Tour de France News for July 8, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
The Brad and Baden show
FDJeux.com's Australian double team
By Gabriella Ekström in Sedan
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Baden Cooke's amazing win in the second
stage means that the yellow jersey could possibly make a change of
shoulders tomorrow. After an off day in Meaux yesterday, Baden has closed
to within four seconds of teammate and mentor Brad McGee's yellow jersey.
McGee, who rode strongly in the stage, showed his full hearted support
for young Baden both during the stage and afterwards.
"There's a clear possibility that he could take the jersey tomorrow,
and if I have to give it to anyone I will be happy to give it to him,"
McGee told Cyclingnews after the stage. "Both because he is my friend,
and most important when it comes to racing, because he is on my team.
I'm so very happy about Baden getting this win, because this is something
we have talked about all since his second placing on the Champs Elysées
here for the full interview.
McEwen goes for green, wants more help
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Green points jersey wearer Robbie McEwen couldn't wear the helmet he
would have liked to wear today. It was a gift to the team by Alessandro,
a restaurant owner in Roeselare who is known for supplying nicely airbrushed
helmets to some of the bigger riders.
The helmet with a kangaroo on wasn't accepted by the sponsor, who wanted
to have his logo visible, something the fancy one didn't have. Although
McEwen would have loved to show off a bit of eccentric headwear, like
Cipollini and other flamboyant Italians, he took start wearing a plain
green head cover, to go with the green frame of his sunglasses and jersey.
McEwen finished sixth in the stage today, that was won by his compatriot
Baden Cooke. However he managed to hold onto the green jersey by just
one point, having taken a couple of points in an intermediate bonus sprint.
"With one kilometre to go I was on the right and things just stopped there,"
said McEwen post-stage to VRT. "I had to try and move to the right and
take whatever was left. Lotto-Domo and Fassa Bortolo have done all the
work today. In the finale some other teams came to the front and there
was no room left for us. We could use some more help from other sprinters
teams like Telekom."
McEwen continued, "I don't understand what the classement riders think
they are doing mingling in the sprint anyway? They find themselves in
a situation they know nothing about and then they crash. Maybe a new rule
should be made: give everyone the same time in the last 5 kilometres or
Telekom manager Walter Godefroot's reaction, "Well, if Lotto-Domo expects
help that's not really our call. We have built our team with a wide base,
not around one sprinter; Hondo and co. aren't here to ride for Zabel.
Erik does whatever he can in the finale, if he manages to win that's just
fantastic, but we've got other objectives too with riders like Botero.
Since Lotto-Domo built their team completely around their sprinter McEwen,
they should expect to do the work in the flat stages!"
Casper down but not out
Photo: © AFP
As Bradley McGee and Baden Cooke share success in the FDJeux.com team
with a yellow jersey and stage 2 win, not to mention Christophe Mengin's
polka dot jersey, French sprinter Jimmy Casper is now forced to soldier
on after the stage 1 pile up in Meaux. Casper was on the wheel of Kelme's
José Enrique Gutierrez at the time of the crash, and as a result
was among the first to hit the ground at full speed, injuring his neck
in the fall.
"Right away I felt a lot of pain in my neck," Casper told l'Equipe.
"I told myself I shouldn't move at all. I have to wear a neck brace for
two days. I know it's going to hurt, but it shouldn't last more than a
Casper felt the pain in today's stage 2 from La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre to
Sedan, finishing the tough 204km race in 189th, 10'19" behind teammate
CSC brain cam
As part of the IMAX film
involving the CSC Team, the riders brain masses will be monitored very
closely throughout the three week Tour. A helicopter, equipped with an
IMAX camera will be following the team's every move. In addition to a
40 minute IMAX feature film, the recorded images will be used in America
to do a biomechanical study on the way the human brain reacts to victory
Tour reneges on Basque deal
Following the outcry in Spain over the Tour's agreement with the Basque
separatist movement Batasuna to provide information in the Basque language
for the stage from Pau to Bayonne, the Tour organisation has decided to
abandon its deal with Batasuna and Euskal Herrian Euskaraz, another separatist
movement in France. Batasuna's links with the group ETA, formally considered
a terrorist movement, caught the Tour de France by surprise, and race
director Jean-Marie Leblanc insists that the Tour has no desire to show
support of any sort for a terrorist group operating in Spain.
A crash with 14km in stage 2 claimed fewer victims than yesterday's
finish line mess. Caldirola's Marco Milesi took the brunt of the fall,
suffering a cut on his right knee and contusions on his left hand. Fabrizio
Guidi (Bianchi) and Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) each have minor bruises
from today's fall.
Among those still feeling the pain of the stage 1 crash are Telekom's
Andreas Klöden (pain in coccyx), Nicola Loda (two stitches on left
hand finger), and José Enrique Gutierrez (pain in lower back, cut
on right knee).
Why is it the 90th TdF when it's the centenary?
While we're always appreciative of readers' comments and try to attend
to all questions - we should (once again) explain that it is the centenary
edition of the Tour de France, because the race started in 1903. However,
this does not mean it's the 100th edition of the race; rather, it's the
90th edition because the race was not held due to the somewhat catastrophic
interruptions caused by WW1 and WW2. All things going to plan, by the
year 2013, we will certainly call it the 100th Tour. Please see our Tour
FAQ page for answers to other vexing questions.
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