Weather on Thursday:
Cloudy with increasing sunny spells...Wind with a strength of 10 - 15 km/h from southern directions. Temperatures: 16 - 19 degrees.
Well the forecast has been wrong everyday so far - watch out if it's windy!
Decisions of the racing commissioners:
20 seconds of time punishment for all Tacconi riders for failing to keep the 10-meter minimum distance.
The doctors of the UCI made a surprise dawn raid on randomly selected teams this morning to carry out blood tests on 54 riders.
The "vampires," as they are nicknamed by the riders, sampled riders from the US Postal, Kelme-Costa Blanca , CSC, FDJeux.com, the Rabobank and Alessio.
All of the 54 riders were declared fit to continue the race.
Spanish Riders in Yellow
When Igor González de Galdeano pulled on the maillot jaune today he was the first Spaniard to do so since the great Miguel Induráin way back in 1995. Spain's most famous sprinter, Miguel Poblet, was the first rider to do so in 1955 - in all 8 men have worn the famous jersey.
1955 Miguel Poblet (2 days)
1959 and 1963 Federico Martín Bahamontes (7 days)
1967 José María Errandonea (2 days)
1968 Gregorio San Miguel (1 day)
1971 and 1973 Luis Ocańa (21 days)
1987 and 1988 Pedro Delgado (15 days)
1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Miguel Induráin (60 days)
2002 Igor González de Galdeano (1 day).
Facts about Igor González de Galdeano
Cycling: --Igor had no interest in cycling and didn’t even watch his elder brother race, one day his Uncle lent him a bike - the rest, as they say is, history.
Clothing: --Having no cycling shirt, Igor rode his first race in a white T shirt - he won.
Music: --Igor is a keen player of the txistu or the Basque flute.
Modest: --"I am only a Rouleur, who can go up hills quite well."
Sister: --"To see the Once team on the podium you could see the happiness on their faces, Alvaro as much as Igor."
Birthplace: --Vitoria. Spain
Date of birth: --01-11-1973
Height: ----1.85 meters
Weight: ----77 kilos
11.07 - Stage 5: Soissons - Rouen 198 km
Once again the peloton regroups and starts out from the Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville in Soissons heading ever westward towards Rouen. In 1983 the team time trial left Soissons and it was the Coop-Mercier team who triumphed. Soissons is another town steeped in Merovingian history, and Clovis is famed for his revenge on one of his soldiers who broke his vase and also for his conversion to Christianity in the midst of a battle with the Alemanni tribe.
Today's battle will be between the sprinters, the stage is as flat as a mill-pond and it is hard to see any sort of break being allowed the freedom for victory. However the wind may play its role - and if the conditions are right echelons could form along the long straight roads with little protection from the elements. Expect the Domo, Lotto and Rabobank teams to take full advantage if this happens - and the Postal Service team have shown themselves to be very tactically aware in such circumstances too.
Expect a fast downhill finish into Rouen, a symbol of French nationalism following the exploits of Jeanne d'Arc.
The town first held a stage in 1949 (Stage winner: Lucien Teisseire) and, for the last time in 1990 (Stage winner: Gerrit Solleveldt). Start of the Tour de France in 1961 (stage winner and green jersey winner Andre Darrigade won that day) and in 1997 (Prologue, Stage winner: Chris Boardman).
Daily Peloton’s Stage Prediction
Close enough to Belgium to have big local support it could be the day for Domo and Fred Rodriguez - fully recovered from illness his teammates will ensure that he doesn’t miss the cut. He proved at this year's Milan San Remo that he can take advantage of another team's lead out - so today could well be the day that Fast Freddy surprises the well drilled Telekom team.
“Echelon” - the vicious crosswinds that play across the fields of France mean that the flats offer little respite. A lone cyclist can be battered to a standstill. In these conditions, the peloton strings out into a diagonal paceline formation called an "echelon." Like a paceline, this diagonal line of riders is designed to let the lead riders fight the wind, while following riders are sheltered, awaiting their turn at the front. When an echelon forms, its length is limited by the width of the road, resulting in a fierce battle in the "gutter" for the final places in the echelon line. Since the riders in the echelon have a 15-30% advantage in the wind, a failure to make the first echelon can be the difference between a chance to win the stage and a long futile chase.
Born: 8-Jan-1934, Mont Saint-Aignan, France
Died: 18-Nov-1987, St. Hilaire Clinic, Rouen, France
Nicknames - "Maître Jacques", "Monsieur Crono", "L'Enfant-Roi."
5 victories in the Tour de France (Record with Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain)
Double Tour de France and Giro d'Italia victory - 1964 (Achieved only by Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani)
9 victories in the Grand Prix des Nations (Record)
What can you say about a legend of cycling? Possibly let another legend say it for you - here is what Tom Simpson thought about the great man: "Jacques simply tries harder than anyone I have met. In a time trial you can hear him catching you, you don't have to look round, there is this hoarse sound of breath being drawn in gulps, and then he's past you. Then it's like being in a thunderstorm, with the sweat simply pouring off him as he goes by. And yet there's not a movement wasted, it's all concentrated in his legs, a beautiful motion."