Tour de France Cycling News for July 17, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes
Reported by Hedwig Kröner and Anthony Tan
Horner: if the legs are good, I'll try again
Saunier Duval's Chris Horner went close to a stage win two
days ago. He took things easier yesterday in order to recover, but
says that if he has the legs today, he will have another shot.
"Yesterday was hard, it was real hot. With the heat and climbs it was
a hard day," he told Cyclingnews this morning before Stage 15.
"I was trying to use the day as a bit of recovery for the work I did the
day before. You are not going to do what I did (on stage 13) and ride
with the top guys on the climbs. So you just have to go as easy as you
can and try to recover for today or the next stage (on Tuesday)."
His strategy today will depend on how he feels. "I don't know if I will
be up the road, I will just see how the legs are. It would be an ideal
day for me, though, I think...I am so far down on time and, most likely,
so will everyone else in a break be, too."
Horner was asked what he thought of T-Mobile's tactics yesterday, particularly
as the team ended up chasing down Vinokourov twice. "Was that a strategy?"
he said, laughing. "I have no idea what they were at."
T-Mobile: Evans not sure either
Cadel Evans was similarly mystified by the strategy in the T-Mobile
camp. "The move on the penultimate climb got rid of guys from 8th to 15th
on GC and it put me on the limit, but I don't really know what the intention
was. Are they racing for the win, or are they racing for seventh or eighth?"
Evans was fourteenth yesterday and is now twelfth overall. He feels
he would have done better had he more experience of the race. "Yesterday
I was actually a bit disappointed. It was a little bit of inexperience
that lost me some time, but in your first Tour that happens occasionally.
I hope it doesn't happen again, but c'est la vie."
Asked if it would suit him if another long breakaway goes, he said it
didn't matter either way. "For the guys on classification it doesn't change
that much. Until the last kilometre you are always thinking about the
Kummer: We knew what we were doing
T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer has played down suggestions
that the team made a mess of their tactics yesterday. When asked why Klöden
and Ullrich chased Vinokourov down when he attacked, he explained what
was behind the reasoning. "The situation was that nobody reacted behind
so we decided to put on the tempo. That's how this situation came about."
Viewers and commentators were perplexed by the sight of his own team
bringing Vino back on both the Port-de-Pailhčres and the final climb of
Ax 3 Domaines. Kummer justified it by saying he was on an off day. "Vino's
performances were excellent before, but he didn't have the legs like,
say, at the Galibier, where he had a super day. As the others didn't react,
we had to. Alexandre was out to tickle the others a bit, but unfortunately
it didn't work."
Today's plan is to be aggressive again. "The riders are feeling good
this morning. We'll see how it goes later on on the road. It will be crucial
to attack at the right time today, as it's a long and hard stage. If you
go too early, you might not have the breath to finish."
Will you wait until the final climb? "We'll see"
Hincapie: hard day ahead
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Lance Armstrong's right hand man George Hincapie is in little doubt that
the parcours of stage 15 is the toughest of the 2005 Tour. "Today's stage
is the most difficult," he told Cyclingnews this morning. "There are six
big climbs whereas yesterday there were only two. So today is much more
difficult, a lot harder."
When asked if Armstrong would have extra motivation today to win a stage,
Hincapie said that is not the first priority. "I think his main concern
is to try to win the Tour. But if a stage win comes, then we will take
He said that the maillot jaune's concentration on the task at hand has
stopped him lingering about the fact that this is the final Pyrenean summit
finish of his career. "Every day is his last one, in some ways. Be it
alpine stages, Pyrenees stages, Tour stages. I think his main goal is
stay focussed and not think too much about things like that."
Sprinters have it much harder, says McEwen
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
The former King of the Mountains winner Robert Millar was once asked
what made a good climber. Was it the ability to suffer less in the mountains?
No, he replied, the suffering is the same, but the climbers just do it
Robbie McEwen disagrees, though. When asked by Cyclingnews this
morning who had it harder, the sprinters in the peloton or the climbers,
he had no doubts about who hurt the most.
"I think being a sprinter is worse, because when you're a climber and
when you have an off day, you still make it to the time limit," he stated.
"No problems. But if you're a sprinter and you have an off day, you're
in huge trouble. We're riding full gas every day. There's no such day
as an easy day in the bunch. You always have to force yourself, even on
the flatter stages and the time trials to stay inside the time limit."
What's your plan for the green jersey? "I'm not telling everybody my
plans! As for today, I just want to survive and not look further than
Ullrich's physiotherapist says Jan's on the up
Ullrich on a good day
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Although he lost some time to Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso, yesterday
was the first day in this year's Tour that Jan Ullrich showed something
approaching his top form. His physiotherapist Birgit Krohme confirmed
that the German's fitness is improving, saying that she could feel a difference
in his muscles after yesterday's race to Ax 3 Domaines.
"A mountain stage is of course much harder on the whole body than a
flat one is. And not only on the leg muscles. My therapy therefore is
longer on mountain stages, and includes the back, the spine, and the neck
area to a much greater extent. On mountain stages, the muscles are harder
and you adapt the massage accordingly. You don't massage with a lot of
"When Jan has bad lags, you feel it after a stage. The muscles are then
much tenser and they have irregular, harder areas. But when he's got good
legs it is different; then, the legs show a regular, lower tension. That's
what it felt like yesterday. So if that'll be the case again tonight,
still getting better towards the end, then we'll be very satisfied."
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