89th Tour de France - Grand Tour
France, July 6-28, 2002
Main page Stage
Stage 7 - Saturday July 13: Bagnoles-de-l'Orne - Avranches,
Complete Live Report
Start time: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's live coverage of the seventh stage of the Tour,
a 176 km run across lower Normandy. Although there are no major difficulties
(just two fourth-category climbs listed) the rolling bocage terrain of
the base of the Cotentin peninsula may be more propitious for breakaways than
the last few days have been.
The weather today is much as it has been for a few days - a stiff north westerly
wind will be largely in the riders' faces, and there is the prospect of showers
during the afternoon.
13:27 CEST 16 km/160 km to go
The stage gets under way in lively style, with successive sorties by Jens Voigt,
Fabio Baldato, Stéphane Bergès, Laszlo Bodrogi and Sylvain Chavanel, but none
have come to anything.
13:41 CEST 28 km/148 km to go
Another attack gets going; this time we have Crédit Agricole's Anthony Morin,
Leon van Bon (Domo) and Franck Rénier (Bonjour), who has already had the joy
of spending most of the day alone up the road with Jacky Durand earlier in the
Tour. Behind them Davide Casarotto and Cyril Dessel are trying to bridge the
gap. The gaps are still only measured in seconds, though; the three leaders
will mop up the bonuses and points from the first of the day's three sprints,
at St-Georges-in-the-Redcurrants at 29.5 km
Rénier takes the 6 seconds, five points and a fistful of euros ahead of Van
Bon; the two pursuers have fallen back to the bunch which is now 25 seconds
behind the break.
14:13 CEST 48 km/128 km to go
As the race moves into the département of Calvados the leading trio now
have 2.20 on the bunch. The next highlights are the fourth category drag up
to the local viewpoint at Mont Pinçon and the day's second sprint at Aunay-sur-Audon
a few kilometres afterwards, so it looks as those points won't be up for grabs
in the struggle between Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen for the green jersey. McEwen
is apparently not too happy: "If Erik is going to contest the intermediate sprints,
so will I. I asked him during the stage if it wasn't better for us not to contest
the intermediate sprints. I didn't even get an answer; he doesn't even look
at me any more"
14:20 CEST 55 km/121 km to go
The best placed rider in the break is Franck Rénier, who is lying 65th at 3.28
(now reduced to 3.22 after the first sprint); with the lead now stretching out
to over three minutes, he is quite likely to be the leader on the road in a
few minutes' time although the bunch is far from sitting up and letting them
go, with ONCE vests massed at the front. Despite the 25 kph headwind, the first
hour of racing was run off at an average 44 kph.
On the Mont Pinçon climb, Morin takes the summit ahead of Rénier and Van Bon;
none of them are threatening Christophe Mengin's spotty jersey, though. The
bunch come over just on four minutes down; Franck Rénier is now maillot jaune
14:34 CEST 64 km/112 km to go
At the Aunay sprint Rénier once again takes the line first, reducing the lead
he needs to keep to 3.16. Although ONCE are still lined out at the front of
the bunch, the pace has dropped a bit and there are a lot of conversations taking
place at the back; with the major team changes taking place at the end of the
season, there is much to talk about.
On a long straight stretch, Davide Etxebarria decides to take a bit of a lie
down, or possibly adopt a more aerodynamic style: stomach flat on the saddle,
feet straight out behind. May make pedalling difficult, though. The lead is
now up around five minutes and growing.
14:58 CEST 78 km/98 km to go
The gap has stabilised for the moment a few seconds shy of five minutes. The
pink jerseys of ONCE at the front of the bunch have been joined by the pinker
ones of Telekom and US Postal seem to be taking a few turns as well.
On a purely personal note, it was on a Normandy stage very much like this on
a day very much like this just over 35 years ago (Saint-Malo - Caen) that your
commentator for today first saw the Tour, as a seven year old dragged along
on the back of a tandem, trying to pick out the white GB jerseys as the bunch
swept past. And Later in that Tour, 35 years ago today was the stage where Tom
Simpson started the climb of Mont Ventoux and didn't make it to the top.
At the feed at Saint-Amand the trio of Rénier, Van Bon and Morin have stretched
the lead a bit again to 5.15. Once more it is only ONCE moving things along
Didier Rous punctures but is back quickly without difficulty as the bunch pick
up their musettes.
15:38 CEST 107 km/69 km to go
ONCE start to put on the pressure and the gap is edging down slowly. Freire,
McEwen and Zabel are all near the front of the bunch, but they will not be fighting
out the last of the three intermediate sprints which is coming up when they
Once again Rénier takes the six seconds ahead of Van Bon and Morin, but the
gap is down to 3.45, and Rénier's future in virtual yellow looks to be a short
15:50 CEST 115.5 km/60.5 km to go
Assuming this break will be caught, the finish is still not exactly made to
measure for the pure sprinters, with a stiff little rise at around 2 km to go;
in any case more likely to favour Zabel than McEwen on first sight. This morning
we spoke to Domo's Piotr Wadecki "I'm feeling all right today. It's quite windy,
so I don't think it's going to be a mass sprint today. I think there will be
attacks at the finish, and my team is going to try to get into the breaks [which,
with Van Bon, they have done]. I'm hoping to get into a break again today. Every
day I'm feeling better."
The gap has stabilised again at around 3.50. Behind Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour)
punctures and gets a rather slow change but lots of help from his team to get
A crash at the back of the bunch brings down Jonathan Vaughters (Crédit Agricole)
and Kevin Livingston (Telekom) without serious consequences, although Vaughters
gets a slow bike change and then has to stop again and will have some work to
do to get back.
We spoke to another crash victim this morning: Cofidis's David Millar
How are you feeling today?
"Good. Well, a bit nervous. Obviously I had a big crash yesterday, so it's going
to be a bit of a long day for me. I think it's going to get ripped to pieces
today; it's going to be a stressful day."
What are your expectations for the time trial?
"I don't know, really. I'm taking each day as it comes. I haven't seen the parcours.
I've just seen what everybody else has seen. I haven't ridden it or anything."
16:06 CEST 121 km/55 km to go
ONCE are getting some help at the front now, with Tafi and De Waele (Mapei)
as well as some of the CSC riders; Jalabert and Freire must fancy this one.
Vaughters is back in the race convoy and receiving a bit of medical attention
from the race doctor. The gap is down to 3.09 now, with Gonzalez de Galdeano
back in the lead on the road.
16:17 CEST 130 km/46 km to go
At Villedieu-les-Poëles the gap has risen again to 3:20; it looks as though
the enthusiasm for the chase is not enough for the sprinters' teams to want
the break caught too far before the finish, and once again only ONCE lead the
bunch. Vaughters makes it back with a little help from Anthony Langella.
16:30 CEST 144 km/32 km to go
With the three-man break taking all the points and bonuses on offer during the
day, the bunch has had no incentive to accelerate at any any point. The day's
second "official" climb is a 4th-cat 6 km drag up to L'Embranchement with the
summit 22 km from the finish; the leaders are now a few kilometres short of
the foot, with 3:20 lead; they are now coming close to the frequently suggested
formula of a minute's lead for every 10 km to go; what happens on the climb
will determine whether they might just manage to stay away. But Alessio have
now moved to the front of the bunch in force to lift the pace.
16:39 CEST 151 km/25 km to go
As the three leaders reach the foot of the climb, a very gentle drag, 5% at
its steepest, but quite long for this area, the gap is coming down fast to 2.40.
Behind, Lotto's Aart Vierhouten, who was ill last night, is shelled out of the
back of the bunch.
The lead is down to 2.25 at the 25 km to go banner.
At the top of the climb (taken by Van Bon) Rénier tries to lift the pace of
the break, but behind the Jean Delatour team has moved up; Laurent Brochard
must fancy his chances for this finish; Merckx and Knaven have also moved up
to be ready for any moves that go, along with a couple of Euskaltels.
The gap comes down to 1.33 as the doomed break heads into the teeth of the headwind.
The road is straight at this point and the front of the bunch can see them passing
under the 20 km banner.
16:57 CEST 164 km/12 km to go
The gap falls inexorably as the peloton picks up the pace, but the trio haven't
given up yet even though the cars are coming past them now; 52 seconds. Unai
Osa has mechanical problems at the back of the race.
17:03 CEST 167 km/9 km to go
47 seconds lead now; the roads have been better sheltered for a few kilometres.
Telekom riding strongly now; they have switched the order of their train today,
with Hondo as last leadout man for Zabel and Fagnini (still smarting over his
fine yesterday) last but one.
17:05 CEST 171 km/5 km to go
Jacky Durand must be planning something for the quatorze juillet because
most uncharacteristically he hasn't moved from the back of the bunch all day.
A big stack up at the front of the bunch brings down a number of riders including
Freire, Svorada and Dierckxsens. Moreau, Agnolutto, Magnien, Rous; the whole
CA team waiting.
Freire is up again and riding away but he his holding his back
17:08 CEST 174 km/2 km to go
The three leaders are still away at the 2 km to go banner; the crash has broken
up the chase. Didier Rous has a broken collar bone and is in the ambulance.
Rénier attacks on the climb but the other two stay with him.
The three sit up but there is another crash and this time Jalabert and Armstrong
are down. Armstrong is chasing. Basso attacks on the climb.
Armstrong is being brought back. The leader is Marco Velo, not Basso.
David Etxebarria counters under the flamme rouge.
A few riders are clear - Pedro Horillo (Mapei) goes for a long one.
Horillo thinks he has it on the final little pitch up to the line, but Brad
McGee nips under his raised arms to take the win. Armstrong and Jalabert finish
together 27 seconds down; Moreau has lost 4.20, though. Freire comes in five
or six minutes down, riding fluently but feeling his back.
Medical reports: Armstrong's crash (which also involved Jalabert) was a fairly
gentle tangling of bikes, according to Johan Bruyneel, and he was not hurt.
The most serious victim of the day was Didier Rous (Bonjour) who has a broken
collarbone and is out of the race.
1. Bradley McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com 4.10.56 (42.08 km/h)
2. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2R Prévoyance
3. Pedro Horillo (Spa) Mapei - Quick Step
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto - Adecco
5. Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom
6. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
7. Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre - Daikin
8. Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
9. Fred Rodriguez (Usa) Domo - Farm Frites
10. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
1 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 27.39.59
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.04
3 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 0.12
4 Abraham Olano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.22
5 Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.27
6 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 0.28
7 Marcos A.Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.30
8 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 0.34
9 Tyler Hamilton (USA) CSC-Tiscali 0.53
10 Andrea Peron (Ita) CSC-Tiscali
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