First Edition Cycling News for July 15, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Stage 12 wrap-up
Popovych gives Discovery a bonus
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) has won the 12th stage of the
Tour de France in Carcassonne, giving his embattled team cause to celebrate
after losing out on the general classification so far. Popovych was the
best of a four man break that escaped after 100 km, leaving the other
three behind with a strong attack at 3 km to go. Alessandro Ballan (Lampre)
finished second at 27 seconds, leading home Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and
Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole). The bunch came in at 4'25 with
Tom Boonen finally outsprinting Robbie McEwen for fifth.
The Quatorze Julliet stage was marked by a very aggressive start,
with a large breakaway of 15 going clear on the Col des Ares after 25
km. The break included Bennati, Hincapie, Voigt, Hushovd, Pereiro, Moncoutié,
Guerini, Millar, and Rasmussen, but was never able to get more than 1'10
due to the presence of green jersey threat Bennati. Davitamon-Lotto and
FDJ combined to chase it down at km 94, and that paved the way for a classic
counter move by Popovych, Freire, Ballan and Le Mevel. The break was not
too dangerous to Landis and Phonak, and it gained no more than 4'45 on
the fast run in to the finish.
Popovych initiated the attacking with 8 km to go, and after Ballan did
most of the chasing, he was eventually able to get clear at 3 km to go.
Freire seemed too tired to close the gap, and contented himself with third.
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An interview with Yaroslav Popovych
Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych revived Discovery Channel's fortunes by winning
the 12th stage into
blazing hot Carcassonne. Popo got into the winning break of four after
100 km, and attacked them with three kilometres left to win the stage
alone. Brecht Decaluwé reports from Carcassonne.
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Q: The outcome of yesterday's stage wasn't so good for your team.
What are your thoughts on this?
Yaroslav Popovych: It was a hard day, but that's
just something that can happen. But from now on, the whole team will try
to give all they have in the stages that are left.
Q: What did Johan Bruyneel say to you and the other riders after
YP: Yesterday he didn't say anything because it was
already very late. We had a meeting this morning where he said that another
Tour is starting for us, from now on. We had to react, and I think we
that pretty well today. At first we didn't have anybody in the first escape,
but we chased to catch them. Afterwards, Hincapie was in the second break
and I was in the next one.
Q: You're a bit closer in GC now, do you think you still have
you chances for a podium in Paris?
YP: We'll have to see what happens in the next stages.
If I'm still as bad in the Alps as I was in the Pyrenees, then of course,
I don't have a chance. There's still a long way to Paris.
here for the full interview
Bruyneel remotivates Discovery
By Brecht Decaluwé in Carcassonne
Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel knew that his riders were
disappointed after yesterday's stage. He had to come up with a different
message than that he would usually give out to his boys.
"I said this morning, 'Boys, you're all good riders," said Bruyneel.
"We've come to this Tour de France with different ambitions and we are
used to riding in another way. But for me there's no reason to believe
that a good bike rider, who's in good health and who's motivated, can't
win a stage. There's a lot of other riders who won stages, who are only
half as good as you.'
"The boys really understood the message and they did it today, I'm very
proud about that. I'm especially happy about how they worked during the
stage. Hincapie tried to get into every break until he didn't have anything
left in his body. Later on, Popo got into the right escape."
Lance is visiting the Tour de France in Gap, but has been keeping an
eye on the Discovery team in the meantime. "Lance is following the race
and we spoke each other yesterday. Today, during the final, he sent a
message saying that he was very happy. He said that the best response
after a disappointment, is an attack and a victory."
It almost seems impossible to believe that there's no-one left in Bruyneel's
team who can compete for the general classification. "We need to be realistic,
as there are too many guys ahead of us in the GC. We don't want to fight
for an eighth place in GC, so we're fighting for stage wins from now on.
We don't want to leave this Tour de France in a bad mood."
No regrets for AG2R after stage 11
By Hedwig Kröner in Carcassonne
Cyril Dessel (AG2R)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Leg-breaking stage 11
created a new hero of the Tour de France in Pla-de-Beret on Thursday,
but also a big disappointment. After five intense mountains of racing,
American Floyd Landis slipped into the Yellow jersey: in the end, eight
bonus seconds brought about the desired GC lead which Frenchman Cyril
Dessel had tried to defend so bravely. The AG2R rider crossed the finish
line exactly 4'45 behind Landis, which would have been enough were it
not for the time bonuses in the summit finishes.
Cyclingnews asked teammate Stéphane Goubert in Luchon on the
next day how Dessel and his team felt after losing the jersey. "The team
fought hard to defend it, so we don't regret anything," said 'Goubi'.
"We lost the jersey regularly, 'ŕ la pédale', so there are no regrets.
Of course, there is a little bitter aftertaste, as we would have liked
to keep it a little longer... But the race decided otherwise, and you
can't reproach anyone for anything."
Rather than letting their heads hang down, the squad decided to look
at the bright side of life, and at their already good achievements in
this Tour. "Cyril was disappointed for the team, for the work it had done
for him," Goubert said. "He gave everything, just like the team. But last
night, we weren't sad or anything, rather happy about our day. At least,
we had one day in yellow, and that was fantastic."
Fight over the polkadot jersey: to be continued
By Hedwig Kröner in Carcassonne
The first mountain stage of this year's Tour de France not only saw
the yellow jersey change possession, but also an exciting battle for the
polkadotted garment. Before the overall contenders fought it out for the
stage win in Pla-de-Beret, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and David de
la Fuente (Saunier Duval) showed a very competitive spirit in the Pyrenees.
The two riders went off in the first of the five climbs of the day,
the Tourmalet. And their duel continued until the penultimate ascent -
sometimes to the advantage of the German, sometimes to the one of the
Spaniard. Finally, De la Fuente took the best of Wegmann by placing one
impressive attack on the Col du Portillon, practically sprinting.
After all of these efforts, the Gerolsteiner rider was feeling tired
at the start of stage 12 in Luchon, but he was sure the battle between
himself and David de la Fuente would continue. "I was a little too gullible
yesterday," he said. "And he was a bit smarter. He waited a long time
to attack, and always played like he was suffering a lot. And then, in
the final, he showed what he was really up to... I was pretty p***ed off.
"The game between us was on; both of us really wanted that jersey,"
he explained the ongoing duel. "You don't give anything away like that.
And I'm sure that the fight will continue - maybe not today, but one of
The leader of the polkadot jersey independently shared his opinion.
"Wegmann and Dessel, who is now second on the classification, will surely
try to fight over the points jersey with me," he said. "But I think I
will keep it until the Alps. I'm very tired today but I will have recuperated
then I hope."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)