Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sun, Jul 22: TdF Stage 14

Today's Stage 14 is the first stage in the Pyrenees. The 197 km long course between Mazamet and Plateau-de-Beille immediately starts out with a Cat-2 climb, one of three climbs. The other two are both hors catégorie climbs at 146.5 and 181 km.

16:14 CEST: Rubén Pérez and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Antonio Colom (Astana) are 0:50 ahead of Carlos Barredo (Quickstep-Innergetic), who are 3:08 ahead of the peloton. 32 km to go.

23 km remaining, Barredo has been caught. Peloton at 3:00. We're getting close to the last climb. Expect some attacks.

The climb started, Perez has been dropped. Boogard leading the peloton. Rasmussen, Evans and Horner close behind. So is Klöden and Contador. Hincapie is gone. And where is Vino ?

Colom attacking in the breakaway group.

12 km to go, 1:49 the gap. Vino is way back, and Klöden looking to be in trouble, but he seems to be moving back up. And this is not Valverde's day either. Menchov has been dropped.

11 km remaining: 2:01 the gap. Evans also suffering.

10 km remaining for the leaders. Rasmussen, Contador and Evans in a clinch in the peloton. Accompanied by Popovych, Sastre and Leipheimer. Popovych is driving the group. Klöden again losing contact. Klöden coming back slowly.

Popo is done, Contador in front. Rasmussen attacks, Contador and Evans behind.

6.5 km remaining. Rasmussen trying to lose Contador and Evans again.

Evans is done. Contador and Rasmussen in front of the group. Only 29 seconds ahead is Colom. Klöden 1:26 behind Rasmussen.

4 km remaining. 11s is the gap.
3.4 km, Colom has been caught by Rasmussen and Contador. Evans 45 seconds back.

If nothing else changes, Rasmussen and Contador will be the winners in the GC today; everyone else loses more time. 2.5 km to go. Colom dropped as far back as Evans, and Klöden is back there too.

1 km remaining for Rasmussen and Contador. Both out of the saddle.

Alberto Contador (Discovery) wins Stage 14, Rasmussen second.

Soler is next, and Leipheimer and Sastre come in 40 and 53 seconds back, respectively. Evans and Klöden come in 1:52 back.

Big loss today for Valverde, and Vino is still out there. And where was Moreau ?

Provisional results:

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel
2 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
3 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.36
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel 0.38
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.52
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 1.52
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
8 Antonio Colom (Spa) Astana 2.23
9 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana
10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 3.06

In the GC, Contador gains 8 seconds on Rasmussen due to the 20 second time bonus. Cadel Evans is now 3rd, losing 2:04 minutes (1:52 + 0:12 Rasmussen's time bonus) today, overall 3:04 back. Leipheimer moves up one rank, but lost 52 seconds today. Vinokourov is not among the top 20 GC riders, with José Gutierrez (Caisse d'Espargne) in 20th place, 19:33 back; Vino is definitely out of contention for the Tour win or even podium.

General classification

1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 3.04
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel 4.25
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 4.38
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 5.50
7 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 6.58
8 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel

Update: Vinokourov now ranks 30th in the GC, with 34:12 back. Moreau also lost 35 minutes on Rasmussen today, and is 48:13 back, ranked 42nd.

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