Results tagged “TT” from spare cycles

Racebak Review

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My Racebak review is up at RoadbikeReview.com.

Stage 5: Levi Wins in Solvang Again

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Levi Leipheimer - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

David Millar - (c) Ken Conley Christian Vandevelde - (c) Ken Conley

Dave Zabriskie - (c) Ken Conley Fabian Cancellara - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley Podium - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 5 Solvang Photo Gallery

Today started off ominously -- the skies poured rain off and on before the stage start and the navigation dial on my camera, which has the important duty of selecting my autofocus point, was only recognizing two out of its nine directions. Riders were stilled dazed from yesterday's efforts: Danny Pate talked about only being able to put down 1000 calories yesterday on a day he burned 5000. There seemed to be a lot less riders taking warmup rides than last year. And then it got better, much better. The roads dried off. Blue skies rolled in. My camera started working again.

Levi Leipheimer and Astana were the big winners on the day as Levi once again defended his overall lead in Solvang. Slipstream had a banner day as well -- they weren't able to beat Levi, but they took second, third, and sixth places. CSC took fourth and fifth, but Cancellara wasn't pull off his best effort after a rough week in the rain.

Stage 5 Solvang Photo Gallery

Tour de France '07 Stage 13: Albi TT

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Vinokourov - JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

13 was a lucky number for Astana as they turned their disasterous Stage 5 on its head: Vinokourov first, Kloden third, and Kashechkin fourth. Vino's effort jumped him from 19th to 9th place in the overall standings, 5:10 behind. Kloden is 4th and Kashechkin is 6th, giving Astana several weapons in the GC.

Evans broke up the Astana 1-2-3 by finishing in second, 1:14 behind, but he will be disappointed that he didn't take the yellow jersey with his effort: Rasmussen did the time trial of his career and even passed Valverde on the finishing straight. Valverde's poor 47th-place finish dropped him out of the overall top ten after starting in second.

Discovery didn't have an Astana day but put in a respectable 6-7-9 in the standings with Popovych (despite crashing), Contador, and Leipheimer. Contador appears to be taking over the leader status from Leipheimer as he finished 0:21 faster and moves into third in the overall, while Levi takes fifth. CSC, as expected, couldn't deliver a strong effort with Sastre or Schleck, but Sastre was able to stay seventh overall.

Early rain saw many riders finish with wet and bloody skinsuits. Cancellara put in a good early time check but quickly fell from the standings after he crashed and appeared to hurt his arm. Wiggins instead had the top early mark on the day, which stood until Vinokourov put in a shockingly fast TT: 2:13 faster than Wiggins. Gusev was putting in a good time until he crashed into a roundabout and went skidding over the curb.

Despite drying road conditions, none of the riders who started later than Vino could match his pace. Kloden nipped at his teammate's heels but lost time when he crashed in a wet, slippery corner.

It's a bit early for me to already start posting this entry, but this wide-open Tour has been waiting for a big sorting that a TT can provide and tomorrow is it.

Previews

CyclingNews Stage Preview: "A twisty, tricky out and back time test, stage 13 could prove unlucky for riders who are not competent time trialists. The first 20 kilometres are a gradual uphill, then the course is downhill and flat until the 34-kilometre point, where the four-kilometre climb up the sinuous Cat. 4 Côte de la Bauzié awaits. Then there is a difficult descent and return to Albi on the D999 road where an experienced tester can make a difference."

Update: VeloNews Stage 13 Preview is up as is Carmichael Sez: "Knowns & Unknowns".

Bobby J's Picks

Bobby Julich's Picks given to Neil@ROAD:

  1. Cancellara
  2. Kloden
  3. Hincapie
  4. Contador
  5. Evans

John Hay Jr 2006 ITT tallies (via CyclingNews)

A reader, John Hay Jr, wrote into CyclingNews with tallies of the contenders combined ITT times from last year. You can find it in the Stage 12 live feed at 13:22 CEST. Last year's time trials were similar in distance, though courses change. I assume you divide by 2 to get the approximate splits for tomorrow.

(2) Andreas Klöden, 2h 11'52"
(13) Oscar Pereiro, 2h14'48" - 2'56" behind Klöden's time
(4) Cadel Evans, 2h14'58" - 3'06"
(18) Denis Menchov, 2h15'44" -3'52"
(6) Carlos Sastre, 2h16'11" -4'19"
(14) Christophe Moreau, 2h17'01" -6'19"
(9) Levi Leipheimer, 2h21'35" -9'43"
(10) Mikel Astarloza, 2h21'52" -10'00"
(1) Michael Rasmussen, 2h24'48" -12'56"

There are no results for Valverde, Vinokourov, Contador, or Mayo. Also, Levi did especially terrible in last year's TT, which I think skews his results.

Versus picks

  • Al: Kloden
  • Paul: Cancellara
  • Bob: Evans
  • Phil: Leipheimer

My Predictions

  1. Cancellara
  2. Leipheimer
  3. Kashechkin
  4. Kloden
  5. Evans
  6. Hincapie
  7. Vinokourov
  8. Valverde
  9. Contador

Levi hasn't shown an amazing TT since he raced stateside this year, but he's so much faster than last year and I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a breakout day tomorrow. Kashechkin finished second to Vino in the Dauphine and sits just outside the top ten. Cancellara had the luxury of soft-pedaling it today to gear up for the the TT -- not that he needs much advantage as World TT champ.

Bruseghin was somewhat of a surprise winner of today's mountain time trial and strengthened his hold on second place in the overall standings. His victory capitalizes on his efforts in the Stage 8 breakaway and puts Lampre in a good tactical position for the rest of the Giro -- his teammate and Giro favorite Damiano Cunego finished 0:38 back and moved up to fourth place overall. Di Luca, of course, shows no signs of weakening, yet, as he finished in third place only 0:08 back of Bruseghin.

In other CSC news for the day, Zabriskie finished 4th on the day at 0:19 back and held the best time on the day until Piepoli rolled through 0:18 better. Teammate Andy Schleck continues to surprise with his 10th place finish, which was good enough to move him up a spot into the top three overall.

Tour of California Stage 5: Solvang TT

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Jen Voigt vs. Levi Leipheimer warming up

*left: Jens Voigt on the finishing straight of the Coit Tower Prologue. right: Levi Leipheimer warms up. *

Photo Gallery

Even with 91 riders within 1 minute of Levi's overall time, this was a race between two riders: Levi and Jens (CSC vs. Discovery, as it often is). Jens was the stronger sprinter on stage 3 and beat Levi across the line to move within three seconds of Levi's overall lead. Jens is also an amazing time trialist -- it was going to be close.

Jens and Levi started last, but that doesn't mean that the "pre-battle" wasn't entertaining as well. Priority Health put in an amazing showing early on. Tom Zirbel set the best time on the day. Priority Health had another good showing with Ben Jacques-Mayes, who was able to finish 4th overall and best Zirbel's time. It wasn't until World TT champion Fabian Cancellara came rolling through at 30:17 that the battle started to tilt towards the ProTour riders.

The Discovery Armada put huge dents in the standings with Basso, Hincapie, and Danielson, but none were able to best Cancellara's time. The big (but pleasant) surprise came from Discovery's Jason McCartney, who was the first to be Cancellara's time. McCartney has been Leipheimer's lieutenant for this Tour of California and always seems to show up well in the North American series.

Horner, Julich, and Rogers came in with respectable times, but their split times made it clear that the real battle was Jens vs. Levi.

At the first time split they broadcast, Jens was three seconds up on Levi. It was a virtual tie on the road. The second time split we heard: Levi was 4 seconds faster than Jens at the halfway point.

Jens Voigt crossed the line at 29:58, the fastest time on the day and the first sub-30-minute time. It was an amazing time that best world TT champ Fabian Cancellara as well as Jason McCartney's amazing effort. It seemed that Jens may have pulled it off.

Jens Voigt

above: Jens Voigt crosses the finish line, the first rider to break the 30-minute barrier

That is, until they announced Levi only had 1k to go. The clock was just ticking up to 29 minutes -- that gave Levi more than enough time to do the final kilometer. Levi didn't know though because Johan Bruyneel was yelling in his ear that he needed to give it full gas because it was going to be close. Levi charged to the finish a full 18 seconds faster than Jens Voigt, sealing the stage victory and most likely putting keeping him in the overall jersey for good.

below: Levi sprints and crosses the finish line to take the stage

Levi Leipheimer Levi Leipheimer Levi

Keeping the overall lead from start to finish is an amazing achievement for Leipheimer. Last year his attempt was undone by a poor showing in the stage 3 time trial. Whether or not it is his new time trial position, new team, or better conditioning, who knows, but Leipheimer has undoubtedly been the strongest rider to show up to this Tour of California.

CSC could attempt something amazing tomorrow, but the KOMs are so far from the finish it would have to be epic. Discovery has been hit hard this Tour: Sierra Road cost Discovery Davis and the green jersey. Discovery was lucky that this year's Pacific Coast Highway stage was relatively tame.

Fabian Cancellara had set the best time on the day until Jason McCartney amazingly beat it

Jason McCartney IMG_1225

IMG_0955 IMG_0909 IMG_0996 Leipheimer and McCartney IMG_1137 Fabian Cancellara starting Tom Danielson starting IMG_1539

IMG_1603 George and Lance IMG_1556

kwc Stage 5 Photo Gallery

VeloNews Stage 5 Summary

Stage 7: Saint-Gregoire - Rennes, ITT

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AP Photo/Christian HartmannTime-trial specialist Sergei Gontchar/Gonchar/Honchar dominated today's time trial and took the yellow jersey with a time of 1:01:43. This was the last chance for the time trial specialists to slip into the yellow jersey, and of that crowd -- Zabriskie, Rogers, Karpets, and Gontchar -- it was Gontchar who annihilated the rest of the field by a minute over the next best time. This was a T-Mobile day: 1st, 4th, 6th, and 8th. Who needs Ullrich? Or, rather, in the words of Johan Bruyneel, "It's lucky Jan Ullrich is not here, otherwise the Tour would be over."

Photo by AP Photo/Christian Hartmann

It was a surprisingly poor showing by the American riders, who were expected to dominate. Bobby J had it worst, crashing early on, sliding over a curb, and appearing to injure his arm. Levi had a terrible showing, losing a minute and a half by the first time check and six minutes overall with a time of 1:07:49. Hincapie did poorly as well with a time of 1:04:25, which was 30 seconds slower than Savoldelli -- we may see Savoldelli become Discovery's protected man in the mountains. My main pick, Zabriskie, had a respectable 1:03:40, but for those of us who thought he'd light the course of fire, it was a disappointment.

There was one bright light among the Americans: Landis is certainly the American to beat and has vaulted himself to the top of the overall contenders. Landis finished in second with a time of 1:02:44, which he did while apparently having to switch his bike on the course either due to a flat tire or to his bars slipping -- the UCI apparently ordered Landis to lower his bars just prior to the race. If Landis's mechanic can just get these mechanical issues under control, Landis should easily finish on the podium. Then again, his legs appeared to disappear in the mountains in the Dauphine, so I should wait until the first mountain stage.

Big Losers: Discovery (no riders in the top ten overall anymore), CSC (now have lost Basso and Julich, Zabriskie only managed 10th, O'Grady is still hurting, and Voigt isn't looking very strong after finishing in last place), Leipheimer

Big Winners: T-Mobile, which now has four riders in the top ten including Kloden; Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov, whose chances in the overall just got a whole lot better with strong top ten finishes today. Christophe Moreau also looks primed for a top five finish if he can hold in the mountains.

Prediction check:

  • My predictions: Zabriskie, Landis, Hincapie, Julich, Rogers, Levi
  • Actual: Landis was second, Rogers was fourth instead of fifth, scratch the rest of the picks.

Armstrong's final victory, first of this Tour, and a great conclusion to his career. It looked like it would be a close one at the first check, with Basso in front of Armstrong and Ullrich, but by the next check there was no doubt: Armstrong was going to win this one and he would get the stage victory he needed to legitimize his yellow jersey. Armstrong will win this tour by 4:40, not his biggest margin, but a huge margin nevertheless.

Today's victory by Armstrong was all about preparation. While all the other riders were struggling through the technical course with their aerodynamic, rear disc wheels, Armstrong was nimbly picking apart the turns with a much more maneuverable three-spoke rear wheel. The equipment choice seemed to hurt Basso, who looked hesitant on the technical second leg of the course, dropping from seven seconds up in the first time check to 34 seconds behind Ullrich through the second check.

Top 8 finishers (four Americans!) and their gear choices: Hincapie, Evans, Landis, Basso, Julich, Vinokourov, Ullrich, Armstrong

The course was treacherous enough to cause 3rd-now-7th place Rasmussen to disintegrate, crashing twice and switching bikes 4+ times. Rasmussen was the real disaster story of this stage, and I can't ever recall seeing a worse performance by a rider in an individual time trial. Rasmussen wasn't going to hold 3rd place against Ullrich, but his collapse pushed him out of the top five overall. People will remember this stage for both it's great and horrible performances: Armstrong's dominating farewell and Rasmussen's catastrophe.

The Tour may be all but over for Armstrong, but some of the other GC contenders will duke it out tomorrow. Leipheimer broke into the top 5, but Vino had a great performance today and is now only 2 seconds behind him. It should make some of the intermediate sprints more interesting.

ZABRISKIE!

stage1.z.jpg stage1.z.jpg stage1.z.jpg

keyhole.stage1.c.jpgThe opening stage may not matter too much in the long run in terms of time, but in terms of gamesmanship, it's all about showing who's on form and who's not. Riders often hold back on their performances in the races leading up to the Tour, relying on them for training instead. Armstrong, for example, rode the 2005 Tour de Georgia in support of Tom Danielson and he made no serious attempt at the win in the Dauphine. Ivan Basso hasn't been seen in a race since the Giro, so his condition was an even bigger unknown. A strong performance by one of the contenders, namely Armstrong, can easily demoralize the rest of the field and cause them to shift their goals. This year's Tour, in particular, offered a bigger chance than usual to make a big statement. While most Tours start with a short 5-10km prologue, where the end-of-day time gaps are small, this year starts with a mini time trial of 19km, which even allows for the chance the a rider could wear the yellow jersey from start to finish.

So what were today's statements?


photoThe opening time trial was a great win for American cycling: Dave Zabriskie, who started too early in the day to even be featured on TV, set a fast mark that most of the field couldn't even get within a minute of. One exception was Lance Armstrong, who finished two seconds back and at this point already looks set to win his seventh Tour de France. Zabriskie, while not contending for the overall, earned the special distinction of having won a stage in all three grand tours (Tour, Giro, Vuelta) -- all in the past year.

Ullrich started a minute ahead of Armstrong, but things stated to look bad for Armstrong's rival when the referee started pulling away Ullrich's support car to make room for Armstrong's advance. Armstrong caught sight of Ullrich around the first time check and then easily caught and passed him. Despite having the fastest time at the second time check, Armstrong wasn't able to win the stage, so he loses his chance at making history by wearing yellow from start to finish. However, Armstrong will go into Stage 2 with a 1'06" lead on Ullrich and a 1'24" on Basso. Although Ullrich ceded less time than Basso, it had to be the most demoralizing to him as he watched Armstrong easily zoom past him.

Of Armstrong's big rivals, Vino looks the best at only 0'51" back. Given this performance, future stages may have Ullrich working for Vino.

Another American with a big day was George Hincapie. He stayed on form from his Dauphine time trial win and came in 4th, 0'57" back of Zabriskie. Discovery Channel overall did very well, with four riders finishing in the top 20 (even their 'climber' CheChu Rubiera). CSC also did well with four riders in the top 20, but their top man Basso was #20.

  1. Zabriskie David, CSC, USA
  2. Armstrong Lance, Discovery, USA 0'02"
  3. Vinokourov Alexandre, T-Mobile, KAZ 0'53"
  4. Hincapie George, Discovery, USA 0'57"
  5. Bodrogi Laszlo, Credit Agricole, HUN 0'59"

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