Menchov Wins Stage 13 of Tour; Landis Takes Yellow Jersey
Denis Menchov (Rabobank) has won Stage 11 of the Tour de France.
Denis Menchov (Rabobank) has won Stage 11 of the Tour de France. The Russian outlasted Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Floyd Landis (Phonak) in a three-up sprint to win the mountainous, 206-km ride from Tarbes, France to Pia-de-Beret, Spain in 6:06:25. Landis is the new maillot jaune . <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
In hot and humid conditions, the aggression began early. After a couple of abortive sallies, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Iker Camano (Euskaltel), David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) attacked. Initially, the peloton did not chase, and the break led the bunch by 6:30 at the base of the Col du Tourmalet. Behind, Iban Mayo (Euskaltel), of whom great things were expected in this year?s Tour, abandoned.
At the summit of the Tourmalet, the peloton trailed the escapees by 4:00. By the base of the descent, the escapees led the maillot jaune group by 4:30. On the Category 1 Col de Peyresourde, Wegmann and de la Fuente attacked and dropped their companions. Behind, Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) was dropped from the maillot jaune group, which scooped up Camano. At the summit of the Peyresourde, 3:00 separated the maillot jaune group from the leaders.
At the base of the descent of the Peyresourde, the fugitives led the maillot jaune group by 3:45. On the lower slopes of the Category 1 Col de Portillion, de la Fuente dropped Wegmann. Behind, T-Mobile took over at the front of the maillot jaune group and accelerated.
Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d?Epargne), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel), and maillot jaune Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) were dropped. T-Mobile eased the pressure, and a 22-rider chase group formed. With four km left in the climb, George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) and Ivan Parra (Cofidis) were dropped. At the summit of the Portillon, this chase group had reeled in Wegmann and was 1:40 behind de la Fuente.
On the descent, Carlos Sastre (CSC) crashed, but the Spaniard jumped back up and rejoined the chase group. David Arroyo (Caisse d?Epargne) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) attacked. With 28 km left, the pair was 0:45 behind de la Fuente and 1:45 ahead of the chase group.
With 27 km left, Cunego and Arroyo caught de la Fuente, but the trio stopped cooperating. The chase group reeled them in with 12 km left. Rabobank led the group into the final climb.
Rabobank set a blistering pace for Menchov. Michael Rasmussen began the pacemaking and then turned matters over to Michael Boogerd, who took the group onto the climb. With 10 km left, Boogerd had reduced the lead group to Sastre, Landis, Cadel Evans (Davitamon), Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile), and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner). Boogerd pulled off and Menchov attacked.
Menchov?s attack dropped Kloden. Landis took over the pacemaking. With five km remaining, Leipheimer attacked and Menchov countered. Evans and Sastre were dropped. Landis stood firm.
Menchov led out the sprint. Leipheimer challenged, but the Russian fought off the man from Montana. The bonus seconds that Landis earned for third place gave him the yellow jersey.
In the overall, Landis leads Dessel