Tour de France Cycling News for July 4, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson, John Kenny, Anthony Tan and Jeff Jones
Stage 2 wrap-up
McEwen best of the sprinters in Esch
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: AFP
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) has wasted little time in claiming a
stage win in the 2006 Tour de France, winning another hectic sprint in
Esch-sur-Alzette ahead of Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) and Thor Hushovd (Credit
Agricole). The latter was on McEwen's wheel as they made the final dash
to the line, but clicked out of his pedal when he bumped into McEwen,
and ended up freewheeling across the finish. Nevertheless, he claimed
enough time back to take the maillot jaune from George Hincapie.
The 228 km stage starting in Obernai again saw the first break of the day succeed:
Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval)
took off after 1 km and were not seen again for some time. The pair already
had 11'20 after 31 km before first Discovery, then Quick.Step, Davitamon
and Credit Agricole came to the front to control the gap. De la Fuente
was the strongest, and dropped his companion on the Côte de Kédange-sur-Canner
with 40 km to go in a bid to take a solo win. But he was caught by a flying
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) on the Côte de Kanfen at 16 km to go, and
his day in front was finished.
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Wegmann continued until 7 km left, then Calzati, Kopp, and finally Kessler
all tried to break clear. The latter survived in front until 250m to go,
when the sprinters caught him. McEwen had the advantage in the lead out,
and kept it all the way to the line, comfortably holding off Boonen and
Click here for the Full
results, report & photos, live
report and video
from stage 2.
An interview with Robbie McEwen
Boom-boom Becker? No. Boom-boom Boonen? No. Boom-boom McEwen? Yeah!
Monday, July 3 marked Australian sprint king Robbie McEwen's ninth
Tour de France stage victory. Less than half an hour elapsed since
taking the stage win before the Davitamon-Lotto rider was at the winner's
press conference - but as Brecht Decaluwé found out, he's already
looking for more!
Q: This is your ninth victory; has this victory a special meaning
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Robbie McEwen: Every stage you win in the Tour de
France is special. This is the last one, but I remember every single one
of them in a different way. Today is a very special one, because it's
the most recent one.
Every year you have to prove yourself again and again. And you can't
forget the fact that I've just turned 34, they often say that when sprinters
get older, they get slower. I haven't slowed down yet, so that's a good
sign. The stage was nice because, the way the team worked very well together.
It was a very tough final with those small hills. I survived the stage
very well and had plenty of speed. I think that what makes it special
is that every year you start with a big zero on the scoreboard. You have
to come here and you have to score. There's that pressure to get that
stage win; now I've got it and that takes a bit pressure away. We can
go for more!
Q: What happened in the sprint with Hushovd?
RM: I've already spoken with Thor since the finish.
Thor and I already watched to the video together. Thor came with his front
wheel against my left foot.
When I look to the video and what I remember of the sprint, I started
on the wheel of O'Grady and he was behind Zabel. Then I went passed both
of them. Because O'Grady passed Zabel on his left, I needed to go even
more to the left. From there I road a direct line to the finish line as
the road curbed just a little bit to the right. With about hundred metres
to go I felt something against my foot and I pulled back to the right.
That proved to be Hushovd. We're still friends, no problem.
here for the full interview
An interview with Wilfried Cretskens
A catch-up with Cretskens
Catching up with soon to be Cyclingnews diarist Wilfried Cretskens
straight after his prologue last Saturday, Brecht Decaluwé found
the room-mate of world champion Tom Boonen is no longer his room-mate
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Cyclingnews: Wilfried, you were the tenth rider to start the prologue;
twelve riders have already finished and still you're the slowest rider,
but I guess that doesn't bother you?
Wilfried Cretskens: No, that doesn't bother me at
all, because I know what's on my plate for the next days; that's more
important. Today we have other men who need to set a sharp time. The next
days, it's up to me to bring those guys to the finish as good as possible.
CN: Do you put in an effort for such a prologue, because you know
you've got nothing to win or lose?
WC: When a rider says that he's riding around at 50
percent, then that's bullshit; you always need to ride at your maximum.
We've had a few easy days behind us, so you know you need to open up the
gas, to be ready for the coming stages.
CN: What's the course like? Will you be able to give some information
WC: At first sight, it looks very easy, very smooth;
but that isn't the case. Also, you think the wind is blowing in the wrong
way; but that's also wrong. I'll tell Tom [Boonen] that he shouldn't start
too fast, but not too slow either. You've got to make the right decision.
There are lots of corners which you can take on high speeds. So you need
a combination of concentration and speed.
here for the full interview
A quick chat with George Hincapie
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Becoming the fourth American to wear the maillot jaune in Tour
de France history was a pretty special accomplishment for Discovery Channel
rider George Hincapie. After Hincapie's acquisition of the jersey on the
first stage of the Tour, Brecht Decaluwé found out what it meant
Q: Were you interesting in grabbing yellow at the start of today?
GH: Yesterday [in the prologue], I was really disappointed
to miss out on the yellow jersey by such a small margin after a great
ride. But I got beaten by a great rider. Today, I wasn't busy with winning
seconds, but when we caught the breakaway, I saw an opportunity that I
couldn't pass up.
Q: Congratulations with being the fourth American who gets the
yellow jersey. You were close in the past but in 1998 you were as close
as two seconds of grabbing yellow. Did you think about that?
GH: Those two seconds were the longest in my career...
that was so hard. But I think I'm a much better cyclist than I was back
then. Today, it wasn't actually planned to sprint for the bonuses but
the opportunity arose. I worked super hard to start the Tour de France
in great shape. I'm happy to turn around the disappointment of yesterday
to a great day...
Q: How long do you intend to keep it?
GH: I'd love to keep it as long as possible, of course.
It's really up to Johan [Bruyneel], I don't know if we'll try to control
tomorrow. I don't have much time, and for me to sprint against Boonen
and Hushovd... that's not really my thing anymore, All I've been training
for is time trialling and climbing, so my sprint is slower, for sure.
But if I could keep it for another day or two, that would be great.
Q: Has this put you in the position of leader?
GH: I don't like that term leader. Those are just
words from the papers. I know what my ambitions are. I know I can take
care of myself. I'm one of the best riders in the classics, like Flanders
or Roubaix. So, for that, I can do that on my own, I don't really need
a whole team behind me. I'm sure that if the occasion arises, I will get
Everybody wants to see the replacement for Lance [Armstrong] but there's
really no replacement for Lance, and I don't know if we'll see another
Lance in our lifetime. We came here with different ambitions, we came
here with a great team; and we just want to accomplish those ambitions.
Q: There was a lot of talk about doping, but now most riders just
want to talk about cycling?
GH: Yes, I agree. We all worked hard to come here.
It was definitely an unfortunate situation what happened. We all want
a clean sport. Hopefully, we can turn that around to a positive thing.
I know that I've worked hard to be here and I just hope that I'll have
a good Tour de France. I'm not really thinking about that anymore.
Q: Major triumph today, but what about your crash in Paris-Roubaix?
GH: That was a huge shock for me. That day, I was
in a great position with a group of eight or nine guys, feeling super
good, super confident too. So, when I crashed it was a huge disappointment
for me. But when I last thought about it, I've done eleven Tour de Frances,
so to come out of that crash with only a little bump on my shoulder, I'm
pretty lucky altogether because this [sport] is just so dangerous.
Cyclingnews' enigmatic Aussie reporter John Trevorrow got
a few quick grabs with a few of the crew from Down Under as well as Thor
Hushovd at the start of the second stage in Obernai.
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
CN: Hi Cadel, how's it been so far?
A: It wasn't too bad yesterday. Pretty quiet day for
us [GC] fellas, really. We just tried to keep out of trouble. We'll just
see how today goes. I reckon some of the teams will put the pressure on
towards the finish in an attempt to get rid of Robbie on the climbs. I
guess I'll try and look after Robbie a bit. We'll see how it goes.
Michael Rogers (T-Mobile Team)
CN: Hi Mick, how's it shaping up?
A: I came here with the idea of looking after Jan
but obviously all that has changed now. We can only concentrate on the
stages ahead and do as good a Tour as we can.
I'm not going too bad; I was really happy with my prologue the other
day. It was a very positive day for me and I just have to stay out of
trouble for the next few stages. Try and conserve my energies for the
time trials and the climbs. At the moment, as things stand, Klöden and
I are co-team leaders up until the time trial and then we'll see how it
pans out from there.
Even within the team we're a bit undecided; it's been a bit of a shock
and I think it's going to take a couple of days to work out the whole
thing. It [team leadership] will be decided on the guy in the best form
- there are no lucky performances. This is a top team and all the energies
will go to looking after the best rider; whether it be me or Klöden or
someone else as team leader. I reckon we can have a good GC race.
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
Thor Hushovd looked in a spot of bother before the start. He couldn't
even sign an autograph because of his injured arm.
CN: You are obviously in a bit of pain?
A: Yes, we will see how it goes. My arm is pretty
sore. I can ride 240km, no problem, but whether I can race is a different
problem. I cannot grip too hard so we will just have to wait and see.
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
CN: You look pretty relaxed?
A: No probs. I feel great and it should be a hectic
stage. It gets a bit tough towards the end and I'm sure the pressure will
be on, but they are only cat 4 climbs so I should be able to handle it.
It looks a fast run into the finish so it should be a very quick sprint.
Gerolsteiner fighting back
By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann had to give up the polka-dot mountain jersey
on Monday, but was able during the stage to fight back and finish within
two points of escapist Manuel de la Fuente (Saunier Duval), who took the
jersey. De la Feunta gained the points in a long escape, of which Wegmann
was not a part. "I tried, and did manage to pick up a few points," he
said. "Maybe I'll try again on Tuesday to get the jersey back."
Teammate Peter Wrolich, who finished 10th, was surprised to find himself
alone at the end of the "hard, fast, long" stage. Because of a mass crash
some 2 km before the finish, he was the only Gerolsteiner in the front
group. "I was on Boonen's wheel in the finale, but waited too long," he
admitted. He isn't looking for any chances on Tuesday, though. "That will
be more something for my teammate Fabian Wegmann. I'll try again the day
T-Mobile's Azzuri and "Klinsi's boys"
Now that the Tour has finally gotten underway, Team T-Mobile might have
thought it could put its troubles behind itself and concentrate on cycling.
but it's not to be -- matters of far greater importance are threatening
to spit the seven-man Tour team, and it's all going to come to a head
That's when the tip-off of the first semi-final game of the World Cup
will happen, between Germany and Italy. And it so happens that the T-Mobile
cyclists are all fans of, you guessed it, Germany or Italy. Giuseppe Guerini
and Eddy Mazzoleni lead the Italian faction, and are joined by Mick Rogers
and Serhiy Honchar, both of whom have lived for years in Italy. The four
are "sure the Azzuri will have the upper hand in the end," writes Andreas
But he's not ready to give in so easily. "They shouldn't count their
chickens, is all I can say to that!" he declares. He, Mattias Kessler
and Patrik Sinkewitz will support the home German team, cheering "Klinsi's
boys" on. (And no doubt they will be joined by various support staff members.)
T-Mobile riders told to end Ferrari connection
Three of T-Mobile's Tour de France riders have been told to end their
association with controversial sports doctor Michele Ferrari. The team
has ordered Michael Rogers, Patrick Sinkewitz and Eddy Mazzoleni to cease
using Ferrari's services as a coach and advisor.
The move comes as part of a general tightening-up in the wake of Operacion
Puerto as teams attempt to better police their riders' training. T-Mobile
star Jan Ullrich and mountains specialist Oscar Sevilla were sent home
shortly before the Tour after their names appeared on a list of riders
associated with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes who was arrested in May
on suspicion of involvement in a large doping network.
Ferrari is not implicated in Operacion Puerto and was last year cleared
of charges of sporting fraud arising from accusations by Filippo Simeoni.
Jeff's Hot Picks for Fantasy le Tour game
Giant TCR Advanced
Photo ©: Santini
BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step
World Champion glasses
Speedplay Zero pedals
Deda Alanera handlebars
DedaTre RS Corsa clincher
Reynolds SV KOM carbon wheels
There's still time to join the Fantasy Le Tour Game. Register
your teams now and win some amazing prizes!
You can join
until stage 6 begins and there's ample time to learn how the game
works. There is
no disadvantage in joining the game once the Tour has started so try
the game out for FREE until stage 6 begins. Experiment with different
team selections and see how they fare every day live here at Cyclingnews.
Jeff's Hot Picks
We asked our very own Fantasy team expert here at Cyclingnews,
Jeff Jones, for his thoughts on this year's game:
"With so many of the favoutites out of the running I think the Tour game
is going to present some really hard choices for Fantasy Managers this
year. After my recent near prize win in the Giro game I'm not sure I want
to tell you all who I'd reccommend for this year's Tour (and yes I do
know I'm not allowed to actually win the prizes!). If I were to pick some
riders and share them with you all I'd have to include Leipheimer, Valverde
and Evans. More than that would be telling too much too soon...Good luck
The Fantasy game is a great way to get to know the Tour in more detail,
as you take on the role of being a team manager during each day of the
Tour, making the best of your team selections as the Tour unfolds stage
by stage. Depending on how the riders finish each stage in real life you
will score points for your Fantasy team to win some great prizes. You'll
get a much more intimate knowledge of the lesser seeded riders as you
watch their progress in your own teams and in other Fantasy manager's
teams each day. You'll also get a much more in depth insight into how
the riders perform over the coming weeks through the sprints and the mountains.
Remember you can change your 15 riders right up until stage 6 begins
so there is no need to worry about the recent changes to the start list.
There is plenty time to get your team right before the game closes to
The full Le Tour Fantasy Game Prize List
Grand Prize from Giant TCR Advanced T-Mobile Team bike.
Daily Prize from BBB Parts - 21 pairs of BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step
World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen.
Runner-up Prizes - Set of wheels from Reynolds. - Cirro SV KOM carbon wheels
Runner-up Prizes - Ten pairs of tyres from DedaTre.
Runner-up Prizes - Handlebars from Deda Elementi.
Runner-up Prizes - Three Giro Atmos helmets.
Runner-up Prizes - Three sets of Speedplay's Zero pedals.
Runner-up Prizes - Three fi'zi:k saddles.
Runner-up Prizes - 6 complete sets of Santini ProTour replica team kit.
Play for FREE in the Fantasy Le Tour 2006 game
Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the
game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games -
all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing
in this year's Le Tour start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race
for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of
climbers, sprinters and general classification riders.
For more details go to the rules section of the site. There're also some
great tips and tricks in the downloads and winners sections of the site. It's a great way
to follow Le Tour 2006.
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)