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95th Tour de France - Stage 17 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 7/23/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 17 Live Part 2

95th Tour de France - Stage  17 Live Part 2
The fab four lead over the Galibier...

Stage 17 Embrun - L'Alpe d'Huez  210 km
 Over the summit of the Galibier, Schumacher leads Di Gregorio, Velits and Ruben Perez with 4:22 on the peloton. They are followed by Kohl, Voeckler and Augustyn. Voeckler gets company of Txurruka and Barredo as they try to bridge to the four leaders.

Stage 17 Profile - Stage 17 Last 10 km

1422 CEST - gap 4:00, Vincenzo Nibali bridges across to Voeckler, Barredo and Txurruka. So we have 4 leaders, 4 chasers and the bunch. The leaders are now on the Telegraph. This climb is not categorized but a few km climb in the middle of the descent, The gap of the 4 leaders is down to 3.35 on the bunch as the four chasers are about to get caught.

Crash George Hincapie! The four chasers are caught and the peloton has split in the descent. CSC still leading the pace, gap down to 3.20. Hincapie is back on the bike and continues his race.

Fans wait for the riders near the summit of the Alpe d'Huez.

1425 CEST 110 km to go, 4:00 the gap. Hincapie is almost back in the bunch, he rides from team car to team car to retain his position in the bunch. The peloton is back together. Three leaders, as Di Gregorio dropped off the break in the descent. The gap is 3:23

1439 CEST - The riders continue the long fast descent now back in the forests as the gap to the leaders goes to over 4 minutes again. This is the calm before the storm; the action will start on  the 29 km long Col de la Croix de Fer. Di Gregorio is already 36 seconds behind on Schumacher, Perez and Txurruka. The four are now in the valley.

1447 CEST - Before they start the next climb, the riders pass through the feed station at Saint-Julien-Mont-Denis, with 91.5km to go. It looks as if our leaders will pass this at around 1450 CEST, which means the average speed thus far today has been 34km/h. The gap has grown to 4.47 again with Sörensen and O'Grady trading off and setting the pace.

90 km to go - Di Gregorio is still in no-mans land, and personally I would sit up now. With the Croix de Fer then L'Alpe, energy conservation is all important today; the gap is still growing as they pass the feed zone. Di Gregorio is now 1.12 behind Schumacher, Perez and Velits. All the favorites are in the peloton. The peloton is rolling through the valley fueling up after unpacking their mussettes.

Saunier Duval announced today they are pulling out of cycling sponsorship - reportedly with immediate effect... The sponsorship deal was scheduled to last until 2013. The Tour of Germany has already reported that the Spanish team is not welcome in the event in the end of August.

The break is now on the Croix de Fer. 29 km of climbing, The bunch is 7.18 down.

Cadel Evans his wife Chiara has reported in her column in the Italian paper that Cadel has fear for Alpe D'Huez. 2 years ago he lost about 1.15 on Sastre and 30 seconds on Menchov. Suppose that happens again nothing going on for the GC. As Sastre doesnt have a big lead for the TT which has to come. The stage two years ago was won by Fränk Schleck. Schleck was the best of an early break ahead of Cunego.

The riders are passing up the Eastern ascent of the Croix de Fer; this is the 'easier' of the two possible routes. The Western side is 32km, as opposed to 29km, and the gradient on this side goes up to 12%. Today's route has sections of a mere 9%!

The riders are passing up the Eastern ascent of the Croix de Fer; this is the 'easier' of the two possible routes. The Western side is 32km, as opposed to 29km, and the gradient on this side goes up to 12%. Today's route has sections of a mere 9%! Worringly, three of the last four people over the summit of the climb have been implicated for wrongdoing - Ramussen in 2006, Rodolfo Massi (1998, riding for Casino) and Festina's Richard Virenque in 1995.

Eisel has crashed, that's the third rider of Columbia hitting the deck. Riders took to the pavement to avoid this fall, which happened in the peloton. Hansen and Hincapie of Columbia crashed earlier in the stage, Burghardt crashed too early in the stage. In the back of the bunch riders are dropped off the pack on the first slopes of the Croix de Fer - the backdoor of the peloton is wide open for exit, please put your tray upright.

80 km to go - Bichot is at the rear of the bunch; he was another crash victim today. The three leaders have 3.00 on Di Gregorio and 7.00 on the CSC led chase. Work done, O'Grady of CSC is off the pack. Also Förster, Enqoulvent, Le Lay, Hushovd and others are off the back of the pack; the bunch is 6.48 down on the leaders.

Flecha (Rabobank) is slipping out of the peloton; he hasn't fared well in this Tour, which isn't ideal for Menchov. Cancellara is now setting the pace in the bunch.Elvis has just entered the building, some crazy fans dressed like Elvis running alongside the riders to cheer to them. Nicki Sörensen his work is done too and he drops off the pack as well. You were right Nick, confirmed on tuttobiciweb too. Saunier Duval quits sponsorship with immediate affect. Sad news Bart, another dark day in the fight against doping.

1525 CEST - The gap is down to 5.57. Schumacher, Perez and Velits still together; four CSC riders lead with Cancellara on the front. Ruben Perez drops off the break. Schumacher and Peter Velits remain in front. Perez fights to gain his mates but looks empty.

1529 CEST - 73 km to go, gap down to 5.22. Nibali is reportedly struggling on the climb, he's dropped. Frank Schleck is 5th wheel looking good. The leaders lead drops to 5 minutes.

Gap down to 4.51 all due to the work of the beast from Switzerland, TT World Champion Fabian Cancellara. Di Gregorio has been caught by the bunch; gap continues to fall under the Cancellara hammer to 4.42. Monfort drops off the back, Astarloza follows...  It's really thinning out now. Popovych has been dropped too. Bad luck for Cadel - not that Popo was much help in the mountains yesterday.

The green jersey drops off too, Freire still looking good. A remarkable performance by Freire, he's riding better than many established climbers. The two best ranked French riders Casar and Moinard struggle at the end of the peloton. Cancellara still doing the work on the front.

68 km to go - the gap 3.58, Velits is working hard on this climb, however the efforts of him and Schumacher will be in vain. Cancellara will slow for a minute as Voigt is collecting the bidons for the team - without doubt these are the 'men of the race'. Their efforts for Schleck and Sastre have been phenomenal. Ruben Perez is 1.38 behind Velits and Schumacher. and will be the next one to get caught by the CSC Express.

1548 CEST - 11 km to the summit of Col de la Croix de Fer 65 km to go 3:37 gap. Augustyn pedaling backwards out the back. Martinez, Zubeldia, Bruseghin all fall under the hammer of Cancellara.

63 km to go, Ruben Perez has just been caught by the bunch too. Reports coming from the Alpe is that a CSC Fan party is going on, and is supported by a large crowd... gap down to 3.00

1555 CEST - 7km to go until the top of the Croix de Fer for our two leaders. Their gap is 2'48". Velitz has gained ground on Schumacher, the Gerolsteiner rider can't keep in the wheel.

60 km to go - 20 km of it climbing, the gap is 2.06. Yesterdays stage winner Dessel drops off the pack, Casar, Lefevre and Ten Dam follow Dessels move. Damiano Cunego and Vansummeren dropped. Cancellara work done lets go as Arvesen takes the lead. The bunch is 18 riders strong.

5 km to the summit, Gustov empty out the back with Voigt... the combination of the climb and pace is decimating the pack.

1504 CEST - 58.4 km to go. Arvesen is leading the CSC train at the head of the Maillot Jaune group. Stefan Schumacher is swept up by the CSC led bunch. Good effort by the Gerolsteiner rider two days in a row. 

3 km to the summit - We hoped for some attacks just before the top; apparently the leaders are waiting until Alpe d'Huez. It's actually a pity... It doesn't surprise me that people aren't attacking now, but boy I wish they would. The  Arvesen isn't fast enough as more riders are coming back to the group. its too late to wait until Alpe to gain enough time on Evans. gap down to 1.22 to our lone leader Velits.

2 km to the summit - CSC will need to reassemble on the approach to the Alpe then attack straight away on the lower slopes, where the gradient is almost the steepest on the whole climb.

1615 CEST - 56 km to go, Peter Velits his gap down to 1.12. With a bit of luck he will crosses the top of the croix de fer as first. Arveson and Andy Schleck lead the chase.

1 km to the summit of the Iron Cross -

1618 CEST - 54 km to go, Peter Velits crosses the top of the Croix de Fer alone. 1:13 the gap. The bunch is on top 1.05 down on Velits at the summit. Kohl takes the points for second; barring bad luck Kohl is the winner of the KoM jersey in Paris. Into the descent now heading towards Bourg D'Oisans for the final intermediate sprint before entering the Alpe D'Huez. Actually Kohl isn't a certain winner at this point, but if he takes points on Alpe he will secure his lead after today's stage

50 km to go... Our live coverage continues: Stage 17 Part 3

Remaining Climbs
L’Alpe du Huez, 208km (Hors Category)

Intermediate Sprints
Bourg d’Oisans, 195km

Stage 17 Profile - Stage 17 Last 10 km

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