87th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 1 - 23, 2000

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Complete live report

Stage 11 - July 11: Bagneres-De-Bigorre - Revel, 218.5 km

Scheduled start: 11:54 CET

Actual start time: 11:56
Estimated finish time: 17:14

Welcome to the 11th stage of the Tour de France, which set off from Bagneres-De-Bigorre this morning at 11.56. After the carnage and drama of stage 10, some nine riders didn't sign-on this morning for a variety of reasons, however, cyclingnews diarist Marcel Wust is determined to overlook his condition and ride on for another stage.

Of the missing riders, it is the Cofidis team which has been hardest hit, including international man of mystery Frank Vandenbroucke, who's stayed behind in the hotel this morning along with team-mates Laurent Desbiens and Laurent Lefevre.

Other no-shows include US rider Jonathan Vaughters (CA), as well as Carlos Contreras (Kelme), the Saeco pair of Armin Meier & Dario Pieri, Zoran Klemencic (Vini Caldirola) and Jean-Patrick Nazon (FDJ).

After the previous day's mountainous struggle, this stage will give the lesser riders a chance to shine before the rest day tomorrow. The stage profile is lumpy, but not too tough compared to what is coming up.

The difficulties on today's stage include the following climbs:

Km 15 - Côte de Mauvezin - 2.8 km climb at 6.4% (Cat. 3)
Km 17 - Côte de Capvern - 1.6 km climb at 5.2% (Cat. 4)
Km 109.5 - Côte de Saint-Christaud - 2.0 km climb at 5.8% (Cat. 4)
Km 115.5 - Côte de Cabagnous - 1.0 km climb at 4.8% (Cat. 4)
Km 121.5 - Côte de Montesquieu - 1.7 km climb at 6.2% (Cat. 4)
Km 212.0 - Côte de Saint-Ferréol - 3.6 km climb at 4.4 % (Cat. 3)

12:17 CET - 15km

The conditions for stage 11 are a cool 16 degrees which is a bit warmer than yesterday. At the start of the first climb of the morning, the 517 metre Cote de Mauvezin, the peloton remains together but Ivan Gutierrez (ONCE) was dropped about 1km from the summit and he subsequently abandoned the Tour about ten minutes later. Not the best weather for a Spaniard and this leaves 161 riders left in the race.

12.30 CET

Two riders have attacked and pulled a gap of 23 seconds, namely the indefatiguable Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Santiago Botero (Kelme), while stage one winner David Millar (Cofidis) receives a wheel change due to puncture. By the time Millar rejoins the peloton five minutes later, the gap for Dekker and Botero has increased to 30 seconds.

12:39 CET

Dekker and Botero have extended their lead to 30 seconds and by the 50km mark about 10 minutes later they had added another 12 seconds. At the same time, the peloton in travelling quite rapidly in the first hour of today's stage, with the average likely to be well over 40kmh.Consequently, a few kilometres down the road three more riders had been shelled from the swift bunch, with Sven Montgomery (FDJ), Simone Borgheressi (Mercatone Uno) and Kelme's Francisco Leon losing contact, but they managed to rejoin the main field a few k's later.

14.20 CET

The attack of Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Santiago Botero (Kelme) at the 45 km mark had gained them 2.30 and still growing. Dekker might collect some climbing points again today. He lost the dotted jersey yesterday to winning Otxoa who now has 140 mountain points compared to Dekker's 29 from the smaller climbs. But more than that he leads the combativity classification, as his main opponent Jacky Durand gained some points yesterday and it is obvious that to defend that position is Dekker's aim today. The gap has kept growing and right now it is more than nine minutes at 90 kms into the race.

14.30 CET -

The gap grows even more. Half way into the stage, with a little more than 100 kms to go it's over 10 minutes and still growing. None of the two has anything to do with the overall classification of course. Dekker is 61st at 26.17, Botero, who was on the attack in the Pyrenees yesterday, is 45th at 17.40. Impressing that he has the legs to go for a long break away today.

14.45 CET -

Polka dot jersey Javier Otxoa (Kelme), yesterday's stage winner, is obviously aiming to keep that jersey for some time. He sprinted away from the peloton to take the third place on the third climb of the day to gain some more points. In the mean time the leaders are passing the fourth climb with Botero first.

15.00 CET -

The peloton is more than 13 minutes behind the leading duo when Dekker punctures. Botero slows down since 80 kms is a bit too long for a solo ride. And there's also a code of honour involved here. Dekker would also probably catch him since the Dutchman is a good time trialist while the Colombian Botero is a climber. Also at the fifth climb Otxoa goes for the third spot. Botero passed ahead of Dekker.

15.15 CET -

There is no jersey for the most combative rider but hi wears numbers in white on red cloth as a mark. And today number 43 Erik Dekker actually attacked in the start more or less. Javier Oxtoa tried to follow but gave it wisely enough up and Kelme sent Botero forward instead. The Colombian is 17.40 behind Armstrong and since the duo now has got more than 15 minutes the Postie's are beginning to get serious in the front of the peloton. The whole team is up there, Armstrong too, having a bit of food right now. They are not prepared to chase the leaders down though, that's up to the sprinters' teams. But question is if Telekom wants to waste any efforts on a stage win for Zabel. They have other things to care about now with Ullrich 4.14 down as second. If fact there is a fairly tight race for second still with four other riders, Moreau (Festina), Wauters (Rabobank), Luttenberger (O.N.C.E) and Beloki (Festina), within 1.09 of Ullrich.

15.25 CET -

The weather is clearing up a bit, sun is coming out and the rain jackets flap at the backs of the riders. The next piece of entertainment will be the sprint in Cintegabelle with some 60 kms to go.

15.45 CET - 156.5km

At the sprint in Cintegabelle Dekker took the 6 points, while Botero added four to his green jersey effort, and the French Prime Minister watched with his head poking out of the roof of the race director's car.

Following the two leaders 14 minutes behind were Telekom's Fagnini leading out Erik Zabel, who added another 2 points to his overall tally, which is now 171 points.

15.52 CET - 169.5km

As the two breakaways continue on with less than 50km in the stage remaining, the gap has falled from over 13 minutes to under 10, but they are working together and remained committed. Telekom appear uninterested in chasing on Erik's behalf, as the leaders are no overall threat to the leaders on GC.

And just what is the French Prime Minister doing in the director's car? Well, Lionel Jospin actually lives in Cintegabelle. Surely one of the perks of the job.

16.00 CET - 178km

The big fella hits the deck. Saeco's Mario Scirea - at 194cm tall the tallest rider in the Tour this year- crashes in the middle of the peloton and ends up in the gutter, but climbs back on his bike and chases the peloton. Perhaps he was looking up, as after nearly one hour of riding in the sun, rain has started to fall again.

Meanwhile, Dekker and Botero continue on their way to Revel. The lead is now under 14 minutes.

One of this morning's non-starters, Jonathon Vaughters (CA), crashed heavily on the descent of the Col de Marie-Blanque yesterday and sustained concussion and lacerations to his face. This is the second time the American has departed the Tour in the back of an ambulance, as last year he took a heavy fall on the Passage de Gois.

16.12 CET - 186km

Marcel almost dropped! But then Wust digs deep and reclaims his territory in the peloton. As told in his diary on cyclingnews, the German sprinter has been suffering with a bad cold since early in the first week but is determined to hang in there until tomorrow's rest day, where he hopes some R&R with his family will revive his spirits.

The two two leaders of the stage look set for a great victory after riding for over 200kms together - re-affirming the motto of "go hard, early and often". The lead is falling to just over 13 minutes and the USPS team are still on the front, and probably happy to keep it that way.

16.25 CET - 197km

With just over 20km to race, the two leaders are losing time to the chasing peloton and their lead has fallen to just over 11 minutes, still a healthy margin. At the second sprint at Villefranche-de-Lauragais at the 180km mark it was once again lead by Dekker, Botero and Erik adding another to his green jersey tally: 173 points.

16.33 CET - 205km

Marcel dropped again! Not long now ... The pace of the peloton is increasing as the job of chasing has now been taken up by the Banesto squad, as they believe that Botero actually challenges the GC positions of Alex Zulle and Jose Maria Jimenez - fighting for 13th and 9th respectively. Sven Montgomery (FDJ), who was troubled at the start of the stage, has now abandoned after hanging in there for most of the day.

The leaders - Dekker and Botero - still have an 11 minute lead over the peloton.

16.55 CET -

Botero takes the last mountain prime of the day, Dekker has won the sprints along the road and there hasn't been any sprints for neither. The gap to the peloton is shrinking towards eight minutes now with some four kilometres to go for the leaders. Banesto have been working hard, they probably has the team classification on their minds. The duo will make it to the finish with Botero advancing in the overall classification, maybe to top ten.

17.00 CET -

The peloton in the climb now with Extebarria attacking, Verbrugghe comes along while the leaders are approaching the kilometre banner Botero first under it. Dekker is the better sprinter and rests behindů This becomes a track sprint, Botero looking back and Dekker starts the sprint and wins it, his second stage win in this Tour. Now let's see about the gap to the peloton that is rolling down from the last climb.

17.05 CET - A late attack from the peloton: Bartoli, Extebarria, Aerts, Verbrugghe, Mancebo, Millar and Vinokourov. It's a sprint among them. Vino have been resting with Zabel in mind. It Millar starting and Verbrugghe passing with some centimetres. The gap: almost five minutes.

17.12 CET -
Results for the top riders:


1 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank             5.05.47 
2 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme    
3 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto                4.51
4 David Millar (Gbr) Cofidis   
5 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto   
6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Telekom 
7 David Etxebarria (Spa) Once
8 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto 
9 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei
10 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom                 5.05 

No major overall changes, Botero's gain pulled him up to 33rd

The peloton came in some seconds later with Zabel first.

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