Tour de France – Team News Stage 11.
Alexander Vinokourov came up with the best response possible to yesterday´s disappointing finish at Courchevel. The combative Kazakh led most of the race and took the stage after a cat and mouse sprint with Santiago Botero (Phonak). In the toughest stage of this year´s Tour, Vino displayed extraordinary courage and motivation to hold out to the very end. Christophe Moreau (CA) came in third, 1´15min behind, at the head of the chasing yellow jersey group.
At the finish, Vino explained, "The day of rest broke my rhythm, I didn´t feel right yesterday. We knew we had to attack today. It´s incredible that I made 1´15 on Armstrong. Our morale is back, the team will attack again." Team captain Jan Ullrich echoed the sentiments, "First of all, congratulations to Vino. After yesterday´s stage, he really deserved the win today. He was much stronger than yesterday, and proved it in an impressive manner. Our strategy of attacking early worked well and I felt pretty good myself."
Jan Ullrich considers today's stage a morale booster and promises his fans he will continue the fight –
First of all, congratulations to Vino! After yesterday’s stage, he really deserved to win today. He was much stronger than yesterday, and proved it in an impressive manner. Our tactic of early attacks worked well and I felt pretty good myself.
Of course, this win was important for us all. To be honest, it was tough to watch how Lance and his team made the leading group fall apart yesterday and seeing him disappear in the distance.
Many journalists gathered at the hotel later that evening. I did an appointed interview for the German channel ARD. Frankly speaking: It wasn’t a pleasant task, but it’s part of the game.
The question that kept on popping up: "Is it all over now?" My emphatic answer was: No! Sure, the cards are stacked against me now. Lance is really strong and is back on a roll again. But I’m a fighter and the Tour isn’t over until Paris. That’s why I will keep on battling ‘til the end. Plus, my legs are getting stronger day by day. Although four minutes is a lot of time to make up, Lance isn’t home and dry yet.
Today we showed that we haven’t given up the ghost. It was an act of defiance, which says a lot about our mindset. The team spirit is intact and we still believe in ourselves. If there’s a chance of unsettling Armstrong in the Pyrenees, we’ll definitely take it.
Finally, I’d like to thank all the fans, who’ve been encouraging me - mostly via email. Of course, I’m not able to read, let alone reply to them. Just knowing the support is there, is a real morale booster. Thank you very much!
Sadly the team that has given us two Yellow jerseyed heroes of the Tour, David Zabriskie and Jens Voigt, has had to say to say goodbye to both those riders from the team. Jens Voigt missed the time cut today and was eliminated. CSC managed to retain the overall lead in the Team competition, but Moreau’s strong sprint finish saw him move ahead of Ivan Basso to third spot. Team CSC report -
On Wednesday evening it was confirmed, Team CSC's Jens Voigt is out of the Tour de France after he finished 39 seconds out of the time limit in stage 11. Voigt, who on Sunday captured the yellow leader's jersey, has been ill with fever for the past few days.
"When I started in today's stage, I knew it was against all odds, but I still wanted to do everything I possibly could to continue. Kim Andersen gave me a lot of motivation during the stage, but in the end it just wasn't enough," said a disappointed Jens Voigt shortly after he was given the sad message by the race jury.
This means Team CSC is down to seven riders in this year's Tour de France. On Sunday David Zabriskie, who also had the yellow jersey earlier in the race, had to abandon, still in pain after his crash in the team time trial.
Team CSC had three riders in the leading group during the race; Ivan Basso, Bobby Julich and Carlos Sastre. This means the team retained the overall lead in the teams competition.
"Bobby and Carlos had some problems on Galibier, but I think they all did very well today. Ivan felt better than yesterday, but we didn't consider attacking with such a long distance from the last summit to the finish," said Bjarne Riis after the 173-kilometer stage from Courchevel to Briancon.
No major changes were made in the overall standings. However, Ivan Basso dropped from third to fourth place as Christophe Moreau gained eight bonus seconds in the sprint
David Zabriskie. Photo by Karen
Liberty Seguros Wurth
The Tour de France goes out of both stages of Alps with a general classification in which many important names have disappeared, and unexpected ones have managed to occupy their places. Liberty Seguros-Würth has suffered a hard knock in the first high mountain stages, which has finished with Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki out of contention, but on the other hand Jörg Jaksche, who struggled in the early season races like Paris - Nice, is having a good run of form and is now Liberty seguros best placed rider.
Jaksche goes out of the Alps as team's leader after ending today in the favourites' group and to feel very comfortably in the Madeleine climb and also in the Galibier. Waiting for Pyrenees, which will be his final test, Jörg is thirteenth, 5:33 to Armstrong, and is hoping to finish in Paris in the top ten. At the moment, he does not want to think about that it, but today he was "very satisfied because I have had very good sensations throughout the whole day. I have felt well and I hope to continue in this vein."
Joseba Beloki again had difficulties already in first climb and decided to save forces as soon as the general was discarded. His aim now will pass for looking any breakaway and continuing working to reach his former level. Precisely tomorrow, Beloki will celebrate the second anniversary of his serious fall in the Tour 2003. For him already it is an achievement to be able to be riding again the Tour de France, though the Alps have been a disappointment.
"For me there have not been good days in the Alps, not even yesterday, because my place had been to be near Ullrich. Today already I had problems in the Madeleine and thought that better was to relax and to save forces for the Pyrenees, since Roberto was not going and needing my help either. It is a pity, but only Jaksche and Contador are well. Now I am not dangerous in the general and I will seek to get in a break. I would like in Pyrenees, but things have to change very much".
"I felt very bad the whole day, I think it was a dreadful stage for the whole team and for me too, especially on the last climb. I was expecting more, but I also admit that it has been a long time since I took part in a major race and it showed. There is still a lot of race to go and I hope to be able to do better than today".
Today the Col de la Madeleine, the Col du Télégraphe and the famous “Galibier” have attracted huge crowds.
In the 11th stage (Courchevel – Briançon, 173 km) the yellow peloton has paraded through the crowd, thousands of people were waiting to see their favourite riders.
Among these there were also the Liquigas-Bianchi riders and particularly Stefano Garzelli, author of a reasonable performance in one of the hardest stage of this 92nd edition of the Tour. "Today was very hard," affirmed the rider from Varese who placed 32nd. "This year I didn’t prepare myself for the Tour, so I can be quite satisfied."
Felice Gimondi, who made heroic exploits on these mountains, wanted to live the emotion of this epic stage: "These sites, like the Col dell’Izoard, have written important pages in the history of the Tour and cycling. It’s a great emotion for me to see these mountains again, even more then when I was on the saddle."