Tour de France News Extra for July 12, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Mayo looks forward to rest
A slightly battered Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) said after the end
of Stage 8 that today's rest day in Limoges could not have come at a better
time. Mayo was involved in crashes in Stage 3 and Stage 6, hurting his
elbow in the latter and passing a painful last couple of days. "I'm still
suffering with my elbow," he told Europa Press. "I am impatiently looking
forward to the rest day. I hope that after Limoges things will be OK."
Part of the three man breakaway that stayed clear for 139 km of Stage
8, Fassa Bortolo's Matteo Tosatto was happy with the way things went.
"I didn't like the rain much and yet in the wet I always do well," he
was quoted by Datasport as saying. "Now that we don't have Petacchi
any more we have been trying to get in the breaks and we've always been
active. [On Saturday] it went well with Pozzato, today I tried. I am satisfied,
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon), winner of Stage 6 into Angers, is
glad to get to the rest day today. "Mentally I'm tired," he told Sportwereld.
"From Sunday morning I've felt that it really is becoming too much. I
didn't start in Lamballe with the aim to beat everybody again. You can't
underestimate such a daily stress overdose. But I'm not the only one wanting
a day off. Everyone sits like a corpse on the bike. As if we're all riding
like we were buried. The rest day in Limoges is coming just in time. Rest,
an hour's riding, rest and still more rest. With no journalists around
Fabio Baldato (Alessio-Bianchi) was one of a few riders who came down
towards the end of the eighth stage when a dog ran into the peloton. "I
was hurt from the crash which compromised my race," Baldato said to Datasport.
"A dog came into the middle of the peloton and various riders crashed,
fortunately I stayed in the pedals but I was held back."
French rider Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) was another involved in the crash,
and he finished nearly 11 minutes down.
RAGT-Semences' Guillaume Auger tried several times to get in the breakaway
during stage 8, but was not able to make it up to Tosatto, Piil and Scholz.
"It's not that I don't want to," he said. "I certainly do want to stand
out form the crowd, except that I haven't been able to yet. When the peloton
flies along at more than fifty kilometres per hour, it's a little discouraging.
There are two more weeks to go yet. Even if we have to rethink the mountain
stretches, we have to be positive."
His teammate Ludovic Martin added, "The leg to Saint Brieuc was the
fastest of the Tour. Everyone reckons that we're riding faster than ever
before. You have to do what you can to keep up. That's the least you can
do. Except you can lose a lot when you play that game. What's reassuring
though is that we're all in this together."
The team is hoping to do something in the coming days before the mountains.
Directeur sportif Jean Luc Jonrond said, "Overall with guys like Bouvard,
Bourquenoud, Rinero, Martin, we not short of good riders. We've got a
few days left to shine and then that's it! When we get to the Pyrenees,
the super-riders will get into gear and we'll not get a look in. Confidence
and lucidity is our motto for this Tour."
Brandt proclaims innocence
Lotto-Domo rider Christophe Brandt, who tested positive for methadone
after the Tour's second stage, continues to proclaim his innocence. I
want everyone to see that I am not guilty," he told Sportwereld.be.
"Methadone, everyone knows that it's a narcotic. I can only say that I
have not taken this product, certainly not consciously. It's a matter
of waiting until the counter-test. And if that is also positive, then
we must examine how the product came to be in my body."
Brandt said that in the last three weeks before the Tour he took nothing.
"I wasn't sick, I didn't take any medicine, no cough mixture. Nothing.
If the second result is positive again, there is another path to examine.
If I lay all the possibilities down, I can't even rule out manipulation
from within the team. The longer I think about it, the more I lean towards
If the counter-test is positive, then Brandt will likely be fired from
the team. "But it's not the end, I'll keep fighting," he said.
Piil most aggressive rider
Danish rider Jakob Piil (Team CSC) has spent more than a third of the
Tour in front of the peloton in a breakaway, and is thus the most aggressive
rider so far, even though the cumulative classification is not awarded
until Paris. Of the 1449 kilometres covered so far, Piil has been ahead
for 551 of them, recording a second place in Chartres behind Stuart O'Grady.
But there has been no stage win yet.
Piil said that his main goal in getting into the breaks is to win, and
not to take the most aggressive rider classification. The winner of the
long, flat stage into Marseilles last year, Piil has vowed to continue
his breakaway campaign.
Ag2r tops prize list
After the first nine days of racing, French team Ag2r-Prevoyance has
come away with the most prize money. With the stage wins of Jaan Kirsipuu
and Jean-Patrick Nazon, Vincent Lavenu's team has had an excellent start
to the Tour and has accumulated €36,774. In second place is Cofidis
on €28,925, which recorded a stage win and a few green jersey days
with Stuart O'Grady. Fassa Bortolo, whose riders won the prologue and
Stage 7, is in third place with €28,096. The next four teams are
Lotto-Domo (€24,308), CSC (€24,182) and Crédit Agricole (€23,735).
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)
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