CyclingRevealed's First Impressions '08
Stage 10 - (Monday) July 14th, Pau to Hautacam, 156 km Mountain Finish
CSC's Bloodletting in the 'Circle of Death'
Bastille Day is a National holiday in France. History lessons tell us that Kings and Queens often used the Bastille (a prison in Paris) to lock up the dissidents. To the people of France the Bastille was a symbol of all the bad things done by their Kings and Queens. On July 14, 1789, a large force of French citizens stormed the Bastille and claimed independence for the people. Today, July 14th symbolizes the end of Monarchial rule in France. It is an Independence Day and the beginning of a new form of government.
Almost every year the Tour de France organizers schedule a stage on Bastille Day. For a Frenchman to win that stage is very prestigious. The following is a list of Bastille Day stage winners.
Today Team CSC played a major role in a Bastille Day overthrow of Team Columbia's Rule over the General Classification.
Team CSC started the stage with a plan to shake-up the Tour de France's stage 10 in the Pyrenees Mountains . Having played a quiet role in the early stages CSC aggressively attacked from kilometer zero. Twenty-four riders, led by CSC's Fabian Cancellara, escaped and slowly built their lead. In the breakaway 17 of the 20 teams in the Tour were represented. Milram and Garmin-Chipotle were force to drive the pursuit. The breakaway's gap came down quickly.
When the capture was imminent CSC's Fabian Cancellara executed the plan. Cancellara's effort on the front split the group and formed a new seven rider breakaway group. With Silance-Lotto's Yaroslav Popovych gone from the group the chasing peloton eased off the pace.
CSC's plan was to have Cancellara survive over the top of the Col du Tourmalet and be with the contenders for the push through the valley approaching the final climb. The plan was working as the breakaway hit the bottom of the Tourmalet with a 8'11” lead.
CSC's Fabian Cancellara executing the plan [ Images ©: www.gazzetta.it ]
Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux) attacked the breakaway mid-way up the climb of the Tourmalet and rode solo over the summit. French fans began to hope for a Bastille Day miracle. Cancellara was still driving the pace of the now shattered group. The breakaway was slowly losing time, but to the CSC led peloton. Powerful Jens Voigt shattered the chasing group with several conteders falling victim.
Contenders were being shed under the pressure with Alessandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego lost contact near the top. Their hope was to re-connect on the descent. Over the summit Cancellara sat-up and waited for the CSC led charge up the mountain.
With help from his team mates Valverde went over the summit 50 seconds behind the Yellow Jersey Kim Kirchen and CSC led group. On the descent Valverde closed to with in 25 second before the Cancellara/Voigt train pushed the single-file elite group toward the Hautacam . The lead jumped back up to over 1 minute and Valverde was done.
Bastille Day Fireworks on the Hautacam
Cancellara and Voigt delivered 20 riders to the base of the final climb. Ready to execute the final part of the CSC plan Frank Schleck made the first serious attack. Race leader Kim Kirchen began to struggle. Leonardo Piepoli quickly joined him with Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Juan Jose Cobo (Saunier-Duval), and Vladimir Efimkin.(AG2R). There were still 8 tough km to the finish and the five riders fell back to the group.
The real fireworks came at 6 km to go when Juan Jose Cobo shot off the front followed by Frank Schleck. Piepoli bridge to the two and the final selection was made. With the Yellow Jersey over two minutes behind the only question left to answer was “who would be the new race leader?”
Slowly the lead trio's gap went past 2 minutes and Frank Schleck was the race leader on the road. Inside 3 km to go Schleck lost contact with the Saunier-Duval duo and had to drive himself to the YJ.
Sensing his chance at the YJ Cadel Evans pushed and began to take back time on Schleck.
Stage winner Leonardo Piepoli [ Images ©: www.gazzetta.it ]
The Luxembourger crossed the finish line 25 second behind stage winner Leonardo Piepoli and the clock was ticking. To gain the race lead Evans needed to reach the finish line before the stage clock hit +2'15” . Race announcers shouted “THIS WILL BE BRUTALLY CLOSE! ”
Frank Schleck and Cadel Evans race to the finish for the Yellow Jersey [ Images ©: www.gazzetta.it ]
The Evans group drove to the line as the clock ticked off 2'14”. Cadel Evans was the new race leader by 1 second.
If this is ‘doping free' racing, then I say bravo to all concerned and keep the drama coming!
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