Tour de France Cycling News for July 16, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes
Stage 13 wrap up
Third stage win for McEwen; Horner and Chavanel go close
By Shane Stokes
McEwen and Rodriguez
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Aussie Rocket Robbie McEwen thundered to a third stage win in this year's
Tour de France today, benefiting from a last-gasp chasedown of breakaways
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) to sweep by
before the line. The Davitamon-Lotto rider hit the front with about 100
metres to go, galloping in ahead of Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) and his own
team-mate Fred Rodriguez. Guido Trenti (Quick.Step) was fourth while,
crucially, green jersey Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) could only finish
fifth, losing points to challengers McEwen and O'Grady.
The day's action was dominated by a long range breakaway group of five
riders, Carlos Da Cruz (Francaise des Jeux) instigating it when he attacked
at km 15. Together with Horner, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Ludovic
Turpin (Ag2R-Prévoyance) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), they
opened up a maximum advantage of over nine minutes with 125 kilometres
to go. However, the Lotto-Davitamon chase took chunks out of this lead
and the break was barely hanging on with 15 kilometres remaining.
Chavanel cannoned out of the bunch to bridge the gap, then attacked
with Horner for company. They had eight seconds with one kilometre to
go, but any chance they had of staying clear went kaput when the American
(understandably) refused to come through. The bunch duly gobbled them
up with about 150 metres left, McEwen tearing by to take his third stage
win of the race.
Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
"It was a gamble not to go after them ourselves (at the very end)," he
said. "We did all the work today. Those two guys were away at the end
but the speed of the bunch is going to take back a lot of time on a breakaway
like that. I wasn't too worried. I still had Fred Rodriguez in front of
"The thing about today is that it is not about a third win, it is not
about me taking another stage. It is a about Davitamon-Lotto. You saw
how my team worked today...it is maybe hard to appreciate it just looking
at the screen but what my team-mates did today was truly incredible. To
bring back nine minutes on day 13 of the Tour is just an incredible effort."
Despite the win, McEwen is still not optimistic about taking a third
green jersey. "I took back a couple of more points today but I am still
a long way behind," he stated. "I said before that I am more interested
in winning stages. I am just over the moon to have win number three."
Stage 13 full results,
report & photos
Complete stage maps &
Armstrong "might be able to follow"
By Hedwig Kröner in Montpellier
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
The yellow jersey wearer Lance Armstrong was in good spirits at the finish
in Montpellier, and looking forward to some further mountain action after
today's flat sprinter's passage. The "shorter, yet steeper" Pyrenees are
calling, and the Discovery leader knows that this mountain range favours
more explosive riders.
"Regardless of what happens tomorrow or on the next day, we still have
the advantage of knowing that there's a long time trial in the end," he
said post-race. "But if somebody is having a great day and I can't follow
the explosive riders and their accelerations...who knows what will happen?
But, I might be able to follow," he added.
In the summer heat of these Southern stages, Armstrong also took special
care in hydration. He learned about this crucial factor the hard way in
2003, when his performance was significantly reduced in the time trial
to Cap Découverte. "Everybody's performance suffers in the heat. Some
riders, of course, deal with it better than others. But it doesn't have
to do that much with what happens in the race or with physical make-up,
but with how you hydrated yourself the night before and in the morning,
as hydration is critical. As soon as you start to get behind on that,
then your performance starts to evaporate. Tomorrow's going to be 40 degrees,
so I have to be careful," he said.
Asked about the climbs on Saturday, he explained, "The Pailhères is
not one of the more famous climbs from the Tour de France, but in recent
years we've been there a lot. It's very long, very steep, and incredibly
narrow at the top in 2000 metres, so it's difficult to move out into a
good position if you're not." The final climb to Ax-3-Domaines is less
long, and also a little less steep. As for the stage on Sunday, "It's
the hardest day of the Tour," Armstrong believed. "It's actually a stage
that we do almost every year, except they change the final climb. Portet
d'Aspet, Peyresourde, all of these climbs... they're almost in the same
order, and the amount of elevation gain for that day is just the hardest
Of course, stage 15 will be a special day of remembrance for Armstrong,
too, as it marks the 10th anniversary of his former Motorola teammate
Fabio Casartelli's death. "It feels almost like yesterday when we were
descending the Portet d'Aspet and I saw him there, which just goes to
show how time flies...," a touched Armstrong said. "It's always a tough
moment to pass that point, also in training. His wife, his son and his
parents will be here, and it's added motivation for me. When he died,
his son was just born, and to see him now as a ten year-old boy, and a
carbon copy of Fabio is a pretty special sight. He was a great guy, and
he left a little baby so it's a tough situation. I'll ride with his memory
on Sunday for sure," he concluded, also explaining that his visits to
the Casartelli family on his trips to Italy were very private. Armstrong
plans to attend a small remembrance ceremony on rest day in Pau.
Horner happy, despite loss
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Chris Horner went into his first Tour de France this year with the high
ambition of a top ten result. When a sluggish performance on the road
to Briançon put paid to that ambition, he set about executing plan B -
a stage win in the race.
Horner went frustratingly close to that goal today, being caught and
passed by the bunch with just 200 metres to go. He has been clear as part
of a five man breakaway group for most of the 173.5 kilometre stage, then
raced on ahead with Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) after the Frenchman bridged
across. The two worked well together to try to stave off the fast-closing
peloton, but when the American stopped riding inside the final kilometre,
their fate was sealed.
Despite being so near to a career-best result, he was surprisingly upbeat
at the finish. "It has not been a disappointment, just to be here at the
Tour is great," he cheerfully told Belgian TV1. "Like I said, I thought
we would get caught sooner. To make it that far was spectacular and to
be so close...I've seen it happen many times to other riders and I knew
it would happen to me, sooner or later. Unfortunately it had to come at
the Tour. But it was a spectacular day, so I will take it."
With Chavanel leading in the final kilometre and looking back continuously
to check where Horner was, it was clear that the break was losing necessary
momentum. The bunch was hurtling along behind them, with green jersey
contenders desperate to scrap it out for the win. But, despite getting
caught, the Saunier Duval rider feels he did the right thing. "We both
hesitated a little bit, and I needed him to lead it out to beat him,"
he told Cyclingnews. "I just didn't have fresh legs to lead out
from a k [to go]. He wanted me to pull through at 800, 700 metres, but
I knew if I pulled through, I would have to lead it out from there. So
it wasn't an option for me to lead it out for the win. I was in the break
all day so if he can't win from leading it out, it is not my fault."
Horner clearly enjoyed the experience, saying that it was fantastic
to be part of the Tour. He had planned on taking it a bit easier, though.
"I wanted to get a little recovery in today and that (being in the break
all day) is just not quite the best way to recover. I was the Saunier
Duval rider there, and I saw Flecha go, and you know if you see Flecha
go, you've got to cover it. Our guys had covered all the moves before
I covered that one, so it was not necessarily my turn, but it just needed
to be done and I was in the move, so what are you going to do? (laughs)
"But it wasn't so bad really. It was steady up there, the pulls were
steady and everything was smooth. I thought it was easier to be up there
than back (in the bunch). We will find out tomorrow how much it affected
me. But I'll take it, you can't turn down an opportunity like that. It
was great to be up there."
So does he think he will still have the legs for Sunday? "I hope so,
but I can't guarantee anything at the moment - everything's a little new
The battle for the Maillot Vert
Sprinters play down chances for green
Can anyone beat Thor?
Photo ©: Sirotti
Tom Boonen's withdrawal from the Tour and, by default, the points competition,
has more than one sprinter licking their lips at the thought of wearing
the maillot vert in Paris. But the two Australians behind de-facto
points leader Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) aren't showing their excitement
just yet, knowing that there's still plenty of work to do, as Anthony
Tan reports from Montpellier.
"I think it's going to be a hard competition; the Pyrenées is going
to be very hot and very hard, and there's a lot of tired guys out there,"
said Cofidis' Stuart O'Grady at the start of the thirteenth stage in Miramas
Friday afternoon. "I think it's going to be the best of us that passes
At the conclusion of today's stage, 31 year-old O'Grady currently lies
in second place behind Hushovd, the powerful Norwegian 14 points clear
of the South Australian, while Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), who, after
his third stage win of the race, is only eight points behind his fellow
countryman in third spot.
for the full story
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