Tour de France News Extra for July 7, 2004
Edited by Kristy Scrymgeour and John Stevenson
Lefevere on the Tour's cobbled classic
By Jeff Jones in Waterloo
Photo: © Jeff Jones
At the start of Stage 3 in Waterloo this morning, Cyclingnews
caught up with Quick.Step-Davitamon team manager Patrick Lefevere to ask
his opinion on today's stage, where his riders had a theoretical home
ground advantage compared to the other non-classics specialists.
"I think the nervousness in the bunch will be very special and I think
it will be more dangerous before the cobblestones than during the cobblestones
because I can imagine the Spanish guys, the climbers, will almost be in
panic. Panic is not a good counselor. So everyone will try to be in the
front of the bunch. I think that we have the first pavé sector 65 km from
the finish and if you are losing 10-15 seconds it's not a big deal. But
I think they don't really understand that."
Lefevere's words were prophetic, as just before the first sector at Erre
with 65 km to go there was a crash that brought down eight riders, including
Euskaltel leader Iban Mayo, Benjamin Noval (USPS), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo)
and Quick.Step's own Michael Rogers and Davide Bramati. As it turned out,
Mayo lost significant time by the finish (3'48 to Armstrong/Ullrich/Hamilton)
and his Tour GC hopes are effectively finished.
While remarking that the stage is "good publicity for the cobblestones",
Lefevere said that the classics and the Tour are not the same. "If you
go to the Muur of Geraardsbergen in Vlaanderen it causes problems for
a lot of riders. In the Tour de France it's not the same. They are two
As for his riders, who haven't yet been placing well in the finishes,
Lefevere said, "I'm happy with the way they are behaving yes, but I'm
not happy with the results because the guys have had problems." For example,
in stages 1 and 2, Tom Boonen's chain fell off in the finale, which cost
him dearly. But Lefevere is not worried. "I have the impression that not
everybody understands that it's only the second day and panic is a very
bad advisor. Today is another day, tomorrow is another day..." As for
Alessandro Petacchi, "Everybody was talking about the duel Boonen-Petacchi
but there are a lot of other good riders. It's the world championships
of sprinting," concluded Lefevere.
3 full results, report & photos
USPS chef Willi Balmat (right)
Photo: © Tim Maloney
What’s Cookin’ Willi?
By Tim Maloney, European editor
Cyclingnews managed to barge in on USPS-Berry Floor’s super-chef Willi
Balmat as he was preparing the teams dinner in Gembloux, Belgium after
Stage Two. Swiss chef Balmat was kid of nervous as he prepared a savory
treat for his boys. Between tastes of sauce and other careful preparations,
Balmat explained, “Tomorrow we have a big stage so I’m making a special
dish…it’s the first time I’ve cooked it. It’s a light white wine sauce
with curry and julienned carrots. I’ll toss this with some pasta, large
shell pasta. I think they’ll like it. Then we have a fillet steak for
the second course and some vegetables… I don’t know what else.” And with
that, Chef Willi shooed Cyclingnews out of his kitchen with a shake of
his chef’s knife so he could make the sauces like Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.
Cyclingnews meets Team Cyclingnews
By Jeff Jones
Two sorts of Team Cyclingnews
Photo: © Tim Maloney
Just after the start of the third stage from Waterloo to Wasquehal, as
our TdF road crew was trying to navigate the hell outta there, we noticed
a couple of familiar jerseys riding along beside. Yes it was three members
of the Belgian based Team Cyclingnews.com squad - Cody Stevenson, Cameron
Jennings and Matt Rice - who had decided to ride up to the start and back
home for a bit of training.
Never ones to miss a photo opportunity, we stopped the car in the middle
of the Tour exit-throng and asked the boys to line up for a pic, for which
they happily obliged. Thanks guys and we hope you enjoyed your ride home
- you got out of there much quicker than we were able to!
Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo): Crashed at km 140, injured left shoulder
and broke collarbone. Taken to hospital in Valenciennes.
Gerrit Glomser (Saeco): Serious contusions on right knee. Nicolas
Portal (Ag2r): Pain in left knee. Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze):
Pain in right knee.
Andrea Peron (CSC): Pain in right wrist as a result of a previous
crash. Stefano Casagranda (Saeco): Pain in left wrist as a result of a
Marc Wauters (Rabobank): Crashed at km 195, wounds in left hip
Frederic Bessy (Cofidis): Did not start stage 3 due to a serious
inflammation of the right knee after his crash in stage 2.
Christophe Rinero (RAGT): Fined CHF30 for momentary assistance.
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Fined CHF200 for irregular feeding at the front
of the peloton.
Weather for stage four
Unlike the beautiful conditions enjoyed by the riders in Stage 3, rain
and wind are predicted for Wednesday's stage 4 team time trial from Cambrai
to Arras. Although it should be dry in the morning, the rain is expected
to move in by 15:00 and continue for the rest of the stage. Combined with
that, a moderately strong wind will be blowing from the east/northeast
at 20-30 km/h with gusts of up to 60 km/h. The temperatures will be 20-22
degrees celsius, but the rain and wind will no doubt make it feel much
Great prizes up for grabs in Cyclingnews Tour de France Fantasy
Only a couple of days left to sign up for the 2004 Cyclingnews Fantasy
Game and the chance to win prizes from Giant, Zero Gravity, CycleOps,
Speedplay, Bontrager, Salsa and Rudy Project. If you haven't joined already
you can still register your team/s with just as good a chance of winning
prizes as a manager who joined before the prologue begun. Here's a full
description of all the prizes up for grabs and some tips from last years
Giant's new TCR Advanced
Giant is contributing the main prize this year - the latest Giant
TCR Advanced frameset in T-Mobile colours. With a weight of 1250g for
the frame, fork and built-in seatpost, the frame uses new kinds of composite
fibres and resin; a "scientifically selected and custom made combination
of several different special aerospace grade high strength high modulus
fibres" has been combined with a "new nano resin" to make the frame both
lighter and stiffer than the existing TCR Composite. Heavy influence from
riders in teams such as T-Mobile has allowed Giant to "increase both the
strength and rigidity of the frame whilst using less material."
Zero Gravity brake
Zero Gravity will be providing its super-light Ciamillo brakes
- worth US$355 each. The CNC-machined, 7075 aluminium stoppers weigh just
96g for a rear caliper and 98g for a front. A pair of Dura-Ace brake calipers,
for comparison, weighs 314g. Zero Gravity brakes achieve their trivial
gram count by use of a CNC-machined caliper and incorporate a cam system
that provides better stopping power than conventional designs.
CycleOps E-Trainer plus
This time CycleOps is offering an Electronic Trainer Plus. With
this trainer you can train on five different courses of varying levels
or choose between interval sessions. You can track heart rate, power,
calories, distance and speed on the console that attached to the handlebars.
The Electronic Trainer Plus comes with software and heart rate chest strap.
and would usually cost US$799.
A pair of Bontrager wheels are also up for grabs in the Fantasy
Game. The exact model is yet to be decided, but our experience is that
Bontrager's racing wheels are top-notch performers.
Tyler's pedals - yours to win!
Speedplay has joined the prize list offering a pair of Tyler Hamilton
Signature Edition Zero Pedals and a pair of Team CSC Edition Zero Pedals.
"Since Tyler began riding the yellow Zero pedals at the beginning of
the racing season, we've been flooded with requests from riders worldwide
who want to purchase pedals just like Tyler rides," says Doug Cerri from
Speedplay. "So we decided to offer consumers a yellow Tyler Hamilton Signature
Edition. The Signature Edition also enables Speedplay to provide a way
for Speedplay customers to support Tyler's non-profit foundation."
Rudy Project Tour de France edition
As the official sunglass sponsor of the Tour de France, Rudy Project
is once again part of the Cyclingnews Fantasy Game, this time
with the special Tour de France edition glasses. Rudy Project is giving
away 21 sets of glasses, one pair to the winner of each stage of the Fantasy
Salsa has joined the Cyclingnews Fantasy Game and is giving
away its Competidor™ six panel shorts. Five winners will receive a pair
of these shorts. They have a Primero chamois, silicone leg grippers and
are made from Literoubaix® fabric.
To take part this year all you need to do is pick a team of 15 riders
to race and select 9 riders each day during the tour. You can join up
until stage 6 begins. It's a great way to follow the tour. To register
go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com
. Good luck!
For more information on joining, see the rules
Top tips for the Cyclingnews Fantasy Tour de France game
It's time to select your own team for this years Tour de France Fantasy
Cycling game. What lessons can be learnt from last year?
Last year's 1st place winner Matt from New Jersey, USA shares with us
some of his hot tips:
"Usually I like to play my cards close to my chest, but since lady luck
was good to me last year, I'll try and share what strategic insight I
have to give. The big difference between the Giro game and this year's
tour game should become obvious to anyone looking at the UCI points chart.
All of the big favourites are right up at the top of that list... For
last year's game, there were some obvious 'bargain buys' for GC like Ullrich,
who was somewhere in the sub-350 point range."
"Last year, I won on a gamble: I bet against Beloki and left him off
my team, using the 1400 UCI points he would have cost to buy other riders
like Zubeldia, Basso & McGee, who paid off handsomely in GC and stage
points. Beloki further hedged my bets by crashing out, thus handicapping
anyone else who'd chosen him. It may be worth thinking about who to bet
against this year. As much as I hate to say it, it's not unreasonable
to ask if Tyler can stay upright for 3 weeks. Who would you buy with his
1160 pts. if he crashed out?"
"Given how 'pricey' this year's GC favourites are in UCI points, anyone
who wants to win will have to strike a similar compromise."
"Last year, I picked two Euskaltels: Zubeldia and Mayo (I usually don't
pick two GC riders from the same team), because of their strong lead up
performances and prologue results. This year, it may well be worth "doubling"
up on riders from a team with multiple top-10 potentials (Julich, Voigt,
Sastre) or Phonak (Hamilton, Sevilla, Pereiro) because of the relative
strength of these squads. CSC in particular will be riding on the 'multiple
"One final word of advice: Pick potential GC and stage winners and if
you win Green or Polka-dot jersey points with them fine but concentrate
on the stages and GC teams first. Good luck, Matt."
Hans Jacob from Norway, the 4th place winner last year, had this to say:
"I think I will go for 9 GC riders and 6 sprinters. I feel that this
combination gives you the best team structure in the end. There are plenty
of good GC riders and they all have high point values so the trick is
the find the ones that will do well this year. Voigt, Heras, Basso and
Moreau should place well in the overall classification. These GC contenders
will also normally be good climbers, so the MTN team will consist of the
"My fellow countryman Hushovd has also had quite a few victories this
year and is looking very promising after his Norwegian double (TT and
road). The first few days of the race should give a good indication of
who is on form and who is not, and a fine tuning of the team until stage
6 will be essential."
Alistair from Scotland, the 2nd place winner last year wraps it up:
"I feel this year more than any before that Lance is not a certainty
for the overall. Who is?? My final advice is to watch the first stages
carefully before making any final team selection. Some riders will obviously
be going well and others obviously not. On top of this there is always
accidents in the early stages that will disadvantage some riders. You
want to be going into the second week of the Tour with a full complement
of riders that have had no misfortune to that point."
back to Le Tour last year I was fairly lucky that only one of my riders
(Caucchioli) dropped out. However losing just one GC rider really hampers
your chance of winning the overall competition (ask anybody who selected
"I hope the Tour's a cracker!"
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)