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94th Tour de France - Stage 20 Live Coverage Part 1
By Staff
Date: 7/29/2007
94th Tour de France - Stage 20 Live Coverage Part 1

94th Tour de France - Stage 20 Live
The Final triumphant arrival in Paris of the 141 survivors of 20 days of racing.

Marcoussis Paris Champs-Élysées - 146 km
Climbs & Intermediate Sprints
51.0 km - Category 4 Côte de Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse
54.5 km - Category 4 Côte de Châteaufort
74.0 km - Chatenay - Malabry  (72 km to go)
108.5 km (54 km to go), Entrance on the first of 8 - 6.5 km circuits of the Champs Elysées
108 km - Haut des Champs-Elysées (37.5 km to go)

Welcome to our live coverage of the final stage of the 94th edition of the Tour de France today's stage is from Marcoussis to the traditional finish in Paris Champs on the Champs Élysées over 146 km just started. The winners of the jerseys are now riding in front for the unique photos the photographers  take while the other riders are joking with each other.

Without accidents or incident Alberto Contador will be the winner of the Tour de France 2007 and the maillot blanc for the best young rider.  Tom Boonen the green jersey and Mauricio Soler the climbers polka dot.  The maillot blanc is currently worn by Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel) in this stage due to the fact Contador (1st) and Soler (2nd) wear other important jerseys.

The official start was just given by Tour director Christian Prudhomme. We're out of the neutral zone with 145 km to go. 141 riders starting  the final stage. There are still time gains on offer today: two intermediate sprints with six, four and two seconds of bonuses for the first three across the line. And 20, 12 and eight seconds for the first three riders in the Paris finish.. “We’ll wait and see what happens in the race.” This is all Evans would say to the official le Tour interviewer this morning before the start.

As we usually see in a final stage the pace is very slow, riders enjoy the stage by sharing jokes. We will probably see the first attacks in Paris on the Champs-Elysees circuit. There are also rumors of plans by a part of the peloton to protest against the latest problems in the sport. Their plan was to stop in the final lap of the race, a few meters before the finish. But If others started to sprint that could be very dangerous. If they want to protest it would be better to stop when the cross the finish line the first time on Champs-Elysees. We will see if this protest materializes in Paris.

1416 CET - 140 km to go, Alberto Contador does a bike change. He switches from his team issue blue Trek to a specially made new yellow one to match his jersey. The riders are on dry roads, but rain threatens in the distance over Paris, this could lead to the time gaps being neutralized as the riders enter the final 8 circuits to avoid accidents. The pace continues to be slow with the riders enjoying the fact that they have finished the tour, certainly an accomplishment to celebrate.

The final stage in the Thüringen Rundfahrt for Woman was won by Susanne Ljungskog. She was faster than Karin Thürig in a sprint with two. Angela Brodtka won the sprint of the bunch for 3rd. Judith Arndt is probably the overall winner by beating Amber Neben based on the thousandths of seconds she took in the the time trials.

The Quick Step riders lead the peloton. They will once again set up there famous train in Paris to pilot the green boy Tom Boonen to attempt his 3rd stage win. The team has already won 4 stages in this year's Tour with Steegmans, twice Boonen and Vasseur. Boonen is also almost sure for winning the green jersey for the 1st time in his career.

The final stage in the Thüringen Rundfahrt for Woman is won by Susanne Ljungskog. She was faster than Karin Thürig in a sprint with two. Angela Brodtka won the sprint of the bunch for 3rd. Judith Arndt is probably the overall winner by beating Neben on the thousands of seconds in the two time trials. We'll update this as soon as more info is available.

It is most likely this stage will end up in a bunch sprint. If we take a look to the sprinters who are still in the race we will come to the following list: Bernhard Eisel (T-Mobile), Daniele Bennati (Lampre), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner), Thor Hushovd (C. Agricole), Julian Dean (C. Agricole), Sebastien Chavanel (FDJ), Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Gert Steegmans (Quick Step), Erik Zabel (Milram), Robert Hunter (Barloworld) and maybe Fabian Cancellara (CSC). He could do an Ekimov, by attacking in the final hundreds of meters as he did earlier this tour in stage 3.

Looking back at this years Tour de France it was a Tour of Scandals; but a very exciting Tour of Scandals with the top 3 in the GC within 31 seconds of each other. First we had the positive test of Sinkewitz during a training ride earlier this year which became known during the Tour. As a result of that the German TV stations ARD/ZDF decided to drop the broadcast  the Tour. Then we had the positive test on Blood doping of Alexandre Vinokourov. Yesterday it became known that the b-sample was positive as well. So Vinokourov may be suspended for at least 2 years pending the outcome of his hearings on the charges. Then we had the withdrawal of Michael Rasmussen who was pulled out of the Tour by his team manager Theo de Rooij after the "whereabouts" matter. Rasmusen was also fired by the team shortly after. Next was the positive test of  Moreni (Cofidis) on Testosterone, as result that Cofidis left the Tour just as Astana after the Vino affair. But next to that we also saw some great sport especially from youngster and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

126 km to go in the stage and the parade continues as the riders take time for a natural break alongside the road. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is riding in a Bart Simpson mask he got from his sport director. Bad boy Fabian.

Saul Raisin Bio available here
Tour de Life From Coma to Competition

1458 CET - 120 km to go, Oscar Pereiro (second in le tour last year and possible declared winner depending on the disposition of the Floyd Landis case) and Alberto Contador are riding together. Talking about to Spaniards, we have six Spanish riders in the top 10 of the Tour. We have Contador (1st), Sastre (4th), Zubeldia (5th), Valverde (6th), Astarloza (9th) and Pereiro (10th). A strong showing by the Armada.

Update: In the final stage in the Women's Thüringen Rundfahrt. It's now confirmed Judith Arndt won the Tour by a few thousandths of a second over second placed Amber Neben. Noemi Cantele is 3rd overall at 2.03. Too bad for Team Flexpoint they missed the double; having won the final stage (Ljungskog) and then missing the overall win by Amber.

110 km to go, we are about 26 km to the first small climbing challenge at 51.0 km the Category 4 Côte de Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse which will be the first of the last climbing points available in the tour. No need for Mauricio Soler the tours climbing revelation to contest the points as he has an unassailable lead over second placed Alberto Contador. (As a reference the top ten G.C. and jersey classifications are listed below.)

The final stage in the Sachsen Tour was won by Stephan Schreck (T-Mobile). Erik Hoffmann was second and Tom Stamsnijder 3rd. Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) is the final winner ahead of Bobby Julich and Michael Schär. T-Mobile won 4 of the 5 stages (2x Greipel, 1x Baumann and 1x Schreck).

Juan Mauricio Soler Hernández is 24 years old and born in January 14th 1983 in Ramiriqui, Colombia and turned professional in 2006 signing with Aqua & Sapone and moved to Barloworld this year. In his debut year he had won stage 2 of the Circuit de Lorraine and the general classification. He produced excellent results racing in Columbia winning 12 races before he caught the eye of Aqua & Sapone. Of course he added to these palmares with his victory in stage 9 on the summit of Briancon when he established his lead in the polka dot climbers jersey.

The stage continues to roll along without the attacks we saw in previous final stages like Vinokourov or Filippo Simeoni; who both attacked in the final stage during the Lance Armstrong period Vinokourov's effort was to  gather the bonus seconds to displace Levi Leipheimer. Which Leipheimer said he would not do today. Simeoni attacked to tease Lance Armstrong and his US Postal team. Simeoni and Armstrong had some arguments after Simeoni accused Armstrong of doping use because of his co-operation with Michele Ferrari.

There is lots of racing in Europe and the rest of the world during the Tour as well. The prologue in the Tour of Colombia was won by former professional  Santiago Botero who formerly rode for Kelme and Phonak. Libardo Nino was second at 8 seconds and John Freddy García was 3rd at 14 seconds. And the final stage in the Brixia Tour is won by Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas). Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is the final winner.

Back to the Tour, still easy going with 100 km to go. After the Tour many of the riders  will have a deserved rest, while others will do the post tour criteriums.  Some will be back after a week off to start the  Classica San Sebastian next weekend. Last year that race was won surprisingly by Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) riding a very anonymous performance in the tour this year.

1548 CET - 51 km. Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) jokes a bit and takes the points on the Côte de Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse the first climb of the day. Steegmans is one of the heaviest guys (regarding his weight) not one of your typical climber types in the peloton.

The riders can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance, they will be looking forward to their entrance into Paris to the welcome of the route lined by the cheering fans and know their tour is almost over.  Thomas Lovkvist (FDJ) and Fredericks Willems (Liquigas) were 2nd and 3rd on that last climb, by the way.

Discovery Channel comes to the front of the peloton. Not urgent or anything, they are chatting and eating and taking it easy. But they are back up there with the Yellow Jersey. Likely they will keep an eye on things as they near the intermediate sprint in a bit. They wind through some road furniture; Popovych gives the customary arm signal to note to the men behind him that there is a cobbled median coming up.

80 km to go, Do the the riders have some lights on their bikes? They are not in before dark at this pace. The tempo has gone up a bit, but still no major acceleration. The first intermediate sprint is not far away. Predictor-Lotto and Evans also went up to the front of the pack. Maybe he's having a laugh, or maybe he's going to go for sprint bonus seconds.

Chatenay-Malabry is where this first sprint will take place. That is also the home of the scientific lab that does the drug tests for the riders. Two Quick Step riders go off the front to take the points and time bonuses here to make sure the other sprinters don't get it.

1627 CET - Lilian Jegou of Francaise de Jeux comes around to take a slow-motion "sprint" for the maximum points. The two Quick Step guys Barrredo and De Jongh were 2nd and 3rd and take the time bonuses.. So nobody is going to contest the Green Jersey, they will just fight it out for the stage win. 1. Lilian Jegou (FDJ) 6pts/6", 2. Carlos Barredo (QSI) 4pts/4", 3. Steven De Jongh (QSI) 2pts/2". You can bet the guys didn't stop to piss in the bushes by that lab. They give those guys enough of that stuff as it is.

70 km to go,  in 15 km they riders will enter the circuit on the Champs-Elysees, finally a sign for some race action? or a sign to do the protest. It is threatening rain. If the rain does start to come down, it will be a very dangerous circuit with the cobbled sections.

You are invited to join fans around the world discussing the tour and the last stage of the tour in the Daily Peloton Chat Room.

60 km to go, Flat tire for Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto). Back in the cars, Contador gets some champagne from his team car.

Salute to the Lanterne Rouge
Wim Vansevenant (Predictor-Lotto) is for the 2nd time in a row, Latern Rouge of the Tour de France. Next year, If he starts  the Tour, he can attempt the record for the 3rd time in a row. Wim is an important part of the Predictor-Lotto leadout train for Robbie McEwen.. Wim did also a great job for Cadel Evans in the early parts of the mountain stages, and he must be an expert and beating the time limit to not be eliminated on the climbing stages and time trials as he saves his legs for the sprints.

Vansevenant is 35 years old and hails from Diksmuide, Belgium. Wim turned Professional in 1995 with the Belgian team Vlaanderen 2002/Eddy Merckx and has ridden for Colstrop, Farm Frites, the Mercury/Viatel team of John Wordin, Palmans/Collstro, and joined Lotto/Domo  in 2003 and has been with the team through its many name changes since.

So this is Yellow Jersey number 8 of the team leading the G.C, coincidentally for George Hincapie and it's the same number in tour wins in which Hincapie played an important role.

The riders have entered Paris, they are rolling down into the laps of the Champs Elysees. There is a big cheer from the crowds. On the front is Paolinho, with Hincapie 2nd wheel.

1 km to the first finish passage, Hincapie leads now, as they pull through the line. They will start racing soon. Discovery has the pace high, but no attacks yet.

50 km to go!

94th Tour de France - Stage 20 Live coverage continues in part two

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Tour De France 2007
General Classification After Stage 19 ITT

3374.4 km - 87:09:18"
1. Contador Alberto 112 Discovery Channel 87:09:18"
2. Evans Cadel 41 Predictor/Lotto 87:09:41 - 00:23"
3. Leipheimer Levi 111 Discovery Channel 87:09:49 - 00:31"
4. Sastre Carlos 31 Team CSC 87:16:26 - 07:08"
5. Zubeldia Haimar 71 Euskaltel/Euskadi 87:17:35 - 08:17"
6. Valverde Alejandro 18 Caisse d'Epargne 87:20:55 - 11:37"
7. Kirchen Kim 27 T-Mobile Team 87:21:36 - 12:18"
8. Popovych Yaroslav 118 Discovery Channel 87:21:48 - 12:30"
9. Astarloza Mikel 73 Euskaltel/Euskadi 87:23:32 - 14:14"
10. Pereiro Sio Oscar 11 Caisse d'Epargne 87:23:43 - 14:25"

Points Classification after Stage 19 - Maillot Vert
1. Boonen Tom 171 Quick Step/Innergetic 234 Pts
2. Hunter Robert 216 Barloworld 210 Pts
3. Zabel Erik 181 Team Milram 206 Pts

Climbers Classification after Stage 19 (unchanged)
Maillot Blanc à Pois Rouges
1. Soler Hernandez Juan Mauricio 219 Barloworld 206 Pts
2. Contador Alberto 112 Discovery Channel 128 Pts
3. Popovych Yaroslav 118 Discovery Channel 104 Pts

Best Young Rider after Stage 19 - Maillot Blanc
1. Contador Alberto 112 Discovery Channel 87:09:18"
2. Soler Juan Mauricio 219 Barloworld 87:25:59 - 16:41"
3. Txurruka Amets 78 Euskaltel/Euskadi 87:58:42 - 49:24"

Team Classification after Stage 19
1. Discovery Channel 261:39:33"
2. Caisse d'Epargne 261:59:04 - 19:31"
3. Team CSC 262:01:43 - 22:10"
4. Rabobank 262:15:47 - 36:14"

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