Tour de France Cycling News for July 5, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones, assisted by Sabine Sunderland
Stage 3 wrap up
Another big win for Boonen
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Green-clad Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) has claimed his second successive
Tour stage win on the famous Avenue de Grammont in Tours, winning a peloton
sprint ahead of Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis).
Boonen looked to be a little far back with 500m to go, but then got on
Robbie McEwen's wheel as he was being led out by Fred Rodriguez. Boonen
slightly anticipated McEwen's jump and powered away from the rest to finish
clearly in front. Wrolich came in on Boonen's left for second place, while
McEwen and O'Grady clashed head and shoulders for third, with McEwen getting
it initially before the jury relegated him to 186th for hindering O'Grady.
The day was dominated by a three man break containing Erik Dekker (Rabobank),
Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval), and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r), which went
clear after 24 km and built up a maximum lead of 5'40 after 100 km, before
it was brought back through the work of CSC, Bouygues Telecom, Quick.Step,
and Davitamon-Lotto. Dekker won enough points for the mountains jersey,
and he and Portal stayed away until 3 km to go when the peloton swept
Boonen's victory gave him a 20 point lead over O'Grady in the points
classification, while McEwen lost a bucketful after his relegation. In
the overall classification for the yellow, David Zabriskie (CSC) kept
his 2 second lead over Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel), and his CSC
team will have the luxury of starting last in tomorrow's team time trial
from Tours to Blois.
Stage 3 full results,
report & photos
Complete stage maps &
An interview with Floyd Landis
Just another race
Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney took a few moments to visit with
Phonak's Floyd Landis before the start of Stage
2 of the 2005 Tour de France, where his best friend and roommate Dave
Zabriskie was 100 meters away surrounded by the chaos of the media scrum
that comes with being the maillot jaune. It was Landis who convinced
his Girona, Spain flatmate DaveZ that he could win the Tour's first
stage and Landis was happy to share his friend's incredible accomplishment
as we spoke to him.
Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: AFP
CN: How was the build up to the Tour de France on your new team
FL: It was a little up and down at first, but the
last few months have been good. The atmosphere is good; everybody is friendly
and there's no animosity anywhere. That goes a long way to have a stress
free training and racing environment.
CN: I understand that you had a little cold just before the Tour?
FL: Yes, but it didn't effect me. I just had to take
a couple of extra naps and I feel good now.
CN: You like taking those naps...
FL: (Laughs) Yeah! My cold was just an excuse to
take some more naps.
here for the full interview
Stage 3 comments
Boonen relaxed, Nuyens confident, McEwen angry, O'Grady unsurprised,
Hulsmans happy, Zabriskie mellow, Wrolich super, Roberts awesome, Davis
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Sirotti
You'd think Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) would be
excited at winning two stages in a row of the Tour de France, but when
Belgian TV's VRT show caught up with him after stage three, the
boy wonder was taking it all in his stride. "I prepared myself well for
this Tour," he said. "I did everything I should have done; there was only
a slight panic with that toothache. "This tour is not comparable to the
Classics. This has a bigger impact because it's a tour, not one day. It's
constant attention from the press, so it's very different.
"It's a day like any other day. I'm going to have dinner now, play some
Playstation and go to sleep. Tomorrow it's à bloc from the gun."
In an echo of another famous Belgian Eddy Merck's maxim ('Ride your bike,
ride your bike, ride your bike'), Boonen puts his success down to preparation.
"I'm very happy that all my hard preparation has paid off," he said. "The
whole year has been like that. I can't quite grasp it myself. I must have
a fantastic guardian angel; everything I work hard for is granted to me.
"I again rode my own sprint. When I saw Fred Rodriguez came I went too."
Guesting on the VRT show, Nick Nuyens
was confident in his team-mate's chances. "When Tom started to sprint,
he secured the win right away," he told VRT. "The fight for the green
jersey looks good for Tom; but the battle isn't over yet. There's a lot
that can happen in the coming weeks; but it definitely looks good."
Nuyens thought that the judges made the right call in disqualifying Robbie
McEwen for bouncing off Stuart O'Grady in the finale. "O'Grady and McEwen
must like each other a lot," he said. "I think it's completely justified
for McEwen to be DQ'd, if you see the dangerous stunts he pulls!"
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), on the other
hand, has been protesting his innocence. "I feel shitty; and justified,"
he told VRT in response to Nuyens comments. "I looked at the images
again. You have to look at the images taken from the front, then you can
see that I didn't do anything wrong. I only reacted to what O'Grady did;
I've really been flicked big time. I didn't bump him that hard; I only
tried to get my arm from underneath his. I've fallen far behind now for
the Green; I don't even think about winning it anymore. My advice to Nick:
you should have a good look at the images!"
Previously, McEwen had criticized the race judges for disqualifying him.
"The race judges have made a mistake," said McEwen after watching footage
of the altercation with O'Grady. "If you look at the video replay you
can see that it was O'Grady who started things by leaning on me. He put
his elbow out and I had to lean on him to stop myself from falling."
McEwen has been accused of head-butting O'Grady, but denies the charge.
"I didn't butt him. If you look at the video very closely you can see
that my arm was trapped under O'Grady's elbow. That twisted my body and
pulled my head towards him."
It's not the first time McEwen and O'Grady have crossed swords. "It was
a bit too much really, too aggressive," said Stuart
O'Grady (Cofidis). "I was heading towards the line and then I suddenly
saw Robbie McEwen's head on my shoulder."
"All I could concentrate on was making sure I stayed on my bike," O'Grady
said. "I need a beer to calm my nerves. That's not how I saw today concluding…
although I must admit that I'm not surprised by Boonen. He's pure class.
As for Robbie, I can understand that he was desperate but he shouldn't
make it dangerous."
Kevin Hulsmans (Quick.Step) had a better day
of it in stage 3, working for team leader Tom Boonen. "I wasn't happy
about the work I was able to do for Tom yesterday," he said. "Today I
did do my job properly. Tom told me today he wasn't good; so I said, 'ah
well congratulations then' - because he wasn't good yesterday either and
he won anyway. We were just joking around and stuff. Tom is not just our
team mate, he's a friend. He is so casual and he's is concerned about
how everybody else is feeling, he simply is a great guy."
Mellow in yellow
Dave Zabriskie (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Race leader Dave Zabriskie (CSC) is still a
bit surprised to be wearing the yellow jersey. "It's not that I am getting
used to it, but once the race starts, I am finding my rhythm," he said
Zabriskie, after finishing safely in the bunch in stage three. "It was
nice to keep the jersey another day."
Being an American in yellow in the fourth of July was also poignant for
Zabriskie, though the fireworks were a long way away yesterday. "It's
nice to have the yellow jersey on the Fourth of July," he said. "Maybe
they can save some fireworks for me when I get back to the States. Maybe
I can have a barbecue and drink that drink that everyone likes to drink."
Zabriskie's team-mate Jens Voigt would like
to see him and the team hang on to the jersey. "If I was captain, I'd
never let it go," he said. "But we'll see what Bjarne has in mind. It
depends on what happens tomorrow - maybe we don't have to think about
this anymore if we lose the jersey, but if we still have it tomorrow evening,
I could imagine that because we've already had a stage win, the Yellow
for three days... And we do have a higher goal where we want to put somebody
up on the podium in Paris, so we might have to say 'OK, we can't have
everything so we need to make little sacrifices.'"
Stage three's second placed rider Peter "Paco" Wrolich
(Gerolsteiner) is usually the lead-out man for the team's sprinter
Robert "Frösi" Förster, but found himself, "super positioned, it couldn't
have been better," in the finish. "The Australians are riding a very hot
tyre [really going for it - Ed], we saw that in the finish. Frösi lacked
that final touch today, but if he stays on my wheel he can beat Boonen."
"I turned around all the time, and looked under my shoulder to see the
bike behind me and thought 'that's not a Specialized fork' so I just continued
and had to take Boonen's wheel who was right in front of me. That of course
was the right wheel and the two Aussies beside me hindered each other
- which was in my favour - that's how I got second."
CSC's young Australian rider Luke Roberts is
having trouble believing it's all really happening. "It is just unbelievable
- first year pro in a major team, getting a ride in the Tour de France,
riding on the front defending the maillot jaune. I just have to
keep pinching myself," said Roberts before stage 3.
"The crowds have been awesome and plenty of Aussies screaming out for
me - it just doesn't get much better than this.
"Today I am to rest as much as possible seeing as I spent 140 km on front
yesterday. I will only be called on to drive on the front if required
as they want me as fresh as possible for the team TT tomorrow."
Liberty Seguros sprinter Alan Davis was fifth
in stage three, but is still getting to grips with the mayhem of the Tour's
sprint finishes. "I got myself a bit too far back and it was a tough battle
to get near the front," he said of the finale of stage 2. "I was happy
with how I felt and I just need to be a bit closer to the action in the
closing kms. I know the finish [of stage 3] well from Paris Tours and
it is a bit deceiving. A lot of guys will go early and it's just a matter
of timing it right."
There's life left in Cedric yet
By Anthony Tan in Tours
Popular French rider Cedric Vasseur may be celebrating his 35th birthday
a few weeks after the conclusion of this year's Tour de France, but hopes
he's also toasting a stage win at La Grand Boucle sometime before then.
When Cyclingnews caught up with the Cofidis pro at yesterday's
Stage 2 start in Challans, he said he'd had no intention of riding 'à
bloc' (all out) in the opening time trial. As a professional of 12 years,
he knows what his limitations are, and on Saturday, that result was limited
to 176th place.
"Ah, I can not go à bloc in the prologue," laughed Vasseur, "it's not
my specialty, I have nothing to win. I just did the time trial like normal
and I will do the same in the second time trial in St. Etienne [Stage
20]. My aim here is to win a stage; I cannot win a time trial, so it's
stupid for me to waste energy."
Nor was he prepared to waste energy the following day on the road to
Les Essarts: "It will really hard for an escape to go," he said before
the stage. "I mean, there's something like a five percent chance of succeeding...
not a lot."
Apart from a third place at the Tour du Haut Var and sixth at the Etoile
de Besseges in February, Vasseur's had a pretty quiet year up till now.
2003 was his best year, where he won six races including overall victories
in Paris-Correze and Hessen Rundfahrt and a stage of the Dauphiné Libéré,
but in 2004, things got much leaner, even though he still managed a stage
victory at the Tour du Limousin and the Tour de l'Ain. To make matters
worse, he was suspended from racing for almost a month due to a doping
investigation led by a French judge in early April, but was later cleared
of any doping offences - although the same couldn't be said for a few
of his previous team-mates.
While Vasseur has essentially centered his season around the Tour in
years past, this year he also decided to ride the Giro d'Italia for the
first time. "I just wanted to have a look, and for me, it's the first
time I'm doing the Tour with another big tour behind, so I'm discovering
how my body will react to that," he said.
So when will Cedric take his chances?
"For me, the Tour starts on Thursday [Stage 6 from Troyes to Nancy -
ed.]. By then, we will have had five days behind us and normally, there
is some opportunity for a stage [win]. Until Thursday, I'll work for the
team - for Stuart [O'Grady], to keep [David] Moncoutié in good
position - and after that, I'll have an opportunity [for myself] on Thursday,
"I should be okay in the middle[-sized] mountain stages; the one from
Gérardmer to Mulhouse [Stage 9] should be a good one for me. I think as
soon as the road starts to climb a little - not the big mountains, because
I'm not a climber - I will have 100 percent of my form. And after the
[first] mountains in the Alps, the stages in the Massif Central will be
important. So until then, nothing - just wait."
Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Stage 3 didn't go quite according to plan for Lance Armstrong. He started
the day without signing in and ended up with a 100 Swiss Franc fine when
the Jury of Commissaires caught up with him.
The six-time Tour champ, who is one step closer to knocking on seven's
door, seemed relieved to get the stage over with today. "I was glad nobody
fell in front of me in the finale...then there was just 3k straight in
to the finish."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)