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94th Tour de France; Team Notes Stage Nineteen
By Podofdonny
Date: 7/28/2007
94th Tour de France; Team Notes Stage Nineteen
A word from the winner, Gerdemann “I’ve learnt a lot for the future in this Tour” Barloworld “groundless rumours”, Millar bad luck and troubles, Cobo comments , Solid Sastre

Levi Leipheimer - Discovery Channel 1:09:13 02:39
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A Word from the winner

Levi Leipheimer., “I’ve never felt so good, I just felt awesome out there – I had all this energy. It was great for Discovery. I’m happy for Alberto. He’s the future star.”

T-Mobile Kim Kirchen - Mauricio Soler of Barloworld

T Mobile Website

Spaniard Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) is poised for Tour victory tomorrow on the Champs Elysées after the stage 19 time trial won by his team colleague, American Levi Leipheimer. Contador kept an overall advantage of 23 seconds over Australian Cadel Evans, second on the day (+0:51), who now lies just 8 seconds ahead of Leipheimer overall. Russian Vladimir Karpets (Caisse/+1:56) was third in the Cognac time trial.

T-Mobile’s Kim Kirchen assured his strong GC placing with another sterling performance. He finished 13th on the day and remains 7th overall (+12:18). Second best T-Mobile rider was Linus Gerdemann who came 14th just behind Kirchen in 1:06:02. At the finish, Gerdemann said, “I was able to keep up with the best. I’ve learnt a lot for the future in this Tour. Despite everything, there were loads of fans out on the course. This type of atmosphere makes it fun to ride here.” Bert Grabsch, German time trialling champion, finished 22nd (+4:08).

Predictor-Lotto gave Belgian time trial champion, Leif Hoste, the task of burying himself on the course so as to give team-mate Evans some ideas on how best to attack it. Hoste blazed around in 1:05:33 which led for a long time until it was beaten by 15 seconds by George Hincapie. A short time later, Hincapie’s time was overtaken by Jose Ivan Gutierrez despite dropping his chain on route.

Vladimir Karpets upped the ante again finishing 30 seconds quicker than Gutierrez, while Levi Leipheimer obliterated the big Russian's time through the second check point after 35 kms by a massive 1 minute 13 seconds. With Evans unable to match Leipheimer's tempo and Contador doing his best to limit his losses, it looked like Leipheimer could steal second place from the Australian, and possibly challenge for the yellow jersey of his team-mate. However, Evans dug deep over the final kilometre to keep second place, while Contador produced a strong showing in the last third of the course to ensure that victory tomorrow in Paris would be his.

Contador’s lead is the second narrowest going into the final stage since the eight second gap between American Greg LeMond and Frenchman Laurent Fignon in 1989. In 2004, his second season as a professional, Contador had to undergo a lifesaving operation to treat a cerebral oedema. Within six weeks, he was back riding again. “It’s a similarity between Amstrong and myself,” said the young Spaniard, “but, he won seven Tours and I’m only on my first. It’s very different.”

Juan Mauricio Soler a remarkable Tour debut ...
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Barloworld website

Groundless Rumours

Spanish Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), 24, is the 94th Tour de France winner, finishing 2'18" behind his American team-mate Levi Leipheimer after an explosive final 55,5 km time-trial from Cognac to Angouleme. One of the most troubled TdF editions will finish tomorrow with the traditional Champs Elysèes catwalk to celebrate the most unpredictable overall: three riders within 31" seconds in the final ranking, never happened in the Grande Boucle history. Either Leipheimer (the 19th stage winner) and Australian Cadel Evans (who finished second 50" behind the American) hoped to take Contador's yellow jersey away, but the Spaniard confirmed his strength both on psychological and physical point of view.

Team Barloworld's Mauricio Soler was knocked off the overall top-ten, slipping from ninth to eleventh place. The Colombian riders passed through a very delicate night due to the rumors about a presumed Barloworld's rider tested positive to doping after Tour de France stage 14, Mazamet-Plateau de Beille. Before the time-trial departure, the team was forced to deny such wrong information spread by several medias on Friday evening (provided that no Barloworld riders were tested after that stage). Also Tour de France director, Christian Prudhomme officially confirmed how such news was completely groundless.

All Photos © Ben Ross

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CSC's Jens Voigt - Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych
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CSC Website

On Saturday Carlos Sastre did a very good 55.5-kilometer time trial from Cognac to Angoulême. Team CSC's Spanish captain finished 16th and thereby retained his overall fourth place. Fabian Cancellara lead Team CSC in 12th place in the time trial despite having bad weather along his ride and Christian Vande Velde finished 19th.

The stage was won by Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), while his team mate Alberto Contador retained his overall lead, 31 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto).

"It was a shame that Fabian had bad weather, but Carlos did a very good time trial and yet again confirmed he can be at his very best even in the final week of a very, very demanding stage race," said sports director Kim Andersen.

Sastre himself was also satisfied with his performance.

"Once again I gave my very best and I'm happy with my time trial. I knew I probably wasn't able to improve in the general classification, but it was still important for me to show that I'm among the best riders in this race," said Sastre.

Saunier Duval Website Bad luck and troubles

As for SAUNIER DUVAL-PRODIR, bad luck for time-trialist David Millar: he punctured twice in the first kilometre, and this dashed his hopes of victory, as he lost over two minutes very early in the race. Juanjo Cobo, who came in 31st, was the best red bird. Tomorrow, the last leg of the French Tour this year will take riders over 146 kilometres from Marcoussis to the Champs Élysées, in Paris.

Juanjo Cobo: "I was hopeful that I could clock a good time, but in the first kilometres I realised that I wasn´t doing fine, so I decided that it wasn´t going to be my day. I didn´t give up, though, as this was my last effort in this Tour. Deep down, I´m quite happy with what I did in this race.

It was my first Tour, and my goal was standing as high as possible in the GC. After Plateau-de-Beille (where my performance was far from good), I tried to score a stage win. I had my chance on the Col de Peyresourde, but there were many strong men in the breakaway. Vinokourov and I were the strongest, but I spent too much energy in the escape and Vino proved to be better than me in the end.

In the last week, the idea was to find our breakaway, but everybody wanted to do this, and in my case warming up usually takes some time. Anyway, I´ll be looking forward to come back in better shape next year. This season my performance has improved considerably, and what I did in France is proof that I didn´t win the Tour of the Basque Country by sheer chance."

Caisse d'Epargne Oscar Pereiro finishes - Christophe Moureau Ag2r
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