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95th Tour de France: Jambon Report, Stage 13
By Bart Hazen
Date: 7/18/2008
95th Tour de France: Jambon Report, Stage 13

95th Tour de France: Jambon Report, Stage 13
The 'Roadrunner' taunts the coyotes again for another Golden Ham. A salute to the eternal flame of French optimism...

Golden Hams of the Day
Mark “Roadrunner” Cavendish (Team Columbia)

The kid is really amazing. Four real bunch sprints and four victories, his eleventh victory of the season today. It's been five years since we've seen a rider dominate like this. The last was Alessandro Petacchi in 2003. No-one can hold the young Brits wheel, you can check the photo finishes and you won't find another wheel in the pictures. Team Columbia has had a successful first two weeks with 4 stage wins, a few days yellow, green and white. They've used the same tactics leading the chase to the escapes, in the final 10-15 kilometers passing the chase off to the other teams and then showing up in the final kilometer with Cavendish in tow.

It’s likely that Cavendish will leave the Tour after tomorrow to prepare himself for the Olympics in Beijing where he will be one of the top favorites with his team mate and friend Bradley Wiggins in the Madison. God help the competitors because we are quite sure that we know who the new Olympic Champions already are. The other sprinters in the tour may be dancing on the tables once they get the news of the possible abandon of Cavendish as they have a better chance for a stage win. But they may have to wait for the final day in Paris with the alps to come..

Smoked Hams
"Rockin" Robbie  McEwen (Silence-Lotto)

We had to wait for almost two weeks to see multiple stage winner and multiple winner of the green jersey Robbie McEwen in his specialty. In the previous sprints he hasn’t finished close to a top three. Today Robbie was well positioned but even he had to admit that there was nothing to do against Cavendish at the moment. Still a good result for McEwen, when you consider his effort was a lonely one with the teams support focused on the yellow jersey wearer Cadel Evans. Robbie plays the loyal domestique during the day to Cadel and the lone raider for Silence looking for the green points in the final. With the possible abandon of Cavendish, McEwen will save his legs for Paris in to add another stage win to his already impressive palmares.

Niki “The Flyer” Terpstra (Milram)
Niki Terpstra is certainly a hot prospect for the future. He attacked today with French rider, Florent Brard in the first kilometer and was caught with about 10 km to go. He rode 172 km at the front and took the prize for the most aggressive rider. Terpstra is a lightning point for the Dutch guys, as he showed for the second time today. One time with a useless chase or a so called “chasse patat” and today with great but ill fated effort. Cursed by a headwind in the final kilometers, he might have had a happier ending evading the chase into Nimes. Pay attention to 'The Flyer' Terpstra; I expect we will be hearing his name more in the future.

Grazed Hams of the Day
La Francaise des Jeux

Sprinter Sebastien Chavanel finished in an excellent second place behind Mark Cavendish in Stage 12. La Francaise des Jeux must have thought “what the hell” if we can finish second we can also win a stage. So the team worked all day at front of the bunch chasing to secure a bunch sprint; but in the final kilometer they were nowhere to be found and Chavanel finished 10th. Perhaps the effort was foiled by his older brother Sylvain as he teased the bunch with a late attack. Sorry boys better luck next time...

Sylvain “Mimosa“ Chavanel and his Cofidis brothers
We've missed Sylvain Chavanel animating the race with his attacks in the most recent stages. He showed up as we approached Nimes at about 10 kilometer putting in a blistering attack. This late attack proved both pointless and fruitless for a stage victory taking on the combined powers of the big “mad” wolves of the bunch set on a sprint finish. Luckily we have a team like Cofidis who has already collected a stage on what some might call a "fools errand." They may have a point, but the attack by Dumoulin at first may have seemed useless; but unlike his countrymen who failed Dumolin proved success was possible. Still one week to go for the French and for Chavanel to try and we salute their eternal optimism and wish them the best of luck.

To Chavanel but also his Cofidis brothers Florent Brard and Stephane “I can’t stay in the bunch all day” Auge had their hams grazed today. Florent Brard who was part of the break of the day with Terpstra couldn’t follow the Dutchman when he attacked and when Auge bridged up to his team mate they both lost more time, despite working well together chasing Terpstra.

Genetically-Modified Hams
Leonardo the "renaissance man" Piepoli left the Tour de France because of the withdrawal of his Saunier Duval team a day ago. Tragically it will likely be the end of career for Leonardo Piepoli; and as tragically his fans will be left to question if his renaissance of the past two years was chemically induced... no winners to be found on this count. Both Ricco and Piepoli were sacked by their team because of violations of the team's ethics code. Today, L’Equipe mentioned that a second rider besides Ricco tested positive. It’s likely we are soon to hear the name Piepoli. It’s not the latest thing we've heard about the Saunier Duval case, and likely the last, as the French police have searched the team's hotel rooms and confiscated the team bus for further investigation. To be continued…

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