Monday, July 23, 2007

Mon, Jul 23: TdF Stage 15

"The dead live longer." (Old saying)

15:56 CEST: Among several other riders, a couple of riders have decided to give it all today, despite having being written off as contenders: Vinokourow (Astana) and Menchov (Rabobank) are 7:53 ahead of the yellow jersey group, with 39.5 km remaining.

From CN:

* Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile)
* Johann Tschopp (Bouygues Telecom)
* Iñigo Landaluze Euskaltel-Euskadi)
* Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Juan Manuel Gárate (Quickstep-Innergetic) at 0.41
* Yellow jersey group including Evans, Soler, Kloeden, Leipheimer, Boogerd, Sastre, Mayo at 7.04
* Peloton at ?

Kirchen was 13:16 back in the GC after Stage 14, Menchov was 18:57, and Vino .. well 34:12. Kirchen is now over the top of Port de Balès, which is shrouded in fog. There's one more Cat-1 climb left today.

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) is pulling the yellow jersey group over the top. 28 km left for the Boogerd group, the gap is 6:41.

The leaders had their fun with the downhill, and now face the 9 km climb up to Col de Peyresourde.

Breaking News: Over the last couple of hours, French police apparently searched the team buses of Astana, Rabobank, CSC and Discovery at the border to Spain.

Back to the race. Vino is attacking and bridging the gap to the leaders.

5 km left to the top. Arroyo leading, and Vino in 4th place.

Vino now in front with 2 km to go to the top, and just over 10 km left in the race. His lead is 6:12. Vino is flying up the mountain, 0.45 km to the top. Huge crowds up there. Vino made it over the top.

Attack by Contador (Discovery) in the peloton, but Rasmussen catches his wheel and they're by themselves. Déja vu. Contador tries again, Rasmussen is suffering. Looks like this time Contador was successful. Rasmussen trying to hang on.

Meanwhile Vino is flying to the mountain, with 2.5 km left, and a 5:33 gap. Rasmussen and Contador caught up with George Hincapie (Discovery).

Alexandre Vinokourow (Astana) wins Stage 15.

2 km left for Rasmussen and Contador, who got rid of Hincapie. Contador comes in, Rasmussen just behind him. Evans, Kashechkin, Sastre, Leipheimer and Klöden again lose time on those two today.

Provisional results:

1 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile 0.49
3 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4 Juan José Cobo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.51
5 Juan Manuel Gárate (Spa) Quickstep-Innergetic 2.16
6 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 3.24
7 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner 4.25
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team CSC
9 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance 5.16
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 5.25
11 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 6.27

In the General classification, Rasmussen remains 2:23 ahead of Contador; Evans falls back another 56 seconds to 4:00, and Leipheimer is at 5:25 now.

General classification

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 4.00
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5.25
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 5.34
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 6.46
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 7.27
8 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 7.54
9 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile 8.40
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi

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