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The tour moved, westward away from the Pyrenees today on a path towards the Alps and some

Stage 11 Winner, Arvesen & Runner Up, Elmiger

Stage 11 Winner, Arvesen & Runner Up, Elmiger

tough stuff on stages 15, 16 and 17. The stage had a nice Cat 1 climb about two thirds in on the 167.5-km path from Lannemezan to Foix. The GC contenders were happy to give away the stage to a breakaway effort and weren’t disappointed. They let a break go at 35k which rode into the sunset. As the best placed rider was over 20 minutes back,  there was little pressure to chase. The result was that the stage became an extension of yesterday’s rest day for the GC contenders for the most part anyway. The break eventually ended up over 14 minutes ahead of the field at the finish. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that only the commentators new much about this collection of riders. The run in to the finish was interesting in that there were new riders to follow.  What else was there to do? There was no change to the overall standings.

Oscar Pereiro made a stab as a solo break couldn’t make it stick as CSC dropped the hammer to keep him in check among others. All’s quite on the GC front, with Cadel Evans in first, Schleck in second and Vande Velde in third.

Tomorrow could be a sprinters stage. It will be interesting to see if Mark Cavendish can shake out his legs to get in the mix.

Barloworld’s Duenas Nevado’s was given the boot after test results from Stage four came back positive for EPO. Apparently the mess was in his trailer. It seems a few bad eggs suck the goodness away at times. No sucking…that’s it!

Stage Video: http://tinyurl.com/cjp6a

Race Reports

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/6y3kyj
Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/6lmxxy
Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5ubjqn
Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/6693su

Stage 11 Results

1 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 3.58.13 (42.19 km/h)
2 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale, st.
3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre, st.
4 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank, 0.02
5 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole, 0.11
6 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom, 0.14
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas, st.
8 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux, st.
9 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner, st.
10 Marco Velo (Ita) Team Milram, st.
11 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Crédit Agricole, st.
12 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 0.29
13 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 14.51
14 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, st.
15 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, st.

Overall Standings

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 46.42.13
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.57
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 1.56
8 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.10
9 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.29
10 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32

Today’s stage promised to be both explosive and decisive. The reason of course was the infamous pair of above category mountains on the schedule, the Col du Tourmalet followed by the Hautacam.Tourmalet is an 18km uphill at almost 8 percent which reaches to 7,000 feet while Hautacam is a 17km climb at a 7 percent grade with some fierce double-digit grades along the way. There were two Cat three climbs along the way but as you can see from the elevation profile, they look like rollers by comparison.

Stage 10 Elevation Profile

Stage 10 Elevation Profile - I mean, are you kidding me...get the oxygen!

The yellow jersey changed hands from Kim Kirchen to Cadel Evans as a result of a brilliantly

Evans, Vande Velde & Menchov

Stage 10 Contenders: Evans, Vande Velde & Menchov

executed plan by team CSC. CSC’s Jens Voigt and the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank, pushed the pace to limit, unexpectedly popping Valverde, Cunego and Schumacher up the first climb. The other contenders including Evans, Ricco, Kirchen, Vande Velde, Menchov and Sastre were able to match the pace. There was the crazy Tourmalet decent which denied the dropped riders the opportunity to catch back on and even distanced them by an additional minute. Then there was the initial part of the climb up Hautacam which recaptured all the remaining break riders while dropping the yellow jersey, Kirchen. This two phased attack was led primarily by Cancellara the Swiss time trial champion. Jens Voigt continued the attack at an equally difficult pace putting the rest of the GC guys on the red line.  It was the “see you guys later” move by Frank Schleck who finally did the rest of the field in. Only a few could follow including

Stage 10 Winner, Peipoli

Stage 10 Winner, Leonardo Peipoli

the eventual stage winner Piepoli, with team mate Cobo of Saunier Duval-Scott, Kohl of Gerolsteiner and Efimkin of Ag2r. Frank almost rode himself into yellow in the process but missed it by one second to a rebounding Cadel. Vande Velde was a great story today. He was right in there to the line demonstrating he has the stuff to find his way to the podium.

There was a ton of action during the stage and it is hard to describe all the moves in this short brief. I’ve included the links to several race reports from the various news outlets as usual to give the detail.

Race Video: http://tinyurl.com/59r9kc

Race Reports:

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/5pbykk

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5vqdmh

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/6blrlc

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/6kcpg3

Stage Results:

1 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott, 4.19.27 (36.08 km/h)
2 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott, st.
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.28
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 1.06
5 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.05
6 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.17
7 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, st.
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, st.
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, st.
10 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, st.
11 Moises Dueñas Nevado (Spa) Barloworld, 2.27
12 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.49
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas, 3.40
14 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 3.58
15 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 4.19

Overall Results:

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 42.29.09
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.46
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.57
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.28
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 1.56
8 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.10
9 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott, 2.29
10 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32

American Placing Overall:

3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.38
57 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia, 39.51
119 Danny Pate (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 1.25.36
149 William Frischkorn (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 1.40.53

Ricco was in great form today stepping away from a tentative peloton in search of a stage win.

Riccardo Ricco Wins Stage 8

Riccardo Ricco Wins Stage 8

Earlier in the stage, there was a break of three included Lang, Jalabert and Kuschynski who escaped the peloton at 25km.  It ran smoothly for miles in that none were a threat to the GC.

It fell apart at around 165km when Lang rode the others off his wheel on the first cat 1 mountain of the tour, the Col de Peyresourde.  The peloton stayed pretty much together on the col behind them.  Lang maintained his lead down the Peyresourde and halfway up the Col d’Aspin.  Ricco bridged to Lang before the final summit and didn’t look back.  At the same time, the peloton narrowed the lead to less than two minutes before the summit as well.

By 15km to go all the chasers were reeled in it leaving Ricco as only rider ahead with over a minute lead.  He held the lead for the remainder of the stage.  Valverde for all the Caisse d’Epargne team maneuvering was unable to manifest a challenge to the GC contenders.  Caisse d’Epargne clearly has the strongest GC team though today they were no match for the Ricco attack and decent.  Still they are able to support in ways no other team could match.

Kirchen was able to stay with the main contenders over the d’Aspin retaining the yellow jersey.  He rocketed down the mountain with the rest to the finish.  He looked on the defensive for the final col and it’s decent.  His team seems to be unable to support him when the going gets up.  Interestingly, he regained the green jersey from Oscar Freire.  Garmin’s Christian Vande Velde has moved up to third on GC as Schumacher fell off the lead group on the run in to the finish.

Hincapie seems to be reserved for support on another day maybe tomorrow.  He helped Lovkvist to the finish over six minutes back.  Cadel wrecked at 135 though it didn’t look to affect his performance.

Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/cjp6a

Race Reports

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/66x4jf

Velonews:  http://tinyurl.com/5dhtlt

Official Tour Website:  http://tinyurl.com/6salpo

Yahoo Sports:  http://tinyurl.com/57ol9g

Stage 9 Results

1 Riccardo Riccò (Ita), Saunier Duval-Scott, 5.39.28 (39.59 km/h)

2 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), AG2R La Mondiale, 1.03

3 Cyril Dessel (Fra), AG2R La Mondiale, 1.17

4 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Crédit Agricole

5 Christian Knees (Ger), Team Milram

6 Maxime Monfort (Bel), Cofidis

7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne

8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas

9 Damiano Cunego (Ita), Lampre

10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Silence-Lotto

Overall Results

1 Kim Kirchen (Lux), Columbia

2 Cadel Evans (Aus), Silence-Lotto, 0.06

3 Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin Chipotle – H30, 0.44

4 Stefan Schumacher (Ger), Gerolsteiner, 0.56

5 Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, 1.03

6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

7 Stijn Devolder (Bel), Quick Step, 1.21

8 Oscar Pereiro (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, 1.21

9 Samuel Sánchez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1.27

10 Carlos Sastre (Spa), CSC-Saxo Bank, 1.34

It was a chilly and rainy day on the stage 8 route from Figeac to Toulouse at 172.5 km.  The pace

2008 Tour de France Stage 8 Finish

Mark Cavendish winning Stage 8

was very fast even so.  The finish proved to be very slippery and tricky but without incident.  Mark Cavendish gets the win with Gerald Ciolek pulling out second leveraging a strong Columbia and Quickstep train.  Team Columbia can do no wrong…at least for now.  It is time to enjoy the moment as the pain comes tomorrow and Monday in the form of the Pyrenees.

 

 

The major move of the day was by Lefevere, who got away at 39k, later bridged too by Txurruk, Pineau, and Riblon.  This group maintained the break for most of the stage but was finally caught at 10km from the finish where attacks blew the group apart on the final climb into town. 

 

Team Liquigas took lead to drive the ship into the finish in an effort to get their man in place for the sprint and maybe to take a bit of the sting out of the Manuel Beltran incident.  Later Team Columbia, Quickstep and Credit Agricole got up front to set up their sprinters as well.  Position was the key for the sprint as there were several turns leading into the straight up final kilometer.  The speed with these conditions was over the top.

 

There were fewer wrecks than expected though Riccardo Ricco, Voigt, and Columbia’s Ciolek, hit the deck with 50km to go down.  No real damage though as demonstrated by Ciolek’s stellar finish.  The question of the day is where is Robbie McEwen?  He finished 19th today but has been out of the top five.  Is it form, team or position that has him absent in the finishes this year?  I can’t figure it. 

 

Stage 8 map and elevation profile:  http://tinyurl.com/5a7zy9

 

Race Reports

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/57y3t5

 

 

Stage 8 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Columbia
3 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
5 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
7 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
8 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld

 

Overall Results
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.44
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 1.03
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

What a great stage today on France’s Massif Central.  Leon Sanchez made a magnificent run to the line on a tricky mountain stage holding off most all of the favorites.  After several attempts at a breakaway he eventually was able to escape with 5km to go holding off a charge from the power of the Tour.  Well done. 

 

Kirchen continues to impress managing match pace with the GC contenders as of yet.  He made a great effort to gain points toward the green jersey with a mad dash for the finish only to be nipped at the line by a resilient Schumacher and Pozzato.  He put time on a few of the GC contenders including. 

 

Nice work by Columbia to support Kirchen.  Hincapie, Lovkvist and Siutsou helped drive a blistering pace up the Cat 2 climb up Pas de Peyrol keeping the breaks lead to a small margin.  The team fell of the last 20km but most of that was downhill and a relatively fresh Kirchen was able to handle it without incident. 

News Reports

Velonews:  http://tinyurl.com/5by5yr

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/6aa55e

Yahoo Sports:  http://tinyurl.com/6bvszk
Stage Video:  http://tinyurl.com/6aa55e

 

Stage 7 Stage Results

1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne               3.52.53 (40.964 km/h)

2 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                          0.06

3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas

4 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia

5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne

6 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne

7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi

8 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott

9 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

10 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank

11 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Scott

12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto

13 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval – Scott

14 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Quick Step

15 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank

 

Overall Results

1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 28.23.40

2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.06

3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 0.16

4 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.44

5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 1.03

6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 1.12

7 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 1.14

8 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step, 1.21

9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne

10 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia

11 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 1.27

12 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.34

13 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.56

14 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 1.58

15 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 2.03

 

Team Results

1 Caisse d’Epargne, 11.38.51

2 Saunier Duval – Scott, 0.06

3 Team CSC Saxo Bank, st

4 Liquigas, st

5 Gerolsteine, 0.33

6 Rabobank, 1.00

7 Euskaltel – Euskadi, st

8 AG2R-La Mondiale, st

9 Credit Agricole, 1.27

10 Barloworld, st

The GC contenders finally get they’re moment to make a race out of the Tour.  After five days relatively flat stages, the Tour takes the racers from the north east to the central mountains introducing two Cat 4 climbs followed by two Category 2 climbs the later offering a mountain top finish off a steep 10% grade.

 

The strength of the American field revealed itself today in the names of Kirchen and Vande Velde.  Vande Velde took a flyer on the face of the final mountain holding off the field for several kilometers.  He fell off the main group afterwards but still held onto 19th only 23 seconds back.  Kirchen hung on despite a myriad of attacks leading up to the finish.  Kirchen finished 5th four seconds back of the Stage winner Ricco.

 

Ricco won the stage in spectacular fashion today demonstrating that he is possibly the best climber in the field.  Kirchen takes the yellow jersey likely as a result of a misshap with Schumacher.  Schumacher’s hit the deck 2K from the line off Kirchen’s wheel. 

 

Read Race Summary’s from the major Cycling Web sites

Velonews:  http://tinyurl.com/5ax7xs

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/6lr5wn

Bicycling:  http://tinyurl.com/5co8dk

 

Team Columbia Finishers

5

Kim Kirchen (Lux)

 Team Columbia

0.04

15

Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)

 Team Columbia

0.23

43

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr)

 Team Columbia

1.08

45

George Hincapie (USA)

 Team Columbia

1.20

96

Adam Hansen (Aus)

 Team Columbia

8.30

117

Bernhard Eisel (Aut)

 Team Columbia

14.35

163

Gerald Ciolek (Ger)

 Team Columbia

17.46

165

Marcus Burghardt (Ger)

 Team Columbia

17.46

168

Mark Cavendish (GBr)

 Team Columbia

17.46

 

Team Garmin – Chipotle

19

Christian Vande Velde (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.23

39

David Millar (GBr)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.51

48

Ryder Hesjedal (Can)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

1.45

95

Trent Lowe (Aus)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

8.30

121

Danny Pate (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

14.35

137

Martijn Maaskant (Ned)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

157

Magnus Backstedt (Swe)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

159

Julian Dean (NZl)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

167

William Frischkorn (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

17.46

 

Stage 6 Results

1

Riccardo Riccò (Ita)

 Saunier Duval – Scott

4.57.52 (39.38 km/h)

2

Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa)

 Caisse d’Epargne

0.01

3

Cadel Evans (Aus)

 Silence – Lotto

0.01

4

Frank Schleck (Lux)

 Team CSC – Saxo Bank

0.04

5

Kim Kirchen (Lux)

 Team Columbia

0.04

6

Roman Kreuziger (Cze)

 Liquigas

0.07

7

Moises Dueñas Nevado (Spa)

 Barloworld

0.07

8

Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa)

 Team CSC – Saxo Bank

0.07

9

Denis Menchov (Rus)

 Rabobank

0.07

10

Leonardo Piepoli (Ita)

 Saunier Duval – Scott

0.07

11

Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spa)

 Liquigas

0.12

12

Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa)

 Euskaltel – Euskadi

0.12

13

Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa)

 Caisse d’Epargne

0.15

14

Stijn Devolder (Bel)

 Quick Step

0.19

15

Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)

 Team Columbia

0.23

16

Iouri Trofimov (Rus)

 Bouygues Telecom

0.23

17

Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz)

 Crédit Agricole

0.23

18

Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa)

 Euskaltel – Euskadi

0.23

19

Christian Vande Velde (USA)

 Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30

0.23

20

Tadej Valjavec (Slo)

 AG2R La Mondiale

0.23

Overall Standings 

1 Kim Kirchen (Lux)  Team Columbia 24.30.41
2 Cadel Evans (Aus)  Silence – Lotto 0.06
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger)  Gerolsteiner 0.16
4 Christian Vande Velde (USA)  Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.44
5 David Millar (GBr)  Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.47
6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe)  Team Columbia 0.54
7 Denis Menchov (Rus)  Rabobank 1.03
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa)  Caisse d’Epargne 1.12
9 Stijn Devolder (Bel)  Quick Step 1.21
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa)  Caisse d’Epargne 1.21
11 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa)  Euskaltel – Euskadi 1.27
12 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa)  Team CSC – Saxo Bank 1.34
13 Maxime Monfort (Bel)  Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.40
14 Damiano Cunego (Ita)  Lampre 1.42
15 George Hincapie (USA)  Team Columbia 1.45
  

Allez915

 

On the longest stage of the tour, Mark Cavendish and Team Columbia work the train to perfection getting the win.  With an exceptional lead out by George Hincapie and excellent support by Kim Kirchen, Cavendish was dropped at the 150m mark in prime position to bring it home.  At the moment Cav took over, Hushovd all ready had him by a half a bike.  Cav punched the crank and within 50m he had distanced all sprint contenders and took the line, Wow.  He has the legs to contest and that means we’ve got a new rider to watch on the flatlands this tour.

 

This was a really dry stage today. Unless you enjoy the banal banter of the race announcers, save you’re viewing time for a stage with more potential.  Three minutes of highlight footage is all you really need.  Not much but a long breakaway to follow and no-namers at that.  The sprint will be the highlight of the day.

 

Team Columbia impresses me more and more.  There GC hopes appear to be on the back of Kirchen.  Kirchen, riding for T-Mobile, was 7th at last year’s tour and clearly capable of besting that effort.  I expect he will be marking Evans, Valverde and Menchov among others when the road turns upward.  Tomorrow’s stage introduces two 2nd category climbs that may hint at Kim’s strength and competitiveness.  It will be interesting to see how the team is used to set Kim up for a run.  I’m sure Hincapie will provide pace for one of the mountains.  Let’s see who is on point for the other probably Lövkvist.

 

2008 TdF Stage 6 Elevation Profile

2008 TdF Stage 6 Elevation Profile

 

Team Columbia is well positioned with three riders in the top 10 with Kirchen 2nd, Hincapie 7th and Lövkvist 8th.  All of them are in the mix to be competitive for GC though Kirchen will be supported in the mountains most likely.

 

Noticeably absent from today’s finish were team Garmin/Chipotle.  Only Julian Dean placed in the sprint finish in 10th.  There are two riders in the top 10 overall including Millar and Vande Velde.  I expect Millar will fade in the mountains like past years but Vande Velde could show us something.  Let’s see tomorrow.

 

Links for Stage 5 Press Releases

Yahoo Sports:  http://tinyurl.com/6blrlc

Cycling News:  http://tinyurl.com/5lps4f

Velonews:       http://tinyurl.com/6ogceq

 

Stage 6 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia 5.27.52 (42.45 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank  
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram  
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole  
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Barloworld  
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld  
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone  
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto  
9 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas  
10 Julian Dean (NZ) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30  
11 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner  
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step  
13 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel  
14 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux   
15 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Agritubel  
     
Overall Standings
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 19.32.33
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 0.12
3 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.12
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0.21
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 0.33
6 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.37
7 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia 0.41
8 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.47
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0.58
10 José Iván Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.01
11 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.12
12 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 1.13
13 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 1.18
14 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.22
15 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.24
     
Team Standings
1 Barloworld   16.23.36
2 Agritubel    
3 Rabobank    
4 Gerolsteiner    
5 Silence – Lotto    
6 Credit Agricole    
7 Garmin Chipotle    
8 Team Columbia    
9 Bouygues Telecom    
10 Liquigas    
11 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone    
12 Team Milram    
13 Quick Step    
14 Lampre    
15 Euskaltel – Euskadi    
16 AG2R-La Mondiale    
17 Caisse d’Epargne    
18 Francaise des Jeux    
19 Saunier Duval – Scott    
20 Team CSC Saxo Bank    

 

 

 

Allez915

After a half hour hunting a live feed from of the tour, I finally hooked into a choppy feed from Eurosport Live.  Took some effort to ignore the rather adolescent chat room that accompanied the site but who’s complaining.

 

Got to love the underdog.  Stefan Schumacher gets it done on the 4th stage of the TdF.  Maybe somebody else in computerland saw or made a prediction of Schumacher dropping the hammer in this stage but I didn’t.  He stormed to the top of the pile in Lance like proportions bringing a 35:44 for the 29.5km TT for an average of 49.534 km/hr or over 30MPH.  He bested a close group of riders including Cancellara +33, Menchov +34, Voigt +35, Vande Velde +37 and Hincapie +41.  Other riders came in later to challenge but couldn’t quite get it done. 

 

The elevation profile shows that this course as a rather flat unassuming loop. In truth the winds were strong and the course more rolling than expected.  The result was that while the contenders still gravitated upward there were some surprises including in the top spot.

 

2008 TdF Stage 4 Elevation Profile

2008 TdF Stage 4 Elevation Profile

As hoped for, team members from both Team Columbia and Garmin – Chipotle put in some excellent performances.  Danny Pate threw the gauntlet down early demonstrating strength for Garmin/Chipotle.  It wasn’t till the big guns came out much later that he was bested and only by a small margin at first.  Danny hung in for 14th, a very respectable placing for the TdF.  Well done. 

 

Other American team members also got in on the action including Pate’s Garmin compatriots Vande Velde 8th, and Millar, with stellar 3rd a mere 18 seconds off the leader.  Columbia’s best placers include Lövkvist 11th, Hincapie 9th and Kirchen with 2nd only 18 seconds off the leader and slightly ahead of Millar.  American teams are clearly strong and deep as today’s results show.  They are 1st and 2nd on the team overall.  We shall see if that holds up on the more difficult stages to follow.

 

At first it seems Schumacher has no GC illusions from his first interview on Eurosport.   Later on it is published that he will give up the yellow kicking and screaming. I suppose his director had a chat with him in between.  Here nor there, he got it done and deserves his time in the limelight. 

 

Stage Results
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 35.44 (49.5 km/h)
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 0.18
3 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.18
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0.27
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 0.33
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.34
7 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 0.35
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.37
9 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia 0.41
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0.47
11 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.47
12 José Iván Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0.50
13 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.08
14 Danny Pate (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 1.10
15 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 1.18
Overall Results
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 14.04.41
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 0.12
3 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.12
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto 0.21
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 0.33
6 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.37
7 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia 0.41
8 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 0.47
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0.58
10 José Iván Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.01
11 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.12
12 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC – Saxo Bank 1.13
13 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 1.18
14 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 1.22
15 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.24
Team Results
1 Team Columbia 1.48.58
2 Garmin Chipotle 0.19
3 Team CSC Saxo Bank 0.51
4 Gerolsteiner 1.30
5 Caisse d’Epargne 2.06  

 

I went in to the 2008 Tour de France wondering if I would be as invested in the race as in past years.  I find that I’ve been hedging commitment to the race for several weeks leading up to the start.  After some thought, several reasons jump to mind. 

·         There is the closure of the Discovery team and the subsequent scattering of the team members to the three winds. 

·         There is the hardheaded ASO decision to deny Astana the opportunity to race and along with it two of my favorites, Contador and Leipheimer as well as the ever fascinating director Johan Bruyneel. 

·         There is the decision of Versus to deny the cable impaired a live online video feed relegating us to the semi-live twitter like updates from the major news and team outlets.  

·         Let’s not forget the yearly sponsor and rider changes to navigate. 

 

So with all this nonsense to contend with, who could figure where I’d be three stages in?  Yes, you guessed it, as buried in it as a solo break 5K out with a 2 minute gap. 

 

The two American teams Team Columbia (High Road) and Team Garmin – Chipotle are square in the middle of it.  They have several riders including today’s 2nd place finisher Will Frischkorn and yesterday’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers Kim Kirchen and Gerald Ciolek who are bringing me along for the ride. 

 

I’m not sure how these teams will play out in the GC but they have clearly come to challenge individual stages.  There is a rather rebellious side to each of these teams that hint at more fun to come.  

 

The interview at the end of the stage with Frischkorn was fascinating.  Clearly still wound up from the stage finish, he recounted the story of the finishing kilometers as a series of missteps.  He just knew that he could get it right if they just rewind to 5K out and restart. He wore the disappointment of opportunity lost on his sleeve.  He is a novice to grand tour riding which was a refreshing contrast more controlled interviews of the favorites.  It was very entertaining. 

 

Tomorrow’s time trial will finally stack the players in this year’s race.  I’m hopeful George Hincapie, Mark Cavendish, Christian Vande Velde, and David Millar will shake it up a bit finding their way into the top 10 or 15.  Either way this year is wide open, enjoyably so.

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