89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Main page Stage
Stage 4 - Wednesday July 10: Epernay - Château-Thierry,
67.5 km TTT
Complete Live Report
Start time: 14:15 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's coverage of stage 4, the much feared team time
trial stage; much feared because, well, it's an hour and a quarter of pain,
trying to ride at other people's pace, with no respite. With the start order
determined by the team rankings, the first team out will be Crédit Agricole
- last year's winners.
Crédit Agricole are now on the road, with the Euskaltel and AG2R ninesomes behind
Today's course is a tough one; the roads are "heavy", with very little truly
flat road, lots of false flat and a stiff climb just after the official time
check at 21.5 km; the first kilometre is all uphill, just to get things off
to a good start; it will be very hard to keep the rhythm that will be needed
for a good time, and it will be very easy to do a bad one and very tough for
any rider who is dropped. The weather looks a bit threatening (there has been
rain overnight and this morning) and the temperature has dropped quite noticeably
in the last couple of hours.
This is a particularly hard race for any riders who are trying to ride through
a bad patch; Christophe Agnolutto (AG2R) is one who has missing a few turns
quite early one in the race.
The seventh team on the road are Deutsche Telekom, with Erik Zabel in a yellow
jersey (and matching shorts) that will be difficult to hold onto today. Of the
four teams that have passed the 10km point, it is Bonjour who are going best,
while Euskaltel have dropped 22 seconds on Crédit Agricole at the 21.5 km mark.
Alessio set a new best time at 21.5 km but they have already lost Davide Casarotto,
who will have to ride the last 40 km alone into te teeth of the westerly wind
and finish inside the time limit of 25% of the winning time, which could be
a tough call.
As Mapei are on the start line, Euskaltel suffer a mechanical problem to David
Etxebarria at the second time check. Tacconi are suffering from an imbalance
of strength; Frigo is diong massive turns on the front and his teammates are
having trouble following; they are dropping back.
Telekom set a third best time at the first check; Zabel definitely looks as
though he won't be adding to his yellow jersey collection this evening.
Telekom are riding on damp roads now; Kevin Livingston seems to be hanging on
the back and missing turns. He told us before the start: "We rode the parcours
last Thursday. It's a hard course. You've got to get to the hill, control it
there, and then go hard to the finish." Not there yet, though.
Alessio set a new fastest time at the second chck but have fallen back from
Crédit Agricole over the second section.
Fassa Bortolo set a new best time at the first checkpoint with ex World TT champion
Sergei Gonchar setting the pace for them; but now ONCE are on the road - a team
seemingly selected for this stage above all others.
Credit Agricole come into the finish to set the first time with all nine riders
US Postal are now on the start line, looking unsurprisingly serious. We spoke
to Chris Carmichael this morning about their prospects: "I saw the beginning
part of the parcours today. It's a really good course for USPS. They're my favourite
but I'm biased. ONCE will be tough, but I'd be surprised if anyone beats these
guys. The team is very strong this year. USPS has strong guys like Joachim,
Padrnos, Hincapie, Landis and Peña. A guy like Tyler is a good individual time
trialist but at these high speeds he just can't produce the same level of power.
My top three are Postal, ONCE and Kelme, who have a very good team too."
Up the road Rabobank have dropped two riders.
Euskaltel come in almost two minutes down on Crédit Agricole.
AG2R finish in an unspectacular time with eight riders, with Jaan Kirsipuu dropped
in the closing stages.
Alessio finish down to six riders, having lost a lot over the last section.
The ONCE team set a new best time at checkpoint one, nearly half a minute up
on Fassa Bortolo.
Tacconi come in a good minute down on Crédit Agricole; Dario Frigo will not
have done himself any favours
Telekom come in, down to eight men, in what is for the moment second place.
Domo set a new best time in 1.22.01. Richard Virenque explains later that "Unfortunately
with about 40 km to go, a bolt broke in my handlebars, so I couldn't put as
much force as I wanted. But the team had a good day."
US POstal are second at the first check, 13 seconds down on ONCE
ONCE lose a man when Mikel Pradera punctures, but they continue without him.
Benoît Joachim is in difficulties with US Postal.
Last starters CSC-Tiscali set a definitive best time at the first checkpoint,
6 seconds ahead of ONCE.
Fassa Bortolo's 1:21:19 is a new best at the finish, 26 seconds ahead of iBanesto.com.
US Postal are on a tough part of the parcours. Usually riders are taking 6 -
8 second pulls, but Lance has gone to the front and is sitting there for a lot
It looks as though it is giong to be a struggle between ONCE and CSC-Tiscali
for the win, with US Postal limiting the damage. CSC DS Johnny Weltz said that
Jalabert was really positive when we went on
the parcours this morning, and he was hoping for a top three place; it's going
better than that for the moment, and Jaja could yet end up in yellow if things
stay as they are. However, In his exclusive
interview on Cyclingnews.com, the normally modest Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano
did admit that it was very likely ONCE would win the team time trial today.
Rabobank come in with fourth best time for the moment.
With all the teams through the second checkpoint, CSCS-Tiscali are still 6 seconds
up on ONCE, so the two teams are neck and neck over the hardest part of the
CSC have dropped Arvis Piziks, though, and more ominously TT specialist Michael
Sandstød has punctured; they're not waiting for him. No, they've slowed down
to wait for him. In the battle for the yellow jersey Laurent Jalabert has 9
seconds lead over Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, so he hasn't much time to lose.
The Lampre team come in in a respectable 1:22:11 - better than last year.
ONCE come in in 1:19:49, looking very solid and decidely less ragged than many
of the teams in the finishing straight. They have knocked 1.30 off Fassa Bortolo's
previous best time.
US Postal are losing ground, but not enough to really matter if all goes as
anticipated. Armstrong is taking double turns and "directing traffic" to minimise
Kelme come into the finish down to six men, just over two minutes behind ONCE,
worse than they would have hoped.
US Postal come into the finish with all nine men together, Ekimov sitting up
after his last pull, They are slower than ONCE but have pulled back well over
the closing kilometres, losing just 16 seconds, putting Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano
1 second ahead of Armstrong on GC.
CSC's delays appear to have cost them the stage and the chance at the yellow
jersey; Carlos Sastre is now looking to be in difficulties.
George Hincapie says he is a bit disappointed by the US Postal performance,
since they'd hoped to win, but it was an excellent damage limitation exercise
Cofidis come in 1:44 down on ONCE; they will take fourth place - respectable
but probably worse than they'd hoped for.
CSC-Tiscali come in with Jalabert leading the way, but they are 46 seconds down
on ONCE, dropping to third place. ONCE have taken the stage as Igor Gonzalez
de Galdeano forecast, and with it he has picked up the yellow jersey by the
narrowest of margins.
The top 10 is now packed with ONCE and US Postal riders; apart from the leader's
jersey, the best young rider's jersey is now on the back of ONCE's Isidro Nozal.
CSC made a bad mistake in dithering about after Sandstød's puncture; they were
once again faster than ONCE over the closing kilometres (making up 7 seconds
in 7 km) but by then it was too late.
Thanks for following the stage with Cyclingnews - we'll be back tomorrow at
12.30 CEST for the 195 km from Soissons-sur-Marne to Rouens in Normandy, another
one for the sprinters.
Team CSC Tiscali 0:25:36
US Postal Service 0:00:20
Fassa Bortolo 0:00:34
Kelme-Costa Blanca 0:00:37
Domo-Farm Frites 0:01:09
Credit Agricole 0:01:11
Jean Delatour 0:01:12
Team Telekom 0:01:16
Mapei-Quick Step 0:01:45
Ag2R Prevoyance 0:01:46
Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 0:01:47
US Postal 0:00:19
Fassa Bortolo 0:01:00
Kelme-Costa Blanca 0:01:05
Domo-Farm Frites 0:01:40
Team Telekom 0:01:54
Credit Agricole 0:01:56
Jean Delatour 0:02:13
Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 0:02:38
Mapei-Quick Step 0:02:46
Ag2R Prevoyance 0:02:50
1. ONCE 1:19:49
2. US Postal 0:00:19
3. CSC-Tiscali 0:00:46
4. Fassa Bortolo 0:01:30
5. Cofidis 0:01:44
6. iBanesto.com 0:01:56
7. Domo-Farm Frites 0:02:12
8. Rabobank 0:02:16
9. Kelme-Costa Blanca 0:02:19
10. Lampre-Daikin 0:02:22
11. Credit Agricole 0:02:28
12. Team Telekom 0:02:47
13. Bonjour 0:03:13
14. Alessio 0:03:15
15. Lotto-Adecco 0:03:32
16. FDJeux.com 0:03:34
17. Jean Delatour 0:03:43
18. Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 0:03:45
19. Mapei-Quick Step 0:03:47
20. Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:04:22
21. Ag2R Prevoyance 0:04:24
1. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE - Eroski 14.51.50
2. Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE - Eroski 0.04
3. Lance Armstrong (Usa) US Postal Service 0.07
4. Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE - Eroski 0.12
5. Abraham Olano (Spa) ONCE - Eroski 0.22
6. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service 0.25
7. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal Service 0.26
8. Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE - Eroski 0.27
9. José Azevedo (Por) ONCE - Eroski 0.28
10. George Hincapie (Usa) US Postal Service 0.28
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