Tour de France Cycling News for July 9, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Hard, but rewarding: Wegmann flies into Germany on his own
By Hedwig Kröner in Karlsruhe
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti
"My legs aren't turning like they should," Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann
told Cyclingnews at the start of stage
seven in Lunéville. "When it's cold and raining like it this, I'm
But the youngster is fearless, and one could sense that he was concentrating
on the task ahead: getting into a breakaway, for the sake of a ride onto
home turf - and the polka-dot jersey, which he knew was within reach.
"It's a dream come true, really. I said it to my teammates yesterday:
standing on the podium and hearing that music, that's the greatest," he
described the moments spent at the famous 'cérémonie protocolaire', which
uses its own distinctive tune when a rider is about to being honoured.
The strategy of his team proved to be just the right one: Get somebody
in a break, or count on their sprinter for the finish. And although Robert
Förster finished only 13th, the squad can be happy with its achievements
in Germany: Precious TV time for Gerolsteiner, the dotted jersey and the
award of most combative rider were all theirs - contrary to T-Mobile,
who did not put their colours up front for obvious tactical reasons.
Although Wegmann's move wasn't calculated to be a lone one, he decided
to continue when McEwen waited for the bunch to come back on him after
the first climb. "The gap wasn't very big on top of that climb, but when
McEwen joined me we made some time on the descent," he said. "But he didn't
want to ride with me - as there was nobody coming behind us he just stopped
riding eventually, wishing me luck. The gap was there so I just continued
full speed, to get that one last point for the jersey."
The solitary ride was long, longer than expected (160 km), but the 25
year-old was rewarded by a frenetic crowd as he crossed the border to
his home country: the sheer amount of spectators was overwhelming, making
a huge difference with the neighbouring Alsace region. The "Tourfieber"
- the country's fever for the Tour de France - is well known by the French
organiser ASO, which is one of he reasons why the race frequently drops
in. Crowds had gathered since noon on the borders of the parcours, and
when Wegmann entered German territory his lead was still nearly four minutes.
And although he knew that he wasn't going to take it into the finish,
Wegmann is the fourth German rider to slip into the polka-dot. Marcel
Wüst, Jens Voigt and Rolf Aldag did it before him, but couldn't defend
it. Will Wegmann, who has proven to be mountain-worthy by winning the
homologous jersey in the Giro d'Italia in 2004, be a successor to Richard
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
"I'm pretty kaput now, and I'll have to see how I feel," he cautiously
said after the race. "Of course I'd like to keep the jersey until the
end, but tomorrow we have four climbs in the first part of the stage.
And after today, I definitely won't be as fresh so it will be hard to
Meanwhile, his directeur sportif Christian Henn told Cylingnews
after the stage, "We'll have to try to defend it tomorrow. But once the
real mountains come, it will be hard. Compared to the Giro, you don't
escape the peloton as easily, because a lot of teams will try for it.
Plus, tomorrow the race won't be as controlled by the sprinters' teams
as today, because there's the Col de la Schlucht right before the finish."
So one question was obvious: Did Wegmann bluff by saying his legs weren't
good this morning? You can't tell, as he happily laughed, replying, "No,
I didn't..." It's a hard race, especially since "there has been a lot
of tailwind lately, so it was harder riding within the bunch, even harder
than with a headwind," Henn concluded.
Gerro's going alright
By Anthony Tan in Karlsruhe
So far, the Tour de France has been quite an experience for young Aussie
all-rounder Simon Gerrans. When Cyclingnews asked how his week's
gone, the first thing he commented on was the incredible speed of the
first hour of racing, which has mostly been completed at around 50 kilometres
"I was coping really well until yesterday," Gerrans said with his typically
boyish grin before the start of the seventh
stage in Lunéville. "I thought yesterday
would have suited me, but I basically didn't have good legs. That last
climb [Côte de Maron], I went out the back and didn't even look like getting
Such is the life of a neo-pro in his first Tour de France, but for the
25 year-old Victorian, it's not all bad. Team manager Vincent Lavenu has
given the entire team a large degree of freedom, and like many teams without
a general classification rider, placing themselves in the right move is
the number one priority over the next two and a half weeks.
"Most of the team is looking for that kind of move, actually, except
Jean-Patrick [Nazon], since he's there for the sprints. The rest of us,
if we can get in a break and take a big chunk of time, that's definitely
what we want to do.
"Any one of these days, a break is going to go and get a big chunk of
time, so Vincent says it's pretty important to have someone in that -
that's what he's been saying all along. If a group of 10 guys goes away,
we've got to have someone in there, because it could take 20 minutes,"
So is Gerro looking forward to some long days in the mountains in the
Before answering that question, he peered out towards the gloomy skies
above him... "I'm looking forward to a bit of sunshine, actually," he
joked. "But no, next week will sort of calm down a little bit; the guys
racing GC will be going flat-out, but the guys that aren't will be looking
for an easy ride, so in that respect, the race will settle down a bit."
One guy who doesn't mind a bit of bad weather is Lance Armstrong, who
looks fairly set to win his seventh straight Tour, but Gerrans added that
it's not over till the fat lady sings in Paris. "I don't think the race's
over until we hit Paris. But he's [Armstrong] looking pretty strong. It's
my first Tour, so it's hard to compare him to the past few years, but
he's looking pretty good so far," he said.
Mengin won't start Saturday
Christophe Mengin (Francaise des Jeux) will not start the eighth stage
in Pforzheim on Saturday. The French rider, who spectacularly crashed
at the end of Stage 6,
has a broken ethmoid under his left eye. Despite this, he did manage to
finish stage 7, albeit 1'45 behind the peloton. That reduces the Tour
field to 184 riders.
An interview with Iñigo Landaluze
Relaxing before stage 5
Photo ©: Sirotti
After his resounding win in the Dauphiné Libéré, the name Iñigo Landaluze
is on the lips of many a Tour observer. Stars of Euskaltel-Euskadi's squad,
Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia, appear to have top-quality climbing company
in this 28-year-old from Getxo. He is part of the 100% Basque outfit looking
to demonstrate its power throughout the three weeks of the Tour de France,
and Cyclingnews’ Hernan Alvarez Macias caught up with the rider
likely to come through as a dark horse at this year's edition.
It was surprising to see a little-known rider beating giants of the mountains
such as Phonak's Santiago Botero or Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer on
the last day of Dauphiné in Sallanches. The Tour’s king, Lance Armstrong
(Discovery Channel) ended up fourth. It was his first and only race victory,
but it wasn't a minor championship win, as many of the riders at this
year's Tour were there on the French Alps, trailing the Orange crusader.
Cyclingnews: How was that triumph in Dauphiné Libéré?
Iñigo Landaluze: I got in a breakaway and we made
a gap. It was a mountain stage, a tough stage; we made the gap and I was
able to maintain that lead over the final days.
CN: It was a bit unexpected for you, right?
IL: Yes, it was unexpected. The truth is that I didn't
go to that race with the intention of fighting for the general victory;
I went with the intention of fighting for the stage so I got in a breakaway.
I'm neither a time trial specialist nor a climber. I'm a rider for the
medium-mountain stages, not the high-mountain stages. It followed that
pattern and I became the leader - I was feeling very good and was able
to stay with the leaders.
here for the full interview
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)