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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini


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

Victory!
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 last year."

Click here for the full interview.

McEwen goes for green, wants more help

Green McEwen
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 something."

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

Jimmy Casper
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 few days."

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 Cooke.

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 and defeat.

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.

Medical communique

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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