Tour de France Cycling News for July 6, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Dave Z the funniest?
By Anthony Tan in Blois
Dave Zabriskie (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
When Belgian television asked maillot jaune Dave Zabriskie whether
he was indeed the funniest guy in the peloton, the 26 year-old replied:
"I have a sense of humour. I don't know if I'm the funniest one in the
peloton. I try."
Yesterday on the
road to Tours, Dave Z said he even shared a few laughs with Lance Armstrong,
who happened to pull out a funny one himself. "Oh, not really interesting
- just a bit of 'ha ha' stuff," he said of his brief conversation with
the six-time Tour winner. "He said: 'hope you're enjoying it [the maillot
jaune]' and I said, 'Yes, I am' - and then he asked if he could have a
have a turn. I said: 'Sure, why not!'"
The quizzical funny-man also had an atypical response when asked how
it felt to be wearing the maillot jaune on the fourth of July,
the day when America declared its independence from Britain and democracy
was born in 1776.
"Yeah, it's nice to be in yellow on the fourth of July. I don't know
if I'll be here again next year, but if I'm back in the States [on July
4], we can have some fireworks - or they can save some fireworks and we
can do it [when I return] back home and drink the drink that everyone
likes to drink."
Dave Zabriskie (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
On a more serious note, Zabriskie was looking forward to today's time
trial, but he knew he and his eight other CSC team-mates would have to
ride the perfect race if he were to retain his golden fleece for another
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it; everybody on the team is good at that
event and I think we have a good chance, so, of course, I'm excited for
it. But you never know what will happen. Two seconds isn't a lot, so we'll
really have to go 100 percent.
"Anything's possible, but sooner or later, it's probably going to go
away from Dave Zabriskie."
Unfortunately for him, that happened sooner rather than later, but what
happened today in Stage
4 was a total disaster, as a lapse of concentration saw him hurtle
into the barriers at full speed with less than two kilometres to go, cruelly
ending his spell in yellow. At this stage, it's not known whether he's
suffered any broken bones, but an injured left thigh and bruised ribs
are already on his list of injuries.
At yesterday's press conference, Zabriskie also gave plenty of credit
to his team and manager Bjarne Riis for where is today. "This team is
a wonderful team to be on; it's a real team-oriented team, a lot of teamwork,
The face of Zabriskie
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
But just as the press thought he had finished with his jokes for the
day, Dave Z turned over a new page in his book of jokes: "That's one of
the first things we learned at our camp in December when we were in the
woods facing death," he said jokingly, but with a deadpan-serious facial
"Some of you may not know, but I was in the hospital during that camp
and didn't even finish, so I stared death right in the eye. It helped
me grow as a man and become who am I today, because I almost died in those
woods... and I can't wait to do it again," he said as seriously as he
could, before a cheeky grin emerged.
Get well Dave - we hope you're OK!
McEwen continues to defend himself
By John Trevorrow in Tours
Davitamon-Lotto sprinter Robbie McEwen still feels that he was hard
done by in the finishing sprint of Stage
3, where he was disqualified after the judges deemed him to have hindered
Stuart O'Grady with his head in the run into the line. The replays, viewed
by millions around the world, showed the pair clashing with 100 metres
to go - a normal part of sprinting - but then McEwen seemed to deliberately
head-butt O'Grady twice following that. That's how most saw it, including
the commissaires, who relegated McEwen to last place in the bunch and
put a serious dent in his green jersey chances.
O'Grady finished the stage in third, but believed
the incident cost him second place because of the loss of speed, and
there was definitely no love lost between the two Australians. McEwen
claims he was merely off-balance, and his actions were not deliberate.
We spoke to him this morning in Tours, and he explained his side of things:
"I didn't say anything straight off the stage, unlike Stuey. I waited
to view the footage. To me, Stuey came in on me to get Boonen's wheel
and he hit me very hard. I don't think he knew it was me when it first
happened. But then he kept pressing me away and the only thing I could
do because of the angle I was on was to move my head. It was the only
thing I had to push him away. I was actually trying to stay upright. He
had his whole bodyweight against me. I had Wrolich on the other side.
"I think the commissaires have overreacted to how much my head moved
but that was because of how much I was angle the other way. I don't think
what Stuey did deserved for him to be disqualified and I know that I should
not have been disqualified. They should have just let it stand. I have
been disqualified before and when I know there's something to it, I just
accept it and say 'oh well, c'est la vie'. But this time I feel robbed."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)