Schleck Wins at L'Alpe d'Huez; Landis Takes Yellow Jersey
Frank Schleck (CSC) has won Stage 15 of the Tour de France.
Frank Schleck (CSC) has won Stage 15 of the Tour de France. The Luxembourger outlasted 24 breakaway companions to win the mountainous, 187-km ride from Bourg d?Oisans to L?Alpe d?Huez in 4:52:22. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) finished second at 0:11, and Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) took third at 1:10. Floyd Landis (Phonak) finished fourth and has taken back the yellow jersey.
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At 30 km, the break of the day occurred. George Hincapie and Egoi Martinez (both from Discovery Channel); Eddy Mazzoleni (T-Mobile); David Zabriskie, Jens Voigt, and Schleck (CSC); Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner); Jose Luis Arrieta (Ag2r); Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank); Axel Merckx (Phonak); Cunego and Francisco Vila (both from Lampre); David Arroyo and Jose Garcia Acosta (both from Caisse d?Epargne); Anthony Charteau (Credit Agricole); Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel); Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis); David de la Fuente and Ruben Lobato (both from Saunier Duval); Bernhard Eisel and Benoit Vaugrenard (both from Francaise des Jeux); Stefano Garzelli and Michael Albasini (both from Liquigas); Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom); and Christian Knees (Milram) sallied off of the front. The break?s size and composition probably prevented an early chase, and the escapees led by 4:30 at the base of the Col d?Izoard. Garzelli attacked his companions and led the peloton by 6:30 at the summit.
Attrition took its toll, and Garzelli led a 15-strong chase group by 0:30 at 105.5 km. The Italian sat up and rejoined the break at 110 km, and Flecha and Wegmann rejoined it as well. The escape consisted of Hincapie, Schleck, Voigt, Zabriskie, Mazzoleni, Arrieta, Merckx, Cunego, Vila, Arroyo, Charteau, Landaluze, Chavanel, de la Fuente, and Lobato. It led the peloton by 4:50.
On the Category 2 Col du Lautaret, Vila and de la Fuente attacked. Zabriskie and Voigt led the pursuit. At the summit, the two Spaniards were 0:30 ahead of the chasers and 4:00 ahead of the peloton.
Zabriskie and Voigt led the pursuit to the base of the Alpe. Schleck, Cunego, Hincapie, Lobato, Chavanel, Vila, Garzelli, and Mazzoleni led the field, with the peloton 3:30 in arrears. Vila began accelerating, and Hincapie slid out of the back.
Cunego picked up where Vila left off. The Italian?s accelerations dropped everyone except Schleck. Behind, T-Mobile towed the field up the Alpe. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) slid out of the back, and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d?Epargne), the yellow jersey, followed suit. With 10 km left, Landis, Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile), and Cadel Evans (Davitamon) trailed Schleck and Cunego by 2:50.
Landis attacked and dropped Evans. Regroupments occurred, with Schleck and Cunego picking up Mazzoleni and the Landis group picking up Merckx, Carlos Sastre (CSC), and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner). Kloden attacked and dropped the three, and Schleck and Cunego dropped Mazzoleni.
With two km remaining, Schleck, who realized that he had little chance in a sprint against Cunego, attacked and dropped the Italian. Schleck soloed home, with Cunego coming in 0:11 later and Garzelli outsprinting Landis for third.
In the overall, Landis leads Pereiro by 0:10 and Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) by 2:02. Stage 16 will be another standing shaker. The 182-km