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Le Tour 2001
Power Tap

89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Main page    Stage profile    Start List    Results

Stage 11 - Thursday July 18: Pau - La Mongie, 158 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 12:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:05 CEST

12:05 CEST    start
Today the outcome of the 2002 Tour will finally start to take shape, as the race hits the mountains, with one and three-quarters of the great Pyrenean cols: the Aubisque and a finish climb to La Mongie, a ski station most of the way up the eastern flank of the Tourmalet.

It is unlikely that the Tour will be won today (although with Armstrong you never know) but almost certain that it will be lost, for some of the contenders at least.

As an appetiser, the immediate fate of the green jersey - with Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel one point apart in the standings - will almost certainly be decided on the first bonus sprint of the day.

On a sadder note, the riders will observe a minute's silence before the start of the stage in memory of Melvin Pompèle, the boy who died after being run over by a vehicle in the advertising caravan before yesterday's stage.

12:41 CEST    9 km/149 km to go
The first attack of the day comes from local boy Stèphane Augé, who is joined by a small group with some of the usual suspects (Sebastien Hinault, Sylvain Chavanel, and Jacky Durand, of course ...) succeeding in trapping most of the Tacconi team at the back of the bunch while they are taking a moment to commune with nature; the bunch is lined out behind them and it does not look as though they will be going very far.

12:51 CEST    
The temperature (which is otherwise in the high 20s, under a perfect blue sky) is raised somewhat when Laurent Jalabert joins the early attackers along with the orange vests of the Euskaltel team; the situation is very fluid with none of the attacks staying away for long, with Domo riders countering for Richard Virenque.

13:10 CEST    28 km/130 km to go
When the situation looks as though it might be getting out of hand, a US Postal train forms to bring up the bunch and mop up all the attacks, apart from a trio of Sergei Ivanov, Emmanuel Magnien and Christian Moreni; they get 20 seconds clear. The pace is lining out the bunch and it looks as if it may split up quite soon. ONCE are noticeably not present at the front.

The first scoring opportunity of the day is a fourth cat. climb at Louvié-Juzon. (Leonard in South Africa asks how the climb categories are determined; the answer is basically: at the whim of the organisers,depending how they want to shape the race, although as the scoring system has stabilised over the years, precedent has determined the categories of the highest climbs, although their position in the stage also has an impact - a climb near the end of the stage is likely to score higher.)

13:17 CEST    35 km/123 km to go
Emmanuel Magnien (Bonjour) gets fed up with his two breakaway companions and drops them on the climb, taking it alone ahead of Iñigo Cuesta; Davide Etxebarria counters from the bunch close behind to take third and joins Cuesta on the descent, taps him on the shoulder and makes "OK, let's go for it" gestures.

Magnien goes on alone, and Etxebarria and Cuesta are joined by Laszlo Bodrogi and Ludovic Turpin, and then, jumping across to them, Laurent Jalabert again.

Jens Voigt, Pedro Horillo and Zaballa have joined the chasers, 20 seconds down on Magnien, while behind them the bunch has eased up a bit.

13:29 CEST    46 km/112 km to go
Magnien sits up to let the chasers join him; behind the bunch has collectively decided to let the nine go, with the lead rapidly up to the minute mark. This break looks as though it will mop up the points from the bonus sprint at Laruns, so unless something very unlikely happens, Robbie McEwen will just need to finish inside the time limit to hang on to his slim lead in the points competition.

The nine pass through Laruns, Magnien taking the sprint from Cuesta and Jalabert without any real contest; then once through the narrow streets of the little town they are effectively at the foot of the Aubisque.

The bunch pass the sign marking 17 km to the summit 2'27 down. Domo are riding hard at the front with a cluster of US Postal behind, Armstrong looking comfortable in 6th place; ONCE are surprisingly invisible.

13:43 CEST    52 km/106 km to go
After a couple of kilometres of the climb the bunch have picked up the pace a bit; ONCE have brought Igor Gonzalez up to the front ranks and the gap to the leaders is closing slightly. At the back the first victims slip off the back; last year's here François Simon, Jacky Durand, stage 1 winner Rubens Bertogliati, Jaan Kirsipuu, the sick Cedric Bessy, Eric Dekker; the bus starts here.

In front, Pedro Horillo cannot hold the pace of the lead group and Ludovic Turpin is in trouble; Jalabert, Cuesta and Etxebarria - a trio of ex-ONCE teammates - are lifting the pace in front and dropping the rest.

13:51 CEST    57 km/101 km to go
Anyone who thought they would be taking the Aubisque steadily and waiting for the final climb has not been reckoning with the US Postal team, who are towing a rapidly diminishing bunch; the gap to what is now just two leaders - Cuesta not being able to hold the pace set by Jalabert and Etxebarria - is just under 2 minutes.

14:02 CEST    60 km/98 km to go
US Postal's Floyd Landis and Domo's Dave Bruylandts are among the more disappointed of the many victims of the early high pace on the climb, as well as Christophe Mengin who seems unlikely to be wearing his spotty jersey tonight. At the front Etxebarria is now looking in a bit of difficulty, with two minutes lead on the bunch.

We spoke to Mengin's team-mate Brad McGee earlier today: "It won't be the biggest day, but the first day in the mountains is always hectic. Everybody wants to prove himself. Every day from now that Mengin is in the polka-dot jersey is a bonus. He's had a good run at it. He's not a major mountain climber but ten days in the jersey is pretty good."

14:13 CEST    64 km/94 km to go
Jalabert loses Etxebarria definitively, and their former companion Cuesta goes straight through the bunch to the back, where Santiago Botero is looking to be in a bit of trouble. In the group of fifty or so riders, the US Postal train is still setting the pace, with the ONCEs surrounding the yellow jersey in the middle of the group and a scattering of Kelme vests here and there. Jalabert is now above the treeline and has 2'23 on the bunch and is going away again; as an excellent descender he could do well if he can take the summit alone, since the road then descends along the tricky corniche road to the lower Col du Soulor (not a counting climb from this side) which caused so much trouble in the rain and cloud in 1998; the weather today is almost perfect, although there is a little more cloud than at the start.

14:22 CEST    66.5 km/91.5 km to go
Jalabert takes the summit of the Aubisque alone.

Etxebarria comes over 1.17 behind.

Virenque, Halgand and a surprising Brad McGee sprint out the third place a few yards clear of the bunch just over 2.30 down; yesterday's winner (who picked up the three fourth-cat climbs then) gets it ahead of the Australian. Halgand has a top-of-the-climb kick like Virenque used to have, and is for the moment the leader in the mountains competition.

14:35 CEST    76.5 km/81.5 km to go
On the spectacular corniche road overlooking the Cirque du Litor' there is a bit of a regrouping in the bunch, but the bus is most definitely running behind.

Brad McGee has continued his efforts on the descent and is now somewhere between Jalabert and the bunch.

Oscar Sevilla punctures but gets back at the foot of the climb of the Soulor, from this side just a couple of km of climbing in mid-descent; Jalabert is already over it, as last year's mid-race yellow jersey François Simon crests the Aubisque alone over 16 minutes down.

14:44 CEST    83.5 km/74.5 km to go
McGee joins Etxebarria; just after the Soulour, Jens Voigt crashes.

McGee too crashes on the descent, as Jalabert reaches the foot of the descent at Arrens-Marsous and sets out on what is likely to be a difficult 60 km or so before the foot of the Tourmalet.

McGee has had a bike change and is continuing, his jersey well ripped up - no news of Voigt. Jalabert's lead is 3.18 from the bunch, with Etxebarria half way between them.

14:51 CEST    95 km/65 km to go
In the valley road Eddy Mazzoleni attacks alone from the Armstrong/Gonzalez group, which probably has fifty or so riders with more joining from behind. US Postal are en masse at the front of the group, but not chasing all out, Armstrong having a bit of a laugh with Heras; Richard Virenque looks less cheerful, while the yellow jersey looks to be suffering a bit.

Mazzoleni catches and passes Etxebarria. McGee catches the Armstrong/Gonzalez group.

Voigt is back in the Armstrong group too, now. At Argèles-Gazost Jalabert has 3 minutes lead on Mazzoleni who is 40 seconds up on the bunch. He overcooks a corner in the town somewhat, raising memories of last year, but comes out unscathed.

15:11 CEST    105 km/53 km to go
Laurent Jalabert has lost a valuable team-mate: Danish champion Michael Sandstød has crashed out and been taken to hospital, the second rider today to retire after Santiago Perez (Kelme).

After the feed Rolf Aldag tries to set a fast pace for the bunch, presumably to stop Robbie McEwen from coming back to the bunch before the day's second sprint (at Bagnères de Bigorre, at 132 km). Zabel has managed to get back to the Armstrong group on the descent, so he might be able to pick up enough bonus points to reclaim the green jersey if he gets in the top three places there.

Jalabert is still soloing on strongly, holding the gap more or less steady. Mazzoleni is now back in the bunch.

Before the start this morning, Lance Armstrong was asked if he was planning to destroy the peloton on this first stage, or if would be riding more conservatively and assessing the competition .
The champion paused before replying: "I don't know actually. All will be decided on the road. We'll just have to see how we go ... and watch what happens."
Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones reported that it was difficult to tell if the three-time winner was bluffing, or he really was going to ride according to how he felt. After all, this is the first of six tough days of climbing and the US Postal Service team does have a few cards to play in the mountains, with a group of talented climbers such as former Vuelta Espana winner Roberto Heras, as well as José Rubiera, Floyd Landis and Victor Hugo Pena.

Armstrong hinted at possible attacks: "They all have their own plan, and we'll probably shift them around day by day."

15:23 CEST    112 km/46 km to go
After the main roads of the descent and the valley, the race has tuned up into the little lanes just south of Lourdes to cut across to the Val d'Adour to approach the Tourmalet from its eastern side. Although there are no listed climbs, this section drags up to gain around 300 metres over a 10 km stretch. Here Jalabert's lead stands at around 3.10 from the bunch of some 70 riders.

David Millar does not appear to be in the bunch, but in the autobus behind, with Robbie McEwen; ONCE's Isidro Nozal, a minute or so behind him on GC, is riding alongside the maillot jaune, so it looks as though the white jersey is likely to change hands tonight.

15:43 CEST    125 km/33 km to go
Updates on a few other people that you have been asking about: Joseba Beloki is in the Armstrong/González group, as is (we are fairly sure) Santi Botero and white jersey contender Ivan Basso, as well as Erik Zabel but not his green jersey rival Robbie McEwen.

Jalabert is over the top of the drag and descending towards Bagnères-de-Bigorre, maintaining a stable lead of just over 3 minutes.

15:52 CEST    132 km/26 km to go
US Postal have Slava Ekimov and Victor Hugo Peña setting the pace, now helped by their former teammate Kevin Livingston (Telekom), who will probably be leading Zabel out in a minute or two; Padrnos is riding in front of Armstrong. However, there is no sign of the climbers, Heras and Landis, who were in trouble on the Aubisque.

Laurent Jalabert goes through the bonus sprint in Bagnères rolling his shoulders slightly but still going strongly; there are 13 km to the beginning of the finish climb.

Kevin Livingston leads out Zabel for second place for the sprint, and despite the efforts of Lotto's Gennadi Mikhailov, Zabel takes the four points and will have the green jersey tonight.

Other riders you've been asking about: Raimondas Rumsas, Tyler Hamilton, Andrei Kivilev, Levi Leipheimer and Dario Frigo are all in the 70-strong groupe maillot jaune which is still being towed by Ekimov. With the Telekom riders having done what they came for, Igor González has moved up to take Armstrong's wheel. The main absentees seem to be the US Postal climbers.

16:11 CEST    145 km/13 km to go
Coming up tot he foot of the climb, Christophe Mengin, takes his spotty jersey up to the front of the group - a coup d'orgueil, planning to go down fighting.

Jalabert's lead as he passes the forge in Ste-Marie-de-Campan where Eugène Christophe welded his forks back together in one of theTour's most enduring legends is 3.26.

16:17 CEST    146 km/12 km to go
More rider news: Wadecki, Merckx, Etxebarria, Laiseka are up there with Armstrong and Igor Gonzalez.

At the foot of the hill José Rubiera emerges from the shadows and takes up the lead with Hincapie in second place; Padrnos, Aerts, McGee and Voigt are quickly dropped. Aleksandr Bocharov is well up.

16:22 CEST    148 km/10 km to go
Jalabert is still holding a lead of 3.10. Three US Postal jersey vests at the front of the bunch still, and a correction: David Millar was in fact hiding in the depths of the Armstrong/González bunch, but he is among those dropped under the 10 km to go banner.

16:25 CEST    150 km/8 km to go
As the climb gets steeper, Jalabert's lead is down to 3 minutes. The US Postal tempo seems more intended to put off attackers than to split up the group; that could work in Jalabert's favour.

16:27 CEST    
The first attack from the bunch comes from Laurent Lefèvre (Jean Delatour) who opens a fifty-metre gap; there is no big reaction behind. Hincapie sits up, his work done.

16:29 CEST    152 km/6 km to go
Davide Etxebarria pays the price of his earlier efforts and slides off the back of the bunch; Boogerd, Frigo, Menchov and Julich also can't hold the pace set by Rubiera, now the last US Postal rider keeping Armstrong company.

Lefèvre is caught again, and Jalabert's lead is down to two minutes.

16:32 CEST    153 km/5 km to go
Moreau, Bocharov, Laiseka and Zubeldia are dropped. Beloki and Igor Gonzalez are firmly fixed to Armstrong's wheel. Jalabert is fighting hard but he lost a lot of time in the last kilometre or two.

16:34 CEST    
Igor González de Galdeano's yellow jersey is dropped, along with Richard Virenque. Heras finally makes a showing and the pace lifts; all of a sudden there are only three riders left: Heras with Armstrong on his wheel and Beloki on his, and the rest strung out down the mountain.

Jalabert's lead falls below one minute; he isn't going to make it.

16:38 CEST    154 km/4 km to go
As he passes under the 4 km banner Jalabert has just 29 seconds lead left. Armstrong is now in virtual yellow; Jalabert looks round and can see the trio coming.

16:40 CEST    155 km/3 km to go
Jalabert is caught and tries to hang on. Igor González is back up with some of the riders who dropped him earlier, and looks likely to lose about a minute.

Jalabert is dropped under the 3 km banner

16:44 CEST    156 km/2 km to go
González is with Sevilla, Kivilev, Leipheimer, Mancebo and his teammate Azevedo, now about 1.04 seconds down on the leading trio. Jalabert is fighting for his fourth place. The crowds are massive, Euskaltel orange and Basque flags everywhere.

16:46 CEST    157 km/1 km to go
Ivan Basso comes out of nowhere to join and drop Jalabert; looks like he will be in the white jersey tonight. 1.08 between Armstrong and the maillot jaune at the flamme rouge, but González cannot hold the pace of his group.

16:48 CEST    
Jalabert is caught by the riders who have distanced González. Armstrong and Heras start trying to trap Beloki for the stage victory sprint; Armstrong now on Beloki's wheel.

16:49 CEST    finish
Armstrong waits for a move from Beloki, but when it doesn't come, he jumps in a characteristically small gear and takes the stage a few seconds ahead of Beloki; Heras takes third.

Rumsas, Sevilla and Mancebo catch Basso and finish in that order. Kivilev is eighth and Jalabert outsprints Azevedo and the outgoing maillot jaune for ninth at 1.30-ish.

Botero comes in at just over 2 minutes; Leipheimer, Belli. Virenque and Hamilton about 3 minutes.

This is Armstrong's thirteenth Tour stage win - more than any other active rider, and possibly game over for this Tour. But there is a long way to go yet, and plenty to happen yet.

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service              4.21.57
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                         0.07
3 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service         0.13
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com                    1.16
5 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin
6 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                  1.23
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
8 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) Cofidis                            1.34
9 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali                      1.49
10 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski                         1.52
11 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski

General classification after stage 11

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service              40.47.38
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                          1.12
3 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski              1.48
4 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin                     3.32
5 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca                 4.13
6 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski                           4.31
7 Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                         5.17
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           5.22
9 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com                     5.33
10 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo                    5.35

Thanks for following the stage with Cyclingnews.com; we'll be back at 10:50 CEST tomorrow for the second and longer Pyrenean stage, 198km with four cols and another summit finish at Plateau de Beille.


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