Posts tagged ‘Races’
Starting on a tip of coastline near the town of Béziers, the 178-strong peloton got underway in perfect conditions from Le Cap D’Agde, already 27 degrees Celsius and breezy at the 12:45 p.m. départ réel.
After 29 kilometres, two breakaway groups of three combined to form a lead sextet, including Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Geslin and Hutarovich (Française des Jeux), Sapa (Lampre-NGC), Ignatiev (Team Katusha) and Timmer (Skil-Shimano). When the peloton behind them decided to take to the call of nature, it became a definitive sign that the aforementioned six would be the break du jour.
Forty kilometres in, 8:45 was the distance between break and bunch, and that’s as far as they got; the undulating mid-section of Wednesday’s stage with a pair of Cat. 4 climbs after 112 and 115 kilometres, combined with the inevitable start of the chase-down, inexorably reduced the lead group’s advantage.
Determined not to be caught out in the wind again, Astana and Saxo Bank began assembling their troops at the fore some 80 kilometres from the finish, and when the team of maillot jaune Cancellara started driving in the heavy Tramontane crosswinds, the peloton eventually split, a lead group of 40 forming at the head. This time, however, most of the GC favourites made the move – the exception being Rabobank‘s star climber Robert Gesink, who crashed hard before the mayhem and never recovered, X-rays later revealing he had broken his wrist and ruling him out of starting the following day.
A consequence of the crosswind craziness was that it all but chewed-up-and-spat-out the lead of the early escape. But when those driving at the front let up, realising there was nothing to gain, a regrouping occurred, the break’s advantage went back out to a minute-and-a-half, and stood an even chance of surviving to Perpignan.
Française des Jeux held the upper hand with two in the move – but among them there was someone who’d been itching for a big win ever since he became a household name at the Tour de France, exactly five years ago.
|1||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom||4:29:35|
|2||Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha||0:00:07|
|3||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia – HTC|
|4||Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Slipstream|
|5||Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram|
|6||Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha|
|7||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne|
|8||Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|9||Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank|
|10||Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team|
Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) won the opening 157-kilometre road stage of the Tour of Luxembourg on Thursday. The Italian out-sprinted Steven Caethoven (Agritubel) and Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) in the bunch gallop to the finish in Mondorf-les-Bains.
“It was a nervous and very fast stage,” said Napolitano. “Astana kept the pace high to catch the escapees. In the sprint my teammates Horrach, Markov and Mikhailov brought me to the front and then I took the wheel of CSF Group-Navigare’s Dall’Antonia. He started his sprint at 200 metres to go which may have been a little bit early because of the headwind.”
Switzerland’s Grégory Rast (Astana), who won Wednesday’s prologue, remained in the race lead by two seconds over Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano) and four seconds ahead of Romain Feillu (Agritubel).
The teams of the sprinters then kept the race together until the finish line for their field sprint to decide stage honours
1 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Team Katusha 3.48.29 (41.333 km/h) 2 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Agritubel 3 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano 4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 5 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) CSF Group - Navigare 6 Guillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 7 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskatel - Euskadi 8 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 9 Cyrille Heymans (Lux) Continental Team Differdange 10 Christian Poos (Lux) Continental Team Differdange
In 2005 Laszlo Bodrogi won “Tour de Luxembourg”.
Star riders of the event will of course be Fränk and Andy Schleck, leading a strong Saxo Bank squad also including Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O’Grady. Another big name riding the race won last year by Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) is Andreas Klöden (Astana).
The event will see a total of 15 teams take the start: Astana, Bbox Bouygues, Cofidis, Euskaltel, Katusha, Saxo Bank, Agritubel, Barloworld, CSF, ISD, Landbouwkrediet, Skil, Vacansoleil, Vorarlberg and CT Differdange.
The stages outline as follows:
Prologue – June 3: Luxembourg (2.7 km)
Stage 1 – June 4: Luxembourg – Mondorf-les-Bains (157 km)
Stage 2 – June 5: Schifflange – Differdange (187 km)
Stage 3 – June 6: Wiltz – Diekirch (185 km)
Stage 4 – June 7: Mersch – Luxembourg (160 km)
Three days from Rome and on an overcast Thursday afternoon where scores of white sheep clouds smothered the percorso in hazy shades of blue-grey, an escape found success at the 92nd Giro d’Italia as the favourites for the overall title rested their legs as best as they could.
Given the road that lies ahead, where on Friday, after a 164-kilometre slog around the ankle of Italy’s boot, the riders finish atop Mount Vesuvius – most likely in ones, twos and threes – the eighteenth stage was a clearly a case of polarised objectives for the 171 remaining soldiers left in this Centenary Giro.
On one hand, there was a bunch of blokes who knew they had no more than two opportunities left to win a stage in a race where, so far, only six teams have tasted the overly sweet spumante that accompanies victory. When sixth stage victor Michele Scarponi of Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni took his second win Friday in Benevento following another 100 kilometre-plus breakaway, still only six teams have tasted success.
Though surely, after two incredibly arduous escapes in a Grand Tour raced at the highest level, it’s lopped off a year or two off the 29-year-old’s life?
“Haha!” Scarponi first laughed with the shrill of a school-kid – one who has just heard the 3 p.m. afternoon bell ring, allowing him to run home and ride his bike with his friends.
Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) repeated last year’s victory in almost identical style, soloing away in the final kilometres for his second consecutive win the Vlaanderens Mooiste. The 29-year-old Belgian dropped his breakaway companions on the penultimate climb of the day, the legendary cobbled Muur of Gramont, and from then on, he raced to glory on the roads toward the finish in Meerbeke. While crossing the line, Devolder gestured in honor of his recently deceased friend and fellow racer Frederik Nolf. “This is unbelievable. I’ve lived up to this race for so long and I encountered a lot of bad luck,” said Devolder. I worked hard with all the people that kept believing in me. I said I would win and I did it.” “It was very weird race. I was able to join [Tom] Boonen (Quick Step) and [Filippo] Pozzato (Team Katusha) after the Berendries, and then I pulled through toward the leaders. I recovered, and on the Muur, I played my last card,” said Devolder. “I’m planning to stay focused on this race during the next few years as the Ronde van Vlaanderen remains the most important race of the year for me,” said Devolder. An aggressive Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) anticipated the final sprint and escaped from the large chase group on the finishing straight to finish second. The bunch sprint was won by Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto). Pozzato and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin – Slipstream) followed to finish fourth and fifth. “I didn’t have the legs today,” said Haussler. “In the end I was going to ride for Thor, but he told me to attack, so I went.” After the race, favorite Boonen explained that racing for the victory wasn’t possible for the day since the other top favorite, Pozzato, wasn’t chasing any other wheel than his. “The shadow,” Boonen described Pozzato. “Everybody saw that we were killing each other. I couldn’t drop him, and he couldn’t drop me. When we attacked, we distanced everybody, but he didn’t want to continue. So for me, the door was closed, but it opened the door for Stijn and Sylvain (Chavenel).” “Boonen was the strongest, compliments to the Quick Step team,” said Pozzato.
Team LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini controlled the opening day of the Settimana Ciclista Lombarda in Brignano Gera d’Adda, Italy. The Italian team won the 18.5-kilometre team time trial by six seconds over Katusha and 23 over Rabobank Continental.
The team’s sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, was first over the line and takes the leader’s jersey. He will defend the jersey in tomorrow’s stage two from Brignano Gera d’Adda to Calcinate.
Petacchi’s team dominated the 2008 edition. LPR Brakes took all three spots of the overall podium, with Danilo Di Luca taking the overall title. (GB)
1 LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 20.54 (53.684 km/h) 2 Team Katusha 0.06 3 Rabobank Continental 0.23 4 ISD 0.24 5 Barloworld 0.25 6 Xacobeo Galicia 0.31 7 Amica Chips - Knauf 0.32 8 Serramenti Pvc Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli 0.38 9 Acqua & Sapone - Caffe' Mokambo 0.40 10 PSK Whirpool - Author 0.53
Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) is on a roll, taking stage one of the Driedaagse De Panne just three days after winning the E3 Prijs. Pozzato easily dispatched Frederik Willems (Liquigas) in the downhill two-up sprint and took over the lead in the overall classification.
Pozzato was quite impressive on the short and steep climbs, especially the Berendries and the Valkenberg. “The victory on Saturday certainly has given me morale.” But whether he will go all out in the time trial to win the overall remains to be seen. “If I have the lead, I will try to defend it, but if I don’t have the jersey, I won’t go for it in the time trial.”
Pozzato has only one thing on his mind right now, the Tour of Flanders. “This is De Panne, but Sunday is really important for me.”
Willems took the initiative in the end. “I tried to accelerate with about 200m to go, in the turn, but he [Pozzato] was too strong and too fast. I knew I was beaten right away…” Willems didn’t want to blame the position. “I was in the front, but
is like a derny at the moment.”
Willems, however, was pleased with his race, first bridging solo from the chase group he was in and then launching the decisive attack just before the Valkenberg. “In the beginning I was in the [Tom] Boonen group and too far back. I knew I had to get to the front group, as Boonen and [Kevin] van Impe were the only ones driving. They came close, but not really fast enough, so I jumped.”
His decisive attack came with a little more than 20 km left to race. “In the end I tried again; I was good today, but in the end I was also tired…”