Tour de France News for July 11, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
The youth movement continues
Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo)
Photo ©: Olympia
The Tour's youth movement continued today in St. Brieuc as young Italian
Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo) rode a superb tactical final to win Stage
7 in grand style. Pozzato beat Basque Iker Flores (Euskaltel) and Spanish
champion Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) after the three had escaped
in the up and down finale.
"You had to have good legs to win today," said Pozzato afterwards. "When
I saw Mancebo go, I was pretty much flat out but I managed to get across.
Then I saw that the Euskadi rider (Flores) was dropped. I was a little
worried when he came back to us in the last kilometres since the last
part was really hard."
With 200m to go, Pozzato made his move and won the stage comfortably
from Flores. "It was bello, bellissimo; I took a big risk to win today
and it worked out," he said. "I'm only 22, the youngest rider at the Tour,
so this is the best win I've had a professional."
Commenting on the success of the young riders so far, Pozzato said,
"There was Cunego's win in the Giro d'Italia and all the wins of Boonen
this year, not to mention Cancellara so I'm sure something is changing.
But it's not so easy to move the champions from the top levels of the
sport. I hope that in two or three years us young riders will be able
to find our place."
7 full results, report & photos
The second sprint
Photo ©: Sirotti
At the end of the seventh stage, Australian Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo)
only managed to take 13th place in the bunch sprint for 8th, while green
jersey rival Stuart O'Grady managed 10th, and kept hold of his jersey
by just one point. The sprint for eighth was won by Norwegian Thor Hushovd
from Scott Sunderland, and both O'Grady and McEwen were surprised and
annoyed that a "non-sprinter" had beaten them in the uphill finish in
McEwen was interviewed by Belgian Sporza TV after the stage, where he
expressed his frustration with the way things went.
Sporza: Things weren't looking too good this morning, you were
limping. But then you did the sprint and took those seconds. Then you
also did the sprint to the finish?
Robbie: It wasn't too bad today; but I suffered all
day though. I've got a lot of pain in my back, my knee and of course the
cheek. But the legs were reasonably good. I could take the points in the
sprint. But then in the final finish I was totally blocked in on the right
side. O'Grady finished in front of me.
Sporza: There was a bit of a discussion after the finish? What
Robbie: Yeah, we were having a discussion about guys
that come and ride in front of you - they were there where they really
shouldn't be looking for anything.
Sporza: Who was that then?
Robbie (hesitant): Oh, leave it be. Everybody can
do their own race, their own sprint. It's just annoying, when you have
to hold back. You want to do the sprint and you can't. For us it's important
for us to take the points; it just was frustrating. But yeah, better blocked
in for the eighth place than for the first spot.
In the Sporza studio, Jo Planckaert (MrBookmaker-Palmans) commented,
"McEwen has nothing to complain about concerning that sprint. Scott is
good in a sprint like that uphill. He's got every right to go for his
own chance and did so very well. Maybe Robbie had some power left - which
is not bad at all after the way it looked this morning before the start.
But then he wasn't supposed to be behind. I think Robbie can't blame Scotty
for anything. It's just the way sprints go."
[Cyclingnews will have comments from O'Grady, McEwen and Sunderland
in the Australian round-up that will follow this news bulletin]
Hamilton soldiers on
Tyler Hamilton (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) was one of the many riders caught up in Stage
6's final kilometre crash, landing on his back and suffering numerous
abrasions. The tough as nails American was looking a little bit worse
for wear this morning. "I've felt worse, but I've also felt better," he
said. "I flipped over the handlebars and my back is scraped up. There's
not much you can do at 60 km/h and 20 guys crash in front of you. Unfortunately
you can't stop in 20 cm."
Hamilton made it through the stage without mishap, and was happier after
the finish when asked about whether it was a "victory" to survive. "I
don't like to think about bike racing that way but in the Tour de France,
getting through a stage in the first week is always a victory without
getting some road rash," he said.
Hamilton is not looking too far ahead. "I'd really like to think it
one day at a time, so I don't like to think about the rest day, although
it's two days away. The most important for the team is to focus on tomorrow's
stage and keep me out of the wind again like today at the end. We always
have to be careful."
The team had to be vigilant when CSC started driving the pace along
the coast with 50 km to go. "I wasn't surprised, but it wasn't Paris-Nice,"
he said. "Nobody was really put off the back."
Today's stage was "A little bit more relaxing, a little less stressful.
I think everybody decided to relax a little bit more after yesterday's
As for his own condition afterwards, Hamilton's summary was brief: "Painful.
Normal. I dunno. Nothing I can't deal with."
X-rays for Mayo
According to Basque newspaper Deia, Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) had
to go to hospital on Friday night for X-rays of his elbow which he hit
against a barrier in the last kilometre crash yesterday. It was the same
the elbow he broke in amateur race and still gives him problems. However,
the X-rays didn't show any fractures.
Petacchi's shoulder not seriously injured
Medical examinations of Fassa Bortolo sprinter Alessandro Petacchi's
injured left shoulder have revealed no serious injuries, although he is
still in a lot of pain. Petacchi abandoned the Tour after stage 5, where
he was involved in one of several crashes. He has contusions and a big
bruise on his shoulder and left arm, and will have to rest for three to
four days before he can ride on the rollers again. He will have another
checkup next Wednesday at the Livorno hospital.
Botero down but not out
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Chateaubriant
T-Mobile's Santi Botero, the only Colombian rider at the year's Tour
De France, spoke to Cyclingnews this morning in Chateaubriant,
where he explained that reports about his retirement at the end of the
season are somewhat premature. "Since my condition now isn't 100 percent,
but more like 75-80 percent, for me this is not easy," he said. "Yes,
my condition has been slowly improving all season, but to be in a big
race like the Tour De France and on a big team like T-Mobile without being
top isn't the best. I just have to wait and go day by day to see some
"At the end of the season I will look at the situation and make a decision
whether I'll continue or not. It's too early to say now, but I'm doing
everything in my power to get back to top form, but until now, I haven't
found the form. Since the Tour of Asturias (in June 2003) when I got sick
(virus infection), this was my last good race...after this, it's been
problems, problems...again, I am here at the Tour, but not 100 percent.
I miss the good condition."
Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner) - Fractured right clavicle. Montgomery
was taken to the hospital in Dinan but was able to leave by late afternoon.
Anrea Noè (Alessio-Bianchi) - Pain in right wrist
Andrea Peron (Team CSC) - Pain in right wrist
Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) - Back pain
Jens Voigt (Team CSC) - Insect bite
Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - Cut on third finger on right hand
Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) - Pain in small finger on right hand,
prompting x-rays Saturday night
Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangère) - Back pain
Angel Vicioso (Liberty Seguros) - Pain from stage 5 crash
Christophe Rinero (RAGT Semences-MG Rover) - 50 CHF fine and 0'20 penalty
for extended drafting behind team car
RAGT Semences-MG Rover directeur sportif - 200 CHF fine for Rinero's offense
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) - 100 CHF fine for not signing in
Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) - 100 CHF fine for not signing in
Stage 8 weather report
Clouds are expected throughout Sunday's stage 8, with rain possible
in the afternoon. Fog is also possible near the coast, with northwest
winds expected. Temperatures will be between 15-17 degrees.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)