Riis won’t play games Team CSC-Saxo Bank boss Bjarne Riis is widely viewed as one of the best tacticians in the game. So far through this year’s Tour de France, he’s confirmed that reputation.
With two well-oiled attacks, first in the stage to Hautacam and a second up Prato Nevoso, Riis has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that CSC-Saxo Bank is the strongest team in the pack.
But now he’s faced with an interesting quandary. Frank Schleck is wearing the yellow jersey but it looks like Carlos Sastre could be the strongest climber on the team.
Cadel Evans might have lost the yellow jersey battle up Prato Nevoso, but he’s still confident he can win the war to Paris.
The Silence-Lotto captain expressed confidence Monday that he’s still on track to win what he called a “very tight” 95th Tour de France despite losing time to all of his major rivals and slipping to third overall in the uphill drag race on the Cat. 1 Prato Nevoso summit.
It's Rest Day No. 2 at the 2008 Tour de France. Photographer Casey Gibson started his day by sorting through his files and then sent us some interesting shots from Sunday's stage to Prato Nevoso.
He then went over to the Garmin-Chipotle camp, just as the team was ready to roll out on an easy Rest Day training ride.
Editor's note: Our links to Casey's homepage have been inconsistent during the Tour. We apologize for the confusion. For the record, the proper link to his site is www.cbgphoto.com
Weather Rain at start, partly cloudy in middle part of stage, rain at finish, highs in upper 60s, moderate westerly winds
Stage winner Simon Gerrans (Credit Agricole) won out of a four-man breakaway that included American Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle). Gerrans was nearly dropped several times midway up the climb, but grabbed the wheel of Pate and Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel) with 3km to go. Pate went first at 200 meters, but Gerrans came around to grab his first Tour stage victory.
Team CSC-Saxo Bank once again executed near-perfect tactics in Sunday’s 15th stage and this time they got the big prize: the yellow jersey.
CSC did just about everything right in the three-climb stage to Prato Nevoso and turned a one-second deficit into a seven-second lead to Bernhard Kohl. With a four-man breakaway staying clear to take the day’s flowers, CSC had its plan ready to fire up.
Stage 15 of the 2008 Tour de France proved a mixed bag for the Garmin-Chipotle team.
First, the good news: Danny Pate got into the day’s four-man breakaway, finishing third on the stage after a valiant ride fell just short in the final kilometer. And GC leader Christian Vande Velde stayed with the GC favorites on the category 1 climb up Plato Nevoso, crossing the line two seconds behind newly crowned race leader Frank Schleck (CSC).
Australian Simon Gerrans caused a minor sensation on Sunday by winning the tough 15th stage of the Tour de France on the race's third mountain finish in the Italian Alps.
The 28-year-old from Melbourne, however, was quick to give a nod to Australian great Phil Anderson, without whom he might never have got on a bike.
Gerrans, who rides for Credit Agricole, bagged a prestigious first win in the race after attacking breakaway companions Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel and Garmin's Danny Pate in the final 150 meters of the rain-lashed 183km stage.
Into the Alps we went today and it was an epic. It was pouring rain at the start, coming down in sheets. This was when the long bomb break with our man Pate in it took off.
Then as we started up Angel pass, a nearly 25k beast that took us up to 2700 meters, the sun poked through and with the humidity so thick it was like a sauna. Then the wind kicked up, absolutely battering us up the open slopes of the climb and cooling things back off.
Spain's 2006 Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro has suffered shoulder injuries following a spectacular fall during the 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday.
According to a first official diagnosis Pereiro has a sprained shoulder but has not injured his leg or his back, as previously believed.
"He is not complaining of pain in his legs or his back," said a doctor accompanying Pereiro to hospital.
Team CSC-Saxo Bank battered and isolated race leader Cadel Evans in the first Alpine stage Sunday, coming away with the yellow jersey on the shoulders of Frank Schleck as the GC race tightened.[nid:80475]
Evans fell to third, one second behind Gerolsteiner's Bernard Kohl and eight seconds behind Schleck. American Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) is in fifth at 38 seconds, still very much in the hunt.