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95th Tour de France - Stage 15 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 7/20/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 15 Live Part 2

95th Tour de France - Stage  15 Live Part 2
The 4 raiders Jose Luis Arrieta, Egoi Martinez, Simon Gerrans and Danny Pate have a 15 minute gap as CSC lights its afterburners leading the chase.

Stage 15 Digne les Bains - Prato Nevoso  216 km
53 km to go, the four fight back - 15:01 the gap. The peloton responds - 50 km to go the gap falls to 14:50 it's a full out peloton/break pursuit.

1624 CEST - Crash as we go through a roundabout - Nibali, Ten Dam, Lang, Millar, Dean, Vandevelde all go down, most of the riders are up and back riding. The peloton slows its pace to give the riders a chance to catch back on more likely out of respect for Vandevelde in third place. Nibali has called for the race doctor and waits at the rear of the bunch. Gerolsteiner's Sebastien Lang's kit is in shreds.

1639 CEST - 34 km to go, the gap falls to 14:30 as rush of CSC and Columbia lead the chase of the peloton. CSC's O’Grady and Niki Sorensen drive the chase to a higher tempo... it's flat out now to cut the gap to our quartet: Gerrans, Martinez, Arrieta and Pate.

1649 CEST - O'Grady continues to hammer out the pace at the front. Are they looking to drain Evans and company before the final climb? Silence/Lotto follows with Evans in tow. 28 km to go with Danny Pate leading the break... the quartet continues to switch off in team trial mode. 14:43 the gap... to our four brave raiders.

16 55 CEST - 28 km to go, 14:24 gap, 5 km to the cat. 3 climb of the Colle del Morte for our leaders. CSC continues to lead the chase with Lotto and Evans. This pace by CSC may be an attempt to tire Evans and his team before the final climb. Riis will want to arrive able to release the Schlecks and co leader Sastre on the final climb to tear time and the yellow jersey off Evans shoulder today.

22 km to go - 14:01 the gap to the leaders. Over the summit of the cat 4 pimple Colle del Morte Jose Luis Arrieta claims the max points leading Martinez, Gerrans and Pate the four continue to show no signs of weakness at this point.

20 km to go - Lotto comes to the front, the chase is paying off as the gap falls to 13:32. to the leaders. 17 km to go the gap continues to fall, now under 13 minutes...

15 km to go, the break starts the climb in 3 km. CSC returns to the front and continues leading the charge causing a split in the group, the big guys are dropping off the back already. Lightning is reported on Prato Nervoso the gap falls to 12 minutes.

12 km to go - the gap 11:52... How much have the four left in their tank? Will they be able to hold back this attack and the mayhem to come on the climb? Voigt leads 4 CSC riders absolutely hammering the hell out of the road, it looks like a slow torture to follow the full on assault.

10 km to go, Arietta has taken over. Danny is just trying to close the slightest of gaps. Cancellara now on the front. CSC has brought the leaders time down by almost 30 seconds in a kilometer. Cunego is up near Evans.

The gap is falling - 10:37' the latest gap. I think the 4 maybe need to push it a bit more. Andy Schleck joins the pace making. Pate is working hard and hanging off the back of the lead four. The 4 are looking at each other a bit. They are starting to weave around now and again. Pate is looking like he's the first that will be dropped... maybe he's playing possum so he can crush them all. Man CSC is putting the hurt on Cadel. Cancellara pulls off the front and Voigt drives his diesel up the climb

8 km to go - 9:47 the gap,  the 4 ahead better move because Jens is coming!!! Dig Deep lads! Cancellara drops off his work done. Riders are flying off the back -Luis Sanchez, Schumacher, Freire, Cancellara, Tossato, Lovkvist have been dropped. Martinez attacks Arrieta is dropped. Pate and Gerrans fight back... Gerrans suffers off the back.

Danny Pate, Egoi Martinez and Simon Gerrans on the escape.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

7 km to go - gap 9:12 Andy Schleck on the front of the pack now. CSC have melted like snow as Voigt drops of his work done.  Sastre and the Schlecks are still there for CSC. Cadel has his eyes fixed on Sastre's behind suffering. Menchov on Cadel's wheel... Vandevelde is right behind Frank Schleck hanging on his wheel.

Sastre attacks. Kohl goes too! Menchov responds, the other are bringing Cadel back up as they respond to the attack. Kohl did well. They all slow down and are back together, they look around at each other to see who's still in contact. Again Sastre goes and it's Menchov on his wheel. Andy Schleck is off the back Cadel joins them... Now a group of 5 for the leaders. Evans at the front now, reluctantly.

5 km to go - 7:47 the Gap. Sanchez attacks!  Frank Schleck chases; again they are looking at each other. They are letting Sanchez go. Up front, Gerrans finally catches Martinez and Pate. Pate out of the saddle taking a turn on the front. Andy fights back to his brother Frank. Sanchez is getting reeled back in. But very slowly. He's tacking around a bit.

Pate leads Martinez and Gerrans. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

4.5 km to go - for the lead trio... they will not be caught the winner is in the lead trio, Jose Luis Arrieta is thirty seconds down in his own battle with gravity.

4 km to go for the three musketeers. Gap 7:17 Pate zips his jersey up. 7:25 is the gap to the yellow jersey group Andy, Vandevelde, Kohl, Kreuziger, Frank, Evans, Menchov, Vandevelde, Sastre, Sanchez.

1744 CEST - 2.3 km to go - gap 6:39 Martinez goes again! Pate counters. Martinez is on his wheel and Gerrans manages to close the gap but not as smooth.

Yellow Jersey group: Cadel Evans takes a pull, Roman Kreuziger, Franck Schleck, Christian Vandevelde, Andy Schleck and Sammy Sanchez. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Andy Schleck attacks the yellow jersey group! Menchov responds with an attack and loses control crashes, his chain came off. He slid off on the corner on the white lines. The Vuelta winner is up and going again. He's not too far behind the race referees car and chasing hard... Menchov is back to the Maillot Jaune group. They were waiting, kind of. Now Andy Schleck is out the saddle - they must have been told he was back. Kreuziger is now welded to Andy's shoulder. Cunego is well dropped. only 50 seconds down though.

Andy Schleck lifts the pace again he grimaces with the effort. Andy is winding it up... Sanchez is yo-yoing off the back. Andy S. has gotten rid of Sanchez. Evans is not in prime yellow jersey position at this point. Andy continues doing monster work, burning all his bridges.

2km for the three - Andy and Kreuziger have a gap. If the lead three come to the line together, who will take the day? Evans only watching the one second gap he looks to be in trouble. Cadel at the back. Menchov is pushing, but looks to see where Evans is. Sanchez is out the back, definitely history now

Kohl makes an acceleration Menchov is right on him, Vandevelde responds. Evans in a bit of trouble with Frank Schleck- Cadel falls off the back with Frank Schleck - both are not looking good, Dammiit--why do they keep looking around at each other?!? Menchov on the front. Andy dropped he fights back to the front.

Menchov is pushing himself as hard as he can. Cadel is coming back up Vandevelde is there. Frank and Cadel are talking. The lead three are watching each other - waiting for someone else to make the first move. Kohl and Menchov are riding away from them. Vandevelde is pulling Evans back up to Kohl and Menchov. Sastre hanging on and Vandevelde  is in no man's land between the two groups. This race makes it look like Menchov will win the Tour.

1 km for the leaders - Gerrans goes!
Martinez has nothing left - Aussie Aussie Aussie...  and the winner is

Simon Gerrans!!!

Victory Simon Gerrans, behind Egoi Martinez head downs fights to the finish.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Gerran's takes a stage for Credit Agricole. Euskaltel's Egoi Martinez in for second at 3 seconds... Danny Pate finishes 3rd for Garmin/Chipotle... Ag2r's Arrieta in the final km.

Jose Luis Arrieta comes in finishing 55 seconds down on his breakmates.

Back to the leaders war zone: Kohl leads with Sastre, Menchov and Valverde the yellow jersey group at 35 seconds. Evans is dropped by Frank Schleck. Kohl is leading Sastre to the finish line. Frank needs to gain 46 second on Evans.

Kohl and Sastre sprinting for the line, Kohl's rocking a bit giving it his all... the Gerolsteiner rider in for 5th nipping Sastre for 5th at 4:03. Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde is the next to arrive 9 seconds down.  Menchov is dropped by about 10 seconds at the finish for 9th.

Frank Schleck and Christian Vandeveld finish. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Frank Schleck is off the front, Cadel struggles. Schleck coming in with Vandevelde, Krueziger. Frank takes tenth, followed by Vandevelde then young gun Kreuziger. Sanchez leads Evans toward the finish. Its Sanchez then Evans at 4:50... Schleck has 9 seconds and will finish the day in Yellow! Kim Kirchen held it at about 1:40 to the group but his hopes for the yellow jersey may be completely dashed at this point.

Lampre duo, Damiano Cunego and Sylvester Szmyd finish with Sandy Casar.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Stage 15 Results (top 20)
1. Gerrans Simon 86 Credit Agricole 4h 50' 44"
2. Martinez Egoi 24 Euskaltel - Euskadi 4h 50' 47" - 00' 03"
3. Pate Danny 199 Garmin Chipotle 4h 50' 54" - 00' 10"
4. Arrieta Jose Luis 102 Ag2r-La Mondiale 4h 51' 39" - 00' 55"

5. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 4h 54' 47" - 04' 03"
6. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 4h 54' 47" - 04' 03"
7. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 4h 54' 56" - 04' 12"
8. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 4h 55' 07" - 04' 23"
9. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 4h 55' 25" - 04' 41"
10. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 4h 55' 27" - 04' 43"
11. Kreuziger Roman 65 Liquigas 4h 55' 30" - 04' 46"
12. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 4h 55' 34" - 04' 50"
13. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 4h 55' 34" - 04' 50"
14. Schleck Andy 16 Team Csc Saxo Bank 4h 55' 42" - 04' 58"
15. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 4h 56' 18" - 05' 34"
16. Szmyd Sylvester 78 Lampre 4h 56' 26" - 05' 42"
17. Casar Sandy 161 Francaise Des Jeux 4h 56' 27" - 05' 43"
18. Goubert Stephane 107 Ag2r-La Mondiale 4h 56' 28" - 05' 44"
19. Valjavec Tadej 109 Ag2r-La Mondiale 4h 56' 30" - 05' 46"
20. Nibali Vincenzo 67 Liquigas 4h 56' 30" - 05' 46"

General Classification After Stage 15
1. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 63h 57' 21"
2. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 63h 57' 28" - 00' 07"
3. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 63h 57' 29" - 00' 08"

4. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 63h 57' 59" - 00' 38"
5. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 63h 58' 00" - 00' 39"
6. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 63h 58' 10" - 00' 49"
7. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 64h 00' 09" - 02' 48"
8. Efimkin Vladimir 104 Ag2r-La Mondiale 64h 00' 57" - 03' 36"
9. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 64h 01' 32" - 04' 11"
10. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 64h 01' 55" - 04' 34"
11. Astarloza Mikel 22 Euskaltel - Euskadi 64h 02' 39" - 05' 18"
12. Nibali Vincenzo 67 Liquigas 64h 02' 43" - 05' 22"
13. Valjavec Tadej 109 Ag2r-La Mondiale 64h 03' 48" - 06' 27"
14. Kreuziger Roman 65 Liquigas 64h 04' 36" - 07' 15"
15. Cunego Damiano 71 Lampre 64h 05' 04" - 07' 43"

Thanks for joining us today. This concludes our live coverage. Special thanks to Perse, Walt, Paula, Zazi among others (sorry I should have jotted down all your names) who helped provide the commentary for the live report. Tomorrow is a rest day so get out and ride.

Join on Tuesday for stage 16 a 157 km jaunt from Cuneo to Jausiers which should be an exciting stage though lacking a summit finish it has Hors Category climbs the Col de la Lombarde and Cime de la Bonette-Restefond with the summit at 133.5 km, only 23.5 from the finish after a very fast and technical descent.
Stage 17 Profile
Nick Bulls Stage Preview: Tour Course Previews Week 3
John Summerson's: Tour de France Major Mountains - Part 1 & Part 2
Andy McGrath's: King of the Mountains Contenders

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