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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Tour de France news for July 18, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Stage 10 wrap up and post race comments
Another lightning fast Tour stage took peloton into the foothills of the Pyrenees today, 147 km from Bazas to Pau. There was plenty happening today, even though the stage was not important in terms of the general classification. Patrice Halgand (Delatour) took the first French stage win of the Tour, after attacking the break with 8 km to go; Robbie McEwen took over the green jersey by a single point; Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano was involved in a pseudo-doping controversy; and a child was tragically killed by a vehicle of the publicity caravan.
Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour, 1st stage)
"I wanted a stage win in this Tour De France and today I proved that I deserved to be here. I've done a lot of work to get here and this is a payback for that. It's my best win ever, it's really great."
"Today was really very, very, very hard. At 8km to go, I attacked. I told myself 'I'm going to give it my all to win.'"
Stuart O'Grady (3rd)
"I felt really good at the start, and from the first bonus sprint I thought it was going to be an intermediate day, and I felt pretty good. I went back to Roger [Legeay] with about 30km to go and said I'm not going to ride near the finish line, and I was pretty sure I was going to have to make an attack. In the end, unfortunately, I think everyone was pretty much on the limit.
On why he didn't try to chase Halgand: "You ever ridden a road race? Your legs are burning, you're in pain... The first one to attack is always going to take the edge off the other ones, and straight away you go into negative thinking and I was trying to get the guys to really pull."
"I was actually expecting Dierckxsens to go first, but one or the other, it didn't matter. I knew there was going to be attacking. Unfortunately I had just finished my turn when he attacked."
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE, Maillot Jaune)
On the stories about his 'over the limit' test for salbutamol, which implied that he was doping: "Foolish words fall on deaf ears. For sure it bothers me and my fans. Perhaps it bothers people that a foreigner is the leader. They want to do damage, nothing more, and in spite of that it doesn't work. I am not going to lie and therefore I have to recognise that it always affects you, because nobody is happy about ugly rumours. But it will not affect my legs. It is clear that no-one can kill with lies. I am feeling good and will give it everything."
"Today the team was very good, perhaps the loss of Alvaro was very important. The team itself was not given a great deal of help, but a few of us have done the work for everyone. I feel good, and the team also, and we are motivated. I am optimistic."
On the abandonment of his brother Alvaro: "I don't know what happened. It was the same as last year. He has a problem with his leg sometimes. At times during training I've had to carry him home. I don't have an explanation for it."
Seven year old boy killed on race route
By Chris Henry, Cyclingnews.com correspondent
In a tragic repeat of recent events, a seven year old boy was killed today after he was hit by a vehicle in the publicity caravan. According to witnesses and the French police, the boy ran across the road to see his grandparents and was struck by the vehicle. The accident happened 26 km into the stage along a long, straight road, with a gendarme stationed by the side of the road. The vehicle, a 4x4 in the Haribo caravan which distributes candies along the route, was reportedly not moving at excessive speed, nor was the driver under the influence of alcohol.
In the 2000 Tour, another boy was killed under similar circumstances. That incident prompted a series of changes in the race operations, including a reduction in the number of vehicles permitted in the publicity caravan.
A short press conference was held in the press center after today's stage, where Jean-Marie Leblanc and publicity caravan director Jean-Pierre Lachaud answered questions regarding the incident and further steps the Tour organization would take to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Jean-Marie Leblanc summarized the facts as they were known, saying "the Tour is supposed to bring joy and be festive, and when it brings accidents or injury, it has in a sense failed in its mission. That's what happened today. We've already known in 1995 the fatal accident of Fabio Casartelli, the death in 2000 of another young boy, and this accident again today."
With the question of caravan safety raised once more, Leblanc was asked whether or not vehicles should continue to distribute free gifts from the cars. To this Jean-Pierre Lachaud replied, "a caravan that doesn't distribute gifts is not a real caravan. That's not what the public is waiting for."
Leblanc noted that a moment of silence will be held tomorrow before the start of the race, and a minute of silence will also be observed within the publicity caravan before its departure.
Stage 11 - July 18: Pau-La Mongie, 158km
By Tim Maloney, European editor in Pau
Let the games begin! The Tour De France peloton faces the first key mountain stage after 12 days of racing, departing from Pau at 12:15 to an eventual mountain top finish at La Mongie, the ski station 3km from the summit of the tough cat. 1 Tourmalet climb (altitude : 1,720m.) On the way, the stage climbs the classic Pyrénees climbs of Col d'Aubisque (16.7km/7.1%) a long, hard ascent after 66km. Then the parcours hits the short sister climb of Col de Soulor (2.3km/5.2%). Stage 11 then traverses the hilly hinterlands of Cathar Country, then after the sprint in Bagneres-De-Bigore and Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, where Eugene Christophe repaired his broken fork in a blacksmith in 1913, it's up the east side of the Tourmalet to the finish in La Mongie (12.9km/6.8%).
Maillot Jaune Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE-Eroski) will face his first test, but so will three time & defending Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong. Like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, the tough Texan, less than a half-minute out of the Maillot Jaune, will be surrounded by tough adversaries like the MJ himself and his ONCE team-mate Joseba Beloki. Kelme's Colombian Santi Botero showed he is a major danger after Monday's TT stage win, with Lampre's Rumsas, Americans Tyler Hamilton and Levi Leipheimer waiting for a shot at the defending Tour champion.
But attention! Armstrong has already shown this year with big wins in the Midi-Libre & Dauphine Libéré he's not a man to be trifled with. Maillot Jaune Gonzalez de Galdeano is a good climber, but if Armstrong goes on the attack up the east side of the Tourmalet to La Mongie the ONCE man could lose his 26" advantage and his Maillot Jaune to the American, who will also have to watch a potentially dangerous counter-attack from Beloki or one of his team-mates like Azevedo or Serrano.
Armstrong still bluffing?
Lance Armstrong commented during the rest day that, "It's easier than the first mountain stage last year to L'Alpe d'Huez but the two climbs of the stage are hard. The first climb, the Aubisque, is longer and steeper than the final climb to La Mongie. Most people don't realize it but the La Mongie is actually the Tourmalet which is one of the most famous climbs on the Tour. It's true that the hardest part is after La Mongie, when you get up to 2,000 meters and it's exposed but you're still climbing the Tourmalet."
He denied that he would be necessarily going all out to attack the ONCE riders. "In these first two mountain stages we'll learn a lot about who can win the Tour de France but I don't have a plan to attack...I'm just going to go along and see what happens."
That may sound like another one of his legendary bluffs, but it also has a ring of truth to it after his 'non-dominant' performance in Monday's time trial. "Sometimes I feel like a momentum rider," Armstrong said. "You feel good, you win, get the yellow jersey and then all of a sudden you feel great. We're not going backwards but we don't have the momentum yet. Hopefully it'll come soon. I like a buzz like that."
"It's close now and nothing is shook out. The level of field seems to be better this year. Look at the results on the time trial. There were tight time differences. You never usually see that in the Tour de France. I took four minutes out of (Jan) Ullrich on the first mountain stage to Hautacam in 2000 and two minutes out of him last year on L'Alpe d'Huez but it won't be like that this year. I think these other guys are better."
UCI: No Gonzalez de Galdeano case
The UCI has announced that all doping controls taken so far at the Tour de France have been negative. An official communique released today in Pau stated this, in the wake of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano's 'over the limit' test for Salbutamol following Stage 6 that finished in Alençon. Gonzalez de Galdeano recorded a level of 1360 ng/mL of the drug in his urine, which is normally used for asthma treatment.
The UCI rules state that salbutamol is a "non-steroidal anabolic agent...except with a therapeutic justification for use by inhaling as described under point I. A. 1; for salbutamol a sample shall be considered as positive in the class of anabolic agents if the concentration in the urine exceeds 1000 nanograms per millilitre."
The question that has been asked, is that if it is anabolic at concentrations above 1000 ng/mL, then isn't it possible to abuse the UCI regulations, if therapeutic justification is provided by a doctor? Are the rules a little too lenient in this case."
"The UCI is anxious to specify that the riders who have used Salbutamol have in their health booklet a therapeutic justification validated by the UCI, as authorized it its regulations," said the communique.
Assistant director of the Tour de France, Daniel Baal, said this morning that it was "nothing made out of nothing. He has therapeutic justification for it."
The race leader himself, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, said that "Foolish words fall on deaf ears. For sure it bothers me and my fans. Perhaps it bothers people that a foreigner is the leader. They want to do damage, nothing more, and in spite of that it doesn't work. I am not going to lie and therefore I have to recognise that it always affects you, because nobody is happy about ugly rumours. But it will not affect my legs."
His ONCE-Eroski director Manolo Saiz said that his team is taking the news calmly, but the "supposed positive" of Igor Gonzalez is a joke reflected in the French press.
"But to me it seems to be a joke. The UCI have communicated nothing and therefore there is no case. Igor is within the law as are the rest of the riders. Nothing has occurred to destabilise us and we are concentrated 100% to continue fighting and conserving...the yellow jersey," said Saiz.
Saiz said that Igor was a recognised asthmatic and he took the medicine with the authorisation of the UCI and he added that in such a case it was "pretty disgraceful to accuse a rider who is an asthmatic of taking a prohibited substance".
Pedro Celaya, the ONCE Eroski team doctor remembered that "in the past riders like Zülle, Armstrong, and Indurain" have been the subject of attacks by the French press and said that "we are calm, but at the time a little indignant because the story is a lie".
Botero loyal to his troubled country
Santiago Botero, the blue eyed Colombian winner of the Stage 9 time trial, is fiercely loyal to his country, where he spent many months training in preparation for the Tour de France. "Don't make my words too negative in the newspaper. Colombia is and stays a fantastic country," he said in an interview with Gazet Van Antwerpen on the rest day.
Is he scared to walk around in his own country? The Marxist guerillas are famous for their kidnaps. In the past Lucho Herrera and Oliverio Rincon were kidnapped.
"The power in our country is with the drug barons and the guerillas. The mafia is everywhere. Each year around 3,000 people are the victim of a kidnap. I know this can happen to me too. All these years I try to be as small as possible and anonymous. I never train in the Kelme outfit and I wear always big sunglasses. And no two days the on the same training route. Only one road is quiet safe in the neighbourhood of Medellin: from town to the airport. With a lot of heavily armed militia. But so flat. No place for preparation for the Tour.
Botero lives in a chique part of Medellin. But there are problems as well. "The lady at the other side of the street is the mother of drug baron Pablo Escobar. The mafia controls, but last winter there were three attacks. All windows collapsed (he laughs). But you learn to live with it."
Prize money in the Tour
By Chris Henry, Cyclingnews.com correspondent
There's a lot of prize money is at stake in the Tour de France, and not simply for the final winner. Individual stages have 25 placings, with the exception of the team time trial, as only 21 teams are in the race. Daily prizes are given to the leader of each jersey competition, and each points or mountain sprint carries its own prizes for the first three across the line. Additional prizes are awarded each day to the most aggressive rider (Prix de la Combativité), as well as special primes throughout the race.
Prize money for the entire Tour totals 1,854,035 Euro, of which 335,390 go to the eventual winner of the race. Finally, bonuses aren't just available to those who win. A special prize of 1,500 Euro per rider is given to each team that finishes with at least 7 of its 9 riders.
Here's a brief look at how some of the classifications pay:
Prologue 1st 3,810 Euro 2nd 1,525 3rd 760 4th 455 5th 390 Road Stage/Individual Time Trial 1st 7,620 Euro 2nd 4,000 3rd 2,000 4th 1,200 5th 830 Team Time Trial 1st 15,000 Euro 2nd 7,500 3rd 4,300 4th 3,900 5th 3,600 Prize for each green jersey sprint or HC mountain climb 1st 762 Euro 2nd 457 3rd 305 Daily prize for yellow, green, polka dot, and white jerseys: 305 Euro Final Individual Classification 1st 335,390 Euro 2nd 167,495 3rd 91,470 4th 60,979 5th 41,923 Final Classification: Green, Polka Dot Jerseys 1st 22,867 Euro 2nd 15,245 3rd 7,622 Final Classification: White Jersey 1st 18,294 Euro 2nd 13,720 3rd 9,147
Stage 10 Official communique
Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE): Abandoned due to right leg injuries
Communique des Commissaires
Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) and Erik Dekker (Rabobank) were each