After 14 stage of the 2007, the top order of the general classification is:
2. Contador at 2’23"
3. Evans at 3’04"
4. Leipheimer at 4’29"
5. Kloden at 4’38"
There will be another big shake up in the top order of the general classification. The top 10 in stage 14 is:
1. Alberto Contador (ESP) DSC - 197km in 5h25’48" (36.279km/h)
2. Michael Rasmussen (DEN) RAB at same time
3. Mauricio Soler (COL) BAR at 37"
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) DSC at 40"
5. Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC at 53"
6. Andreas Kloden (GER) AST at 1’52"
7. Cadel Evans (AUS) PRL at 1’52"
8. Antonio Colom (ESP) AST at 2’23"
9. Andrey Kashechkin (KAZ) AST at 2’23"
10. Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) DSC at 3’06"
Alberto Contador has given Discovery Channel its first win of the 2007 Tour. He led Rasmussen over the line. In third was Soler (at about 35"), then Leipheimer then Sastre.
Contador has outsprinted Rasmussen to claim his first stage victory in the Tour de France!
Sastre has been attacked by Leipheimer. Rasmussen and Contador have just 400m to go.
Rasmussen and Contador are going to contest the stage win. They are 1km from the end of the stage. They are 24" ahead of Soler.
Soler has bolted ahead of Sastre and Leipheimer. With 2km to go, Evans/Kloden/Colom are 1’20" behind Contador and Rasmussen.
Rasmussen is now leading and calling Contador to come through for a turn but the Spaniard is shaking his head and refusing to assist.
Andreas Kloden has caught up with Cadel Evans at the same time that the two stage leders pass under the 2km to go banner.
The two stage leaders are having a chat. Contador is asking the yellow jersey to come through for a turn but Rasmussen is refusing.
At the 3km to go banner, Evans is 1’00" behind Contador and Rasmussen.
Contador and Rasmussen have dropped Colom. The riders in the white and yellow jerseys are now 27" ahead of Leipheimer with 3km to go.
Colom has been caught by Contador and Rasmussen with about 3.5km to go. They are 45" ahead of Cadel Evans.
With 4km to go, Rasmussen and Contador are 10" behind Colom and 25" ahead of Sastre, Soler and Leipheimer.
Colom continues to lead the stage. Then comes Rasmussen with Contador... then a group of Leipheimer, Sastre and Soler... then Evans who is on his own.
Colom, Rasmussen and Contador are 5km from the finish. The Astano rider is 30" ahead of the Rabobank and Discovery Channel rider. Evans is with Leipheimer, Sastre and Soler.
Colom leads the stage by 1’00" at the last check. Rasmussen and Contador are now on their own and have a lead of about 100m or more on Evans, Sastre and Soler.
This appears to be the decisive move. Contador has been caught by Rasmussen and Evans has cracked. The Australian is now with Sastre and Soler while Rasmussen dances ahead.
Contador has opened up a good gap on the others now with a solid hit. Rasmussen is now reacting as is Evans...
Colom remains in the lead of the stage and now there’s Rasmussen, Contador and Evans riding together...
Contador is the first to try and catch Soler. The surges have dropped Leipheimer and now Rasmussen is back in control... while Soler goes backwards.
Rasmussen is back in the front of the elite group of six. Soler is shaping up for another surge and now he’s gone...
Rasmussen is reacting to Soler’s surge. Contador and Evans have also been able to bridge the gap... Sastre and Leipheimer are also back with the Colombian.
Soler has attacked the five others and opened up a good gap.
Rasmussen is leading Contador, Evans, Sastre, Leipheimer and Soler... that’s what’s left of the yellow jersey’s peloton with about 7km to climb. Only Colom remains ahead of these six.
The attacks have really started. Contador started it, then Rasmussen tried but Evans has fought his way back to this group.
Contador is now dancing on his pedals and trying to get rid of Rasmussen but the yellow jersey is now attacking as well. Evans has matched these two.
Popovych has finished and it’s prompted Leipheimer to attack. It was a quick more but now Contador is flying ahead...!
Popovych has been setting the pace of the yellow jersey’s peloton for a long time. No one has come around the rider from the Ukraine. He is followed by Rasmussen, Evans, Leipheimer, Soler, Kashechkin, Contador and Sastre. That’s been the order since Kloden was dropped but the German still has this group in his sights...
Contador has gone to the back of the yellow jersey’s peloton which continues to be led by his team-mate Popovych. Leipheimer is still also present so Discovery has the best representation in the yellow jersey’s peloton.
There are now eight men in the yellow jersey’s peloton. They are: Rasmussen (RAB), Popovych (DSC), Soler (BAR), Evans (PRL), Contador (DSC), Leipheimer (DSC), Kashechkin (AST), Sastre (CSC)... they are 10km from the finish and have 1’45" to make up to Colom if they want to win the stage.
Contador has come up to the wheel of Popovych and is shaping up for an attack. There are now nine in the yellow jersey’s peloton. Rasmussen no longer has any team-mates as Boogerd has been dropped again.
Colom has a lead of two minutes on: Rasmussen (RAB), Boogerd (RAB), Popovych (DSC), Soler (BAR), Kloden (AST), Evans (PRL), Contador (DSC), Leipheimer (DSC), Kashechkin (AST), Sastre (CSC).
Rasmussen (RAB), Boogerd (RAB), Popovych (DSC), Soler (BAR), Kloden (AST), Evans (PRL), Contador (DSC), Leipheimer (DSC), Kashechkin (AST), Sastre (CSC) are the men who have just caught Barredo.
The yellow jersey’s group now includes just 10 men. Menchov has just been dropped.
The riders in the Rasmussen’s group are: Rasmussen, Menchov, Popovych, Leipheimer, Contador, Kloden, Kashechkin, Evans, Sastre, Soler and Boogerd (who has wrestled his way back).
Valverde and Pereiro have been dropped because of the effort at the front by Popovych in the group that now contains just 11 riders.
Boogerd is the latest rider to drop from the yellow jersey’s peloton. Others include: Gadret, Cuesta, Fothen, Voigt, Vande velde, Kirchen, Karpets, Fofonov, Mayo and Horner.
We don’t have a full list of the riders in the yellow jersey’s group but can confirm the presence of the following riders:
Rasmussen, Boogerd, Menchov, Popovych (now leading), Soler, Kloden, Evans, Valverde, Contador, Leipheimer, Kashechkin, Sastre...
The leading trio are attacking each other. Colom has raced into the front of the stage and has an advantage of about 50 meters on Gutierrez and Txurruka.
Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez have dropped Barredo again. There are now just three Spaniards in the lead of the stage. Txurruka has decided to set the pace after a moment of hesitation.
They are 2’05" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Dekker is no longer at the front of the main peloton. The pace is being set by Boogerd ahead of Menchov ahead of Rasmussen... the Rabo trio are shadowed by Evans and Popovych and Kloden.
Hincapie has peeled off and has been spat out the back of the yellow pack. Now the pace is being set by Boogerd ahead of Rasmussen. Evans is right on the wheel of the yellow jersey along with his team-mate Horner.
Rasmussen’s group is in Les Cabannes which means that the yellow jersey is about to begin his assault of the final climb. They are 2’35" behind the stage leaders.
Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez have been reeled in by Barredo at the 14.5km to go mark.
Barredo was dropped with 15km to go. Now Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez lead the stage.
Perez did most of the pacesetting at the front of the stage. He has dropped from the lead group at the start of the final ascent.
The leaders are in Les Cabannes and have 16km to go in the stage. Their advantage over the yellow jersey’s peloton is 2’45".
Since rejoining the yellow jersey’s peloton on the descent, Hincapie has been at the front of the pack. This group is 2’50" behind Perez, Txurruka, Colom, Gutierrez and Barredo at the 20km to go mark.
The yellow jersey’s peloton is 2’55" behind with about 22km to go in the 14th stage.
Hincapie leads the yellow jersey’s peloton. Other riders in this group include: Rasmussen, Boogerd, Menchov, Dekker, Kohl, Evans, Horner, Leipheimer, Contador, Popovych, Mayo, Gadret, Kirchen, Sastre, Schleck, Voigt, Pereiro, Kashechkin, Kloden, Le Mevel, Fofonov, Soler, Verdugo, Astarloza...
Barredo has just caught up with Perez, Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez. This quintet is 3’05" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Perez, Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez lead Barredo by five seconds right now. The peloton with the yellow jersey is being led by George Hincapie and is 3’25" behind at the 25km to go mark.
Numerous riders dropped from the yellow jersey’s peloton on the climb are rejoining Rasmussen’s group. This is 3’30" behind five riders who are now 25km from the end of the stage. Barredo is about to catch up with Gutierrez et al.
Perez, Txurruka, Colom and Gutierrez are still three minutes ahead of the yellow jersey’s group. Barredo is closing in on the four stage leaders, just 10" behind...
Contrary to the previous flash, the Tour has visited Plateau de Beille three times before. Armstrong won here in 2002 as well as 2004. Sorry for any confusion caused.
Today will be the third time that a stage of the Tour has concluded at Plateau de Beille. The winners in the past were Marco Pantani (in 1998) and Lance Armstrong (in 2004)... both went on to claim the overall title in the same year.
The final climb for today is 15.9km long with an average gradient of 7.8 percent. The steepest section is in the 10th kilometer (10.0%).
Colom, Perez, Txurruka and Gutierrez continue to work well together at the front of the stage. A Caisse d’Epargne rider - possibly Pereiro - is attacking the yellow jersey’s peloton on the descent of the Port de Pailheres.
Vinokourov is 8’16" behind the leading foursome at the top of the Port de Pailheres.
The yellow jersey’s peloton is on the descent but Vinokourov is still 1km from the top of the Port de Pailheres!
Mayo reached the summit 15" behind Rasmussen’s group.
1. Perez (EUS) 20pts
2. Txurruka (EUS) 18pts
3. Colom (AST) 16pts
4. Gutierrez (GCE) 14pts
5. Barredo (QSI) 12 - at 1’05"
6. Soler (BAR) 10pts - at 2’45"
7. Rasmussen (RAB) 8pts - at 2’55"
8. Dekker (RAB) 7pts
9. Boogerd (RAB) 6pts
10. Menchov (RAB) 5pts
At the top of the Port de Pailheres, the peloton was 2’48" behind the four stage leaders.
At the top, Barredo claimed fifth place points 1’05" behind the stage leaders.
Soler has attacked the peloton in the final kilometer of the Port de Pailheres.
Mayo was also in the yellow jersey’s peloton but he has been dropped in the final 1km of the Port de Pailheres.
The leading quartet are at the top of the Port de Pailheres...
1. Perez (EUS) 20pts
2. Txurruka (EUS) 18pts
3. Colom (AST) 16pts
4. Gutierrez (GCE) 14pts
The peloton is 1km from the top.
The riders in Rasmussen’s group include:
Dekker, Boogerd, Menchov, Rasmussen (RAB)
Kloden, Kashechkin , Savoldelli (AST)
Evans, Horner (PRL)
Karpets, Valverde (GCE)...
Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka and Colom are 3’35" ahead of the yellow jersey’s peloton that consists of 24 riders.
Another from the top 10 of GC has just slipped behind the yellow jersey’s peloton. Mikel Astarloza was eighth overall at the start of the stage but he has just been dropped because of the pace set by Dekker.
Another casualty is Hincapie of the Discovery Channel team.
Gutierrez has caught Perez, Txurruka and Colom. This quartet is now 2km from the top of the Port de Pailheres.
Vinokourov is currently consulting the race doctor. He is over 1’15" behind the yellow jersey’s group.
Rasmussen has the support of Dekker, Boogerd and Menchov. Tucked in behind this quartet of Rabobank riders are all the riders from the top 10 of GC except for Vinokourov who is now 1’15" behind the yellow jersey’s peloton.
At the 5km to climb mark, Vinokourov was 40" behind Rasmussen’s group which has just lost the services of Millar who had led the peloton for most of the Port de Pailheres.
Txurruka, Perez and Colom are about 3.3km from the top. The peloton is 5km from the leading trio - which translates to a deficit of 4’30".
Popovych has lost contact with the yellow jersey’s peloton.
Some of the riders in the yellow jersey peloton are:
Millar, Boogerd, Menchov, Rasmussen, Kloden, Evans, Hincapie, Dekker, Mayo, Contador, Leipheimer, Horner, Soler, Kashechkin, Kirchen, Valjavec, Sastre, Valverde... there are more but we await confirmation of all those in the mix.
Vinokourov has been dropped by the Millar-led peloton...!
Vinokourov is at the back of the peloton that continues to be led by Millar. Behind the Scott are a pack of Rabo riders including, of course, Rasmussen.
De La Fuente has surrendered. He is no longer in the lead of the peloton.
Txurruka and Colom have dropped Perez at the front of the stage. The peloton is at the 138.5km mark and is 4’50" behind... Millar and De La Fuente continue to set the pace of the yellow jersey’s pack. Their team-mate, Mayo, is nestled back in the pack in about 10th position...
Linus Gerdemann is the latest rider to succumb to the pace being set by David Millar at the front of the yellow jersey’s peloton which is now 4’45" behind the three stage leaders.
Txurruka and Colom have caught Perez. They are about 15" ahead of Gutierrez and Barrdo and 1’40" ahead of Kuschynski.
Perez has a lead of 10" on Txurruka and Colom.
Ruben Perez has upped the pace at the front of the stage. He is riding away from Txurruka, Barredo, Colom and Gutierrez who don’t appear interested in chasing him down.
The group of dropped riders that includes the French champion Christophe Moreau is 2’30" behind the yellow jersey’s peloton that continues to be led by SDV riders. Currently a bandaged Millar is setting the tempo. Behind him is Cobo... then we see the orange and blue of the Rabobank jerseys.
Perez, Txurruka, Barredo, Colom and Gutierrez are 50" ahead of Kuschynski and 5’10" ahead of the peloton.
Txurruka has been reeled in by the four others. His team-mate Perez has now gone to the front and it appears that it’s time for Euskaltel to apply the one-two punch tactics.
One of the two Euskaltel riders in the lead of the stage was also involved in the big escape of stage 12. Amets Txurruka was voted The Most Aggressive rider of the stage to Castres. He and Fedrigo (BTL) were caught with 1200m to go in the stage and the 24-year-old Basque rider has red race numbers denoting his status as the ’Combative’ classification winner for the day before the time trial.
Txurruka has just surged ahead of his escape companions and leads by about 100m.
The peloton is led by four SDV riders and is at the 133.5km mark at the moment that the five leaders - Perez, Txurruka, Barredo, Colom and Gutierrez - are at the 135.5km mark. On the gradient of the Port de Pailheres that translates to a time difference of 5’25".
Perez, Txurruka, Barredo, Colom and Gutierrez are now 20" ahead of Kuschynski and 5’45" ahead of the SDV-led peloton.
Kuschynski is the first to be dropped from the lead group. The two Euskaltel riders are doing most of the work up front of the stage; there are five Spaniards in the leading quintet.
Moreau hung onto the peloton only 20 seconds longer than Boonen could. The pace of the peloton is now being set by four SDV riders and the French champion cannot match the tempo.
Agritubel’s two big hopes for the stage - Nicolas Vogondy and Juan Miguel Mercado - have just been dropped by the peloton. Other riders at the back of the bunch are: Gilbert (FDJ), Forster (GST), Aerts (PRL), Rinero (SDV), Hushovd (C.A), Casar (FDJ)...
There have been no attacks on the climb yet. The six escapees are in Rouze at the 133km mark. Kuschynski has been at the back of the lead group since the start of the Port de Pailheres.
With the SDV squad setting a solid tempo at the head of the peloton, there are riders now slipping behind the bunch. The first to drop off was the winner of stage two, Gert Steegmans (QSI).
The Rabobank team has benefitted from the work done by the SDV boys. At the base of the Port de Pailheres the peloton was 6’30" behind the leading six. Just before the 17km to climb sign appears, the Predictor-Lotto colors could be seen coming up the right side of the peloton to put Cadel Evans in a good position to mark any attacks.
There are 17km to ride for the six leaders before they reach the 2,001m high summit of the Port de Pailheres. Barredo is currently leading the two Euskaltel riders - Txurruka and Sanchez at the base of the first HC climb today.
The efforts of the Saunier Duval men isn’t wasted. The team’s manager Mauro Gianetti said that Iban Mayo was inspired for today’s stage and that his squad would work in the hope of setting up the Spaniard for a good race over the two cols of the 14th stage. Currently the peloton is at the 123km mark and is 7’00" behind the six escapees.
The leading group consists of six Spaniards and the only Belorussian in the 2007 Tour. Aleksandr Kuschynski of the Liquigas squad is content to allow the Spanish riders do most of the work; he is staying behind the escape and only coming through for a turn of pace every now and then while all others are putting in strong turns.
The Saunier Duval squad continues to set the pace of the peloton which is at the 121km mark with a deficit of 7’35" to Gutierrez (GCE), Perez and Txurruka (EUS), Kuschynksi (LIQ), Barredo (QSI) and Colom (AST).
The average speed for the third hour of stage 14 is 39.1km/h; for the first three hours combined: 41.5km/h.
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (GCE), Ruben Perez and Amets Txurruka (EUS), Aleksandr Kuschynksi (LIQ), Carlos Barredo (QSI) and Antonio Colom (AST) began their escape at teh 13.5km mark. They were part of a 27-man group and the others in that initial escape included Rasmussen and Soler - the riders in the yellow and polka-dot jerseys. At the 31.5km mark, 21 riders were caught by the peloton.
The maximum gain of the escape was 11’20" at the 63km mark.
The leaders are about to start climbing the first ’HC’ mountain of the 14th stage. They are nine minutes ahead of the Saunier Duval-led peloton. The Port de Pailheres is 16.8km long with an average gradient of 7.8 percent
The steepest section of the ascent is at the 16th kilometer which is at nine percent.
The site of the finish of the 14th stage is 1,780m above sea-level. Plateau de Beille was covered in thick fog this morning but the sun is now shining. Although the conditions have cleared and no rain is forecast, it’s worth nothing that a strong wind is blowing at the top of the final climb. It’s a headwind for the final section of the long ascent.
The leaders are nearing the base of the Port de Pailheres and have a lead of 9’45" with the peloton at the 106km mark.
The most recent visit to the Port de Pailheres was in 2005 when Georg Totschnig won by the points at the summit of this climb as well as the stage 14. The Austrian gave Gerolsteiner its first – and only - stage victory at the Tour de France that day. He beat Armstrong by 56” at the end of the stage but Totschnig had been part of an escape group and led over the fifth summit of the day. The points a the top of the Port de Pailheres in stage 14 in 2005 were won by:
1. Totchnig (AUT), 2. Garzelli (ITA), 3. Beneteau (FRA), 4. Ullrich (GER), 5. Landis (USA), 6. Armstrong, 7. Leipheimer, 8. Basso, 9. Mancebo, 10. Rasmussen.
The Port de Pailheres has twice been part of the Tour’s intinerary in the past. The first time this 2,001 meter high mountain was included in a stage was in the centenary edition in 2003 when Juan Miguel Mercado (ESP) was first at the summit. That was during the 13th stage that was won by Carlos Sastre (ESP) at Plateau Bonascre. The points winners at the ‘hors categorie’ summit that is at the 146.5km mark of today’s stage back in 2003 were:
1. Juan Miguel Mercado; 2. Carlos Sastre; 3. Jose Luis Rubiera; 4. Laurent Dufaux; 5. Richard Virenque; 6. Christophe Moreau; 7. Manuel Beltran; 8. Denis Menchov; 9. Jan Ullrich; 10. Alexandre Vinokourov.
Six of these riders are in the 2007 edition of the Tour and two – Sastre and Vinokourov - are ranked in the top 10 overall after 13 stage.
The bunch is still being led by Saunier Duval and Rabobank riders. It is at the 100km mark and is 10’35" behind the six-man escape group.
One of the riders in the Caisse d’Epargne squad’s Tour line-up is celebrating a birthday today. Francisco Perez is 29.
Christophe Moreau has stopped in the feedzone to change his bike. One of his AG2R team-mates has dropped behind the peloton to help tow him back to the action...
The peloton has arrived at the feedzone (94km) with a deficit of 10’15" to Gutierrez (GCE), Perez and Txurruka (EUS), Kuschynksi (LIQ), Barredo (QSI) and Colom (AST).
The rider who didn’t sign on for the 14th stage was Francisco Ventoso. He injured his left hand in a crash during the 12th stage and finally succumbed to the pain. "He tried to keep racing," said the Saunier Duval-Prodir team manager, Mauro Gianetti, "but it wasn’t realistic. He had to stop..."
At the 91.5km mark, the peloton was 10’35" behind Gutierrez, Perez and Txurruka, Kuschynksi, Barredo and Colom.
There are a couple of Saunier Duval-Prodir riders now at the front of the peloton. The bunch has been led by Rabobank men since the 40km mark but now there are just two from the Dutch squad at the head of the pack and four SDV riders contributing to the chase...
With the peloton at the 86.5km mark, it is 9’55" behind the six escapees.
At the second intermediate sprint of the 14th stage - in Campagnge-sur-Aude (at 91.5km), the points were won by:
1. Carlos Barredo (QSI) 6pts/6"
2. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 4pts/4"
3. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (GCE) 2pts/2"
The Gutierrez group is 10’15" ahead of the peloton that has been led by the Rabobank team since Rasmussen’s escape was caught at the 38km mark.
The average speed for the second hour was 39.3km/h. The average for the first two hours is 42.7km/h.
The six escapees are now in Couiza at the 86km mark. The second intermediate sprint of the stage is at the 91.5km mark.
The maximum gain of the escapees was 11’20" at the 63km mark. The peloton is now at the 77km with a deficit of 10’20" to Gutierrez (GCE), Perez and Txurruka (EUS), Kuschynksi (LIQ), Barredo (QSI) and Colom (AST).
“Rasmussen had a very decisive break with 27 riders earlier today and he had a few good guys there with him,” said Hendrik Redant of the Predictor-Lotto team when contacted by LeTour.fr recently. “It was a dangerous group and it meant that we had to do the chase and it took a lot of energy. It was a coincidence that the yellow jersey got in the break and I think it was a surprise even to him but it could have been decisive. The only thing that I wondered about was what he’d do if he was there all day on his own without any team-mates. We chased immediately because it was necessary.”
Cadel Evans is currently ranked second in the general classification just one minute behind Rasmussen, so what does Redant expect from the final two climbs? “I believe the guys in the front will keep riding like they are. They won’t gain much more than the 10 or so minutes they have right now - because the Rabobank team is at the front of the peloton - but I think we’ll see attacks from Astana go as soon as we reach the base of the Port de Pailheres. It’ll be very aggressive from about Usson-les-Bains (at the 129km mark) with the intention being to open the race and eliminate some and isolate others. Cadel is good,” concluded Redant, “he’s confident and that’s a good sign.”
At the 63km mark, the peloton was 11’20" behind the six-man escape group.
“Denis Menchov was really disappointed with himself at the end of the stage to Briancon (when he finished 42nd 4’32” behind Soler),” said Erik Dekker of the Rabobank team. “He had very low morale for the three transitional stages but he was happy with his ride in the time trial yesterday.”
The Russian was 21st, 3’30” behind Vinokourov (AST). “We are confident,” said Dekker, “that he can be a major asset for Michael in the next three days. He has given up his own ambitions in favour of assisting his team-mate.”
LeTour.fr just spoke with one of Rabobank’s directeur sportifs, Erik Dekker, to find out what he expects to unfold in stage 14. “First of all we want to get to the bottom of the first climb and see what our competition does,” said the Dutchman. “At the moment it’s not a big problem that there is an escape group ahead. It’s what we expected to happen and the selection suits us.
“We have two or three guys working at the front of the peloton now and the plan is for them to stay there and bring Michael Rasmussen to the base of the Port de Pailheres in a good position. I’m sure that a few guys will attack on the first ‘HC’ climb of the stage but the real battle will be on the final ascent. You’re never sure what will happen but Michael knows that if he wants to win the Tour de France he has to be aggressive today.
“It’s easy for me to tell him to attack but it’s much harder to actually do it when you’re racing against the best guys in the world. He knows he has to build a big advantage over the time trial specialists in these Pyrenean stages.”
Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom reached a maximum gain so far when the peloton was at the 52km mark. The last time check had Gutierrez’s group 10’10" ahead.
The bunch has reached the 52km mark, 10’40" behind Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom.
Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom are being allowed to build on their advantage. At the latest check they were 10’10" ahead of the peloton.
Of the six in the lead of stage 14, the best in the general classification after 13 stages is Jose Ivan Gutierrez (GCE). He began today ranked 28th overall, 15’21" behind Rasmussen.
As it reached the site of the sprint in Carcassonne, the peloton is 7’30" behind the six escapees.
As it reached the 44km mark, the peloton was 5’05" behind Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom.
The leaders of stage 14 covered 46.1km in the first hour of racing today.
The escapees have contested the intermediate sprint in Carcassonne (at 46.5km). The points were won by:
1. Aleksandr Kuschynski (LIQ) 6pts/6"
2. Ruben Perez (EUS) 4pts/4"
3. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (GCE) 2pts/2"
The peloton is around the 45km mark and is 4’20" behind Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom.
LeTour.fr contacted Mauro Gianetti, the manager of the Saunier Duval-Prodir team to get his thoughts on the stage and the condition of his riders on the day of the first stage in the Pyrenees. “Mayo is really motivated for today,” said the Swiss manager. “He has all the family here and his condition is good. Okay, he had a bad day yesterday in the time trial… but that’s not the best discipline for him.”
In the first 30km of stage 14, David De La Fuente tried to be part of the break. He was aggressive early again today and Gianetti said that’s typical of the Spaniard. “David is a rider who doesn’t have a problem in putting himself in the escape group. He’s always looking to be in the move and also get some points in the climbing classification. He’s always motivated to attack.
“Alas, we lost Francisco Ventoso after 13 stage. He had too much trouble with his hand injury and he couldn’t start today.”
Gianetti also had praise for Juan Jose Cobo who is ranked 24th after the time trial. “He is a confident rider who can escape with the first guys, he cal also climb really well and do a good time trial. From him we can expect all or nothing. He’s a special guy. When he’s got good motivation and good condition he can stay with the first group… and he’s got both today. Perhaps it could be a day for Cobo.”
The six escapees are now 1’45" ahead of the peloton which has eased off the gas a little with some riders opting to answer the call of nature after the yellow jersey was reeled in at the 31.5km mark.
Gutierrez, Perez, Txurruka, Kuschynski, Barredo, Colom are 40" ahead of the peloton which is now at the 38km mark.
At the 31km mark, the move by Rasmussen has been caught by the peloton.
Gutierrez (GCE), Perez and Txurruka (EUS), Kuschynski (LIQ) Barredo (QSI) and Colom (LIQ) have attacked the lead group which is about to be caught by the peloton.
The pursuit of the 26-man escape group that contains the yellow jersey is having an impact.
Perez (EUS) is 15" ahead of the yellow jersey’s group and 35" ahead of the peloton which is determined to reel in the cheeky attack by Rasmussen that began at the 13km mark.
Perez leads Rasmussen’s group by 10" and the peloton by 35".
Ruben Perez (EUS) has attacked the lead group. His advantage is 7" on the 26 other escapees and 40" on the peloton.
There are 13 Spaniards in the lead group of 27 which is currently 40" ahead of the peloton.
The team of Cadel Evans is leading the pursuit of the 27 escapees.
The 27 riders are 45" ahead of the peloton at the 21.5km mark. The escape group contains both the riders wearing the yellow and polka-dot jerseys - Rasmussen and Soler.
Gutierrez, Arroyo and Portal (GCE), Kirchen (TMO), Voigt (CSC), Rasmussen (RAB), Gadret (A2R), Zubeldia, Azanza, Perez, Txurruka and Verdugo (EUS), Le Mevel (C.A), Paulinho and Popovych (DSC), Fedrigo and Lefevre (BTL), Mercado (AGR), Kuschynski (LIQ), Vaugrenard (FDJ), Barredo and Garate (QSI), Colom and Navarro (AST), De La Fuente (SDV), Siutsiu and Soler (BAR) are the men who are currently 50" ahead of the peloton which is at the 20km mark.
Rasmussen’s group has caught the leading posse. There are now 27 riders with an advantage of 55" on the peloton.
Rasmussen said after the time trial that he would be aggressive today but no one would have expected him to do as he’s done and attack on the descent of the first climb. His group is currently 42" ahead of the peloton that contains Evans (PRL), currently second overall, 1’00" behind in the general classification.
Portal, Kirchen, Rasmussen, Azanza, Perez, Le Mevel, Popovych, Fedrigo, Mercado, Vaugrenard and Navarro are some of the riders in the yellow jersey’s group. They are 8" behind the first escape group and the peloton is at 50".
Arroyo (GCE), Voigt (CSC), Zubeldia, Txurruka and Verdugo (EUS), Gadret (A2R),
Lefevre (BTL), Kuschynynski (LIQ), Barredo and Garate (QSI), Colom (AST), De La Fuente (SDV), Siutsou and Soler (BAR) are now in the lead. They are 20" ahead of a group that contains the yellow jersey and 40" ahead of the peloton at the 13km mark.
At the top of the category-two cote de St-Sarraille the points were claimed by:
1. David De La Fuente (SDV) 10pts
2. Mauricio Soler (BAR) 9pts
3. Yaroslav Popovych (DSC) 8pts
4. Juan Manuel Garate (QSI) 7pts
5. Gorka Verdugo (EUS) 6pts
6. Laurent Lefevre (BTL) 5pts
This means that Soler is now equal on points with Michael Rasmussen in the climbing classification.
The five escapees are in the final 1,000m of the cote de St-Sarraille which peaks at the 9km mark.
“Now we have the possibility for riders to escape so the plan this morning is for everyone to try and make it into the right move and, if possible, one of our climbers,” said Denis Leproux if the Agritubel team before the start of the 14th stage. “I’m thinking, for example, of Mercado and Duenas Nevado – the two Spaniards of our team. They know the region really well and feel at home in the Pyrenees.
“It could be a day for Nicolas Vogondy too because he’s able to do some good things in the mountains on a good day. I imagine that it will be difficult to get clear of the peloton on the first climb which is right at the start. But there’s then a long flat section which should be where the escape group forms.”
The Discovery Channel team has come to the front of the peloton which is now at the 6.5km mark with a deficit of 12" to the five escapees: Txurruka and Verdugo (EUS), Barredo (QSI), De La Fuente (SDV) and Colom (AST).
At the 5.5km mark, the five men in the lead - all of them Spaniards - have a lead of 10" on the peloton. The climb that they are current riding up is 9km long with an average gradient of 5.3 percent.
Txurruka has caught up with Verdugo (EUS), Barredo (QSI), Colom (AST) and De La Fuente (SDV) are 10" ahead of the peloton on the approach to the first summit.
Verdugo (EUS), Barredo (QSI) and De La Fuente (SDV) have been caught by Colom. There are now four men at the front of the stage.
Verdugo (EUS), Barredo (QSI) and De La Fuente (SDV) are being chased by Colom (AST) and Txurruka (EUS). The peloton is 20" behind the stage leaders.
Cyril Dessel (A2R) and Nicolas Jalabert (AGR) have been dropped by the peloton on the first climb.
Verdugo (EUS), Barredo (QSI) and De La Fuente (SDV) are now 5km from the summit of the first climb and have a lead of 10" on the peloton.
One of the riders in the eight-man escape group - Stefan Schumacher (GST) - has crashed. The attackers have now been reeled in by the peloton and the German crash victim is calling for a new rear wheel from his team car.
At the 3km mark, Gilbert (FDJ) has been dropped by the peloton that’s now on the first ascent of the day.
Gutierrez (GCE), Botcharov (C.A) and Martinez (DSC) have bridged the gap to the lead group. There are now eight riders with a lead of 15" over the peloton.
Perez (EUS), Schumacher (GST), Barredo (QSI), De La Fuente (SDV) and Cardenas (BAR) are now in the lead of the 14th stage. They are at the 2.5km mark.
Contrary to the previous flash, the peloton arrived as one at the 1.5km mark (not 2.5km) and that’s the moment when Ruben Perez of the Euskaltel team launched the first attack of the day. He is now being pursued by four others.
Tom Boonen (QSI) still leads the points classification. He was presented with the green jersey while wearing a tracksuit yesterday as he was the 51st rider to start the time trial and he was hardly going to hang around the finish for hours to wait for the podium protocol in his wet riding kit. He leads Hunter (BAR) by 20 points and Zabel (MRM) by 21 points.
The peloton is all together at the 2.5km mark. There have been no early attacks in stage 14.
The official start of the 14th stage was at 11.47am. There are 165 riders still in the race. Francisco Ventoso of the Saunier Duval team was not at the start today.
There was no change to the top order of either of the classifications that are determined by points. Rasmussen still leads Soler (BAR) by nine points in the race for the polka-dot jersey but as the Danish rider is wearing the yellow jersey, the spotted top is worn by the Colombian winner of the stage to Briancon.
The time trial for stage 13 helped significantly alter the top order of the general classification. Michael Rasmussen (RAB) still wears the yellow jersey but his advantage over second place was reduced from 2’35” to just one minute. Cadel Evans (PRL) is now in second overall after finishing second in the 54km individual test yesterday; 1’31” behind the Australian is Alberto Contador (DSC) while Andreas Kloden (TMO) is just four seconds further back.
Alejandro Valverde (GCE) and Iban Mayo (SDV) dropped out of the top 10, moving from second and third to 11th and 12th, respectively.
The bunch is currently rolling along in the 2.2km neutral zone. The start of stage 14 is imminent.
The route from Mazamet to Plateau de Beille entails three climbs: the cat-two cote de St-Sarraille (at 9km) and two ‘hors catergorie’ ascents: the 2,001m high Port de Pailheres (at 146.5km) and the 1,780m mountain top finish.
The intermediate sprints for stage 14 are in Carcassonne (46.5km) and Campagne-sur-Aude (91.5km).
The 14th stage of the 2007 Tour de France goes from Mazamet to the mountain top finish at Plateau de Beille in the Pyrenees. The peloton is about to leave the ’depart fictif’ and ride through the 2.2km neutral zone before the flag will drop to signal the official start.
The roll-out will be at 11.40am with racing expected to begin at about 11.45am.
The conditions are overcast at the start in the Tarn region but it’s high cloud and there’s no real threat of rain in Mazamet. At the finish, it was cool this morning but the temperature is steadily rising and the fog lifts. It’s about 18 degrees at the moment with the maximum forecast around 25 degrees Celsius.
Live coverage of the stage will commence shortly.