Tour de France Cycling News for July 5, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Dekker almost does it
By Anthony Tan in Tours
Erik Dekker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
Some may have thought Erik Dekker's motivation for going in the
early break on Stage 3 of the Tour was to take the mountains jersey,
but one of cycling's most cunning riders only had one thing on his mind
when he left the peloton 24 kilometres into the stage. "It's the only
reason I'm here - to win a stage," he said at the finish when asked about
Together with Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval) and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r),
the trio's lead never got into dangerous figures to threaten the maillot
jaune of David Zabriskie (Team CSC), reaching a maximum of 5'40 after
100 km, but when you have a man like Dekker in the break, you just never
The 34 year-old, who started his career back in 1992 with Buckler, then
Novell, then WordPerfect and then Rabobank - where he's stayed the last
ten years - has won just about everything a pure Classics specialist dreams
of winning; San Sebastian, Amstel Gold, Paris-Tours, the World Cup, national
championships in the time trial and the road, and four stages of the Tour
de France to name just a few. Maybe the only must-have missing from his
palmarès is the Ronde van Vlaanderen, although he came ever so close in
2001, where he was beaten by Gianluca Bortolami in an eight-man sprint.
Dekker's also shown his versatility as a week-long stage racer. Three
victories in the Ronde Van Nederland (1997, 2000, 2004), wins at the 2001
Ruta del Sol and GP Erik Breukink, and perhaps his finest stage-race accomplishment
coming in 2002, where he captured overall honours in Tirreno-Adriatico.
After 13 years in the peloton, this man has ridden virtually every race
he's wanted to do as professional, but he's also seen his share of setbacks.
However, an incredible ability to read a race as he were the author and
his never-say-die attitude have never eluded him - just like today. Even
when Bertogliati dropped off and it was just he and Portal in the final
kilometres, his face never resembled one of lost hope, and not until he
knew for sure they would be caught did he look behind.
True to his style, there's every chance he'll try again tomorrow. "I
think I was the strongest, but you need the right circumstances. You need
to have the cooperation of the peloton - you can't fight against three,
four, five sprinters' teams. It was hard, but we almost did it.
"Today was the first attempt; we still have 19 days to go... " he said.
Lombardi On Zabriskie
Bobby Julich is tipping him as the next big thing, and maillot jaune
Dave Zabriskie has already earned the respect of his other team-mates
too. At 36, CSC's Giovanni Lombardi is one of the most experienced riders
in the peloton. The Italian sprinter, who is in his 13th year as a pro
told Cyclingnews about his perception of Zabriskie.
"He's a really down to earth guy; very simpatico," said Lombardi. "Zabriskie
has fit in really well with our team and I think he has found people that
want to see him do well on CSC. Me, David, Basso and Piil just did a training
camp together in Tuscany and we really worked well together. He likes
to joke around, but when he's on the bike he's a very serious professional."
Team time trial shapes up as Discovery vs CSC show-down
CSC on the way to third in the
proTour time trial in June
Photo ©: Christine Grein
Today's team time trial
will be a 67.5km test of discipline, endurance and determination that's
likely to at least partially affect the outcome of the race. The team
TT won't have as great an effect as it might, as Tour
rules limit the amount a team can lose to three minutes, preventing
a team that's weak in this discipline from getting knocked right out of
the running this early in the Tour. Nevertheless, any team with serious
ambitions for the general classification has to ride well today.
CSC boss Bjarne Riis sees the team TT as a chance to defend Dave Zabriskie's
yellow jersey. "We're one of the strongest teams, but it doesn't hurt
that we're starting last," Riis said on CSC's website. "We'll have a strong
base with Bobby, Jens, Luke and Dave. I think we'll be among the best."
"It's our goal to win this time trial," Riis added in a Belgian TV interview.
In its former guise as US Postal, Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel
team blew the opposition into the weeds in last year's team time trial,
grabbing the leader jersey for Lance Armstrong. Riis knows what his team
has to do today. "To keep the jersey, we have to beat Discovery," he said.
"They're the strongest team, along with us and Phonak. I think it will
Dave Zabriskie is realistic about the possibility of seeing his three-day
run in the yellow jersey come to an end. "It would be nice to keep the
jersey," he said. "Two seconds isn't a lot. We'll really have to go 100
percent to beat Discovery."
Zabriskie's team-mate Jens Voigt hinted jokingly at one possible 'problem'
for the team. Asked how long Zabriskie could stay in yellow, he said,
"Well, if he doesn't shake us off and if he let's us ride a little with
him tomorrow... if we can keep it tomorrow we could still have it in Germany.
But it could be that we make another decision to keep our energy and look
good again in the Alps!"
"I'm not going to say that we want to finish 8th or something like that,"
said Voigt. "I think we are amongst the favourites and it's not arrogant
to say it."
The Discovery Channel crew at Eindhoven
Photo ©: AFP Photo
Discovery Channel general manager Dan Osipow believes there are only
two likely yellow jersey riders after the team time trial: Zabriskie and
Lance Armstrong. "One of the Tour's most crucial days is upon us, tomorrow's
67.5 kilometer time trial," Osipow writes on thepaceline.com.
"The winner of the event the past two years, the team has taken yellow
following both victories (with Victor Hugo Pena in 2003 and Lance last
year) and could very well do the same tomorrow should the team make it
Osipow acknowledges that Tour team time trial rules limit the advantage
to be gained today, but says, "there is a strong chance Lance Armstrong
can take the lead from CSC's Dave Zabriskie should the Discovery Channel
team defeat CSC. With the larger gaps to the next highest placed riders
- Credit Agricole's Lazlo Bodrogi is third at 47 seconds with T-Mobile's
Vino in fourth at 53 seconds - it appears the jersey will either stay
with Zabriskie or be taken away by Armstrong."
After the opening time trial Lance Armstrong said chasing rival Jan Ullrich
was an advantage. In the team time trial, that advantage will lie with
CSC. "They are leading the team GC through three stages - by four seconds
- [so] they will start last tomorrow, thus having the advantage of knowing
our time splits," said Osipow.
As the ONCE team, Liberty Seguros-Würth was a pink-clad team time trial
powerhouse in the Tour for many years, and its win in the 2002 stage put
Igor Gonzales de Galdeano into the yellow jersey. The team hasn't been
as strong in recent years, but manager Manolo Saiz believes it can still
make a mark today. "I have confidence in my team, though others are more
favorite than us to win," said Saiz in a team statement. "Our strength
is that we can do this type of race, be among the top finishers and be
in a good position to tackle the mountains."
Gonzalez de Galdeano describes his 2002 stint in yellow as, "the best
souvenir I have as cyclist" but knows it cannot be repeated this year
because of the time gaps established on the first day. "With the adjusted
times that exist now, it is a question of not losing more than of winning,"
he said, "because the differences will not be very wide. Of course, we
all want to win because this is where the team's image is shaped and also
where people can see what sort of form each one is in at the moment."
Unlike 2004, where some teams had already lost riders in the treacherous
Belgian opening stages, all teams should start this year's time trial
with a full complement of nine men.
"We are lucky because we have not lost any riders in the first two stages
and the team will be complete," says Gonzalez de Galdeano. "To have nine
riders is fundamental for a better recovery between [stints on the front].
A man less is a big lack, because here the strongest rider does not win,
but the team. Armstrong cannot win alone tomorrow, he needs his team-mates
Discovery is the favourite, "because it won last year," says Gonzalez
de Galdeano. "But we are at the same level as they are, as CSC, Gerolsteiner
and Phonak. Anyone can win."
Rabobank manager Theo de Rooij has been coming in for some flak in the
Dutch media for his team's lack of success in recent Tours. He told Sporza
radio that things are not going to change in the time trials.
"We have to be realistic," said de Rooij. "We don't have a team here
selected for the TT. We need to try and [win] in breaks, like Erik did
today, because we have no sprinter here. We have to get through this first
week the best way we can and wait for the mountains."
The Trek Madone 5.9
©: Zapata Espinoza
Fassa Bortolo Giro helmet
Fantasy Le Tour - not too late to join
There are 49+ prizes up for grabs in this year's Fantasy Le Tour. You
still join up until Stage 9. There is NO tactical disadvantage in joining
after the Tour has begun. There are some great prizes on offer and its
until stage 9 begins. You don't need to pay to play in the first 8 stages.
try it out and see if you too could be in
the running for some of the 49 prizes on offer this year.
CSC Team Edition pedals from Speedplay
Adding to the Tour 2005 Fantasy Game prize roster, we have four sets
Team Edition pedals, but that's not all! The suggested retail for the
is US $195.00, but we are also including a pair of coffee shop caps with
each pair (the cleat protectors). The pedals come from the Californian
company that has been making major inroads into the professional peloton
several years, and the pedals on offer are based on what are being used
this year's Tour by Team CSC.
"We were very pleased that Speedplay produced a special red pedal
team when we asked," said CSC Team manager Bjarne Riis. "And
because of so
many inquiries from followers of the team, it is important that Speedplay
will now produce this pedal for consumers."
The CSC Team Edition is the Speedplay Zero. This pedal allows riders
choose either a fixed position or up to 15 degrees of float. Zero pedals
maintain the traditional feel of a fixed system while incorporating the
advantages of Speedplay X Pedal Systems. Dual-sided Zero pedals offer
weight, easy engagement and disengagement, a low 11.5mm stack height and
extra cornering clearance. The engagement mechanism does not rely on spring
tension for retention, so you don't have to crank down a tension adjuster
just to prevent inadvertent release.
look at the prize list in full.
There are over 49 prizes in this year's game. Be a professional team
manager for the 2005 Tour de France. Based on the live racing action,
you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill
as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world.
Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes.
First prize - a TREK
Madone Discovery Team bike worth $7700 USD.
Stage by stage prizes - Specialized
- 21x pairs of sunglasses
- 2x pairs Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, 1x Race X Lite OS handlebars,
1x Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and 1x Race X Lite Pro saddle.
- 3x pairs of Flash shoes
- 4x pairs of CSC pedals
- Signature coaching package
- 5x Team issue Arione saddles
- 9x Atmos Helmets in Discovery, Rabobank & Fassa Bortolo team colours
Read some of our previous Le Tour game winners recommendations for your
team selection strategy. Go to the downloads
section to find out more.
How to play
You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 8 stages
for FREE! We will be adding additions to the startlist on a daily basis.
The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own
team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these
riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according
to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your
team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour.
Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)