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94th Tour de France - Team Comments after stage 5
By Staff
Date: 7/13/2007
94th Tour de France - Team Comments after stage 5

94th Tour de France - Team Comments after stage 5
Team and rider comments after a day riddled by crashes and injuries, Johan Bruyneel on Noval, Zandio Surgery,  Caisse d'Epargne, Saunier Duval/Prodir, Lampre Fondital.

Discovery Channel Team
Benjamin Noval status after crash with car:
"Unfortunately we had that last crash of Benjamin on the last downhill. He had already done his job for the day of protecting Levi and Alberto, so on the last climb he sat up and just cruised to the finish. In the downhill all of a sudden a car braked in front of him and he went straight through the back of the car. It was a Bouygues Telecom car. He’s at the hospital now and has to have his arm and chin stitched. He’s pretty messed up. He finished the stage so I think he’ll be able to start tomorrow but it will depend on how he looks in the morning. He’s definitely going to hurt a lot but I think he can start.

We’ve seen the images of the crash now on the television. The car had a French TV crew inside the car and the director was entertaining the camera, explaining race tactics as he was driving and going all out downhill. I think it’s pretty dangerous to do that. There are some people who talk about the danger or usefulness of using radios in a race and I have my opinion on that, but I definitely have my opinion about TV cameras in the race cars. Seeing certain directors trying to be the star of the show and wanting to entertain the TV while they have to drive and think about the safety of the riders. It’s definitely very dangerous. That’s why we never have TV cameras in the car, or at least if we do we pretend that they are not there. I don’t think we can say the same of everybody." Johan Bruyneel

Caisse d'Epargne
Xabier Zandio operation a success.

Alejandro Valverde, who finished the stage at thirteenth, was satisfied with his stage: “The one of today was the first stage in the middle mountains, which means a one that could be a complicated one and it was very important to be careful and attentive. Fortunately we had a good day and we saved the day, myself and all my team-mates who did a great job during the stage. The final was a very fast one, with a tight sprint.My intention was to take part in the sprint for the first time, but it was really dangerous and not the worthwhile for me to take such a risk.”

“I believe that the most significant thing today is Alexandre Vinokourov’s crash”, concluded Valverde, “the Kazakh rider lost one minute and twenty seconds. That’s bad luck and as for me I hope that he will recover very well.”

Xabier Zandio, the rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne, victim of a crash yesterday and who broke his collarbone has been operated on with success this afternoon in the university hospital of Pamplona by the Dr. Carlos Villas.

Xavier resting after his surgery. Photo c. Abarca Sports

"The stage has been very nervous, with a very fast final, but of course that for us, the most significant event has been Xabier Zandio’s crash and abandon", declared Oscar Pereiro behind the finishing line in Joigny. "He had almost completely recovered after the crash of the first day, but it was really bad luck for him one more time. Xabier was one of the key pieces of the team, mainly for the mountain stages, and we will really miss him. And I do not speak only about the sportsman, but also about the great friend he is for everybody in the team."

Caisse d'Epargne Signs Mathieu Drujon
The team Caisse d'Epargne has signed the French rider Mathieu Drujon (24 years) for the next two seasons.

Saunier Duval/Prodir Red Birds Report
 On the attack with De la Fuente and Millar, in another race riddled with crashes.

Filippo Pozzato has won stage 5 of the 2007 Tour de France, a 182.5km technical race from Chablis to Autun. The Italian rider took the sprint from the group of about 60 elite riders who approached the finish line first, after climbing the Côte de la Croix de la Libération with 8 kilometres to go. Once again, the race was riddled with crashes involving important victims, such as Alexandr Vinokourov (Astana), who lost 1´20", Andreas Klöden (Astana), and our Iban Mayo , who went down with Leif Hoste (Predictor-Lotto) with 90 kilometres to go. The whole team waited on the Basque rider, and he regained the peloton soon enough.

In the final stretch, the yellow squad went on the attack. First, David de la Fuente broke clear with 2 kilometres to the top of the final climb. Then, David Millar and Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Télécom) sought victory by putting in an attack in the last 2 kilometres, but they were reeled in with 400 metres to go, just before the bunch sprint taken by Pozzato, which included three red birds: Mayo, Millar and De la Fuente. Fabian Cancellara (CSC) has kept the yellow jersey on his shoulders, and Millar is still holding on to the 4th place, 41 second behind the Swiss overall leader. Stage 6 tomorrow will take the riders from Semur-en-Auxois to Bourg-en-Bresse (199.5 kilometres). The race features only two cat-4 climbs.

Iban Mayo: ”The crash occurred when the finish was 90 kilometres ahead. A man of Lampre and another of Predictor/Lotto got caught. I braked but I couldn't help crashing and leaping over my bike. My right elbow and left knee hurt a bit - nothing serious, anyway. All the team waited for me and we managed to come back to the peloton soon. After the mountain pass, I felt OK. I was on the front because the downhill was dangerous, and I felt safe there. Let´s hope we can reach the mountains safe and sound after tomorrow's stage. Today, it could've been much worse.”

David Millar: “After discussing it with `Matxin,´ I was intent on attacking exactly when I did. I put in my attack taking advantage of the small climb 1.5 kilometre before the finish line. But I wasn't counting on such a wide road after the final descent. This reduced my chances to reaching the finish line before the other riders. However, being in the lead in the final stretch of a stage like this one is very important. The weekend stages will be difficult to me, so I´ll help Iban instead, but next week I´ll seek victory in the time-trial, and perhaps on some other day too.”

Brave performance by Daniele Bennati. Even if he was suffering for the effects of his fall in Gent, Lampre-Fondital cyclist struggled for the victory in the 5th stage of Tour de France (Chablis-Autun), obtaining the 3rd place behind the winner Pozzato and Freire.

“I wanted to obtain a good result after all I have suffered in these days – Bennati commented – The victory would have been the best thing and I have some regrets for not having obtained it; however it’s very difficult to be in the sprint with these aches. This result gave me morale. Good work by the whole team”.
“Today stage was a good trust injection for Bennati – Fabrizio Bontempi underlined – . I think that the team ran in a very good way: we were active in every important moment of the race”.

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