Good morning, and welcome to Stage 2 of the 2002 Tour de France.
Be sure to refresh this page often (F5) to see the latest. Newest info is at the bottom of the report.
Daily Peloton's Podofdonny describes Stage 2 this way:
"Once again the peloton departs from the Place du Glacis only this time the riders head off in a south-easterly direction into Germany. Expect massive crowds from cycling mad Germany who will be hoping that Zabel can give them a home victory. The Tour visits Saarebruck for the first time, the town is the Capital of the smallest German republic of Saar which has changed between French and German control throughout its history... The Saare became part of Germany in 1935, following a plebiscite, and in 1957 after a referendum. The German - French rivalry may well continue - expect more than one banner protesting at the bizarre decision not to invite one of the world's top touring teams - Team Coast."
It's a big day for the young Swiss rider from Lampre Daikin, Rubens Bertogliati, after his stunning win yesterday. His powerful attack seemed to surprise everyone except the young South African sprinter from Mapei, Robbie Hunter.
Hunter was Bertogliati's teammate for a couple of years when they were younger, and the two remain good friends. Hunter says that Bertogliati's ride yesterday didn't surprise him and all, and in fact he started cheering for him as if he was still a teammate.
Hunter says to expect more of the same from his Swiss friend in the future. Wearing the Yellow Jersey today will certainly be the highlight of Bertogliati's career so far, and he and his Lampre squad will work themselves into the ground to defend it.
There are two category 4 climbs on the route today. Look for Christophe Mengin (FRA) of FDJeux.com to ride hard in defense of his Polka-Dot Jersey through the second climb at 132.5 km. After his breakaway of yesterday, it will be interesting to see if he has the strength to defend well.
6:34 am. And in the U.S., OLN coverage has just begun. Thor Hushovd (CA) was just dropped from a long breakaway of 70 miles. He has been cramping.
The two men still in the breakaway are Sylvain Chavenel of Bonjour and Stephane Berges of AG2r Prevoyance. Both riders are French...out to spoil the German party today, looks like. Now who would expect that from the French?
The men have a bit over 3 minutes on the field at the moment. Hushovd is sitting up and waiting for the peloton, looking a bit pained.
6:40 am. Conventional wisdom has it that Zabel will take the Yellow Jersey from Bertogliati today. Zabel lies in 8th place, only 10" behind the leader. His team will definitely be keen to do well today, and not only because of their trip into their home country.
They are trying to erase the highly publicized scandal still ongoing with Jan Ullrich's confession of taking amphetamines at a disco at 3am when he was rehabing his knee. One German newspaper had a large picture of Jan Ullrich grimacing at his press conference, with the large caption "Jan DUMMrich."
Team Telekom Director Walter Godefroot seems to agree with that sentiment, and had some very harsh words for his star after his earlier problems with drinking and driving. Ullrich's future is far from secure. Godefroot will be putting the spurs to his riders to eclipse the negative image of Ullrich with a stage win and a Yellow Jersey.
6:42 am. Long lines of screaming fans are lining the climbs as the peloton rides over. Hushovd looks to be riding hard again, hoping to clear the climb and then let the peloton catch him on the descent. Lampre is on the front setting an even tempo, as the German fans are going bonkers on the side of the road.
6:48 am. The Aussie sprinters O'Grady (CA) and McEwen (LOT) had a good go at Zabel yesterday, with O'Grady finishing second in the first intermediate sprint and 6th on the finish line (Zabel was 2nd); McEwen came in third, right on Zabel's wheel at the finish.
McEwen has commented that his priority is to win a stage. If he wins a stage early, he will then start to work for the Green Jersey. That would certainly add a bit more excitement to the O'Grady - Zabel rivalry.
6:50 am. Armstrong and his Postal team are looking good right behind the train of Lampre. Rabobank is riding right next to Postal in a train. Leipheimer seems interested in asserting a presence at the front with his Rabo boys, perhaps sending a message to his former mates on Postal.
Berges (AG2r) is only one point behind Mengin (FDJ) in the Polka-Dot Jersey competition, as he won the first climb on the stage.
Berges wins the climb without challenge from Bonjour's Chavenel, taking the lead in the Polka-Dot Jersey. He will don the jersey at the end of the day, as there are no more climbs left in the stage.
The finish today is downhill before the finishing straight. Look for a very fast finish. The two breakaways look like they are conceding, but the group is not chasing hard, seemingly preferring to let the leaders dangle off the front.
The sprinters teams will certainly come to the front and control the last 20-30k of the race.
6:56 am. Well, the sun is out now, and the race radio has indicated that the peloton is picking up the pace now that the final climb is over. The peloton looks more strung out now, with the Lampre boys on the front still defending their Yellow Jersey. Hushovd got caught before the climb, and was spit out the back on the climb.
Hushovd will be hard-pressed to finish within the time limit. He is certainly paying for his participation in the breakaway.
7:00. Phil Liggett just commented that Ullrich lives close to the finish line today. Even more motivation for the Telekom boys to do well...
Wow, they are certainly in Germany now...in a roundabout, a bunch of German fans are on a platform clad in bizarre, scanty, modern-art outfits (one man has silver foil wings and shorts) and are dancing about while the riders whiz by. Must be a local dance/performance art troop.
7:04 am. The lead of the breakaways is now at 1'35". They are sitting up drinking, taking on more food and water from the team car. They are clearly waiting for the field to catch them. The heat looks to have wilted them completely.
Still, they were off the front for over three-and-a-half hours. A very impressive breakaway.
Bertogliati looks very proud and confident in his Yellow Jersey. Cofidis is helping a bit with the chase now. Telekom riders are starting to show at the front as well.
In a field next to the riders, there is a huge Yellow Jersey painted into a field, and literally dozens of German fans in costumes and wings are buzzing about like giant bees on the giant Yellow Jersey. Some of the riders look over to the amusing spectacle, but don't stop pedaling.
7:12 am. The bored French producers keep showing pictures of the stange spectacles of the German fans acting crazy. Very amusing. The two French breakaways have just shook hands while waiting for the peloton to swallow them up.
7:14 am. Telekom is certainly looking for results today, but when the road goes up in a week, they will be looking to Americans Bobby Julich and Kevin Livingston to give them results in the absence of the injured Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov.
The breakaways have sat up, but so has the peloton. They are enjoying the wonderful support of the enthusiastic fans along the road, certainly a good sign that the sport is healthy and thriving despite the scandals like those of Ullrich.
7:18. When will they catch the breakaways? Everyone is soft-pedaling right now. Soon the attacks will start to come, surely. Unless the heat has taken the spark out of all the riders' initiative today.
Hushovd is off his bike, having his legs massaged. The young Norwegian is having serious cramps, but is now back on and pedaling again. Lykke til!
7:20 am. The gap is now 25". Now a Credit Agricole rider has stormed off of the front...it looks to be Jens Voight, trying to hit the peloton before it has a chance to catch the breakaways.
Credit Agricole clearly is trying to force Telokom to chase, perhaps to soften them up for O'Grady.
Now a CSC rider has gone. Paul van Hyfte is charging to try to catch Voigt's wheel. Voigt has caught the two breakaways, Chavenel and Berges, and they have caught on to Voight's wheel. van Hyfte is still trying to bridge...
7:25 am. So there are three leaders: Voigt (CA), Berges (AGR) and Chavenel (BON). van Hyfte (CSC) has yet to bridge.
Voigt is doing all the work, the other two can just sit on as their legs are shot. Voigt takes the final points, taking away an opportunity for Zabel to get more points.
Telekom is on the front, chasing. Voigt's ploy is working. Voigt has just jumped clear of the other breakaways with less than 25k left in the race. Voigt is grimacing, really giving it everything.
7:30 am. Paul van Hyfte (CSC) is still in no-man's land, trying to bridge up to Voigt.
His CSC teammate, American Tyler Hamilton, commented at the beginning of the Tour that his shoulder is not yet back to 100% after his injury during the Giro. However, he has no problems getting out of the saddle and pulling on the handlebars while climbing. That really hampered him in the Giro, and he still came in 2nd!
Crash! Right on an big painted American flag! Some Posties were delayed, but didn't look to go down. Rabobank's Bram de Groot had a mechanical after the crash, and was banging on his bike waiting for the mechanics.
The crash was right on the front. Some Posties were involved, but no one is injured and everyone is chasing back on.
Hushovd is stopped again, with the doctor looking at his right leg. He's off again, trying to avoid being the first man to retire from the Tour this year. He is a pitiful sight, not able to put pressure on his right leg due to cramps.
The crash was obviously not serious, as the French producers aren't showing any shots of riders chasing back on. They must have all reintegrated with the peloton.
Strange that there would be a crash involving Posties right on a giant American flag painted onto the road. A very strange sight from the helicopter shot.
7:40 am. Telekom is still hammering on the front with some help from Lotto, the team of sprinter Robbie McEwen.
The Posties are moving up on the left of the peloton right behind Telekom, so Armstrong is clearly fine. "Gorgeous" George Hincapie is leading the Postal mini-train in the peloton, looking strong as usual.
Erik Dekker is now off the back. He is still recovering from his crash yesterday, and in Milan-San Remo when he broke his leg. He looks in pain, but can finish in the time limit at this point within the last 20k.
Other teams moving up...Kelme, some Domo riders, a couple of Fassa riders. Moreau of Credit Agricole is near the front. He was the big loser yesterday, losing over 3' to his rivals for the GC. He crashed at least twice, and that definitely took its toll.
7:46. Voight is still off the front. The peloton is closing a bit. There is a slight incline, and Telekom is still on the front, but they now have Voigt in his sights. Some climbers like Sevilla are on the front on the incline.
The peloton splits on a road divider, spread across the road with this stiff little climb. Now over the incline, Telekom has strung the peloton out again, and they swallow up Voigt finally. A great effort by Voigt, forcing them to work while his teammates sit on.
Now another Credit Agricole rider has attacked!!
7:49 am. Credit Agricole clearly have a plan today, to constantly attack the Telekom train and wear them out. This worked yesterday, as they ran out of gas and couldn't chase down Bertogliati of Lampre at the end.
Just under 10k to go, and it is Sebastian Hinault of Credit Agricole who has opened a good gap. Telekom and Lotto are both massed at the front. McEwen's Australian champion's jersey is very prominent near the front. The Mapei sprinters are near the front as well.
Here comes Domo now, with Fred Rodriguez trying to rebound from a bad day yesterday. Brad McGee is there, leading the FDJeux.com sprinters to the front. The sprinter's teams are all working, jockeying for position. Hinault will have a hard time to stay away.
7:57. 4k to go...the speed is really up. Hinault got swept up. Freire of Mapei is up near the front. Rodriguez is still there. McEwen is there, as is the Yellow Jersey.
Hunter of Mapei is on the front now. Hondo is there for Zabel, following Wesseman.
Aldag of Telekom is on the front. Dierckxsens is now on the front, leading out the Yellow Jersey, who is right behind him!!
Ludo is still doing it! They aren't going to give up the Yellow without a fight as they come into the final kilometer.
Here comes McEwen, Zabel and McEwen and Freire!!
They are fighting to the line, and it's FREIRE! The world champion has beaten Zabel and McEwen!!
So it went like this: 1. Freire, 2. McEwen, 3. Zabel, 4. a DFJeux.com rider.
A Bonjour and Rabobank rider went down in the final corner. Everyone else stayed up.
Hushovd is still pushing the pedals, trying to finish in time.
McEwen went early on the right, while Zabel went left around his leadout man Fagnini. Freire was on McEwen's wheel, and went right and around McEwen to win by half a bike-length.
Cooke 4th, Kirsipuu 5th, Hauptman 6th, Rodriguez 8th, O'Grady 10th, Svorada 12th.
The Bonjour rider who crashed was Magnien.
Great finish in 4th for the young Aussie, Cooke of FDJeux.com!
Freire was 5th yesterday, and has the talent to challenge for the Green Jersey all the way to Paris. With McEwen, O'Grady, and Zabel all in contention, it looks like that competition will be a dogfight all the way to Paris.
Freire takes a great victory in his first Tour de France!
So Bertogliati is still in Yellow, 2" ahead of Zabel, 3" ahead of Jalabert and Armstrong.
Zabel keeps the Green Jersey, and Berges of AG2r Prevoyance takes the Polka-Dot Jersey.
This concludes the live coverage, though results will be posted here shortly, with a full report of the stage later in the headlines section. Thank you for joining us, and see you tomorrow for Stage 3!
1 Oscar Freire, Mapei-Quick Step
2 Robbie McEwen, Lotto-Adecco
3 Erik Zabel, Team Telekom
4 Baden Cooke, FDJeax.com
5 Jaan Kirsipuu, AG2r Prevoyance
6 Andrej Hauptmann, Tacconi Sport
7 Pedro Horillo, Mapei-Quick Step
8 Fred Rodriguez, Domo-Farm Frites
9 Gian Matteo Fagnini, Team Telekom
10 Stuart O'Grady, Credit Agricole
11 Danilo Hondo, Team Telekom
12 Jan Svorada, Lampre Daikin
13 Francois Simon, Bonjour
14 Paolo Bossoni, Tacconi Sport
15 Nico Mattan, Cofidis
16 Sergei Ivanov, Fassa Bortolo
17 Jose E. Gutierrez, Kelme-Costa Blanca
18 Martin Hvastija, Alessio
19 Luciano Pagliarini, Lampre Daikin
GC after Stage 2:
1 Rubens Bertogliati, Lampre Daikin
2 Erik Zabel, Team Telekom @ 2"
3 Laurent Jalabert, CSC-Tiscali @ 3"
4 Lance Armstrong, U.S. Postal Service @ 3"
5 Raimondas Rumsas, Lampre Daikin @ 6"
6 Santiago Botero, Kelme-Costa Blanca @ 7"
7 David Millar, Cofidis @ 8"
8 Laurent Brochard, Jean Delatour @ 9"
9 Oscar Freire, Mapei-Quick Step @ 11"
10 Dario Frigo, Tacconi Sport @ 11"