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Stage 15 Winner - Gerrans

Stage 15 Winner - Gerrans

The riders faced a rather unpleasant start to the stage 15 with rain, cold and possible snow on the climbs. Four riders escaped the peloton at 15km including Martinez, Pate and Arrieta followed by Gerrans who bridged up a few minutes later. The grouped worked exceptionally well retaining a substantial lead most of the way to the finish. The break had a 12 minutes lead at the base of the final climb which was whittled down to about 4 minutes after the GC guys came in. Arrieta fell off as the break neared the final kilometers. Gerrans craftily accelerated to the line ahead of Martinez and a fading Pate to take the win.

The slippery roads and sharp descents caused many to go down and including the previous Tour

Stage 15 Oscar Pereiro Hits the Deck

Stage 15 Oscar Pereiro Hits the Deck

winner Oscar Pereiro. He lost his line on a hairpin and flipped over a guardrail launching down an embankment to the switchback below. He was originally thought to have broken a femur but it was determined that it was his shoulder bone. As it is, he is out of the Tour. There were other crashes including a massive pavement hugger on both sides of a roundabout at about 50k to go taking down several of the GC contenders.

The real fireworks came as CSC led a blistering attack up the Prato Nevoso led by Andy Schleck of CSC-Saxo Bank. The remainder of the peloton blistered away leaving the Evans, Menchov, Vande Velde, Bernhard Kohl, Valverde, Sastre, Frank Schleck and Andy Schleck, Kreuziger and Sánchez. Menchov attacked this group though he fell allowing the group to regain position. Kohl, Menchov and Sastre eventually escaped with Valverde bridging to get on with a few km left. Menchov fell off the back as the break approached the line. As Cadel and Frank approached the line 30 seconds back, Frank dashed to the line to take the last few seconds to take yellow. It was a very exciting finish

Cavendish bid farewell to the Tour before race start as was widely predicted. He would likely have been competitive at the finish in Paris though the beating of three mountain stages and a time trial might have done him in anyway. The price to play on the final day was just too steep literally. I think prioritizing Beijing was an obvious good choice. He will be missed.

Stage 15 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/55bbse

Stage 15 Race Reports:

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/5g4ssp

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/56hzza

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/6puz9z

Stage 15 Results:

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Crédit Agricole, 4.50.44 (37.77 km/h)
2 Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 0.03
3 Danny Pate (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.10
4 José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale, 0.55
5 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 4.03
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, st.
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 4.12
8 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 4.23
9 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 4.41
10 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 4.43
11 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas, 4.46
12 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 4.50
13 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, st.
14 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 4.58
15 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 5.34

Overall Standings:

1 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 63.57.21
2 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 0.07
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 0.08
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank, 0.38
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30, 0.39
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC – Saxo Bank, 0.49
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 2.48
8 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale, 3.36
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 4.11
10 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi, 4.34

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Mark Cavendish appears to be unstoppable.  He was boxed tightly at 200m. As soon as a gap came

Stage 13 Winner - Mark Cavendish

Stage 13 Winner - Mark Cavendish

open, he was clear and powering to the front. It was nice to see Robbie McEwen released from Cadel support duties to contest the sprint this go around. It has been a long absence. As it was, he couldn’t match Cavendish’s speed to the line. “Cavendish is simply too strong and too fast” McEwen said. McEwen ended up 2nd and Freire finished 5th, putting in another consistent effort.

In Phil Liggett’s commentary he mentioned several times that Cav was the new McEwen. Little harsh but Cav certainly has McEwen’s acceleration from Tour’s past. Cavendish said that he was really taking a beating in the mountains which was keeping him from his best performances. I expect that a few more tour campaigns and he will be even more of a force.

As for Paris, “One day at a time” is how Mark responded to the Frankie Andrea question will you be retiring from the Tour for Olympic preparation? All I can say is too bad it is an Olympic year.

I’ve put a graph together to show how the top Green Jersey point’s leaders have place in each of the sprint stages. It is meant to show the trend of the riders over time. In Stage 3, a four man break made it to the line. I’ve netted out they’re positions relative the graph.

2008 TdF Green Jersey Sprint Stage Trends

2008 TdF Green Jersey Sprint Stage Trends

I’ll skip the run in to the sprint today as it was rather uneventful. If you are interested in the stage details, the video and race reports from news outlets are below.

Stage 13 Video Recap: http://tinyurl.com/59gosx

Stage 13 Race Reports

Velonews: http://tinyurl.com/67mvuz

Cycling News: http://tinyurl.com/55wntk

Versus: http://tinyurl.com/5mbh5m

Bicycling: http://tinyurl.com/6rn42k

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

Stage 13 Results

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 4.25.42 (41.10 km/h)
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto
3 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
4 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
8 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
9 Julian Dean (NZl) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30
10 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux
11 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
13 Iñaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
14 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne
15 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
Green Jersey Standings

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank, 184 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia, 156
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole, 156
4 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram, 141
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia, 138
6 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld, 110
7 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis – Le Crédit par Téléphone, 107
8 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 105
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne, 97
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel, 94

Overall Standings

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence – Lotto, 54.48.47
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

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