Sunday, July 25, 2010

Contador Wins The Tour de France 2010

Due to a little post surgery set back, I missed one stage, caught just the finish on tape of another and decided after the Time Trial to wait till the end of the Tour for my last post on the race.
That worked out pretty well because there were no major, or for that matter even minor surprises during the last four stages.
Stage 16 saw Lance Armstrong go in the break and hold on with eight others to finish more than six minutes ahead of the peloton.  Lance had noted in recent interviews that he would be going for at least one stage win, but age has caught up and his sprint at the line came up short of a stage victory.
In stage 17, one of the most thrilling battles in Tour history between what is possibly the best two cyclist in the world took place on the climb to the mountain top finish on the col du Tourmalet.  Alberto Contador only had to stay on the wheels of Andy Shleck to maintain his lead in the race and that he did.  Schleck was unable to lose Contador with his attacks and Contador's only attack on Schleck was also fruitless.  Both crossed the finish at the same time with Schleck taking the stage victory.
Stage 18 was for the sprinters and who else but Mark Cavendish showed again that he is the fastest sprinter in cycling.  Alessandro Petacchi was able to finish high enough to reclaim the Green Jersey, but he would still have to finish in the top three on the Champs Elysee's in stage 20 to clinch the jersey.
The changing winds during the Individual Time Trial may have effected the final standings of the stage, but did not really affect the final results of the Tour.  There was a change on the podium as Denis Menchov was able to out dual Samuel Sanchez for the third position.   The only jersey not yet decided by the Time Trial was the green sprinters points jersey.  That was decided in Paris on the final day of the Tour.  Again won easily by Cavendish with Petacchi finishing second.  The second place finish clinched the Green Jersey for Petacchi.


Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
Final Standings for the Tour De France 2010:

General Classification (Yellow Jersey) overall winner
1 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 91:58:48
2 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:39
3 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 0:02:01
4 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:40
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:06:54
6 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:09:31
7 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions 0:10:15
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 0:11:37
9 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 0:11:54
10 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack 0:12:02
11 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:14:21
12 Ruben Plaza Molina (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:14:29
13 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:14:40
14 Andreas Klöden (GER) Team Radioshack 0:16:36
15 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale 0:16:59
16 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 0:17:46
17 Thomas Löfkvist (SUI) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:20:46
18 Kevin De Weert (BEL) Quick Step 0:21:54
19 John Gadret (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:24:04
20 Carlos Sastre (ESP) Cervelo Test Team 0:26:37







Point Standings (Green Jersey) sprinters


1 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 243 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 232
3 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 222
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 179
5 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 179
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 161
7 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 135
8 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 126
9 Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 124
10 Lloyd Mondory (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 119
11 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 115
12 Samuel Sánchez  (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 112
13 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 107
14 Julian Dean (NZL) Garmin - Transitions 104
15 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 81
16 Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank 81
17 Daniel Oss (ITA) Liquigas-Doimo 80
18 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 78
19 Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 78
20 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale 77







Mountain Classification (Polka Dot Jersey) climber


1 Anthony Charteau (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 143 pts
2 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne 128
3 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 116
4 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 112
5 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 99
6 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 96
7 Sandy Casar (FRA) Française des Jeux 93
8 Jérôme Pineau (FRA) Quick Step 92
9 Thomas Voeckler (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 82
10 Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 72
11 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 66
12 Mario Aerts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 65
13 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 62
14 Christophe Riblon (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 60
15 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 58
16 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 54
17 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack 53
18 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions 50
19 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 50
20 Luis León Sánchez Gil (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 48







Young Rider (White Jersey) under 25 yrs age


1 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 91:59:27
2 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:08:52
3 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 0:11:15
4 Julien El Farès (FRA) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne 0:52:43
5 Cyril Gautier (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 1:24:33
6 Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Team Saxo Bank 1:37:53
7 Rafael Valls (ESP) Footon-Servetto 1:41:48
8 Pierre Rolland (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 1:46:03
9 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 1:59:26
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 2:01:19
11 Francis De Greef (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 2:11:43
12 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (POR) Caisse d'Epargne 2:11:49
13 Rémy Di Grégorio (FRA) Française des Jeux 2:20:55
14 Arkaitz Duran Daroca (ESP) Footon-Servetto 2:29:10
15 Eros Capecchi (ITA) Footon-Servetto 2:33:59
16 Johannes Fröhlinger (GER) Team Milram 2:48:44
17 Kristjan Koren (SLO) Liquigas-Doimo 2:56:32
18 Maxime Bouet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 3:07:01
19 Alexandr Pliuschin (MDA) Team Katusha 3:08:26
20 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 3:14:18







Teams classification


1 Team Radioshack 276:02:03
2 Caisse d'Epargne 0:09:15
3 Rabobank 0:27:49
4 Ag2R La Mondiale 0:41:10
5 Omega Pharma - Lotto 0:51:01
6 Astana 0:56:16
7 Quick Step 1:06:23
8 Euskaltel - Euskadi 1:23:02
9 Liquigas-Doimo 1:29:14
10 Bbox Bouygues Telecom 1:54:18
11 Sky Professional Cycling Team 2:05:28
12 Team Saxo Bank 2:25:02
13 Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne 2:29:35
14 BMC Racing Team 2:35:30
15 Française des Jeux 2:58:59
16 Garmin - Transitions 3:18:07
17 Team HTC - Columbia 3:25:26
18 Team Katusha 3:28:05
19 Cervelo Test Team 3:51:56
20 Footon-Servetto 5:15:36
21 Lampre - Farnese Vini 5:50:02
22 Team Milram 6:05:41




Monday, July 19, 2010

Lead Change In The Tour

Another great day in the Tour de France, but not without controversy.  And lately, if there is a controversy, it involves Alberto Contador.  The boos and jeers heard when he received his Yellow Jersey as the new tour leader should tell him what the fans thought of his attack on Andy Schleck when Andy was having a mechanical failure (chain came off) on the climb of the Port de Bales.  I know it is debatable whether he should have taken advantage of that situation, but I no longer respect Contador and am not surprised by his attack.  It is something any pro cyclist, with character, would not have done.  That is my opinion.  The best article I read on this situation was written for the **Tour de France Newsletter from Carmichael Training Systems. The Carmichael Commentary looks at both sides and his conclusion says it all.

**Beyond the Debate
My struggle is that for seemingly every defense of one argument, there’s an equally valid counter-argument. There really doesn’t seem to be one answer that’s clearly right or one that’s clearly wrong. In the end, and even though it’s directly contradicted by the Lance/Ullrich situation on Luz Ardiden in 2003, if I had to make a decision today I would say that it would have been nice to see Contador wait for Schleck, but I don’t think he was obligated to. The decision to press on, however, may well haunt Contador later in this race or in the future.

The peloton has its own sense of justice, and if the riders feel that Contador was wrong, they may find ways within races to let him know. I don’t mean they’ll do anything malicious like push him off the road, but they may decide not to work with him in a breakaway, or that they’ll chase him down to prevent him from winning when they otherwise would have cooperated with him. Perhaps in next year’s Tour, or in a stage later in this race, a rider who might otherwise work with Contador in a small group will decide to just sit on.
You have to remember that even though many fans only see riders like Sammy Sanchez or Andy Schleck once a year during the Tour de France, the riders see each other week in and week out for years. Many of the men in the Tour have been racing each other for the better part of a decade, some even longer. Many have raced together on the same teams, or will in the future, as contracts and sponsors change. The actions you take in races determine how you are perceived in the peloton, and over time you build a reputation based on fairness, competence, safety, work ethic, and friendliness. The night after a stage like today, we can all talk about the immediate implications that Schleck’s mechanical problem – and Contador’s response - had on the race. But right or wrong, the long-term consequences of Contador’s decision will be decided by the peloton.

Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
Not until the 100km mark of the stage would a breakaway succeed.  At that point 10 riders led by Liquigas-Doimo's Brian Vandborg and Milram rider Luke Roberts, along with Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Transitions), Sergei Ivanov (Katusha), Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing), Francesco Reda (Quick Step), Aitor Perez Arrieta (Footon-Servetto), Lloyd Mondory (AG2R - La Mondiale), Alan Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and two Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders Thomas Voeckler and Sebastian Turgot began a break that would take them out to almost an 11 minute lead on the peloton.  Six of the 10 were able to hold off a charging Contador along with Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez on the descent of the Port de Bales.  An attack by Voeckler with about 10 km to go on the climb gave him a 1:20 lead on the group and enabled him to coast to victory.
Schleck was unable to catch the Contador group a lost :39 seconds on that group relinquishing  his Yellow Jersey.
Prediction for Stage 16:  Andy Schleck is mad, very mad.  This may work for him or can also work against him.  Look for Andy to attack, attack and attack on the climbs, but he will be attacking the best cyclist and best climber in the Tour.  It will be interesting.

Results - Stage 15
1 Thomas Voeckler (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 4:44:51
2 Alessandro Ballan (ITA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:20
3 Aitor Perez Arrieta (ESP) Footon-Servetto
4 Lloyd Mondory (ESP) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:50
5 Luke Roberts (AUS) Team Milram
6 Francesco Reda (ITA) Quick Step
7 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
8 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi
9 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank
10 Brian Vandborg (DEN) Liquigas-Doimo
11 Johan Van Summeren (BEL) Garmin - Transitions
12 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:29
13 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
14 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana
15 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:03:55
16 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions
17 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack
18 John Gadret (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale
19 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 0:04:08
20 Kevin De Weert (BEL) Quick Step

General Classification (Yellow Jersey)
1 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 72:50:42
2 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:08
3 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:00
4 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 0:02:13
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:39
6 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:05:01
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:05:25
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 0:05:45
9 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 0:07:12
10 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions 0:07:51

Point Standings (Green Jersey)

1 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 187 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 185
3 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 162
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 144
5 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 138
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 120
7 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 107
8 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 102
9 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 100
10 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 98

Mountain Classification (Polka Dot Jersey)
1 Anthony Charteau (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 115 pts
2 Jérôme Pineau (FRA) Quick Step 92
3 Thomas Voeckler (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 82
4 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 76
5 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 76
6 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 72
7 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne 68
8 Mario Aerts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 65
9 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 63
10 Christophe Riblon (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 60

Sunday, July 18, 2010

French Gain Fourth Stage Victory

Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
The Pyrenees started off with the most exciting stage to date in this year's Tour de France.  All GC contenders fought off each others attacks on the final climb up Ax-3 Domaines with Denis Menchov and Samuel Sanchez finally dropping Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador near the summit to gain 14 seconds on the overall leaders. Both Menchov and Sanchez are battling for the third spot on the podium and need more than two minutes gain to contend for the top two podium positions.
French cyclist Christophe Riblon crossed the summit of the Port de Pailheres ahead of the group of GC contenders and then sailed down the descent to the base of the final climb with a 2:46 advantage on the Tour's leaders.  That was enough to hold on for a :54 sec. stage victory over Menchov and Sanchez.
Prediction for stage 15:  A very difficult climb over the Port de Bales and a long descent to the finish can end the dreams of some to the GC contenders.  The climb will thin out some of the Tour leaders and those not with the first group over the climb will have difficulty in catching up.  I believe Andy Schleck will have to find the right time to attack on the climb.  He still needs more time over Contador before the time trial and is running out of chances to gain that time.  A cat and mouse game between them will be the theme until one of them shows some weakness.  When that happens to one of them, the other is gone!

Results - Stage 14
1 Christophe Riblon (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 4:52:42  
2 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 0:00:54  
3 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
4 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:08  
5 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha    
6 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank    
7 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana    
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
9 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:01:49  
10 Carlos Sastre (ESP) Cervelo Test Team    
11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:01:53  
12 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions 0:02:00  
13 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana    
14 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:02:02  
15 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne    
16 Vasili Kiryienka (BLR) Caisse d'Epargne 0:02:16  
17 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:26  
18 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:27  
19 Thomas Löfkvist (SUI) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:02:30  
20 John Gadret (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale    

 Gereral Classification (Yellow Jersey)
1 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 68:02:30  
2 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 0:00:31  
3 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:31  
4 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 0:02:44  
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:31  
6 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:04:27  
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:04:51  
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 0:04:58  
9 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:05:56  
10 Ivan Basso (ITA) Liquigas-Doimo 0:06:52  
11 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 0:07:04  
12 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 0:07:11  
13 Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) Garmin - Transitions 0:07:17  
14 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:03  
15 Carlos Sastre (ESP) Cervelo Test Team 0:08:15  
16 Thomas Löfkvist (SUI) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:09:46  
17 Andreas Klöden (GER) Team Radioshack 0:10:27  
18 Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:11:30  
19 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team 0:12:39  
20 Ruben Plaza Molina (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:50  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vinny Attacks And Wins

Photo credit © Fotoreporter Sirotti
Today's stage went just about as predicted.  A small breakaway was caught inside the last 15 km with a sprint for Green Jersey points at the finish.  An attack by Alexander Vinokourov on the final climb kept the sprinters from the stage victory.  The only thing missing was a counter attack by Alberto Contador to chase down Vinokourov. A lot is now being said about the amiable relationship between Contador and Vinokourov.  Sounds much like the PR spins from last years Tour and the Contador/Armstrong relationship.  I wonder what the odds are that Team Astana will remain intact next year.  Any one really think that Vinny and Alberto will be on the same team?
Again today there were no changes in the General Classification (Yellow Jersey).
The more exciting race this year seems to be for the Green Jersey that was regained by Alessandro Petacchi today.  I am beginning to doubt whether Thor Husovd can win the jersey.  There are not that many more intermediate sprints left that Thor can break from the peloton and win and I doubt he will finish high enough on the Champs Elysees to overtake Petacchi.
The Mountain Classification can also become interesting if Jerome Pineau and Anthony Charteau fail to win any more points.  There are enough points available on the Cat. 1 and Cat. HC to give Andy Schleck or Contador the Polka Dot Jersey if they can stay in the top 3 finishers over the mountains during the four days in the Pyrenees.
Prediction for stage 14:  The first day in the Pyrenees is going to start out with a few rolling hills, much like today's stage, but two climbs at the end will definitely sort out the elite.  Look for attacks by Schleck and maybe Sammuel Sanchez.  Unless Schleck cracks, Contador will stay on his wheel, but if Schleck shows any weakness Contador will take off.  This will also be a good time for Sanchez or Denis Menchov to gain time.  I think Contador will go after the yellow and a stage victory in the mountains and end all hopes of any one challenging him for the Tour de France 2010 victory.

Results - Stage 13
1 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 4:26:26
2 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 0:00:13
3 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
6 Julian Dean (NZL) Garmin - Transitions
7 Anthony Geslin (FRA) Française des Jeux
8 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team
9 Grega Bole (SLO) Lampre-Farnese Vini
10 Lloyd Mondory (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale
11 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram
12 Martijn Maaskant (NED) Garmin - Transitions
13 Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
14 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi
15 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne
16 Juan Manuel Gárate (ESP) Rabobank
17 Martin Elmiger (SUI) AG2R La Mondiale
18 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank
19 Yukiya Arashiro (JPN) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
20 Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank

Point Standings (Green Jersey)
1 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 187  pts
2 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 185
3 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 162
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 144
5 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 138
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 120
7 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 102
8 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 101
9 Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 81
10 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 80

Mountain Classification (Polka Dot Jersey)
1 Anthony Charteau (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 107  pts
2 Jérôme Pineau (FRA) Quick Step 92
3 Mario Aerts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 65
4 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 64
5 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne 62
6 Sandy Casar (FRA) Française des Jeux 56
7 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 56
8 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 52
9 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 50
10 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 48

Friday, July 16, 2010

Contador Loses One For The Team

Photo credit © Sirotti
Alberto "it's all about me" Contador showed up again and took a stage victory away from teammate Alexander Vinokourov, much like he cracked teammate Adreas Kloden last year to end all hopes of an Astana podium sweep in Paris.  This time Contador pulled Joaquin Rodriguez of Team Katusha in an attack on Vinokourov's lead that led to a sprint finish won by Rodriguez. The ten seconds he gained on Andy Schleck meant zip.  Contador will be at least three minutes better than Schleck in the Individual Time Trial and he could have kept the reins on Rodriguez to allow a Team Astana victory by Vinokourov.  I heard all the excuses about the psychological game and how that would affect Schleck, but that is just an excuse.
Thor Hushovd was able to regain the Green Jersey after gaining 10 points in the two sprints along the stage route and Anthony Charteau took a total of 17 mountain points to regain the Polka Dot Jersey.
Prediction for stage 13: A flat stage with five small climbs, one of which is near the finish, may not be that beneficial for the sprinters.  The GC contenders will want to rest the day before entering the Pyrenees and this will benefit any breakway.  Look for Thor to be in that break to pick up the sprint points on the route. This will also be Sylvain Chavanel's last chance to win a third stage.

Results - Stage 12
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 4:58:26
2 Alberto Contador  (ESP) Astana

3 Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana 0:00:04
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:10
5 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank

6 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

7 Andreas Klöden (GER) Team Radioshack

8 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank

9 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:00:15
10 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo

11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:00:17
12 Ruben Plaza Molina (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:00:31
13 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini

14 Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team

15 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team

16 Ivan Basso (ITA) Liquigas-Doimo

17 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack

18 Carlos Sastre (ESP) Cervelo Test Team

19 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne

20 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale



General Classification (Yellow Jersey)
1 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 58:42:01
2 Alberto Contador  (ESP) Astana 0:00:31
3 Samuel Sánchez  (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:02:45
4 Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank 0:02:58
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:31
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:04:06
7 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:04:27
8 Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP) Team Katusha 0:04:58
9 Luis León Sánchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 0:05:02
10 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas-Doimo 0:05:16







Point Standings (Green Jersey)


1 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 167  pts
2 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 161
3 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 138
4 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 132
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 122
6 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 101
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 96
8 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 87
9 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 79
10 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 74







Mountain Classification (Polka Dot Jersey)


1 Anthony Charteau (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 107  pts
2 Jérôme Pineau (FRA) Quick Step 92
3 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank 64
4 Christophe Moreau (FRA) Caisse d'Epargne 62
5 Mario Aerts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 58
6 Sandy Casar (FRA) Française des Jeux 56
7 Damiano Cunego (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 56
8 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana 52
9 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi 50
10 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 47

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cavendish Wins Again

Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
I know that it would not be fair or any more exciting to put all the sprint stages first and then all the mountain stages at the end of the Tour de France.  It just seems that the flat stages lose their excitement after the first round of climbs, yet the finish of these stages are usually the most exciting in the Tour.  Stage 11 was a prime example.  The only unknown at the start of the stage is whether a break will succeed and 90% of all breaks do not.  What is known is that there will be a break away and that they will be allowed to stay away until somewhere in the last 10 km and that there will be a mad sprint at the finish line and, of course, that Mark Cavendish will win. The strategy, timing of lead outs and the mad dash for the line are as good as it gets. The first four hours of the stage are about as boring as it gets.
Added excitement was introduced today when Mark Renshaw gave new meaning to "using your head" to gain advantage in the sprint.  Unfortunately, race officials disqualified Renshaw for head butting and veering off line to block Tyler Farrar.  I think the disqualification (kicked out of Tour) was too severe. A fine and being relegated to last place would have sufficed.  On the up side, Cavendish without Renshaw as lead out, may, I'll say again 'may,' even things out at the finish, especially on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
There were no changes again in the General Classification, but Thor Hushovd was unable to hold on to his Green Jersey after finishing 7th to Alessandro Petacchi's 2nd.  In a pre-race interview Thor affirmed he would not be taking any chances in a sprint finish and that staying near the top will enable him to hold on to the jersey.  Well Thor, I bet you'll be taking chances now!
Prediction for stage 12:  Five climbs with a short Cat 2 near the finish will leave the sprinters in the rear.  If a break is not allowed to hold it's lead, look for Thor Hushovd to make it over the climbs and regain the Green Jersey. May be a good day for Team Radio Shack to allow either Andreas Kloden or Chris Horner to go with the break.  There are a lot of mountain points at stake, so a dual between Jerome Pineau and Anthony Charteau may evolve.  If so, look for Charteau to regain the Polka Dot Jersey on the last climb.

Results - stage 11:
1 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 4:42:29
2 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini

3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions

4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne

5 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha

6 Yukiya Arashiro (JPN) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

7 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team

8 Lloyd Mondory (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale

9 Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto

10 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram

11 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom

12 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team

13 Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank

14 Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

15 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

16 Luke Roberts (AUS) Team Milram

17 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale

18 Kevin De Weert (BEL) Quick Step

19 Egoi Martinez (ESP) Euskaltel - Euskadi

20 Danilo Hondo (GER) Lampre-Farnese Vini




Point Standings (Green Jersey)
1 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 161  pts
2 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 157
3 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 138
4 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 132
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 122   
6 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 101
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 96
8 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 87
9 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions 79
10 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 74

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Win For Team Radio Shack

Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
Really surprised today that none of the competitors for the Polka Dot jersey took part in the breakaway.  I would think that a lead in that competition going into the Pyrenees would be a huge advantage.  Looks like Jerome Pineau and Anthony Charteau want to battle it out in the high mountains.
Today was a great day for any break to succeed.  With no real brutal climbs, but enough to keep the sprinters from chasing along with the teams of Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador who will now wait for the Pyrenees. That enabled Team Radio Shack to send Sergio Paulinho in the early break and barely edge out Vasili Kiryienka for the stage victory. Pineau was able to get one point on the first climb and win back the Polka Dot jersey he lost yesterday.
There were no changes with the General Classification leaders.
Prediction for stage 11: Back to the sprinters until Sunday and who else but Mark Cavendish.
Thor Hushovd will still finish near the top and keep the Green jersey,  but look for Robbie McEwen to make some gains on the leader.


Results - Stage 10 
1 Sergio Paulinho (POR) Team Radioshack 5:10:56
2 Vasili Kiryienka (BLR) Caisse d'Epargne
3 Dries Devenyns (BEL) Quick Step 0:01:29
4 Pierre Rolland (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
5 Mario Aerts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:33
6 Maxime Bouet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:20
7 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:58
8 Rémi Pauriol (FRA) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne 0:13:57
9 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 0:14:19
10 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini
11 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team
12 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha
13 Lloyd Mondory (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
15 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
16 Sebastian Lang (GER) Omega Pharma-Lotto
17 Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
18 Kristjan Koren (SLO) Liquigas-Doimo
19 Damien Monier (FRA) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
20 Matti Breschel (DEN) Team Saxo Bank

Point Standings (Green Jersey)
1 Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team 138  pts
2 Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lampre-Farnese Vini 131
3 Robbie McEwen (AUS) Team Katusha 116
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 98
5 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC - Columbia 97
6 Sébastien Turgot (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 86
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 82
8 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky Professional Cycling Team 74
9 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team Milram 71
10 Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) Quick Step 69