- Article published:
- July 20, 2010, 19:25 BST
- Peter Cossins
Family and friends on hand for Frenchman's victory
Stage 16 was planned as a commemoration of the Tour de France's first excursion into the Pyrenees 100 years ago, crossing the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque passes just as the 1910 race had. Consequently, it was fitting that a centenary after Frenchman Octave Lapize won the stage over those passes, another Frenchman, Pierrick Fédrigo, led the race into Pau after a memorable stage.
Active right from the start, Fédrigo counterattacked from the yellow jersey group at the foot of the Tourmalet to get across to a breakaway group containing seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong, France's outstanding stage race performer of recent years Christophe Moreau and 2004 Giro d'Italia champion Damiano Cunego. But with his family and friends watching in Pau, it was Bbox's Fédrigo who zipped through to take the sprint and his third Tour stage win.
"Yesterday I was almost cracking up because I thought I might finish this Tour without having got into a group that disputed the stage win," Fédrigo said. "Although I got away in a break with [Juan Antonio] Flecha and [Sylvain] Chavanel on stage 11, the key thing for me was to get into a group that decided the stage between them. It wouldn't have mattered so much if I'd finished second or third, I just wanted to be in there fighting for the stage win."
The Bbox puncheur explained that his first job once he was in the break was to try to defend teammate Anthony Charteau's lead in the mountains classification. "Once we'd gone over the Aubisque I knew that there were about 60km left and only then did I start to think about the stage win." He also admitted he'd thought back to his stage win last year in Tarbes, when he beat Franco Pellizotti in a two-up sprint at the end of a day that also took the race over the Tourmalet.
"When the sprint was launched I had deliberately taken up a position behind the other riders, then I had a bit of coming together with...
- Article published:
- July 20, 2010, 20:20 BST
- Stephen Farrand
Giro winner suffering with bronchitis
The Liquigas-Doimo soigneur waited patiently in the shade for Ivan Basso to finish the stage in Pau.
Basso was not in the front group that finished 6:45 behind Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and included most of the overall contenders. He was not even in the first gruppetto, with teammates Daniel Oss and Francesco Bellotti, that finished 23:42 down.
Basso eventually finished the 199.5km stage in 111th place, 34:48 behind Fédrigo. The huge loss of time means that Basso is now 24th overall, 37:18 behind Alberto Contador.
The Giro d'Italia winner had been suffering with bronchitis since Monday afternoon and was weakened by the antibiotics the Liquigas-Doimo team doctor had given him to cure the problem and reduce a temperature. He had been targeting a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double but now he just hopes to finish the Tour in Paris on Sunday.
When Basso crossed the line he did not stop when the soigneur held out a drink and did not want to talk to the Italian media that were also waiting for him. He rode past them all, with dried saliva on his lips and a blank, fatigued emptiness in his eyes.
He eventually spoke after recovering from over six difficult hours in the saddle. Like every other rider who had ridden the Giro d'Italia, his hopes of success at the Tour de France had faded during the third week of the Tour de France. Winning the now much tougher Giro and then an intense and constantly demanding Tour de France seems too much of a test for anyone.
"I'm really tired and worn out, it was an incredibly tough day,' Basso said. "I started the stage to honour the race because even my directeur sportif told me not to start. But I've never liked retiring and so I tried to hang on and stay in the Tour.
"This has been a tough Tour for me that always seemed to be uphill. Right from the start in Rotterdam it was more difficult that I think we all expected. This illness has made it almost...
- Article published:
- July 20, 2010, 20:55 BST
- Brecht Decaluwé
Sastre still in the hunt for stage win
During the penultimate mountain stage Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) regained the green jersey from Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini). The Norwegian road champion worked his way over the four giant climbs featuring in stage 16 and made it into the yellow jersey group that sprinted for tenth place in Pau. Hushovd won the sprint and gained six points for the green jersey competition, putting him four points ahead of his Italian rival.
Even though the stage profile didn't seem to benefit the sprinters since the two intermediate sprints were situated after the Col de Peyresourde, Col d'Aspin, Col du Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque, Hushovd explained that he did seize the moment to take some extra points over his rivals.
"It was an important day. I knew it was a good chance to try to get some more points," Hushovd said. After struggling on the Col de Peyresourde and the Col d'Aspin early on Hushovd recovered as the speed in the yellow jersey group dropped significantly. On the legendary Col du Tourmalet the Norwegian even jumped clear from this group, before getting dropped near the top.
Teammate Carlos Sastre helped him through these tough moments and on the Col d'Aubisque the Norwegian managed to stay in touch with the yellow jersey group. "The team did a great job helping me get over the climbs. With the break up the road, we knew there were some points waiting at the finish line. It's important to take many whenever you have the opportunity. The green jersey always comes down to who is the strongest rider over three weeks," Hushovd said.
Tomorrow he will surely feel the pain from today's actions but the rest day comes at the perfect moment for Hushovd.
Alessandro Petacchi, the now-former green jersey wearer, has been in the picture on a non-sportive side today - being linked to the Padova investigation - and the Italian didn't try to follow Hushovd, finishing in the gruppetto nearly 30 minutes after the...
- Article published:
- July 20, 2010, 22:25 BST
Galdeano, Bramati, Schleck, Dean, Contador, Horner
Quote of the day
Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano: "It's not that our riders crash or cause more crashes than those from other teams. We just have a very striking jersey that people notice..."
All smiles at Quick Step
What with Sylvain Chavanel's brace of stage wins and stint in yellow, the Quick Step riders and staff have rarely stopped smiling at this Tour de France. OK, granted, Carlos Barredo didn't look too happy with Caisse d'Epargne's Rui Costa after stage 6 - but he was the enraged, wheel-brandishing, Asturian exception. At all other times, Patrick Lefevere's boys couldn't have looked more delighted if the UCI allowed them to ride next year's Tour of Flanders with a motor in their bottom bracket.
The latest example of their boundless bonhomie: a fake communiqué, concocted with the help of Tour organizers ASO, and announcing that directeur sportif Davide Bramati had been fined 2000 euros for "présence excessive à la tête de la course" or "excessive presence at the head of the race". Nicknamed José Mourinho on account of his repeated tactical masterstrokes, Bramati is, alas, not a fluent French speaker, and fell for the prank hook, line and sinker. "He called [Tour competitions director] Jean-François Pescheux straight away to ask what it was all about and to protest!" cackled team press chief Alessandro Tegner this morning.
Bramati might have suspected another practical joke when he saw that Barredo was today's winner of the "Prix de la Combativité"...
Pescheux's popularity growing
Davide Bramati is apparently not the only one to have made a frantic call to Jean-François Pescheux in recent days. Having last week slammed Pescheux and the Tour for "playing with the riders' lives" with their dangerous courses in an Ekstra Bladet interview, Fränk Schleck apparently...
- Article published:
- July 21, 2010, 5:04 BST
- Greg Johnson
Team to continue after re-organisation?
Rahsaan Bahati has moved to clear up the future of his professional cycling team after a bizarre series of announcements declared the team would cease with immediate effect, which was retracted to some degree by a later release from Bahati himself.
A brief communication from Raha Sports Management announced Tuesday that the squad – Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team – would disband with immediate effect due to financial issues. A later release from Bahati however said the release “was not entirely accurate” and while the team is undergoing reorganisation, all staff and riders will remain with the new team.
While Bahati said the earlier release was made by the company employed to manage the squad, Bahati is a co-founder and partner in Raha Sports Management.
The following is Bahati’s personal release:
“Today's announcement – made by the company I employed to manage the Bahati Foundation pro cycling team – was not entirely accurate. The Bahati Foundation is alive and well, but the race team that supports it will be undergoing a re-organisation.
“Over the past year, I have learned some valuable lessons on how difficult it is to run a foundation and a business. I have never been involved in managing the team. However, by involving myself more in the day-to-day operations of both the race team and the foundation, I am confident that the mission of the Bahati Foundation will continue to be served.
“There's a lot of mis-information flying around right now. It will take some time, but the facts of what has happened and what will be happening to the Bahati Foundation pro cycling team will emerge.
“The team has been, and will continue to be, competitive and race well. This team has been through some hard times, but it has persevered and will move forward in a much more sound and stable fashion. All the...
- Article published:
- July 21, 2010, 5:30 BST
- Greg Johnson
Déjà vu as Voigt suffers crash on Stage 16
For the second consecutive year Jens Voigt suffered a bad crash on the Tour de France’s 16th stage, yet in true Voigt style he’s determined to fight through to Sunday’s finish in Paris.
Voigt hit the deck after his front tyre exploded during a descent on Tuesday’s stage, reminiscent of his crash a year earlier where he lost consciousness briefly after hitting the tarmac face first.
Despite suffering a lot of road rash from Tuesday’s incident, Voigt was upbeat when he posted a message to fans on team-mate Andy Schleck’s Twitter account, saying: “Hi it’s Jens, I am ok! Basically only my right ankle is untouched, all the rest of has some roadrush. But I will reach Paris this year - promised!”
Known for his matter of fact style, Voigt told it exactly how it was when recalling the incident on Team-SaxoBank.com. The German rider will try to recover during today’s rest day before helping Schleck’s bid to regain the Tour’s leader’s jersey on the final mountain stage.
“I'm doing 70 kilometre an hour on the first descent when my front tire explodes. Before I hit the asphalt I actually manage to think that this is going to hurt,” said Voigt. “Both knees, elbows, hands, shoulders and the entire left side of my body were severely hurt.
“My ribs are hurting but hey, broken ribs are overrated anyway,” he added. “Fortunately, I didn't land on my face this time and I'm still alive. I was however offered a ride on the truck that picks up abandoned riders but I'm not going to quite another Tour de France. Now, there's a rest day and Paris is not that far away.”
- Article published:
- July 21, 2010, 5:31 BST
- Richard Moore
Doing the Giro d'Italia was a mistake, Sky rider admits
With his overall Tour de France ambitions shelved for this year, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) began Tuesday's sixteenth stage of the Tour de France determined to get in the day's main break.
The Englishman made it into a move that was captured at the foot of the Tourmalet, but missed the counter-attack that followed and stayed clear. Later, however, he was as upbeat as he has been during this Tour when he emerged from his team's bus to speak to fans.
He then identified Saturday's time trial as his next big target, and said that he is likely to adopt a different approach to next year's Tour, which could see him skip the Giro d'Italia.
Wiggins also admitted that his honesty after Sunday's stage to Ax-3 Domaines - when he said, "I haven't got it this year" - removed a lot of pressure. "The minute I came out and said it, it felt like a weight off my shoulders," said Wiggins.
"I just thought, what's the point in trying to hide the fact, and kid myself? That was the real wake up call the other day. Every disappointment I'd had before then, I kept thinking, well, tomorrow I could rectify it. But it came to the point where you accept that it isn't going to happen.
"A lot of the guys who are up there had disappointing Tours last year, but they've come back this year and they're right up there. Look at guys like [Denis] Menchov and [Carlos] Sastre, who came to the Tour after tough Giros last year, but they're back up there this year."
As Wiggins said, this is the first year he has come to the Tour with ambitions of a high placing on general classification. And he claimed to have learned one important lesson.
"I won't do the Giro again," he said. "I think the severity of the Giro this year and also the fact I couldn't go to the Giro this year like I did last year, unrecognised and sitting at the back, made it more difficult. It's just too demanding now, the way the Giro is. Look at Basso, Evans - the guys who did well...
- Article published:
- July 21, 2010, 6:00 BST
- Cycling News
Armstrong goes close but the French run continues
Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) – 9th on stage, 46th overall @ 1:15:50: “Today my legs were super. I realised it right away on the first climb, the Peyresourde. I tried a solo act and I made my move when there were still about 46km to go to the finish line. I managed to gain a good margin on the rest of the group but unfortunately in the last 40 km the wind was always against me and this didn’t help at all. I’ve worked hard to be competitive in the Tour de France but I still haven’t won a stage and I think today I deserve to.
“This performance however doesn’t cancel out the horrible gesture that I made at the arrival of the sixth stage. The day after was the worst in my career. But with today’s performance I hope to have shown everyone that the real Barredo is a fair rider, faithful and steely.”
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) – 21st on stage, 2nd overall @ 0:08: "Today it was all about taking care of myself and staying with the leader's jersey. If the front group had been closer I would have tried to reach them but the gap was too big. Now, I'm really looking forward to climbing Tourmalet on Thursday. I hope and think I can still win the Tour."
Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) – 55th on stage, 15th overall @ 9:02: “I was looking again for the breakaway, like always. We went to the maximum, but it didn’t work out. We went over two climbs, but the gap was hovering around 25-30 seconds, and no one really took enough digs to make a real difference. Finally I decided to stop because I realised it would be difficult to stay away.”
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) – 19th on stage, 10th overall @ 7:51: "We came into the day knowing we were going to work to preserve my general classification position and that’s exactly what we did. David Zabriskie was great; he was with me all day and...