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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Tour de France news for July 21, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Stage 13 wrap up and post race comments
After two heavy days in the mountains, the peloton had some respite today as they raced 171 'flat' kilometres from Lavelanet to Béziers. It was baking hot and the break of the day went in the opening kilometres, containing riders such as Laurent Jalabert, David Millar, Davide Etxebarria, Laurent Brochard, Michael Boogerd and Eddy Mazzoleni. Jalabert took all the mountain sprints that were on offer to increase his lead in that competition, but couldn't go with them when the break split into five leaders at the end. The cosmopolitan David Millar (Cofidis) had a fantastic day to win the sprint, and claim his second ever Tour stage win.
David Millar (Cofidis, 1st)
I was feeling so strong, I've always said it's easy to be tactically perfect when you've got good legs. I was just feeling incredible, so it wasn't so difficult. I knew what to do and how to do it, and I don't think I made one mistake. But that's easy when you feel as good as I did today.
I was just having such good fun out there, it was like a game of chess watching which guy was going to do what. I was anticipating already from 60 km out how I was going to win it, that's how stupid it was. It was one of those incredible days that only happens once or twice a year.
Q: Are you a happy man now that you've won a stage?
DM: I was already a happy man. I am a happy man, but it's true that professionally I'm even happier now. It was almost as though I had to prove to everybody... I almost did not want to win the prologue this year. I came to the Tour fresh, I hadn't ridden my bike much before, I wanted to get better as the Tour went on. It's a pleasure to have done it. And to do it in the style that I did today I think is very impressive. It's a good result.
Q: Did you plan to attack early?
DM: I expected the break to go very early on, especially on the first climb, and in fact I took the responsibility of putting myself on one of the first lines as the race started. I spoke to Laurent - he's a very good friend of mine - and we worked very hard to stay clear over the first three king of the mountains points because I wanted Laurent to try to get as many points as possible to extend his lead in the KOM. After that we decided to wait for the seven riders who were chasing behind, and after that everybody worked very well together.
Q: How much does this stage win mean to you?
DM: It means a lot to me, obviously, because when I found out I had mononucleosis in January/February I thought, Jesus, my season's over. But the team doctor and the team were incredible, Cofidis helped me through it, and made my recovery as quick as possible. So I came here with the only expectation of trying to win a stage, and I'm going to the Tour of Spain afterwards to try to get top 10 on GC. I'm happy, everything's going according to plan.
Q: How do you feel as the only British rider in the race?
DM: I don't go waving any flags, I'm afraid. I'm not at all nationalistic. I've lived in so many different countries, I've got so many friends that are cosmopolitan, I don't like to think of myself as really from any country. So it doesn't disappoint me at all. I'm just happy to race with fellow professionals.
Q: How did it feel to race with Jalabert?
DM: I'm going to look for copies of the pictures taken at the beginning of the stage when we're together, because I want to put them on my walls at home. To be in a break with Laurent Jalabert, particularly when he was in the polka dot jersey, was truly an honour. It's always an honour to ride with him. For me he's the biggest champion on the bike. He's the biggest 'monsieur' and he's the only 'seigneur' in the peloton from this generation. It's always a pleasure to ride with him.
Q: Could you tell us about the piece of paper you signed this morning before the start?
DM: That was a joke between me and Alain Bondue. I told Bondue I'd like to win today, and he said 'OK, then you win today.' And I said OK, and he took out a piece of paper and said 'sign here' and I said OK. We were just joking around, but he knew that deep down I kind of meant what I was saying.
Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour, 4th)
For me, to be up front already was not a given because for four or five days I've been a bit sick. I did everything I could, I was still there in the final break, but unfortunately in the finale I wasn't fast enough. For sure it was a finish that suited me. It's true that I was hoping to keep the door open...it was a nice course, but it didn't work out.
"I'll play my hand tomorrow (on Mont Ventoux), and try to help Stéphane Goubert and Laurent Lefèvre as much as possible, since they are the team's two leaders for the general classification."
Bobby Julich (Telekom, 10th at 1'08)
"It was a priority to try to get a stage win and have a guy in the front break so our team wouldn't have to work. But it was over in five seconds, it was amazing. Jalabert did a weird acceleration/attack then Brochard pulled off and Martinez couldn't close the gap. I closed it, then I just pulled off because I thought it was too far from the finish. Then all of the sudden that train with Millar went on the left and the race was over in five seconds. We didn't even have a second chance, it was over.
"It was the perfect five guys that went, and they just hammered and left the rest of us sitting there holding the bag. It was a good move for David, for sure, but it kind of sucked to be in the break and not get to dispute the final at all. But that's bike racing.
Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco, 13th at 9'56" and Maillot Vert)
The new wearer of the green jersey (on equal points with Zabel), Robbie McEwen, now denied saying that he told Lance Armstrong the other day to 'Shut your mouth or I will fill it with my fist'.
"I'm just trying to concentrate on doing my race and nothing more than that. I haven't got the time or the energy to concentrate on other things, like having a war of words in the press. That's stupid, I don't want to have a war of words. I don't want to have any trouble from anybody."
"I haven't even spoken to Zabel. For instance, I was quoted as saying that the two teams (US Postal and Telekom) were working against me. I'm ten minutes out the back on the Aubisque, I haven't got a clue what's happening up at the front... I can't see it, so how can I comment on it? And secondly, I don't think I'm Lance Armstrong's biggest worry when he's climbing the Aubisque, either. So let's put it in perspective and be realistic about it."
Lance Armstrong (USPS, Maillot Jaune)
Somewhat briefer than Millar: "It was very hot today and the team worked very well."
Johan Bruyneel (USPS directeur sportif)
"The breakaway was obviously not dangerous to us. We knew that at the moment the break hit 12 or 13 minutes either Lampre would chase to keep Rumsas' place, or ONCE would chase because the two iBanesto riders would threaten ONCE's lead in the team classification. So we knew that we would have some help. Still the team had to ride in front, it was very windy, but it was a good day for us."
Simpson's daughter climbs Ventoux twice
35 years after Tom Simpson died on the Mont Ventoux, his daughter Joanne (39) has made it to the top of the mountain: last Saturday July 13 and then again on Thursday, July 18. Her and a group of friends will be doing the climb a third and last time, on Sunday; just before the peloton passes through for the 14th Stage.
"Because of the sentimental connection, the Mont Ventoux is for my family a special mountain. Rather than visiting his grave in England, I come here. The mountain and the monument form a unity. It touches me every time I see that thousands of people who haven't even known my father leave something behind at the monument; a hat, a bidon, etc. Coming to this place is a bit of a pilgrimage."
Belgian cycling sponsor Remi De Moor will now be funding a stairway to the monument, so that people with racing shoes have it easier to go up to the monument. "All we have to do now is ask the mayor of Bédoin for a permit" says Joanne.
Note from Scott Sunderland's latest diary entry:
"If you are looking for some great reading material while waiting for the riders to come through the Pyrenees, to Mont Ventoux and the Alps, I can recommend Britain's leading Tour de France correspondent, William Fotheringham's book on Tom Simpson. It's called "Put Me Back On My Bike" and will give you an amazing insight on the true story of the Olympic medallist, world champion and the Tour de France's yellow jersey wearer, who died tragically on the Mont Ventoux during the Tour of '67. There's plenty previously unpublished pictures! ISBN nr 0-224-06186-0 "
Stage 14 preview: Lodève - Mont Ventoux
By Tim Maloney, European editor
With two weeks on the road for the Tour peloton, and with one intense week of racing left before Paris, the long, tough Stage 14 starts out at 11:15 am in Lodeve, then travels east across the hot, dry Languedoc interior just below the Cevennes mountains to Provence, where the old Geant awaits them after 200km of racing.
Yes, once again, it's Le Mont-Ventoux, the Giant Of Provence, lurking in wait for the Tour peloton at the end of the stage with a difficult mountain top finish. First scaled in the Tour over a half-century ago, the hors categorie Le Mont-Ventoux (21km/7.5%) last saw a mano-a-mano stage battle in 2000 between eventual Tour winner Lance Armstrong and challenger Marco Pantani, which the Italian narrowly won.
Armstrong will be looking to make his mark this year on the magnificent lunar landscape of this extinct volcano, saying that he "won't make the same mistake as he did two years ago" so don't be too surprised if the Maillot Jaune takes another stage win up Mont Ventoux.
CSC Tiscali Rolls With the Punches
By Chris Henry in Lavelanet
In the first half of this year's Tour de France, the CSC-Tiscali team has had its share of ups and downs. Impressive riding in the early stages nearly gave Laurent Jalabert the yellow jersey, but not quite. Tyler Hamilton also rode well in the time trials and was placed among the leaders going into the mountains.
Things took a turn for the worse last Thursday when Danish national champion Michael Sandstød crashed heavily on the descent of the Col d'Aubisque. Sandstød had to be taken by helicopter to the Tarbes hospital, where he remains in treatment.
During yesterday's stage from Lannemezan to Plateau-de-Beille, Spanish climber Carlos Sastre received both a swollen lip and two penalties from the race jury after an altercation with Credit Agricole's Christophe Moreau. CSC Tiscali's Brian Nygaard described the incident to Cyclingnews this morning before the start in Lavelanet.
"Moreau was working his way through the peloton, and for some reasons he thinks that the space just behind Lance is reserved for him. He was doing it in a very aggressive way, and yesterday it got a little out of hand. He pushed Carlos once and Carlos pushed him back, then he hit Carlos in the face. That's why today he's got a sore upper lip."
Finally, Tyler Hamilton may not have enjoyed the best two days in the Pyrenees, but his pre-Tour injuries have been on the mend and he has managed to limit his losses on the mountaintop finishes. Hamilton told Cyclingnews that while the injuries were improving, yesterday's stage result could have been better. "I tried to stay with the top guys, and I did for a while, but when I came off I really came off. I was comfortable and happy with the way things were going (on the early climbs). It was a long stage and a hot day, and I probably just didn't have enough calories in my system."
A satisfied Santiago Botero
Cyclingnews caught up with Kelme's Santiago Botero before the start of Stage 13 for a quick update on the Colombian climber's Tour outlook. Already a winner of the first individual time trial, Botero was confident but modest about his chances overall. "I'm fine physically," he said, "I wait day by day. I want to go better in the mountains. My dream is a place on the podium. It is very difficult, but I try day by day, second by second."
CN: Were you happy yesterday, staying so close to the leaders?
SB: It was better than the first day in the mountains, on the Tourmalet, because that day I wasn't feeling good and I don't know why. Maybe the change of roads. I also (had a problem with my front wheel), and lost important seconds.
CN: In the village this morning you were on the telephone. Were you calling home?
SB: Yes, Colombia. I try to call every day, but it's 5am in the morning. I wake up my parents, but they are happy.
Vaughters Breaks with Credit Agricole
Roger Legeay, Directeur Sportif of Credit Agricole, announced this morning that CA team management has accepted Jonathan Vaughters' request to be let go and his contract terminated with Credit Agricole following his withdrawal from this year's Tour de France. Vaughters abandoned the race on Thursday after a crash on the descent of the Col d'Aubisque.
Reuters news agency quoted Legeay as saying, "he's had difficulty following the peloton, which continues to move too quickly for us."
This was the fourth time Vaughters has entered and subsequently abandoned the Tour. Although his contract with the team was effective until the end of 2003, he not continue through the end of the year. Vaughters will reportedly return to the United States to continue his studies and pursue his professional cycling career with a domestic team.
Lance Armstrong likes to have as many trusted faces as possible around him while riding the Tour. His wife and children, his mother, and so on. One of those familiar faces strolling around at the start and finish is that of Jeff Garvey. Garvey, an ex-banker, has been chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for three years now and is present at the Tour with his two daughters.
"If I can't get to see him in the US Postal bus, I surely talk to him on the phone every day" says the proud American. It was reported that also actor Robin Williams came to say hello to his friend Lance yesterday.
Nico Mattan (Cofidis) is in pain. He can't turn his head to one side and has a sore back, pelvis and hips; a result from the crash on Thursday. He had to let go on the Col de Menthe on Friday and finished with a painful look on his face. "It will get better. Saturday is not that hard; Monday we've got a rest day...I will get to Paris; although it is obvious you can't be feeling right after kissing the asphalt at 60 km/h," he said to Het Nieuwsblad.
De Clercq last but one
Hans De Clerq, one of the Lotto lead-out man for McEwen in the first intermediate sprint, paid dearly for the effort later on, he even had to take the last bus on the final climb. But he did finish, second to last and within time limits, on 43'41". "Ter-ri-ble" he sighed. Another bus passenger, Ludo Dierckxsens was half dead also: "I had heard about that Plateau de Beille and everything they said is true: that col is murder!"
The Plateau did claim Jacky Durand (FDJeux.com), who finished 162nd at 41'03 - within the time limit but not out of sight of the commissaires, who fined him SF200 and ejected him from the race because he held onto the FDJeux.com team car on more than one occasion. The car, driven by Martial Gayant, has been prevented from following the race from now on, meaning that the team is limited to one following car per day.
Leblanc and Hinault pay respects to Casartelli
During yesterday's 13th stage from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc and five time winner Bernard Hinault paid their respects to Fabio Casartelli, who died in 1995 after crashing on the descent of the Portet d'Aspet. Both Leblanc and Hinault stopped at the memorial on the steep mountain to lay a wreath of flowers and to say a prayer for Casartelli, who was a teammate of Lance Armstrong in Motorola when he died.
Accident victim remembered in Marmande
Funeral services were held this morning in Marmande, France for the seven year old boy killed after being hit by a vehicle in the Tour's publicity caravan last Wednesday. Some 500 guests attended the services to remember Melvin, including the Tour's Directeur Adjoint, Daniel Baal.
Witnesses of the accident insisted that the caravan vehicle was moving at a moderate speed on a large, straight road, but an investigation into the exact circumstances of the accident has been opened nonetheless.
Stage 13 Official communique
José Luis Rubiera (US Postal): Insect bite
Communique des Commmissaires
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank): Fine of 50 Swiss Francs for answering the call of nature in front of the public.