Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stage Sixteen: Cuneo to Jausiers

Wim Vansevenant of Silence-Lotto is back in the Lanterne Rouge slot, since Sébastien Chavanel of FdeJ is apparently out.

However, the stage results are not coming up yet on the official Tour de France site. More later!

Ahhh, here we are:
Two more out, bringing the peloton down to 151 men:
162 CHAVANEL Sébastien (FRA) FRANCAISE DES JEUX withdrawal
63 CHICCHI Francesco (ITA) LIQUIGAS outside time limit

Chavanel must not have been feeling well - he dropped out about halfway up the first climb of the day. Epoch Times said, with a hint of disdain, ". . . he was in last place in the General Classification, and his team no longer needed his efforts." No reports on Chicchi, but he's a sprinter with enormous thighs and so probably not well-suited to the steepest climbs.

The big autobus that came over the line at 31:56 after the stage winner held 57 riders including most of the guys we have talked about on this blog. Again, I'm not sure what the cutoff was today but you're pretty safe from elimination at the Tour if you have 56 other riders in your grupetto.

Final five in the overall standings:

147. KRAUSS Sven 116 GEROLSTEINER 71h 24' 50" + 2h 54' 34"
148. EISEL Bernhard 45 TEAM COLUMBIA 71h 26' 27" + 2h 56' 11"
149. RIBLON Christophe 108 AG2R-LA MONDIALE 71h 26' 43" + 2h 56' 27"
150. SPRICK Matthieu 146 BOUYGUES TELECOM 71h 32' 28" + 3h 02' 12"
151. VANSEVENANT Wim 9 SILENCE - LOTTO 71h 38' 26" + 3h 08' 10"

It's worth noting that the time gap between the current Lanterne Rouge and the nearest rider in the standings is now nearly six minutes. Unless something unusual happens or he is forced to abandon, Wim Vansevenant is in a very strong position to make Tour de France history by finishing in the Lanterne Rouge position for an unprecedented third consecutive year.

Incidentally, the Silence-Lotto team website seems to take no notice of this other than on Vansevenant's individual page.

I'm sure they're all tired and dreading what tomorrow may bring. Best wishes and safe journey, gentlemen.

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Well, as we thought, Chavanel must have had some problems yesterday, and obviously things weren't getting better today.

Now just one more mountain stage to get through for Wim. As usual, he put in a steady performance today, finishing with a large group at the back, about 32 minutes behind the winner.
Darn it all, Blogger is down! I can't post today's (Weds.) report!

Sorry to see that 2-time Lanterne Rouge Jimmy Casper of Agritubel didn't make the time limit on Alpe d'Huez today.

Wim is still Lanterne Rouge.
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