Martin touched by Slipstream support and surprised by Lelarge, nothing to phone home about for Bouygues Telecom, sole Spanish competitors battle on in the Route du Sud, organisers angered by Thursday’s lethargic peloton, where are all the winners?
Martin touched by Slipstream support and surprised by Lelarge
"Today really blew me away. Not the race. Not the result. But the total support of the whole team. It was awesome! Though some would translate such support as pressure, I try to put it to my advantage by getting all the energy out of it I possible can.
Soon after his sixth-place gaining effort on Cauterets, Daniel Martin had his own report up on the Slipstream-Chipotle website:
I was set up with an ace time trial position with clip on bars. I even had a make-shift ice vest that left me shivering on the start line. So basically all I had to do was ride hard. I could definitely feel the 5000 kms I left on the road yesterday, but that’s stage racing. I just rode as hard as my legs would go which lasted until about 300 meters to go. Then the head takes over to just finish with nothing. Really, the time flew by. I can’t really remember anything. I was just staring at a mixture of my Garmin, my top tube and the white line in the middle of the road.
I was pretty shocked at the winner’s time. That’s damn fast for someone who 1) blew up yesterday, and 2) is not renowned as a climber. But this is a stage race and hopefully we can keep the consistency going tomorrow. It’s a real rollercoaster of a day but I got a strong team along for the ride. We’re happy with where I am because we don’t have to set tempo all day and we are in perfect position to strike.
Hopefully nobody will be watching this neo pro. Just gotta stick with that old French dude."
Nothing to phone home about for Bouygues Telecom
French squad Bouygues Telecom had nothing to phone home about after a poor showing in today’s time-trial: Evgeny Sokolov was their fastest man, finishing 35th and 3’42” behind Lelarge. Coupled with Nicolas Crosbie’s being the very first man dropped when things got a bit toasty in the opening day’s break, the team is in need of a good result in the coming two stages, though their priority is (naturally) the Tour de France. Directeur sportif Dominique Arnould conceded: “It was a very difficult time-trial for us. It was therefore impossible for us to hope for much better.”
Sole Spanish competitors battle on in the Route du Sud
The only Spanish team to make the relatively-short trip across the border into the Haute Pyrenees region for this race was Karpin-Galicia. The Vuelta a Espana wild-card hopefuls have been getting stuck in though, manging to put Ramon Troncoso in the decisive split, even if Volta a Catalunya winner and leader Gustavo Cesar Veloso missed the boat. Showing some fight today, Troncoso rode to 41st, 3’52” down on the winner to move two places into eleventh overall.
Former Kelme rider and current team directeur sportif Jose Angel Vidal commented: “We didn’t have the best of stages, but we have made progress in our goal of putting Troncoso inside the top-ten overall. Tomorrow will be another chance. The third stage is very hard, but that should be an incentive for our riders. None of them has ever ridden a Tour where there are six or seven [mountain stages] in each edition, with the added difficulty of a higher level [of riders]. So, for them, it is an experience that must be taken.”
Organisers angered by Thursday’s lethargic peloton
Vidal, who finished several Tours de France in a career which ended in 2002, went on to explain a gripe that the organisers expressed: “The race organiser told the teams about their disappointment at the outcome of the first stage, in which the peloton finished over half an hour behind. It is understandable, but his anger was over something entirely fortuitous. By chance, virtually all the teams were represented in the group of 17 escapees, except for a Continental outfit."
Where are all the winners?
Perhaps because of its difficulty and delicate calendar position just after the Dauphine, during the Tour de Suisse and just before the national championships, the Route du Sud has had little stability in its rider attendance, even if the same French teams keep coming back. This is somewhat evidenced by the number of former winners in the 2009 field – zero.