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Le Tour 2001

89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Main page    Stage profile    Start List    Results

Stage 13 - Saturday July 20: Lavelanet - Béziers, 171 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:10 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:20 CEST

13:13 CEST    
Welcome to today's live coverage of the Tour de France. Today we have a 171 km transitional stage taking the riders out of the Pyrenees and across the Midi to Béziers. Sandwiched as it is in between the two Pyrenean summit finishes and tomorrow's climb of Mont Ventoux, we can look forward to a fairly relaxed day from most points of view, with a good chance of a big bunch sprint; with so few flat stages remaining, it could be a critical day for the green jersey competition, however.

The temperature could be a factor today; it is almost 30°C at the start, and could be worse when the race descends to the plains; back in 1995 an innocent looking stage like this took a massive toll of riders - including GC challenger Tony Rominger - dropping out with heat-related problems; however, it is probably not going to reach such extremes today. The riders have a very gentle easterly breeze in their faces, but nothing to get worked up about.

13:39 CEST    8 km/163 km to go
The day starts with a climb, the third category Col de Montségur; there are three counting climbs in the first 50 km of the course today. Although Laurent Jalabert cannot lose his mountains jersey today, there is a lot more climbing to come next week so in order to protect his lead he has attacked more or less straight from from the start. Along with him have gone Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi); David Millar (Cofidis) has since come across to the trio.

13:42 CEST    9 km/162 km to go
At the top of the climb the quartet have 25 seconds lead over the bunch; Jalabert takes the points ahead of Mazzoleni and Boogerd.

13:56 CEST    20 km/151 km to go
After the descent Jalabert, Millar, Boogerd and Mazzoleni have 45 seconds lead over a group of seven chasers, while the bulk of the peloton is at 1.50; the gaps are growing all the time. The chasers are Bobby Julich, Beat Zberg, Miguel Martinez, David Latasa, Javier Pascual, David Etxebarria and Laurent Brochard: in other words five of yesterday's seven early attackers have not yet learnt their lesson.

Cellphone addict Michael Boogerd was one of the riders we collared this morning before the start. Are you still running up a big phone bill? Yes, still (laughs). How was yesterday? Suffering. It was hot. I know the climb; it's steep. Are you happy with the way things are going? Not really, but it's still a long way to Paris, so there's some time left. We'll see what happens. How about Levi? Levi - if he keeps on developing like he is, it will be good.

14:09 CEST    
The day's second climb is a col in name - the Col de Badourade - but a fourth category climb only as far as the race is concerned. The chasing group of seven are still 45 seconds behind the four leaders, but the bunch have not yet managed to get any sort of a chase going and are now nearly five minutes behind.

Once more Jalabert snaffles up the points, followed by Mazzoleni and Boogerd.

14:23 CEST    45 km/126 km to go
The gap between the front two groups is stable between 45 seconds and a minute, but the bunch are now over six minutes behind. The US Postal team are leading the way, but there is no overwhelming reason for them to chase; the best placed of the riders ahead is Jalabert himself, who is 17.43 down on Armstrong, so unless the gap gets to really silly proportions it will be up to the sprinters' teams to reel them in, and Lotto and Telekom in particular.

This morning we talked to one of the sprinters, FDJeux.com's Baden Cooke: How did you go yesterday? I felt surprisingly good. I didn't go into the red yesterday. It was basically a long slog and it took a lot out of me. I think I've pulled up; fairly good considering. How about today? I'm hoping it comes to a sprint today. It depends who's going to chase, because there will certainly be a break. It depends if Lotto are confident enough to chase, which they should do, but they haven't done in the past on certain stages. What about McEwen? He needs every point, I guess. Is there something going on between O'Grady and McEwen? I think Stuey is just racing for himself. We all race for different teams and everybody's just trying to do their job. What will your tactics be today? We're going to put people up the road so we don't have to chase. Only if it's together in the last few kilometres. We certainly won't be on the front all day.

One factor in that decision may be that then FDJeux.com team are down to a single team car, with team manager Martial Gayant being, along with the rider, thrown out of the race for towing Jacky Durand up climbs yesterday...

14:37 CEST    51 km/120 km to go
Jalabert picks up the top points on the day's final climb, the Col de Saint-Benoît, to maximise the take for the day and stretch his lead by 25 points. From here the riders descend to the valley of the Aude and basically follow it down most of the way to the sea.

Now the climbs are over the leaders will probably ease up and wait for the other seven riders to form a bigger group for the run down the valley to come. The US Postal-led peloton is now nearly 8 minutes down.

14:40 CEST    
The two front groups do indeed join at the foot of the descent while the bunch are still grinding up the top of the climb, Brad McGee clearly suffering a bit at the back of the field. So we now have this leading group:
Bobby Julich (USA) Team Telekom
David Millar (GBr) Cofidis
Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC - Tiscali
Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
Miguel Martinez (Fra) Mapei - Quick Step
David Latasa (Spa) Ibanesto.Com
Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) Ibanesto.Com
David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour

14:54 CEST    65 km/106 km to go
Tish in North Carolina asks why it is that the riders who have mostly climbed stripped to the waist all zip their jerseys up just before the finish; easy answer to that is so that you can read the sponsor's names clearly in the photographs in the papers in the morning. A lot of sunglasses and team caps only get used at that point, as well ...

A minor bump brings down three riders at the back of the field; naturally, a Crédit Agricole rider comes off worst, with Sébastien Hinault needing some mechanical attention on the move as he chases back up to the bunch. The US Postal team have steadied the gap to the leaders at 7.30.

14:59 CEST    67.5 km/103.5 km to go
At Limoux the leaders pass through the first of the day's two bonus sprints without making a real contest of it; Michael Boogerd pockets the cash ahead of Julich and Etxebarria.

15:32 CEST    95 km/76 km to go
The pace picked up briefly, and Telekom did move a few riders to join with the US Postal gang who are still doing the bulk of the work, but it has now settled down again and with the stage past half distance the break come into Carcassonne with a lead of 9.15, more than the canonical minute per 10 km needed to stay away. There is a bonus sprint 35 km from the finish, which will presumably be mopped up by this break, so the standings in the points jersey will basically be down to the result at the finish; if the eleven breakaways stay away, there are still points for the next 14 places, with McEwen needing to finish ahead of Zabel and in the points to take the jersey.

This is the closest point on the Tour this year to the Jalabert brothers' native Mazamèt, just 45 km to the north, and there are plenty of people out to see the rider who is now indisputably the favourite of the French crowds on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

15:45 CEST    
Stuart O'Grady comes to have a chat with Lance Armstrong as the bunch pass through Carcassonne with its impressive (if somewhat over-restored) double ring of city walls, a bit reminiscent of Avila, often a finish for Vuelta a España stages. The gap to the leaders has now stretched out to 10.21; it looks almost certain that the stage winner will come from that group now.

As the direction has changed - before Carcasonne the race was heading north, and now they have turned east again - the eleven leaders have switched the direction of their steady rotation; before they were moving up on the left with the wind on the right, now the right hand side of the road has what shelter there is.

15:58 CEST    108 km/63 km to go
At the village of Marseillette the eleven leaders now have more than 11 minutes lead and are still going away from the bunch; that translates to their being something like 8 kilometres up the road.

We've had a lot of questions from you, some of which might well be answered by taking a look at our Tour FAQ; we'll see what we can do about some of the others as we go ...

To recap, the eleven leaders are:
Bobby Julich (USA) Team Telekom
David Millar (GBr) Cofidis
Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC - Tiscali
Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
Miguel Martinez (Fra) Mapei - Quick Step
David Latasa (Spa) Ibanesto.Com
Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) Ibanesto.Com
David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour

16:14 CEST    121 km/50 km to go
The bunch is still being led by seven blue US Postal jerseys ahead of Armstrong's yellow, with just Roberto Heras missing, presumed resting for tomorrow somewhere in the depths of the bunch.

With 50 km to go the leaders are still going away, with the gap going over 12 minutes. If the gap stays this big, Laurent Jalabert could move back into the top five on GC, effectively wiping out the hammering he took on yesterday's final climb.

16:27 CEST    128 km/43 km to go
Zabel drops back to his team car to collect a helmet; the break, still working together like a perfect team time trial team, are still going away, now 13.10 in front along the long, straight roads between low-growing vines.

16:37 CEST    135 km/36 km to go
Eddy Mazzoleni puts on a bit of a spurt to take the bonus sprint at Pouzols-Minervois ahead of Javier Pascual and Miguel Martinez, but the rhythm of the leaders is only broken for a few seconds. The gap is still growing, to 13.45; another 45 seconds would put Jalabert into a podium place (for the moment, at least).

Behind them, the US Postal team have finally found some help with Ludo Dierckxsens trying to lift the pace, presumably to protect the GC place of Raimondas Rumsas, who could fall behind Jalabert. Latvian champion Belohvosciks is also up there. At the back Brad McGee is struggling to hold the pace, while Karsten Kroon has punctured.

16:51 CEST    146 km/25 km to go
Near Argeliers a forest fire is raging a few kilometres north of the course, the plume of smoke betraying the slight headwind; it isn't a threat to the race, though, and the riders aren't riding through the smoke. The Lampre riders have finally managed to stop the gap growing, and it has fallen back to 13.30, although the break is now certain of finishing several minutes clear in any case.

17:05 CEST    153 km/18 km to go
At the village of Capestang the eleven leaders are still riding as a perfect team; the gap is now creeping down - 12.21 - with Lampre still doing the work along the straight, tree-lined roads of the Midi.

The break includes five stage-winners from previous tours (Jalabert, Millar, Boogerd, Etxebarria and Brochard), while there are two teams - Rabobank and iBanesto.com - with two riders, who may be expected to make the first moves. Jalabert may have lost some of his sprint but he is nonetheless a former winner of the green jersey.

17:08 CEST    157 km/14 km to go
In fact it is Jalabert who opens hostilities with a feint at an attack, but it doesn't go anywhere. Straight out of the Observer's Book of Bike Racing Tactics, David Millar counters as the paces slows and this time opens up a serious looking split, with Etxebarria, Boogerd, Brochard and Pascual on his wheel.

17:11 CEST    161. km/10 km to go
The quintet start working together and are holding a gap. It is Latasa rather than his team-mate Pascual; behind, Beat Zberg is marking Julich and Martinez with Jalabert who seems to be cooked; Pascual and Mazzoleni are in between, in the middle of a half-minute gap. The bunch follow at 11.40; they will probably finish about 10 minutes down now.

17:15 CEST    164 km/7 km to go
Mazzoleni and Pascual got to within 10 seconds of the five leaders but could not close the last gap and have fallen back, while the other four seem to be definitively beaten.

17:20 CEST    168 km/3 km to go
Boogerd takes advice from his team car - perhaps telling him about the the little climb at the finish, which has not been that well publicised. The gaps behind are stable.

Brochard has the first go at getting away from the front group, but there is no joy for him, or for David Etxebarria, who ought to be waiting for the sprint anyway in this company.

17:22 CEST    169 km/2 km to go
Boogerd feints an attack from the back, but it was just a test. Brochard goes a second time, and all out this time, but can't get clear.

17:23 CEST    170 km/1 km to go
Brochard goes a third time, but Boogerd brings the others up. Then it is Latasa's turn, and Millar closes comfortably and eases up to let the rest back. No idea why ...

17:26 CEST    finish
Almost a trackstand as they come to the little climb, Etxebarria feinting from one side to other. Latasa leads out with Etxebarria on his wheel; Boogerd third; he eases up and Brochard jumps with Millar, on his wheel, and the Scot is clearly the strongest and takes it in front of Etxebarria with Boogerd third and Brochard and Latasa behind them. Class work.

Mazzoleni leads Pascual over half a minute down, then at just over one minute Martinez and Zberg fight it out for eighth ahead of Julich and, last, Laurent Jalabert, who has done his work for the day.

Etxebarria shakes Millar's hand; meanwhile down the road it is the Lampre team who are still setting the pace as they lead the bunch in for the eighth place sprint. The climb after the 1 km flag might favour Zabel; the run-in is quite twisty and there will be plenty of chances to get trapped.

17:33 CEST    finish
Behind the Lampres Fagnini and Hondo are set up for Zabel, with McEwen on Zabel's wheel at 2 km to go. La Française des Jeux are also moving up with Baden Cooke.

17:37 CEST    finish
Under the flamme rouge Wesemann leads the bunch, then as he sits up Thor Hushovd leads up Stuart O'Grady. Hondo loses Zabel from his wheel and although McEwen, coming through on the barriers, gets stuck in the traffic (blocked by O'Grady) for a moment, he finds a gap to nip through ahead of Zabel on the line, and will take the green jersey, as long as the race jury don't penalise him for a certain amount of pushing and shoving.

Stage result

1 David Millar (GBr) Cofidis                     4.08.18 (41.32 km/h)
2 David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
4 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour
5 David Latasa (Spa) iBanesto.com                   0.04
6 Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) iBanesto.com       0.56
7 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
8 Miguel Martinez (Fra) Mapei-Quick Step            1.06
9 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank
10 Bobby Julich (USA) Team Deutsche Telekom         1.08
11 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali               1.10
12 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                     9.56
13 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco
14 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom
15 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole

General classification after stage 13

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service       51.06.01
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                   2.28
3 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski       3.19
4 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin              5.15
5 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca          5.44
6 Marcos A.Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                7.14
7 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service   8.01
8 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski                    8.24
9 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali                8.57
10 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca           9.05

Thanks for following the stage with Cyclingnews; we'll be back tomorrow at 11.15 CEST for the stage to Mont Ventoux. Anyone want to put any money on anybody except Armstrong for that one? The odds will probably be quite generous ...


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