Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tour de France - Stage 18

I have to say I really like Paul Sherwin. He has been a good commentator. But mostly I like how he doesn't let up on Bjarne Riss the team manager of the CSC team. Early in this years tour Riis ordered his team to leave David Zabrinski who was wearing the yellow jersey laying on the road after a crash. Then a couple days later when his teammate Jens Voight was wearing the yellow and got in trouble on a climb, he ordered the team to leave him.

Paul Sherwin doesn't like Riis's lack of respect for his team members who are wearing yellow and he isn't afraid to voice that displeasure.

Today in the prerace show OLN showed some footage of the CSC participating in a team building excercise this last December. They were taking part in a military style bootcamp. As the pictures showed the team in fatigues loading gear into a small inflatable boat the announcers were discussing how the individuals looked and Paul Sherwin asked "I wonder what happened when they got to the part about not leaving any men behind?"

Bob Roll responded that they obviously left that part out of the training.

OK, on with the race.

Stage 18 is 189 km from Albi to Mende. There are a couple sprints and two 2nd Category, two 3rd Category, and a 4th Category climbs.

This ride is pretty benign in the eraly part, they they climb up the central plateau. There is a couple harsh climbs in the last 10 kms.

There was an early breakaway, imagine that. 14 riders got out about 15 minutes at one point. But there were no contenders in the pack so they were allowed to run.

The 14 man breakaway spintered on the final climb and came down to Davitamon-Lotto's Axel Merckx, Marcos Serrano of Liberty Seguros and Cofidis' Cedric Vasseur.

Serrano outsprinted Merckx and Vasseur for his first stage in 8 tours. This is also the first win for Liberty Seguros this year.

The main pack did thier own fighting on the second to the final climb with Basso, Armstrong, Ullrich, and Evans running away from Vinokourov, Rasmussen, and Leipheimer.

There was not much change in the GC. Cadel Evan jumped back over Vinokourov to regain his 7th place finish.

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