Thursday, July 14, 2005
Bastille Day at Le Tour
Some important withdrawals of note, between yesterday and today. Jens Voigt, winner of stage 9, was unable to finish within the time limit in stage 11, so has been eliminated from the competition. Tom Boonen, who was the sprint leader (green jersey) as of the end of stage 11, apparently woke up this morning with a very swollen knee and was advised by the team doctor that riding today could cause long-term damage to his knee, so he did not start. He'd been in a few crashes over the first week of riding, and I think those crashes finally caught up with him. Finally, Manuel "Tricky" Beltran, a Discovery Channel rider, was in a crash during today's stage and was forced to withdraw from the race with a head injury of some sort. This will be the first time since 2001 (I believe) that Lance's team will not finish with all 9 riders, so I imagine there will be a little sadness and disappointment with the Discovery team tonight. Unfortunately, randomness in cycling is part of the nature of the beast, and sometimes random crashes do happen and require riders to pull out.
With Tom Boonen out, the green jersey will now go to Thor Hushovd of Norway (Credit Agricole). Lance finished with the peloton, about 10 and a half minutes after Moncoutie crossed the line. It seemed almost as if most of the leaders stayed back with the peloton today, knowing that today was a good day to recover from yesterday's mountain stage. The leaders of today's stage were far enough behind Lance and the other top riders in the GC that it was no threat at all for Lance et al to take it easy and finish 10+ minutes back.
Stage 12 Top 3 Finishers
1. David Moncoutie (FRA), Cofidis, 4:20:06
2. Sandy Casar (FRA), Francaise des Jeux, +00:57
3. Angel Vicioso (ESP), Liberty Seguros, +00:57
General Classification Top 5 After Stage 12
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 46:30:36
2. Mickael Rasmussen (DEN), Rabobank, +00:38
3. Christophe Moreau (FRA), Credit Agricole, +02:34
4. Ivan Basso (ITA), CSC, +02:40
5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Illes Balears, +03:16
(Image from http://www.capture-the-peloton.com/Races/Luk03/Luk03_1.html)