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Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 5
 
By Locutus
Date: 7/6/2005
Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 5
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Robbie "Napoleon" McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto). Well today the Aussie Champion got his revenge, playing his cards perfectly and coming around Boonen at the perfect time to take the stage win by half a wheel. McEwen's team has done an enormous amount of work on these flat stages, and The Little Emperor finally delivered the goods like they knew he would. This victory has now put him back in the hunt for the Green Jersey: he has 61 points, which is 46 points behind Boonen but good enough for 4th place. In a race like the Tour, Robbie knows that anything can happen… so look for him to keep taking stages and doing whatever he can to close the gap on his Belgian rival. Oh, and don't look for him to stop serving up elbow and helmet appetizers any time soon...that aggressive style is never going to go away.
  • "T-Bone" Tom Boonen (Quick Step-Innergetic). Yeah, he only came in 2nd today at the finish line, but so what? You can't win them all. Besides, he won the first bonus sprint and by the end of the day had extended his lead in the Green Jersey competition to 29 points over Hushovd. With his strong team and consistent sprinting, Boonen is going to be very hard to beat over the flat stages between here and Paris.
  • Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo). Ah, one of those guys with a name so cool it doesn't need a nickname. Flecha went on that long solo exploit that kept the stage sort of interesting. He eventually slowed enough to allow three chasers to catch him, and he was finally caught with 10km left. But with his strength and the hillier terrain to come, I wouldn't bet against Flecha taking a stage soon.
  • Thor "Thunder God" Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Stuart "Red Thunder" O'Grady (Cofidis). These two sprinters came in 3rd and 4th respectively in today's final sprint. They also came in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the first bonus sprint. They didn't win anything today, but they are charging hard and sprinting well. Hushovd has 77 points in the Green Jersey competition to O'Grady's 76, and that still makes them the biggest threat to Boonen in the race for green. If Boonen has a bad day, watch out: these two consistent power men will be there to pick up the pieces.
Ham-Gazers of the Day
  • Erik Dekker (Rabobank). He tried a solo attack that got pulled back early in the stage. Then it was just sitting on at the back of the pack, enjoying the warmth of his Polka Dot Jersey for best climber. With the riders up the road no threat to his jersey, Dekker got to take it easy today. But look for him to launch early again tomorrow to try to take more mountain points before the mountains turn into, well, into REAL mountains instead of just painful bumps in the road.
  • Lance "El Jefe" Armstrong (Discovery Channel). The Boss tried to avoid the Yellow Jersey in deference to Zabriskie's bad luck yesterday, but race director Jean Marie LeBlanc would have none of it. So Lance was in yellow, sitting on behind his boys and taking it easy today. He's got a commanding lead, and now just needs to keep up front and out of trouble until the mountains. Then it's full gas and a game of follow-the-Texan until Paris.
 
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