92nd Tour de France - GT
France, July 2-24, 2005
Results & report
Stage 5 - Wednesday, July 6: Chambord - Montargis, 183 km
Commentary by Hedwig Kröner, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney
and Anthony Tan
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 13:05 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST
Hello to everybody from France! We're
back with our Live coverage of the Tour of this beautiful country, with today's
stage starting in Chambord, a quiet little town but very proud of its magnificent
castle. We're still headed Eastwards, doing a slight swerve towards the North
to finish today's race in Montargis after a pretty flat 183 km.
intermediate sprints await us at the kilometre-marks 20, 80.5 and 135, and one
single hill on the parcours, the Cat. 4 Côte de Bellevue on km 109.5 might see
Thomas Voeckler and Erik Dekker fighting for the Mountain's jersey. But you've
probably guessed it already, the main question about today's stage is: who will
have the legs to jump and take his chances in a breakaway group, which might
even make it through to the finish if the sprinter's teams miscalculate their
chase - and if Discovery agrees to let somebody go... Second possibility, maybe
more likely: The likes of Boonen, McEwen, O'Grady and the other world class
sprinters don't want to miss out on the opportunity of having a go at the finish
line together again, their teams catching a possible breakaway on the last kilometres.
Unfortunately, there is no Tour de
France without uncomfortable weather surprises, and today looks like bad news:
It's quite fresh and windy this morning, between 18-20 degrees Celsius, with
the weather continuing to come up the Loire river valley again, just like the
last couple of days. There are a lot of low clouds and it looks like rain. The
riders will have a 15-20 km/h tailwind (from the WSW) for most of the day as
they head East. So if it pours down later this afternoon, let's just hope that
the riders will arrive safely.
Cyclingnews sources near the
Discovery Channel team bus at the start reported that Lance Armstrong will not
wear the yellow jersey today, to honour the fact that Dave Zabriskie lost the
jersey because of an accident yesterday.
That last happened in 1991,
when Greg Lemond refused to take the jersey at first because Rolf Sörensen crashed,
broke his collarbone and had to quit the race on the previous day.
Meanwhile, an X-ray examination on
Tuesday evening revealed no signs of broken bones in David Zabriskie's body,
so the unlucky CSC rider is on his way as well as the rest of the peloton.
"Obviously Dave is in a lot of pain after his crash, but he's a tough guy and
after the examination he was determined to continue in the race," said Team
CSC's press relations manager, Brian Nygaard.
France is in one frenzy at this very
moment because the IOC is about to reveal which city will host the Olympics
in 2012. Currently, it's a tough battle between London and Paris - we'll keep
The start of the fifth stage has
just been given, and the first to try their luck were Gerben Löwik (Rabobank),
Daniele Righi (Lampre) et Sandy Casar (FDJ) - but they have already been caught.
Chris Brewer, who gives us details
of inside the Discovery team bus, spoke with Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol before
the stage started. They confirmed that one of the early strategies for Discovery
Channel is to try and get George Hincapie into an early break and possibly the
"He's certainly earned that opportunity," Bruyneel
said. "Plus that means teams like Quick.Step for Boonen will have to come to
the front and work, and that's good for us as well."
13:36 CEST 13km/170km to go
Commesso is the next rider to attack, but he was brought back after 7 km, with
CSC being fairly vigilant in front.
Erik Dekker has also tried to escape,
but didn't make it either. Caught immediately. Geslin (Bouygues) and Bodrogi
(Crédit Agricole) are next.
13:44 CEST 19km/164km to go
But their attempt
is useless. The pace of the bunch is very high, as they head towards the first
intermediate sprint in Villeny. Carlos Da Cruz (FDJ) goes for it.
We have just been informed that Lance
Armstrong is wearing the Yellow jersey after all. He is reported to have put
it on at the "départ réel" on the outskirts of Chambord - maybe Jean-Marie Leblanc
insisted on him wearing it. We'll find out.
It's confirmed: at the official start
of the stage, the race commissaire stopped the whole peloton to give Armstrong
the opportunity to pull over the jersey.
And we have bad news for
the French at this moment: In 2012, the Olympics will be held in London, not
Paris. Congrats to the British!
Meanwhile, the first sprint has been
decided: Boonen was first and got 6 points as well as 6 bonus seconds, Hushovd
second for 4 points/seconds, and O'Grady third for 2.
13:57 CEST 28km/155km to go
Bad news for the
riders, too, as Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney just told us from the course
that a light drizzle has started about halfway, so the bunch is riding towards
Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa) has attacked. He's got 20 seconds.
It looks good for Flecha at the moment,
he extends his lead to 30 seconds. But somebody will have to jump with him.
Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan spoke
to Robbie Mc Ewen at the start today, who was in one serious mood: "The team
needs to control the breakaways today," McEwen said. Asked if he thought that
Boonen was on another level, he said, "No, he isn't. No, he isn't. I'll show
you that he isn't."
Tom Boonen will have to watch out
for McEwen if he wants another stage win. Obviously it takes a lot of energy
to contest the intermediate sprints and McEwen is saving his legs for the final
According to Tom Steels, McEwen will hit back. "The way I know
Robbie," Steels said, "if he gets a couple of moral punches, he strikes back
three times as hard. He's a fighter and I expect him go for it." The Green Jersey
is unlikely to end up on McEwen's shoulders, the DQ made that a a very unlikely
feat. But Tom Steels reckons his team mate will get at least a couple of stage
wins on the board before the end of the Tour.
Flecha is still on
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier) has
abandoned the race - the first rider this year to do so.
Dekker tries again, he's just attacked to join Flecha!
14:14 CEST 42km/141km to go
In vain: the bunch
won't let Dekker go. But Flecha's still out there.
Cyclingnews also caught up
with Davitamon's Fred Rodriguez this morning. The American sprinter is working
for McEwen in the bunch sprints, but as Anthony Tan asked him whether he had
any personal ambitions, he replied, "I still think I'm one of the fastest in
the World. If I have the opportunity I'll have a go too."
is not on another level - Robbie had a mechanical problem on stage 2 as he couldn't
shift onto the 11. I shouldn't have left him too early neither."
14:21 CEST 44km/139km to go
Flecha might not
last too long if nobody joins him in his bid. The gap has decreased to 20 seconds
Quick.Step, who finished 14th in
yesterday's time trial, will "control the peloton" today, Tom Boonen's lead-out
man Guido Trenti told us this morning. No surprises there. But apparently, the
team has been taking the TTT easy... "Yesterday wasn't too bad," Trenti continued,
"The team rode a moderate pace."
Finnish rider Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas)
now goes for it, as Flecha is not giving up on what he's started. 52 kilometres
have been raced in the first hour.
It's a region of France where hunting
has quite a tradition, as there's a lot of wild boar in the woods out here.
Although some of our readers like to read about local livestock, let's NOT hope
to see one running across the road before the riders. That could cause some
The attackers of the very first hour
have joined Carlström: Laszlo Bodrogi (Crédit Agricole) and Salvatore Commesso
(Lampre) are up there now, too.
Meanwhile, it has started to rain
heavily in the finish...
14:44 CEST 67km/116km to go
is setting the pace, as Flecha's lead is more than 2 minutes. Of these riders,
Laszlo Bodrogi is best-placed on GC at 1.45. Flecha is at 3.19, Carlström at
4.44, Commesso at 5.49 off the Yellow jersey.
Walter Bénéteau (Bouygues) is getting
assistance out of the team car - something wrong with his shoe. It's a straight
line through the woods at this stage, and Discovery has decided to take it easy:
They're more than 4 minutes back now, which means that Bodrogi is "maillot jaune
Tom Boonen told the Belgian newspaper
Het Laatste Nieuws yesterday that he expects the efforts of the first
days to have their impact on his sprinting capacities today. "If I could have
things my way, I'd only put an order in to get that Green Jersey on the last
day," he said.
The constant press attention and formalities are
cutting heavily into Tornado Tom's recuperation time. "If I keep the Green,
I'll have had approx. 30 hours less rest than my team mates," he explains. "I
didn't realize which weight this Green Jersey puts on the rider wearing it.
Erik Zabel must have been such a strong guy, being able to take it six years
in a row! Today for example I had to stay until all the presentations while
the whole team was already brought back to the hotel for massages. Every night
I'm not at the dinner table before 9.15 pm."
14:59 CEST 81km/102km to go
As Discovery is leading
the pack, all the GC contenders are up there too, sitting near to the Boss in
Flecha is at the second sprint of today in Aubigny-sur-Nere,
with 102 km yet to go, and his chasers have just passed that point too.
The peloton is driving through a
village cheered by local residents, as the clouds in front of them are hanging
low and looking pretty grey. It's not too warm neither, maybe just 20 degrees,
and still windy.
Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney also
had a chat with Floyd Landis this morning, who said that he was disappointed
with Phonak's performance in the time trial yesterday. "We lost a few guys even."
but today, he's looking ahead. "I'm still determined and focused, and looking
forward to the mountain stages" he said. His soigneur Freddy Viani, who left
US Postal together with Landis to join Phonak, was very optimistic for him,
telling us that "Landis is in his best form ever, the form of his life."
Flecha still has his nose in the
wind on his own, as the three men chasing him are moving closer slowly. They're
at less than a minute from him now. He must be feeling strong as he's not waiting...
15:12 CEST 91km/92km to go
now also engaged in setting the pace of the peloton. That should make it easier
on Discovery. If the sprinter's teams work towards a bunch sprint finish Discovery
will not waste a lot of energy in keeping the Yellow jersey.
15:16 CEST 93km/90km to go
Ah - the three are
about to catch Flecha now, who's looking over his shoulder. He's taking the
time to open an energy bar package now.
Quick.Step is up there with Davitamon
and Discovery, so it's working out as planned for the American team. Assistant
DS Dirk De Mol said before the start, "We'll see what happens today, we won't
defend the Yellow Jersey at all cost. We'll see who tries to get away in breaks
because those are sure to happen. It'd be a good thing if the sprinter's teams
give us a hand. Probably QuickStep will try to control the race and that's a
welcome help for us. Lance is in a comfortable position now. What we had calculated
has happened, so all's well for now."
The leaders have reached the
feed zone, grabbing the cotton bags from their soigneurs.
There's been a crash! The whole CSC
team is waiting for Basso, as Guerini (TMO) is also involved. All are OK though,
riding hard to get back to the bunch now.
And there's CSC again having to time
trial collectively to get back to the front... Basso has a little scratch on
the outside of his right knee, nothing bad though. Sörensen leads the team,
followed by Voigt. Guerini is on the back of that little train.
15:29 CEST 97km/86km to go
CSC has made it back
to the peloton now, all is well.
15:34 CEST 105km/78km to go
The field is picking
up on its pace again as they've left the feed zone behind. Sylvain Calzati (AG2R)
is having problems in the back, his injured knee is probably not helping neither.
He's holding on though, helped by a teammate and is now getting help from Le
Tour's doctor Gérard Porte. The gap to the leaders is currently 3.19 minutes.
The break has arrived in the Côte
de Bellevue, as Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) and Laszlo Bodrogi (Crédit Agricole)
have attacked the other two in their group. They've made a considerable gap
as they pass the GPM, and Flecha and Commesso are talking.
15:40 CEST 111km/72km to go
Flecha got dropped
a little but he's back with Commesso, Carlström and Bodrogi. They're back together
- nothing else would have made sense.
Behind, Davitamon and Quick.Step
are still doing their job, and hitting the climb now.
For the record: Bodrogi was the first
to pass the climb, followed by Carlström and Commesso. Dekker keeps the dotted
jersey of course, and looks happy with it!
15:47 CEST 117km/66km to go
Flecha is not looking
too good anymore, sitting in fourth position in the breakaway. He's having trouble
to follow when it comes to climbing a little. Must have spent a lot of energy
riding on his own earlier.
15:49 CEST 120km/63km to go
Knaven and Hulsmans
are leading the pack now, as the first rain drops start to fall... It's not
pouring yet though, but it's increasing.
15:53 CEST 123km/60km to go
The breakaway is
kept steadily at a little more than 3 minutes, but the overall pace is high:
49.2 km/h, mostly because of the back wind.
Calzati is unlucky: he caught a piece
of toilet paper (?) in his rear derailleur, and Dekker reached out to get it.
He didn't dare really though - understandable - but the problem has just resolved
itself as the paper was blown away in the wind.
It looks like the
rain has ceased. The sun is out now on the leaders, but there are still a lot
of clouds hanging over them - the risk of further showers is still there.
16:02 CEST 130km/53km to go
José Angel Gómez
(Saunier) has collided with a motorbike and crashed. He didn't hurt himself
too much though and is back in the main field, where Manuel Beltran is just
handing out bidons to his teammates from out of his jersey. The break's lead
has diminished to 2.03 minutes.
Chris Horner appeared quite happy
today at the start. The Saunier Duval rider told Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney,
"I'm still having fun, enjoying the crowds. I'm looking forward to the mountains,
where the action will get going!"
Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank),
meanwhile, told us that he "suffered like a dog" in these first stages of the
Tour. "I pulled out of the Giro and it took some time to get better," he said.
When we asked him which stages he was looking out for, he replied, "there are
at least ten stages I'd like to win!" Rasmussen needs a little hillier parcours
16:11 CEST 137km/46km to go
The leaders have
passed the last intermediate sprint in Gien (km 135): Commesso won, with Bodrogi
second and Carlström third.
"The final 4000 m are flat coming
into town," our special team Discovery insider Chris Brewer has reported, "and
crowds are already lining the streets. With 3000 m to go there are a few cobblestone
intersections that will give them a bumpy welcome. With barriers all the way
home the 2-lane avenue starts off wide enough but soon starts to pare down to
become quite narrow. From 2000 m the roads are slightly downhill as they approach
the finish line. Light rains have also slickened the asphalt up a bit.
"The critical portion of the finish comes after 800 m and a 50 m cobblestone
section with a short rise within it. With about 500 m to go the course takes
a very sharp right-hand turn that will probably not support any more than 4
riders across, and it's going to be very slick and very dangerous - a crash
here will hold up everyone behind it (but it's within 1000 m so they'd still
get the same time). The road then widens up a little bit afterward with a false
flat for 300 m, then with 200 m to go it's definitely an uphill finish but not
a hard climb. If it's a field sprint, positioning before and after the final
right hand turn will almost certainly determine the winner today."
16:23 CEST 143km/40km to go
And it's still Davitamon,
Quick.Step and occasionally FDJ leading the chase of the four breakaways, letting
them suffer in about 1.30 minutes' distance. Johan Vansummeren is doing an excellent
job as usual, and a bunch sprint is VERY likely at this point.
getting a little wet out there again, but nothing serious. Nevertheless, the
roads in the finish should be still slippery from a previous shower, and we
sure hope the bunch will be careful especially with that last right hand-curve
with 500 metres to go.
Christophe Brandt is currently in
front, then Knaven (Quick.Step). In the back, Calzati (AG2R) is getting bottles
out of the team car. Good to see him not giving up. His team has also started
helping out in front for Jean-Patrick Nazon. Discovery doesn't have to work
16:31 CEST 151km/32km to go
A few rain drops
are coming down again, as the field is moving closer on the four men, approaching
the finish on very straight roads. The gap is still above one minute, but "that
will not last" - the moving swarm of riders behind then seems to say.
16:37 CEST 157km/26km to go
Saunier Duval's Gomez
is getting mechanical help out of his team car, his rear derailleur not working
right. He's integrated the peloton now.
In front, the break continues
to work together but without much hope. They know. They're taking pretty short
terms as this effort is hurting.
With 25 km to go, AG2R is lending
a considerable hand in the chase. The gap is down to 50 seconds, and it's dry
again. But with these intermittent rain showers, we don't know if we can trust
Simon Gerrans has just made way in
front for Hulsmans. Jan Ullrich is seen in the front too, while Discovery and
CSC are sitting in the first part of the peloton. Lance Armstrong and unlucky,
injured David Zabriskie should be well protected from the wind.
16:49 CEST 165km/18km to go
40 seconds yet for
the break at the 20 km-mark. The bunch is patient, knowing they will get the
leaders in time. Liberty Seguros' Jörg Jaksche and another teammate are also
up there for Allan Davis. They're all riding strong through the fields and forests,
an a gently winding road.
16:52 CEST 168km/15km to go
With 15 km to go,
it's getting nervous. The leading riders are looking at each other, as the bunch
is moving up on them now. Is it time to attack again? Does anyone have the legs
to try it?
16:54 CEST 170km/13km to go
But the sprinter's
teams will not be defeated today, that's for sure. Commesso shakes his head,
Carlström breathes heavily. They'll be caught.
16:57 CEST 173km/10km to go
And the time is now...
The peloton catches the escaped riders, who have given up on pedaling. Let's
hope they can follow the pace of that bunch and won't fall off through the rear
16:59 CEST 175km/8km to go
Quick.Step are hammering. Ullrich is still in front, wanting to stay away from
possible crashes. Armstrong is up there too, as the sprinters look out for the
right wheels to take.
17:00 CEST 177km/6km to go
Matthew White is up
there, Boonen still hidden within the first 20 riders. McEwen is in 10th position
or so as different trains form.
17:02 CEST 178km/5km to go
Another big roundabout
to pass, and the bunch nears the outskirts of Montargis. The road is dry. Davitamon
and Quick.Step still collaborate in front. Vinokourov is also in the first part
of the bunch.
17:04 CEST 179km/4km to go
Boonen is moving up
with a teammate. The sprinters are on their lead-out's wheels - and there was
a crash! In a right hand turn... Nothing bad happened, but some of the riders
might have been put back.
17:05 CEST 181km/2km to go
FDJ in front now,
Cofidis, AG2R and Phonak. Cooke is there...
17:06 CEST 182km/1km to go
The last curve is
passed. FDJ train is leading out.
Boonen is in 7th position, Cooke
is setting the pace, now Zanini goes, Boonen in fifth place...
And McEwen comes too, and gets the
stage just in front of Boonen! Now he's got his stage win! Hushovd third.
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 3.46.00
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis
5 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Domina Vacanze
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros
7 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise des Jeux
8 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise des Jeux
9 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC
10 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
General classification after stage 5
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 13.45.12
2 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 0.55
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 1.04
4 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 1.07
5 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel 1.14
6 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 1.16
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 1.21
8 Benjamin Noval (Spa) Discovery Channel 1.26
9 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC
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