Tour shorts: Latest new & views

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 11.00pm
Robert F”rster finds a funny side to the TTT, Jan Ullrich quite enjoys the experience too, Tom Boone

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Gerolsteiner rider Robert Frster may be suffering just as much as any other rider in the Tour peloton, but at least he's had a few funny experiences along the way as he writes in his dairy on Radsports-news.com, writes Susanne Horsdal. Following Tuesday's team time trial, Frster had a good laugh in the team bus when Fabian Wegmann got a funny-looking cramp and was left hobbling around.

But, as Frster explains, the laugh at Wegmann's expense was quickly punished. "I hadn't stopped laughing before I was struck by the same type of cramp. Quite funny, cramp, muscle ache, something in between. It stems from the unaccustomed position on the time trial bike. In the hotel we were both lying there crying for our mummys for about an hour. Afterwards the physio massaged it away."

And the day prior to the team time trial the German had managed to anger Lance Armstrong. After twice being pushed away from his place in the pack by Discovery Channel riders along the route on Monday's third stage, he decided that enough was enough as the third Discovery rider tried to do the same. To give himself more space, the German put out his elbow, only to find out that it was into Armstrong. "He gave me a very stern look and immediately asked Levi Leipheimer what problem this team-mate of his was having," writes Frster.

- Another German who's in a happy frame of mind is Jan Ullrich, who was very pleased with his team's third place in yesterday's TTT, when they lost only 30 seconds to Discovery Channel. "Finally, a day that gives us hope," Ullrich writes on T-Mobile's website. "OK, we didn't come first, but we've beaten some of the big favourites for the team time trial. At breakfast, I said; 'Come on, guys, today we're going to go flat out! Everyone will have to work and give it everything.' I'm heading now into the last few days before the mountains full of confidence and believing strongly in my chances."

- According to his team-mates, Tom Boonen was the strongest rider in Quick Step's string during the TTT, although he is starting to find that there are drawbacks to wearing the green points jersey. "It brings numerous obligations with it," he told La Dernire Heure. "Consequently, I am always the last to massage, I eat after the others, and I go to sleep later than them. I've calculated that during the Tour I am going to lose 30-35 hours of rest. Knowing this, it makes me realise how incredibly strong Erik Zabel must have been because he won the points title six times. I reckon the ideal situation would be to take it over on the very last day of the race."

- Spare a thought too for those riders who weren't selected for their teams' Tour line-ups and were sent instead to this week's Tour of Austria. 2004 Tour stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick Step) won yesterday's stage into Linz, which took place in a snowstorm. Discovery Channel's Michael Barry was fourth, as Mercado moved into the overall lead.

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