Saxo Bank rider tries all he can to drop yellow jersey as the race's best two riders fight out the Tour's toughest stage Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) won the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France between Pau and the Col du Tourmalet after he and Alberto Contador (Astana) escaped halfway up the legendary climb. Contador, having done very little work as Schleck tried all he could to drop him, allowed Schleck to take the sprint but made sure he finished in the same time.
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) escaped a select group of chasers to finish in third ahead of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions).
With everything to play for, the race came down to a one on one battle between the two top riders of the race on the Tour’s toughest mountain.
Spaniard chimes in on cycling's "unwritten rules" Spaniard Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) went out on the attack today in an attempt to seize his final chance at a stage victory in the 2010 Tour de France. The last day in the Pyrénées also gave the 2008 Tour winner an opportunity to reflect on recent events in cycling, and took time to speak his mind on those that have recently cried foul.
“Today was full of action and inspired a lot of talk. For some it has been a crazy day, for others it was a day filled with stupidity, and for a few it was a day of bravery and courage... As far as I was concerned, it was a day to enjoy myself on my bike,” Sastre said candidly of the Tour's last mountain stage.
Sastre had his sights set on reaching the Col du Tourmalet at the front of the race, and staying there until he hit the finish line. He ended up missing the first group of seven that formed the break of the day, but refused to write himself off and began what ended up bei…
A sixth win for France as Lance Armstrong and Christophe Moreau go on one last attack
Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) won the sixteenth stage of the Tour de France between Bagnères-de-Luchon and Pau as he outsprinted the rest of an nine-man breakaway. Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) was second, with Ruben Plaza (Caisse d’Epargne) in third at the end of the 199.5km stage across the Pyrénées.
The breakaway group included seven-time winner Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and Christophe Moreau (Caisse d’Epargne), two of the oldest riders in the race, and finished 6’45” ahead of the peloton.
A long breakaway that formed in the early kilometres, on the climb of the Col de Peyresourde, finally built a stage winning lead on the Col du Tourmalet. After a lone attack from Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) the stage came down to a sprint, which Fédrigo comfortably won.
That is the Question Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) unshipping his chain just as things were hotting up on the hors category Port de Balès cost him his yellow jersey; it may have cost him the race. The boos and whistles that could be heard as defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana) pulled on his first yellow jersey of the race were testament to the fact that many felt that the Spanish rider was wrong to take advantage of his rival’s misfortune.
Tradition dictates that if the yellow jersey suffers from a crash or a mechanical problem his rivals don’t attack him, so does this mean that Contador should have waited for Schleck?
In 2003, when Lance Armstrong’s handlebar caught the string handle of a souvenir bag held by a spectator he went crashing to the ground, also bringing down Iban Mayo. Jan Ullrich, who’d been sitting in third wheel managed to get around the two falling riders; but rather than capitalising on Armstrong’s bad luck in the closest Tour in years, the German eased his pace …
Champion of France takes breakaway stage as drama on final climb sees Alberto Contador seize the lead Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) won the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France between Pamiers and Bagnères-de-Luchon. The French champion was part of a ten-man breakaway that escaped in the mid part of the 187.5km stage; he dropped the rest of his companions on the steep slopes of the hors category Port de Balès and stayed away on the descent to take a solo victory. Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) outsprinted Aitor Perez (Footon-Servetto), both also members of the breakaway, for second place, 1’20” behind.
After a fast start to the stage a breakaway finally escaped, with the French champion holding on to take the home nation’s fifth stage of the race. Behind Voeckler, high drama on the Port de Balès saw a mechanical for yellow jersey Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) capitalised on by his rivals.
“I knew I was better than the fourth place in the stage to Station des Rousses,” said a delig…
Frenchman is last survivor of long breakaway, holds off the big boys as they play cat and mouse behind Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale) won the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France between Revel and Ax 3 Domaines as the last man standing from a day-long breakaway. He finished alone 54 seconds ahead of Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who’d escaped from a select group of riders on the final kilometres of the climb at the end of the 184.5km stage.
After a long breakaway the stage looked like it would go to the overall contenders but the Frenchman, who took the silver medal in this year’s World Championship Madison on the track, held on to take his biggest victory to date.
“I was really disappointed with my start of the Tour because I wanted to do something overall, and it did not work,” said Riblon after his victory. “Especially the last two days were very difficult, and I was almost depressed.
One day after missing out in Mende, the Kazakh escapes in the closing stages
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) won the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France between Rodez and Revel after attacking over the top of the final climb and staying clear on the descent. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) led the peloton home 13 seconds behind the lone Kazakh, with Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) in third at the end of the 196km stage.
After the peloton chased down a stage long breakaway, the race sprung to life on the Côte de Saint-Ferréol with 7.5km to go.
“It’s nice to win here again and it was a good victory,” said Vinokourov after his victory. “I’m very happy for my team, especially, because I think I helped give some good morale for the team. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t win yesterday but it gave us some good motivation and now we are ready for the three or four stages in the mountains.
Spanish rider takes stage victory after fireworks on Jalabert's climb see defending champion attack yellow jersey
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) won the twelfth stage of the Tour de France between Bourg-de-Péage and Mende as he escaped on the steep climb to the aerodrome with second place overall Alberto Contador (Astana). Rodriguez managed to outsprint Contador, who was more interested in taking as much time as possible on those riders behind him. Contador’s teammate Alexandre Vinokourov, having been part of the stage’s long breakaway, held on to take third place.
A long, hot breakaway almost made it, but was forced to succumb to the pressure of attacks among the overall race leaders. After several attempts a large group gets clear
The first riders to make it clear were Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) and Rui Costa (Caisse d’Epargne). The presence of the Canadian, who currently sits in 12th place overall 5’42” behind yellow jersey Andy Schl…
Manx Missile fires another winning shot to the line
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won the eleventh stage of the Tour de France between Sisteron and Bourg-lès-Valance in a fast bunch sprint. The Manx Missile took his third victory in this year’s race ahead of two-time winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions).
After some tough days in the Alps the sprinters made their return to the Tour de France. A stage long breakaway did its best to stay away, but with opportunities for the fastmen limited in this race there was only ever going to be one outcome.
“It’s nice to keep winning,” said Cavedish after his victory. “I’ve got a dedicated group of guys and I’ve got to thank them all. Michael Rogers has passed the Alps and now he’s pulling massive turns; he’s always helping anyway, but today he did big, big turns and obviously the other guys wound themselves up as well.
Portuguese rider wins on France's national holiday to salvage RadioShack's miserable Tour so far Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack) provided a bright spot in an otherwise miserable Tour for his team so far by winning the tenth stage of the Tour de France between Chambéry and Gap after a long breakaway. The Portuguese rider outsprinted Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) after the pair escaped from the rest of a six-man break. Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) outsprinted the other breakaway riders, Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) and Mario Aerts (OmegaPharma-Lotto) 1’29” behind Paulinho at the end of the 179km stage.
After two challenging Alpine stages, the peloton decided to take the closest thing that they could to a rest day, allowing a breakaway group to finish well clear.
French rider outsprints breakaway companions as race lead changes hands in dramatic fashion Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) won the ninth stage of the Tour de France between Morzine-Avoriaz and Saint Jean de Maurienne after being part of a stage-long break. He beat breakaway companions Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) into second and third in the sprint for the line.
A breakaway stayed away to the finish over the Tour’s first hors category climb, but not before they were joined by the race’s two biggest favourites as they approached the line.
“I had a difficult first week after which I lost my hopes of a good result in the general classification,” said Casar at the finish. “So it was from that moment that I began to think about this stage, because it suited me. The climbs were hard, but it’s better for me when the finish is not at altitude.
“Since my second place behind Cyril Dessel in Jausiers [in 2008],” he continued, “I’m more methodical…
Australian rider cracks on Col de la Madeleine, loses eight minutes
Far from being a triumphant procession, Cadel Evans' first day in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France saw the rider finish over eight minutes back, crossing the line in tears and dropping to eighteenth overall.
Unbeknownst to all bar his BMC Racing team, the Australian started the stage with a broken elbowsustained in the stage eight crash. That plus the various aches and bruises from his fall meant that he was running below his usual level, and with 40 kilometres to go he slid to the back of the group on the Col de la Madeleine, then lost contact.
Alberto Contador (Astana) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) surged clear soon afterwards and started making inroads into the lead of a breakaway group up front. They eventually caught this group and finished together, crossing the line just behind stage winner Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), while Evans came in eight minutes and nine seconds back in 42nd place.
Evans back in yellow for the first time since 2008 and first World Champion to wear Yellow since Boonen in 2006 After a solid ride to finish in the group of favorites 10 seconds behind the hard charging duo of Andy Schleck and Sammy Sanchez, World Champion Cadel Evans moved himself back to a position he has known before: the top of the general classification at the Tour de France. Evans last wore the Tour de France's Maillot Jaune in Stage 14 of the 2008 Tour de France. He relinquished the Yellow Jersey at the end of that day, and would eventually finish the race second overall behind Saxo Bank's Carlos Sastre.
Ahead of the stage, the expectation was that Evans would take the yellow jersey barring any bizarre occurrences. Evans was reluctant to count himself into the Maillot Jaune ahead of the stage: "It's the Tour de France - anything can and will happen. Theoretically, it puts us in a really good position, but also, it puts some others in more aggressive position. I&…
On a day when the overall contenders positioned themselves for the final two weeks of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong was nowhere to be found.
The 38-year old Texan got caught up in three crashes, falling once, and was left behind by the peloton during a crucial climb 31 miles from the Stage 8 finish in Morzine-Avoriaz, a ski station on the French-Swiss border.
French Quick Step rider breaks away on the Tour's first day in the mountains to take back what he lost on the cobbles of the north Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) won the seventh stage of the Tour de France between Tournus and Station des Rousses after escaping the rest of a breakaway group on the final climb before the finish. Tour debutant Rafael Valls (Footon-Servetto) also managed to escape the rest of the group later in the climb and finished in second place 57 seconds behind Chavanel, Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) took third place 1’27” back.
Starting the day in fifth place, just 1’01” behind race leader Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Chavanel took back the yellow jersey that he lost on the cobbles of stage 3 as the Swiss rider lost ground on the final climb.
Manx Express wins again in sprinters' last chance stage
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won the sixth stage of the Tour de France between Montargis and Gueugnon in another bunch sprint. After a difficult first few days of the race, the Manxman showed his superior speed once again, beating American Tyler Farrar (Gamin-Transitions) by more than a bike length with double stage-winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) in third.
With the race heading into the medium mountains of the Jura tomorrow, stage 6 represented the last chance for the sprinters to shine this side of the Alps. The longest stage of the race, at 227.5km, was therefore destined to follow the conventional pattern of the previous two days, where a stage long breakaway was reeled in close to the finish.
Manx Missile fires at last to leave sprint rivals in his wake and silence his critics Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won the fifth stage of the Tour de France between Épernay and Montargis, as the HTC-Columbia team got its sprint to come together at last. The Manx Missile finished well clear of his former teammate Gerard Ciolek (Milram) with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) repeating yesterday’s third place.
Like the previous day’s stage to Riems, stage 5 returned to the usual pattern of a long-distance breakaway pulled back by the sprinters’ teams close to the finish, after the chaos of the classics-style stages at the beginning of the week. With temperatures reaching the mid-30s centigrade, the peloton was content to take it easy for most of the 187.5km stage, until it was time to let the sprinters do their thing once more.
The battle for sprint supremacy sees the former King emerge HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish came into this Tour de France overtly confident as usual, and prepared to back up his statements made in the months leading up to the race. However, with just two sprint stages contested the Manxman has seen himself on the pavement and then finishing well behind in twelfth place, while evergreen Alessandro Petacchi has powered his way to a pair of victories.
"I'm disappointed about today," admitted Cavendish. "I felt really good during the stage. I feel sorry for my teammates who rode unbelievably and I just didn't finish it off at the end."
Flat tire derails great position and legs Lance Armstrong's chances at an 8th Tour de France victory "took a knock today" as Armstrong put it post-stage. The Texan was in a good position as the race hit the cobbles, but bad luck put paid to his chances of staying at the head of the race. Armstrong eventually lost 2:08 to the likes of Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck, 1:15 to Bradley Wiggins and Denis Menchov, and 55 seconds to Alberto Contador.
Armstrong was asked by Sporza if it was frustrating to have lost time on a day where it was apparent that he had good legs:
"It's very frustrating. But again, I'm not going to make any excuses. When we came in, I was in good position, there was the crash, I mean, everybody saw it on television; the crash split the group. We hung tough, tried to come back, but got the flat at the wrong moment. There's nothing I could do about that, just try to change as quick as you can and try to come back, but it's very difficult …
Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) won the third stage of the Tour de France between Wanze and Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut after outsprinting a very select group. The Norwegian champion beat British champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) after the peloton shattered over the cobbled roads of northern France.
Younger brother Andy follows safely on Fabian Cancellara's wheel Luxembourg champion Frank Schleck lost his chances for an overall victory in the Tour de France today, when he became the first victim of the infamous pavé du Nord with just over 25 kilometers remaining in the third stage. The elder Schleck went down hard and remained on the ground in what looked to have been a race-ending incident.
Race organizers, the Amaury Sports Organization, added cobbled sectors from Paris-Roubiax to add drama of the race, but will likely be criticized by the peloton following two days of major crashes. Yesterday saw Garmin-Transitions leader Christian Vande Velde exit the with broken ribs, and the team's star sprinter Tyler Farrar continue on with a sprained left elbow and a fracture in his left wrist. He is not expected to finish the race.
Spartacus loses yellow as he sacrifices his own race to wait for team leaders
After Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara blew away the field on Saturday’s 8.9km prologue course the thing he most wanted to do was to wear his yellow jersey as the race crosses the cobbles on stage 3. The two-time Paris-Roubaix winner, who also won the Ronde van Vlaanderen this April, will be denied that honour after sacrificing his race lead for the long term benefit of team leader Andy Schleck in today’s chaotic stage to Spa, Belgium.
“We knew that crashes were unavoidable so we tried to set the pace at the front of the pack,” said Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis, “but the surface was simply as slipper…
Australian finishes stage despite breaking collarbone early on
The news wasn't all that great for the HTC-Columbia team on the first road stage of the Tour de France. They had a bright moment in the 2nd place finish of Mark Renshaw, but it was a disappointing runner-up placing considering that Renshaw was supposed to be leading out Mark Cavendish. Cavendish, however, went down a few kilometers earlier in an awkward crash through a tough righthand turn. Cavendish's chances at the Green Jersey took a huge hit with zero points in the first stage sprint, but his chances might suffer a bigger hit with the loss of a teammate, Australian Adam Hansen.
Lars Boom did the honors of representing his country and team through the Netherlands
Lars Boom spent about 190 km of Stage 1 leading the Tour de France with his two breakmates, Maarten Wynants (QuickStep) and Alan Perez (Euskaltel). Boom is no stranger to long breaks and did an honorable job representing his team and his country as the race plowed through the Netherlands.
The move's composition was no accident according to Boom. He chatted with QuickStep's Wynants about the possibility. After departing the field's welcoming confines in the very first kilometer, the trio was given the gift of a race route lined end to end with fans.
Fourth place in the prologue and time into rivals is less important than positive feelings for seven-time Tour winner
Fifth place, just 22 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank, made RadioShack captain Lance Armstrong the best performer of all the overall race favourites in today’s Tour de France prologue. The American seven-time winner finished 5 seconds ahead of defending champion, and former teammate, Alberto Contador (Astana), 17 ahead of World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), 33 ahead of Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and 47 ahead of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).
Although the course was just the first 8.9 of a total of 3642km, and entirely flat, Armstrong proclaimed himself satisfied with his day’s work.
“I’ve got to say I’m happy,” said Armstrong after the race. “I’m happy with the results and happy with the feelings, which are maybe more important than the results. Everything from the start of the day through the warm-up just felt solid.
Spartacus ignores the slippery conditions to deny Tony Martin at the last minute World and Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) blasted around the drying prologue course in the Netherlands port city to take victory and the first yellow jersey of this year’s Tour de France. Second from last to start, the Swiss specialist’s performance finally eclipsed that of German champion Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia), who had led the race after starting at number 11 before heavy rain began to fall and slow down the majority of the field. David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), the winner of the race’s opening stage back in 2000, finished in third place.
"Of course we had to play the gamble with the weather and it was a little tough to sit on the bus for so long to wait for my ride but if I look around now, it’s golden, bright, sunshine-filled end to the day,” said Cancellara after his victory. “It was the right decision to go late. I followed one of my teammates [in the team car] t…
"I am ready to conquer the cobbles with the yellow jersey on my shoulders."
Blick.ch notes an intriguing streak that the World Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara, has going for him heading into Saturday's Prologue in Rotterdam. Since 2004, when the Prologue of the Tour de France has not been held in France, the winner has been Fabian Cancellara each time. On Saturday, there's no reason to think that the streak will not continue, especially considering that Fabian Cancellara is the fastest man on a time trial bike bar none.
Of course, the first thing that might come to mind after a comment like that would be the final time trial at the Tour de Suisse where HTC-Columbia's German time trial champion, Tony Martin, defeated Cancellara. Cancellara notes the loss, but excuses himself: "After so many days of racing in the rain, I wasn't 100% motivated anymore. My mind was already on the Tour."
Fabian Cancellara has spent 15 days in Yellow so far in his c…
Upon his arrival in Rotterdam today, defending Tour de France champion, Alberto Contador, took a few minutes to speak with Dutch newssource, De Telegraaf. The four-time Grand Tour winner was impressively candid in the interview and provided some unique insights.
First and foremost, Contador dispels the notion that he's the rider that everyone is gunning for.
"I find that nonsense. To win the Tour, you must not only beat Alberto Contador. Of course, I understand that I am the defending champion, and I am the big favorite. Realistically though, it is more likely that I will lose than win. I stay calm and look at all the circumstances and all the obstacles that must be overcome. Everyone will exploit a moment of weakness."