Tour de France Cycling News for July 18, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes
Stage 15 wrap up
Hincapie takes big, emotional win
By Shane Stokes
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
George Hincapie had undoubtedly the best day of his career today, transforming
himself from Classics rider to Tour mountain stage winner on the hardest
day of the race. The Discovery Channel rider reached the top of the Hors
Category Saint-Lary-Soulon with just Phonak's Oscar Pereiro for company,
easily outsprinting him to take his first ever Tour stage win.
Teammate Lance Armstrong had surely thought about winning today on eve
of the 10th anniversary of the death of Fabio Casartelli, but when a 14-man
group containing Hincapie and Pereiro gained 19 minutes on the peloton,
Discovery switched to Plan B. Armstrong focussed on getting more time
out of the other GC contenders and did just that, breaking clear with
Ivan Basso (Team CSC) on the final climb and finishing just behind the
Italian in seventh. Jan Ullrich lost 1'24 to Armstrong, while all the
other contenders were even further back.
After getting into the early break, Hincapie and Pereiro went clear
on the category one Col du Peyresourde, along with Michael Boogerd (Rabobank),
Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) and Pietro
Caucchioli (Credit Agricole). However the duo proved too strong for the
others on the final climb, with a fresher Hincapie jumping away from the
Spaniard for the win.
"I knew it was going to be a tough day," said the visibly moved 32 year
old after the finish. "I actually wanted to just go in the breaks and
get a head start on the group, possibly wait for Lance and help him out
at the finish. But we ended up getting 18 minutes. Johan said "you guys
aren't coming back, George do your race." They gave me the go-ahead. It
is a dream come true today."
Stage 15 full results,
report & photos
Complete stage maps &
An interview with George Hincapie
King of the queen stage
Revered man for the Classics, George Hincapie, looked a far better bet
of winning Paris-Roubaix than a mountain stage of the Tour de France.
But today, under an ulterior motive, he did the latter, outriding and
outlasting his 13 other breakaway companions to win his first
stage of the Tour de France - and the hardest one at that, as Anthony
Tan reports from Pla d'Adet.
On the top of the podium!
Photo ©: Sirotti
How did he do it?
"Initially, the beginning was very hard and there were a lot of attacks.
We didn't say anything about me going in the break or anything at the
[team] meeting, but I thought if I go in one of these breaks with 10,
12 guys, I'll be able to get a good gap and definitely be there for Lance
on the last two climbs," he explained. "So I kind of decided by myself
to go on my own in one of these breaks, get a gap and be there when he
"But we ended up getting 18 minutes and once Johan saw that, he said:
'Listen, George - you're probably not going to come back here now, you
can do your own race. From then on, I started thinking about the win and
thinking it was possible."
No, George - how did you do that?!
Hincapie smiled before answering: "Well, two things. There was the '99
Tour, and all of a sudden, we had to pull up these big climbs. I just
went up as many mountains as I can, and every year, I seem to get a little
bit better on the climbs."
here for the full interview
Basso gains, Ullrich admits defeat
By Hedwig Kröner in Saint-Lary-Soulan
Ivan Basso (CSC)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Yesterday, CSC's Ivan Basso told French daily L'Equipe, "You can't
write that I never attack - but what can I say now? Armstrong showed that
he was the strongest. Nevertheless, I will try again." So the young Italian
did today, clearly showing that he was the only GC contender that could
match Lance Armstrong's capacities in high mountains and moving up to
second overall behind the American.
"Ivan was amazing today," his directeur sportif, Bjarne Riis said after
today's stage. "I'm very impressed by the fact he dared to attack and
he is really able to challenge Armstrong in the mountains." Basso rode
himself to second place in the general classification on the second of
the three Pyrenean stages of this year's Tour, only 2'46 minutes away,
and therefore almost within reach of the leader's jersey.
The trio of Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso drove up the
penultimate climb together, but on the final ascent to Pla d'Adet and
following an acceleration by the Italian, Der Kaiser could not hold Armstrong's
wheel. Ullrich is now almost six minutes down on the yellow jersey, and
after all these years of him trying to slip into it again, one could hardly
look at the German getting towed to the finish by his selfless teammate
Oscar Sevilla without feeling sorry for him.
Thinking back on the final ascent to Ax-3-Domaines yesterday, when T-Mobile
had isolated Armstrong in the Pailhères climb and the ever more courageous
Vinokourov attacked again, Ullrich admitted his defeat in his personal
website: "That was the moment where I should have gotten Armstrong," he
wrote. "But in the end, on the last kilometre, he was stronger than me
again. But it was a great fight on a sporting level and that's why I'm
satisfied with my performance."
A disappointed Jan Ullrich
Photo ©: Sirotti
Today, T-Mobile's initial racing strategy - for what it's worth in high
mountains, some might say - was hindered by the Danish team, who put on
a pace in the third to last climb, the Peyresourde. "That's where we wanted
to make the tempo," T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden said. "But when CSC drove
in front of the bunch, it was hard for us. I don't care about my placing
on GC anymore. We want to get Jan on the podium, and I think we can,"
he added, preferring to outline the positive side of the situation.
"We have to accept that there are riders in this Tour who are simply
stronger," an often grumpy team manager Walter Godefroot said, who will
be stepping down from his position after this season. On another note
of resignation, he added, "We have tried everything yesterday and today,
and that was exactly our goal."
Massive crowds cause trouble
By Hedwig Kröner in Saint-Lary-Soulan
That can't be good for you
Photo ©: AFP
One trademark of the Tour de France, other than the remarkable accomplishments
of the best cyclists in the world, are its huge masses of spectators that
gather every year on the climbs of the Alps or the Pyrenees. All in all
a peaceful crowd, some of these fans still cause trouble and damage when
not observing basic principles of civil conduct.
On the 15th stage, in the heart of the Pyrenees and close to the Basque
country, a crowd of about 200 Basque fans disturbed the otherwise peaceful
party and threw stones at several vehicles of the Tour caravan, damaging
more than one. The Spanish public television TVE, who had one vehicle
vandalised, have filed a police report.
The Tour de France organisation has also repeatedly reminded cycling
supporters that running beside the climbing riders can be dangerous for
the athletes, for the accompanying vehicles as well as for the fans themselves.
Nevertheless, an accident occurred on Sunday afternoon involving an overly
excited spectator and a TV motorbike. The man ran beside Oscar Pereiro
and George Hincapie in the stage finale, then stopped, not noticing that
the TV motorbike was right behind him. The pilot braked, and the cameraman
jumped off the bike as it fell down on top the fan. In the evening, it
was not yet known if any of the involved suffered injuries.
After the stage, there was a massive traffic jam on the Pla d'Adet with
the narrow mountain road blocked by three accidents, and the traffic not
moving at all.
Intermediate prize money check
The Tour de France organisation has issued its classification of prize
money in the end of stage 15. Discovery Channel leads the list with €52,330
of remuneration up until now, followed by Rabobank (€49,820), T-Mobile
(€49,540), Crédit Agricole (€37,900) and Gerolsteiner (€37,160).
The ranking continues with Davitamon-Lotto, CSC, Cofidis, Quick.Step,
Française des Jeux, Fassa Bortolo, Illes Balears, Phonak, Bouygues, Liquigas,
Liberty, Lampre-Caffita, Saunier Duval, AG2R and Domina Vacanze in that
order, the last team scoring a mere €3,810 up until Sunday, 17.
On the evening preceding the second rest day in Pau, the medical staff
of the Tour de France has announced the following riders to have health
Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears): Respiratory problems
Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile): Digestive troubles
Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues Telecom): Pain in left knee
Giovanni Lombardi (Team CSC): Superficial injuries on right hand side
Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas): Pain in right knee
Bram Tankink (Quick.Step): Injuries to left elbow and knee
The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions
Don't miss out at Tour time!
Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions
where up to $1 million in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your
Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
Photo ©: Trek
The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also
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offer from manufacturers, publishers and distributors.
Many of our sponsors are offering Cyclingnews readers a schwag-fest
of give-aways during the lap-around-France. The prizes on offer range from Volkswagens
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So that you don't have to go hunting around the Internet for all these goodies,
we've assembled the Cyclingnews complete
guide to Tour freebies and competitions.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)