Tour de France Cycling News for July 4, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
An interview with Tom Boonen
The Big Boonen cometh
By Anthony Tan in Les Essarts and Gabriella Ekström
After a superb Classics campaign and a solid buildup to the Tour de France,
Tom Boonen has continued where he left off during the big one-day races
and taken a commanding win in Stage
2 of the Tour. It's the continuation of an amazing year, where some
things have changed but others have stayed the same - and that's the way
he likes it.
There's a feeling
Photo ©: Sirotti
When one saw Tom Boonen at the Tour de Suisse two weeks ago, he was a
very different man. On the
first stage, he was second to Française des Jeux's Bernhard Eisel,
and then three
days later, in the first real bunch sprint of the race, with an uphill
finish like the one today, he finished fourth.
"Actually, I felt better at the Tour de Suisse than today," he said to
Cyclingnews with a smile. "I just wasn't motivated. We rode for
Michael [Rogers] all week, so for me, it was training."
That fourth stage was won by defending Tour de France green jersey champion
Robbie McEwen, the Australian winning the stage with apparent ease as
he steadily began working his way back to top form after a very successful
Giro d'Italia, which saw him bag three stage wins in the space of a fortnight.
But back to Boonen. People began asking the question: can a man who has
already won two of cycling's greatest monuments in one year re-motivate
himself for what is according to most Belgians a lesser achievement -
that being a stage win at the Tour de France?
It would appear the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
for the full interview
More post-stage 2 quotes
By John Trevorrow in Les Essarts
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step, 1st)
"It is very important to win the first day for the trust of the team
and for the green jersey."
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto, 2nd)
"I just went too early. I hit the front 250 out and it was just too
far. I tried to go as soon as we straightened up and I had a little problem
with the gear sticking in the 11. It was a bit of a tactical mistake,
but I virtually gave the other guys a lead out. I'll have to do better
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto, 101st)
"I was fine in the bunch, I am a bit worried that there will be a time
gap because the bunch split in the last kilometre. It was caused by a
crash but it depends on how they interpret the rule I think. I was pretty
happy with the stage, I managed to stay out of trouble, I was only in
two crashes, nothing serious, so it wasn't a bad day." (laughing)
Simon Gerrans (Ag2r, 122nd, sporting new scar on left knee)
"I got caught up in a fall about 40 km to go. Actually I nearly avoided
it and almost stopped just before the crash and then another guy ran into
me from behind. I was pretty nervous out there today and the bunch was
very skittish, but I feel pretty good and am looking forward to tomorrow."
Bleu bands "Race against cancer"
Tom Boonen's wrist has been sporting yellow and red wristbands and a
yellow sweatband in the past. At the medical check and in the first stages
of the Tour, Tom was wearing a blue wristband. "I got this from Nick Nuyens,"
Tom told the VUM papers.
By wearing it, Boonen is supporting the charity organisation "No Limits".
Former pro and current Team CSC director sportif Scott Sunderland is the
front man of their Race against Cancer campaign. Virtually the complete
Belgian peloton was wearing a bleu wristband at the Belgian National Championships,
and now plenty of them are to be spotted in the Tour peloton.
"The co-operation from the riders in the peloton has been absolutely
awesome," said Sunderland. "Especially Serge Baguet and Kevin Van Impe
have been very active bringing the bands into the peloton; unfortunately
neither of them is in the Tour. But it's great to see that the other riders
aren't oblivious to this initiative either and the bands are hot items
"The Belgian Charity No Limits is an organisation which has as its main
activity the fulfillment of the special wishes of terminally ill children.
For example they arranged for one ill boy to meet the Pope. Being a father
of two myself, I immediately agreed to help them out when they came to
ask for me to be "godfather" of this initiative. In August, a group of
people will ride from Faro (Portugal) via Santiago de Compostella and
Lourdes back to Belgium to raise money and make people aware of what they
can do for the kids. It's a daunting ride of 4000km. One of the participants
has just finished her last chemotherapy in January. It is a small gesture
to support these people."
Race against Cancer website: www.racetegenkanker.be/missie.htm
VZW No Limits website: www.kinderkanker.be
Steels on that winning feeling
Tom Steels (Davitamon-Lotto) was interviewed by Karl Vannieuwkerke on
VRT's Tour show after Stage 2, and talked about Tom Boonen's victory in
Les Essarts. "Tom would feel really happy now," said Steels. "To win that
first mass sprint in the Tour is something special. I know the feeling
of winning a stage in the Tour de France and it's something exceptional.
The tension is building throughout the whole stage. Even with still 20km
to go the pushing and shoving starts. There are no friendly gestures,
everyone wants to sit in the best possible position."
"Boonen won this sprint already way before he crossed the line. There
was no beating him today. He had all the time in the world to raise his
hands in victory.
"I think that this sort of sprinting is the hardest discipline in racing,
technically. The emotions are so close together too; happiness and disappointment.
In our team the level of frustration will be considerable, although the
guys should be satisfied as they did their job as was expected. They should
sleep easily. For McEwen it might be different; maybe Robbie started his
sprint a bit too early, but he is no rookie, he knows what to do and how
to deal with it. This is a three week battle, and tomorrow the fight goes
QuickStep's PR officer Johan Museeuw commented that, "Tom Boonen is
Mario Cipollini and Johan Museeuw in one rider."
Francaise des Jeux sprinter Bernhard Eisel was upset with his team management
after the stage yesterday. "I had envisioned it otherwise," said Eisel.
"On Friday my team director assured me again, that the team would ride
for me today. But before the start Madiot suddenly changed his mind and
switched over to Baden Cooke. I'll see what happens tomorrow. It's not
a question of who is captain, our team manager is destroying the entire
team structure. The finale today was so turbulent, no one could keep track
of what was happening. Will they ride now for Cooke or for me? I can only
hope that the situation will change in the next few days. Madiot must
decide for one of us and inform everybody of his decision. As it is, we
are all hanging in the air."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Liberty Seguros rider comments
Davis wants a bit of luck
Liberty Seguros-Würth sprinter Allan Davis finished Stage 2 in 10th
position but described himself as satisfied with his feelings. "The sprint
was very dangerous and I started a bit behind. Everyone went their own
way and I wasn't in a good position, but the best thing is that I had
very good sensations during the stage. From what I have seen today, I
think that I have a chance of winning a stage, the only thing I need now
Davis added that he thought Tom Boonen was very strong. "He did a very
good sprint and took advantage of McEwen's work, he used him as a lead
out, because then he got around him very easily."
Vicioso bides his time
Ángel Vicioso, another fast man together with Davis, did not try to
get into the Stage 2 sprint. He is not a pure sprinter and is looking
for an opportunity in a small group. Until that comes, he is concentrating
on the team time trial. "Now, the most important thing for us is to get
to Tuesday without accidents or falls," he said. "In these first stages,
there is a lot of danger, and for time trial it is fundamental that we
are all there, because losing a man is a big handicap".
Liberty will be up against the very strong teams of Discovery, CSC and
Phonak, but a good ride in the team time trial would leave Roberto Heras
in a good position before the mountains, and the team hopes to lose the
minimum amount of time.
Another Liberty rider who was happy at the end of the stage was Luis
León Sanchez, who after his debut in time trial, survived his first road
stage in the Tour de France. "For me it was a very fast stage, with a
lot of tension and nerves, but I have tried to do it as best I could.
Everyone has told me about the danger of the Tour, but what impressed
me the most was the number of people who are watching the race. It is
amazing, I think I didn't see one area without the public on the sides
of the road, it is spectacular.
"I have had very good sensations and this is the most important thing,
because my dream was to be here with the team and to try stay with them
Le Tour tidbits
By Anthony Tan in Les Essarts
The pre-race medical check-up that each of the 189 riders went through
before the 2005 Tour de France got under way on Saturday revealed some
interesting factual tidbits about this year's peloton...
- At 35 beats per minute (BPM), Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) and Laurent
Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) both have the lowest resting heart rates.
- And at 7.66 litres, two riders also have the largest lung capacity:
Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) and Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r-Prevoyance).
- The heaviest rider? No prizes for guessing here: it's big Maggie Bäckstedt
from Liquigas-Bianchi - all 95 kilos of him!
- The lightest? This one's a little trickier: it's Horner's team-mate,
Leonardo Piepoli, weighing in at a featherweight 57 kilograms.
- The tallest? The long and lanky Johan Van Summeren, who falls just
two centimetres shy of the two-metre mark.
- The shortest? I am Sam, Ag2r-Prevoyance's Samuel Dumoulin.
- The average rider: 1.79 metres tall, weighing 71 kilograms, with a
resting heart rate of 50 BPM and a lung capacity of 5.69 litres. The
average rider, but by no means average figures!
Fantasy Le Tour - first prizes awarded
The Trek Madone 5.9
©: Zapata Espinoza
Fassa Bortolo Giro helmet
Two pairs of Specialized
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Have look at the prizes
There are over 49 prizes in this year's game. Be a professional team
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Stage by stage prizes - Specialized
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Read some of our previous Le Tour game winners recommendations for your
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You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 8 stages
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The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)