Friday, July 20, 2007

Fri, Jul 20: TdF Stage 12

There's an alternate NOS live feed, that works this morning. The main NOS stream is probably maxed out.

All talk here in the Bay Area this morning is about a 4.2 quake that occurred at 4:42 am. I slept happily through it, and nothing fell over in our house. Seems there's some damage in and around Oakland, but no reported injuries or worse. Berkeley and Montclair appeared to have gotten the worst of it.

But let's see what's happening today between Montpellier and Castres. The stage is 178.5 km long, and has two sprints and four climbs (3 Cat-4, 1 Cat-2).

We have 35 km to go to the finish, and there are two riders, Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom) and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), about 4:26 ahead of the peloton.

The gap has been decreased to 2:39 with 29 km remaining.
19 km to go, gap is 1:48.
16 km to go, gap is 1:25.

Let me go ahead and say: no changes in the GC today; I don't expect any surprises within the last 10 km. But who will win the sprint ? I bet that Boonen wants to sooth his hurt ego after his crash yesterday in Montpellier, just shortly before the finish.

8 km remaining, the gap is down to 0:53.
With 5 km to go, the lead is still 0:30. I give the breakaway another 3 km before they're caught.

2.4 km, 10 seconds. Yes, 500 m remaining and the two leaders are caught.

And Tom Boonen (Quickstep) wins Stage 12.

Provisional results:

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
4 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
6 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile
7 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
8 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel
9 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana

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