Tour de France News Extra for July 14, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Landaluze hesitates too long
Iņigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) could mark down Stage
9 as a missed opportunity for his first pro victory. The Basque rider
was away with Filippo Simeoni (Domina Vacanze) for much of the stage,
only to be caught in the last 50 metres by the flying peloton. Afterwards,
he regretted the fact that he waited too long to sprint, and didn't realise
that the peloton was so close.
"I did not look behind, only with a kilometre to go," Landaluze told
Todociclismo. "I thought that we had enough of a lead. In the last
400 metres I put myself on Simeoni's wheel and with 150 to go I jumped,
but at no time did I think that the peloton was so close. If not, I would
have tried from further out because I had the strength."
Landaluze described the stage as "quite difficult at the start. We were
interested in being attentive and if a large group formed, to be in it.
Shortly after the start I got in a group of 7 or 8 that I thought was
going to succeed. Then the race leader got in it and immediately we were
caught. Then Etxebarria tried. There was a moment that the pace began
to flag in the peloton and I took advantage of my opportunity. I felt
good, I tried, then Simeoni caught me. We worked together well."
Quick.Step and Lotto-Domo at odds
After Quick.Step-Davitamon and Credit Agricole took on the bulk of the
responsibility to chase down Simeoni and Landaluze yesterday, Lotto-Domo
came away with the prize when Robbie McEwen took the stage win in Gueret.
Lotto-Domo joined in the chase late in the piece, and with fewer men than
Quick.Step. Afterwards, Quick.Step's director Serge Parsani expressed
his frustration at his rival DS.
"Claude Criquielion gave me the middle finger when I asked him to put
a few men in front to chase the breakaways," Parsani told Sportwereld.be.
His thoughts were echoed by Quick.Step's team manager Patrick Lefevere,
who said, "Work doesn't pay. McEwen got a nice present really. Don't work
and still win, that's what you should do."
Claude Criquielion responded in disbelief. "Surely you don't mean that?
Indeed I put my middle finger up for fun. That was meant as a joke. Half
a minute before Parsani came alongside, Vansevenant and Marichal were
working in front and later Moerenhout also came up. Parsani is really
a con, a simpleton. What a bad loser. I'll immediately ring Patrick Lefevere.
This doesn't bother me."
Mayo hopes for La Mongie
Photo ©: Caroline Yang
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is hoping to give the Basque fans something
to cheer about on Friday in the 12th stage that finishes in La Mongie.
Mayo, who lost around five and a half minutes to his GC rivals in stages
3 and 4 said, "If I could choose, I would choose to win at La Mongie.
For me, for the team and for the thousands of Basque fans that accompany
us so closely and who are right now preparing themselves for another invasion,
it would be incredible. But it will be tough, because many people want
to win this stage."
A sad day for Hamilton
Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) didn't have the best of rest days on Monday,
after learning that his dog Tugboat has cancer. "My best friend, my dog,
I've had him for nine years - he has cancer really bad," Hamilton said
after Stage 9. "I just found out late last night. We're going to have
to put him to sleep tomorrow. For me it's a very sad day...he's like a
child. I am going to see him tonight and I'll say good bye and that's
it. That's life. I've had many great years with him. I met my wife after
seven years, but I had two years with my dog and then I met my wife. She
was growing to be super close with him as well. Just my dog and my wife
and I, it's kind of a regular family here.
"It's hard. It's very sad and I'm not afraid to say that I cried a lot
last night. Maybe people don't understand but for me and my dog...I'm
so close to my dog. Him and my wife are everything to me. Tomorrow I'm
going to lose one of my family members and it's sad...We've treated him
like a king, that's for sure. He's travelled all over the world and has
had a great life."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)