Stage 9: Gerardmer-Mulhouse

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.

stage 9 map

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TiVo-Live stage log

TiVo-delayed live blogging

This log will be broken in two -- I'm going on a road ride in an hour to do my best Tour imitation.

My pick for today is Jens Voigt, yet again. He managed to finish in 5th yesterday and put in some attacks. Armstrong has announced that has been trying to get rid of the yellow jersey to lessen the pressure on his team, so that boosts my confidence that Armstrong would let CSC's Voigt get into yellow (especially b/c it would put the pressure on CSC to do all the work).

Big news already: * Sadness, Dave Zabriskie has dropped out of the Tour. He finished in dead last yesterday and has been suffering for several days now. * Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano crashed out of the Tour. * Jan Ullrich is a little banged up -- he crashed as well -- but he's seemed fairly impervious in the past so hard to tell if it's serious or not.

Jens Voigt is on the attack -- he's in a chase group (Moreau, Landaluze, and 3 others) behind an attack by Rasmussen and Cioni. Rasumussen is racking up the King of the Mountain points by winning the first two climbs.

Kloden is falling back. He was such an important part of yesterday's attack fest by T-Mobile, but maybe he broke in the legs too fast.

They're going up the Col de Bramont right now. Rasmussen and Cioni are still up front and Rasumussen went over first to collect more KoM points.

Discovery Channel is doing the work up front in a big line. Let's hope they are able to keep riders up front the whole stage this time. Basso is right behind Armstrong.

They're now going up Le Grand Ballon (Cat 2).

Julich blames yesterday's carnage on the 45k/hr average that the Tour has been clipping along at so far. He calls today the first real mountain stage.

Rasmussen scoots over the top of Le Grand Ballon, further building u his lead.

The chase group with Voigt made it over the top a bit over two minute behind. Moreau sprinted over the top ahead of the rest. The peloton with Armstrong still has about 5 or 6 minutes to the summit.

They're all over Le Grand Ballon now. Le Ballon d'Alsace awaits, and it's time for me to test my legs on a ride. Be back later with TiVo remote in hand.

And I have returned. Rode 30 miles with my friend in the f\Foothills. We rode slower and lower than the Tour riders, but I can say that I feel much more sympathetic with their efforts now. When they're going 'slow' they're still going faster than my fast tempo.

They're going through the feed station now, which reminds me that I could use some carbs right now.

Gomez fell in the feed zone and is clutching his collarbone. He's done for the Tour. Commesso also fell, but he's trying to get back into it. Now he's by the doctor getting some treatment on the knee.

Cioni has been dropped by Rasmussen. Rasmussen had been slowing down for Cioni to catch up all day, but it looks like Cioni is finally done for the day.

40.5km/hr (25mph) average speed on this mountain stage. My average speed on my ride earlier today was 16mph over the hills of Los Altos and Woodside, and we thought we were setting a blistering pace.

Rasmussen is ascending the Cat 3 Col de Bussang (6.2km @ 4.5%). He's over the summit and racks up even more points.

Rasmussen is on the lower slopes of today's big climb, the Cat 1 Le Ballon d'Alsace (9.1km @ 6.8%).

Discovery with CheChu at the front is leading the charge up this climb. I think they're gonna give the jersey to Voigt as long as Voigt stays away. Voigt's group is down to just him and Moreau, and Rasmussen is four minutes ahead of him. They're catching Cioni.

Rasmussen is over the top of the Le Ballon d'Alsace. Perfect performance today.

Discovery is setting a high tempo that is shedding some riders off the back of the peloton. Armstrong has five of his teammates with him on this climb, which is five more than he had yesterday. No one has tried to attack on this climb with the pace so high so Team Disco is doing it's job. CheChu is still at the front of the pace making him Armstrong's Super Teammate of the Day.

Moreau and Voigt are over the top of the Le Ballon d'Alsace. They just need to tag team the final 50+km to the finish line and keep Rasmussen close enough to put Voigt in yellow. If Rasmussen wants to keep competing for the polka dot jersey on his shoulders he may want to ease up and save some for the later stages.

Discovery leads the charge over the top and Hincapie takes over. CheChu's done his job for the day.

Voigt and Moreau are giving up a bit on their chase of Rasmussen, who's now got a lead of 4:04.

Jens Voigt just had a flat. Hopefully Moreau will wait up. Yup, they're back together to continue their semi-chase. They're 4:11 back, so don't look to catch Rasmussen.

15km to go for Rasmussen.

10k to go and his lead is 4:22. He's 10k from finishing a 167k breakaway. Good thing tomorrow is a rest day.

1k to go. Voigt's going to be in yellow and Rasmussen will get a terrific win.

Rasmussen gets it! A very, very impressive effort. He held off all the chasers by himself.

Now it's up to see who takes the time bonus for second.

Voigt is sitting on Moreau's tale for this last kilometer. Will he sprint around or let his former teammate take it.

Moreau is in second, Voigt is third, most certainly in yellow now.

related articles: Tour de France 2005
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Comments (1)

Hello KWC,

Great blog, and nice pick with Jens Voight and Sundays stage. It was nice to see Discovery picking up the pieces after Saturdays problems.

Enjoy the rest day, (I am heading out the door for an easy ride myself) and blog on tour friend!

Tour Guy ~

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