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July 15, 2005

Stage 13 wrapup

McEwen masters sprint

McEwen's lucky 13
McEwen triples up
AP/ESPN
An uneventful day in the overall race was a major day in the green jersey chase. Robbie McEwen proved what nobody could doubt -- that he's got the fastest finishing kick left in the field, and that O'Grady's and Hushovd's best chances may be to grab intermediate sprint points through the Pyrenees, where McEwen is likely to seek the safety of the autobus, working with other riders not interested in their overall placing to survive elimination each day.

Credit to McEwen, who thanked his team, which has spent a lot of time in the front chasing points the last two days:

"You saw who did the work today," stage winner McEwen said, blowing champagne kudos to his team.

"Today wasn't about me. It wasn't about my third win [McEwen also notched sprint wins in stages five and seven]. Today was about Davitamon-Lotto."

"What my teammates did today was absolutely incredible. To bring back nine minutes on day 13 of the Tour, when everybody is tired... It was an absolutely incredible effort."

Also:

VeloNews.com | McEwen dashes Horner's hopes; Armstrong holds lead

What about Horner, and the ill-fated breakaway?

As the duo built up a maximum lead of 22 seconds, it appeared they might just stay away, but instead Horner made up one-half of one of those "tragic breakaways" the Tour produces every year, caught by the field in the dying seconds.

"I've seen it happen to many other riders and I knew it was going to happen to me sooner or later," Horner said, still smiling about the day's dramatic outcome. "Too bad it had to come at the Tour. Still, it was a spectacular day. I thought we were going to get caught 30km from the finish, so to make it that close to the finish, it's a little disappointing, but I'll take it. It was a fantastic chance to be a part of the Tour."

Horner got to meet the race commissaires, as well:

Horner was later fined 200 Swiss francs for "incorrect behavior towards a rider" for reportedly throwing a water bottle at Da Cruz.

Said Horner, "We're doing 50 kph and he's pulling through at 43 and he's just killing our speed. He was saying, ‘No, no, we don't want any more time,' and I was like, ‘We don't want any more time? We're going to need at least 12 minutes,' and we only had nine. He started doing those cheap little pulls and he was pulling the least and pulling the slowest, and then he was the first one to attack us."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2005 in Chris Horner, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd | Permalink

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