Ivanov Wins Stage 14 of Tour
Sergei Ivanov (Katusha) has won Stage 14 of the 2009 Tour. The Russian soloed away from 11 breakaway companions in the last 11 km to win the rolling, 199-km run from Colmar to Besancon in 4:37:46. Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) outsprinted Hayden Roulston (Cervelo) at 0:16. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) remains the maillot jaune.
About 15 km into the stage, 14 riders sallied off of the front. Among the attackers was Mark Cavendish (Columbia), who soon thought better of his aggression and returned to the peloton. The 13 riders who stayed away were Roulston, Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank), Martijn Maaskant (Garmin), George Hincapie (Columbia), Roche, Daniele Bennati and Frederik Willems (both from Liquigas), Daniele Righi (Lampre), Christophe Le Mevel (Francaise des Jeux), Sebastien Minard (Cofidis), Ivanov, Gerald Ciolek (Milram), and Albert Timmer (Skil).
Initially, Silence, Bbox, Rabobank, and Quick Step--teams that were not represented in the break--chased. The escapees, however, led the field by more than five minutes at 90km. Astana took over at the front, but the fugitives' advantage grew to more than eight minutes. At this point, Hincapie was the yellow jersey on the road.
In the last 50 km, Ag2r joined Astana at the front, but with 15 km left, the break led the bunch by 6:40. Clearly, a break member would win.
Three km later, the first attack took place. Roche made his move. He was caught, and Ivanov countered. Roulston and Timmer set out after the Russian but could not close the gap. Roche joined the pair in the last two km.
Hincapie stopped the clock at 0:16. He needed the peloton to finish at 5:25 or later to claim the yellow jersey. Columbia, however, had other plans. It was trying to position Mark Cavendish to take green jersey points. Ag2r pulled Nocentini to the front to keep him in yellow. The two motives together kept the respected American veteran from claiming the first yellow jersey of his career. The bunch arrived at 5:20.
Columbia's efforts were for naught. Cavendish was relegated for cutting off Thor Hushovd during the sprint. Hushovd received 13 points for 13th place and now leads the green jersey competition by 18 points.
In the overall, Nocentini leads Contador by 0:06 and Lance Armstrong (Astana) by 0:08. Stage 15 will be a standing shaker. The 207-km run from Pontarlier to Verbier, Switzerland will feature six categorized climbs, with the Category 1 finishing climb being the hardest and most important of them. Look for the GC men to put their cards on the table on this climb. Who will prevail? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!