Tour de France Cycling News for July 16, 2007
Edited by Bjorn Haake and Laura Weislo
Long range attack for yellow Chicken soars to race lead
By Shane Stokes and Gregor Brown
A happy Rasmussen
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Just as he did at Mulhouse in 2005, just as he did at La Toussuire last
year, Danish rider Michael Rasmussen went on a blazing long range attack
8 of the 2007 Tour de France to gobble up KOM points, secure a firm
grip on the mountains jersey and seize the stage victory. This time, though,
things were even more impressive; the Rabobank rider ended the day firmly
wrapped in the yellow jersey of race leader, taking over from T-Mobile's
Rasmussen attacked out of the peloton on the Roselend, the first of the
three category one climbs which came in the second half of the stage.
Pedalling with relentless focus, he reeled in a breakaway group containing
Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Antonio Colom (Astana), Christophe Le Mével
(Crédit Agricole), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Goubert (Ag2r)
and Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and took maximum points at the summit.
Once onto the next climb of Hauteville, the 33 year old from Tølløse
pushed on ahead with Colom and Arroyo and took the prime at the top. He
then ruthlessly jettisoned his breakaway companions with 18 kilometres
remaining and rode solo to victory at Tignes. His haul? The stage win,
the mountains jersey, the most aggressive rider award and the first maillot
jaune of his career.
You can read the full
Post race quotes
By Brecht Decaluwé in Tignes
The yellow jersey Gerdemann
Photo ©: AFP Photo
Young German ace Linus Gerdemann was unable to keep his yellow jersey
in Tignes and after the finish Cyclingnews was there to listen
to his reaction. "In the final kilometres it was very hard. My teammates
worked unbelievably hard for me, I think I battled hard for the jersey,"
Gerdemann talked about his lost battle. "Anyway, having the yellow jersey
was not a burden, it was a pleasure, it was priceless," Gerdemann reacted
after falling 43 seconds short to keep the lead. "Concerning tactics we
still have to see of course, Kim Kirchen was super strong. Tomorrow there's
the rest day and then we can see further ahead. The heat is on now but
I'm going to take some rest tomorrow," Gerdemann said.
Kim Kirchen worked hard to keep his young teammate Linus Gerdemann in
the yellow jersey but their mission was unsuccessful. Combined with the
crash of captain Rogers it was a bad day for T-Mobile. "It was very hard
today. We tried with Rogers in the breakaway and he did it. The breakaway
with him could've gone very far and that would have been good for us [...]
if you don't try then you can't win," Kirchen looked back. The Luxembourgian
also talked about his own performance. "For sure I'm happy that I could
help and do my work, for me it was a good day," Kirchen said to Cyclingnews.
Robbie McEwen rolled in at Tignes more than an hour after stage winner
Michael Rasmussen, thus failing to make the time cut. Pretty early on
in the stage McEwen had to let go of the peloton and it was clear he wouldn't
make it. Nevertheless he kept himself to the promise that he wouldn't
abandon. Two days ago he reminded us that he managed to finish his nine
previous Tours and he wasn't planning to climb off the bike if he didn't
have to. His crash in the first stage - which he won - kept bothering
him and after finishing very last in Saturday's mountains stage his crusade
ended in Tignes. McEwen didn't want to complain too much after the finish.
"There are many guys who make it to Paris but they haven't got a stage
win under their belt, so I'm happy with that. Still, it wasn't much fun
to climb a mountain at 10 km/h but I did prefer to finish the stage rather
than to abandon," McEwen said.
While many riders still had to finish their stage the news reached us
that T-Mobile's Patrick Sinkewitz collided with a spectator while returning
to the team hotel in the valley. Sinkewitz had finished at 19'17" and
he rode back on the same road as the race was using, as often happens
after a mountain top finish. Sinkewitz was reported to have hurt his head,
possibly breaking his nose while the spectator involved was brought over
to the hospital of Grenoble with a helicopter; the man was reported to
have severe injuries. As a result of that incident the evacuation away
from the finish in Tignes was jammed while the T-Mobile team was dealt
Michael Rasmussen won the stage
Photo ©: AFP Photo
Rabobank clearly is the winner of the day capturing the yellow jersey
for the second time in their history, after Marc Wauters in Antwerp back
in 2001. "Just before the rest day, you can't time it any better; it's
going to be a great party," Erik Breukink said to Cyclingnews.
It can be discussed if chicken Rasmussen was allowed to go or if the other
teams weren't strong enough as Rasmussen almost didn't lose time during
the final climb despite being in the attack all day long.
"I think they waited too long at the foot of the climb to set a fast
pace. There was no action in the peloton so he was given some liberty.
The teams who had somebody in the break gambled that their guys would
save the day but that proved to be wrong. What happened with Rogers was
bad luck of course. T-Mobile had the perfect tactics with their team leader
in the breakaway and the yellow jersey in the peloton, the best defence
for the yellow jersey," the former white jersey winner said.
Rabobank is in a perfect position now to defend the jersey as they have
two team leaders who can battle for the GC now, with Denis Menchov and
Rasmussen. "That's true as long as it stays like that because it's changing
everyday in this Tour de France. Still, the teams won't be keen to allow
breakaways 30' this year, the teams are reacting faster nowadays," Breukink
Alexandre Vinokourov said after the stage that "The last three kilometers
were very tough. I was lucky that the team worked so hard for me and especially
Andreas at the end of the stage. My muscles are tired, I didn't recover
so well… For me, the essential was not to loose too much time. Because
I still have the hope to win the Tour. Tomorrow is the rest day, that
is the best thing that can happen to me !"
See also: Linus
A bad day at the T-Mobile office
By Brecht Decaluwé in Tignes
Rogers before the crash that ended
his '07 Tour hopes
Photo ©: AFP Photo
As expected Linus Gerdemann was unable to keep the yellow jersey but
it looked as though T-Mobile could keep the jersey in their own team for
a while. After Michael Rogers' crash - resulting in the Australian throwing
in the towel - it turned out that T-Mobile lost the yellow jersey to Danish
climbing goat Michael Rasmussen. After the finish we talked to T-Mobile's
general manager Bob Stapleton. "We enjoyed the ups and downs of the sport
in a twelve-hour period. Losing Rogers is a big blow but we're going to
regroup and see what we can make happen now," Stapleton reacted. The team's
manager was disappointed although he did express his joy about the fact
that Gerdemann kept the white jersey. "Linus was able to save the white
jersey, that is also a victory for us. From now it's day by day, we'll
see what we can do."
Michael Rogers was enormously disappointed as he had to step off his
bike after being in such a good position. Stapleton didn't know how Rogers'
situation was but he did regret the U-turn the team had to take. "All
we heard [about Rogers] was what the race doctor said, they didn't think
anything was broken but obviously he was in too much pain to take. Everything
was looking good there. We had him in a group we knew he could ride with.
We had the yellow jersey in the main field. When he [Linus] attacked [yesterday]
it was a great setup, then it went to hell," Stapleton sighed.
Linus Gerdemann, the new German superstar, might be happy that his glory
days are over as the sudden media attention will be less intensive from
now on. "I hope that people just enjoy it and don't put any pressure on
him. He's a young kid, great success, really feels the potential. He's
just a good young talent and has a long way to go. Anyway, he's got a
battle for the white jersey ahead of him, this is going to be tough, too
as guys like Contador aren't nobody's. He's going to have a chance for
it though," Stapleton looked forward to see his young stars shine again
after the rest day.
A few moments later the news reached us that T-Mobile's Patrick Sinkewitz
collided with a spectator while returning to the team hotel in the valley.
The spectator was badly injured and is reportedly in a coma, while Sinkewitz
himself suffered a broken nose and concussion.
Cormet de Roselend: always causing casualties
By Brecht Decaluwé in Tignes
The descent of the Cormet de Roselend once again took its toll
in the Tour de France. Stuart
O'Grady, Grischa Niermann and Charles Wegelius. In the breakaway group,
David Arroyo and Michael Rogers also crashed in one of the tricky corners
while riding in the race's front group, smashing into the road barriers.
Both could continue and get back to the leaders but a few moments later
Rogers dropped back and eventually abandoned the race.
The climb isn't too steep, averaging 6 to 7 percent. The 1967-metre climb
starts already at an altitude of 800 metres so the height difference is
bearable. Eleven years ago on July 6, 1996 Johan Bruyneel enjoyed some
scary moments on the descent of the Roselend. Back then the Belgian was
part of the Rabobank team and he enjoyed one of his better days in the
mountains as he was still in the front group.
Behind him the end of the Indurain era was heralded, the five times Tour
de France winner couldn't follow the speed of eventual winner Luc Leblanc
and the other favourites and finished more than four minutes down on the
winner. The Belgian spectacularly missed his corner on the wet roads and
he was ejected ten metres lower into the ravine. The involved corner is
easy to find; after a few easy corners there's suddenly a sharp turn to
the left. A few days ago we caught up with Johan Bruyneel, who is currently
team manager of the Discovery Channel team.
"It looked very spectacular but in the end it wasn't that bad as I could
crawl out of there without injuries. It was scary, though. It happened
during the first mountains stage and I was very happy as I was still with
the leaders, about 15 men. Suddenly I missed a corner and I tumbled over
some concrete and then I was dangling out there for a fraction of a second,"
Bruyneel explained to Cyclingnews. "For a moment I thought that
I would be dead. The next moment I was hanging in a tree and I could only
think about getting out of there to get back on a bike and continue my
race. It's an unbelievable story but it was something I went through but
it didn't leave me with any trauma's," Bruyneel looked back on these memorable
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)