Tour de France News Extra for July 9, 2004
Edited by Anthony Tan
Big blow for Bäckstedt
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Faced with a similar situation in the finale to that of his winning ride
where he outfoxed his four other breakaway companions in the Roubaix velodrome
to take the biggest win of his career, big Swede Magnus Bäckstedt was
certainly one of the favourites for the win in today's fifth
stage - so to finish fifth in a five-man break was a big blow for
Bäckstedt and his Alessio-Bianchi team.
"I was exhausted at the end of the stage," said Bäckstedt after his 180
kilometre-plus breakaway. "It's always a pity to be leading the race and
not to post the win. Tomorrow I'm going to recover my energy - then I
will try again."
Team manager Bruno Cenghialta was understandably disappointed with the
result but happy with the efforts shown by his team so far, vowing his
team won't give up in their quest for a stage win: "The team is all right
and they won't give up [to go for stage win]. We're going to engage in
battle whenever we can," said Cenghialta.
Petacchi down but not out
Fassa Bortolo's sprint star Alessandro Petacchi was one of the riders
worst off in the mass pile-up at Magny-en-Vexin during Stage
5, suffering multiple cuts and heaving bruising, but initial assessments
have ruled out any fracture of his shoulder, Petacchi describing his injuries
as "strong though bearable".
When asked to describe how the accident occurred, Petacchi said the crash
was unavoidable. "At the time, the peloton was pulling quite hard, with
US Postal, Lotto-Domo and some of my team-mates, he recalled. "It was
a crash I wasn't able to avoid, and I landed strangely on my left shoulder...
it felt like my shoulder dislocated itself and then returned back into
Due to the nature of his injuries, the prognosis calls for 10 days of
rest for Petacchi's left shoulder and forearm to heal, however at this
stage, the speedster from La Spezia has ruled out withdrawing from the
race and will begin today's sixth stage from Bonneval to Angers.
Simoni wants to go home
Gibo wants to go home
Photo ©: Sirotti
After crashing out on the penultimate corner in Stage
4's team time trial, Saeco team leader Gilberto Simoni ended up losing
almost three minutes to the winning team from US Postal/Berry Floor despite
five of his team-mates conceding only 1'30. The result has effectively
annulled any chance of a high overall placing in the 91st Tour de France,
the temperamental Trentino rider now saying his morale is "is in my boots"
and would prefer to go home.
"I can cope with bad luck, but what can I do about race regulations?
120 guys finished behind me yesterday, but I lost a minute more than them,"
"It's a stupid rule. I came here hoping to win the race but my morale
is in my boots. I've never liked the Tour anyway. I feel really bad, I
just want to go home."
However, contrary to his ill feelings for the rules and the race, Simoni
did end up taking to the start on the fifth stage from Amiens to Chartres,
finishing in the main group of riders 12'33 down on winner Stuart O'Grady
"I'll be carrying on and we'll see what happens. But it's really difficult
when it's like this," Simoni said.
Crash at km 2:
Rolf Aldag (T-Mobile) - Cuts on both knees, multiple contusions
Carlos Sastre (CSC) - multiple contusions
Crash at km 104:
Manuel Beltran (US Postal Service) - Cuts on left elbow
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) - Multiple contusions and pain in left arm
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) - Multiple contusions and injured
José Luis Rubiera (US Postal Service) - Deep cut on left leg
Angel Vicioso (Liberty Seguros) - Cuts on chin and hands.
Crash at km 128:
Ludovic Martin (RAGT Semences-MG Rover) - Contusion on buttock
Crash at km 171:
Fabio Baldato (Alessio-Bianchi) - Cut on right hand
Numerous other riders suffered minor cuts, contusions
Crash at km 190:
Numerous riders suffered minor cuts, contusions
Times were adjusted for two riders from Liberty Seguros following the
Stage 4 team time trial. Angel Vicioso was timed at 1 hour 14 minutes
28 seconds, and Jan Hruska at 1 hour 22 minutes 41 seconds.
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) was fined 50 CHF, penalized 10 seconds and
penalized five points in the points classification for receiving a push
from his team car in Stage 5.
Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears-Banesto) and Christophe Mengin (FDJeux.com)
were each fined 30 CHF for drafting behind team cars.
US Postal Service directeur sportif was fined 200 CHF for failing to
heed the instructions of the jury and fined 200 CHF for blocking the medical
car during stage 5.
Maryan Hary (Brioches La Boulangère) was eliminated from the race
for finishing outside the time delay. The delay was set at 5 hours 27
minutes 24 seconds. Hary finished in 5 hours 46 minutes 5 seconds.
Jolly good! Bobbies on Tour
Though unrelated to London's bid to host the Grand Départ
of the Tour de France, a delegation of the city's police officers, or
bobbies, will pay a visit to the Tour this year. The bobbies will enjoy
a day at the Tour on Saturday's Stage 7, checking out the start village,
the publicity caravan, and various stops along the route. The five Londoners
will then join in the fray for the stage finish alongside their French
colleagues, part of a week-long police exchange program between the two
nations marking the centenary of the French-British "Entente Cordiale"
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)