This year's Clasica San Sebastian saw a wet peloton race through Spain's Basque country as Quick-Step's Carlos Barredo took the top spot ahead of Liquigas' Roman Kreuziger.
The Spanish rider made his attacks on the descents of the days last two hills with other riders going with him. Barredo and Kreuziger were able to break away from an unresponsive peloton in the last 5km and Barredo beat out the Czech rider in a sprint to the line.
"I never expected a win at this level...in a race like the San Sebastian Classic you have to take a risk to have any chance of winning," said Barredo to Velonews after the race.
Last year's winner and prerace favorite, Alejandro Valverde finished 17th and Alberto Contador, who was listed as a participant, did not race.
The supposedly doping scandal free 2009 Tour de France just lost that title.
Euskaltel-Euskadi's Mikel Astarloza has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO the UCI reported Friday, according to Velonews.
Astarloza won Stage 16, a difficult mountain stage, to much fanfare as it was the first major victory in the professional cycling world for the veteran Basque rider. His only other major win was the Tour Down Under.
UCI rules state that Astarloza has the right to request the analysis of a B-sample but if found positive he could receive a ban of up to two years by the Spanish Cycling Federation.
Astarloza finished the tour in 11th place. He was scheduled to start the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, but due to the provisional ban he will not race.
More information will be available later at www.Velonews.com
This is the bike Lance won his first TDF on. Before the Madone there was the 5600. It would go great with that old US Postal Service Uniform you have tucked away (and no I'm not talking about the one you stole from the mailman you have locked in your basement). $600 off on NYC Craigslist.
5: Astana's Trek Madone. What more can be said about the bike that grabbed two out of three top podium spots this year and has won a few tour's in the past along with the Giro and the Vuelta. Pictured is Alberto Contador's Madone.
4: Liquigas' Cannondale Super Six. This bike that helped Franco Pellizotti conquer the mountains (sorry for not having a pic of his custom Polka Dot Super Six). Cannondale consistently produces some of the highest quality race bikes on the market.
3. Cofidis' Look 595. Cofidis is a team that never really does much in the Tour (they get in every year because they're French), but they always seem to be one of the envy's of the peloton when it comes to bikes. This year the carbon Look 595 is no exception.
2: Saxo Bank's Specialzed S-Works Tarmac. While a few teams road this bike this year, Saxo Bank put it one display the best. Whether it was the Schlecks, Cancellara or even Jens Voigt, this Specialized helped make one of the best teams in the world even better.
1: Cervelo Test Team's S3. The new team on the block definitely has the hottest bike out there. The aero-carbon frame just looks fast and paired with Thor Hushovd or Heinrich Haussler, the S3 proves it is even faster. Pictured is Haussler's S3 from the tour.
I never understood in horse racing why people praised the jockeys. All those little guys do is whip an animal half to death for a mile and the one who does it best wins the race.
Luckily for us cycling is not horse racing and the men we praise do a hell of a lot of work. However in the spirit of praising the horse as well as the jockey, here are the best bikes from this year's Tour de France.
10: Caisse D'Epargne Pinarello Prince. The bike road very impressively by Luis Leon Sanchez and outfitted in Campy Super Record.
9: Euskaltel-Euskadi's Orbea Orca. The Belgians really know there bikes, even when it is a Basque team they're outfitting. This bike helped Mikel Astarloza grab a big stage win and sports Shimano Dura-Ace components.
8: Lampre's Wilier Triestina. While Lampre didn't do much in this year's Tour (do they ever do anything or just run out of steam after the Giro), this bike at least made them look good. Bike pictured is that of World champ Alessandro Ballan.
7: Garmin Slipstream's Felt AR. Felt stepped up their game this year with this aero-beauty and so did Garmin Slipstream. This bike took fourth overall thanks to Bradley Wiggins. Christian Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar raced pretty well on it as well.
6: Columbia-HTC's Scott Addict. Mark Cavendish uses this bike. Is that enough said, maybe but this bike does more than just go fast in a sprint. It also helped Tony Martin take second on Mont Ventoux and almost grabbed George Hincapie yellow.
The 2009 edition of the Tour de France ended today as the peloton crossed the line on the famed cobbles of the Champs Elysees. Astana's Alberto Contador had his victory ride in from Montereau as he sipped champagne with his teammates and adorned the Spanish flag on his way to Paris.
Once in Paris the race heated up as the peloton began it's circuit up and down the cobbles. A small breakaway lead for most of the time on Champs Elysees but there was the inevitable feeling that Mark Cavendish would take the stage.
On the final appraoch down the Champs Elysees, George Hincapie brought the Columbia-HTC train out and away from Garmin Slipstream and propelled his teammates onto the final stretch. Mark Renshaw towed Cavendish almost up to the line before Cavendish exploded off the front to take the stage and his sixth stage victory this year.
As Alberto Contador crossed the line he put two fingers in the air to symbolize his second tour win.
1:Alberto Contador, Team Astana 85hr 48' 35"
2:Andy Schleck, Team Saxo Bank 4'11"
3.Lance Armstrong, Team Astana 5'24"
4:Bradley Wiggins, Team Garmin Slipstream 6'01"
5:Frank Schleck, Team Saxo Bank 6'04"
1:Thor Hushovd, Cervelo Test Team 280 points
2:Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia-HTC 270 points
3:Gerald Ciolek, Team Milram 172 points
4:Jose Joaquin Rojas, Team Caisse d'Epargne 145 points
5:Tyler Farrar, Team Garmin Slipstream 136 points
King of the Mountains
1:Franco Pellizotti, Team Liquigas 210 points
2:Egoi Martinez, Team Euskaltel-Euskadi 135 points
3:Alberto Contador, Team Astana, 126 points
4:Andy Schleck, Team Saxo Bank, 111 points
5:Pierrick Fedrigo, Team BBox Bouygues Telecom, 99 points
Notes: Andy Schleck took home the white jersey for the best rider under the age of 26. It is the second year in a row he has done this.
This was Lance's bike that he road on today's stage up Mont Ventoux. It's a Trek Madone (obviously) and the frame's artwork was done by British artist, Damien Hirst. Hopefully this one doesn't get stolen.
This year the organizers of the Tour De France wanted to keep the race exciting up until the peloton comes down the Champs Elysees. This must be the reason why they made the penultimate stage finish atop the famed Mont Ventoux.
With it's eerie, lunar landscape and almost mythological history, Mont Ventoux is arguably the most famous, and infamous, climb in Tour history. It's the place where Tom Simpson died of exhaustion, where Charlie Gall was taken to his hotel in an ambulance after the stage, where Merckx had to receive oxygen afterwards and where Armstrong and Pantani dueled it out in a disputed win back in 2000.
Stage 20 was the peloton's chance to put their own mark on the "giant of the provence" and they did not disappoint.
The stage started out relatively slowly but picked up quickly as a breakaway formed around the 3km marker that included Cervelo Test Team's Hayden Roulston and Rabobank's Juan Manuel Garate.
For most of the day the peloton was lead by either Team Astana or Team Saxo Bank, although Team Garmin-Slipstream did put in their effort as well. Astana, however, held sway when the peloton hit the slopes Ventoux.
The severity and toughness of Mont Ventoux struck early as the peloton began to crumble and an elite group of climbers formed. That group included the yellow jersey of Alberto Contador, the white jersey of Andy Schleck as well as Lance Armstrong, Frank Schleck, Andreas Kloden, Bradley Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali.
This group began reeling in riders from the orginal breakaway on the lower part but were unable to chase down the stone-faced Spaniard, Juan Manuel Garate, and the impressive young rider, Tony Martin of Columbia-HTC.
Throughout the day Contador countered every vicious attack thrown at him by Andy Schleck, who kept glancing back to see if his brother Frank would follow and hopefully move up in the standings. Frank Schleck, however, looked dogged and under the constant pressure of Armstrong bearing down his back, was unable to make any decisive moves.
Joining this elite group later on the slopes was the Polka dot jersey of Franco Pellizotti, who stuck with them just long enough to launch off in the hopes of catching Garate and Martin. Pellizotti would not be as lucky on this attempt as he began to lose steam as the riders passed the tree-line and eventually was passed again by the group, finishing eighth on the day.
Garate and Martin were neck and neck until the final meters when Garate, the former champion of Spain, surged ahead to claim Mont Ventoux as his own. With two riders finished it was the tour leaders next in line.
Contador seemed composed and did not challenge Andy Schleck for third place on the stage, he did however punch the air in triumph when he crossed the line. Armstrong finished fifth with Frank Schleck coming in sixth.
Bradley Wiggins was able to maintain his fourth place overall by crossing the line in tenth, although he looked exhausted when finished.
Juan Manuel Garate was a happy man after the stage. After leading the charge up the Tourmalet, he was robbed of a victory but now has been justified with a win on Ventoux.
"I am very proud because the team has tried everyday to win a stage at this year's Tour. Today was the last chance and I have found what we were looking for," Garate said.
Lance Armstrong secured his third place finish today by holding off Wiggins and Schleck. After the race the seven-time champ seemed philosophical about his standing.
"Hey, I can't complain... Coming out here and getting on the podium with these young guys, it's not so bad," he said to the Associated Press.
Contador also seemed pleased with the result as he, barring any unforeseen incident, secured his spot atop the podium.
"I knew that every minute that went by was bringing me closer to a Tour De France victory" he told the AP.
The undulating stage 19 saw the peloton stuck together for most of the day and with only a few breakaways during the day, including an early attack by Cadel Evans, there was a big set-up for the final sprint.
With just over 2km left in the race, Team Columbia-HTC took control of the peloton and caught up with the breakaway of UCI world champion Alessandro Ballan and Laurent Lefevre . This set up for the showdown between Mark Cavendish and green jersey holder, Cervelo Test Team's Thor Hushovd.
Columbia-HTC formed up their now signature train for Cavendish and after a lead-out by George Hincapie and Tony Martin, Cavendish started his sprint a bit early but was still able to hold off Hushovd on the uphill sprint.
Hushovd was able to hold on for second and maintain his points lead, now 260 to Cavendish's 235.
Lance Armstrong was the only rider on the top ten to finish with the same time as Cavendish and gained some more time on his rivals, Bradley Wiggens and Frank Schleck.
After yesterday's time trial Lance Armstrong announced that he would join a new professional race team for next season sponsored by RadioShack. For more information, follow the link below to the Livestrong website.
For a while it looked like no one could beat Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara's time of 48'33" on Stage 18's individual time trial, that is until the man in yellow left the starting block. As Phil Liggett said all day, the tour leader always wants to win the final time trial and Alberto Contador probably had that in his mind when he headed out on today's course.
The Spanish time trial champion blazed through the course around Lake Annecy and finished the race three seconds faster than Cancellara, with a time of 48'30". Besides winning the stage Contador was also able to gain more time on his challengers, with Andy Schleck sitting in second by 4' 11" in the general classification.
With only two days of real racing left it seems guaranteed that Contador will be atop the podium in Paris, especially with Andy Schleck's number two spot being challenged by Contador's teammate, Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong, who rode a decent time trial, was able to gain valuable time on his competition as his two main rivals for a podium spot, Saxo Bank's Franck Schleck and Garmin-Slipstream's Bradley Wiggins, both faltered and lost time on the course.
Wiggins, a former track champion and natural against the clock, rode brilliantly until the final kilometers where he lost time. Frank Schleck, not know as a good time trial racer, finished 35th on the day.
Armstrong was able to move up to third with Wiggins only 11 seconds behind him in fourth. Frank Schleck fell from third to sixth, while Contador and Armstrong's Astana teammate, Andreas Kloden is now in fifth.
At the end of the stage Contador seemed surprised by his win, telling Reuters that he was "really not expecting this," and that he was tired from the previous day's stage.
While the Schleck brother's are not know for their ability in the time trial, Andy Schleck rode better than expected and was able to maintain his second place standing. The white jersey holder was cordial and complimentary toward Contador after the stage.
"Once again, Mr. Contador surprised me. He rode a formidable time trial. He proved he was the best," Schleck told Reuters.
Tomorrow's stage is a light mountain stage that sets up for Saturday's climax up to the summit of the famed Mont Ventoux.