Contador Wins Stage 14 of Tour

News & Results

07/23/2007| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Alberto Contador (Team Discovery Channel) on the podium. Photo copyright <A HREF="http://www.photoshelter.com/usr-show?U_ID=U0000yEwV90OAoAE" TARGET="_BLANK">www.BenRossPhotography.com</A>.
Alberto Contador (Team Discovery Channel) on the podium. Photo copyright www.BenRossPhotography.com.

Contador Wins Stage 14 of Tour

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 14 of the Tour de France.

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 14 of the Tour de France. The leader in the best young rider competition took a two-up sprint from Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) to win the mountainous, 197-km ride from Mazamet to Plateau de Beille in 5:25:48. Juan Soler (Barloworld) finished third at 0:37. Rasmussen has padded his overall lead.

The stage began with an ascent of the Category 2 Cote de St-Sarraille. The pace up the climb was fast because King of the Mountains points were at issue. On the descent, Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Ruben Perez and Amets Txurruka (both from Euskaltel), Alexander Kuschynski (Liquigas), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), and Antonio Colom (Astana) rolled off of the front. The escapees' lead grew to 11:30 over the Euskaltel-led peloton.

The sextet's advantage was down to 7:30 at the base of the hors
categorie Port de Pailheres. Early in the climb, Kuschynski was dropped. Behind, Saunier Duval set the peloton's pace. Stage 13 winner Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) was dropped, and a fan would add injury to insult by accidentally knocking down the Kazakh. The pace was so hard that Saunier Duval captain Iban Mayo, who sought a stage win, was dropped as well. When the yellow jersey group reached the summit, it was 2:37 behind the leading quintet.

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) was dropped but got back on and set a furious pace up the finishing climb. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was dropped immediately, and Andreas Kloden (Astana) slid out of the back next. When Popovych dropped off of the front, the yellow jersey group was down to Rasmussen, Cadel Evans (Predictor), Carlos Sastre (CSC), Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador (both from Discovery Channel), and Soler.

With 8.5 km remaining, Rasmussen attacked. All of his companions responded. Soler, Rasmussen, and Contador took turns attacking, and one of Contador's moves broke the yellow jersey group. Only Rasmussen could follow the Spaniard.

 

With four km left, the pair caught and dropped Colom. With 1.5 km left, Rasmussen attacked, but Contador stayed with the Dane and countered with 300 m left.

In the overall, Rasmussen leads Contador by 2:23 and Evans by 3:04. Stage 15 will be the hardest stage of the Tour, and it will shake up the standings more than today's stage did. The 196-km ride from Foix to Loudonvielle will take the riders over the Category 2 Col de Port and Col de Portet d'Aspet and the Category 1 Col de Monte, the hors categorie Port de Bales, and the Category 1 Col de Peyresourde. From the summit of the Peyresourde, the riders will descend to the finish. Look for battles on the Port de Bales and on the Peyresourde. Can anyone find a chink in Rasmussen's armor? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!

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