THE RACE LIVE
Copyright Konica Minolta
The film of the stage
A Winning Kazakh Attack!
A day shy of the second anniversary of his first stage victory in the Tour de France the champion of Kazakhstan Alexandre Vinokourov has won again. Finally the T-Mobile squad has something to celebrate in Le Tour 2005. At the beginning of July, the German-registered squad had a combination of stars who were considered the most likely to challenge Lance Armstrong for the yellow jersey. After 10 stages, however, the only real headlines that the magenta-clad boys generated have come from crashes, near misses and their failed attempts to get the yellow jersey off the Texan.
Jan Ullrich crashed while training on the time trial course for stage one. Andreas Kloden lost stage nine by just 9.6mm. And Vinokourov dropped from fifth overall to 16th after the stage to Courchevel.
After two stages in the Alps T-Mobile expected that at least one of these stars would be within striking distances of the race lead. They’re not. Ullrich is ninth and Kloden 10th. But Vino has given his team some hope.
By going on the attack after 28 kilometers of racing in the 173km epic stage that included the Col de la Madeleine, the Col du Telegraphe and the daunting ascent of the Col du Galibier, ‘Vino’ has again offered some redemption for the heavily-funded formation.
He did the same thing in 2003 when he won the dramatic stage to Gap on Bastille Day. With his first stage victory he moved from fourth overall to second. Only 21 seconds stood between him and the yellow jersey 24 months ago. It’s not quite the same scenario after the brutal adventure from Courchevel to Briancon, but at least Vinokourov can raise a glass of champagne with his colleagues this evening.
They will toast a number of victories. And all of them have been achieved by the 31-year-old from Petropawlowsk in Kasakhstan. He was the most aggressive rider in the stage; the winner of the ‘Souvenir Henri Desgrange’ – a special ‘prime’ awarded to the rider over the highest summit of the Tour de France – the stage winner and a rider who has put himself back in contention for a top 10 finish.
Despite all this, the mood in the T-Mobile team is still likely to be somber. And the reason? They have no solution to overcome the winning formula applied by Armstrong’s Discovery Channel squad; nor does any other team.
Lance didn’t need to go for the stage win. He’s said that he doesn’t mind if he wins his seventh yellow jersey without claiming a single stage on his own. It’s a contradiction to the “no gifts” policy that he applied at last year’s race. Perhaps he’s a little embarrassed by the fact that the slogan has been emblazoned on Nike t-shirts since he first uttered those two words. Maybe he recognizes that there are riders who deserve the daily credit in a race that he controls for three weeks. Whatever the reason, Armstrong has allowed some riders the opportunity to perform on his stage this year.
Mickael Rasmussen remains the nearest rival in the general classification. The King of the Mountains added another 50 points to his tally of climbing points today. He was allowed to establish the biggest lead of any escape in this year’s Tour. That won’t be the case anymore. The Dane is just 38 seconds behind Armstrong.
Alejandro Valverde responded to the last-minute surge by Lance atop the climb to Courchevel in stage 10 and the American followed him over the line to claim the runner-up position for the second time this year. Now that the Spaniard is in fifth place in the general classification, don’t expect to see any gifts given to him in the climbs of the Pyrenees when he’s next expected to excel.
Alexandre Vinokourov is too strong for any rider to ignore but because he was over six minutes behind Armstrong’s leading time, the Kazakh attack was given some freedom. Not much though.
The Discovery Squad let their leader down on the day Kloden almost claimed the win but since Gerardmer Lance’s colleagues have been sublime. The Recovery Mob ruled the peloton today. They sat the front of the peloton and churned out a rapid tempo to eliminate any attacks over the Madeleine, Telegraphe and Galibier climbs. And they still had the energy to try and set up a lead-out train for Armstrong in the race for third place.
Again he was beaten for the time bonus position but he need not worry. He appears to be in complete control even if others are yielding rewards from their attacking tactics.
What remains to be seen, however, is if ’Vino’ will get to drink some ’vin’ again on the Bastille Day stage. Should that happen, then Armstrong may just have to resort to the two-word policy which appears on his sponsor’s t-shirts.
- Voigt Eliminated From Le Tour 2005
The overall leader after nine stages finished the 11th stage in 168th position. Jens Voigt was the second-last rider in the stage to Briancon. Although he fought hard to stay within the time limit which is calculated on a percentage on the winning time, he has been eliminated from the Tour.
- Armstrong Still In Yellow - The New Top 10
Armstrong’s sixth place in the 11th stage means he will wear the yellow jersey again tomorrow. He leads Rasmussen by 38".
The top 10 after the 11th stage is:
1. Lance Armstrong (USA) DSC - 1,859km in 41h51’57" (43.902km/h)
2. Mickael Rasmussen (Den) RAB - at 38"
3. Christophe Moreau (Fra) C.A - at 2’34"
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC - at 2’40"
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) IBA - at 3’16"
6. Santiago Botero (Col) PHO - at 3’48"
7. Levi Leipheimer (USA) GST - at 3’58"
8. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) IBA - at 4’00"
9. Jan Ullrich (Ger) TMO - at 4’02"
10. Andreas Kloden (Ger) TMO - at 4’16"
- The Top 10 In Stage 11
Alexandre Vinokourov has won his second Tour de France stage. The first was in Gap in 2003. The top 10 in the stage to Briancon today is:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) TMO -
2. Santiago Botero (Col) PHO - at same time
3. Christophe Moreau (Fra) C.A - at 1’15"
4. Bobby Julich (USA) CSC - at same time
5. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) LAM - at same time
6. Lance Armstrong (USA) DSC - at same time
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) DVL - at same time
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) GST - at same time
9. Mickael Rasmussen (Den) RAB - at same time
10. Georg Totschnig (Aut) GSt - at same time
- Armstrong Being Led Out For Sprint For Third...
The Discovery Channel team is setting up a sprint for Armstrong. The yellow jersey had to take on Christophe Moreau in the final 100m and decided it wasn’t worth the bother. Moreau has claimed 3rd place.
- Vinokourov Wins The Stage!
Alexandre Vinokourov has won the 11th stage of the 2005 Tour de France. He easily beat Botero in the sprint in Briancon.
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