Tour de France – Team News Stage 12
T-Mobile, “Schreckus”, CSC, Lombardi still lead Team Competition, Liberty Seguros, Ángel Vicioso, Liquigas Bianchi, The Dolphin Tries, Beltran Suffers Concussion
David Moncoutie stormed to victory on Bastille Day. David Moncoutie (Cofidis) made sure that there would be joyous celebrations on "la Quartorze juillet" by stealing away from the 13 man group on the Col du Corobin with about 37km to the finish. Despite a lead which was never much greater than 40 seconds, the French climber held out to the end.
For most of the T-Mobile Team, it was a welcome quiet day after two extremely tough Alpine stages. Importantly, to keep control on things, T-Mobile managed to get a rider, Stephan Schreck, into the breakaway of 13. This took some pressure off the rest of the team in the peloton. Afterwards, Schreck appeared disappointed that he´d only made twelfth at the finish, "Today, I was free to do what I wanted. I felt very good. It was clear that there was going to be an attack on the penultimate ascent. But then my legs virtually exploded – and that was it for me. I have to acknowledge that other riders were stronger today.”
Jan Ullrich considers yesterday’s stage and pays his respect to “Schreckus”, his young team mate who got into the break today -
After raising a glass to Vino’s win yesterday evening, a couple of other riders also came over to say hello. That’s hardly surprising as there were so many other teams sharing the hotel in Briancon with us: Ag2r, Davitamon-Lotto, Gerolsteiner, Liberty Seguros and Liquigas. Of course, it’s easy to have a chat with the Gerolsteiner guys or with Jörg Jaksche from Liberty.
This morning I also had a visit from some friends from home. They’ve been following us around in their camper and always stayed close to our hotel. Of course, as the treatment of my injuries is so time-consuming, I didn’t have too much time for them. At least, we managed to meet up after dinner and after breakfast this morning.
In the three-and-a-half weeks we’ve been on the road now, a break from the daily routine is always welcome. However, they headed home today.
Today's stage was as fast as expected. That’s the way it always is on the 14th of July. After Matse Kessler and Beppe Guerini failed to get away, but Schreckus managed to join the break of the day. And even if wasn’t quite enough in the end, our Tour rookie turned in a a great performance after the last few tough stages. Respect! Tomorrow it should be a quiet day for us, with the sprinters likely to have a go.
Hopefully, we can save enough energy to be able to launch an all-out attack in the Pyrenees.
Team CSC managed to get Giovanni Lombardi into the break, whose efforts helped maintain the CSC grasp on the Team Competition, but the team is still disappointed by the absence of Voigt. Team CSC reports -
Team CSC's Giovanni Lombardi made the decisive break away in the hilly stage 12 of the Tour de France from Briancon to Digne-les-Bains. However, Lombardi was dropped from the lead group when French rider David Moncoutie (Cofidis) attack on the last serious climb and later won the stage after a beatiful solo effort on the French national day; The Bastille Day.
"We had Lombardi in the break, but the last climb was a bit too hard for him. Still I'm glad we were represented in the break away and thereby retained the overall lead in the teams competition. Our riders are still very motivated, although we're obviously saddened by the fact we have to do without Jens Voigt for the rest of the Tour," said Bjarne Riis after the 187-kilometer stage.
No changes were made in the overall standings, but Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) captured the green points jersey from Tom Boonen (Quick Step), who did not start today's stage. The reason for Boonen abandoning the race was yet another crash in yesterday's stage.
David Zabriskie. Photo by Karen Lambrecht.
Ángel Vicioso was the protagonist of the Liberty Seguros-Würth in the stage of medium mountain with which the Tour said goodbye to The Alps. The Aragonese rode to the team orders of Manolo Saiz for today and caught the good break, of 13 riders, which was formed in the kilometre 70. Vicioso remained amongst the tough seven who survived the climb of the col du Corobin, 30 kilometres to go, where Moncoutie escaped alone, taking advantage of his climber's endowments to surprise his companions of adventure.
Vicioso fought until the end to hunt the leader and to be able to dispute the victory, but the understanding between the persecutors was not total and the Frenchman came in solitarily to Dignes les Bains, while Angel was third in the finish line, overcome by Sandy Casar. Nonetheless, Liberty Seguros-Würth's rider obtained today his best result in the French Tour, where in two previous years he has abandoned after two falls.
Ángel Vicioso is professional from 1998 and is with Manolo Saiz for the third year. Till now he has managed to finish two Vueltas a España and two Giros d'Italia, where in 2000 he managed to be first in fifteenth stage, but was discualified by the judges in a polemic decision that granted the victory to Biagio Conte. Since then, the Aragonese seeks to impose in a great tour and today has returned to be very close.
Besides Ángel Vicioso's break, the Liberty Seguros-Würth team, encouraged also by the appearance of the heat in the Tour, verified that both Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki, big harmed of the Alps, recovered part of his good sensations and they start feeling more optimistic waiting for Pyrenees stages. Beloki was specially happy on there having be fulfilled today and finally in the Tour the second anniversary of his 2003 fall. Even better finished Jörg Jaksche, thirteenth in the general after the Alps and ready to fight in Pyrenees to improve his privileged position.
Today the Tour de France peloton raced for 187 kilometres from Briançon to Dignes-les-Bains and the Liquigas-Bianchi was among the protagonists. Franco Pellizotti joined immediately with other nine riders the attack promoted by Spanish champion Garate after 70 km, on the first climb, the Cote des Demoiselles. Till the end “Dolphin of Bibione” has fought for victory but at last has placed 6th. As foreseen, a French rider has won on the day of the Bastille capture’s celebration: David Moncoutie, who got ahead in the last climb and was able to resist for 37 km to the pursuit of the opponents.
"It was a strange escape," affirmed Franco Pellizotti, "the continous attacks broke up the rhythm of our action also if I tried, especially on climbs, to maintain a regular pace. I’m quite satisfied but I want something more than a 6th place. In the next days I want to find the winning escape!."
Liquigas-Bianchi supporters could enjoy the backstage of this race in the team car driven by the team manager Roberto Damiani on Eurosport that is going to propose the highlights at 10 pm.
Beltran Suffers Concussion
Discovery Channel rider Manuel Beltran is suffering from a concussion after a hard hit to his head in a crash today. X-rays show no fractures, but the rider had to abandon the Tour today. He will remain under observation for 24 hours in the hospital in Gap. Best wishes go out to him for a speedy recovery.