Tour de France Cycling News for July 26, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Sabine Sunderland
Leipheimer disappointed at rules confusion
...but satisfied with his Tour
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris
Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
Cyclingnews spoke to Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer after the
2005 Tour de France, where he was ticked off to lose his 5th place on
GC (effectively €19,000 in prizemoney) to crazy Kazakhi Alexandre
Vinokourov, who moved ahead of Levi after gaining 0'20 from the stage
win time bonus yesterday in Paris. But Leipheimer, like many riders in
the peloton, was informed that because the slippery final circuits of
the Champs Elysées were neutralized by the race officials, no time bonuses
would be awarded at the finish. "That's what we heard from our team, that
the circuits were neutralized and no time bonuses would be awarded. It
was a big surprise to me," he said.
Leipheimer was able to damp his disappointment by looking at the big
picture as we asked the Santa Rosa, California based pro about his third
top 10 finish in the Tour De France. Leipheimer rode a smart race in this
year's Tour and when Cyclingnews asked him about how he managed
his efforts, he explained, "That's my style of racing. I ride that way
just to achieve the highest place and hopefully the day will come when
I can ride that way and even do a little bit more. Maybe even win a stage."
We asked Leipheimer what his ambitions are for the 2006 Tour, and he
was optimistic. "With the big chief out of the way, the race is a bit
more open, but I don't think it's going to be as chaotic as some people
are saying. CSC and T-Mobile will have responsibilities and there are
always teams that are willing to control the race. So there's that element
and you're not going to see somebody win the next Tour because they go
away on a flat stage of the Tour and gain a half-hour. That being said,
there's now maybe more riders that are capable of winning the Tour. You
never know, I could be in that category."
Top 10 time: Floyd makes the grade
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris
After he completed his fourth Grande Boucle yesterday, Floyd Landis
explained to Cyclingnews that he was happy with his race, as he
ended up 9th overall at 12'44 from Lance Armstrong. "I was happy with
my final time trial
on Saturday, based on all the energy I spent trying to stay in the front
during the Tour. And I'm pretty satisfied with where I finished. Being
in the top ten was an objective before the Tour, and looking back on the
way things went, I'm happy with it. I think I did everything I had to
and I learned some things and I'll go from here. I had some good days
and some not so good days, but no terrible days."
As for his supposed conflict with Lance Armstrong, Floyd wanted to clarify
things: "I think my comments from L'Equipe [about Armstrong being
more about business than friendship] were taken out of context or misunderstood...first
of all, I just want to thank Lance and Johan and the team for everything
they did for me. That's it."
Landis didn't take offense at Armstrong's comments that even though
he would not be racing any more, his Discovery Channel team would still
ride against Floyd. "It's the same feeling in the peloton. We're all impressed
with what he's accomplished winning seven Tours. I was there for three
of them and it seemed miraculous. How he could do it seven times is beyond
me! He deserves it and congratulations to him. That's what everyone wants
to say to Lance."
We asked Landis what's next for him in the 2005 season and the Phonak
rider told us, "I'm going back to California for a while to rest and recover
after the Tour. I'm happy about that. In September, I think I'll do the
Vuelta (a España) again. I like the race a lot and it's less stressful
than the Tour; not the racing part, but the rest of it."
Fast Freddy finishes fine
Rodriguez looking towards World's
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris
We caught up with Fred Rodriguez, a.k.a. Fast Freddy, purveyor of fine
coffee. The three-time USPRO champ told Cyclingnews about the Davitamon-Lotto
team's final stage game plan: "We were going for a stage win on the Champs
Elysées and if went as planned, there's a good chance we would have gotten
a win for Robbie. But it didn't work out that way, and it ended up kind
of weird, because (Davitamon-Lotto) thought that the bonuses were taken
away on the final circuits. That's what they told us on our race radio."
Like many riders in this fastest-ever Tour De France, Rodriguez suffered
from gut-rot in the last few stages, but still made it to Paris. "We still
got three stage wins for Robbie and that was satisfied with that," he
We asked the soon father-to-be how his very pregnant wife Annie was
holding up in the Bay Area. "She wishes she was here at the Tour; she
loves the finish here!" Fred and Annie are expecting a baby boy next month
and then Rodriguez is looking forward to the rest of the 2005 season,
telling Cyclingnews, "My program is focused on the World Championship,
so I'll do Hamburg (HEW Cyclassics), the Tour of Poland and then World's.
It's a good course for me at the World's."
Boonen comments on the final stage
Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
The sidelined Quick.Step sprinter Tom Boonen
spoke on Sporza's post-Tour show on Sunday evening about the final
stage. "The weather made the stage today dangerous," said Boonen,
who also commented on his compatriot Philippe Gilbert's pre-Champs Elysées
attack, which was chased down by the Discovery Channel team. "Philippe
Gilbert likes to attack and that's OK, but what he did today was quite
inappropriate I think. Well, I wouldn't have done it anyway. It's violating
the unwritten laws of respect in cycling. If he had attacked once they
reached the Champs Elysées, no-one would have had problem with that."
Boonen paid tribute to the aggressive Kazakh national champion Alexandre
Vinokourov (T-Mobile), who defied the sprinters to win the final stage.
Boonen himself won this stage last year. "It was nice seeing Vino win
today," said Boonen. He's one of the greatest riders in the peloton, very
classy. It feels different to win that last stage on the Champs Elysées.
It's special because you have gotten through three tough weeks of racing.
You are happy you got to Paris to start with, and then win, that's fantastic."
As for the overall winner, Boonen, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong,
said, "Lance is a complicated man. No great champion is an easy person.
He's super focused and dedicated. It's true we had some heated emails
going back and forth when I left the team. But it's characteristic for
Lance to have forgotten about that quite quickly. Now, we chat again like
we used to; just small talk, about cars and things.
Photo ©: Sirotti
"Lance had already done so much more than what anyone did at a young
age; he was World Champion in his early twenties. He's always been there
before his illness. After beating cancer he just became stronger, he is
now 12 kilos lighter then when he started his career!"
Unfortunately, "Tornado Tom" was unable to contest the green jersey
in Paris, as he pulled out of the Tour before Stage 12. "To have to leave
the Tour injured was very painful for me, in every way. I was in a foul
mood the day after. I didn't think too much about the lost chance for
green and stuff; it was no use anyway. I was just worrying about my knee.
But once that started getting better again; I stopped being grumpy, the
Tour was already far behind me at that stage.
"I'm now going to prepare for the World Championships, and I don't think
that riding seven stages less than planned in the Tour will make much
of a difference there."
Rabobank satisfied with Tour
Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
The Rabobank team will be leaving Paris with The polka-dot jersey, two
stage wins, and a top ten GC ranking. But just like all other riders,
the Rabobank men are happy that the last stage of the Tour de France is
over and done with.
Erik Dekker was quoted on the Rabobank website: "Especially when the
fatigue starts coming into play you're happy the end is near. And you
miss your wife and children. But it's been a great Tour. It was new to
us to race for classement and the climbers' jersey. But I have to say
it was really motivating. Especially when you're going through a rough
patch, that's what keeps you going.
"The last stage was dangerous. Thank God the roads dried after a few
laps. I changed wheel three times and let some air out of the tires to
get more grip.
"Vino's win today was a deserved one. He went for the fifth place in
GC and Leipheimer had a busy day because of him. I kept in his vicinity,
but the last three kilometres it was impossible to stay on his wheel.
I came as close as five metres, but then unfortunately I had to let him
Michael Boogerd also was happy to see his family again after the finish.
"I missed my son greatly and I'm so happy to hold him in my arms again;
that's only natural. I got through the Tour well and feel ok. The last
few days I have been a bit under the weather, but now I'm better again."
Tour debutant Pieter Weening thought his first ride on the Champs Elysées
"had something special...When you are getting close, you hear the people
cheering. I suffered on those wet cobbles; they went across them in a
high speed. First we took it easy because of the bad weather, then I had
the time to enjoy the ride."
Team Director Erik Breukink could look back and smile: "We won the polka-dot
jersey; Weening won a stage, Rasmussen won a stage...and in a very nice
way, greatly deserved. The young riders were strong throughout the tour.
We kept a close eye on them at the beginning of the year and saw they
were ready. When you see the manner in which Weening won his stage, that's
fantastic. Posthuma hasn't had any problems either.
"The first week we had to do it in the breaks. Dekker and Kroon both
had the mountain jersey because of those. We wanted Rasmussen to keep
the jersey so they had to sprint for the points too. The time trial yesterday
was a dramatic day, and we'll try to forget it as quickly as possible.
It's no use crying over spilled milk.
"The fact that Menchov got sick meant that he was out for a top GC ranking
pretty quickly. Try to get back when you came to the Tour to play with
the big guns in the mountains! But he worked hard for Rasmussen and made
it all the way to the finish. We had three highs: two stage wins and the
polka dot jersey, and that's just fine"
Cauberg in 2006 Tour
Next year's edition of the Your de France will feature a stage finish
atop the legendary Cauberg in The Netherlands, according to Gazet van
Antwerpen. The climb, which has also been used in World Championships
and in the Amstel Gold Race, suits powerful but light riders like Davide
Rebellin, Danilo Di Luca, Alexandre Vinokourov and Michael Boogerd, and
will definitely not favour the sprinters.
The last time that The Netherlands hosted the Tour was in 1996, when
the prologue was in Den Bosch. Next year's Tour will also visit Belgium
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
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.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)