Tour de France 2011

The 2011 Tour de France is now underway and for the cycling community this race would arguably be the most prestigious and also the most gruelling event on their calendar. Before the race began there were three standout favourites to carry the yellow jersey into the last day – Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans. Nothing much has changed since then, however this is where Pen & Paper Sports will keep you updated with what is going on in the famous race. A brief rundown of the stage, the stage positions, the overall leaders in the yellow jersey race and of course, the standings of our own Australian riders will all be included on this page. Let’s get right into it –

Stage 1 – Passage du Gois La Barre de Monts >> Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers (191.5km)

The 1st stage in this years Tour de France had one major drawback in the form of a massive crash just 10km from the finish that saw many riders delayed, while those in front happily went on their way. Throughout the stage HTC High Road and also Omega Pharma Lotto were the ones setting the pace at the front of the peloton, keeping the breakaway of three riders within a 7′ distance. Those riders were caught with about 20km to go in the stage.

Stage 1 Placings:
1. PHILIPPE Gilbert 4h 41′ 31″
2. EVANS Cadel   + 00′ 03″
3. HOVD Thor   + 00′ 06″
4. ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin
5. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen
6. THOMAS Geraint
7. KLODEN Andreas
8. TAARAMAE Rein
9. HORNER Christopher
10. MARTIN Tony

Stage 2: Les Essarts >>Les Essarts (23km)

Stage 2 on the Tour was the team time trial event with us Aussies having to stay up until 1am (ish) to see Cadel Evans and his BMC team go for their time. However it was Alberto Contador and Saxobank that made the early time and one people thought would be tough to beat, however a number of teams did including Thor Hushovd and Cadel Evans’ teams. The 23km length of this time trial is a fair distance shorter than previous TT’s which made the teams expel more energy to try and keep up a consistent pace around 60km/h for the entire TT.

Stage 2 Placings (Team Time Trial):
1. TEAM GARMIN – CERVELO  24′ 48″
2. BMC RACING TEAM  + 00′ 04″
3. SKY PROCYCLING  + 00′ 04″
4. TEAM LEOPARD-TREK  + 00′ 04″
5. HTC – HIGHROAD  + 00′ 05″
6. TEAM RADIOSHACK  + 00′ 10″
7. RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM  + 00′ 12″
8. SAXO BANK SUNGARD  + 00′ 28″
9. PRO TEAM ASTANA  + 00′ 32″
10. OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO  + 00′ 39″
Individual Standings after Stage 2:
1. HUSHOVD Thor 5h 06′ 25″
2. MILLAR David   + 00′ 00″
3. EVANS Cadel   + 00′ 01″
4. THOMAS Geraint   + 00′ 04″
5. GERDEMANN Linus   + 00′ 04″
6. SCHLECK Frank   + 00′ 04″
7. CANCELLARA Fabian   + 00′ 04″
8. HAGEN Edvald   + 00′ 04″
9. QUINZIATO Manuel   + 00′ 04″
10. SCHLECK Andy   + 00′ 04″

Stage 3: Olonne-Sur-Mer >> Redon (198km)

The 3rd stage was a very boring, flat 198km to Redon, with no adjustments in the lay of the land at all. Simply put, this was a stage for the sprinters and as such, Mark Cavendish was the favourite to take out the stage victory. It seemed to all be going to plan for Cavendish as well, with HTC forming a perfect line of their riders down one side of the peloton and making their way to the front to springboard Cavendish to the finish. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be with Tyler Farrah spoiling the party and taking the stage for himself and the second straight stage win to the Garmin-Cervolo team.

Individual Standings after Stage 3:
1. HUSHOVD Thor 9h 46′ 46″
2. MILLAR David   + 00′ 00″
3. EVANS Cadel   + 00′ 01″
4. THOMAS Geraint   + 00′ 04″
5. GERDEMANN Linus   + 00′ 04″
6. HAGEN Edvald Boasson   + 00′ 04″
7. SCHLECK Frank   + 00′ 04″
8. SCHLECK Andy   + 00′ 04″
9. FUGLSANG Jakob   + 00′ 04″
10. WIGGINS Bradley   + 00′ 04″

Stage 4: Lorient >> Mûr-de-Bretagne (172.5)

The 4th stage was again another flat trek with a nasty climb in the final 2km dubbed “The Wall”. It was almost a stage to forget for Cadel Evans who found himself separated from the front of the peloton on one occasion and then when he had found his way back to the front, discovered a bike problem. However it was the perfect stage in the end by the Australian who won the stage, his first in the Tour de France, but didn’t get the yellow jersey. This is good for Evans as he is without a doubt better with no yellow jersey until later into the Tour. The ride of the day goes to Thor Hushovd, who retained the yellow jersey and his 1″ lead over Evans. Many experts thought Hushovd would struggle with this stage and would fall down the rankings, however it wasn’t to be. Alberto Contador also tried to breakaway and get some much needed time back on Evans and Schleck, however Evans was up to the task and pipped him at the line to keep him 1′ 42″ behind.

Individual Standings after Stage 4:
1. HUSHOVD Thor 13h 58′ 25″
2. EVANS Cadel   + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank   + 00′ 04″
4. MILLAR David   + 00′ 08″
5. KLODEN Andreas   + 00′ 10″
6. WIGGINS Bradley   + 00′ 10″
7. THOMAS Geraint   + 00′ 12″
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson   + 00′ 12″
9. SCHLECK Andy   + 00′ 12″
10. FUGLSANG Jakob   + 00′ 12″

Stage 5: Carhaix >> Cap Fréhel (164.5km)

Another stage for the sprinters in stage five, one that was to be interesting towards the end due to the heavy narrowing of the roads. However, it got very interesting well before the finish line! Stage five was filled with falls, crashes, injuries and the odd bit of niggle. Janez Brajkovic, the leader of Radioshack, was the main casualty for the day, crashing with a number of other riders and hitting his head very hard against the road. He seemed to be unconscious for a minute or so before sitting up and having the Tour doctors evaluate him. An ambulance came and took him away, effectively leaving Radioshack without a leader to ride for. Thomas Voeckler broke away with 30km to go and almost made it to the finish, being caught by the Peloton with less than 2km remaining. It was a good old fashioned sprint to the line to close out the stage, Mark Cavendish again showing his superb turn of speed and class as a sprinter, bolting through the other riders with 50m to go to claim his first stage victory of the year’s Tour and his 16th career Tour stage victory.

Individual Standings after Stage 5:
1. HUSHOVD Thor 17h 36′ 57″
2. EVANS Cadel   + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank   + 00′ 04″
4. MILLAR David   + 00′ 08″
5. KLODEN Andreas   + 00′ 10″
6. WIGGINS Bradley   + 00′ 10″
7. THOMAS Geraint   + 00′ 12″
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson   + 00′ 12″
9. FUGLSANG Jakob   + 00′ 12″
10. SCHLECK Andy   + 00′ 12″

Stage 6: Dinan >>  Lisieux (226.5km)

1. HUSHOVD Thor        22h 50′ 34″
2. EVANS Cadel                  + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank           + 00′ 04″
4. MILLAR David               + 00′ 08″
5. KLÖDEN Andréas           + 00′ 10″
6. WIGGINS Bradley            + 00′ 10″
7. THOMAS Geraint             + 00′ 12″
8. HAGEN Edvald Boasson              + 00′ 12″
9. FUGLSANG Jakob                         + 00′ 12″
10. SCHLECK Andy                           + 00′ 12″

Stage 7: Le Mans >> Châteauroux (218km)

The key moment of this stage was yellow jersey hopeful Bradley Wiggins crashing out of this years Tour. Wiggins looks like he has a broken collarbone after falling heavily onto the road and has abandoned the Tour due to this injury. Sprinter Mark Cavendish was the stage winner, on a very flat stage that suited him to the core, he didn’t let the favouritism get the better of him.

Overall Standings:

1. HUSHOVD Thor           28h 29′ 27″
2. EVANS Cadel                     + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank               + 00′ 04″
4. MILLAR David                  + 00′ 08″
5. KLÖDEN Andréas             + 00′ 10″
6. FUGLSANG Jakob            + 00′ 12″
7. SCHLECK Andy                 + 00′ 12″
8. MARTIN Tony                    + 00′ 13″
9. VELITS Peter                     + 00′ 13″
10. GESINK Robert               + 00′ 20″

Stage 8: Aigurande >>  Super-Besse Sancy (189km)

1. HUSHOVD Thor        33h 06′ 28″
2. EVANS Cadel                   + 00′ 01″
3. SCHLECK Frank             + 00′ 04″
4. KLÖDEN Andréas            + 00′ 10″
5. FUGLSANG Jakob             + 00′ 12″
6.  SCHLECK Andy                 + 00′ 12″
7. MARTIN Tony                    + 00′ 13″
8. VELITS Peter                      + 00′ 13″
9. MILLAR David                    + 00′ 19″
10. GILBERT Philippe            + 00′ 30″

Stage 9: Issoire >> Saint-Flour (208km)

This ninth stage of the Tour de France was littered with crashes, injuries and abandonments. None bigger than Alexandre Vinokourov, who was sitting 11th in the overall classification and was touted as a podium chance. Vinokourov appears to have fractured his pelvis which will undoubtedly shorten his career, although he planned to retire at the end of the season anyway. Thor Hushvod has lost the yellow jersey after holding onto it since Stage 2, Thomas Voeckler worked his magic from a breakaway and is now the race leader after erasing a deficit of 1’29” and turning it into a 1’46” lead. Also of note, a car ran into a rider from the breakaway causing him to crash and sending another rider into a barbed wire fence! The car and the driver have since been kicked out of the Tour de France.

Overall Standings:

1  VOECKLER, Thomas             38h 35′ 11″
2  SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon         + 01′ 49″
3  EVANS, Cadel                   + 02′ 26″
4  SCHLECK, Frank              + 02′ 29″
5  SCHLECK, Andy                + 02′ 37″
6  MARTIN, Tony                 + 02′ 38″
7  VELITS, Peter
8  KLÖDEN, Andreas       + 02′ 43″
9  GILBERT, Philippe      + 02′ 55″
10 FUGLSANG, Jakob              + 03′ 08″

Stage 10: Aurillac >>  Carmaux (158km)

1. VOECKLER Thomas
2. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon + 01′ 49″
3. EVANS Cadel + 02′ 26″
4. SCHLECK Frank + 02′ 29″
5. SCHLECK Andy + 02′ 37″
6. MARTIN Tony + 02′ 38″
7. VELITS Peter + 02′ 38″
8. KLÖDEN Andréas + 02′ 43″
9. GILBERT Philippe + 02′ 55″
10. FUGLSANG Jakob + 03′ 08″

Stage 11: Blaye-les-Mines >>  Lavaur (167.5km)

Different day, similar result once the riders reached Lavaur. Once again a stage for the sprinters and once again it was the usual suspects at the tip of the spear at the stages conclusion. Mark Cavendish grabbed his third stage victory for this years Tour, narrowly beating out rival Andre Greipel. Cavendish got a measure of revenge here as in the stage 10, it was Greipel who narrowly defeated Cavendish at the line. The win also moved Cavendish into the sprint kings green jersey.

1  VOECKLER, Thomas               45h 52′ 39″
2  SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon         + 01′ 49″
3  EVANS, Cadel                              + 02′ 26″
4  SCHLECK, Frank                        + 02′ 29″
5  SCHLECK, Andy                         + 02′ 37″
6  MARTIN, Tony                           + 02′ 38″
7  VELITS, Peter
8  KLÖDEN, Andreas                   + 02′ 43″
9  GILBERT, Philippe                  + 02′ 55″
10 FUGLSANG, Jakob                + 03′ 08″

Stage 12: Cugnaux >>  Luz-Ardiden (211km)

Well, well, well what have we here? Finally there was some action between the main contenders for the overall Tour de France victory and it served up a shocking twist. Within the final 5km the Schleck brothers began to double-team the other riders and started some breakaway attempts. They were all answered by Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso until Frank Schleck broke away again within the final 3km. Evans and Basso gave a feeble attempt at a chase, while Alberto Contador was left floundering behind and lost more time to the other contenders. Sammy Sanchez picked up the stage victory in what is the first of three straight stages involving mountains.

1  VOECKLER, Thomas             51h 54′ 44″
2  SCHLECK, Frank                      + 01′ 49″
3  EVANS, Cadel                            + 02′ 06″
4  SCHLECK, Andy                       + 02′ 17″
5  BASSO, Ivan                              + 03′ 16″
6  CUNEGO, Damiano                 + 03′ 22″
7  CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto      + 04′ 00″
8  SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel       + 04′ 11″
9  DANIELSON, Thomas                       + 04′ 35″
10 ROCHE, Nicolas                                 + 04′ 57″

Stage 13: Pau >>  Lourdes (152.5km)

Former Yellow Jersey holder Thor Hushovd raced this stage of the Tour to absolute perfection! He played the best race tactically that has been seen in this years Tour de France and ended up with an excellent stage victory. Frank Schleck put 20″ between himself and Cadel Evans as he and his brother double-teamed the other main contenders just out from the finish line.

1. Thomas Voeckler 55:49:57
2. Fränk Schleck +0:01:49
3. Cadel Evans +0:02:06
4. Andy Schleck +0:02:17
5. Ivan Basso +0:03:16
6. Damiano Cunego +0:03:22
7. Alberto Contador +0:04:00
8. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez +0:04:11
9. Philippe Gilbert +0:04:35
10. Thomas Danielson +0:04:35

Stage 14: Saint-Gaudens >>  Plateau de Beille (168.5km)

1. VOECKLER Thomas 61h 04′ 10″
2. SCHLECK Frank + 01′ 49″
3. EVANS Cadel + 02′ 06″
4. SCHLECK Andy + 02′ 15″
5. BASSO Ivan + 03′ 16″
6. SANCHEZ Samuel + 03′ 44″
7. CONTADOR Alberto + 04′ 00″
8. CUNEGO Damiano + 04′ 01″
9. DANIELSON Tom + 05′ 46″
10. DE WEERT Kevin + 06′ 18″

Stage 15: Limoux >>  Montpellier (192.5km)

After three straight days of mountainous riding for those left in the Tour de France everyone, especially the sprinters, were happy to see a flat stage. As it turns out, Mark Cavendish was the happiest of all. The “Manx Missile” once again claiming a stage victory, his fourth at this years Tour and his 19th overall.
Thomas Voeckler remains in the yellow jersey after navigating his way, surprisingly, through the previous mountain stages.

1  VOECKLER, Thomas           65h 24′ 33″
2  SCHLECK, Frank                  + 01′ 49″
3  EVANS, Cadel                        + 02′ 06″
4  SCHLECK, Andy                   + 02′ 15″
5  BASSO, Ivan                           + 03′ 16″
6  SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel       + 03′ 44″
7  CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto      + 04′ 00″
8  CUNEGO, Damiano                            + 04′ 01″
9  DANIELSON, Thomas                        + 05′ 46″
10 DE WEERT, Kevin                             + 06′ 18″

Stage 16: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux >> Gap (162.5km)

This was a stage that was meant to be a rest day for the peloton after the official rest day….Alberto Contador had other ideas! Thor Hushovd again played the perfect tactical stage to gain his second stage win for the Tour this year, however the action was about 4′ behind him. With about 15km to go in the stage, Contador broke from the peloton and was quickly shut down by the other big name riders. Once everyone had caught up to him, Contador again broke away and this time only Cadel Evans and Sammy Sanchez were good enough to keep up. The Schleck brothers were left floundering and unable to breach the gap between them, even though at one part of these breakaway attempts the top six riders in the Tour classification were together, separate from the peloton. Evans, Contador and Sanchez brought the gap to approx 30″ and gained time on each of yellow jersey holder Thomas Voeckler and Frank Schleck. Andy Schleck was the big loser of the day, losing approx 1′ to both Evans and Contador. The best part for Australians to see was Evans counter all of Contador’s moves and then attack on the descent, keeping a handy 5″ approx gap between himself and Contador by the end of the stage. Three things came out of this stage that could shape the Tour –
1) Contador showed that there is nothing wrong with his knee, at least not that he showed on the semi-steep climb last night,
2) Evans has shown he is the most consistent rider in the Tour and he now may be looking to attack rather than continuously countering and,
3) The Schlecks dislike wet conditions and descending mountains, doubly so when they have to ride in wet conditions down mountains.
On a stage that wasn’t meant to show such action, wow….I can only hope that more of the same happens tonight!

1. Thomas Voeckler                 69h00min 56sec
2. Cadel Evans                       at      1:45.
3. Frank Schleck                            1:49.
4. Andy Schleck                              3:03.
5. Samuel Sanchez                         3:26.
6. Alberto Contador                       3:42.
7. Ivan Basso                                   3:49.
8. Damiano Cunego                       4:01.
9. Tom Danielson                           6:04.
10. Rigoberto Uran                         7:55.

MV

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