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Sandy Casar Wins Stage 18 July 27, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Axel Merckx, Barloworld, Bernhard Eisel, Bouygues Telecom, Cadel Evans, Claudio Corioni, Crédit Agricole, Discovery Channel, Erik Zabel, Francaise des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, Lampre-Fondital, Laurent Lefevre, Mauricio Soler, Michael Boogerd, Milram, Predictor-Lotto, Quickstep, Rabobank, Robbie Hunter, Robert Forster, Sandy Casar, Sebastien Chavanel, Sebastien Hinault, Stage 18, T-Mobile, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France, Yaroslav Popovych.
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Sandy Casar Wins Stage 18

It was another long flat stage and another long breakaway. The only thing missing was Jens Voight who has been a fixture on the long breakaway this Tour.

A group of four broke away early, Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom), Frederik Willems (Liquigas) and Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux). Willems was lost to another canine collision, but was quickly replaced by Axel Merckx (T-Mobile) who had been chasing. [Willems was later seen in the peloton, so no serious injuries to riders, no word on the dog]. No one in the peloton bothered to chase as Boogerd was the only GC threat at 16, and the remaining group of four finished in a nice sprint Casar followed by Merckz then Boogerd. Both Boogerd and Merckx have announced that they are retiring following this Tour, so many were rooting for one of them to take the stage.

Teh peloton came in 8:35 behind the breakaway, which had lead by as much as 17:30 at one point, and the finish was a near copy of Stage 17 with Boonen taking the second sprint, followed by Hunter, Zabel and Chavanel. The GC contenders were all in the pack, so no real change in the top of the GC standings, except for a jump for Michael Boogerd from 16th to 13th. The Euskaltel-Euskadi riders lead a late charge by the peloton that prevented Boogerd from jumping into the top 10, perhaps because their rider Mikel Astarloza is in the 10th spot….

Contador retains the Yellow Jersey, Boonen the Green and Soler the Polka Dot.

Today’s Top Finishers:

1. CASAR Sandy 161 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 5h 13′ 31″
2. MERCKX Axel 28 T-MOBILE TEAM 5h 13′ 32″ + 00′ 01″
3. LEFEVRE Laurent 125 BOUYGUES TELECOM 5h 13′ 32″ + 00′ 01″
4. BOOGERD Michael 52 RABOBANK 5h 13′ 32″ + 00′ 01″
5. BOONEN Tom 171 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
6. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
7. ZABEL Erik 181 TEAM MILRAM 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
8. CHAVANEL Sébastien 162 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
9. EISEL Bernhard 24 T-MOBILE TEAM 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
10. HUSHOVD Thor 101 CREDIT AGRICOLE 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
11. CORIONI Claudio 85 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
12. FÖRSTER Robert 92 GEROLSTEINER 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
13. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
14. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″
15. HINAULT Sébastien 108 CREDIT AGRICOLE 5h 22′ 05″ + 08′ 34″

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Menchov Out July 26, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Dennis Menchov, Rabobank, Tour de France.
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The emotional strain on the Rabobank riders has taken its toll. After killing themselves through the Pyrenees to protect Michael Rasmussen’s now disgraced Yellow Jersey, many Rabobank riders expressed despair and frustration this morning before setting off on Stage 17.

But Denny Menchov, Rabobank’s team leader until Rasmussen pulled on the Yellow Jersey, has dropped out of thestage at the feed zone 80km into the stage. You have to feel for Menchov and the rest of the Rabobank team. There is no evidence whatsoever that any other member of Rabobank trained with Rasmussen or had anything to do with doping.

Doping Doctors July 26, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Doping, Dr Michele Ferrari, Dr. Eufemiano Fuente, Michael Rasmussen, Michele Ferrari, Operation Puerto, Rabobank, Tour de France.
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I don’t know anything about who the Italian doctor is behind the Michael Rasmussen scandal, but there is one who springs to mind. I’m sure l’Equipe will have the complete story by morning press time….

Dr. Michele Ferrari

Dr. Michele Ferrari’s Training center

More about Dr. Michele Ferrari

And no dicussion of doping doctors would be complete without mentioning Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor at the heart of the Operation Puerto scandal. There is no way that Dr. Fuentes could be involved with current doping events, but who knows about his associates.

The Tour in Torment July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Christian Moreni, Dennis Menchov, Doping, Michael Boogerd, Michael Rasmussen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Rabobank, T-Mobile, Theo DeRooy, Tour de France.
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In an unbelievable and dizzying turn of events, 17 riders across three teams have been withdrawn from the Tour in the past 30 hours. 9 riders of Astana, (including 5th place Andreas Kloden and 8th place Andrey Kashechkin), 7 riders of Team Cofidis (all of whom had participated in a sit down protest against riders doping at the start of the stage today), and the Yellow Jersey wearing Rabobank rider, Michael Rasmussen, who had all but guaranteed himself a spot on the podium in Paris with a win in today’s stage.

It is not clear whether any or all of the remaining riders in Rabobank will continue with the Tour when it resumes tomorrow so 7 more riders may withdraw voluntarily by morning, including 17th place Michael Boogerd and 23rd place Dennis Menchov.

Only three riders have failed doping tests during the Tour, Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) who was already withdrawn by the time the results were announced, Alexander Vinokourouv, who had just won 2 out of the last 3 stages when his results were announced and Christian Moreni, who was dramatically arrested by French officials at the finish of today’s stage. However, the zero tolerance environment that is evolving within the sports’ official bodies (the UCI and national federations), within the event organizations and within the ranks of sponsors, has resulted in the decimation of the tour’s competitors and a PR bloodbath that may change the face of professional racing for decades to come.

It should be noted that Rasmussen has been tested repeatedly before and during this year’s Tour (he claims 14 tests) and has not failed any tests to date. However, in the face of the drastic and dramatic moves by organizers, teams and their sponsors in the Sinkewitz, Vinokourov and Moreni incidents, many were calling for Rabobank, or the Tour, to act and remove Rasmussen from the race before his behavior did any more damage to the reputation of the Tour or the heralded Maillot Jaune. Apparently the revelation that Rasmussen was training in Italy in June when he missed out of competition doping tests, not Mexico as he claimed, was all that Rabobank and its team manager Theo DeRooy could take. DeRooy has said that he will give the other Rabobank riders the option of continuing on with the race tomorrow when Stage 17 begins.

Regardless of what the Rabobank riders decide to do, this Tour de France has become one of the craziest sporting events in recent memory. Great riders who are clean have lost the chance to compete and win, good riders who are trying to win their way onto teams for next year are sitting at home, and sponsors who have honored and polished the sport for years are packing their bags. Hopefully, the damage that is done will set the stage for a rebirth of professional cycling, and a new era in the Grand Tours, but for the innocent riders who are hurt because of this there is no way to recover the time and opportunity lost.

Rasmussen Out!!! July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Christian Prudhomme, Davide Cassani, Doping, Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank, RAI, Tour de France, UCI.
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Hours after he won Stage 16 of the race and nearly guaranteed himself a spot on the podium in Paris on Sunday, Rabobank has pulled Yellow Jersey Michael Rasmussen from the Tour de France, allegedly because he lied to the team about his whereabouts when he was to have been tested for out of competition doping.

UPDATE: AFP is reporting that “Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme – who at one point had phoned UCI president Pat McQuaid to berate him over not informing organizers over Rasmussen’s missed tests – said that there was not much more he and his co-directors of the race could have done.

“We did all we could do to get rid of him,” Prudhomme told AFP.”One cannot mock the Tour de France impunitively like those riders,” he added, referring to Rasmussen, Cristian Moreni – who also exited on Wednesday after failing a drugs test – and Alexandre Vinokourov who was thrown out on Tuesday. ”

UPDATE 2: It is now being reported that not only did Rasmussen misinform his team as to his true location during the months leading up to the Tour de France, but apparently Rabobank was informed today that Rasmussen was training in Italy with an “as yet un-named doctor”, suggesting that Rabobank may know more about what he has been doing during the period in question than we yet know.

UPDATE 3: Cyclingnews reports “According to hln.be, former professional Davide Cassani, now a commentator for Italian TV station RAI, made a statement to Danish TV on Wednesday in which he claimed to have seen the Rabobank leader training in the Italian Dolomites on June 13 and 14. Rasmussen had previously declared that he was in Mexico from June 4 – 26. “When Rasmussen was confronted with this information he confirmed to [team manager] Theo de Rooy he was at that moment in Italy,” said Rabobank press officer Jacob Bergsma. “That was the reason De Rooy decided to get him out of the Tour and the team.””

How Astana Affects The Stages July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Barloworld, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Discovery Channel, Fabian Cancellara, Kim Kirchen, Levi Leipheimer, Liquigas, Michael Rasmussen, Quickstep, Rabobank, Stage wins, T-Mobile, Tom Boonen, Tour de France.
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By now it has been well publicized that the withdrawal of Team Astana as a result of a failed doping test on team leader Alexander Vinokourov has stripped 3 of the Tour’s top GC contenders from the rankings, most notably Andreas Kloden who had been in 5th place in the GC at the time of the withdrawal. But Vinokourov’s suspension also hands two riders stage wins that had originally been awarded to the Kazakh rider. Cadel Evans takes the stage win for Stage 13 and Kim Kirchen the win for Stage 15.

[UPDATE: It is not yet clear how the withdrawal of Michael Rasmussen by his team for violating team rules will affect the official result of Stages 8 and 16. Since he did not fail a doping test, his stage wins may stand. I will update this listing once Tour organizers have announced a decision on the earlier stages.]

[UPDATE 2: Sorry, no slight to Robbie McEwen intended! McEwen won and holds the stage win for Stage 1. Fabian Cancellara still held the Maillot Jaune at the end of the stage but did not win the stage.]

The complete list of stage winners to date:

Prologue, London – Fabian Cancellara, CSC
Stage 1, London/Canterbury – Fabian Cancellara, CSCRobbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto
Stage 2, Dunkirk/Ghent – Gert Steegmans, Quickstep
Stage 3, Waregem/Compiegne – Fabian Cancellara, CSC
Stage 4, Villers-Cotterets/Joigny – Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole
Stage 5, Chablis/Autun – Filippo Pozzatto, Liquigas
Stage 6, Semur-en-Auxois/Bourg-en-Bresse – Tom Boonen, Quickstep
Stage 7, Bourg-en-Bresse/Le Grand-Bornand – Linus Gerdemann, T-Mobile
Stage 8, Le Grand-Bornand/Tigne – Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank (?Valverde?)
Stage 9, Val-d’Isere/Briancon – Juan Mauricio Soler [Hernandez], Barloworld
Stage 10, Tallard/Marseille – Cedric Vasseur, Quickstep
Stage 11, Marseille/Montpellier – Robbie Hunter, Barloworld
Stage 12, Montpellier/Castres – Tom Boonen, Quickstep
Stage 13, Albi/Albi (TT) – Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto
Stage 14, Mazamet/Plateau-de-Beille – Alberto Contador, Discovery
Stage 15, Foix/Loudenvielle – Kim Kirchen, T-Mobile
Stage 16, Orthez/Col d’Aubisque – Michael Rasmussen, Rabobank (?Leipheimer?)

That’s 4 stage wins for Quickstep, 3 for CSC, 2 each for Barloworld, [Rabobank] and T-Mobile, and 1 each for Credit Agricole, Discovery Channel and Liquigas.

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″

Contador Wins Stage 14 July 22, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Antonio Colom, Astana, Cadel Evans, Caisse d'Epargne, Carlos Sastre, Discovery Channel, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Haimar Zubeldia, Hernandez Soler, Levi Lepheimer, Michael Boogerd, Michael Rasmussen, Mikel Astarloza, Oscar Pereiro, Predictor-Lotto, Rabobank, Stage 14, Tour de France, Yaroslav Popovych.
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Beating out Michael Rasmussen in the final sprint, Alberto Contador won Stage 14 today after two tough climbs that broke up the GC contenders and spread them across the the finishing clock. Alexander Vinokorouv’s impressive TT yesterday appeared to have taken a lot out of him today as he was one of the first GC contenders to drop off. But Contador, Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer stayed with Rasmussen until the very end, with Contador and Rasmussen attacking in the final kilometers and finishing in a sprint.

The spread of the finishers, should help to clarify the GC a bit, with only 9 GC contenders now within 10 minutes of Rasmussen overall. Discovery Channel appears to be positioned well with 3 riders in the top 10, with Contador, Leipheimer and Popovytch all performing well in the climbs today. Astana’s picture is also clearing up as Kloden appears to be the rider who can sustain in both time trials and the mountains.

This has been a great year for the Tour with drama and suspense in nearly every stage.

[Complete Results Here]
Today’s Top Finishers:

1. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 25′ 48″
2. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 5h 25′ 48″
3. SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio 219 BARLOWORLD 5h 26′ 25″ + 00′ 37″
4. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 26′ 28″ + 00′ 40″
5. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 5h 26′ 41″ + 00′ 53″
6. KLÖDEN Andréas 196 ASTANA 5h 27′ 40″ + 01′ 52″
7. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 5h 27′ 40″ + 01′ 52″
8. COLOM Antonio 192 ASTANA 5h 28′ 11″ + 02′ 23″
9. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 5h 28′ 11″ + 02′ 23″
10. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 5h 28′ 54″ + 03′ 06″
11. BOOGERD Michael 52 RABOBANK 5h 28′ 54″ + 03′ 06″
12. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 28′ 54″ + 03′ 06″
13. PEREIRO SIO Oscar 11 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 5h 29′ 33″ + 03′ 45″
14. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 5h 29′ 33″ + 03′ 45″
15. ZUBELDIA Haimar 71 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 5h 29′ 33″ + 03′ 45″

Vinokourov Wins ITT, Rasmussen Not a Disaster July 21, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexander Vinokourov, Andreas Kloden, Andrey Kashechkin, Astana, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Cofidis, CSC, Discovery Channel, Euskatel-Euskadi, Juan Manuel Garate, Leif Hoste, Levi Leipheimer, Linus Gerdemann, Mikel Asterloza, Predictor-Lotto, Rabobank, Stage 13, Sylvain Chavanel, Tour de France, Vladimir Gusev.
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Today’s rain soaked Individual Time Trial was remarkable not so much for the fine performances put in by Vinokourov, Evans and Kloden, but for the meltdown that did not appear. Michael Rasmussen was widely considered vulnerable in the yellow jersey because of his self professed dificulty in the ITT, which was highlighted by his disastrous performance in the the Tour in 2005 which lost him a spot on the podium. But while Rasmussen’s 11th place finish today lost him a few precious minutes to Vinokourov, Kloden and Evans, it was not the disaster that was feared/expected.

Oh, and Vladimir Gusev has got a big engine…in case you were wondering. His 12th place finish does not tell the story, as a crash on the course stripped of at least one minute, maybe more. He would have clearly been a top five finisher today if he had avoided the crash.

Rasmussen retains the yellow jersey for another day, and lives to see the Pyrenee’s, where he will again be in his element.
Complete Results Here

Top Finishers Today:

1. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 191 ASTANA 1h 06′ 34″
2. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 1h 07′ 48″ + 01′ 14″
3. KLÖDEN Andréas 196 ASTANA 1h 08′ 13″ + 01′ 39″
4. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 1h 08′ 18″ + 01′ 44″
5. WIGGINS Bradley 149 COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE 1h 08′ 48″ + 02′ 14″
6. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 1h 08′ 50″ + 02′ 16″
7. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 1h 08′ 52″ + 02′ 18″
8. CHAVANEL Sylvain 141 COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE 1h 09′ 12″ + 02′ 38″
9. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 1h 09′ 13″ + 02′ 39″
10. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 1h 09′ 16″ + 02′ 42″
11. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 1h 09′ 29″ + 02′ 55″
12. GUSEV Vladimir 113 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 1h 09′ 30″ + 02′ 56″
13. HOSTE Leif 45 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 1h 09′ 30″ + 02′ 56″
14. GERDEMANN Linus 25 T-MOBILE TEAM 1h 09′ 43″ + 03′ 09″
15. GARATE Juan Manuel 174 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 1h 09′ 46″ + 03′ 12″

Top Overall Standings in the GC After 13 Stages:
1. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 58h 46′ 39″
2. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 58h 47′ 39″ + 01′ 00″
3. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 58h 49′ 10″ + 02′ 31″
4. KLÖDEN Andréas 196 ASTANA 58h 49′ 13″ + 02′ 34″
5. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 58h 50′ 16″ + 03′ 37″
6. KASHECHKIN Andrey 195 ASTANA 58h 51′ 02″ + 04′ 23″
7. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 58h 51′ 24″ + 04′ 45″
8. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 58h 51′ 46″ + 05′ 07″
9. VINOKOUROV Alexandre 191 ASTANA 58h 51′ 49″ + 05′ 10″
10. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 58h 52′ 08″ + 05′ 29″
11. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 58h 52′ 27″ + 05′ 48″
12. MAYO Iban 207 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 58h 52′ 27″ + 05′ 48″
13. GERDEMANN Linus 25 T-MOBILE TEAM 58h 53′ 38″ + 06′ 59″
14. PEREIRO SIO Oscar 11 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 58h 53′ 43″ + 07′ 04″
15. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 58h 54′ 16″ + 07′ 37″

Vasseur Wins Stage 10 After All Day Breakaway July 18, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Aleksandre Kuschynski, Andriy Grivko, Cédric Vasseur, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Francaise des Jeux, Jens Voigt, Juan Antonio Flecha, Lampre, Liquigas, Marcus Burghardt, Michal Albasini, Milram, Paolo Bossoni, Patrice Halgand, Quickstep, Rabobank, Sandy Casar, Staf Scheirlinckx, Stage 10, T-Mobile, Team Cofidis, Team Crédit Agricole, Team CSC, Team Francaise des Jeux, Team Lampre-Fondital, Team Liquigas, Team Milram, Team Quickstep, Team Rabobank, Team T-Mobile, Tour de France.
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A long, uncontested breakaway set the stage for a hot finish on this very hot day in southern France. The breakaway consisted of Jens Voigt (CSC), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Paolo Bossoni (Lampre), Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Michal Albasini (Liquigas), Aleksandre Kuschynski (Liquigas), Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux), Cedric Vasseur (Quick Step), Andriy Grivko (Milram), and Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile). With 25km to go, the breakaway split into two pieces with Halgand attacking and pulling Casar, Vasseur, Voight and Albasini with him. After a quick descent into Marseille, the lead 5 played cat and mouse games for the final 4km before a slow sprint over the final 300m, with Vasseur edging out Casar for the win… the first French stage win of the tour.

Top Finishers Today:

1. VASSEUR Cédric 179 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 5h 20′ 24″
2. CASAR Sandy 161 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 5h 20′ 24″
3. ALBASINI Michael 152 LIQUIGAS 5h 20′ 24″
4. HALGAND Patrice 107 CREDIT AGRICOLE 5h 20′ 24″
5. VOIGT Jens 38 TEAM CSC 5h 20′ 24″
6. SCHEIRLINCKX Staf 147 COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE 5h 21′ 00″ + 00′ 36″
7. BOSSONI Paolo 83 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 5h 21′ 00″ + 00′ 36″
8. BURGHARDT Marcus 22 T-MOBILE TEAM 5h 21′ 25″ + 01′ 01″
9. KUSCHYNSKI Aleksandr 156 LIQUIGAS 5h 22′ 58″ + 02′ 34″
10. FLECHA Juan Antonio 55 RABOBANK 5h 22′ 58″ + 02′ 34″
11. GRIVKO Andriy 184 TEAM MILRAM 5h 24′ 06″ + 03′ 42″
12. CHAVANEL Sébastien 162 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 5h 31′ 00″ + 10′ 36″
13. BOONEN Tom 171 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 5h 31′ 00″ + 10′ 36″
14. VENTOSO Francisco 209 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 5h 31′ 00″ + 10′ 36″
15. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 5h 31′ 00″ + 10′ 36″

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

Oscar Freire’s medical issues bring an end to his campaign July 14, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Team Rabobank, Tour de France.
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Oscar Freire bravely battled through 6 stages despite the eruption of an incredibly painful  cyst on his tailbone just prior to the start of the Tour. The Rabobank rider even sprinted spectacularly during the last 3 stages, but the prospect of battling both the pain and the mountains was too much for Freire. He withdrew prior to the start of today’s stage.

Hats off to Freire, who was thought by some to be unlikely to complete a single stage given his condition.

Boonen at Last! July 13, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Barloworld, Daniele Bennati, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Gerolsteiner, Lampre-Fondital, Liquigas, Milram, Murilo Fischer, Oscar Freire, Quickstep, Rabobank, Robert Forster, Robert Hunter, Romain Feillu, Stage 6, Sylvain Chavanel, Team Agritubel, Team Barloworld, Team Cofidis, Team Crédit Agricole, Team Francaise des Jeux, Team Gerolsteiner, Team Lampre-Fondital, Team Liquigas, Team Milram, Team Quickstep, Team Rabobank, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France.
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Boonen Wins Stage 6Tom Boonen (Quickstep) finally got the stage win that he has been eluding him in a tough sprint finish that put him a bikelength ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Erik Zabel.

Boonen finished 2nd to his teamate Gert Steegmans in Stage 2, and there was some question whether he still had the power to win a tough sprint, but he proved that he still has it today. Oscar Freire meanwhile keeps knocking on the door, having finished 3rd, 2nd and 2nd in the last three stages. Of course Zabel has been 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 3rd over the past four stages….

Fabian Cancellara in yellow for one more day, Boonen takes over the Green and Sylvain Chavanel’s 40 pts. in the KOM will be safe until at least tomorrow.

Complete results here

Top Finishers:
1. BOONEN Tom 171 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 05:20:59
2. FREIRE Oscar 56 RABOBANK 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
3. ZABEL Erik 181 TEAM MILRAM 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
4. CHAVANEL Sebastien 162 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
5. HUSHOVD Thor 101 CREDIT AGRICOLE 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
6. BENNATI Daniele 82 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
7. FORSTER Robert 92 GEROLSTEINER 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
8. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
9. FEILLU Romain 134 AGRITUBEL 05:20:59 + 00:00:00
10. FISCHER Murilo Antoniobil 155 LIQUIGAS 05:20:59 + 00:00:00

Stage 5 Goes to Pozzato July 12, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Bouygues Telecom, Bram Tankink, Christian Moreni, Cofidis, Daniele Bennati, Discovery Channel, Erik Zabel, Fabian Cancellara, Filippo Pozzato, George Hincapie, Jérôme Pineau, Kim Kerchen, Lampre-Fondital, Liquigas, Milram, Oscar Freire, Quickstep, Quickstep-Innergetic, Rabobank, Stage 5, Stefan Schumacher, Sylvain Chavanel, Team Bouygues Telecom, Team Cofidis, Team Discovery Channel, Team Gerolsteiner, Team Lampre-Fondital, Team Liquigas, Team Milram, Team Quickstep, Team Rabobank, Team T-Mobile.
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Filippo Pozzato of Liquigas won a long and winding sprint to take Stage 5. Fabian Cancellara stayed with the peloton despite some challenging climbs, finished 12th, and holds on to the Jersey for another day (2 actually). Sylvain Chavanel’s persistence in long breakaways brough him the Polka Dot Jersey as his won 30 of the days 34 available 1st place points by taking the first 6 of 7 climbs as part of the breakaway.

Tom Boonen lost the peloton in the hils, and finished the day 1:20 behind the Pozzato, which opened the door for Erik Zabel to take the Green Jersey with his 16 point 5th place finish.

Complete results here:

Top Finishers:

1. POZZATO Filippo 151 LIQUIGAS 04:39:01
2. FREIRE Oscar 56 RABOBANK 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
3. BENNATI Daniele 82 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
4. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
5. ZABEL Erik 181 TEAM MILRAM 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
6. HINCAPIE George 114 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
7. MORENI Cristian 144 COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
8. SCHUMACHER Stefan 91 GEROLSTEINER 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
9. TANKINK Bram 177 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 04:39:01 + 00:00:00
10. PINEAU Jérôme 126 BOUYGUES TELECOM 04:39:01 + 00:00:00

Hushovd! July 11, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Barloworld, Crédit Agricole, Danilo Napolitano, Erik Zabel, Gerolsteiner, Gert Steegmans, Lampre-Fondital, Mark Cavendish, Milram, Oscar Freire, Predictor-Lotto, Quickstep, Quickstep-Innergetic, Rabobank, Robert Forster, Robert Hunter, Sebastien Chavanel, Stage 4, Stephane Auge, Sylvain Chavanel, T-Mobile, Team Barloworld, Team Crédit Agricole, Team Francaise des Jeux, Team Gerolsteiner, Team Lampre-Fondital, Team Milram, Team Quickstep, Team Rabobank, Team T-Mobile, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France.
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Thor Hushovd was not to be denied, and thanks to support from his Credit Agricole team, he was delivered to the line in good position to win the sprint to the finish.

Not as much drama as yesterday, and the peloton crossed en masse, with only a handful of stragglers losing time in the GC. Cancellara retained the Yellow Jersey, though Hushovd’s win moved him back into contention 29 seconds down. Hushovd is also now threatening Tom Boonen’s Green Jersey, which he has held since the second stage finish, with Hushovd moving from 10th into 2nd place as a result of the final sprint points today. And Stephane Auge retained the Polka Dot Jersey for a second day, picking up just one point in the first climb. 2 of the 5 riders in the breakaway put on climbing points, with Sylvain Chavanel picking up 7 and Christian Knees picking up 5.

1. HUSHOVD Thor 101 CREDIT AGRICOLE 04:37:47
2. HUNTER Robert 216 BARLOWORLD 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
3. FREIRE Oscar 56 RABOBANK 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
4. ZABEL Erik 181 TEAM MILRAM 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
5. NAPOLITANO Danilo 86 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
6. STEEGMANS Gert 176 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
7. FORSTER Robert 92 GEROLSTEINER 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
8. BOONEN Tom 171 QUICK STEP – INNERGETIC 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
9. CHAVANEL Sebastien 162 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 04:37:47 + 00:00:00
10. CAVENDISH Mark 23 T-MOBILE TEAM 04:37:47 + 00:00:00

Rabobank Announces Lineup July 3, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Bram de Groot, Denis Menchov, Grischa Niermann, Juan Antonio Flecha, Michael Boogerd, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Freire, Peter Weening, Rabobank, Team Rabobank, Thomas Dekker.
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Rabobank will be lead by veteran Michael Boogerd in what he has announced will be his last Tour. Supporting Boogerd will be Bram de Groot, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Freire, Denis Menchov, Grischa Niermann, Michael Rasmussen, and Peter Weening.

Dekker is a promising upcomer and should challenge for leadership in the future as Boogerd steps aside.