93rd Tour de France - ProT
France, July 1-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 14 - Sunday, July 16: Montélimar-Gap / 181km
Live Commentary by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes, with additional reporting
from Anthony Tan, Hedwig Kröner and Brecht Decaluwé
Live coverage starts: 12:50 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:10 CEST
Welcome back from the Hindenburg
V-1, which is amazingly still airborne after two weeks of following Le Tour
de France. Today, the objective is to get it to Gap, starting point Montélimar,
and we'll have 180.5 km to do it in. It's another warm day, with temps at the
moment hovering at 28 degrees, but expected to rise a bit more throughout the
day. There's also a light wind blowing.
It's a tough stage too, with
the cat. 3 climb of Côte du Bois-de-Salles coming after only 14 km, a 5.1 km
climb at 4.2%. That is followed by the Cat. 3 Col de Peyruergue (km 72.5, a
5.5 km climb at 4.8%), the Cat. 2 Col de Perty (km 97, 8.8 km climb at 5.1%),
and the Cat. 2 Col de la Sentinelle (km 171, 5.2 km climb at 5%), where the
winning move today is likely to be made.
It's not a day for the sprinters,
but there are two intermediate sprints at La Bonté (km 50.0) and La Plaine (km
After 4.5 km of neutral out of Montélimar,
the flag drops and we're under way in stage 14!
13:06 CEST 3km/178km to go
David Kopp (Gerolsteiner)
and Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval) have the honour of being the first attackers
in stage 14. They are joined by Bjorn Schroeder (Milram).
13:07 CEST 5km/176km to go
The three out in front
have a 15 second gap on the Discovery Channel-led peloton, as the road gently
climbs in this first part of the stage.
The advantage grows to 20 seconds
as the trio try hard to make this escape the good one.
13:13 CEST 8km/173km to go
The leaders go out
to 25 seconds, but now are back to just 15 seconds as the peloton gives chase.
Two Germans and a Spaniard in front, with Lobato the best on GC in 38th at 21'20
down. Now a group of counter attackers has split off the front of the peloton.
Française des Jeux and AG2R are trying
to get one of their men up front, so they are doing the work in the bunch. It's
aggressive racing early on, as usual.
The leaders hit the foot of the Côte
du Bois-de-Salles with just 10 seconds.
13:17 CEST 10km/171km to go
Schröder is the first
to drop off the break, which is being caught by the bunch on the climb.
13:18 CEST 11km/170km to go
The break is caught
halfway up the climb, and it's peloton groupé for a bit.
13:21 CEST 12.5km/168.5km to go
and Rik Verbrugghe have tried a counter attack on the climb, but it goes nowhere.
Meanwhile, the high pace has put Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) and Magnus Bäckstedt
(Liquigas) in trouble off the back of the bunch.
13:25 CEST 16km/165km to go
Over the top of the
climb, a new escape goes with George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Eddy Mazzoleni
(T-Mobile), Stephane Goubert (AG2R-Prevoyance), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank),
Alessandro Ballan, Salvatore Commesso, Tadej Valjavec (Lampre-Fondital), David
Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), José Rujano (Quick-Step-Innergetic)
and Iker Camaño (Euskaltel-Euskadi). They have a 20 second gap.
13:29 CEST 20km/161km to go
This break of 10
now has half a minute as the bunch tries to chase.
The climb was
won by Michael Boogerd (working for Rasmussen, presumably) from Eddy Mazzoleni,
Jose Rujano, and Stephane Goubert. Boogerd is 16th on GC at 7'23, so this might
not be the break.
13:32 CEST 23km/158km to go
There is plenty of
horsepower in the break, and also no green jersey threats. Boogerd is sixth
on the mountains classification, but should not threaten De la Fuente's lead
today. The gap grows to 35 seconds, with Phonak (surprisingly) on the front
of the bunch.
13:38 CEST 27km/154km to go
The gap comes back
to 25 seconds, prompting Commesso to attack. He's one of three Lampre riders
in the break.
Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) is another early victim
of the pace today. He's off the back of the bunch.
13:40 CEST 29km/152km to go
The break sort of
disintegrates, and Hincapie, Mazzoleni and Camaño catch Commesso. The four have
20 seconds on the bunch.
Boogerd's presence in the break probably
13:42 CEST 30km/151km to go
A couple of riders
try to get across to Hincapie's group, but fail. The four lead by just 12 seconds.
It doesn't seem like the right break, even though Hincapie is 24'28 down on
GC, and the best placed.
13:46 CEST 33km/148km to go
David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
and lanterne rouge Seb Joly (FDJ) try to bridge up to the four man break, which
still has a small lead.
13:48 CEST 34km/147km to go
Moncoutié and Joly
fail to get across, but it doesn't matter anyway as the bunch catches Hincapie
Commesso, Kessler and Fedrigo are
the next to try. Commesso is certainly up for it today.
13:51 CEST 36km/145km to go
They are joined by
several more riders, and we have a very high powered break: Egoi Martinez (Discovery
Channel), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC - 6th on GC), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile),
Christophe Moreau (AG2R-Prevoyance), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), Mario Aerts
(Davitamon-Lotto), Salvatore Commesso (Lampre-Fondital), Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital),
Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi),
Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom).
The peloton is at 20 seconds,
and is probably interested in chasing them.
13:53 CEST 37km/144km to go
Five riders in the
group are in the top 20 on GC! They get 14 seconds, but most of the guns drop
out and we are left with Martinez, Kessler, Aerts, Commesso and Fedrigo in front.
13:56 CEST 40km/141km to go
The latest leaders
up their advantage to 25 seconds as they continue to pour on the pace in this
first hour. Now is often a critical time for a break to go clear.
13:57 CEST 41km/140km to go
Fedrigo is the best
on GC at 26'12, so that's unlikely to worry anyone. And there are no green or
polkadot jersey threats either. It has the right ingredients for a small, but
perfectly formed breakaway.
14:00 CEST 45km/136km to go
They race through
Nyons and the gap grows to a dangerous 35 seconds. Commesso is determined to
make it work, and Kessler is strong as well.
14:04 CEST 48km/133km to go
The break works hard
through the Les Pilles (pop. 240), which is really pumping today. The first
sprint at La Bonté is coming soon.
14:07 CEST 51km/130km to go
The gap is still
30 seconds as the leaders race through La Bonté. One rider is trying to bridge
14:09 CEST 52km/129km to go
Aerts wins the sprint
ahead of Fedrigo and Martinez, as the Rabobank rider who was chasing - Juan
Antonio Flecha - is caught by the bunch.
14:12 CEST 55km/126km to go
David Canada (Saunier
Duval) and Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) are chasing the leading five now. Meanwhile,
Canada's teammate Gilberto Simoni is five minutes behind. Could be race over
The average for the first hour is
46.8 km/h, which is about the norm for these stages. Yesterday's was the fastest
at 50.4 km/h, but the overall average slowed to 42.5 km/h by the finish.
14:15 CEST 57km/124km to go
Voeckler and Grivko are chasing the chasers.
Patxi Vila (Lampre) has been in a
few move already today. He spoke to Cyclingnews at the start, saying, "I want
to get into a break. I'm always trying. I feel good, I'm not very tired yet.
If I don't make it today, then I'll try again later maybe. But I hope to succeed
14:19 CEST 60km/121km to go
The racing is still
full gas as they pass through Sainte-Jalle. The bunch is strung out in pursuit
of the various breakaways. Ahead, we have Fedrigo, E. Martinez, Kessler, Aerts
and Commesso. Verbrugghe and Canada are at 18 seconds, then Padrnos, Flecha,
Grivko and Voeckler at 25 seconds, then the bunch at 35 seconds.
14:22 CEST 64km/117km to go
The attacks are constant
in the peloton as Verbrugghe and Canada grab bidons from the water moto and
pull themselves a bit closer to the leaders. Commesso gets a free ride from
the back to the front of the break as he holds onto the moto for a bit longer.
Verbrugghe and Canada have almost closed the gap.
14:23 CEST 65km/116km to go
Ballan is coming
back to the peloton after a mechanical. He gets a handy bidon. A group of about
15 has split off the front of the bunch in pursuit of the leaders, which will
soon number seven. Flecha and co have been caught.
The leaders: Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues
Telecom ), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Salvatore
Commesso (Lampre-Fondital). Egoi Martinez has dropped out of the break.
Verbrugghe and Canada haven't been able to close the gap. They are with Martinez
now at 15 seconds.
14:27 CEST 66km/115km to go
has got to the front of the bunch and has slowed down the tempo a bit. Then
Mick Rogers (who has a teammate in the break) signals for a time out. The gap
to the bunch goes out to 45 seconds.
14:30 CEST 68km/113km to go
The leaders hit the
Cat. 3 Col de Peyruergue with three riders still chasing at 17 seconds. The
bunch looks to have pulled the pin for the time being.
gets a mechanical at probably a good time, and is chasing back on.
14:31 CEST 69km/112km to go
Kessler leads the
break onto the climb, with his jersey completely unzipped, showing his very
holey undershirt. Fedrigo and Commesso roll through for their turns, then Aerts.
It's not too steep yet.
The bunch is back at 1'22, while the three
chasers (Verbrugghe, Martinez and Canada) are still dangling at 17 seconds.
14:34 CEST 70km/111km to go
The climb steepens
and Kessler continues to set a firm tempo with Fedrigo following him. He looks
back. There are now just two chasers: Canada and Verbrugghe at 20 seconds. They
haven't given up, although they've lost Martinez.
14:37 CEST 71km/110km to go
leads the bunch at a more sedate pace, with Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta on the
Now Verbrugghe has dropped David Canada. If he can get close
at the top, he can bridge on the descent. No, he doesn't need to. He's with
the leaders. Maybe Canada can get them too.
Tom Boonen is at the
back of the bunch, together with Axel Merckx.
Yep, the Saunier Duval rider tacks
onto the back before the top. Six leaders: Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom),
Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Salvatore Commesso
(Lampre-Fondital), David Canada (Saunier Duval), Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis).
Peloton at 3'09, with Egoi Martinez somewhere in between.
14:41 CEST 73km/108km to go
Commesso is first
over the top of the Col de Peyruergue ahead of Aerts, Kessler and Fedrigo.
The peloton is still over three minutes back. Steegmans is towards the rear.
14:43 CEST 75km/106km to go
Martinez comes over
the top of the climb at 2'40, but will probably be caught by the bunch, which
is at 3'40.
14:47 CEST 79km/102km to go
Martinez comes back
to the bunch on the descent, and Garcia Acosta leads it.
six have reached the feed zone in Saint-Auban-Sur-L'ouveze. All the riders grab
musettes and look what they've got for lunch.
14:52 CEST 83km/98km to go
The bunch reaches
the feed zone and there's the usual traffic jam while riders all grab their
bags. Caisse d'Epargne set a relaxed pace on the front, with Pereiro looking
very slick in his yellow jersey and black/red shorts. Plenty of riders are downing
cans of drink too.
15:02 CEST 88km/93km to go
The gap grows to 4'46
as the bunch settles into a steady rhythm. There's no way the leaders will get
half an hour today, like yesterday.
Behind Pereiro, Sastre and Schleck
are well placed, then Evans, Landis and most of the other GC riders.
Mirko Celestino has abandoned. 159 riders left.
15:08 CEST 91km/90km to go
the leaders are on
the Col de Perty, with Fedrigo and Kessler swamping off steadily. Fedrigo sits
on the back for a bit, looking for his team car. Verbrugghe gets some sunglasses
from his team car.
This is an 8.8 km climb at 5.1%.
15:12 CEST 92km/89km to go
It's hot work on this
climb, and Kessler drinks from his bidon again. Their gap is 5'28 and looks
good for the finish, although it'll depend if other teams want to chase. Doubtful.
15:20 CEST 95km/86km to go
There's a Quick.Step
rider helping out Caisse d'Epargne in the pace making. That's interesting. This
is not really a Boonen stage, but it might be one for someone like Garate or
The break is still on the Col de Perty, which twists and
turns up a fairly scrubby hillside. Kessler looks to be the strongest on the
climbs, but Commesso is good too. Verbrugghe and Canada don't quite look as
15:22 CEST 96km/85km to go
It's now back to three
Caisse d'Epargne riders on the front, including Florent Brard, resplendent in
his national champion's tricolore jersey. Last year's French national
champ Pierrick Fedrigo is up the road.
Magnus Bäckstedt has abandoned.
He's the second rider to quit today.
15:28 CEST 98km/83km to go
Julian Dean is being
dropped with Voeckler on the climb, although the latter appears to be hunting
for his team car in the caravan.
Canada goes over the summit of the
Col de Perty first, ahead of Aerts, Fedrigo, and Commesso. The break is all
together on the descent, which has recently been resurfaced in bits.
There's a traffic jam in the peloton on the narrow roads.
15:30 CEST 102km/79km to go
Kessler and Verbrugghe
are gapped a bit on the descent, but Kessler pulls the Belgian back to the other
four. It's tricky work, bringing back memories of the Joseba Beloki crash in
Steegmans is off the back of the bunch, which keeps a 5'40
gap to the break.
15:33 CEST 103km/78km to go
In the bunch, Mercado
takes the points for seventh.
Kessler is not descending well - he's
always a bit off the back of the break. The roads are pretty tricky.
Hincapie is back with the Discovery team car, getting bidons.
Casper is here too. We spoke to the Cofidis sprinter before the start: "There's
going to be a break, but it's possible that it will take very long to establish
itself, depending on who is in it.
"It's always very funny because
the directeurs sportifs have to calculate very quickly in the team cars to see
if they'll let a break establish itself or not. We're still all motivated at
Cofidis, guys like Chavanel, Moncoutié and so on."
15:36 CEST 105km/76km to go
Vasseur leads the
peloton on the descent, while his teammate Pozzato is in last wheel. The bunch
is very careful on the right hairpins and bumpy, sticky roads.
15:38 CEST 108km/73km to go
Commesso, who is
showing more sleeve than usual, chats to Kessler, who is sitting on the back
of the break for a bit. The peloton snakes down the descent, 5'40 behind the
leaders. Today is pretty barren as far as spectators are concerned.
15:41 CEST 110km/71km to go
Flecha is at the
back of the bunch, with Casper, bumping his way down the descent Vasseur is
still on the front, with Brard on his wheel.
The leaders continue onwards, past
the regular adoring fans. Kessler leads, then Mario Aerts takes over. Back in
the bunch, the speed is on...it's one long, snaking line at the moment and some
gaps are opening.
15:50 CEST 117km/64km to go
Quick.Step are driving
it, back at the head of the bunch. There are a lot of guys fighting to hold
wheels; legs will certainly be getting tired at this point of the race.
Pieter Weening, jersey stuffed with bottles, punctures but gets a quick change.
He'd a big pile of bottles down the
back of his jersey...that's mess up his aerodynamics as he chases to get back
on. Heavy, too!
15:52 CEST 120km/61km to go
The riders are passing
through another gorge; this is a beautiful part of the country.
At the back of the peloton, Dave Zabriskie is on water duty.
The Quick.Step riders continue to
chase. They are noticeably bigger than most Tour participants, which is no wonder
given that many of them are Classics specialists.
Rujano, of course,
doesn't quite fit this description!
Verbrugghe looks under pressure at
the back of the break; the speed was on there for a second.
15:58 CEST 124km/57km to go
Pozzato does a big
turn at the front. The gap is now 5'20.
16:01 CEST 128km/53km to go
Rujano or Garate
must be feeling good today, because it's hard to imagine Boonen getting over
that final climb with the leaders. Or perhaps a deal has been done ;-)
5'18 now, so the gap's not coming down very much.
The leaders are working well together
and so far have been able to hold off the chase behind.
Ah, Boonen is sitting in this line
of QuickStep riders. Is he working? For now, it's Pozzato who is doing a long
The team still hasn't won a stage yet, so perhaps they are
trying a different approach today..
A Liquigas rider is also up there...it
is Kjell Carlström. So he is also riding.
16:08 CEST 132km/49km to go
Up front, Commesso
has a chat to his team car.
Ah, Boonen isn't working. Maybe he strapped
his climbing legs on today and he fancies his chances of getting over the second
The average speed after 3 hours of
racing is 42.6 km/h.
The six leaders are now 4'45, so the gap is
16:12 CEST 135km/46km to go
Pereiro is looking
relaxed. Yesterday was a dream recovery for him, as his morale must have been
badly shook after the first mountains.
Up from, Commesso takes over,
then former French champ Fedrigo takes his turn. Verbrugghe seems to be at the
back quite a lot of the time, so he is either a) stuffed, or b) saving something
for a sneaky one later.
Three Liquigas riders are now heading
the chase. They may well be riding for Garzelli, who is celebrating his birthday
today. He's a decent climber and has a very good finish from a small group,
so if that second cat climb thins things out he could get a nice present.
The riders go past a number of very
big paintings, displayed by the side of the road. Each one is of a well known
cyclist, although we'd have to get closer to see who they are! The Hindenburg
V-1 is a bit unstable close to the ground so we'd better not risk it for now.
Wiping out the peloton would be a bad move, methinks... Definite blot on the
copybook for next year.
16:19 CEST 141km/40km to go
The gap is 4'08 with
40 kilometres remaining. So it's possible for this move to come back.
Milram are now contributing to the chase. I think someone forgot to tell the
sprinters that there is a Cat 2 climb near the end.
Canada and Kessler have crashed out!
Verbrugghe also went down...
The riders were going around a bend
and Canada lost it, sliding down and to the left.. Kessler was behind him and
had nowhere to go, being pitched up over the safety barrier. Luckily there wasn't
much of a drop.
Verbrugghe also went down, even though
he was ahead of Canada and Kessler... There was a lot of gravel on the road
and they were going very fast. Kessler and Canada are up, although the latter
looks like he has broken his collarbone. His jersey is in ribbons.
Verbrugghe is lying in the ditch and his arm is covered in blood. He's getting
medical attention...we think he is conscious.
We just hope the peloton
stays upright...this is one benefit of race radios, the riders will know what
is coming up.
16:25 CEST 147km/34km to go
So there are just
three leaders now. That's a real pity, it's a hard way to lose out. Kessler
is up and on the bike. His fall was dramatic, considering he went over the barriers;
luckily that wasn't on a descent. He's lost time, though, and is probably pretty
bruised. He looks to be waiting for the bunch.
Lanterne Rouge Sebastien Joly (Française
des Jeux) has attacked...off the back of the bunch. So he's defending his 'lead'
in that classification.
Up front, Commesso digs in. Those clear
have seen their chances improve from 6 to 1 to 3 to 1, but more importantly,
they have less firepower to actually make it to the finish.
16:29 CEST 149km/32km to go
to do most of the riding, with one Milram guy there too.
rolls up his sleeves. Maybe that's the Italian equivalent of throwing down the
16:30 CEST 150.5km/30.5km to go
The three leaders
have 3'25 now. To recap, they are Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom - best
on GC at 26'12), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto) and Salvatore Commesso (Lampre-Fondital).
There are no cows in the break.
The peloton is in one long line;
that's a marked contract to yesterday, which was a long but relatively easy
day for the riders.
David Millar (Saunier Duval) is near the back
of the bunch, looking for team support. Probably bottles, rather than a mechanical.
16:34 CEST 153.5km/27.5km to go
The pace seems
to have eased a bit in the bunch, as the riders are now more bunched up.
Commesso has been in good form during this Tour. He had a couple of quiet years.
Fedrigo and Aerts sit behind him, realise they are not getting much of a slipstream,
and then come through.
The gap is now 3'17, so they are doing a
good job of holding on. They could lose a lot of time on the climb, though,
if fresher guys decide to put the hammer down.
16:37 CEST 156km/25km to go
Next up, there is
a sprint at La Plaine (km 160.5), 20.5 km from the end, and then the second
category climb of Col de la Sentinelle. This is 5.2 km long and averages five
percent. The summit is just 10 km from the line, so that is the perfect springboard.
The leaders now have just 25 kilometres to go.
A Liquigas/Milram team drive it,
followed by the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears squad and the race leader himself.
He's not working, of course, and neither are his team-mates, for now.
Garzelli is near the front, looking eager...
Fedrigo signals for his car. They
are just 3 km from the sprint now. The bunch is going under the 25 km to go
16:42 CEST 159km/22km to go
Kessler is in the
main bunch, looking quite comfortable but also disappointed. He missed out on
a good chance there. Looking on the bright side, he's been able to continue;
it looked like Canada was out, and Verbrugghe may also be calling it quits.
16:43 CEST 159.6km/21.4km to go
The three leaders
are readying themselves for the second and final intermediate sprint. They are
now just 2'44 ahead of the bunch.
500 metres to go to the sprint. Commesso
is at the back and out of the saddle, then sits down again.
Aerts leads, the Commesso comes through.
He leads them over the line, followed by Fedrigo and Aerts. They didn't go for
it, just rolled on through.
One of the Liquigas riders tears
around a corner and almost amputates the toes of a spectator with his front
wheel...that'd be an unwelcome (and rather severe) pedicure.
stops...new bike... He's up and going again, but that will be annoying for him,
especially in the closing stages.
16:49 CEST 162.5km/18.5km to go
A number of riders
have been dropped by the bunch, including Casar, Moncoutié and Bennati...
Quinziato (Liquigas) is driving it on the front. The Discovery Channel team
are coming closer to the front.
16:50 CEST 164.9km/16.1km to go
Fedrigo has been
doing 41 percent of the work in the last five minutes, more than the other two.
The leaders are now 2'12 clear. A lot of the big guns are moving closer to the
front, as are the Phonak team... This last climb could be fun (for us, who aren't
on the bikes)
More riders are waving bye bye, due
to the pace. Kessler is one to let go of the peloton.
up front, the Fedrigo comes through. They've got to keep plugging away and hope
that the tactics being played out behind can work in their favour.
16:52 CEST 166km/15km to go
Many riders are being
dropped, several of them French. The leaders are now on the climb.
The gap is now 2'05...it's possible...
There seems to be a stall on behind.
Fedrigo is leading, with Commesso
on his wheel. Aerts looks to be suffering.
The peloton are now on the climb...
Gerolsteiner drive it..
Calzati attacks! He's won a stage...can
he get another?
He's got a gap of about five seconds...
Boonen has been dropped....so too Millar.. Flecha...
driving it, Commesso stays with him. Aerts is goooooooooooone...
16:56 CEST 168.8km/12.2km to go
Aerts is a lonely
figure, dropped and losing time.
Calzati is being reeled in, I think..
There was a crash in the bunch, but
the riders are up again. Nothing serious.
Calzati is caught... Phonak
are leading, with Boogerd also up there.
The urgency has gone out of this
bunch..it looked like the big guns were going to start firing, but the pace
is more settled now.
Chavanel was one of those caught in the crash...Wiggins
is driving it, trying to get him back up.
Commesso had a go, but wasn't able
to shake off the Frenchman...
It's all together at the front of
the peloton, with two Saunier Duval riders leading it. Fedrigo and Commesso
are still climbing, side by side.. They are getting close to the top.
Aerts is chasing but he's a bit back..
17:02 CEST 170.7km/10.3km to go
Calzati is now
at the back of the peloton, his move having being brought back. Also at the
back is Juan Miguel Mercado, another stage winner this year.
is still chasing hard; he'll do what he can to get back up to the peloton, but
will be annoyed about that tumble.
Rasmussen, Boogerd, De La Fuente
are pushing the pace now.. The others are coming back to them, though..
17:04 CEST 174.7km/6.3km to go
Aerts has been
caught.. Landaluze leads, with Boogerd, Landis, Evans, Popovych all close to
Correction: De La Fuente wasn't the Saunier Duval rider
who was clear. He's been dropped. So if Rasmussen takes third on the climb,
he'll be second overall in the KOM classification.
The two leaders are now just 45"
ahead. Commesso leads over the top, with Fedrigo second. Boogerd is giving it
loads, going for third. So Rasmussen must be feeling stuffed. Schleck is fourth.
They have a slight lead over the top, and are now just 32" back.
17:06 CEST 172.1km/8.9km to go
Boogerd is driving
it on the descent while up front, Commesso leads Fedrigo.
Popovych leads down the descent.
He was clear in a little group, but they have been caught. It's quite spread
out, though, with gaps opening up. Pereiro is right up there, too.
De La Fuente trails over the top of the climb, having lost a lot of time.
17:08 CEST 175km/6km to go
The descent looks
slippy but Moreau doesn't care...he goes for it and gets a slight gap. Hincapie
is with him.
17:10 CEST 176km/5km to go
The motorbikes are
now going by the two leaders...they look like they will be caught.
The front of the peloton have come back up to Moreau and Hincapie. Totschnig
goes, with Popovych on his wheel. Lance Armstrong is supposed to be arriving
on the Tour in Gap, so his riders are probably keen to impress the boss.
17:12 CEST 177km/4km to go
The leaders are still
descending, and have 20 seconds...this will be close...
Popovych is driving it, with Azevedo on his wheel. Moreau is next, with Evans,
Rogers, Hincapie all there.
17:12 CEST 178km/3km to go
Mercado has made a
good recovery and had a go there. Boogerd covered it, though.
Commesso and Fedrigo are flooring
it, trying to stay clear. This descent is twisting, that will help them.
17:13 CEST 179km/2km to go
they hold on?
There is only about ten seconds in
it now...there are about 30 riders in the bunch, and most of them want to bring
this move back...
Discovery continue to drive it..
Garzelli is in fifth position, thinking of birthday cake and stage victories
(not necessarily in that order)
17:15 CEST 179 km/1 km to go
Commesso goes but
Fedrigo gets him. Behind, Vandevelde attacks...
They have only 500 to go...Commesso
leads from Fedrigo..
Vandevelde is chasing hard.. He is
Fedrigo makes Commesso sit on the
front, then he goes... He wins! Fedrigo first, then Commesso.
So that's another stage win for France...we
think that is three so far.
Vandevelde was actually the rider in
third, with Moreau and Totschnig fourth and fifth.
Fedrigo was very cool there... Vandevelde
was closing but the Frenchman waited and waited... Commesso then ended up leading
it out, going hard from the front. Fedrigo picked his moment and then blasted
by, winning quite easily. He's delighted...
No change in the overall, so all
the favourites were up there at the end. Evans was interviewed by TV and said
it was a bit dangerous towards the finish, with that descent. That (and the
lack of any organised chase) undoubtedly helped the two leaders to stay clear.
Unfortunate news...Verbrugghe broke
his thigh, so he's out of the race.
De La Fuente crosses the line, 5'25
down. Rasmussen got fifth on that last climb and that was enough to move him
up to second overall in the KOM classification. De La Fuente still leads but
he won't be confident of holding on once the Alps come. Boogerd is also looking
good on the climbs, so together with Menchov, Rabobank will have three riders
going well in the mountains.
Fedrigo got it by about three bike
A big bus of riders come in, with McEwen, Zabel, Freire
and Boonen all there. They were quite a way back, well over 7 minutes. We are
still mystified as to why Quick.Step were driving it earlier...c'est bizarre!
So no significant change in the green
jersey competition. McEwen's rival's don't have much time now, with the next
sprint finish likely to be on Friday... We've got three hard days in the mountains
before then. The most they can hope for there is some intermediate points, but
it won't be easy. At all.
Tomorrow is, of course, a rest day.
The riders will take a well-earned break, then come out fighting for l'Alpe
d'Huez. That should be a super stage, especially as things are still tight overall.
Can Pereiro hold on? It's unlikely, but he'll do his utmost.
And that's where we leave it for
now. We, of course, don't get a rest day tomorrow, so surf on over for more
news stories and features. Before then, we'll have full reports, results and
photos from today's stage a little later on. Au revoir!
1 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 4.14.23 (42.573 km/h)
2 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
3 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC 0.03
4 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 0.07
5 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas
7 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank
8 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Cofidis
9 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
General classification after stage 14
1 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 64.05.04
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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