What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour Trash – Monday

Great News as Tyler Hamilton decided to ride through the pain and start Monday’s 2nd stage. However two Rabobank riders were unable to continue. There are also ramifications after Millar’s mechanical probs at the Prologue as well as lots of other items from the Tour and the rest of Europe.

Hamilton Starts Monday’s Stage
Tyler Hamilton (CSC) started Monday’s 204 kms second stage between La Fertй-sous-Jouarre and Sedan today despite a hairline fracture of his left collarbone (a result of fall in the final kilometer of stage one). Hamilton commented Monday morning, “My shoulder is very painful. But I owe it to myself to try and carry on, Our therapist worked on it a lot last night because the muscles around the collarbone were extremely tight. I feel a little better this morning, but how far I can go depends on the fracture. For now it is still together. It’s my decision to start, there was no pressure from the team.” Team manager Bjaarne Riis added “He’s a warrior he wants to give it a try to see how it goes”. Sean Kelly commentating on Eurosport during Monday’s stage was surprised that Hamilton was continuing in the race saying, “He’s going to find it very hard to continue, I had three broken collar bones in my career and it is very difficult to pull on the handle bars with any pressure, he will be severely restricted on the climbs”.

Casper Riding in Neck Brace
Jimmy Casper rode today’s (Monday’s) stage 2 in a neck brace as a result of injuries sustained in Sunday’s crash. He looked very uncomfortable riding at the back of the Peloton.

Lucky Thirteen for Petacchi … Not So Lucky For Others
Alessandro Petacchi’s stage one win on Sunday was his thirteenth victory of the season. However the pile up in the final sprint caused carnage and has led to two riders to dropping out. Seven riders were taken to Meaux hospital as a result of the crash. As already reported Tyler Hamilton has a hairline fracture of the left collar bone but started Monday‘s stage 2. However, Rabobank pair Levi Leipheimer and Marc Lotz have been forced to drop out. Tour Doctor Gerard Porte reported Sunday night that Leipheimer has a broken pelvis while Lotz has a broken nose and bad facial injuries. Fabio Baldato (Alessio) suffered hand and knee injuries but will continue the race while Jimmy Casper took a bang to the head but did not lose conciousness he continued the race on Monday as his injuries were not as bad as feared. Luis Pйrez (Cofidis) had injuries to his left knee and Franck Renier (Brioches-Le Boulangerie) hurt his left arm, however both were on the start line for stage two on Monday.

Tribute To Geo Lefevre on Monday
Monday’s second stage of the centenary Tour de France goes near the town of Vitry-le-Francois, the birthplace of Geo Lefevre. Lefevre was the man responsible for the ‘Tour de France’ title and the concept of the event. He was 25 in November 1902 when he had lunch with Henri Desgrange and suggested that a Tour of France would be the perfect way to promote the paper Desgrange edited, l’Auto. Officials of the Tour de France, including the race director Jean-Marie Leblanc, will attend a special ceremony at the grave of Geo Lefevre Monday night at 7.00pm. (Courtesy of Letour.com)

Bondue Takes Blame for Millar’s Mechanical Probs
It seems that Cofidis manager Alain Bondue has had to take the blame for David Millar’s mechanical problems at Saturday’s prologue which cost the Hong Kong / Scot the Yellow Jersey by hundredths of a second. Bondue has been demoted by Cofidis General Manager Francois Migraine and will no longer have any input as a director sportif although he remains team manager. Saturday’s problems stemmed from the decision not to fit a front derailleur to the Cofidis bikes which caused big problems on the course which had cobbled sections and caused four of the squad’s riders (Millar, Luis Perez, David Moncoutiй and Mederic Clain) to unship their chains. Speaking after the prologue, a visibly upset Millar refused to blame the mechanics, saying he had 100% faith in their ability and it now seems that Bondue has had to take the blame. The team used front chain guards at the team time trial in the Volta a Catalunya but they caused problems. Bondue defended himself by saying Millar chose to use the new chain separators instead of the tried and tested ones.

Lucky Escape for Jegou
A very lucky escape for Credit Agricole’s neo pro Lilian Jegou who was away on Monday’s long breakaway with Frederic Finot (Jean Delatour), Jegou touched the wheel of the TV motorbike and fell, nearly being run over by the closely following team car driven by Laurent Bezault. Bezault had to swerve the car off the road to avoid the fallen rider. There was a big pile up 13 kms from the end on Monday with Vini Caldirola’s Marco Milesi and Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) coming off the worst although both riders finished the stage, albeit 12 minutes behind Baden Cooke.

Zubeldia Surprises
A surprise to many people in Saturday’s prologue was the performance of Euskaltel’s Haimar Zubeldia. The 26 year old Basque finished third beating Jan Ullrich by 14 thousandths of a second, he is in his sixth year as a pro and this is his third appearance in Le Tour, he commented after the prologue, “Last year I rode well for two weeks, this year I want to maintain good form for all three weeks”. Zubeldia held the fastest time for over an hour and a half before being pipped by McGee and Millar, “I went off quickly and tried to go hard up the climb, I was surprised when I was told I had the fastest time”.

“Mr Average” Is 29 Years Old And 70 kilos
After the pre race health checks for all 198 riders, the Tour organisation came out with some facts and figures. The average age of the riders is 29 years 10 months. The average resting pulse is 50 beats per minute with CSC’s Michael Blaudzun having the lowest recorded at 31 beats per minute. The average height is 1 metre 79 centimetres with Andy Flickinger (AG2R), Paolo Fornaciari (Saeco) and Vladimir Karpets (iBanesto.com) being the three tallest riders at 1 metre 93 cents. Shortest rider is Samuel Dumoulin (Jean Delatour) at 1.58 metres. Average weight is 70.3 kilos with AG2R’s Alexandre Botcharov the lightest at 56.5 kilos. Marco Milesi (Vini Caldirola) has the largest lung capacity in the race at 7.74 litres.

The Tour By Numbers
1: Excursion to a neighbouring country (Stage 14)
2: Rest Days (16th and 22nd July)
3: Mountain Top Finish (L’Alpe d’Huez, Plateau de Bonascre, Luz Ardiden)
4: Leaders Jerseys (Yellow, Green, Polka Dot and White)
5: Haute Category Climbs (Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Izoard, Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden)
6: French Teams at the Start
9: Riders in each Team
10: Flat Stages
15: Estimated number of spectators in Millions
20: Number of Stages
22: Participating Teams
35: The Number of Italians in the Race
38: The Number of French riders in the Race
43: The Number of Spaniards in the Race
52: Number of Categorised Climbs
69: Distance of the Team Time Trial in kms: Joinville – Saint Dizier
90: This is the 90th edition of the Tour
102: Total distance in kms of individual time trialling.

Other News

Bram Schmitz signs for Telekom
26 year old Dutchman Bram Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij) has signed a two year contract with Telekom. The signing was confirmed by Telekom team manager Walter Godefroot at the Tour de France start town of La Fertй sous Jouarre on Monday. Schmitz won the overall at the Tour of Rhodes in February. Godefroot commented, “Schmitz will fit very well into our team”.

Carmichael hints at Armstrong will ride 2004 Tour
Chris Carmichael, coach of Lance Armstrong told British radio on Monday, “Lance will ride through 2004 after that I’m not sure it’s up to him”.

Pecharroman linked to US Postal
Jose Pecharroman (Paternina-Costa Almeria) is the latest rider to be linked with the US Postal team for next season. Pecharroman won both the Euskal Bizikleta and the Volta a Catalunya for the Spanish second division team earlier this year.

Renshaw To Get Trial At FDJeux.com
Australian elite 2 rider Mark Renshaw who has been performing well in Europe this summer for both the Australian espoirs squad and the French SCO Dijon team will ride as a stagiere for FDJeux.com from September 1st. Renshaw is something of an all rounder, winning two rounds of the Be Active criterium series in Perth, Australia in January but also shining in the Trophee des Sources stage race in France this month and last week finishing second in the Trofeao Citta di Brescia (UCI 1.6) in Italy. Renshaw will join fellow Australians Baden Cooke, Bradley McGee and Matthew Wilson at FDJeux.com.

Volta a Portugal Presented
The organisers of the 65th edition of the Volta a Portugal (August 6 to 17th) announced last week that five foreign teams are guaranteed to take part in the race this year. Lampre, Kelme-Costa Blanca, Lokomotiv, Palmans-Collstrop and MBK-Oktos will all be on the start line along with nine Portuguese teams. The race starts in Albufeira on the south coast and ends 11 days later in the northern town of Viseu. The mountainous stages 5 and 9 are likely to be the key legs in the race.

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