Results tagged “Stage 14” from spare cycles

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Updates 7/23: VeloNews: Contador claims Stage 14; Rasmussen pads lead, VeloNews: Tour teams hit by surprise roadside searches, VeloNews: Millar says Rasmussen has ruined Tour, VeloNews: Chris Horner Diaries Stage 14, VeloNews: Levi Leipheimer Post-Race, Kloden Stage 14

Updates: VeloNews: Climbers to the fore on Plateau de Beille, CyclingNews Roundup Tour de PEZ: Roadside Pailheres, Barloworld, Masiguy, CyclingNews Roundup 2

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DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

Contador took the stage win on a great day for Discovery -- and me, as I got my pick :). It was a battle of the skinny boys and Contador's white jersey was lighter on the shoulders than Rasmussen's yellow. Rasmussen and Contador initially worked well together to get separation on an elite group of Leipheimer, Sastre, Evans, and Soler. That cooperation shutdown with a couple kilometers to go as Contador took advantage of Rasmussen's need to defend his yellow jersey. Contador grabbed a hold of Rasmussen's wheel and didn't come around until the final meters for the victory. Rasmussen can't be too disappointed: he put lots of time into strong TT riders like Kloden and Evans, and he defended both the yellow and polka dot jerseys.

Astana and Discovery traded roles today. Yesterday Astana finished 1-3-4 while Discovery finished 6-7-9. Today Discovery finished 1-4-10 while Astana finished 6-8-9. Discovery is also now 2-4-10 in the GC. Contador only got eight seconds closer to the yellow jersey, but he did leapfrog Cadel Evans for second place. Leipheimer did a great job of riding to finish in 4th -- he yoyo'd with Sastre quite a bit as they were both unable to match the frightening accelerations of Rasmussen and Contador. Leipheimer's time gains moved him past Kloden in the GC into 4th and he closed his gap on Evans. Popovych was Discovery's hero today: fighting to bridge back after the Port de Pailheres to bring bottles up to his teammates, then setting the tempo on the Plateau de Baille that whittled the field down to eight riders. And he finished in 10th. Hincapie did similar work to bridge back after the Pailheres and was in the driver's seat on the lead-in to the Plateau de Beille.

Astana's 6-8-9 was a bit of a mixed bag. Kloden did well to finish in sixth, despite being the main rider dropped by Popovych's pace making. Colom and Kashechkin both fought to keep Kloden's losses to 1:52. The big hurt for Astana is Vinokourov. Vino appears to have left it all on the line with yesterday's TT victory: Vino was already in trouble on the Port de Pailheres and lost gigantic time on the Plateau de Beille.

CSC had a so-so day. Sastre managed fifth place and moved up a spot in the GC to 6th, but Schleck was far behind. Whereas Discovery had three riders in the final selection of eight, Sastre had none and found himself at a big disadvantage. Levi was able to just sit on Sastre's wheel because of Contador's place up the rode and Soler sat on as well.

Soler was a surprising rider to make the selection. He took enough points on the Pailheres to move into the KOM lead by 10 points, but Rasmussen's second place finish regained his lead by 2 points. After impressive moves on the Pailheres and the lower slopes of Plateau de Beille, I was a bit disappointed by the way Soler rode in the end -- he didn't have a good excuse like Levi to sit on Sastre's wheel and then he had the nerve to launch a big attack to get the third place KOM points.

Saunier Duval is probably in a sour mood. Millar and others did a lot of work up front on the Pailheres to set things up for Mayo, but Mayo didn't have the legs today and performed disappointing for his team.

Valverde had a second-straight awful day. Perhaps its because he's used to bowing out of Tours at this point, but he picked two of the worst days to be off, especially after having look so strong in the first week. Valverde actually managed to move into the top ten despite his weak legs. He can thank Arroyo and Pereiro for forming a train for him as well as Vino and Kirchen for plummeting.

GC Shakeup (previous position holder in ()'s ):

1 Rasmussen
2 Contador 2.23 (Evans)
3 Evans 3.04
4 Leipheimer 4.25 (Kloden)
5 Kloden 4.38
6 Sastre 5.50 (Kascheckin)
7 Kashechkin 6.58
8 Astarloza 8.25
9 Valverde 9.45 (Vinokourov)
10 Popovych 10.55 (Kirchen)

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.