Good Morning, and welcome to The Daily Peloton's live coverage of stage 4 of the 2002 Tour de France:
July 7 - Stage 4: Epernay - Château-Thierry Team Time Trial, 68 km
Leaving the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle from 14.15 at five minute intervals, the riders face a mostly flat course with a little of a sting in the form of a 3.5 kilometre, 200 metre climb in the middle. Pod's stage preview: "Unskilled teams may well loose men on this drag and will loose vital seconds trying to regroup." After the climb, there is a flat 20 kilometre finish into Château-Thierry.
George Hincapie of USPS told the DP that he expected to put in a huge effort today, in what I am told is the most painful and difficult event in professional cycling. USPS is the odds-on favorite. Last year they finished fourth in the TTT despite waiting for teammates Christian Vandevelde and Roberto Heras, who touched wheels and went down hard. They will likely see some challenge from the likes of ONCE or CSC - Tiscali.
Last year's winning team, Credit Agricole, has had a rough start to their tour, but may have some extra motivation to do well here if they can pull themselves together after sufffering crashes, cramps and illnesses.
The DP's live coverage starts at 6:30 am PST.
6:37 am PST - As we join the Team Time Trial, ONCE is lined up on the start... and they're off.
Domo - Farm Frites is on the road and are lying in fourth place at the 1st time check. Telecom is on the road as well, with Zabel all in yellow.
Credit Agricole will be the first team to finish. They set a time of 1:22:17.
Interviewed after yesterday's sage, Eric Zabel said he didn't much like his chances of keeping the yellow jersey in today's stage with Telecom's best time triallists "staying at home."
6:42 am PST - Euskatel - Euskadi turns in a lack-luster performance, coming in well off the pace set by Credit Agricole at 1:24:11.
USPS is on the road! They looked pretty serious at the start.
6:48 am PST - AG2R has come in at 1:24:13. Lampre is on the road, and Cofidis is just off.
6:52 am PST - Bonjour finishes in second place so far with a time of 1:23:02.
Laurent Jalabert looks serious on the start. He could claim the yellow jersey today, and CSC will be motivated to ride well todat for him and for Tyler Hamilton who hopes to ride high int he GC. They're off.
Lotto is on the road, with Robbie McEwen wearing the green, borrowed from Zabel. They're not breaking any course records at the time checks.
7:04 am PST - Tacconi Sport comes in with a time of 1:23:34.
7:07 am PST - Mapei is not having a good ride and are slipping away at the intermediate time checks, and have dropped Andrea Tafi. Telecom has finished at 1:22:14. ONCE is setting the fastest times on the course.
USPS is in two short lines, Eki moving to the front. iBanesto is setting good times on the course, as has Fassa Bartolo.
7:11 am PST - Domo has set a new best time at 1:22:01. Richard Virenque is now the virtual yellow jersey on the road.
7:17 am PST - iBanesto surpasses Domo with a time of 1:21:45. Francisco Mancebo is now the virtual yellow jersey.
ONCE has lost Miguel Pradera to a flat tire, but are still setting the best times at their time check.
USPS is flying at 45mph, but CSC-Tiscali is setting the fastest time, beating ONCE and USPS at the first time check.
Fassa - Bartolo has set a new fastest time at 1:21:19.
7:29 am PST - Benoit Joachim of USPS looks to be having some trouble at the back of USPS's lines. Lance is taking long pulls.
Kelme are on the road with 7 riders still with them. They're setting good times.
7:32 am PST - Rabobank comes in for fourth at 1:22:05.
7:35 am PST - Arvis Piziks has been dropped by CSC. USPS is losing ground to ONCE. Sergei Hontchar is the new virtual yellow jersey.
Mapei comes in in 11th place with a time of 1:23:36. USPS is currently third on the road, with CSC and ONCE battling it out for the best time.
Jean Delatour comes in with 1:23:32. CSC Tiscali still setting the best times, and USPS is gaining time, and it has started to rain.
At the third checkpoint, CSC is at 49:40, ONCE 6 seconds down, and Postal 19 seconds down.
Fdjeux.com in at 1:23:23. Kelme is doing a good ride- their times keeping them near the top of the leader board.
George Hincapie is driving it on the front of USPS's line. ONCE has passed the 60km timecheck 1:31 ahead of best time holders Fassa - Bartolo.
7:52 am PST - Lampre finishes in 5th with a time of 1:22:11. CSC has lost Sanstod to a flat tire.
7:55 am PST - ONCE comes in with a sensational new best time of 1:19:49, with 8 men.
7:57 am PST - USPS is second at the 60 km timecheck down 38 seconds on ONCE who have set the barr high. Laurent Jalabert is looking good for yellow.
8:00 am PST - Kelme is holding on for 5th place right now, a great collective effort, but team leaders Botero and Sevilla will lose significant time to Armstrong.
8:02 am PST - Kelme finishes with 1:22:08
8:04 am PST - USPS Finishes 1:20:05, Authoritatively landing in 2nd place. George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong and Eki working hard, the whole team finishing together.
8:07 am PST - CSC has dropped down to third on the road. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is the new virtual yellow jersey.
8:09 am PST - The loss of Sanstod has really hurt CSC - Tiscali. They are fading.
Cofidis has finished with a time of 1:21:33
CSC - Tiscali is the only team remaining on the road. They are riding at 31 mph.
8:17 am PST - Tiscali is finishing with a time of 1:20:35, in third place.
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is the new maillot jaune! So, the one team Lance Armstong said he was worried about before the tour takes the top spot! USPS won't be too dismayed though, as they will not be defending the lead, and will be able to save their strength for the mountians.
The jerseys break out like this: Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano takes yellow, Eric Zabel holds onto the green, Christophe Mengin is KOM, and Isidro Nozal moves into the white.
ONCE - 1:19:49
USPS - 1:20:05
CSC - Tscali - 1:20:35
Fassa - Bartolo - 1:21:19
Cofidis - 1:21:33
iBanesto - 1:21:45
DOMO - 1:22:01
Rabobank - 1:22:05
Kelme - 1:22:08
Lampre - 1:22:11
Credit Agricole - 1:22:17
Telecom - 1:22:36
Bonjour - 1:23:02
Alessio - 1:23:04
Fdejeux.com - 1:23:23
Jean Delatour - 1:23:32
Tacconi Sport - 1:23:34
Mapei - 1:23:36
Euskatel - 1:24:11
AG2R - 1:24:13