July 04, 2004
McGee: "I can't go on suffering like that"
BBC Sport reports that Brad McGee's problem is with his back, but it manifests itself in his hips and legs:
"My back is just cut in half and I can't feel my legs. My feet are numb and I can't get any power out.
"I'm going to get it looked at and try and find out more, but I can't go on suffering like that."
McGee said his hips are "out of place and are falling in and out of where they are supposed to be, and today they were definitely out.
If McGee drops out, the record Aussie contingent, which was slated to be 10, would be down to 7, after Matthew White's accident before the prologue, and Nick Gates finishing outside the control on today's stage.
Don't know who wins, but we know who's last
Nick Gates of Lotto-Domo fell early in the stage, lost 15 minutes on the peloton, and couldn't make up any time when the peloton started chasing. He came in more than 30 minutes back, which was about 6 minutes outside the time limit on today's stage.
If Bradley McGee makes the start tomorrow, the Tour will leave Charleroi with 187 riders.
Stage 1 wrapup
The BBC wrapup on the stage notes that Bradley McGee suffered from "back problems" and lost more than 6 minutes (!!) on the stage. Keep an eye on McGee; he might not make it through the team time trial.
As for Kirsipuu:
"The sprint was incredible for me ... I am really, really happy."
BBC also has some early pictures from Stage 1, including a shot of Lance Armstrong taking the start in the green jersey.
Kirsipuu takes Stage 1
Estonia's Jaan Kirsipuu took Stage 1 into Charleroi in a field sprint ahead of Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd. Danilo Hondo and Jean-Patrick Nazon round out the Top 5.
Kirsipuu has 4 career Tour stage wins, most recently in 2002, and was the only person not named Lance Armstrong to wear the yellow jersey in 1999.
The Top 10:
1. Jaan Kirsipuu (AG2R)
2. Robbie McEwen (Lotto)
3. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
4. Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner)
5. Jean-Patrick Nazon (AG2R)
6. Baden Cooke (fdjeux.com)
7. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC)
8. Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
9. Erik Zabel (T-Mobile)
10. Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros)
Cancellara holds the yellow jersey, and gains 6 seconds on Lance Armstrong based on time bonuses. Hushovd used time bonuses to jump into 2nd overall, 4 seconds behind Cancellara, while Armstrong falls to 3rd, 10 seconds back. Jens Voigt of CSC moves into 4th for the GC, while José Ivan Gutierrez of Illes Balear-Banesto rounds out the Top 5 overall.
Full results are up over at RoadCycling.com.
Armstrong loses the green jersey to Thor Hushovd of Credit Agricole, who will be sprinting for the yellow jersey the next two days. Kirsipuu is 2nd, Robbie McEwen 3rd, Danilo Hondo 4th, and Cancellara 5th.
Quick Step's Paolo Bettini becomes the first polka-dot jersey of the 2004 Tour, based on mountain points earned on low-category climbs during a breakaway along with CSC's Jens Voigt and 3 others.
It will be interesting to see who wears the red race numbers of the most agressive rider tomorrow: Voigt was in two long breakaways early, then Jakob Piil and Marc Wauters had a late breakaway that looked like it had a chance down to about 8 miles to ride. Update: It will be Voigt.
Euskaltel suspend Losa in EPO investigation
Euskaltel-Euskadi have officially suspended Jesus Losa, the team doctor who was apparently named by David Millar as the supplier of EPO found at Millar's home last month.
Something was clearly up when Losa refused to join the team in Belgium for the Tour prologue.
McGee having medical problems?
Bradley McGee was the consensus pick to win yesterday's prologue, but finished 4th, blaming stomach trouble that kept him from doing a proper warmup.
Today, he's spent a big part of the day off the back, with Mario Cipollini's group of chasers, and race reports have him conferring with his team doctor.
At his website, McGee notes he's 2kg lighter than he's ever been. Just yesterday, McGee predicted his weight loss would make him a factor in the GC this year.
Update: With about 10 miles (16 km) to ride, McGee has been spit off the back like me on a training ride. Could be the return of McGee's mysterious blood sugar ailment.
Merckx on six and the hour
I've seen a few people interpreting this interview with Eddy Merckx as sour grapes: focusing on Merckx's assertion that he could have won six Tours, and taking his comments on the hour record as a putdown of Lance Armstrong, who has never attempted the hour.
I read it a little differently. I think it's an introvertible FACT that Eddy could have won the 1973 Tour, if his team hadn't made him ride the Vuelta and Giro in the spring (back then, both races were before the Tour). Eddy didn't even ride the '73 Tour, which Luis Ocanã˜˜˜wõñ˜.
As for the hour record, either Eddy is waxing nostalgic for the days when the hour was a big deal, or he knows something we don't about Armstrong's plans.
Teaching Tour fans to fish
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Who had Stage 1, 100k in the pool?
That is, the "when will Tyler Freaking Hamilton hit the pavement?" pool.
Conditions are greasy on Stage 1, and Mario Cipollini has also gone down, and Berhard Eisel half-wheeled a fellow breakaway rider while he and four others led the peloton by 2 minutes, trying to talk to his director in the team car, and took a spill.
No one has been hurt enough to drop out, but Cipollini lost enough time that the Domina Vacanze team had to drop back and try to bring him back, and have spent 30 kilometers or more trying to get back in the field.
Update: VeloNews reports that Oscar Sevilla took a fall, so it's possible the Phonaks were bridging Oscar up, and not Hamilton.
Update to the update: Hamilton did take a fall, and so did three of his teammates. Tyler is more concerned with the cobbles on Tuesday's Stage 3.
Final update to the updates: The Denver Post reports Hamilton bruised his thigh. No big deal.