Shorts: Latest Tour news & views
Friday, July 8, 2005 11.00pm
Rumsas released by Italian police, Liberty pay own tribute to London terror victims, crashes take th
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Raimondas Rumsas, who finished third in the 2002 Tour, has been released from police custody in Italy, where he had been held on a warrant issued by a French magistrate since June 29. Rumsas is wanted for questioning in France following his wife's arrest on the final day of the 2002 Tour, when customs officers at Chamonix found a number of medical products, some of them banned, in the back of the family's car.
Rumsas' lawyer revealed that the Lithuanian rider, who tested positive for EPO after finishing sixth in the 2003 Giro d'Italia, has agreed to attend a hearing in France starting on November 24. A French court in Bonneville is expected to start proceedings against Rumsas and a Polish doctor, Krysztof Fisek, who is accused of writing prescriptions for banned products.
- Following Friday's minute of silence at the stage seven start to remember the victims of the previous day's terrorist attacks in London, the riders on the Liberty Seguros team paid their own tribute by wearing black ribbons on their jerseys.
- Prior to stage eight, there had been just abandons in the Tour, but the number of riders pulling out of the race picked up on Saturday as injuries picked up in crashes began to take their toll. Stage six breakaway hero Christophe Mengin, who crashed into the barriers on the final corner on Thursday, did not start stage eight in order to prevent damage to his optic nerve. The 36-year-old Frenchman suffered a blow to his eye on that crash in Nancy and was troubled by it yesterday. This setback was particularly hard felt by Mengin as the race passes through his home town today.
Ukraine's Serhiy Honchar also abandoned, leaving the Domina Vacanze team without their leader. Ag2r's Sylvain Calzati, victim of a series of crashes most notably on a set of damp railway tracks that crossed the course late in stage seven, was the first rider to abandon Saturday's stage. Soon after, Illes Balears' Isaac Galvez, who crashed in the finishing straight yesterday, also abandoned.
- While the weather hasn't been great this week at the Tour, spare a thought once again for riders at the Tour of Austria. Yesterday's stage at the race was shortened by 40km due to heavy snowfalls and fog. Discovery Channel's Michael Barry won the stage, and the lead stays with 2004 Tour stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado of Quick Step.
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