Results tagged “Yaroslav Popovych” from spare cycles

Paris-Nice Stage 5: Popo all the way

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Popovych got in the early break (13-man break that included Zabriskie) and then attacked with about 40km to go. From there on out, it was Popo to the finish. He was in the virtual yellow jersey for some time on the road, but in the end he could only hold off the charging peloton by 0:14. The chase was difficult enough to only leave 50 riders in the main peloton.

There was no change in the overall as Rebellin and Contador finished with the same time. Discovery clearly has many weapons for putting pressure on Rebellin and they will start tomorrow will Contador 0:06 back and Leipheimer 0:50 back. With 16 riders within a minute of Rebellin, it could be interesting. Stage 6 has plenty of hills, but its a 20km run to the finish from the top of the final Cat 2 climb.

Stage 12: Luchon - Carcassonne

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One, two, three, four times the charm -- Popovych attacked four times from the break. Four times Ballan and Freire gave chase, but Popovych had too much power. Discovery may have lost two riders today -- Savoldelli and Noval -- but today they looked a bit more like the team they were expected to be as they finally have a rider in the top ten again. The strategy for Discovery seemed fairly clear -- send their 'GC' riders into the breaks and hope for a win. Hincapie was in the first, Popovych covered the next and was rewarded with a stage win and 4:25 in the overall, which netted him tenth place by two seconds.

Freire had a decent day as well, as the intermediate sprint and third place got him 26 points while McEwen only got 15.

It was a long hot day, 99 degrees with a road temp of 122. The stage was long, windy, and just after yesterday's queen stage. The riders were tired, Phonak didn't want to spend too much energy chasing on a day like this, and the sprinters are still recovering from yesterday's climbs. In otherwords, this was a day for a break, and Discovery played it well.

Prediction check: * A breakaway, probably someone French. I jokingly guessed Horner * Actual: The break succeeded, but Horner finished in 150, 2 minutes behind the peloton, clearly still suffering

Tour de Georgia Stage 2

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Popo! Discovery Channel's up-and-coming phenom Yaroslav Popovych pulled of a good bit of strategy on what was expected to be a bunch sprint. Discovery took control of the front of the peloton and launched Popo on a hill in the final kilometer. The strategy was great -- Haedo and Freddie froze, neither wanting to waste their legs chasing, and by the time the chase started it was too late. Haedo, Freddie, Manion, and Menzies were left to duke it out for second as Popo crossed the line six seconds ahead.

Alejandro Acton of Tragettraining spent a lot of time in a solo break today on what was a rainy day of racing. Acton was caught at the KOM point near the finish. Sea Otter winner Matty Rice gave it a go with one lap to go on the finishing circuit in Rome, but he was caught as well. Stage 1 winner Lars Michaelsen took second place in the second sprint point, so he may have padded his lead going into tomorrow's stage, but most likely he was just trying to help teammate Dave Zabriskie out by making sure no one else was taking that time bonus -- Zabriskie wants to start as late in the order as possible in the time trial. With the current standings, Zabriskie will have to sit tight and watch as Landis and Danielson roll in. I'm looking forward to seeing the field finally sort itself out.

Prediction check: JJ Haedo finished second

Stage 10: Grenoble-Courchevel

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Boom! I guess Armstrong couldn't bear to be without the yellow jersey for more than a day. Armstrong and Team Discovery put down the hammer on all of his contenders in a single stage. I thought that Armstrong was just going to try and contain today and save the big effort for the Pyrenees, but boy was I wrong. Discovery set an amazing pace through the valley towards Courchevel, announcing that Armstrong had loftier goals for the stage. They picked up the pace on the final climb and many major riders were dropped even before the slopes really started kicking in. With Popovych as his last paceman, Armstrong had Popo accelerate and launched his final attack. Ullrich and Vino were quickly dropped, along with Landis, Botero, or just about everyone else that might have a claim to the overall. Basso was the only contender able to follow, but even he was eventually dropped by the fast pace.

Armstrong whittled the group down to Rasmussen, Valverde, and Mancebo, and it was Valverde who was too good for Armstrong to drop. Armstrong attacked in the final 500m and Valverde jumped onto his wheel and then around to take the stage win. Given that Valverde is a rookie, it's easy to see that he may have a big future ahead.

Popo gets a lot of credit for today. Earlier in the stage he was still brushing off the dirt from a run in with an embankment, yet he was the one who put in the final kick that sent Armstrong's opponents off the back. Mancebo also gets a lot of credit for his teammate Valverde's victory -- two teammates in a breakaway of four is a big advantage, especially with Armstrong doing so much work to try and keep up the pace. Mancebo's pulls at the end helped put Valverde across the line first.

A sampliing of some of today's damage:

Basso: 1:02
Ullrich: 2:14
Kloden: 2:14
Landis: 2:14
Vinokourov: 5:18
Heras: ~10:00

Maps and stage log in the extended.

Stage 8: Pforzheim-Gerardmer

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photo photo photo

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena/Alessandro Trovati/Ena)

Under Pressure. Big first mountain stage to break in the legs. The GC contenders mostly held together, but the final climb demonstrated that T-Mobile is ready to put the smackdown on Discovery. Vino soften up the yellow jersey by relentlessly attacking Armstrong up the final climb. Ullrich sat on Armstrong's wheel while Kloden launched an attack. Armstrong didn't respond to Kloden's move, and Kloden, catching up to a breakaway by Weening, was able to tag team his way to the finish and gain 0:27 on Armstrong.

photo finishWeening nicked the stage on the line by sitting in Kloden's slipstream for the final kilometer and doing no work. Kloden had more to gain because he would get time in the overall classification, so Weening could play that to his advantage. I would think it's a litle embarrassing for Weening to only win by a hair under those circumstances, but you wouldn't be able to tell with Weening jumping onto the stage to celebrate.

Armstrong probably won't be worrying too much about Kloden's 0:27 time gain as much as (1) T-Mobile has a stronger one-two-three punch than thought with Kloden suddenly on form and (2) his Discovery team disintegrated: after Vino's initial volley there were no teammates left.

Armstrong looked strong and responded as necessary to the attacks that mattered, but he will have to hope his team puts in a better performance in the coming stages or there are going to be some long, lonely climbs ahead. Armstrong is mentioning some "talking" that his team is going to have to do tonight; he also said that he wasn't strong today (coulda fooled me).

The overall standings were cleaned up by this stage. No major riders dropped, but the non-contenders moved down. Also, Discovery lost the white young rider's jersey as Popo gave it over to Karpets, who is a favorite in the competition.

1 Lance Armstrong
2 Jens Voigt 1.00
3 Alexandre Vinokourov 1.02
4 Bobby Julich 1.07
5 Ivan Basso 1.26
6 Jan Ullrich 1.36
7 Carlos Sastre
8 George Hincapie 1.47
9 Andreas Kl�den 1.50
10 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems