25 July 2007

Top 30

The top three are separated by less than a minute. And we've got four stages left. I say again, "GREAT TOUR!"

Here are the top 30 as listed on Versus' site...

1 058 RASMUSSEN, Michael DEN RAB 06:23:21.000 00:00:00.000
2 111 LEIPHEIMER, Levi USA DSC 06:23:47.000 00:00:26.000
3 112 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP DSC 06:23:56.000 00:00:35.000
4 041 EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL 06:24:04.000 00:00:43.000
5 219 SOLER HERNANDEZ, Juan Mauricio COL BAR 06:24:46.000 00:01:25.000
6 071 ZUBELDIA, Haimar ESP EUS 06:25:13.000 00:01:52.000
7 204 COBO ACEBO, Juan Jose ESP SDV 06:25:15.000 00:01:54.000
8 031 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC 06:25:33.000 00:02:12.000
9 011 PEREIRO SIO, Oscar ESP GCE 06:25:48.000 00:02:27.000
10 018 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 06:25:48.000 00:02:27.000
11 118 POPOVYCH, Yaroslav UKR DSC 06:26:32.000 00:03:11.000
12 012 ARROYO, David ESP GCE 06:26:58.000 00:03:37.000
13 036 SCHLECK, Frank LUX CSC 06:28:03.000 00:04:42.000
14 052 BOOGERD, Michael NED RAB 06:28:53.000 00:05:32.000
15 027 KIRCHEN, Kim LUX TMO 06:29:23.000 00:06:02.000
16 207 MAYO, Iban ESP SDV 06:29:27.000 00:06:06.000
17 174 GARATE, Juan Manuel ESP QSI 06:29:38.000 00:06:17.000
18 153 BELTRAN, Manuel ESP LIQ 06:29:57.000 00:06:36.000
19 205 DE LA FUENTE, David ESP SDV 06:30:26.000 00:07:05.000
20 044 HORNER, Christopher USA PRL 06:30:26.000 00:07:05.000
21 073 ASTARLOZA, Mikel ESP EUS 06:30:32.000 00:07:11.000
22 088 VALJAVEC, Tadej SLO LAM 06:30:36.000 00:07:15.000
23 095 KOHL, Bernhard AUT GST 06:30:44.000 00:07:23.000
24 068 GOUBERT, Stephane FRA A2R 06:30:48.000 00:07:27.000
25 158 WEGELIUS, Charles GBR LIQ 06:31:11.000 00:07:50.000
26 107 HALGAND, Patrice FRA C.A 06:31:21.000 00:08:00.000
27 133 DUENAS NEVADO, Moises ESP AGR 06:31:52.000 00:08:31.000
28 014 GUTIERREZ, José Ivan ESP GCE 06:32:09.000 00:08:48.000
29 015 KARPETS, Vladimir RUS GCE 06:32:11.000 00:08:50.000
30 141 CHAVANEL, Sylvain FRA COF 06:32:34.000 00:09:13.000

The GC after 16 Stages

After the 16th Stage of the 2007 Tour de France, here are your general classification standings. Remember, TDF.com is courtesy of Jeff Cutler and Novel Ideas. Feel free to read my other blog - Bowl of Cheese (www.bowlofcheese.com) or visit my professional writing site Novel Ideas (www.ideas2words.com).

While we wait for the Tour de France officials to give us the figures, remember, as always, all sites can be reached via Jeff Cutler dot com (or if you prefer, www.jeffcutler.com).

Looks like they are waiting for more riders before giving us the numbers. I'll have the GC for you shortly.

Rasmussen wins another stage

Rasmussen has taken Stage 16 of the 2007 Tour de France and has added a few seconds to Leipheimer and Contador.

Totals are 25 seconds for Leipheimer and about 12 seconds more than that for Contador.

Well, the only ways Rasmussen can lose this race now are for him to either live up to his nickname of Crashmussen or for him to get a positive doping test.

Wowsa. What a stage and what a finish.

2KM to Go - Three Still Together

Cadel Evans is only about 10 seconds back while the three leaders continue to hammer up the hill.

Now there's 1.7KM to got and there are people everywhere.

The three riders are still hammering to the top of the mountain.

Official gaps right now are 14 seconds for Evans and 00:01:07 for the guy in the Polka Dot Jersey. I'll have to look up his name. He's Mauricio Soler.

What a dirty dog.

Rasmussen jumped with 1KM to go and is hammering to the finish ahead of Leipheimer and Contador by 70 yards already.

He let those two work hard up the entire hill and now is slamming them with time and mental anguish.

I'm annoyed. Levi and Contador are responding, but only 500meters remain to the end.

Best Stage So Far

As predicted, this has been the best stage so far, even in light of Vinokourov's positive drug test and withdrawl.

The four leaders are almost all together (Cadel Evans is trying desparately to catch Leipheimer, Contador and Rasmussen) and then the next people are more than a minute back.

Three KM to go.

Top three - 4.7KM to go

It's Rasmussen, Contador and Leipheimer leading Stage 16 of the 2007 Tour de France.

Cadel Evans is killing himself to bridge the gap. He's back about 11 seconds. He can see the riders ahead of him.

4.4KM left to go.

**Sastre is 00:01:08 back of the three leaders.

Leipheimer is setting the pace and Rasmussen made a signal with his hands of throwing in the towel. Odd. We shall see what happens in the next 20 minutes. 4KM to go. Cadel has almost caught them.

Rasmussen patted Leipheimer on the back.

Levi with Cadel, Contador and Rasmussen together

Read the subject line.

There are 5.5KM left and Rasmussen has Contador firmly on his wheel.

This IS the Tour de France.

Levi and Cadel are 13 seconds back right now. They look like they're going to work together and try to catch the other two.

The rest of the riders in the race are a huge distance back. Carlos Sastre is the only guy in view and he's 500meters back.

Levi has jumped and is trying to bridge the gap alone. He's only five seconds back now.

I'm hyperventilating.

More attacks

6.7KM left and Cotnador is keeping about 60 yards on the rest of the four lead riders. He's just hammering.

But here come the other three. Now it's Contador by 10 yards, then Rasmussen, then Evans and Levi has dropped a little.

Rasmussen has lept past Contador and now they're leapfrogging each other.

Both Evans and Leipheimer are back by about 100 yards.

Holy Crap. 6KM to go. Evans has caught up. Levi is still lagging.


The top four in the GC - Levi, Contador, Rasmussen and Evans - were all leading the race and then right at the other side of a tunnel, Contador took off. He's now got a gap of 20 yards on the group.

Oops, they're back together with 8.1KM left to go.

Like I said earlier, one of these four is going to win today and win the entire 2007 Tour de France.

Holy moses!

LEVI just jumped hard. He's got 50 yards on the group and is putting more space into them.

Oh my, they're reeling him in.

I have no idea what's going to happen when they catch him and who might jump next.

151 Riders

There are only 151 riders left in the race with the withdrawl of the Astana team.

Versus silent on the protest

In Versus.com newsflashes, there is no mention of the mini protest at the start of the race. They must be monitoring race radio which didn't mention anything of the protest, but it was clearly shown on Eurosport.

By the way, the length of today's stage is 218KM and it's got some KILLER climbs. The person ahead in the GC at the end of today will most certainly be the 2007 champion.

Stage 16 DELAYED

Most of the riders are rolling in the neutral zone right now, but amid all the interviews and excitement after the positive test of Vinikourov, there are about a dozen riders who refuse to start riding.

Standing astride their bikes at the start line of the neutral zone, these riders delayed the race for about 30 seconds to a full minute and then started riding.

I can only surmise that this was in protest to the way in which testing is handled.

If you're not aware, the way I understand drug testing in cycling is that you are guilty until proven innocent; there are precious few 'baseline' tests done (so if someone has a superhuman day like Landis last year - then there's no way to see if that person's hormones are within an acceptable range of THEIR 'normal'); the appeals process is convoluted and fraught with single chances and riders are seldom if ever allowed to present their own tests or science.

That said, I still think cycling has some dirt in it that needs to be cleaned out.

Right now there's a live interview with the director of the race...but Stage 16 is rolling.

And from a pure sports point of view, this stage should decide with finality the winner of the 2007 Tour de France. I believe it will be Rasmussen, Cadel Evans, Contador or Levi Leipheimer. Maybe I shouldn't go so far out on a limb, but race position seldom changes much this far into a Tour.