Stage 11: Courchevel-Briancon

Vino's simply too good to let a bad day on Stage 10 keep him down. The time he lost yesterday also worked to his advantage: unlike previous attacks Armstrong no longer had any reason to respond. He attacked with a group on the Col de la Madeleine climb, whittled it down to just him and Botero, and outsmarted Botero for the finish in Briancon. He had dropped Botero on the Col du Galibier climb, taking the prize for winning the highest climb in the Tour, but Botero caught him on the descent and they rode together into Briancon.

This shouldn't matter too much for Armstrong and Discovery. Vino lost too much time yesterday to be a threat, so Armstrong could afford to give Vino the minute of time. Discovery rode in a defensive mode today and managed to keep a team of five riders all the way from the top of the Col du Galibier climb to the finish. With that many riders at his side, there was no way that any of the contenders could hope to attack -- their own teammates had already fallen away.

Moreau made a go for some King of the Mountain points. He did well over the first two climbs, but Rasmussen took the remaining points on the final climb. Moreau also took the third place sprint bonus to move into third place overall.

stage 11 map

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Unofficial GPS coordinates: * Col de la Madeleine: N45 26.094 E6 22.533 * Col du Telegraphe: N45 12.165 E6 26.677 * Col du Galibier: N45 3.858 E6 24.472

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(TiVo)Live Stage Log

TiVo-delayed live blogging

This is the stage I've been waiting for. Granted, I didn't expect yesterday's results, but today has so many classic climbs, including Col de la Madeleine and Col du Galibier.

Prediction: darn, I have no clue today who to pick: Valverde, Moreau, Rasmussen, Leipheimer, Horner, hmmm... Yesterday I had trouble choosing between Horner and Valverde, and I chose poorly. I'm gonna go risky and go with Vino. He's far enough back now that a breakaway by him has a slightly better chance, and I think yesterday's embarassment will have to be redeemed. I also think we might see a good day from Moreau, as it will have to be if he is going to make any serious effort at that polka dot.

It turns out that they didn't plan to attack, they just wanted to set a good tempo. Bruyneel noticed Vino in trouble and told Discovery to hit it.

I just rewatched some of yesterday's coverage and man he looked glassy-eyed at the end of that stage.

Boonen had a crash and is trying to ride back into this race.

Hushovd is up the road with Dumoulin. No one's going to be worried about those two.

Oscar Pereiro goes and is joined by a Credit Agricole rider. That makes two riders up the road from Credit Agricole, which could all be brought back to help out Moreau. Hushovd is a sprinter, and for him to be that far up the road... well he could be going for the sprint points at the end, but that would also put him in position to be helping Moreau make his way in.

Mancebo and Vino are in a second break and the tempo is being picked up by Disco to catch. Botero, Horner, Mayo and Heras are also there. The Credit Agricole rider Caucchioli is in this group. This is a pretty sick list of riders in that breakaway.

The peloton is thinning on out the slopes of the Col de la Madeleine as they respond to the attack. The chase group with Vino is a minute ahead.

Valverde is visiting the doctor taking some sort of pill.

Heras is falling back from the chase group.

Vino's group doesn't look that far ahead of the peloton. Only 0:43 and within sight.

Mancebo and Horner aren't holding onto the breakaway either.

Botero has jumped up to join Vino and Pereiro. Botero has won at Briancon before.

Look at those crowds.

Botero is over the top first.

Moreau gives Ras a stare then sprints ahead for some mountain points.

Pereiro just rode off the side of the road. Took the turn a bit wide and ended up going cyclocross, but he's okay.

The escape group (Vino, Botero, Pereiro, Martinez) are ahead by 1:17

They're in the valley now taking on food.

Now they're ticking up the Col du Telegraphe. Martinez is gone from the break.

5km to the top.

Il Falco Savoldelli, winner of the Giro di Italia, is the waterboy for Discovery today.

The 3-man Vino/Botero break is almost at 3 minutes.

Botero sprints and takes the Telegraphe climb points. Vino followed, but Pereiro is going to have to bridge his way back.

Moreau and Rasmussen are going to duke it out. They are doing a side-by-side sprint. Moreau gets a lead and is going to take it.

It will soon be time for the Col du Galibier (Hor Category, 17.5km @ 6.9%)

Pereiro has cracked, which is good for Vino as he no longer has two Phonak riders riding with him. It will just be Vino and Botero now.

Triki is setting tempo for Discovery, but he has a plaster on the right leg that indicates he's developing some tendonitis. CheChu is riding second position and will probably take over soon. It's now CheChu, Savoldelli, Azevedo, Popo, Armstrong. Popo is behind Armstrong, riding as the protected lieutenant.

Vino has attacked Botero!

FYI: The Col du Galibier is the highest climb this year.

The peloton is shedding more riders now. The peloton is now a very select group. Basso isn't going to have that much help from teammates.

Vino has a 3 minute lead.

CheChu is done for the day. It's Il Falco doing the pull with Hincapie in the number 2 slot. Popo is still riding behind Armstrong, along with Landis and Basso.

Pereiro has been swept up. Horner has cracked.

Il Falco is still pulling while the peloton continues to whittle down behind him.

Hincapie is setting the tempo now with Il Falco in the second spot, Azevedo riding third. Rasmussen, Valverde, Mancebo, Moreau, Ullrich, Landis, Basso, Leipheimer are all there, but it's goodbye to Kloden and 3-4 other riders.

Vino is riding into the crowds at the top of the climb.

1km to the summit for Vino. Vino is parting the sea of people.

Botero isn't too far behind (0:43). Vino was slow on the last descent so Botero might catch him for a tag team to the finish.

Vino's going over the top.

Rasmussen is attacking. He's not going to let Moreau get these points as well. Moreau hasn't responded.

Now Moreau is going just before the end of the climb to take whatever points are left.

Armstrong is going to have to chase down Rasmussen given Ras's high standing. Kloden's group may be able to bridge back up on the descent.

Botero is catching Vino on the descent very quickly.

31k to go. It's a train of Discovery riders leading the peloton chase group down. Armstrong should have no trouble keeping Vino within reasonable range.

17k to go. 2:20 lead

Il Falco leads the descent for Team Disco. An Illes Baleares rider is helping out as well, probably for Valverde/Mancebo.

13k to go and the T-Mobile mechanic is cutting off Vino's loose transponder.

The lead is down to 1:51 with 7k to go.

5k to go and Vino and Botero are taking good turns pulling through.

FINAL KILOMETER, 1:35 lead

Botero goes under the 1km kite first. Vino is just sitting there. Botero is peering over his shoulder wondering when Vino's gonna go.

No sign of from Vino on his face.

Betero is just nevously glancing, but Vino is still there.

Complete poker face on Vino

Game of chicken here.

Vino's picking up the speed.

Vino has got it easily!

Team Disco is bringing in the group. They're worrying about the third place time bonus.

There goes Armstrong, but he slows up and lets Moreau take it.

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related articles: Tour de France 2005
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