Tour de France Cycling News Extra for July 16, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
Stage 13 wrap-up
Pereiro takes yellow; Voigt rewarded at last
Jens Voigt (CSC)
Photo ©: AFP
The longest and hottest stage of the Tour was also one of the strangest,
as Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) took over the maillot jaune
from Floyd Landis despite starting the day 28'50 behind the American rider.
Pereiro was second in the stage behind Jens Voigt (CSC), who rode a great
final kilometre to win ahead of the Spaniard. The pair were part of a
break of five that escaped after only 23 km, and were half an hour ahead
of the peloton at the finish. That time gap was enough to put Pereiro
"This totally saves my Tour de France – yeah, in fact my whole season.
I'm completely ecstatic and I almost feel like I could do the stage all
over again," said Voigt.
"It was a great day for us. This was just what we needed – now we can
start to have fun," said Bjarne Riis after the stage. "Both Jens and the
team really deserve this and it definitely does wonders for the morale.
The full composition of the break was Voigt, Pereiro, Sylvain Chavanel
(Cofidis), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), and Andriy Grivko (Milram). Once
they got clear, Phonak set tempo and no other team seemed to be concerned
with chasing them. Thus, the gap kept growing. Grivko was the first to
be dropped when he attacked and blew himself up on a climb with 25 km
to go. Then in the last 4 km, Pereiro and Voigt got away from Chavanel
and Quinziato. In the last kilometre, Voigt tried a pre-emptive attack
at 800m to go, which failed, but then wound it up at 100m out to successfully
hold off Pereiro. Chavanel was third at 40 seconds, while McEwen won the
bunch sprint for sixth and increased his lead in the green jersey competition.
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Landis and his team didn't seem too concerned about holding the maillot
jaune today, as they can now hand the pressure onto Caisse d'Epargne
for a few days, without really threatening Landis' chances. Pereiro only
has 1'29 on Floyd, and it's unlikely that he'll hold that after the first
Click here for the full
results, report & photos, live
report, and video.
An interview with Jens Voigt
"Oh no, not me again!"
Jens Voigt has been on the attack almost every day in the past week,
but today on the way to Montélimar was the first time it actually worked.
Voigt won the 13th stage
from Oscar Pereiro after a 200+ km breakaway, and all the suffering in
the past couple of weeks has finally paid off. Brecht Decaluwé reports
from the finish.
A happy Jensy
Photo ©: Sirotti
Q: Did you think you were the best rider in that group?
JV: Maybe it wasn't me who had the best legs in that
break. But maybe you could say that if I won today, it might have been
that I was the one rider who was most desperate for a win.
Q: Is that on your own behalf or on that of the team?
JV: Of course I wasn't only winning for myself, but
also for the team. All these crashes and explanations on why I finished
last in the time trial... Now I can say, 'I saved this energy for today!'
But I also won for my team. We only have six riders left in the race,
and out of the six, four have already crashed. So we only have two riders
left who have not yet crashed. There was a lot of bad luck, and we just
tried to keep the morale up. We had a good day in the mountains with Carlos
Sastre and Fränk Schleck, and today, we have this stage win which I think
is going to take a lot of pressure off us.
here for the full interview
An interview with Oscar Pereiro
Expect the unexpected
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) was slightly disappointed to miss out
on the stage win today in Montélimar,
but received an unexpected reward when Phonak slowed down the peloton
so much that he jumped from 46th to 1st in the general classification.
Hedwig Kröner was there when the new maillot jaune spoke
about his achievement.
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Q: Did you expect this to happen; was this premeditated?
OP: No, I was surprised to be in this situation!
When I got into the breakaway, I didn't think about finding myself wearing
the yellow jersey in the evening! During the stage, I realized that this
was a possibility, when we saw the gap get bigger and bigger. But it's
definitely a surprise to me.
Q: What did you talk about with Voigt in the last kilometres;
was it to leave the stage win to him?
OP: No, not at all. We did talk before within the
break, and agreed that if I was certain to get the yellow jersey, I wouldn't
go for the stage win - if we would have been at 30 minutes within the
last 5 kilometres. But then, we only had an advantage of about 27 minutes,
so I told him that I was sorry, that I wanted to go for the stage as well,
as there was a risk of not winning anything for me.
here for the full interview
It's show time in Phonak
By Brecht Decaluwé in Montélimar
Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: AFP
John Lelangue, manager of the Phonak team, commented on the team tactics
of today's stage. He explained that giving away the yellow jersey was
an option they considered before the start of the stage: "This tactic
was discussed during our team meeting this morning. We didn't want to
chase again all day long. Our main objective is July 23, when the Tour
is over so it's not possible to chase every rider."
It looked like a dangerous gamble to allow Oscar Pereiro Sio to take
so much time back on Landis. The Spanish rider finished twice in the top
10 during the two previous editions of the Tour de France. "I know Oscar
(Pereiro Sio) very well, as he was in our team last year. I saw how he
was riding in the Pyrenees and I think he's not a big risk for us."
Pereiro in yellow means that tomorrow another team will have to control
the race. "If they want to play along in the race, then we have an extra
team to control the race. That means that our guys can enjoy some holiday,
just like today. This was a good day for us."
Lelangue explained that the main goal of team Phonak's strategy was
saving energy during the coming stages. "There are still seven stages
left, and we only have eight riders to work for Landis. Yesterday, we
saw that we didn't receive any help, not even from the sprinter teams.
So we would have worked today, tomorrow and then in the mountains … we
had to find a way to spare our riders."
It was probably not an easy choice to give the yellow jersey away. John
Lelangue tried to compare his strategy with those of a football coach.
"For an unimportant match before the final, the coach will play with his
B-team, to spare his big names for the final."
By Hedwig Kröner in Montélimar
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Italian rider Alessandro Ballan was feeling rather low after losing
out to Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) on Friday's stage
12 to Carcassonne. Cyclingnews talked to the tall Lampre man
on the very next day, at the start of another breakaway stage in Béziers,
as he was having coffee in the village.
"I did a great stage, but then there was Freire and Popovych... I'm
disappointed, as I got to the finish very tired, and then I could only
get second," Ballan said.
The victory of the Ukrainian had prompted a lot of discussion in the
media: rumour had it that there had been an agreement between two riders,
the stage winner Popovych and sprinter Oscar Freire (Rabobank), and their
two respective teams. Supposedly, Rabobank allowed the Discovery rider
to win under the condition that the American team help them later in the
Alps to get team leader Denis Menchov in a good position.
"I don't know," Ballan honestly replied when asked if he thought such
a deal had been made. "Freire is a sprinter, he's a very fast finisher.
I just didn't have the power anymore. If there was an agreement, I'm sorry
about it. I'm just disappointed."
Nevertheless, the Italian hopes to do be out there again in the near
future. "There are still five stages ahead, where I hope to do well. So
maybe there is another chance for me, as I still feel good," he concluded.
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