93rd Tour de France - ProT
France, July 1-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 19 - Saturday, July 22: Le Creusot - Montceau-les-Mines ITT, 57 km
Live Commentary by Shane Stokes and Jeff Jones, with additional reporting
from Anthony Tan, Hedwig Kröner and Brecht Decaluwé
Live coverage starts: 11:15 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
The penultimate stage of the 2006 Tour de France is a rolling time test over
a course that is similar to one that Jan Ullrich won in 1998 from Montceau-les-Mines
to Le Creusot. It will reveal who is the strongest time triallist in this year's
Tour and will undoubtedly decide who will win overall.
Welcome to our live coverage of what
should be the final showdown in this year's Tour de France: the stage 19 time
trial between Le Creusot and Montceau-les-Mines over 57 km. It's an up and down
course, but there are no categorised climbs. The highest point is at 397m after
45 km, and the course finishes at at 286m.
The intermediate time
checks are at Montchanin-le-Haut (km 16.5), Montcenis (km 34), and Villa-Sirot
(km 51.5). The first rider to leave is Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto) at
11:15, and then the riders will depart at 2 minute intervals until the final
20 riders, who leave at 3 minute intervals. The last rider to start is race
leader Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), who will roll out from the ramp at
The GC situation has Pereiro leading Carlos Sastre by just
12 seconds, and Floyd Landis by 30 seconds. Andreas Klöden is a distant 2'29
back in fourth, but is still a chance of making the podium. Cadel Evans is 3'08
back in fifth, and a very distant podium chance. He may even be overtaken by
Denis Menchov, who is sixth at 4'14, but we will see.
Vansevenant was the first to leave,
followed by his teammate Gert Steegmans. Then Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), Aitor
Hernández (Euskaltel) and Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) roll out.
2004 stage winner Filippo Pozzato
(Quick.Step) was off at 11.25, followed by Cedric Coutouly (Agritubel) and Christophe
The weather is 26.5 degrees at the moment. It rained
earlier but while it is overcast, it is dry for now. However there is a chance
of rain later on, something which may affect the times somewhat.
Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) goes at
11.31, then Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), Patrick Calcagni (Liquigas) and Julian Dean
(Credit Agricole). At 11.39 Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel) rolls down the start
ramp and then it is the turn of TT specialist Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis), who
might post a decent ride. That's if he's got anything left at this stage - it's
been a long, tough three weeks and some riders who might otherwise give it a
go will be thinking only of Paris.
So Steegmans beats his team-mate
Vansevenant at the first time check. Both are likely to be in 'survival' mode
today, so we don't expect those times to last very long at the top of the leaderboard.
This stage is similar to that used
in 1998, but that TT ran in the opposite direction. What’s interesting about
the results is that Bobby Julich was just 1’01 behind the winner Jan Ullrich,
the American finishing strong at the end of a race he would be third in. But
of bigger significance is the fact that Marco Pantani finished just 2’35 behind
Ullrich in third place – a very solid ride by the yellow jersey and eventual
Our reason for mentioning this? Simply that the yellow jersey
can help give its wearer extra strength and motivation. Oscar Pereiro will be
hoping that this is the case today.
Those results from eight
Stage 20, Montceau-les-Mines - Le Creusot,
ITT 53 kms:
1. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom 1.03.52 (48.851)
Bobby Julich (USA) Cofidis 1.01
3. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno 2.35
4. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) US Postal 3.11
5. Andrei Teteriuk (Kaz) Lotto
6. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal 3.48
7. Christophe Rinero
(Fra) Cofidis 3.50
8. Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno 3.55
Axel Merckx (Bel) Polti 3.59
10. Roland Meier (Swi) Cofidis 4.29
Of those riders, Ekimov, Rinero and Merckx are here today.
has been sacked, as of yesterday, by his T-Mobile team, ending a long association
interrupted only by his year with Bianchi/Team Coast. And Pantani is no longer
Spanish rider Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
is the current best time in 21'14. Pozzato is 24 seconds back.
Most people are (logically) expecting
Landis to beat Pereiro this afternoon. The Spaniard is a solid enough time trialist,
though, and will put up a fight to try to hold yellow. He did a good time in
the concluding TT at the 2003 Tour de Suisse, covering the 33 kilometre course
around Gossau in a time just 16 seconds off that of Jan Ullrich, and was quicker
than Alexandre Vinokourov.
1 Bradley Mc Gee (Aus) FDJeux.com
2 Uwe Peschel (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.23.35
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger)
Team Bianchi 0.50.26
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.06.78
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 1.12.62
Landis did, of course, beat him by
1'40.3 in the 52 kilometres Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT earlier in this Tour.
The American had also lost approximately 20-30 seconds when he had to change
his bike due to a problem with his TT handlebars. So, on paper, he is approximately
2 minutes quicker over a slightly shorter distance than today's race.
We will see - Pereiro will certainly be more motivated. As for Sastre, he was
18th in that time trial, 1'10 behind Landis and 30 seconds quicker than Pereiro.
11:43:00 Christophe Laurent (Agritubel)
11:45:00 Stéphane Auge (Cofidis)
11:47:00 Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
11:49:00 Florent Brard (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
Hugo Pena (Phonak)
11:53:00 Matej Mugerli (Liquigas)
11:57:00 Michael Albasini (Liquigas)
Matteo Tosatto (Quick-Step-Innergetic)
12:01:00 Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel)
12:03:00 Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
12:05:00 Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto)
12:07:00 Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
A few minutes ago, Wiggins went through
the first intermediate time check with the second best time so far. He was 4
seconds behind Hernández.
The Briton is best known for taking three
track medals in the 2004 Olympics; gold in the individual pursuit, silver in
the team pursuit and bronze with Rob Hayles in the madison. That made him the
most successful British Olympian (any sport) at a single Games since 1964.
Pereiro's team-mate Florent Brard
(Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) goes 5" quicker than Hernández at the first
time check. Meanwhile Pozzato is 3" up on Hernández at the second.
Hernández is certainly pushing it today. He was only 164th in the first time
trial, 8'44.63 behind stage winner Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile). Gonchar may be
hoping for another good showing today, of course.
This may be of interest - a look
at the top fifteen overall, and their times relative to the stage winner Serguei
Gonchar in the first long time trial.
Interestingly, Boogerd, Schleck,
Leipheimer, Cunego and Caucchioli will all need to improve today. They were
at least 5' down over a slightly shorter distance.
classification after stage 18
1 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears 84.33.04 (40.747 km/h)
2 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 0.12
3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.30
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 2.29
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 3.08
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
7 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 4.24
8 Christophe Moreau
(Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 5.45
9 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 8.16
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 12.13
11 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
12 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 13.52
13 Levi Leipheimer (USA)
14 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crédit Agricole 15.46
15 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 17.18
16 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner
Performance in earlier TT:
7 - Saturday, July 8: Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT, 52 km
Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.01.43.60 (50.54 km/h)
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.23.87
7 Marcus Fothen (Ger)
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 1.43.26
Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.43.90
11 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 1.49.39
15 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 2.03.46
18 Carlos Sastre (Spa)
Team CSC 2.10.59
23 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
36 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 3.31.84
Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 3.42.11
66 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
72 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 5.15.69
96 Levi Leipheimer
(USA) Gerolsteiner 6.05.46
106 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 6.22.99
119 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crédit Agricole 6.37.85
Back to today's action...Belgian
rider Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto) goes through the first time check
just 2 seconds behind Brand. Wiggins is now fastest at km 34, 10" up on Pozzato.
Three riders are now through the
third time check at km 51.5. Hernández leads Steegmans by 2'35 with Vansevenant
a further ten seconds back.
That gives the Spaniard an average speed
of approximately 44 km/h. We guestimate that this course will be covered at
a speed of about 49 km/h by the winner today, giving him an approximate time
just below 1.10'.
The sole South African in this year's
Tour Robert Hunter (Phonak) went through the first time check 3'46 down.
He started at 12:09. Since then,
the following riders have left:
12:09:00 Robert Hunter (Phonak)
12:11:00 Anthony Charteau (Crédit Agricole)
12:13:00 Walter Beneteau (Bouygues
12:15:00 Sébastien Hinault (Crédit Agricole)
Gilbert (Française Des Jeux)
12:19:00 Bert Grabsch (Phonak)
Daniele Righi (Lampre-Fondital)
12:23:00 Gustav Larsson (Française Des
12:25:00 Bernhard Eisel (Française Des Jeux)
12:29:00 Christian Knees (Milram)
12:33:00 Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
12:35:00 Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto)
12:37:00 Luca Paolini (Liquigas)
12:39:00 Alexandre Moos (Phonak)
12:41:00 Marco Velo (Milram)
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner)
There are three new leaders at the
various time checks: Bert Grabsch (Phonak) went through the first at km 16.5
with a time of 20.42, 27" quicker than Brard.
(Française Des Jeux) beat Pozzato by 1" at the third time check, 51.5 km into
the race, while the latter went quicker than Hernández at the finish. However
his time at the top of the leaderboard is short; Mengin has pipped him there
too, posting 1.15'31, 6 seconds quicker than the Italian.
For those supporting Floyd Landis,
this week has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Yellow on l'Alpe d'Huez (something
which more often than not correlates with the final yellow jersey in Paris),
meltdown the following day and then resurrection in stage 17; it's been a nerve
My brother had 10 euro on Landis at 10 to 1...he was
pretty disappointed on Wednesday but 24 hours later, was feeling a whole lot
more hopeful. We heard an unconfirmed report that Eddy Merckx put 100 euro down
on Landis after his collapse in stage 16. That's confidence... No idea
what odds he got at that point, but we guess they were healthy.
Wiggins is motivated...he's beaten
the time of Mengin by a full 19" at the third time check, which is just 5.5
km from the finish.
Craig Hoffman from Atlanta has contacted
us with the following question, which has been asked by a lot of people in recent
"Is tomorrow’s final stage really just ceremony and a sprint
stage win or will you have any of the top contenders gunning it out for yellow
on a break-away or taking advantage of a wreck etc...?"
the final stage is a processional one, with the main racing coming from those
going for the stage win. However Alexandre Vinokourov overtook Levi Leipheimer
for fifth overall after he beat the American in a bonus sprint at Châtenay-Malabry
(km 74.9) and then won the stage. That shows that racing continues if the gaps
are close enough.
Robert Hunter supporter Sven Mahieu
said that the South African's website reported that Eddy Merckx got odds of
75 to 1! So big Ted will certainly be backing Landis today.
Wiggins lost a little bit of time
to Mengin in the final run in to the finish, but still posted the best time.
He has done a 1h15'20, 11 seconds quicker than the Frenchman.
Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto) has set a new best of 44'43 at km 34.
Bert Grabsch grabsches the intermediate
lead at km 34, going a full 1'16 quicker than Vansummeren. That's fast..nearly
47 km/h. Meanwhile, Matej Mugerli (Liquigas) has improved from 14th at km 34
to race into the lead at provisional time check #3, doing a 1.09'25. Will Grabsch
go quicker? We shall see...
Vansummeren went quicker than Mugerli
at the km 51.5 time check, and then continued on to beat him at the finish.
1.14'05 for the Belgian as compared to 1.14'54 for the Slovenian.
A rider to watch is Dave Zabriskie,
the winner of the opening time trial last year. He started at 13.25. Amongst
the other riders en route now are Stuart O'Grady, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thomas
Voeckler, Erik Zabel (Milram) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank).
12:45:00 Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval)
12:47:00 Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC)
12:49:00 Cédric Vasseur (Quick-Step-Innergetic)
12:51:00 Bram Tankink (Quick-Step-Innergetic)
12:53:00 Joost Posthuma (Rabobank)
12:55:00 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery
12:57:00 José Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel)
13:01:00 Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux)
13:05:00 Anthony Geslin (Bouygues
13:07:00 Erik Zabel (Milram)
13:09:00 Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues
13:11:00 Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank)
13:13:00 Björn Schröder
13:15:00 Manuel Calvente (Agritubel)
13:17:00 Manuel Quinziato
13:19:00 Simon Gerrans (AG2R-Prevoyance)
Ventoso (Saunier Duval)
13:23:00 Carlos Da Cruz (Française Des Jeux)
13:25:00 David Zabriskie (Team CSC)
13:27:00 Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom)
13:29:00 Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
13:31:00 Christophe Le Mevel
The next riders off will be:
Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) was third in the first long TT. He is heading
off at 13.37 while the winner that day, Serguei Gonchar, will leave the start
house at 14.03.
13:33:00 Juan Manuel Garate (Quick-Step-Innergetic)
13:35:00 Ińaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
13:37:00 Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner)
13:39:00 Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux)
13:41:00 Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre-Fondital)
13:43:00 Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
13:45:00 Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital)
13:47:00 Pavel Padrnos (Discovery Channel)
13:49:00 Thomas Lövkvist (Française
13:51:00 Koos Moerenhout (Phonak)
13:53:00 Christopher Horner
13:55:00 David Millar (Saunier Duval)
13:59:00 Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval)
David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
14:03:00 Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
Grabsch grabsches the provisional
lead at the finish, doing 1.11'28, a full 2'37 quicker than Vansummeren. That's
fast, 47.85 km/h. He averaged 48.5 km/h in the first TT but this looks to be
a harder course. He was 23rd then, 2'38 back.
So the guestimate
that a winning speed of 49 km/h may win today may be a bit conservative..
Irishman Peter Scott, who rides with
the Cestria CC while living in England and gets out with St Tiernan's CC back
in Dublin from time to time, has emailed us with a random thought.
"Before the real action gets underway you might consider this. I think Salvatore
Commesso's sponsors should reduce his wages since his rolled-up sleeves result
in vital advertising being hidden!
"I did check and one of the advertiser's
logos cannot be seen on his jersey. With the pressure on cycling to get sponsors,
I expect to see teams in 10 years time climbing the Galibier with full arms
and legs, revealing various electronic advertising logos!"
Tim Heathers gives his prediction
for the winning time:
"67'50 is my guess - the last part is very
fast for a true TT'er. Landis easily, but 2nd and 3rd overall are hard to predict.
Two riders have moved ahead of Vansummeren
at the finish, slotting into second and third behind Grabsch. Gustav Larsson
(Française Des Jeux) was 38" back while Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Balears) conceded 52".
Meanwhile Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel)
is second behind Grabsch in the first two time checks.
Former double TT winner David Millar
is starting now. His Saunier Duval Gilberto Simoni leaves four minutes later
but the thoughts of the Italian chasing behind won't trouble him... At 14.09
Jens Voigt (Team CSC) goes and could do a decent ride if he is motivated.
13:55:00 David Millar (Saunier Duval)
13:57:00 Moises Duenas (Agritubel)
13:59:00 Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval)
14:01:00 David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
14:03:00 Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
14:05:00 Salvatore Commesso (Lampre-Fondital)
14:07:00 David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval)
14:09:00 Jens Voigt (Team CSC)
14:11:00 Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile)
14:13:00 Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas)
14:15:00 Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom)
14:17:00 Ińigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
14:19:00 Alexandre Botcharov (Crédit Agricole)
14:21:00 Georg Totschnig
14:23:00 Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
Halgand (Crédit Agricole)
14:27:00 Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval)
Ivan Ramiro Parra (Cofidis)
Tim Molloy gets in touch to say that
this has been the best Tour in many years.
"The yellow jersey didn't
give Laurent Fignon an extra boost in the 1989 Tour's final ITT when he went
into the it with a 50 second lead and lost 58 seconds to Lemond. That is one
stage I will not forget watching live on tv. No matter who wins this Tour, for
me it has been one of the most exciting in many years. Let's face it, the last
few years of Lance's domination have been pretty predictable and I feel most
were riding for second."
Having placed third in the first
long TT, Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) is determined today. He is now the new
leader at the first time check, 14" quicker than Grabsch. Dave Zabriskie is
Joost Posthuma is doing a good ride; fifth at the first
time check, third at the next and then second at km 51.5. He has been accelerating
all the way and was just 7" behind Grabsch with 5.5 km remaining. It will be
interesting to see what he does at the finish.
Posthuma finishes behind Grabsch
at the finish, but it doesn't matter a huge amount as Ekimov has now gone fastest!
He is 2" quicker, recording a time of 1.11'26.
Gonchar and Millar are both on the
course, riding fast... Gonchar is
twiddling his normal small gear grinding
a monstrous cog as he gets every last bit of speed out.
starts. He has had a reasonably quiet Tour and is well down overall.
Zabriskie is now fourth at the km
34 check, 24" behind Grabsch.
Millar is riding in a very aero position,
with his elbows extremely close together. A strong ride today will be his goal
and would give him a lot of encouragement after returning from a long suspension.
Not hard riding the Tour as your first race..
Millar got one of the early corners
wrong and lost time. He seems to be moving well now, though.
Gonchar catches his two minute man
Moncoutié and flies past...
Lang comes to the second time check
at 34 km and goes quickest, 1" up on Grabsch.
Gonchar is riding
at 59 km/h at this point...coming to the first time check now.
Phonak team manager John Lelangue
has just given his thoughts on the time trial course to French TV. "It is very
good...a course for a specialist time trialist without any really technical
Gonchar is smoking up this course...he
has stormed thorough the first time check a full 41" quicker than Lang! If he
keeps up this speed, it is estimated that he will improve on the current best
time posted by Ekimov by three minutes...
He's already caught Moncoutié
and now has Simoni in his sights.
Millar was 7th at the first time
check, 1'05 behind Gonchar's time.
Leroy Heidrich from Sydney has been
in touch, talking about Landis' avascular necrosis in his hip. "I myself have
had it. It is the one of the most painful things I've ever had. I didn't have
a hip replacement, but had a hole drilled into my femur. He must be one tough
Monica Foulkes has been on, wondering what happens
to Landis' gloves during the stage. He sometimes rides with them but is missing
them at the finish, as was the case during his long break on Thursday. We are
not sure, but perhaps it's a literal example of him throwing down the gauntlet
or saying "the gloves are off" :)
Garzelli is riding hard on his way
to the first time check. Sweat is dripping from his face, showing the heat and
also the effort he is putting in.
Zabriskie is finishing! He's pulled
out the stops and finishes very quickly, going 5" faster than Ekimov..
That's a good ride, although Gonchar
looks like he will be significantly faster if he can keep this up.
David Millar is turning the gears nicely as he continues on his ride. He is
catching Chris Horner for two minutes now and his Saunier Duval directeur is
cheering him on, via the loudspeaker. Some riders like to have that encouragement,
others prefer to go their own thing.
He flies by Horner.
Gerolsteiner DS Christian Henn told
Cyclingnews this morning, "We saw the course after the Dauphine. It's hillier
than expected. I expect the best times to be 1:11 or 1:12."
French TT champ Sylvain Chavanel
is riding hard, doing 59 km/h on a slightly downhill section. He is the anti-Landis,
with his forearms pointing downwards.
Correction - Zabriskie's official
time puts him 6" faster than Ekimov.
Wow...Gonchar is ripping this course
apart. He goes through km 34 in 41'19, a full 2'07 better than Lang.
Speaking of Lang, he is finishing now...he looks on course to be the quickest...
Yes, he does 1.11'03... That's 17 seconds faster than Zabriskie's mark.
Jens Voigt (CSC) is arriving at the
second check but is well outside the top 5 there.
is on the course and looks to be going well so far. He was a very close second
in the prologue what seems like 10 weeks ago, but didn't really deliver on that.
He is 1 hour 7 minutes down on GC. Azevedo is Discovery's best rider, 19th overall.
Axel Merckx (Phonak) has just left
the start house. His father Eddy (who rode a bike once or twice, we think) has
close links with the team. No, they don't use his bikes, but rather he is close
friends with John Lelangue, the manager. The two grew up together as Merckx
and Lelangue's father a) rode together on the same team and then b) worked together
in the great Belgian's bike factory.
Merckx junior told Cyclingnews
earlier this year that he wanted to work together with John Lelangue due to
that bond. Interestingly, Eddy Merckx was one of those who encouraged Lelangue,
Landis and the team to keep fighting after Wednesday's disappointment.
Hincapie adjusts his front brakes
as he pedals - they were either rubbing slightly or else he was just trying
to get the tension right for braking. He looks very lean this year - indeed,
he told us prior to the Tour that he expected to be at a racing weight of 72
or 73 kilos which, for a rider of 6'3 or so, is very light.
that has cost him some strength - it can be a bit of a balancing act to get
weight reduction exactly right, especially at such lean levels.
Hincapie has a nifty paint job on
the side of his aero helmet - looks like a shark's head and gaping mouth. He
shall forever after be known as Jaws Hincapie.
Millar comes in to the finish...he's
digging deep as he comes to the line. 1.11'46 - that's good enough for fifth.
Yaroslav Popovych leaves the start house now. He's quickly onto the aerobars
and turning a big gear.
Gonchar goes through the 51.5 km check a
full 3'21 up on Lang... wow!!
Chavanel continues his time trial,
but has a large wedge of tissue in his left nostril. Looks like a nosebleed...
A couple of riders had the same problem in the mountains.
and Klöden (T-Mobile) are warming up now, shielded from the sun's rays by a
cover next to the team truck.
Here comes Gonchar...
Best time! 1.07'45, a full 3'18 ahead
of Lang. That could win it.
That's an average speed of 50.48 km/h,
marginally slower than his winning average in the first test, 50.54.
Meanwhile his team-mate Patrik Sinkewitz leaves the start house.
Oscar Pereiro is warming up, wearing
earphones to listen to music as he pedals.
Hincapie was 21st at
the first time check, 1'31 behind Gonchar.
At the finish, former
mountains leader David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) comes in. He's 33rd, almost
8 minutes back...
Robert Hunter's finishing time was
1.25'54 so he is 18 minutes off the time of Gonchar. There is a chance he could
be eliminated due to the time limit of 16'56.
(Rabobank) is underway, clad in his KOM jersey. He's got less pressure than
last year, and will be hoping for a less eventful ride.
Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) sets
off next. He was the best young rider for quite a while, but Damiano Cunego
now has the jersey. But it's only by 5 seconds, and Fothen expects to take back
the white jersey today.
Cyclingnews just spoke to
Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile), who currently holds the best time in today's stage.
"I'm happy to have done such a good time trial at the end of a three week Tour,"
he hold us. "I'm not sure if it will be the winning time, as the big favourites
are still to come, especially Landis, who is very strong."
The battle for the white jersey is
underway... Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) left the start house at 15.30, followed
three minutes later by Damiano Cunego (Lampre). Fothen did a significantly quicker
TT before so he should have the edge.
Chavanel comes in for tenth, 4'32
The current standings are as follows:
- km 57
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.07.45
Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.18
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 3.35
4 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel 3.41
5 Bert Grabsch (Ger)
George Hincapie is coming to the
second time check now, at km 34.5. He is 16th there, 3'48 behind Gonchar.
Levi Leipheimer now gets his TT underway. He had a disappointing first test
but will hope that the horsepower has returned today. It must be hard for the
confidence, though, especially after his storming ride in the Dauphine.
Cunego is pedaling away but doesn't seem to have a very aero position. I guess
that is a problem with small riders; getting a TT frame low enough to be able
to push the bars right down and thus keep the back flat.
Even if he doesn't hold onto the
white jersey for best young rider, Cunego will be pretty happy with his first
Tour. He came here aiming to build experience and certainly did that, riding
strongly in the third week. He was second to a very strong Frank Schleck on
l'Alpe d'Huez and said he is determined to return and win there in the future.
Cunego's plan is to concentrate on the Giro next year, then return to the Tour
in 2008 to go for the overall.
Speaking of Schleck, he is now in
the start house, looking concentrated..
That's concentrated as in focused,
rather than extra strong. But he's hoping the latter will be the case too.
In the overall standings, he is just four seconds ahead of Michael Boogerd and
1'13 up on Levi Leipheimer. If he wants to hold onto his 11th place overall,
he'll have to push hard.
Now world TT champ Michael Rogers
starts. Fourth on stage 7, he'll be thinking of top three (or better) today.
Leipheimer is driving hard, turning
the pedals over quickly. He's wearing a red dossard (back number) as yesterday's
most aggressive rider.
Christophe Moreau (AG2R) gets underway to
a huge cheer...
Popovych goes through the second checkpoint but
is outside the top ten. He is 17th, 3'28 back.
is fifth at the first check...but Cunego is third...just 46 seconds back. This
white jersey race is on....!!
Cunego impresses at the first time
check with a third place at 46 seconds behind Gonchar! That's 12 seconds better
than his white jersey rival Fothen. Great ride by the Italian, who is not renowned
for his abilities against the clock.
Meanwhile, Cyril Dessel (AG2R)
starts his ride, as Marzio Bruseghin gets to the second time check in around
Denis Menchov (Rabobank) will be
next off, and he's on his way. Let's see how the Russian goes in this race,
which is one of his better disciplines.
Floyd Landis is getting ready
near the start house, as Oscar Pereiro finishes his warm up.
Menchov gets up to speed, taking
the first part steadily before getting down into his TT bars. His teammate Michael
Boogerd is struggling along a bit further up the road. TTing is not really his
And now Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
gets his countdown and leaves the start house, as Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile)
sits behind and waits for his turn. Evans accelerates up to speed, looking a
bit more determined than Menchov did.
Christian Vandevelde (CSC) is 14th
at km 34.5, having a solid ride today.
Boogerd is 35th at the first
time check. It's not really his thing. He's rocking a bit on the saddle.
Andreas Klöden has left the house.
The fourth placed rider on GC will do his best to get on the podium, but he's
2'29 behind Pereiro.
Hincapie finishes his ride in 1:13:15, having
caught a rider en route, maybe Merckx. Karpets follows him in in 1:12:42 for
And now...Floyd Landis is on stage.
He has a mean look on his face, and gets the countdown. He looks very motivated,
and so he should be. This ride could win him the Tour de France.
Landis sets off, quickly getting
up to speed and down into his aero tuck. His bars are in a lower position than
normal, adhering to UCI regs.
Michael Rogers is through the first
time check in 7th at 59 seconds. He is traditionally a slow starter in time
trials. Or a fast finisher, depending on whether you're a glass half full or
half empty person.
And now Sastre is off....second overall,
aiming for first.... He's been riding well in this Tour, becoming the designated
leader of the team after Ivan Basso was ejected before the Tour started.
Yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro is already in the start house, eager to get this
underway. They won't let him go just yet, though :)
(Bouygues) comes in for 18th place.
Fothen is now at the second check
- 11th, at 2'57. Cunego is next on the road - where will he be?
Pereiro is in the start house, looking
nervous... Nice shoe covers, though.
He lunges out of the start house
to a huge roar, the spectators hanging over the barriers and willing him on.
So all the riders are on the course now (except those who finished already,
There has been no change to the top
riders in the timechecks for quite a while.
Wow...said too soon..
Cunego is absolutely flying! He isn't known as a TT rider but he's pulling a
great ride out...he is 3rd at the second time check, just 2'07 back. Lang is
only fractionally faster.
Floyd Landis' coach Robbie Ventura
rode the course with Floyd this morning. He commented to OLN about Landis' new
position. "Floyd's handlebar position has changed, it is now right at the legal
position for the UCI. His hands are lower but that hasn't changed his body position.
He looks good and took a drink of water early which is super."
Pereiro looks to be going well so
far. So too Landis, who is munching up this course. It must have been hard for
his rivals to motivate themselves after his dominant ride on stage 17. As he
said, he had a "bit of a warmup" for the TT...namely, approximately 130 kilometres
in front of the peloton.
Moreau has his secret weapon today, AKA
The Tongue. He's panting along but looks quite fast.
Popovych comes in to the finish,
taking 15th, 4'57 back.
George Hincapie told Cyclingnews
at the finish, "I went flat out but once I saw I was behind at the intermediate
time check, I backed down and saved the little energy I had left."
Asked if he spoke with Landis: "I spoke with him yesterday. I think Landis will
win it. I’m happy for him."
Moreau is pedaling a biiiiiig gear
but was only 17th at the first time check.
Vandevelde comes in now,
looking fast inside the final kilometres. He takes 13th, 4'51 back.
Landis takes a wide line around a
corner, while Pereiro takes it a bit more tightly. Sastre looks great, pedaling
probably the highest cadence of the three.
Landis motors along on the flat,
riding right on the nose of his saddle. He is flying today. Pereiro's bars are
pointing down, so he's got quite a different position to Landis.
Evans goes through the first check in 11th place, 1'03 behind Gonchar. He punctured
though, and lost some time.
Marzio Bruseghin finishes 17th in 1:12:44.
Back with Pereiro - he is pedaling
a big gear and although he's going fast, Floyd is definitely going quicker.
But we'll see at the first time check.
Floyd's team director John Lelangue
tells him he has 35 seconds on Carlos Sastre. He's already overtaken him on
GC, that means.
Andreas Klöden is second at the first
time check, just 10 seconds behind Gonchar! Excellent ride by the fourth place
Landis is 1 second quicker than Gonchar
at the first check! He's on a flyer today.
Rogers is at the second check in
9th place, 2'36 behind Gonchar.
The gap between Landis and Pereiro
is 21 seconds...so Landis is already a long way towards making up his deficit...
Carlos Sastre is only 14th at the
first time check, 1'05 down.. He's therefore very unlikely to take yellow.
Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) finishes
35th at 7'32 behind Gonchar. We asked him about the chances of Andreas Klöden.
"Yeah well, after three weeks of racing, it's just the freshness that counts
and you just think that Andreas has an advantage on this course over some others,
Menchov was 8th, 58" back off Landis'
Oscar Pereiro has gone through the
first time check...he is only ten seconds back! So Landis needs to try to make
up at least another 20" on him.
Pereiro's team were talking about
the tactic of him starting off quickly to try to a) discourage Landis and b)
boost his own morale. So we will see...has Landis held back at the start, or
is he too going flat out?
Michael Rasmussen comes in, placing
68th...he didn't look like he was pushing it at the finish, though.
Damiano Cunego is 5th at the third time check, 3'32 back off Gonchar's provisional
best time. And now Fothen finishes, 8th at 4'14. So Cunego should hold on to
the finish, beating the rival that many thought would do a better TT than him.
Cunego finishes - 6th, 1.11'29. So
he beats Fothen and will hold onto the white jersey. That's unexpected, so great
ride by Cunego!!
Floyd Landis is now, unofficially, yellow jersey
on the road!
Cadel Evans had a puncture earlier
but he is coming back strongly. At the second time check, he is 5th, 2'35 back.
Landis is now five seconds clear in the overall classification...
Meanwhile Klöden comes to the second time check. He is flying, going through
32" behind the best time and running second on the road. Can he overtake Sastre
in the general classification and nab third? He needs 2'17...
This has been described by many as
the most exciting Tour in many years...hard to argue with that sentiment...
Landis comes through the second time check...he's dropped back slightly to Gonchar,
but he's still riding very strongly. He is second, 25'41 back. However he’s
losing time to Gonchar and Kloden…has he stared too quickly, or it is all under
This second time check will be very interesting, re Pereiro’s
Leipheimer finishes 23rd, 6 minutes
back... So that's another below-par TT from the Gerolsteiner rider. He will
be disappointed with that.
The crowds are cheering Pereiro on as
he passes below the 25 km to go banner. He's losing time to Landis, though..
Sastre is uncomfortable out there....he
has already lost over 2 minutes to Landis.
He goes through the second
time check 16th, 2'45 down. Ouch... So it looks like Klöden will overtake him
and nab third on the podium.
Pereiro is riding well, but not well
enough. He's 4th at the 34.5 km check, 1'22
behind Gonchar's time and,
crucially, 57" down on Landis. So The Floyd marches on...
Of course, anything could happen
in this chaotic, unpredicatable and ever-changing Tour. It's not over yet..one
puncture could change things around.
Rogers comes in, looking tired.
He is 14th, 4'34 off Gonchar's time, which is looking more and more like it
could be the day's best.
Landis is now 27" clear of Pereiro in the
virtuel GC. Sastre is 2'02 back, with Klöden at 2'05. Could it be Landis-Pereiro-Kloden
on the podium?
The top five at the first two time
km 16.5 (all riders
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 19.46
2 Serguei Gonchar
(Ukr) T-Mobile 0.01
3 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner
km 34 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr)
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.26
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger)
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 1.23
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 2.07
Landis is hunched over his TT bars,
digging in...He's got a good cadence going.
Moreau comes in to finish;
he's only 23rd, 5'32 back...
Klöden is looking good, much more
comfortable than Sastre. He's pretty still looking on the bike, turning the
pedals nicely and holding a very aero position. In contrast, Sastre is dropping
his head, raising it, shifting around in the saddle and generally appearing
Pereiro gets out of the saddle on a hill, willing
the bike upwards. His maillot jaune is fading, the light dimming on his
Zubeldia comes in 22nd, 5'29. That
will ensure he holds his 9th overall - Rogers couldn't get enough time on him.
Sastre is now 50 seconds behind Klöden in terms of the general classification...
Dessel finishes....he has had a tough
time out there, but should keep 7th. He is 27th, 5'57 back.. .
Klöden is 47" behind his team-mate
Gonchar at the 51.5 km time check...the top three overall are yet to reach that
He is about to catch Evans... Meanwhile,
Menchov finishes... He takes 13th, 4'32 down.
Here comes The Floyd....his time
check will be next.
Klöden is really driving it as he
reels in Evans inside the final kilometre. Klöden is drilling it, trying to
He gets him...Evans tucks in behind
for a second, then Klöden blasts it out of a corner. Second, 40.36" back! So
T-Mobile 1-2 so far..
Landis was third at that time check, 1'08
back... Sastre is next to pass there, then Pereiro...
Landis' back is really flat in this
extreme position. He has 2 km to go, so he needs to just stay upright and out
of trouble, then a bright, new maillot jaune will be his...
Cue maniacal laugh: "It's mine, I tells ya, it's mine.....!"
He is going to be third on the stage,
with Gonchar and then Klöden first and second.
1'11 back. He is immediately mobbed by team officials and photographers. He
gets quite angry at the latter, who don't give him enough space. They can be
pretty relentless at times...
Landis walks around at the finish,
dripping water and looking determined/satisfied.
Sastre is 18th
at the last time check, 4'26 back. That's very disappointing for him.
Pereiro continues to drive it. He knows the yellow is gone, but he's ridden
very courageously and will be very happy with his second overall. He was well
out of it in the Pyrenees but got a lot of time in that long break. Many would
have expected him to slip right back in the Alps but he really rose to a new
He was 4th at the final time check, 2'38 back.
Pereiro will keep second, despite
Klöden's excellent ride.
Pereiro comes to the 3km to go banner..
meanwhile, Sastre is approaching the finish. He is suffering a lot, puffing
and panting, but kicks out of the saddle and drives it home.
takes 19th, 4'41 back. He was 18th in the first TT.
And now Pereiro...he comes in to
the finish to a huge cheer, sprinting for all he is worth. Very good ride, considering
he is not a TT specialist. He was 4th, 2'40 behind a super Gonchar. Significantly
better than his 23rd place in the first long TT.
Landis gets hugs and smooches from
his wife Amber, and looks very, very happy. Michael Rasmussen congratulates
He's already got his victory shades on.
"I told everyone in January that we were going to do it," he told the TV crews
at the finish. "There were times when it looked a little less likely but I kept
"Now I am glad it is over, that is more stress than I
like to deal with. I said before the most exciting way to do it is to win in
the time trial, but wasn't really hoping to do it that way!"
Providing all goes to plan tomorrow
and he has no problems on the way to Paris, Landis will be a very worthy winner.
He missed his prologue start, had a mechanical problem in the first TT and then
suffered an unexpected collapse in form on the second day in the Alps. But he
showed superb character to come back from that with a true exploit, finishing
the day just 30 seconds off a yellow jersey many thought he had said goodbye
to forever. That set things up perfectly for today and while he didn't win the
TT, he rode very strongly under pressure to take the race lead once more.
Kudos too to Serguei Gonchar and
Andreas Klöden who had very good rides today. To Gonchar the stage win, to Klöden
the third step on the podium. Pereiro also should be happy as he showed very
Landis also got warm congratulations
from Oscar Pereiro at the finish. They were team-mates last year and get on
very well. Even though the former just took the jersey off the back of the latter
(literally), there is a lot of mutual respect there.
and Michael Rasmussen have been awarded their green and polka-dot jerseys; both
classifications are secured in advance of tomorrow's final stage. Damiano Cunego
also looks secure in the white jersey for best young rider.
seems to have been warmly received by the press in France and further afield,
with his superb ride in the mountains on Thursday earning praise.
Unfortunately Landis' team mate Robert
Hunter seems to have missed the time cut today, as he is not appearing on the
official results. That would be cruel, given that there is just one stage to
go. Perhaps he will be able to appeal it.
Damiano Cunego's performance today
confirms him as a complete rider; can he win this race in the future?
That completes our coverage of today's penultimate stage of the 2006 Tour de
France. Well done to all the riders and thanks to you for surfing on over to
follow what was a very exciting stage with us. We'll be back tomorrow for coverage
of the final stage in the race.
km 16.5 (all riders through)
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 19.46
2 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 0.01
3 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.10
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.42
km 34 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 41.19
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.26
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 0.33
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 1.23
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 2.07
km 51.5 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.02.36
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 0.46
3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.08
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 2.38
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.20
Finish - km 57 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.07.45
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 0.41
3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.11
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 2.40
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.18
6 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 3.35
7 Viatscheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel 3.41
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak 3.43
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 3.44
General classification after stage 19
1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 85.42.30
2 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.59
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 1.29
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.13
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 5.08
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 7.08
7 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 8.41
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 9.37
9 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 12.05
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 15.07
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