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95th Tour de France - Stage 14 Live
By Staff
Date: 7/19/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 14 Live

95th Tour de France - Stage  14 Live
The Fantastic Four Sandy Casar, Bram Tankink, José Ivan Gutierrez and William Bonnet have escaped the surly bonds of the bunch... the chase is on with Milram and Liquigas attempting to reel in our Super Heros

Stage 14 Nimes - Digne les Bains, 182km
Welcome to stage 14 of the Tour de France from Nimes to Digne-les-Baines over 194.5 km. It's a stage which could end in a sprint or favor success for determined breakaway group. Cadel Evans started the stage for the fourth day in a row in the yellow jersey. Cadel is starting to look completely comfortable in the maillot jaune.

There are two intermediate sprints in today's stage – the first in Saint-Remy-de-Provence (at 37km), the second in Oraison (145km).There are also two categorized climbs on the undulating course. The ascents are both ranked category-four: the cote de Maine (at 128.5km) and the col de L’Orme (9.5km from the finish).

After 5 km of racing twenty-one riders attacked. The names Stuart O'Grady (CSC), Juan José Oroz and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel). Vicente Garcia Acosta and José Gutierrez (Caisse D'Epargne), Bernhard Eisel (Columbia), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Matteo Bono (Lampre), William Bonnet (Credit Agricole), Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Eduardo Gonzalo and David Lelay (Agritubel), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Mathieu Sprick and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues), Marco Velo (Milram), William Frischkon (Garmin) and Sandy Casar and Sebastien Chavanel (FDJ).

The maximum gap of the 21 was about 1.10 but due to the work of Cofidis and Silence-Lotto this was quickly reduced to thirty seconds. At that moment Sandy Casar, Bram Tankink, José Ivan Gutierrez and William Bonnet went on. The others couldn't  follow and are already chased down by the bunch.

 © Amaury Sport Organization 

These four guys have now a lead of 3.35 after 67 km of racing. We also have had the first intermediate sprint. The points at the first intermediate sprint in stage 14 were won by:

1. Stijn Devolder (QST) 6pts
2. Will Frischkorn (GAR) 4pts
3. Bernhard Eisel (COL) 2pts

The best ranked rider in the break is Sandy Casar. He is 24th overall 13.00 down on Cadel Evans. The first hour of today's stage was very fast with with an average of 52.5km/h.

At the 80,5 km mark at the feedzone the bunch is 4.15 down on Casar, Gutierrez, Bonnet and Tankink

105 km to go the gap o Tankink, Casar, Gutierrez and Bonnet is up to 6.02 Abandon Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel). Sandy Casar won a stage in the Tour last year to Angouleme. He was also 3rd once in P-Nice and 6th in the Giro. He was called a future GC rider for the French but his promise was not fulfilled. José Ivan Gutierrez is a Spanish TT rider , William Bonnet is a French fast men and Tankink is a Dutch diesel and a domestique rider.

100 km to go the gap up to 6.38 - Silence-Lotto is leading the pace in the bunch with Liquigas in attendance. It's very warm and tropical today.  Liquigas, Milram and Columbia already in the lead of the bunch. I think it will be interesting what will happen on the climbs in the end of the stage... I expect to see big fireworks on the final climb Col de L’Orme.

The gap is now down to 5.38 to our fantastic four. It is being reported today in the Belga a Belgian press agency that Barloworld has decided to withdraw it's sponsorship from the Team after the Tour de France. The team has a zero tolerance against doping and the cause is due to the positive test of Moises Duenas. Although Barloworld are withdrawing from the sponsorship they will honour contractual obligations and discussions are underway with replacement sponsors.

1437 CEST - The gap is down to 4.00 now with 90 km to go for Tankink, Casar, Gutierrez and Bonnet.

The course is constantly going up towards the Finish so with the heat it won't be easy. The gap is down to 3.30 as Liquigas and Milram doing most of the work in the bunch.

1444 CEST - The gap falls to 3.20 the riders continue the slow slight uphill torture to the climb of Cote de Mane.

We expect some attacks by riders like Pozzato on the final climb; with the summit at 9 km before the finish. It is rather odd that Liquigas is riding at the front of the peloton at the moment. It's not like they need to be there to control attacks as there haven't been any. Pozzato perhaps favors the attack.

Gap down to 3.11 for the brave quartet. William Bonnet, Sandy Casar, Bram Tankink and José Ivan Gutierrez are still working well together. We repeat Sandy Casar is the best ranked rider 24th at about 13.00 of Evans... so no worries Cadel.

1455 CEST - 80 km to go, Gap down to 2.50. It's going quite fast now; if they catch the break too soon we will definitely get new attacks. It appears that Mark Cavendish will try to reach Paris and then fly to Beijing for the Olympics ; were not sure it will depend on how he will survive the alps. We mentioned a day ago that Stijn Devolder is not going to the Olympics for the Belgium team. His replacement is Mario Aerts (Silence-Lotto).

But the question on Cavendish is. Does the team want him to continue the race? Cavendish is still young and competing two Grand Tours in one season is often regarded as a little bit too much. Perhaps the  the team would be wiser to protect him so he doesn't burned out.

1500 CEST - 70 km to go. The gap is up to 2.55 as Quinziato does the most work for Liquigas followed by 5 of the lime green clad riders on the front.

66 km to go the The break is now on the Cat. 4 Cote de Mane the first of two climbs today and have pushed the gap over 3 minutes as they ride through the narrow streets of small ancient village. Gutierrez is first over the top ahead of Tankink and Casar taking the points. The peloton, once again led by the Liquigas lads doesn't look to be pushing the pace hard, prefering to control the gap for the catch on the base of the final climb.

1518 CEST - 60 km to go, the gap continues to hover at the 2:30 - 2:45 area as Milram throws three riders to the front to aid Liquigas on the chase. Bouygues Telecom with Stef Clement in the lead of the bunch too. Milram and Liquigas still up there too; the peloton has stepped up the tempo. They can't be thinking of closing down the effort at this point or are they?

1525 CEST - the gap down to 2.23 as the effort starts to show results. Not sure for who Bouygues Telecom is riding. Maybe Jerome Pineau, Thomas Voeckler or Xavier Florencio perhaps plan to attack after the break has been chased down. Either way it looks like we may just find out how fantastic our quartet up front are soon. The four continue to work well together showing no sign of weakness at the moment as they race to the final climb of the Col de L’Orme.

The gap is up to 2.35 again with 52 km to go.  In about 2 km the riders will have the second and final intermediate sprint in Oraison... 1 km to the last intermediate sprint. The four fly through the sprint with José Ivan Gutierrez takes the sprint with as none of them contests the points.

Our live coverage continues: Stage 14 Live Part 2

Col de L’Orme, 185km (4th Category)

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