July 16, 2003
Can't a guy take a quiet training ride?
Not if you're leading the Tour de France:
Reuters has posted their rest-day gallery, which pretty much consists of shots of Lance Armstrong on his training ride.
US sports network ESPN awarded its annual “ESPY” awards for athletic achievement tonight. In the category “Best Male Athlete”, Lance Armstrong beat out Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Tim Duncan. Armstrong had previously won the 2000 Comeback Athlete ESPY.
Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was named Best Female Athlete.
In an interview with Belgian television, Lotto-Domo directeur sportif [Marc Sergeant] commented on the team’s state of affairs, saying that Robbie McEwen’s cold is getting better, but McEwen’s faithful lieutenant Nick Gates is still coughing, and Leon Van Bon is suffering from blocked sinuses as a result of some kind of allergy.
The team’s orders remain clear, however. “McEwen has to go in every sprint, even if it’s for tenth place!” Sergeant said. “For sure he’ll have to try to win the intermediate sprint on Thursday. McEwen has one tough opponent in his battle for green, that’s Baden Cooke. He’s leading with nine points.” Zabel is in third position and has 28 points less than Cooke, posing less of a concern for Sergeant. “The tour is only a success when you take a jersey or win a stage,” he said. “Until now McEwen wore the jersey for five days; let’s say it’s a bandage on the wound.
Despite the 3rd-category climb on Thursday, I think we’ll see 3 sprints, at the 2 intermediates and the finish line.
My favorite mid-race report is over at The Daily Peloton, where "Locutus" reviews his pre-race predictions, and looks at who has done better than expected (including Zubeldia), and who has done worse (including Simoni).
Locutus still picks Lance to win it all, but now thinks Tyler Freaking Hamilton could finish 2nd:
...Tyler has been hanging with the heads of state through thick and thin, and unlike most of Armstrong's challengers, Tyler is a demon in the time trials. In spite of this, he will lose a handful of seconds to Armstrong and Ullrich in that discipline, but he will make his fans go absolutely, positively, 100% batcrap crazy when he attacks in the Pyrenees.
NARBONNE, France (Reuters) - Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc on Wednesday warned demonstrators against disrupting the race.
"I note that protests are more and more frequent and that demonstrators all want to use the Tour as a platform," he said on the race rest day in Narbonne on Wednesday.
"The situation is not always clear as we're not always dealing with trade unions. If the aim is to make a statement before the start or to hand out leaflets, there will be no problems," he said.
"If on the other hand people attack riders or try to stop the peloton, then we cannot guarantee anything. Security services will do their job and you know what I mean," he said.
Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen spent part of the rest day chatting with OLN-TV internet visitors in a chat this afternoon at 2 Eastern. I would have posted a transcript but technical problems with OLN's IRC server broke up the chat after only a couple of questions. OLN is supposed to try again on the next rest day.
Will Lance Armstrong win? Everyone still thinks he will, but it will be his best victory of his five Tour wins, if he does. "I have to ride the best time trial of my life, on Friday," says Lance. The very fact he believes this to be so, means he can be attacked in the Pyrenees by the likes of Iban Mayo. Is he not riding as well as previously, or are the rest getting better?
When they start racing again they will have a long, hot stage to Toulouse and then the first individual time trial. Armstrong knows and has admitted that this will be the most important time trial of his career. He'll either smash them or confirm that he is not in the same condition that he has had these last four seasons. I thought that he handled himself very well on the road to Gap and that he was superior to the Lance of the Alpe d'Huez. But in the time trial, there are no secrets and nowhere to hide.
Briton David Millar expects Lance Armstrong's Tour de France lead to come under serious threat when the race hits the Pyrenees..."I think the race is going to go crazy in the Pyrenees," he said.
That's kind of what I've been thinking, too. Mayo, Vinokourov, Ullrich, and even Tyler Freaking Hamilton are likely to continue the constant attacks through the Pyrenees. Even if Lance picks up 2 minutes in the time trial, that's not enough of a cushion if he can't ride well enough to win a climbing stage somewhere.
Stuart O'Grady, who has been Credit Agricole's featured sprinter in years past, but this year, he's 13 pts down on Norwegian teammate Thor Hushovd:
What's the dynamic between you and Thor Hushovd concerning the sprints and the green jersey? "Thor has got himself in a better position, so I'll put myself in his services from now on."
The cyclingnews.com report also features the daily commissaire's report, which is a lot quieter than those of the last 3 days:
Stage 10 Communiqué
Tyler Hamilton and Nicolas Jalabert were each fined 100 Swiss francs for not signing in. CSC was stuck in traffic and arrived very close to start time.
Alberto Lopez de Munain (Euskaltel-Euskadi) crashed and finished the stage outside of the 9 percent time limit, but because his crash was caused by a spectator he will be permitted to continue the race.
The demonstration which delayed the peloton by 1'30" with respect to the breakaway was considered a normal incident, and as a result no time adjustments were made.