Deutschlandtour 2003 = TDF Preview?
It’s just one more month until the centennial Tour de France. In the past week, several teams took the chance of riding the Deutschland-Tour, won by Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Davitamon). Several TDF hopefuls were there to continue form-building before July, including “yumping” Jan Ullrich. Let’s run the quick stats on who did what (or didn’t), and start the speculatin’!
Gregory Rast (Phonak): a young rider as the GC leader for several days. Unfortunately is Phonak not selected for the Tour.
Leon van Bon (Lotto-Domo): escapes and wins 3rd stage
Kurt-Atle Arvesenv (Fakta): was often to find in chasing groups. Good performance.
TT & MOUNTAINS
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step):
excellent in the mountain stage (5th, 0:32 behind). Wins 40 km TT with 70sec. before Ullrich. Winner of GC. The start of a great career!
Jan Ullrich (Telekom)
Despite his lack of racing practice in this season, he finishes 2nd in the 40 km TT and 5th overall. Has still deficits in the mountains (18th in stage 5, 1:22 behind).
Igor Gonzales de Galdeano (ONCE)
Together with his teammates, he dominates the mountain stage (1st: Azevedo, 2nd: G. de Galdeano, 3rd: Nozal Vega, 4th: Jaksche, 6th: Contador Velasco). Crashes into a cushion in the TT with 3km to go and has to give up with a broken collarbone – his “tough” season continues. Might have gained the GC leadership despite a very strong Rogers.
Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom)
Cannot follow the favourites (8th in the mountain stage), gets mislead in the TT (still 3rd) but finishes 3rd overall. – Let’s see if he is able to ride even better in the Tour.
Michael Rich (31st GC) and Uwe Peschel(Gerolsteiner)
4th and 5th in the TT, strong! What will they show in the Tour?
Jorg Jaksche (ONCE)
Strong in the mountains (see above), 8th in the TT and 4th overall!
Jens Voigt (CA)
Could perform better. 17th in the TT, 11th overall.
Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo)
9th overall, crashes in the TT (9th) right before the finish, unfortunately.
Santiago Botero (Telekom)
The World TT Champion disappoints overall in the mountains and in the TT (obviously due to an infection) – 34th GC.
Paolo Savoldelli (Telekom)
Unobtrusive, 8th overall, 14th in the TT. Didn’t defend his 2002 Giro win, as Telekom pours all resources into a TDF assault.
Eric Zabel (Telekom)
Winner of the 1st stage, but not as strong as in former times. He lacks of team support and was beaten by others, but takes the points jersey the 5th time in a row.
Ivan Quaranta (Saeco)
superior winner of the 4th stage, beats all so-called favourites. The former track sprinter goes much faster than all his rivals and has no need of team support. Excellent!
Performs solid and wins the last stage after a great teamwork of his mates. Another candidate for superior sprint victories in the TdF!
ONCE 2nd Overall Team Classification+++
Extremely impressive! Dominating in the mountains and performing good in the TT.
Quick.Step 1st Overall Team ++
Rogers (winner), Sinkewitz and Bodrogi among the Top20.
Gerolsteiner 4th Overall Team ++
Strong with Pollack (sprint), Rich and Peschel (TT) as well as Wegmann (all-round).
Telekom 3rd Overall Team +
Not excellent, but solid overall.
Bianchi 12th Overall Team +
Still coping with not enough race practice, but improving.
This week a batch more of the TDF contenders are racing at the Dauphine Libere in France – stay tuned for the latest on Lance and the rest…