Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Monster Stage 11: Carnage atop the Alps

Italian rider Dario Frigo (Fasso Bartolo) is out of the Tour for drugs. Authorities busted his wife for smuggling drugs in her car trunk and then hauled him out of the team's hotel in Courcheval at 8:15 AM. Frigo was also busted in 2001 for drugs during the Giro d'Italia. I guess he's a slow learner. Jean Marie LeBlanc, Tour organizer, apparently had the same opinion: "He belongs to a generation of riders who just won't learn. That generation has to leave as soon as possible to be replaced by a generation of riders who respect the rules." Frigo had been in 52nd position overall, now he's just in hot water.

The finish of today's route, from

Former Lanterne Rouge Leonardo Piepoli of Saunier Duval ROCKED another mountain stage today, coming in with the first large pack along with the Tour leaders at 1:15 back from the stage winners. He catapulted himself from last place for the first three days all the way up into 26th place overall in the Tour de France. AWESOME ride, Leonardo! Vai, Leonardo, vai!

Here's the damage that the Col de Galibier did to the members of the peloton:

Suddenly we're down to 167 riders.

Jens Voigt, former wearer of the yellow jersey in Stage 9, finished 39 seconds outside of the time limit in stage 11, which takes him out of the Tour. Oh, what a difference ~72 hours (and 39 seconds) makes! The second maillot-jaune-wearer of the CSC team to be forced to abandon! Voigt has been ill with fever for the past few days, according to CSC. "When I started in today's stage, I knew it was against all odds, but I still wanted to do everything I possibly could to continue."

As the said, "Just under 2km to the summit of the Télégraphe .... Zanini (Quick Step) abandons the race. Not surprising. I would do the same thing."

Despite another solid finish in the 96th spot today with the penultimate grupetto to cross the line, Spanish rider Iker Flores (at right; riding for Euskaltel Euskadi) maintains his position as Lanterne Rouge. Ahead of him by about 10 minutes in the general classification (though finishing about 8 minutes later today) is Janeck Tombak, Lanterne Rouge for two stages to date. Third from last is Daniel Becke, a German rider on the Illes Balears team, who also finished in the final grupetto along with Tombak.

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Ack! Jens is out of the tour??! In the yellow one day and out of the tour a couple days later. He looked like it was struggling pretty bad yesterday going up the last climb. I feel for the guy, though. :(
It breaks my heart a little about Jens - although I think the team behavior in the TT was very unsporting, Jens seems like such a genuinely nice guy.
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