93rd Tour de France - Stage 16 Live Part 2
Over the Croix de Fer, the riders are on to the Cat 2 Col du Mollard and Cat 1
La Toussuire summit finish...
At the 104 kilometer point the riders hit the Above Category climb of the Col
de la Croix de Fer (22.7 km at 6.9%), and then descend for only 14 kilometers
before hitting the slopes of the Cat 2 Col du Mollard (5.8 km at 6.8%). After a
16.5 kilometer descent, the remaining men hit the Cat 1 La Toussuire (18.4 km at
6.0%). Once again, a breakaway of climbers might be able to make it to the
finish and the finishing climb will see another brawl among the GC contenders.
1535 CEST - Rasmussen's gap is 8'10"
now...And Leipheimer is 2 min 20 sec ahead of the peloton, he's 2 km from the
top of this climb. Calzati (AG2r) is setting the pace in the peloton with
Boogerd on his wheel. Leipheimer passes Casar on the road.So this is really a
great attack by Leipheimer. It looks like it is in slow motion, because this
climb is steep, but Levi's steady pedaling is getting the job done. Axel Merkx
is out the back of the peloton. Rasmussen approaches the top of the climb...
this one's been a bitch, man.
1540 CEST. Rasmussen has 1 kilometer to
go to the top of this climb. The fans are crazy thick up here. Casar's been
bouyed by Leipheimer -- he catches the American's wheel, and presses on.
Rasmussen goes over the top. He is now the leader in the Mountains competition.
Leipheimer will benefit from having Casar with him... he will have a man to work
with on the descent and the next climb. At least until Casar blows up.
53 km left. Rasmussen is twisting down
this very narrow descent. Leipheimer and Casar are nearing the top of the climb.
Leipheimer has gained 3 minutes on the peloton now. Moncoutie is still attacking
about 1 minute behind Leipheimer. Valjavec goes over the top at 4 min 55 sec
Leipheimer and Casar are on the descent. They are over 5 minutes behind
Rasmussen. The peloton is still climbing. Now they go over the top, and they are
over 8 minutes behind Rasmussen.
Rasmussen is flying down the descent.... his gap is 8'24". Casar is flying
down this descent. He almost overshot that corner. Leipheimer is being a bit
more cautious. Now Casar has backed off a bit. This descent has bad pavement and
some uneven sections. Sketchy.
43 km left. The next climb is no picnic:
it is only a Cat 2, but it is 5.8 km long at an average of 6.8%. That will hurt
at this point in the stage. Rasmussen starts up this climb, the
Col du Mollard.
Well, on the descent an attack has gone off the front of the peloton. Landis
still lurks near the back of the peloton. Pereiro and a T-Mobile rider are off
the front with a few others. It isn't Kloden, so T-Mobile will try to chase this
Leipheimer has dropped Casar. He's almost got Valjavec. Meanwhile, Rasmussen
is looking like he's not going to be caught by anybody. No word about what is up
with the peloton. Leipheimer how has passed Valjavec, who latches on to his
wheel. No, Valjavec is gone.
1608 CEST. The peloton is on the climb.
Caisse d'Epargne is setting pace in the peloton. Floyd is still hanging back
pretty far in the peloton. Is this a ploy to get the other teams to set the
pace? T-Mobile has three riders right behind the Caisse d'Epargne guys. Floyd is
about halfway back the group now. He's moving up. He's on Menchov's wheel.
36.5 km left. Rasmussen's gap is coming
down now. He is 5 min 20 sec ahead of Leipheimer and 7 min 30 sec ahead of the
peloton. The peloton is accelerating. Rasmussen near the top of the Col du
Mollard (which I think is French for mountains of the big duck. Okay, maybe
There are about 30 men in the peloton now. A few men are yo-yoing at the
back. This ride will for sure get Rasmussen a big lead in the Mountains
competition. He goes over the top of the climb. There has been an official
warning given out by the organizeers about this descent: it is very dangerous.
organizeers is French for organizers. Okay, maybe not.
1618 CEST - 32 km left. Valjavec has
managed to cling to Leipheimer's wheel. They are still about 2 minutes ahead of
the peloton. Can Levi gain more time or even hold this lead to the end?
Rasmussen almost overshot a corner. He did overshoot it, actually, but managed
to keep it upright. Back in the peloton, Caisse d'Epargne continues to set the
pace. Leipheimer is only 4 min 40 sec behind Rasmussen now. He gained on that
climb. Leipheimer is now on the descent with Valjavec.
Wow, this is a very sketchy descent. The corners are sharp, the roads are
narrow, the pavement is that black, uneven, oily looking stuff that is hateful
to go down. By the way, Merckx is now helping Landis move to the front of the
peloton. Landis is going to the front to go down the descent! Floyd's back at
the front of the pack. Casar is over the climb now. And the peloton goes over.
They are 7 min 20 sec behind Rasmussen. That means Leipheimer still has about 2
min 40 sec on the peloton.
1625 CEST - News in the White Jersey
competition: Fothen was dropped by the peloton, but Cunego is still in there. So
Fothen will have to get it in gear to keep Cunego at bay. Fothen is trying to
preserve his lead over Cunego in that competition. No word on how far behind the
peloton Fothen is right now. Okay, now let us hope the peloton takes it easy on
this nasty descent. No more crashing!
Ok... I'm sorry, but GO CUNEGO! He would definitely be a worthy winner for
sure glad he's found his legs finally, and is saying all the right humble
things... Cunego has been commenting throughout the race on how much harder the
Tour de France is than the Giro d'Italia. He says that while the climbs are
steeper and harder in the Giro, the level of competition and speed of racing is
much higher in the Tour.
On the descent, Valjavec has dropped Leipheimer. Levi won't take any risks
here. He'll catch Valjavec on the final climb. So this last climb Cat 1 La
Toussuire, is more of a power climb: it is 18.4 km long with a 6% average
gradient. A hard climb to be sure that will see what is left of the peloton blow
23 km left. Rasmussen is almost to the
bottom of the Toussuire. Holy crap, this is a horrible descent. Leipheimer is
just poking around the corners and I don't blame him. This is insane. Many of
these corners are blind and over 180 degrees. The pavement is lousy. Advantage
to the break riders on this descent.
1632 CEST - 20 km left. Rasmussen hits
the 20 km banner. He has just over one kilometer to the final climb. Kessler is
way out the back on the descent. Rasmussen survived the climb despite some poor
cornering. He's taking a drink and preparing for his final push for stage glory.
Leipheimer's back with Valjavec.
18 km left. Rasmussen starts the final
climb. Please put your seats in their upright position and hand any garbage you
may have to the flight attendent. This race is about to take off. Leipheimer is
driving it. He's in time trial position, looking to make up as much time on the
flat as he can. Leipheimer still has about 2 minutes on the peloton. Rasmussen
has almost 7 minutes on the peloton.
Landis is firmly back at the head of the peloton. Perhaps he knew the race
wouldn't go off until now. Kloden is right behind him. That Floyd is a cagey
man. Caisse d'Epargne drives the tempo at the front of the chase.
1639 CEST - 17 km left. Mickael "Bone
Machine" Rasmussen (Rabobank) is out of the saddle and moving along with it. He
doesn't look like he'll get caught. Leipheimer is moving well with Valjavec on
his wheel a few minutes back. Moreau gets dropped immediately on the final climb
by the peloton. The big Axel is ahead of a swarm of T-Mobile riders at the front
of the pack. Floyd is right behind the Hot Pink Armada.
Boogerd sets the pace in the pack. Moreau is struggling to come back. He's
back on the tail end of the peloton now. Boogerd and Merckx riding shoulder to
shoulder. Landis to Kloden: I got your back. Leipheimer has dropped Valjavec.
Dessel is still in the pack. So is Cunego. Pereiro is there. Moreau, hanging on.
Cungeo looks sharp next to him. Sastre and Schleck and Menchov are mixed into
the pack too.
15 km left. Rasmussen has a lead of 6'20"
Rasmussen is hauling his bony carcass up this climb very quickly still.
Leipheimer still has 2 min 10 sec on the peloton. Schleck sets the pace now,
slightly wincing. Kessler has cracked wide open. Landis just has to ride defense
up this climb. He doesn't have to chase Rasmussen or Leipheimer. He just has to
sit on attacks from men like Sastre, Menchov, and Kloden. Kloden takes a look
back at Floyd... what's that guy holdin'? Poker game continues... Rogers raises
the pace. Boogerd and Landis follow!
So Rogers is hammering away and putting some guys at the back of the pack in
trouble. Rogers is working to set up his teammate Kloden. Fothen is battling
back to the peloton! Amazing! Landis is right on Rogers' wheel. Rodgers tightens
the screws... Landis marks him.
Menchov Attacks! Kloden and Pereiro
respond, and Floyd doesn't respond. Menchov, Rogers, and Pereiro have gone, not
Kloden. Landis is still sitting on Kloden in the pack. Evans claws up to the
wheel of Menchov, Rogers, and Pereiro. T-Mobile is trying to chase back Menchov!
Floyd just has to sit on Kloden now! Boogerd is off the back of the pack.
Menchov sits up and looks around... he is caught!! Floyd is letting the
strategies of the other teams work for him... playing it cool. So T-Mobile
neutralized that attack, and Floyd played it perfectly: sit on Kloden and make
his boys do the work!
1655 CEST - 11.5 km left. So Rogers sets
the pace in the pack. Pereiro follows, and Landis sits on Pereiro.
Rasmussen is still riding away to victory. Leipheimer is only 3 min 45 sec
behind him now. The peloton is further back, but we aren't sure how far. If
Floyd's playing poker, there are a lot of guys burning matches right now.
T-Mobile still setting the pace. They will have to attack soon. The strength of
the T-Mobile team really is impressive. I dread to think what kind of damage
they'd be doing with Ullrich, if he weren't in big trouble, and had a little
form. Arroyo has been dropped from the pack.
There's a very small, select group together right now... the cream has risen.
Strangely, Menchov is the one who is isolated here (along with Floyd and Pereiro).
Menchov has Rasmussen up the road going for the stage win, and his other helper
Boogerd has been dropped. T-Mobile is looking strong here after looking a
bit weak in the Pyrenees.
Sastre attacks! Rasmussen has a little
over 10km to go...Sastre is on his own! He came from behind, and drilled it
hard. Sastre attacked from the back. T-Mobile sets the pace. And Landis has hit
the wall! Landis is losing time! Landis has been dropped. He's with Azevedo
now... Landis is in trouble, but he has a 2 minute lead on GC over a lot of
these guys. He will just have to limit his losses.
Menchov attacks! So now Sastre is tearing
up the road, and the T-Mobiles have hit the gas with Menchov to try to get time
on Landis. Kloden is driving it hard now. Pereiro is still hanging right with
Kloden. Pereiro will be in Yellow again tonight if he keeps this up. God, I hate
to see the pain. Dessel is still in the Kloden group. Well, no word on how far
away Leipheimer is up the road. He's trying to climb up the GC too.
Boy, I hate to say it, but Floyd is looking really bad. He is having a very
bad day. CSC has played its cards as Carlos Sastre attacks as Floyd looks to
have found his limit.
8.5 km left. Rasmussen still alone up the
road. Leipheimer is about 3 min 30 sec behind Rasmussen. Sastre is a further 45
seconds back. Landis is already 1 min 05 sec behind the Kloden group. Sastre is
huffing and puffing. He's only got about 30 seconds on the chasers. T-Mobile
still has two guys pacing Kloden. Three T-Mobile riders drive the pace in the
10 km to go for Landis, and they are going to hurt. The pain is all over his
face, man. Fothen and Schleck pass Landis. Sastre has caught Liepheimer.
1707 CEST - Sastre has caught Leipheimer.
They are working together now. This might work for Leipheimer, actually. Well,
Rasmussen is starting to struggle. He's hurting, but he gets out of the saddle
to fight on. He's still looking like he'll win the stage.
5.5 km left. Rogers powers the Kloden
group up this climb. Vladimir Karpets and Vila pass Landis. Floyd tries to latch
on. Liepheimer's been dropped by Sastre now. 5 km to go for Rasmussen. This
climb seems to go on forever. Landis has lost 4 minutes to Kloden so far.
Pereiro is hanging on hardcore up there. Floyd's looking a little snappier
now... He's dropped a lot of time, but his pedals are turning over again. Dessel
is right on Pereiro's shoulder. So what if the podium was Pereiro, Dessel,
Sastre? It's a possibility right now.
Evans is in with the Kloden group. He'll move up the GC today. Menchov never
stops with that face. Menchov raises the pace to chase Sastre. Kloden is on his
wheel. Rogers has been dropped.
The Kloden group has Liepheimer. Leipheimer is about to get caught by the
Kloden group. He put in a brave attack, but it hasn't worked out.They're flying
right by him. Kloden attacks, and Menchov can't follow! Leipheimer is with
Menchov. Menchov has been dropped along with Leipheimer. Periero and Evans are
the only ones who can hang with Kloden. This is the most painful bike race
I have ever seen. Pereiro might be riding himself to overall victory in the Tour
3 km left. Rasmussen is in the lead.
Sastre is about 3 minutes back. Then 30 seconds behind Sastre is Kloden and
Pereiro and Evans. Pereiro now pulls through to lift the pace. Pereiro cannot be
shaken! He's still with Kloden. Menchov looks like he's dying. Leipheimer is
hanging with Dessel and Moreau, chasing Kloden and Pereiro. Now Leipheimer can't
follow the pace of Moreau and Dessel.
2 km for Rasmussen...Leipheimer is
following Moreau and Dessel like a stone. Rasmussen is within the barriers. He's
on a flatter section now, and he's looking comfortable. The Stage is his. He
won't know that the GC standings have blown to hell. Sastre still is 2nd on the
road. Kloden lifting the pace to try to catch him, with Pereiro and Evans still
on his wheel. Landis has lost 9 minutes!
Final kilometer. Rasmussen is out of the
saddle. He'll take the Polka-Dot Jersey and the stage win. That's what he came
here for. Tivoli will be dancing tonight.
Sastre is also within the barriers now. He only has 30 seconds on Kloden
still. Definitely - four good days in Denmark. Three stage victories in four
days, and one third place. Here Rasmussen comes up to the line. But Rasmussen
will be the one remembered.
Michael Rasmussen Wins!!!!
Rasmussen is crying over the finish. He is overjoyed.Rasmussen is glad the
day is over. He wins the stage, and only raises his arms out to the side. Over
his head would have probably been too much. Moreau still paces Dessel. They are
fighting for the top ten on GC. Last year was a superb victory, but Rasmussen's
victory will be remembered as one of the greatest Danish victory this year in
the Tour de France - on par with Riis's great victory on Hautecam.
Sastre comes across in 2nd. His gap behind Rasmussen is 1 min 44 sec. Sastre,
almost home now... he's in. Pereiro has attacked! He takes third, a time bonus,
and the Yellow Jersey. They come in only about 15 seconds behind Sastre. Come
on, Floyd! Where are you?
Dessel and Moreau come through with a good performance. They are across in 2
min 35 sec back. According to the time checks I see, Floyd is more than 9
minutes back currently.
Leipheimer has held on for a decent finish. He is going to be across in 3 min 25
Menchov is losing important time. He's across 3 min 45 sec back.
Cunego is finishing. He'll close on Fothen in the White Jersey race.
Big changes in the G.C. tonight! So my prediction: Bionic Floyd wins the 2007
Tour. Axel Merckx is pacing Landis now... He will lose big time, something in
the area of 7 minutes to his biggest rivals.
Rabobank's Michael Boogerd comes in 6 min 35 sec back.
Azevedo finishes at 8 minutes back.8 minutes and counting, and Landis is still
not in. Fothen will finish now... he sprints to the line with Schleck in tow. He
comes across in 8 min 40 sec back, to preserve his White Jersey lead by a couple
Merckx now drags Landis to the line, he is going to be over 10 minutes back.
Dessel continues to surprise, and prospects for the French are good now, with 2
French men in the Top-10 for the first time in ages.
Rasmussen says in the after race interview, that he was very disappointed
about yesterday's stage, and says he had something to prove to himself today. He
also says that the polka-dot jersey and the stage win were equally important as
goals. He says that he deserves the polka-dot jersey, and that he feels he is
the rightful owner of the jersey. Never one known for humility, "Chicken"
Rasmussen. But on a day like today, he can be forgiven for a bit of pride.
Pereiro now has a pretty impressive lead on GC.
GC standings (unofficial):
1. Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
2. Carlos Sastre (CSC) @ 1 min 50 sec
3. Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) @ 2 min 29 sec
4. Cyril Dessel (AG2r-Prevoyance) @ 2 min 43 sec
5. Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Evans) @ 2 min 56 sec
6. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 3 min 58 sec
7. Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) @ 6 min 47 sec
8. Christophe Moreau (AG2r-Prevoyance) @ 7 min 03 sec
9. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) @ 7 min 46 sec
10. Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) @ 8 min 06 sec
11. Floyd Landis (Phonak) @ 8 min 08 sec.
So Floyd is still well within reach of the top ten, but the podium is gone
This concludes our live coverage, of stage 16.
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