First Edition Cycling News for July 19, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes
Stage 15 wrap-up
Landis back in yellow as Schleck wins on l'Alpe
Frank Schleck (CSC)
Photo ©: AFP
Three days after giving away the yellow jersey to Oscar Pereiro, Floyd
Landis (Phonak) has taken it back in the 15th stage that finished on L'Alpe
d'Huez. Landis placed fourth in the stage that was won by Luxembourger
Frank Schleck (CSC), who survived an early break to beat Damiano Cunego
(Lampre) by 11 seconds. Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) was also part of that
break, but held onto the Landis group to finish third at 1'10. Landis
now leads the race by just 10 seconds from Oscar Pereiro, but he has more
than two minutes on the rest of his rivals.
The 187 km stage was dominated by a 25 man breakaway that formed after
28 km: Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, David Zabriskie (Team CSC), George Hincapie
and Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel), Eddy Mazzoleni (T-Mobile), Axel
Merckx (Phonak), Damiano Cunego and Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital), Sylvain
Chavanel (Cofidis), David De La Fuente and Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval),
Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) were all part of it. Garzelli attacked on
the Col d'Izoard to take the points at the summit, but was brought back
to heel by the reduced size break after the descent, with the peloton
The leaders numbered 15 on the final run into l'Alpe d'Huez, and as
the first of the 21 switchbacks started, the contenders quickly sorted
themselves out. Schleck and Cunego were the strongest, and were joined
by Mazzoleni for a while until the latter was called back to help his
team captain Andreas Klöden, who together with Floyd Landis had gotten
rid the rest of the GC contenders on the climb. Schleck attacked Cunego
inside 2 km to go to ride away for the win, while Landis and Klöden swallowed
up Garzelli, Lobato and Chavanel, with Garzelli sprinting to take third.
Maillot jaune Pereiro finished 14th at 2'49, and lost his jersey
by just 10 seconds.
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An interview with the maillot jaune, Floyd Landis
Conservatism pays off
Floyd Landis (Phonak) regained the maillot jaune with a solid,
but by no means swashbuckling ride to finish fourth on L'Alpe
d'Huez. Landis stayed with Andreas Klöden for much of the climb, catching
some of the early breakaways to end just 1'10 behind winner Fränk Schleck.
And while it was a conservative ride, Landis believes that it is the best
way to win the Tour de France. Brecht Decaluwé reports for Cyclingnews.
Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Q: How did you find your climb on Alpe d'Huez, and why did you
attack suddenly after staying on the wheel of Klöden for so long?
FL: The first reason was that I was alone in the
group of favourites, so the first kilometres went pretty hard. Another
reason for my attack was that I wanted to get to Axel Merckx, who was
a marking point for me. It surprised me to see that he was still there
during the final climb. I didn't attack Klöden earlier, because my main
goal today was to stay with him.
Q: You don't seem to be suffering during the climbs, how far
are you away from you red zone? Where are you in your range?
FL: I'm a pretty good actor! (laughs) I'll let you
know when I am at the red line, but I felt good today. It wasn't necessary
to take more time on the other guys, I was just content to follow Klöden.
During the next two stages, I'll be riding conservatively again. I don't
feel the need to win any of those stages; I'll try to win a stage, but
if it doesn't work out that way … I just want to save the energy of my
team. Today, everybody saw that my team is stronger than some people hoped.
here for the full interview
An interview with Fränk Schleck
In the footsteps of Charly Gaul
26 year-old CSC rider Fränk Schleck took his biggest victory today by
winning the Tour's 15th
stage to L'Alpe d'Huez - the first rider from Luxembourg to do so.
After being in the breakaway for most of the day, Schleck was able to
drop Damiano Cunego with 2 km to go to solo to victory. Brecht Decaluwé
reports from the top of the mountain.
A happy Schleck
Photo ©: Sirotti
Q: Even your famous compatriot Charly Gaul never won the stage
on Alpe d'Huez. How do you feel now that you've stepped out of his shadow?
FS: (quietly) It's an great honour to be compared
with Charly Gaul, as he was a very good rider. Sadly enough, he passed
away a few years ago.
Q: You have won a stage with a mythical finish on top of Alpe
d'Huez. Many famous riders have won over here. Is this win teaching you
something about yourself?
FS: I will be more confident now. Many people said
that I could do well, that I had to be confident. This morning I was feeling
good and I was in a breakaway group. At the end of the day, I end up winning
this fantastic stage. It will take a while before I realise that I've
won over here.
here for the full interview
Riis very satisfied with his riders
By Hedwig Kröner in L'Alpe d'Huez
Today was another successful day for Team CSC's director Bjarne Riis.
The Danish outfit once again proved that it was right in waiting for the
mountains to show its full strength. With Luxembourger Fränk Schleck achieving
the second legendary victory of his career so far, and the second victory
for his team in this race, the team's tactician had all the reason to
be cheerful in the finish of stage 15. And he was, but as usual, he also
kept his cool.
"No, we didn't have that planned," was Riis' response about the day's
unfolding. "We followed the group, and suddenly we had three men in front,
so that was perfect. Dave (Zabriskie) and Jens (Voigt) did a fantastic
job for Fränk until the last climb. I started to believe he could win
The 1996 Tour de France winner was also happy with the performance of
Carlos Sastre, who became the team's GC captain after Ivan Basso was sidelined
form the race start earlier this month. Although the Spaniard wasn't able
to keep up with the biggest favourite, Floyd Landis, he only let go in
the last slopes of L'Alpe and moved up from sixth to fifth in the classification.
"Sastre defended himself very well," Riis continued. "This morning I
told him not to go too deep at the beginning of the climb so that he didn't
explode. He did that, he lost a little bit but then he came back again.
Jens helped him the last way up, so that was good. He lost a bit of time
in the end, but I'm still satisfied with his performance."
And there were more exciting mountain stages ahead, the Dane added,
which will provide more food for tactical thought and racing action. "Landis
looks strong, for sure, Klöden is coming good, too. Carlos is comfortable,
and this all sure looks very interesting..."
Oscar Pereiro defended his jersey until the last metre
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Although he ultimately finished 14th, 2'49 off the stage winner and
lost the race lead to Floyd Landis by just ten seconds, Oscar Pereiro
said he was proud of his performance and that of his Caisse d'Epargne
"I am satisfied because after my bad performance in Pla de Beret, I
had many doubts," he said. "Today I took confidence again in myself and
in my shape. Tomorrow, the responsibility for the race will rest on other
Pereiro congratulated his team-mates for their effort, including David
Arroyo, who was in the break and dropped back to help his team leader.
"It is a pity that we could not manage to save the leadership, but we
nevertheless did the maximum to try," Arroyo stated afterwards. "I believe
we achieved a great job today."
Pereiro recorded a time of 40'14 for the ascent, the eighth best of
Meanwhile his team-mate Nicolas Portal crashed on the descent of the
Izoard and suffered from a contusion to the right knee and to the right
Post-stage 15 quotes
By Brecht Decaluwé, Jean-François Quénet & Hedwig Kröner in L'Alpe
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital, 2nd)
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital)
Photo ©: Sirotti
"I would have liked to win, but when you have a guy that's this explosive
in front of you, you just can't do anything about it. I don't regret anything,
and I'm happy with the way that my form is coming up. I still want to
win a stage here.
"Yesterday, I said that L'Alpe d'Huez was just a climb like the other
ones. I also thought the same while I was climbing. But at the top, the
emotion is different than anywhere else. My second place means a lot for
the future. I'll come back for winning that stage one day. I can improve
Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile, 5th at 1'10)
"It was very hard; I tried to take the initiative with our team. It
went alright. Floyd was also really strong; but nobody took over the lead
work, unfortunately. I had to lead almost everything myself. You saw the
"At the foot of the climb, Matthias Kessler rode a great tempo. I saw
that some guys had problems, so I told him to go flat out. Then, I passed
him and the group had shrunk."
Michael Rogers (T-Mobile, 15th at 2'49)
"It was tough on the last climb but I came out alright so I'm quite
happy. It was a hard day, and there's more hard days to come."
Cyril Dessel (AG2R-Prevoyance, 19th at 3'04)
"I gave it my all. I had very good legs on the Col de Lautaret. I put
myself in a good position at the bottom of L'Alpe d'Huez but my chain
went off. I had to stop. I lost 20 to 30 seconds and I had to overtake
70 riders on the climb.
"My team-mate Mikel did an enormous job dragging me up there. It was
such a violent effort; when we caught the yellow jersey group, [Oscar
Pereiro's team-mate] David Arroyo accelerated because [Floyd] Landis'
group was just ahead. I just missed a little something for staying on
the wheels. But I believe I can be happy with the way I climbed. It confirms
what I did last week."
Christian Vandevelde (Team CSC, 42nd at 5'16)
"The stage went great - I didn't really have much to do except to keep
Carlos out of the wind as much as possible. And try to get him to the
bottom of the climb in front. Then, I just had to hang on and do as much
as I could for the team classification at the end.
"I did what I could, and Carlos is a smart rider, he knows himself very
well. He didn't go at the first acceleration, he kinda waited and went
back to them a little bit later."
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