92nd Tour de France - GT
France, July 2-24, 2005
Results & report
Stage 11 - Wednesday, July 13: Courchevel - Brianšon, 173 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan and
Live coverage starts: 12:20 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Stage 11 profile
Welcome back to Cyclingnews
for our live coverage of the second Alpine stage of the Tour de France, from
Courchevel to Brianšon over 173 km. It's a downhill stage, starting at 1374m
and finishing at 1237m, so it should be a walk in the park.
it would be except for a couple of small hills. The Col de la Madeleine (km
55, a Hors Categorie climb, 2000m, 25.4km at 6.1%), the Col du Telegraphe (km
110, Cat. 1 climb, 1566m, 12km at 6.7%), and the mighty Col du Galibier (km
133, HC climb, 2645m, 17.5km at 6.9%). Well, at least it's downhill to the finish
There are also two intermediate sprints at Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne
(km 97.5) and Moulin-Baron (km 162.0).
The stage has started with
a 19 km descent from Courchevel into the valley. It's 24 degrees and sunny,
but it will get a bit cloudy later on.
There are 172 riders in the race
with Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) being the only non-starter this morning. He
and his wife were arrested by police after quantities of EPO were found in his
wife's car. Sound familiar, anyone?
12:30 CEST 6km/167km to go
The stage start was
given at 12:21pm, but as yet there haven't been any attacks on the descent.
12:34 CEST 11km/162km to go
The peloton is flying
on the descent with a couple of riders opening up a gap now.
12:36 CEST 12km/161km to go
It's Thor Hushovd
and Samuel Dumoulin who are off the front.
Green jersey wearer and
Hushovd's main rival Tom Boonen has crashed... Not good. He has to sit down
as the doctor looks after his knee. He's being helped up as a crowd of photographers
surround him. He's back on the bike.
12:37 CEST 15km/158km to go
Boonen is riding
again with his teammate Guido Trenti, but not too fast at the moment. They can
see the valley below them coming closer.
Meanwhile, Dumoulin and
Hushovd are well ahead of the peloton.
12:40 CEST 17km/156km to go
The peloton is not
really chasing, allowing Boonen to come back. The man in green is glued to his
teammate Trenti's wheel as they go in search of the peloton. Boonen's had a
pretty up and down Tour, winning two stages at the start and taking green, then
crashing several times.
The two leaders, meanwhile, are a minute
up on the bunch.
12:42 CEST 18km/155km to go
Boonen is still 1'30
behind the bunch and 2'50 behind the two leaders. Hushovd and Dumoulin definitely
aren't waiting. They'll want to try to get over the Madeleine in order to get
to the first bonus sprint of the day.
The race doctor is trying to
treat Boonen's left knee as they near the bottom of the descent. Boonen's right
knee is also scraped.
12:48 CEST 23km/150km to go
Dumoulin and Hushovd
are now on the flat in the valley as Boonen makes it back to the peloton. He
chats to Erik Dekker and Robbie McEwen. The bunch is moving very slowly, and
the two leaders will quickly get several more minutes.
The two leaders are now 4'40 ahead
of the peloton, which is being led by Armstrong's Discovery team at a lethargic
12:55 CEST 30km/143km to go
Hushovd and Dumoulin
are at the foot of the Madeleine and will have a 5'20 lead as they start the
26 km climb.
13:01 CEST 33km/140km to go
The gap is up to
6'30 now as Benjamin Noval lead the peloton along at a steady pace. The summit
of the Madeleine is still 22 km away for the leaders.
13:03 CEST 32km/141km to go
At the foot of the
climb, the peloton is at 6'43 behind the leaders. We'll see how Boonen survives
this little ascent.
Pereiro attacks on the climb, and gets a Credit
Agricole rider with him for company.
The Credit Agricole rider is Pietro
Caucchioli, and he's about 20 metres off the back wheel of the Phonak rider.
The riders are restless in the peloton, even though Discovery is trying to keep
a lid on things so they can annihilate everyone a bit later.
13:08 CEST 33km/140km to go
Hushovd has now dropped
Dumoulin. The big Norwegian is climbing the Madeleine alone in front.
Vinokourov has attacked the peloton with Horner, Mancebo, Martinez, Heras, Botero...they've
caught Caucchioli and Pereiro.
A sprinters bus is already starting
to form with Boonen, Cooke, and McEwen. A little way behind are Jens Voigt and
Discovery is still on the front of the peloton, but
is letting Mancebo and Vino's counter attack go. That chase is 5'26 behind the
13:14 CEST 35km/138km to go
Mayo is not in that
chase group, it's Egoi Martinez. It looks like Roberto Heras (Liberty) is there
The bunch is shedding riders quite quickly now. Is that McGee
dropped? It looks like it. Very early in the piece. White, Vansummeren, O'Grady,
Grivko, Davis are all gone.
But not Hushovd - he is leading the race!
13:16 CEST 36km/137km to go
The situation with
19 km to the summit of the Col de la Madeleine. Thor Hushovd (CA) leads Samuel
Dumoulin (Ag2r) by 30 seconds, then a group with Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile),
Oscar Pereiro, Santi Botero (Phonak), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Roberto Heras
(Liberty), Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Pietro Caucchioli (CA) at 5'07,
then the peloton at 6'56. Mancebo is the best placed of the counter attacking
riders, starting the day 4'00 behind Armstrong on GC in 7th.
has already lost Noval from the peloton.
The peloton is not letting the chase
group go - it's sitting 30 seconds behind the Vino/Mancebo group. Armstrong
still has plenty of teammates with him.
Heras leads the chase group
now, then Horner takes over, pedaling a nice low gear. They are 4'30 behind
13:22 CEST 38km/135km to go
Hushovd reaches a
flatter part of the climb and sticks it in the big ring, powering along with
jersey flapping and a determined look on his face. The road is pretty shoddy
Vino now does a turn in the chase group, flicking the elbow
for Mancebo to come through. That group has 33 seconds on the peloton, which
has lost Brochard, Cortinovis and Gilbert. Brochard is wearing the red number
for being the most aggressive rider yesterday.
13:36 CEST 44km/129km to go
The chasers are closing
in on Hushovd, and are now 2'14 behind the Norwegian. They'll catch Dumoulin
first. The Armstrong peloton is at 3'20, i.e. 1'06 behind the Vino/Mancebo chase
At the back of the race, Valverde is getting seen to by the
race doctor. He sprints back to the bunch.
Dumoulin is now being
hauled in by the chase group.
13:40 CEST 46km/127km to go
Heras can't follow
the pace of the chase group and is about 15 seconds behind. That's not good
- still 10 km to go the summit.
Dumoulin is naturally dropped and
is nearly back with the peloton now. Armstrong still has five teammates with
him, including Hincapie, Azevedo, Rubiera, Savoldelli and Beltran.
13:45 CEST 47km/126km to go
There's plenty more
damage being done to the peloton, as Chavanel, Fedrigo and Sorensen all get
Popovych is also with the Armstrong group, but is towards
the back. So he still has all his teammates bar two, vastly outnumbering all
the other teams. The group is maybe 30 riders strong now.
is being caught by the Vino chase group on the steep part of the Madeleine.
He is chased by the Devil, who has donned a green outfit today. His red suit
must be at the laundromat.
Caucchioli has been dropped by the chasers,
leaving just Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), Oscar Pereiro, Santi Botero (Phonak),
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), and Francisco Mancebo
(Illes Balears) with 1'10 to the peloton.
Carlos Sastre (CSC) gets a wheel
change in the peloton. He's trying to come back now as he passes Garzelli and
Contador, who are being dropped. Kessler is also out the back. Heras has gone
too! From the front to the back very quickly.
Armstrong and his team
look rather strong today. Rasmussen is shadowing Armstrong, clad in his spotty
13:49 CEST 49km/124km to go
Hushovd fights to
stay in contact with the lead group as Vino asks Martinez to do a bit of work.
They have 0'40 on the Armstrong group.
13:53 CEST 51km/122km to go
The leaders are just
over 4 km from the summit as Hushovd goes off the back again. He'll be forced
to go back to the peloton now, which is not too far behind him.
is still with the lead group)
13:55 CEST 52km/121km to go
In the Armstrong
group, all of the GC favourites are still there. Boogerd is riding next to his
teammate Rasmussen, ahead of Ullrich and Kl÷den, then Evans and Valverde. The
gap between the two groups is just 43 seconds.
Heras is fighting
to get back to the peloton.
13:57 CEST 53km/120km to go
It's now just Vinokourov,
Botero, Pereiro and Martinez in the lead as the others are dropped from the
chase group. Horner is gone this time.
Hushovd is dropped from the
peloton now. All that work for nothing, unless he can get on on the descent
and get to the sprint.
Casar and Sastre are being tailed
off the peloton now as it gets towards the summit of the Madeleine. 2 km to
Mancebo and Horner are on their way
back to the peloton now, Mancebo with that permanent grimace on his face. Armstrong's
Discovery team is very much in control today.
Our Behind the Blue Curtain man Chris
Brewer has filed this pre-stage report from the Discovery team:
real sense of accomplishment," was how Discovery Channel's DS Johan Bruyneel
described the mood of the team following Stage 11. After a quiet celebration
last night, the team rode their bikes down to the Courchevel start this morning.
The send off was quite sedate compared to all the other starts, apparently the
Tour organizers limited who could come up Courchevel to minimize the traffic
problems thereafter. The team feels that anyone who could possibly go off the
front and make it stick would have to be a very strong rider on such a hard
day, so vigilance and continuing the positive racing from yesterday is the plan.
Word is that DC is down one vehicle. On the descent after the first climb yesterday
all the cars stopped suddenly on a hairpin turn, and Johan rear ended the CSC
team car - then Popo, who had stopped to "relieve some pressure", rear ended
Johan, and that's how he crashed...
14:02 CEST 54km/119km to go
Botero and Martinez
are now being dropped by Vino and Pereiro. Martinez is angry at a moto cameraman
who gets in his way.
Botero grunts his way back to the leading pair
just before the summit.
14:05 CEST 55km/118km to go
Vino, Pereiro and
Botero ride up the final steep part of the Madeleine with 500m to the summit.
Thousands of fans with many green PMU hands cheer them on, trying their best
to get run over by the lead motos. Vino looks much better than yesterday. But
it's Botero who takes the points ahead of Vino and Pereiro.
14:06 CEST 56km/117km to go
Rasmussen and Moreau
fight it out for 5th and Moreau easily takes it, 47 seconds behind the leaders.
Rasmussen doesn't even bother to sprint but he gets 6th, and there'll be more
for him on the Galibier. He is building an unassailable lead on the mountains
Pereiro goes off the side of the
road, maybe looking for a shortcut down the Madeleine. It's grassy, but he's
not longer with the leaders. Oh dear.
14:10 CEST 59km/114km to go
And then there were
two. Botero and Vinokourov lose their composure a bit after seeing Pereiro go
off the road. He had a bit of food in his mouth and couldn't control it around
a corner. He basically just kept going down into the field. But he's back! Riding
again! Maybe he did find a shortcut?
14:12 CEST 62km/111km to go
Vino and Botero continue
their descent, with Pereiro now chasing alone. A lucky escape, if you can call
running off the side of the road "lucky".
Martinez (who must have been fourth
over the Madeleine) is now back with Vino and Botero. Pereiro should get back
on too. The peloton is at 1'08.
14:16 CEST 63km/110km to go
We're now with four
leaders again, who have 1'10 on the Discovery led peloton. Pereiro doesn't even
look hurt, so perhaps he was able to hold it up when he went off the road earlier.
14:20 CEST 70km/103km to go
Vino, Martinez, Botero,
and Pereiro are racing down the steep descent of the Madeleine, through the
trees, which are getting thicker as they near the base of the descent. The peloton,
one minute behind, is growing to perhaps 40 riders now.
Vino's always last wheel of the four
on the descent. Pereiro's is probably the best as he leads the quartet. No fear
after his little run in with the Alpine flora. Luckily it wasn't Alpine fauna.
14:27 CEST 76km/97km to go
Of the leaders, Botero
is the best placed on GC, starting the day at 5'20. But unless Discovery execute
an unlikely collapse, he's not going to threaten the yellow jersey.
The four leaders are now on the flat, speeding towards Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne.
They take on bidons and musettes in the feed zone, and will hope that the peloton
does the same. The gap is 1'20.
14:31 CEST 79km/94km to go
The peloton does take
time out to refuel, and the Discovery boys are a perfect example of how to do
it without crashing. It's very orderly as they all unload their musettes into
their back pockets and mouths.
Armstrong loosens the straps on his
shoes, maybe feeling a bit sore in the feet. It's a warm day and foot cramp
is painful when it hits.
14:41 CEST 86km/87km to go
The four leaders:
Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), Oscar Pereiro, Santi Botero (Phonak), and Egoi
Martinez (Euskaltel), are motoring along the main road in the valley towards
Saint-Michel-De-Maurienne, pursued by a 40 rider peloton led by Discovery Channel
14:53 CEST 95km/78km to go
Armstrong now has
five teammates leading him 1'42 behind the break of four, which will get a bit
more of a bonus now because Armstrong drops to the back of the peloton, again
loosening and adjusting his shoes. They're giving him problems today.
14:58 CEST 98/74km to go
The leaders pass through
the sprint at Saint-Michel-De-Maurienne, with Vinokourov leading them through
ahead of Martinez and Pereiro. They have nearly 2 minutes as they start the
Cat. 1 Col du Telegraphe, 12 km at 6.7%.
15:02 CEST 100km/73km to go
The peloton starts
the Telegraphe and Hushovd is dropped straight away. He didn't get any sprint
points today, so there will be no changes at the top of the green jersey classification
- Boonen is still with the sprinters bus. Remember Hushovd had nearly 7 minutes
at the bottom of the Madeleine, but was caught at the top.
is dropped by the leading three as the Telegraphe gets harder.
15:05 CEST 101km/72km to go
Martinez is falling
further back as Botero is also dropped, leaving just Vinokourov with Pereiro
and a 2'05 gap to the peloton. Just 72 km to go lads...
The Disco train is led by Rubiera,
Beltran, Popovych, Savoldelli, and Hincapie, with Armstrong in sixth wheel.
The peloton is perhaps 35-40 riders strong as it tackles the Col du Telegraphe.
There was a bit of rain on the Galibier, our CN car reports.
gets a bit of encouragement from the side of the road. For those wondering,
he's wearing the blue and yellow kit because he's the champion of Kazakhstan.
15:10 CEST 103km/70km to go
Casar and Sastre
are dangling on the back of the peloton, and probably won't last much longer.
Vino looks very composed up front, and Pereiro is having another good ride today.
He was in the counter-attack yesterday.
Botero is slowly losing time to the
two leaders, and is at 15 seconds. Martinez is further back, then the slimming
down peloton at 1'40.
15:16 CEST 105km/68km to go
Botero has made it
back to the two leaders, who can probably do with his help later.
Meanwhile, Rubiera is setting the pace in the bunch with Beltran ready to take
over. Discovery has looked very strong all day today, even if Armstrong has
had a couple of problems with his shoes. We'll see on the Galibier how all the
rivals fare. Can Rasmussen do something? He's the only one close enough at the
We spoke to Davitamon-Lotto's Cadel
Evans before the start today to ask him how he thought today would go. "Today
will be much harder than yesterday. Maybe some will be intimidated by the course
or maybe they will make the race even harder than yesterday, I don't know. It's
a much harder climb, but then it's not a hilltop finish so we'll see."
Michael Boogerd does domestique duties for Rasmussen in the peloton. Savoldelli
does the same for his teammates.
Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) has abandoned.
Surprise. He was in the top 20 yesterday, but he was dropped early today.
15:25 CEST 107km/66km to go
Martinez has now
been caught by the peloton as the three leaders increase their gap to 2'20 with
a couple of kilometres from the summit of the Telegraphe. Not so many spectators
on this climb - most of them will have gone to the Galibier.
15:32 CEST 110km/63km to go
The gap is up to
2'46 now as Botero, Pereiro and Vinokourov near the top of the Telegraphe. A
few more folks up here, cheering them on from the sides of the roads, which
are packed with campervans.
Savoldelli is back with the Discovery
car, going for bottles or maybe suffering.
15:34 CEST 110km/63km to go
Botero takes the
points for the Telegraphe ahead of Vinokourov, with Pereiro in third.
15:37 CEST 112km/61km to go
Rasmussen and Moreau
go for the fourth place points, and Moreau gets them easily as Rasmussen again
doesn't contest it. He is keeping his powder dry for the Galibier. The gap at
the top is 3'22.
The three leaders are speeding down into Valloire.
Not much of a descent, but it's a bit of a break before the Galibier.
15:42 CEST 117km/56km to go
The leaders are on
the long climb of the Galibier, another 17.5km at 6.9%. There's a bit of a cash
bonus at the top as it's the highest climb of the Tour at 2645m. Their gap is
now 3'21, which is quite decent. Botero's two minutes off the maillot jaune.
15:52 CEST 120km/53km to go
Pereiro is now off
the back of Vino and Botero as they lift their tempo a bit on the Galibier.
The hardest part of the climb is still to come, but if they make it to the top...
The gap is still 3'11 to the peloton.
Mayo's gone from the Armstrong group.
Not really his Tour this year.
Francis Mourey (FDJ) is next off
the back of the bunch. Kessler is also towards the back.
15:59 CEST 123km/50km to go
Vino is pedaling
with a nice cadence now, leading Botero up towards the nastier bit of the Galibier.
They have 3'04 on the Discovery led peloton, where Beltran has just dropped
off looking tired.
The green jersey group is reported as 20'00 behind
Vino has dropped Botero! The T-Mobile rider is now alone.
16:02 CEST 124km/49km to go
It's all Alexandre
Vinokourov now, as he gets to within 9 km of the summit of the Galibier. Nice
riding by the Kazakh champ, who has 3'15 on the Armstrong group, which still
numbers 30 or so riders. Savoldelli is leading it now, and there are still Popovych,
Azevedo, and Hincapie ahead of Armstrong.
Boogerd is dropped.
16:05 CEST 125km/48km to go
Garzelli goes out
the back with Goubert as Savoldelli continues to set the pace in the Armstrong
group. Mancebo, Jaksche, Rasmussen, Evans, Valverde, Julich, Leipheimer, Mazzoleni
are all there.
Botero is 27 seconds behind Vinokourov, with Oscar
Pereiro at 1'28, and the bunch at 3'00. Vino is now on the steep bit of the
Galibier, where Pantani left Ullrich behind in 1998.
16:07 CEST 127km/46km to go
Vino started the
day 6'20 behind Armstrong on GC, so he's no real threat for yellow.
The pace is slowly increasing in the peloton and things are stretching out.
Sastre and Horner are in last and second last wheels, just behind Ullrich's
Rubiera is also off the back of the
Armstrong group, no surprises there. There are still perhaps 25-30 riders (yes,
Basso as well) with the maillot jaune.
A fan with a long horned helmet,
a brown skinsuit and a flag of Texas cheers the Armstrong group along. What
Pereiro is caught by the Armstrong
group, as Horner goes out the back too.
It's just Vinokourov versus Botero
on the Col du Galibier, with Vino getting to within 5 km of the summit. It looks
like Armstrong is riding a controlled race today, not trying to win but limit
Pereiro is dropped from the Armstrong group immediately.
Kl÷den is in trouble at the back
of the group with Guerini and Totschnig. Rogers is fourth last wheel.
Some names in the Armstrong group:
Armstrong, Savoldelli, Popovych, Azevedo, Hincapie, Basso, Ullrich, Evans, Landis,
Mazzoleni, Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Mancebo, Valverde and Rogers.
16:16 CEST 129km/44km to go
Vino has his sunnies
reversed with nothing getting in the way of his sight now.
37 seconds on Botero and still 3'00 on the Armstrong group. It looks like either
he or Botero will win today.
Kl÷den is really struggling to hold
Vino is pumping up and down, staying
in the saddle and concentrating on getting to the top of the Galibier. So is
Botero, who uses a slightly bigger gear.
About 15 riders left in
the Armstrong group now.
16:20 CEST 130km/43km to go
Kashechkin, Rogers and Zandio(?) are going off the back of the Armstrong group,
which is 2'51 behind Vino. But Vino has less than 3 km to the summit. Botero
hasn't given up, and could well catch him on the descent into Brianšon.
It's now Hincapie, Savoldelli and Azevedo leading Armstrong, with Popovych also
there. Rasmussen, Ullrich, Valverde are close behind.
16:24 CEST 131km/42km to go
Vino gets to 2 km
to the summit, with 44 seconds on Botero and 2'51 on the Armstrong group.
16:25 CEST 132km/41km to go
Vino is now just
1 km away from taking the Souvenir Henri Desgranges, and with a very decent
chance of winning the stage. He's really fighting now, and is keeping his 2'51
lead on the Armstrong group and 51 seconds over Botero.
The Armstrong group has Savoldelli,
Popovych, Azevedo, Hincapie, Basso, Ullrich, Evans, Landis, Mazzoleni, Leipheimer,
Rasmussen, Mancebo, Jaksche, Julich, Moreau, Sastre, Piepoli, and Valverde in
it. Piepoli and Sastre are suffering though. Not far to go!
16:28 CEST 133km/40km to go
Vino is urged on
by the crowds near the top of the Galibier. Incredible riding on the climb.
It's dry at the top, but fairly cool.
Sastre gets some bidons from
the CSC car, probably risking a time penalty too.
16:29 CEST 133km/40km to go
Vinokourov will take
the maximum points on the climb and plenty cash too for the Souvenir Henri Desgranges.
Botero will follow him as second over the top.
16:31 CEST 133km/40km to go
Vino gets cheered
on all the way to the top by lunatic fans, who risk being run over by the L'Equipe
moto. He will pocket €5000 for the first over.
now attacked for third place.
Botero comes over at 41 seconds,
not giving up. Rasmussen will be next, as he has a nice little gap over the
16:33 CEST 134km/39km to go
If Rasmussen can
descend faster than the group, he might even take the maillot jaune today -
he started the day just 38 seconds behind, and he'd get an 8 second bonus for
3rd. That's a big if - Armstrong won't let the jersey go that easily.
16:34 CEST 136km/37km to go
Rasmussen is third
over at 2'23, as Moreau sprints for the fourth place points at 2'40, closely
followed by Azevedo and the rest of the Armstrong group.
now on the descent. Botero goes downhill a bit better than Vino, so he could
catch him for the win.
Kl÷den's group with Rogers, Guerini, Zandio,
and Kashechkin, comes over at 3'12.
16:35 CEST 138km/35km to go
Vino is taking the
descent very gingerly, especially as the roads are a bit wet near the top. Botero
is now 34 seconds behind.
16:38 CEST 140km/33km to go
Botero is just 17
seconds behind Vino, and should catch him soon.
Rasmussen has been
caught by the Armstrong group. Valverde is off the back of it, but is chasing
on now. The roads are dry.
Boogerd comes over the Galibier at
7'22 in the company of Contador. Garzelli came over at about 5'00.
Botero nears Vino's back wheel -
he has done a great descent to peg back 40 seconds. Vino doesn't look really
16:41 CEST 143km/30km to go
now at the Lautaret. Vino asks for help from the team car. He gets it - at very
high speed. Botero also gets a bidon (bottle).
Four Discovery riders
are towing Armstrong and his group.
16:42 CEST 145km/28km to go
group has made it back to the Armstrong group, which trails Vino and Botero
16:44 CEST 148km/25km to go
Both leaders stand
to gain some places on GC today, if they keep a 2'00-2'30 lead. Not really enough
to threaten Armstrong.
Mourey and Rubiera are at the summit of the
Galibier now, 12'30 behind the leaders. Rubiera actually stops to put newspaper
down his jersey. He looks extremely knackered. Now Sevilla and Heras come up
to join them.
Beltran is now over at 13'42, putting on his jacket.
16:46 CEST 149km/24km to go
Botero was a winner
in Brianšon in 2000, so he could repeat today. But Vino also fancies himself
as a bit of a sprinter, especially as he missed out in the first week.
Hincapie and Azevedo keep the tempo up on the descent.
Iban Mayo is now at the summit of
the Galibier in the company of Egoi Martinez...16'16 behind the leaders. That
can't be good for his morale.
16:49 CEST 153km/20km to go
20 km to go and the
two leaders, Santiago Botero and Alexandre Vinokourov, have a 2'25 gap over
the 20-25 man Armstrong group, which will probably try to reduce the advantage
over the final kilometres.
We spoke to Joseba Beloki (who hasn't
been spotted in front) today: "I feel tired, " he said. "Yesterday was a hard
day for our team. We didn't perform well so I hope we will get better. We should
have been able to stay with Ulle or with Basso, but we couldn't."
16:51 CEST 155.5km/17.5km to go
The bunch is
now at the 20 km to go banner, streaking along 2 km behind the leaders.
16:52 CEST 156.5km/16.5km to go
Vino shakes his
legs, probably suffering from a bit of cramp now as Botero drives the pace.
Two pretty handy riders to have in a break, as they can both time trial.
Savoldelli is now leading Hincapie and the Discovery chase.
16:54 CEST 158km/15km to go
The lead pair are
on the straight, downhill run into Brianšon. One of these two will win the stage,
that's for sure. Vino has to hope that he has enough in the tank to get around
Botero in the sprint, but the Colombian looks stronger now, even if he wasn't
on the climb.
Vino's timing transponder has come
loose and is banging against the spokes a bit. That ain't going to help...
The T-Mobile car snips the time transponder
off, so Vino is now in Stealth Mode.
16:57 CEST 161km/12km to go
Hincapie pounds the
pace on the front of the groupe maillot jaune with 12 km left, as the
two leaders keep hold of their 2'10 lead. It's coming down slowly, but they
should keep the best part of two minutes at the end.
16:58 CEST 163km/10km to go
Botero should be
able to move himself up to 6th on GC as a result, as he takes the 6 seconds
for the intermediate sprint at Moulin-Baron. Vino looks a bit better now that
he's gotten rid of the noise in his back spokes.
16:59 CEST 165km/8km to go
A big group, but it
might not be the main sprinters' bus, is now at the top of the Galibier, well
over 20 minutes down.
The maillot jaune is now 1'52 behind Vino and
Botero with less than 9 km to go.
17:01 CEST 166km/7km to go
It's a bit of a crosswind
as the two leaders motor towards the finish, Vino still shaking his legs, which
probably feel like jelly now. Does he have enough to outsprint Botero?
17:02 CEST 167km/6km to go
Who will it be? Santi
Botero, who has three Tour stage wins already, or Alexandre Vinokourov, who
has one? We'll know in about 7 minutes.
17:03 CEST 168km/5km to go
Vinokourov is saving
himself as much as possible, stretching on the bike, shaking his quads. Botero
just hammers along.
17:05 CEST 170km/3km to go
Less than 4 km to
go and the advantage of the lead pair is just 1'40. They fly through the streets
of Brianšon at 60 km/h.
17:05 CEST 170.5km/2.5km to go
They reach three
km to go and keep working. 1'35 to Armstrong and co. There won't be big GC gains
17:06 CEST 171km/2km to go
Botero now does a
long turn - his turns have been longer than Vino's. But they're still cooperating
17:06 CEST 171.5km/1.5km to go
Vino swings off
under 2 km to go and lets Botero do another turn, then he takes the lead again.
17:07 CEST 172km/1km to go
Final kilometre, and
the two leaders are going all out for the stage win and GC time.
Vino is on Botero's wheel as they
reach 1 km to go.
Botero looks back at Vino, who is
not going to come through. No way.
Botero slows a bit, but not too much.
Vino gets ready to jump. 500m to go.
They both get out of the saddle and
watch each other. 300m.
They sprint, with Vino jumping first
and powering away from Botero for the stage win!! Finally! He does it! He is
very, very happy. That was a genuine sprint between the pair, who both wanted
the stage win badly.
17:10 CEST 173km/0km to go
Hincapie leads out
Popovych and Armstrong for third, but it's Moreau who takes it from Julich,
Mazzoleni, and Armstrong, who gets no bonus.
Moreau's finishing bonus of 8 seconds
will move him into third on GC, while Botero is now in 6th and Vino is up to
12th. No other real changes on GC in today's stage, which was ridden in a very
defensive manner by the powerful Discovery team, which still had five riders
in the group at the end.
Rasmussen still has a nice big lead in
the mountains competition (over 70 points) with Moreau and Botero occupying
the minor placings there. Boonen keeps green, despite being banged up again,
and Valverde will keep the white jersey of best young rider.
all from us from stage 11. Please tune in tomorrow for Stage 12 between Brianšon
1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 4.47.38
2 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.01
3 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 1.15
4 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
5 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner
9 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
10 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
General classification after stage 11
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 41.59.57
2 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 0.38
3 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 2.34
4 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 2.40
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 3.16
6 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 3.47
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 3.58
8 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 4.00
9 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 4.02
10 Andreas Kl÷den (Ger) T-Mobile Team 4.16
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