Official Communication of the Tour de France
Weather on Sunday: Throughout the day warm to hot with sunny spells. Weak wind. 27 degrees when starting, 33 in during the race and, 18 degrees at the finish.
Rubiera (Esp): Insect bite
Peron (Ita): Graze on the right shoulder
Hinault (Fra): Cuts to right hand, elbow and knee
Bossoni (Ita): Abandoned due to stomach complaints
Sandstod: Still in the intensive care unit in the Ktankenhaus of Tarbes. Condition seems to be improving Transfer to a Danish hospital could take place at the beginning of next week
Decisions of the racing commissioners:
-- none --
Robbie McEwan is adamant that Lance Armstrong is determined to help Eric Zabel win the points Green jersey. On Saturday the main peloton came into dispute 12th place and Baden Cooke (Fdjeux.com) pipped McEwan, who in turn finished ahead of “Ete” Zabel. With both riders on 229 points McEwan won the green jersey by virtue of better finishing positions in the race so far.
McEwan later said, "It is obvious that Telekom and the US Postal team are working together. Lance does not want me to win the green jersey - for some time now the pair of us have not got on - he accused me of attacking him while he took a “natural break” some time ago and our relationship has been sour ever since.
Zabel and his Telekom team concede that McEwan has the upper hand - for the moment - “Erik is a little slower than McEwan for the moment but we will obviously continue to battle, and maybe turn the situation around," said Telekom boss Rudy Pevenage on Saturday, having lost the jersey.
"I think, I am the better Sprinter", said McEwan "I get the points on the flat stages, Erik has the advantage in the mountains." However the Australian is hopeful during the Alps: "I have looked at the stage profiles. Where the intermediate sprints are before the mountains, I have a good chance."
For the second year running the points competition could prove to be more interesting than the battle for overall. The fact that no less than three Australians are in the top five shows how dominant the nation is becoming at producing hard routiers.
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 229 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom 229
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 170
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com 162
5 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre Daikin 129
Javier Otxoa is still improving following the tragic accident that left him in a coma and cost the life of his twin brother Ricardo last year. Javier was well enough to watch his team mates in the Pyrenees and was in good spirits with his team mates.
Jose Luis Laguía, deputy sport director of the Kelme CB team, has abandoned the Tour. Don’t worry, Kelme fans, there is not a big split in the team - he has left for Portugal to do preparation work for the Vuelta there, which runs the 2nd to the 15th of August.
Lance Armstrong has started to celebrate his victories with Champagne. After his second victory in the Pyrenees several bottles of the bubbly were opened, a change of custom - in previous years the bubbly was put on ice until Paris. The explanation given by Johan Bruyneel was that it was to celebrate the "collective triumph" of the team.
Highest temperature recorded so far this Tour was yesterdays stage. At the starting point the temperature was 35 degrees Celsius; while racing through the wine region of the Languedoc towards the Mediterranean the mercury rose to 44 degrees.
Denis Menchov has been flattered by an offer from US Postal manager, Johan Bruyneel, to join the Postal team for next season. However the 24 year old Russian is under contract with the iBanesto.com team until the year 2004, which he wants to honour. "However, that Johan Bruyneel asked me, was as good as getting an offer from a beautiful woman," says Menchov.
Gone Fishing? Suppliers of the official yellow jerseys to the tour were concerned at dwindling stock. It turned out that a number had been stolen from the hotel rooms by angling- minded thieves using fishing rods.
Alexandre Botcharov has been given a new nickname by his AG2R team mates following his good performances in the mountains. The 27 year old Russian is now "Lucien" after the former tour winner Lucien van Impe. The Russian apparently closely resembles the small Belgian.
David Millar gave a short answer as to whether he could one day challenge for the overall in the Tour de France - “Ask me when Armstrong retires," said the international rider.