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2009 Tour de France

July 4 - July 26

Results, map, stages with running GC, photos and startlist with backnumbers

2008 Tour | 2010 Tour | Tour de France Database | 2009 Tour Quick Facts | 2009 Tour de France Final GC | Stage results with running GC | Course details |Team rosters with backnumbers

Team presentations | Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6 | Stage 7 | Stage 8 | Stage 9 | Rest Day 1 | Stage 10 | Stage 11 | Stage 12 | Stage 13 | Stage 14 | Stage 15 | Rest Day 2 | Stage 16 | Stage 17 | Stage 18 | Stage 19 | Stage 20 | Stage 21 | Post Tour thoughts



2009 Tour Quick Facts:

3,459.5 km raced at an average speed of 40.316 km/hr

180 starters and 156 classified finishers.

Lance Armstrong came out of retirement and vied with Alberto Contador for supremecy within Astana. Contador, in scintillating form, was not to be denied victory in 2009. The Schleck brothers provided the principle challenge to Contador.

Armstrong lacked the punch he had in previous Tour rides and finished a very credible third.


Final 2009 Tour de France General Classification

Complete Final 2009 Tour de France General Classification

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 85hr 48min 35sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 24sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 6min 1sec
5. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 6min 4sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 6min 42sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 7min 35sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 12min 4sec
9. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 14min 16sec
10. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 14min 25sec
11. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 14min 44sec
12. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 17min 19sec
13. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 18min 34sec
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 20min 45sec
15. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 20min 50sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 22min 29sec
17. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 26min 21sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 29min 33sec
19. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 33min 27sec
20. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 34min 9sec
21. Christian Knees (Milram) @ 34min 48sec
22. Pierre Rolland (Bouygues Telecom) @ 37min 44sec
23. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) @ 38min 20sec
24. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) @ 38min 35sec
25. Brice Feillu (Ag2r) @ 41min 14sec
26. Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 41min 27sec
27. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) @ 43min 34sec
28. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 43min 54sec
29. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) @ 44min 33sec
30. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 45min 24sec
 
 

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 210 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 135
3. Alberto Contador (Astana): 126

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 280 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 270
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) 172

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo): 85hr 52min 46sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 24sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 10min 5sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 256hr 2min 58sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 22min 35sec
3. Saxo @ 28min 34sec

The stages with results, running GC and the major climbs are below:

Team presentations, Thursday, July 2. Photos from Fotoreporter Sirotti.


Stage 1, Saturday, July 4: Monaco 15.5 km Individual Time trial

Weather: At noon, Sunny, with some clouds, 79F (26C), wind from the SSE @ 7mph (11kph). It will climb to 84F (29C).

Rated climb: Km 7.5, Côte de Beausoleil, 7.2 km climb @ 2.7% gradient, Category 4.

Stage route map and elevation guide are posted below the results.

More Stage 1 photos

Results:

GC after Stage 1 (stage results and GC are the same)

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 19min 32sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 18sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 19sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 22sec
5. Cadel Evans Silence-Lotto) @ 23sec
6. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 30sec
7. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 32sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 33sec
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 37sec
10. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 40sec
11. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 41sec
12. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 44sec
13. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 47sec
14. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 48sec
15. Jerome Coppel (FDJ) @ 51sec
16. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 56sec
17. Christain Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 57sec
18. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min
19. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) @ 1min 3sec
20. Remi Pauriol (Cofidis) @ 1min 5sec
21. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 1min 6sec
27. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 1min 13sec
53. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1min 31sec
61. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 1min 33sec
67. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 36sec

Climber:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana): 3 points
2. Tony Martin (Columbia): 2
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream): 1

Points:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo): 15 points
2. Alberto Contador (Astana): 12
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream): 10

Young Rider:

1. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) 20min 4sec
2. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 5sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana: 59min 46sec
2. Saxo @ 31sec
3. Garmin-Slipstream @ 44sec

The riders used full time-trial rigs with rear discs, deep-dish spoked front wheels and specialty time-trial frames. Even though it is hot and humid, the riders wore unvented aero helmets.

Stage 1 elevation guide.

Stage 1 route map.


Stage 2, Sunday, July 5: Monaco - Brignoles, 187 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 8.5, La Turbie, 8.6 km @ 4.3% gradient, Category 3
Km 49.5, Côte de Roquefort-les-Pins, 4.3 km @ 4% gradient, Category 4
Km 81.5, Côte de Tournon, 4.2 km @ 3.6% gradient, Category 4
Km 129.0, Col de l'Ange, 1.5 km @ 3.6% gradient, Category 4

More stage 2 photos

Results: corrected. Originally the judges had put a 7sec gap from 17th place on.

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 4hr 30min 2sec
2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
3. Romain Feillu (Agritubel) s.t.
4. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
5. Yukiya Arashiro (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
6. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
7. William Bonnet (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
8. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
9. Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
10. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) s.t.
11. Nicolai Trussov Katusha) s.t.
12. Angelo Furlan (Lampre) s.t.
13. Said Haddou (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
14. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
15. Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) s.t.
16. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
17. Alexandre Pichot (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
18. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
19. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
20. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
56. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
58. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
80. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
82. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
105. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
All 180 entered riders finished.

GC after Stage 2.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 4min 49min 34sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 18sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 19sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 22sec
5. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 23sec
6. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 30sec
7. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 32sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 33sec
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 37sec
10. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 40sec
11. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 41sec
12. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 44sec
13. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 47sec
14. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 48sec
15. Jerome Coppel (FDJ) @ 51sec
16. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 56sec
17. Christain Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 57sec
18. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min
19. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) @ 1min 3sec
20. Remi Pauriol (Cofidis) @ 1min 5sec
21. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 1min 6sec
27. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 1min 13sec
63. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1min 31sec

Climber:

1. Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ): 9 points
2. Tony Martin (Columbia): 6
3. Cyril Dessel (Ag2r): 5
4. Alberto Contador (Astana): 3

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 35 points
2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream): 30
3. Romain Feillu (Agritubel): 26

Young Rider:

1. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) 4hr 50min 6sec
2. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 5sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana: 14hr 29min 52sec
2. Saxo @ 31sec
3. Garmin-Slipstream @ 44sec

Stage 2 route map

Stage 2 elevation guide


Stage 3, Monday, July 6: Marseille - La Grande Motte, 196.5 km

Rated climbs:

Km 56.0, Côte de Calissanne, 1.3 km @ 5.5% gradient, Category 4
Km 102.0, Col de la Vayède, 0.7 km @ 7.4% gradient, Category 4

Results:

More photos from stage 3

With 30 kilometers to go, Team Columbia took advantage of the crosswinds, dropped the hammer and split the field with 27 riders finishing in the front group and the balance coming in 41 seconds later. Contador and Evans were in the second group. Moreover, Astana riders helped drive the first group, containing Armstrong, away from the Contador group. That moved Armstrong into third place and Contador down to fourth.

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 5hr 1min 24sec
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
3. Cyril Lemoine (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) s.t.
5. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) s.t.
6. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) s.t.
7. Fabian Wegmann (Milram) s.t.
8. Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil Shimano) s.t.
9. Maxime Bouet (Agritubel) s.t.
10. Linus Gerdemann (Milram)
11. Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) s.t.
12. Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
13. Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel) s.t.
14. Stephane Auge (Cofidis) s.t.
15. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
16. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
17. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
18. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.
19. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
20. Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
25. Michael Rogers (Columbia) s.t.
32. Cadel Evans (Silence-lotto) @ 41sec
41. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
49. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
52. Denis menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
54. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
80. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.
88. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
94. Carlos sastre (Cervelo) s.t.

GC after Stage 3.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 9hr 50min 58sec
2. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 33sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 40sec
4. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 59sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 1min 3sec
7. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) s.t.
8. Cadel Evans (Silence-lotto) @ 1min 4sec
9. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 1min 10sec
10. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 1min 11sec
11. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 1min 13sec
12. Roiman Kreuziger (Liquigas) s.t.
13. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 1min 17sec
14. Vincenzo Nibali (liquigas) @ 1min 18sec
15. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 1min 22sec
16. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 1min 25sec
17. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 28sec
18. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 29sec
19. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) @ 1min 31sec
20. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) s.t.
22. Christian Vende Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 38sec
24. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 41sec
26. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 1min 47sec
37. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 1min 57sec
56. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 2min 12sec
63. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 2min 14sec

Climber:

1. Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ): 9 points
2. Tony Martin (Columbia): 6
3. Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano): 6

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 70 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 54
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis): 36

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 9hr 51min 31sec
2. Roman Kreusiger (Liquigas) @ 40sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 45sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana 29hr 34min 4sec
2. Columbia @ 1min 46sec
3. Saxo @ 1min 53sec
4. Garmin-Slipstream @ 2min 47sec

Stage 3 route map

Stage 3 elevation guide


Stage 4, Tuesday, July 7: Montpellier Team Time Trial, 39 km

Several teams had trouble with crashes on the undulating, windy course. Rabobank, Bouygues Telecom and Silence Lotto had riders fall. Evans compounded the problem by shattering his team in his final pull to the line. For Astana, who very nearly put Armstrong in Yellow, the day was a triumph. Saxo gets to keep the lead for another day. I don't see how Evans (@ 2min 59sec) and Menchov (@ 3min 52sec) can make up their lost time on riders like Contador, Armstrong, Leipheimer and Schleck.

It's been noted already that Contador, alone of his teammates, did not congratulate Armstrong on almost getting the Yellow Jersey today. I suspect there is a lot of anger welling up that will be expressed in the Pyrenees in a few days. Since the Kazakhs have already said they plan to fire Bruyneel and keep Contador in September, I wonder what kind of discipline Bruyneel can impose upon Contador who I am sure is planning on riding his own race.

More stage 4 photos

Results:

1. Astana 46min 29sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 18sec
3. Saxo @ 40sec
4. Liquigas @ 58sec
5. Columbia @ 59sec
6. Katusha @ 1min 23sec
7. Caisse d'Epargne @ 1min 29sec
8. Cervelo @ 1min 38sec
9. Ag2R @ 1min 48sec
10. Euskaltel @ 2min 9sec
11. Rabobank @ 2min 9sec
12. Quick Step @ 2min 26sec
13. Silence-Lotto @ 2min 35sec
14. FDJ @ 2min 46sec
15. Milram @ 2min 48sec
16. Cofidis @ 2min 58sec
17. Lampre @ 3min 24sec
18. Agritubel @ 4min 17sec
19. Bouygues Telecom @ 4min 41sec
20. Skil-Shimano @ 5min 23sec

GC after Stage 4.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 10hr 38min 7sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
3. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 19sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 23sec
5. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 31sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 38sec
7. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) @ 51sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 52sec
9. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 6sec
10. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 7sec
11. Sergio Paulinho (Astana) @ 1min 16sec
12. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 16sec
13. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 1min 22sec
14. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 1min 29sec
15. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 1min 31sec
16. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ @ 1min 32sec
17. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 1min 36sec
18. Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) s.t.
19. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) s.t.
20. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 41sec
24. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 2min 16sec
25. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 17sec
28. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 2min 32sec
30. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 44sec
36. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 2min 59sec
73. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 3min 52sec

Climber:

1. Jussi Verkkanen (FDJ): 9 points
2. Tony Martin (Columbia): 6
3. Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano): 6

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 70 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 54
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis): 36

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 10hr 38min 59sec
2. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 39sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 44sec
4. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana 30hr 20min 33sec
2. Saxo @ 2min 33sec
3. Columbia @ 2min 45sec
4. Garmin-Slipstream @ 3min 5sec
Stage 4 route map
Stage 4 elevation guide. No rated climbs.

Stage 5, Wednesday, July 8: Le Cap d'Agde - Perpignan, 196.5 km

A break of six riders escaped in the day's early kilometers. As Saxo and Astana took turns surging in the crosswinds, trying to break up the field, the unsteady pace allowed the break to stay away. Thomas Voekler bolted from his companions with 5 kilometers to go and held on for a nice solo win. Mikhail Ignatiev, also a member of the break was second, being caught just after the line. The other break riders were swept up as Cavendish was denied a third stage win. The bad news for Denis Menchov won't stop. His teammate, Rabobank rider Robert Gesink, who is really a very good rider, crashed and broke his wrist.

Rated climbs:

Km 112.5, Col de Feuilla, 4.0 km @ 3.3% gradient, Category 4
Km 116.5, Côte de Treilles, 1.3 km @ 4.2% gradient, Category 4

Results:

More stage 5 photos

1. Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) 4hr 29min 35sec
2. Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) @ 7sec
3. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) s.t.
4. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
5. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
6. Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) s.t.
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
8. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2R) s.t.
9. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
10. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
11. Angelo Furlan (Lampre) s.t.
12. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) s.t.
13. Romain Feillu (Agritubel) s.t.
14. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
15. Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
16. Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel) s.t.
17. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
18. Yukiya Arashiro (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
19. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) s.t.
20. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
24. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) s.t.
33. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
34. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
36. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
39. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
41. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
56. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
59. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
62. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
98. Michael Rogers (Columbia) s.t.
99. Kim kirchen (Columbia) s.t.
123. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.

GC after Stage 5.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 15hr 7min 49sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
3. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 19sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 23sec
5. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 31sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 38sec
7. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) @ 51sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 52sec
9. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 6sec
10. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 7sec
11. Sergio Pauinho (Astana) @ 1min 16sec
12. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 16sec
13. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 1min 22sec
14. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 1min 29sec
15. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 1min 31sec
16. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 1min 32sec
17. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 1min 36sec
18. Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) s.t.
19. Vincnezo Nibali (Liquigas) s.t.
20. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 41sec
24. Kim kirchen (Columbia) @ 2min 16sec
25. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 17sec
28. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 2min 32sec
29. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 44sec
35. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 2min 59sec
74. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 3min 51sec
178 riders finsihed.

Climber:

1. Jussi Verkkanen (FDJ): 9 points
2. Tony Martin (Columbia): 6
3. Anthony Geslin (FDJ): 6

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 95 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 70
3. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream): 54

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 15hr 8min 41sec
2. Roman kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 39sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 44sec
4. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana 43hr 49min 39sec
2. Saxo @ 2min 33sec
3. Columbia @ 2min 45sec
4. Garmin-Slipstream @ 3min 5sec

Stage 5 route map

Stage 5 elevation guide


Stage 6, Thursday, July 9: Girona (Gérone) - Barcelona, 181.5 km

Weather in Barcelona at 1:30 PM local time: Thunderstorms, 66F (19C), wind from the NNE at 10 to 22 mph (16 to 35 kph). Possibility of showers into the late afternoon.

Rated climbs:

Km 32, Côte de Sant Feliu de Guixols, 2.0 km @ 5.4% gradient, Category 4
Km 55, Côte de Tossa de Mar, 3.8 km @ 4.2% gradient, Catgory 4
Km 98, Côte de Sant Vicenc de Montalt, 3.3 km @ 5.2% gradient, Category 3
Km 110, Collsacreu, 4.1 km @ 5.2% gradient, Categorie 3
Km 159, Côte de la Conreria, 4.7 km @ 4.5% gradient, Category 4

The race: When stage 6 started in Girona there were thunderstorms over the steep finish at the Montjuich hill in Barcelona. Fabian Cancellara had said he would be able to stay with any GC contenders who might try to open a gap at the finish and therefore threaten his lead. Cancellara stayed at the front, coming in 10th. On Eurosport Sean Kelly had predicted an Oscar Freire win. King Kelly came close. After a stage filled with crashes Thor Hushovd edged out Freire for a soggy win.

With 30 kilometers to go David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) left his breakaway companions and held on till the ultimate kilometer where he was swept up and spit out. Giro winner Denis Menchov fell in the final rush and lost yet more time.

Results:

More stage 6 photos

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) 4hr 21min 33sec
2. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
4. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
5. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.
6. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) s.t.
7. Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) s.t.
8. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R) s.t.
9. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
10. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) s.t.
11. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
12. Nicolas Roche (Ag2R) s.t.
13. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
14. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) s.t.
15. Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) s.t.
16. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) s.t.
17. Jerome Pineau (Quick step) s.t.
18. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
19. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) s.t.
20. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
23. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
27. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
30. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
36. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
40. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.
75. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1min 2sec
96. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 21sec
156. Tom Boonen (Quick step) @ 6min 55sec
175. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 13min 14sec

GC after Stage 6.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) 19hr 29min 22sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
3. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 19sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 23sec
5. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 31sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 38sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 52sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 16sec
9. Gustav Larsson (Columbia) @ 1min 22sec
10. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 1min 29sec
11. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 1min 31sec
12. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
13. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 36sec
14. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 41sec
15. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) s.t.
16. Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) @ 1min 45sec
17. Jens Voigt (Saxo) @ 2min 3sec
18. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 2min 16sec
19. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 17sec
20. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 2min 28sec
21. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 2min 32sec
23. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 44sec
26. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 2min 59sec
64. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 4min 54sec
159. Michael Rogers (Columbia) @ 14min 46sec

Climber:

1. Stephane Auge (Cofidis): 14 points
2. Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ): 9
3. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream): 8

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 106 popints
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 105
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram): 66
4. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream): 54

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia): 19hr 30min 14sec
2. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 39sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 44sec
4. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana 56hr 54min 18sec
2. Saxo @ 2min 33sec
3. Columbia @ 2min 45sec
4. Garmin-Slipstream @ 3min 5sec

Stage 6 route map

Stage 6 elevation guide


Stage 7, Friday, July 10: Barcelona - Andora Arcalis, 224 km

Weather at Andorra at 2:05 PM local time: 68F (20C), partly cloudy. Wind from NNW at 9 mph (14kph).

Rated climbs:

Km 32, Côte de Montserrat, 4.1 km @ 3.8% gradient, Category 4
Km 97, Port de Solsona, 5.8 km @ 4.3% gradient, Category 3
Km 127, Col de Serra-Seca, 7.7 km @ 7.1% gradient, Category 1
Km 136.5, Port del Comte, 3.1 km @ 5.3% gradient, Category 3
Km 224, Andora Arcalis, 10.6 km @ 7.1% gradient, Hors Category

An early break succeeded in staying away. While Astana rode tempo at the front of the peloton almost the entire stage, everyone but the enterprising escapees seemed content to sit in. I've seen this play before and I know how it comes out. For years everyone sat in on Discovery and Postal, promising fireworks but delivering nothing while Armstrong picked his moments and destroyed the competition. Bruyneel seems happy to start in where he left off, this time with Contador grabbing the fruit.

Brice Feillu left the break on the final ascent to Andora Arcalis while another of his breakway companions, Rinaldo Nocentini took the Yellow Jersey. With less than 3 kilometers to go Contador bolted and there was nothing anyone could do. He made his superiority clear. I wonder if this means an end to the Astana head games. Armstrong did hang in with Evans, Schleck and the other good guys. Maybe this soap has legs.

Results:

More stage 7 photos

1. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) 6hr 11min 31sec
2. Christophe Kern (Cofidis) @ 5sec
3. Johannes Frohkinger (Milram) @ 25sec
4. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R) @ 26sec
5. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) @ 45sec
6. Christophe Riblon (Ag2R) @ 1min 5sec
7. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) @ 2min 32sec
8. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 3min 14sec
9. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 3min 26sec
10. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 47sec
11. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
12. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
13. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
14. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
15. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
16. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
17. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
18. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
19. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) s.t.
20. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
21. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 57sec
22. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 4min 10sec
24. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
34. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 4min 39sec
35. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 4min 48sec
67. Fabian Cencellara (Saxo) @ 9min 16sec

GC after Stage 7.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R) 25hr 44min 32sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 39sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) @ 2min 10sec
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
13. Fran Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
16. Johannes Frohlinger (Milram) @ 2min 54sec
17. Franco Pellizotti (Liguigas) @ 3min 3sec
18. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
19. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) @ 3min 10sec
20. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
34. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec
39. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) @ 5min 37sec

Climber:

1. Brice Feillu (Agritubel): 49 points
2. Christophe Riblon (Ag2R): 46
3. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 46

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 106 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 105
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram): 66
4. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream): 54

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 25hr 45min 32sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec
 

Team GC:

1. Astana 75hr 39min 51sec
2. Ag2R @ 1min 48sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 42sec
4. Milram @ 5min 17sec

Stage 7 route map

Stage 7 elevation guide


Stage 8, Saturday, July 11: Andorre la Vieille - Saint Girons, 176.5 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 23,5, Port d'Envalira, 23.2 km @ 5.1% gradient, category 1
Km 102, Col de Port, 11.4 km @ 5.5%, Category 2
Km 132.5, Col d'Agnès, 12.4 km @ 6%, Category 1

Weather at Ax-les-Thermes on the race route at 1:30 PM local time: Fair, 82F (28C), wind from the WNW at 8 mph (13 kph).

Cadel Evans tried to get away early in the stage but was reeled in by the Astana-led peloton. Thor Hushovd manged to win 2 intermediate sprints by digging hard and making it over the Port d'Envalira close enough to the front that he could reconnect on the descent. That gave him the Green Jersey. The winning break was started by Sandy Casar and for a while break member and today's stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez harbored hopes of taking the lead. Astana and the other GC teams were content to let the break go, but not too far up the road. This let Rinaldo Nocentini, who stuggled a bit on the climbs, keep the lead for another day.

Results:

More pictures from stage 8

1. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) 4hr 31min 50sec
2. Sandy Casar (FDJ) s.t.
3. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) s.t.
4. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2R) @ 3sec
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 1min 54sec
6. Christophe Riblon (Ag2R) s.t.
7. Peter Velits (Milram) s.t.
8. Sebastien Minard (Cofidis) s.t.
9. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) s.t.
10. Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
11. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) s.t.
12. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) s.t.
13. Christian Knees (Milram) s.t.
14. Kurt Asle-Arvesen (Saxo) s.t.
15. Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) s.t.
16. Pierre Rolland (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
17. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) s.t.
18. Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) s.t.
19. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
20. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
22. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
24. Bradley Wiggin (Garmin-Slipsteam) s.t.
25. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
31. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
33. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
34. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
35. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
36. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
38. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
46. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
56. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.

GC after Stage 8.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R) 30hr 18min 16sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 39sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
13. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2R) @ 2min 45sec
16. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
17. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
18. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
19. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
20. Christophe Riblon (Ag2R) @ 3min 20sec
28. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec

Climber:

1. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 59 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 54
3. Brice Feillu (Agritubel): 49

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 117 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 106
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram): 66

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 30hr 19min 16sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec
4. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ @ min 40sec
 

Team GC:

1. Ag2R 89hr 21min
2. Astana @ 3sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 45sec

Stage 8 route map

Stage 8 elevation guide


Stage 9, Sunday, July 12: Saint-Gaudens - Tarbes, 160.5 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 60.5: Col d'Aspin, 12.3 km @ 6.4% gradient, Category 1
Km 90.0: Col du Tourmalet, 17.1 km @ 7.4%, Hors Category

The race: The Aspin and Tourmalet, coming well before the finish, produced no changes in the GC standings. At the 15th kilometer a break of 15 riders scooted off the front. By the top of the Aspin the lead was down to 2 good pros, Franco Pellizotti and Pierrick Fedrigo. They worked together until the final kilometer. Pellizotti tried to get away first but Fedrigo closed and then outsprinted the Italian.

Armstrong, who is still burning from Contador's stage 7 escape, tried to get away early in the stage, but was quickly back in the pack. Armstrong's prediction is that there will be no real shake up in the standings until stage 15, next Sunday. Armstrong is making it clear that to him (and I'm sure, Bruyneel) the leadership of Astana is still in the air. Writer James Staart says that Contador has only 1 teammate on Astana who is reliably dedicated to him, Sergio Paulinho. Armstrong can count on 5 members of the team, including Leipheimer, Popovych and Kloden, to defend his interests. Rumors continue to surface that the team is riven with a poisonous division. Yet, the team is so powerful that despite this lack of unity, the big question is which of the Astana riders will win, and can they take the entire podium?

Results:

More stage 9 photos

1. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) 4hr 5min 31sec
2. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.
3. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) @ 34sec
4. Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) s.t.
5. Peter Velits (Milram) s.t.
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
8. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) s.t.
9. Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) s.t.
10. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
11. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) s.t.
12. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) s.t.
13. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) s.t.
14. Sebastien Minard (Cofidis) s.t.
15. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) s.t.
16. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
17. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
18. Pierre Rolland (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
19. Vincenzo Nibali ((Liquigas) s.t.
20. Mikel Astarloza ((Euskaltel) s.t.
23. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
26. Denis Menchov (Rabobnak) s.t.
28. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
30. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
34. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
36. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
39. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
41. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
42. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
43. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
47. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.

GC after Stage 9.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 34hr 24min 21sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 39sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
13. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 2min 45sec
16. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
17. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
18. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
19. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
20. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 3min 49sec
27. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec
46. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 14min 49sec

Climber:

1. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 78 points
2. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 59
3. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 55

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 117 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 106
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 75

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 34hr 25min 21sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec
 

Team GC:

1. Ag2r 101hr 39min 15sec
2. Astana @ 3sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 45sec

Stage 9 route map

Stage 9 elevation guide


Monday, July 13: Rest day, Limoges.

While a lot of the racing so far has been little more than a lead-in to a Tour that has all the high drama loaded into the final stages, the Astana story remains interesting. After Alberto Contador performed his brilliant escape in the final kilometers of stage 7 and put 21 seconds between himself and his rivals, Bruyneel and Armstrong reacted as if their dogs had died and someone took their trucks (sorry, I live in the Ozarks and that's about the worst that can happen here). Instead of being jubilant over a wonderful coup, they were grim-faced, saying that Contador didn't follow the plan. It's an odd reaction, but makes it clear that the real race for the Tour is within Astana, between Contador and Armstrong.

During a rest day interview Contador refused to get pulled into any controversy. He said that if Armstrong attacked he would not chase, but he made it clear he was riding the Tour to win. Further he listed those riders he considered his biggest threats: the Schleck brothers and Cadel Evans were his primary worries with a further note that one cannot forget Sastre. Diplomatically, there was no mention of Armstrong on that list, who is every day looking more like the rider he was in 2005.

Stage 10 is going to be ridden without radios. I hope there is terrific racing with exciting breakaways. Professional racing is getting dull and negative. The directors say the radios are necessary for rider safety. What hogwash! Every Cat 5 knows how to ride a race without a radio. Some riders are also unhappy with the experiment. It is important to remember that the riders and directors do not always act in the best interest of the sport. They are professionals who look to their own interests. If you have any doubt about this, remeber how hard the riders have fought the efforts to bring about a drug-free sport.

Bring on the fog of war! Let's return the Tour and bicycle racing to where founder Henri Desgrange left it, a sport that requires both head and legs.


Stage 10, Tuesday, July 14: Limoges - Issoudun, 194.5 km

This stage will be run without 2-way radios between the riders and the team directors in their follow cars. As Voltaire would have said about the radios, had he been a bike racing fan, "Ecrasez l'infame!"

The race: The planned day without 2-way radios came off with the riders and directors grumpy about the whole thing. The 40.7 km/hr average speed for the stage says the riders wanted to show their displeasure with the experiment. There is a good chance the Tour will agree to scrub the second test of racing without radios on Friday. A 4-man break went almost from the gun but was caught with 2 kilometers to go. The break was never allowed much rope, probably because the teams were without their radios and felt less secure. Columbia did another fine lead-out and Cavendish was again unstoppable. There was a split in the field in the final run-in and Leipheimer and Wiggins, both serious GC contenders, were on the wrong side and each lost 15 seconds. Leipheimer is now fifth and Wiggins seventh.

Rated climbs:

Km 12.5, Côte de Salvanet, 1.8 km @ 4.5% gradient, Category 4
Km 27.5, Côte de Saint-Laurent-les-Eglises, 2 km @ 5.3% gradient, Category 4
Km 58.5, Côte de Bénévent-l'Abbaye, 1.8 km @ 3.4% gradient, Category 4

Results:

More stage 10 photos

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia), 4hr 46min 43sec
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
3. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
4. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) s.t.
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
6. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) s.t.
7. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
8. William Bonnet (Boygues Telecom) s.t.
9. Deniele Bennati (Liquigas) s.t.
10. Said Haddou (Boygues Telecom) s.t.
11. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
12. Marco Bandiera (Lampre) s.t.
13. Sebastian Lang (Slience-Lotto) s.t.
14. Juan Anotnio Flecha (Rabobank) s.t.
15. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
16. Romain Feillu (Agritubel) s.t.
17. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
18. Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel) s.t.
19. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
20. Angelo Furlan (Lampre) s.t.
21. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
23. Fraank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
31. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
40. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
41. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
46. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
48. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
63. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 15sec
64. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
77. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.
83. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.

GC after Stage 10.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r), 39hr 11min 4sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
5. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 54sec
6. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
7. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 1sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
12. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
13. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 36sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
16. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 3min
17. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
18. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 17sec
19. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 31sec
20. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 4min 4sec
27. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 17sec
48. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 15min 53sec

Climber:

1. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 78 points
2. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 59
3. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 55

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 147 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 141
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 97

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 39hr 12min 4sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec

Team GC:

1. Ag2r 115hr 59min 24sec
2. Astana @ 3sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 45sec

Stage 10 route map

Stage 10 elevation guide.


Stage 11, Wednesday, July 15: Vatan - Saint Fargeau, 192 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 45.5, Côte d'Allogny, 1.5 km @ 4.5% gradient, Category 4
Km 150.0, Côte de Perreuse, 2.0 km @ 4.6% gradient, Category 4

The race: Simple story. Early in the day Johan Vansummeren (Silence-Lotto) and Marcin Saps (Lampre) were allowed a few minutes of rope. Right on time, at 5 kilometers to go they were caught. That left things for the sprinters and right now that means Columbia and Mark Cavendish. Tyler Farrar came very close to winning (see photo below), but he'll have to try again. Cavendish gets the green jersey back from Thor Hushovd, and Rinaldo Nocentini (I am sure much to his everlasting shock) gets to remain in yellow.

Results:

More stage 11 photos

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 4hr 17min 55sec
2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
3. Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) s.t.
4. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
5. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
6. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) s.t.
7. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
8. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) s.t.
9. William Bonnet (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
10. Nicolai Trusov (Katusha) s.t.
11. Marco Bandiera (Lampre) s.t.
12. Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) s.t.
13. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
14. Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) s.t.
15. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
16. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) s.t.
17. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
18. Cyril Lemoine (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
19. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) s.t.
20. Angelo Furlan (Lampre) s.t.
38. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
43. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
47. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
52. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
54. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
55. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
63. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
69. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
85. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
86. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
98. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.

GC after Stage 11. The stage 10 15-second gap that cost Leipheimer and Wiggins each a couple of places has been removed.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 43hr 28min 59sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 39sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
13. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 2min 45sec
16. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
17. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
18. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
19. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
20. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 3min 49sec
27. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec

Climber:

1. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 79 popints
2. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 59
3. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 56

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 175 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 169
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 110

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 43hr 29min 59sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec
 

Team GC:

1. Ag2r 128hr 53min 9sec
2. Astana @ 3sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 45sec

Stage 11 route map

Stage 11 elevation guide


Stage 12, Thursday, July 16: Tonnerre - Vittel, 211.5 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 19.0, Côte de Baon, 2.2 km @ 4.2% gradient, Category 4
Km 55.0, Côte de Gye-sur-Seine, 2.4 km @ 4.4% gradient, Category 4
Km 64.5, Côte d'Essoyes, 2.2 km @ 5% gradient, Category 4
Km 150.0, Côte des Grands-Bois, 2.3 km @ 5% gradient, Category 4
Km 156.5, Côte de Morlaix, 2.1 km @ 4.2% gradient, Category 4
Km 170.5, Côte de Bourmont, 0.8 km, 11.1%, Category 3

The race: A third of the way into the stage a 7-man break that the pack would accept was allowed to get away. After the rated climbs were finished (about 20 or so kilometers left) Nicki Sorensen (Saxo) and Sylvain Calzati (Agritubel), who had been members of the break, took off on their own. Close to the finish Sorensen left Calzati and motored off for a fine solo win. Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer were caught up in a crash but were given the same time as the pack.

Results:

More stage 12 photos

1. Nicki Sorensen (Saxo) 4hr 52min 24sec
2. Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) @ 48sec
3. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.
4. Markus Fothen (Milram) s.t.
5. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) s.t.
6. Sylvain Calzati (Agritubel) s.t.
7. Remi Pauriol (Cofidis) @ 1min 33sec
8. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) @ 5min 58sec
9. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
10. Marco Bandiera (Lampre) s.t.
11. Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre) s.t.
12. Steven De Jongh (Quick Step) s.t.
13. Cyril Lemoine (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
14. Nicolai Trussov (Katusha) s.t.
15. Yaroslav Popovych (Astana) s.t.
16. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
17. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
18. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
19. Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) s.t.
20. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
21. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
22. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
36. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
37. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
48. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) s.t.
53. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
66. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
160. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
162. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) s.t.

GC after Stage 12.

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 48hr 27min 21sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) @ 39sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
7. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
9. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
11. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
13. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
14. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
15. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 2min 45sec
16. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
17. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
18. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
19. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
20. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 3min 49sec
28. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec
41. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 11min 34sec

Climber:

1. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 88 points
2. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 71
3. Christophe Kern (Cofidis): 59

Points:

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200 points
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 190
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 116

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 48hr 28min 21sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 40sec
 

Team GC:

1. Saxo 143hr 47min 41sec
2. Ag2r @ 34sec
3. Astana @ 37sec
4. Milram @ 44sec
5. Columbia @ 5min 19sec

Stage 12 route map

Stage 12 elevation guide


Stage 13, Friday, July 17: Vittel - Colmar, 200 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 46.0, Côte de Xertigny, 2.0 km @ 5.3% gradient, Category 3
Km 105.0, Col de la Schlucht, 8.9 km @ 4.2% gradient, Category 2
Km 138.5, Col du Platzerwasel, 8.7 km @ 7.6%, Category 1
Km 165.5, Col du Bannstein, 2.1 km @ 5.1% gradient, Category 3
Km 179.5, Col du Firstplan, 8.4 km @ 5.4% gradient, Category 2

The Race: Levi Leipheimer (Astana) was unable to start today's stage. He crashed near the end of yesterday's stage. While he felt some pain after falling, he thought he was OK. After a bad night it was found that he had broken his wrist. Leipheimer was sitting in fourth place in the GC, only 39 seconds down. This robs Astana of a powerful rider and unsurprisingly, team director Johan Bruyneel was very disappointed. He said Leipheimer's loss will force the team to change tactics and will likely invite attacks from other squads. Get well soon Levi.

Also, the planned second day in the Tour without radios has been scrapped after a truculant peloton refused to race with vigor during the first attempt to do away with 2-way communications.

A 7-man break scooted off the front after only 5 kilometers had been ridden. It was continually whittled down over the relentless Vosges climbs the day proffered. Heinrich Haussler, who says he likes riding in dreadful weather, took a chance attacking on the descent of the first category Platzerwasel. Riding the final rainy 40 kilometers alone he accumulated a large time gap for a brilliant solo win. His first chaser, Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka, didn't cross the finish line for 4min 11sec. The pack was over 6 minutes slower. Chapeau!

Results:

More stage 13 photos

1. Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) 4hr 56min 26sec
2. Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel) @ 4min 11sec
3. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) @ 6min 13sec
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 6min 31sec
5. Peter Velits (Milram) s.t.
6. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
7. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) s.t.
8. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
9. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
10. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
11. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
12. Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
13. Jens Voigt (Saxo) s.t.
14. Christian Knees (Milram) s.t.
15. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
16. Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) s.t.
17. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
18. Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) s.t.
19. David Loosli (Lampre) s.t.
20. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
23. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
16. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) s.t.
27. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
29. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
30. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
31. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
33. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.
40. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
77. Franco Pellizotti (liquigas) @ 7min 30sec

GC after Stage 13:

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 53hr 30min 30sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
6. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
7. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
8. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
10. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
11. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
12. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
13. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
14. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 2min 45sec
15. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
16. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
17. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
18. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
19. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 3min 49sec
20. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) @ 2min 56sec
27. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 98 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 95
3. Brice Feillu (Agritubel): 64

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 205 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia: 200
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caosse d'Epargne): 116

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 53hr 31min 30sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec
 

Team GC:

1. Saxo 158hr 57min 8sec
2. Ag2R @ 34sec
3. Astana @37sec

Stage 13 route map

Stage 13 elevation guide


Stage 14, Saturday, July 18: Colmar - Besançon, 199 km

Rated climbs:

Km 90.5, Côte de Lebetain, 2.4 km @ 4.4% gradient, Category 3
Km 111.5, Côte de Blamont, 2.9 km @ 4.9% gradient, Category 3

The race: It only took about 15 kilometers before the break of the day was established. 14 riders broke free and as the day rolled on the break was reduced to 11. Among them was George Hincapie (Columbia) who happened to be only 5 minutes 25 seconds down on GC and the highest placed rider in the break. When the break's lead grew to over 8 minutes Hincapie became the vitual Yellow Jersey. Eventually the lead came down as some firepower came to the front of the peloton. In the end Hincapie missed being in yellow by only 5 seconds. Sergeui Ivanov, the Russian road champion, left the break with 11 kilometers to go for the solo win.

Tomorrow's hilltop finish will surely shake things up. I still hold that the most likely man to wear yellow in Paris is Armstrong. He is getting stronger every day and the other riders have noticed this. He has ridden an error-free race. He's never caught napping when moves are afoot. I believe no other GC rider has gained time on a flat road stage this year. Armstrong has. He has the most succesful Director and most of the world's most powerful team behind him. I believe Lance Armstrong will win the 2009 Tour de France.

Results:

More stage 14 photos

1. Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) 4hr 37min 46sec
2. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) @ 16sec
3. Hayden Roulston (Cervelo) s.t.
4. Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
5. Sebastien Minard (Cofidis) s.t.
6. Daniele Righi (Lampre) s.t.
7. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) s.t.
8. George Hincapie (Columbia) s.t.
9. Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) s.t.
10. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) @ 22sec
11. Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano) @ 26sec
12. Frederik Willems (Liquigas) @ 3min 41sec
13. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) @ 5min 36sec
14. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
15. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
16. Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) s.t.
17. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
18. Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
19. Marco Bandiera (Lampre) s.t.
20. Brett Lancaster (Cervelo) s.t.
30. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
31. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
35. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
36. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
37. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
42. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
48. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
49. Lance Armstrong (Astana) st.
60. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) s.t.
70. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
94. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
132. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) 58hr 13min 52sec
2. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 5sec
3. Alberto Contador (Astana) @ 6sec
4. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 8sec
5. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 43sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 46sec
7. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min
9. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 24sec
10. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 49sec
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 54sec
12. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 2min 16sec
13. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 21sec
14. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 25sec
15. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 40sec
16. Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) @ 2min 45sec
17. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 2min 52sec
18. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 3min 2sec
19. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 7sec
20. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 3min 16sec
29. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 2sec
42. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 12min 21sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 98 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 95
3. Brice Feillu (Agritubel): 64

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 218 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 126

Young Rider:

1. Tony Martin (Columbia): 58hr 14min 52sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 49sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 54sec

Team GC:

1. Ag2r 173hr 2min 28sec
2. Milram @ 16sec
3. Columbia @ 4min 45sec
 

Stage 14 route map

Stage 14 elevation guide


Stage 15, Sunday, July 19: Pontarlier - Verbier, 207.5 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 8.0, Côte du Rafour, 3.7 km @ 5.1% gradient, Category 3
Km 18.5, Col des Etroits, 1.5 km @ 5% gradient, Category 3
Km 54.0, Côte de La Carrière, 6.3 km @ 4.4% gradient, Category 3
Km 74.0, Côte de Prévonloup, 4.5 km @ 4.7% gradient, Category 3
Km 135.0, Col des Mosses, 13.8 km @ 4% gradient, Category 2
Km 207.5, Verbier, 8.8 km @ 7.5% gradient, Category 1

The race: Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. As anyone who read yesterday's results and commentary knows, this stage did not turn out the way I expected. Here's how it went today:

A big break of about 15 riders went away about a quarter into the race. As the day progessed, it slowly shrank and on the early slopes of the final Verbier climb it disintegrated and was swept up by what was left of the peloton. The duties of riding at the front of the pack for a lot of the chase were shared by Liquigas and Astana. When the Verbier ascent started to bite Saxo started throwing high heat and that broke things up. Very quickly the lead group of elite riders was narrowed down to the best few, maybe 5-7 riders. At that point Armstrong was in the hunt but Carlos Sastre had been shelled

From that group, with perhaps 5 kilometers to go Contador launched an irresistable attack. From that moment he set an incendiary pace all the way to the top. Then, as several other launched themselves in an effort to at least limit their loses, Armstrong, who had said he would not attack Contador but would mark any chasers, was unable to respond. First Andy Schleck went, then a group with Bradley Wiggins, Vincenzo Nibali and Frank Schleck broke loose. Then, from down the hill, Carlos the friendly ghost suddenly appeared and attached himself to the Wiggins group. Meanwhile Armstrong was stuck, sitting on teammate Andreas Kloden's wheel.

Contador has made things crystal clear. He is the man to beat. It was a surperb ride. Armstrong is sitting in second place, only 1min 37sec down. It will be interesting to see if Armstrong was only having a jour sans or if winning this Tour is just out of reach for him.

Results:

More stage 15 photos

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 5hr 3min 58sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 43sec
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 1min 3sec
4. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 6sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
6. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
7. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 1min 26sec
8. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 1min 29sec
9. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 1min 35sec
10. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 1min 55sec
11. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 6sec
12. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 2min 13sec
13. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) s.t.
14. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 2min 23sec
15. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 2min 32sec
16. Igor Anton (Euskaltel) @ 2min 33sec
17. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 2min 33sec
18. Peter Velits (Milram) @ 2min 36sec
19. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) s.t.
20. Jose Angel Gomez Mrachante (Cervelo) @ 2min 41sec
22. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
36. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 4min 6sec
65. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 6min 27sec

GC after Stage 15:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 63hr 17min 56sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 1min 37sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 45sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 2min 17sec
5. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 26sec
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 2min 30sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 2min 51sec
8. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 3min 7sec
9. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 3min 9sec
10. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 3min 25sec
11. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 3min 52sec
12. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 3min 59sec
13. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 4min 5sec
14. Cadel Evans (Silence-lotto) @ 4min 27sec
15. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 4min 38sec
16. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 4min 40sec
17. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 5min 5sec
18. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne)
19. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 5min 37sec
20. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 5min 56sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 109 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 101
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom): 65

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 218 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200
3. Jose Joaquin rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 126

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 63hr 20min 22sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 25sec
3. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 41sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 188hr 22min 49sec
2. Ag2r @ 1min 17sec
3. Saxo @ 2min 14sec

Stage 15 route map

Stage 15 elevation guide.


Monday, July 20: Rest day, Verbier.

It had been the Tour's intention to pack all the of the drama and tension into the final week. The organizers hoped that several riders would remain close in the GC and we fans would be on the edge our seats, anxious to see what happened after each day's racing. It more or less worked out that way. The top 5 are reasonably close:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 63hr 17min 56sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 1min 37sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 45sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 2min 17sec
5. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 26sec

Each of the above riders has a real shot at winning if Contador has a bad day or does something stupid. I don't think his competitors can count on his forgetting to eat like he did in Paris-Nice. By the way, after the condescending criticism Armstrong gave Contador after that error, it should be remembered that Armstrong bonked twice in his Tour career. It happens to the best.

But...I digress. There have been 4 stages that have truly affected the GC in this year's Tour. Contador (and his team) has dominated all of them. The stage 1 individual time trial set the stage, where Contador was second to Cancellara but first among contenders. We should have all been more alert to Bradley Wiggins' fabulous ride, 1 second slower than Contador, and what it told us about Wiggins' form.

Astana won the stage 4 team time trial.

On the ascent to Andora-Arcalis only Contador had the combination of courage and power to escape alone into a headwind.

Yesterday Contador showed his tactical savvy. Saxo cranked up the speed on the Verbier ascent, planning to launch one or more Schleck brothers into space. But, before the Bros Schleck took advantage of their team's efforts, Contador shot off the front. The Schlecks had been outplayed and outgunned. All of the others have been found lacking at some point in this Tour. According to www.sportsscientists.com, Contador may have performed the fastest ascent in Tour history. This brings up a load of other questions regarding how clean cycling is, but that will be for another time.

So, when Armstrong says Contador is the best, he is saying what is by now patently obvious. Armstrong says he'll be happy to ride for Contador.

Yet..Armstrong is leaving the door open by saying that there's still a week of racing to go, and anything can happen. That reminds me of the 1972 presidential campaign. George McGovern's VP nominee, Thomas Eagleton, had been found to have mental health problems. McGovern said he was 1000% behind Eagleton until Tuesday. Armstrong's commitment to Contador has the same solid feel.

By the way, McGovern soon replaced Eagleton with Sargent Shriver.


Stage 16, Tuesday, July 21: Martigny - Bourg Saint Maurice, 159 km

Rated climbs:

Km 40.5, Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard, 24.4 km @ 6.2% gradient, Hors Category
Km 128.0, Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, 22.6 km @ 5.1%, Category 1

The Race: On the slopes of the Grand St. Bernard about 20 riders went clear. As expected with a group this large, attrition set in almost immediately. By the top of the Petit St. Bernard, Franco Pellizotti, looking to pack in more climbers' points and Silence-Lotto phenom Jurgen Van Den Broeck were alone and being chased by a gutsy Mikel Astarloza. Astarloza made the juncture on the descent and later they were joined by Amael Moinard. Near the finish Astarloza took off and won the stage.

Meanwhile, back in the peloton Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov were shelled on the Grand St. Bernard. Sadly, Evans' hope for even a podium place are over. Menchov must still be exhausted from his brutal Giro fight with Di Luca.

When the peloton reached the Petit St. Bernard, like on Sunday on the Verbier ascent, Saxo again hit the jets. This time Contador, not needing to waste any energy, let Andy Schleck try to break things up. Schleck succeeded in dropping everyone but Wiggins, Frank Schleck, Nibali, Kloden and most importantly Contador. After a kilometer or so Armstrong, who had been unable to go with Schelck, roared back up to the Schleck/Yellow Jersey group. As things calmed down others clawed their way back as well, including Sastre and Vande Velde. So, with the exception of the confirmation of Evans' troubles, the situation remains largely unchanged. Tomorrow's stage has tons of tough climbing with four category 1 climbs, but the finish line in Le Grand Bornand is about 15 kilometers from the peak of the Col de la Colombiere. Again, we might not have any change to the GC.

Other news. Astana director Johan Bruyneel has confirmed what the Kazakh federation has already announced, that this is Bruyneel's last season with Astana.

Results:

More stage 16 photos

1. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) 4hr 14min 20sec. 37.51 km/hr
2. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 6sec
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
4. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
6. Amael Moinard (Cofidis) s.t.
7. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 11sec
8. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) s.t.
9. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) @ 59sec
10. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) s.t.
12. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
13. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
14. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
15. Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
16. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
17. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) s.t.
18. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) s.t.
19. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
20. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
21. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) s.t.
24. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
46. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 3min 55sec
85. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 16min 40sec

GC after Stage 16:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 67hr 33min 15sec
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 1min 37sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 46sec
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 2min 17sec
5. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 2min 26sec
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 2min 51sec
7. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 3min 9sec
8. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 3min 25sec
9. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 3min 52sec
10. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 3min 39sec
11. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 4min 38sec
12. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 4min 40sec
13. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 5min 5sec
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 5min 26sec
15. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 5min 40sec
16. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 5min 56sec
17. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 5min 56sec
18. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 8min 23sec
19. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 9min 14sec
20. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) @ 10min
34. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 18min 48sec
40. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 23min 38sec
42. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 27min 4sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 159 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 101
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom): 97

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Columbia): 218 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epagne): 126

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 67hr 35min 41sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 25sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 2min 14sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 201hr 8min 46sec
2. Ag2r @ 2min 32sec
3. Garmin-Slipstream @ 5min 54sec

Stage 16 route map

Stage 16 elevation guide


Stage 17, Wednesday, July 22: Bourg Saint Maurice - Le Grand Bornand, 169.5 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 18.0, Cormet de Roselend, 18.1 km @ 5.7% gradient, Category 1
Km 56.0, Col des Saisies,15.1 km @ 6% gradient, Category 1
Km 111.5, Côte d'Araches, 6.3 km @ 7% gradient, Category 2
Km 140.5, Col de Romme, 8.8 km @ 8.9%, Category 1
Km 154.5, Col de la Colombière, 7.5 km @ 8.5% gradient, Category 1

The race: First of all, Jens Voigt, who crashed badly on the descent of the Petit St. Bernard yesterday will be OK. He broke a cheekbone but he should recover.

A big break went away on the Cormet de Roselend but with opportunities to move up in the General Classification running short, it was inevetable that they would all get swept up and spit out as Saxo tried to use the day to take the lead. Notably, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) took off on a lone quest to get the intermediate sprint points. He now has a 30-point lead over Cavendish that should allow Hushovd to be in green in Paris.

On the Col de Romme, the second to the last climb, the warm pace got hot. Saxo and Astana gave it all it could. The effect of the attacks that followed was that the Schleck brothers broke loose, taking only Contador, Wiggins, Armstrong, and Astana super-domestique Andreas Kloden.

On the Colombiere, after a fierce Contador attack, it was the 2 Schleck brothers and Contador. Kloden, who had been with them for a while, could not withstand the Contador acceleration and dopped back. He was caught by a chasing Armstrong and Vicenzo Nibali.

None of today's major protagaonists, the Schlecks or Contador could drop each other. Contador will probably forge a bullet-proof lead in tomorrow's time trial, one that should protect him from another assault from the Schleck Bros.

Later in the day Contador came in for criticism from Bruyneel (and clearly implied by Armstrong by his refusal to comment) for his attack that ended up dropping Kloden. This may have cost Astana the potential to sweep the podium in Paris. This is really, really weird. All Contador is doing is winning the Tour de France and doing it masterfully. In return all his team can do is give him grief and they do it publicly. Am I in the Bizzaro World where everything is backwards and winning is bad?

Results:

More stage 17 photos

1. Frank Schleck (Saxo) 4hr 53min 54sec
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
3. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 2min 18sec
5. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 2min 27sec
7. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 3min 7sec
8. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) @ 4min 9sec
9. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 4min 9sec
10. Remi Pauriol (Cofidis) @ 6min 10sec
11. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) s.t.
12. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 6min 12sec
13. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) s.t.
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) s.t.
15. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) s.t.
16. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
17. Sandy Casar (FDJ) s.t.
18. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) s.t.
19. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 6min 15sec
20. Jose Luis Arrieta (Ag2r) @ 6min 19sec
25. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 7min 47sec
59. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 17min 33sec
63. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 21min 31sec
81. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 29min 43sec
124. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 35min 47sec
153. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 35min 47sec

GC after Stage 17:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 72hr 27min 9sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 26sec
3. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 3min 25sec
4. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 3min 55sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 4min 44sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 4min 53sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 5min 9sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 8min 8sec
9. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 9min 19sec
10. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 10min 50sec
11. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 10min 52sec
12. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 11min 28sec
13. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 11min 39sec
14. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 11min 52sec
15. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 12min 8sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 15min 29sec
17. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 17min 23sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 19min 20sec
19. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) @ 21min 50sec
20. Christian Knees (Milram) @ 24min 15sec
32. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 37min 6sec
37. Kim Kirchen ((Columbia) @ 40min 52sec
38. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 41min 11sec
44. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 48min 35sec
50. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 54min 35sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 196 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 118
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom): 97

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 230 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 126

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 72hr 29min 35sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 2min 43sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 8min 26sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 215hr 55min 13sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 16min 12sec
3. Ag2r @ 16min 33sec
4. Saxo @ 24min 31sec

Stage 17 route map

Stage 17 elevation guide


Stage 18, Thursday, July 23: Annecy 40.5 km Individual Time Trial.

Rated climb: Km 28.5, Côte de Bluffy, 3.7 km @ 6% gradient, Category 3

Results:

More stage 18 photos

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 48min 30sec
2. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) @ 3sec
3. Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) @ 15sec
4. Gustav Larsson (Saxo) @ 33sec
5. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 41sec
6. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 43sec
7. Luis-Leon Sanchez (CAisse d'Epargne) @ 44sec
8. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) @ 45sec
9. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 54sec
10. David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 2sec
11. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 1min 4sec
12. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 1min 14sec
13. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 1min 19sec
14. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 1min 20sec
15. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 1min 28sec
16. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 1min 30sec
17. Stef Clement (Rabobank) @ 1min 37sec
18. Bert Grabsch (Columbia) @ 1min 38sec
19. Michael Rogers (Columbia) s.t.
20. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 1min 42sec
21. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 1min 45sec
24. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 2min
35. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 2min 34sec
70. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 3min 47sec
79. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 4min 12sec
91. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 4min 37sec

GC after Stage 18:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana)
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 25sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 5min 36sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 5min 38sec
6. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 5min 59sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 7min 15sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 10min 8sec
9. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 12min 38sec
10. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 12min 41sec
11. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 13min 36sec
12. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 14min 8sec
13. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 14min 37sec
14. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 15min 26sec
15. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 15mi 27sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 19min 47sec
17. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 19min 49sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 24min 26sec
19. Brice Feillu (Agritubel) @ 25min 58sec
20. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick step) @ 27min 5sec
29. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 38min 20sec
34. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 42min 34sec
43. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 52min 47sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 196 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 118
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom): 99

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 230 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 200
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne): 126

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 79hr 19min 50sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 4sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 9min 57sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 218hr 23min 7sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 16min 14sec
3. Ag2r @ 23min 45sec
4. Saxo @ 24min 28sec

Stage 18 route map

Stage 18 elevation guide


Stage 19, Friday, July 24: Bourgoin Jallieu - Aubenas, 178 km

Rated climbs:

Km 6.5, Côte de Culin, 2.6 km @ 5.6% gradient, Category 4
Km 40.5, Côte de la forêt de Chambaran, 3.1 km @ 6.4%, Category 4
Km 162.0, Col de l'Escrinet, 14.0 km @ 4.1% gradient, Category 2

The race: A 20-man break with Cadel Evans got established a little after the start but Rabobank, perhaps the only major team with nothing to show for its efforts so far this Tour, worked hard all day hoping to both reel in the break and toss Cavendish out the back over the day's hilly terrain. The break was caught but Cavendish, who is developing some depth, was around for the sprint. Rabobank's great Spanish hope, Oscar Freire, came in fifth.

It almost didn't come to a mass sprint because world champion Alessandro Ballan and Laurent Lefevre scooted off on the final climb, the second category Col de l'Escrinet. They were scooped up with 2 kilometers to go and from there it was a Columbia lead out and a drag race between Thor Hushovd, Gerald Ciolek (Milram) and Mark Cavendish. Again Cavendish proved he is the fastest man on 2 wheels. With Hushovd leading Cavendish in the points competition 260 to 235, it looks like Hushovd has the Green Jersey about sewn up.

There was a 4-second split in the field. Of all the contenders, it was the always up-at-the-front Armstrong who was in the front group. Those 4 seconds may prove very valuable tomorrow as Armstrong battles to save his place on the podium on Mt. Ventoux.

Results:

More stage 19 photos

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 3hr 50min 35sec
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
5. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) s.t.
6. Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) s.t.
7. Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
8. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) s.t.
9. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) s.t.
10. Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t
11. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) s.t.
12. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
13. Serguei Ivanov (Katusha) @ 4sec
14. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
15. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
16. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) s.t.
17. Tony Martin (Columbia) s.t.
18. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) s.t.
19. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) s.t.
20. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
24. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
27. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
35. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
64. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 2min 1sec
69. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
83. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 5min 5sec

GC after Stage 19:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 77hr 6min 18sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 21sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 5min 36sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 5min 38sec
6. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 5min 59sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 7min 5sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 10min 8sec
9. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 12min 37sec
10. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 12min 38sec
11. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 13min 36sec
12. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 14min 8sec
13. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 14min 37sec
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 15min 27sec
15. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 17min 23sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 19min 47sec
17. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 19min 49sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 24min 26sec
19. Christian Knees (Milram) @ 27min 41sec
20. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 28min 20sec
30. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 40min 17sec
44. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 55min 39sec
47. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 57min 48sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 196 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 135
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom): 99

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 260 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 235
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram): 148

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo) 77hr 10min 29sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 4sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 9min 57sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 229hr 55min
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 16min 14sec
3. Ag2r @ 23min 45sec
4. Saxo @ 24min 32sec

Stage 19 route map

Stage 19 elevation guide


Stage 20, Saturday, July 25: Montélimar - Mont Ventoux, 167 km

Rated Climbs:

Km 14, Côte de Citelle, 5.2 km @ 3.9% gradient, Category 3
Km 65.5, Col d'Ey, 6.7 km @ 4.8% gradient, Category 3
Km 87, Col de Fontaube, 4.7 km @ 4.2% gradient, Category 4
Km 121.5, Col des Abeilles, 7.7 km @ 4% gradient, Category 3
Km 167.0, MONT VENTOUX, 21.1 km @ 7.6%, Hors Category

Weather in nearby Carpentras (see map below): At 1PM local time it was 81F (27C), some clouds, winds from the NNW at 17mph (27kph) but gusting up to 29 mph (47kph). It is supposed to climb to 91F (33C). Winds over 62 mph (100 kph) have been clocked at the top of Mt. Ventoux today! It is going to be a brutal day on the mountain.

The race: Here is the GC at the start of the stage:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 77hr 6min 18sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 21sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 5min 36sec
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 5min 38sec
6. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 5min 59sec

Only 38 seconds seperated Armstrong, Wiggins, Kloden and Schleck. Saxo wanted to put Frank in third place, Garmin wanted to move Wiggins up to Armstrong's spot. Armstrong had said a shot at Andy Schleck's second place and moving Kloden to the podium was not out of the question as far as he was concerned.

The racing was terrific, but none of the aspirents for Armstrong's third place could dislodge him.

An early break of 16 riders, none of whom were a GC threats, got away, at one point gaining over 10 minutes on the field. Behind, Saxo, desperate to move Frank Schleck from sixth place to third, drove the peloton hard with Astana doing its share to keep the speed high. The break fell apart but 2 riders were able to keep it going, Columbia's German revelation Tony Martin and Rabobank's Spanish hard-guy Juan Manuel Garate. Fighting the heat and the wind of Mt. Ventoux, the 2 riders had pain and suffering etched on their faces. The Contador group was closing fast but the pair managed to go the distance with Garate easily out-sprinting Martin. Rabobank can go home now with their heads held high, they finally got a stage win.

On the lower slopes of Mt. Ventoux the chasing pack was detonated by Saxo, Astana and Garmin's efforts to keep the pace high. While still below the tree line the front chasing group was reduced to Contador, the Schlecks, Armstrong, Wiggins, Nibali and Kloden. Andy Schleck showed no mercy. He hammered the group, trying to break his brother Frank loose. It wasn't to be. Armstrong was having a terrific day and could handle anything Frank could go with. With each Schleck blow Wiggins would get dropped and then he would claw his way back. Finally it was too much for Wiggins, who came in 10th, but Liquigas' Vincenzo Nibali was able to stay with this elite group. Andy Schleck out-sprinted Contador, but with no time bonuses in play, Contador was clearly uninterested in nailing third place in the stage. He had just won the Tour de France.

The only notable movement in the top GC standings was Frank Schleck's taking Andreas Kloden's fifth place.

Results:

More stage 20 photos

1. Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) 4hr 39min 21sec
2. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 3sec
3. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 38sec
4. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
5. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 41sec
6. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 43sec
7. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 46sec
8. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 56sec
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 58sec
10. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 1min 3sec
11. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 1min 39min
12. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 1min 42sec
13. Christophe Riblon (Ag2r) @ 1min 47sec
14. Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) @ 1min 56sec
15. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 2min 26sec
16. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 2min 34sec
17. Maxime Bouet (Agritubel) @ 2min 42sec
18. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 2min 44sec
19. Daniele Righi (Lampre) @ 3min 3sec
20. Sylvain Calzati (Agritubel) @ 3min 15sec
32. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 5min 45sec
71. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 9min 36sec
98. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 19min 18sec

GC after Stage 20:

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 81hr 46min 17sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 24sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 6min 1sec
5. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 6min 4sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 6min 42sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 7min 35sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 12min 4sec
9. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 14min 16sec
10. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 14min 25sec
11. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 14min 44sec
12. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 17min 19sec
13. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 18min 34sec
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 20min 45sec
15. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 20min 50sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 22min 29sec
17. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 26min 21sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 29min 33sec
19. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 33min 27sec
20. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 34min 9sec
30. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) @ 45min 24sec
36. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 55min 4sec
37. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 55min 33sec
51. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1hr 16min 28sec

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 210 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 135
3. Alberto Contador (Astana): 126

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 260 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 235
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram): 148

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo): 81hr 50min 28sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 24sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 10min 5sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 243hr 56min 4sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 22min 35sec
3. Saxo @ 28min 34sec

Stage 20 route map

Stage 20 elevation guide


Stage 21, Sunday, July 26: Montereau Fault Yonne - Paris Champs-Élysées, 164 km

No rated climbs on this stage

The race: As soon as the race hit the Champs Elysee's criterium circuit the riders desperate to get away started hammering. 7 riders managed to break the elastic and dangle between 30 to 40 seconds off the front. Columbia, smelling victory number 6, kept the break from getting too far down the road. Surprisingly, remnants of the break held on until the final lap. Then Garmin decided to take charge of things, taking over from Columbia. It looked like a good move made a little early. With more than a kilometer to go Garmin, still in front with David Millar taking a monster pull, had burned most of its matches.

George Hincapie took control of things with a terrific shift to the side of the road, dragging his teammates away and in front of the Garmin train. That left Mark Renshaw to do the final leadout honors, which he did beautifuly, actually seperating Cavendish from the field. Cavendish took the stage but Hushovd, who had to finish at least 15th to keep the points lead, came in sixth. The Green Jersey was the only classification still undecided in the final stage and it was the property of the giant Norwegian.

Alberto Contador has his fourth Grand Tour and I think he's done it at a younger age than any other rider. I'm sure his agent's phone is ringing with offers from teams who would like to win the Tour. Rumors have Garmin in the front seat. Armstrong will be back next year riding for Radio Shack.

Results:

More stage 21 photos

1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia) 4hr 2min 18sec
2. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) s.t.
3. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) s.t.
4. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s.t.
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) s.t.
6. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) s.t.
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.
8. Marco Bandiera (Lampre) s.t.
9. Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) s.t.
10. William Bonnet (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
11. Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r) s.t.
12. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) s.t.
13. Nicolai Trusov (Katusha) s.t.
14. Cyril Lemoine (Skil-Shimano) s.t.
15. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) s.t.
16. Sebastian Lang (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
17. Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) s.t.
18. Steven De Jongh (Quick Step) s.t.
19. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo) s.t.
20. Yukiya Arashiro (Bouygues Telecom) s.t.
26. Andreas Kloden (Astana) s.t.
56. Frank Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
59. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) s.t.
62. Lance Armstrong (Astana) s.t.
63. Andy Schleck (Saxo) s.t.
97. Alberto Contador (Astana) s.t.
109. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) s.t.
156 finishers

Final GC after Stage 21:

Complete Final 2009 Tour de France General Classification

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 85hr 48min 35sec
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo) @ 4min 11sec
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) @ 5min 24sec
4. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 6min 1sec
5. Frank Schleck (Saxo) @ 6min 4sec
6. Andreas Kloden (Astana) @ 6min 42sec
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 7min 35sec
8. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) @ 12min 4sec
9. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 14min 16sec
10. Christophe Le Mevel (FDJ) @ 14min 25sec
11. Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) @ 14min 44sec
12. Sandy Casar (FDJ) @ 17min 19sec
13. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) @ 18min 34sec
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) @ 20min 45sec
15. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto) @ 20min 50sec
16. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) @ 22min 29sec
17. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) @ 26min 21sec
18. Alexandre Botcharov (Katusha) @ 29min 33sec
19. George Hincapie (Columbia) @ 33min 27sec
20. Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) @ 34min 9sec
21. Chrsitian Knees (Milram) @ 34min 48sec
22. Pierre Rolland (Bouygues Telecom) @ 37min 44sec
23. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) @ 38min 20sec
24. Linus Gerdemann (Milram) @ 38min 35sec
25. Brice Feillu (Ag2r) @ 41min 14sec
26. Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 41min 27sec
27. Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) @ 43min 34sec
28. Maxime Monfort (Columbia) @ 43min 54sec
29. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel @ 44min 33sec
30. Cadel Evans (Silence-lotto) @ 45min 24sec
36. Tony Martin (Columbia) @ 55min 4sec
37. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) @ 56min 19sec
51. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1hr 17min 4sec
57. Kim Kirchen (Columbia) @ 1hr 26min 52sec
 

Climber:

1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): 210 points
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel): 135
3. Alberto Contador (Astana): 126

Points:

1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo): 280 points
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia): 270
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) 172

Young Rider:

1. Andy Schleck (Saxo): 85hr 52min 46sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) @ 3min 24sec
3. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) @ 10min 5sec

Team GC:

1. Astana: 256hr 2min 58sec
2. Garmin-Slipstream @ 22min 35sec
3. Saxo @ 28min 34sec

Stage 21 route map

Stage 21 elevation guide


Some Tour de France thoughts: The Tour's difficulty was made very clear by the number of superb riders who were unable to find the strength to match the winner's efforts. The 40.3 kph average speed was the sixth fastest Tour. All the other faster Tours occured in this decade. The fact that the stage 15 climb to Verbier was the fastest ascent in Tour history, faster than any of the l'Alpe d'Huez records set by Marco Pantani and faster even than Bjarne Riis' infamous Hautacam ride, the previous record, is profoundly troubling. Both Pantani and Riis had complete pharmacies flowing through their veins when they raced the Tour.

On my amazon.com blog, in June I wrote that was deeply worried that the Giro's fabulous climbing speeds might be indicative of renewed doping. The recent EPO-CERA positive of Giro second-place Danilo Di Luca shows that my apprehensions were not ill-founded. If Di Luca felt comfortable taking the drug, then others must also have taken the same route. Bernhard Kohl, who was found to have used EPO-CERA after his 2008 Tour third-place, said he should have been caught over and over. Clean drug tests do not mean clean riders. Fast races are not stand-alone evidence of drug use.

I have no comfort level that the lack of dope positives in the 2009 Tour shows that the Tour has been ridden clean. French anti-doping head Pierre Bodry voiced worries that new drugs have been found to aid racers. He also said that the old stand-by, autologous blood doping, used as far back in 1960 by Tour winner Gaston Nencini, is still very difficult to detect.

Why did so many fine competitors fail to deliver in this year's Tour? I have a theory. Simple fatigue.

Denis Menchov fought a bare-knuckle duel in the Giro d'Italia with Danilo Di Luca. Neither rider left a watt on the table. If Menchov was clean, his beating an EPO-CERA aided Di Luca is all the more remarkable. One wonders if a modern Giro with an international field that has no interest in the traditional "piano" days of the past is too intense a race to allow a rider to complete the Giro-Tour double. Even 50 years ago if the Giro had been particularly hard fought, it spelled trouble for a rider looking to do both races. 3-time Tour winner Louison Bobet was too thrashed after the 1957 Giro to consider racing the Tour.

Carlos Sastre, the 2008 Tour winner, just finished his fourth Grand Tour in a year. He performed well on some stages in this year's Giro but suffered a meltdown in the Tour. He had obviously overreached himself.

Cadel Evans went deep in this year's Dauphiné (he got second) while Alberto Contador, at the crucial moment in the Dauphiné, chose to check his efforts and be content with third place. Like previous Dauphiné winners Levi Leipheimer (2006) and Lance Armstrong (2003, Armstrong's worst Tour), Evans came to the the Tour tired. I suspect the predictable bad days Alejandro Valverde has suffered each Tour were also attributable to his Dauphiné ambitions.

Giro third-place Franco Pellizotti had some terrible days that cost him any chance of a Tour podium. He then craftily used his status as a non-GC threat to go after climbing points and he ended up with the Polka-Dot jersey. Lemonade out of lemons.

Compare this to Armstrong at his pre-retirement peak, who would some years come to the Tour with little more than 20 racing days in his legs. His trainers would optimize his fitness and minimize the chances for injuries (like the broken collarbone he suffered just before the Giro).

The obvious lesson from this is a racing calender with fewer appearances by great stage racers. I wish it weren't so.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008: The Tour de France organization revealed the 2009 route. Next year's TDF will be run between July 4 and July 26. It has only 55 kilometers of time trialing and a mountaintop finish on the penultimate stage. The first stage will be a 15 kilometer individual time trial, making it hard for a sprinter to work his way into yellow in the early stages. The race will start in Monaco and hit the Pyrenees before the Alps. It will be a 21-stage race with no prologue.

There will be: 10 flat stages, 7 mountain stages, 1 medium mountain stage, 2 individual time-trials and 1 team time-trial.

Also: There will be 3 mountaintop finishes, the usual 2 rest days, 55 kilometers of individual time-trialing and 20 category 1, category 2 and highest level passes.


Tuesday, March 17: The Tour de France organization released the names of the 20 teams receiving invitations to race the 2009 edition. Notably missing was Fuji-Servetto, reformed from the old disgraced Saunier-Duval squad. I assume that Fuji, like Astana, will have to wait a year before they can ride so that the Tour can monitor them and make sure that things have truly been reformed. As expected, Astana was invited this year.

Startlist with back numbers as of July 3

Cervélo Test Team (CTT)- Switzerland

1. SASTRE Carlos
2. CUESTA Inigo
3. GOMEZ MARCHANTE Jose Angel
4. GUSTOV Volodymir
5. HAUSSLER Heinrich
6. HUSHOVD Thor
7. KLIER Andreas
8. LANCASTER Brett Daniel
9. ROULSTON Hayden
 

Silence - Lotto (SIL) - Belgium

11. EVANS Cadel
12. DELAGE Mickaël
13. LANG Sebastian
14. LLOYD Matthew
15. SCHEIRLINCKX Staf
16. VAN AVERMAET Greg
17. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen
18. VAN SUMMEREN Johan
19. WEGELIUS Charles

Astana (AST) - Kazakhstan

21. CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto
22. ARMSTRONG Lance
23. KLÖDEN Andréas
24. LEIPHEIMER Levi
25. MURAVYEV Dmitriy
26. PAULINHO Sergio
27. POPOVYCH Yaroslav
28. RAST Gregory
29. ZUBELDIA Haimar

Team Saxo Bank (SAXO) - Denmark

31. SCHLECK Andy
32. ARVESEN Kurt-Asle
33. CANCELLARA Fabian
34. LARSSON Gustav
35. O'GRADY Stuart
36. SCHLECK Frank
37. SORENSEN Chris-Anker
38. SORENSEN Nicki
39. VOIGT Jens

Rabobank (RAB) - Netherlands

41. MENCHOV Denis
42. CLEMENT Stef
43. FLECHA Juan Antonio
44. FREIRE Oscar
45. GARATE Juan Manuel
46. GESINK Robert
47. NIERMANN Grischa
48. POSTHUMA Joost
49. TEN DAM Laurens

Garmin - Slipstream (GRM) - USA

51. VANDE VELDE Christian
52. DEAN Julian
53. FARRAR Tyler
54. HESJEDAL Ryder
55. Maaskant Martijn
56. MILLAR David
57. PATE Danny
58. WIGGINS Bradley
59. ZABRISKIE David
 

Euskaltel (EUS) - Spain

61. ASTARLOZA Mikel
62. ANTON Igor
63. FERNANDEZ Koldo
64. MARTINEZ Egoi
65. OROZ Juan Jose
66. PEREZ Alan
67. PEREZ Ruben
68. TXURRUKA Amets
69. VERDUGO Gorka

Team Columbia - High Road (THR) - USA

71. CAVENDISH Mark
72. EISEL Bernhard
73. GREIPEL Andre
74. HINCAPIE George
75. KIRCHEN Kim
76. MARTIN Tony
77. MONFORT Maxime
78. RENSHAW Mark
79. ROGERS Michael

AG2R - La Mondiale (ALM) - France

81. EFIMKIN Vladimir
82. ARRIETA Jose Luis
83. DESSEL Cyril
84. DUPONT Hubert
85. GOUBERT Stephane
86. MONDORY Lloyd
87. NOCENTINI Rinaldo
88. RIBLON Christophe
89. ROCHE Nicholas

Liquigas (LIQ) - Italy

91. PELLIZOTTI Franco
92. BENNATI Daniele
93. KREUZIGER Roman
94. KUSCHYNSKI Aleksandr
95. NIBALI Vincenzo
96. SABATINI Fabio
97. VANDBORG Brian
98. VANOTTI Alessandro
99. WILLEMS Frederik

Française des Jeux (FDJ)

101. CASAR Sandy
102. COPPEL Jérôme
103. GESLIN Anthony
104. HUTAROVICH Yauheni
105. JOLY Sébastien
106. LE MEVEL Christophe
107. JEREMY Roy
108. VAUGRENARD Benoit
109. VEIKKANEN Jussi

Caisse d'Epargne (GCE) - Spain

111. PEREIRO SIO Oscar
112. ARROYO David
113. FARIA Rui Alberto
114. COYOT Arnaud
115. GUTIERREZ José Ivan
116. PASAMONTES Luis
117. ROJAS Jose Joaquin
118. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon
119. URAN Rigoberto

Cofidis, Le Crédit en Ligne (COF) - France

121. MONCOUTIE David
122. AUGE Stéphane
123. DUMOULIN Samuel
124. DUQUE Leonardo
125. FERNANDEZ Bingen
126. KERN Christophe
127. MINARD Sébastien
128. MOINARD Amaël
129. PAURIOL Rémi

Lampre - N.G.C. (LAM) - Italy

131. BALLAN Alessandro
132. BANDIERA Marco
133. BRUSEGHIN Marzio
134. FURLAN Angelo
135. LOOSLI David
136. RIGHI Daniele
137. SANTABROGIO Mauro
138. SAPA Marcin
139. SPILAK Simon

BBox Bouygues Telecom (BTL)

141. VOECKLER Thomas
142. ARASHIRO Yukiya
143. BONNET William
144. FEDRIGO Pierrick
145. HADDOU Saïd
146. LEFEVRE Laurent
147. PICHOT Alexandre
148. ROLLAND Pierre
149. TROFIMOV Yury

Quickstep (QST) - Belgium

151. CHAVANEL Sylvain
152. BARREDO Carlos
153. BOONEN Tom
154. DE JONGH Steven
155. DEVOLDER Stijn
156. PINEAU Jérôme
157. ROSSELER Sébastien
158. TOSATTO Matteo
159. VAN DE WALLE Jurgen

Team Katusha (KAT) - Russia

161. KARPETS Vladimir
162. BOTCHAROV Alexandre
163. HORRACH Joan
164. IGNATIEV Mikhail
165. IVANOV Serguei
166. NAPOLITANO Danilo
167. POZZATO Filippo
168. TRUSSOV Nicolaï
169. VANDENBERGH Styn

Agritubel (AGR) - France

171. MOREAU Christophe
172. BOUET Maxime
173. CALZATI Sylvain
174. FAILLU Brice
175. FEILLU Romain
176. GONZALO RAMIREZ Eduardo
177. LELAY David
178. LEQUATRE Geoffroy
179. VOGONDY Nicolas

Team Milram (MRM) - Germany

181. GERDEMANN Linus
182. CIOLEK Gerald
183. FOTHEN Markus
184. FRÖHLINGER Johannes
185. KNEES Christian
186. TERPSTRA Niki
187. VELITS Peter
188. WEGMANN Fabian
189. WROLICH Peter

Skil-Shimano (SKS) - Netherlands

191. LEMOINE Cyril
192. BEPPU Fumiyuki
193. DE KORT Koen
194. GESCHKE Simon
195. HIVERT Jonathan
196. HUPOND Thierry
197. ROOIJAKKERS Piet
198. TIMMER Albert
199. VAN HUMMEL Kenny Robert