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Astana steamrolls team time trial

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Jul. 7, 2009
  • Updated Jul. 8, 2009 at 8:32 AM EDT

Cancellara keeps the jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong

2009 TdF, stage 4: Astana approaches the finish line, looking for that last fraction of a second to put Armstrong in yellow.

Photo: Agence France Presse

Team Astana blazed through the team time trial to win stage 4. Astana came across the line 40 seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank squad of race leader Fabian Cancellara — the exact margin by which Cancellara led Lance Armstrong on general classification. After some careful math by race officials, Cancellara now holds the yellow jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong.

Garmin-Slipstream finished second on the day, 18 seconds down.

Astana came into the stage with four riders in the top 10 thanks to their time trialing ability, and that strength showed again on the 39km stage around Montpellier. Held largely on narrow roads, the technical course featured more than a few dicey corners that put riders from several teams on the ground.

Giro d’Italia champion Denis Menchov (Rabobank) was the first to go down, sliding out on a tight left-hand bend that soon felled World champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre).

But Astana, having previewed the course several times, rode with precision and focused determination, avoiding any mishaps. They were rewarded for their efforts with Armstrong slotting into second overall, followed by Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer in third through fifth, respectively.

“It’s a little bit of a disappointment,” Armstrong said of the narrow miss. “But the yellow jersey is on the horizon. Astana did their maximum.”

2009 TdF, stage 4: Garmin lost four riders early, but continued on with five of the best TT riders in the world.

Photo: Agence France Presse

How it played out

On stage 3, Columbia-HTC shattered the peloton with a team time trial of its own, reshuffling the general classification to bump up those who made the front split. Columbia-HTC guttered the peloton in a crosswind, riding a tight echelon on the front, and a group of 25 men — including 7 Columbia riders — made it to the finish ahead of the main group that contained GC contenders Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and many others.

2009 Tour de France

Stage 4: Montpellier TTT
39km (24.2 miles)
Stage winner: Team Astana in 46:29
Stage winner’s average speed: 50.34 kph (31.28 mph)
GC leader: Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)
Points leader: Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC)
Climbing leader: Jussi Veikkanen (FdJ)
Team GC leader: Team Astana
Best young rider: Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC)
Previous stage wins/GC leaders
Stage 1: Cancellara/Cancellara
Stage 2: Cavendish/Cancellara
Stage 3: Cavendish/Cancellara
Up Next:
Stage 5 is 196.5km (122.1 miles) from Le Cap d’Agde to Perpignan. The mostly flat stage includes a hilly loop in the middle of the race, but a long, flat run-in that will favor the sprinters’ teams.

Stage 4 was the actual team time trial, an event not held at the Tour since 2005, when American Dave Zabriskie crashed just outside the final kilometer while in the yellow jersey and his CSC squad lost the event by two seconds to Discovery Channel.

Katusha set the early best time of 47:27 despite losing Danilo Napolitano and Styn Vandenbergh.

With each team’s time based on its fifth rider to cross the line, squads could afford to burn up riders or leave them if a crash or lack of speed pulled them out.

With winds gusting up to 25kph, often coming as a head-crosswind, riders constantly had to remained focused.

Coming around a righthand bend, Bbox Bougyues Telecom came in hot and soon four riders were in the ditch. No one was hurt, but it took some time to get back together. Soon after Pierre Roland was dropped.

Lampre finished with five riders, two minutes off Katusha’s pace.

Last year’s runner-up, Cadel Evans, came into this year’s Tour with the team time trial as his known Achilles heel. Although Evans can often match the best climbers and time trialists mano a mano, his Silence-Lotto squad would have to deliver on par with Astana, Saxo Bank and Columbia-HTC to keep Evans high on the general classification.

It was not to be.

Just a few minutes into their race, Silence lost a rider when Jurgen Vandenbroeck touched wheels with the rider in front of him and went down. Coming down the finishing straight, Evans was on the front, giving it his all — but the effort split his team, and only Sebastian Lang could hold his wheel. His team was marked when the back half of his shattered team rolled across the line in 49:05.

Liquigas finished with five riders to set a new best time of 47:27.

Garmin-Slipstream went out hard, quickly losing Tyler Farrar, Danny Pate, Martijn Maaskant and Julian Dean. That left them with their GC hope, Christian Vande Velde, three time trial specialists — Dave Zabriskie, Bradley Wiggins and David Millar — and Ryder Hesjedal. But these five kept a tight rotation and fiery pace all the way to the finish, pegging a new best time of 46:47.

Team Saxo Bank, with race leader Fabian Cancellara, was the third from last to take to the road. They were followed by Columbia-HTC and then Astana.

The day’s general classification started with Cancellara ahead of Columbia-HTC’s Tony Martin (33 seconds), Lance Armstrong (40 seconds) and Alberto Contador (40 seconds).

2009 TdF, stage 4: Clearly the strongest team out there.

Photo: Graham Watson

Cancellara took longer pulls than the rest of his teammates, and was on the front when they flew into the same righthand bend that brought Bbox down. Saxo Bank also came in hot, and Cancellara and Gustav Larsson had to put some body English on their bikes to keep them on the road. No one went down, but the team’s formation was temporarily split.

Saxo Bank kept its 9 men together for most of the stage. Cancellara pulled six of his Saxo Bank teammates across the line to finish in 47:09.

Columbia-HTC appeared to pay for the previous day’s efforts, and despite riding a carefully orchestrated time trial finished in 47:28, which put them in fifth on the day.

Photo Gallery

Results

Team stage results | Click for: Individual GC standings | Team GC standings

  • 1. Astana in 46:29
  • 2. Garmin – Slipstream in 46:47
  • 3. Team Saxo Bank in 47:09 at 00:40
  • 4. Liquigas in 47:27 at 00:58
  • 5. Team Columbia – Htc in 47:28 at 00:59
  • 6. Team Katusha in 47:52 at 01:23
  • 7. Caisse D’epargne in 47:58 at 01:29
  • 8. Cervelo Test Team in 48:06 at 01:37
  • 9. Ag2r-La Mondiale in 48:17 at 01:48
  • 10. Euskaltel – Euskadi in 48:38 at 02:09
  • 11. Rabobank in 48:49 at 02:20
  • 12. Quick Step in 48:55 at 02:26
  • 13. Silence – Lotto in 49:04 at 02:35
  • 14. Francaise Des Jeux in 49:15 at 02:46
  • 15. Team Milram in 49:17 at 02:48
  • 16. Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 49:27 at 02:58
  • 17. Lampre – N.g.c in 49:53 at 03:24
  • 18. Agritubel in 50:46 at 04:17
  • 19. Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 51:10 at 04:41
  • 20. Skil-Shimano in 51:52 at 05:23

GC standings | Click for: Team stage results

  • 1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank in 10:38:07
  • 2. Lance Armstrong Astana
  • 3. Alberto Contador Astana in 10:38:26 at 00:19
  • 4. Andréas KlÖden Astana in 10:38:30 at 00:23
  • 5. Levi Leipheimer Astana in 10:38:38 at 00:31
  • 6. Bradley Wiggins Garmin – Slipstream in 10:38:45 at 00:38
  • 7. Haimar Zubeldia Astana in 10:38:58 at 00:51
  • 8. Tony Martin Team Columbia – Htc in 10:38:59 at 00:52
  • 9. David Zabriskie Garmin – Slipstream in 10:39:13 at 01:06
  • 10. David Millar Garmin – Slipstream in 10:39:14 at 01:07
  • 11. Sergio Paulinho Astana in 10:39:23 at 01:16
  • 12. Christian Vande Velde Garmin – Slipstream in 10:39:23 at 01:16
  • 13. Gustav Larsson Team Saxo Bank in 10:39:29 at 01:22
  • 14. Maxime Monfort Team Columbia – Htc in 10:39:36 at 01:29
  • 15. Roman Kreuziger Liquigas in 10:39:38 at 01:31
  • 16. Michael Rogers Team Columbia – Htc in 10:39:39 at 01:32
  • 17. George Hincapie Team Columbia – Htc in 10:39:43 at 01:36
  • 18. Yaroslav Popovych Astana in 10:39:43 at 01:36
  • 19. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas in 10:39:43 at 01:36
  • 20. Andy Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 10:39:48 at 01:41
  • 21. Ryder Hesjedal Garmin – Slipstream in 10:39:53 at 01:46
  • 22. Jens Voigt Team Saxo Bank in 10:40:10 at 02:03
  • 23. Kurt-asle Arvesen Team Saxo Bank in 10:40:12 at 02:05
  • 24. Kim Kirchen Team Columbia – Htc in 10:40:23 at 02:16
  • 25. Frank Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 10:40:24 at 02:17
  • 26. Brian Vandborg Liquigas in 10:40:32 at 02:25
  • 27. Vladimir Karpets Team Katusha in 10:40:38 at 02:31
  • 28. Franco Pellizotti Liquigas in 10:40:39 at 02:32
  • 29. Carlos Sastre Cervelo Test Team in 10:40:51 at 02:44
  • 30. Nicki Sorensen Team Saxo Bank in 10:40:51 at 02:44
  • 31. Fabio Sabatini Liquigas in 10:40:57 at 02:50
  • 32. Bert Grabsch Team Columbia – Htc in 10:40:58 at 02:51
  • 33. Mikel Astarloza Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:41:01 at 02:54
  • 34. Luis Pasamontes Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:03 at 02:56
  • 35. Cadel Evans Silence – Lotto in 10:41:06 at 02:59
  • 36. Serguei Ivanov Team Katusha in 10:41:06 at 02:59
  • 37. Thor Hushovd Cervelo Test Team in 10:41:06 at 02:59
  • 38. Stuart O’grady Team Saxo Bank in 10:41:07 at 03:00
  • 39. Mikhail Ignatiev Team Katusha in 10:41:09 at 03:02
  • 40. Oscar Pereiro Sio Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:10 at 03:03
  • 41. Hayden Roulston Cervelo Test Team in 10:41:12 at 03:05
  • 42. Da Costa Rui Alberto Faria Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:13 at 03:06
  • 43. Heinrich Haussler Cervelo Test Team in 10:41:14 at 03:07
  • 44. Volodymir Gustov Cervelo Test Team in 10:41:16 at 03:09
  • 45. Linus Gerdemann Team Milram in 10:41:18 at 03:11
  • 46. Rigoberto Uran Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:19 at 03:12
  • 47. Rinaldo Nocentini Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:20 at 03:13
  • 48. Nicolas Roche Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:23 at 03:16
  • 49. Jérôme Pineau Quick Step in 10:41:24 at 03:17
  • 50. Ivan Gutierrez José Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:24 at 03:17
  • 51. Joaquin Rojas Jose Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:24 at 03:17
  • 52. Filippo Pozzato Team Katusha in 10:41:25 at 03:18
  • 53. Luis-leon Sanchez Caisse D’epargne in 10:41:25 at 03:18
  • 54. Lloyd Mondory Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:28 at 03:21
  • 55. Sylvain Chavanel Quick Step in 10:41:30 at 03:23
  • 56. José Oroz Juan Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:41:31 at 03:24
  • 57. Gorka Verdugo Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:41:32 at 03:25
  • 58. Daniel Lancaster Brett Cervelo Test Team in 10:41:35 at 03:28
  • 59. Frederik Willems Liquigas in 10:41:39 at 03:32
  • 60. Mark Cavendish Team Columbia – Htc in 10:41:40 at 03:33
  • 61. Stephane Goubert Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:41 at 03:34
  • 62. Robert Gesink Rabobank in 10:41:43 at 03:36
  • 63. Chris Sorensen Team Saxo Bank in 10:41:43 at 03:36
  • 64. Cyril Dessel Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:45 at 03:38
  • 65. Christophe Riblon Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:49 at 03:42
  • 66. Vladimir Efimkin Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:51 at 03:44
  • 67. Hubert Dupont Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:53 at 03:46
  • 68. Nicolaï Trussov Team Katusha in 10:41:54 at 03:47
  • 69. Aleksandr Kuschynski Liquigas in 10:41:54 at 03:47
  • 70. Igor Anton Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:41:55 at 03:48
  • 71. Alexandre Botcharov Team Katusha in 10:41:58 at 03:51
  • 72. Denis Menchov Rabobank in 10:41:59 at 03:52
  • 73. Luis Arrieta Jose Ag2r-La Mondiale in 10:41:59 at 03:52
  • 74. Carlos Barredo Quick Step in 10:42:02 at 03:55
  • 75. Laurens Ten Dam Rabobank in 10:42:04 at 03:57
  • 76. Sébastien Rosseler Quick Step in 10:42:10 at 04:03
  • 77. Rémi Pauriol Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:42:11 at 04:04
  • 78. Inigo Cuesta Cervelo Test Team in 10:42:12 at 04:05
  • 79. Egoi Martinez Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:42:16 at 04:09
  • 80. Manuel Garate Juan Rabobank in 10:42:16 at 04:09
  • 81. David Arroyo Caisse D’epargne in 10:42:17 at 04:10
  • 82. Christophe Kern Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:42:19 at 04:12
  • 83. Grischa Niermann Rabobank in 10:42:23 at 04:16
  • 84. Sandy Casar Francaise Des Jeux in 10:42:23 at 04:16
  • 85. Jérôme Coppel Francaise Des Jeux in 10:42:24 at 04:17
  • 86. Alessandro Vanotti Liquigas in 10:42:30 at 04:23
  • 87. Jérémy Roy Francaise Des Jeux in 10:42:30 at 04:23
  • 88. Tom Boonen Quick Step in 10:42:32 at 04:25
  • 89. Peter Velits Team Milram in 10:42:34 at 04:27
  • 90. Johannes FrÖhlinger Team Milram in 10:42:35 at 04:28
  • 91. Mark Renshaw Team Columbia – Htc in 10:42:36 at 04:29
  • 92. Jose Angel Gomez Marchante Cervelo Test Team in 10:42:37 at 04:30
  • 93. Stijn Devolder Quick Step in 10:42:37 at 04:30
  • 94. Mickaël Delage Silence – Lotto in 10:42:38 at 04:31
  • 95. Christian Knees Team Milram in 10:42:39 at 04:32
  • 96. Antonio Flecha Juan Rabobank in 10:42:39 at 04:32
  • 97. Daniele Bennati Liquigas in 10:42:41 at 04:34
  • 98. Alessandro Ballan Lampre – N.g.c in 10:42:42 at 04:35
  • 99. Stéphane Auge Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:42:47 at 04:40
  • 100. Joost Posthuma Rabobank in 10:42:53 at 04:46
  • 101. Oscar Freire Rabobank in 10:42:55 at 04:48
  • 102. Amets Txurruka Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:42:56 at 04:49
  • 103. Benoît Vaugrenard Francaise Des Jeux in 10:42:57 at 04:50
  • 104. Greg Van Avermaet Silence – Lotto in 10:42:58 at 04:51
  • 105. Christophe Le Mevel Francaise Des Jeux in 10:43:01 at 04:54
  • 106. Jussi Veikkanen Francaise Des Jeux in 10:43:03 at 04:56
  • 107. Koldo Fernandez Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:43:04 at 04:57
  • 108. Leonardo Duque Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:43:06 at 04:59
  • 109. Samuel Dumoulin Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:43:07 at 05:00
  • 110. Marzio Bruseghin Lampre – N.g.c in 10:43:09 at 05:02
  • 111. Simon Spilak Lampre – N.g.c in 10:43:12 at 05:05
  • 112. David Moncoutie Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:43:15 at 05:08
  • 113. Anthony Geslin Francaise Des Jeux in 10:43:16 at 05:09
  • 114. Gerald Ciolek Team Milram in 10:43:18 at 05:11
  • 115. Maxime Bouet Agritubel in 10:43:23 at 05:16
  • 116. Sebastian Lang Silence – Lotto in 10:43:24 at 05:17
  • 117. Sébastien Minard Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:43:34 at 05:27
  • 118. Amaël Moinard Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:43:35 at 05:28
  • 119. Johan Van Summeren Silence – Lotto in 10:43:39 at 05:32
  • 120. Joan Horrach Team Katusha in 10:43:41 at 05:34
  • 121. David Le Lay Agritubel in 10:43:53 at 05:46
  • 122. Matthew Lloyd Silence – Lotto in 10:43:56 at 05:49
  • 123. Laurent Lefevre Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:44:01 at 05:54
  • 124. Tyler Farrar Garmin – Slipstream in 10:44:04 at 05:57
  • 125. William Bonnet Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:44:08 at 06:01
  • 126. Bingen Fernandez Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 10:44:10 at 06:03
  • 127. Ruben Perez Moreno Euskaltel – Euskadi in 10:44:11 at 06:04
  • 128. Nicolas Vogondy Agritubel in 10:44:17 at 06:10
  • 129. Geoffroy Lequatre Agritubel in 10:44:18 at 06:11
  • 130. Markus Fothen Team Milram in 10:44:18 at 06:11
  • 131. David Loosli Lampre – N.g.c in 10:44:22 at 06:15
  • 132. Stef Clement Rabobank in 10:44:22 at 06:15
  • 133. Mauro Santambrogio Lampre – N.g.c in 10:44:24 at 06:17
  • 134. Pierrick Fedrigo Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:44:25 at 06:18
  • 135. Julian Dean Garmin – Slipstream in 10:44:33 at 06:26
  • 136. Saïd Haddou Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:44:34 at 06:27
  • 137. Thierry Hupond Skil-Shimano in 10:44:40 at 06:33
  • 138. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez Agritubel in 10:44:42 at 06:35
  • 139. Marcin Sapa Lampre – N.g.c in 10:44:47 at 06:40
  • 140. Cyril Lemoine Skil-Shimano in 10:44:54 at 06:47
  • 141. Sébastien Joly Francaise Des Jeux in 10:44:54 at 06:47
  • 142. Yukiya Arashiro Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:44:56 at 06:49
  • 143. Christophe Moreau Agritubel in 10:45:01 at 06:54
  • 144. Thomas Voeckler Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:45:02 at 06:55
  • 145. Alexandre Pichot Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:45:04 at 06:57
  • 146. Koen De Kort Skil-Shimano in 10:45:14 at 07:07
  • 147. Arnaud Coyot Caisse D’epargne in 10:45:15 at 07:08
  • 148. Brice Feillu Agritubel in 10:45:22 at 07:15
  • 149. Pierre Rolland Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:45:25 at 07:18
  • 150. Styn Vandenbergh Team Katusha in 10:45:29 at 07:22
  • 151. Sylvain Calzati Agritubel in 10:45:31 at 07:24
  • 152. Piet Rooijakkers Skil-Shimano in 10:45:32 at 07:25
  • 153. Simon Geschke Skil-Shimano in 10:45:33 at 07:26
  • 154. Yury Trofimov Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 10:45:33 at 07:26
  • 155. Jonathan Hivert Skil-Shimano in 10:45:36 at 07:29
  • 156. Fumiyuki Beppu Skil-Shimano in 10:45:42 at 07:35
  • 157. Niki Terpstra Team Milram in 10:45:49 at 07:42
  • 158. Matteo Tosatto Quick Step in 10:45:57 at 07:50
  • 159. Marco Bandiera Lampre – N.g.c in 10:45:58 at 07:51
  • 160. Charles Wegelius Silence – Lotto in 10:46:16 at 08:09
  • 161. Broeck Jurgen Van Den Silence – Lotto in 10:46:23 at 08:16
  • 162. Kenny Robert Van Hummel Skil-Shimano in 10:46:55 at 08:48
  • 163. Steven De Jongh Quick Step in 10:46:59 at 08:52
  • 164. Fabian Wegmann Team Milram in 10:47:01 at 08:54
  • 165. Bernhard Eisel Team Columbia – Htc in 10:47:01 at 08:54
  • 166. Gregory Rast Astana in 10:47:19 at 09:12
  • 167. Danny Pate Garmin – Slipstream in 10:47:26 at 09:19
  • 168. Peter Wrolich Team Milram in 10:47:41 at 09:34
  • 169. Danilo Napolitano Team Katusha in 10:47:50 at 09:43
  • 170. Martijn Maaskant Garmin – Slipstream in 10:48:01 at 09:54
  • 171. Romain Feillu Agritubel in 10:48:14 at 10:07
  • 172. Daniele Righi Lampre – N.g.c in 10:48:45 at 10:38
  • 173. Angelo Furlan Lampre – N.g.c in 10:48:47 at 10:40
  • 174. Albert Timmer Skil-Shimano in 10:49:16 at 11:09
  • 175. Staf Scheirlinckx Silence – Lotto in 10:50:16 at 12:09
  • 176. Yauheni Hutarovich Francaise Des Jeux in 10:52:42 at 14:35
  • 177. Andreas Klier Cervelo Test Team in 10:53:37 at 15:30
  • 178. Dmitriy Muravyev Astana in 10:57:38 at 19:31
  • 179. Alan Perez Lezaun Euskaltel – Euskadi in 11:00:17 at 22:10

Team GC standings | Click for: TOP

  • 1. Astana in 30:20:33
  • 2. Team Saxo Bank in 30:23:06
  • 3. Team Columbia – Htc in 30:23:18 at 02:45
  • 4. Garmin – Slipstream in 30:23:38 at 03:05
  • 5. Liquigas in 30:24:59 at 04:26
  • 6. Cervelo Test Team in 30:25:58 at 05:25
  • 7. Euskaltel – Euskadi in 30:26:07 at 05:34
  • 8. Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne in 30:26:45 at 06:12
  • 9. Team Milram in 30:27:06 at 06:33
  • 10. Quick Step in 30:27:06 at 06:33
  • 11. Team Katusha in 30:27:09 at 06:36
  • 12. Ag2r-La Mondiale in 30:27:19 at 06:46
  • 13. Silence – Lotto in 30:27:24 at 06:51
  • 14. Caisse D’epargne in 30:27:30 at 06:57
  • 15. Rabobank in 30:28:00 at 07:27
  • 16. Francaise Des Jeux in 30:28:02 at 07:29
  • 17. Lampre – N.g.c in 30:28:57 at 08:24
  • 18. Agritubel in 30:29:21 at 08:48
  • 19. Bbox Bouygues Telecom in 30:30:14 at 09:41
  • 20. Skil-Shimano in 30:30:41 at 10:08

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