Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 Tour de France, June 29-July 21

Running from Saturday June 29th to Sunday July 21st 2013, the 100th edition of the Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,479 kilometers.
These stages have the following profiles:
7 flat stages
5 hilly stages
6 mountain stages with 4 summit finishes
2 individual time trial stages
1 team time trial stage
2 rest days
I recommend a read of, and having as a reference, inrng's  Tour de France Overview.

Of the twenty two teams only two are Italian registered teams: Cannondale Pro Cycling and Lampre-Merida.

Cannondale Pro Cycling
The first version of the Liquigas team, heir of Brescialat with, from 1999 to 2001, riders such as Serhiy Honchar and Davide Rebellin, is a far cry from the major Italian team of the last eight seasons, whose history dates back to 2005 and continues this year under the moniker of bicycle manufacturer Cannondale, which has now taken up the baton alone from the Italian energy provider.

For a long time, the team managed by Roberto Amadio proved to perform less well on the Tour de France than elsewhere: a two times winner of the Giro d'Italia (with Danilo Di Luca in 2007 and Ivan Basso in 2010) and the Vuelta a Espana (with Vincenzo Nibali in 2010). It only boasted a single stage victory (Filippo Pozzato at Autun in 2007), upstaged by the crash on that day of favorite Alexandre Vinokourov and outsider Andreas Klöden. Indeed, Liquigas stood out mainly on the roads of Le Tour thanks to the fighting qualities of its young riders, Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger, in 2008 and 2009, until the hat-trick of stage wins achieved by Peter Sagan in 2012.

The Slovak, the first rider born in the 1990’s to win a stage, outshone all his rivals in the race for the green jersey and prepared the terrain for Vincenzo Nibali, the leading rider (3rd) behind Sky’s one-two in Paris. Now that the “Shark from Messina” has left for Astana, Sagan, who instantly became a star on Le Tour, now bears the responsibilities of team leader alone, which does not frighten him in the slightest.

Stage victories: 4
- 2007: Filippo Pozzato in Autun.
2012: Peter Sagan in Seraing, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Metz.

Victories in secondary classifications: 1
2012: Peter Sagan, green jersey

Yellow Jerseys: 0

141: the massive lead of Peter Sagan, new to the race, over runner-up André Greipel in the points classification on Le Tour 2012.

12th July 2007: in Autun, Filippo Pozzato wins the sole stage victory for Liquigas at the time.
14th July 2008: in Hautacam, Vincenzo Nibali obtains the white jersey for best young rider that he reluctantly has to hand over to Andy Schleck six days later, when Le Tour visits Prato Nevoso in Italy.
12th July 2012: at La Toussuire, Vincenzo Nibali rises up to 3rd place in the general classification where he would remain for the rest of the race.


By finishing seventh on the Tour de France 2011, Damiano Cunego boosted the reputation of Lampre, a team that had been rather discreet up until then during fourteen participations on the Tour de France, having treated the Giro d'Italia as a priority. However, this was not the best overall classification of one of its riders: Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas climbed onto the podium (3rdin 2002) and Roberto Conti, the third Italian winner at Alpe-d’Huez after Fausto Coppi and Gianni Bugno, in 1994, finished sixth that same year.

The pink and blue jersey of the Italian laminated steel manufacturer has been present on the roads of Le Tour since 1993, the year in which Uzbek sprinter Djamolidine Abdoujaparov achieved his best performance on the Big Loop, winning three stages and the points classification. The team, however, dipped out of existence between 1996 and 1999, but thanks to the will of the Galbusera family (the father and son managing the firm), it resumed its cycling history by re-launching the career of another sprinter, Czech rider Jan Svorada, a stage winner during both periods of the team’s existence (in 1994 and 2001). Before the arrival in its colours of two of the greatest Italian sprinters of the modern era, Daniele Bennati and Alessandro Petacchi, the Lampre team gave the Tour de France one of its biggest thrills in 2002 with the unexpected charge, right under the nose of the pack, by young Swiss rider Rubens Bertogliati, who broke away in Luxembourg under the red flame signalling the last kilometre, to the great displeasure of Erik Zabel, who was still the king of sprinters for some time to come.

On its fifteenth appearance on Le Tour, the team managed by former world champion Giuseppe Saronni just missed out on a thirteenth stage victory when Michele Scarponi lost out to Thomas Voeckler at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine in 2012.

Stage victories: 12
- 1993: Djamolidine Abdoujaparov at Vannes, Bordeaux and Paris.
- 1994: Jan Svorada at Futuroscope and Roberto Conti at Alpe-d’Huez
- 1999: Ludo Dierckxsens at Saint-Étienne.
- 2001: Jan Svorada at Paris.
- 2002: Rubens Bertogliati at Luxembourg.
- 2007: Daniele Bennati at Castelsarrasin and in Paris.
- 2010: Alessandro Petacchi at Brussels and Reims.

Victories in secondary classifications: 3
- 1993: Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (green jersey)
- 2006: Damiano Cunego (best young rider)
- 2010: Alessandro Petacchi (green jersey)

Yellow Jerseys: 2
- 2002: Rubens Bertogliati, two days

10: the number of points by which Alessandro Petacchi led Thor Hushovd at the finish of the final stage in Paris in 2010

19thJuly 1994: Roberto Conti (6thin the final general classification) won at Alpe-d’Huez even though Lampre only had three riders left in the race, the two others being sprinter Jan Svorada and domestique Marco Zen.
7th July 2002: Rubens Bertogliati breathed new life into the forgotten type of feat whereby a sole rider surprises the pack by breaking away a kilometre before the arrival to pick up the Yellow Jersey.
18th July 2006: Damiano Cunego was beaten by Fränk Schleck at Alpe-d’Huez but took a significant lead in the White Jersey race for the best young rider in which he was battling with German Fothen.

In total there will be only 18 Italian riders, out of of 211, in this year's Tour. Tomorrow we'll discuss how they might fare in the race.

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