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Photo ©: Bettini

Tour de France News for July 10, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

A Colombian in yellow

Victor Hugo Peña realises a dream

By Gabriella Ekström in Saint Dizier

Peña was part of the winning team
Photo: © Olympia Photo

US Postal's amazing ride in the team time trial between Joinville and Saint Dizier gave Colombian rider Victor Hugo Peña a special present for his 29th birthday tomorrow. More valuable than gifts is the honour to ride over the start line in Troyers tomorrow as the first ever Colombian rider in the yellow jersey. Victor Hugo, named after his father Hugo and the more famous French author, knew the possibility to seize the jersey existed before the stage. USPS sport director Johan Bruyneel told the press after the stage that Peña had made an effort to do a good prologue in Paris, so that the yellow jersey should still be within reach, should he get the opportunity.

Full Victor Hugo Pena interview
Stage 4 full results, report & photos
Live report

Haselbacher hits back

Gerolsteiner sprinter Rene Haselbacher has been roundly criticised for the crash at the end of stage 3 that put Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke out of contention for the stage victory and put Haselbacher himself on the floor in a big heap. Robbie McEwen was blunt in his criticism yesterday, calling Haselbacher "a kamikaze".

Asked by Belgian TV station VTM if he heard what McEwen had to say about him, Haselbacher said, "Mister McEwen is so quick to criticize but if you look at the images from the helicopter from a bit earlier on, you can see that I was on Zabel's wheel first and that McEwen and then Cooke tried to come on my right, pushing their way through a space that was not big enough for the three of us. I admit, I leaned towards the left, onto McEwen, who was trying to run Cooke in the barriers, and doing so I lost my balance."

For those who would like to make up their own minds, streaming video in Windows Media format of the stage finish is here: boss.streamos.com.

Aussies impress French media

Translated by Melanie Leveau

The first few days of the 2003 Tour saw unprecedented success for Australian riders, with Bradley McGee in yellow, Robbie McEwen in green and a stage win by McGee's team-mate and friend Baden Cooke, who also rode himself into the white jersey of best young rider. You might expect the often-prickly French media to be less than pleased with more Anglophones dominating their national race, but the general good humour and positive attitude toward the host nation displayed by McGee, McEwen and Cooke seems to have won over the press, as these extracts from recent coverage show.

Kangaroos everywhere

Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace - 8 July

Everywhere, these kangaroos are everywhere. In these beginning stages of the Tour, Australians have put their paw on the race. All is success and smiles - and moreover they want everything.

Three of four jerseys, two of three stages, an exploding applause meter. It is their Tour!

In Paris, they were seven, as many as the Dutch and a bit less than the Belgians, two [traditional] cycling countries. After only three days of racing, they are justifying this promotion. They are making Australian colours shine, forcing their countrymen back home to live upside down, sleeping during the day and staying up very late. In the past, lovers of cycling were regarded as untouchables but nowadays they are acknowledged. Robbie McEwen is in green, Bradley McGee still in yellow, Baden Cooke in white and as if it was not enough, the latter added yesterday's stage to his palmares.

Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace website

Australia takes a grip on the Tour

Ouest-France - 8 July

Bradley McGee in yellow, Robbie McEwen in green and Baden Cooke, stage winner in Sedan, in white: Australians riders are booming in the beginning of the Tour.

Rolling on Champagne's roads towards the Ardennes, the Centenary peloton found its new lords yesterday. They come from the very end of the world and are Australians, something the creators of the race certainly never imagined.

A stage win for Baden Cooke, Yellow jersey for Bradley McGee, Green jersey for Robbie McEwen, White jersey for Baden Cooke: very hard to do better!

The very simple happiness of the "kangaroo-winners" is pleasant to see. These young men coming from so far to learn the very hard job of being a professional cyclist, are gliding effortlessly through the Tour!

Ouest-France website

Aussies have fun in France

Tour official website - 8 July

Australians feel more and more at home in our country and after Brad McGee's win under the Eiffel Tower and his faithfulness to the Yellow jersey, Baden Cooke - his FdJeux.com team mate - won in Sedan after a sprint. The high-spirited Australians are really having fun in the hexagon in these first day of July but not everybody appreciates this domination. First of them is Frédéric Finot, the unhappiest rider of the day.

It started with these voracious Australians taking over the beginning of the Tour - and moreover the Centenary Tour. Bradley McGee is in yellow, Cooke is not far behind. The same Cooke captured the white jersey; the inevitable Cooke is now second in the points classification still dominated by Robbie McEwen - an other Australian of course!

Finot had a dream

During his 197km escape Frédéric Finot (Jean Delatour) dreamed of ending this Australian invasion but was devoured 2500m from the finish line by a peloton led by the yellow jersey himself, stretching the peloton for his friend Cooke. The sprint went without a problem for the FdJeux.com Australians, but also without Petacchi and Di Luca.

Speaking of Italians, we have to remember Bettini who led the peloton for several kilometres approaching Sedan where he found enough energy to finish seventh.

It is reassuring to see that non-Australian riders can still impress in these first days of the race.

Tour website

Worldwide distribution for Tyler's brain

Brain Power, the IMAX movie featuring Tyler Hamilton's brain that is currently being shot at the Tour de France, has picked up a worldwide distribution deal with nWave Pictures. The film, due for release in 2004, will document the processes that occur in the human brain by following Tyler Hamilton as he trains and participates in this year's Tour.

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