An American just seconds away from the yellow jersey. Anger and confusion between teams. A top rider relegated for bad form. An upstart team claiming a stage victory. On what could have been a quiet day before the Alps, Stage 14 provided plenty of drama—and it all started with George Hincapie.
Hincapie was part of a large breakaway that formed early in the stage, but shrunk to 12 men after about 60 kilometers. With 131K to go, the break opened up a big enough gap that the Team Columbia-HTC rider became the virtual yellow jersey on the road. From then on, it became a question of whether or not he could hold the lead.
At around the 20K mark, Rinaldo Nocentini's Ag2r-La Mondiale team was pushing the pace of the peloton. However, time checks with 14K to go revealed that the break was riding at a steady clip of its own and not giving up significant time.
With under 11K to go, Sergey Ivanov of the newly-formed Team Katusha attacked off the front of the breakaway, taking them completely by surprise. He would ride solo to the line and claim his second career Tour stage victory. When Hincapie crossed the line 16 seconds later, the clock began counting down to the yellow jersey's arrival.
As the peloton neared, however, it appeared to be Garmin-Slipstream working at the front along with Ag2r. Silence-Lotto took a pull as well—the peloton seemingly declaring that it would prefer the status quo over Hincapie in yellow. Ultimately, Nocentini would cross the line with five seconds to spare, leaving the American in second.
The finish also saw some controversy as Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd, leading the peloton in, sprinted to the line for valuable green jersey points. Cavendish edged out Hushovd, but was later relegated to the back of the pack by the judges for not holding his line and forcing Hushovd too close to the barriers in the final meters. Cavendish now sits 18 points behind Hushovd in the green jersey standings.
Sergey Ivanov celebrates his Stage 14 win in Besan?on. - AP Photo/Christophe Ena
• From the Archive: Team Captain: George Hincapie Rides the High Road
Stage 14 Results
- Sergey Ivanov – Team Katusha – 4:37:46
- Nicolas Roche – Ag2r-La Mondiale +00:16
- Hayden Roulston – Cervelo TestTeam +00:16
- Martijn Maaskant – Garmin-Slipstream +00:16
- S?bastien Minard – Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne +00:16
- Daniele Righi – Lampre-NGC +00:16
- Christophe Le Mevel – Francaise des Jeux +00:16
- George Hincapie – Team Columbia-HTC +00:16
- Daniele Bennati – Liquigas +00:16
- Gerald Ciolek – Team Milram +00:22
Other U.S. Riders
33. Tyler Farrar – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
36. Christian Vande Velde – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
49. Lance Armstrong – Astana +05:36
139. David Zabriskie – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
147. Danny Pate – Garmin-Slipstream +05:36
- Rinaldo Nocentini – Ag2r-La Mondiale – 58:13:52
- George Hincapie – Team Columbia-HTC +00:05
- Alberto Contador – Astana +00:06
- Lance Armstrong – Astana +00:08
- Christophe Le Mevel – Francaise des Jeux +00:43
199K (123.7 miles) - July 18, 2009
• Colmar is known as the wine capital of Alsace
• Besan?on is a 17-time stage host
• Sprint Points at: Pulversheim, Dannemarie, Baume-les-Dames
• Mountain Passes: C?te de Lebetain located at 90.5 kilometers - 2.4km climb to 4.4 percent grade - Category 3; C?te de Blamont at 111.5km - 2.9km climb to 4.9 percent grade - Cat. 3
Image courtesy of www.letour.com
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