Monday, July 23, 2007

Stage 15: Foix to Loudenvielle

Here's a poetic tribute to the Lanterne Rouge.

I don't yet have confirmation of any DNSs for the day. Possibly Philippe Gilbert? Ah, yes, Velonews says: "We see that Francaise des Jeux's Philippe Gilbert and Liquigas's Filippo Pozzato opted not to start." Pozzato was the Lanterne Rouge of Stage 3 in 2006. There are 163 riders at the start of the day.

Here's a somewhat garbled note in the coverage about our Lanterne Rouge: "Philippe Gilbert had a fever yesterday and struggled to last place, some 40-odd minutes down. He made the time cut but Wim Vansevenant didn't (Predictor-Lotto) didn't think he'd be able to start and he didn't. Vansevenant for himself told Brecht Decaluwè that he is the master of managing the time cuts, but acknowledged it will be really hard today to make it. It's a very difficult stage. We'll keep you posted on the Belgian rider, who wants to save his Lanterne Rouge place all the way to Paris.""

They said on Versus that Cyril Dessel (Ag2r Prevoyance) abandoned today. Yes, at around 39 km into the stage. The head count is now 162, with 27 riders lost en route thus far in the Tour.

Alexandre Vinokourov should be nicknamed Rasputin. They can't kill him. Stabbing? Poison? Clubbing? Shooting? Drowning? Stupid spectators? Nothing can get that man down for long.

Oh no! The web updates reveal some more abandons that weren't covered on TV. Here's the full list for the day of riders who are finished with the 2007 Tour de France:

165 GILBERT Philippe (BEL) FRANCAISE DES JEUX non-starter
151 POZZATO Filippo (ITA) LIQUIGAS non-starter
109 LE MEVEL Christophe (FRA) CREDIT AGRICOLE withdrawls
64 DESSEL Cyril (FRA) AG2R PREVOYANCE withdrawls

Le Mevel was the C.A. rider who crashed going around a right-hand curve at about the 40 km mark and then a rider in orange flipped over him, Jorge Azanza from Euskaltel-Euskadi.

I haven't found word about exactly what happened to Fast Freddie Rodriguez today, but he abandoned before the fourth climb. He said on his blog before the stage, "I managed to survive yesterday’s race with a real bad stomach. Don't ask me how. I think I really went deep mentally, because physically I was empty. I woke up with the same bad stomach this morning. This will be my chance to fight again and hang on."

Rik Verbrugge, Cofidis rider who was in our final five yesterday, had a great ride today and finished in 56th place, moving him up from the penultimate rider in the GC to 144th overall. There was a huge autobus of 47 riders who arrived at the finish line at 35:45 after the stage winner, with no late stragglers. Wim Vansevenant, the Lanterne Rouge, arrived about 4 minutes ahead of it, so that modified his time gap slightly. There are 160 remaining in the Tour.

Our final five in the standings are now:

156. HUSHOVD Thor 101 CREDIT AGRICOLE 72h 48' 08" + 2h 55' 54"
157. KRAUSS Sven 96 GEROLSTEINER 72h 50' 34" + 2h 58' 20"
158. GERAINT Thomas 215 BARLOWORLD 72h 52' 12" + 2h 59' 58"
159. NUYENS Nick 145 COFIDIS CREDIT PAR TELEPHONE 72h 54' 13" + 3h 01' 59"
160. VANSEVENANT Wim 49 PREDICTOR - LOTTO 72h 57' 12" + 3h 04' 58"

(Um, their name in the official Tour standings is backwards, not me, the given name is Geraint, the family name is Thomas).

It seems that Thor Hushovd threw out his back while taking a leak off the bike earlier in the Tour. He indicated he might have been unable to continue if the rest day hadn't fortunately been next.

And here are the stage stats, courtesy of VeloNews:

Medical report:
Le Mevel (Credit Agricole) fall on the Col de Port, traumatism on right shoulder, transferred to hospital in Saint-Girons, X-rays revealed a fracture in the right clavicle
Efimkin (Barloworld) crash on Col de Port, superficial cuts and scrapes
Iglinskiy (Astana) crash at 100km, without apparent serious injuries
Rodriguez and Van Summeren (Predictor-Lotto), Moreau (Ag2r), Mercado (Agritubel), Nuyens (Cofidis), Sieberg (Milram) - all digestive problems

Jury decisions: No rulings

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