95th Tour de France - Stage 9 Live Part 2
Onto the Col de Peyresourde - Lang, Jalabert and Kuschynski with 9 minutes in
hand continue their attack...
Stage 9 Toulouse - Bagneres de Bigorre 224 km
9 km to the top of the Peyresourde. Lots of riders are dropping out the back.
The gruppetto has been formed by the sprinters... Yesterday's winner Mark
Cavendish is in the final group, along with Silence Lotto's Robbie McEwen.
The bunch is about 60 riders strong at this point I would estimate. The
orange boys of Euskaltel and Rabobank in front of the peloton setting the pace,
followed by Alejandro Valverde who has already been isolated; no team mates in
the neighborhood. Maybe Pereiro but he is sitting further back in the bunch. The
2006 "winner" has looked good in the last week, working his ass off for
Valverde, sacrificing his chances and energy.
Valverde has the company of Gutierrez and Lopez Garcia. The Orange Team will
be set on a victory in their home region; it's 26 downhill kilometres from the
top of the Aspin to the finish in Bagneres-de-Bigorrre. Too long for Samuel
Sanchez? Maybe not too long for Sanchez but prolly not technical enough for
Sammy to take an advantage. Nobody has mentioned his good time-trial
performance, though his whole season has been geared for a good July. So at
least watch out for Sanchez this week, though his GT pedigree suggests a
top-five overall finish could be difficult.
1521 CEST - The yellow jersey Kim Kirchen
is in the middle of the bunch not really in front. Not a good sign? the gap is
down to 7.34, Nicolas Jalabert struggles in the break with the pace but is still
able to follow, Pozzato, Ballan, Willems, Vansummeren are dropped off the back
Jalabert drops off the back of the break. Lang and Kuschynski remaining in
the lead. One of the leading duo could find themselves in the polka-dot jersey
at the finish today. It will be tight. Lang has the best chances if he crosses
the top of the Peyresourde first; but they may need to cross the top of the
Aspin too to pull it off.
I'm still trying to work out what Euskatel's tactics are today - a flyer from
Samuel Sanchez is my prediction. Nonetheless, the Basque fans will be
ten-a-penny on the final two climbs. Oscar Freire, Jens Voigt and Remi Pauriol
off the back. Astarloza was combative a couple of days ago when Luis Leon
Sanchez won, so maybe watch out for him on the climb.
1525 CEST - gap down to 6.45. Lang starts
to ride away from Kuschynski. Felix Cardenas accelerates from the Peloton attack
on by the Barloworld rider. He's not got a manageable gap just yet, however he
is a very competent climber. Danny Pate is the latest gravity victim and drops
off the back; Cancellara, Hincapie and Martinez follow.
George Hincapie battles on, on his own.
60 km to go the gap 6.00, 2,5 km to the
top of the Peyresourde. Cardenas is still lurking just in front of the Peloton.
Zabel and Velo out the back... He (Cardenas) has won stages in both the Tour and
the Giro, although he is now in the twilight of his career. Ah, another Zabel!!
Cardenas will be 35 in November, his Tour win coming atop Plateau de Beille in
Cardenas finally chased down by the bunch led by Euskaltel's Amets Txurruka.
José Ivan Gutierrez, one of Valverde's helpers drops off the bunch too; as does
Koos Moerenhout. Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia) pedaling backwards and spit out the
back. The white jersey will change after today's stage. Haimar Zubeldia in
Maillot blanc, Thomas Lövkvist suffers off the back.
1 km to the top - gap down to 5.30.
Attack by Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) David de la Fuente is on his wheel. With the
absence of Soler, de la Fuente might fancy his chances in the King of the
Mountains. He's started like he means to go for it at any rate.
Sebastian Lang is on top of the Peyresourde. Kuschynski is on top in second,
35 seconds down on Lang. Lang indeed takes the 15 points. Better known as a
time-trialist, the former German champion is showing his mountain legs well. He
will welcome the 20 kilometres of descent before the town of Arreau, which
signifies the start of the climb up the Aspin. Little Trent Lowe is
hanging on to the back of the dwindling bunch as they hit the last couple of
The fans cheer on one of the gruppettos... Danish, Swedish and Aussie fans hold
up their flags to cheer the riders.
Lang is flying down the descent. Jalabert was third on top of the Peyresourde
at 3.40. De la Fuente is 4th on top, Monfort 5th at 4.50 down on Lang. De La
Fuetne takes 9 pts on the Peyresourde.
1545 CEST - 50 km to go. The bunch is on
top 5.30 down. Just keeping the KOM tally ticking over. Compatriot Luis Leon
Sanchez attacks over the top for 6th, at 5'25". Sanchez is fourth in the King of
the Mountains with 24 pts - he could easily target it if he so desired. Some
riders who dropped off the pack just before the top are coming back; so we will
see some regrouping on the descent.
1551 CEST - 5:35 the gap. Lang is descending
fluidly - Kuschynski is quite close, but considering the absence of any flat
before the next climb, the Belorussian can't be of much use to him if he does
1555 CEST - Jalabert has been caught by
Monfort, De la Fuente and Luis Leon Sanchez. It's still descending, but not
quite as sharply, which explains why this trio caught Jalabert so quickly.
40 km to go - So we have Lang in front, than
Kuschynski, then the four with Monfort and then the group Kirchen. Lang just
started the Aspin. 12 km to the top; hopefully we get some fireworks for the GC
Our live coverage continues in
Stage 9 Part 3
198 km: Cat 1 - Col d’Aspin, (12,3 km - 6,5 %)
Stage 9 Profile
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