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143 Left…. July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Cofidis, Doping, Stage 16, Tour de France.
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The withdrawal of Team Cofidis, following the announcement that Christian Moreni failed a doping test taken following Stage 11, reduces the field to 143 riders. While the departure of the Cofidis riders does not change the standing of any of the GC contenders, the tail end of the peloton has moved up 15 spots in the past 24 hours…all for the wrong reasons.

The remaining riders and their standing in the GC are listed here.

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Rasmussen Wins Stage 16 July 25, 2007

Posted by dperry1ma in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Barloworld, Cadel Evans, Caisse d'Epargne, Carlos Sastre, CSC, David Arroyo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Frank Schleck, Gorka Verdugo, Haimar Zubeldia, Iban Mayo, Juan Jose Cobo Acebo, Kim Kirchen, Levi Leipheimer, Mauricio Soler, Michael Boogerd, Predictor-Lotto, Stage 16, Tour de France, Yaroslav Popovych.
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The day began with a protest by riders organized by French and German riders who wanted to make a statement against doping in the wake of the Vinokourov/Astana doping bombshell. The riders sat down at the start and allowed the rest of the peloton to leave before getting on their bikes and catching up.

The most interesting breakaway of the day occured at the 8km mark, with Mauricio Soler and Carlos Sastre attacking Michael Rasmussen on two fronts. Soler took the maximum points on the several climbs to vault past Rasmussen into first place on the KOM competition, and Sastre challenging the GC from the number 5 spot (following Kloden’s withdrawal). The Soler/Sastre led group included Iban Mayo and Gorka Verdugo of Euskaltel who was feted wildly by the Basque fans on both sides of the border as he came through with the lead group.

The second to last climb of the day at the Col de la Marie-Blanque (Cat 1) busted apart the peloton for once and all and 12 riders including Rasmussen, Contador, Leipheimer and Evans followed the breakaway over the top trailing by 2:21, all of which was a set up for the last big climb of the Tour, the Col d’Aubisque (HC).

The Col d’Aubisque quickly dropped Verdugo and Soler of the lead group. The steep grade of the climb starting 11 km from the top popped off the Rabobank escort for Michael Rasmussen, leaving only 8 riders including Popovych, Contador and Leipheimer who quickly challenged Rasmussen. A kilmoter later it was down to the 3 Discovery Channel riders, Rasmussen, and Evans, when Leipheimer launched off the front, dropping Popovytch, leaving the top four GC contenders to battle out the final 10km of serious climbing in this year’s Tour.

For the next 3km Leipheimer and Contador took turns attacking and attempting to wear down Rasmussen, while Cadel Evans tagged along. Leipheimer slipped off the group with 7km to go. Cadel Evans dropped off with 6km, and then Leipheimer surged back into the lead group, and lead the trio all the way to 1km, when Rasmussen made a break. Rasmussen had something left for the final run and neither of Discovery riders had anything left to chase him. Rasmussen 1st, Leipheimer 2nd 24 seconds later, and Contador came in third.

Rasmussen Wins Stage 16

Today’s Top Finishers:
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 6hours 23minutes21 secs
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +26 sec
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +35 sec
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor – Lotto +43 sec
5 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld +1min 25 sec
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi +1 min 52 sec
7 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval – Prodir +1 min 54 sec
8 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC +2 min 12 sec
9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne +2 min 27 sec
10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
11 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team +3 min 11 sec
12 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne +3 min 37 sec
13 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC +4 min 42 sec
14 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank +5 min 32 sec
15 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team +6 min 02 sec

Overall Standings After Stage 16:

1. RASMUSSEN Michael 58 RABOBANK 76h 15′ 15″
2. CONTADOR Alberto 112 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 76h 18′ 25″ + 03′ 10″
3. EVANS Cadel 41 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 76h 20′ 18″ + 05′ 03″
4. LEIPHEIMER Levi 111 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 76h 21′ 14″ + 05′ 59″
5. SASTRE Carlos 31 TEAM CSC 76h 24′ 27″ + 09′ 12″
6. ZUBELDIA Haimar 71 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 76h 24′ 54″ + 09′ 39″
7. VALVERDE Alejandro 18 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 76h 28′ 43″ + 13′ 28″
8. KIRCHEN Kim 27 T-MOBILE TEAM 76h 30′ 01″ + 14′ 46″
9. POPOVYCH Yaroslav 118 DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 76h 31′ 15″ + 16′ 00″
10. SOLER HERNANDEZ Juan Mauricio 219 BARLOWORLD 76h 31′ 56″ + 16′ 41″
11. ASTARLOZA Mikel 73 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 76h 32′ 07″ + 16′ 52″
12. PEREIRO SIO Oscar 11 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 76h 32′ 32″ + 17′ 17″
13. ARROYO David 12 CAISSE D’EPARGNE 76h 36′ 23″ + 21′ 08″
14. MAYO Iban 207 SAUNIER DUVAL – PRODIR 76h 40′ 39″ + 25′ 24″
15. HORNER Christopher 44 PREDICTOR – LOTTO 76h 41′ 37″ + 26′ 22″