89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Main page Stage
Stage 16 - Wednesday July 24: Les Deux Alpes - La Plagne,
Complete Live Report
Start time: 11:45 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST
Welcome to our live coverage of the 16th stage of the Tour de France. Today
is the second day in the Alps, and probably the toughest, especially after yesterday's
226 kilometre marathon finishing at Les Deux Alpes. Today's stage is 'only'
179.5 kilometres (excluding the 10.5 km neutralised descent from Les Deux Alpes),
but it includes three hors categorie climbs - the hardest mountains that
the riders face.
To start with, there is the feared Col du Galibier (km 34), with its summit
at 2645m - the highest point in the Tour de France this year. The first rider
to the top will score 40 points in the King of the Mountains competition, but
will also win a special prize, 'Souvenir Henri Desgranges' named after the founder
of the Tour.
Next up is the Col de Madeleine (km 112), which is nearly a 20 km climb at
7.9%. It is relentlessly steep, pretty much all the way to the top, and will
do more than just soften up the riders' legs for later. Finally there is the
finishing climb to La Plagne, another 17.7 kilometres at 6.9%, and sure to cause
a lot of damage in the peloton.
The two sprints on offer today are at St Avre (km 90.5) and Bellecombe (km
142), so both McEwen and Zabel will have to make it over the Galibier in the
lead group in order to resume their battle in this competition.
The descent of Les Deux Alpes has been completed, and the riders are now under
racing conditions for the 16th stage. First up is the 33.5 kilometre climb of
the Col du Galibier. Although long, it's average gradient is only 4.7 percent,
but the last 10 kilometres are steeper.
The weather today is beautiful at the start - sunny conditions, with temperatures
in the mid 20's. As we head north across the Alps, the forecast is for some
high clouds, with some spritzes of rain in La Plagne.
As the peloton rides en bloc on the first climb, the Australians Stuart
O'Grady and Robbie McEwen are seen chatting at the front of the bunch. McEwen's
Lotto teammates are mostly at the back of the peloton, but they don't have to
be too concerned yet as the tempo is only moderate.
12:16 CEST - 12 km
No early action yet, as the peloton is content to tackle the Col du Galibier
at a steady pace. Things will get more interesting as they approach the top,
with the mountain points competition still fairly open, despite Laurent Jalabert's
53 point lead.
Lance Armstrong is in the first row of the peloton, as is McEwen, Merckx, O'Grady
and several more.
12:25 CEST - 17 km
The pace is still quite slow, as Lance Armstrong drops back through the peloton
to chat with the CSC director Johnny Weltz (former manager of US Postal). Several
riders take advantage of the speed to stop for the obligatory nature break,
although Robbie McEwen isn't one of them.
Temperatures expected on the tops of the three mountains today: 10 degrees
on the Galibier, 13 on the Madeleine and 14 degrees on La Plagne.
12:42 CEST - 21 km
The peloton is over halfway up the Galibier, still cruising along at 22-23 km/h.
There have been no indications of an attack yet, which is not surprising considering
what lies ahead, and how hard the Tour has been so far.
12:50 CEST - 23 km
With 10 kilometres to the top of the Galibier, the peloton is still complete,
riding at a very steady pace with 10 riders in the front rank. Although the
conditions at the moment are fine, it's reported that there are high winds at
the top of the peak, so strong that the banner at the top had to be taken down.
13:00 CEST - 26 km
There will be no records broken in today's stage, with just 26 kilometres covered
in the first hour and a quarter - significantly slower than the organisers'
slowest schedule of 30 km/h. They have gone past the Col du Lautaret, and are
6 km from the Monument Henri Desgrange, which is located 1.5 km from the top.
The climb is getting steeper now, and there are more US Postal jerseys near
the front. Robbie McEwen is still in the first row.
A number of readers have asked us why Lance Armstrong uses two different gear
shifters: a standard STI lever on the right hand side (for the rear cogs) and
a downtube lever on the left hand side (for the front chainrings).
This is not a new thing - climbers like Armstrong like to shave as much weight
as possible from their bikes. A downtube lever is lighter than an STI lever,
and seeing as most of the gear changing during a ride happens with the rear
cogs, there is not too much functionality lost by having a left hand downtube
13:07 CEST - 28 km
The first attack of the day has been made by iBanesto's Marzio Bruseghin, who
accelerates away from the peloton on one of the steeper sections. He is allowed
to go, until an ONCE rider decides to go after him, with the peloton right behind.
Now the pace has picked up, and the bunch is strung out. Jalabert is prominent
near the front, as is Boogerd, and Unai Osa. Armstrong is about 10th wheel.
13:11 CEST - 29 km
Bruseghin has a 15 second lead on a group of 8 riders including Pradera, Fagnini,
Blanco, Engels, Boogerd, Jalabert, who are just in front of the peloton.
Jalabert accelerates to try and keep the tempo up, but is countered by Portuguese
rider Jose Azevedo, who has ridden excellently during the Tour and is lying
in 6th place.
A new group forms with Nozal, Azevedo, Blanco, Jalabert, Boogerd, Pradera,
Osa, Botero, Sevilla. No US Postals, but the peloton won't let these riders
13:16 CEST - 31 km
With three kilometres to go before the top of the Col du Galibier, it's Marzio
Bruseghin who leads the race by a handful of seconds, being chased by a group
of nine riders: Isidro Nozal, Jose Azevedo, Mikel Pradera (ONCE), Santi Blanco,
Unai Osa (iBanesto), Laurent Jalabert, Michael Boogerd, Santi Botero, and Oscar
The peloton is at 18 seconds, led by US Postal, and Tyler Hamilton has just
accelerated off the front. Virenque is reported to be dropped.
13:21 CEST - 33.5 km/146 km to go
Bruseghin is determined, and picks up the pace in order to be first over the
top of the Tour's highest point, the 2645m Col du Galibier. But he is caught
just before the top by Santiago Botero, the winner of yesterday's stage who
gets 40 points and the Souvenir Henri Desgranges. Jalabert is third, followed
by Osa. Now they have a 60 km descent off the mountain, and this could be the
break of the day.
The peloton, led by US Postal, cross at 59 seconds.
Virenque comes over at 2'30 in the Danilo Hondo group - not good for someone
with ambitions on the polka dot jersey. Actually, Santiago Botero has a greater
chance of winning this, as he trails Jalabert by 65 points. He made up 10 of
those on that climb.
13:30 CEST - 40 km/139.5 km to go
The 9 man leading group has a minute on the peloton on the descent, with Tyler
Hamilton stuck in between trying to bridge the gap. The composition of the group
is interesting, with three ONCE riders, two iBanestos and two Kelmes. Also Laurent
Jalabert (CSC) and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) are there. The best placed riders
in the break are Azevedo, who is 6th at 11'11, and Botero, who is 7th at 11'31.
The Spanish teams have obviously decided to test Armstrong's US Postal squad,
who are engaged in a rapid chase down the Col du Galibier, with Armstrong in
The group is as follows:
José Azevedo (ONCE-Eroski)
Isidro Nozal (ONCE-Eroski)
Mikel Pradera (ONCE-Eroski)
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme-Costa Blanca)
Santiago Botero (Kelme-Costa Blanca)
Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali)
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)
Marzio Bruseghin (iBanesto.com)
Unai Osa (iBanesto.com)
13:37 CEST - 48 km/132 km to go
Hamilton doesn't make it across, but Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi) does, joining
the nine leaders to make a group of 10. Blanco was dropped from the group, and
is back in the peloton.
George Hincapie is leading the chase for USPS, 40 seconds behind.
13:42 CEST - 53 km/127 km to go
Michael Boogerd can't believe the break doesn't want to work together, and accelerates
on the Col du Telegraph, a very short climb after Valloire, that interrupts
the descent of the Galibier.
Jalabert tries, too late, to go after Boogerd. He sits up and waits for Sevilla
and co. to catch him. There are no mountain points for the Col du Telegraph
so there is not much point. However, the Postal led peloton is close behind.
13:47 CEST - 55 km/125 km to go
Boogerd has a 15 second lead as the break destroys itself and is caught by the
Stuart O'Grady attacks on the descent on the Telegraph, Bodrogi follows him
through the motorbikes and then Fagnini, followed by an Ag2r, Euskaltel and
13:56 CEST - 61 km/119 km to go
Boogerd and O'Grady are now together, followed by Fagnini and Hunter. Just behind
them are Gutierrez (Kelme), Axel Merckx (Domo), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) and Ludovic
O'Grady has dropped Boogerd.
14:00 CEST - 67 km/113 km to go
The situation on the descent of the Col du Telegraph is that Stuart O'Grady
(CA) is leading on his own, followed by Gian Matteo Fagnini (Telekom), Michael
Boogerd (Rabobank) and Robert Hunter (Mapei). Not far behind them are Jose Enrique
Gutierrez (Kelme), Axel Merckx (Domo), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) and Ludovic Turpin
(Ag2r), then the peloton with the Maillot Jaune at 20 seconds.
Laurent Jalabert has caught the Gutierrez group at the bottom.
When the reach the bottom, they will have a headwind all the way to the Col
14:05 CEST - 73 km/107 km to go
O'Grady gets caught by Boogerd, Hunter and Fagnini, making a group of four at
50 seconds in front of the peloton. The five chasers, including Laurent Jalabert
(CSC), Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme), Axel Merckx (Domo), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel)
and Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r) are 30 seconds behind the leaders, and 20 seconds
in front of the peloton.
14:12 CEST - 76 km/103 km to go
O'Grady's group of four lead the Jalabert group of five by 35 seconds as they
pass through the feedzone at St Jean de Maurienne. Then there is a group of
three, with Miguel Martinez (Mapei), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre) and Marcos Serrano
(ONCE) at 55 seconds. The peloton is now at 2'20, and will probably let these
riders get a bit of a lead before the Madeleine.
The best placed rider in the break(s) is Michael Boogerd, who is 17th at 19'15.
14:17 CEST - 80 km/99 km to go
Jalabert's group decides to wait for Martinez and co, so now we have a group
of eight riders chasing the O'Grady/Hunter/Fagnini/Boogerd quartet. US Postal
leads the peloton at 2'15 from the front riders.
14:23 CEST - 84 km/95 km to go
The peloton has decided not to chase the 12 riders up the road, as none of them
pose a real threat. In the leading group we have:
Gian Matteo Fagnini (Team Deutsche Telekom)
Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole)
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)
Robert Hunter (Mapei-Quick Step)
Chasing them at 1'10 are:
Marcos A.Serrano (ONCE-Eroski)
José Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca)
Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali)
Axel Merckx (Domo-Farm Frites)
Miguel Martinez (Mapei-Quick Step)
Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre Daikin)
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R Prevoyance)
The peloton is now at 3'40.
14:31 CEST - 89 km/90 km to go
The leading four pass through the first sprint at St Avre, with O'Grady taking
the points from Fagnini and Hunter - not without a contest!
The current situation in the sprint classification is that Erik Zabel and Robbie
McEwen are tied in first place on 229 points (McEwen wears the green, by virtue
of better stage placings) and O'Grady is in third place on 170 points. It's
perhaps too late for him to challenge for the green jersey now, but he could
pick up 12 points on this stage, or more if he stays away until the end.
The Jalabert group is now at 1'30 with the peloton at 5'00.
14:38 CEST - 86 km/93 km to go
The leaders hit the Col de Madeleine, a 19.4 km climb averaging 7.9 percent.
Michael Boogerd wastes no time in attacking - or simply riding at his own rhythm
while the sprinters are forced to let him go. Jalabert's group is still at 1'30,
but they should catch O'Grady, Hunter and Fagnini on this climb.
The peloton are being fairly lethargic, letting Boogerd get a 7'12 lead now
as they pass through the sprint at St Avre.
14:45 CEST - 92 km/87 km to go
Boogerd is climbing well, leaving his erstwhile companions behind on the Col
de la Madeleine. O'Grady and co. trail the Dutchman by 50 seconds, with Jalabert's
eight man group at 2'15. The peloton is still at 7'15.
As he did yesterday, Domo's Axel Merckx is doing a lot of work on the climb
in Jalabert's group. The other riders in that group are Marcos A.Serrano (ONCE-Eroski),
José Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Miguel Martinez (Mapei-Quick
Step), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre Daikin), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and
Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R Prevoyance)
14:51 CEST - 97 km/82 km to go
Boogerd increases his lead to 8'11 over the peloton, which is cruising up the
base of the Madeleine, led by US Postal. Gian Matteo Fagnini is following Boogerd
at 45 seconds, then O'Grady and Hunter at 55 seconds, then Jalabert's group
of eight at 2'55.
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) has abandoned. He was lying in 11th overall before today's
stage, and was in the front group over the Galibier. Kelme now has five riders.
14:59 CEST - 100 km/79 km to go
Boogerd's face is set in concentration as he stands on the pedals, rocking his
way gently up the climb. Fagnini, O'Grady and Hunter are following him at 2'15,
then Jalabert's group which is disintegrating rapidly at 3 minutes. Iban Mayo
(Euskaltel) accelerates, and gets clear. Jalabert and Turpin chase behind him,
as Serrano, Merckx, Martinez, Dierckxsens and Gutierrez are put in difficulty.
Ludo is on his own, slowly making his way back the peloton.
15:02 CEST - 101 km/78 km to go
Mayo catches and passes O'Grady, Hunter and Fagnini, who are in turn caught
by Jalabert and Turpin. Viatcheslav Ekimov and Floyd Landis are on the front
of the peloton, which is picking up speed on the climb, but is still quite large.
Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel) attacks the peloton.
Boogerd leads Mayo, Jalabert and Turpin by 2'51, and the peloton by 8'31.
15:08 CEST - 103 km/76 km to go
With 9 km to the top of the day's second climb, the Col de la Madeleine, it's
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) in the lead on his own. Boogerd has been in the front
group of the race ever since the attacks started on the Col du Galibier. He
has 2'45 on a group with Laurent Jalabert, Ludovic Turpin and Iban Mayo, and
3'30 on O'Grady, Hunter and Fagnini. The peloton is at 8'43, led by USPS.
Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) has abandoned. In total, 29 riders have abandoned
the race for various reasons. Cyclingnews has a list of withdrawals
that you can check to see who abandoned in earlier stages.
15:14 CEST - 105 km/74 km to go
Boogerd is now "virtually" in 5th place overall, given that he has
a nine minute lead. However, that can vanish on the final climb if the peloton
starts to chase.
Ray asks why does the peloton let these breaks get so much time each day? Normally,
it's because the leader's team doesn't want to race flat out all day in pursuit
of people who are generally no threat on the General Classification. Case in
point: Michael Boogerd, who started the day over 19 minutes behind. It's highly
unlikely that he'll keep that lead to the finish.
On a flatter stage, you'll see the teams with good sprinters trying to keep
the race together, in order to set things up for their fast man at the end.
They generally have no interest in doing so on a mountain stage, so breaks are
allowed to stay away. The rest of the peloton is quite content to sit on the
wheels, as most of them are fairly tired by this stage of a grand tour.
15:24 - 108 km/71 km to go
As Jalabert's group passes through St Francois Longchamp, they are joined by
Miguel Martinez(!). The Mapei midget has fought his way back, after being dropped
earlier. They trail Michael Boogerd by 2'55.
Behind Jalabert's group are the remnants of the earlier break, with O'Grady,
Gutierrez, Merckx, Serrano, Hunter all scattered along the road. The peloton
is still at 8'20, now led by iBanesto and ONCE. Richard Virenque is trying to
get back to the main peloton, and is not finding it that easy.
15:31 - 111 km/68 km to go
Virenque gets a couple of well timed drinks from the Domo team car, and makes
it back onto the tail of the peloton, which is still quite large and being led
by ONCE and and iBanesto rider.
Boogerd has 1 km to go to the top of the Madeleine. 3'18 behind him are Laurent
Jalabert, Miguel Martinez, Ludovic Turpin and Iban Mayo. Jalabert will therefore
increase his lead in the mountains competition.
15:39 - 114 km/65 km to go
Boogerd takes a can of coke from his team director just before the top, and
downs it before the descent starts. He has 67 km to go and must fancy his chances
of winning the stage - he put time into the peloton on the Madeleine. Jalabert's
group comes across at 3'15 led by Jalabert, Martinez, Mayo and Turpin in that
order. O'Grady is next over at 3'40 - not bad going and he should catch these
riders on the descent.
Virenque has gone off the back of the peloton again
Jimmy Casper (FDJeux.com) has abandoned. He's the third rider to do so today
after Sevilla and Dufaux.
15:43 - 116 km/63 km to go
O'Grady quickly catches Jalabert's group and goes to the front. He and Jalabert
are two of the best descenders in the race, and will make up time on Boogerd
on the way down. O'Grady might be able to pick up another 4 sprint points at
the next sprint at Bellecombe (km 142).
The peloton, with US Postal's George Hincapie leading the way now, crosses
the Madeleine at 7'43. All the top GC riders are quite comfortable within the
15:48 - 124 km/55 km to go
The results of the Col de la Madeleine: 1. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), 2. Laurent
Jalabert, 3. Miguel Martinez, 4. Iban Mayo, 5. Ludovic Turpin 6. Stuart O'Grady,
7 Marcos Serrano, 8. Axel Merckx, 9. Jose Enrique Gutierrez. 10th was Patrice
Halgand and the peloton.
15:55 - 129 km/50 km to go
The situation on the descent of the Madeleine, is that Michael Boogerd has a
3'10 lead on a group with Laurent Jalabert, Miguel Martinez, Iban Mayo, Ludovic
Turpin and Stuart O'Grady. Marcos Serrano and Axel Merckx are at 4'45, and the
peloton is at 7'30.
16:07 - 137 km/42 km to go
Michael Boogerd is maintaining his lead on the descent of the Madeleine, which
is very technical. He is trailed by 3'19 by a group of seven: Laurent Jalabert,
Miguel Martinez, Iban Mayo, Ludovic Turpin, Stuart O'Grady and Axel Merckx,
who has just bridged the gap.
The peloton is still at 8'20, and not getting much closer.
16:10 - 142 km/37 km to go
Boogerd takes another drink from his Rabobank team car, as he passes through
the sprint at Bellecombe, with 37 km to go, including the 17.5 km climb of La
O'Grady comes through in 2nd place to take 4 points (10 for the day - he needs
another 50 to take the green jersey...). Martinez takes 2 points for third.
The gap is still 3'16.
16:21 - 149 km/30 km to go
With 30 km to go, Michael Boogerd is still leading the race on his own by 3'36
to a group containing Laurent Jalabert, Miguel Martinez, Iban Mayo, Ludovic
Turpin, Stuart O'Grady and Axel Merckx. Then Marcos Serrano at 4'40, Jose Enrique
Gutierrez at 7'00, and the peloton at 7'23.
ONCE, ibanesto and US Postal are controlling the pace in the peloton before
the final assault up La Plagne.
Alan asks for a definition of "false flat": It's a section of road
that looks flat, but goes uphill slightly. It can be quite deceptive.
16:30 - 154 km/25 km to go
Michael Boogerd passes under the 25 km to go banner, with a 4'30 lead on the
six man chasing group with Jalabert and O'Grady. The peloton is at 7'00, and
is now preparing for the ascent of La Plagne, where there will surely be some
fireworks. The peloton is still quite large - maybe 100 riders strong.
A note on "Neutralised descent": The start of each stage is usually
held under neutralised conditions i.e. no racing is allowed to take place and
it is not timed. Today's stage began with a 10.5 km descent, which was neutralised.
Hence "Neutralised descent."
16:38 - 160 km/19 km to go
Boogerd will hit the final climb of La Plagne with a 7'00 lead or thereabouts.
However, his six chasers are likely to be swallowed by the peloton, which is
picking up momentum and is only 2'00 behind them. Question is: Can Boogerd pull
off a remarkable solo win on La Plagne? He's looking good at the moment.
Note on Sevilla: Apparently he was sick, that's why he abandoned.
16:42 - 163 km/16 km to go
Michael Boogerd looks comfortable as he tackles the base of the climb to La
Plagne, which finishes at 1970m. He has 16 km to go before he can claim victory
in this stage. Remember that he's been away in a break since 29 km.
The peloton has just gone under 20 km to go, 7'12 behind Boogerd. The Jalabert
group is at 5'03.
Jeff asks what speeds the riders tackle these Hors Categorie climbs. Allowing
for changes in gradient, 20 km/h + is a good estimate for the top riders.
16:47 - 165 km/14 km to go
O'Grady has attacked the Jalabert group! He is really on a mission to try and
get points today...
Miguel Martinez, who is getting better as the Tour and this stage goes on,
tries to force the pace behind O'Grady, but the others are right with him. Jalabert
looks as smooth as he always does, wearing the Maillot Pois of best climber
and the red number for the Most Combative rider.
O'Grady is 5'25 behind Boogerd, who should win this stage. The peloton is still
16:51 - 166 km/13 km to go
Axel Merckx and Iban Mayo attacks the chasing group, leaving Jalabert, Martinez
and Turpin behind. Mayo gets away from Merckx, and starts to close down on O'Grady.
He catches and passes the Australian.
In the peloton, Baranowski (iBanesto) picks up the pace, but there are still
60 riders or so in the main pack. The yellow jersey of Lance Armstrong is prominent
near the front, as are all the other favourites.
16:53 - 167 km/12 km to go
Carlos Sastre (CSC) attacks in the peloton, getting Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano
on his wheel. He tries again, with more success. Botcharov, Vasseur, Robin,
Moncoutie, Virenque, Baranowski, Frigo and Chavanel are all in difficulty at
the back of the bunch.
Meanwhile in front, Michael Boogerd is leading the race with 7'07 on the peloton.
Then Iban Mayo at 5'25 and Axel Merckx just behind him. O'Grady is somewhere
Sastre catches Jalabert, who increases the tempo. They are teammates, after
16:56 - 168 km/11 km to go
Sastre leaves Jalabert and continues in pursuit of more time. He was 14th on
the GC before today's stage, and should move up a few places. Rubiera is leading
the peloton, with Armstrong, Rumsas, Beloki, Galdeano, Leipheimer all near the
Boogerd's gap to the peloton is 6'30. O'Grady and Martinez are caught by the
Igor Gonzalez is struggling, and is dropped by the peloton.
Carlos Sastre is now third on the road behind Boogerd and Mayo, having caught
Merckx and Turpin. He trails Boogerd by 5'12, and leads the peloton by 1'00.
17:01 - 170 km/10 km to go
The peloton is now cut down to size, with around 15 riders in it including Armstrong,
Rumsas, Leipheimer, Beloki, Rubiera, Heras, Azevedo, Mancebo, Botero, Goubert,
Carlos Sastre is 30 seconds in front of them, but has just caught Iban Mayo.
He is now second on the road behind Michael Boogerd who is hurting a lot now,
but still has 5'16 on Sastre and 5'49 on the peloton.
17:05 - 171 km/9 km to go
Boogerd has 9 tough kilometres to go before he can win this stage. He is suffering,
but still has a decent rhythm. He is being pursued by Carlos Sastre (CSC) at
4'57, then a 13 man peloton with most of the GC riders (not Galdeano) at 5'31.
17:08 - 172 km/8 km to go
Sastre goes under 10km to go 4'00 behind Boogerd - he's definitely closing the
gap fast to the Dutchman. 40 seconds behind him is the peloton led by Jose Luis
Rubiera (USPS). Armstrong, Rumsas, Leipheimer, Beloki, Basso, Heras, Azevedo,
Mancebo, Osa, Botero and Moncoutie.
17:12 - 173 km/7 km to go
Boogerd has seven kilometres of uphill suffering to go. He is sweating profusely,
grimacing in pain, but maintaining his rhythm. He is 3'54 in front of Carlos
Sastre and 4'50 in front of the Armstrong group. He gets a sponge of cold water
from a fan on the side of the road.
17:15 - 174 km/6 km to go
Sastre is maintaining his 1'00 lead to the Armstrong group, which if he can
hold it, means he will move up on GC. Boogerd is 3'25 in front of Sastre, but
the end is approaching.
The Maillot Jaune group is: Lance Armstrong, Roberto Heras Hernandez, Josť
L.Rubiera Vigil (US Postal Service), Joseba Beloki, Josť Azevedo (ONCE-Eroski),
Santiago Botero (Kelme-Costa Blanca)Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo), Levi Leipheimer
(Rabobank), Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com), Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre Daikin).
David Moncoutie has been dropped.
17:18 - 175 km/5 km to go
Mancebo is now in trouble in the Armstrong group, and the Banesto rider is battling
to stay in contact. Chechu Rubiera is still leading the chase in the 10 man
Boogerd has 5 km to go, with a 2'46 lead on Sastre and 3'45 on Armstrong's
group. This will be a close finish. Boogerd can afford to lose 30 seconds a
Rubiera pulls off the front of the Maillot Jaune group, as Heras takes over,
putting the hurt on everyone else. Armstrong is right on his wheel, followed
by Rumsas, Beloki, Azevedo, Botero, Basso, Leipheimer. Mancebo is just off the
17:18 - 176 km/4 km to go
Sastre goes under 5 km to go with a 2'25 deficit on Boogerd, who is giving it
everything to stay away. Boogerd is nearly 1 km in front.
Botero is in difficulty in the Armstrong group, and goes off the back.
17:24 - 177 km/3 km to go
Boogerd is doing a great job to hold off the Sastre charge, pedalling in a small
gear as he goes under 3 km to go with 2'15 lead.
Heras finishes off in the Armstrong group, as his team leader attacks with
just over 4 km to go. Armstrong quickly distances himself from the rest, who
are fighting it out for second place on GC.
17:27 - 178 km/2 km to go
Beloki, Azevedo, Leipheimer, Heras, Rumsas, Basso and Botero are left in
Armstrong's wake, as the Texan pedals away from them. Sastre is 30 seconds in
front of Armstrong, but risks being swallowed up. He has 3 km to go, and is
2'05 behind Boogerd.
17:29 - 178 km/2 km to go
Sastre has 5 seconds to Armstrong, as Boogerd has less than 2 km left. Armstrong
will catch Sastre for sure, but will he catch Boogerd? Doubtful...
17:30 - 179 km/1 km to go
Boogerd has 1 km to go, and leads Armstrong and Sastre by 1'50. He should
do it. Fantastic riding.
Sastre glues himself to Armstrong's wheel. Behind them, the Beloki/Rumsas group
is still together with six riders. Basso, Leipheimer, Azevedo, and Heras are
17:33 - 180 km/0 km to go
Boogerd smiles and grimaces as he wins the stage. He checks behind him to
make sure but he's go it. He slows down and really savours the moment.
Sastre leads Armstrong home for second place, 1'25 behind Boogerd. Then Beloki
leads Rumsas home for fourth place at 2'02. Beloki keeps his second overall
on GC, but loses another 37 seconds to Armstrong.
1 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 5.48.29
2 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Tiscali 1.25
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service
4 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 2.02
5 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 2.10
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 2.14
8 Josť Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski
9 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 2.23
10 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service 2.25
General classification after stage 16
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 68.43.22
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 5.06
3 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin 7.24
4 Josť Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 12.08
5 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 12.12
6 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com 12.28
7 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 12.37
8 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service 12.54
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 13.58
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 15.04
Thank you for following our live coverage of Stage 16. Join us again for tomorrow's
17th stage from Aime to Cluses, which includes three Category 1 climbs, at 13:00
CEST/04:00 PDT/07:00 EDT/21:00 Aust EST.
the Cyclingnews commentary team!
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