Tour de France, Grand Tour
France, July 3-25, 1999
Stage 13 Results
Stage 13, Saint-Flour - Albi, 237 kms:Stage 13 was the longest stage of the Tour - 236.5 kms. There were 7 climbs overall today - a Cat 2 climb, 2 Cat 3 climbs, and 4 Cat 4 climbs. The temperature at the beginning of the stage was 23 degrees but it was forecast to get warmer (high 30s). There was an early move by 8 riders - Piccoli, Totschnig, Konyshev, Farazijn, Luiz Rodriguez, Lanfranchi, Giunti and Commesso and they built a lead of 13 seconds very quickly. The 8 became 16 at the 9 kms mark - Farazijn and Roland Meier (Cofidis), Pena and Garcia-Acosta (Banesto); Totschnig (Telekom); Lebreton (Big-Mat); Commesso (Saeco); Mengin (La Française des Jeux); Konyshev (Mercatone Uno); Lanfranchi (Mapei); Cerezo (Vitalicio); Giunti (Cantina Tollo); Pascual Rodriguez (Kelme) and Perez-Rodriguez (ONCE). They were able to build a lead from 30 seconds to 47 seconds to 1.25 to 1.35 with a few kms. There were three teams with two riders represented. Lampre (Serpellini and Piccoli), Banesto (Pena and Garcia-Acosta) and Cofidis (Farazijn and Roland Meier). Festina were back in the peloton, unrepresented, and working hard on the front. At the 21 kms mark, the gap was 1.30 and steady. The best placed rider in the break was Paolo Lanfranchi at 34.49 and US Postal had made it clear that they were unconcerned with these breaks.
The first climb was the Cat 3 Cote de Chaudes-Aigues with the summit at km 27. The leaders stayed together at first but Konyshev clearly was suffering and was dropped. The leaders had 30 seconds on him and 1.20 to the peloton. On the climb, US Postal lost Danish rider Peter Meinert-Nielsen - he abandoned. As the climb unfolded, the leading group split with 4 riders in the lead - Meier, Totschnig, Pena and Perez-Rodriguez. Over the top, it was Roland Meier (Cofidis) then Georg Totschnig (Telekom), Perez-Rodriguez (ONCE), and in 4th Pena (Banesto). They had a 1.23 lead.
Konyshev was absorbed by the peloton and the front group came back together on the descent to lead by 2.20 at km 30. This quickly grew to 3.00, 3.50 to 4.20 by km 36. By km 42 the lead was 5.40 and growing. The 15-man break was 7.45 ahead at the first points premie at Laguiole) km 52.5). Lebreton (Big-Mat) led Serpellini (Lampre) with Mengin (La Française des Jeux) in third place. By the time the chasing peloton had reached km 60 the lead was now out to 8.45. Again it grew and by km 67 it was 9.40, km 72.5 10.00, km 79 10.50 and by km 85 it was 11.00 on two chasers Robbie McEwen (Rabobank) and Frédéric Guesdon (La Française des Jeux), and 11.35 on the peloton. After two hours the avs was 42.5 km/h with the second hour being ridden at 45.3 km/h.
McEwen and Guesdon continued to move away from the peloton and as they reached the difficult Cat 2 Cote de la Moissetie they were 1.00 in front of the peloton and 11.00 behind the leaders. Over the top of the climb (km 96) it was Piccoli (Lampre), Lanfranchi (Mapei), Pena (Banesto) then Roland Meier (Cofidis) and in 5th Commesso (Saeco). Then Farazijn (Cofidis), Mengin (La Française des Jeux) and in 8th Lebreton (Big-Mat). At the back of the race, Hincapie punctured but regained his place quickly. As McEwen and Guesdon pass the top they are 12.15 behind and the peloton are 13.15 down. The two stranded attackers gave up and waited for the peloton at this point.
The temperature was rising and it was claimed on Tour radio that on the road it was 47 degrees. Coming into the third climb, the Cat 4 Cote de la Croix du Broual (km 137.5) the lead was 14.00. This was the first of 4 climbs in close proximity to each other. At the top of the climb the lead was 15.20 and the premie went to Lanfranchi from Piccoli and Meier. The order was the same over the Cat 4 Cote de Cambargue which came 5km later and were repeated on the Cat 4 Cote de Duron (4 kms later). At the top of the Cote de Duron the lead was 17.30.
On the 5th climb, the Cat 3 Cote de Compolibat (km 168) the premie was won by Piccoli from Lanfranchi and Meier. There was now around 80 kms to ride. Australian Henk Vogels attacked from the peloton and built a lead of 40 seconds over this climb. At the top the peloton was 19.40 down and there was little interest in a chase. Bu km 172, the maximum lead was 19.45. Then Kelme and US Postal started to work as the 6th climb began.
The attacks started coming on the climb in the front group. First to move was Garcia-Acosta (Banesto) some 700 metres from the summit. He won the premie from Lanfranchi and Perez-Rodriguez. Commesso (Saeco) and Serpellini came across to him. But with 26 kms to go Garcia-Acosta paid for his efforts and was dropped. The second points premie went to Serpellini from Commesso. Lanfranchi was third in the group of 13 riders from the leading break but they were now 1.25 down.
In the final sprint, the Italians went 1, 2 and 3. Commesso planned the end-game well and sat the Serpellini's wheel until about 150 metres were left after forcing him to lead the sprint out. Then the Italian champion went around for a well-timed win. The rest of the break was 2.07 with Mariano Piccoli taking third position. The peloton was 22.22 down.