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95th Tour de France

Stage 19 - Roanne to Montlucon - 165.5 km (102.5 mi)

25 July 2008




Route Map - Stage 19

Elevation Map - Stage 19





Sylvain Chavanel has been an aggressive rider all throughout his career... but he is not what one might call a great champion. He has a natural prowess for seeking out breakaways, as audiences have beared witness over the past three weeks. He's worn the polka-dot jersey at various times throughout his eight rides in the Tour throughout his career, but has never had the prowess to hang through in the high mountains. His natural hunting ground is the long, undulating stages where the hills are present but not omnipresent. Today Chavanel finally cashed in on all that frustrated toiling, taking stage nineteen into Montlucon by beating out his younger breakaway companion Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) to the line a minute ahead of the peloton.


Following his nasty spill in yesterday's stage, pre-race contender Damiano Cunego (Lampre) was forced to abandon the Tour. Thus only 149 riders lined up at the starting line in Roanne, heading west-northwest toward the only two rated climbs of the day. As per the custom to which the Tour de France has become accustomed, the attacks started as soon as Prudhomme's flag dropped. The roads tilted upward immediately out of town as the riders began the ascent of the third-category La Croix-du-Sud. Classics riders Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and opening-week maillot jaune Romain Feillu (Agritubel) dropped off the back of the peloton to slog up the climb alone. Christophe Brandt (Silence-Lotto) dropped off as well and would struggle on only as far as the feed zone...


At the front, four men -- Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) and Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) -- bolted away from the pack. Schumacher led the quartet over the summit, and the peloton followed only twenty-seven seconds after. The field allowed the four to gain a minute advantage as the fourth-category Cote de la Croix-Rouge passed by quickly, Schumacher again collecting the maximum points at the summit and bagging seven toward his belated attempt at the King of the Mountains jersey.


On the descent toward Cusset, Charmeil and the feed zone beyond, the peloton began to reel the leaders back into the fold. Just outside Charmeil, around the sixty-ninth kilometer, the breakaway was caught and reintegrated. The counterattacks began anew until Chavanel slipped off the front and Roy bridged the gap. Chavanel, the better placed of the two riders on the general classification, was already almost two hours down on yellow jersey Carlos Sastre's elapsed time... so the peloton let the two ride at the front.


At the feed zone in Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule, the gap had grown to two minutes. By the first intermediate sprint in Chantelle, fourteen kilometers down the road, the gap had already grown to four and a half minutes. But the peloton was already beginning to cut down the lead by that point, the sprinters hungry for one last shot to warm up the legs before the grand finale on the Champs-Elysses. The gap just wouldn't decrease though, and the duo at the front began to consolidate its lead as the field passed over the unclassified climb on the road between Bellenaves and Echassieres. At the final sprint point on the road back into Montlucon at Commentry, Roy took the sprint ahead of Chavanel and the peloton found itself still down four minutes on the two as it passed through.


With the gap still at two and a half minutes with only five kilometers to the line, the breakaway looked to have thwarted the sprinters in one of their few chances for a mass sprint that this tough Tour offered. Roy and Chavanel continued to pull hard and evenly, sharing the workload into the wind, until the final 500 meters. The two lined up for the sprint, Roy tucked behind his veteran companion. Chavanel forced the acceleration and the kid couldn't maintain the pace. Redemption for all the failed breakaways had come... now he could finally say "Sylvain Chavanel, Tour stage winner"... 





Results - Stage 18



  1. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) Cofidis -- 3.37.09 (45.73 km/h)
  2. Jeremy Roy (FRA) Francaise des Jeux
  3. Gerald Ciolek (GER) Columbia -- +1.13
  4. Erik Zabel (GER) Milram
  5. Heinrich Haussler (GER) Gerolsteiner
  6. Leonardo Duque (COL) Cofidis
  7. Filippo Pozzato (ITA) Liquigas
  8. Thor Hushovd (NOR) Credit Agricole
  9. Robert Forster (GER) Gerolsteiner
  10. Julian Dean (NZL) Garmin-Chipotle -- all s.t.


  1. Carlos Sastre (ESP) Team CSC -- 82.54.36
  2. Frank Schleck (LUX) Team CSC -- +1.24
  3. Bernhard Kohl (AUT) Gerolsteiner -- +1.33
  4. Cadel Evans (AUS) Silence-Lotto -- +1.34
  5. Denis Menchov (RUS) Rabobank -- +2.39
  6. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle -- +4.41
  7. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne -- +5.35
  8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) Euskatel-Euskadi -- +5.52
  9. Tadej Valjavec (SLO) AG2R La Mondiale -- +8.10
  10. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS) AG2R La Mondiale -- +8.24


  1. Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank -- 244 pts
  2. Erik Zabel (GER) Milram -- 202
  3. Thor Hushovd (NOR) Credit Agricole -- 198
  4. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis -- 164
  5. Kim Kirchen (LUX) Columbia -- 145
  6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne -- 125
  7. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld -- 115
  8. Romain Feillu (FRA) Agritubel -- 114
  9. Robbie McEwen (AUS) Silence-Lotto -- 105
  10. Julian Dean (NZL) Garmin-Chipotle -- 99

  1. Bernhard Kohl (AUT) Gerolsteiner -- 125 pts
  2. Carlos Sastre (ESP) Team CSC -- 80
  3. Frank Schleck (LUX) Team CSC -- 80
  4. Thomas Voeckler (FRA) Bouygues Telecom -- 65
  5. Stefan Schumacher (GER) Gerolsteiner -- 61
  6. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld -- 61
  7. Sebastian Lang (GER) Gerolsteiner -- 60
  8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne -- 58
  9. Remy di Gregorio (FRA) Francaise des Jeux -- 52
  10. Egoi Martinez (ESP) Euskatel-Euskadi -- 51


  1. Andy Schleck (LUX) Team CSC -- 83.04.40
  2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas -- +1.58
  3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Liquigas -- +15.35
  4. Maxime Monfort (BEL) Cofidis -- +24.44
  5. Eduardo Gonzalo (ESP) Agritubel -- +1.04.47
  6. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE) Columbia -- +1.15.28
  7. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA) Barloworld -- +1.20.43
  8. Remy Di Gregorio (FRA) Francaise des Jeux -- +1.34.55
  9. Peter Velits (SVK) Milram -- +1.37.17
  10. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne -- +1.43.46


  1. Team CSC -- 248.37.12
  2. AG2R-La Mondiale -- +9.27
  3. Rabobank -- +1.01.17
  4. Euskaltel-Euskadi -- +1.07.57
  5. Caisse d'Epargne -- +1.11.56
  6. Silence-Lotto -- +1.13.29
  7. Lampre -- +1.18.16
  8. Columbia -- +1.23.09
  9. Credit Agricole -- +1.25.27
  10. Gerolsteiner -- +1.29.14



Tomorrow: Stage 20 - Cerilly to Saint-Amand-Montrond (53.0 km)

You want to know what would possibly make a guy wake up at six in the morning when he doesn't have to be to work until ten-thirty on an eleven-hour shift? The final time trial of the Tour de France, of course... this stage will most likely shake up the podium positions a bit. Sastre cannot feel safe after he lost out on his chance to podium in 2006, falling from second to fourth in the final time trial that saw Floyd Landis take yellow from Oscar Pereiro only to later lose it to a positive...


But that is neither here nor there regarding this trial except to say that Sastre could fall out of yellow as easily as Pereiro did then. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto, 4th/+1:34) will still be hunting for the top step of the podium after finishing second to Contador last year; and as he sits ninety-four short seconds behind, he could easily make up the time with his superior form in the race against the clock. A guy like Kim Kirchen (Columbia, 11th/+8:15), who wore yellow as well this year, or Denis Menchov (Rabobank, 5th/+2:39) could take the stage as well out of the GC favorites... but then so could world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara. It should be an exciting stage both for the contest for the stage victory and for the yellow jersey... plus Roman Kreuzinger (Liquigas), only 1:58 behind Andy Schleck (Team CSC) in the white-jersey competition to decide the best young rider of the Tour, could easily steal white and take away all the spoils from CSC before Paris...




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