Tour de France Cycling News for July 5, 2005
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
More comments from Tours
Collected by John Trevorrow
The "rough and tumble" of a sprint
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Stuart O'Grady, involved in an incident with fellow Australian
Robbie McEwen during the closing moments of yesterday's stage, and had
this to say after the finish:
"I'm very upset with Robbie. He went too far. I was very happy with
the sprint; Thor [Hushovd] hit the front early and I came off him at 150
to go. I saw Boonen's wheel and got onto it, and at that moment clashed
with Robbie - I had McEwen's helmet sticking in my face. It was more than
what was required; that was too much.
"I wouldn't have beaten Boonen, and he's showing us all a clean pair
of heels at the moment. But staying on his wheel would definitely have
got me second today."
Robbie McEwen, extremely disappointed to be relegated to 186th:
"It's a normal clash that happens. The commissaires have obviously never
riddden a bike; what would they know of the rough and tumble of a sprint.
When you look at the overhead shots you can see that Stuey was involved
Green "lost cause" for McEwen
Robbie McEwen is not only angry after yesterday's relegation, but also
deeply annoyed that his hopes for the Green jersey are growing dim. "That
relegation is unjust, and it means a loss that can't be corrected. Even
if I would win two mass sprints, than I'd still have to hope for Boonen
not to take one point. It's a lost cause. Unless a miracle happens, the
Green is lost for me," he said in Tours last night.
Moreover, McEwen still thinks about his stage two sprint, knowing that
the finish in Tours wasn't made for him. "Last Sunday, in Les Essarts,
I made the same mistake I've made more than once in my junior period.
And if one finish wasn't cut out for me than it was this long straight
one in Tours."
Nevertheless, McEwen will continue trying and believes that a victory
against Boonen is feasible. "I'm not in despair. Boonen is strong, no
discussion there. But believe me, he is to be beaten," McEwen said.
"I wish to remind people of the scenario last year though," concludes
Sergeant, McEwen's team manager, in a positive frame of mind. "Even though
Robbie lost a lot of points after his crash in Angers , after a spectacular
come-back he still went on to win the Green Jersey. Nothing is impossible.
Boonen had to sprint six times last year before he took his first win."
To keep or not to keep?
Bjarne Riis, 1996 Tour de France winner and the brain behind Team CSC,
has given different media different versions of his squad's race tactics
for the coming days. Right after the stage yesterday, he was asked by
German television if he would give away the Yellow jersey now for Ivan
Basso to get it back later, to which he replied, "We won't give it away
for free but maybe we will have to. Ivan Basso proved at the Giro that
he was the strongest rider there, had it not been for his illness. I think
he will be great here too."
According to French paper L'Equipe though, the CSC team director
will fight for the Yellow. "If Zabriskie keeps the jersey [after the time
trial]," he said, "we will try to retain it as long as possible and give
him two or three teammates for support. Not more, because we don't want
the whole team to be tired afterwards," he explained. Just where the team
director will draw the line remains thus to be seen.
Lelangue explains TTT tactics
Phonak's team manager John Lelangue has given french daily L'Equipe
some clues as to how the Swiss squad will aim for victory in the upcoming
team time trial. "The team's lead-out on Tuesday will be Robert Hunter,"
he said. "He will be in charge of the first acceleration and of finding
the rhythm of the journey, not too fast. Then, we will have the real specialists
Pereiro, Botero, Landis; then those who perform well in this exercise,
Grabsch, Gutierrez, Jalabert; then those who are not in their element:
Moos and Zampieri. The lead turns should not exceed 30 seconds for the
best riders, 20 for the others."
Lelangue continued by describing the course to Blois, which starts to
become hilly with about 45 kilometres to go. "Our strategy is to ride
into the last 15 kilometres, which are more technical, with nine men.
We will try to be complete until then, even if Zampieri and Moos have
to skip some turns for it. Ideally, the team should still consist of seven
riders before attacking the Côte de Molineuf with 11 kilometres to go.
That's where the teams will start losing their riders. Our aim, of course,
is to have our three leaders within the five at the finish!"
German press not optimistic for Ullrich's chances
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
"Ullrich Threatened with Further Setback", "A Good Time to Panic", "Captain
Ullrich Must Prove Himself", "Has Ullrich Already Lost the Tour?" - These
headlings reflect the German media's opinion on T-Mobile's and Jan Ullrich's
chances in the Tour de France this year. "He came to the Tour de France
as the captain and now stands there as the loser," says Weekly Der
Spiegel, citing the "disaster in the time trial" on Saturday.
Ullrich had hoped to go in to the mountains ahead of Armstrong in the
standings this year, but this "wishful thinking" was destroyd by his "debacle"
in the time trial, according to the Frankfurter Neue Press Online.
Only the new time restrictions will prevent TMO's "time loss along the
Loire from sinking like a stone," it cheerily predicts.
Germany's number one tabloid Bild lives up to its reptutation
by asking if Ullrich "has already lost the Tour on its first day?" It
provides grisly details of his "horror crash", which was responsible for
his "merciless false start" and wonders, "How shold Ullrich overcome this
shock?" Of course the paper already has a possible answer: girlfriend
Sara will try to take some time off work and visit him at the Tour, "so
that ULlrich doesn't remain completely unkissed."
the more serious Die Welt notes that the team's mood was dramatically
low after Saturday's time trial, with with Ullrich's "unexpected breakdown."
Vinokourov rode well, but "even acknowledged specialists like Andreas
Klöden [...] disappointed as 51st, the rest of the team from Bonn was
Der Spiegel says that the time has already come "to discuss whether
Ullrich will actually ride the entire Tour de France as captain of the
T-Mobile team." It predicts that the squad is already leaning toward Vinokourov.
"Team director Godefroot denies that the team is waiting to see how Ullrich
does in the 8th stage (July 9) which goes into the Alps, to see if it
will have to chance the team's hierarchy. However, that this stage could
be the end of Ullrich's captaincy and the beginning of Vinokourov's captaincy,
can be easily read into Godefroot's message: 'We must first wait until
the mountains,' he said."
The Berliner Zeitung believes the time has already come. "And
now he has already lost his status as No. 1 on the team. To Alexander
Vinokourov!" The team may deny it, but the paper notes that yesterday
Vinokourov "was protected by Guerini, Nardello and Kessler. They were
planned as Jan's most important helpers," while "Ullrich himself chatted
way back in the field with buddy Steinhauser. Is this the end of a great
Oh, yes, and the Frankfurter Neue Press Online mentions that
"the second German team" is also in France, and even notes that Gerolsteiner
team director Hans-Michael Holczer "would like to see his men in cyan-blue
finish ahead of those in magenta-pink today."
A good day for the Austrians
Not only the Australians, but also the Austrians made headlines in yesterday's
stage: second place for Peter "Paco" Wrolich and fourth for Bernhard Eisel.
Gerolsteiner's Wrolich said, "It's a dream. Like yesterday, I was working
today for my teammate Robert Förster. Then, 350 meter before the finish,
I suddenly noticed a hole behind Tom Boonen. Nobody else saw it. I went
in and rolled as second over the finish line. It's unbelievable!"
Two days ago FdJ's Bernhard Eisel was complaining about a lack of team
support, but now things have changed. "Today they finally worked for me.
It worked fine, except for Baden Cooke, the last man. Cooke got to the
500 meter mark, and then he was suddenly in my way. He simply doesn't
have good form right now." He wasn't completely happy with the day, despite
his fourth place finish after McEwen's relegation. "There was more in
it for me. About 100 metres before the finish I was behind Paco, got squeezed
from both sides and had to brake. That was the end of my chances."
Watch out who you're elbowing!
Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster learned the hard way that you'd better
watch closely before you throw an elbow into a Discovery rider. In his
Tour diary on radsportnews.de, he wrote about yesterday's stage
to Tours, "There was a lot of shoving going on in the field. At one point,
someone from Discovery (Beltran) came from behind, cut me off and forced
himself by me. Oh well, it happens. Five kilometres further, another one
from Discovery who also kind of pushed me aside. When shortly afterwards
another Discovery rider appeared from behind, I thought, okay buddy, that's
enough. I threw my elbow out to make space. Oops, of course it was Armstrong
himself! He gave me a dirty look and went directly to Levi Leipheimer,
to ask what his teammate's problem was..."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
Lore "Boonen" at home
It's fun for Lore "Boonen", girlfriend of the "Green Tornado", to post
her daily column in the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: "Was
that super or what that super? I'm even more shook up than I was yesterday.
And that power, damn!" she started Tuesday's diary from her home in Belgium.
Lore can't keep her nerves under control as well as her boyfriend Tom,
and even she wonders how he does it. "How in God's name can he stay that
calm and only burst loose at the very end? I don't understand. I was far
from calm in front of the TV... I have to confess something to Tom later
though: I had my head in a pillow when they headed for the finish line.
I didn't dare to watch, for the first time since we've been together.
Even when I heard my brother and aunty and uncle yell "yes! yes! yes!"
I still kept my face into the pillow."
Lore, who has a heartproblem and is advised not to seek too much excitement
is not sure about visiting her boyfriend while he's racing in France:
"I don't know yet. I went last year and I had it tough being in the hectic
atmosphere and I can't really handle the big crowds. We'll see."
Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)