Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 8
Fignon’s fighting talk
Laurent Fignon may have almost lost his voice – a temporary symptom of his latest course of cancer treatment – but the French Tour legend remains as incisive as ever in his role as co-commentator for France 2.
“Come on, attack for crying out loud! He’s only a domestique!” croaked Fignon two kilometres from the end of today’s stage, when Astana workhorse Dani Navarro was still setting the pace and the GC riders seemed to content to watch and follow.
Kroon up for the Cup
While Koos Moerenhout of Rabobank led by example with his attack on the Col de la Ramaz, fellow Dutchman Karsten Kroon of Team BMC chose a less labour-intensive gesture of support for his footballing countrymen. If nothing else, Kroon’s bright orange handlebar tape made him stand out from the Team BMC crowd. “But whether we win or lose against Spain, it’s too ugly to keep on there for more than one day,” Kroon grinned in Les Rousses this morning.
A copious sprinkling of orange T-shirts made the Dutch journalists in the press-room easy to identify on Sunday… Or so you’d think. Two tangerine-clad Spanish colleagues in fact explained that their surprising choice of attire had nothing to do with the World Cup; they were simply behind on their washing and had managed to blag a couple of free T-shirts from their amigos at Euskaltel.
Whatever happened to Dario Frigo?
The Tour’s visit to the Giffre valley rekindled memories of stage 17 of the 2002 Grande Boucle, won by the since Italian disgraced Dario Frigo. Booted off the Tour when his wife was caught with a, er, bootful of EPO in 2005, Frigo has since vanished from the public eye, save for a couple of court appearances and damning testimonies against his old Fassa Bortolo team. Our sources suggest the 36 year old now lives in France – but refuses to answer the phone to journalists.
Procycling readers on the money
To date at the Tour, Procycling has conducted three polls on Twitter that depending on your slant, uncovered a few surprises among our loyal followers. In case you’ve been remiss and haven’t been following us, here are the questions and results: 1) Should the peloton have called raced or not on Stage 2 – 66% no, 34% yes; 2) After Stage 4, how many stages would Mark Cavendish win – 0 wins – 57%, 1 – 8%, 2 – 14%, 3+ wins – 21%; 3) Who would wear green in Paris – Hushovd – 66%, Cavendish – 17%, Boasson Hagen – 17%. Our twitter address is: @Procycling_mag
Mixed memories of July 20, 2006
That on Sunday, Tour de France organisers ASO put the press in the same venue as the infamous seventeenth stage of the race four years ago brought back some mixed memories for the Procycling crew. The room was the Palais des Sports et des Congrès convention centre in Morzine, and the day we’re referring to is Floyd Landis’ unbelievable 130-kilometre solo breakaway which turned the Tour on its head in more ways than one. Landis, of course, won the ’06 Tour before being disqualified for an elevated testosterone-epitestosterone ratio, which subsequently left the title in Spaniard Oscar Pereiro’s hands. Scribe Anthony Tan wanted to sit in the same seat as he did that day, but New York Times journalist Juliet Macur told him ‘no way!’. She reckoned doing so would jinx the entire press corps.