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Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 13
 
By Locutus
Date: 7/15/2005
Tour de France: Jambon Report Stage 13
 
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Chris "Cracker Jack" Horner (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Dude went in that day-long break of five riders that got up to 9' on the peloton, and at the end of the day he was the last one in that break to survive. Off the front almost 140 kilometers already, Horner was able to muster the legs to jump on the counter-attack of the flying Sylvain Chavenel (Cofidis) while the rest of his breakaway mates were left in the dust with only 11 kilometers left. In the final kilometer he sprinted for the line, but got swallowed up the by surging peloton within about 200 meters of the finish. But even then dude didn't give up: he still sprinted home with what little legs he had left to take 10th on the stage. Chris was not only combative with his legs, either: when Carlos Da Cruz (FDJeux.com) tried to slow down the break because they were getting too big of a lead, Horner chucked his water bottle at the Frenchman and gave him an earful. Horner was justifiably fined 200 Swiss francs for such an action, but you have to chuckle a bit at Cracker Jack's passion: he wasn't going to let anybody keep him from hammering as hard as he could for the stage win. I must confess I chucked a couple of things at my monitor and cursed a bit myself when Horner was caught at the line… that kind of hardman, attacking riding deserves a big reward, and I'm sorry he only got a Golden Ham for his troubles today.
  • Robbie "Napoleon" McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto). The cagey Little Emperor and his mates did the perfect job today: they led the chase all day, caught the last guy in the break within 200 meters, and put the wood to all of their competitors. At the end of the day it was McEwen who walked off with his third stage win, more than anyone else in this Tour. The victory moved him up into 3rd in the Green Jersey race at a mere 22 points behind Hushovd. Those two intermediate sprints before the climb tomorrow should be interesting: Robbie is not out of the running for the green yet, and with a couple of wins in those intermediate sprints, he could really start to put the pressure on Hushovd. And don't forget that McEwen has won the final stage of the Tour on two separate occasions. It ain't over…
  • "California" Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto). Once again Fred gave McEwen the perfect leadout, setting his man up for the win. He also did double-duty by taking 3rd in the sprint to take more points off the rack from McEwen's rivals. Freddie is obviously a great sprinter in his own right, and he is now the not-so-secret weapon that gives McEwen that big edge in the final kilometer. Sure, Fred was the one whose leadout swamped his compatriot Horner, but we'll forgive him. Here's hoping that Fred gets to ride the Vuelta and sprint for himself as a reward.
Golden Hams of the Day
  • Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole). The big Norskie wasn't at his best today. Despite being in a decent position, he was only able to manage 5th on a stage when his main rivals for the Green Jersey came in 1st and 2nd. Maybe Thor was paying for his attacks on the climbs over the past two days. His lead over Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) is now a mere 14 points, but there are very few opportunities for the sprinters to pick up points between Montpellier and Paris. That's good news for Hushovd, who is looking to be the first man from Norway to ever win the points competition.
  • Jan "U-Boat" Ullrich (T-Mobile). The U-Boat has been on silent running since he dropped anchor on the Courchevel. That's good, as he has had a chance now to heal up his ribs and bit and get some more sharpness on his legs. In the Pyrenees, you can be sure that the U-Boat will surface and begin to launch his torpedoes as he has in the last two Tours. Remember in 2003, when he attacked on the penultimate climb of a stage to put Lance under pressure? Remember last year, when he launched a massive assault in the mountains that took almost all day to bring back? Yeah, he's going to be bringing it in the next few days. I think Discovery is ready for him, so it should be one heck of a battle. I can't wait.
  • Michael "Bone-Machine" Rasmussen (Rabobank). With Valverde out of the race, the skeletal Dane is clearly the biggest threat to Armstrong now. He is riding for GC, and he knows that Armstrong will destroy him in the final time trial. That means one thing: he has to attack, and attack, and attack again in the Pyrenees. Should be boring as hell. NOT. Bring it on!
 
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