93rd Tour de France - ProT
France, July 1-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 13 - Saturday, July 15: Béziers - Montélimar, 230 km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes, with additional reporting
from Anthony Tan, Hedwig Kröner and Brecht Decaluwé
Live coverage starts: 11:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
Part of the village in Béziers.
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Le Tour's longest day is a flat to
rolling stage from the seacoast through the hot rocky vineyards of Herault,
Gard and the Ardeche that finishes in the sweet, nougaty town of Montélimar.
Stage 13 should be a day long struggle between sprinters teams and escape artists
who will try to hang on for the win, but as on Stage 9, the competition for
the maillot vert may bring it all together in the end, where Big Bad Belgian
Boonen will try to finally turn the tables on Killer Kangaroo McEwen. But don't
count out Lampre-Fondital's cannonball Toto Commesso, who will be on the hunt
for his third career Tour de France stage win in Montélimar.
Welcome to our coverage of the 13th
stage of the Tour de France, the longest stage of the race at 230 km. If this
was a stage in the first week, it would be one for the sprinters, but now, things
are different. Quick.Step has lost its key driver Wilfried Cretskens, and Davitamon-Lotto
won't work for a bunch sprint unless things are exactly right (witness the words
exchanged between the Quick.Step
camps yesterday). But maybe things have settled down a bit...
has five climbs, all category 4, so it's not really a good day for the mountain
goats. We start with the Côte de Puéchabon (km 57.5, Cat. 4, 2.6 km at 5.2%),
then the Col de la Cardonille (km 77.5, Cat. 4, 2.2 km climb at 5.5%), Côte
de l'Arbousset (km 119.5, Cat. 4, 1.5 km climb at 4.5%), Côte de Saint-Maurice
d'Ibie (km 195.5, Cat. 4, 1.1 km climb at 4.6%), and Côte de Villeneuve de Berg
(km 205, Cat. 4, 1.8 km climb at 5.3%). The two sprints today are at Anduze
(km 117.5) and Vallon-Pont-d'Arc (km 177.5).
Today's stage is starting under sunny
skies and hot 34 degree temperatures. There is no wind and no clouds, but thunderstorms
are predicted for later on, which will probably be a relief to the riders. There
were no overnight abandons and we still have 160 of the 176 starters in the
race. A big crowd is out to wave the riders off out of Beziers.
11:51 CEST 4km/226km to go
The flag drops at
a quarter to 12 and they're racing in stage 13! The heat is likely to be a big
factor today, especially after yesterday. Racing for 230 km in 35 degrees is
11:52 CEST 5km/225km to go
It doesn't stop Salvatore
Commesso (Lampre) from attacking, with CSC teammates Jens Voigt and Stuart O'Grady
(CSC), Andriy Grivko (Milram) and David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) chasing.
11:53 CEST 7km/223km to go
The break is caught
and Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) and Cente Garcia Acosta (Caisse d'Epargne) counter.
That doesn't last long.
11:57 CEST 9km/221km to go
The attacking continues
as Juan Antonio Flecha flats, and is forced to chase hard after getting a wheel.
12:00 CEST 11km/219km to go
A group of 15 riders
splits off next, trying to establish that critical gap. If the composition of
the group is right, it will go. As we saw yesterday, even if there are strong
riders in the break, if a team is committed to chasing it down, it will come
12:02 CEST 15km/215km to go
The 15 don't get
far, then Egoi Martinez (Discovery) has a go, but is caught. Peloton groupé.
12:11 CEST 20km/210km to go
It's a groupé peloton
after 20 km. There's a fair way until the first sprint at km 117, so the sprinters
teams shouldn't be that interested in keeping it together at the moment.
Wilfried Peeters (Quick.Step director) told Radio Donna, "This morning the team
has to present itself to the public on the podium; hence the fact that the riders
are all rushing to the sign-on. Every team has to do this a few times in the
Peeters was cool about the heated atmosphere between Quick.Step
and Davitamon: "Quarrel? What Quarrel? There's no fight at all between our teams!
At least, in our Quick.Step team we don't feel there is. I actually spoke to
Hendrik Redant (Davitamon director) yesterday during the stage and I told him
we won't take control for once, that's all.
"Everyone is in a good
mood this morning. It's a very long stage today, with temperatures above 35
degrees. It's going to be a tough one."
12:13 CEST 23km/207km to go
The latest attack
goes with Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears),
Sylvain Chavanel and Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) and
Andriy Grivko (Milram). They have eight seconds.
12:17 CEST 28km/202km to go
The break reduces
to five as Coyot drops off. The lead grows to 30 seconds...
12:20 CEST 30km/200km to go
Pereiro is the best
placed on GC in the break, at 28'50 down, so it's not a really threatening move
for the GC riders. Also, there are no real green jersey threats here either.
The gap grows to 45 seconds.
Française des Jeux has missed the
break (again) and is leading the peloton.
12:24 CEST 34km/196km to go
The front five: Pereiro,
Voigt, Chavanel, Quinziato and Grivko have a lead of 50 seconds as they fly
through Belarga, with Française des Jeux in hot pursuit.
Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux)
gave a rather tired impression at the start of stage 13 in Béziers. As it was
already blisteringly hot, the young Belgian took refuge in the shade of the
Village Départ. His recent injuries on the left knee covered in vaseline,
he told Cyclingnews that he was feeling okay under the circumstances.
"I know this could be a stage for me, and I'll try to be in a break," he said.
"But we just have to do with the means we've got. It certainly doesn't get any
easier as the Tour takes its toll every day."
12:28 CEST 37km/193km to go
The leaders have
now reached the 'magic minute', and look to be the echappe du jour in
today's long, hot stage. More than a few riders will be suffering from cramps
by the end of the day.
12:30 CEST 38km/192km to go
Phonak has assumed
the position at the front of the bunch, which means the attacking is over for
a while. The lead grows to 2'10, and the bunch could easily give these riders
15-20 minutes without having to mount a serious chase. It will be up to the
sprinters teams to do it, if they want...
12:34 CEST 42km/188km to go
It's been a rapid
start, with 42 km already covered in just on 50 minutes. The leaders have 3'00
and are riding strongly.
12:40 CEST 45km/185km to go
We're looking at
a very fast first hour here! Despite the heat, the five leaders are flying along,
now heading through Gignac.
Big Thor Hushovd came by the Cyclingnews
reporters this morning in Béziers, too. "I'm feeling alright, thanks," he replied
to our inquiry. "The first mountains were hard for me, but I hope it'll get
better." But the Norwegian didn't count on a bunch sprint finish in Montélimar
later on. "Today, I will try to save energy and not do too much effort. For
sure, if the others organise a sprint, I'll see where I stand. But we'll see
how the race goes," he added.
12:48 CEST 52km/178km to go
The lead builds to
6'20 as the front five approach the Côte de Puéchabon, 2.6 km at 5.2%. No-one
is a real threat for the mountains jersey today: Jens Voigt only has 12 points,
while leader David de la Fuente has 80.
12:50 CEST 53km/177km to go
The leaders covered
a very impressive 50.4 km in the first hour!! That's the fastest start yet of
this Tour. Maybe all these kilometres actually make you fitter.
12:58 CEST 57km/173km to go
The leaders approach
the summit of the Côte de Puéchabon with an advantage now over 8 minutes.
13:03 CEST 58km/172km to go
Chavanel takes the
three points at the summit ahead of Pereiro and Grivko. The leaders now have
9'05 back to the Phonak-led bunch.
Cyclingnews also interviewed
Quick.Step's Wilfried Peeters before the start today. "During yesterday’s stage,
I consulted Boonen about the choice on team tactics. We decided not to chase
the leaders as Tom wasn’t feeling great. Today, for the first time during the
Tour de France Boonen felt better. But it’s a very long stage and I’m wondering
who will take the responsibility to lead a chase.
were some troubles because Davitamon ignored the sign of Landis to take a break.
But Landis and McEwen have different goals, so I can understand it. We didn't
interfere in the discussion that started about the rules in the peloton. I guess
the fatigue is making it hard for everyone, as the peloton was riding hard for
almost 100 km at that moment."
13:12 CEST 65km/165km to go
The advantage nudges
up towards 10 minutes as the five front runners race through Viols-le-Fort.
13:21 CEST 73km/157km to go
It's still going
up, not down! The gap, that is. 11'25 after 73 km, just as the leaders reach
the foot of the Cat. 4 Col de la Cardonille.
Ryan Sperring writes in, "Just wanted
to show my support for Jens. He's got to be the best guy in the peloton in my
opinion, and would love to see him pull one off today."
Still a fair
way to go yet for Jensy, and there are also four others in the break who are
pretty motivated to win.
13:32 CEST 80km/150km to go
Peter writes in with
his prediction for the maximum lead today. "My guess is that today gaps will
end up being huge, more than 20 minutes before any type of chase forms. It seems
like the sprinter teams are worn out and there's no reason for the GC teams
to chase. My wager is the gap maxes out at 21'52 and the break finishes a full
17-18 minutes ahead of the bunch."
It's 12'50 at the moment.
13:34 CEST 82km/148km to go
The leaders aren't
particularly concerned about climbing points today, as Andriy Grivko (Milram)
leads the group over the top of the Col de la Cardonille ahead of Quinziato
13:51 CEST 93km/137km to go
The speed has dropped
considerably in the second hour, and we have an average speed of 44.6km/h after
two hours. The break sits at 13'09 in front of the field.
13:58 CEST 95km/135km to go
The break cruises
through Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, 13'30 ahead of the Phonak-led peloton. It seems
as though the lead has stabilised a bit as the heat and high speed of the first
hour takes its toll.
It seems we have plenty of Jens Voigt
supporters among our readers. "Jensy always has a go and puts it on the line,"
writes Larry, from VA, USA. Gotta love the hard men.
14:04 CEST 100km/130km to go
Well, it seems like
the stabilisation of the gap was a big fat mirage. The lead is up to 16'03 at
the 100 km mark, and it's now unlikely that this break will be caught.
Those riders again: Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears - best placed
on GC at 28'50), Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Manuel Quinziato
(Liquigas) and Andriy Grivko (Milram).
We spoke to sprinters Robbie McEwen
and Tom Boonen before the start today. "The team tactic isn’t going to be the
one of yesterday, as this is a transition stage," McEwen told us.
Boonen commented, "Alright, there were some problems with the Davitamon team,
but that was yesterday. Today, we start with a clean sheet."
The Phonak team continue to set the
pace at the head of the peloton. Their goal is more to stop further attacks
from the bunch rather than close down this five man move, given that there is
no threat there to Landis.
Jens Voigt has a chat to the team
car, getting a bottle while he is at it. Chavanel now signals for his auto.
Up front Pereiro takes a turn, looking quite relaxed. Then Voigt comes through.
An interesting question: does the
black Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears kit hamper those wearing it? Anyone who
has worn a dark top on a sunny day knows all about the extra heat that is absorbed.
In contrast, light coloured clothing is known to reflect the sun's rays and
thus help with cooling.
The kit certainly stands out but given that
dehydration and excess heat are limiting factors to performance, would a different
colour kit serve the riders better? Just a thought...
Floyd Landis and his friend/flatmate
Dave Zabriskie have a chat in the bunch. Unsurprisingly, both are laughing;
the two share a similar sense of (wacky) humour.
This countryside really is spectacular,
with vast acres of forested land stretching out on either side of the peloton.
In the break, Voigt talks to Pereiro. "Man, you must be roasting in that," he
states. Or maybe not...
14:24 CEST 114km/116km to go
The leaders are
just about at the halfway point of the stage. They've a long way yet to go but
must be feeling confident, given their margin over the others.
statistics: Sylvain Chavanel and Oscar Pereiro have done the bulk of the work,
each having done 28% of the pace-setting.
Back in the bunch, Jose
Rujano gets some bottles for his Quick.Step team-mates. His jersey is quite
a bit smaller than the others, so he presumably can't carry as many as the bigger
There are some beautiful ruined castles
in this area, including the large Chateau des Montezes...real postcard setting.
The crowds are cheering on the front five as they ride up the fourth category
Cote del'Arbousset. Grivko takes over at the front.
14:32 CEST 120km/110km to go
As the categorisation
suggests, this hill is pretty short. Chavanel leads them over the top, followed
Jens Voigt seems to be many people's
tip for today. Louw Strydom writes in to say "I too am a big Voigt fan and I
hope he gets the stage win. Who can forget his superb sportsmanship in the 19
stage of the Giro when he gave the win to Garate because he felt Garate had
worked harder and thus deserved to win?"
The peloton certainly seem content
to roll along, the heat of the day and fatigue from two weeks of racing prompting
the riders to take it a little easier today. That bodes well for the break,
as does the current gap...18'53! That's very considerable, to say the least.
14:41 CEST 127km/103km to go
Saunier Duval rider
Francisco Ventoso said this morning that he was keen to do something. "I'll
try to get in an escape during the first hour. If that doesn't work out, I hope
there's going to be a sprint, where I have my chance on a good result. But I
think the only sprint we will see is the one in Paris."
The gap is
14:49 CEST 130km/100km to go
Puncture for Alexandre
Botcharov. He gets a new wheel from the Credit Agricole team car and continues
on his way; should have no problems getting back on.
the Phonak train at the front. They are now 19'30 behind, so this stage win
is between the five leaders. Best-placed rider Oscar Pereiro should also move
up a few places tonight, although he is 20 minutes off a place in the top 20.
The five leaders are rolling through
nicely. Chavanel hits the front and will doubtlessly be wishing that today was
Bastille day, rather than yesterday!
The peloton splits to go around each
side of a big roundabout, or rond-pont as it is called in France.
Feedtime at the Zoo for the peloton,
as the riders snatch musettes. The bunch is all across the road, searching out
their team helpers. Rabobank leader Denis Menchov looks concerned as he misses
one bag (he couldn't get close enough to the soigneur as a rider was in the
way) but gets a bag from another one several metres later.
14:58 CEST 137km/93km to go
Food (and drink)
is very important on such a long stage. Although the energy demands will be
less than in the high mountains, riders need to keep their water plus muscle
and liver glycogen levels topped up before the Alps. Monday's rest day will
also help, of course.
By the way, Quinziato beat Pereiro
and Voigt to take the points at the first intermediate sprint, in Anduze (117.5km).
As mentioned previously, Chavanel went over the top of the Cote de l’Arbousset
ahead of Pereiro. Quinziato was third.
15:05 CEST 142km/88km to go
There is clearly
a bit of a sidewind, as the Phonak team are now stretched left to right across
the road. Moos leads from Victor Hugo Pena.
Manuel Calvente (Agritubel)
had a mechanical problem. He ended up having to get a new bike from the team
car, so the delay was longer than if it was a simple wheel change. He's going
again, but will have to chase for a few kms.
The leaders are a little
further ahead: 19'49
Sianhurley from Québec, Canada gets
in touch to correct our spelling. The peloton went around a 'rond-point' a while
back, rather than a rond-pont. Pont is a bridge in french.
Up front, Pereiro rolls through,
followed by Grivko. They have a sense of urgency about them that the peloton
lacks today, but their cooperation will probably start breaking down closer
to the finish.
The break is 20'46 clear as they pass by a field
Chavanel gets some advice, words
of encouragement and a bottle from the team car. He then goes straight back
up to the break and takes his turn.
The bunch is quite spread out,
widthways...this again underlines the lack of urgency. There will be a sprint
at the end, of course, as McEwen, Boonen, Freire and the others will be keen
to take points for the maillot vert competition. So even though the win is gone
now, their teams will probably come to the front in the closing kilometres.
Christophe Moreau (AG2R-Prevoyance)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Chavanel gobbles down some foot while
riding at the front.
Boonen is sitting at the back of the bunch,
looking relaxed. Another sprinter, Erik Zabel, waves to the camera and a beardless
Christophe Moreau has a chat to the tv pilot.
15:20 CEST 153km/77km to go
Rasmussen and Menchov
move up through the bunch, flanked by some Rabobank team-mates. They also look
relaxed, this contrasting with the body language of those up the road. Pereiro
rides through, then Jens Voigt punches the pedals around in his characteristic
fashion as he does his turn.
A shoulder injury suffered by Voigt
during the off season meant that he had a quiet spring, but a Tour stage would
certainly make up for that.
Some more quotes on yesterday's stage,
as carried on Sporza TV today:
Hans De Clercq (commentator on Sporza
TV and former team mate of McEwen)
"McEwen knew too well he couldn't
afford to cooperate in the break yesterday; he would have signed his own death
penalty then. His motor is way smaller than Boonen's and he knew if he worked
along that Boonen would have beaten him in the sprint, so it was no option for
Robbie to ride.
"I remember 2002, I was riding with Robbie at Lotto.
Robbie had 7 points more than Zabel for the Green Jersey. Our team director
then made us close the gap to ensure a bunch sprint. Robbie didn't want that
as he didn't want to jeopardise his lead. There was a bit of a discussion between
Robbie and that team director; but we did get a bunch sprint. Result: McEwen
ended up two points behind Zabel because he lost the sprint...that's what Robbie
is afraid of and that's only normal."
15:26 CEST 157.5km/72.5km to go
The lead continues
to grow: 22'50 now. Pereiro is now up to 16th overall on the road.
Yesterday's stage winner Yaroslav
Popovych goes back for some bottles and then rides up through the bunch, jersey
stretched to the limit.
With the gap now 23'58, Pereiro moves
up to (a virtuel) 13th overall.
McEwen's DS Hendrik Redant gave his
own take on things to Sporza TV:
"Freire is one of Robbie's rivals
and he simply had to chase him; whether Floyd Landis stopped for a piss or not.
Surely the others understand. I wonder why the peloton would have reason to
react like that, angry at McEwen?
Ok, as far as the first break
was concerned, it was a pity for the guys in the break who weren't a threat
for us to the Green jersey. Our strategy was different to theirs. For today;
we aren't afraid of a mass sprint. I think there's other teams that are, otherwise
they would work more to ensure a bunch sprint. But we have three wins already;
let the others ride a bit today!"
15:38 CEST 164km/66km to go
The break marches
ever onwards... 24'55 ahead now..
Back in the bunch, riders are
taking their legs out of the pedals and swinging them back and forth, like big
pendulums. A sign of boredom, I guess...
John Joseph from Boulder makes a
"How about an alliterative challenge in today's commentary
to offset the
stifling heat and lack of interesting climbs? Like the Big
Boonen Bonks Behind the Pugnacious Persistent Peerless Popovych?"
Pereiro and the other leaders are now over 25 minutes ahead. Perhaps his former
team-mate Landis is happy to loan the jersey to him? He and Zabriskie are chatting
again, enjoying the fine weather. The temperature is now 37 degrees..
15:45 CEST 168km/62km to go
Jose Azevedo and
Jose Luis Rubiera head back for bottles. So it seems that everyone on the Discovery
team is acting as watercarriers today.
Pereiro takes the lead up front.
He is now up to seventh overall...
Each of the five riders seem
to be taking equal turns, swapping off after about ten seconds in the lead.
15:50 CEST 173km/57km to go
Landis would probably
be happy enough if Pereiro was to take yellow. He lost a considerable amount
of time on stage 11 and so isn't really a GC threat. (Unless he was doing what
was a real cunning bluffing tactic...)
Stuart O'Grady goes back for
bottles now and has a good chat with those in the CSC car. He's looking happy
and is clearly getting over the injuries he suffered earlier in this race.
The gap is now 26'05. So Pereiro
needs to get (and keep) just 2'45 more to claim yellow. Of course, if he wins
the stage he will get a 20" bonus, so that will help.
if the break keep averaging 42 km/h, the peloton would theoretically be eliminated
if it finishes half an hour down. Can't see that happening..
15:57 CEST 177.5km/52.5km to go
That would certainly
be one for the history books!
Grivko heads back to his team car
for a quick drink. He has won the Ukrainian TT championship for the past two
years and so is a strong rider.
The riders pass by the Gorges de
l'Ardeche which is, well, gorgeous.. Some stunning scenery here, a really beautiful
part of France.
16:00 CEST 181km/49km to go
Back in the bunch,
Phonak continue to lead the way. It will be interesting to see if anyone else
helps to drive it before the finish or, indeed, if Cyril Dessel jumps clear
and tries to get back the eight seconds he lost to Landis two days ago.
16:04 CEST 182.6km/47.4km to go
If Voigt stays
clear to the finish, this will clearly change the team classification. CSC will
take over at the top by about 15 minutes from Caisse d'Epargne. T-Mobile currently
lead the classification from Gerolsteiner.
16:11 CEST 187km/43km to go
Although they haven't
been blasting along, Phonak have had a long day at the front of the bunch. The
other GC contenders will be happy to see this, as it means their riders should
be fresher for the Alps.
16:13 CEST 189km/41km to go
The recent sprint
at Vallon-Pont-D’Arc, 177.5 kilometres after the start, was won by Pereiro ahead
of Chavanel and Grivko. Pereiro was second in the first sprint and so has taken
ten seconds in bonuses.
Jens Voigt's director Bjarne Riis has been
interviewed on France 2 television and says that the heat makes it a tough day
for everyone. When asked who would be the biggest threat to his rider in the
bid for stage succes, he nominated Chavanel.
The peloton are now 20 kilometres
behind the break... The leaders on a slight climb now, with Voigt leading it.
Attacks should start soon, methinks..
There are two fourth category
climbs between here and the finish. At km 195.5 comes the Côte de Saint-Maurice
d'Ibie, 1.1 kilometres long at an average of 4.6 %. Then at km 205, 25 km from
the end, the riders will climb the Côte de Villeneuve de Berg. This is 1.8 km
long at 5.3 %.
16:18 CEST 191km/39km to go
Nothing too arduous,
but they could well act as the platform for a stage win if one of those up the
road is feeling strong.
David Lopez (Euskaltel) is back with
the race doctor for some running repairs.
Voigt passes some spectators
waving a cardboard sign with his name on it. He has a look over as he goes by,
so is clearly feeling alert.
16:23 CEST 194km/36km to go
GC position is improving ever more as we approach the final 35 km. With the
break at 27'41 He is now in a virtual 3rd, 59 seconds behind leader Landis (including
the 10 bonus seconds he's picked up en route). A yellow jersey beckons...
The leaders are now on the first
of those two climbs, the Côte de Saint-Maurice d'Ibie. Will there be an attack
Sanford Sharp sent us this sharp
"As the languid gruppo ignores the growing gap, they look
to Landis for leave to do the loo. Robbie’s boy’s bigger bladders complicate
matters and, with the peloton in tatters, Boonen starts moanin’ and groanin’."
16:27 CEST 195.5km/34.5km to go
elected to stay together on the climb, with Grivko leading them over the top.
But things will certainly get more active from here on in...
gets a bottle from the car, guzzling some more fluids before the finale.
Pereiro sits on Voigt's wheel as
they roll through. He pushes the pace at the front, then Quinziato comes to
do his turn.
16:30 CEST 198km/32km to go
Phonak are still
in one long line at the front, with Nicolas Jalabert (mini Jaja) leading.
Grivko has a problem in the break...his chain is off, but he elects to stop
and change his bike. He sits in behind his team car and quickly gets back up.
16:33 CEST 200km/30km to go
Grivko seems to have
a problem with his new bike. The mechanic hangs out the window and puts his
hand on the far seatstay, then near the derailleur. He may have something stuck
there; it's hard to tell. But it seems fine now.
Pereiro pushes the pace, while Voigt
pulls a face. Things are heating up all right.
Chavanel goes back to the car for
a bottle and a chat. Looks like he is getting advice about the run-in to the
The final climb of the day, the Côte de Villeneuve de Berg,
16:37 CEST 202km/28km to go
The break built a
maximum lead of 28'20 but it is now down a little on that; 27'57.
Chavanel leads coming up to a sweeping right hand corner, indicating the turn
in advance to the other four.
16:39 CEST 204km/26km to go
The leaders hit the
Côte de Villeneuve de Berg (1.8 km climb at 5.3%) and continue to work together
at the bottom. They're all tired. Who has the legs for an attack? Voigt has
been doing the most work in the last 10 minutes.
16:40 CEST 204.5km/25.5km to go
at the others as he sits in fourth wheel. Then Grivko attacks! Quinziato follows.
Then Pereiro, who was leading, tries to get up to them. They stay together,
just avoiding a spectator. Quinziato counters! Grivko sits up, Voigt, Chavanel
and Pereiro chase, and Grivko is dropped.
16:40 CEST 205km/25km to go
Voigt leads the break
to the summit of the climb, taking the three points ahead of Chavanel and Pereiro.
Quinziato is in fourth wheel, and skips a turn.
Doesn't look like Grivko is coming
back as the break continues to cooperate with 25 km to go. The Ukrainian's bike
change probably cost him that extra bit of energy he needed.
16:42 CEST 206km/24km to go
Phonak is riding
a bit harder behind, courtesy of Victor Pena and Nicolas Jalabert. The gap comes
down to 27'17, keeping the yellow jersey safe.
Voigt does another big turn as the
break is reduced to four, with Grivko chasing at 15 seconds. Quinziato looks
to be soft pedaling. He's the best sprinter in the group.
16:45 CEST 207km/23km to go
The leaders are still
working with each other, making it unlikely that Grivko will come back to them.
And if he does, he won't have much gas left for when the real attacks start
in the final 20 km. He's probably regretting his attack now.
16:47 CEST 210km/20km to go
One man chasing four:
it looks to be an impossible task. But if the cooperation fails in front, the
Ukrainian will come back. The gap is 17 seconds between Voigt's group and the
chaser as they reach 20 km to go.
The peloton is at 27'20 and holding.
16:48 CEST 211km/19km to go
The gap grows to
20 seconds as Jensy does another strong turn. He doesn't want Quinziato there
at the end (or anyone, in fact).
Grivko has croaked in the heat.
He drinks more water and eases off the pedals. He's not coming back.
16:50 CEST 213.5km/16.5km to go
sits at the back of the peloton with TiTi Voeckler and another Bouygues rider.
Not much happening back here. The bunch is about 18 km behind the leaders, but
is in no danger of being 'eliminated'. 27'30 is the gap.
The leading four ride through Alba
la Romaine, beside a very old and crumbling castle. No time for sightseeing.
Grivko is pedaling in his biggest gear but losing time to the leaders: 33 seconds.
16:52 CEST 215km/15km to go
Past vineyards now
(there's been a distinct lack of cows today, alas). Pereiro does a turn and
sees the time gap is 27'45 to the main bunch. He's on track for third or fourth
on GC at the end of the day.
16:54 CEST 216km/14km to go
The next part is
mostly downhill, but it's not a big descent as we drop down about 180m.
Landis sits behind his teammates, talking on the batphone.
attacks, then Quinziato reacts. Voigt hesitated and is chasing with Pereiro.
Quinziato has to use a lot of gas to close the gap.
16:55 CEST 217km/13km to go
Chavanel looks back
and sees he has company. Two on two. Pereiro does a turn behind, and he and
Voigt come back to the leaders. The pace slows again. That hurt!
There's a cow!
Pereiro gets to the front and keeps
the tempo up, then Voigt rolls over, watching Chavanel. The idea is to get away
just before this descent...
16:56 CEST 218km/12km to go
Voigt showers himself
with water while Chavanel takes the sunglasses off. He looks the freshest. Quinziato
is good too.
The road flattens and then starts
to go downhill. It'll be harder to get away now.
16:58 CEST 219km/11km to go
The leaders concentrate
again and continue to work together, with Grivko now at 40 seconds and the bunch
16:58 CEST 220km/10km to go
All the riders are
taking drinks from their bottles once they finish their turns. 10 km to go and
it's downhill for a bit longer.
16:59 CEST 221km/9km to go
The pace remains high
in the break but everyone is watchful. No-one wants to be dropped...
17:00 CEST 222km/8km to go
They're nearly at
the bottom of the descent. The last 6-7 km are fairly flat, so it opens it up
for attacks again.
17:01 CEST 223km/7km to go
Voigt follows Quinziato
through, then Chavanel misses a turn and Pereiro slots in. Now the Frenchman
does his bit, followed by Quinziato again. Can the Italian keep it together
for a sprint?
17:02 CEST 224km/6km to go
In the peloton, Robert
Hunter has problems with his zip while sitting at the front.
leaders navigate through the outskirts of Montélimar.
17:03 CEST 225km/5km to go
The leaders are being
very watchful now. Grivko is well out of it: 3'00. The bunch is still at 27'40.
Voigt looks to be watching for an attack, but doesn't seem to be capable of
making a big solo move today. We'll see.
Over the Rhône river, and Voigt attacks!!
Chavanel marks him, as do the rest.
17:05 CEST 226km/4km to go
Voigt is the most
combative rider today, as announced by the race jury. Pereiro counters, and
Voigt takes his wheel. Then a gap to Chavanel and Quinziato. The two in front
look back and give full gas. Quinziato goes through hard.
Voigt drives it hard as the other
two come back. Pereiro doesn't do a turn, and that could doom their chances.
He does now. Maybe they'll do it...
Under 4 km to go and Quinziato doesn't
want to work with Chavanel. And vice versa, because Quinziato is the better
sprinter. The two leaders are gone!! Voigt and Pereiro.
17:07 CEST 228km/2km to go
Over another bridge
and the two in front are fighting it out for the win. Chavanel tires to drop
Quinziato next as he chases 12 seconds behind the two in front. Pereiro is cooperating
17:08 CEST 229km/1km to go
Voigt does another
big turn with Pereiro as they approach one km to go. Chavanel is sitting on
the tops now, having failed to drop Quinziato.
17:08 CEST 229km/1km to go
The peloton is at
28'09 - this might put Pereiro in yellow, we'll see.
does a turn as they go under 1 km to go.
Voigt attacks with 800m to go. He
gets a gap, but Pereiro hasn't given up.
Voigt stops, and Pereiro stays on
his wheel. The German signals to go through. No way José, says Oscar.
17:10 CEST 230km/0km to go
Voigt has to lead
out the sprint and he gets the big diesel going and wins the stage!!! He led
out with about 100m to go and Pereiro had no chance to come around.
Quinziato almost third ahead of Chavanel, but the Frenchman gets him at the
line. 39 seconds.
Voigt is very very happy with his
win, and he almost can't believe it himself. He went very late in that sprint,
but that's what you have to do when there's two of you. Great win. That definitely
wasn't a gift from Pereiro.
The gap to the peloton was up to
29'01, so Rabobank is doing a bit of riding now to save Menchov's third overall.
Lampre is also helping. Phonak have done their bit today.
Andriy Grivko crosses for fifth,
over 6'00 behind the winner.
Weening and Posthuma lead the bunch
under 20 km to go, with Commesso (Mr rolled up sleeves) chatting to Phonak's
Rabobank has stopped riding in the
peloton, and Phonak has let the pace drop. This could well put their former
teammate Pereiro in yellow by the end of the day. Probably good tactics, given
that they won't have to defend it tomorrow and Tuesday.
Maybe Menchov's team were driving
it to keep Landis in yellow :-)
Today is not a good day to
get dropped from the bunch, as you'll likely be eliminated. Back of the envelope
calculations put the time limit at 29'12 behind the winner.
The jersey is changing hands tonight.
19 minutes have elapsed between the finish of the stage and now, and the bunch
has just gone under 10 km to go. They don't look like averaging 60 km/h to the
The bunch could well be outside the
time limit, but now we can quote from the official rules:
Finishing times may be adapted under exceptional situations
(weather conditions, blocked roads, serious accident or incident, etc.) according
to the assessment of the stewards committee, with the agreement of the race
management. If the percentage of eliminated riders rises above 20% of starters
in the stage, permitted finishing times may be increased upon the decision of
the stewards committee, with the agreement of the race management.
It is understood that the riders who finish within the new permitted times will
qualify for following stages, without a precedent being set for the rest of
A Liquigas rider - Garzelli - punctures
at the back. That is not a good time! About 24 minutes have elapsed as they
go under 5 km to go. but the speed is fairly high now.
Lampre has the train going for Bennati
now. 27 minutes at 3 km to go.
17:38 CEST 228km/2km to go
Lampre on the front
with Quick.Step now at 2km to go. Boonen is in about 10th wheel, with McEwen
a few wheels back.
17:38 CEST 229km/1km to go
Final kilometre, and
Commesso leads before Quick.Step starts to come up. Still two Lampres left.
Then a host of Quick.Step/Milram riders.
Garate leads out, then Pozzato, then
De Jongh, Tosatto and Bennati. Boonen has chosen Bäckstedt's wheel.
Boonen goes at 150 to go but it's
too early (or not fast enough) and McEwen gets him for sixth. Eisel might have
The gap is 29'57 and Pereiro is the new leader!! He
congratulates Voigt on his stage win and even Jean-Marie Leblanc is surprised.
And we will leave it at that at the
end of the Tour's longest stage. A little odd that Floyd Landis let the jersey
go that easily, but the boy knows what he's doing and you can bet that either
he or one of the other GC riders are in yellow on Tuesday night in the Alps.
Pereiro only has 1'29 on Landis, and given that he lost half an hour before
today's stage, I don't think he'll hold it for very long.
to Pereiro and Voigt for taking the honours in today's stage!
be back with more Tour action tomorrow, between Montélimar and Gap.
1 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 5.24.36
2 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis 0.40
4 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas
5 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Milram 6.24
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 29.57
7 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise Des Jeux
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step-Innergetic
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
10 Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux
General classification after stage 13
1 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 59.50.34
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.29
3 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 1.37
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 2.30
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 2.46
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 3.21
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 3.58
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 4.51
9 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Agritubel 5.02
10 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 5.13
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