CSC-Saxo Bank’s Carlos Sastre took both the stage win atop L’Alpe d’Huez and the race lead following Wednesday’s massive 210km queen stage of this year’s Tour — but who was the day’s biggest winner?
Following this Tour’s final mountain stage, one minute and 34 seconds separate stage 17 winner Carlos Sastre and pre-race favorite Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto with just four stages remaining. Of greatest interest, of course, is Saturday’s rolling 53km time trial, where the final classification will certainly be determined.
Bike manufacturer Scott, the second sponsor of the Saunier Duval team, announced on Wednesday that it would step in and rescue the Spanish outfit.
Saunier Duval announced earlier on Wednesday that it had pulled out of cycling immediately in the wake of the drug scandal that engulfed its team at the Tour de France.
Italian rider Riccardo Riccò tested positive for a new version of the banned blood booster EPO after the fourth-stage time trial, prompting the team to pull out of the race last week.
That was a day; long, hard and completely covered by some amazing fans.
The Alpe was what it is built up to be: crazy. As far as the climb itself goes, it's hard, but was the easiest of the day by far. The fans however ... well, that's a whole other story. The drunk Dutch corner; the unruly Basque section; the crazy Germans; the Frenchies that always yell "ce n'est pas loin" no matter how long you have to go, and seemingly always cheer for the French rider who happens to be the most annoying at the time.
Fighting for the yellow jersey puts as much pressure on the head as on the legs, as Cadel Evans is learning at the Tour de France.
After the second of two days in the Alps on Tuesday, the Silence-Lotto rider boosted his bid to win the final yellow jersey by surviving the CSC-Saxo Bank team's efforts to shake him off on the difficult Cime de la Bonette-Restefond climb.
I’m writing these words on the road to L’Alpe d’Huez where, at the end of this glorious Wednesday in the French Alps, the 95th Tour de France could be decided. The infamous 21-turn mountain climb concludes a gigantic stage 17 after the riders have already crossed the mighty Col du Galibier and Col de la Croix de Fer climbs.
The World Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday Italian rider Riccardo Riccò tested positive at the Tour de France after a secret molecule was planted in the blood booster EPO during its manufacture.
Riccò, 24, upset the big names of the sport to win two stages of this year's Tour before he was kicked off after testing positive for EPO (erythropoietin).
Revealing the now high-tech nature of the fight against drugs in sport, WADA chief John Fahey said his organization worked with drugs giant Roche on the newest version of EPO (erythropoietin).
The Tour de France yellow jersey is set to be decided on the final alpine stage of the race on Wednesday after a dramatic 16th stage which left CSC still in control of the race.
Luxembourg's Frank Schleck finished the 157km stage from Cueno in Italy to here with his 7-second lead on Austrian Bernhard Kohl intact, with Australian Cadel Evans in third at 08.
Spaniard Carlos Sastre, Schleck's teammate at the CSC team, is fourth at 49 while Denis Menchov, one of the day's biggest losers, is now at 1:13behind Schleck after losing time on the day's final descent.
The Saunier Duval cycling team look set to be excluded from the Tour of Germany because of doping, race organisers revealed on Tuesday.
The elite team withdrew from the Tour de France last week after Italian rider Riccardo Ricco failed a dope test - they subsequently sacked both him and compatriot Leonardo Piepoli, who had won the prestigious stage on July 14.
However that move has failed to placate the Tour of Germany chiefs, whose race runs from August 29 to September 6.