First Edition Cycling News for July 14, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Stage 11 wrap-up
Landis in yellow...just
Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
Floyd Landis (Phonak) has taken over the maillot jaune after placing
third in the second Pyrenean stage that finished on Pla-de-Beret. Landis
was the last of a three man group that sprinted for the win, with Russian
Denis Menchov (Rabobank) taking his first ever Tour stage win ahead of
a resurgent Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Landis. Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
and Carlos Sastre (CSC) were 17 seconds back to round out the top 5.
Overnight leader Cyril Dessel (AG2R) fought valiantly to retain the yellow,
but came in at 4'45 - just eight seconds off what he needed to prevent
Landis (who gained an eight second time bonus) taking over. He is now
in second overall ahead of Menchov (at 1'01), Evans (at 1'17) and Sastre
(at 1'52). The question is now whether Landis' Phonak team will be able
to defend the jersey next week in the Alps, or whether they may let it
go in the coming stages.
The day's early break contained David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval),
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Iker Camano (Euskaltel) and Juan Antonio
Flecha (Rabobank), escaping after 31 km and building up an 8'30 lead before
the foot of the Tourmalet, where the work of AG2R pulled them back to
under 4'00 at the top. De la Fuente proved to be the strongest of the
break, and lasted until the final climb up to Pla-de-Beret. He was caught
and dropped by a group of 20 or so, while the yellow jersey group of Dessel
was chasing at a minute. Dessel eventually conceded 4'45 as the lead group
shattered to just five riders, with Menchov proving the fastest at the
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An interview with Floyd Landis
The time has come
After placing third in today's 11th
stage to Pla-de-Beret, Floyd Landis became the fifth American to don
the maillot jaune. And despite needing a new hip, he is still the
man many pick to win the Tour de France, as Hedwig Kröner reports.
Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Q: You've never won a stage at the Tour. How important is that
to you now that you have the yellow jersey?
FL: Well, the goal for our team since the start was
to win the yellow jersey, so... if we do that without winning stages,
I guess that would be fine. It's always nice to be able to win a stage
but today there was more value in working on the last climb and try to
get some time on the other guys who were dropped. So it was not my objective.
Q: Would it be correct to say that your team worked well during
the first climb, and that you sort of gave them the last climb off?
FL: The same thing than yesterday. We told most of
the guys that it wasn't necessary to have the whole team there with me,
even one guy would be enough. Probably some people misjudged the strength
of our team to think that they're all bad; today we gambled a little.
A couple of teams were very confident and did most of the work for us.
Probably we can't expect that to happen anymore, but we take it.
Q: What are your emotions in this Tour, given the hip problems
you're experiencing? You said the other day that you didn't want to miss
FL: I said I didn't want to miss anything in this
Tour; what I was referring to was that when I found out about my condition
a year and a half ago, I was told that my career won't go on forever.
I should have been aware of that anyway, but it made me think about it
more. Since then, I see things a little differently... I'm honoured to
be sitting here.
here for the full interview
No plan works for Menchov
Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Russian Denis Menchov (Rabobank) came into his own in stage 11, beating
Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis at the finish in Pla-de-Beret. The probably
winner of the 2005 Vuelta a España is now a strong candidate for the Tour
podium in Paris, as Brecht Decaluwé reports from Pla-de-Beret.
Q: Did you think you could do this, and your team could do this
DM: We left this morning thinking that we would see
what happened during the race. We knew that AG2R would work a lot and
T-Mobile as well. So it depended on the situation, if we would work or
not. In the finale, the situation was that there were three of us all
going well, so Michael made an enormous effort, and I have to thank him
Q: Was this move with Boogerd and Rasmussen on the last climb
DM: No, as I just said it depended on the race situation.
After the Portillon, as there were three of us in the group, so we talked.
Michael asked me if I was feeling well, and I said 'Yes'. So we decided
Q: It looked almost easy for you, you looked very 'tranquillo'
- can you tell us something about that?
DM: It might look easy, but it never is. The stage
was very hard, there were more than 200 kilometres. But I did feel very
well; I had great sensations in the finale. I was 'tranquillo' today;
we'll see how I go next week...
Q: Speaking about your sensations during the race - were they
the same as at the Vuelta last year? Because this climb resembled a Vuelta
climb, with Sastre there, too... And do you think this Tour will be decided
between you and Landis?
DM: No, we have to have more respect here. A part
from myself and Landis, Sastre and Evans were also really good today,
and we have to see what happens in the last week of the Tour. Today also
wasn't a climb to open up big time gaps. We will see them afterwards,
in the Alps.
Q: Before the Tour, the favourite teams were Phonak, Discovery
and T-Mobile. Now we see that Rabobank is the strongest team.
DM: Yes, I think so. I was confident that we would
come to the Tour with a very good team, and now we can see that it is
truly a great team.
Boogerd puts himself at Menchov's service
By Brecht Decaluwé in Pla-de-Beret
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Michael Boogerd rode an impressive stage, leading out Rabobank teammate
Menchov to an eventual stage win on the Pla-de-Beret. He set an aggressive
pace which caused several favourites to drop off. At the finish the Dutch
champion was very happy with his performance, but also complained about
the behaviour of the other teams.
"Until now, all those teams tried to keep their leader in front of the
bunch. That's annoying for the sprinters, because those other teams are
bothering the sprinters teams. We never did that, and then, when there's
an elite group of 21 riders, they stop riding! We were riding, but their
behaviour is frustrating me."
While the Dutch rider explained that it frustrated him, Rasmussen finished
and embraced Boogerd. "If you see that the group is reduced to twenty
men, then you just have to ride hard. When Menchov says that he's good
and you're there with three men, then you just have to work for him,"
The work of the Rabobank brought memories back of the famous US Postal
team of Lance Armstrong: "Of course it's different as Lance isn't here,"
said Boogerd. "For myself, I never did this kind of work before, and I
enjoyed a really great feeling. Actually, I think I'm quite tough, really
a toppie," Boogerd laughed.
The Dutchman is a very experienced rider, competing in his eleventh
Tour de France: "In 1998, I was very good but during the last three days
I was riding harder backwards than forwards. The last week is always very
difficult, so nothing's decided just yet. If the temperature remains 35
degrees, then one day, Boogie might be going bad as well … Paris is still
far away," he concluded with the words of the famous Joop Zoetemelk.
Gonchar's not under investigation in Italy
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Serguei Gonchar (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Although Le Monde is generally considered the paper of record
in France, yesterday's report naming T-Mobile's former maillot jaune
Serguei Gonchar's as still being under investigation by Paola Cameran,
the prosecutor of Padova, was not correct. Gonchar's and other riders
like Davide Rebellin had been under investigation for alleged evidence
of doping collected in 2003 via telephone wiretaps and video surveillance,
but Italian authorities closed the inquest in September 2005. The French
newspaper reprinted yesterday taped conversations between Gonchar and
his Liquigas-Pata team physician Dr.Enrico Lazzaro which allegedly implicated
the Ukrainian in the San Remo doping probe from 2001.
T-Mobile spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Eurosport's David Harmon
today, "We wouldn't have hired Gonchar's if he was under investigation
and we've gotten the news confirmed from Italian authorities that (Gonchar's)
was cleared of any wrongdoing in this investigation."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)