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July 08, 2004

Stage 5 underway

There's a group of five 15 minutes up the road this morning:

Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi)
Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis)
Jakob Piil (CSC)
Sandy Casar (Fdjeux.com)
Thomas Voeckler (Brioches la Boulangere)

French national champion Voeckler looks likely to take the yellow jersey tonight, and O'Grady has taken a couple of intermediate sprints; given a bonus at the finish, he's made a great start in his announced goal of the green jersey. It's a major turnaround for the French, who had little success in last year's Tour until Jean-Patrick Nazon took the last stage.

We could have a French yellow jersey, and a rider from a French team (O'Grady) take the stage today. Heck, Voeckler could do both; he's launched several sharp attacks to try to break from the group.

There have been a few crashes today, including Manuel Beltran and Jose-Luis Rubiera from US Postal, who went down with Alessandro Petacchi, Roberto Heras, and others. Beltran and Rubiera needed medical assistance.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 8, 2004 in Magnus Backstedt, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Voeckler | Permalink

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