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Tour de France 2011 – Stage 21

Créteil to Paris Champs-Élysées – 95 km

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - Map

Today’s stage of the Tour de France 2011 is that most dignified of stages, nothing will happen today that will effect the outcome of the General Classification in any meaningful way. The top rider this year is Australian first time Champion Cadel Evans – he will win this race simply by finishing this stage with everyone of the other close contenders. The stage today is flat and short, and impossible to create a sustained breakaway on. Except for the Sprint at 35.5 km before the end, the entire group of 167 riders would finish in one big Peloton. Expect instead, a Peloton with a long, point.

The point here today is to celebrate French ingenuity, French Industry and French Culture. Also many politicians will be on hand to bask in the warm glow of a great tradition they had no hand in starting – and if they were around 98 years ago, probably would have stood in the way of (sorry I’m a tad cynical – and sad that the race is over).

 

En ligne – A sporting perspective
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS: A sprint by tradition

“It has been the tradition since 1975 for the Tour de France to end with a prestigious stage finish on the Champs-Élysées. At the start in Créteil, we will remember Laurent Fignon, who held a licence with the local club. In 1989, his duel with Greg LeMond maintained the suspense right to the finish, where Fignon was sure that he would be the winner. That was the only occasion that the final stage was run as a time trial. Every other time, it has been a road stage that has been decided in a bunch sprint, except on four occasions. Those exceptions were the victories taken by Alain Meslet in 1977, Bernard Hinault in 1979, Eddy Seigneur in 1994 and Alexandre Vinokourov in 2005. It is incredibly hard to get a telling gap on this stage when breakaway riders are always within sight of the peloton.”

 

 

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - Profile

9:03

The riders complete the 7.7 km neutral zone and cross the start line at 9:03 AM EST (15:03 CET).

Cadel Evans is going with Yellow on Yellow today. A yellow bike, yellow shoes, yellow sunglasses even – how droll. :)

Evans in drinking Champagne offered by the team manager from the team car.

Haven’t they banned cars from this stage here in the city? And what about drinking and driving??? And open liquor in the car???

Oh yeah, it’s Champagne, and this is France – not backwards, uptight Toronto. :)

The ceremony apparently over, Cadel now swaps his yellow photo-op bike for a red and black coloured BMC Racing Team one.

9:41

Thirty seven minutes in the group is at the 14km mark of today’s stage – they averaging under half the rate these riders usually pedal at.

The riders will lap the Champs-Elysees 8 times at the finish. The Sprint Section is part of the third lap of that “Indy Car” style oval racing idiom.

The LIVE widget commentator opines that an attack will not likely happen until the Champs-Elysees.

Ah, my laundry’s done, I have to switch it up to the dryer and put in another load. Today I’m doing the curtains as well – you know how they can get smelly over a long period? With the humidity last night – with a big rain storm that broke a week long record breaking hot spell – I could smell my curtains!

>:|

Time for a wash, I thought – and with the weather nice and cool, a good day for it. Be right back…

10:21

The average speed of the Tour de France 2011, after 20 stages is 39.8 km/h over 3,335 km.

Interestingly, that’s more that 5 times the average commute time for Toronto subrbanites. Makes sense to build a 4 lane raised tubular cycle-way – like the 427 only for bicycles – charge people to take it too. Stressed out people from the ‘safe’ suburbs are willing to pay for those gym memberships… . Should be able to get them to pay for the privilege of cycling to work in half the time it takes them now.

StatsCan reports:

“Despite our winter weather, Ottawa leads the nation’s large cities in bicycle commuting, but the percentages are not very high: 2% of employed people in Ottawa bike to work, followed closely by Vancouver (1.9%). Next are Calgary (1.5%), Montreal (1.3%), Edmonton (1.2%) and Toronto (0.8%).”

So you can understand why our enlightened Mayor Rob Ford wants to remove bike lanes.

Right. If we have more room for cars commute times will go up because more road space for cars equals more cars.

It’s counter intuitive – but it’s not a new understanding of how transportation infrastructure functions – I learned that in grade 11 geography class, 30 years ago!

11:00

Tour de France Stage 21 @ 10 56 AM EST (16:56 CET)

Tour de France 2011 - Stage 21 @ 10 56 AM EST (16:56 CET)

At about 10:30 the Peloton entered the oval part of the race, the 8 curcuits around the Champs-Elysees. the Peloton lengthened as several riders and teams began to attack. Ben Swift succeeded in creating a gap. 15 minutes ago 5 riders caught him. They now form an escape group ahead by 40 seconds.

The Escape Six

Paulinho
Koren
Riblon
Swift
Roy
Bak

Garmin-Cervelo and Omega Pharma-Lotto are in charge of the Peloton’s counter.

11:11

The Escape Six lead has been cut to 30 seconds, two ovals to go.

11:19

Interestingly you can count the 8 ovals around the Champs-Elysees on the LIVE widget screen shot. It’s that pattern of 8 bumps to the end, starting about half way through today’s coarse.

Tour de France Stage 21 11 19 AM EST

Tour de France Stage 21 - 11:19 AM EST

The Escape Six lead is down to 20 seconds.

11:24

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - 11:24 AM EST

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - 11:24 AM EST

11:28

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - 11:28 AM EST

Tour de France 2011 Stage 21 - 11:28 AM EST

11:30

FIN! Tour de France Stage 21 - 11:30 AM EST

FIN! Tour de France Stage 21 - 11:30 AM EST

Communism! Socialist bloody Egalitarians – Utopians. Everyone finished with the same time.

The first and last Republic shows us how it’s done with class.

Top 10 were:

1. Mark Cavendish
2. Boasson Hagen
3. Andre Greipel
4. Tyler Farrar
5. Fabien Cancellara
6. Danile Oss
7. Borut Bozic
8. Tomas Vaitkus
9. Gerald Ciolek
10. Jimmy Engoulwent

Tour de France 2011 Overall Classification – Top 20

Tour de France 2011 - Overall Classification after Stage 21 - top 20

Tour de France 2011 - Overall Classification after Stage 21 - top 20

 

Wrong again:

Lars Bak, who lead for the last seconds before the Peloton over whelmed him – finished LAST!

165.   MALORI Adriano   LAMPRE  2h 28' 34"  + 01' 32"
166.   BONO Matteo      LAMPRE  2h 28' 34"  + 01' 32"
167.   BAK Lars         HTC     2h 28' 45"  + 01' 43"

Everyone else at 00:00

Versus/NBC Review of the Finish
Courtesy NBC (opens in new window – or below)

mh



Posted: July 24th, 2011
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Tour de France 2011 – Stage 20

Grenoble to Vizille then back to Grenoble – An Individual Time Trial – 42.5 km

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Tour de France 2011 Stage 20 - Map

 

 

Individual time-trial – A sporting perspective
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS:
A strong man rather than a specialist

“This is the race’s only individual time trial, as the one in the first week was a team time trial test, while putting another one into the middle of the race didn’t really serve any great purpose. The profile is rolling and the road does climb, although there aren’t any cols as such. Victory won’t automatically go to a specialist because the final time trial of the Tour is a very physical test that suits a strong man – last year’s Bordeaux-Pauillac test won by Cancellara was an exception. In this solitary exercise, there is no way a rider can bluff or hide in the wheels of their team-mates. But I think that the Tour will have been decided before Grenoble. It is often the third place on the podium, the best young rider classification or the team prize that is decided on this stage.”

 

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France Stage 20 - Profile

Each rider leaves the Start area individually every 3 minutes. The order they go in is based on the Overall Classification after yesterday’s Stage 19.

Ryder Hesjedal has just completed the coarse, he’s in 17th place overall so there are 16 riders left to come. Ivan Basso is waiting for the Start Official to give him the Go sign. From the Live widget it appears that – because of the speed each rider is travelling the coarse – seven riders are on the coarse at any given time.

Hesjedal finished in a time of 21 minutes, 43 seconds, 1:31 slower than the best time so far recorded – that puts him in 37th place at the present time. Tony Martin has posted the best time so far, 20 minutes and 13 seconds! Martin was 47th in the General Classification after Stage 19, of 167 racers still in this year, thus he started 120th today.

We’re down to the last four riders still waiting their turn to start. They and the riders on the coarse right now are the who’s who of the race this year. Thomas Voeckler has just embarked – but I don’t know if that means they’ll be anybody in this kind of test or not. Cadel Evans is off, so it’s Evans, Voeckler, Cunego, Contador, Sanchez, Basso and Danielson are on the coarse. Yesterday’s winner and young upstart of this years race sporting the White Jersey, Pierre Rolland just finished – not very well.

Everyone has left the start, Andy Schleck the overall race leader was last to go. Tony Martin’s tome of 20:12 still stands, Contador just posted a great 20:33!, that puts him second, Andy and Frank and Cadel and Samuel now have a mark they must come close to, Contador is 3:55 seconds behind the race leaders so that’s the mark better than 23:55 – in other words, No ex be careful and finish the coarse like your riding a bike – no excitement here really…
It will be interesting to see how it all washes out in the GC. Has Hesjedal for example, improved his placing after a steady rise through the standings in the Alps this week?

Voeckler just came in with a 21:09. That’s 22 seconds better than Hesjedal who’s my benchmark here – being a Canadian.

Hey, here’s some news – Cadel Evans just tied Contador’s mark for second place today – 20:33!

Now it’s only Frank Schleck and his brother Andy Schleck to finish – they must bet the 24 minute mark to stay ahead of Contador

Frank is in at 22:07. Evans move past him in the GC to second place. That’s the mark Andy Schleck must beat – 21:07, a weird play of numbers here, if he ties his bothers time he stays in first place with Cadel Evans in a tie.

Andy finishes 21:09, 2 seconds behind Evans in the CG – Cadel Evans is in Yellow with one stage to go! Tomorrow is actually gong to matter! The final stage in these Tour de France races is usually perfunctory, a chance for the dignitaries to smile for the cameras and kiss babies… but tomorrow’s final stage is going to be a race between Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck.

10:57 AM EST

Re-thinking the numbers, it’s Frank in 3rd by 2 seconds and a tie for first between Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck. Perhaps we should just wait for the official word – which is not up yet – but that’s my take right now.

At the start of today’s stage:

1. SCHLECK Andy   TEAM LEOPARD-TREK   82h 48' 43"    00' 00"
2. SCHLECK Frank  TEAM LEOPARD-TREK   82h 49' 36"  + 00' 53"
3. EVANS Cadel    BMC RACING TEAM     82h 49' 40"  + 00' 57"

Finish today

Racer              Team            Time    Place      Effect on the GC
EVANS Cadel     BMC RACING TEAM    20:33   + 00' 21"       00
Frank Schleck   TEAM LEOPARD-TREK  21:07   + 00' 57"      +34
Andy Schleck    TEAM LEOPARD-TREK  21:09   + 00' 59"      +36

Ok that makes it a little easier to read. To top 3 in the GC remains in order, Evans goes from 57 second back of A. Schleck to 21 seconds back – and from 53 seconds behind Frank Schleck – to 19 seconds behind him. I think. :)

11:09

Still no official word yet…

11:24

Ok apparently my reading of the LIVE widget was full of shit, my numbers in the table above are wrong. Andy finished 2:38 behind Martin and so too were Frank’s numbers miss printed on the LIVE widget – he finished 2:48 back of Martin. Evans finished :07 behind Martin not 21 seconds. So that kicks it – the correct numbers work against a good finish on both sides of the equation.

Cadel Evans apparently, is the Tour de France 2011 Winner.

No need to race tomorrow after all.

That’s really disappointing, especially me mis-understanding all the numbers posted in the LIVE widget … and then seeing this:

Tour de France Stage 20 Finish Order – top 20

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France Stage 20 Finish Order - top 20

Tour de France General Classification after Stage 20 – top 20

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France General Classification after Stage 20 - top 20

 

July 24, 2011

Post script:

Looking back on my reporting 20 some hours ago, at the end of Stage 20, it is now evident that I did read the numbers being broadcast in the LIVE widget correctly, you can see it in the paragraph where I report Frank Schlecks time as “22:07″. But in the ensuing paragraphs  I seem to see 22 as 21 – and then 20.

Wishful thinking on my part perhaps, not wanting Le Tour 2011 to end – hoping for a race so close the final stage in Paris would have some meaning towards the final result of the race.

 

Looking back on the Tour de France 2011 here at FreeWheel, I note that I’ve made several (many) mistakes in my reporting – but last year, in my first reporting on this great race, I wasn’t aware of any.

I’m getting better at this – I was perfect – I’m younger than that now. :)

mh



Posted: July 23rd, 2011
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Tour de France 2011 – Stage 19

Modane Valfréjus to Alpe-d’Huez – 109.5 km

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Tour de France 2011 Stage 19 - Profile

Click on image to go to letour.fr page

Tour de France 2011 Stage 19 - Map

Today’s stage started at 8:38 AM EST (2:38 PM CET). It is a short stage at 109.5 km distance but it goes up as much as it goes sideways, with three categorized climbs, including the highest point in the 2011 race once again, the Col du Galibier (from Stage 18, this time in the opposite direction).

 

Tour de France Stage 19 – Mountains

Km mark    Mountain (elevation)         Distance  Gradient  Difficulty
Km 26.5    Col du Télégraphe (1 566 m)  11.9 km   7.1 %         1
Km 48.5    Col du Galibier (2 556m)     16.7 km   6.8 %         H
Km 109.5   Alpe d'Huez (1 850 m)        13.8 km   7.9 %         H

After some jockeying in the first 9 km before the first climb 14 riders established n escape that extended a lead over the Peloton to 2:50.

Lzagirre     Urtasun
Greipel      Iglinskiy
Gutierriez   Costa
Koren        Riblon
Flecha       Pineau
Burghardt    Duque
Buffaz       Hoogerland

At the base of the climb Greipel was dropped from the escape group.

9:00 AM EST – 16 Km

As the Peloton reached the base of the Col du Télégraphe several riders established a chase group out in front of the peloton – a who’s who of the tour de France 2011:

Contador      Navarro
Andy Schleck  Frank Schleck
Cadel Evams   Carlos Berrado
Chris Sorensen  Thomas Voeckler

Navarro and Sorensen are dropped.

Contador is leading this attack – and time after time he’s up on his pedals attacking, shaking any pretenders from the tail of this chase group. Pretty soon it’s only Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Thomas Voeckler who can maintain the elite pace.

Carlos Berrado and Frank Schleck are re-assimilated by the Peloton at 9:09. Resistance is futile, apparently. The Peloton is 1:00 behind the Contador chase group which is: A. Contador, C. Evans, A. Schleck and T. Veockler.

The Lead group of 14 has whittled down to 11. Burghardt, once one of that group, is waiting for the Contador group, to see if he can maintain there better than in the Pineau lead front group.

Burghardt tries to pace the Contador Chase but Contador will have none of that, and with a boost of power the reining Champion re-takes the lead-out chores of his group. The Contador chase is now 40 seconds behind the Pineau 11.

9:15

With 5 km until they summit, the lead Pineau group is now only 25 seconds ahead of the Contador Chase. The Peloton is 50 seconds behind the Contador Chase

The Contador Chase Group

A. Contador
A. Schleck
C. Evans
T. Voeckler
M. Burghardt

Cadel Evans has mechanical issues, he has to dismount three times to fix something on his bike.Teammate M. Burghardt stays with Evans, he’s going to need help catching up again. With 4.5 km to the summit the team BMC car finally gets to Evans and Burghardt, they give Evans a new bike. Evans has lost 50 seconds to the Contador group.

9:20

The Contador group catches the Pineau breakaway. Iglinskiy and A. Schleck are marking Contador.

Contador is resting a little now with-in the new breakaway which is 1:05 ahead of Evans and Burghardt in pursuit.

The lead group is: Cotador, Koren, A. Schleck, Costa, Riblon, Flecha, Doque, Hoogerland and Izagirre.

Voeckler has fallen off the leaders, 25 second back now. A. Schleck is currently Yellow, 10 seconds overall ahead of Voeckler.

Evans and Burghardt have been caught by the Peloton, 1:08 back of the Contador group which is 1km from the summit. There is a 5km decent and then it’s up the highest peak in this years race, the Col du Galibier. Voeckler is steadily losing seconds to the Contador group, now 30 seconds behind.

At the summit it’s Izagirre, then A. Schleck and then Contador over the top.

9:30

Voeckler has been joined by Pineau and 7 others, they are 32 seconds behind the Contador group.

Voeckler/Pineau 9 are closing on the Contador group, 20 second back as the lead group begins their assent up the Col du Galibier. Flecha and Hoogerland dropped from the lead group, now join the Voeckler/Pineau group now back 35 seconds again behind the Contador 7.

9:38 – 1 hour in

The lead group is down to 5 Contador, Schleck, Izagirre, Riblon and Costa. The average speed of the first hour was 33.8 km/h.

Voeckler is in a chase group of four, still 33 seconds behind the lead group. The Voeckler group includes Flecha, Koren and Duque.

9:42

Andy Schleck takes the lead of the Contador group, helping his one time nemesis up this hellish climb, realizing he can pick up time on Cadel Evans – his actual nemesis in the here and now. Contador has been lead-out since the 16 km mark when he began the pursuit of the original ‘Escapee 14′.

9:47 – 4 km up the hellish 17 km Col du Galibier climb

Contador group leads, Voeckler Chase: -33 seconds, Evans and the Peloton: -1:40.

10:00

Izagirre has been dropped by the leaders, now the Contador 4 – Contador, Schleck, Riblon and Costa. The Peloton are slowly falling back, all the riders are now well onto the same mountain but the lead group has expanded their lead, now 1:47. Voeckler’s group isn’t fairing much better, their also falling off the pace set at the front, now 48 seconds back.

10:05

Evans takes the lead of the Peloton group and begins to catch the Contador 4 – as a result the Peloton begins to shatter. Evans is making back time with 5 km before the Contador 4 summit. Now 1:30 back.

Evans is leading out a chase group off the front of the Peloton now, about 20 riders are with him.

Meanwhile it looks like Voeckler has hit a wall, he is wobbling all over his bike, barely able to crack his pedals. The mountain has beat him, sad to see this happen.

10:08

The Evans chase group has made up 15 seconds on the leaders, now 1:15 back – what a show of ability from Evans on this terrible mountain! The pace of the Evans chase has destroyed some riders – the group is down to 14.

10:10

Evans now only 1:07 back!!!

Th Evans chase group has caught the Voeckler group. Now Samuel Sanchez, a probable to podium in this years race, has attacked out front of the Evans chase group. Evans chases him down and gets on his wheel. Now Rolland and Charteau bridge the gap and join the elite two. This group is an elite one, like the Contador group. These guys may catch the front runners before this is over. They clock in now at 50 second back! What a run!

It’ a close race now and all the lead group and the Evans/Sanchez chase group have sumited. As the results of the point allocation are posted I see Canadian, Ryder Hesjedal is in this elite Evans/Sanchez Chase group as well. Yay! Go Ryder!

Order over the top of the Col du Galiber:

1. A. Schleck (0)
2. A. Contador (0)
3. R. Costa (0)
4. C. Ribon (0)
5. S. Sanchez (+35)
6. R. Hesjedal (+42)
7. C. Evans (+48)

Down the other side Contador, a good decent cyclist, leads the quartet who stay with him. Sanchez is good at this too, he’s only 15 seconds behind, going probably, 80 km/h. Evans: 20 seconds. Hesjedal plays it safer, he’s lost contact with the other two.

10:30

Sanchez has caught the leaders half way down the Col du Galibier! What an explosion! He attacked the front of the Evans chase group 5 km from the top of the mountain abour 50 seconds behind the Contador group and then caught them with a sweet decent. Nicely played!

The Evans Chase Group:
(30 seconds back)

Evans
Jeannesson
Casar
F. Schleck
Danielson
Hesjedal
Cunego
Velits
Rolland

10:43 – 45 km to go

The Evans chase group had narrowed the gap to just 23 seconds when the Contador 5 started to work as a team, taking equal amounts of work in front. With that, the gap to the Evans chase increased to 32 seconds.

10:57

The Evans Chase is no more, at the foot of today’s last accent, the Evans group caught the Contador group. That completes an heroic comeback for Evans who – with some 5 km to go up the first climb of today’s race, the Col du Télégraphe – had mechanical difficulties that set him back 1:50.

Cadel Evans rested back in the Peloton for about 50 minutes and then began this amazing pursuit – closing the 1:30 second gap between he and an elite group of riders who joined him – and the elite lead Contador group of riders — over one of the most gruelling mountains in this years Tour de France the 2,556 metre Col du Galibier! We have just witnessed an epic saga that stands with the great Greek plays.

But this is not over. This is now the beginning of the next chapter in this epic tale!

Who will win this great stage race, the finish line at the top of the last great climb today, the 1,850 metre Alpe d’Huez – a 13.8 km run, a 7.3% incline, a Category ‘H’ High Mountain man-killer…

The Escape Group:
(leads by

Contador       Riblon
A. Schleck     Casar 
F. Schleck     Jeannesson
Sanchez        Evans
Danielson      Cunego
Hesjedal       Velits
Costa          Rolland

11:00 – 24 km to go

The leader of the General Classification are playing it coy, marking their nemesis carefully. The also rans of this group – who can put places in the over standing behind them, and need to bring themselves closer to the leaders in time – are attacking the front of the group. Rolland and Hesjedal attack and counter attack. Then Riblon, Jeannesson and Costa try their luck. The 14 km accent up the Alpe d’Huez is just minutes away.

The Contador/Evans group has slowed the pace now as they approach the big mountain. This has allowed the Yellow Jersey wearing Thomas Voeckler group to catch the lead group.

Cadel Evans tries to talk strategy with Andy Schleck – perhaps trying to confuse his rival for overall win with some strategy about Contador – perhaps playing on the bad blood between the other two? Andy ignores him and as this continues, Frank Schleck pulls around and away, forcing Evens to break off the little talk and get on Frank’s wheel.

Meanwhile out front of the Peloton Ryder Hesjedal and Pierre Rolland are making a breakaway attempt that has some ‘legs’ – the two are in front by 47 seconds – and they have just started to climb the mountain. As the Peloton reaches the foot of the mountain the 2 breakaway-ers are 52 seconds up.

11:10

Evans is the first to challage the Peloton, he lead out and takes Mollema with him, they have a lead of 50 metres on the Peloton, now being lead by Frank Schleck. The lead-out fails, and now Contador attacks. Shortly Andy Schleck responds, he doesn’t want to let Contador get away too much – Evans marks the rider just seconds ahead of him in the General Classification.

11:15

Cotador catches Rolland and Hesjedal and Andy Schleck and Evans are closing the gap. The peloton has shattered in their wake.

Contador attacks again and Pollard goes with him, but Ryder Hesjedal can’t nmaintain the pace and falls off. Meanwhile Evans and Andy Schleck steadily pace each other closer and closer to the leaders. Contador adds another level of speed and loses Pollard behind him. Cadel and Andy are 13 seconds back – steady go. Hesjedal has found a pace he likes, alone in third.

Basso leads the remnants of the Peloton that include Voeckler in Yellow. They are 55 seconds behind Contador. Andy Schleck is, at this moment, wearing virtual Yellow.

11:25

Contador is still dancing up the mountain,then comes Pollard +10 seconds back, then the Evans/Schleck group at +38 seconds.

11:27

Contador leads all alone.
Pollard +25
Velits +45
Sanchez +50

at +58, a chase group including:
F. Schleck
A. Schleck
Evans
Hesjedal
Danielson
Peraud
Cunego
De Gendt

11:37 – 5km to go

Sanchez has passed Velits and caught Pollard. They are +23 behind the dancing Contador. Evans/Schleck and co. are 1:05 back.

Sanchez and Pollard are working together and are catching Contador, now +12! 4 km to go.

At the 4 km mark the Evans/Schleck chase group is 1:08 back.

De Gendt attacked out of the Evans/Schleck chase group a few minutes back, he has now established himself between the leader and the chasers, he’s riding with Velits in a second group, 12 seconds behind Sanchez and Pollard.

11:45 3 km to go

Now Cunego attacks out of the Evans/Schleck chase group, Evans after his successful heroic pursuit appeasr to be done, still riding at an lite level he doesn’t appear to be able to even try and catch Contador. The Schleck’s have no interest in breaking for Evans, Contador is not a threat to Andy’s time right now, so they sit back and pace on Evans back wheel – making sure they don’t lose him, but don’t help him either.

Rolland and Sanchez are catching Contador! Only 6 seconds back now!!! The two catch the reining champion and now vie for position to the line, Contador isn’t playing.

11:47

Evans tries an attack but Andy and Frank mark him easily.

Meanwhile Rolland is going for it, he has exploded out front now – a 7 second lead on Contador and Sanchez.

11:47 – 2 km to go

Rolland still holds the lead, Evans back 1:00. Evans attacks have split th chase group and now Evans and the Schleck brothers have caught De Gendt and Velits.

Sanchez and Contador start attacking and responding, attacking and responding, clawing they way back up up Pollard.

Sanchez drops Contador as Samuel takes his last best chance to catch Pollard, but he’s too late! Pollard has it – Pollard wins!

Stage 19 – Top 16 Finish Order

click on image to go to letour.fr page

Stage 19 Top 16 Finish Order

Top 60 Overall Classification – after Stage 19

Tour de France 2011 - Top 60 Overall Classification after Stage 19

(click on images to go to letour.fr page in question)

mh



Posted: July 22nd, 2011
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Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18

Andy Schleck beat the field by 2:07 seconds today putting himself 0:15 seconds behind overall leader Thomas Voeckler and 3:29 ahead of Alberto Contador in today’s gruelling stage which featured 3 High Mountain (H) climbs – the toughest degree of difficulty in the Tour de France classification system.

Contador’s rather average showing today may have cost him a chance at a podium finish in Tour de France 2011.

Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal rode a strong race today finishing 10th, 3:31 seconds after the winning Schleck brother, picking up 6 places in the overall classification. Unfortunately Hesjedal lost 1:10 in the overall time classification – killing any outside hopes some writers may have had that he could still find a way to finish in the top 10 of this years race.

Andy’s brother Frank Schleck finished second, Cadel Evans finished 8 seconds behind Frank, then came Basso 3 seconds later.

And then surprisingly – after a weeks worth of comments saying he wasn’t going to win this year – 3 seconds after Basso comes Thomas Veokler. Voeckler’s ride with the leaders today keeps him at the top of the time classification – and still very much in this race to win it all.

Were Voeckler’s comments a way of diverting attention away from the Frenchman? To tone down the nationalist rhetoric which the media usually play up – and which seems to become an energy source for many riders? To disappear in the mass of riders, only to burst forth in the final stages? Or perhaps it just part of his character, the way he goes about his business. If so I like him a little more today – even though I’ve never meet or spoken to the man.

Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18 Finish Order

Place  Name             Team         Time         Behind Leader
1.     SCHLECK Andy     TREK         6h 07' 56"
2.     SCHLECK Frank    TREK         6h 10' 03"   + 02' 07"
3.     EVANS Cadel      BMC          6h 10' 11"   + 02' 15"
4.     BASSO Ivan       CANNONDALE   6h 10' 14"   + 02' 18"
5.     VOECKLER Thomas  EUROPCAR     6h 10' 17"   + 02' 21"
6.     ROLLAND Pierre   EUROPCAR     6h 10' 23"   + 02' 27"
7.     CUNEGO Damiano   LAMPRE       6h 10' 29"   + 02' 33"
8.     TAARAMAE Rein    COFIDIS      6h 11' 18"   + 03' 22"
9.     DANIELSON Tom    CERVELO      6h 11' 21"   + 03' 25"
10.    HESJEDAL Ryder   CERVELO      6h 11' 27"   + 03' 31"

Stage 18 Minute by Minute

5:30 AM EST

The race started at 5:30 AM EST (11:30 AM CET) after a 4.6 km neutral zone start. Conditions at the start were ideal, 23 C.

But at the Finish Line, on top of Le Col du Galibier, it was snowing. The finish at Col du Galibier is the highest Stage finish in Tour de France history – at 2,645 metres! The Col Agnel (2 744 m) is the highest elevation in this years race.

Tour de France 2011 – Stage 18 Mountains

Km mark    Mountain                   Length    Pitch   Difficulty
Km 107.0   Col Agnel (2 744 m)        23.7 km   6.5 %   Category H
Km 145.5   Col d'Izoard (2 360 m)     14.1 km   7.3 %   Category H
Km 200.5   Col du Galibier (2 645 m)  22.8 km   4.9 %   Category H

The racers played it conservatively off the start, everyone stayed together – until the 15 km mark, when 20 riders tried a half-hearted attack – they were duly subsumed.

6:00 AM

The race in the first half hour is averaging 60km/hour!!! No wonder no one can escape.

At 30 minutes the riders are 30km along!
Tour de France 2011 Stage 18 – Profile
At 30 minutes the riders are already 30km along!

6:30

16 escape off the front of the Peloton – they are 45 second out.

The average speed for the first hour was 50.3 km/h.

6:55

The Escape16 are 4:55 ahead – time to list them:
(in no particular order)

Monfort             Erviti
Posthuma            Roche
P Moreno            Devenyns
U Perez             Bookwalter
Tjallingii          Duque
Navardauskas        Hondo
Iglinkkiy           Hoogerland
Izizar              Delaplace

Well I just pushed the wrong button and all the narritive data from the race today is gone.

Se ya tomorrow.

mh



Posted: July 21st, 2011
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Canadian, Ryder Hesjedal controls Stage 16 of Tour de France

Canadian road racing cyclist, Ryder Hesjedal has had a great day in the Tour de France 2011 – Stage 16.

“9:59

Ryder Hesjedal is again leading the escape 10. He has forced this race, created the early breakaways – including this successful group of 10 – and has paced it away from the main group – he’s having a great day.”

(from the minute by minute narrative from today’s Stage 16 blog.)


(Click on image to go to source - Team Garmin-Cervelo flickr photo)

Ryder Hesjedal crosses the line in Stage 16

In the end he catapulted his teammate, and sprinting specialist, Thor Hushovd to the Stage victory for Team Garmin-Cervélo, and finished 3rd – 2 seconds back.

Ryder Hesjedal Celebrates a Garmin-Cervélo Stage Win after launching Thor Hushovd to the Finish Line

Ryder Hesjedal Celebrates a Garmin-Cervélo Stage Win after launching Thor Hushovd to the victory ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen of Sky Pro Cycling.
Photograph by: Stefano Rellandini, Reuters

A Podium finish for the rider from Victoria British Columbia who created all the breakaways from the main group in the first 100 km of the race, and rode aggressively all day, pushing the successful escape he created, 5 kilometres ahead of the main body of racers – a 6:10 lead at one point.

In the final kilometres of the race there was no doubt about who would be on the Podium, as three elite riders on today’s 162.5 km stage battled it out for for step height at the presentation ceremony.

Hesjedal moves up the standings to 28th place overall (from 32nd yesterday), but Hesjedal is still more than 20 minutes behind Tour de France 2011 overall leader, Thomas Voeckler with 5 race stages to go – well out of contention to win overall, or even to better his 7th place finish in Tour de France 2010. With bruised ribs from a fall earlier in ‘LeTour’ – he is too far back now for anyone to reasonably expect a top 10 finish.

Yet never say never – with 3 High Mountain stages, an Individual Time-trial, plus the flat, mainly ceremonial ride through Paris to go – anything is possible.

Hesjjedal is a well rounded cyclist, good at time trials, a good pace setter – essential for long flat rides that require team co-operation – as well as being one of the top mountain climbers of this generation. Anything is possible – but to reach 7th place again he must make up 17 minutes and leap-frog 20 riders. Probably not going to happen, even though he picked up almost 5 minutes today. The race leaders won’t let a break away like happened today, happen again, but I can’t wait to watch him try.

A beautiful stage ride today for Canada’s great Ryder Hesjedal – one of the best road cyclists in the world.

 

Race Summary from Versus/NBC

mh



Posted: July 19th, 2011
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