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Cavendish racked up his third win of the tour setting a record for British cyclists in the process.

Stage 12 Winner Mark Cavendish

Stage 12 Winner Mark Cavendish

Cavendish powered through the front runners, outpacing Sebastien Chavanel and Gert Steegmans to the line. The man looked like a freight train. It was fun to read all the Twitter activity congratulating Cavendish.  I’ve been wondering why he and the team haven’t been contesting for the Green jersey. In a post race interview he said that the team felt that it was plenty enough to contest the finishes. Adding intermediate sprints into the equation would dilute the focus and jeopardize they’re chances for stage wins. Well, there is always next year.

Other noteworthy finishers include Eric Zabel, who continues to consistently get in there. Today he ended up 4th. Oscar Freire was able to hang on for 5th while the green giant, Thor Hushovd managed to salvage seventh.  Robbie McEwen ended up in 11th place.

As for the rest of the race, it was a by the numbers stage on basically flat terrain. The heat and wind were the most serious impediment. A two man break got away at 40km from the start which included Arnaud Gerard and Samuel Dumoulin. They built up a lead of over 3:30 minutes and held on till about the 10km to go mark. Team tactics were in play for the intermediate and final sprints. Columbia put on an excellent show, towing their man Cavendish into superb position to contest. He did not disappoint.

Sad Note: Tour officials announced that Riccardo Riccò of Saunier Duval-Scott had tested positive for EPO after Stage 4. He apparently was using a new type of EPO called Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator or CERA. Now it is off to the police station and a summer of questions. I guess Saunier Duval-Scott was not able to justify remaining in the tour. The team pulled out just before the stage began.

Stage 12 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/59r9kc

Stage Recap Articles

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/6qq23j

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5ul2db

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/56tr3c

Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/5zmfvn

Stage 12 Results:

Pos.

No.

Name

Nat.

Team

Time

Gap

1

043

CAVENDISH, Mark

GBR

THR

03:40:52

00:00:00

2

162

CHAVANEL, Sébastien

FRA

FDJ

03:40:52

00:00:00

3

097

STEEGMANS, Gert

BEL

QST

03:40:52

00:00:00

4

151

ZABEL, Erik

GER

MRM

03:40:52

00:00:00

5

133

FREIRE, Oscar

ESP

RAB

03:40:52

00:00:00

6

063

CHICCHI, Francesco

ITA

LIQ

03:40:52

00:00:00

7

081

HUSHOVD, Thor

NOR

C.A

03:40:52

00:00:00

8

186

DUQUE, Leonardo

COL

COF

03:40:52

00:00:00

9

193

DEAN, Julian

NZL

TSL

03:40:52

00:00:00

10

114

HAUSSLER, Heinrich

GER

GST

03:40:52

00:00:00

11

006

MC EWEN, Robbie

AUS

SIL

03:40:52

00:00:00

12

123

CASPER, Jimmy

FRA

AGR

03:40:52

00:00:00

13

058

HUNTER, Robert

RSA

BAR

03:40:52

00:00:00

14

105

ELMIGER, Martin

SUI

ALM

03:40:52

00:00:00

15

072

BALLAN, Alessandro

ITA

LAM

03:40:52

00:00:00

Overall Results:

Pos.

No.

Name

Nat.

Team

Time

Gap

1

001

EVANS, Cadel

AUS

SIL

50:23:05

00:00:00

2

017

SCHLECK, Frank

LUX

CSC

50:23:06

00:00:01

3

191

VANDEVELDE, Christian

USA

TSL

50:23:43

00:00:38

4

115

KOHL, Bernhard

AUT

GST

50:23:51

00:00:46

5

131

MENCHOV, Denis

RUS

RAB

50:24:02

00:00:57

6

011

SASTRE, Carlos

ESP

CSC

50:24:33

00:01:28

7

041

KIRCHEN, Kim

LUX

THR

50:25:01

00:01:56

8

104

EFIMKIN, Vladimir

RUS

ALM

50:25:37

00:02:32

9

022

ASTARLOZA, Mikel

ESP

EUS

50:26:56

00:03:51

10

067

NIBALI, Vincenzo

ITA

LIQ

50:27:23

00:04:18

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    

 

 

 

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