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boxcarwilly

Le Tour de France*

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so i guess i am fulfilling some journalistic quality... i am probably gonna post a bunch of velonews articles and then hook it up with a personal opinion like barstool talk that alot of french channels do... but more like from the power tools saddle...

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PROLOGUE

July 7

alrighty for those who dont follow the tour... it is basically a 21 stage race touring through france and it is the cream of the crop bike race. it weeds out the distance riders and the sprinters and the climbers and makes men out of men. it is a combination of every specialty in road racing the aforementioned categories need to be ridden hard and well and strategic. since the goal of the tour is the yellow jersey (le maillot jaune) there is a way of scoring based on time... general classification (GC) so they basically in laymens terms score by the fastest rider in all stages so potentially a rider doesnt need to win a stage to win the tour just do amazing overall... example lance last year only one stage won... so since the first stages are all out flats with small climbs and alot of sprints most of the riders finish in a large pack (peloton) which doesnt allow for an even keeled time recording so they all start in the prologue... its an 8.2 kilometre race quick and easy but gives everyone a jumpstart to hook up with the yellow jersey evenly. so here is the results...

 

oh yeah there are 4 jerseys a winner can grab

yellow=overall

green=sprints (there are sprints throughout the stages that the fastest rider can get time subtracted from his total, and they also win some decent cash for winning a sprint jersey)

polka dots=mountains (same as the sprints but an uphill battle, first one to the top of a peak the later stages are tough alpe d'hues and shit)

white=young (best rider under 25)

 

from velonews:

The prologue of any three-week tour is unlike any of the other stages. On Saturday, the Tour de France's 21 teams were cloistered together in the parking lot of the municipal swimming pool in Dunkirk, with riders spending most of their day hanging around the team buses, warming up, shuttling back and forth from team hotels, and smiling for the media. Crowds gather around each team's area, which is marked off by police tape. And judging by the masses gathered around the U.S. Postal and Telekom camps, there are two overwhelming favorites for this year's Tour: American Lance Armstrong and German Jan Ullrich. At the prologue, though, the top French rider from last year's Tour, Festina's Christophe Moreau, stepped into the spotlight by covering the flat, 8.2km course in the fastest time of the day, 9 minutes 20 seconds. ONCE's Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano was second, three seconds behind, while Armstrong and Ullrich were right behind, in third and fourth place.

 

On Saturday morning reconnaissance rides on the prologue course, the Tour teams were treated to wet, rainy conditions, which would have demanded caution from race favorites such as Armstrong and Moreau. However, by the 4:00 p.m. start, the course was dried out, despite gray clouds that still loomed overhead in the seaside town on the northern tip of France.

 

The reports coming back from the early starters were fairly consistent. The course was flat and non-technical, and the effort was all-out.

 

"They're good corners, they're good surface," said Crédit Agricole's Jonathan Vaughters. "I mean, you can go for it. Basically what I said to [teammate] Jens [Voigt] was if there was something to crash on in those corners, I would have crashed on it, because I dove right into it.

"The fact that I'm up, and don't have any broken bones, means you can pretty much go for it in the corners," he added jokingly.

 

Midway through the race, the clouds thickened and a few raindrops fell, but the expected rain showers never materialized, leaving the path clear for the favorites.

 

Armstrong got plenty of feedback from the teammates who preceded him, despite problems for Tyler Hamilton, whose saddle slipped downward shortly into his ride, and George Hincapie, who is recovering from a cut tendon and artery in his hand, suffered a week ago while taking dishes out of his dishwasher. Hincapie still finished a solid 23rd, in 9:39, but Armstrong's best markers came from Norwegian Steffen Kjaergaard, whose time was third fastest of the day when he finished, eventually placing him in 18th place.

 

When the final starters began to cross the line, the biggest surprise was the time of 10:02 turned in by last year's prologue winner, David Millar (Cofidis). The Scottish rider suffered a blown rear tire, causing him to crash in the second-to-last corner, just before the windy finishing stretch along the beach in Dunkirk.

 

Meanwhile, Gonzalez de Galdeano had set the fast time of the day, 9:23, which held up until Moreau, who started fourth from last. The Frenchman took heed of the early feedback, attacking the nine-corner, counter-clockwise course with reckless abandon. Over his 9 minute 20 second ride, he turned over a gear of 54x14 for most of the race and then 54x13 at the finish, and beat Gonzalez de Galdeano's time by three seconds.

 

Still to come were Ullrich and Armstrong, but the German managed only 9:27, good enough for fourth, while Armstrong came home in 9:24, to take third behind Moreau and Gonzalez de Galdeano.

 

"I'm not disappointed. I felt good warming up, I felt good the last few weeks," said Armstrong. "Moreau was one of my favorites, that's no surprise today. He's a French winner, and that's good for the fans. And a good guy, too. He deserves to be there and ... we'll see."

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STAGE 1

July 8

from velonews:

The story of Stage 1 of this year's Tour de France seems typical enough for an opening road stage: a slow early pace; a long, eventually unsuccessful breakaway; a mass field sprint; and a stage win by one of the star sprinters of the Tour, Telekom's Erik Zabel. Routine enough, but the 194.5km stage from Saint-Omer to Boulogne-sur-Mer in the very north of France was anything but an ordinary, flat, sprinters stage. The stage began in the town of Saint-Omer, about 50km inland from the North Sea. Under gray skies and a light drizzle, 188 starters rolled out of town. Lotto-Adecco's Fabian De Waele was the only non-starter, victim of a hairline fracture of his right hip, suffered during a crash in Saturday's prologue in Dunkirk.

 

As the race headed south, beginning a clockwise route that would wind back toward the sea, it passed not through French countryside, but rather a steady progression of small towns, all dressed up for the Tour. The first Sunday of the Tour is always a huge crowd attraction, but with the race passing through so many towns and villages, the number of spectators swelled to even more than normal. Along with the crowds, though, the route also meant a steady progression of tight, narrow passages into and out of town centers, making for a very nervous opener. Add in an undulating road, with a few tough hills thrown in, and it seemed like a recipe for the unexpected. Except, nobody told Jacky Durand. The popular Frenchman went on the type of attack that he's known for - early and long. With heavy cross- and head winds, the early pace was slower than any projected schedule, a very modest 37.8km covered in the first hour. The second hour was even slower, covering just more than 34km. In other words, a perfect time for Durand to attack at the 55km mark.With the peloton not reacting at all, Durand was joined by Christophe Oriol (Jean Delatour), and their lead quickly exploded to nine minutes within the next 30km. About the only thing that could stop them was a train crossing that held them up for about three minutes, but race officials held the peloton up for the same time, leaving the two escapees free for a little longer.While Durand and Oriol's escape was doomed to fail, the one thing it did do was slow Ag2R's Jaan Kirsipuu's assault on Christophe Moreau's yellow leader's jersey. With three intermediate sprints offering time bonuses to the winner, the Estonian's plan was to slowly erase the 15-second deficit he had at the beginning of the day, and he got off to a good start by winning the first bonus sprint. However, with the two escapees sweeping away most of the bonus time at the second and third sprints, Kirsipuu would have to be content with moving up to fourth place, seven seconds behind Moreau, who held onto the yellow jersey for another day.

The two leaders were finally caught with 15km to go, just as the race crested a hill that brought them within sight of the sea. From there, it was a nervous run-in, particularly with a series of narrow roads and traffic islands on the way through the town of Wimeraux and into Boulogne-Sur-Mer.

 

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what i have to say. i personally hate erik zabel have never liked him he threatened lances wins over the last couple years just due to the fact that he is a sick ass sprinter... and a shit load of miles how the man continues to sprint like a spring chicken amazes me actually it pisses me off i love sprinting but after along fucking day of work on my bike i cant even fathom sprinting with all my heart argh zabel you dick.

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STAGE 2

July 9

 

from velonews:

The Tour de France yellow jersey is one of those prizes that is known and coveted in the sports world for its history and prestige. Like the NHL captain who hoists the Stanley Cup, or the golfer who slides into the green jacket at the Masters, the rider who dons the maillot jaune at the end of the Tour de France has worldwide recognition. Everybody knows that the Postal Service's Lance Armstrong has pulled that jersey on in Paris each of the past two years, and is one of the favorites to do so again. But in the early stages of the Tour, it's a whole different breed of rider who chases after the leader's jersey. On Monday's stage 2, from Calais to Antwerp, Belgium, Rabobank's Marc Wauters became the second rider to lead the Tour de France this year, but not before a tough fight from Crédit Agricole's Stuart O'Grady. The Belgian Wauters began the day in 12th place, just 15 seconds behind race leader Christophe Moreau of Festina. But the two names who most people were looking at to fight for the lead were the Australian O'Grady and Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2R Prevoyance). Those two fit one profile of potential first-week race leaders: savvy sprinters who are willing to battle it out each stage at several intermediate sprint points, where the top three are awarded time bonuses of 6, 4 and 2 seconds, respectively. And they're also strong enough to be there in the sprint stage finishes, where more bonuses - 20, 12 and 8 seconds - are up for grabs. Both O'Grady and Kirsipuu have gone this route before, with O'Grady wearing the yellow jersey in the first week of the 1998 Tour and Kirsipuu doing likewise in 1999.

The 220.5km stage 2 had three of those intermediate sprints along the route, at 41km, 133km and 184km. But with a strong tailwind on the route east and north into Belgium, there were also other possibilities. "It could be an interesting day," said O'Grady's teammate Jonathan Vaughters at the start. "Good day for a breakaway, with the tailwind." But the race held to form for the sprinters at least until the first mid-stage sprint, where Kirsipuu beat O'Grady to the line, edging to within 1 second of the overall lead. After that, there was a brief breakaway at the 47km mark by nine riders, including Jacky Durand (La Française des Jeux) and Johan Museeuw (Domo-Farm Frites), but they never gained more than 28 seconds.

More significant was a move by nine riders that began at the 90km mark, including initiators Christophe Agnulotto (Ag2R), Eddy Seigneur (Jean Delatour) and Ludovic Auger (Big Mat-Auber 93), who were joined by six others - Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo), Vicente Garcia-Acosta (iBanesto.com), Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Stive Vermaut (Lotto-Adecco), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre-Daikin) and Fred Rodriguez (Domo-Farm Frites).

At that point, the peloton was flying, rolling along at an average of 50kph on flat Belgian roads that were jammed packed with what seemed like the entire population of the Flanders region of Belgium. Included on the route was Vermaut's hometown of Torhout, filled with supporters of the former U.S. Postal rider in his first Tour de France. And the 25-year-old was lucky enough to still be out front at that point, 102.5km into the race, and the breakaway wouldn't be caught until the 145km mark. That was fortunate for Vermaut, but the chances of success were slim for the nine riders. "If you look at the odds of a break that far out to stay away, it's pretty much not possible," said Rodriguez, the American national champion who was merely marking the move, but not contributing to the effort. "You have to be a dumb rider to ride [hard] in one of those."

"I felt better today," added the American, who lost 5:45 after getting caught behind a split in yesterday's stage. "That was another reason for not going hard in the break, because I didn't know how I was feeling, so it wasn't worth my effort to try. Also I played the odds and the odds were against that break staying away."

 

 

__________________________________________

 

my thoughts:

 

i am a huge fan of rabobank go to euroduds.com and look at their jerseys and they are belgians and under dogs so when you shine coming into your own country it must feel sick. and this was a sick stage, credit agricole was kicking ass almost the whole ride with ogrady trying to punch it in for the yellow... but hometown pride is a big thing in bikes and wauters kicked it up a notch to take it home.

i cant wait to get my oln tapes so i can see the last 10 k

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STAGE 3

July 10

After two days of chasing time-bonus sprints to try to get his hands on the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France, Australia's Stuart O'Grady did it the old-fashioned way on Tuesday -- by finishing in the lead group of stage 3. Meanwhile the race leader at the start of the day, Rabobank's Marc Wauters, fell far behind on the difficult climbs in the Ardennes region of Belgium. At the finish line in Seraing, Telekom's Erik Zabel took his second stage win of the week, thanks to the smooth teamwork of his Telekom team, while O'Grady finished in the pack, but took the race lead by 17 seconds over France's Christophe Moreau (Festina). The day began as a dream for the Belgian Wauters, who took over the race lead on Monday in Antwerp, just about 60km from his hometown of Lummen. As fate would have it, Lummen was part of the 198.5km route for stage 3, and Wauters's friends, family and fans were all out in force, many wearing freshly minted yellow T-shirts that proudly stated: "Wauters supporter."

 

The mass of people spilled out into the street as the race entered town, and the entire peloton rolled to a momentary halt as Wauters was allowed to enjoy an incredible moment in his hometown.

 

But while the day would provide that early, improbable moment for Wauters, the second half of the day would see him suffering off the back, to the benefit of O'Grady. For the Australian, taking over the yellow jersey signaled redemption after a devastating finish to stage 2, when he missed out on a golden opportunity to take the yellow jersey for himself. O'Grady was part of a 16-man breakaway on Monday, along with three other teammates, and only 11 seconds behind the overall leader. Staying away in the breakaway and placing top 3 would have almost guaranteed him the yellow jersey on Monday. But unaware of the threat that Wauters posed, just four seconds behind him in the standings, O'Grady let his chance slip away, finishing only fifth on the stage. "Yesterday was probably the most disappointing day of my life," O'Grady said Tuesday evening. "I was very very upset after all the work the team did yesterday. I didn't realize yesterday that Wauters was so dangerous. It was devastating." On Tuesday, however, O'Grady got one of those rare second chances. The day's route was a difficult one, beginning in the flat roads and crosswinds around Antwerp, and then making its way into the lush hills of the Ardennes region of Belgium, home to the spring classics Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne. The first 125km were flat out and hard because of the winds, and the final 75km gave the riders their first taste of climbing in this year's Tour de France.

 

 

___________________________________________

 

pissed at zabel again the prick is such a good sprinter... this was almost a chess game for the past 2 stages with o grady and the credit team knowing they needed this shit so they strategized to get o grady in the yellow jersey this is early and why i love the tour plus lance is 7th and still has the tt's to come his jam.

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my friend had skin cancer and he rides alot so lance armstrong sent him a bunch of gear and signed stuff. it's pretty cool.

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Guest HESHIANDET

way to go willy, this is making my life even lazier. i to can't fathom theese guy's sprinting abilities.

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get a life...go out and paint for the love of god

 

------------------

jus me and you muthafucka jus me and you...i'll put trade marks around your fuckin eye

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I was so saddened when Dave Millar fell! I was really hoping he would make it two in a row for the prologue. And even now, here in stage 3, (haven't seen four yet today) he's minutes behind because of it. Not that I thought he had a chance of staying in yellow if he won the prologue, but it would have been cool.

 

The tension between Ullrich and Armstrong is so apparent in the peleton. It seems like every time one or the other makes a move, it's matched. It's going to be interesting when they get to the mountains. I know I should be hands up for Armstrong, but I'd really like to see Ullrich win. And to see Casagrande on the podium in Paris would be really cool as well. Especially after the Giro de Italia. But so far things look bad for him as far as time is concerned. I wonder if he's still recovering from his fall?

 

What about the team selection? I was so suprised that Mercury didn't get in!! I know they're a first year division1 team, but come on! They dominated the early season races. They should have been there instead of Big Mat. Big Mat hasn't done shit all year.

 

Thanks for posting the velo reports!

 

------------------

jokerihubaTranscend

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Guest kidlugz

i think the reason some of the stronger teams like mercury didn't get in is because tour organizers wanted a larger number of french riders in the race. hence, alot or teams who proved themselves throughout the year got left out in the cold. there's something like 58 frenchmen competing this year.

 

[This message has been edited by kidlugz (edited 07-11-2001).]

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Guest HESHIANDET

i think i dislike the french. i sincerly hope your being sarcastic there ink junkie.

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tour de france is futura's thing yeah?...i heard that the spanish geezer who won it a while back was such a superfit fucker that his heartbeat was something ridiculous like 30bpm...havent caught it on tv yet cause its still all 'wimbledon wimbledon', but at least that goon sampras got shafted.

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STAGE 4

July 11

On Wednesday, the Tour de France made its way back into France, after racing through Belgium for three days in the opening week of the race. Along the route from Huy, Belgium, to Verdun, France, was the war memorial in Douaumont, commemorating the two-and-a-half-year battle in World War I, where more than 150,000 French and German soldiers lost their lives. But looking back on Stage 4 of the Tour, it's the 150km of roads before that monument that will be remembered most after an epic chase and a surprising show of force by the teams of the top contenders for this year's overall title.

On Thursday morning, headlines celebrating the stage victory of CSC-World Online's Laurent Jalabert will be splashed across the fronts of French newspapers, and Stuart O'Grady (Crédit Agricole) will wear the yellow jersey once again. However, it was the events far before the two-up sprint finish between Jalabert and Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre-Daikin) that were the most intriguing to anyone watching the race.

The race began under a mix of clouds and blue skies along the river Meuse in Huy, the little town that hosts the annual one-day spring classic Flèche Wallonne. Traveling some of the same roads as that race, Wednesday's stage headed southward through the hilly, forested Ardennes region of Belgium on its way to the French border. It was a tough beginning on a day that was sort of a mirror image of the previous day, with stage 4 featuring hills at the start, and flatter roads buffeted by cross winds in the second half.

The race was animated from the start, with numerous breakaway attempts, but the defining move of the day didn't occur until the 50km mark, after the second of four categorized climbs on the day.

At that point, a routine break began to take shape, nine riders along for the ride, with varying objectives. Among them were Telekom's Udo Bölts, marking the move for his team leader Jan Ullrich; Bobby Julich, who was tagging along to protect the interests of race leader O'Grady; Rabobank's Michael Boogerd, like Julich a potential threat in the overall outcome; Frenchman Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour), who was out seeking some early points in the king of the mountains competition; Ag2R's Christophe Agnolutto, probably hoping to get lucky with a stage win in a long breakaway; and Festina's Luis Perez, on the watch for team leader Christophe Moreau. Rounding things out were Kelme's José Angel Vidal, Française des Jeux's Christophe Mengin and Big Mat's Loïc Lamouller.

It wasn't the composition of the break that made it particularly interesting, though, but rather, what happened over the next 40km, as its lead shot up to more than 10 minutes.

With most of the important teams represented, the responsibility to chase landed with Lance Armstrong's U.S. Postal team, and all eight of his teammates went to the front after the Côte de Redu, at the 72km mark, to begin to bring things back.

"The problem was when Julich and Boogerd had 10 minutes," said Armstrong," and the other teams wouldn't work with us."

Well, if the other teams were going to make things hard on Postal, then Postal was going to make things hard on everybody else. As the race rolled through heavy cross winds and a light rain, the eight men in blue-and-red set such a hard tempo that the main peloton began to splinter into echelons, those diagonal lines of riders stretching across the road and struggling in the wind."We decided, screw it, if we're gonna do it, we're gonna do it right," said Postal's Christian Vande Velde. "And bam, that was it."

Shortly after the feed zone in Neufchateau, 90km into the race, there were as many as five groups spread across the road, with Postal still driving the front chase group and the breakaway still far up the road. Eventually, a main chase group of 29 riders formed, and it was quite a group, including: every Postal rider except José Luis Rubiera; six Telekom riders; the entire ONCE team; and O'Grady, who was doing everything he could to try to stay in yellow.

With all that firepower, the lead came down quickly, and by the 133km mark, just before the French border and a huge crowd awaiting the Tour, the nine leaders were absorbed into the first chase group. Behind, a group of around 40 was desperately trying to close a gap of about one minute.

But Postal continued to drive, and by that time ONCE and Telekom were pulling equally hard. On the eve of the team time trial, it was an incredible show of force by three of the teams that have the most to gain or lose, but as the heavy cross winds continued, this effort was proving to be just as important. All the favorites were at the front," said Armstrong, "Ullrich, Beloki, the whole ONCE team.

"All the teams are tired," he continued. "It's hard at the front. But it's harder at the back."

Eventually, only about 40 more chasers gained contact - with about 35km to go - with the lead group after the long chase. The effort by the big teams had done its damage, but not only to those who finished minutes behind.

"That was epic," said an exhausted Vande Velde at the finish line. "That hurt everybody, including us. Nobody's ever gonna forget who was involved in this."

Soon after day-long chase was over, and with about 30km remaining, Jalabert, Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) and Dierckxsens would launch the winning move. The three built the lead up to 1:25, but with that gap coming down under the chase of the Bonjour team behind, Jalabert attacked with 3km to go, with Dierckxsens bridging up a few hundred meters later.

Heading to the line in Verdun, Jalabert began to formulate his finish. "I know I'm not a sprinter anymore, so I had to try to remember how to do it," he said. "I knew that [the final right-hand bend] was where I had to start." Jalabert picked the spot perfectly, with 300 meters to go, and went in for the easy victory ahead of Diercksxens. Behind, Bonjour couldn't quite close the gap, but its sprinter Damien Nazon took the field sprint for third ahead of Fred Rodriguez (Domo-Farm Frites), seven seconds behind the winner.

For much of the day, Rodriguez was caught in the split behind Postal, Telekom and ONCE, and his Domo team was one of the squads that worked all day long to try to close the gap.

"That was hard, that was really hard," he said at the finish. "We had to chase as hard as we could until we caught them with 35km to go.

"I knew that I still had a good chance with a fast sprint," he continued. "I got a little boxed in with 300 meters to go. I came out of the box, but it was a little to late."

Just behind came the exhausted survivors of an epic day at the Tour de France, one in which the top teams took any concerns about the team time trial, and threw them out the window. Yes, it will be Jalabert on the front page tomorrow, but tonight, ONCE, Telekom and Postal know they were part of something bigger

 

 

______________________________________________

my thoughts:

so the chess match begins. us postal needing this again, and i sincerely think they will take it after not so many strong showings this year they might as well pull an american type victory in france showing the world that though we suck at small stuff we kick ass when it matters *sarcastic patriotism* tho they pulled it up buckled into the pedals and caught the breakaway so lance wouldnt be 10 minutes behind. as for jalabert winning im into it, it will build his team up and his morale after his accident recently, as well as get him psyched for time trials. my favorite if you havent noticed. i think today was a great show of tour team riding, as well as individual tests... sprint outs are great when you see them, remember pantani the elf vs lance during the last stages of the tour last year some good stuff. these are just my thoughts i spend my whole day on a bike so i get bitter about team work, i am lucky if the wind is blowing my way, but usps showed how a team should work, this stage also needs a french victory because if someone that wasnt an allie during the war won it would hurt a buinch of old mens feelings. lance is still in seventh with so much time to play with he is doing great. o grady gets the yellow and jalabert is only trailing by 18 seconds not a whole hell of a lot on a long tour.

 

 

joker: And to see Casagrande on the podium in Paris would be really cool as well. Especially after the Giro de Italia. But so far things look bad for him as far as time is concerned. I wonder if he's still recovering from his fall?

 

cassagrande dropped out today his wrist is still a mess.

 

as for a team like mercury, kid lugz is right on, it is a french race and you know those sniveling french men want the yellow in france more then any other country, whats it been since fignon lost by 8 seconds because he didnt shave his legs or cut that stupid ponytail, they are pissed so they are playing cards and i bet money every french rider was given a mach 3 courtesy of the government.

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argh i cant get the velo reports so basically ill give you a short run down of what i heard...

 

credit agricole (not a time trial team) won, by a hot half minute almost. once and usps were messy the whole ride, in fact usps the team that i was saying is the epitome of team riding yesterday hugged too close together and wobbled to a fall. upset sure. lance dropped to 17th and o'grady still is in yellow with a 26 second lead over second easy to make up because agricole isnt known for mountains (just like they arent known for time trials *i should stop jinxing usps.)

 

 

triple t's (team time trials) are amazing to watch if you watch nothing else in the tour watch the ttt's or the mountain tt's.

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I thought USPS did a great TTT. Even with Van de Velde and Heras going down. And in comparrison to the other teams they were quite organized and smooth if you think about it. Unfortunate for Zabel with the flat. You know he's going to be pissed that the team didn't wait for him. Especially when he finds out that other teams waited for their fallen members. I think he got the shaft with Fagnini left out of the tour. That was his lead man and would have been a huge asset in the TTT. I'm not sure what Telekom was thinking. I guess about Ullrich and the win in the mountains. Sad day for Domo and Lotto. Really bad time checks. Great day for Credit Agricole though. Sad for Cassagrande.

 

I know the organizers left out teams like Mercury and Saeco due to the nationalizing of the tour, but it seems very unfair. To give teams who haven't had any wins all year a spot in the tour over teams who have.

 

Is anybody else watching the tour on OLN? Great coverage. With two hours, four times a day... there's no way you can miss a stage. And with Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin commentating. And of course Bob "Mutton Chops" Roll in the field getting the interviews.

 

[This message has been edited by Joker (edited 07-12-2001).]

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Guest kidlugz

yeah, i try to catch the coverage every night.....willy's post stage reports help me catch up for whatever i miss though. that USPS crash was pretty rough--i was really surprised when heras and van de velde got up and managed to maintain the same pace after that kind of collision.

 

you think heras caught some heat for causing that accident from fellow team mates?

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STAGE 6

July 13

 

On Friday, many of the riders at the Tour de France may have been breathing a sigh of relief, comforted in the fact that they had survived a very difficult opening week. For Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2R Prevoyance), it was not only physically taxing, but also a mental challenge as well. However, he bounced back on Stage 6 and scored the second Tour de France stage win of his career, on the 211.5km stage from Commercy to Strasbourg.

 

It won't get any easier for the riders from here on out, but at least now, the Tour may settle down into a more recognizable rhythm.

 

Week one of the Tour was among the most difficult openers in recent years. Following yesterday's team time trial, race leader Stuart O'Grady commented, "We were very tired [Thursday] morning. This has been a very hard first few days - the hardest I've ever been in."

 

It's been a mix of heavy winds, up-and-down roads, nervous energy, hard racing and dangerous crashes that have all contributed to the collective fatigue of the peloton after the first seven days. All of that also wore on the confidence of Kirsipuu, whose first career Tour de France stage win came in 1999.

 

The week began with Kirsipuu in the hunt for an early yellow leader's jersey, as he chased after intermediate time bonuses on the roads of northern France and Belgium. But his lack of success in the finishes began to wear on him. "The first days of the race have been very difficult," he said. "I wasn't very confident. In the back of my mind, I didn't think I could win a stage."

 

Friday's stage didn't look tailor-made for the sprinter Kirsipuu either. Far from being a typical, flat stage that the Ag2R rider excels at, the race headed into the Vosges mountains near the German border, and included the first Category 2 climb of this year's Tour, the 2377-foot, 7.9 percent Col du Donon.

 

But following that climb, the final 50km of the stage saw some of the flattest roads yet in this year's Tour, and Kirsipuu would be able to capitalize at the end.

 

First, though, the main peloton had to bring back a group of five riders that had been away since the 45km mark. The move began with an attack by former world champion Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour) and Axel Merckx (Domo-Farm Frites), just after the first intermediate sprint. Shortly after, they were joined by Italian Michele Bartoli (Mapei-Quick Step), Belgian Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Adecco) and Frenchman Frédéric Bessy of O'Grady's Crédit Agricole team.

 

With Bartoli beginning the day only 3:43 behind O'Grady, the Crédit Agricole team kept a steady rhythm at the front to prevent the break from gaining too much time.

 

"We're obviously going to try and defend [the race lead] today," said Crédit Agricole's Jonathan Vaughters before the race. "Tomorrow's a lot hillier, probably a little tougher for [O'Grady], so we'll see about then."

 

With the goal of keeping O'Grady in the yellow leader's jersey for one more day, the French-based squad held the five leaders to a lead of about 3:30 for the next 100km, through wooded countryside; open, rolling farm roads; and the little villages along the route in northeast France.

 

That's pretty much how the race stayed until the final 4km of the Col du Donon - through the forests of the Vosges - about 60km from the finish. The five leaders crested the top with a lead of about 3:25, with Kirsipuu's Ag2R team among those at the front of the chase. At the back of the peloton, several of Kirsipuu's sprinter rivals were suffering - among them Mapei's Stefano Zanini and Tom Steels and Domo's Fred Rodriguez and Romans Vainsteins - but after the climb there was still plenty of time and flat roads on which to catch back on.

 

On those roads, the gap began to come down, but the escapees held on until the bitter end, with Verbrugghe the last to be caught, with only 5km remaining.

 

With the sprinters having made it back into the peloton following the Category 2 climb, the race set up for a fast finish, on a long, flat and wide final 3km along the canal in Strasbourg.

 

The usual characters came to the front, with Rodriguez looking to set up Vainsteins, Mapei going to the front for Steels, and Zabel edging his way to the front.

 

But with 500 meters to go, Ag2R's young Belgian national champion Ludovic Capelle shot to the front with Kirsipuu in tow, and the Estonian finished things off beating Bonjour's Damien Nazon and Lampre's Jan Svorada to the line.

 

In fourth position, but later relegated to last in the main group, came Steels, whose erratic sprint in the finale earned him his penalty.

 

For Kirsipuu, it was a perfect sprint ending to a strange first week. "The first few days were kind of crazy. There were no real tactics; it was like bingo, and Zabel was very lucky [to get two stage wins]," he said.

 

With bigger mountains still to come, Kirsipuu may have picked the perfect day for his stage win. "Tomorrow will be very difficult, and then it will be days and days of suffering," he said.

 

That will begin with Stage 7 from Strasbourg to Colmar, through the Vosges mountains. Included in the route are three Category 3 climbs and two Category 2 climbs, including the 18.4km-long Col du Calvaire late in the race. It will be the first real taste of the mountains for the riders, who after that will look ahead to Stage 10, and the climb to Alpe d'Huez.

 

______________________________________________

 

i am so tired i dont even think i can comment about today's race, i didnt watch it. i didnt hear anything about it i havent even had the energy to read the velo article, lance is in fifteenth and i am going to bed.

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Originally posted by boxcarwilly:

STAGE 6

July 13

 

But with 500 meters to go, Ag2R's young Belgian national champion Ludovic Capelle shot to the front with Kirsipuu in tow, and the Estonian finished things off beating Bonjour's Damien Nazon and Lampre's Jan Svorada to the line.

 

 

Did you see the close up replay of that move? Capelle was behind Kirsipuu and then shot out to his left, tapped Kirsipuu on the back and they both took off. With Kirsipuu getting behind Capelle. So smooth in such a chaotic situation. Mad respect...

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STAGE 7

Bastille Day

from velonews:

For the Crédit Agricole team, the biggest player so far this year in the Tour de France, everything is going according to plan. For Laurent Jalabert, it's almost as if he has no plan, taking everything day-to-day. Both approaches worked just fine on Saturday, as the Frenchman Jalabert won his second stage of this year's Tour, while Crédit Agricole saw the leader's yellow jersey change hands within the squad, going from Australian Stuart O'Grady to German Jens Voigt.

 

Jalabert's win was the second time in his career that he has won a Tour stage on the French national holiday Bastille Day, the first coming in the 1995 Tour. This year, he did it in grand style, arriving to the line all alone in front of a huge crowd in the town of Colmar. Although it was Bastille day, the huge crowds along the roads were almost as much German as they were French, as the race went from Strasbourg to Colmar, very close to the German border in the Alsace region of northern France. But that didn't stop a parade of French riders from trying their hand in the early breakaways, hoping to get something rolling on the national holiday.

 

For the Crédit Agricole squad, which began the day with O'Grady in first, Voigt in second and American Bobby Julich in third overall, a strong breakaway would play right into their strategy. "It was the tactic for the day to put Jens in the break, and hopefully we take the jersey," said O'Grady, who wasn't expected to be able to get over Stage 7's tough climbs well enough to hold onto the lead for himself.

 

The route for the day contained five climbs in the densely forested Vosges Mountains, and the lush, green hills were packed with fans who braved the cool, wet weather to see the Tour go by. Overnight showers and intermittent rain throughout the day made for some dangerous moments on the road, and one rider who fell victim was the U.S. Postal Service's Christian Vande Velde. The 25-year-old crashed early in the day, hitting a steel pole on the side of the rode. Vande Velde was down for several minutes, but re-mounted his bike and rode about 3km before finally abandoning the race. He was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a fractured left arm and bruised neck and shoulders.

Anybody you have to lose in the beginning of the Tour is a problem," said team director Johan Bruyneel. "I counted on him to be our guy until the climbers had to come. It's a shame, but that's the risks of the race, and it can happen to everybody."

 

"Obviously it's bad," said Vande Velde's teammate George Hincapie. "You never want to lose a rider, especially someone like Christian. It's bad luck, so we're disappointed about that, but we're gonna keep on fighting and we expect the best." Despite the conditions, Jalabert was particularly aggressive, and his second attack of the day came on the winding descent after the day's first climb, the Category 3 Col de Kreuzweg. That move didn't last long, but it was becoming clear early that Jalabert was going to be going after the win on Saturday.

 

The attacks continued over the next climb, the Col de Fouchy, but it wasn't until the 75km mark that a real threat emerged, when Italian Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) and another Frenchman, Laurent Roux (Jean Delatour) attacked just after the third bonus sprint of the day, and just before the third climb of the day, the 9.7km-long Col d'Adelspach. Onto the climb, the two leaders were joined by three more: Jalabert, Voigt and Inigo Cuesta (Cofidis).

 

For Voigt and Crédit Agricole, it was the moment they had planned for. "What we wanted to have him do was kind of counterattack off of me," said Julich, "but it didn't even really work that way. He just kind of got up into the group and then it looked like he was gonna get dropped. I just kind of yelled into the microphone, ‘Jens, if you want the yellow you've got to stay in that group.' And Jens just dug deep like he always does and stayed in that group."

 

Two more riders, Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Stive Vermaut (Lotto-Adecco) would attempt to chase down the leaders, but they would dangle in between the leaders and the peloton for nearly an hour before finally giving up the chase.

 

Behind, Postal had to regroup from its early loss, and the team took up the chase for Lance Armstrong. Among those putting forth a strong effort for Armstrong were several riders recovering from a tough first week: George Hincapie, who had cut his right hand badly before the Tour started, and only last night had the stitches removed; José Luis Rubiera, who had knee problems in June and didn't look 100 percent in the first week, but showed the first indications that he's ready to ride well in the mountains; and Roberto Heras, who crashed in the team time trial. Still recovering from a tough first week, though, was Tyler Hamilton, who finished the day in the second group, 6:22 behind the first peloton.

 

Finishing in that same group was American Fred Rodriguez, who fell off the pace like many of the other sprinters in the field, including riders like Ludovic Capelle (Ag2R), yesterday's stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2R), Max Van Heeswijk (Domo-Farm Frites), Jimmy Casper (La Francaise des Jeux) and Erik Zabel (Telekom). Going up the hill [yesterday] was hard," said Rodriguez the morning of Stage 7, "but it wasn't super hard. But today will be a whole different ballgame."

 

Surprisingly, one of the riders who wasn't dropped was O'Grady, who managed to get over all of the climbs with the front group, but still happily turned the yellow jersey over to Voigt.

 

"It's probably the best day I've climbed," he said. "With the jersey on my back, it helped me get over the mountains with the front group, so it was a perfect day."

 

Julich, too, gained confidence on the first real day in the mountains. "I felt really good toady. My legs were going around pretty easily, they were pretty light. So today was good for the confidence, for sure."

 

 

_______________________________________________

nice race for a frenchman to win i am always happy on bastille day when a frenchman takes his cake and eats it infront of the rest of the world. well vandevelde fucking fell and is gone now lance has to work a little extra hard more argh not making sense. good race. it sucks not having oln. i am calling my mom to tape the alpe d'huez and the mountain tt's but other than that espn and news sucks so i have to get my updates online, so joker no i didnt see the sprint i had to imagine it, and hope that i can afford the recap tapes from oln when the tour is over.

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Guest kidlugz

the first mountains stage was intense! armstrong trailing at the back of the pack for the first half of the race, then kicking it into high gear--cooking right past ullrich's german azz and taking the victory looking strong as an ox! yoinks!

 

lance definatly made the commentators eat their words...suggeting that he had been 'mentally defeated' shortly after they finished the first mountain.psssssshhhh. suckaz better recognize.

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Armstrong C'est Super!

Two-Time Champ Takes Control of Tour de France.

Story by James Startt, European Associate to Bicycling

Compiled by: Mark Riedy

 

JULY 17, 2001 Alpe d'Huez, France: With unprecedented tactical sense, Lance Armstrong dominated the prized Alpe d'Huez stage of this year's Tour de France. And with an impressive solo victory, he showed that the yellow jersey is still within reach despite the large deficit he still possesses on surprise rivals Francois Simon and Andrei Kivilev.

 

Bluffing was the key to Armstrong's impressive victory. It's a tactic rarely seen in modern racing, but the Texan resurrected it superbly. For many watching today's Stage 10, Armstrong seemed to struggle on the day's climbs. Riding at the back of the pack over the tough Madeleine and Glandon climbs, Armstrong rode uncharacteristically laboriously.

 

But then, just after the foot of the Alpe d'Huez, Armstrong attacked. Suddenly top challengers like Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki and Christophe Moreau labored. Perhaps in a different situation they would have laughed, for surely they knew they had been taken by Armstrong's bluff. Before the stage German rival Ullrich said, "Armstrong is obviously strong, but his team does not seem as strong as last year." Ullrich's analysis proved correct. US Postal rider Christian Vandevelde crashed out of the race on Stage 7 and Tyler Hamilton struggled with stomach problems on Stage 9.

 

For much of the race today, Armstrong appeared isolated, accompanied only by his Spanish teammates Roberto Heras and José-Luis Rubiera, as Telekom rode a steady tempo on the front. But in the end, Armstrong didn't really need his teammates. Or at least he made it look that way. Attacking after an initial acceleration by his teammate Rubiera, Armstrong then charged up the hairpin-pointed slopes of this mythic climb to the finish. With his now-patented piston-like pedal stroke, he simply rode away from Ullrich and the others, finally finishing nearly two minutes in front of the German.

 

"The bluffing was decided on the road," said Armstrong in the post-race press conference. "We didn't know that Telekom would ride tempo from the Madeleine climb, but that worked perfectly for us." Armstrong also said he wanted to win today; he wanted to win a legendary stage like the Alpe d'Huez. He also said that he wanted to win one for the team. He admitted that the morale was down and he wanted to do something to pick them up sooner than later. The Alpe d'Huez victory should do just that.

 

But his victory is problematic in one regard, since it comes the day before the much-anticipated uphill 32-kilometer uphill time trial to Chamrousse. "I might pay for that," Armstrong said of his effort on the Alpe. "I may lose two minutes tomorrow. I hope not. We'll see." Armstrong also realizes that he still has a more than 8-minute gap to make up on Andrei Kivilev and more than 20 minutes to make up on the new yellow jersey wearer Francois Simon. Both benefited from the uncanny 35-minute margin they gained in a freak break on Stage 8. But after chipping Simon's margin by more than 10 minutes today and Kivilev's by nearly 5 minutes, Armstrong knows tonight that he is back on track for Tour victory.

____________________________________________

 

 

fuckin a yeah. thats all i have to say i wish i fucking saw it. sucks not having oln.

 

ill see the recaps tho.

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