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July 21, 2003

Bike.com | Harsh Tour Conditions Force Riders To Abandon - Unwillingly

Among today's casualties were American Fred Rodriguez of Vini Caldirola, Leonardo Bertagnolli, an Italian with the Saeco team (both abandoned), and Belgian Axel Merckx, son of the 5-time winner, who finished outside the time limit. Marco Milesi of Vini Caldirola didn't start.

151 riders are still in the race.

Pierrick Fedrigo, a 24-year-old Frenchman who rides with the Credit Agricole team, was holding his head in his hands and trying to hide from the roadside spectators when he was collected by the dreaded broom wagon on Sunday.

"When you start your first Tour, that's the only thing you really worry about," said Fedrigo referring to a symbol of failure in the eyes of riders -- and some unforgiving spectators.

"When I got inside it was worse than I had imagined. I could see people looking in through the windows and all I wanted to do was hide," added Fedrigo who said the guilt made him want to get back on his bike purely for the fans.

"At one point I even began thinking that I should have tried harder, just for them. But riding the Tour is just so hard."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2003 in Tour news | Permalink

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