Riders of the Lampre team with sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, and team HTC-Columbia with sprinter Mark Cavendish, lead the pursuit of the pack on the breakaway group during the 13th stage of the Tour de France.
AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski
As is typical on a transitional stage, a breakaway formed at 5 km. Stage winner Sylvain Chavanel Chavanel (FRA/Quick Step), Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP/Team Sky) and Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA/Bbox-Gouygues Telecom) rode clear of the peloton most of the day. The gap stretched to just over four minutes at most and hovered in the two minute range until they were picked off with just under 10 km to go in the race.
The category 3 climb of Côte de Saint-Ferréol (2 km, 6 percent grade) provided the stage for the drama, and although the sprinters held their own on the climb, the attacks persisted. Current USA National Champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing) could be seen moving his way to the front of the peloton and appeared to be riding in support and protection of Cadel Evans. However it was his teammate Alessandro Ballan who was launched on the attack.
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese-Vini), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) followed suit and each took their turn at making the break.
In the end, it was Vinokourov who broke free of the peloton and the aggressors to the top of the climb. Vino took the descent at top speed and was able to fend off the peloton all the way to the finish line clearly fueled by his loss in Mende Friday.
"For me, just to be at the Tour de France is a victory. So to win a stage makes me very happy," said Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban after being caught blood doping at the race in 2007. "This victory is also very important for the team's motivation, especially with four days in the Pyrenees remaining."
Sprinters Give the Crowd a Show
The sprinters organized, and although unable to pip Vinokourov, made a spectacular bid to the finish. Mark Cavendish, missing his leadout man, Mark Renshaw, sat on the wheels of the other sprinters before launching his incredible sprint. Cavendish took Petacchi by half a bike in the end.
In spite of missing out on a stage win, Cavendish was pleased with the day's efforts by his team. "At the end (of the stage) we weren't riding full gas," said Cavendish. "I had to use my team the whole day so I didn't have anyone, but if any of the other sprint teams wanted to take it (chase) up maybe we could have got him back. But he did a very impressive ride. We didn't win the stage today... but it was an incredible ride by Vinokourov. He deserves that win."
The Green Merry Go Round
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) took the green jersey off the shoulders of Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam)--yet again--by a mere two points. Hushovd crossed the line in eighth place to collect 18 points and now has a total of 185 points, with Petacchi at 187 and Cavendish at 162.
There was no change today for the race for yellow, white or polka dots jerseys.
Stage 13 Results
- Alexandre Vinokourov (AST) - 04:26:26
- Mark Cavendish (THR) +00:13
- Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) +00:13
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY) +00:13
- Jose Joaquin Rojas (GCE) +00:13
- Dean Julian (GRM) +00:13
- Andy Schleck (SAX) 63:08:40
- Alberto Contador (AST) +00:31
- Samuel Sanchez (EUS) +02:45
- Denis Menchov (RAB) +02:58
- Jurgen Van Den Broeck (OLO) +03:31
- Levi Leipheimer (RSH) +04:06
24. Christopher Horner (RSH) +11:56
36. Lance Armstrong (RSH) +25:38
77. George Hincapie (BMC) +01:06:02
Overall Points Standings
- Alessandro Petacchi (LAM) - 187 Points
- Thor Hushovd (CTT) - 185 Points
- Mark Cavendish (THR) - 162 Points
King of the Mountains Jersey
- Anthony Charteau (BBO) - 107 Points
- Jerome Pineau (QST) - 92 Points
- Mario Aerts (OLO) - 65 Points
Best Young Rider
- Andy Schleck (SAX) - 63:08:40
- Robert Gesink (RAB) +04:27
- Roman Kreuziger (LIQ) +05:16
Complete Standings on LeTour.fr
Stage 14 Preview
The 2010 edition of the Tour de France celebrates 100 years of the Pyrenees beginning Sunday as the peloton takes on four days of the race's most difficult mountain range. The steepness of the Pyreneean climbs will break the peloton apart and separate the climbers from the rest of the pack. At kilometer 155.5 of stage 14, riders will first face the Hors Categors (above or out of category) climb of the Port de Pailhères, a 15.5 km climb averaging 7.9 percent.
This stage will set the tone for the rest of the Tour as Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador go head to head on the slopes. Expect to see heroic efforts from other climbers, perhaps even Lance Armstrong will make a case for a stage win in his beloved mountains. With over 20 km of intense climbing, this is a stage you will not want to miss.
196K (121.8 miles) - Saturday July 17
- Watch for sprinters and fighters to steal the show on this stage
- Sprint Points at: Saint-Jean-Delnous, Caraman
- Mountain Passes: Cote de Mergals located at 24 kilometers - 3.7km climb to 3.8 percent grade - Category 4; Cote de Bégon at 31.5 kilometers - 3.1km climb to 4.5 percent - Cat. 4; Cote d'Ambialet at 72 kilometers - 5.2km climb to 4.6 percent - Cat. 3; Cote de Puylaurens at 125 kilometers - 4.3km climb to 3.9 percent - Cat. 4; Cote de Saint-Ferréol at 188.5 kilometers - 1.9km climb to 6 percent - Cat. 3
Image courtesy of www.letour.com
Image courtesy of www.letour.com