Cav phones new sponsor with a win, Armstrong shows his wisdom
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Cav phones new sponsor with a win, Armstrong shows his wisdom

by Steve Jones at 12:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Race Reports and Results
 
Make it two days in a row for Columbia-HTC's star sprinter Mark Cavendish winning the stage over Thor Hushovd and Cyril Lemoine in the 196.5 kilometer wind swept ride from Marseille to La Grande-Motte. With a gesture of appreciation to new sponsor HTC as he crossed the line, Cavendish moves within two stages of Briton Barry Hogan's record eight stage wins in the Tour de France.

The biggest news of the day is that seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong gave his rivals and teammates alike a lesson in paying attention to the details, moving himself into third place overall after Columbia-HTC used the wind to split the race in two on the run into the finish.  Always a danger on the flat stages, Armstrong showed his race savvy making the good side of the split in the peloton, and gaining a valuable 41 seconds on his biggest rivals. Also making good gains on the GC contenders were Columbia's own Kim Kirchen and Michael Rogers, as well as German hope Linus Gerdemann from Milram. Yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara from the Saxo Bank team was also able to make the split and keep the jersey for another day.

Cancellara reflected on the stage saying, "Luckily I was in the front at the right moment and sat on the whole way to the end. It was too risky to go back and help my team. That's bike racing."

How the race unfolded

On another hot day in France four riders Maxime Bouet (Agritubel), Samuel Demoulin (Cofidis), Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) and Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel Euskadi) broke away early to try their luck on the stage. Again Saxo Bank kept the group that at one point had well over 10 minutes on the peloton in check.

Before the stage team Columbia-HTC boss Bob Stapleton was looking to conserve for the team time-trial tomorrow noting, "I think we're going to make some of the other teams work today."

The expected response from the sprinter's teams didn't happen, as they left all of the work to Cavendish's Columbia-HTC team.  Not wanting to drag the race to the line the American team took advantage of the windy stage, and when they saw a small gap open, they hit the gas putting all of their riders at the front of the race and didn't look back. Within minutes the break was caught, and the race behind was frantically trying to close the gap to the leading group.

"We were expecting to get help from the other teams, but nobody wanted to race. It made us a bit angry. We saw a moment and we were going to go no matter what," said team Columbia-HTC captain George Hincapie.

"It was done to make the race happen, none of the sprinter teams would help us. We found that a bit insulting so we decided to go."

The Columbia-HTC team drove the gap to over 40 seconds, and once Armstrong saw they wouldn't be caught, he sent Astana teammates Yaroslav Popovych and Haimar Zubeldia to help open up the time gap. With Cavendish sitting in the wings with trusty leadout Mark Renshaw, there was no doubt how the final kilometer would play out. Renshaw did what he did best, giving Cavendish a clear shot at the line with Hushovd only able to keep the wheel of the Manx Express finishing in second behind the sprint phenom.

Cavendish said of the other sprint teams, ""If they want to race like juniors, they'll get results like juniors."

In the process of dealing a blow to most of the green jersey contenders, the Columbia-HTC team gave seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong a shot at picking up the yellow jersey once again in the 38 kilometer team time-trial around Montpellier tomorrow. But with Tony Martin sitting in second place on GC, look for the American team to try to bring their winning streak to three in a row.

Stage Results:

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia-HTC 5:01:24
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo TestTeam
3. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick-Step
6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank
7. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram
8. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Skil-Shimano
9. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Agritubel
10. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram

Overall:

1. Fabian Cancellara (SWI/SAX) 9h50min 58sec
2. Tony Martin (GER/THR) at 0:33.
3. Lance Armstrong (USA/AST) 0:40.
4. Alberto Contador (ESP/AST) 0:59.
5. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/GRM) 1:00.
6. Andreas Kloden (GER/AST) 1:03.
7. Linus Gerdemann (GER/MRM) 1:03.
8. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 1:04.
9. Maxime Monfort (BEL/THR) 1:10.
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA/AST) 1:11.
11. Michael Rogers (AUS/THR) 1:13.
12. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/LIQ) 1:13.
13. George Hincapie (USA/THR) 1:17.
14. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) 1:18.
15. Gustav Larsson (SWE/SAX) 1:22.
16. Mikel Astarloza (ESP/EUS) 1:25.
17. David Zabriskie (USA/GRM) 1:28.
18. David Millar (GBR/GRM) 1:29.
19. Jérôme Pineau (FRA/QST) 1:31.
20. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/AST) 1:31.
21. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/QST) 1:37.
22. Christian Vande Velde (USA/GRM) 1:38.
23. Maxime Bouet (FRA/AGR) 1:39.
24. Andy Schleck (LUX/SAX) 1:41.
25. Remi Pauriol (FRA/COF) 1:46.
26. Carlos Sastre (ESP/CTT) 1:47.
27. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 1:48.
28. Thierry Hupond (FRA/SKS) 1:50.
29. Alessandro Ballan (ITA/LAM) 1:51.
30. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/SIL) 1:52.
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