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Tour de France: Jambon Report Stages 16 and 17
 
By Locutus
Date: 7/20/2005
Tour de France: Jambon Report Stages 16 and 17
 
Golden Hams of Stage 16
  • Oscar Pereiro (Phonak). He got burned by Hincapie in that break on Stage 15, but Pereiro came back again after the rest day to take a very impressive victory on the last stage in the big mountains. Up that big Above Category climb in the middle of the stage, Pereiro jumped away from the Yellow Jersey group and bridged the gap all the way to the front of the race. Closing down Evans solo on a climb like that is impressive enough: driving it home for the victory just two days after a monster break is just sick. Pereiro jumped up to 15th on GC with that effort at 15' 40", and with his great time trialing he could climb up a few more spots in the final time trial.
  • Cadel "Hellraiser" Evans (Davitamon-Lotto). He was the big mover in that day-long break, and he ended up driving that break solo for the final five kilometers as he tried to hold onto time in his race for a high GC placing. Though he only 4th on the stage, Evans gained 3' 24" on most of his rivals. This was enough to move him up into 7th on GC at 9' 29". It's unlikely he'll be able to climb higher in the stages to come, but if he can put in a solid time trial he might be able to just hang into the top nine in Paris.
  • Eddy Mazzoleni (Lampre-Caffita). Like Evans, Mazzoleni took advantage of the GC infighting and apathy to climb himself up to 12th on GC at 14' 24". Mazzoleni has really helped out his cause in the Pyrenees by hanging with the big leaders for a long time, and in Stage 16 he left them all behind coming in 3rd on the stage and 3' 24" ahead of most of his rivals. Mazzoleni is a rider who usually has to sacrifice himself for men like Simoni and Cunego, so it's nice to see him doing so well while riding for himself.
Golden Hams of Stage 17
  • Paolo "Blue Falcon" Savoldelli (Discovery Channel). This year's Giro winner added to his great comeback season with a magnificent victory after a long breakaway. Like Hincapie in Stage 15, Savoldelli got into the big seventeen-man break that dominated the stage in order to take pressure off his mates on the front of the peloton. Unlike Hincapie, Savoldelli was free to work in this group. He marked the attacks that whittled the lead group down to eight, and then on the final climb of the day he ripped the break apart. In the final few kilometers, Savoldelli played his hand brilliantly and managed to outfox and outhammer some very strong men. His victory gave him a 22' 28" gain on the big GC leaders, but that was only enough to put him up into 24th on GC at 29' 59". Savoldelli won't care: he came to this race to support Armstrong, so this stage win comes as an even sweeter bonus for the powerful Italian.
  • Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC). The "other" Norwegian in the race, Arvesen showed a lot of power and savvy in that break today. Unlike his compatriot Hushovd, Arvesen actually climbed well today, coming over that final climb just behind Savoldelli. With the Italian hampered by a wheel-sucking Hinault, Arvesen was able to bridge up to the leaders. He then jumped off the front in the final 1.5 km in a move that came very close to succeeding. Savoldelli caught him just before the line, but it was still a noble effort for Arvesen on a day that left most men gasping for air.
  • Alexandre "The Great" Vinokourov (T-Mobile). Following up the attacks of his team leader Jan "U-Boat" Ullrich" on that final climb, Vinokourov put in an attack or two of his own to make sure that the Yellow Jersey group stayed away from the rest of the peloton. Why was this so important? Because the two men in front of Vinokourov on GC were caught behind. At the end of the day, Vino picked up 20" on Evans and Landis to jump over them on GC. He now holds 7th on GC at 9' 38", and you can bet he'll be attacking again tomorrow to try to climb higher.
Ham-Gazers of the Past Two days
  • Floyd Landis (Phonak), Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), and Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole). These three men got caught out on that final climb today, falling behind while their GC rivals Vinokourov, Leipheimer, Mancebo, Mazzoleni, and Popovych made the Yellow Jersey group. By the end of the day, each rider had dropped 20". This may not sound like much, but with the tight race for spots 5-13 on GC this could be the difference between two places in Paris. Evans slipped to 8th at 9' 49", Landis fell to 9th at 9' 53", and Moreau stayed in 10th at 12' 07" but lost time to the men in 11th (Mazzoleni) and 12th (Popovych). These three will be kicking themselves tonight, but you can bet they'll be right in the thick of it on that uphill finish at the end of the stage tomorrow.
 
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