Tour de France News for July 7, 2004
Edited by Kristy Scrymgeour and John Stevenson
Nazon: "We are really riding in the Tour"
By Jeff Jones
Jean-Patrick Nazon (right) out-sprints
Photo: © Sirotti
Jean-Patrick Nazon (AG2R Prévoyance) became a hero in his country today
taking the first stage for the French in this year's Tour de France handing
credit to his teammate Jan Kirsipuu for giving him the confidence to go
for the win.
"I'm very happy he worked for me today as I did for him in the past,"
he said. "I was expecting him [Kirsipuu] to come to me today and when
he did he told me that he thought it wasn't his day so he would help me
in the sprint. I was very happy and very confident when he told me that.
That's why I want to thank him especially today."
His family had also calculated that based on previous stages, it was
his turn to win today. "I got a call from my brother Damien before
the stage and he said that I was fifth and third in the first stages,
so today I have to win," he said. "I just listened to him and
I want to thank him for that."
About today's stage, Nazon said that it was like riding in a World Cup
event for him today. "I was keeping Armstrong and Ullrich's wheel
all day and I didn't crash so that was nice. In the sprint I saw the shadow
of a rider on the left and I was a bit scared. I didn't know who he was,
but after the finish I saw it was Erik Zabel. I was very happy the line
was just there - 10 more metres and it would have been Zabel today."
On going for the green jersey, Nazon was non-committal. "The green jersey
is something very difficult. You must be there every day. The Tour is
very long, three weeks and you never know what can happen."
Finally Nazon said that he was very excited to be the first French rider
to win a stage this year. "I'm very happy because today we are actually
in France for the first time. Now I think that we are really riding in
3 full results, report & photos
Consolation for McEwen
By Jeff Jones
Robbie McEwen wears his consolation
Photo: © Sirotti
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) was excited to take the yellow jersey today,
saying it was a bit of a consolation for not winning the stage. "I
would have rather have won the stage," he explained, "as I would
have got the jersey anyway. I was trying to win; I wasn't especially concerned
about taking yellow."
"I was a little bit far back with 1 km to go," he said. "I
came well out of the wheels on the right, but Nazon went past. The temptation
when you get passed is to sit up and stop sprinting, but I knew if I kept
going I could salvage something and to get the yellow is great."
McEwen went on to say that he is very prepared for the Tour as compared
to the Giro d'Italia. "Really, at the Giro d'Italia I finished second
three or four times but I was able to win a stage and was satisfied with
the way I came away from it. I wasn't totally prepared for the Giro in
the same way as I am for the Tour so I didn't come away frustrated at
all. The important thing at the Tour is that I'm at or very close to 100
"Before the first section of pavé I was probably in about 16th
position, so maybe not quite close enough to the front. The speed on the
cobbles was no problems and I was passing a lot of riders, pretty much
cruising across. That was one of the easier parts. But doing 60 km/h beforehand
On defending the yellow tomorrow, "It's a little bit of a pity because
it's the team time trial tomorrow and for sure I'm going to have to give
the yellow jersey up," said McEwen. "It's great to have it but
if you're not wearing it in Paris it's no different wearing it one day
rather than wearing six days. It means that the team doesn't have to ride
in front all day and it takes pressure off them. As a team we'll enjoy
having the jersey and just go out and ride the team time trial. We'll
try and have a good day and get on with the Tour the day after tomorrow.
That's what it's about for us - we're not here for a good performance
in the team time trial."
The important thing for McEwen is the green jersey. McEwen won the points
jersey classification in 2002, but had to give it up on the final stage
of 2003 to his compatriot, Baden Cooke. "The thing with the green jersey
competition, especially in the first three days, is that the bulk of the
points are coming from the stage finishes," said McEwen. "Also
in the first days it's very difficult to finish in the front. If you have
a crash or bad day you miss a lot of points. Who knows, I could have a
bad day and miss 30 points. Nothing is a surprise in the Tour. I'm not
surprised about the other riders' performances - it can turn around quickly."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)