92nd Tour de France - GT
France, July 2-24, 2005
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Stage 7 - Friday, July 8: Lunéville - Karlsruhe, 228.5 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones and Roger Hughes, with additional reporting from
Tim Maloney and Anthony Tan
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 12:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Stage 7 profile
Welcome to Cyclingnews for
our live coverage of the seventh stage of the Tour de France. Today's stage
takes us from Lunéville to Karlsruhe, in Germany, over an up and down 228.5
km parcours. It's going to be a long day in the saddle for the riders, who will
already be drained by the 48 km/h average of the first week of racing, and maybe
today a break will stay away.
Today's three intermediate sprints
are at Rambervillers (km 32.5), Brumath (km 146.5), and Rastatt (km 197.5),
while the two climbs on offer are the Col de la Chipotte (Cat. 4, km 45), and
Col du Hantz (Cat. 3, km 74). The riders cross into Germany after 185 km.
It was raining at the start earlier today, but now it's merely overcast and
cool, with temperatures in the upper teens. Rain is expected for most of the
day, so it's not going to be a particularly enjoyable day for most.
Today's stage starts with a 4.1 km
neutral section before the flag drops at 12:08 for the official start.
The flag drops to signal the start
of stage 7 and they're away! 228 km to go.
Yesterday's slippery finish is still
being talked about, with a number of incidents happening in the final two kilometres.
Firstly there was Alexandre Vinokourov's attack to chase down the lone Christophe
Mengin, as the sprinters teams became disorganised in the run into Nancy. Vino's
move was surprisingly marked by only one rider: Lorenzo Bernucci, who rode very
well to completely miss Mengin's crash on the final corner and zip through to
take the stage win.
Arguably, Vinokourov, who was hindered by Mengin,
was the favourite for the win, which would have given him 20 bonus seconds over
his main GC rivals. It's difficult to estimate whether the peloton would have
caught Vino and Bernucci had it not crashed on the same corner, but given the
gap and the rain, my money was on the three staying clear.
end of the day, Vino gained 19 seconds on Lance Armstrong, and although it might
not mean a great deal in the grand scheme of things, every second counts...
12:26 CEST 14km/214km to go
An updated weather
report from the boys and girl in the CN car: it's about 15 degrees at the moment
but the skies are actually clearing as the weather front moves west. There's
still a chance of some showers today. The wind has died down considerably and
it's even sunny at the finish in Karlsruhe.
The attacks have been
commenced by Rabobank, as usual.
An update from Chris "Inside Discovery"
Brewer: "All is well within the Discovery Channel team. Lance confirmed that
with the very dangerous final corner yesterday and the wet, slick conditions,
that chasing down Vinokourov was just not worth the risk."
12:33 CEST 19km/209km to go
The attacks continue
with a group of riders getting a 10 second gap over the peloton, which is chasing
12:41 CEST 26.5km/201.5km to go
The riders in
the break were Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon), Fabian Cancellara (Fassa), Manuel
Quinziato (Saunier), Angel Vicioso (Liberty), Magnus Bäckstedt (Liquigas) and
Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner). It was brought back at the 18 km mark.
A crash has brought down a few riders, including Tom Boonen. All are back in
the peloton now.
12:44 CEST 28km/200km to go
The first sprint
in Rambervillers (km 32.5) is approaching rapidly. It looks like the sprinters
teams will try to keep it together, although Boonen will have a bit of work
to do to get to the front again after his crash. That was poor timing.
12:49 CEST 31km/197km to go
Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto)
and Erik Dekker (Rabobank) have taken a flyer 2 km before the first sprint.
They have a small lead over the bunch.
12:52 CEST 32km/196km to go
The leading pair
have 10 seconds on the bunch as they near the sprint banner in Rambervillers.
They should be able to stay clear. Dekker is also on the hunt for more mountain
points, and there is a Cat. 4 climb coming up at km 46.
Dekker and Van Bon have been caught
by Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r) and Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom).
12:56 CEST 37km/191km to go
The break is over,
just after the sprint. Nazon and Pineau had bridged up after the sprint banner,
but then the peloton closed it down. The results of the sprint: 1. Leon Van
Bon (Davitamon-Lotto), 2. Erik Dekker (Rabobank), 3. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole).
The latter is now within six points of Boonen's green jersey. Boonen wasn't
really in a position to contest that sprint though.
13:01 CEST 42km/186km to go
The peloton is now
on the first climb of the day, the Cat. 4 Col de la Chipotte. Karsten Kroon
is the mountains leader on seven points, equal with Stéphane Augé. Dekker is
on six, and Voeckler five. But the latter was one of those dropped on the final
climb yesterday, so he's probably not a candidate for the spotty jersey in Paris.
13:05 CEST 44km/184km to go
The race is less
than 1 km from the summit of the climb. Seven riders attacked after 39.5 km:
Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa), Alberto Contador (Liberty), Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon),
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas),
and Evgeni Petrov (Lampre) bridged up to them. Can they stay clear to the top?
13:10 CEST 50km/178km to go
They didn't make
it. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) attacked to take the three points, ahead of...Voeckler!
But Augé took third (1 pt), and will keep the mountains jersey for the time
being. The Cat. 3 climb coming up might change that though.
has continued on his own, with McEwen joining him on the descent.
13:13 CEST 52km/176km to go
The bunch covered
a quick 48.8 km in the first hour, which is fairly standard for Tour stages.
McEwen and Wegmann have 18 seconds lead now.
There are still over 20 km to go
until the next climb, the Cat. 3 Col du Hantz, which is 3.5 km long and averages
13:18 CEST 56km/172km to go
Steve Zampieri (Phonak)
has become the third rider to abandon the Tour. That leaves 186 of the 189 original
McEwen and Wegmann are doing well, extending their
lead to half a minute at the 50 km point.
13:25 CEST 62km/166km to go
McEwen has now given
up his attack with Wegmann, leaving the German all on his own with a 1'20 lead
over the peloton.
Wegmann is now over 2 minutes ahead
of the peloton, which is not chasing him hard. It's early days yet, but he stands
a good chance of staying away into Germany.
We spoke to Wegmann before
the start today, and he told us: "I do have some objectives for today. But I
already noticed yesterday that my legs don't turn like they should. When it's
cold and wet I'm in trouble. Of course I'm happy to be going into Germany today
and if a break goes, one of us should be in it, and I would be one of the candidates
in our team to do so. But if it comes down to a sprint, Robert (Förster) is
in good form so we have various possibilities.
13:37 CEST 69km/159km to go
Wegmann is now approaching
the Col du Hantz. It's a Cat. 3 climb, and as he will almost certainly win the
points, he should take over the mountains jersey today because he was first
on the first Cat. 4 climb (3 points) and started the day on 3 points.
Wegmann has 3'43 on the peloton, which almost puts him in the virtual maillot
jaune, as his deficit to Armstrong at the beginning of the stage was 3'46. Still
a long way to go yet!
13:43 CEST 72.5km/155.5km to go
(Gerolsteiner), who began his attack on the first climb of the day after 45
km, is now on the Cat. 3 Col du Hantz, with a lead that is still increasing.
But it's not all easy going in the peloton, as yesterday's tragic hero Christophe
Mengin (FDJ) has been dropped, and is 1'50 behind the main bunch already. That's
going to be extremely tough for him to ride to the finish alone.
13:46 CEST 74km/154km to go
Mengin might be helped
by a mass pit-stop in the peloton, which takes a minute or two. Wegmann now
has seven minutes on the Col du Hantz. His maillot jaune virtuel is secure
for a while now. He might even be wearing it when he crosses the German border
in another 110 km.
Wegmann assured of the polka dot jersey
today, providing he finishes of course. The points gained on this climb combined
with his 6 existing points will be more than enough.
13:53 CEST 78km/150km to go
Wegmann is now flying
down the other side of the Col du Hantz, bound for the feed zone at Urmatt (km
103). The bunch is 7'45 behind him. Not sure who took second on the climb yet
- if it was Augé, then he might be able to prevent Wegmann from taking the polka
dots as that would give him 11 points (Wegmann now has 10). We'll see shortly.
13:56 CEST 84km/144km to go
Aha - it was Wegmann's
Gerolsteiner teammates Ronny Scholz and Beat Zberg taking second and third,
with Rubens Bertogliati in fourth. That gives Wegmann the actual polka dot jersey
by 2 points over Stéphane Augé. The peloton passed the summit 7'05 behind the
14:02 CEST 90km/138km to go
Wegmann is near the
bottom of the long, gradual descent of the Col du Hantz, and has 13 km to go
before the feed zone. He has 7'30 on the peloton, but there's a lot of riding
We spoke to Phonak's Floyd Landis
this morning before the stage start, and he filled us in on his day in Stage
6: "I had a bit of trouble yesterday after I got a flat and had to come back
in the rain. But overall I'm feeling good, and the legs are good."
What about the climbs coming up in the next few days? "There should be some
action but I don't think the race will be decided there."
14:13 CEST 100km/128km to go
Wegmann's lead has
now started to fall, which is not a good sign with still over 128 km to go.
It's 6'50 now as he reaches km 100.
14:17 CEST 103km/125km to go
Wegmann (with a
bit of help from McEwen) has averaged 45.8 km/h in the second hour, and the
average speed after two hours is 47.3 km/h. He has reached the feed zone in
Discovery Channel is leading the peloton, making sure that
the German doesn't get too far in front.
The weather today has been fairly
dry so far, but now the peloton is starting to get wet. It's one of those days
where it rains off and on all day.
We spoke to CSC's press officer Brian
Nygaard this morning to ask about the status of his riders. He told us that
although Dave Zabriskie was dropped on yesterday's final climb, "He is recovering
very well. His injuries were only minor."
As for Jens Voigt, Nygaard
said, "Jens doesn't feel the rain at all. He's definitely going to be out and
about today. There are only two hills, in the first half of the parcours, then
it's flat. Depending on how big the break is, we'll see."
14:34 CEST 113km/115km to go
At the feedzone,
Wegmann's lead has increased again to nearly 8 minutes as Discovery Channel
leads the bunch through. Wegmann started the day 3'46 behind Armstrong on GC,
which means that he is the virtual leader of the race for the time being. But
he's not being given a big enough lead to really be a threat, and we can expect
the sprinters teams to assume the position soon and start to bring him back.
The rain is not falling at the moment,
but it could easily start again. It's still not much above 15 degrees, and at
the moment there is a 20 km/h tailwind, which is helping Mr Wegmann.
14:40 CEST 117km/111km to go
Wegmann nearly gets
taken out by a race director's car as he tackles a corner. His lead is up to
8'30 as he goes through Molsheim, cheered on by huge crowds. He gets some encouragement
and a bidon from the Gerolsteiner team car.
14:43 CEST 118km/110km to go
Pavel "Jaws" Padrnos
leads the peloton with all of the Discovery Channel team in tow, including Lance
of course. Sunshine now!
Wegmann looks very focused as he
rides alone at the head of the race. He's already been out there for 70 km on
his own, but still has another 110 km to go.
14:48 CEST 122km/106km to go
Noval takes over
from Padrnos for Discovery, keeping the gap at around 8 minutes. Wegmann is
cheered on as he rides on wet roads now. He'll hope to maintain a gap into Germany,
where there are millions (billions, even) of people out to watch the Tour. The
Germans go mad whenever the Tour visits. Surprisingly, no German has won a stage
Noval now takes the sharp corner where Wegmann was nearly
taken out by a race car.
14:49 CEST 123km/105km to go
Yep, it's raining
again. Wegmann gets a short sleeved jacket from the team car and puts it on.
He doesn't have arm warmers, despite the relative chill in the air.
14:53 CEST 125km/103km to go
Armstrong has a
slightly bored look on his face as he follows Hincapie and the rest of his teammates
at the front of the peloton. Leipheimer is on his wheel. The gap is 7'53 as
Padrnos and Noval keep swapping off.
Chris Horner is sorting himself
out at the back of the bunch, as is Bernucci, yesterday's stage winner.
14:59 CEST 130km/98km to go
Wegmann takes a few
speed humps in his stride through the streets of Quatzenheim. 8 minutes behind
him, Noval and Padrnos are discussing the state of play. All the GC riders are
clustered behind Lance, including Jens Voigt, who will want to do something
in the finale today.
15:03 CEST 132km/96km to go
Wegmann has ditched
the jacket now as it's stopped raining.
Wilfried Peeters talked about
Tom Boonen's crash today on Belgian TV: "Tom Boonen crashed and broke his bike.
He was in pain and had to see the race doctor. His back is hurting and he said
he'll have to see the osteopath for sure this evening, there might be a blockage
which could take the power away from his legs. Tom said he'll see what happens
later on for the intermediate sprint and the final sprint."
Another German looking to do well
today is Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), who told us this morning, "This would
be something for me if it was 30 degrees, hot, and more mountains (because it
was raining at the time). My family and my girlfriend will be there, So I will
try to go in a break. Our DS also said to ride in front today so I will try.
You never know with the weather. A lot of guys want to ride hard. We saw that
last year when Flecha took the jersey. OK, 150 guys are here with the same idea,
but I still want to try."
15:15 CEST 138km/90km to go
Wegmann's lead bounces
back over the 8-minute mark for a bit as the race wends its way (well, just
goes straight in front, mostly) across the flat Rhine Valley landscape. The
rain has eased up a bit and Discovery are pulling it along without any obvious
interest in closing it down.
Chris Brewer (Inside Discovery) at the
finish tells us that its 21C and the roads are dry, but there are plenty of
dark clouds still above. The final 10km are dead flat with the first half on
the B36 highway then local barriered roads. There's one easy left hand corner
at 8km but after that it's a 2-lane drag race to the finish line with a light
wind to the riders' right.
15:25 CEST 148km/80km to go
Wegmann rolls through
the bonus sprint at Brumath with a last reported lead of 7.55
Christophe Moreau is now up at the
front of the bunch for Crédit Agricole and the pace is quickening; Wegmann's
lead has now fallen to seven minutes or so. Hushovd is well up presumably with
an eye to the bonus points for second place at this sprint.
move up to contest it and Boonen takes second from Hushovd.
15:37 CEST 153km/75km to go
The wind-up for the
sprint has brought Wegmann's lead sharply down to just over six minutes, but
the sprinters' teams have gone back into the bunch and it is Discovery setting
the pace again. However, the ease with which they made up two minutes in a few
kilometres does suggest that their choice not to start the chase yet is not
without good reason.
15:42 CEST 158km/70km to go
And no sooner do
I type that than Davitamon-Lotto send three riders up to set the pace, and the
pace is enough to string the bunch out quite noticeably.
is now shining on the peloton as they wind through the traditional Alsatian
streets of Weitbruch, steep tiled roofs and half-timbered gables. Wegmann's
lead is now down to 4.54.
15:52 CEST 165km/63km to go
Quick.Step are now
helping the chase, and Wegmann's hours in the spotlight seem decidedly numbered
as the gap continues to come down fast. McEwen is a long way back in the bunch
for the moment, though; the hammer is not yet down.
It's now raining
at the finish in Karlsruhe.
16:04 CEST 173km/55km to go
Wegmann has picked
up his efforts a bit; he was clearly pacing himself before, and the gap has
stabilised a bit at 3.33. He's riding steadily, hands on the hoods, maybe rocking
and rolling a bit on the slight rises.
Knaven comes up to the front
of the bunch and takes a brisk turn as the ardoisier's motorbike comes
back to show them the gap.
16:11 CEST 180km/48km to go
Lance Armstrong is
doing his best to look uncomfortable, rubbing a cramped leg, maybe, or else
preparing for an unexpected finisseur attack (remember: you heard it here first).
The gap is shrinking more slowly but still steadily.
16:18 CEST 184km/44km to go
is hanging on at the back, showing the signs of yesterday's crash. Before the
stage he told Flemish TV "My injuries are not bad; the legs are still good.There
won't be a problem during the race I think. I just hope it's not raining too
much today. I think it'll be a mass sprint again today, Lotto and QuickStep
will try to make sure of that."
Doesn't look like he's wrong. Wegmann's
lead is down to 2.48 as the peloton is watched by three interested horses on
the run into Roppenheim (a chestnut, a grey and a dapple grey). We're getting
close to the border now.
The broad road between potato fields
up to the border is in sunshine, but the skies ahead and to the south are all
Wegmann rides alone across the Rhine into his home country.
The crowds are out in good force. Blue balloons seem to be popular among the
As the bunch crosses the border, Jens Voigt makes
a little ceremonial sally up the road, but only for fun.
16:34 CEST 196km/32km to go
The crowds in Germany
are plentiful, as expected, Wegmann's lead is down under 2 minutes now; he looks
resigned but he will at least pick up the cash for the day's final bonus sprint
An entire yellow-clad local team appear to be watching
the race from turbo trainers on a trailer by the road up here...
16:35 CEST 197km/31km to go
Crash in the bunch
on a fairly oblique level crossing. Twenty or thirty riders are down in the
middle of the bunch.
Zabriskie was one of those who crashed.
Also Sprick (Bouygues), Cooke (FDJ), Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto), Calzati (Ag2r)
- Dumoulin waiting for him. Doesn't look like anything too serious fortunately.
Furlan was down and two other Domina
Vacanze riders are back with him; in front the bunch speeds up as Boonen and
Hushovd take the minor places on the bonus sprint; Wegmann naturally crossed
first. There are a straggle of riders trying to make their way back up through
the race convoy.
16:44 CEST 201km/27km to go
There were actually
two separate crashes on each side of the bunch there; Alexandr Vinokourov was
lucky to miss it. There are a few more mineral lines crossing in these closing
kilometres, and a nasty set of tramlines at 4 km to go; lets hope that that
crash served as a wake-up call.
All the cars are being pulled
out from behind Wegmann now. Guerini punctures.
The brave Wegmann has the peloton
just 20 seconds behind him, but it has gone flat across the road, nobody taking
up the chase.
16:48 CEST 205km/23km to go
Wegmann can't wait
to be caught, but it looks as though the bunch are waiting for crash victims
to catch up. Telekom has moved to the front in numbers; apart from staying out
of trouble, they probably feel obliged to show their faces here in Germany.
Fabien Cancellara is being brought back up by three Fassa Bortolo team-mates.
Wegmann is caught after 160 km alone
in the lead. He will have the spotty jersey to make up for the disappointment
of not finishing the stage at the front.
Johan Van Summeren is leading
the bunch, as he has for much of the last couple of hours.
Mancebo is off the back among the cars - probably one of the crash victims -
with Garcia Acosta pacing him back up. Towards the front, Armstrong is marking
Ullrich, it appears.
Mancebo is back on OK
16:58 CEST 214km/14km to go
Massive crowds are
watching; as the race comes into Ettlingen, with bridges and verges crowded.
Sadly for them and the riders, it's started raining again, quite heavily.
Much of the course here is on very
wide highways - now actually on an Autobahn, in fact - but there are some fairly
abrupt chicanes as the race funnels into slip-roads here and there, with riders
trapped at the back having to slow to a near-halt and then struggle to get back
with the pace.
Sébastien Joly is now setting the pace for Crédit
Agricole, with Kevin Hulsmans for Quick.Step leading a second arrowhead on the
other side of this two or three lane highway.
The white jersey of Yaroslav Popovych
is leading a (presumably non-sprinting) train of George Hincapie and Lance Armstrong;
Vinokourov is on Lance's wheel.
Fassa Bortolo moving Cancellara up
now - finisseur move coming? Matt White is working for COfidis; Jörg Jaksche
is leading Allan Davis up.
17:06 CEST 222km/6km to go
Off the Autobahn and
into the final kilometres of city streets, with crowds lining a couple deep
in most places.
Matt White is leading out now with
the bunch almost lined out behind him. Bäckstedt is moving up. Crowds getting
17:07 CEST 224km/4km to go
The dangerous tramline
crossing has been negotiated safely
Glomser and O'Grady are moving up.
It's getting very lively indeed now. Tankink is on WHite's wheel, lots of Quick.Step
and AG2R jerseys
Fassa on the front now. Boonen is
well positioned in about 15th.
17:10 CEST 225km/3km to go
FDJ moving up for
Cooke or Eisel; anybody who is anybody is getting up there now.
17:11 CEST 226km/2km to go
Boonen catches his
train at the 2 km banner, a bit close to the right. McEwen in there somewhere.
Riders dropping back after their
turns are forming moving obstacles, under the flamme route it's Sebastien Hinault
on the front, then Liquigas
Brad McGee controlling stuff, then
Cooke goes for a long one. There is a stack-up at 100 m to go - Galvez and then
it's McEwen who comes through out of almost nowhere to take it just ahead of
Bernhard Eisel took third, with Glomser in fourth
a length back just ahead of Cooke and Boonen, who was well placed but didn't
have it today. Angelo Furlan went down with Galvez there, but it looks like
nobody else did - Jérome Pineau (I think) wins the day's prize for best bike
handling missing him, though. I suspect that the race jury may be looking at
Allan Davis's somewhat diagonal line there with some interest.
that's now a second stage win for McEwen who will have done his reputation for
being able to sneak up through a bunch in the finishing stages no harm at all,
to say nothing of his raw speed (they were clocked at 67 kph in the sprint there).
Boonen's efforts in the bonus sprints out on the road and an earlier crash seemed
to have taken the edge off his finish, while Bäckstedt was very impressive,
but not quite quick enough.
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 5.03.45
2 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas-Bianchi
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Française Des Jeux
4 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre-Caffita
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Française Des Jeux
6 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo
7 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step
8 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
10 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo
General classification after stage 7
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 23.01.56
2 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 0.55
3 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 1.02
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 1.04
5 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 1.07
6 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel 1.14
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 1.16
8 Benjamin Noval (Spa) Discovery Channel 1.26
9 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC
10 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 1.32
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