Tour de France Cycling News Extra for July 7, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
McEwen considers Freire a threat
By Brecht Decaluwé in Caen
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Robbie McEwen finished fifth in the bunch sprint in stage
5, but with already two wins under his belt, he wasn't too unhappy.
"It wasn't such a good sprint; it doesn't work out everyday as you like,"
he said. "You win some, you lose some. You don't win every day in the
Tour de France. I've already got two wins, I'll keep trying as I have
been. Today didn't work out as planned but there's a few more chances
The Australian sprinter described what went wrong today: "We tried the
same tactic as yesterday but my lead-out Steegmans mistook the sign for
500 with the one of 200 metres to go. He went with everything just a bit
too early today.
"That left me in the front with 300 metres to go into a headwind. I didn't
want to lead out the sprint for the others, then die and end as tenth.
I waited and tried to get back in the wheels and go again."
That resulted in a place that was just enough to stay in the green jersey
by one point from Tom Boonen. And Oscar Freire is only seven points away
from McEwen. "You've got to consider everybody. He's [Freire] scored points
pretty much every day and he's capable of scoring points in some really
hard stages," said McEwen about Freire.
"There's one stage in particular in the mountains where he'll probably
survive in the bunch, or what's left of it, and he can take lots of points.
You certainly have to consider him, as the guy isn't triple world champion
Little Sam's big day out
By Brecht Decaluwé in Caen
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-Prevoyance)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
One of smallest riders in the peloton, Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R), loves
the challenge. As he isn't fast enough to beat the big guys in a bunch
sprint, he choose a different strategy yesterday:
getting into a break.
He was already in an escape of eight, but the presence of Bram Tankink
condemned the breakaway. Dumoulin didn't give in and tried again just
as the group was brought back by the bunch. He was joined by Bjrörn Schröder
for a long trip of 205 kilometres in the front, but their adventure ended
two kilometres from the finish.
"This is a great moment for me today," he said proudly. "I'm riding around
in my own region until Sunday. Once we were away, I was driven by the
encouragements of the crowd. I went flat-out to get as much publicity
as possible, for my sponsor and family, because they brought me where
I am now. This day brought me nothing but happiness."
Does this mean that he didn't believe that the breakaway could make it
to the finish? "No, we knew it would be difficult, and when we saw the
advantage was dropping, we knew it was all for nothing. We know the script
and so we got beaten, but there's nothing else we could do," the French
Being with only one other rider for most of the day makes it important
to get along: "We understood each other really well. We've been talking
and supporting each other all day long. He was stronger in the final,
but alright, he also went flat out. He was a good teammate for the day,
" Dumoulin concluded.
Schleck, Vansummeren and others crash
Three and a half kilometres before the end of stage
5, Isaac Galvez touched the wheel in front of him and brought down
several riders, including Daniele Bennati, Franck Schleck and Johan Vansummeren.
The latter told Sportwereld.be that he got out of it relatively
unharmed. "I tried to avoid the crash," he said. "Just when I stopped,
Schleck ran into me from behind. I fell over, smack on top of the Luxembourger."
It wasn't so bad for Vansummeren, but Schleck came off worse - not because
of injury, but because he ended up losing 2'07. The crash happened just
before the "safety zone" at 3 km to go, and the CSC rider therefore didn't
get bunch time.
Schleck's teammate Stuart O'Grady wrote about the stage finale in his
diary. "Things were looking bright. It was pretty fast and I was keeping
Sastre out of trouble and up the front. The boys were really moving as
we were pulling back the break. About eight ks from the finish we came
into this roundabout and I punctured. We were doing warp speed and the
tyre rolled off the rim. I felt like Mick Doohan as the bike kicked sideways
and I had to ride it like a bucking bronco. Maybe that number 13 is not
so bad as I was lucky to hold it upright.
"After that I was just coming back onto the back of the convoy when
I came across another crash and my team-mate Frank Schleck crashed, so
I waited for him and tried to help him out."
Gerolsteiner had its share of problems yesterday, starting with a bus
that wouldn't start. The battery "went on strike", as Fabian Wegmann put
it. And where do cyclists change their clothes when there is no bus or
dressing room around? Well, right there, wherever they are. "So we had
to change clothes right there on the street. That surprised some of the
fans looking on!", he wrote at www.fabianwegmann.de. "Most of the
other riders didn't make fun of us - they've probably all been in that
situation before, too."
The bus was working again by the end of the race, but Peter Wrolich
may have had a problem sitting down in it. He got caught in the crash
3.5 km before the finish line. As he described it, "Isaac Galvez hit Boonen's
rear tire and took me and Bennati with him. I had no chance to avoid the
crash. Fortunately I suffered nothing but scrapes and bruises."
What he doesn't say is where he received those wounds - but you can
always depend on a teammate to expose your most intimate secrets: "He
got some really incredible scrapes, on his most honourable part: his bottom,"
said Wegmann, who also notes that the Austrian was able to joke about
it on his way back to the hotel after the stage.
Fisticuffs over mountain points?
The duel over winning the polka-dot jersey for the best mountain climber
may be more intense than expected. That the riders fight it out on their
bikes is normal, but they don't usually literally fight it out while on
their bikes. According to CSC's Jens Voigt, that's exactly what happened
The two who got it on yesterday without boxing gloves were Walter Beneteau
of Bouygues Telecom, whose teammate Jêrome Pineau is leading the mountains
classification and Saunier Duval's David de la Fuente, who is second in
the rankings. The two mixed it up previously, being fined for "irregular
behaviour" on Wednesday.
Writing on www.sports1.de, Voigt described the scene this way:
"Today the two were riding next to each other and all of a sudden, the
Spaniard hits Beneteau full in the face! It was really loud, just like
in a boxing match! Beneteau's helmet and glasses practically flew off
his head! He swerved, because of course he hadn't been expecting anything
"Behind them everyone was shouting, 'Hey, are you crazy? If you're going
to fight, go to the side of the road! Leave us out of your problems!'
Beneteau didn't blink an eye but went directly to the commissaire. I think,
that they will throw de la Fuente out of the race."
Fabio Sacchi (Milram) will not start today's stage six in Lisieux. The
Italian has been suffering from bad bronchitis in the last few days, and
has had difficulty breathing according to his team. Sacchi made the decision
to pull out in agreement with team doctor Claudio Sprenger and directeurs
sportifs Claudio Algeri and Jan Schaffrath.
Jaksche's doctor: drug use common
German doctor Kurt Moosburger, who has looked after Jörg Jaksche (among
others) for the past two years, has told dpa that he believes that
performance enhancing drugs are "indispensable" for high level
In a frank interview, Moosburger pointed to the average speeds of modern
professional races, especially hard tours. "The average in last year's
Tour was 41 kilometres per hour - that is incredible. You can do a hard
Alpine stage without doping. But after that, the muscles are exhausted.
You need - depending on your training conditions - up to three days in
order to regenerate."
To help recover, testosterone and human growth hormone can be used.
"Both are made by the body and are therefore natural substances," he said.
"They help to build muscle as well as in muscle recovery."
Dr Moosburger explained how it was done. "You put a standard testosterone
patch that is used for male hormone replacement therapy on your scrotum
and leave it there for about six hours. The small dose is not sufficient
to produce a positive urine result in the doping test, but the body actually
Dr Moosburger went onto explain that, "The supply of oxygen to the blood
decides what the body is capable of in terms of fat- and carbohydrate
metabolism. This capacity is mostly genetically determined.The muscles
of athletes who are able to reach the top level of sport can carry about
60 millilitres per kilo per minute in an untrained condition. That of
an average person is only about 40 millilitres per kilo. In order to be
able to keep up with the world's best, it must be 85 to 90 millilitres.
EPO helps oxygen carrying capacity, and has long been the performance
enhancing drug of choice in endurance sports. "It enables you to hold
the haematocrit of the blood in the upper level of what's allowed for
the whole season. Before the EPO test, for example, athletes injected
4000 units three times per week. Now they inject a small dose almost daily."
Finally, in the opinion of Dr Moosburger, blood doping via transfusion
would give an athlete a five percent boost for two to three weeks. "And
therefore can last for a grand tour."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)