87th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 1 - 23, 2000

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Complete live report

Stage 4 - July 4: Team Time Trial Nantes - Saint-Nazaire, 70 km

Welcome to the Time team trial stage, 70 windy kilometres from Nantes to St Nazaire. The wind is around 30 kph going up towards 40 at times and increasing. The last teams might encounter some trouble and Leonardo Piepoli had probably best keep out of the wind on the St Nazaire bridge. The first team, Polti, is on the starting ramp. The teams start in reverse teams classification order.

14.40 CET - We will try to give you as many intermediate times as possible during the race. The teams are racing on their TT bikes, disc wheels are used by many, it's mainly a headwind, but on the crosswind sections there might be problems.

14.56 CET - Team Polti has passed the first intermediate at 24.34.

The history of team time trials in the Tour de France dates back to 1954 when Switzerland won the 10.4 km stage in Rouen. There was also a four man 100 km TTT in the World Championships for amateurs and in the Olympic Games. The first time it was arranged was in Rome 1960 when the Dane Knut Enemark Jensen died. It was later revealed that he was doped. His team mates had pushed him, since they already had lost a man in the team, and after that it was forbidden to push your team mates in a race.

The best known team of all times is probably Sweden's four Pettersson brothers that won three consecutive titles 1967-69. In their debut as a full quartet in 1966 they were only sixth since one of them, Sture, crashed quite early. Instead, Denmark won the title with Werner Blaudzun on the team. Today his son Michael races here, from Nantes to St Nazaire in a Danish team, Memorycard-Jack& Jones.

15.15 CET - The time table set at 54 kph will have to be adjusted. The strong headwinds will reduce the speed considerably and the time limit for riders being left behind will be more than seven minutes. The speeds so far to the first intermediate passage is under 50 kph.

15.25 CET - With Mercatone Uno just starting two teams has passed the 40 km mark, Polti leads FDJ by 1.12.

15.40 CET - Intermediate times from 18 kms are a bit unevenly reported, but Rabobank's time is the best.

15.50 CET - The wind is increasing, skies lower and greyer.

15.55 CET - Polti finishes at 1.30.14,04, speed: 46 kph, eight kph under estimated time!

16.05 CET - Laurent Madouas (Festina) has early problems, the team is waiting for him, he is their major climber and dropping off this early means an almost certain exclusion from the race. Bonjour finishes with a complete team.

16.27 CET - All teams have passed the first control. ONCE leads US Postal by three seconds with Telekom another four seconds behind.

16.38 CET - Rabobank finishes with five riders, among them Boogerd, at 1.27.47. It is also obvious that David Millar will lose his yellow jersey today. Right now it is Jalabert in that position. US Postal doesn't look that good, they all ride in one long row.

16.45 CET - Crédit Agricole new leaders: 1.27.07

16.48 CET - US Postal has passed the 40 km point at 49.33, they are losing ground to Once.

16.57 CET - Fagnini is the first to be left behind in Telekom but as late as on the St Nazaire bridge. The riders go side by side in the strong crosswind.

17.09 CET - Mapei arrives without Steels and Bettini at 1.28.53. ONCE are almost catching Festina, with only five riders, on the bridge. ONCE seems unbeatable, if they beat the Posties by more than 35 seconds there is a triple for Jalabert, Canada and Olano. Banesto's race is a disaster for Zülle. Cofidis is coming in at 1.28.08 with Millar doing a great deal of the job, but he loses the yellow jersey.

17.11 CET - Telekom arriving with seven riders at 1.27.01, the have lost some to Credit Agricole towards the end but not all. The Postie's are in trouble on the bridge. Ekimov is the only that can follow Armstrong on the bridge.

17.16 CET - Tyler Hamilton had problems following as sixth man when Ekimov was riding hard. Hincapie helps him tighten the gap. Madouas is off in Festina, Wust is along though and rides a good race with Beloki and Casero. Time: 1.27.51.

17.20 - ONCE finishes as winners. The team is complete, all nine riders together. If they beat the Posties by more than 35 seconds there is a triple in the overall classification for Jalabert, Canada and Olano. Time: 1.25.35.

17.25 CET - US Postal Services have lost to ONCE, but there is no disaster even if it is the fourth of July. The team seems to have been to uneven, they haven't had the right rhythm today. They were 38 seconds behind after the bridge with seven kms to go. Time: 1.26.21. 46 seconds behind. A good day's work anyway.

17.37 CET - ONCE managed to win the stage and win the yellow jersey for Laurent Jalabert, David Canada is second riding in the white young rider's jersey, Olano third at 35 seconds. Lance Armstrong is 44 seconds behind. Ullrich lost 40 seconds to Armstrong and 1.26 to Jalabert. It's worse for the climbers, Pantani and Escartin are some five minutes behind overall but don't count them out.

Jalabert in yellow despite penalty for ONCE

Once got a 20 seconds penalty for having a team car too close behind the team which will have effect on the general classification. The team will "only" have a double lead and Armstrong will be 24 seconds away from leading Laurent Jalabert.

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