick-Step sent Ca�ada off the front. As the chase group did a better job of organizing itself than yesterday, but Ca�ada managed to hold the gap at 5-7" up until 1km to go. With 100m to go and Ca�ada still up front, Da Cruz closed the gap with Nardello and Lastras following. Lastras then outsprinted Da Cruz and Nardello to take the stage.

With Cooke and McEwen tied for the green jersey, the last bit of excitement came in the sprint for 17th place and the final sprint points on the day. Zabel had the early lead in the sprint, but McEwen came off his wheel and took the points. Cooke rode on McEwen's wheels but didn't have the legs to win it out.

Tour de France Stage 17: Dax-Bordeaux

|

stage profile

Ten got away at the starting line and stayed away. Luttenberger was the only GC threat in the breakaway, and the peloton only gave chase long enough to prevent him from jumping into the top ten.

With 16km to go Knaven went off the front. The rest of the lead group broke down into a series of individual attacks from the likes of Garcia Acosta and Van Bon, but in the end no one could bridge the gap and the chase group remained too disorganized to close the 20-35 second gap that Knaven was maintaining and Knaven got the stage win.

The last big battle of the day was for the final three sprint points. McEwen took two and Zabel took one - both riders are within very close striking distance of Cooke, which should provide the main excitement in the coming stages.