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Tour de France Cycling News for July 23, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes

Stage 19 wrap up

Guerini outfoxes breakaway companions

By Shane Stokes

Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP
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Giuseppe Guerini unleashed a perfectly-timed attack to win today's 19th stage of the Tour de France, jumping from a four man breakaway group just over a kilometre from the line in Le Puy en Velay and finishing ten seconds clear. Although the T-Mobile climbing specialist was probably the least suited to a flat finish, he surged at just the right moment to leave Sandy Casar (Francaise Des Jeux), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) behind.

These four had attacked 40 kilometres after the start in Issoire, opening up a good lead over 10 chasing riders. This second group never got organised, and while riders such as Salvatore Commesso (Lampre) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) tried on several occasions to create a smaller, more efficient group, they were unable to shake off the others. Commesso had to make do with fifth, 2'43 down, with Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team CSC) taking sixth.

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon.Lotto) led home the main bunch 4'31 down, but with maillot vert Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) hot on his heels, the Australian looks to have lost his chance of taking his third green jersey.

Race leader Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) finished safely alongside his rivals in the peloton and remains on course for a record seventh successive Tour win on Sunday. The only significant change in general classification was Pereiro's move up to 10th overall, overtaking best Frenchman Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole).

Also see:

Stage 19 full results, report & photos
Live report

Complete stage maps & profiles
Start list
Stages
News
Photos

An interview with Giuseppe Guerini

Beppe's simple plan succeeds

Giuseppe Guerini's victory in the 19th stage of the Tour de France was another one for the gregarios, the hard workers that are so essential to every team. After doing the job for his leader Jan Ullrich in the mountains, Guerini was given his own chance to get into the break today, and he took it by the horns. Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner reports from Le-Puy-en-Velay.

Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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The final move which gave Giuseppe 'Beppe' Guerini (T-Mobile) his second stage win in the Tour de France, and an Italian's 250th victory at the Tour de France, was an expected one. In the breakaway, that still led by 2'20 minutes on the next group of chasers, everyone knew that the lean Italian climber would attack before the finish so as to not risk getting outsprinted by any of his three breakaway companions - namely Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Oscar Pereiro (Phonak). And the plot worked out perfectly for the man from Bergamo (the same Italian region that brought Felice Gimondi to cycling): He attacked just before the famous flamme rouge, and the other three played poker just long enough for him to get a 10 second lead on the line.

"I've been trying to get into breakaways for some time now - today I finally succeeded," Guerini said after the stage. "During the race, I felt a little tired, but my legs were good. It was a great break. When we got to the last kilometres, I knew that Casar would beat me in the sprint, so I had to leave before the finale. Pereiro was there mainly for the General Classification, so I knew it was between Casar, Pellizotti and me. When I left, they looked at each other just a little bit too long!"

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Last standoff in Saint Etienne

By Shane Stokes

Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel)
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The race may be just two days from finishing but the stakes are nevertheless high for tomorrow's time trial in the Tour de France. Taking place on a tough 55 kilometre course in and around Saint Etienne, the big guns will be motivated to pull out their best possible performances.

Barring accident or serious mechanical problems, Lance Armstrong is too far ahead of his rivals to lose the Tour, but the proud Texan has yet to win a stage of the race. He's taken the final time trial five out of the past six years and will be aiming to do so again. Only five riders have won the Tour without winning a stage, namely Greg LeMond (1990), Lucien Aimar (1966), Gastone Nencini (1960), Roger Walkowiak (1956) and Firmin Lambot (1922), and while the Discovery Channel rider has made a habit out of joining or surpassing others in the Tour record books, this is one statistic that he'd gladly turn down.

Most likely to get in Armstrong's way tomorrow is Jan Ullrich, who finished 1'01 back in last year's final time trial and just 0'25 down in 2000. The former world TT champion is looking stronger as the Tour goes on and while he's lost the war, winning this final battle against Armstrong will be a small but significant act of defiance.

Ullrich has the additional - and considerable - motivation of a podium place to aim for. Last year was the first time he ever finished outside the first three and he's no intention of doing that again. Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen is currently third overall but the King of the Mountains leader has no pedigree in races against the clock. He lost 5'15 to Ullrich last year over the same distance of 55 kilometres, and on the opening stage of this year's Tour conceded 2'06 in just 19 kilometres. Rasmussen has said that for the first time in his career he is psyched to ride well in a time trial, but transforming his physical capabilities by the amount needed to maintain his 2'12 lead is unlikely, to say the least.

Ivan Basso (CSC)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Ivan Basso has a comfortable buffer of 3'12 over Ullrich and it would take a disaster for the CSC rider to lose his second place overall. He finished 1'49 behind the German twelve months ago but has improved against the clock since, as evidenced by his good performances against the clock in this year's Giro. As the maillot jaune said yesterday, the final podium does indeed look like being Armstrong, Basso and Ullrich in Paris.

Floyd Landis (Phonak) and Bobby Julich (Team CSC) were fourth and fifth in last year's time trial and will each aim for another strong showing. Julich's motivation is for a high stage result, while Landis is engaged in a three way scrap for 7th place. Cadel Evans (Davitamon.Lotto) currently occupies that slot but with Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) just 0'22 adrift and Landis 0'53 down, a shuffling of their placings is very possible. Further up the GC, Francisco Mancebo's fifth place is under serious threat by Levi Leipheimer, with just 1'04 separating the Illes Balears climber from the Gerolsteiner all-rounder.

Oscar Pereiro's fourth place on today's stage saw him overtake Christophe Moreau in the general classification. Although the Frenchman was tenth this morning, his Credit Agricole team didn't see fit to protect that placing, starting their chase way too late to make a difference. Moreau is now 0'36 adrift of the Phonak rider but will be encouraged by the fact that he was 16 seconds quicker over 19 kilometres on day one of this year's Tour. Pereiro was off the front for most of today's stage and that too will favour Moreau.

Of those further down in GC, riders such as George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) and Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) will be aiming to crack the top ten. Brad McGee (Française Des Jeux) has the ability to also post a decent time, but this is totally dependant on how he has recovered from the injury and fatigue which hampered him over the past two weeks.

Ullrich wants podium and stage win

Der Jan
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Jan Ullrich, who was very happy about his teammate's stage win today, has declared that he wants to ride for victory in tomorrow's time trial, as well as for an overall podium placing. "This time trial should suit me," he wrote on his personal website, JanUllrich.de. "It's hard, but there are parts where you have to be a strong rouleur. That should be an advantage for me especially against Rasmussen, who hasn't made particularly strong appearances in time trials. There is a chance of me getting on the podium, but I also want to go for the win on that stage."

Meanwhile, T-Mobile's directeur sportif Mario Kummer does not want to underestimate the Dane's capacities. "We've seen that he's going strong, and it's also one of the most difficult time trial in recent years because of that hilly terrain," he concluded. The wearer of the mountains jersey will set out on the course around St. Etienne at 16.16 pm CET, just three minutes after Ullrich.

Medical communiqué

After the last stage preceding the closing time trial in St Etienne, the following riders were experiencing some health problems and had seen the Tour doctor, Gérard Porte, about them.

Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi): Ongoing pain in left hip (the same rider was fined for having held on to a bidon at the team's car four times)
Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto): Digestive troubles
Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner): Ophtalmological problem
Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R): Pain in right knee
Iker Camano (Euskaltel-Euskadi): Pain in right leg

Tour coming to Belgium in 2007

Speaking on Belgian television, the Flemish prime minister Yves Leterne said that the Tour de France would feature two or three stages in Belgium in 2007. "By September or October everything will become finalised, but I can say that the Tour will certainly come to Flanders. Six or seven municipalities have submitted their candidacy to the Société du Tour de France."

According to Leterne, Middelkerke, Kortrijk, Waregem, Bilzen and Werchter have the greatest prospect of attracting the Tour. Before then, the Tour may also pass through Belgium when the race goes from Strasbourg to Limburg next year.

British cycling fans are hoping that the Tour de France will begin in London in 2007. Today's news does not rule this out, as the race could begin in the UK and then travel to Belgium via the Channel tunnel.

Further ahead, Utrecht (The Netherlands) is listed as possible Tour start in 2008 or 2009.

Untitled Document

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 eyeballs. Woof!

Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
Photo ©: Trek
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The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also a great opportunity to win an incredible range of prizes and competitions on 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 and vaccuum cleaners through to trips to Paris for the 2006 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Cervelo, and Avanti.

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.

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