Results tagged “Stage 9” from spare cycles

Stage 9: Ricco the Cobra strikes again

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letour.jpgIt's a good thing that Ricco decided to come to the Tour de France after all. With a more proper mountain stage win to his credit he can now start accepting the comparisons to Marco Pantani in earnest. Saunier Duval was all over the front of the peloton as riders tried their attack. He flew off the front of the pack on the Col d'Aspin -- it looked like he was climbing a different mountain the way he blazed past everyone else on the mountain. from there was long 26km descent to down the long descent to the finish in Bagneres-de-Bigorre, which Ricco tackled with ease. Meanwhile, Caisse d'Epargne looked to have the chase group in control up the Col d'Aspin and on the half-hearted chase to the finish -- plenty of riders were attacking out of the chase, including Efimkin, who took second place.

Ricco's success was in part due to the conservativeness of the GC leaders. Evans managed a small crash to get road rash to match Valverde's and everyone seemed content to save energy for tomorrow's big stage. The 26km descent from the Col d'Aspin to the finish line was really too much energy for any of them to waste. Tomorrow there's the Col du Tourmalet and a mountain top finish on the Hautacam to contend with.

Schumacher tried a small acceleration on the Col d'Aspin which cost him in the ended -- Vande Velde took over his third place spot as he ended up losing time to the rest of the GC contenders. Columbia's Thomas Lövkvist also had trouble today and passed his white jersey to CSC's Andy Schleck.

It will be interesting to see if Ricco takes over for teammate David de la Fuente in the hunt for polka dot points. de la Fuente had his own battle today as he had to protect his jersey from assault by Sebastian Lang, who was part of the early break that lasted all the way to the Col d'Aspin. de la Fuente dug deep to get 4th on the climb and keep his lead.

Please see http://velo.kwc.org/race/tdf2008/stage9 for more frequent updates

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Tour de France '07 Stage 9 Link Roundup

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Updates 7/18 6-8PM: Sinkewitz A-Sample Positive for Testosterone, CyclingNews Roundup 3, WorldCycling.tv: Cadel Evans, WorldCycling.tv: Michael Rasmussen, DP Jambon Report, Bob Martin's Stage 9 by the Numbers

Updates 10:30PM: CyclingNews Roundup 2, David Millar Stage 9: Lacking Inspiration

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Lab joins Guerini photographer

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labcrash.caption.jpg

tdflr linked to the Guardian videocap of the Marcus Burghardt dog crash and I couldn't resist throwing in the comparison to the infamous Guerini collision with Erik the Photographer.

Guerini rode in the pink shirt/black shorts of ONCE when he crashed and later rode for pink/black of T-Mobile. Burghardt: T-Mobile. Coincidence?

Soler - FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Barloworld's Juan Mauricio Soler took a surprise win today, attacking solo on the Telegraphe to bridge all the way from the peloton to a breakaway far up the road. Soler quickly left the break behind and held off a chase group of the top contenders all the way to the finish line.

Today's stage was full of fireworks that made for exciting racing on the classic climbs of the Galibier and Telegraphe. Discovery put the most cards into play with Popovych, Gusev, Contador, and Levi all playing a role. Popovych and Gusev were first as they went on the attack from the start to position themselves far up the road. Popovych was the only rider able to follow Soler's wheel as Soler accelerated past, but even Popo couldn't hold on as the slopes of the Galibier ticked upwards.

Valverde shook things up in the peloton with an attack that shed Vinokourov and Schleck. The other contenders were able to follow, but Contador became the next Discovery card to be played as he put in an attack that Evans briefly followed. Contador's attack was strong enough to catch Popo up the road and Popo dug deep to try and pull Soler back on the descent towards Briancon.

The Valverde/Rasmussen group reeled Evans in on the descent and set their eyes on Popo and Contador. Evans was caught sleeping and the group split in half, with Evans/Levi/Mayo/Moreau/Sastre caught behind. They had trouble organizing a chase and Levi was able to use the position of his two teammates up the road to sit and do little work. Levi was a bit annoyed with Saunier Duval as Cobo wasn't willing to do work for Mayo to pull things back.

Valverde and teammate Gutierrez were able to reel in Popo and Contador and soon after the other contenders latched back on. Discovery played its last cards as Popovych accelerated to try and reel Soler back in for Contador. Soler was much too far up the road and it was Valverde who put in the last attack of the day to take second with a small time gap over the other contenders. Contador was rewarded with the white Best Young Rider jersey for his efforts.

The overall competition saw a little more sorting today. Valverde is earning is favorite status and Rasmussen defended his yellow well. Kloden is now the apparent leader of Astana as Vino was no longer protected. Evans is looking stronger than I expected while Sastre and Leipheimer are still racing conservatively in the Alps. Schleck wasn't able to hold on and may no longer have backup leader status and Menchov was dropped, hurting his leader status over Rasmussen. Kim Kirchen is a bright light for T-Mobile and Mayo could be a dark horse favorite if he continues to be strong. Moreau faltered but didn't break, but he's only shooting for top 3. The GC is looking more proper, but the top three in Paris really haven't shown themselves yet:

1 Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
2 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) 2.35
3 Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) 2.39
4 Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) 2.41
5 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) 3.08
6 Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance) 3.18
7 Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) 3.39
8 Andreas Klöden (Astana) 3.50
9 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) 3.53
10 Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) 5.06

Today's stage finally finished well in advance of the planned Versus TV schedule, which is to say the Tour is on.

Stage 9: Bordeaux - Dax

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by -/AFP/Getty ImagesIt was a messy sprint finish with multiple sprinters trying to launch their lead outs. Eventually it was Zabel, Freire, and McEwen grabbing the wheel of Boonen, who could do little to fight them off as they each came around one by one. McEwen jumped way across to his left, which was perhaps too much ground, as it was Freire who came up between McEwen and Boonen and beat McEwen by just a tiny bit of wheel. (Photo by -/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty ImagesIt was a very, very flat stage, which didn't generate too much excitement. A three-man break -- Beneteau, Knees, and Aug� -- was away most of the stage. It's a bit odd how breaks are gong so easily and staying away until the final kilometers so frequently. The break was caught at about the 3.5km point. O'Grady tried an attack in the final kilometers, but QuickStep was prepared and pulled it back quite easily. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

There was some splitting of the peloton that caused some contenders to lose time. Zabriskie's report implies there was a crash; whatever it was caused Denis Menchov lost 13 seconds as did best young rider Marcus Fothen, who fell to ninth place -- Kloden/Karpets/Evans/Zabriskie moved up a spot. Levi should have followed Zabriskie's decision to move up near the front, and Levi ended up losing 0:26 on the day. He actually crossed about 1:40 back, but the refs gave him the time of the end of the peloton as he had an unspecified mechnical problem. Levi seems to be talking stage win as his strategy now, with yet-another-top-10-finish not meaning as much to him anymore if he can't reach that podium, so time doesn't matter as much as regaining his legs.

Prediction check: * My prediction: McEwen first, Boonen second. * Actual: McEwen second, Boonen fourth

Stage 9: Gerardmer-Mulhouse

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Armstrong gave up the yellow jersey today, but it was actually a great day for Team Discovery. Armstrong said he wanted to get rid of the jersey to take off some of the pressure and he found an able recipient in CSC's Jens Voigt. While Voigt attacked up the road with Moreau, trying to catch up to Rasmussen, Team Discovery controlled the peloton with a high tempo up the final big climb, Le Ballon d'Alsace. Armstrong had five of his teammates this time up the final climb, no one was able to attack, and Rubiera was earned teammate-of-the-day awards by setting a pace up the whole climb that caused riders to fall off the back left and right.

The big rider on the day was Rasmussen of Rabobank. He won every climb and solidified his lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Not content with that, he soloed his way to victory, with none of the chasing groups behind able to bring him back. I think he'll be needing tomorrow's rest day.

The bad news on the day is that Zabriskie has dropped out. After finishing dead last yesterday, the mountains were too much for his multiple injuries. Maybe we'll see him again in the Vuelta adding another stage victory there.

Maps and live notes in the extended.