Results tagged “Stage 18” from spare cycles

letour.jpgToday's race occurred in front and behind the peloton. Columbia' Marcus Burghardt and Quick Step's Carlos Barredo were way up front and played a 9k game of cat-and-mouse to the finish. Barredo looked at Burghardt's big frame and thought he could drop him on the final little climb, but it was going to take more than a Cat 4 bump for gravity to give him difficulty. They traded little jabs to the finish line, with the final sprint led out by Burghardt. The Big German outsprinted the little Spaniard as easily as expected, but that didn't stop Barredo from screaming in anger at the unfairness of losing the break he started. Or perhaps it was the fact that Burghardt had plenty of gap to look back and stare him in the face before raising his arm in victory. Either way, Columbia got its fifth stage win of this Tour whereas the Boonen-less Quick Step is still looking to pay for the plane tickets.

Behind the race Damiano Cunego did his best to avoid elimination after greeting a road-side barrier with his face early on in the race. Even with his GC status completely out of the question, four of his teammates came back to help pace him back for the rest of the stage. Luckily for him, the long game of cat-and-mouse up front gave him more time to catch up within elimination time, but with his chin bandaged and the front of his jersey ripped up I probably shouldn't say 'luckily.'

The peloton was still recuperating from yesterday's Queen stage and there really wasn't a team to offer chase. Oscar Freire's Rabobank has to look after Menchov, Columbia had a man up the road and their best sprinter at home, Quick Step had a man up the road, and Credit Agricole had Le Mevel in a chase group just behind the two leaders. CSC riders like Stuart O'Grady got to eat a lot of wind at the front of the peloton today.

Note: On travel/vacation, reduced coverage



Stage Summaries/Results:





Update: Casar wins inspite of dog crash

NOTE: today's sleepy stage finished slowly enough that I wasn't able to see the exciting conclusion.

Another dog-collision day in this strange Tour. This time the collision occurred in the breakaway. Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom), Axel Merckx (T-Mobile), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Frederick Willem (Liquigas) and Sandy Casar (FD Jeux) had rode away from the peloton, which was content to let them have their day. The dog suddenly cut across the path of Casar, sending him down and sweeping the wheels out from Willem as well. Casar was able to get back with the break, but Willem's chance was shot.

With eleven minutes on the field with 12k to go, I imagine they will succeed.

Stage 18: Morzine - Macon




Look! A QuickStep jersey crossing the line first! Tossato won on a day controlled by the breakaway, getting a win for QuickStep where Boonen could not. Fifteen riders got away and stayed away as Saunier Duval gave a half-hearted chase. With most of the sprint teams missing their big sprinters -- Boonen abandoned, Bennati crashed/abandoned, Freire did not start -- and with Lotto having Aerts in the breakaway, no one really had a reason to help out SD. The good news for Phonak is that Saunier Duval did try to chase as it meant that they wouldn't have to worry about Levi Leipheimer in the break. Even though Levi was 22 minutes down, Pereiro's yellow jersey has something to say about that. Levi still gained almost seven minutes in the GC, which moves him within striking distance of the top ten.

Gerolsteiner went for the win with Levi and Scholz in the break. Levi made the first attempt at going for the win, jumping off the front of the break and pedalling with Euskatel's Isasi, but they were eventually pulled back with 20k to go. Scholz then attacked and two riders jumped across to join him. That attack was successful, but Scholz seemed fairly spent in the final kilometers. Tossato and Moreni came around easily in the final sprint.

Zabriskie was in the break but ended up finishing by himself, 2:23 down. I hope that means that he intentionally dropped off to save some energy for tomorrow. I'm still picking him for the time trial, though I have a feeling that the week may have been too difficult for CSC as they vaulted Sastre up the standings. Landis is the better bet for the time trial, especially with Zabriskie having to go very early in the day and setting a benchmark for others to follow. But CSC has fought back after losing two leaders and a domestique, getting stage wins by Schleck and Voigt in week two, leading the team classification for a bit, and putting Sastre on the podium. It's a strong squad of six and I'd like to see them get another prize.

Prediction check: * My prediction: Breakaway.George Hincapie has been going into break after break with no results. I'll pick him, but I'm also wondering if Chris Horner finally has his legs back. McEwen should win the bunch sprint easily as all of his competitors are out. Freire abandoned today, Boonen and Bennati previously abandoned. * Actual: Popo was in the first break and Martinez in the second, but no sign of Hincapie. McEwen didn't even bother participating in the sprint.

Stage 18: Albi - Mende


serrano basso/arm

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Serrano takes the victory, attacking on the final climb and beating out his fellow riders in the breakaway of the day. This is Liberty Seguros' first stage victory of the Tour, a big lift for a team that's been doing bad enough that their own director has publically criticized his team leaders. Team Discovery gave up it's lead in the team classification to T-Mobile after T-Mobile's rider Kessler made it into the break. Disco have to make up 11 minutes in the time trial or send another rider on a break tomorrow if they want continue their domination of the various classifications.

Some minor reshuffling was done in the GC after Rasmussen and Vino each lost about half a minute to Ullrich and Evans. CSC and Discovery blew apart the peloton on the final climb and the various overall contenders tried to duke it out to move up position in the top ten. Armstrong was strong as he has been throughout, with him and Basso crossing the line ahead of all the other overall contenders (but far, far behind Serrano).