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It was all champagne and silliness on the final stage of the 2008 Tour de France. Team CSC did a

2008 TdF Champion - Carlos Sastre

2008 TdF Champion - Carlos Sastre

brilliant tour capturing the Overall Championship in Carlos Sastre, the Young Rider Classification in Andy Schleck and the best team. Executing a masterful plan, Carlos was reserved for a definitive stage win, to get the required margin. Sacrificing team mates were the difference, driving the pace, protecting their leaders and getting into key breaks to offer assistance when required. The ultimate sacrifice was Frank Schleck giving up his chance for the podium to a better time trialist in Sastre. That the team could ask it of him is one thing, that he did it, demands respect. Sastre’s excellent time trial demonstrated that the right choice was made.  Hats off to Sastre and CSC.

As for the green jersey, it is won by Oscar Freire. Oscar was consistent and persistent. He was regularly in the top ten and willing to dash for intermediate sprints along the way. In my mind it was more of a team win then an individual win. The team put him in position and went to measures to either set him up for intermediates or stole the points from others. Oscar was not the best sprinter, having only won a single stage (no small thing still). He was how ever strong enough for top 5 consistently. Secondly, he finished the tour with the ability to contest time after time. Congrats to him and the rest of Rabobank.

There are many that are at his footsteps and I’d be surprised to see him win it again. I would have liked to see McEwen freer to contest. He was unfortunately saddled with supporting Cadel rather then making his mark. Unfortunately, Tom Boonen wasn’t permitted to race because he would have challenged Oscar as well. From a sprinting perspective, Cavendish made the tour for me. Shades of McEwen, a young Zabel and even Abdoujaparov come to mind as you watch Mark peel away the competition. They simply can’t hang on to his wheel. I will be watching him at Beijing.

Stage 21 Winner - Steegmans

Stage 21 Winner - Steegmans

The stage today didn’t really get going until the peloton arrived in Paris. I don’t know about you, but the Champs Élysées circuit fascinates me. The 6.5km loop permits the riders to see each other coming or going. There is no getting lost in the trees or around turns. As such, breaks are harder than usually to get away. Today was a case in point. There were stacks of attempts to escape none of them sticking for any length of time. It was the rare successful Quick Step train by led by Matteo Tosatto and Steven De Jongh that put Steegmans in exactly the right spot to hold of an impressively charging Ciolek. Oscar pulled out a third followed by McEwen and Hushovd. It was a fabulous finish in Paris.

Well that does it for the 2008 Tour de France. Thanks for checking in on my little log from time to time for news about the race. I will be continuing writing about significant competitions including the 2008 Summer Olympics, Triathlons and the World Championships. Please come back for more of the Velo Noise perspective.

Allez915

Stage 21 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/6yc5pp

Stage 21 Race Reports:

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/657rch

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/65vhno

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

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

Stage 21 Results:

1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step, 3.51.38 (37.04 km/h)
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Columbia, st.
3 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, st.
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, st.
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, st.
6 Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, st.
7 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, st.
8 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner, st.
9 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, st.
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, st.
11 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, st.
12 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre, st.
13 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, st.
14 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas, st.
15 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, st.

Overall Standings, Yellow Jersey:

1 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 87.52.52
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.58
3 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 1.13
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 2.10
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 3.05
6 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 4.28
7 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 6.25
8 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 6.55
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 7.12
10 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale, 9.05

Team Competition:

1 Team CSC Saxo Bank, 263.29.57
2 AG2R-La Mondiale, 15.35
3 Rabobank, 1.05.26
4 Euskaltel – Euskadi, 1.16.26
5 Silence – Lotto, 1.17.15
6 Caisse d’Epargne, 1.20.28
7 Team Columbia, 1.23.00
8 Lampre, 1.26.24
9 Gerolsteiner, 1.27.40
10 Credit Agricole, 1.37.16

Green Jersey (Best Sprinter):

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, 270 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 220
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, 217
4 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 181
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 155
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 136
7 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, 131
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 129
9 Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 119
10 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Columbia, 116

White Jersey (Best Young Rider):

1 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 88.04.24
2 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas, 1.27
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas, 17.01
4 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 24.09
5 Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa) Agritubel, 1.08.34
6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia, 1.13.55
7 John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld, 1.24.49
8 Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram, 1.38.17
9 Rémy Di Grégorio (Fra) Française des Jeux, 1.38.22
10 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 1.44.07

Pokadot Jersey (Mountain Climbing):

1 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 128 pts
2 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 80
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 80
4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom, 65
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 62
6 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner, 61
7 John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld, 61
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 58
9 Rémy Di Grégorio (Fra) Française des Jeux, 52
10 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 51

Oscar Freire takes the sprint to the line by a full bike length off the wheel of Eric Zabel. Showing

Stage 14 Photo Finish

Stage 14 Photo Finish

excellent form, Freire made a picture perfect dash winning Stage 14 for Rabobank. Zabel, the picture of concentration gets nipped at the line by Leonardo Duque who finished 2nd leaving Zabel in 3rd. Both Cavendish and McEwen were off the back on the final Cat 4 climb leaving them out of contention. With Cavendish out, Team Columbia still drove the train to give Gerald Ciolek a shot coming into the finish to no avail. Ciolek ended up out of the top 10. In the process they swallowed up a game Chavanel who took a flyer from 9km out on the down hill run to the line. He held them off for almost 7km. Well done.

Stage 14 offered up a steady climb of just under 600m from Narbonne to Nîmes over its length of 195km. There were two Cat 4 climbs the last of which broke the field apart to a degree. It was quite hot at 30c or 42c on the road.

Tomorrows 183km stage from Embrun to Prato Nevoso has some serious vertical to deal with. The 20km climb up the HC col Agnel at 6.5% and up to 12% towards the top is first at the 34km mark. The second climb is into the ski resort of Prato Nevoso which averages 8% to the finish. Expect Cadel to be under attack. There will no doubt be a shake up in the GC tomorrow.

Stage 15 Elevation Profile

Stage 15 Elevation Profile

Stage 14 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/5zyk9t

Stage Race Reports

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5d5tuw

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/68he8t

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/6dv4tv

Yahoo Sports: http://tinyurl.com/58ftl4

Stage 14 Results

1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
2 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
4 Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin Chipotle – H30
5 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step
6 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
7 Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
9 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole

Green Jersey Standings

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, 219 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 172
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, 167
4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 156
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 144
6 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 137
7 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, 110
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 105
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 98
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel, 94

Overall Results

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 59.01.55
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 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 2.32
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 3.51
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas, 4.18

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

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

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