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95th Tour de France - Stage 19 Live
By Staff
Date: 7/25/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 19 Live

95th Tour de France - Stage  19 Live
Join us for the live action on the road to Montlucon


Stage 19 Roanne - Montlucon, 163km
Stage 19 Profile
Welcome to our live coverage of stage 19. Another day much like yesterday's stage. With Paris now in sight, and a time trial following the day after, this is going to be the last chance for anyone to race away from the Peloton and take the stage honours.

Aside from two early climbs that come within the opening 40km, the roads to Montlucon are more rolling than strenuous. It is likely that the breakaway group that decides the race will set its stall out just after the climbs – tactically making the move is the key part of the race.

At the moment we have four leaders with Egoi Martinez (Eus), Stefan Schumacher (Gst), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues) and Alessandro Ballan (Lampre). They have about 1.10 on the peloton led by Liquigas who missed the break. These four guys attacked on the climb after about 10 km of racing.
Bart says:
The points for the first ascent of stage 19 were won by: 1. Schumacher (GST) 4pts 2. Fedrigo (BTL) 3pts 3. Ballan (LAM) 2pts 4. Martinez (EUS) 1pt we are 40 km far in the stage.

Damiano Cunego didn't start today, having announced his withdrawal last night after medical treatment and consulting with the team doctor. Damiano crashed landing on his face and chest received 5 stitches in his chin. After the consultation with the team doctor the decision was made to withdraw. Damiano fought bravely to finish the stage after his injury in the first 30 kilometers. Get well soon Damiano.

The points on the 2nd climb of the day: the cote de la Croix-Rouge at 42 km were taken by 1. Stefan Schumacher followed by Pierrick Fedrigo and Alessandro Ballan (LAM) with 116 km to go the gap of the four leaders is down to 45 seconds.

There are also two intermediate sprints in the second half of the course, the first in Chantelle (at 102.5km), the second in Commentry (22km from the finish). Caisse D'Epargne and Liquigas are working well together on the chase in the peloton.

Transfer news: the second French rider who will join Sylvain Chavanel at Quick Step is Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom).

Yesterday in the Tour Feminin en Limousin - Poitou Charentes started. The prologue was won by U23 European Champion Ellen van Dijk. She was faster than Edwige Pitel and her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten.

All the riders in the break have been in former breaks in this Tour. Martinez was second in the stage to Prato Nevoso as he was beaten by Simon Gerrans. Alessandro Ballan was third in the stage won by Kurt Asle Arvesen. Stefan Schumacher won the first ITT and this is his 3rd break the last few days. The first two were in the stage to Jausiers and to Alpe D'Huez. Fedrigo tried several times to but without success, gap down to 40 seconds this might not be his day either.

Other news: Saunier Duval will return in racing from the Classica San Sebastian. As Saunier decided to withdraw it's sponsorship the name of the team will now be SCOTT - American Beef. As bike supplier SCOTT takes the honors of Saunier for the rest of the season and American Beef is the new co-sponsor.

Quick Step in the chase now too with Caisse and Liquigas. Barredo the second of St Etienne is up front working. the gap of Schumacher, Ballan, Fedrigo and Martinez is down to less than 40 seconds.

In the fourth stage of the Thüringen Rundfahrt we have at the moment two leaders with Alison Powers and Loes Gunnewijk. The gap of both girls is 25 seconds on the bunch. In the Thüringen Rundfahrt both Powers and Gunnewijk have 42 seconds on the bunch after 50 km of racing.

1453 CEST - 100 km to go, Gap down to 20 seconds. The pace is fast, some riders in trouble following the pace, gap down to 12 seconds. The four brave warriors are caught by the bunch, the quartet attacked after 10 km of racing and has been in the wind for 60 kilometers. Unfortunately for them Liquigas wanted this break back, now they have their wish.

The next one to attack is Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) but he can't get away (are we surprised?) Serial attacker Sylvain Chavanel on the attack joined by Popovych but the bunch don't let them go. Attack of Lequatre - he company of Sebastian Langeveld. Caisse D'Epargne reacts; Leonardo Duque is the next one to attack. Valverde reacts but can't bridge across. Leonardo Duque has been caught. The next one to attack is his team mate Sylvain Chavenel. Who else?

90 km to go - Chavanel has 5 seconds on the bunch... Chavanel has 5 seconds on the bunch. About 8 riders in the counter attack now - its a no go for the eight. Chavanel persists... Jeremy Roy joins Chavanel, two leaders. Roy and Chavanel have 12 seconds on the peloton; looks like they have an pass from the teams to go the gap is 20 seconds. French fans will of course be delighted.

Thüringen Rundfhart update: after 60 km of racing Powers and Gunnewijk have 1.50 on the bunch.

1515 CEST - Chavanel has been so attacking this race, he deserves some kind of reward via a stage win. Today? It seems unlikely as the bunch freewheel. After almost 80 kilometres of full-on riding, it will be a big relief. 40 seconds gap. Behind, race leader Carlos Sastre stops for a pee. It's a good time to go. Vladimir Karpets won the 85th Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia . For a more detailed report check Fabio's report here.

1517 CEST - 80km to go for our new leaders, Chavanel and Roy. The gap is flying up, now 1'20". I think we can take that as a note of approval by the peloton. The gap is up to 2.45. Jeremy Roy is pro since 2004 with La Francaise des Jeux. In 2003 from 24/8 he joined as a stagiaire. Roy completed the Vuelta three times, and rode the Giro 2008 as well.

The gap is up to 4.00 already as they cross the Pont Charles de Gaulle. Abandon Christophe Brandt (Silence-Lotto).

70 km to go, the gap rises to 4:50 In the front we have Liquigas, Milram, Caisse, Columbia and Rabo all with one rider in front of the bunch. I'd say the teams are in agreement to finish the stage in mass sprint and manage the gap to our leaders. 

67 km to go - 5'00" for the French pair in front.

Thüringen Rundfahrt: Powers and Gunnewijk have a gap of 2.44 on the bunch. Gunnewijk is the virtual leader on the road now. Monica Holler, Andrea Thürig and Diana Ziliute went in the counter attack but where chased down quite fast. Katherine Carroll abandoned the race in the feedzone

Team CSC has announced Fabian Cancellara has extended his contract by three years to 2011.

Gap falls to 4:28 - Marcus Burghardt sits at the back of the peloton with the red number. He will still be ecstatic after yesterday's trackstand/grandstand stage finish... Carlos Barredo, however, is still hitting his handlebars to vent his fury in coming second...

60 km to go, the gap 4.18. Liquigas and Milram are doing most of the work. Zabel goes for third in the sprint, and nobody follows. It will cost him some energy for the final bunch kick in Montlucon.

Perhaps Chavanel is the new Durand? Certainly nobody else has tried harder to get off the front in this year's race, If we wins Flanders and Tours he will. He's signed to Quick Step for 2009, so who knows! Frenchman on a foreign team; a big step; same for Jerome Pineau.

Can Sastre win the Tour? Of course he can. Yes, but he won't. If you look to the final TT's over 50 km in the Tour of the past years. The difference between Evans and Sastre was always around the 1.00 - 1.15, so that's enough only last year was different.

Evans' final TT was very strong, he needs another one of those. It's interesting. It will come down to pressure-handling and recovery skills, alongside time-trial ability. Did Wednesday affect Sastre badly? I think Evans will take 1.50-2.20 out of Sastre, nonetheless making it an incredibly close race.

Sastre needs a good start - if Evans gets 30 seconds in the opening 10km, that's it. I anyone gets the Chris Carmichael newsletter, Carmichael agrees that Sastre can win, even if only by a few seconds. I give him the nod too. Evans has been tired too with the tactics CSC has done in the three alps stages. And you know what a yellow jersey can do with a rider? more confidence, morale boost etc..

A Sastre win would perhaps be more popular, considering his Alpe heroics. Agreed it depends on the start and how much Evans can take there. if it's still 10-20 seconds at first time check Sastre will win. If its more Sastre will loose confidence or either Evans can too if he sees Sastre is able to keep the same pace.

So, the Daily Peloton pundits are split. Tomorrow will be fascinating, and come down to seconds to decide the race.

Chavanel and Roy have gone through the village of Bellenaves and are negotiating a lengthy 200m (in altitude) climb - it's clear on the map, but is unclassified.  34 km to go in Thüringen

Many don't like Evans for his boring, methodical, tactical way of racing and apparent whiny personality. Some admire him greatly for his grit and sacrifice though. Sastre isn't exactly Mr. Charisma to the media either, and he bided his time in this race till that explosion on the 21 hairpins outside Bourg d'Oisans. On the other hand, the race doesn't need an exciting winner. Just a clean one!

1600 CEST - 50 km left for the duo in front. Their gap is slowly being sheared away, now at 4'00" exactly. CSC now in the lead of the bunch. Seems the Sprinters teams are off the front, they will be back in the final kilometers.  the gap is up to 4.14 as the guys in front are now threat for Sastre.

This will suit the two breakaways, though staying away is still unlikely. A two-up break also succeeded the last time the Tour was in Montlucon: Serge Baguet outsprinted Jakob Piil in 2001. Well, Lelli was a distant third member of the escape that day. Flecha, Feillu and Wegmann have dropped out of the bunch a while ago. They are now over 20 minutes behind on the break according to Rabo sport director Erik Dekker.

CSC don't have to chase this down hard. They seem to be asking the question: "do you want the win today, sprinters?"  With 4.23 the gap they have to start a chase soon if they want to have another bunch sprint. I would have thought Quick Step would be pulling as they need a Stage win.

45 km to go, 4:38 the gap to our French duo Sylvain Chavanel and Jeremy Roy. The bunch need to get their ass in gear or it'll be an all-French competition for the win.

The Live Coverage Continues: Stage 19 Live Part 2

Intermediate Sprints
Chantelle, 102.5km
Commentry, 143.5km

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