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Le Tour 2014 – Stage 18

Tour de FrancePau – Hautacam

Distance: 145.5 kilometers.

This is a real bear of a stage that has a couple of Category 3′s in the first half and a pair of Hors Catégorie climbs. The first HC is the Col du Tourmalet which has the 5,000 Euro Souvenir Jacques Goddet waiting for the first rider to reach 2,115 meter summit. Another summit finish at the end of the Hautacam climb. Lots of points for the Polka Dots available.

Blel Kadri took home the €5K but Vincenzo Nibali reminded the field why he was in the Yellow Jersey and won the stage giving him a 7 minute lead over his nearest competitor.

Rafal Majka had to catch up to be the third rider over the top which gives him the Polka Dot Jersey as King of the Mountains. Thibaut Pinot took over second place and increased his hold on the White Jersey.

Heinrich Haussler had to withdraw because of stomach flu, and José Joaquin Rojas was disqualified for drafting a car [riding in the vehicle's slipstream].

The mountains are over.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 80h 45′ 45″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 408 points
Polka Dot Jersey Rafal Majka ( Pol – TCS – 034 ) [Polka Dot] 181 points
White Jersey Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) 2 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
Combative: Mikel Nieve Iturralde ( Esp – SKY - 005 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 07′ 10″
3 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 07′ 23″
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 07′ 25″
5 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 09′ 27″
6 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 11′ 34″
7 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 13′ 56″
8 Laurens Ten Dam ( Ned – BEL – 067 ) + 14′ 15″
9 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 14′ 37″
10 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre ( Esp – TFR – 169 ) + 16′ 25″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 24, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 17

Tour de FranceSaint-Gaudens – Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet

Distance: 124.5 kilometers.

This is the shortest stage on the Tour and a definite mountain stage with three Category 1′s followed by a summit finish after a Hors Catégorie climb.

The Col du Portillon, the first climb, is actually in Spain, the fourth country visited on this Tour.

The Tour went down three more riders today. Reto Hollenstein crashed after a kilometer yesterday and went on to finish the stage. Medical examination showed one of his lungs collapsed as a result of his injuries. Simon Gerrans was injured on the first stage in the crash that wiped out Cavendish, and has just not been able to return to form. Simon Spilak dropped out during the stage as the result of a stomach virus that made continuing impossible.

Today was another good day for Tinkoff-Saxo as Rafal Majka won his second stage on this Tour and secured a decent lead over Nibali for the Polka Dots.

The White and Polka Dots are not done deals yet, and the White may not be decided until Paris.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 76h 41′ 22″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 408 points
Polka Dot Jersey Rafal Majka ( Pol – TCS – 034 ) [Polka Dot] 149 points
White Jersey Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) 3 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Rafal Majka ( Pol – TCS – 034 )
Combative: Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM - 082 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 05′ 26″
3 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 06′ 00″
4 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 06′ 08″
5 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 07′ 34″
6 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 10′ 19″
7 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 11′ 59″
8 Laurens Ten Dam ( Ned – BEL – 067 ) + 12′ 16″
9 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 12′ 40″
10 Pierre Rolland ( Fra – EUC – 151 ) + 13′ 15″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 23, 2014   No Comments

Tropical Depression Two – c’est fini

The depression has degenerated into a remnant low pressure trough East of the Antilles this morning and no further advisories will be issued.

July 23, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 16

Tour de FranceCarcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon

Distance: 237.5 kilometers.

This is a very long stage that starts hilly with a pair of Category 4′s in the first half, and then gets serious with Categories 2 and 3 climbs leading to the HC Port de Balès. The finish is a 20-kilometer downhill run.

Alberto Costa Rui and Simon Yates withdrew before the start. Alberto was diagnosed with pneumonia and is going for medical treatment, while Simon was pulled by the team because of his age and inexperience. Simon was never intended to ride to the entire race, as it is considered too stressful for beginning riders.

A good day for Tinkoff-Saxo as Michael Rogers won the stage, while Rafal Majka managed to take the point for the first Category 4 and put on the Polka Dots.

Romain Bardet had a terrible day and lost the White to Thibaut Pinot.

More of the Pyrenees tomorrow.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 73h 05′ 19″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 402 points
Polka Dot Jersey Rafal Majka ( Pol – TCS – 034 ) [Polka Dot] 89 points
White Jersey Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) 3 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Michael Rogers ( Aus – TCS – 038 )
Combative: Cyril Gautier ( Fra – EUC - 154 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 04′ 37″
3 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 05′ 06″
4 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 06′ 08″
5 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 06′ 40″
6 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 09′ 25″
7 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 09′ 32″
8 Laurens Ten Dam ( Ned – BEL – 067 ) + 11′ 12″
9 Michal Kwiatkowski ( Pol – OPQ – 074 ) + 11′ 28″
10 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 11′ 33″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 22, 2014   No Comments

Tropical Depression Two – Day 2

Tropical Depression TwoPosition: 13.4N 51.4W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West-Northwest [285°] near 18 mph [30 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [ 55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [ 70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1012 mb.

Currently about 675 miles [1090 km] East of the Lesser Antilles.

Further development is not expected.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select "Hurricanes" for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

July 22, 2014   No Comments

Where Have I Been ?

In general I’ve spent a great deal of time in bed lately, which is why for the first time in forty forevers there was no Friday Cat Blogging. Because of daily thunderstorms from a stuck cold front the cats are all hiding, and had I managed to take a picture, I doubt I could have processed it for the site.

My coverage of the Tour continues because over the years I have been able to automate the process to a great extent, so it required no more than the minimum of energy I have had available due to the first actual cold I have had in decades. It has really laid me low and I am still dealing with the aftermath.

We finally have our second tropical weather system, but again that is a relatively automated process, so I can deal with it as I regain strength.

I’m aware that Putin screwed up and gave his thugs in the eastern Ukraine an antiaircraft system that they used to take down a civilian airliner, because they are incompetent.

Israel has again decided that the only response to anything bad happening in Israel is the fault of Hamas, which they addressed by bombing and now invading the Gaza Strip.

There is no shortage of murderous stupid people in the world.

July 21, 2014   8 Comments

Tropical Depression Two

Tropical Depression TwoPosition: 12.0N 45.1W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West [280°] near 16 mph [26 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [ 55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [ 70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1012 mb.

Currently about 1110 miles [1790 km] East of the Lesser Antilles.

Intensity increase is in question because of the dry Saharan Air Layer just to the North of the storm. The Antilles and other islands would welcome a rain event, as they have had a very dry summer.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select "Hurricanes" for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

July 21, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 15

Tour de FranceTallard – Nîmes

Distance: 222 kilometers.

The relatively flat descent to sea level out of the Alps before the final Rest Day which is followed by the Pyrennes.

Martin Elmiger and Jack Bauer broke away at the start and led for all but the last 50 meters. The chase was led by the sprinters and after it began raining the major Yellow Jersey contenders were more concerned with not crashing than winning.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 66h 49′ 37″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 402 points
Polka Dot Jersey Joaquim Rodriguez ( Esp – KAT – 021 ) [Polka Dot] 88 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 3 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Alexander Kristoff ( Nor – KAT – 023 )
Combative: Martin Elmiger ( Sui – IAM - 193 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 04′ 37″
3 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 04′ 50″
4 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 05′ 06″
5 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 05′ 49″
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 06′ 08″
7 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 08′ 33″
8 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 09′ 32″
9 Laurens Ten Dam ( Ned – BEL – 067 ) + 10′ 01″
10 Pierre Rolland ( Fra – EUC – 151 ) + 10′ 48″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 20, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 14

Tour de FranceGrenoble – Risoul

Distance: 177 kilometers.

Another mountain stage and even more brutal than yesterday. This a 1-HC-1 group with a summit finish again. The first 1, Col du Lautaret, is 2,058 meters, followed by the HC, Col d’Izoard, at 2,380, with the finish at Risoul only 1,855 meters. The Col d’Izoard is this year’s Souvenir Henri Desgrange climb, and the first rider to the top gets € 5,000 for reaching the highest point in the Tour.

Nibali managed to again increase his hold on the Yellow Jersey, but the Polka Dots and White are very much in contention.

Bardet only has a 16 second lead over Pinot in the battle for the White, and that can disappear on any stage.

Rodriguez managed to move 2 points ahead of Nibali, but he is tied at 88 with today’s stage winner Rafal Majka, so it is far from certain.

If Contador hadn’t dropped out, Majka would have been helping him on these climbs, not racing for himself and the team. As a young rider on his first Tour he has really improved his future in the sport with this win.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 61h 52′ 54″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 361 points
Polka Dot Jersey Joaquim Rodriguez ( Esp – KAT – 021 ) [Polka Dot] 88 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 3 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Rafal Majka ( Pol – TCS – 034 )
Combative: Alessandro De Marchi ( Ita – CAN - 053 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 04′ 37″
3 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 04′ 50″
4 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 05′ 06″
5 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 05′ 49″
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 06′ 08″
7 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 08′ 33″
8 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 09′ 32″
9 Laurens Ten Dam ( Ned – BEL – 067 ) + 10′ 01″
10 Pierre Rolland ( Fra – EUC – 151 ) + 10′ 48″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 19, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 13

Tour de FranceSaint-Étienne – Chamrousse

Distance: 197.5 kilometers.

A definite mountain stage, it starts with a Category 3 and hills for 134 km followed by a Category 1 up and over Palaquit and the finish is a Hors Catégorie climb to Chamrousse. We find out who in the top ten can climb, and who is ready for the Polka Dots.

The answer to those questions is Vincenzo Nibali, who won the stage, the Polka Dots, and increased his overall lead.

This stage was obviously designed by a fan of the Marqis de Sade, the race began at noon with the air temperature at 37°C/98.6°F [normal body temperature] and continued through the hottest part of the day. Three riders [Arthur Vichot, Daniel Navarro Garcia & Janier Alexis Acevedo] dropped out, and Alexander Porsev was unable to finish within the time limit.

Welcome to the Alps…

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 56h 44′ 03″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 341 points
Polka Dot Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Polka Dot] 70 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 3 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
Combative: Alessandro De Marchi ( Ita – CAN - 053 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 03′ 37″
3 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 04′ 24″
4 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 04′ 40″
5 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 05′ 19″
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 06′ 06″
7 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 06′ 17″
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck ( Bel – LTB – 131 ) + 06′ 27″
9 Alberto Costa Rui ( Por – LAM – 111 ) + 08′ 35″
10 Leopold Konig ( Cze – TNE – 201 ) + 08′ 36″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 18, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 12

Tour de FranceBourg-en-Bresse – Saint-Étienne

Distance: 185.5 kilometers.

Another hill section with the categorized climbs [4-3-3-4] spread out along the route and a flat run to the finish.

For the fourth time Peter Sagan comes up in second place at the end of a stage, as Kristoff takes it at the end. Simon Clarke won the Red Numbers for his breakaway efforts but was gathered in at the end.

As expected Andrew Talansky didn’t start the stage. De La Cruz’s Tour ended with a broken collarbone as the result of a crash.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 51h 31′ 34″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 341 points
Polka Dot Jersey Joaquim Rodriguez ( Esp – KAT – 021 ) [Polka Dot] 51 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 4 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Alexander Kristoff ( Nor – KAT – 023 )
Combative: Simon Clarke ( Aus – OGE - 183 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Richie Porte ( Aus – SKY – 007 ) + 02′ 23″
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 02′ 47″
4 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 03′ 01″
5 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 03′ 47″
6 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 03′ 56″
7 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 03′ 57″
8 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 04′ 08″
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck ( Bel – LTB – 131 ) + 04′ 18″
10 Jakob Fuglsang ( Den – AST – 042 ) + 04′ 31″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 17, 2014   No Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 11

Tour de FranceBesançon – Oyonnax

Distance: 187.5 kilometers.

Not too bad today as the categorized climbs don’t start until the last 50 kilometers, and feature a 3-3-4-3 group with a downhill run to the finish.

As often happens on the Tour, the day after a rest day features people realizing how sore they really are. Fabian Cancellara, another big name, withdrew before the start in hopes of getting well for another race later in the season, and Andrew Talansky struggled with a back injury all day. Talansky finished alone, a half hour after the stage winner and may withdraw tomorrow if he can’t get some relief.

Nicholas Roche won the Red Numbers in his attempt for a stage win, but ran out of energy at the end, being overtaken by Tony Gallopin who took the stage

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 46h 59′ 23″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 301 points
Polka Dot Jersey Joaquim Rodriguez ( Esp – KAT – 021 ) [Polka Dot] 51 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 4 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Tony Gallopin ( Fra – LTB – 134 )
Combative: Nicolas Roche ( Irl – TCS - 037 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Richie Porte ( Aus – SKY – 007 ) + 02′ 23″
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 02′ 47″
4 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 03′ 01″
5 Tony Gallopin ( Fra – LTB – 134 ) + 03′ 12″
6 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 03′ 47″
7 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 03′ 56″
8 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 03′ 57″
9 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 04′ 08″
10 Jurgen Van Den Broeck ( Bel – LTB – 131 ) + 04′ 18″

The Rest of the Top 30:
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July 16, 2014   No Comments

One Small Step

Apollo 11

Apollo 11

Commander:

Neil A. Armstrong

Pilot: Columbia Command Module

Michael Collins, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Pilot: Eagle Lunar Module

Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., Colonel, USAF

Launched: 16 July 1969 UT 13:32:00 (08:32:00 CDT)

Landed on Moon: 20 July 1969 UT 20:17:40 (15:17:40 CDT)

Landing Site: Mare Tranquillitatis – Sea of Tranquility (0.67 N, 23.47 E)

Returned to Earth: 24 July 1969 UT 16:50:35 (11:50:35 CDT)

July 16, 2014   5 Comments

Le Tour 2014 – Stage 10

Tour de FranceMulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles

Distance: 161.5 kilometers.

Riders are going to need tomorrow’s Rest Day after this stage. There are seven Categorized climbs – 2,1,1,2,3,1, and 1 with the last climb to the finish. As it takes place on Bastille Day, every French rider wants to excel on the stage.

Nibali ground it out to regain the Yellow and take the stage. The young French rider, Romain Bardet, and French team AG2R La Mondiale boosted local spirits by winning the White Jersey and team competition respectively.

Alberto Contador ended his Tour with a crash today that caused some serious knee damage. Update: The knee damage was not the real problem – he fractured his tibia and will require surgery to set it. He will need months to heal.

That guarantees a new Tour winner as all three of the former winners [Chris Froome, Andy Schleck, and Contador] have had to withdraw.

Yellow Jersey Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 ) [Yellow] 42h 33′ 38″
Green Jersey Peter Sagan ( Svk – CAN – 051 ) [Green] 287 points
Polka Dot Jersey Joaquim Rodriguez ( Esp – KAT – 021 ) [Polka Dot] 51 points
White Jersey Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) 4 [White]

Team: AG2R La Mondiale ( ALM - 081-089 ) [Yellow numbers]
Stage winner: Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
Combative: Tony Martin ( Ger – OPQ - 075 ) [Red numbers]

Top Ten:

1 Vincenzo Nibali ( Ita – AST – 041 )
2 Richie Porte ( Aus – SKY – 007 ) + 02′ 23″
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte ( Esp – MOV – 011 ) + 02′ 47″
4 Romain Bardet ( Fra – ALM – 082 ) + 03′ 01″
5 Tony Gallopin ( Fra – LTB – 134 ) + 03′ 12″
6 Thibaut Pinot ( Fra – FDJ – 127 ) + 03′ 47″
7 Tejay Van Garderen ( US – BMC – 141 ) + 03′ 56″
8 Jean-Christophe Péraud ( Fra – ALM – 081 ) + 03′ 57″
9 Alberto Costa Rui ( Por – LAM – 111 ) + 03′ 58″
10 Bauke Mollema ( Ned – BEL – 061 ) + 04′ 08″

The Rest of the Top 30:
[Read more →]

July 14, 2014   No Comments