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The Discovery Channel team may have been surprised and delighted with George Hincapie's stage win at St Lary Soulan, but Oscar Pereiro, the Phonak rider he beat in the final sprint, was not happy at all with the way things turned out. Speaking to AS, Pereiro said that he thought he and the Spanish-based American had come to an agreement to work together over the closing kilometres, but felt that he was left doing almost all of the work.
"In the escape he didn't cooperate because he said his job was to wait for Lance Armstrong if he needed to, but later on the stage was up for grabs. I thought that he was going to work with me, but then he didn't," said Pereiro. "And I couldn't stop because I didn't want Michael Boogerd to get back up to us. It's obvious that Hincapie tricked me. I congratulate Hincapie on his win, but I don't think he should have acted like that."
Pereiro explained that he didn't think that what Hincapie had done was very sporting. "I think you could say that it wasn't an ethical victory," he claimed. "I think I was the moral victor of the stage. At least no one can take that away from me."
- It wasn't a good day all round for Spain, with Pereiro missing out at the finish, the Basques disappearing without trace once again, and Joseba Beloki struggling to finish inside the time limit. A Spanish TV driver also had a day to forget when a group of fans stoned his vehicle at the finish and tried to pull him from his vehicle.
TVE's Antonio Jimenez said that he was looking for a place to park at the finish when a group of fans wearing orange T-shirts "first threw wine glasses and kicked the truck and then started to throw stones."
Jimenez's windscreen was broken by a stone, while another went right through his cab as he was making his escape. TVE's vehicles were given police protection when they came down from the stage 15 finish last night.
- And bad news also for another Spaniard. Disappointing Liberty Seguros team leader Roberto Heras has been told by manager Manolo Saiz that he will be riding the Giro d'Italia for the team next year.
- The amount of criticism Jan Ullrich has had to take over the years is not small, but once in a while a few stand up in his defence, writes Susanne Horsdal. This time it's Jens Voigt, who in his daily column on sport1.de writes: "So OK, Ulli couldn't follow Ivan's (Basso) speed. But I have always said: Jan has the misfortune to be riding in the Armstrong era. Otherwise he would already have won the Tour three-four times. Then all the critics would have said: 'That's how to do it, big gears and hardly a change of rhythm.' Then Ullrich would have been the king of the world. Now he'll have to fight hard for third spot. But I hope and believe that he won't be able to push Ivan away from his second place."
The CSC rider, who had to go home after finishing 41 seconds outside the time limit on the last Alpine stage, also comments on the chaotic scenes on the climbs with thousands of spectators making it dangerous and almost impossible for the riders to pass: "I'm always afraid that someone will push me off the bike or a flag will get entangled in my wheel. If something like that should happen to me, I've already warned our press manager: I've said to him: 'Brian, if someone brings me to the ground then I'll smack the drunk fool before I get back on my bike.'"
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