Modane Valfréjus to Alpe-d’Huez – 109.5 km
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Contador is still dancing up the mountain,then comes Pollard +10 seconds back, then the Evans/Schleck group at +38 seconds.
Contador leads all alone.
at +58, a chase group including:
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.
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
Top 60 Overall Classification – after Stage 19
(click on images to go to letour.fr page in question)
Posted: July 22nd, 2011
Author: michael holloway
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: 2011 Tour de France | No Comments »