Tour de France 2008

July 5-27, 2008, Brest, France, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Cycling News
  1. 12:56:00 CEST

    Good afternoon and welcome to the live coverage from stage 15 of this year's Tour de France. After a series of transition stages where the sprinters had a chance to shine, the race returns to the high mountains today for the first of three stages in the Alps.

    This is a crucial part of the race, and will do much to determine who goes on to win this race.
  2. 13:00:00 CEST

    The 183 kilometre stage heads into Italy and will reveal much about CSC's plans to overthrown Cadel Evans. Will the team be able to show as much horsepower as on stage 10 to Hautacam, when it effectively ended the GC hopes of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre)? If so, it could well put Evans under pressure. His Silence Lotto team is nowhere near as strong as the CSC squad and so he will have to ride very astutely in the days ahead.

    For Evans, the best scenario would be to deliver a knock-out punch in the Alps, putting serious time into his GC rivals. That would require him to be more dominant in the mountains than he has been in the past. Alternatively, it might actually be advantageous for Frank Schleck to take over yellow by a small margin. This would force CSC to take over the pace-setting and, with Evans being a clearly better time trialist, would enable the Australian to bide his time and then give it full gas in the race against the clock.
  3. 13:03:00 CEST

    Heading into the stage, Evans has a one second lead over Schleck. Christian Vande Velde is an excellent third, just 38 seconds back.

    This was how things looked this morning:
    General classification after stage 14: 
    1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 59.01.552 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - Saxo Bank 0.013 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30 0.384 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner 0.465 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.576 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank 1.287 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 1.568 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale 2.329 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3.5110 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 4.1811 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 4.2612 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 4.4113 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale 5.2314 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre 5.3715 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 6.01

  4. 13:06:00 CEST

    Realistically, those in the top eight are in with a shout of the final victory. However, stranger things have happened in the Tour and one strong day could bring more riders back into contention. Never say never, especially with three big days in the mountains ahead.
  5. 13:16:00 CEST

    The riders are racing, minus the quadruple stage victor Mark Cavendish. He was dropped close to the finish yesterday and, feeling considerable fatigue in advance of three tough Alpine stages, decided not to start today.

    Cavendish is still just 23 years of age and wants to focus on his next target; winning Olympic gold in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins.
  6. 14km remaining from 183km

    13:18:00 CEST

    Three riders went clear after some 12 kilometres of racing: Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Jose Luis Arrieta (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Danny Pate (Garmin Chipotle).
  7. 13:19:00 CEST

    Prior to that move, many others tried to get clear but with no success.
  8. 13:22:00 CEST

    We are getting reports that there is snow on the first climb, the Hors Cat
  9. 13:25:00 CEST

    Simon Gerrans (Credit Agricole) got across at km 16. So we have four leaders now.
  10. 19km remaining from 183km

    13:27:00 CEST

    The quartet is 2'16 ahead now.

    There are two intermediate sprints today, at Guillestre (14.5km) and Rossana (114.5km).
  11. 13:30:00 CEST

    The riders have a very tough day ahead; the weather is wet and grim looking.
  12. 13:32:00 CEST

    Martinez took the earlier sprint in Guillestre (km 14.5) ahead of Arrieta and Pate.
  13. 24km remaining from 183km

    13:34:00 CEST

    The four breakaway riders are working hard to build their lead. Meanwhile, the peloton is taking things handy. The riders are spread across the road and clearly not giving it socks as yet. They've a long day in the saddle and will bide their time.

    Egoi Mart
  14. 13:37:00 CEST

    Arrieta rode for Miguel Indurain, having joined Banesto in 1993. He's been around a while; the Spaniard is 37 years of age.
  15. 13:38:00 CEST

    Evans' Silence Lotto team are on the front, but the fact that Robbie McEwen is in the front line on this climb shows that they are taking things handy. He's a great sprinter, but not much of a climber (as is usually the case for those with fast-twitch fibres).
  16. 28km remaining from 183km

    13:38:00 CEST

    Robert Hunter has a flat tyre.

    The leaders are now 5'35 ahead. Gerrans leads, with Arrieta on his wheel. They are all soaked through.
  17. 13:42:00 CEST

    Writing on his site, the sprinter had this to say about the Barloworld withdrawal from the sport:

    I know everybody has heard that Barloworld is pulling out of sponsoring the team but its not as drastic as it may seem. The team, in essence, is going to continue and will just ride under a different name. It will be the exact same situation as High Road and Slipstream were before. There was funding for a team but there was no actual main sponsor that had naming rights on the clothing, so after the Tour the team will be named something totally different. However the riders and management all all other things concerned remain the same.

    Only the name of Barloworld and its brands will be removed from all team goods.

    Yes, it's sad that one event can have such a catastrophic effect on the team but it is life I guess. Would have been nice if they stuck around though, cause I've yet to see a person say "hey I'm not renting an AVIS car cause Mr Due
  18. 13:45:00 CEST

    This morning, the points classification looked like this:

    Points classification:
    1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                                219 pts2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cr
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