Good day, Bad day - stage three
The Tour organisation help end one of the main contenders chances, and is that Rolf Harris on the ho
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE BAD DAY: Jean-Francois Pescheux: The man charged with designing the Tour route was, as director of the competition, feeling the heat tonight. “Let’s keep the climbers in contention,’ he says, justifying the new team time trial rules. But let’s take them across the cobbles first!! Brilliant logic – now it’s already shaping up as a battle of TT kings Armstrong, Ullrich and Hamilton. Meanwhile, the bruised and exhausted Mayo now looks out of contention.. Marks out of 10 – 3 for logic Cofidis: You could have walked to the red-brick HQ of the French credit company, resplendently topped off with a huge plastic sun, from the TDF press room today. There weren’t many cars in the company car park though and no sign of CEO Francois Migraine – but then he’s got enough headaches already. Meanwhile, Fred Bessy failed to start and, out on the pav, Stuart O’Grady crashed. Talk about the walking wounded. Marks out of 10 – a courageous 5.5 and that’s really for O’Grady’s efforts. Euskaltel-Oopsadaisee: Just what were the Basquesthinking of? Don’t they read the papers? The road book? Only a few kilometres to go to the first tricky section of dreaded pav – the longest at 2.8km – and Iban Mayo is hanging around at the back of the bunch, when he should be riding at the front with Lance, Tyler and Jan. Still, let’s look on the bright side – he’ll have lost so much time after the team time trial on Wednesday that they’re bound to let him win a mountain stage. Marks out of 10 – 1 for tactics, 2 for concentration, and a big 3 for intelligence. Erm, that’s still only 6. Mario Cipollini: ‘Mario who?’ we hear you say. He’s almost ignored by the media in the start village, and even the scampering ‘lion’ fans have disappeared without a trace. Will need to show his hand soon in order to prevent Jean-Marie Leblanc regretting his decision to take Cipo back into the Tour fold. Marks out of 10 – a sad six and that’s simply for turning up. Where’s that roar gone, Cipo? GOOD DAY Lance Armstrong: Yes, him again, dammit. So far the guy can’t put a foot wrong and he will thoroughly deserve it if he gets the maillot jaune after the team time trial. A vague hint of weakness on the cobbles in some areas of the USP team though, but the champion looks determined, solid and agile, and in great form. Marks out of 10 – another high score of 8 for assurance Jens Voigt: Now way out in front as this year’s Jacky Durand, thanks to his three epic breakaways that have taken up almost half the race so far, ‘Jens-y’ will at least have company tomorrow. Looks the part every time he’s away, but always gets caught. It will work out for him soon though. won’t it? Marks out of 10 – a perfect 10 for persistence Wild at heart: Actress Laura Dern and singer Ben Harper were apparently the latest to get on board the US Postal Magic Bus on the road to Wasquehal. Dern is said to be a big pal of. Sheryl Crow (the Lance-ster’s new companion for the ones asleep at the back), as is Harper. Arguments rage as to who will be the next celeb to be seen with the glamorous singer and her beau – Madonna? ‘Geezer’ Guy Ritchie? Mary J Blige? Dr Dre? Rolf Harris.? Marks out of 10 – a top 10 of course, pop pickers!