Tour de France News for July 10, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson
Boonen clicks into gear
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Everything fell into place for Quick.Step-Davitamon's sprinter Tom Boonen
today, with the 23 year old Belgian managing to avoid all the final kilometre
carnage to win the sixth stage ahead of Stuart O'Grady and Erik Zabel.
It was his first ever Tour stage win and his 14th win of the season, and
with the exit of Alessandro Petacchi and Mario Cipollini this morning,
he will have several more chances for glory.
"For me, this was a really great victory today," a delighted Boonen said
post-stage. "My team rode very strongly and especially my teammate Stefano
Zanini was really strong over the last 30km. My team director Serge Parsani
told me it would be a dangerous finale and Zanini positioned me perfectly.
I had no idea there was a big crash behind us because I was on Zanini's
wheel. I made my move at 200m to go and it went great. I like hard sprints
for power riders and this one was perfect for me today because I'm very
Boonen added that despite his mechanical problems early on in the Tour,
he had been confident of winning a stage. "I was telling it to the press
the day before yesterday but nobody believes it," he said. "Everything
happens for a reason. Two weeks before the your everything went quite
alright. I could do all the sprints in the way I wanted. Today everything
went like it supposed to and no-one was able to pass me."
Asked if winning a Tour stage was important, Boonen replied, "Yeah of
course. Winning a stage in the Tour is one of the biggest things possible.
For every sprinter here it's like a world championship. It was very hard
yesterday and today. I expected Robbie to come at any moment because he
is the fastest one out there right now. But then I heard he had crashed."
6 full results, report & photos
Armstrong in two crashes
Lance Armstrong (US Postal Service)
Photo ©: CN
Lance Armstrong (USPS-Berry Floor) didn't have a great day at the office
today, being in the two main crashes that marked Stage 6. Armstrong hit
the deck after 16 km of racing and again in the last kilometre, where
he was tangled up in the front of a mass pile-up.
"We're comin' in to Angers and they have the barriers really tight and
you got 200 guys raging through there at 40 miles an hour," said Armstrong
of the final crash. "I don't know what the hell they're thinking. You're
going to have crashes. We were fortunate that the crash was literally
10m inside the 1 km banner, otherwise we would have been docked half a
minute...so it was bad luck and good luck."
As for the first spill, Armstrong said that, "It was a typical early
race crash; everybody nervous, a lot of wind, two guys just went down
in front of me and there's nothing you can do - you just hit the brakes
and I went over them. It wasn't bad. I got a little bit on the arm and
a little bit on the hip. (I'm stiff) on the hip. I flipped over and rolled
a tire but it's fine."
Hamilton and Pereiro suffer in crash
Phonak's Tour mishaps continued today when team leader Tyler Hamilton
crashed in the final kilometre, along with a large chunk of the peloton
including teammates Bert Grabsch, Oscar Sevilla and Martin Elmiger. Hamilton
landed on his back and suffered multiple contusions, although he didn't
break any bones, while the other three were relatively unhurt.
Earlier in the stage, Oscar Pereiro crashed together with Jose Enrique
Gutierrez. Pereiro was taken to hospital after the finish for examination
of his injured fingers.
Flecha gets close
Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) came within 1 kilometre
of winning his second ever Tour de France stage, but was swallowed by
the peloton just before the final sprint in Angers. Flecha, who won the
stage to Toulouse last year in a late solo breakaway, told Datasport that,
"I wasn't quick enough. I tried, but the peloton was pulling strongly
and caught me at the finish. In the final metres there was nothing I could
Alessio-Bianchi maintains the rage
After Magnus Backstedt's epic day in the saddle during stage 5, the Alessio-Bianchi
team was once again on the attack in Stage 6, putting Alessandro Bertolini
in the six man break that went clear after 21 km. The six worked well
together until 23 km to go, when Bertolini fell off the pace after the
final sprint, and was caught by the peloton.
"Our plans were very clear: we had to attack and that was just what we
did," said team manager Bruno Cenghialta. "A 150 kilometre breakaway was
frustrated and recaptured by the peloton. Next time will be alright. If
one Quick Step rider had been in the break, the attackers would have got
to the finish. In any case, it was a good breakaway. We'll be seen again
Dekker wants to be first on Alpe d'Huez
Rabobank's Erik Dekker, not usually noted as a climbing specialist, has
expressed an unusual ambition for this year's Tour de France. "I want
to be first on the top of Alpe D'Huez," Dekker said to Cyclingnews
diarist Scott Sunderland during yesterday's stage.
Dekker explained that the idea came to him during an earlier conversation
with a Dutch journalist, and went on to outline his plan to achieve this
a read of Scott's diary to find out the full details.
Crash in final kilometre:
René Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) - Fracture of 9th, 10th, and 11th
left ribs and broken nose. He will not start tomorrow.
Crash at km 8:
Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo) - Cuts on both knees
José Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) - Cut on left wrist
Oscar Pereiro Sio (Phonak) - Injured small finger on right hand
Crash at km 19:
Iker Camaño (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - Cuts on rigtht knee, left elbow
and left hip
Filippo Simeoni (Domina Vacanze) - Cuts and pain in left knee
Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis) - Pain in right knee
Mirko Celestino (Saeco) - Left knee pain
Gerrit Glomser (Saeco) - Left knee pain
David Loosli (Saeco) - Headache
Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze) - Right knee pain
Matthew Wilson (FDJeux.com) - Cramps
The crash at the finish happened within the final kilometre, allowing
all riders to finish in the same time.
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) was fined 100 CHF for not signing in at the start
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)