Tour de France Cycling News Extra for July 9, 2006
Edited by John Kenny
Contenders and pretenders sorted out in the TT
By John Trevorrow in Rennes
Michael Rogers (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans both passed the first real test of the
2006 Tour de France. The 52 kilometre time trial loop from St Gregoire
to Rennes was always going to show up the pretenders and it certainly
did. A few of the contenders fell away including Americans Levi Leipheimer
and George Hincapie, who dropped out of real contention.
But the two Aussies showed that they are still major threats. Rogers
finished fourth in the stage 1 min 24 sec behind teammate Ukrainian Serhiy
Gonchar but more importantly improved his position in the general classification
to 1 min 8 sec. With Gonchar unlikely to survive the mountain stages in
yellow, it means that Rogers is perfectly placed, only eight seconds behind
American Floyd Landis. "I started well and I can't be too disappointed.
My teammate's in the lead and I went as hard as I could I just didn't
have the strength. Live to fight another day," Rogers said.
Evans finished eleventh in the time trial and is now eighth overall at
1 min 52 sec. He is also well placed for his mountain assault in a few
days. "It all depends on how I climb I suppose. I will have a look
at how it all pans out after today but the mountains are whole different
scenario," Evans said.
George Hincapie (Discovery)
Photo ©: AFP
Stuart O'Grady managed to finish a stage without any dramas and feeling
much more confident about his chances of making it to Paris. "I felt
a lot better today. The chiropractor has been great and I'm starting to
feel about 65 instead of 80. With another couple of flat days and a rest
day before the mountains, I may just recover enough for the challenge."
Stage 7 quotes
"We started in a cross wind, rode into a head wind for a long way
and then finished with a tail wind. So you couldn't go out too hard or
you risked blowing yourself up. I didn't feel too bad as I'm not a big
fan of long time trials. Matter of fact I'm not too keen on the small
"My main aim was not to get eliminated, and I seem to have achieved
that, then to ride steady and get a bit of recovery in. I was feeling
pretty comfortable but then the boss was in the car and he started getting
a bit excited so I lifted it a bit.
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
"Tomorrow could be a real chance for a breakaway to succeed. I don't
reckon T Mobile will try to defend the jersey so it's going to be hard
for the sprinters teams to ride on the front all day. As long as we get
an AG2R rider up there I will be happy. Hopefully it will be me."
Gerrans starts a bout of coughing.
Q: Is that a touch of pursuiter's cough Simon?
SG: No, I'm still a bit crook. I wasn't too good after
the Tour of Swiss and after spending three months on antibiotics after
the accident with my shoulder, I wasn't too keen to take something to
knock it on the head straight away. It was a mistake because after a week
when it didn't clear up, I had to start them again and it didn't clear
up before the tour.
Actually I thought I had got rid of it but after the prologue it started
back up again. With all the stuff I've had to take over the last week,
I haven't been able to venture too far from the toilet. Hopefully it will
be all cleared up by the mountains.
Q: Not a bad ride Cadel?
Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
CE: I think the best riders are still to come. I was
more concerned with limiting my losses than doing anything special. It
was definitely windier when we went off later. The guys who got out early
had much better conditions. It was a better first up time trial than I
did last year.
Q: A good position to be in as we head to the mountains?
CE: It depends how I climb I suppose. I will have a look at how it all
pans out after today but the mountains are whole different scenario.
"It was really hard. Not a bad ride, a bit off the pace, I would
have liked to have done a bit better but hey, it is the Tour de France.
"I started well and I can't be too disappointed my teammate's in
the lead. I went as hard as I could. I just didn't have the strength.
Live to fight another day."
Q: There's always another time trial Mick?
MR: That's a long way away yet.
Q: Gonchar is in the lead right?
MR: Yeah, he was awesome. I was expecting big time gaps as it was a hard
time trial. As I said I'm pretty happy with my ride, I gave it everything.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)