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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 17 - Thursday July 25: Aime - Cluses, 142 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

13:08 CEST    
Today's stage is one of the race's shortest en ligne stages, but with the last four big climbs of the race and scarcely a flat kilometre it is almost the last opportunity for any serious changes to the general classification, so it could be lively.

Unlike the previous few stages, the first of the day's two bonus sprints comes before any of the climbs, so it could break the deadlock in the green jersey places.

13:12 CEST    2 km/140 km to go
Strangely the first attack of the day comes from one of Erik Zabel's teammates, Rolf Aldag. This suggests that Zabel may not be feeling too good, and wants to minimize the number of points available to McEwen at that sprint.

Aldag goes away from a rather uninterested looking bunch and very rapidly builds up half a minute's lead.

13:20 CEST    10 km/132 km to go
Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi) sets out in a counter-attack and this time the bunch, led by Lotto, lines out behind him.

Aldag takes the sprint at Bourg-St-Maurice alone; Mazzoleni is caught but a few other riders manage to get away policed by Mario Aerts for Lotto, but that is not enough and Piil and Bessy mop up the rest of the points; the top of the points classification remains as it was and with the second sprint coming after three cols, Robbie McEwen will presumably still be in green tonight, barring accidents.

13:29 CEST    16 km/126 km to go
As the riders start on the first of the three climbs, the first category Cormet de Roselend Aldag has a quarter of a minute's lead from the group behind, with Bessy, Piil, Aerts, Mazzoleni, Marichal, Engels, Loder and Pineau. Another minute behind them there is a flurry of activity as US Postal send Roberto Heras up the road - a change of tactics, which is nice - and he is joined by Andrei Kivilev, Sandy Casar, ex-maillot jaune Igor González de Galdeano and David Latasa.

In the front group only Aerts and Mazzoleni can reasonably be expected to be trying to do anything other than damage limitation. The third group is not far ahead of the bunch and now David Etxebarria, Roberto Laiseka, Iban Mayo and Stèphane Goubert; behind them the US Postal train is lining the bunch out already.

13:41 CEST    20 km/122 km to go
Aldag is still riding away strongly, but this is a very long climb, if not as steep as some. Part of the second chasing group has mopped up the remnants of first under pressure from Kelme's José Enrique Gutierrez; Azevedo, Mayo and Millar are up there as well in a group of a couple of dozen nearly a minute ahead of the bunch.

Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd are now setting the pace for the bunch alongside the usual US Postal faces, and a fair number of riders have been dropped.

Botero attacks alone from the peloton and gets across to the group with apparent ease; they catch Aldag as Leipheimer also comes up from behind.

13:48 CEST    22 km/120 km to go
In front we now have:
Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Telekom
Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service
José Azevedo (Por) ONCE - Eroski
Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE - Eroski
Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme - Costa Blanca
José Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme - Costa Blanca
David Millar (GBr) Cofidis
David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis
Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC Tiscali
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank
Addy Engels (Ned) Rabobank
Denis Menchov (Rus) Ibanesto.Com
Unai Osa (Spa) Ibanesto.Com
Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto - Adecco
David Etxebarria (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
Roberto Laiseca (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport
Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport
Thierry Loder (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance
Stephane Goubert (Fra) Jean Delatour
with Millar setting the pace. However the US Postal train is keeping the gap tight, now down to under 30 seconds. The best placed of those ahead is Azevedo, in fourth place overall 12:08 down on Armstrong, while Botero is a real threat to Laurent Jalabert's spotty mountains jersey.

13:58 CEST    26 km/116 km to go
First Laiseka and Frigo and then Gutierrez and Aerts break clear of the leading group, but the Postal train sets a relentless tempo behind them and sweeps up all but these four; with the immediate threat neutralised the chase then eases a bit. There is a bunch of 50 riders or so remaining with Armstrong, with the quartet in front.

Giuseppe Guerini attacks from that group, and David Etxebarria goes after him.

14:04 CEST    28 km/114 km to go
Aerts is setting the pace for the four leaders. Guerini is around 20 seconds down on them, with the bunch another 20 seconds back; Etxebarria has not continued his chase.

Massimo Donati (Tacconi) is the first rider to pack today.

The US Postal team ease up a bit and some of the previously dropped riders are coming back up to them again. George Hincapie chooses this relatively auspicious moment to puncture.

14:07 CEST    30 km/112 km to go
With the postmen riding less than flat out, there are repeated attacks from the bunch, but none have got very far. Guerini has joined the leading quartet who are now 1.10 ahead.

14:15 CEST    31.5 km/110.5 km to go
Mario Aerts leads the group over the summit ahead of Frigo and Gutierrez; the five leaders are around a minute and a half ahead of the bunch; Laurent Jalabert comes out to pick up a few points - he is now 88 points clear of Botero in the mountains classification.

14:23 CEST    43 km/99 km to go
The status quo is more or less maintained on the descent, but Jalabert and Casar obviously decide that things are not going quickly enough behind, and they try to bridge the gap separately, but Jalabert catches Casar on the descent. Hushovd is not far behind them.

The peloton is reported at 2'25 to the leaders.

We spoke to Kevin Livingston (Telekom) before the start today. Kevin is not having the best of Tours, lying in 52nd place at 1'21'59. "I'm taking it day by day. I'm just hoping to make it to Paris first of all," said the Telekom rider.

14:28 CEST    49 km/93 km to go
Jalabert, Hushovd and Casar are engaged in a high speed pursuit of Laiseka, Frigo, Gutierrez, Aerts and Guerini on the descent of the Cormet de Roselend. They are approximately 50 seconds behind the front five. Another rider has come across to Jalabert's group - it's Jaksche (ONCE).

14:36 CEST    56 km/86 km to go
They reach the bottom of the descent and are now on the Col des Saisies - no rest on the flat today! Laiseka, Frigo, Gutierrez, Aerts and Guerini have 50 seconds lead on Jalabert, Hushovd, Casar and Jaksche, and 1'25 on Nozal, Serrano, Moncoutie, Konecny, Blanco, Bruseghin, Chavanel, Baguet, Halgand, and Lefevre. The peloton is at 3'19.

Rabobank have now started to chase in the peloton, probably worried about Moncoutie, who is 13th at 18'53 i.e. threatening Levi Leipheimer's 9th place.

14:49 CEST    62 km/80 km to go
The five leaders increase their advantage over the Jalabert quartet on the Col des Saisies, and it's now at 1'13. The 13 riders behind them (with Moncoutie) are at 1'55, and the peloton, led by Rabobank and US Postal, is at 3'32.

Tim Maloney reports about today's finish in Cluses: In the last 2 kilometres there's a tricky little bridge/deviation in the centre of town. It goes around some road works - like a chicane with 1500m to go. It's going to be a great place to break way through the narrow, twisty streets. It's a sidewind finish.

14:59 CEST    64 km/78 km to go
Guerini, Aerts and Frigo are going too quick for Gutierrez and Laiseka, and leave them behind on the Col des Saisies. Another 1'30 down the road are Laurent Jalabert, Thor Hushovd, Sandy Casar and Jorg Jaksche. Then it's 2'25 back to the Moncoutie group of 13, and 3'41 to the peloton.

Casar is having problems following the pace of Hushovd, Jalabert and Jaksche. But he fights hard and rejoins them on a flatter section.

The third group now has Chavanel (Bonjour), Bruseghin, Blanco (iBanesto), Nozal, Serrano (ONCE). It has been reduced from the original 13.

15:07 CEST    67 km/75 km to go
Mancebo attacks from the peloton, prompting a reaction from Azevedo (ONCE). Both riders are highly placed on GC.

Carlos Sastre (CSC) has bridged the gap to Jalabert's group. He is obviously on the hunt for more seconds, as he's 11th overall.

Armstrong, Basso and Beloki chase after Azevedo and Mancebo. Botero and Heras are also there, as are Halgand, Rumsas and Leipheimer. The junction is made, and we have a group of 10 of the top GC riders in the lead. They have quite a handy gap to the rest of the peloton, and catch Bruseghin.

Laiseka is caught by Jalabert's group.

15:15 CEST    70 km/72 km to go
On the top of the Col des Saisies, it's Mario Aerts taking the points from Dario Frigo and Guiseppe Guerini. Aerts now has 128 points in the mountains classification, putting him third overall behind Jalabert and Botero.

Gutierrez takes fourth at 1'35.

Carlos Sastre (CSC) leads Jalabert to the top, so that Jalabert can take the points for fifth place. Hushovd is sixth, then Sastre, Jaksche, Laiseka, and Casar. They cross at 2'51.

The attack by the GC riders in the peloton has been caught, as Floyd Landis leads the way to the top of the Col. Robert Hunter (Mapei) is also right up there. They cross at 4'05.

15:23 CEST    78 km/64 km to go
We're on the descent of the Col des Saisies, with just two climbs to come. Next up is the Col des Aravis, a category 2 climb.

Frigo, Aerts and Guerini lead a group of riders by 2'57, with the peloton at 4'20. The 11 man group formed over the top of the Saisies, and contains Jörg Jaksche, Isidro Nozal, Marcos A.Serrano (ONCE-Eroski), José Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Laurent Jalabert, Carlos Sastre (CSC-Tiscali), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com), Unai Osa (iBanesto.com), Serge Baguet (Lotto-Adecco), Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Lefèvre (Jean Delatour), and Eddy Mazzoleni (Tacconi Sport).

15:35 CEST    87 km/55 km to go
The leading trio of Frigo, Aerts and Guerini are powering along on the Col des Aravis, the second last climb of the day. They have 3'10 lead on a moderately sized group with Jalabert and Sastre, and 5'10 on the peloton. Sastre is the best placed in the middle group, 11th at 16'27.

15:44 CEST    91 km/51 km to go
The middle group is splitting up on this climb - Jalabert, Laiseka, Baguet and Casar are all dropped. There are 10 riders left, with the large figure of Thor Hushovd leading the way up the climb.

The middle group is 3'10 behind the leading trio, while the peloton is at 6'10. Sastre has moved up into the top 10 on virtual GC.

Several readers have asked about time bonuses at the end of stages. There are a few different rules: no time bonuses are awarded for time trial stages; for flat stages, the bonuses are 20, 12 and 8 seconds, in order to keep things interesting in the first week for the general classification; and on the mountain stages the bonuses are typically 8 seconds for a win. The argument here is that the best climbers don't need any extra time to move up on GC, as the mountain normally does its job.

15:53 CEST    95 km/47 km to go
Jalabert, Laiseka and Mazzoleni are now riding together on the Col des Aravis, but are a long way behind the breakaway groups. But Jalabert has done his job today and is basically uncatchable in the polka dot jersey.

In the lead we have Mario Aerts (Lotto), Dario Frigo (Tacconi) and Guiseppe Guerini (Telekom). They have 3'11 on a group of 10 riders led by Thor Hushovd (CA). Also in this group are David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Carlos Sastre (CSC), 18th and 11th on GC respectively.

Good news for Kelme fans: Belgian TV reports that the team will have sponsorship until 2005, despite financial problems earlier this year.

16:01 CEST    98 km/44 km to go
Aerts takes the points on the Col des Aravis - he's collected 80 mountain points so far today, so Jalabert is not in the clear yet. Second was Guerini and third was Frigo. The 10 man following group was at 3'05. Moncoutie was 4th, Sastre 5th, Jaksche 6th, Lefevre 7th, Serrano 8th, Osa 9th, Nozal 10th.

A quick check: Aerts has a total of 148 points, but Jalabert has 262, so JaJa is in the clear, even if Aerts wins the last climb (30 points).

The peloton go across the top of the climb, led by Victor Pena (USPS) at 7'55. Leipheimer and Basso had better put their teams on the front, or Sastre (in the second group) will leapfrog them on GC. Sastre is currently 3'50 ahead of the peloton, and has moved himself up to a virtual 7th on GC.

16:08 CEST  106 km/36 km to go
Another reader question: Why is Jalabert, the leader in the King of the Mountains classification, so lowly placed on GC? He is currently 41st at 1'03.46. The reason is that the KOM competition doesn't necessarily mean the best climber competition. It's pretty clear in this Tour that Lance Armstrong is the best climber, followed by Beloki. However, riders can collect a lot of points by attacking early (when the GC riders don't want to chase) and taking all the intermediate climbs. Often they will be caught on the last climb, as Jalabert has been, and will lose a lot of time.

Jalabert is also the leader in the "Most Combative" classification, simply because he has spent more time off the front of the peloton than anyone else. The polka dots (climbs) and the red number (combative) go hand in hand, and Jalabert won both last year.

Frederic Guesdon (FDJeux.com) has abandoned.

16:14 CEST  110 km/32 km to go
Frigo takes the points sprint at Le Grand Bornand, followed by Guerini and Aerts. They are now on the Col de la Colombiere, with 32 km to go. Frigo looks the strongest of this group, but Aerts and Guerini could be foxing.

The next group of 9 with Sastre and Moncoutie are at 3'30, while the peloton is at 8'21. The composition of the middle group is: Jörg Jaksche, Isidro Nozal, Marcos A.Serrano (ONCE-Eroski), José Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme-Costa Blanca), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Carlos Sastre (CSC-Tiscali), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Unai Osa (iBanesto.com), Laurent Lefèvre (Jean Delatour)

Some more Rabobank jerseys have moved to the front of the main peloton, to try and stop Sastre (11th on GC) from jumping past Leipheimer (9th). They could do with some help from Fassa Bortolo as well, with Basso's 10th position also in danger.

Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) told cyclingnews this morning: "I still feel good, and I don't see a lot changing over the next two days. It's probably going to come to the time trial for any more changes. It's still a really hard day today, and someone could have a bad day, but yesterday was the hardest day. I think I can grab a spot, maybe two (in the GC, after the time trial). That would be perfect. If not, and I stay where I am, I'll be happy."

It's not over yet!

16:21 CEST  113 km/29 km to go
Aerts, Frigo and Guerini are on the final climb of the day, the Col de la Colombiere, surely headed towards the stage win. David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Carlos Sastre (CSC) lead a group of nine riders, 3'46 behind them. Then the peloton at 7'55. The Rabobank chase is having a little effect.

Miguel Martinez (Mapei) goes off the back of the peloton, pointing to his legs which are probably pretty empty.

Yesterday's winner Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) told Cyclingnews this morning that "I hope it stays together for a long time and we go a little bit easy, because my legs are tired."

CN: Will the team be focusing on Levi from this point on? "Yeah, I think so. He's the most important man for us now, because he's not so far from 5th place, so we have to be careful with him."

16:29 CEST  116 km/26 km to go
Boogerd and Engels are now on the front of the peloton, which is 7'16 behind the Aerts trio and 3'45 behind the Sastre nonet. Botcharov and Chaurreau are dropped from the peloton as Santi Botero attacks. Jose Azevedo (ONCE) goes after him.

16:31 CEST  117 km/25 km to go
Botero catches and passes Casar, who was one of the remnants of the earlier break. He is 6'33 behind Aerts, Frigo and Guerini, and 2'48 behind Sastre's group. He is trying to stop Sastre from overtaking him on GC, and perhaps move up a bit himself.

US Postal has now taken over the chase in the peloton. Azevedo and Casar come back to the peloton, but not Botero.

16:38 CEST  120 km/22 km to go
The leaders near the top of the Colombiere, with 4'12 on the next group of eight. Botero catches and passes Nozal, who has been dropped from that group. The Colombian is on a mission to catch Sastre's group, which is now 1'47 in front of him.

16:42 CEST  122 km/20 km to go
Aerts takes the points on the Colombiere, followed by Guerini and Frigo. The Belgian has collected 110 mountain points today. The crowds on top are enormous.

Sastre, Moncoutie, Jaksche, Osa, Serrano and Lefevre are still 1 km from the top.

Botero catches Gutierrez, his teammate, who gives him a tow. He is 50 seconds behind Sastre's group, and 1'04 in front of the peloton.

16:46 CEST  125 km/17 km to go
Unai Osa comes over in fourth place on the climb, followed by Moncoutie, Sastre, Jaksche and Serrano, then Lefevre, Hushovd and Botero. The gap at the top is 3'23 to Aerts and co.

16:49 CEST  128 km/14 km to go
Michael Boogerd leads the now very small peloton over the top at 5'22 - all the GC riders are there. Leipheimer had better get himself into gear.

Frigo has been dropped by Guerini and Aerts on the descent.

16:51 CEST  130 km/12 km to go
Frigo catches the other two on a straight section of the descent. There are now three leaders who will fight out the stage. Can Aerts improve on his second place at Les Deux Alpes a couple of days ago?

Botero is 4'17 behind the leaders, but he may run out of kilometres before he catches Sastre's group. He does have over a minute on Armstrong's group though.

16:54 CEST  132 km/10 km to go
The pursuit down the mountain is on in earnest. Frigo, Guerini and Aerts are leading a group of three Moncoutie, Jaksche and Osa by some 3 minutes, then Sastre, Serrano, Lefevre, and Botero, who has not caught them yet.

16:57 CEST  135 km/7 km to go
Aerts tries to get rid of the other two on this descent, and he's doing a good job. But the gaps are too small at the moment.

16:58 CEST  137 km/5 km to go
They're flying as they go under the 5km to go banner. Frigo is in third wheel, and is the best sprinter of these three. But the finish is quite tricky, and there could be an attack with 1.5 km to go.

There are now six riders chasing them: Moncoutie, Jaksche and Osa, Sastre, Serrano, Lefevre. Then Gutierrez and Botero.

17:00 CEST 139 km/3 km to go
The three leaders are in Cluses, and all watching each other carefully. Frigo gets to the front and soft pedals. Aerts in second, and Guerini third. Who will attack first?

17:01 CEST 140 km/2 km to go
All together with 2 km to go. Here comes the chicane. No-one attacks as Frigo sits on the front.

17:02 CEST 141 km/1 km to go
Guerini attacks just before the 1 km to go. Aerts chases him down. Frigo goes next, but stops. Then Guerini again. Aerts reacts.

17:03 CEST 142 km/0 km to go
Frigo has the best run into the finish, as Aerts has to lead out. The Belgian goes, and Frigo gets him easily. Guerini third.

Botero and Gutierrez have caught the Sastre group - nice riding!

Moncoutie attacks the chasing group to take fourth place, at 2'55. Then Hushovd leads the group home just behind him for fifth.

Michael Boogerd drives the yellow jersey/GC group home at 4'35. Brochard wins the sprint for 13th.


1 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport                        4.02.27
2 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco
3 Guiseppe Guerini (Ita) Telekom                            0.02
4 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis                             2.55
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                        2.58
6 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Jean Delatour      
7 Unai Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com    
8 Marcos A.Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
9 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Tiscali
11 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca
12 José Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca          3.14
13 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour                     4.35

General classification after stage 17

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service               72.50.25 
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                           5.06
3 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin                      7.24
4 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca                 10.59
5 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski                           12.08
6 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski              12.12
7 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com                     12.28
8 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service          12.54
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank                           13.58
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Tiscali                         14.49
11 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                          15.04

Thank you for following Stage 17 with us on Cyclingnews. We'll be back again tomorrow from 12:30 CEST/03:30 PDT/06:30 EDT/20:30 Aust EST with Stage 18.

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