Zipp in Control at Le Tour
We hope you’ve been enjoying the Tour de France as much as we have. Of course, it helps that we get to root for Astana, Cervélo TestTeam, and Team Saxo Bank. Our sponsored teams have all ridden superbly and currently hold the yellow, green, and white jerseys going into the final four stages.
Coming off the first rest day in Morzine, Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Alberto Contador (Astana) turned the race for the yellow jersey into a two-man affair by joining forces on the Col de la Madeleine during Stage 9. When the dust settled, Andy had taken over the yellow jersey with a 41” lead over Alberto and a 2’45” gap to third place Samuel Sanchez.
In the hectic Stage 12, Andy, Alberto, Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) were all in the thick of the action. Riding in the early breakaway on 404s Thor picked up enough sprint points to regain the green jersey that he’d lost the previous day. Vino also helped drive the break and nearly held on for the stage win. Instead, he had to settle for third place and the Most Aggressive Rider award after Alberto accelerated on the short, steep finishing climb to finish second on the stage and gain 10 seconds on Andy.
However, the Kazakh star didn’t wait long for a consolation prize. The next day, he attacked with perfect timing over the top of the Côte de Saint-Ferréol within the last 8 km. Riding Zipp 404s, he impressively held off the chasing peloton on the downhill finish into Revel.Then the race entered the Pyrénées and so began the final rounds of the fight for the yellow jersey. On Stage 14, Andy and Alberto nearly came to a standstill as they played cat-and-mouse on the final climb to Ax-3 Domaines. Apparently, it is possible to climb slowly on 202s if you really want to.
Stage 15, of course, won’t be forgotten for a long time. Andy had an untimely mechanical near the summit of the Port de Balès climb; Alberto continued over the top without him and now holds yellow jersey with an 8” advantage.
Should Alberto have waited? Or was it fair racing to keep the pressure on? Opinions vary but one thing is certain: Andy will need to pull out all the stops on tomorrow’s finish atop the imposing Col du Tourmalet and Saturday’s 51km time trial.
Meanwhile, Thor once again recaptured the green jersey from Alessandro Petacchi with an impressive 10th place finish after the 4 major climbs of Stage 16. With two field sprints remaining in Bordeaux and Paris, the battle for the points competition is likely to come down to the wire.
Key results through 16 stages:
Tri News: Vanhoenacker and Henning on Fire
While the cycling world has been focused on France this month, Zipp triathletes Marino Vanhoenacker and Rasmus Henning have thrown down the fourth and fifth fastest Iron-distance performances ever recorded and the two fastest since 1999. On July 4, Marino rode a Super-9 disc and 808 front wheel to clock 7:52:05 at Ironman Austria. Two weeks later, Rasmus won the Challenge Roth in 7:52:36 on the Sub-9 and 1080 along with the Zipp VukaAero. With less than three months to go until Kona, those are two major statements.
Tour photo credit: TDWSport.com