Tour de France '07 Stage 11: Marseille - Montpellier

Hunter - FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Hunter got his first and South Africa's first stage wins -- but wildcard team Barloworld's second -- as this flat stage delivered far more fireworks than the lack of terrain promised.

Vinokourov was a big instigator today. After trying to get in an early break, he was next seen at the front as Astana put in a big move to split the peloton in the crosswinds. The move worked and made Moreau the big casualty on the day. Moreau was first bruised after tangling with a teammate and going down, but the real pain came when he found himself over three minutes off the back. Moreau dropped from 6th to 12th in the overall standings. Vino wasn't done yet -- he tried to take advantage of the lack of sprint organization to launch an attack, but Quick Step was able to reel him in.

The sprint was sparser than expected: on top of the abandons thus far, the split in the peloton put Hushovd and Zabel out of contention. Then a crash on the final S-bend knocked Boonen and Fast Freddie out of contention. Hunter just had to outsprint second-place Fabian Cancellara and Liquigas' Fischer and Pozzato.

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CyclingNews Stage 11 Preview: Stage 11 is a classic Tour transition stage that heads due west from Marseille along the Mediterranean coastline to Montpellier and the heat and wind will likely play a role. A break should go early but the sprinters' teams will smell blood in the final 50 kilometres for a bunch gallop in Montpellier.

Stage 10 was a bit of a snoozer after over a week of exciting action. Stage 11 leans towards a bit more snooze fest as well but with pretty Mediterreanean backdrop. I'll probably use the opportunity to TiVo accelerate the stage and get some much needed zzzs.

My prediction: Boonen. McEwen, Freire, Napolitano, Vaitkus, Feillu and Cavendish are out. Robbie Hunter will be aching for a win and Hushovd has already shown he can take a stage, but I've got to stick with green when predicting a sprint stage.

Live coverage links

Versus Picks

  • Bob: Zabel
  • Phil: Boonen
  • Al: Hushovd
  • Paul: Fast Freddie

kwc.org delayed stage log

Moreau had a bit of crash after touching bikes with Gerrans. His shorts are scratched up.

Chavanel was the lsat rider in a break that got reeled in.

A huge group tries to get off the front including Vino. Now Wegmann tries to go with Gilbert (FDJ). Florencio (BT) and Fofonov (CA) rider join them. Millar (SD) bridged up, delivering on his breakaway promise a day late.

Igor Anton (Euskatel) abandoned. Calzati abanonded as well.

Astana decides that it wants to split the field. Vino is driving it at the front -- I think he's feeling better today given that he nearly went in a break. Lots of riders are caught back including Gusev, Hushovd, and Zabel. Moareau is just off the back and is trying to bridge. It looks like most of the big contenders have made it and Boonen + Hunter are safe as well.

Arroyo, Boogerd, Weening are behind the AG2R/Moreau train still trying to bridge.

The break's lead has been chopped down to under a minute as a result of all the attacking -- it has been up to six minutes before Astana put the hammer down. Millar decides to sit up and do a domestique duty -- deliver water from the break back to his teammates. I'm not sure I've seen a rider fill his jersey with bottles while in a break. That's a bit of a reverse way of doing it.

Quick Step and Barloworld are mixing with the Astana train.

AG2R is getting help from Milram to try and chase both Zabel and Moreau back.

The sprint teams haven't organized for the sprint with less than 5k to go. It's a mix of riders whipping up the pace.

Rinero makes a futile attempt to jump off the front.

Vino jumps! The sprint teams aren't very strong right now... Quick Step pulls it back.

Three riders jump with less than a mile to go. Cancellara led it but they couldn't get enough of a gap.

Crash! Riders collided with the barriers on an S bend. Boonen went down. Rodriguez is down. Dean is down. Schleck looks like he may have been caught in it.

Liquigas does the leadout. Now T-Mobile.

Hunter goes up the right.

Cancellara mixes it up

Robbie Huner takes it!

related articles: Tour de France 2007
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Comments (2)

Just a small note... McEwen isn't in the race anymore

http://www.letour.fr/2007/TDF/LIVE/us/1000/abandons.html

* shame * I didn't see the dot between Boonen en McEwen !
Sorry ;)

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