Tour de France Cycling News for July 18, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones and Shane Stokes
Hincapie only other Discovery/Postal winner
George Hincapie (Discovery)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Unlike many other teams, Discovery Channel went into this year's Tour
with just one ace, a dedicated leader for whom all the other riders would
work without question. Lance Armstrong insisted this was the best possible
strategy to win the race when asked earlier this season if T-Mobile's
three-pronged attack would put him in difficulties.
The "all for one" approach has always been employed by Armstrong, prompting
the conclusion that there is no room for personal ambition when riding
on his Tour team. This seems to be borne out by the fact that apart from
Armstrong's 23 stage victories, George Hincapie's triumph
yesterday represented the only other time that another rider from
Discovery/US Postal has ever won an individual stage in the Tour.
The squad has, of course, won the team time trial for the past three
Jaksche slips back, but plans to fight on
Starting yesterday's 15th
stage 11th overall, Liberty Seguros rider Jörg Jaksche was eyeing
a possible place in the top ten of the general classification. However,
he ran out of steam on the final climb up to Saint-Lary-Soulon, finishing
33rd at 14'28 behind the day's winner George Hincapie. He dropped four
places in the general classification and so will start 15th overall on
"I blew on the last climb and felt very bad in the final seven kilometres,"
he said, "although I did recover a bit for the last two of those. I was
strong at the start of the stage, riding comfortably in the front group,
but at the end lacked strength and could not stay with them. These climbs
are a bit too difficult for me as I am not a climber. I've also felt a
build-up of fatigue from all the days racing."
Jaksche will try to recover as best he can on today's rest day, then
plans to ride aggressively in the Massif Central. "From this point on
my plan is to get into a breakaway and try to get back a few places in
GC. We are heading into stages which are very hard and difficult for the
peloton to control."
Allan Davis is also aiming to do something before the end of the Tour.
He showed his good form when he infiltrated the breakaway on yesterday's
stage, eventually crossing the line in 20th place.
"I got into the break to help my companions, though I knew that it was
a very hard stage," he said. "I did well over the first three climbs,
but in the Peyresourde I lost contact with the front guys and did the
rest of the stage alone. I knew the last three climbs because I have come
to train here this year, but the last part was very tough because I cracked
a bit. Anyway, I am satisfied because in last few days I have had good
sensations. I want to take advantage of my good condition to do something
in the stages between here and Paris."
Best placed of the Liberty Seguros team yesterday was Alberto Contador,
who finished 36th. Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki each had another hard
day, with the latter losing contact with the bunch on the second climb
and riding practically the whole stage alone.
Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Gerolsteiner team boss Hans-Michael-Holczer reports himself as satisfied
with his team's efforts yesterday. Best of the squad was Levi Leipheimer,
13th on the stage and now 6th overall. He heads into the final week just
over a minute behind Francisco Mancebo of Illes Balears and, with a long
time trial yet to come, can entertain realistic hopes of a top five finish
"Levi is riding very well, he did what he could," said Holczer about
yesterday's stage. "But he also has to recognise his limits."
Stage 14 winner Georg Totschnig had a tough day, finishing in the first
autobus 36 minutes down. "Georg had to pay for his super performance on
Saturday," said his team manager. "But that was to be expected."
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
A close call for Ludewig
Jörg Ludewig of Domina Vacanze finished 35th yesterday, 15 minutes behind
the winner. It was a result with which he was satisfied, especially when
he considers that it could have turned out much differently: "The Tour
could have been over for me today," he wrote in his diary on www.radsport-news.com.
We wear helmets with openings to let the air through, otherwise they would
be too hot. The bad thing is that these slits also let insects in. Today
I felt something under my helmet. So I took it off and ran my hands through
my hair, and put it back on. I hoped everything was ok and kept going.
Later, when I washed my hair in the shower after the stage, I found the
wasp. That was a real scare, because I'm allergic to wasp stings, I get
a shock and high fever. Thank goodness this particular insect didn't do
"Blackout" for Förster
How does a sprinter survive in the Pyrenees? With difficulty, says Gerolsteiner's
Robert Förster in his diary on radsport-news.com. "The stage today - you
can't imagine it. Until today, I couldn't imagine how much I could torture
myself. When you see the results, you say, ok, he came in with the gruppetto.
Only two riders dropped out. It wasn't that bad. But in reality it was
hell. I had a blackout 100 km long, I can't remember anything about it."
Förster lost contact with the peloton on the second climb. "But (Magnus)
Bäckstedt was still behind me, so I had nothing to be ashamed of. Christian
(Henn) kept motivating me over the radio, "Come on, you can catch up on
the descent." On the descent I did come closer, but I couldn't catch them.
In the valley I rode practically the whole way alone between the cars.
Five km before the next climb I caught up with the group. From then on
I don't know any more."
"I ride up the mountains in a trance. Just keep on pedaling. Always
going up. The fans leave only a narrow strip, they're all screaming. Everything
swims before my eyes. Sometimes I hear my name out of the din. I didn't
want to keep pouring water over my head today because that just makes
things worse, but the temptation was too great. So more water over my
head. Eventually I got the shakes. I dimly remember at some point seeing
Robbie McEwen riding next to me. But otherwise we all rode alone. On the
third-to-last mountain I saw the gruppetto before me. Christian kept cheering
me on. I was able to ride into the group."
Just before the last climb he heard that the winner was in. What kept
him going? "I suffered endlessly. Without thinking. Why, actually? If
I had dropped out, nobody would have said anything. Climb off the bike
and it's all over. But everybody was suffering the same. You're in the
gruppetto and will do anything to stay there. It's like a herd instinct."
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The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions
Don't miss out at Tour time!
Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions
where up to $1 million in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your
Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
Photo ©: Trek
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