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David Zabriskie: CSC's wise-cracking race leader appears to be warming to life in the yellow jersey, a fact illustrated by another tongue-in-cheek cameo in Sunday's post-race press conference. Zabriskie on how CSC's now legendary army training camps help to forge team spirit: "We learn about team spirit when we're in the woods, staring death in the face. Not a lot of people know this, but I didn't finish the camp this year. I was in hospital, staring death in the face. It helped me to be the man I am today. I can't wait to do it again next year." Maybe you had to be there.
PMU: France's state-owned bookmaker, the sponsor of the Tour's points competition, must have been thrilled to learn last night that Lance Armstrong would be on duty as its moveable billboard in the green jersey today. That is a privilege which yellow jersey backers Crdit Lyonnais were denied yesterday when Big Tex haughtily decided to wear a regulation Discovery Channel skinsuit. Bookies 1, bankers 0.
Australia: Four riders in the top 10 finishers on the day - plus an honorary fifth in Brazil's Luciano Pagliarini, the victim of some shoddy captioning on French TV - was cause for consolation amongst Aussies watching Tom Boonen claim the first sprint of the 2005 Tour. It may also soften the blow of knowing that a sporting pasting at the hands of the mighty England awaits in the forthcoming Ashes series. American readers, please consult Pastimes and Parlour Games Under the British Empire, page 267, and the chapter entitled 'Cricket'.
Sylvain Chavanel: Once the budding chouchou of French cycling, at 26, Chavanel seems finally to have used up his reserves of patient goodwill with the French press. This morning, under the headline 'Lack of Ambition', Le Journal Du Dimanche sniffed that it had overheard Chavanel tipping himself to finish somewhere between 60th and 70th position overall in Paris on July 24th. Presumably, the pain of both a mediocre overall finish and a few media brickbats will be eased by Chavanel's estimated 980,000pa salary from Cofidis. We make that about 2,684 euros for today's Sunday shift.
Patrik Sinkewitz: The German will not be looking forward to the next three weeks as he endures the wrath of Quick Step team supreme Patrick Lefvre. Whatever the wisdom of his ill-timed decision to sign for T-Mobile, the 24-year-old former Deutschland Tour winner looked a little lost in the start village this morning as he sought refuge from Lefvre among the crowds...
The Armstrong brand: Big Tex's public image took something of a dent today with the publication of an interview (reported elsewhere) with his biological father, Eddie Gunderson. Both revealing and poignant, the interview in Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad told a story far removed from the official version and shed a little more light on the Tour champion's internal life. More motivation, if any is needed, perhaps...
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