Horner gives it his all, but McEwen is winner

Stage goes to Australian

Armstrong still in yellow

Tour De France

July 16, 2005|By Diane Pucin | Diane Pucin,LOS ANGELES TIMES

MONTPELLIER, France - Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., rode at the front of the Tour de France field for almost 95 miles yesterday. He was in front as the riders passed the stark beauty of the granite cliffs of Maussane-les-Alpilles and near the ancient Pont du Gard.

When the pavement in front of him began to look wavy because of the heat that surpassed 95 degrees, Horner was still in the front group of six riders, which became five, four, three and then, as the tree-lined road led into this Mediterranean city, just two - Horner and Sylvain Chavanel of France.

Then, with about 500 meters left in the 107-mile Stage 13, Horner and Chavanel hit a wall of exhaustion. In a matter of seconds, Horner went from first to 10th, from what could have been a singular moment of achievement for a 33-year-old riding in his first Tour to just another beaten rider left gasping for air and slumped over his bike.

Australia's Robbie McEwen earned his third stage win of the Tour, an important victory for him in his chase of the green jersey, which goes to the race's top sprinter.

McEwen won with a time of 3 hours, 43 minutes, 14 seconds. And Yaroslav Popovych, a 25-year-old rising star from the Ukraine riding for the U.S. Discovery Channel team, will put on the white jersey today to signify he's the top rider 25 or younger.

The casual racing fan only recognizes the Tour leader's yellow jersey. That's the one Lance Armstrong retained yesterday, finishing safely in the peloton and retaining his 38-second lead over Denmark's Mickael Rasmussen.

"We rode with the wind at our backs," Armstrong said. "I expect the attacks to start again tomorrow in the Pyrenees."

So Stage 13 was about small battles, such as the ones for the green jersey, the white jersey and even the polka dot jersey, which goes to the top climber and is worn by Rasmussen, the lanky Dane who finished 142nd in the opening-day time trial, but whose ability expands in the mountains.

McEwen is very fond of the green jersey, also known as the points jersey. He's won it in two out of the last three Tours. Another Australian, Baden Cooke, took it in 2003.

The top 20 finishers in each stage receive bonus points. And within each stage there are designated sprint portions. Fans crowd the course at the points where these bonus sections are marked to finish. From a leisurely gathering of dozens of cyclists in the peloton, a pod of two or three or four will suddenly burst ahead midway through a stage, hoping to gather extra sprint points.

On the final Sunday of the past six Tours, when viewers have watched Armstrong pedal elegantly along the route, holding a celebratory glass of champagne, it has been the sprinters fighting for every point around the Champs-Elysees.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Results

13th Stage

107.8 miles from Miramas to Montpellier

1. Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, 3 hours, 43 minutes, 14 seconds. 2. Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, same time. 3. Fred Rodriguez, Davitamon-Lotto, same time. 4. Guido Trenti, Quick Step, same time. 5. Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, same time.

6. Anthony Geslin, Bouygues Telecom, same time. 7. Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, same time. 8. Magnus Backstedt, Liquigas-Bianchi, same time. 9. Gianluca Bortolami, Lampre, same time. 10. Christopher Horner, Saunier Duval, same time.

11. Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros, same time. 12. Baden Cooke, Francaise des Jeux, same time. 13. Peter Wrolich, Gerolsteiner, same time. 14. Rafael Nuritdinov, Domina Vacanze, same time. 15. Luke Roberts, CSC, same time.

16. Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, same time. 17. Inaki Isasi, Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time. 18. Lorenzo Bernucci, Fassa Bortolo, same time. 19. Laurent Brochard, Bouygues Telecom, same time. 20. Samuel Dumoulin, AG2R Prevoyance, same time.

Also

33. Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, same time. 34. Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, same time. 35. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, same time. 39. Bobby Julich, CSC, same time. 78. Floyd Landis, Phonak, same time.

82. Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, same time. 83. Jose Azevedo, Discovery Channel, same time. 106. B. Noval Gonzalez, Discovery Channel, :23 behind. 112. Pavel Padrnos, Discovery Channel, same time. 115. Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, same time.

142. Jose Luis Rubiera, Discovery Channel, same time.

Overall standings

1. Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 50 hours, 13 minutes, 50 seconds. 2. Mickael Rasmussen, Rabobank, :38 behind. 3. Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole, 2:34. 4. Ivan Basso, CSC, 2:40. 5. Santiago Botero, Phonak, 3:48.

6. Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, 3:58. 7. Francisco Mancebo, Illes Balears, 4:00. 8. Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, 4:02. 9. Andreas Kloden, T-Mobile, 4:16. 10. Floyd Landis, Phonak, same time. 11. Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 4:47. 12. Jorg Jaksche, Liberty Seguros, 5:33. 13. Cadel Evans, Davitamon-Lotto, 5:55. 14. Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel, 6:25. 15. Andrey Kashechkin, Credit Agricole, 6:32.

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