LE TOUR: Jelle Vanendert emerges as Tour Star

July 16, Stage 14: Saint-Gaudens – Plateau de Beille 168km – Belgium’s Jelle Vanendert has emerged in this year’s Tour de France from the shadow of his more illustrious teammates to win a mountain stage on top of the Pyrenean mountain  Plateau de Beille.

For the Brit’s, it was the turn of David Millar to make his mark on the race as he got in an early move with the experienced campaigner, Jens Voigt (Leopard Trek). The break of around 20 riders contained no GC contenders and so was expected to  be given some room to open up a big gap and this they did as minute by minute the gap opened whilst at the back of the race, Green jersey Mark Cavendish was struggling on the slopes of the mountains.

The lead for the break was soon at six minutes and the break numbered 24 riders before the slopes and speed up the mountains saw three riders slip off the front on the summit Col de la Core. Millar was one of the three who opened up the lead on the peloton to nine minutes making Casar the yellow jersey on the road.

Milar’s time with the leading quartet, they had been joined by Riblon, was short lived though as he was dropped on the steep slopes of the Col d’Agnes, a Cat 1 climb. That was it for Millar out front and as the break carried on, the British rider slipped backwards to the chasers.

There, he carried on chasing the leaders to the bottom of the final climb which was when the GC battle took centre stage. It was on this final push to the finish that the lines of Andy and Frank Schleck, Cadle Evans, Alberto Contador and surprisingly the yellow jersey of Thomas Voeckler went pedal stroke for pedal stroke to try and break the other.

The once 50 or so strong peloton was now down to just ten or so riders as the attacks came and went, riders dropped fought back but it was left to Vanenert to make the winning move a long way out and held it to the finish.

After the stage, Geraint Thomas said on Twitter “Hard day in the office today. Glad I felt good and could stay in front until the final climb. Gruppetto would have had to go some. Cracking ride from Rigo as well. Got the White jersey back on the sky bus. Where it belongs!!” Ben Swift meanwhile commented “That’s another stage done. Tough day but legs felt pretty good. Flat day tomorrow and then a nice rest day perfect.”

Sean Yates, Team Sky Sports Director: “It was a good day all round, and for Rigoberto especially. It went very much as planned. Xabier [Zandio] made the breakaway and that was perfect for us. It enabled the rest of the team – including Rigoberto – to know we had all bases covered and didn’t have to waste any extra energy. It was always likely to come back and then turn into a battle between the GC guys on the final climb but Xabier couldn’t have done any more, he judged it just right.”

“As far as Rigoberto is concerned, he’s improving every day. Obviously there’s a long way to go to Paris but he’s in a good position in terms of the white jersey and also a good GC spot. It’s all good, without getting carried away. When we lost Brad we had to re-evaluate and look at what was the best way to go and Rigo will be doing everything he can to win the white jersey and climb into the top 10 overall. He played it cool today and did it to perfection. He did great. There’s still a lot of competition in that young rider category but with the finish on the Galibier to come – where altitude will have an effect – you’d hope that’s to Rigoberto’s advantage.

“The team being successful, with Xabier in the break and Rigo going well, lifts the whole squad. Flecha is recovering all the time from his crash all the time too. It’s not easy for him but he’s a tough cookie and he’s able to keep an eye on Rigoberto on the flat.”

Previous Stages
STAGE 1 | STAGE 2 | STAGE 3 | STAGE 4 |  STAGE 5 | STAGE 6 | STAGE 7 | STAGE 8 | STAGE 9 | STAGE 10 |
| STAGE 11 | STAGE 12 | STAGE 13 |

Stage 14

1.  Jelle Vanendert, Omega Pharma-Lotto  5:13:25
2.  Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi  0:00:21
3.  Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek  0:00:46
4.  Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team  0:00:48
5.  Rigoberto Uran, Sky Procycling
6.  Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank Sungard
7.  Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar
8.  Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek
9.  Jean-Christophe Peraud, AG2R La Mondiale
10.  Pierre Rolland, Team Europcar

Other Key Riders
11.  Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale
12.  Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD  0:01:27
13.  Thomas Danielson, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:01:59
33.  Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale  0:06:47
58.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  0:14:59
75.  Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad
77.  David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:17:37
88.  Kristijan Koren, Liquigas-Cannondale  0:23:44
89.  Fabian Cancellara, Leopard Trek
111.  Ben Swift, Sky Procycling     0:24:34
114.  Richie Porte, Saxo Bank Sungard
142.  Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo
143.  Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling
164.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad

1.  Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar  61:04:10
2.  Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek  0:01:49
3.  Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team  0:02:06
4.  Andy Schleck, Leopard Trek  0:02:15
5.  Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale  0:03:16
6.  Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi  0:03:44
7.  Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank Sungard  0:04:00
8.  Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD  0:04:01
9.  Thomas Danielson, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:05:46
10.  Kevin De Weert, Quickstep Cycling Team  0:06:18

11.  Rigoberto Uran, Sky Procycling  0:07:55
18.  Nicolas Roche, AG2R La Mondiale  0:10:56
35.  Tony Martin, HTC-Highroad  0:27:06
43.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling  0:35:27
58.  David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:55:02
66.  Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling  1:03:23
72.  Richie Porte, Saxo Bank Sungard  1:11:30
100.  Johnny Hoogerland, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  1:33:19
128.  Ben Swift, Sky Procycling  1:54:39
136.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad  1:58:34

1.  Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad  264   pts
4.  Thor Hushovd, Team Garmin-Cervelo  192
5.  André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto  164  h

Tags: ,