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89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Main page    Stage profile    Start List    Results

Stage 7 - Saturday July 13: Bagnoles-de-l'Orne - Avranches, 176 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:00 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

12:51 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 virtuel.

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.

15:22 CEST    
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 beside them.

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 reach Tessy-sur-Vire.

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 one.

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 back.

15:56 CEST    
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.

16:47 CEST    
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.

17:09 CEST    
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.

17:10 CEST    
Armstrong is being brought back. The leader is Marco Velo, not Basso.

David Etxebarria counters under the flamme rouge.

17:11 CEST    
A few riders are clear - Pedro Horillo (Mapei) goes for a long one.

17:13 CEST    
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.

17:21 CEST    
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.

Result

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    

General classification

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

 

Results

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