Totschnig Wins Stage 14 of Tour
Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) has won Stage 14 of the Tour de France.
Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) has won Stage 14 of the Tour de France. The Austrian was the sole survivor of a 10-man break that led from the beginning of the mountainous, 220.5-km ride from Agde to Ax-3 Domaines. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) outsprinted Ivan Basso (CSC) for second and 0:56 and remains the maillot jaune .<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
From the start, Totschnig, Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile), Alexandre Moos (Phonak), Juan Manuel Garate (Saunier Duval), Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas), Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom), Carlos Da Cruz and Philippe Gilbert (La Francaise des Jeux), Andrei Grivko (Domina Vacanze), and Yuri Krivtsov (Ag2r) gave it a go. None of these riders was a GC threat, so Discovery Channel put them on a fairly long leash. At Couiza (132 km), the break led the bunch by 9:35.
T-Mobile began to chase, and the escapees? lead began to drop. At the base of the Hors Categorie Port de Pailheres, Moos, Garzelli and Beneteau attacked. Totschnig joined the trio. Moos fell off of the pace.
On the Port de Pailheres, Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile) attacked and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), Ivan Basso (CSC), Floyd Landis (Phonak), and Andrei Kaskechkin (Credit Agricole) joined the Kazakh. Armstrong spent a few minutes waiting for a teammate to help him and then bridged up to the move. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), Cadel Evans (T-Mobile), and Andreas Kloeden (T-Mobile) signed on to the move as well. Landis accelerated, and Vinokourov dropped off of the pace.
Ahead, Totschnig attacked and dropped Garzelli. At the summit, the Gerolsteiner rider was 1:00 ahead of the Italian, 3:15 ahead of Beneteau, and 3:47 ahead of the maillot jaune group. On the descent, Totschnig added another minute to his advantage, while Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Evans, Kloeden, Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel), and Vinokourov joined the maillot jaune group.
Just before the base of the finishing climb, Vinokourov attacked, but Evans and Kloeden led the pursuit of their teammate, and the move was shut down. Basso attacked and dropped everyone except Ullrich, Armstrong, Leipheimer, and Landis. At 215 km, Totschnig led these five riders by 3:15.
With two km left, Armstrong attacked and dropped Ullrich. Basso stayed with Armstrong until the final 200 m, when the six-time defending champion put in a sprint that the CSC rider could not match.
In the overall, Armstrong leads Rasmussen by 1:41 and Basso by 2:46. Stage 15 will be another standing shaker. The 205.5-km ride from Lezat-sur-Leze to St-Lary Soulan will feature four Category 1 climbs and the Hors Categorie finishing ascent. This stage, the hardest one of this year?s Tour, decide the fates of all or virtually all of the remaining contenders. Who will prevail? Armstrong? Basso? Ullrich? Rasmussen? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!