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Quotes of the day
The winner, Laurent Jalabert (ONCE): "This was an important day that all the teams were focussing on since the beginning of the season. We were very well prepared, as it is a race that we are used to doing. It is necessary to have the order right, and who takes rests. Over 70 kilometres, small details can make the difference," he told European press.
"Since the start of the season, we have ridden two team time trials - in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and the Tour of Catalunya. We have won both, which gave us confidence. When we set out, we knew it would be really hard, but the knowledge that we could win helped us to make a bigger effort."
Jalabert intends on defending the yellow, though not if he has to sacrifice his team. "It will be necessary to intelligently defend it. This means that we don't want to arrive at the beginning of the mountains too tired. The decision will be made during the race."
Alex Zülle (Banesto), lost four minutes today, but he was optimistic afterward. "I am not disappointed, because I had to expect this result. You must prepare well for a team time trial in order to gain a good result. We examined the route in the car. If I lose the Tour because of this time trial, then I will look to the reason after. I was strong in the first section, but at the bridge I was in difficulty." He added that "this type of race looks good for the public, but our team is not made of rouleurs."
Zülle's teammate, Jose Maria Jiménez was shattered at the end, and is now 6 minutes down - a long way to make up in the mountains with another time trial to come. "It was hardest for me and Piepoli," he said. "On the flat, we can't push the big gears and there was the wind factor that slowed us even more. It is necessary to have a good deal of power to ride well on the flat. There is still a lot left of the Tour though."
Fernando Escartin (Kelme), who lost nearly five minutes today lamented that "the ride over the bridge at Saint Nazaire served more to dry our clothes due to the wind. It was very tough, and us lighter climber types could not defend ourselves very well. However, if it had been an individual time trial, I would have lost more," he said looking on the bright side.
Tom Steels (Mapei) said that "it was a bad day because I had not yet recovered from the sprints. I am disappointed for the team. We wanted to place in the first five."
Richard Virenque (Polti). "Crepaldi had a puncture after six kilometers so we waited, then we regained our full rhythm again. There was a lot of wind and it was a course for rouleurs. Apart from the puncture, which cost us 20 or 30 seconds, we rode well." Polti limited the damage to 4:39.
Lance Armstrong (US Postal) "It was an OK day - the Tour was not decided today. However, I knew that it would be a crucial day. We didn't lose a whole lot."
Steffen Kjaergaard (USPS): "I don't think it mattered that we were hung off on the last part, and besides it's no disadvantage to be only six on the tricky last part of the stage. I think our management is satisfied," said Kjaergaard, one of three US Postal riders who wasn't able to follow Lance Armstrong all the way to the finish, the others being Joachim and Vasseur.
Frank Hřj (FdJ), 133rd overall: "I don't care about the results of this TTT stage. Eight minutes or two hours behind doesn't matter as long as I get to Paris. Now it's time to begin the race for me, since I am so far behind overall they might let me escape. I'll try to go early tomorrow, but I won't do it unless it's a group that can hold out. I'm not in a break to be on TV but to win the stage." said the best Française des Jeux rider, in his diary at www.idol.dk.
ONCE denied some more
Despite the fact that they attracted a 20 second penalty for having the team car draft too closely, ONCE claim they lost even more time due to the actions of the owner of a French night club. He and several assistants tried to block the passage of the team shortly after the start in Nantes, according to police. The reason being was that the race went right past his door, forcing him to close business for a few hours. In France, everything takes a back seat when the Tour passes by.
However, the police prevailed, although not before the men had managed to throw straw on the road and delay the team a little. Afterwards, Jalabert said that it had cost the team "up to 10 seconds."
George's Tour de Café
The US Postal team's gentle giant, George Hincapie has gone into the coffee business, with the release of "George Hincapie’s Tour de Café’", a line of specialty-roasted coffees with proceeds benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
He has set this up in conjunction with Jamie’s General Bean, a coffee roastery and retailer with locations in greater Washington, DC and at www.generalbean.com. The price of each bag is $US 10.00, with 20 percent of each sale going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. A complete listing of the details on this project can be found on the General Bean website and on Hincapie’s personal website, www.hincapie.com.
Hincapie will earn no money from the project, as he wishes to use some of the team's popularity to help the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation. "I strongly encourage everyone to visit the Lance Armstrong Foundation at www.laf.org and to support the foundation, regardless of whether people want to participate in the Tour de Café' project."
The Tour de Café’ series will launch with four special roasts: Colombian Supremo, French Racing Roast, Girona Royale and Colombian Decaf. Hincapie says the project will continue at least through the Tour de France, and perhaps longer. "This is a unique way to benefit a very worthwhile cause in simply buying a great product you’d buy anyway," said Hincapie.
Preview - Stage 5: Vannes - Vitre, 202 km
Not a day off for the peloton in Le Tour 2000. Wednesday's stage is an up and down winding ride through the back country of Brittany, with numerous steep hills on the profile. A stong sidewind from the left should prevail until the 140 km mark, when the course turns east towards the finish at Vitré. Tomorrow may be the first stage where a breakaway succeeds, as the sprinter's teams may not want to chase so hard after the tough TTT stage.