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Tour de France News for July 16, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Mission accomplished for Jakob Piil

Crafty Dane wins his first Tour stage

By Gabriella Ekström in Marseille

Jakob Piil mobbed
Photo: © Sirotti

The moment where his pedal broke in Bourg-en-Bresse at the eighteenth stage of the Tour last year has played on Jakob Piil's mind ever since. "I have been thinking of that unfortunate moment a lot, because I was in a position where I could have won," Piil said after his podium celebrations in Marseille. "Luckily I didn't think much about it today. During today's stage I was only looking forward. I have been trying really hard during the last two years to win a stage in the Tour, so I'm very happy and pleased that it finally worked out. To win a Tour stage was one of the goals I had set up before the season."

Knowing the capacity of the Danish rider, it would be interesting to know what his other goals for the year are, but when asked, he looks away and mumbles his answer. "Eh, I don't know. Well, I've failed a few of them already, but now I have this one, and that is a big deal. There are still some late World Cups that I would like to have a go at though."

Click here for the full interview.

Stage 10 quotes

Fabio Sacchi (Saeco, 2nd)

Fabio Sacchi
Photo: © Olympia

"When Piil made his final attack from the breakaway group, I looked around to see if anyone was interested in chasing him. Apparently they were not, so I decided to go after him alone. It was very hard, and I rode flat out to chase him. That is why I reached out my hand to him with 1500 metres to go. I wanted to thank him for the good fight. I knew he was a better sprinter than I, so I tried to get him in front of me, but it didn't work out today. It would have been nicer if I had won, but I can live with this defeat."

Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole, 6th in Green Jersey)

The Australian champion is looking for another opportunity for a stage win, having survived the Alps, the first real test in this year's Tour. "You just have to take it day by day," he told Cyclingnews in Gap today. "If the opportunity presents itself and I find myself in position for a breakaway, then I'll take it. With stages like this, it's not up to the riders, it's up to the peloton."

What's the dynamic between you and Thor Hushovd concerning the sprints and the green jersey? "Thor has got himself in a better position, so I'll put myself in his services from now on."

Jorg Jaksche (ONCE, 18th GC)

What did you think when you saw Beloki on the ground? "No doubt... shit. We'll try to win something else, like a stage or anything, and set some new targets."

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank, 23rd GC)

Michael Boogerd
Photo: © C. Henry/CN

"I'll try to survive today, and survive the rest day," laughed Michael Boogerd at the start of Stage 10. "Then we have the time trial, which I'll do easily, not too hard. I hope in the Pyrenees I'm good again."

When asked about Oscar Freire's lack of success in the sprints so far, Boogerd replied, "It's really difficult. There were five bunch sprints; Cooke won one and Petacchi won four. Freire was third once, so I don't think he's too bad. I think he's riding well, so we'll see what happens today. I hope he can win, but in the Tour you never can tell anything. It's always difficult."

George Hincapie (USPS-Berry Floor, 53rd GC)

"We had a pretty close call there. Armstrong did a great job of handling the bike, and had good reactions, so we were happy to see that. We're waiting for the Pyrenees. We're in a good position now. There's a lot of competition this year, but we feel like we have one of the best teams, so we're ready."

Who's the competition? "The usual suspects are still there... Vinokourov, Ullrich, who I'm sure will be getting better. There are a lot of guys out there."

Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com, 116th GC)

"For me personally, the Tour hasn't gone well. I've been very tired, and have tried to recover each day. I'll have to wait for the rest day to see how I can recuperate, because I really need to recover.

"I'm not sure that it's [having done] the Giro that's making me tired. It's the heat, and maybe the Tour de Suisse was too much. I don't think it was the Giro because I got really good form from that race.

Brad McGee (FDJeux.com, 136th GC)

Australian Brad McGee told Cyclingnews at the start of Stage 10 that the aim is to keep Baden Cooke in Green. "For the green jersey, the priority is not always winning the stage," he said. "We sort of changed our tune a little bit. It used to be all about getting stage wins, and now the priority's the jersey. For once we're going to start to start doing the bonus sprints, which we really haven't been doing at all."

Santiago Botero (Telekom, 64th GC)

"I'm feeling better every day. Yesterday was not so bad. I'm very happy for Alexandre and I just hope that he can keep the same level when we reach the Pyrenees," Botero told Cyclingnews at the start of Stage 10.

Bjarne Riis (CSC D.S.)

In his team's daily website update, Riis expressed his delight in Piil's win. "Piil showed how it is done," said Riis. "He did everything right in the final kilometres. He has got a great instinct for winning. We now have the stage victory that we dreamt of and on top of that we now lead the teams classification. Little by little things have taken a turn for the better after a tough start. With the stage victory, we are able to demonstrate that we are one of the most important teams in the Tour. I would like to congratulate Jakob. He really deserves this victory. He has got such a great eye for this kind of finale."

Christian Henn (Gerolsteiner D.S.)

This morning Cyclingnews asked Gerolsteiner director Christian Henn how the team has been faring, and what can we expect from them in the coming days. "Georg Totschnig is not so bad," said Henn. "He was seventh yesterday and we'll try to ride for him today. Normally we would ride for Rebellin but now we'll consider riding for Udo and Georg. Totschnig is 14th overall. He has the ability to do a really good time trial so we're hoping for a top 10 placing for him in Paris."

ONCE still motivated after Beloki crash

By Günter Krause-Friebertshäuser

Jorg Jaksche
Photo: © C. Henry/CN

Team ONCE-Eroski was understandably demoralised by Joseba Beloki's terrible crash on the final descent of stage 9 yesterday, but seemed to regain some optimism today. Interviewed about the mental state of his team after stage 10, Jörg Jaksche (ONCE's best-placed rider on GC) told German television station ZDF that the team would stay as motivated as it was prior to Beloki's elimination from the Grand Boucle. Since they no longer have a team leader, every ONCE rider will be free to ride for themselves and possibly win a stage that way.

After Jaksche's strong performance during the last stage in the Alps, where he led until the last few kilometres, his statements aren't surprising. In addition to Jaksche, the strong Azevedo, Serrano and Nozal could also threaten in the mountains. There still is good reason to count on ONCE in the Pyrenees, and despite his bad luck, this should please Joseba Beloki too.

Stage 10 Communiqué

Tyler Hamilton and Nicolas Jalabert were each fined 100 Swiss francs for not signing in. CSC was stuck in traffic and arrived very close to start time.

Alberto Lopez de Munain (Euskaltel-Euskadi) crashed and finished the stage outside of the 9 percent time limit, but because his crash was caused by a spectator he will be permitted to continue the race.

The demonstration which delayed the peloton by 1'30" with respect to the breakaway was considered a normal incident, and as a result no time adjustments were made.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)

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