July 15, 2003
Australian Bradley McGee of FDJeux.com has updated his diary at cyclingnews.com to include his take on today's stage:
The race program reads 219km for today's stage but I can tell you we at Fdjeux.com, only raced for about 20km. Reason? Our man in green, the Benalla Bullet, Mr Baden Cooke the Cookie Monster.
With a sprint bonification after 10km the start was always going to be 'chaude' ['hot' - multilingual Ed]. The sprint was given to Robbie but we are waiting to see video replays as Cookie is sure he had it. Not by much and proving the tight battle that's building between the two Aussies for the Green prize.
Jeremy Whittle, editor of Britain's Pro Cycling magazine, has an article at The Time Online site outlining the ONCE team's concern that publicity efforts may have outweighed safety on the road down Cote de la Rochette yesterday:
Yesterday, after the Spaniard’s dramatic exit, Beloki’s ONCE team accused the Tour de France organisation of putting commercial considerations before the safety of the riders. “Everybody’s worried about security and we’re obliged to wear helmets now,” Mikel Pradera, a team-mate of Beloki, told the Spanish media. “But with the heat, the roads start to melt and that puts them into a bad condition. Then the caravan comes through and tears them up even more and nobody realises what can happen because of that.”
Beloki, who broke a leg, wrist and elbow in the crash, was taken from the scene by ambulance to Gap and yesterday was flown from Marseilles to his home town of Vitoria, where his broken femur was due to be operated on. But in a communiqué issued late on Monday night, the Tour’s maintenance team revealed that the road temperature on the Côte de la Rochette, where Beloki came to grief, had been 52C and the surface had not, as would normally be the case, been treated.
“Several times during the day the road team sprayed the race route with water to try and reduce the temperature and prevent any further deterioration,” the communiqué issued by the Equipement organisation read. “Towards the end of the stage, on the descent of the Rochette, the proximity of the publicity caravan to the race did not allow any intervention. In these circumstances, the riders were warned of the danger before they rode down the descent.”
Whittle also quotes David Millar, who discounts the effect of road conditions in Beloki's crash:
To some eyes, Beloki was unlucky, but to others, on a descent that was clearly dangerous, he was foolhardy. “He made a professional error,” David Millar, of Britain, said, referring to the Spaniard’s misjudgment of the crucial bend. “It’s a misconception that the roads are more dangerous in conditions like that. It’s actually better for descending because the roads are tacky, so there’s less risk of your wheel sliding away.”
"It was definitely the hottest stage of the race so far," the American said after arriving in Marseille. "Even last month in the Dauphine wasn't this hot."
Armstrong is clearly focused on Friday's time trial:
Friday's time trial is over 47km from Gaillac to Cap Decouverte near Toulouse.
"I've seen the course, know it pretty well and I'll see it again on the morning of the race," Armstrong said.
"I've been focusing a lot on the time trials this year with my training. I had a good time trial in the Dauphine Libere race in June."
"I think it's going to be the most important time trial I've ever done in the Tour."
Baden Cooke believes he nipped Robbie McEwen in the first intermediate sprint today, and can't believe the intermediate sprints don't rate line cameras, as are used to determine stage winners:
"I believe I won the first (intermediate) sprint ahead of Robbie. We both went for it and I believe I got my wheel over the line just ahead of him but they gave it to him instead.
"I'm pretty pissed off at that. I don't understand - it's the Tour de France so why don't they have line cameras?
"I remember even last year it was the same when there were a few close calls between Robbie and (Erik) Zabel."
Cooke was so angry about the decision that after the stage he went to see the line judge.
However after watching a video cassette of the sprint, just 10km into the stage at Tallard, the race officials upheld their initial decision.
Cooke, who managed to get his own back on McEwen by pipping him in the finish line sprint to grab 16 points, to the Queenslander's 15, now holds a nine-point lead over McEwen in the points standings.
This year Hamilton was a star of the spring, winning the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic and the Tour of Romandie. He was expected to be a major challenger to Lance Armstrong in the Tour until the crash.
Now, to widespread amazement, he remains a contender. Hamilton has passed through the Alps with the leaders and, after a rest day Wednesday for the riders, he is likely to do well in the next major challenge, a 47-kilometer (29-mile) individual time trial on Friday. Then come the Pyrenees, starting on Saturday.
Why is Hamilton carrying on, his collarbone taped in place and the tires on his bicycle underinflated to reduce bouncing?
"I'm doing it for my team and my sponsors, who got me this far by believing in me," he said. "And for my wife." Haven Hamilton serves informally as his trainer, even driving a scooter or car as he paces behind near their racing home in Gerona, Spain.
Abt also passes along one of those irresistible stories, probably apocryphal, about the Tour:
Some lore that is not found in any of the authorized history books: In 1971, Eddy Merckx and a couple of his Molteni teammates set a pace so rapid on the stage to Marseille that the pack arrived more than an hour ahead of schedule.
The mayor of Marseille then was Gaston Defferre, who held that office from 1953 until his death in 1986 and governed the city with an iron hand.
When the mayor arrived at the appointed hour to preside over the victory ceremony at the finish, he found the riders had come and gone. The podium was being dismantled, the crowd barriers had been packed away, Merckx was at his hotel and the fans — the voters — had left.
On the spot, the mayor banned the Tour de France from his city. Not until 1989, three years after his death, did the race return to Marseille.
cyclingnews.com has posted their daily news wrapup:The pain of Beloki was obvious for us all to see as he lay on the side of that blind corner where his back tyre exploded after he locked up the bike on the molten asphalt of the Cote de la Rochette. Three broken bones were the result, but his pain of course is more than physical. As he lay in the hospital at Gap, he reportedly told director Manolo Saiz and his teammates "I am sorry, I am sorry, please forgive me". As his companions tried to calm him, he is reported to have sadly cried out "No, this was my Tour".
- Michael Boogerd has signed a two-year extension with Rabobank
- 1998 Tour winner Marco Pantani is back on his bike, after spending 2 weeks in a psychiatric clinic after the Giro
- There's also a good explanation of the Centenaire classification, which is yet another competition within the competition, this one to have the lowest average placing in the stages that finish in the cities featured on the 1903 Tour.
Thanks to Petacchi's four stage wins before his withdrawal, Fassa Bortolo edged QuickStep in the prize money total announced today, at the halfway point of the race:
Prize money awarded, as of Stage 10
- Fassa Bortolo 39,681 euros
- Quick Step 39,149
- Crdit Agricole 30,823
- fdjeux.com 29,425
- Telekom 27,808
- U.S. Postal - 26,002
- Euskaltel - 21,736
- AG2R - 19,481
- Jean Delatour - 17,248
- ONCE - 13,565
- La Boulangere - 13,358
- Lotto - 12,940
- Vini Caldirola - 12,652
- ibanesto,com - 12,131
- Bianchi - 12,075
- CSC - 10,259
- Rabobank - 7,249
- Saeco - 5,782
- Cofidis - 5,760
- Gerolsteiner - 5,652
- Kelme - 4,768
- Alessio - 3,975
There are also a couple of pictures of the demonstrators who interrupted the race with 40-odd kilometers to go.
BBC Sport have a post-stage interview with Stage 10 winner Jakob Piil, the first Dane to win a stage since his team director Bjarne Riis, who won a stage en route to his overall Tour win in 1996.
But Piil has come close in previous years.
In 2002, his feet slid off the pedals as he was sprinting for the line in Bourg-en-Bresse and in 2001, he was second to Serge Baguet.
"I did not think about it during the stage proper, but I did near the finish. It definitely made me more motivated to win a stage this year," he said.
Race standings going to rest day
From the Tour website with leaders in parentheses:
- Stage 10 (Jakob Piil)
- Overall points - Green Jersey (Baden Cooke)
- Overall mountain - King of the Mountains Jersey (Richard Virenque)
- Young riders - White Jersey (Denis Menchov)
- Overall team (Team CSC)
After the heartbraking crash of Joseba Beloki yesterday, John Wilcockson of VeloNews outlines the three previous crashes that changed their Tours: Bartali in 1937, Roger Riviere in 1960, and Luis Ocaña in 1971.
The team competition
Today, the Euskaltel-Euskadi team spent quite a while at the front, working with US Postal to manage the gap to the breakaway group. Why?
The Spanish teams traditionally value the overall team prize. The team rankings are calculated by each team's 3 highest placed finishers in each stage (for Fassa Bortolo, those are now also the 3 lowest placed finishers, since they've only got 3 riders left in the race).
Thanks to Jacob Piil, Team CSC have taken the overall team lead by 27 seconds over iBanesto.com, whose Vicente Garcia Acosta finished 2:07 behind Piil, but more importantly 19:16 in front of any Euskaltel riders. iBanesto.com therefore leapfrogged Euskaltel, which led the competition this morning.
1) Team CSC (w/Tyler Freaking Hamilton) 134:32:58
2) iBanesto.com @ :27
3) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 11:09
4) US Postal @ 15:20
5) Cofidis @ 21:16
If you're looking for an in-depth live report during the stage, or a detailed report afterward, check out The Daily Peloton's stage coverage.
The live ticker on the official Tour site is of the "just the facts" variety, and it's the basis for many of the other Tour tickers around the web. The Daily Peloton takes advantage of the length of a stage to mix in useful analysis, today pointing out who within the break had previously won a stage, and who were the good sprinters.
And the writing's pretty good, to boot:
One rider whose name we haven't mentioned much, but who is riding an outstanding Tour, is Spaniard Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) who is currently in 4th on GC at 1' 37". Mancebo finished last year's Tour in 7th on GC, and he is going even better than that so far this year. He yoyo-ed off the back of the big leader group on Alpe d'Huez, but he finally finished with the same time as Lance et. al. He looked like a beaten orphan on that climb, but he hung tough and is in a great position.
Spaniard Jose Enrique Gutierrez attacked on the outskirts of the Mediterranean port, but he was hauled in by Piil and Sacchi who powered ahead along the glistening sea front.
The two sportingly shook hands before battling it out down the 2 km stretch to the finish and Piil, a former track rider, finally took the upper hand.
It was the first time in this year's Tour that an escape group had successfully stayed out in front.
Battle for green heats up
Today saw Baden Cooke shadowing Robbie McEwen at the first intermediate sprint, and at the field sprint, where he was able to come around his fellow Aussie. On the overall today, Cooke lost 1 point to McEwen.
Thursday's stage should be fairly sprinter-friendly (one 3rd-category climb), but Friday is the first individual time trial, and Saturday is the entry to the Pyrenees, so a stage win on Thursday by one of the highly placed sprinters would likely have him in green through the middle of next week. As a result, the sprinters' teams are likely to work hard to keep the field together Thursday.
The current top 7:
- 1) Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) 140 pts
- 2) Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) 131 pts
- 3) Erik Zabel (Telekom) 112 pts
- 4) Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) 107 pts
- 5) Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour) 100 pts
- 6) Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole) 94 pts
- 6) Luca Paolini (QuickStep) 94 pts
Gutierrez was eventually chased down by Sacchi and the stage came down to a two-man sprint between the Italian and Piil.
The pair shook hands before the final charge for the line, and though Sacchi was the first to attack, Piil responded to take his first ever stage win after twice finishing second in the last two years.
"It's a nice feeling. I've come close the past two years and finally I've succeeded," said Piil.
"The last couple of years I've got some good experience on the Tour and today was just too good an opportunity not to miss."
Stage 10 : Jakob Piil in a chess match
Jacob Piil of CSC, a Dane, and Italy's Fabio Sacchi of Saeco, broke away from a long breakaway today, and Piil outfoxed Sacchi for the sprint at the line. Sacchi rode much of the last kilometer on Piil's wheel, but Piil dropped his pace and moved over into the (wind) shelter of the crowd, while carefully monitoring Saachi to react to the sprint.
When Saachi went, with about 400 meters to race, Piil jumped on his wheel, and was able to come around in the last 100 meters.
Bram De Groot of Rabobank was third, about :49 back. France's Damien Nazon of Brioches la Boulangere won the sprint between the remainder of the break to come fourth, with Austria's Rene Haselbacher of Gerolsteiner fifth.
Jose Enrique Gutierrez, who led the race for more than 30 km, was 9th, 5:06 back.
With no overall threats in the breakaway, the main field took it relatively easy.
Australia's Baden Cooke of FDJeux.com led in Robbie McEwen of Lotto and Erik Zabel of Telekom in the field sprint 21:23 behind Piil.
1) Piil (CSC) 5:09:33
2) Sacchi (Saeco) same time
3) De Groot (Rabobank) @ :49
4) Damien Nazon (Brioches) @ 2:07
5) Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) same time
6) Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) s.t.
7) Serge Baguet (Lotto-Domo) s.t.
8) Vincente Garcia Acosto (iBanesto) s.t.
9) Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Kelme) @ 5:06
10) Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) @ 21:23
11) Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Como) same time
12) Erik Zabel (Telekom) s.t.
The small group of protestors sat down in the middle of the road as the peloton approached, some 43 miles from the finish in Marseille.
Police moved in quickly to drag them out of the way and the bunch continued after a delay of two minutes.
An escape group of nine lowly placed riders had already built up a lead of around 20 minutes.
Vini Caldirola rider Stefano Garzelli failed to start this morning because of a sore throat. The OLN team passed along rumors that Gilberto Simoni, still struggling along, might drop out before CORRECTION Thursday's stage.
Apparently Garzelli was unable to eat during stage 9 due to the inflammation and this morning he decided to abandon the race. Yesterday the Italian had a tough day on the way to Gap and came in nearly 33 minutes behind the stage winner. "I'm suffering from a sore throat again and I thought about abandoning today, but let's see how things go tomorrow," he told Cyclingnews after stage 9.
His teammate Eddy Mazzoleni had to abandon this morning also, but for different reasons. Mazzoleni has a huge blister on his foot and can't pedal, so he is unable to continue.
Garzelli finished second in the Giro d'Italia last month behind Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) and was considered one of the dark horses among the Tour GS hopefuls.
Seven teams still have their full roster, with 171 riders still in the race:
- US Postal
- Team CSC (with Tyler Freaking Hamilton)
- Brioches la Boulangere
Australian Bradley McGee's success at the start of the Tour de France has given way to frustrating bouts of fatigue which have hampered his bid for further glory.
The fdjeux.com rider is to undergo tests in a bid to determine why he is experiencing debilitating 'hunger flats' which are ruining what started off as a dream Tour de France.
Tour Today: Gap - Marseilles
Today's stage is about 220 km, from Gap down to the port of Marseilles, finishing with a circuit of the city.
There are two intermediate sprints, at 10.5 km and 138.5 km, and two 4th-category climbs, at 99.5 km and 170 km. Past finishes at Marseilles have generally produced long breakaways, and 2 of 3 Marseilles winners won on a solo break.
Wednesday is a rest/transfer day.
Yellow Jersey - Lance Armstrong (US Postal)
Green Jersey - Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com)
Polka-dot Jersey - Richard Virenque (QuickStep)
White Jersey - Denis Menchov (iBanesto)
Euskaltel continues to lead the team standings.
Jorg Jaksche will wear the red race number of the most aggressive rider, recognizing his breakaway from yesterday.
There are 172 riders left in the race.
But truth is, credit should go to Géo Lefèvre - the guy who came up with the idea in the first place. Had he not thought up the Tour de France, not only would there be no monument in Desgrange's name, but I wouldn't be sitting here in L'Alpe d'Huez writing these words, you wouldn't be reading them on the Internet, nor would any riders, media, fans or sponsors being following the great race.