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2006 Tour de France
|2006 UCI ProTour, race 17 of 27|
Route of the 2006 Tour de France
|Distance||3,657 km (2,272 mi)|
|Winning time||89h 40' 27"|
The 2006 Tour de France was the 93rd edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between the 1st and the 23rd of July. It was won by Óscar Pereiro following the disqualification of apparent winner Floyd Landis. Due to United States Anti-Doping Agency announcing in August 2012 that they had disqualified Lance Armstrong from all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins from 1999–2005, this is the first Tour to have an overall winner since 1998.
The Tour began with a prologue in Strasbourg, on the French-German border, and ended on Sunday 23 July in Paris. The distance of the course (run counterclockwise around France) was 3,657 km (2,272 mi). The race was the third fastest in average speed. Along the way, the cyclists passed through six different countries including France, The Netherlands (a stop at Valkenburg in Stage 3), Belgium (at Huy, Stages 3 and 4), Luxembourg (at Esch-sur-Alzette, Stages 2 and 3), Germany (though not stopping there, Stage 1) and Spain (Pla-de-Beret, Stage 11). The presentation of the course was made by the new director of Le Tour, Christian Prudhomme. For the first time since the 1999 edition, there was no team time trial.
The event, as with some of the Tours of the late 1990s, was marred by doping scandals. Prior to the tour, numerous riders – including the two favourites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso – were expelled from the Tour due to their link with the Operación Puerto doping case.
After the Tour, the apparent winner, Floyd Landis, was found to have failed a drug test after stage 17; Landis contested the result and demanded arbitration. On 20 September 2007, Landis was found guilty and suspended retroactive to 30 January 2007 and stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title making Óscar Pereiro the title holder. Landis appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which upheld the ban.
In the most controversial scandal since the 1998 tour, thirteen riders were expelled from the tour on the eve of Strasbourg prologue to the 93rd edition stemming from a Spanish doping scandal. Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, two favourites to win the race, were among those excluded from the Tour along with podium candidate Francisco Mancebo and Alberto Contador (who would return to win the following year, 2007). Alexander Vinokourov, another race favourite, was not linked to the doping scandal, but was forced to withdraw when the eligible riders on his Astana-Würth Team fell below the minimum starting requirement of six. Because of this and the retirement of then-seven-time consecutive winner Lance Armstrong, this year's Tour started without the top five riders from the 2005 edition. It was also the first Tour since 1999 that did not contain a past champion. All 21 teams were composed of nine cyclists, so 189 riders commenced the 2006 Tour de France.
The teams entering the race were:
- AG2R Prévoyance
- Bouygues Télécom
- Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears
- Crédit Agricole
- Team CSC
- Discovery Channel
- Française des Jeux
- Team Milram
- Saunier Duval–Prodir
- T-Mobile Team
After the retirement of then seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, the main contenders for the overall win were expected to be Ivan Basso from Team CSC, the 2005 runner-up; and Jan Ullrich from T-Mobile Team, the third man on the podium in 2005, winner in 1997, and the only previous winner still racing. However, both Ullrich and Basso were suspended by their teams on 30 June after UCI told T-Mobile and Team CSC that the riders were involved in the anti-doping investigation in Spain. The 2006 Tour also saw the return of former yellow jersey holder and three-time stage winner David Millar (Saunier Duval–Prodir) after serving a two-year ban for admissions of the use of the drug EPO, which was discovered in a police search of his house before the 2004 Tour de France, in June 2004.
Francisco Mancebo of the French team AG2R Prévoyance, who finished fourth last year and sixth the year before, was also suspended by his team, and subsequently announced his retirement. Alexander Vinokourov would have been the only returning rider with a top-five finish from last year's race. However, his team, Astana–Würth, was forced to pull out of the race because they would not be able to start with the minimum of six riders. As a result of the drug scandal, many believed Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Épargne), or the Americans Floyd Landis (Phonak), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), or Australian Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) would probably win the race.
Route and stages
|P||1 July||Strasbourg||7.1 km (4 mi)||Individual time trial||Thor Hushovd (NOR)|
|1||2 July||Strasbourg||184.5 km (115 mi)||Flat stage||Jimmy Casper (FRA)|
|2||3 July||Obernai to Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg)||228.5 km (142 mi)||Flat stage||Robbie McEwen (AUS)|
|3||4 July||Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) to Valkenburg (Netherlands)||216.5 km (135 mi)||Hilly stage||Matthias Kessler (GER)|
|4||5 July||Huy (Belgium) to Saint-Quentin||207.0 km (129 mi)||Flat stage||Robbie McEwen (AUS)|
|5||6 July||Beauvais to Caen||225.0 km (140 mi)||Flat stage||Óscar Freire (ESP)|
|6||7 July||Lisieux to Vitré||189.0 km (117 mi)||Flat stage||Robbie McEwen (AUS)|
|7||8 July||Saint Grégoire to Rennes||52.0 km (32 mi)||Individual time trial||Serhiy Honchar (UKR)|
|8||9 July||Saint-Méen-le-Grand to Lorient||181.0 km (112 mi)||Flat stage||Sylvain Calzati (FRA)|
|10 July||Bordeaux||Rest day|
|9||11 July||Bordeaux to Dax||169.5 km (105 mi)||Flat stage||Óscar Freire (ESP)|
|10||12 July||Cambo-les-Bains to Pau||190.5 km (118 mi)||Mountain stage||Juan Miguel Mercado (ESP)|
|11||13 July||Tarbes to Val d'Aran/Pla-de-Beret||206.5 km (128 mi)||Mountain stage||Denis Menchov (RUS)|
|12||14 July||Luchon to Carcassonne||211.5 km (131 mi)||Hilly stage||Yaroslav Popovych (UKR)|
|13||15 July||Béziers to Montélimar||230.0 km (143 mi)||Flat stage||Jens Voigt (GER)|
|14||16 July||Montélimar to Gap||180.5 km (112 mi)||Hilly stage||Pierrick Fédrigo (FRA)|
|17 July||Gap||Rest day|
|15||18 July||Gap to Alpe d'Huez||187.0 km (116 mi)||Mountain stage||Fränk Schleck (LUX)|
|16||19 July||Le Bourg-d'Oisans to La Toussuire||182.0 km (113 mi)||Mountain stage||Michael Rasmussen (DEN)|
|17||20 July||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Morzine||200.5 km (125 mi)||Mountain stage||Carlos Sastre (ESP)|
|18||21 July||Morzine to Mâcon||197.0 km (122 mi)||Flat stage||Matteo Tosatto (ITA)|
|19||22 July||Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines||57.0 km (35 mi)||Individual time trial||Serhiy Honchar (UKR)|
|20||23 July||Antony/Parc de Sceaux to Paris (Champs-Élysées)||154.5 km (96 mi)||Flat stage||Thor Hushovd (NOR)|
|Total||3,657 km (2,272 mi)|
Due to the developing doping case known as Operacion Puerto several top tier riders were denied entry to the 2006 Tour including Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and indirectly, as his team did not have enough eligible riders, Alexander Vinokourov. The Prologue was won by Thor Hushovd and over the first few flat stages Robbie McEwen claimed three stage victories, but did not take the overall lead at any point as by Stage 3 another sprinter, Tom Boonen, had claimed the Yellow Jersey, which he held until the ITT in Stage 7.
The ITT was won handily by Serhiy Gonchar who claimed the Maillot Jaune with Floyd Landis finishing in 2nd in the Stage, as well as moving up the standings into 2nd place in the overall. After the ITT Team T-Mobile had four riders in the top 6 overall including Honchar and Andreas Kloden. The top of the GC remained more or less static until Stage 10 when a pair of riders escaped early in the day and stayed away to the finish with Juan Miguel Mercado winning the stage and moving into 2nd place overall and Cyril Dessel finishing the stage 2nd with the same time as Mercado, but taking over the Yellow Jersey as the new race leader.
Stage 11 was a brutal mountain stage with five highly categorised climbs. It was won by Dennis Menchov with Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis staying with him to the finish line. Landis took over the Yellow Jersey as the new race leader :08 ahead of Dessel. Cadel Evans and Carlos Sastre finished 4th and 5th in the stage and at the same time moved into 4th and 5th in the overall standings. Stage 12 was an intermediate stage won by Yaroslav Popovych who jumped from outside the top 20 to tenth place overall.
The top GC Contenders wouldn't change places until Stage 13 when Jens Voigt and Oscar Pereiro outlasted Manuel Quinziato and Sylvain Chavanel in a four-man breakaway that finished about 30 minutes ahead of the Peloton. Pereiro jumped everyone to take the overall lead by about 1:30 over Landis and Dessel and around 2:30 ahead of Menchov and Evans with Sastre over 3:00 back.
The situation remained the same after Stage 14, but in Stage 15 from Col d’Izoard to Alpe d'Huez the race blew apart with Frank Schleck winning the stage and among the GC riders Landis and Kloden winning considerable time on everyone but one another. Landis was back in Yellow by a thread of :10 with the 3rd through 7th place riders of Dessel, Menchov, Sastre, Kloden and Evans each within only three minutes of Landis and Pereiro. Stage 16 was won by Michael Rasmussen as Pereiro took over the race lead with Sastre jumping up to 2nd, Kloden taking over 3rd and Landis coming entirely unhinged and dropping outside the top 10.
In Stage 17 however, Landis made the potentially catastrophic decision to attack off the front of the Peloton entirely on his own over 100 km from the finish in pursuit of the morning Breakaway bunch. Before long he caught the escapees, rode with the break for a while, then attacked off the front with only Patrik Sinkewitz able to stay with him for any length of time, though without doing any work being as he was teammates with two riders placed higher than Landis in Kloden and Michael Rogers. Landis won the stage with Sastre finishing nearly six minutes back and Pereiro finishing over seven minutes back barely hanging onto the Maillot Jaune by :30 over Floyd Landis and :12 over Carlos Sastre. Amazingly at this point in the Tour Kloden, Evans, Menchov and Dessel were all within 5:00 of the Yellow Jersey. Not since the 1987 Tour de France had even five riders been within 5:00 of the overall lead this late in the race.
Stage 18 there were no serious (Cat-1 or HC) climbs and Matteo Tosatto won the Sprint with no change in the overall situation. The Stage 19 ITT would decide the race and Gonchar would win his second stage of the Tour putting in the fastest ride of the day. Floyd Landis won the 2006 TDF by defeating all of the other GC Contenders except for Kloden taking the Yellow Jersey back for the 3rd and final time. Pereiro finished 2nd overall at 0:59 back, Kloden rounded out the podium at plus 1:29, Sastre was 4th over three minutes behind and Cadel Evans finished 5th just over 5:00 slower than Landis.
This was the first TDF since the first retirement of Lance Armstrong and to the majority of American fans doping by contending riders was thought of as a rare occurrence that just didn't happen even though in reality many GC Contenders, Sprinters and Domestiques of the Armstrong Era, as well as previous eras admitted to doping or were implicated in some form of doping incident. Landis would be stripped of his only Tour de France victory soon after winning it following a confirmed failed drug test after Stage 17 and Oscar Pereiro would be declared the winner.
2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro was an incredibly talented athlete who finished 10th, 1st, 10th and 10th in the four TDF's that he finished and even scored a goal apiece in the two professional soccer games he played in. He initially failed a drug test in this Tour de France as well, but was cleared after providing sufficient medical evidence that he had a legitimate medical reason for taking the substance he failed for.
Despite Landis having this entire TDF vacated for doping, among some modern riders and fans when a GC rider attacks and finishes a seemingly impossible solo breakaway, as Chris Froome did in Stage 19 of the 2018 Giro, it is referred to as "Doing a Landis".
This was initially the closest three-way finish in the race's history to date. Floyd's final time was 89h 39'30". While Landis was a leading favourite even before the Spanish doping scandal came to light, in an epic eight-minute loss of performance in Stage 16, it appeared he had lost all hope to finish on the podium, much less win.
But the following day, during Stage 17, Landis set a very high pace on the first climb of the day that no other rider could match. He then caught a breakaway group that had escaped earlier, passed them, and continued to the finish line solo, making up almost all of his deficit, ending up 30 seconds behind yellow jersey wearer Óscar Pereiro, which he made up with an extra minute in the final Stage 19 time trial.
A urine sample taken from Landis immediately after his Stage 17 win has twice tested positive for banned synthetic testosterone as well as a ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone nearly three times the limit allowed by World Anti-Doping Agency rules. Landis indicated that he would appeal the test results with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
On 20 September 2007, Landis' doping accusation was upheld by an arbitration panel deciding between him and USADA and will be banned for two years. In response to this, the UCI formally stripped him of his 2006 Tour de France title. Second place finisher Óscar Pereiro was officially declared the winner. The only previous Tour de France winner to be disqualified was 1904 Tour de France winner Maurice Garin.
Classification leadership and minor prizes
There were four main individual classifications contested in the 2006 Tour de France, as well as a team competition. The most important was the general classification, which was calculated by adding each rider's finishing times on each stage. There time bonuses given at the end of each mass start stage. If a crash had happened within the final 3 km (1.9 mi) of a stage, not including time trials and summit finishes, the riders involved would have received the same time as the group they were in when the crash occurred. The rider with the lowest cumulative time was the winner of the general classification and was considered the overall winner of the Tour. The rider leading the classification wore a yellow jersey.
The second classification was the points classification. Riders received points for finishing in the highest positions in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints during the stage. The points available for each stage finish were determined by the stage's type. The leader was identified by a green jersey.
The third classification was the mountains classification. Most stages of the race included one or more categorised climbs, in which points were awarded to the riders that reached the summit first. The climbs were categorised as fourth-, third-, second- or first-category and hors catégorie, with the more difficult climbs rated lower. The leader wore a white jersey with red polka dots.
The final individual classification was the young rider classification. This was calculated the same way as the general classification, but the classification was restricted to riders who were born on or after 1 January 1981. The leader wore a white jersey.
The final classification was a team classification. This was calculated using the finishing times of the best three riders per team on each stage; the leading team was the team with the lowest cumulative time. The number of stage victories and placings per team determined the outcome of a tie. The riders in the team that lead this classification were for the first time identified with yellow number bibs on the back of their jerseys.
In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass start stage to the rider considered, by a jury, to have "made the greatest effort and who has demonstrated the best qualities of sportsmanship". The winner wore a red number bib the following stage. At the conclusion of the Tour, David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval–Prodir) was given the overall super-combativity award.
There were also two special awards each with a prize of €5000, the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, given in honour of Tour founder and first race director Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Galibier on stage 16, and the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, given in honour of the second director Jacques Goddet to the first rider to pass the summit of the Col du Tourmalet on stage 11. Michael Rasmussen won the Henri Desgrange and de la Fuente won the Jacques Goddet.
- In stage 1, George Hincapie wore the green jersey.
- In stage 4, Daniele Bennati wore the green jersey.
- In stage 11, Juan Miguel Mercado wore the polka-dot jersey
- Stage 17 was originally won by Floyd Landis, who also wore the yellow jersey on the 19th and 20th stage. After the court's decision to forfeit all his results in the 2006 Tour de France, Carlos Sastre became the winner of the 17th stage, and Cyril Dessel and Óscar Pereiro should be considered having led the general classification as shown in the table.
|Denotes the winner of the general classification||Denotes the winner of the points classification|
|Denotes the winner of the mountains classification||Denotes the winner of the young rider classification|
|Denotes the winner of the team classification||Denotes the winner of the super-combativity award|
|1||Óscar Pereiro (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears||89h 40' 27"|
|2||Andreas Klöden (GER)||T-Mobile Team||+ 0' 32"|
|3||Carlos Sastre (ESP)||Team CSC||+ 2' 16"|
|4||Cadel Evans (AUS)||Davitamon–Lotto||+ 4' 11"|
|5||Denis Menchov (RUS)||Rabobank||+ 6' 09"|
|6||Cyril Dessel (FRA)||AG2R Prévoyance||+ 7' 44"|
|7||Christophe Moreau (FRA)||AG2R Prévoyance||+ 8' 40"|
|8||Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)||Euskaltel–Euskadi||+ 11' 08"|
|9||Michael Rogers (AUS)||T-Mobile Team||+ 14' 10"|
|10||Fränk Schleck (LUX)||Team CSC||+ 16' 49"|
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The violation of the UCI Rules having occurred as a result of an In-Competition test will result under UCI Articles 256 and 257.2 in the automatic disqualification of the Athlete's results in the 2006 Tour de France and forfeiture of any medals, points or prizes.
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