Friday, July 27, 2007

Tour de France: Stage 18

Cahors to Angouleme 211 km

Good morning, GNB Sports. Stage 18.

Today Contador is in Yellow. He doesn't look quite certain he deserves it. The 140 other riders of the Tour don't seem to carry such doubts. This may be the first Tour Discovery manages to put two riders on the podium. If Levi Leipheimer has a good day tomorrow, perhaps Discovery will go 1 - 2. Take that Lance Armstrong!

Still haven't put in yesterday's stage notes. Will try and get it done today. Had computer issues last night at home. Not to mention went for a long ride last night to clear my head. Hurrah -- my Cilosport HAC4 Plus cycling computer (plug, plug) works like a dream. LOVE it. Needed some service for the first time in three years. Treated me as if I was the only person in the whole world. Good people. This is the model U.S. Postal used three years ago. Great stuff.

Today's transition stage, the fast version:

A five person break got out early. Sandy Casser and Axel Merckx are the people who matter. Willems hit a dog (yes, the dog is fine) taking down Sandy with him. Willems (LIQ) shuffled back to the peloton. Casser has major road-rash. The person who let the dog loose is a fucking idiot.

The break stays 8-10 minutes ahead all day. Here's the call:

Under the red kite. Which would be a great name for a nightclub.

Axel Merckx in his last Tour in third. Casser back. Boogerd in great position.

300 meters to go. Here comes the sprint. Sandy Casser out in front rips for the line.

Axel fades. AND THEY DON'T CHALLENGE SANDY. Sandy Casser the injured man takes it all the way home by 4 to 5 bicycle lengths. The French for the French and Sandy gets his first ever stage win he's been chasing for so ever long. What a great day for Sandy Casser and France.

Peloton finally gets here, 8 odd minutes later. Boonen on the line over Robbie Hunter. Tom Bonnen should take Green in Paris.

See you tomorrow with our normal coverage for the individual time trial. GNB Sports, good day.

Stage 19 LIVE in the U.S. on Versus: Early Start: Saturday, July 28, 8:00 - 11:30 AM ET/5:00 - 8:30 AM PT.

Today's video highlights -- Great Tour coverage at VeloNews

A Feast on Wheels: Behind the scenes Tour coverage by correspondent Bonnie DeSimone of ESPN, Boston Globe and the Oregonian.

Cyclelicious -- What's Your Source of News for Le Tour?

TDF Stage 18 Results -- Top 5:
The peloton reached the 5km to go banner 9'30" after Casar's quartet. The battle for fifth place is due soon but before the bunch arrives, here is the order of the top four in Angouleme:
1. Sandy Casar (FRA) FDJ - 211.0km in 5h13'31" (40.38km/h)
2. Axel Merckx (BEL) TMO - (minus 1 second)
3. Laurent Lefevre (FRA) BTL - (minus 1 second)
4. Michael Boogerd (NED) RAB - (minus 1 second)
The peloton has finished the 18th stage with a deficit of 8'35" to Casar. Boonen led the bunch home and held off a strong challenge from Hunter, Zabel and Chavanel.

TDF: Standings after Stage 18

1 112 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP DSC 86:04:16.000 00:00:00.000
2 041 EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL 86:06:06.000 00:01:50.000
3 111 LEIPHEIMER, Levi USA DSC 86:07:05.000 00:02:49.000
4 031 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC 86:10:18.000 00:06:02.000
5 071 ZUBELDIA, Haimar ESP EUS 86:10:45.000 00:06:29.000
6 018 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 86:14:34.000 00:10:18.000
7 027 KIRCHEN, Kim LUX TMO 86:15:52.000 00:11:36.000
8 118 POPOVYCH, Yaroslav UKR DSC 86:17:03.000 00:12:47.000
9 219 SOLER HERNANDEZ, Juan Mauricio COL BAR 86:17:47.000 00:13:31.000
10 073
ASTARLOZA, Mikel ESP EUS 86:17:58.000 00:13:42.000