Tour de France News for July 10, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Armstrong not completely satisfied
Photo: © Olympia Photo
Although Lance Armstrong might have been happy with his team winning
the team time trial,
he wasn't completely satisfied with his own performance, even though he
did some long turns on the front. "I never had the right sensations,"
Armstrong commented immediately after the stage. "It was going round,
but not supple enough."
However, taking his first Tour team time trial win was a big satisfaction.
"Finally I dealt with the frustration I've carried with me for years,"
he admitted. "With the team I just missed the win in the TTT a few times.
Last year, and also in '94 with Motorola. Second every time. That's why
I marked this stage, because I really wanted to win the TTT for once.
You have to agree, with a team like that we couldn't be satisfied with
Armstrong added, "On top of that, a team time trial gives a clear reflection
of the overall power of a team, and if it all goes to plan, the victory
New yellow jersey wearer Victor Hugo Peņa told Cyclingnews today before
the start of stage 5 that, "I can't imagine how this could have happened.
When I was 10 or 15 years old I looked at everything with Lucho Herrera
and Fabio Parra. Today is my day."
Peņa was going around with a birthday cake before the start. He was
also awarded his weight in champagne by the locals. Floyd Landis told
Cyclingnews that, "Victor's enjoying it. We didn't have a big party last
night, there's still a bit of racing left. We had a little champagne.
We don't normally do that, but it's Victor's birthday today too so it's
a nice present for him."
"The first stage win hasn't sunk too much yet," added Landis. "I've
got to wait a bit to get too exited. I learned last year that it's a long
race. If it's convenient we'll defend the jersey but we aren't going to
spend any energy on that. We have to be careful how much we spend this
Beloki will attack
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Joseba Beloki (ONCE) is now sitting in ninth place on GC, 33" off the
time of Victor Peņa. The Basque climber was much closer to the lead at
this time last year, after ONCE had won the TTT. "I realized it would
be very hard to beat US Postal," Beloki said post-race. "Now, I can live
with the result without problems. The loss is minimal and it doesn't change
my plans. I will attack on the cols. The yellow is still within reach."
Garzelli a dark horse
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Troyes
The form of Stefano Garzelli in the Tour is an unknown quantity so far.
The Vini Caldirola rider is sitting in 63rd on GC, 2'03 behind leader
Victor Peņa. Garzelli finished second in the Giro d'Italia last month
behind Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), who is even further down on GC in 106th.
But it's early days yet.
"The most important thing about the first part of this Tour, like every
tour, is to avoid crashes and to do well in the team time trial," Vini
Caldirola director Vitorio Algeri told Cyclingnews today. "Up until now
Garzelli hasn't lost anything in crashes, and in the TTT we did a good
ride yesterday and we lost relatively little, so Gazelli and the rest
of the team have a lot of morale for the next few days."
"Garzelli's condition is a question mark for the team. He had a great
Giro d'Italia, but he also used a lot of energy. After the Giro, Garzelli
had a month to recover. He only raced for two stages in Catalunya. Until
we hit the first climbs, we really don't know where his form is. We'll
just have to wait for those stages and see how he is."
Algeri believes that US Postal will now exert its grip on the race.
"From this point on I think Lance and his team are going to take control
of the situation. Like every year, they'll ride the mountain stages the
same way. They'll likely let a break go and with the really strong team
they have, keep the break under control, and then on the key climbs Lance
will take over."
CSC team time trial "acceptable"
Photo: © Sirotti
Team CSC had high hopes for the fourth stage team time trial, but after
Tyler Hamilton's crash in stage 1, the team had to revise its ambitions.
Yesterday they finished 10th, 1'45 behind winners US Postal-Berry Floor.
Afterwards, CSC called it an "acceptable performance" in the circumstances.
"We came up with a solid performance," said manager Bjarne Riis. "As
I see the stage, Tyler was the strongest man in the team. The time loss
is acceptable. When we consider the circumstances, our performance lived
up to the expectations. It impressed me to see how hard Tyler worked and
to see how every rider in the team used all his energy in the effort."
Tyler Hamilton had a tough time of it, but was able to overcome the
pain of his broken collarbone again. "I was feeling very sore this morning
and when I came back from my training ride earlier today, I was feeling
a bit pessimistic," said Hamilton. However, I found a good position on
the bike and I rode as fast as I possibly could today. I am satisfied
with my own performance and I think that the team worked well together.
I still have to take it one day at the time and I will have some new x-rays
taken tomorrow and then we will se, how the collarbone is doing."
Lotto-Domo: "A day to forget"
Lotto-Domo finished dead last in yesterday's team time trial, 4'53 down
on the winners US Postal-Berry Floor. The last time Lotto finished last
was 11 years ago, which prompted some angry phone calls from Brussels.
"If we couldn't perform any better, they said it might be better for
the team to return to Belgium!" recalled former director (and now Marlux
DS) Jef Braeckevelt to Het Nieuwsblad. "Things must have drastically changed
for the board to be OK with this way of riding a TTT."
Lotto-Domo DS Marc Sergeant took the defeat with a smile. "We lose five
minutes to US Postal, that is acceptable," said Sergeant. The eight Lotto-Domo
riders came in at 4.53 with Nick Gates finishing later t 5.02. The team
apparently had agreed on riding "at a snails pace" [still over 49 km/h!]
but the Lotto-Domo boys thought they looked OK.
"The only thing we had to take care of was not to look ridiculous. The
previous days we have been riding at the front of the peloton in service
of McEwen," remarked Sergeant "The teams of the classement riders contract
riders who are specialised in this, we haven't. What does it get you to
let everyone ride flat out and still finish sixteenth? And then find out
the day after that everyone is too knackered to force a mass sprint. All
we really want is to win a stage, discussion closed."
"I'm happy this is over and done with," said (a possibly slightly embarrassed)
Axel Merckx. "A TTT is nice to watch, not to ride."
"What did you expect," Serge Baguet told the Belgian press. "With Rik
Verbrugghe we only have one rider who can ride a good classement; he's
the only one who can maintain the tempo. Maybe we should just focus on
winning a stage and not ride to win those intermediate sprints for Green?"
Petacchi's rivals on Petacchi
Double stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) refuses to let
himself be called the new Cipollini. "Pure sprinters like him have got
that short, scorching jump in the legs," Petacchi points out. "Mario can
explode just before the line, I can't. I can only win in long, exhausting
sprints. My team mates Loda and Velo launch me and over the last four
hundred metres I just keep up that cut-throat speed."
German sprinter Erik Zabel realises that to beat Petacchi will take
a lot of doing. "Petacchi simply is the fastest in the sprint at the moment.
I doesn't surprise me at all, those six stage wins in the Giro weren't
a coincidence. Sunday in Meaux he showed us again. In Saint-Dizier he
convinced the last disbelievers. At the moment I'm coming up short. I
don't have any excuses -I feel physically strong but that isn't enough
to beat Petacchi."
Robbie McEwen thinks there are similarities between Petacchi and Cipollini.
"Alessandro Petacchi suffers from the Cipollini syndrome. All sprinters
do really, but being Italian, he's got it worse. Everybody wants the crown
of 'super Mario'. As a sprinter he has the same style, straight on, straight
forward, from a long way and keeping the same speed the whole time. He
is very strong at the moment but he can be beaten. Petacchi is a fair
sprinter. As a human being he differs a lot from Mario. In the race we
greet each other although he is my biggest opponent."
Baden Cooke thinks that there is more to come from Petacchi. "The best
Petacchi won't be dropped on a small climb, like he was in Sedan," Cooke
says. "But the Italian is not a sprinter who takes the big cols easily.
He certainly can be compared to Cipo in that way, because the World Champion
can't do that either. But no big sprinter of their calibre needs to. If
you ask me where I rank Petacchi I'll tell you: right at the top. I think
it will be hard for Cipollini to beat him in the future, but whether Petacchi
can accumulate palmares like Cipo's, remains to be seen."
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano's views
Cyclingnews has been blessed by a great body of diarists during this
year's Tour, including Bradley McGee, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, Paolo
Bettini Dr Michele Ferrari and the quirky Podium Girl Gone Bad. We are
also fortunate to have ONCE's Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, yellow jersey
wearer for a week in last year's Tour, who is not riding this year due
to a broken collarbone and a (non-UCI) ban for taking too much salbutamol
during Le Tour 2002.
Igor is still watching the Tour of course, and each day is filing his
own take on what happened during the stage. Unsurprisingly, it's very
insightful, given that he has the benefit of television as well as his
own experience in the Tour. You can always find the latest updates here.
All our other diarists, as well as our interviews, tech stories, and
historical features, can be accessed from the features
page in the Tour section.
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