Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wed, Jul 25: TdF Stage 16

16:02 CEST: 40km to go, the current situation:

- Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC), Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir) and Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
- José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) at 0.22
- Group maillot jaune at 2.50
- Peloton with Boonen at 16.00

In today's doping news, L'Equipe reported that another rider tested positive, this time for testosterone after Stage 11. The still unnamed rider's identity will be released at 15 CET, which is now ? 15:00 CET = 16:00 CEST = 7:00 PST ...

The riders are currently ascending Col de Marie-Blanque.

24 km remaining, the gap is 1:20. Right now, only Sastre would gain some time in the GC, but the yellow jersey group will certainly catch up with the leaders, and the final climb will break up the riders anyway. Sastre has to at least make sure to stay with the leaders once they catch up with him.

14.5 km remaining, Verdugo has been caught. Soler has blown too, and Sastre and Mayo are ahead. The yellow jersey group is about 50 second behind Soler.

Menchov is done, now it's up to Boogerd to help Ras. Mayo losing a bit ground on Sastre. Soler now has been caught. Popovych at the front, high pace.

10 km remaining. Sastre and Mayo have been caught. Four men left in the yellow jersey group. Leipheimer in the front now, with Rassmussen, Contador and Evans. Popovych has been dropped.

The top 4 GC contenders are leading at this moment. With just 9 km remaining, how much can any of the riders potentially gain on the others. Contador attacks, Ras not following, but they reel him back in. Sastre now 28 second back to the leaders, Mayo even further back.

8 km remaining, Leipheimer at the front.
7 km to go, Contador at front, Evans passing Leipheimer. Leipheimer is done. Rasmussen attacks. Contador follows. Evans hanging on.

6 km to go, all three still together. Evans has blown, now joined by Leipheimer. Ras back up to Contador. The bad news for Contador is that he won't gain much on Ras today. Leipheimer is slowly coming back to the two leaders, Evans trying limit his losses.

5 km remaining, Evans is now also making his way back to the leaders. 10 seconds back.
4 km to go, Evans has almost reached the three leaders. Leipheimer leading. Sastre has been caught by Soler.

3.3 km to go, Evans falling back again, 20 second gap. Soler has dropped Sastre, and he might as well catch up with Evans.

1 km to go. Rasmussen in front. He attacks. Rasmussen dropped Contador and Leipheimer.

0.7 km to go, Ras powering his way to the finish.

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) win Stage 16 ! He certainly rode a very smart race.

Leipheimer is second, Contador third. Evans comes in 4th, and Soler is 5th.

Provisional results:

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel at 0.26
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel at 0:35
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto at 0:43
5 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld at 1:25

Rasmussen is now 3:10 ahead of Contador; he gained 47 seconds (35 + 12s time bonus difference) on him today. Evans at 5:03, Leipheimer at 5:59. In 5th place is Sastre with more than 9 minutes behind:

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel at 3:10
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto at 5:03
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel at 5:59

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