Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TDF Stage 5 - Small Breakaway Succeeds For France

Map of the course for Stage 5, Tour de France - From Le Cap D'Agde (top) to Perpignan (at bottom). Image Credit: VeloNews

TDF Stage 5 - Small Breakaway Succeeds For France

Today's stage was expected to be one "by the numbers", in that, the teams would push and test each other up and down a couple of small climbs ... then maybe, take advantage of the winds off of the coast to break up the peloton with echelon formation moves as was done in Stage 3 to gain an advantage on other teams riders (this was how Lance Armstrong was able to move up from 10th overall in the General Classification to third ... and set up a tie in time to #1 with having the same overall time as Fabian Cancelara).

This prediction, however, was thrown out the window when six riders were able to breakaway from the Peloton and maintain the break with one rider, Thomas Voeckler riding for Bbox Bouygues Telecom sprinting to the finishline first and winning the stage by a scant seven seconds before the rest of the field finished the Stage.

The following text entries are picked up in the flat last third of Stage 5 along the coast with about 40km to go.

Elevation profile of the course for Stage 5, Tour de France - From Le Cap D'Agde (top) to Perpignan (at bottom). Image Credit: VeloNews

This excerpted and edited from VeloNews -

VeloNews Live Update - Stage 5 July 8, 2009

CPelkey: So the situation on the road, with about 40km remaining, the peloton is growing. It's 56 seconds behind the six leaders. There is a group of 30 chasing hard and they're about 45 seconds behind the main field. Gesink is still chasing.
CPelkey: It doesn't appear that there are any major GC contenders who've been caught out in the split... with the exception of Gesink, a talented rider who could be considered to be an overall contender.
[Comment From Gregory ]
Is Gesink using his wrist yet?
CPelkey: Gesink is in the big chase group. Tom Boonen is in there, too. The gap back to them is now 52 seconds.
CPelkey: He seems to be favoring that wrist. It could be a small fracture, something quite common in cycling... but hey, I'm no doctor.
CPelkey: The pace has eased off a bit. The pace is still high, but the gap back to the chasers is narrowing. The six leaders, with 33km remaining, have 52 seconds.
[Comment From Max ]
What is Astana's interests in leading the chase? Any GC threats in the break?
CPelkey: It's hard to gauge anyone's motives, but Gesink is chasing, so they have the benefit of shedding at least one possible threat.
[Comment From dapheel ]
Do you believe Johan Bruyneel will stay with Astana after the Tour de France is over? How about after the season?
CPelkey: I really have no idea. If what Vinokourov said the other day carries weight in Kazakhstan, then maybe so. If he does leave, we can imagine he won't have to wait too long to get another team to run. He has eight Tour wins to his credit. That counts for something.
CPelkey: Out on the road, the leaders are 25km from the finish and the gap is now 39 seconds. The chase group with Boonen and Gesink is another 45 seconds back.
CPelkey: Gesink has dropped back to his team car... it's clear he's suffering today. We sure hope he is able to continue the Tour.
CPelkey: With 20km to go, the Boonen group has caught the peloton. Gesink is in there, too ... we THINK.
CPelkey: The gap to the six leaders is down to 45 seconds.
CPelkey: The gap is actually bigger than we thought. It's 1:18 to the six leaders.
[Comment From Bradley ]
Are teams allowed to substitute riders the day following injuries?
CPelkey: Nope. Never. Once out, you're out and the team loses a rider.
CPelkey: Gesink is not in the peloton. He's trailing and may not make it back today. We just hope his injuries are such that he can continue.
CPelkey: It looks like the bulk of the work has now fallen to Columbia and Garmin. Hey, they have the top two sprinters in the bunch, they should be doing the work.
[Comment From Michel ]
Could you recap who the 6 leaders are? Thanks
CPelkey: We have their names in the little box right there, but as a reminder, they are Anthony Geslin (FdJ), Thomas Voekler (BBox), Marcin Sapa (Lampre), Albert Timmer (Skil Shimano), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ).
CPelkey: The gap is now at 1:26 with 17km remaining.
CPelkey: Actually we were wrong on that last distance check. With 12km remaining now, the gap is 1:19.
CPelkey: Gesink is now trailing the peloton by 2:30.

CPelkey: The leaders are now at the 10km to go banner and the gap is 1:18. Mmmmm.
CPelkey: Agritubel is moving some riders into the chase... they have to do something and do it soon.
Will the break stay away?
( 38% )
( 62% )
CPelkey: Of the men in the break, we'd have to favor Ignatiev to launch a late attack and hold on for the win, but Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ) is the new national champion of Belarus. And we don't know much about the guy.
CPelkey: With 7km to go, the gap is still at 1 minute. Mmmmmm
CPelkey: And there goes Ignatiev.
CPelkey: Yauheni Hutarovich didn't look all that hot. Ignatiev goes again.
CPelkey: Voeckler clamped on to the Katusha rider's wheel. Despite the back-and-forth up front, the gap is holding.
CPelkey: With 5km to go, it's at 1:00 again.
CPelkey: Voeckler goes...
CPelkey: He has a gap.
CPelkey: Nice gap. He's being chased by Hutarovich, Ignatiev and Timmer. The two FdJ riders are OTB.
CPelkey: With less than 4km to go, Voeckler is on his own. He's got maybe 10 seconds.
CPelkey: Ignatiev is chasing by himself. The peloton is back at 41 seconds.
CPelkey: Three kilometers to go. Voeckler is still on his own. He may hold this one.
CPelkey: It's Timmer in pursuit of Voeckler. He's still trailing by 10 seconds or so. Voeckler is 2km from the finish.
CPelkey: No way the peloton is going to catch.
CPelkey: Timmer is at six seconds. Voeckler is 1.5km from the finish.
CPelkey: Big crowds and they're happy to see Voeckler winning. He's not only French, but very popular here.
CPelkey: One kilometer to go. He's nervous. He's looking over his shoulder.
CPelkey: The gap is 10 seconds. It looks like Voeckler has it.
CPelkey: He wore the yellow jersey a few years back, but he is now going to earn his first ever stage victory.
CPelkey: An Thomas Voeckler wins the fifth stage of the 2009 Tour.
CPelkey: Nice win.
CPelkey: The peloton comes in together. And there will be no change in GC.
CPelkey: It's days like this, folks, that answer that age-old question about riders who try these seemingly futile breaks. Every once-in-a-while they WORK!
CPelkey: Voeckler, in fact, was the only rider to have stayed away. The rest were swooped up by the peloton, which finished a scant seven seconds behind the winner.

Voeckler celebrates in Perpignan. Voeckler dedicated this Stage 5 win to his wife and son. Image Credit:

# 1. Thomas Voeckler Bbox Bouygues Telecom
# 2. Mikhail Ignatiev Team Katusha, at 00:07
# 3. Mark Cavendish Team Columbia - Htc at 00:07
# 4. Tyler Farrar Garmin - Slipstream at 00:07
# 5. Gerald Ciolek Team Milram at 00:07
# 6. Danilo Napolitano Team Katusha at 00:07
# 7. Joaquin Rojas Jose Caisse D’epargne at 00:07
# 8. Lloyd Mondory Ag2r-La Mondiale at 00:07
# 9. Oscar Freire Rabobank at 00:07
# 10. Thor Hushovd Cervelo Test Team at 00:07
# 11. Angelo Furlan Lampre - N.g.c at 00:07
# 12. Leonardo Duque Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne at 00:07
# 13. Romain Feillu Agritubel at 00:07
# 14. Kenny Robert Van Hummel Skil-Shimano at 00:07
# 15. Albert Timmer Skil-Shimano at 00:07
# 16. Koldo Fernandez Euskaltel - Euskadi at 00:07
# 17. Andréas KlÖden Astana at 00:07
# 18. Yukiya Arashiro Bbox Bouygues Telecom at 00:07
# 19. Roman Kreuziger Liquigas at 00:07
# 20. Mark Renshaw Team Columbia - Htc at 00:07
CPelkey: Armstrong, Contador, Cancellara and the other top GC contenders finished in the field.
CPelkey: Gesink is still out there [injured]. He'll finish today, but he's lost a lot of time. Well over 9 minutes back.
CPelkey: Gesink is in, nearly 10 minutes down. We hope his injuries are such that he can recover enough overnight and maybe aim for a stage win along the way. Gesink is a remarkable talent and even if he pulls out of this Tour, he's bound to make a mark on future Tours.
CPelkey: Okay folks, that turned out to be quite a good one today. It's always refreshing to see the peloton flub the timing on a catch. When you see the picture of today's finish, you'll see how close they came to catching him, too... but this isn't horseshoes and close don't count.
Reference Here>>

So, Stage 6 tomorrow will feature Barcelona, with a strong North wind present to potentially set up more echelon tactic team racing.

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