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July 05, 2005

Stage 4 underway

It's nearly a dead heat on the road, with Discovery and Team CSC clocking intermediate time splits 6 seconds apart at Onzain, which is 45.8 km into the course.

T-Mobile is clocking quite a respectable time -- they've finished the course in first, 18 seconds ahead of Liberty Seguros, who rode a very good TT, and 30 seconds ahead of Gerolsteiner.

Phonak comes in 56 seconds back of T-Mobile, good for 3rd so far, but it looks like they'll fall back from there.

At the third time check, entering Blois, Discovery has 24 seconds on 2nd-place T-Mobile.

Discovery finishes in 1:10:39 to take the lead, but CSC is still on the road.

And Zabriskie, the yellow jersey, goes down hard! That's going to disrupt their rhythm, and they come in in 1:10:41, 2 seconds behind Discovery.

There's a new rule this year, to give a rider who falls in the last kilometer the same time as the riders he was with, but I'm not sure how far out he fell. Looks like Zabriskie has to take his own time, putting Armstrong in yellow.

For the first time ever, one American will cede the yellow jersey to another.

What a shame for Zabriskie, who looked to be in good position to hang onto the yellow jersey for another few days.

Top 10:
1) Discovery Channel, 1:10:39
2) Team CSC, at :02
3) T-Mobile, at :36
4) Liberty Seguros, at :53
5) Phonak, at 1:31
6) Credit Agricole, at 1:41
7) Gerolsteiner, at 2:05
8) Illes Balears, same time
9) Fassa Bortolo, at 2:19
10) Liquigas-Bianchi, at 2:26

These are all times before the funky TTT rule is applied, so T-Mobile, for instance, will be awarded a time at 30 seconds, Liberty Seguros at 40 seconds.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2005 in Dave Zabriskie, Lance Armstrong | Permalink

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Comments

"There's a new rule this year, to give a rider who falls in the last kilometer the same time as the riders he was with, but I'm not sure how far out he fell. Looks like Zabriskie has to take his own time, putting Armstrong in yellow."

This is NOT a new rule. This has been around for years and has never been true for team time trials.

Guy

Posted by: Guy at Jul 5, 2005 12:21:56 PM

This was the Team Time Trial, not an individual TT or stage. The time for every rider on the team is the same as the 5th team member to cross the finish Line.

Z could have dropped out altogether and would still be awarded the time as the rest of CSC.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Tennent at Jul 5, 2005 1:04:01 PM

My bad. Z had to finish with his team or he ends up with his actual time.

He lost a minute and a half or so

Mike

Posted by: Mike Tennent at Jul 5, 2005 1:15:13 PM

Must be nice for teams like Phonak: "You rode a mediocre TTT and barely managed to keep the minimum 5 riders together at the end, so by way of reward, how's about a ... drumroll puhleeze ... behind curtain number five ... A FABULOUS 41-SECOND TIME BONUS!!!" yes, we take our socialism seriously here in La France, we even subsidize mediocrity in our sporting events...

Posted by: EWM at Jul 5, 2005 3:51:46 PM

Guy,

Here's the relevant section of the rules:

"In the event of a fall, puncture or mechanical incident duly recorded by officials, after passing the “Red Flame,” the rider or riders having suffered the accident are credited with
the time of their team-mates with whom they were riding when the incident occurred. Riders who arrive on their own after the 5th rider of their team will be credited with the actual general individual time ranking taken to finish this stage of the race. "

A similar rule used to apply to non-TTT stages, but this year, that rule is applied during the final 3 kms, rather than just the last kilometer.

You can read a rules excerpt or download a PDF file of the complete rules from the the official Tour website.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 5, 2005 3:55:25 PM

"yes, we take our socialism seriously here in La France, we even subsidize mediocrity in our sporting events..."

Do you have any idea what the rule was set up for (although I think it is a bit silly myself)? Do you have any idea what socialism is? Do you think there is socialim in France? Do you think the type of political and economic system in France has anything to do with the specific rule changes in the Tour de France? How can one American express so much ignorance and so many weird ideas in a few sentences? Aren't you embarassed?
Tom

Posted by: Tom at Jul 5, 2005 4:18:08 PM

Gentle Tom: I shall endeavor to keep my replies to your queries brief, but you did ask:

1) Yes, although the motivation for it remains puzzling to me. (And even you admit you think it "silly," though you don't explain why).

2) Well, let's see what Webster's dictionary says:

Main Entry: so·cial·ism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Yep, that's pretty much what I had in mind, so the answer to your second query is again "Oui." Note that especially definition #3 applies to the recently revised TdF TTT rules.

3) Well, let's see what the handy-dandy online World Factbook says:

"France is in the midst of transition, from a well-to-do modern economy that has featured extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, banks, and insurers. It retains controlling stakes in several leading firms, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales, and is dominant in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. The telecommunications sector is gradually being opened to competition. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare. The government has lowered income taxes and introduced measures to boost employment and reform the pension system. In addition, it is focusing on the problems of the high cost of labor and labor market inflexibility resulting from the 35-hour workweek and restrictions on lay-offs. The tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe (43.8% of GDP in 2003). The lingering economic slowdown and inflexible budget items have pushed the budget deficit above the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP limit."

...so it's perhaps less socialist than in the past, ("extensive government ownership and intervention"), but still pretty darn socialist from a non-continental perspective. In this case, a qualified "Si, Sen~or."

4) I indeed believe this may be the case, though I offer it without unambiguous proof. However, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that if the citizens of a country accept a broad range of "top-down-intervenionist" and protectionist practices in their workplaces and daily lives, they would be more accepting of similar practices in other arenas, in this case sport. (Although I was being somewhat facetious, but that was apparently lost on you.)

5) Hmm, that's difficult to answer, since it makes a number of subjective assertions, in fact assertions which my answers to (1-4) seem to belie. Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain what aspects of the French government "retain[ing] controlling stakes in several leading firms," and "remain[ing] committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare" are not reflective of what are typically considered to be socialist ideals? Note that I'm not saying all those ideals are a bad thing in managing a country, I just happen to believe that they are inimical to athletic competition, i.e. sport. All good sports have rules, but those rules should never give an unfair advantage to one participant (or group thereof), nor artificially negate the performance of those possessing superior talent, desire or moxy (or belonging to a superior team, in team sports). Should we burn half of Mozart's musical scores simply because he was such a vastly superior composer relative to his contemporaries? Should we give authorship credit to two-thirds of Shakespeare's sonnets and plays to lesser playwrights, simply to "maintain social equity?"

6) Oh, most definitively not. What is there that I should feel embarassed about? Stating my opinions, and subsequently being able to bolster them all with facts, precise definitions, and plausible inferences?

Ah, nothing like the freshly-charred smell of the first getting-way-off-topic-here flame war of this year's tour. ;)

I apologize to TdFblog's readers for the length of the above riposte, but then again, Tom *did* ask, so I felt obliged to answer.

Posted by: EWM at Jul 5, 2005 6:04:15 PM

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