Tour de France News for July 16, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Tour heat takes its toll
Photo: © Olympia Photo
The hot temperatures in France over the past week have steadily taken
a toll on the peloton, as long stages, difficult terrain, and ever-aggressive
riding keep the cyclists at their limits. Even with ample rehydration
throughout the stages- riders often consume at least 10-14 bottles a day-
fatigue is a greater concern under the hot sun.
Head Tour de France doctor Gérard Porte explained some of the
consequences of the hot summer sun. "Since the riders come to the race
in good form, they don't necessarily feel the fatigue in the first week,"
Porte said in a l'Equipe interview. "After that, you start to see riders
coming in outside the time limit, abandons, digestive troubles, cramps,
More riders made it through the first week than Porte expected, but he
expects the Pyrenees will strike a tough blow to the peloton. "There were
relatively few abandons in first days, but 22 riders quit in three days
in the Alps!"
More post-stage quotes
René Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner, 5th at 2'07)
"I knew that on a stage like this I could do something. When Piil and
Sacchi attacked, I tried to go clear seven, eight, maybe nine times, but
the others didn't do anything and I was exhausted."
Jan Ullrich (Bianchi, 34th at 21'23)
Solid start for Ullrich
Photo: © Sirotti
"I've succeeded in finishing the first week without any major problems,
and that's important. I followed Lance's attacks at my own rhythm, and
I'm still ok considering I had some health concerns. The coming stages
in the Pyrenees should be interesting, even if Beloki's abandon might
change the outcomes."
Tyler Hamilton (CSC, 36th at 21'23)
"Everybody could see that Jakob [Piil] was climbing well Monday in the
Alps. When he climbs like that, it means he's very strong. I'm very happy
with what he did [yesterday]. I still have big ambitions for the Tour.
Of course I still feel like there's a knife in my back, but a calm stage
like [Tuesday] helps."
Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom, 53rd at 21'23)
"I slept well after my victory on Monday. I didn't overanalyze things.
I'm calm and I want to avoid putting any pressure on myself just because
I'm second overall behind Armstrong."
David Millar (Cofidis, 54th at 21'23)
"I rode in the final straight to help my friend Cookie (Baden Cooke,
FDJeux.com), who's wearing the green jersey. I'd never done that before,
but I also did it for fun. Now it's a rest day, which will be good even
if I'm not feeling too tired. I'm feeling better every day. From this
point on, my objective will be the time trial, as well as doing better
on the climbs."
Millar's misjudged attack on stage 9 still irks him, particularly given
his improving form in this year's Tour.
"I'm still upset about the mistakes I made [Monday] because I had the
legs to win. I was so strong that when I attacked I didn't realise nobody
could come with me. I learn something every day."
Cooke wants cameras
Current green jersey holder Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) has criticised Tour
organisers for the lack of cameras at the intermediate sprints. Cooke
felt he was robbed of crucial points in Tuesday's stage 11, placed behind
Robbie McEwen in a sprint he insists he won. It is not normal practice
for races to include finish line cameras at the intermediate sprints,
largely due to the costs involved. Line judges are used to determine the
outcomes of these sprints, which count toward the green jersey points
"I believe I won the first sprint ahead of Robbie," Cooke said in an
AFP report. "We both went for it and I believe I got my wheel over the
line just ahead of him but they gave it to him instead. I'm pretty pissed
off at that. I don't understand. It's the Tour de France, so why don't
they have line cameras?"
After reviewing the video of the sprint, race commissaire's stuck with
their initial decision to award the points to McEwen, but Cooke remains
"I remember even last year it was the same when there were a few close
calls between Robbie and (Erik) Zabel," he added. Cooke's lead in the
jersey contest is a slender 9 points after 11 stages, and he fears plenty
of competition from the likes of McEwen, Erik Zabel, Thor Hushovd, and
"It's going to be tricky in the mountains, there's a few guys like Zabel
and Hushovd who can climb and get some points, but I'm feeling pretty
good about my chances in the mountains. Hopefully the green jersey won't
come down to two points."
Fassa Bortolo leading prize money standings
The Fassa Bortolo team is down to just three riders after the first 11
stages of the Tour de France, however it is at the top of the prize money
standings with €39,681. The success of Alessandro Petacchi in the
first week carried them all the way, however with Petacchi's exit they
will certainly lose ground in the second half. Close behind Fassa Bortolo
is Quick-Step-Davitamon, with €39,149, then Crédit Agricole
with €30,823. The top five is rounded out by FDJeux.com (€29,425)
and Team Telekom (€27,808)
The remainder of the standings:
US Postal Service-Berry Floor (€26,002)
Ag2R-Prévoyance (€ 19,481)
Jean Delatour (€17,248)
Brioches La Boulangère (€13,358)
Team Bianchi (€12,075)
Team CSC (€10,259)
Indurain in l'Etape du Tour
Five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain will be back on the bike
in France, participating in the annual l'Etape du Tour ride, which lets
amateurs ride the exact parcours of a Tour stage. This year's Etape du
Tour, running today during the pros' rest day, will follow the route of
stage 16 between Pau and Bayonne.
Indurain will join the more than 8,000 registered riders, along with
former pro Abraham Olano, ex-Formula 1 champion Alain Prost, Japanese
Formula 3 champion Takuma Sato, and the winner of the first Etape du Tour,
Christophe Rineiro of MBK-Oktos.
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