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Filippo Pozzato called his own shot today and won the stage in a mass uphill sprint finish. Freire, Zabel, Bennati, and Hincapie were in the mix, but Pozzato had the best line to the finish line. Zabel lost the stage but he must still be very happy: he took the green jersey from Tom Boonen, who was dropped from the front group.
It's not exactly the finish that I expected as the breaks were relatively contained. Sylvain Chavanel used an early 4-man break to catapult into the KOM lead by taking all but the last climb. Various riders attempted to get a gap on the final ascent and descent, but things remained tight. Popovych had his chances ruined as he overshot a turn into the grass, quickly followed by Cancellara who was putting in another impressive defense of his yellow jersey.
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I thought Cancellara would lose the yellow jersey today as CSC started the day claiming that they wouldn't defend. This tactic seemed to work -- the other teams contributed most of the pace-making early in the day. But CSC was nearly in full force in the final pullback of the breakaway and then it was Cancellara himself who was driving to bring back Popovych's break.
It was an odd day for team leaders: Sastre, Valverde, Zabel, Hushovd, Mayo and Vino all found themselves off the back for mechanical, crash, and other reasons. Also, second-in-command's Kloden and Pereiro were off the back. Perhaps it was a nervous day with the first day of climbing and Stage 7 mountains looming in the distance.
- Fritz/cyclelicio.us is running a Twitter-aggregator on his front page
- CyclingNews Live Coverage (latest)
- TwitTour (twitter)
- Steephill.tv has links to live video options
- Yahoo Photo Feed
- My Twitter has a slightly different take, but is mostly the same. Might be easier for catching updates.
- Polar Cycling: Live heart rate, speed, and altitude monitoring
- Graham Watson's audio post from the road: apparently he's spending his time navigating around the peloton on side roads because the roads are narrow
CyclingNews Stage 5 Route Preview: "Starting in the town famous worldwide for crisp white wine, after five days of racing in the 2007 Tour de France, stage 5 contains some serious racing on a winding, rolling parcours with eight categorized climbs. A break will certainly get away and in the second half of the stage, the road ascends to the windy roads of Morvan Plateau before a final ascent of the Cat. 3 Côte de la Croix de la Libération with eight kilometres to race, which could make the difference for the race winning move."
My prediction: always hard to predict when you think a breaks gonna win, so I'll just go with my go-to break pick -- Jens Voigt. It is a bad pick given all the work CSC has had to do at the front of the peloton, and they probably want a bit of rest to be honest. Sending Voigt up the road would save the rest of the team effort on stage 5, but they would be back to pacemaking on stage 6. A better pick might be someone like Vladimir Gusev: strong TT ability with decent climbing legs. I could even see Vinokourov taking it if it comes together before the final climb. With a yellow jersey within reach, it's hard to say. As a bonus, the rider who puts on the jersey at the end of stage 5 could keep it to the slopes of stage 7.
- Al: Freire
- Paul: Valverde
- Bob: Ballan
- Phil: Hincapie
kwc.org Stage Log
Lanterne Rouge Di Gregorio did not start on the account of a broken arm. Kuschynski is once again Lanterne Rouge.
As for my pick of Voigt, it seems shot already: "That was not the plan today. We have had to do a bit of work in defending the jersey with Fabian. But it's basically the same as usual, a break goes away, we ride on the front and then it's a bunch kick. Today's plan was to just defend the jersey. Now it's all for Fabian and then in the Alps Frank and Carlos and, maybe, after the Alps I will have a chance, and in the last week maybe Stuey. So we are looking forward to some great racing. "
CSC has announced they are not defending and the other teams seem to have taken the bait
- Bonnet (CA): 2 intermediate sprints
- Gilbert (FD Jeux)
- Chavanel (Cofidis): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th KOM, 27pts for the lead (now up to 37 points)
- Cheula (Barloworld): chased up
They worked their lead up to 14 minutes, but the combined chase in the peloton has brought it back to 3:38
Graham Watson's audio post from the road: apparently he's spending his time navigating around the peloton on side roads because the roads are narrow
Lancaster (Milram) became the Tour's next retirement on the account of crash, stomach, and saddle sores -- it took quite a lot to take him out
Mayo crashed, but there were plenty of riders waiting to bring him back. Versus cut away as the crash happened for a Cancellara interview and then played it back as if it were happening in real time.
Kloden crashed in a ditch along with his teammate Navarro and a Caisse + AG2R rider. Savoldelli dropped back to help Kloden with Navarro
Lequatre (Cofidis) crashed in the feed zone -- musette junk scattered about. His right elbow looks hurt
Another crash: Arroyo went down softly. Riders seem extra-twitchy today on this first day of mini-climbing
The break is coming apart on the Haut-Folin KOM as their lead is down to 1:38. Chavanel and Gilbert are dropping their breakaway companions.
Hushovd is already off the back -- Liggett says he has sciatic nerve problems. Charteau is giving him help.
Valverde is off the back for some reason. Pereiro is back with him. With all the work Caisse is still doing at the front, odd to see their two best off the back.
Chavanel takes the Cat 2 Haut Folin for to build up his points to 37
The 2 breakaway stragglers are being swallowed up, but Chavanel and Gilbert are still at 2+ minutes
Sastre becomes the latest leader to be caught off the back. Still no one helping him.
Zabel is off the back with a mechanical
Sastre, Valverde, Hushovd, Zabel, Mayo -- lots of problems for leaders today
Now there's a CSC paceline bringing Sastre and a bunch of other riders back.
Vino has crashed. Colom was his shadow. Vino's got a welt on his butt.
So, to update my list: Sastre, Valverde, Hushovd, Zabel, Mayo, Vino -- lots of problems for leaders today
Almost all of Astana is pacing Vino back, it's going to be a hard chase back as the peloton is haulin'. Van Summeren is hitching a ride.
O'Grady is driving the peloton. CSC and Liquigas are doing the work at the front. Whatever CSC said about not defending at the start of the stage now seems to be a tactic to save their team for the finish.
15.5k, 0:46 -- looks like even less than that
Vino still hasn't caught on, ~2 minutes behind. They're riding among the cars at the back as Rast is being dropped from their train.
Final climb has started, 0:28. CSC is no longer hammering at the front. Who's going to attack first.
Vino passes the small autobus
Wegmann is the first to attack 0:15, 12.5k, with Wegmann a third of the way across to the leaders
Wegmann isn't going to make it. Rabobank has pinned him back.
Gilbert is being caught. Chavanel is just trying to hold out for more KOM points. Nope
No can do. Rabaobank has too many riders driving.
De la Fuente (Saunier Duval) put in an attack but it looks like it won't survive.
Vino has burned up all his teammates except for Iglinsky. And now its just Vino by himself. The team car is his domestique now.
Now a Bouygues Telecom rider -- Lafevre -- is attacking. He takes the KOM and will lead the descent.
Vino is now stuck in a mass of riders by the team cars with Boonen and others. They're over the top.
A Discovery Rider is bridging to Lafevre. He's gone past (Popovych?)
Vino is dragging Boonen, Wegmann, and others back towards the peloton.
Popovych is driving it but can't lose the peloton -- Cancellara looks like he's driving the peloton.
Both Popovych and Cancellara drove a little too hard and went into the the grass around a corner.
Now it's Lampre in full force. Hincapie is third wheel. Certainly a stage win favorite.
Someone jumped -- another Bouygues rider being chased by a Saunier Duval rider.
Vino is 0.7k back
Filippo Pozzato takes the stage win in the what became a sprint stage.
Vino loses about 1:20