92nd Tour de France - GT
France, July 2-24, 2005
Results & report
Stage 10 - Tuesday, July 12: Brignoud - Courchevel, 181 km
Commentary by Roger Hughes, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan and
Live coverage starts: 11:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Stage 10 profile
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage
of Stage 10 of the Tour de France. We're back after the rest day and ready for
some Alpine action today. Today's stage was scheduled to be between Grenoble
and Courchevel over 192.5 km, but it has actually been shortened by 11.5 km
to allow for a farmers' protest. That means it will officially start in Brignoud,
a little way along the race route.
The Tour organisers have expressed
sympathy with the farmers, who are concerned about wolves attacking their livestock.
Thus, the stage actually starts 10 minutes earlier at 11:30 but will allow time
for the protest.
There are only two climbs today,
but they're big ones: The Cat. 1 Cormet-de-Roselend after 118 km, a 20.1 km
averaging 6.1%, and the Cat. 1 climb to the finish at Courchevel, a 22.2 km
climb averaging 6.2%.
The day's two intermediate sprints are at Detrier
(km 40) and Bourg-Saint-Maurice (km 138.5).
The weather today is
sunny and warm-ish, with a chance of a shower at the end of the stage.
One rider didn't start today: Evgeni Petrov (Lampre). The Russian was blood
tested this morning by the UCI and was found to have too high a hematocrit.
He'll have to rest for two weeks for "health reasons", and will undergo further
testing to see whether he used any illegal substances, such as EPO. 33 riders
in total were tested, from Lampre-Caffita, AG2R, CSC and Discovery Channel.
None of the others were declared unfit to start.
Our Behind the Blue Curtain/Inside
Discovery Channel reporter/diarist Chris Brewer has filed this report from the
"Here at the finish line in Courchevel the crowds are forming,
the weather is fantastic and the big question everyone keeps asking is will
Lance attack? The climb itself is not that steep, but with 15kms to go there
are several nasty switchbacks that could very well launch decisive attacks.
"I spoke with Davis Phinney as he led members of his Parkinson's Disease Foundation
to the top. 'After 5 or 6 years of letting the Lance train dictate things and
then letting Lance go, I think they've finally decided they have to take the
race to him and that's why the last 2 stages have been extremely active. I would
bet there will be some hard attacks right from the start again to try and break
Lance and Discovery.'
"I asked Davis how he saw the stage playing
out. 'This is a hard and long finish. I expect someone like Moreau or Rasmussen
to set the break from the start to get mountain points. CSC if they're smart
won't let it get too far. The GC guys will want to stay together and set a steady
pace and see how it disintegrates going up the final hill. After all, you get
to Courchevel and still have 10km to the finish. It's a deceptively hard hill
to the end - and then in the back of your mind you're thinking tomorrow's even
Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer is
riding on a modified bike today, because his Specialized was under the UCI weight
limit of 6.8 kg. So he had to put a little weight on it to bring it up to the
limit. [I don't understand how this makes the bike safer, even if that's one
of the justifications for the rules].
The peloton is now in Brignoud, getting
ready for the official start.
The stage start is still being held
up by the protest.
We spoke to Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros)
this morning, and he expects it to be a big day. Contador is sporting a scraped
elbow from his crash on Sunday. "The injuries from Sunday's crash aren't too
bad. It could be much worse because Gonzalez de Galdeano abandoned.
"We have to get in breakaways today but the only the bigger ones. At the end
of the stage, we will meet again, and to see what the best thing is to do.
"Roberto [Heras] is very focused, has a lot of self confidence and knows his
ability. Today's going to be the moment of truth for all and also for Heras.
He will be in front for sure and I will be with him to help him in everything."
12:34 CEST 2km/179km to go
And they're off at
12:30 pm! The attacks begin straight away.
Cyclingnews spoke with CSC's
leader Ivan Basso this morning, and asked him what the plan was. "I feel good
but we have to see how it goes later today."
Can Voigt defend his
jersey? "It's possible. He's in very good form, so it's possible."
When will you take over the jersey? "I don't know [laughs] I hope I can do a
good week next week."
12:44 CEST 6km/175km to go
Joost Posthuma and
Laurent Brochard started the ball rolling, and were joined by Yuri Krivtsov,
and then a trio of Luís Sanchez, Gianluca Bortolami and Mauro Facci set out
in pursuit. The three leaders have a gap of a quarter of a minute or so.
You can rest assured that we shall be watching carefully to see if we can spot
any wolves along the course today.
12:57 CEST 19km/162km to go
Isasi has also managed to bridge the gap to the chasing trio, so now there are
four. The best placed of the leaders is former World Champion Laurent Brochard,
who is a fairly safe 7.58 behind Jens Voigt this morning; he's not succeeded
in scaring the peloton enough to energise a chase yet, anyway - they've let
the breaks go and are quickly some 4 minutes behind. There's a long way to go
and more important business to deal with later.
13:01 CEST 26km/155km to go
The two breakaway
groups are looking to come together now, with the four chasers closing to under
20 seconds behind the three leaders. Still no reaction behind them.
They're together now and pushing six minutes ahead of the still uninterested
bunch, with CSC at its head.
13:12 CEST 32km/149km to go
With the lead now
out to 8 minutes and counting, Laurent Brochard is now maillot jaune virtuel,
race leader on the road. Gianluca Bortolami took the Day's first bonus sprint
at Détrier; none of the break are in contention in the points competition so
it's just for the cash, really.
13:18 CEST 39km/142km to go
The peloton has finally
shaken off some of its lethargy now and they are starting to peg back the leaders
Cyclingnews asked Jens Voigt
whether he would attack in the yellow jersey today? "Oh no that's not for me.
The yellow jersey traditionally rides defensively to save energy and everything
else is up to the teams who want to win the race."
13:46 CEST 58km/123km to go
Looks like it was
more a case of the leaders being briefly disorganised than any sort of reaction
from behind; the breakaway have once again pulled clear and the gap is over
ten minutes, although Crédit Agricole have got on the front of the bunch to
hurry things up a bit; maybe Christophe Moreau feels as though he's on a good
day. The leaders will soon be at the feed at Grignon, after which the road starts
to drag up towards the foot of the Cormet de Roselend climb.
Crédit Agricole, who do hold second
place in all the three main jersey classifications with Moreau and Hushovd,
are still closing the gap down; at a wild guess Moreau may be wanting to try
for the mountains points on the Cormet de Roselend to close the gap on Mickael
Rasmussen; he's way behind the Dane but there are 15 on offer for the first
man over the top. The final climb counts for twice that, but its quite likely
that the big points will go to riders who are far more interested in the yellow
jersey than the polka dots.
We questioned Rasmussen's Rabobank team-mate
Michael Boogerd this morning about their intentions:
keep the polka-dots? "I think so, I hope so. He's got it now and he's in super
How about the yellow jersey? "He can always try. He's very
close, and maybe he can make it. The yellow jersey would be nice, even for one
day. It's possible."
14:07 CEST 74km/107km to go
are a traditional place for disheartened riders to retire from the race, and
this one is no exception; adding to Lampre's already miserable day (and a bonus
sprint win isn't going to make much difference after Petrov's exit this morning),
Gerrit Glomser climbs into the team car. The breakaways' lead is now back down
to just over nine minutes.
The wonders of technology! If I say
anything really dumb on here I can just make it vanish again, as though it never
happened and as though I hadn't been reading the wrong page of results at all.
The race is now all but at the foot of the Cormet de Roselend, but it remains
to be seen whether it will produce any fireworks; summit finishes tend to dampen
down the enthusiasm for attacks on early climbs, as evidenced by T-Mobile's
Alexandr Vinokourov, when we cornered him this morning: "I feel good now that
the mountains are starting. I'm in good shape." Have you got a strategy for
today? "What strategy? As usual it will be attacking. Jan feels good, Andreas
too, so we are very motivated." Will you attack on the first climb? "No, it's
too far from the finish."
14:42 CEST 93km/88km to go
Both break and chasers
are now onto the Cormet de Roselend proper, and the non-climbers are starting
to drift off the back of the bunch - Servais Knaven, Jean-Patrick Nazon, among
them, along with Thor Hushovd and a few other Crédit Agricoles who have been
pushing the pace on the false flats.
The seven breakaways are still
hanging together although Facci looks to be having a bit more trouble hanging
14:47 CEST 95km/86km to go
Tom Boonen (in see-through
ventilated mesh Maillot Vert - it's hot out there) and Fabien Cancellara are
among a steady trickle of riders off the back. Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady
are on the back of the bunch but not really looking too enthusiastic about the
The gap is closing faster now, down to 6.42; the bunch is
climbing hard but steadily with no attacks so far; all the action is at the
14:55 CEST 97km/84km to go
Half way up the climb
now and the seven leaders and their chasers are still riding tempo; behind them
many more riders are going backwards now, including Thomas Voeckler, to the
despair of the mid-Berkshire chapter of his fan club, no doubt, and Karsten
Kroon, despite his collection of climber's jerseys from all three major tours.
Maillot Jaune Jens Voigt is riding in the front rank of the bunch, looking fairly
comfortable. Heras and Jaksche are up there with him.
In the break
Posthuma and Brochard put some pressure on and only Krivtsov and Sanchez are
able to follow.
Saturday's hero Pieter Weening is
dropping back to his team car, probably to get bottles for Rasmussen and Boogerd
who are still up there.
Bortolami and Isasi are trying to limit
the damage in front, with Facci trying to get back to the lead quartet.
Garzelli, Jaksche and Moos have jumped clear of the bunch. Riders all over the
place now, basically; still a few kilometres of this climb to go. Mancebo jumps
across to them.
Alejandro Valverde jumps across to
the most recent attackers and then the bunch accelerates to gradually get across
to them, but not without doing some damage at the back - and now it's not just
the sprinters and rouleurs falling by the wayside, but Iban Mayo and Beat Zberg,
The bunch is down to forty or so riders now and Discovery
and T-Mobile are setting the pace.
Jens Voigt is in a bit of trouble
now, drifting off the back and then grinding his way back on. Disappointingly
early in the day for the elastic to be stretching for him.
15:15 CEST 104km/77km to go
Facci is back with
the leaders now, 4 km from the summit, with Isasi and Bortolami keeping the
gap under control; if the break stays clear they may well be able to make it
back on the descent. Discovery are still putting the pressure on, with three
- now four - riders up in front: NOval, Beltrán, Rubiera, Hincapie - Telekom
massed close behind with Sevilla as chief of police, CSC not making their presence
felt at all. A herd of cattle stand in an Alpine meadow doing their thing. Voigt
is still hanging on in there, but not at the right end of the group.
15:21 CEST 105.5km/75.5km to go
Voigt is dropped,
and CSC don't send anyone back to help him, but he grinds his way back on as
the gradient eases up. Jaksche, Leipheimer are well behind the Discovery train
who are keeping it steady rather than going berserk.
15:25 CEST 107km/74km to go
A few big black clouds
are looming over the summit, and a few of the break are picking up rain capes
before the summit.
Laurent Brochard jumps clear to take the points
at the top of the climb ahead of Posthuma. A kilometre back down the road Oscar
Pereiro jumps clear of the bunch and is joined by Jörg Jaksche.
Jaksche and Pereiro cross the summit
3.18 down on the five leaders, with the bunch at 3.43.
Pereiro is descending at 100 kph
plus, with Jaksche behind urging him to go faster on the first section of the
descent, which is fairly open and hairpin-free. Brochard is still alone ahead
and back down below the treeline.
Christophe Brandt gets a rain cape
tangled up in his back wheel at speed but manages to hold it upright.
The descent is definitely a downhill
rather than a slalom, in skiing terms. Brochard is really hammering down it,
but the peloton are taking it steady rather than risking too much. Jens Voigt
is back up near the front. Jan Ullrich drops back but is brought back up again.
Iban Mayo told us this morning, "Today's
a very important day. We will see who can stay in front. Everything will happen
on the last climb but even the first part of the course will be raced very fast.
I feel good, I don't have any health problems so I hope everything goes well
Unfortunately for Mayo, he was in a bit of trouble on that
Yaroslav Popovych has punctured and
crashed on the descent; he's back up and on the bike, though.
Chris "Behind the Blue Curtain" Brewer
reports, "At the finish line it is still quite warm, the sun is shining, but
there are some rather dark clouds coming in over the summit."
15:45 CEST 127km/54km to go
Brochard is now coming
up to the day's second bonus sprint at Bourg-St.-Maurice, which is a few more
euros into the team pot. Bortolami has made it back to his erstwhile companions
and takes the second spot, while Isasi seems to have been dropped more definitively.
Pereiro and Jaksche are still trying to get across.
Jaksche and Pereiro are 2.15 ahead
of the bunch at the foot of the descent proper and about the same behind the
Bortolami/Postuma group. - it's a fast descending false flat down the valley
from here to Moutiers.
Luis Sanchez makes it up to Brochard, so
now we have two leaders.
Popovych is back in the bunch and
grinning cheerfully for the TV cameras; his left shoulder is well muddied up.
15:56 CEST 136km/45km to go
Iban Mayo has ridden
through his bad patch and is now back with the bunch, coming up through a gaggle
of riders who have dropped back to their team cars. Jens Voigt has just been
back to the car to collect bottles for his team leader, despite his own yellow
Jaksche and Pereiro have picked up
Isasi, who has tagged on with them. And in two shakes of a marmot's tail they
are up with the Bortolami group as well, with just Sanchez and Brochard in front.
Discovery are now turning up the
pressure a bit with eight riders at the front of the peloton, Armstrong being
that eighth man.
Pereiro is a bit more of a threat
to the overall classification than Brochard, 5.20 down on Jens Voigt this morning.
The group now has over 5 minutes on the peloton so he is close to being maillot
jaune on the road, as it were.
Brochard and Sanchez have been caught
by Jaksche and Pereiro and their former breakaway-mates, so seven riders at
the front. Behind them Noval and Padrnos are doing the damage for Discovery;
they can certainly do it on the flat, but after Saturday, there must still be
a bit of concern as to whether they can do it on the climb...
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) told
Cyclingnews this morning that, "I'd like to finish with the front guys
today. I've been climbing well the last couple of days so I want to move up
16:10 CEST 145km/36km to go
Telekom and CSC are
sitting comfortably en masse behind the Discovery express, which is pulling
back the leaders at a rate that suggests that they'll be caught before the climb.
16:18 CEST 154km/27km to go
The nine riders in
the breakaway are taking their last chance to pick up bottles from their team
cars (or any team car that's offering) before the final climb now; most of them
are doomed to be caught very quickly, but some of them may well be there to
help others who are coming up behind - Posthuma for Rasmussen, Jaksche and Sanchez
for Heras, for example.
16:24 CEST 157km/24km to go
The Discovery chase
has eased up just a little, and a lot of people are dropping back to the cars
in the bunch as well; Nicky Sřrensen collects a pair of shoe insoles for someone.
Sanchez and Facci are dropped from the leaders on the drags up to the foot of
the finish climb, which isn't supposed to start properly for another couple
16:27 CEST 158.8km/22.2km to go
Pereiro and Jaksche
are leading the break as it comes through the official foot of the climb to
Courchevel, 22.2 km averaging 6.2%; a steady climb that probably suits the all-rounders
more than the pure climbers.
Dario Cioni is dropped from the bunch
already, and Isasi is out of the breakaway group.
Only Brochard and Krivtsov are able
to stay with the pace set by Pereiro and Jaksche. The pressure from the Discovery
team is telling and a lot of riders are trailing back from the main bunch as
Yuri Krivtsov punctures, just at the wrong time. Brochard is
yoyoing off the back of the two who came across at the top of the Cormet de
16:34 CEST 161km/20km to go
Jens Voigt is among
the riders losing contact with the bunch, as is Iban Mayo again. Vinokourov
is riding on Armstrong's wheel with Ullrich and Basso behind him; Armstrong
has five team-mates in front of him.
Beltran, Chavanel, Caucchioli,
Totschnig are all dropped.
Basso is a bit further back now;
Moreau and Beloki are up riding on Armstrong's shoulders. McGee, Kessler and
Boogerd are off the back.
Brochard is dropped by the two leaders
but still trying to stop the gap opening further.
16:38 CEST 164km/17km to go
Jaksche has put 30
metres into Pereiro and seems to be going for it. There's an awful lot of climbing
to be done, though.
The Armstrong group - not really
a peloton any more - is now down to twenty or so riders, with Oscar Sevilla
and Denis Menchov shelled out by the pace set by Paolo Savoldelli.
Heras is dropped.
Beloki is dropped too, but there
doesn't seem to be any disgrace in that now.
Carlos Sastre puts
in an attack but is only hanging a few yards clear of the Discovery train.
16:45 CEST 166km/15km to go
Karpets and Moreau are all losing contact/. And we're still 15 km from the finish
here. Rogers too can't hold on.
Horner, Julich and Botero are gone.
Ullrich looks grim, Vinokourov stony-faced both just on Armstrong's wheel, with
three other Discover riders left setting the pace. Mancebo, Valverde, Landis,
Leipheimer, Rasmussen, Klöden, Kashechkin and Evans are all still in there.
Rasmussen and Valverde look relatively
comfortable; Vinokourov has dropped to the back of the group.
Hincapie drops off, just Popovych left for Armstrong now.
16:54 CEST 11.5km/169.5km to go
being dropped on one of the steeper sections (big climbs always gets steeper
through villages, where the engineers have less space to play with), along with
Pereiro who was hanging in there for a bit.
Popovych is putting in a kick, to
launch Armstrong, and suddenly it's down to half a dozen: Basso is on Armstrong's
wheel, but Ullrich is dropped - T-Mobile are out of it. Rasmussen, Valverde
are up there as are Mancebo and Evans. Valverde moves through to take up the
Leipheimer and Klöden are the closest
16:59 CEST 171km/10km to go
Armstrong moves back
on the front under the 10 km to go banner, with Rasmussen on his wheel. The
Dane moves up and takes a turn; Evans can't hold it and is drifting off.
Jaksche is caught and not unsurprisingly
dropped; the group with Armstrong are the leaders on the road now. Ullrich is
digging very deep in company with Kashechkin but has lost half a minute already.
Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears)
told us this morning, "Today, above all, I have to try to be in front with Paco
[Mancebo]. I don't know about what attacks will be going on the first climb,
but there will surely be plenty of attacking on the second." He's right!
Armstrong drops to the back of the
group and has a stretch as the gradient eases up, then back up to the front
to put in a teasing attack.
Mancebo and Basso are distanced briefly
but come back. Lance wants them all to work.
Ullrich and Klöden are trying to
limit their losses together now.
Armstrong kicks again and this time
loses Basso; Mancebo is dislodged but crawls his way back up by the tips of
his fingernails. Rasmussen and Valverde still looking relatively comfortable.
Mancebo is clearly suffering, having
trouble holding the line on Valverde's wheel. Rasmussen is on Armstrong's wheel,
then the American drops to the back to have a quick gloat at the others. Well,
probably to take a bit of a rest, mostly, but there's no harm in showing that
you have the strength to move up and down the group at will.
17:12 CEST 176km/5km to go
Basso is reported
as 15 seconds down; not fatal if he can keep it steady.
is setting the pace now, looking in a lot of discomfort; Illes Balears having
two riders there, they can sacrifice him for the faster finishing Valverde.
Through the village of Courchevel
and Armstrong kicks again and all the other three are stretched trying to hold
him, but hold him they do.
17:15 CEST 178km/3km to go
Armstrong is mixing
up the pace a bit to shake his companions. He drops back and lets Rasmussen
take up the pace; the Dane really needs to attack at some point to try and get
clear of Armstrong and Valverde, but not too early.
17:18 CEST 179km/2km to go
The quartet are all
taking turns at the front, but the others are all looking nervously at Armstrong,
for obvious reasons.
Rasmussen would need to finish 17 seconds clear
of Armstrong to take the maillot jaune here, which is a big ask.
17:20 CEST 180km/1km to go
Through the tunnel
to the flamme rouge now, Valverde taking a turn at the front.
takes a bit of a dig and Valverde is straight on his wheel, then Armstrong.
Armstrong goes and only Valverde
can go with him
Valverde grits his teeth, digs deep,
and takes the leadout gratefully, coming over Armstrong at the crest of the
Rasmussen pips Mancebo for third.
Basso comes in
Leipheimer comes in at 1.14, then Jaksche who has done
an excellent ride is just caught by a big group with Evans, Mazzoleni, Klöden
and Ullrich on the line, just under two minutes behind.
Moreau comes in 2.57 down, having lost his second place overall to Rasmussen.
Garzelli comes in at 3.42.
A grimacing Vinokourov - the day's big
loser? - comes over the line with Bobby Julich, 5.18 down on Valverde and Armstrong;
Beloki and Astarloza are not far behind. Other riders are trickling in - Roberto
Heras over nine minutes down can also say goodbye to any GC aspirations. Alejandro
Valverde will take over the white jersey for the best young rider, Armstrong
the yellow itself, of course, and Rasmussen has strengthened his lead in the
mountains competition while riding himself into contention for a podium place.
That's it from the live crew today; thanks for following the stage with us and
please come back for more of it tomorrow on the second Alpine stage with the
climbs of the Madeleine and the Galibier. And in the interim we'll have the
full results and more news as soon as we get it (and there are plenty of riders
still coming up the mountain...)
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 4.50.35
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel
3 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 0.09
4 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 1.01
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 1.14
7 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.20
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team
10 Andrei Kashechkin (Kaz) Credit Agricole
11 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
12 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
13 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team
14 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth
15 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems
General classification after stage 10
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 37.11.04
2 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 0.38
3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 2.40
4 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 2.42
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 3.16
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 3.58
7 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 4.00
8 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 4.02
9 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team 4.16
10 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
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