Stage 4: TTT Report
– By Gregg Germer, who travelled only 3.5 hours from his home in Belgium to the start of Stage 4 – we should all be so lucky…!
Sorry for the delay in the report to the wonderful PCN readers.
Today’s stage 4 of the Tour de France started in Epernay on the border of the Champagne region of France. Under cloudy and cool conditions the team time trial was a point to point ending in Chateu-Thierry after 67.5 kilometers. The major difficulty of the time trial came at the 33 kilometer mark with the climb up to Igny-le-Jard topping out at about 212 meters.
The favorites in today’s time trial were defiantly Once, US Postal Service, CSC-Tiscali, and Rabobank. Once, CSC-Tiscali and US Postal were some of the last teams to go, leaving the excitement of who was going to finish first going down to the wire. At the midway point it was Fasso Bartolo who had posted the best time with 1:21:29 seconds.
In the end solid rides from all big player teams left the time differences to a minimum with US Postal Service and CSC-Tiscali loosing 16 and 46 seconds respectively to the time trial machine of ONCE. The solid ride by ONCE proves its depth and strength of their talent. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, current GC leader, and Joseba Beloki are looking to be the major contenders to Lance going into the mountains.
Also spotted around the ONCE team bus is former Festina sprinter and Aussie Neil Stephens.