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Daniele Bennati Wins Stage 17 July 26, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, CSC, Daniele Bennati, Daniele Righi, David Millar, Erik Zabel, Francaise des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, Gert Steegmans, Jens Voight, Lampre, Liquigas, Manuel Quinziato, Markus Fothen, Martin Elmiger, Matteo Tosatto, Quick Step, Quickstep, Robbie Hunter, Robert Forster, Saunier Duval, Sebastien Chavanel, Stage 17, Sven Krauss, Tom Boonen, Tour de France.
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Daniele Bennati Winning Stage 17A long flat ride through the plains offered little excitement, which was a welcome state after one of the most tumultuous days in the history of the Tour yesterday.

Jens Voight (CSC) led a breakaway starting at 9km that built an 8 min. lead for the group of 8 by the 170km mark. The peloton and GC contenders decided early not to chase, so it was very quiet day indeed at the top of the standings. In addition to Voight, the group included Martin Elmiger (Ag2r), Daniele Bennati (Lampre), Daniele Righi (Lampre), David Millar (Saunier Duval), Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step). On the final hill in the stage (a Cat 4 bump) he attacked the group and broke it up leading a group of 4 (Voight, Bennati, Elmiger and Fothen) into a high speed chase to the finish.

The success of the break created two sprints; the four man break played cat-and-mouse until 100m when Daniele Bennati took a very short sprint. Bennati’s win is the second stage win by an Italian rider in this year’s Tour, and the first by a Lampre rider this year. The scattered remaining elements of the original 8 man breakaway straggled in, leaving the teams’ sprint specialists to battle for the 9th spot points.

The second sprint materialized in the same final 100m with Boonen’s Quickstep escort setting him up perfectly. Boonen took the points for 9th, Sebastien Chavanel trailing him by a full bike length and Robbie Hunter took 11th, maintaining his hold on 2nd place in the Green Jersey standings.

Contador donned the Yellow Jersey following the stage, Tom Boonen retained the Green Jersey, and Mauricio Soler has captured this year’s KOM Polka Dot Jersey. The Yellow Jersey and the Green Jersey are still up for grabs, with Contador, Evans and Leipheimer all in a position to win or lose the Yellow Jersey in Cognac Saturday, and Boonen, Hunter and Zabel still able to win or lose the Green Jersey over the next 3 days.

Today’s Top Finishers:

1. BENNATI Daniele 82 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 4h 14′ 04″
2. FOTHEN Markus 93 GEROLSTEINER 4h 14′ 04″
3. ELMIGER Martin 65 AG2R PREVOYANCE 4h 14′ 04″
4. VOIGT Jens 38 TEAM CSC 4h 14′ 04″
5. MILLAR David 201 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 4h 16′ 45″ + 02′ 41″
6. TOSATTO Matteo 178 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 4h 16′ 47″ + 02′ 43″
7. QUINZIATO Manuel 157 LIQUIGAS 4h 17′ 24″ + 03′ 20″
8. RIGHI Daniele 87 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 4h 17′ 24″ + 03′ 20″
9. BOONEN Tom 171 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 4h 23′ 41″ + 09′ 37″
10. CHAVANEL Sébastien 162 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 4h 23′ 41″ + 09′ 37″
11. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 4h 23′ 41″ + 09′ 37″
12. FÖRSTER Robert 92 GEROLSTEINER 4h 23′ 41″ + 09′ 37″
13. ZABEL Erik 181 TEAM MILRAM 4h 23′ 41″ + 09′ 37″
14. STEEGMANS Gert 176 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 4h 23′ 43″ + 09′ 39″
15. KRAUSS Sven 96 GEROLSTEINER 4h 23′ 43″ + 09′ 39″

Three More Riders Dropped in the Pyrenees; Including Rodriguez July 24, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Christophe Le Mevel, Crédit Agricole, Cyril Dessel, Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto, Stage 15, Tour de France.
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Three more riders were eliminating during the grueling climbs of stage 15. Christophe LeMevel (Credit Agricole), Cyril Dessel (AG2R), and Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto) all withdrew during the stage.

Rodriguez has been suffering from his injuries suffered during the finish of two stages, having crashed in both Stage 2 and Stage 11. Rodriguez was very vocal about poor planning by the Tour organizers and dangerous conditions for riders after both crashes, with merit in both cases. The Stage 2 crash that affected so many riders was in an impossible chicane/funnel suitable only for a handful of riders, and the Stage 11 crash took place on an barrier that was not marked in the pre-race maps provided to the riders… a barrier placed at a critical spot in the final sprint to the finish.

Done But No Quit In Vinokourov – Vino Wins Stage 15 July 23, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alberto Contador, Alexander Vinokourov, Astana, Bernhard Kohl, Cadel Evans, Caisse d'Epargne, Christian Van de Velde, CSC, David Arroyo, Discovery Channel, Euskaltel-Euskadi, George Hincapie, Gerolsteiner, Haimar Zubeldia, Juan Jose Cobo, Juan Manuel Garate, Kim Kirchen, Ludovic Turpin, Michael Boogerd, Michael Rasmussen, Mikel Astarloza, Quickstep, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Stage 15, T-Mobile, Tour de France, Uncategorized.
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5 rated climbs, including 2 Cat 1’s and an HC (above rating) gave the Tour another chance to separate the field, and separate it did… A huge 25 man breakaway eventally broke up with a group of 6 pulling away and then 3 broke off the front of that group. Alexander Vinokourov jumping out to lead the 3 in the front over the Col de Peyresourde. The man who looked completely cooked yesterday simply overpowered the field and raced to the win…an incredible performance.

Vinokourov Wins Stage 15

The GC contenders finished 6 minutes behind, with Alberto Contador dueled Michael Rasmussen for the top position, pulling away from the rest of the yellow jersey group just before the top of the last climb. At the end of the descent, Contador and Rasmussen finished a minute ahead of Leipheimer, Evans and the other contenders.

[Complete Results Here]

Today’s Top Finishers:
1. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 191 ASTANA 5h 34′ 28″
2. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 5h 35′ 19″ + 00′ 51″
3. ZUBELDIA Haimar 71 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 35′ 19″ + 00′ 51″
4. COBO ACEBO Juan Jose 204 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 5h 35′ 26″ + 00′ 58″
5. GARATE Juan Manuel 174 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 5h 36′ 42″ + 02′ 14″
6. ARROYO David 12 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 5h 37′ 51″ + 03′ 23″
7. KOHL Bernhard 95 GEROLSTEINER 5h 38′ 53″ + 04′ 25″
8. VANDEVELDE Christian 37 TEAM CSC 5h 38′ 53″ + 04′ 25″
9. TURPIN Ludovic 69 AG2R PREVOYANCE 5h 39′ 44″ + 05′ 16″
10. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 39′ 59″ + 05′ 31″
11. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 5h 39′ 59″ + 05′ 31″
12. HINCAPIE George 114 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 40′ 15″ + 05′ 47″
13. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 5h 40′ 55″ + 06′ 27″
14. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 40′ 55″ + 06′ 27″
15. BOOGERD Michael 52 RABOBANK 5h 40′ 55″ + 06′ 27″

Vinokourov and Moreau Done July 22, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alexander Vinokourov, Andreas Kloden, Christophe Moreau, Stage 14, Tour de France.
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It was a surprisingly bad performance today by Alexander Vinokourov, and continued disappointment for Christophe Moreau, but both men seem to be eliminated from any consideration for the podium in Paris following the first of two tough days in the Pyrenees.

Vinokourov is now over 34 minutes behind the yellow jersey and Moreau is over 48 minutes behind. Barring a major crash or collapses by the majority of the contenders, neither man is going to be able to claw their way back in the remaining stages. Vino looked like he could do it yesterday, but the stage win may have cost him dearly as he clearly did not have the legs to compete today. His injuries from the crash in stage 4 may also be acting up as he was seen seeking assistance from the tour doctor during the stage.

With Vinokourov’s current standing, the focus of Team Astana should shift over to support Andreas Kloden’s GC efforts, as the co-leader is still within striking distance with 4’38” to catch the yellow jersey and 1’34” to make it to the podium.

Zabriskie Gone July 19, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, CSC, Igor Anton, Stage 11, Tour de France.
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American rider David Zabriskie exceeded the time limit on Stage 11 today and will be heading home this evening, nursing a sore knee.  Zabriskie has been trailing the crowd all Tour, and has been trying to recuperate a knee that was reconstructed following an accident in 2003.  Zabriskie told reporters that the knee has been sore all spring, the result of a team mandated move to a new shoe, and that the brisk pace over the last couple of days had made it impossible to let the knee recover from the mountain stages.

Euskadi rider Igor Anton was also lost to the Tour today, abandoning the race during today’s stage.

Hunter wins Stage 11…Another for Barloworld July 19, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alessandro Ballan, Andrey Kashechkin, Anthony Geslin, Astana, Barloworld, Bouygues Telecom, Christophe Moreau, Claudio Corioni, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Enrico Poitschke, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, Francaise des Jeux, Frank Schleck, Freddie Rodriguez, Gerolsteiner, Julian Dean, Kim Kirchen, Lampre-Fondital, Liquigas, Markus Fothen, Milram, Murilo Fischer, Paolo Bossoni, Peter Wrolich, Philippe Gilbert, Robbie Hunter, South Africa, T-Mobile, Team Ag2r, Team Barloworld, Team CSC, Tour de France, William Bonnet.
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Hunter Wins Stage 11Blistering heat and a blistering pace today on the 2007 Tour’s flatest stage. Seems the riders were all rested after a leisurely pace yesterday, and there were several teams and riders who were prepared to push the peloton to its limit in order to crack open a stage that would normally have been left to the sprinters at the end of the day.

A break did finally occur with 50km to go, with the peloton pulling away from a large group that just couldn’t maintain the pace. Christophe Moreau was the most prominent GC rider to get caught in the split. He had gotten tangled up with a teamate and crashed early in the stage. The rest of the GC contenders stayed up in the peloton.

A crash in the final km tied up Rodriguez, Dean and Schleck and blocked out Boonen, so the sprint to the finish was grabbed by Robbie Hunter who edged out Fabian Cancellara for the stage win.

Hunter’s victory marks the first stage win for a South African, and the second for wild card team Barloworld

[Complete Results Here]

Today’s Top Finishers:
1. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 3h 47′ 50″
2. CANCELLARA Fabian 33 TEAM CSC 3h 47′ 50″
3. FISCHER Murilo Antoniobil 155 LIQUIGAS 3h 47′ 50″
4. POZZATO Filippo 151 LIQUIGAS 3h 47′ 50″
5. BALLAN Alessandro 81 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 3h 47′ 50″
6. BOSSONI Paolo 83 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 3h 47′ 50″
7. CORIONI Claudio 85 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 3h 47′ 50″
8. GILBERT Philippe 165 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 3h 47′ 50″
9. BONNET William 102 CREDIT AGRICOLE 3h 47′ 50″
10. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 3h 47′ 50″
11. FOTHEN Markus 93 GEROLSTEINER 3h 47′ 55″ + 00′ 05″
12. POITSCHKE Enrico 188 TEAM MILRAM 3h 47′ 55″ + 00′ 05″
13. WROLICH Peter 99 GEROLSTEINER 3h 47′ 55″ + 00′ 05″
14. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 3h 47′ 55″ + 00′ 05″
15. GESLIN Anthony 124 BOUYGUES TELECOM 3h 47′ 55″ + 00′ 05″

Sylvain Calzati Drops Out July 19, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Christophe Moreau, Sylvain Calzati, Team Ag2r.
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Calzati abandoned during the stage today, leaving AG2R and Christophe with one less climber to help out in the Pyrenees.

Soler Wins Stage 9 For Barloworld and Colombia July 17, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexander Vinokourov, Andreas Kloden, Astana, Barloworld, Cadel Evans, Caisse d'Epargne, Christophe Moreau, CSC, David Arroyo, Discovery Channel, Euskatel-Euskadi, Frank Schleck, Iban Mayo, Ivan Gutierrez, Juan Jose Cobo, Kim Kerchen, Levi Leipheimer, Mauricio Soler, Michael Rasmussen, Mikel Astarloza, Predictor-Lotto, Saunier Duval, Stage 9, T-Mobile, Team Ag2r, Team Astana, Team Barloworld, Team Caisse d'Epargne, Team CSC, Team Discovery Channel, Team Predictor-Lotto, Team Rabobank, Team Saunier-Duval, Tour de France, Victor Hugo Pena, Yaroslav Popovych.
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Soler Wins Stage 9
Two Hors Categorie climbs weren’t enough to slow down Mauricio Soler (Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez, Barloworld). Michael Rasmussen was in a group only seconds behind driving hard to catch Soler, but it wasn’t to be. Rasmussen was still close enough to hold onto the Yellow Jersey for another day.

Soler’s win marks Barloworld’s first Stage win in the Tour de France, the South African-based team competing in its first tour as a wild card team. It’s also the first stage win by a Colombian since Victor Hugo Pena won stage 4 in 2003 (leading to the only Colombian Yellow Jersey to date in the history of the Tour, which Pena held for one stage).

Rasmussen also retains the Polka Dot Jersey for another day, but both Soler and Popovytch accumulated major points today putting them a close second and third in the KOM competition.

[Complete Results Here]

Top 15 Finishers Today:

1. SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio 219 BARLOWORLD 4h 14′ 24″
2. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 4h 15′ 02″ + 00′ 38″
3. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 4h 15′ 02″ + 00′ 38″
4. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 4h 15′ 04″ + 00′ 40″
5. MAYO Iban 207 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 4h 15′ 06″ + 00′ 42″
6. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 4h 15′ 06″ + 00′ 42″
7. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 4h 15′ 06″ + 00′ 42″
8. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 4h 15′ 10″ + 00′ 46″
9. KLÖDEN Andréas 196 ASTANA 4h 15′ 11″ + 00′ 47″
10. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 4h 15′ 11″ + 00′ 47″
11. MOREAU Christophe 61 AG2R PREVOYANCE 4h 15′ 18″ + 00′ 54″
12. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 4h 15′ 18″ + 00′ 54″
13. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 4h 15′ 56″ + 01′ 32″
14. COBO ACEBO Juan Jose 204 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 4h 16′ 00″ + 01′ 36″
15. GUTIERREZ José Ivan 14 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 4h 16′ 13″ + 01′ 49″

Overall Standing after Stage 9

1. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 43h 52′ 48″
2. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 43h 55′ 23″ + 02′ 35″
3. MAYO Iban 207 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 43h 55′ 27″ + 02′ 39″
4. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 43h 55′ 29″ + 02′ 41″
5. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 43h 55′ 56″ + 03′ 08″
6. MOREAU Christophe 61 AG2R PREVOYANCE 43h 56′ 06″ + 03′ 18″
7. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 43h 56′ 27″ + 03′ 39″
8. KLÖDEN Andréas 196 ASTANA 43h 56′ 38″ + 03′ 50″
9. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 43h 56′ 41″ + 03′ 53″
10. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 43h 57′ 54″ + 05′ 06″
11. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 43h 58′ 08″ + 05′ 20″
12. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 43h 58′ 22″ + 05′ 34″
13. SCHLECK Frank 36 TEAM CSC 43h 58′ 44″ + 05′ 56″
14. SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio 219 BARLOWORLD 43h 59′ 17″ + 06′ 29″
15. PEREIRO SIO Oscar 11 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 43h 59′ 24″ + 06′ 36″

Here Comes Moreau…But Watch Out For Astana July 16, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alexander Vinokourov, Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Christophe Moreau, Team Ag2r, Team Astana.
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Christophe Moreau, AG2R’s leader and the French National Champion, has got to feel pretty good about where he’s sitting. He hasn’t had a bad stage yet, has finished strongly in the mountains (9th in the 7th Stage and 4th yesterday in the 8th) and he has his entire team intact. Though he admitted to VeloNews today that he isn’t a great time trialist and the attack yesterday took a lot of energy, he didn’t hurt himself at all in the early stages, and his attack yesterday proved he can still handle the biggest climbs with the best of the leaders. The key, according to Moreau will be recovery. If he can recover quickly and continue to press the attack in the mountains, he feels he will stand a chance of ending up on the podium.

With the Astana boys a little banged up, Moreau, Evans, Menchov, Valverde and the rest of the contenders need to try and pick up some separation before the Pyrenees and the Time Trials. Vino and Kloden appear to be recovering from their wounds and that only means trouble for the other contenders, especially because Kashechkin is also riding so well. Three Astana riders, all still in contention and helping each other late in the Tour will be tough to beat….

Rasmussen Takes a Brutal Stage 8 July 15, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Cadel Evans, Caisse d'Epargne, Carlos Sastre, Christophe Moreau, CSC, Denis Menchov, Discovery Channel, Frank Schleck, Iban Mayo, Michael Rasmussen, Predictor-Lotto, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Stage 8, Tour de France.
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Climbing specialist Michael Rasmussen began to show his winning form yesterday, but really shined today picking off all contenders over nearly 5 hours of increasingly difficult climbs.

Rasmussen Wins Stage 8

Complete Results Here

Today’s Top Finishers:
1. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 04:49:40
2. MAYO Iban 207 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 04:52:27 + 00:02:47
3. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 04:52:52 + 00:03:12
4. MOREAU Christophe 61 AG2R PREVOYANCE 04:52:53 + 00:03:13
5. SCHLECK Frank 36 TEAM CSC 04:52:53 + 00:03:13
6. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 04:52:53 + 00:03:13
7. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 04:52:53 + 00:03:13
8. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 04:53:11 + 00:03:31
9. MENCHOV Denis 51 RABOBANK 04:53:15 + 00:03:35
10. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 04:53:15 + 00:03:35

Ag2r Roster July 3, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Ag2r, Christophe Moreau, Cyril Dessel, John Gadret, José Luis Arrieta, Ludovic Turpin, Martin Elmiger, Simon Gerrans, Stéphane Goubert, Sylvain Calzati, Team Ag2r.
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The Ag2r roster has been confirmed with yesterday’s French champion Christophe Moreau leading the team as expected. Moreau will be joined by Cyril Dessel, John Gadret, José Luis Arrieta, Stéphane Goubert, Martin Elmiger, Ludovic Turpin, Sylvain Calzati, and Simon Gerrans.