93rd Tour de France - ProT
France, July 1-23, 2006
Results & report
Stage 7 - Saturday, July 8: Saint-Grégoire - Rennes ITT, 52 km
Complete live report
The first moment of truth at the
2006 Tour is a 52 km time test from Saint-Grégoire to Rennes across the countryside
of northeast Brittany. Mostly rolling with a flat finish, the TT should show
the first signs of who can win the Tour this year.
TT champ Mick Rogers is looking for a stage win and the maillot jaune, but Phonak's
Floyd Landis may have something to say about that. Leipheimer, Hincapie and
other GC hopefuls are also looking for a good ride tomorrow, while CSC's Dave
Zabriskie is another rider to watch for a stage win.
Welcome back to the first big test
for this year's GC riders at the Tour de France. The Cyclingnews blimp is hovering
quietly over the town of Rennes, in Northwestern France. Today will see the
riders taking on a perfectly flat 52 kilometres around the city, beginning in
one of its suburbs - Saint-Grégoire.
The first rider, Sébastien
Joly (Francaise Des Jeux) has left the start ramp at 10.48, followed by Anthony
Charteau (Crédit Agricole) and Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas), the third-last on
General Classification. Cofidis' Bradley Wiggins will be out there at 11.16,
so we should have a first reference time approximately one hour later.
The full start list can be viewed
stage preview page.
A word on the weather: It's about
20°, with scattered clouds hanging in the sky, but no rain predicted for today.
Temperatures should go up to 24° in the afternoon, with a very light wind of
about 10 km/h blowing from variable directions, but mostly from the South -
it shouldn't be of much importance. Perfect conditions, I'd say!
There are three intermediate time
checks: at km 16,5, at km 36,5 and at km 46,5, which is almost at the finish.
After 33 kilometres, the riders have a small feed and drink zone at their disposal
The last few kilometres take place in the city centre
of Rennes, with three 90° curves to master. Accelerating once again out of these
crossroads will be hard, if you haven't spent your energy carefully.
One after the other, the riders roll
onto the ramp, sign in and then are counted down, with photographers positioned
halfway under the ramp to take the best shots. Unfortunately, a light drizzle
is coming down now, which will make the roads a bit slippery. Let's hope it
Wiggins is there now - this should be a good stage
The first riders have reached the
time check, with Backstedt leading at the moment. The Paris-Roubaix winner can
use his raw power in TTs, too, but he won't be in the top placings later on.
The last of the GC or TT favourites
will be on the course at 16.24: Time Trial World Champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile).
We should know today's winner at about 17.30 CEST; until then, it will be an
exciting showdown between those who have a chance of taking the Yellow jersey
off Tom Boonen and those whose only ambition is to limit their losses before
Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) has also
started. Let's hope the Australian isn't too handicapped by his vertebrae fracture
- at the moment, he's battling on, although unable to sprint.
rain has stopped already, and the streets are drying. Now that's better.
French champion Florent Brard (Caisse
d'Epargne-Illes Balears) is also getting ready in the start area. He was part
of yesterday's breakaway and will certainly not have a lot of energy left over
As expected, Wiggins has topped Backstedt's
time at the first ITC: with 21.10, he's 20 seconds faster than the Swede. Go,
The first American to tackle the
course today is Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto), who is at the ramp now. The
climber is not much of a time triallist, but he will test his form in view of
the mountains, where he will be 'domestique de luxe' for Cadel Evans.
Many of today's favourites actually are American. There are a few theories out
there on why US citizens are such good time triallists - Dave Zabriskie (CSC)
once said it's because Americans are used to train on their own much more than
The first riders that have started
are expected at the finish now. Let's see what time Backstedt is capable of
- he has just passed Joly in the last kilometres.
1.05.58 - Backstedt has made a solid
effort, while we have a new best at the first ITC: Victor Hugo Pena (Phonak)
has raced 16.5 kms in 22.5 mins.
Cyclingnews spoke to Mario
Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto) before the start, who is not a time trial specialist
and doesn't expect to finish in the top placings today. "I think the favourites
and the winner will average about 52 km/h today," he said, "so I will just try
to be within the time limit, at 42 km/h or so. I'll take it easy and try to
lose as few energy as possible."
Aerts is getting ready to start
now, while Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) is also on his way.
Bradley Wiggins is delivering a good
performance. He'll be in the finish soon, and judging from his intermediate
times, he might beat Backstedt by over a minute.
And he does it!
1.04.53 is the new best, which adds up to an average speed of 48,1 km/h for
the Brit. Good stuff!
Not only Americans, but also British
and Australian riders count amongst the favourites today. Now, why is it that
all these English-speaking riders are such good time triallists? Any wacky theories
Interesting: 26 year-old Gustav Larsson
has topped Pena's time in the first ITC by 19 seconds, and holding that at the
second time check. That's pretty impressive! We'll watch out for the young talent
40 year-old Vjatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel) has
also started now. He is a strong motor against the clock...
Here in the blimp we're still having
guesses at to what the winning time could be today. With not much wind, but
a light breeze blowing mostly from the South - meaning a headwind for a third
of the course, then a side wind to the finish - our best guess is 1:01:30 at
the moment. We'll know in less that five hours...
Our reader John Caskey has sent in
his very own explanations on why English-speaking riders are amongst the favourites
He said : "1. Lots of English speakers are introduced to
cycling through triathlon (until they see the light or discover they can't swim).
2. Also quite a few come out of MTB which is often as painful as TTs. 3. Its
a minority sport, until recently, in most anglophone countries so you have to
do the hard yards by yourself..." Sounds plausible.
But at the moment, a Swede is leading
this race: young Gustav Larsson has kept his advantage over Pena and has beaten
him be 35 seconds! Good on him!
Team Discovery Channel's Johan Bruyneel
also had a quick word for us today at the start in Saint-Grégoire. "Our objective
today is to keep as many of our co-leaders as possible in the top placings of
GC," he revealed. "That will be the strength of our team in the race."
Although he didn't give any names, it seems to us that there are four riders
in the American team who are suited to play a role in the overall classification
later on: George Hincapie, Paolo Savoldelli, Yaroslav Popovych and José Azevedo.
And Bruyneel probably wants to keep the yellow start numbers of "Best Team"
for his riders, too.
Who will be the riders to lose time today, we
asked him. "The pure climbers such as Iban Mayo will try to limit their losses,"
he said. "Mayo will lose about two and a half to three minutes on the other
GC contenders, but there are still plenty of mountain stages to come..."
Tobias, from Sweden, also suggested
that "tradition is the major explanation for the Northern European riders (Danish,
Swedish, Norwegian and perhaps German) and the Americans, and track abilities
is the case for Australian and GB-riders. The lack of altitude in the Northern
part of Europe make maximal power (the ability to go fast on flat and windy
terrain) instead of relative power (climbing) the selecting mechanism."
Another Swedish reader, Kristian, fills us in on why Gustav Larsson did so well
today: "Cycling is a minority sport in Sweden as well. And Gustav has a solid
background from MTB."
No changes to the top of the leader
board for the time being, with the top five now:
1 Gustav Larsson
(Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 1.03.17
2 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Phonak 0.35
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Cofidis 1.36
4 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas 2.41
Bert Grabsch (Phonak) goes through
the first time check in 20'50, 14 seconds behind Larsson, who has set the benchmark
at all points along the course.
74 riders have left the confines
of the starting house in Saint-Grégoire, which means we've got just under 100
riders to go. All riders are starting at two minute intervals today, even the
top 20 on GC. It's been common in previous years to have the last riders go
off at greater intervals. Maybe to keep the suspense up. But this TT is more
Cyclingnews also intercepted
CSC rider Jens Voigt in front of his team bus as he was getting ready to roll.
The German told us, "I could do well today, take a maybe a top 10 placing -
not top 5 though, as those spots are for my teammates Bobby Julich and Dave
Zabriskie. But I think if I did that, it wouldn't matter; nobody would talk
about it. So my plan is to spare my energy for tomorrow...the rest day! No,
seriously, I'll just ride steady, but I won't give it everything. But I don't
want to get kicked out of the race by Dave, either!"
Voigt is one
of the next riders to roll down the ramp.
Posthuma is having a good second
half, coming through the 36.5 km and 46 km checks within 15 seconds of Larsson.
Let's see if he can finish it off with the best time.
Scott, from Australia, posits the
following: "I think if we take a look at the early years for the Aussies especially,
we see a solid track background. I was reading a 1998 issue today of a cycling
mag and there was a feature on Michael Rogers and Luke Roberts when they were
part of the 4km track pursuit team. The next page over featured Stuey's impressive
TT abilities from his track background as well. Speaking of track backgrounds
look at Bradley Wiggins' solid ride today. I wouldn't mind betting Ekimov does
a good ride even at 40 years of age...and his track pedigree is remarkable...
Common thread? Track background = good ITT"
Posthuma comes to the finish just
11 seconds behind Larsson. Close, but no cigarillo for the Dutch youngster.
Scott from Michigan, USA, also offers
his opinion, on why English-speaking members of the pro peloton seem to be better
time-triallist: "They might appear to be good because they are such a small,
relatively new minority in the peloton.
"I think it is a similar
situation to when the race barrier in American baseball was slowly removed in
the 1940s and 1950s. Nearly all of the African-American players allowed to play
back then were stunningly good. The lingering racism allowed some black players
into the major leagues, but they had to be very good to get there. If they were
just average players, they were not wanted. The great majority of the line-ups,
down to the bench-warming scrubs, remained white. So where it seemed that all
black players were greats like Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ernie Banks, that
was because they really were great and their fellow ordinary players were not
around to change the perception.
"Americans and other English-speakers
are still newcomers in a pro peloton dominated by continental riders. If an
American is going to try to succeed while working that hard in such a difficult
sport while living a very long way from home in a country that speaks another
language, he will need to be very good from the beginning. If he were just ordinary
- a slow time-triallist and just a middle-of-the-pack climber - he would not
Which leads us to another question: how come there are
no African and/or African-American riders in the European pro scene?
Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) has
also started. The German time trial champion could make a brilliant performance
Interesting point by John Picken
in the UK: "Agree about the filter of US and N European riders. But also the
track demands good pedalling ability and style as well as mental focus and concentration.
Mastering those and the trick then is to convert to the road. That's where Bradley
is missing, but there is still time and he will then be brilliant. Chris Boardman
had the same problem. If only he had gone to Europe two years earlier. The Aussies
do road much earlier in their career."
French TT champion Sylvain Chavanel
(Cofidis) is also on the ramp now. The race between the German and French champ
is on! (Maybe that will make me get over the missed-out German-French football
World Cup final...)
Next up is Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
- will he try to limit his losses in view of the GC or go only for the mountains
jersey? Hopefully he has forgotten about last year's TT disaster...
Sandy Broque in France added to the
question why there aren't any African-American or African riders in the pro
scene: "Why no Asians, no Arabs?"
Then perhaps the question is better
put this way: Why is cycling a predominantly white sport?
Whew - Lang gets into the first ITC
just 4 seconds behind Larsson. This will be interesting!
Michael MacMahon offers us
his insights: "No African riders other than Robbie Hunter due to poor roads
and no cycling infrastructure, except for South Africa with it’s European background.
"As for African Americans, it is the same as tennis and golf (exceptions being
Williams sisters and Tiger). They are white dominated sports due to the exclusivity
of clubs. Also there are mega bucks to be made in NFL (football), NBL (basketball)
and MLB (baseball) all of which are now dominated by Blacks."
in NY says, "Cycling is an elitist sport/hobby (elitist can be read: "expensive").
So, for many black youngsters, it is simply not economically feasible to continue
past the little trike and big box store bike that Jr. gets. It is exactly the
same reason that golf hasn't had too many black players.
wrong, cycling may appear to be out of reach. There is no doubt that if blacks
are given the same chances and are started in cycling at the same age, the results
would be on par. On a purely societal level, cycling is just not seen as "cool"
by many youngsters, especially many US blacks. Walking around in tights and
funny tap shoes is only going to result in cackles from the boys. That, and
the [lack of] coolness factor may be the biggest contributor to why there aren't
too many blacks in the sport.
"We cannot also neglect the impact
of the media. NBA, NFL & baseball stars are idolized... and paid accordingly
(never mind the small percentage, but you don't see hardcore cyclists on MTV's
Cribs). Cyclists, frankly, aren't paid enough to conjure [black] mass appeal."
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital)
is up next. He will have to exceed his limits to be counted amongst the overall
contenders later on. And, we also need to see if he's back to his 2004 climbing
Cyclingews' Anthony Tan and
Brecht Decaluwé are now following Andriy Grivko (Milram) on the course and just
passed under a "50 km to go" banner. The two will look out for further details
of today's race, and say that wind is not an issue today.
Chavanel leads the Franco-German
champs duel! He's 3 secs ahead of Larsson and 7 secs ahead of Lang at the first
Hmmm. Lang doesn't seem to be at
his best today. He's lost 8 seconds to Larsson at the second ITC.
Gene Hernriksen writes, "Some of
the answer to why bicycling is predominately a white sport could be that there
are not many people in poorer countries that can afford to give their children
bicycles and the accessories associated with racing. Also in some countries,
wearing biking shorts could get you killed, like the Iraqi coach and tennis
players that were killed for wearing shorts and exposing their legs. To help
resolve the bicycle shortage in Africa, there is an organization that collects
bikes to send there and the bike shop I use, Conte's in Newport News, VA, USA,
is donating a lot of older frames and components that have accumulated over
the years to go to Africa."
Last year, Tour de France organiser
ASO also collected thousands of bikes for Burkina Faso.
noted, "Not every black kid in America or Europe is poor. Millions of blacks
are quite well off middle-class and upper middle-class families and they can
afford bikes just like anyone else. I believe the reason is preference of sport
- NFL, MBA, etc. and lack of a black cycling role model."
Lang has passed CSC's Jens Voigt,
who rides rather slowly. He said he didn't want to push it today, but that IS
Chavanel is under the 20 km mark.
He's powering away, and we will soon get his second intermediate time.
Lang is in the finish, forcing the last bit of power out of him on that straight:
1.02.47 - a new best!
Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan reports
that a little wind is coming from Southwest, and the first part of the course
is very up and down...
Ah - Chavanel started too fast, posted only
seventh after 36.5 kms.
Jens Voigt has finished, too, he
is currently in the last position...
Rasmussen gets to the second
time check and places 60th.
Victor Ching offers us a different
opinion on the question of the day. "I don't believe the race issue in cycling
is exclusively based on lack of potential earnings and exclusivity/elitism.
I think that clubs, especially in Europe where there is a good "farm" and "feeder"
system in place for youngsters, are not trying to recruit enough blacks. There
are sports like marathoning and track which are dominated by blacks in almost
every country and the pay is in most cases less than a rouleur on a ProTour
team... So money and fame aren't the only factors.
I would like to quote is Shani Davis, the speed skater. He has crazy long legs
and has the most aero tuck of any of his colleagues. The whole time I was watching
the Olympics this year I was thinking of how fast he could be on a bike, I bet
he could translate well into a prologue and eventually long time trials."
In any case, the sun is out now,
and we won't have any more rain. Chavanel is 3 kms from the finish, pushing
hard and suffering. He was 7th also at the third check, so it's unlikely that
we'll have anew best from him at the finish.
Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) finishes
ninth at the moment, that's not so bad for a pure climber!
comes in: seventh. He looks completely exhausted.
Sandy Casar from La Francaise des
Jeux is also racing now. The Frenchman finished a very respectable 7th at the
Giro d'Italia this year, and would certainly like to perform in his home country
too. His injuries from the crash a couple of days ago don't seem to hold him
Matthew Nelson from Lexington, KY,
writes, "I met many black American cyclists while I was a bicycle messenger
in a major U.S. city. Let me say this, "The brothers can ride." And, they even
looked out for this stupid, honky, college boy on a summer adventure.
"But, most of the American black riders prefer sprinting I think -- a la Major
Taylor and Nelson Vails. I think most black American cyclists view the Tour
de France as freak show for masochistic euro-trash -- it brings to mind angst
ridden, existential European films with subtitles." I can picture those, Matt!
Casar is 15 secs slower than Chavanel
at the first ITC. That's not bad at all - if he can keep that up.
Casar has lost 1.14 mins after 36
kms. He's not a specialist so that's no wonder.
(Liquigas) has started, wearing his typical helmet with a feline air-brush on
top of it.
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) is 2.51 off
the fastest time after 36 kms - he could lose a lot of time today! Remember:
there are "only" three mountain finishes this year at the Tour, instead of four
Another opinion on the fact that
there are barely any Black cyclists in the peloton: "To say the majority of
Blacks aren't interested in cycling because it's not cool or because there aren't
any role models is superficial. One of the reasons Blacks aren't interested
is because of the lack of exposure and understanding of cycling as a sport.
It's really a microcosm of the smaller issue of fewer Americans than Europeans
in professional cycling. The majority of Americans really know of just the Tour
de France. I'd go as far to say the same majority didn't realize America already
had two major international, professional tours this year already (Tours of
Georgia and California).
"When I became interested in cycling, my
parents tried to discourage me from racing. My father's argument was, "There
aren't any black cyclists." That was 20 years ago. Now married with 4 kids,
my family, parents included, knows that cycling is my passion. I've met enough
black cyclists besides myself to count on one finger. But it hasn't killed my
passion. No popular black role models existed in golf and speed skating. Also,
before Major Taylor, no popular black role models existed in cycling. So, for
people like Tiger, Major, and Shani to succeed, why didn't they need a popular
black role model? My answer would be that they don't need a role model of the
same ethnicity. They had a passion for their sport and they invested enough
of themselves to pursue it."
Casar is at the finish now, and throws
his bike over the line - he lost 2.23 mins to Sebastian Lang. That's not such
a bad result.
GC aspirant Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
has started, as well as Gilberto Simoni (Saunier), while we have a new best
at the first time check: Again, a Swede has posted an excellent time there,
namely Thomas Lövkvist. He's six seconds faster than Chavanel was at the time.
But Sebastian Lang, who still leads the race until now, got better during the
second part of the course. So it remains to be seen whether Lövkvist can keep
Menchov has his elbows very low, his shoulders are lower than
his back. What a difference to Mayo, for example!
Here's a look at our intermediate
times right now:
1 Thomas Lövkvist
(Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 20.27
2 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) AG2R-Prevoyance
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis
4 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise
Des Jeux 0.09
5 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel 0.12
1 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 44.53
2 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.07
3 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank
4 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Phonak 0.23
5 Vjatcheslav Ekimov (Rus)
Discovery Channel 0.43
Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 56.20
2 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux
3 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 0.29
4 Victor Hugo Pena (Col)
5 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak 1.07
- km 52
1 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.02.47
2 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 0.30
3 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank
4 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Phonak 1.05
5 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak
Italian TT champ Marzio Bruseghin
(Lampre) has taken on the course now. He should do well!
is fighting against the pain in his body on the finish straight. He lost 4.32
to Lang - that could mean he'll lose as much as 5 minutes or so to some of the
other GC contenders! Oops.
Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer is
also on his way now. He will have benefited of his teammate Lang's impressions
of the course. Looks like the American wants to take the same approach: start
moderately, then put on the turbo in the second half.
(Discovery Channel) is off, too! The race is on now, with the best to come in
a few minutes.
Nice ride by Axel Merckx: 1.59 behind
in the second time check. Bobby Julich (CSC) is getting his count down on the
ramp now. He looks focused. Off he goes!
Leipheimer also has this very special
TT skill of a very low position.
Crash! Bobby J slipped away in
a curve. He's lying on the ground, but conscious an moving.
He slips away and falls on his left
side. He's holding his left arm, sitting by the roadside now. They're waiting
for the race doctor.
He's standing now, holding his hand.
But he doesn't look like he'll be able to continue.
And Menchov has the new best time
at 16 kms: 20:07! But many riders have started fast...
Bobby J is
getting into the ambulance. That's it for him, what a shame. All the best...
Lövkvist, too, started out strong
and then didn't have the strength left in the second part of the course to keep
Zabriskie has started! He'll be thinking of his teammate,
chasing down Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile)
It's Millar time now. Let's see if
he can make a difference today.
Leipheimer is 1.32 mins behind Menchov
at the first time check! Now, maybe that's starting a little too slow...
Andreas Klöden is pedalling 107 revs.
That's pretty good, and certainly looks fast.
Cadel Evans (Davitamon)
takes off now, starting strong!
Popovych loses a little time on the
best, but not too much: 26 seconds on Menchov after 16 kms.
pedals great, his upper body not moving at all - that's pure TT style. Serguei
Gonchar (T-Mobile) is another specialist to depart now.
Sastre, too, has started faster than
he has been able to continue. He's lost more time in the second half of the
Plenty of spectators out on the roads
again today, who cheer the riders on. Gerolsteiner youngster Markus Fothen has
just taken the best time off Denis Menchov at the first check, beating the Russian
by 1 second!
And there's yet another one better
than Fothen: Klöden points at 19.59, seven seconds faster yet!
Lövkvist admitted to Cyclingnews
at the finish that "I started too fast in this race. In the end, I couldn't
hold my pace. If the time trial would have had one more kilometre, I would have
fallen off my bike. I think Lang an Larsson can really do well here."
Landis, Savoldelli and Hincapie have
left the ramp, while Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) is getting ready now. All the
favourites will be on the course once he has started.
also spoke to TT World Champion Rogers at the finish in Vitré yesterday. "I
hope to do well tomorrow. I expect to have a good ride because I feel quite
good. I'll do the best ride I can," he said.
Rogers has the best
cards to make an attempt in grabbing the yellow jersey. "Certainly, there is
a possibility of the yellow jersey but also, there are some other very good
riders behind me like Hincapie, Landis, Evans, Millar - heaps of guys who can
take the jersey as well. Because I'm second in GC doesn't mean I will take the
jersey. I will have to ride very quick but I'm looking forward to it."
The length of the time trial suits the Australian rider perfectly, but at first
sight, the course doesn't look that easy. "The first half is rather up and down.
The second half is very fast, open, flat and I think that's good for me. Normally,
no matter how the course is, you go well," Rogers concluded.
The wind has apparently increased
over the last hour, which could be one of the explanations why many riders have
not been able to keep their pace when coming back to Rennes.
Christophe Moreau has his tongue
out as usual. (Will that make him faster? ;-))
We hear that Evans
is 7th at 16km, 16 seconds off Klöden's pace. That's an OK result until now,
while Leipheimer losing a lot of time today. It's clearly not his day, and that
will put him back on GC compared to his rivals.
Gonchar has clocked a new best after
16km, 23 seconds faster than his teammate Klöden! Now, if only they'd have had
a team time trial this year at the Tour, Mr. Ludwig? And we haven't seen what
Rogers is up to yet...
Christian Henn, directeur sportif at Gerolsteiner,
confirms that Leipheimer has not had a mechanical problem. He doesn't know why
Leipheimer's performance is so low today.
Phonak's Landis clocks second at
the first ITC, 17 seconds behind. He is efficient although his TT position is
not everybody's cup of tea.
Fothen is at km 36: He's lost some time,
too: 19 seconds. But he is definitely a huge talent, 25 years old, riding his
first Tour de France.
The top five at the finish:
1 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.02.47
2 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise
Des Jeux 0.30
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.40
4 Joost Posthuma
(Ned) Rabobank 0.41
5 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Phonak 1.05
Klöden loses 12 seconds on Menchov
at km 36. In this race, it will all be about perseverance in the second part
of the itinerary. Zabriskie arrives there in ninth position, not too good, either.
Leipheimer is 4.15 mins down on the
best time at the last time check. Hincapie is 52 seconds behind Gonchar after
16 kms! There goes our theory about American time triallists...
Michael Rogers, too, is 13th at 46
seconds, and Millar 17th, at 56 seconds. What's going on??
Leipheimer has lost 5.01 minutes
in the finish. He stops pedalling even before the line, and seems extremely
disappointed. This is clearly not his day...
Hincapie has passed
Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), who is trying to hold onto the American. Millar
is through at 36 km at 46'27 for 27th.
Evans is 34 seconds behind Menchov
after 36 kilometres - that's pretty good!
All riders are now through km 16.
Boonen is 44th at 1'26.
Gonchar is at the second ITC now,
giving everything, and he has Matze Kessler in front of him to chase down. Gonchar
rides a huge gear... 43'50 - 1'02 quicker than Menchov!
Dave Zabriskie is 9th at 46 km, at
Fothen has arrived in the finish, he's placed an excellent
third with 37 seconds to Lang.
Klöden arrives in the finish, 39
secs behind, fourth at the moment. Very good after his shoulder injury!
Landis hasn't lost too much time: 27 seconds at km 47.
finishes seventh at the moment, 52 seconds down. That's a (bad) surprise. If
this goes on, Gonchar will be maillot jaune today!
Gonchar is pushing an enormous gear,
incredible. How can he hold that for so long? The 36 year-old is putting all
his experience in this race.
Kessler also profits from Gonchar's
ride, as he can hang on to his teammate about 70 metres in front of him. Great
Hincapie is at 36kms: 25th at 2'02...
Millar comes into the finish: he
lost 2.30 mins.
Ha! And the sprinter's mind game
continues as Boonen has passed McEwen! A little revenge, surely not worth a
Rogers is 7th at 1'15 mins in the
second time check. He's improved a little since km 16.
into the finish, 45 seconds behind. That's pretty good!
Gonchar gives is very last energy
on the finish straight. Amazing time: 1.01.43! He beats Lang by 1.04! That'll
surely get him the jersey. And he's not such a bad climber.
and McEwen ride alongside each other... That's funny.
Moreau, at the finish, confirmed
that the wind is blowing against the riders in the second part of the course,
coming back into town.
Karpets finishes tenth, 1.51 mins behind Gonchar.
Here comes Landis...
Landis gets second, one minute behind
the Russian. Well done, in comparison to other GC contenders!
'Il Falco' is in the last kilometre,
pedalling at 105 revs. He won't make the Top 10. Still, he limited his losses:
18th, 2.12 down on Gonchar.
'Il Falco' is in the last kilometre,
pedalling at 105 revs. He won't make the Top 10. Still, he limited his losses:
18th, 2.12 down on Gonchar.
T-Mobile will have really good results
today, with about 5 or 6 riders in the top 20. Rogers is improving: 4th at km
46, at 1.23 mins. He always finishes fast.
Discovery's best rider
is Savoldelli, as Hincapie finishes 2.42 down, on 23rd position. The American
team might lose their 1st placing in the "Best team" classification.
Rogers has just passed Hushovd. Flying by, literally!
Rogers comes into the finish now
- that was an amazing performance during the last 20 kilometres, taking six
minutes from Hushovd! He places fourth, at 1.23 off his teammate Gonchar.
Our calculations for GC: Gonchar
will lead Landis by 1'00. Rogers will be 3rd at 1'08. That was a big shake-up
of the overall classification, with some surprises. Leipheimer completely missed
out on his performance today, and the Discovery boys weren't convincing, either.
And unfortunately, Bobby Julich had to quit the race after crashing in a curve.
McEwen arrives 6.26 minutes down.
The race is over, and Gonchar on the way to the podium...
That's it for us in Rennes. Join
us again for some Live Tour de France action tomorrow, over 177 kms from Saint-Méen-le-Grand
to Lorient. This 8th stage across the rolling hills of central Brittany to the
gritty seaport of Lorient will be a day when the big teams will likely let an
early break get up the road, before boarding a charter flight to Bordeaux and
rest day #1. Cya then!
<h4>Intermediate timing </h4>
km 16.5 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 19.37
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.17
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 0.22
4 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.29
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.30
km 36.5 (all riders through)
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 43.50
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.42
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.03
4 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.10
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 55.09
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 0.57
3 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.11
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.23
5 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 1.27
Finish - km 52
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 1.01.43
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.01
3 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.04
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.24
5 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Francaise Des Jeux 1.34
6 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile 1.39
7 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.42
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 1.43
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.44
10 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 1.45
Provisional general classification after stage 7
1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 30.23.20
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.00
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.08
4 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile 1.45
5 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.50
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 1.52
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 2.00
10 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 2.03
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