Tour de France Cycling News Extra for July 15, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones & Shane Stokes
McEwen: Stop racing? You gotta be taking the piss!
By John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé
Boonen and McEwen
Photo ©: Sirotti
Robbie McEwen finished sixth
in a stage where he was forced into defence more than he might have
wanted. Right from the start, the green jersey ordered his team to chase
a breakaway. "It was a very challenging day," he said. "Early on I was
in a break. Bennati went away over the top of the cat 2 early on Hushovd
went across to it and we had to use the whole team to catch it. I mean,
I can't let those guys go away down the road and take maximum points in
such a big group while I get nothing. It just wasn't an option to let
it go. Once we did catch them, my whole team was exhausted. It was a bad
moment for us when Landis and Freire were in front; I closed the gap myself
and as I got there Freire took off with other three, and there was nobody
to close it to them."
McEwen said that things went a bit strange at that point. "Suddenly
at that moment the bunch decided that while the guy third in the green
jersey competition was going down the road 10 seconds in front, it was
time for a piss. But not me, I had to try and chase him. But I couldn't
catch them and then I sat up.
Coming up on
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
"Everybody was mad at me, but I didn't care. As a result the other teams
no longer wanted to co-operate with us, so we let the group of four go.
"Whatever criticism there was about the way I rode at that moment…well,
I really couldn't give a rat's. I'm defending green, the others aren't.
They've got to understand. You can compare it to Cadel going down the
road in a breakaway and Landis pulls over for a toilet stop. It ain't
going to happen."
When asked if he was very angry about what happened, he inadvertently
used a rather relevant phrase. "It gave me the shits, to be honest."
McEwen was then asked if the energy expended today by the team might
cost them when they have to help out Evans, Davitamon Lotto's GC contender.
"Look, yesterday he went just fine in the mountains," he replied. "Look
at it this way, you have to make decisions in a race and you have to follow
a certain tactic. When it's time to do something you've got to commit
100 percent…the boys did that today and did a great job. We had to offer
everybody up. It wasn't an option to let it go. I was disappointed to
see Freire going down the road and for me it was a bad moment to choose
to chase after Landis, because then Freire took off and there was nobody
else to try and close it down. I had to watch it go down the road."
The Spaniard is one of McEwen's big rivals for green, and so it was
a dangerous moment. "It was not ideal but still not a bad situation for
me," he continued. "If Freire won the stage, I could still finish fifth
which resulted in a small loss of points. Freire finished third and I
got sixth, so it's not too bad in the end."
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Lampre-Fondital's Alessandro Ballan came close to a Tour stage win in
Carcassonne, but was unable to withstand Yaroslav Popovych's relentless
attacking in the final 8 km. Ballan finished second in the stage ahead
of Oscar Freire and Christophe Le Mevel, but Popovych took home the major
"It's a pity," said Ballan. "I'm here at the Tour aiming for a victory
and today everything was right to obtain it. In the finale, Freire and
Popovych played against me and I had to follow them several times. If
there would have been Le Mevel there, he could have helped us, but he
Lampre had some consolation with the award of the most combative rider
of the day going to Daniele Bennati, who was very active early on in the
Voigt’s aggression doesn’t pay off this time
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
CSC’s perennial attacker Jens Voigt was at it again on Friday but despite
several good efforts, including his presence in a 70 kilometre break,
he couldn’t make it work this time.
"Jens tried all he could to make the decisive break,” said CSC directeur
sportif Kim Andersen. “He made several attempts, but the groups he was
in were never allowed to get far. As it didn't appear to be our day in
the breaks, we concentrated on saving our strength and getting through
the day as painless as possible."
Voigt’s teammate Carlos Sastre remained fifth overall after the stage.
Pre-stage 12 quotes
By John Trevorrow in Luchon
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Cadel Evans (Davitamon)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Cadel Evans said he was very happy with having established a strong
position in the race hierarchy in stage 11. "I was a bit anxious beforehand,
because you don't know how it's going to pan out," he said. "But this
was a confidence booster and now I can relax a bit. I wasn't the strongest
there but I was amongst the four strongest climbers so that's a good place
to be at this stage of the race."
Reminded that he got stronger the longer he went in the mountains on
last year's Tour, in which he finished an impressive eighth on debut,
he said he hoped the same would apply this time. "We'll see what the Alps
bring next week. They're all pretty big."
Asked if he could go all the way and become the first Australian to
win the great race, he shrugged. and said he believed Landis was the man
to beat. "Ï was really impressed with him, he's riding really well," he
Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto)
Chris Horner was impressed with his teammate's ride in stage 11, telling
Cyclingnews, "Yes, that was fantastic, a great ride. We talked
about it a little bit yesterday About the two options, one that we would
take it easy and a few unimportant guys would go up the road and about
what would happen was that T Mobile would put the hammer down making the
split, Cadel just following the moves all the way. And that's what he
did, in the end he had to a little bit of work on the front with Floyd
once they got rid of Klöden, who lost a bit of time.
"It couldn't have worked out much better for us. Cadel is right up there
on GC and far enough away from the lead that we don't have to worry about
Not such a good day for T Mobile? "They put the pressure on Col du Portillon
and did a lot of damage, but it didn't work and they suffered big time
on that last mountain. I think it is one of the worst moves that T Mobile
has done next to last year when they did the same thing chasing down Vinokourov.
"How a team is that strong and can make those types of mistakes is absolutely
unbelievable at this point in time in the Tour. Let's face it, as a team
that had five guys, if not six, riding that good. Why didn't they just
wait for the race to unfold and then attack? Don't go to the front and
use up all your best men."
"I had a terrible day. I was at the limit even in the gruppetto."
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)
Hard day but a good one for you yesterday? "Yeah, I just nicked up the
road instead of sprinting and got the six points."
And today, you wouldn't mind if a break went up the road? "I'd prefer
some break to go up the road and take way the points. Once you're in the
green jersey with a 29 point lead, the obvious and best tactic is to let
the breaks go away, and to try and hold the race together today would
be almost madness. We did it once last year, stage 13, it was only five
guys and the guys had to put in such an incredible performance I don't
see it happening today. Not from us. We have a GC guy in Cadel."
You were impressed with his ride? "Well, I haven't seen anything of
it on TV but he must have been fantastic."
News Next News
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)