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Tour de France Cycling News, July 15, 2008

Date published:
July 15, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Surprising Kohl regrets time loss on Super Besse

    Bernhard Kohl regrets his stage six time loss
    Article published:
    July 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France There are a few surprising names on the top...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France

    There are a few surprising names on the top of the overall classification after the Pyrenean mountains. Alongside American Christian Vande Velde, who is third, German Bernhard Kohl is another name not normally seen contending for the overall in a Grand Tour. Kohl jumped away from the Evans group together with Fränk Schleck and the stage ten winning Saunier-Duval duo.

    After being dropped by these three riders, Kohl disappeared from the television coverage, but the Austrian did manage to stay ahead of the group of favourites to finish fourth in the stage just 1'05" from Piepoli and Cobo. After the stage Kohl got stuck on Hautacam and only managed to get back in the team hotel several hours after the stage finish. Kohl, a 26 year-old Austrian from Klagenfuhrt, waited a long time in the doping control truck and missed the helicopter that could get him off the mountain quickly.

    Kohl was still delighted about his performance and told Cyclingnews that he expected to attack the race today. "This morning I told the team that I would attack. On the Tourmalet I felt that my legs were super. I looked around and noticed the others weren't going too well," Kohl said.

    During the sixth stage to Super Besse, Kohl was held up behind the crash of his team-mate and then yellow jersey Stefan Schumacher. That crash cost him 32 seconds, and Kohl still has not gotten over the disappointment. "Now I'm regretting the time loss that I had in Super Besse. On the other hand I'm happy that we didn't take control over the peloton that day. If we had defended the yellow jersey [of Schumacher] in Super Besse then our performance today wouldn't have been possible," Kohl said.

    "Today the team did a perfect job by having Markus Fothen in the early breakaway. He did a perfect job in the descent and the flat section...

  • Menchov: "Schleck is in the game"

    Article published:
    July 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France After ten days of racing in the Tour de...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France

    After ten days of racing in the Tour de France, the top five of the general classification is still within a range of one minute, and Denis Menchov is the rider just inside that margin, 57 seconds behind new overall leader Cadel Evans. After the finish on Hautacam a relaxed Menchov talked to Cyclingnews and said that Fränk Schleck had become a problem now that he was in contention for the yellow jersey.

    "It's not only between Evans and me," Menchov said. "Of course Sastre is OK too, but the problem is Schleck. He's in the game as well." Menchov, a Russian who rides for the Dutch Rabobank team, was surprised by the move from the CSC-Saxo Bank team. The Danish team had Cancellara in the breakaway and they started pulling in the peloton right from the bottom of the Col du Tourmalet.

    On the climb to Hautacam CSC went on the attack with Carlos Sastre and eventually got Fränk Schleck away. "It's a little bit strange [what CSC did]," Menchov said. "Well, it's not really strange since CSC had to try. In the end it worked out well for them."

    Menchov worked together with Cadel Evans to keep the gap on Schleck and the Saunier-Duval duo under control, forming an unusual alliance rather than taking the opportunity to attack Evans. "Finally not," Menchov sighed. "The situation in the race was what it was. The favourites were looking at each other since the breakaway was gone and in the final part of the climb it wasn't hard enough to attack." Menchov didn't think the Australian looked like he was in trouble. "I think Evans was OK."

  • Piepoli leads Saunier Duval charge on Hautacam

    Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott)
    Article published:
    July 15, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Argelès-Gazost (Hautacam), France

    The Saunier Duval-Scott team scored its third stage win with a brilliant 1-2 punch on the slopes of...

    The Saunier Duval-Scott team scored its third stage win with a brilliant 1-2 punch on the slopes of Hautacam, not with the expected attack from its youngster Riccardo Riccò, but with the experienced duo of Leonardo Piepoli and GC hopeful Juan Jose Cobo. It was the first Tour de France stage win for the 36-year-old Piepoli. "I've been waiting my whole life for this," he said, "I'm in heaven!"

    "Thank God, tomorrow is a rest day, because I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight." The win was unexpected, as Piepoli wasn't even sure he'd race the Tour. "Cycling is a funny sport; I wasn't planning to come to the Tour this year. My crash and drop-out from the Giro were difficult to overcome; I'd been training since November to be in good shape for that race. Sometimes you focus on a race and the results are disappointing, but then you succeed in another without as much preparation."

    Finding himself on the way to a stage victory with his long-time team-mate Cobo at his side, Piepoli said he felt nostalgic. "I've been with him, [David] De la Fuente and 'Litu' [Ángel Gómez] since this team was founded."

    When it came to deciding who would take the stage win, there was no contest. "Cobo was really thinking more in the overall," said Piepoli. Cobo is now in eighth overall, and the team's highest placed rider just ahead of Riccò. Piepoli is confident in Cobo's climbing abilities, and although he admits there is a long way to go in the Tour, he said they will try again for a stage win and more time for the overall classification when the race hits the Alps.

    "In 2006 [Cobo] lost over 20 minutes on the climb to Plateaux de Beille, otherwise he would have finished in the top five overall."

    Piepoli has proven himself as a climber in the Giro d'Italia, where he won two stages in 2006 and the overall mountains classification the next year. He ran into trouble after a urine test following the