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95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live
By Staff
Date: 7/9/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live

95th Tour de France - Stage 5 Live
Three French raiders on the escape in the longest stage of the tour... the sprinters teams are on the hunt...

Stage 5 Cholet - Chateauroux 230km
Welcome to stage 5 of the Tour de France from Cholet to Châteauroux over 232 km. This stage is the longest stage in the Tour de France, with no climbing difficulties. A day that favors a sprint finish but we are likely to see an early break of optimists that the sprinters teams will attempt to drag back in the final kilometers. That is, if they aren't slumbering on the road worrying about their fate when the climbing starts tomorrow.

During the stage the riders have
three intermediate sprints:

d’Argenton-les-Vallées (km 33,5)
Richelieu (km 98,5)
Grand-Pressigny (km 152)

After 11 km of racing three riders attacked. The three are French champion Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel), Lillian Jegou (FDJ) and Florent Brard (Cofidis). An all French break.

 © Amaury Sport Organization 

Today We also had one abandon with the 2007 Polka dot jersey and stage winner Juan Mauricio Soler (Team Barloworld). Soler who crashed in the first stage crashed once again in the neutral zone today. Soler returned to the tour after a wrist fracture in the Giro seemed to have nothing but bad luck so far, with both wrists in pain its quite remarkable he continued this far. Mauricio will be missed in the mountains, here's hoping he can mend quickly.

les Kangaroos: Cadel Evans signs a fans kangaroo outfit.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The first intermediate sprint in D'Argenton-les-Vallees is won by Lillian Jegou ahead of Vogondy and Brard. The gap of the three is now 7.40 after 60 km of racing. The maximum gap so far was 8'15.  The second intermediate sprint at de Richelieu after 98,5 km and was won by Brard ahead of Vogondy and Jegou.

The gap of the three brave French riders is down to 6.55 after about 100 km of racing in stage 5. There was also a crash in the bunch with amongst others Alejandro Valverde (Caisse) and John Gadret (Ag2r). But all without serious injuries it seems.

1418 CEST - The gap to the three in front is down to 6.40 as Milram is helping Gerolsteiner in the lead of the bunch now. Milram will be seeking bunch sprint for their sprinter Good old Erik Zabel. Today is the final day for the sprinters for a while as the riders head to the central massif tomorrow before heading into the Pyrenees this weekend.

Recapping the situation we have French champion Nicolas Vogondy , Lillian Jegou and Florent Brard in front. The gap is down to 5.56 on the bunch. The best ranked rider of the three is Jegou he is 5.45 down on Schumacher in the overall classification.

Frank Schleck and his Saint Christopher medal... lucky Frank was wearing it as he went over a road barrier and down into a ravine on stage 5 of the Tour of Switzerland. Frank climbed out and finished the stage with only scrapes and bruises. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1440 CEST - 108 km to go. Lillian Jegou is a 32 year old French from Nantes. He turned pro with Credit Agricole in 2002 and joined his present team Francaise des Jeux in 2005. Last year he won a stage in the Tour du Limousin and was the best in the final ranking of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo. For Jegou this is his third Tour. He has also competed three times in the Giro but he isn't a GC rider.

Florent Brard (Cofidis) is a 32 year old from Chambray-lès-Tours. Brard is pro since 1998 with Festina. In 2002 he joined Credit Agricole, in 2003 he rode for Marlux and in 2004 for Chocolade Jacques. In 2005 he joined Agritubel and in 2006 he was one of the helpers for Alejandro Valverde in the Tour; but since 2008 he has ridden for Cofidis. This is his Brard's third Tour participation. Brard is a former French TT and Road Champion and has a strong collection of wins.

Last but not least we will introduce the present French Champion Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel). Vogondy is a 30 year old rider from Blois. He started his pro career with FDJ in 1997 and rode for this team until 2004. In 2005 and 2006 he rode for Credit Agricole and 2008 is his second year for Agritubel. Vogondy was already French champion in 2002 and won stages in the Limousin, route du sud and the Regio Tour.

1450 CEST - 100 km to go in the race and the gap down to 5.20. Our commentator today is Bart Hazen now joined by Andy McGrath, doing the administration Vaughn Trevi. We hope you enjoy this long and hopefully exciting stage.

Gerolsteiner, the team of yellow jersey, Stefan Schumacher is leading the bunch. the gap stays stable around 5.20.

1500 CEST - 92km to go for our French breakaway trio - they are enjoying an advantage of 5'13" on the peloton, which is negotiating a small drag in this département of Indre-et-Loire. Actually, it's been a good opening week for the home riders, what with the Dumoulin-Feillu combo two days ago.

Moreover, all the big domestic riders have shown themselves on the attack: Moreau, Chavanel, Feillu and now French champion Vogondy. We shouldn't forget French favorite Thomas "titi" Voeckler in the climbers polka dot jersey and the only French rider with a jersey after young Feillu lost his maillot blanc and maillot jaune yesterday in the time trial. Voeckler will likely lose his polka dot jersey tomorrow or in one of the next days as the real climbing is come.

The peloton thinks therefore it is? Well, they are currently piercing through Descartes - it used to be called La Haye en Touraine, but was renamed after René, the so-called Father of Modern Philosophy. Not so much existential thought pervading the Tour de France though... The peloton takes a 'natural break' as the yellow jersey drops off and goes to the side of the road.

You can bet your sweet Assos that the peloton won't let another small break get away today... I can't believe there hasn't been a conventional bunch sprint yet. It's refreshing, frankly... the "new cycling" era...  perhaps more natural or 'clean' now it seems. no real organizations or dominant teams, breaks who can keep there lead etc.

Shall we wax philosophic that the Americans have two registered teams,  but only 4 riders:  Hincapie, Vandevelde, Frischkorn and Pate... and Canadian Ryder Hesjedal.

80 km to go and the gap is 5:08, Into Le Grand Pressigny, they are 500 metres from the third  intermediate sprint. Jegou takes the points, Brard second, and Vogondy takes third so the trio has divided the sprint points They were completely unfussed by the sprint. Perhaps the prospect of keeping a lead of 5 minutes for the next 30km will be more pressing - if we use the '1 minute per 10km rule', they seemingly need that at least...

It's smart divide the prizes during the stage. It will keep the break mates working together. Dare I say that the breaks have shown more organization than the peloton so far in the race.

Some reverential cheering coming from the roads at the sight of Vogondy's tricolore. I'm half expecting them to break into a proud rendition of La Marseillaise...

Two fast men are right on the tail of the pack: Bjorn Schroder (Team Milram) and Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia). The latter will be gunning for the win today, in particular.

"The Lensman" Riccardo Ricco killing time before the start.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Tour of Austria update: The third stage in the Tour of Austria is won by Ruslan Pidgornyy. He had a 10 sec lead on Robert Gesink and Thomas Rohregger. The Austrian Rohregger is also the new leader as CSC Chris Anker Sörensen missed the break. Pidgorny is riding for the Italian LPR team.

1530 CEST - Back to France, and the gap is being closed significantly. With 73 kilometres to go, the difference is down to 4'20" as Gerolsteiner and Crédit Agricole crank up the pressure. In the space of just eight kilometres, the peloton's deficit has been reduced by 1'25". The sprinters teams are getting antsy, and who can blame them after Monday?

A Gerolsteiner and Crédit Agricole rider are side-by-side on the front, having a seemingly-amicable exchange of opinions. There's a lot of gesturing though; and you can never be sure with Europeans...

UCI according to an story in a Belgian newspaper the UCI has a list of suspected riders:  The list they composed with riders who had suspicious values during tests are already 31 riders. some of them will get sanctions. But the UCI will wait with this till September in order not to damage the Tour and the sport. But some of these riders are riding in the Tour at the moment. "Does it signify doping" will be the main question? Or just abnormal values... abnormal values differ from what's on there biological pass

68 km to go and the gap is down to 3.08 for our brave all French break that are trying to defy the sprinters teams leading the chase.

The last time the Tour came in Chateauroux was in 1998. The winner back than was the Lion King Mario Cipollini. The top 10 was:
Le Top 10 à Châteauroux en 1998 :
1. Mario Cipollini (ITA)
2. Erik Zabel (GER)
3. Christophe Mengin (FRA)
4. Andrea Ferrigato (ITA)
5. Philippe Gaumont (FRA)
6. Robbie McEwen (AUS)
7. George Hincapie (USA)
8. Fabrizio Guidi (ITA)
9. Frédéric Moncassin (FRA)
10. Alessio Bongioni (ITA)

Only Zabel, McEwen and Hincapie are still in today's race, of the three McEwen and Zabel are the ones to watch.

Our live coverage continues in Stage 5 Live Part 2

Stage 5 Profile
Stage 6 Aigurande - Super Besse Sancy, 195km
Stage 6 Profile

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