Wow, another amazing Stage as Contador and Rasmussen battled it out on the Col de Peyresourde today. But the story of the day is watching Alexander Vinokourov get another stage win. After his crash early in the 2007 Tour de France, the man looks hungry, and nobody deserves it more than the Kazakh. I feel like I'm watching Rocky Balboa coming up against the odds to win the fight, except this isn't a movie.
Vinokourov, though is in 23rd place overall, a full 28 minutes behind Michael Rasmussen, who continues to hold the yellow jersey. American Levi Leipheimer is in 4th place overall with a five minute deficit.
Suspicions of doping continue to dog Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen recently was booted from the Danish national team for September's world cycling championships and the 2008 Olympic games because he missed mandatory random dope tests. David Millar spoke out against Rasmussen telling L'Equipe that Rasmussen has ruined the Tour de France with his presence. Several other teams are expressing their anger about Rasmussen's participation peloton. There's a lot of suspicion that the Danish cycling federation purposely withheld the news about Rasmussen's failure to take the tests because Rasmussen might have been barred from le Tour.
Meanwhile, French customs officials searched TdF team buses in a surprise inspection, apparently to search for contraband.
Leipheimer had to sit content with the rest of the contenders as he watched his teammate up the road. The accelerations aren't his style and he couldn't help the others bridge back. Contador needed the time gaps on Evans to protect himself in the upcoming time trial. We'll see if Leipheimer gets a chance to put his own attacks on Evans after tomorrow's rest stage -- 1:25 on Evans separates Levi from the podium right now. Kloden is also nipping at Levi's heels, 9 seconds behind.
Steephill.TV Stage 15 updates, with cool photos of Vinokourov pushing his way through the amazing crowds.