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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Tour de France news for July 12, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Stage 5 wrap up and post-stage comments
Today's fifth stage from Soissons to Rouen finished in the birth place of five time Tour winner and time trialist extraordinaire Jacques Anquetil. Somewhat fittingly it did not end in a bunch sprint, after five riders managed to get clear with 88 km to go and were allowed a dangerous five minute lead. The chase was not quite enough and Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) won the five man sprint from Michael Sandstød (CSC) and Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre). Kirsipuu enjoyed the win, having come back from a torn patellar tendon resulting from a car accident on March 15.
Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r, 1st)
"It was really tough today in the final, because everyone was attacking. I had to win on guts."
"When I saw that ONCE did not control the race, I told myself that it was necessary to try something. The first time was the good one."
"It's a great feeling for me and for the team. I came to the Tour to win a stage. There aren't too many more chances for a sprinter to win at this year's Tour."
Christophe Edaleine (Jean Delatour, 5th)
"We had five good riders, all working well. We were riding a mini team time trial."
"There were a lot of attacks in the last kilometre, but Kirsipuu jumped on everyone. I tried my luck but I was a bit cooked".
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco, 6th)
Robbie McEwen once again beat Erik Zabel in a bunch sprint, but did not win the stage due to the breakaway. "I won the sprint pretty well, it was just a pity there were five guys away. We could have contested the finish and had three Aussies in the first three places." [Note: Baden Cooke and Stuart O'Grady finished in 7th and 8th].
"I've moved closer to Zabel in the points competition but he's still wearing the jersey. I'm right there behind him so I'm going to try and get it. I'm not going to try in the intermediate sprints but I'll give it everything in all the stage finishes.
Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com, 7th)
"I guess we left it a bit too late. Lotto spent a lot of energy chasing an earlier break down and then ONCE let the break go. We chipped in but the guys who attacked rode really well."
"I was pushed back in the sprint and had to start from about 10th place and so I was happy with second in the bunch sprint behind Robbie. But I'm feeling good and will be having a go in the next few stages."
Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole, 8th)
"We shouldn't have let them stay away. Not everybody worked to chase them down and the result was that we didn't catch them. It's another missed opportunity."
Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank, 74th)
On yesterday's team time trial: "We could have done better (in the team time trial), but we could have done worse. Unfortunately we had two guys that weren't strong on the day, and they didn't help us out very much, so we were operating on about six core guys. I think it was hard on us to finish where we were. We could have done a lot better, but for sure we were right where a lot of the teams were. It's not so bad. It's nothing to be disappointed in, that's for sure.
On Stage 5: "Today was actually pretty hard. The first two hours were really aggressive. With the break making it today, I expect it will stay aggressive like that for the next three days. The time trial's going to be hard, but I'll try to do my best. "
Stéphane Bergès (AG2R, 123rd)
Kirsipuu was super. He demonstrated that he's truly a complete rider and that he can win in a sprint as well as in a breakaway. He got away pretty early, with 80km to go to the finish. He's very motivated and wants to go all out in this Tour de France. Jaan's a great guy, a little quiet but very nice and very generous."
Fred Rodriguez (Domo, 156th)
"My leg's a lot better. Just being bruised up and banged up, it's slowly been healing. The time trial was ok; being the fourth day already I've had a lot more time to recover. It's still a little tender but not too bad. I think the 7th and 8th stages are a little more my style than today, so I'll see how I feel then."
First abandonment: Tom Steels
Belgian champion Tom Steels (Mapei-Quick Step) became the first rider to abandon in this year's Tour, a surprising statistic given that there have already been five stages. Steels pulled out at the feed zone at km 92, a victim of the high average speed in the first two hours (48 km/h) combined with stomach problems for the last few days.
"Since the start of the Tour I have been in difficulty. Today also I was no better, and I was always riding at the rear of the peloton. I had to change bikes twice and go deep into the red zone to come back. If you are in difficulties like that on the flat, you can make your own conclusions."
Steels has won nine stages in the Tour de France.
Pinotti and Verbrugghe also out
Marco Pinotti and Rik Verbrugghe were two of the riders caught up in a mass pileup with 16 km to go, and are now out of the Tour de France. Pinotti initially lost consciousness but recovered quickly and was taken to Rouen hospital for observation. He has a lot of cuts and bruises on his face with a lot of bleeding, and a fractured nose.
Verbrugghe hurt his right shoulder but finished the stage in last place, 13'19 down. He was also taken to hospital where they X-rayed him and diagnosed a broken collarbone. That means he's out of the race, and won't be able to ride on the road for at least four weeks.
Curiously, both riders are good time trialists, and finished first and second in the 2001 Tour's 15th stage from Pau to Lavaur after breaking away together with 25 km to go.
Jalabert and Riis make up
The picture in today's L'Eqiupe said a lot about what happened to CSC-Tiscali in the team time trial yesterday. To recap, strong man Michael Sandstød punctured at 47 km (20 km to go) whilst the team was leading on the intermediate standings. Jalabert had was looking back at Sandstød and team director Bjarne Riis with a 'what the hell is going on?' expression on his face. He wasn't too happy after the stage either, saying what happened was "a mess."
Today things appeared to be a lot calmer between Jalabert and Riis, who took responsibility for what happened. "It is me who gives the orders - we are all agreed on that. There is no argument, no problems between Laurent and I, we discussed things completely after the race."
Riis continued, "Laurent rode very strongly. Everyone in the team wanted him to take the yellow jersey. That it did not happen was a shame. But Laurent is Laurent. He is always there. The Tour is not finished for him".
Jalabert doesn't bear any animosity towards the Riis and the team at all, although he did say before the start of stage 5 that "The decision [to wait] seemed to me to be a bad judgment. We were on a roll. You can't recover the lost time."
"But there's no hard feelings. It was the decision of the director sportif."
Further to this, Jalabert has decided to extend his contract with CSC-Tiscali for another year, announcing this today.
Team time trial handlebar breakages
During yesterday's Stage 4 Team Time Trial, several teams experienced problems with their equipment. Although punctures are considered par for the course, the CSC-Tiscali squad lost their leading position after Sandstød punctured 20 km to go.
More serious in terms of safety were the handlebar problems experienced by Lampre, Domo-Farm Frites and iBanesto.com. The three teams were all using Dedacciai time trial bars, and all three teams broke handlebars during the time trial. According to the mechanics we spoke to, it was allegedly the extension tube which broke, where the tube is attached to the bar.
More blood controls
For the second day in a row, riders were blood tested in the morning before the stage. This time, four complete teams (36 riders) were tested by the UCI's vampires on the morning of the fifth stage. The teams Cofidis, Fassa Bortolo, iBanesto.com and ONCE were tested, with no-one being declared unfit to race.
Crime-stopping Mapei men
They may not have performed brilliantly in the team time trial yesterday, but the Mapei-Quick Step team did manage to catch a thief who had tried to steal Oscar Freire's mobile phone. The would be thief broke into Freire's hotel room on Wednesday night, and stole the phone and some money. But he was spotted by a staff member and the team quickly blocked all the exits, catching the thief and handing him over to Reims police. It turned out that the Parisian man has a police record, but all of Freire's possessions were returned to the World Champion.
The Tour de France's medical communique was long today, after two crashes at 83 and 179 km caused a lot of damage in the peloton. Most seriously hurt were Marco Pinotti (Lampre) and Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto).
Marco Pinotti (Lampre): Initial loss of consciousness but he rapidly regained
consciousness. He has a lot of cuts and bruises on his face with a lot of bleeding.
He was taken by the Tour medical service to the emergency room in Rouen central
hospital. He has an open fracture of the nose, but no other breaks. He had an
MRI, which didn't show any brain lesions. He will be in hospital for observation.