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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Tour de France news for July 8, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Stage 1 wrap up and comments
By Jeff Jones
The first stage starting and finishing in Luxembourg was nervous, as expected, with several crashes putting paid to a few riders' chances. Included amongst these were Credit Agricole's Christophe Moreau (139th at 3'20) and Jonathan Vaughters (186th at 11'26 - the Tour curse continues for him). Not forgetting most of the Euskaltel squad, with good riders such as Iban Mayo and Unai Etxebarria also out of the GC frame.
On the short (800m) but steep (9.5%) climb of the Côte de Wormeldange with 44 km to go, an interesting group formed in pursuit of the three existing breakaways. Lance Armstrong, Santiago Botero, Andrei Kivilev and David Millar were all part of it, forcing the other teams such as ONCE to chase. Perhaps a sign of things to come, or just a lapse in concentration by a few riders?
Eventually it came together for a bunch sprint...almost. As Danilo Hondo and Gian Matteo Fagnini lined up Erik Zabel in the final uphill kilometre, no-one could react to a massive attack by young Swiss rider Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre). Bertogliati sped away from the surprised Hondo, with no-one following him. Such was his acceleration that he had plenty to spare (well, 5 metres) at the finish when he took the victory. Behind him, Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen cleaned up the spoils, with Zabel gaining the green jersey and looking good for a shot at yellow tomorrow.
The Lampre team seemed keen to impress today, due to the owner of Lampre, Emmanuele Galbusera, being present in the team car. They got into every break, with Ludo Dierckxsens in the day's main escape, followed by Marco Serpellini and finally Rubens Bertogliati. Whatever their objectives were today, they accomplished them and more.
Stage 1 coverage
Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre, 1st stage and Maillot Jaune)
"I am very happy. I tried to remain calm during the stage, to withstand the attacks, to try my luck at the finish. It is unbelievable. It's a dream come true, especially to win the Maillot Jaune. I'm lost for words."
"From the start I was thinking about the finale. I thought it was a finish for me. It suited my characteristics. I timed it right and it worked."
Erik Zabel (Telekom, 2nd)
Within an hour of racing I was happy, tomorrow I'll be riding in the green jersey in my homeland...The Swiss [Bertogliati] attacked taking every chance, surprising us all - he was very strong.
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco, 3rd)
"When we saw him coming in the last corner, I didn't think we'd catch him."
Bradley McGee (fdjeux.com, 12th)
"Well it was like we thought it would be, a bloody hard day, and it was. Up and down all day, and there wasn't much wind, but the nervousness of the first stage of the Tour is always a danger. They where falling like flies today and I reckon about five times somebody fell on my wheel, over my wheel, in front of my wheel...just crazy."
"I've got pretty sore legs from yesterday still but apart from that it's pretty good...It was fairly predictable somebody was going to launch [at the end]. Jalabert and his mates tried to close it down and he ended up being too stuffed for the sprint himself."
Floyd Landis (USPS, 35th)
"It was good. Stayed out of trouble. There were a couple crashes, but I got lucky. Got through a couple of them without too much trouble."
Was the course as hard as people expected? "Yeah, it was hard. It was plenty hard. It was hard on everybody."
CSC Tiscali did a lot of work up front...that worked out well for USPS? "Yeah, thankfully. They wanted to work for Jalabert. [My goal was to] help Lance out if something happens, but otherwise just be careful. All things considered, it went well."
Andrea Peron (CSC Tiscali, 47th)
"Well, we worked very well and we are satisfied with what we did, but at the end we got a bit of bad luck or whatever it was, because we thought it was a sprint finish, but Bertogliati took off very strong. Maybe Telekom was not so strong to keep the race together, and at the end we lost the jersey to the advantage of Bertogliati just for three seconds, because he was 17 seconds behind yesterday. Lots of work for nothing at the end.
"The stage went perfectly for Jalabert. The thing is that I think nobody knew that Bertogliati could be so strong at the end."
Lance Armstrong started the day on his custom Project One bike, dubbed the Daddy Yo-Yo. Under the custom paint job is a lightweight Trek 5900 frame. After a mechanical during the first stage, however, Lance was forced to put Daddy Yo-Yo back on the car and finish the day on a standard machine.
No positives after first check
All 189 cyclists who started the Tour have passed the first anti-doping controls, taken two days before the start in Luxembourg, with the results being communicated on Saturday. The UCI's anti-doping chief Leon Schattenberg proclaimed the results "very satisfactory".
This year's Tour will have more anti-doping checks than ever, with results being processed faster in order to keep scandal and suspicion to a minimum.
In addition to this, members of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) have set up a stall in the Tour's Village Depart, to encourage dialogue from the riders about the still serious problem of doping in cycling.
The UCI is hoping that the WADA will take over all drug testing and anti-doping regulations in future, but this will take a massive amount of effort and agreement from all countries. At the moment the difference between UCI regulations and national anti-doping laws is sufficient to cause major headaches for the UCI, teams, sponsors and riders.
"There is enormous confusion between the different bodies involved in the fight against doping. Procedures and sanctions are not the same," said WADA's spokeswoman Isabelle Tornare. "That is why we're working very hard to create a world antidoping code to harmonise everything."