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Tour de France Cycling News for July 15, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Stage 12 wrap up

Quatorze Juillet success for Moncoutié

By Shane Stokes

David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
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Frenchman David Moncoutié has taken his second-ever Tour stage victory, celebrating Quatorze Juillet (Bastille Day) in style with a superb solo victory into Digne-Les-Bains. The Cofidis rider was part of a large break which went clear approximately 70 kilometres into today’s lumpy 187 kilometre stage, opening up a good lead over an uninterested peloton.

Present in the initial 11-man move were Moncoutié, Stephan Schreck (T-Mobile Team), Giovanni Lombardi (Team CSC), José Luis Arrieta (Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne), Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto), Massimo Giunti (Fassa Bortolo), Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Angel Vicioso (Liberty Seguros-Würth), Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Bianchi), and Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux).

These were joined shortly afterwards by green jersey contenders Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis). Robbie McEwen missed out and, despite Merckx’s presence up front, the Davitamon-Lotto team mounted what was a desperate but ultimately unsuccessful chase.

Once the break opened up a sizeable lead Merckx lit the blue touchpaper with an attack at the 38 kilometre to go point. Moncoutié countered and raced clear, riding strongly all the way to the line to follow up his July 15th stage win of last year’s Tour. Casar sprinted in ahead of Vicioso and Halgand, making it a 1-2-4 for the home riders, while points leader Hushovd outsprinted O’Grady and the rest of the fragmented break for ninth.

"It is great to win on the national holiday...It is a very important day for the French," Moncoutié said. "It was a very nice race today, especially as there were many spectators along the route supporting the French riders."

Also see:

Stage 12 full results, report & photos
Live report

Complete stage maps & profiles
Start list

An interview with David Moncoutié

Fireworks! French win on Quatorze Juillet

David Moncoutié fulfilled a nation's hopes today when he won on the French national holiday Quatorze Juillet (Bastille Day) celebrating the famous revolution in the late 18th century. The Cofidis rider is sure to enjoy the obligatory fireworks tonight, as he achieved the first French win in this Tour de France. The prospect of victory, and the cheers of his fellow countrymen alongside the road made him stay clear of his chasers all the way into the finish, as Hedwig Kröner reports.

David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Sirotti
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"It's fabulous," the 30 year-old said after his victory, and one could see that he had trouble believing it. "I'm just too happy, too happy!" Moncoutié scored his second stage win in the Tour de France today, the first one being the 12th stage from Saint Flour to Figeac in 2004, which he won under similar conditions.

"I saw that the ascent was fast and that everybody was riding flat out, so I knew that this was the moment to go," he said, describing his final attack on the Cat. 2 Col du Corobin with 37 kilometres to the finish in Digne. "I needed at least 20 seconds at the top, and I knew if I could keep a certain distance before the finish, they would look at each other."

Click here for the full interview

Houston, we have a 'situation'

By Anthony Tan in Digne-les-Bains

Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
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"We have a little bit of a 'situation' now, because we are close in the general [classification]," said Rabobank directeur-sportif Frans Maassen to Cyclingnews the day of the opening Alpine stage in Grenoble.

Before the race began, the team's plan was to have Denis Menchov and Michael Rasmussen as the team's leaders, with Michael Boogerd and Pieter Weening also having a degree of freedom to go for stage wins. But so far, Rabobank have fared better than expected, with Weening winning the eighth stage to Gérardmer and Rasmussen in the form of his life, taking the following stage in Mulhouse and with it the mountains classification, which he now has a sizeable lead in.

Not only that, but the lanky Rasmussen is now lying second overall on the overall classification, six-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong the only name proceeding his, and by only 38 seconds. "The first goal for him was to win a stage and the second goal was to go for the mountains jersey, but now... well, we will see day by day," said Maassen, who sounded like the team never expected to be in this position. "Maybe we go a little bit to the left, maybe we go a little bit to the right; we will wait to see what happens and then we make a new decision how to go further in this Tour."

With Menchov falling out of contention in the mountains, the team's focus is firmly placed on Rasmussen's skinny shoulders, and only time will tell if the 31 year-old Dane can match it with the best come the Pyrenées. However, '91 Amstel Gold winner Maassen is quietly confident, and like most rivals' teams, is spurred on by a slight chink in the armour of Discovery Channel, who lost climber Manuel 'Triki' Beltran early on in today's stage to Digne-les-Bains. "We will see whether Lance and his team are in the best condition - I think he is - but still, it's a little bit twiggy," he said.

Feverish Voigt gave it all, in vain

By Hedwig Kröner in Digne-les-Bains

The yellow jersey
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
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Team CSC's Jens Voigt is out of the Tour de France after he finished 39 seconds out of the time limit in stage 11 from Courchevel to Briançon. The German, who rode into the yellow jersey last Sunday, has been suffering from a bronchitis since Tuesday. His illness deteriorated, and Voigt came into the finish with 40° fever yesterday and was diagnosed with beginning pneumonia.

"When I started in today's stage, I knew it was against all odds, but I still wanted to do everything I possibly could to continue," a disappointed Voigt said. "Kim Andersen gave me a lot of motivation during the stage, but in the end it just wasn't enough," he continued, refusing the team's management to appeal the race jury's decision. His state of health would probably not have made further racing possible. Team CSC is down to seven riders in this Tour de France, after David Zabriskie, who also had the Yellow jersey earlier in the race, abandoned on Sunday.

No change to the plan, says Roberts

By Anthony Tan in Digne-les-Bains

When Cyclingnews spoke with Team CSC's Australian Luke Roberts a couple of days ago in Grenoble, he said his team wasn't going to defend Jens Voigt's maillot jaune, but instead stick to the plan of keeping their leaders Ivan Basso and Carlos Sastre out of trouble.

"We'll stick to the same plan as to what we doing before - we're not going to change anything," Roberts said. "Ivan and Carlos are still our best bet for the podium finish in Paris, so we'll just ride to protect those guys still. It's nice to have the yellow jersey, but Jens is the first to admit that realistically, he can't hold it for too long in the Alps. We can't waste energy on trying to protect it when there's a very slim chance of him keeping it."

He was right. That day, his German teammate lost more half an hour to stage winner Alejandro Valverde, and the day after, on Stage 11, Voigt was forced out of the race after missing the time cut, leaving just seven riders left in the CSC camp. As the first two mountain stages have shown, though, Basso and Sastre are coping just fine, and appear poised to launch a serious assault in the Pyrenées.

However, losing two of your best riders no doubt has an impact on the strength of a team, and as a consequence, 28 year-old Roberts will have his work cut out for him over the coming days. But the good thing is that he's up for it. "I still feel pretty good," he said.

"The first week was a big goal for me, and there was a lot of work for me to do in that first week. But now that's behind me; I'm ready for the next challenge and the next stage of the race, and I'll give it my best shot."

Fines in stage 12

Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto), Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner), and Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel) were fined 2 x 50 Swiss francs for holding onto bidons from team cars on two occasions, plus penalised 5 points on the points classification and 0'10 on GC.

Jan Ullrich was fined 100 Swiss francs for not signing in.

Five vehicles searched

At the motorway toll station of Tallard, a few kilometres South of Gap, French customs have searched five team cars this morning before the start of stage 12. The vehicles belonged to the teams Liberty Seguros, Phonak, Davitamon-Lotto, Bouygues Télécom and AG2R, and were selected at random according to an official communiqué, who also stated that there had been no outcome to the search. French custom officers do not need a special warrant for these kind of searches; they can intervene at their will.

Tour on big screen in USA

The Tour de France's 14th stage will be shown in 53 movie theatres across the United States on July 16, with portions of the proceeds benefiting the Tyler Hamilton Foundation and the Davis Phinney Foundation. The OLN coverage of the stage from Agde to Ax-3 Domaines will start at 8:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. CT/6:30 a.m. MT/5:30 a.m. PT. and run for just over 6 hours, culminating with the mountaintop finish at Ax-3 Domaines.

Tickets are $20.00 and are available at participating theatre box offices or online at www.BigScreenRaces.com.

In addition to the nationwide event, Tyler Hamilton will also host a VIP fundraiser at the Colorado Mills movie theatre in Lakewood, CO, featuring the live simulcast, breakfast, and a bike ride with Tyler. For more information or to sign up to attend this special event, please visit www.tylerhamiltonfoundation.org/

Untitled Document

The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions

Don't miss out at Tour time!

Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions where up to $1 million in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your eyeballs. Woof!

Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
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The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also a great opportunity to win an incredible range of prizes and competitions on offer from manufacturers, publishers and distributors.

Many of our sponsors are offering Cyclingnews readers a schwag-fest of give-aways during the lap-around-France. The prizes on offer range from Volkswagens and vaccuum cleaners through to trips to Paris for the 2006 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Cervelo, and Avanti.

So that you don't have to go hunting around the Internet for all these goodies, we've assembled the Cyclingnews complete guide to Tour freebies and competitions.

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