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Gerolsteiner overcome by huge crowds, Rasmussen set to beat Riis's mountains record, Zabriskie quits

Gerolsteiner overcome by huge crowds, Rasmussen set to beat Riis’s mountains record, Zabriskie quits



Being greeted by hundreds of thousands of spectators in Germany obviously made a big impression on the Tour riders, not least the Germans. At the start in Pforzheim, Robert Frster decided to enjoy the spectacle and took his time after signing in to talk to people and sign autographs. It wasn’t until he came back to the team bus where there was a lot of commotion that he realised he’d put on team mate Beat Zberg’s shoes.

– If Michael Rasmussen manages keep the polka dot jersey for just one more day he’ll set a Danish record. The only other time a Dane has worn the mountain jersey in the Tour was in 1993, when Bjarne Riis won it, which immediately made countryman Jesper Skibby exclaim: “Has Bjarne got the measles?” But Riis only held it for one day. Twelve years later it’s Michael Rasmussen who’s got the children’s disease.

Stories by Susanne Horsdal

– Stage one time trial winner David Zabriskie was the first rider to abandon on Sunday’s stage to Mulhouse. The CSC rider has been suffering with the injuries he picked up when he crashed late on in the team time trial last Tuesday and finished 51 minutes down and only one minute inside the time limit on Saturday. The American was dropped almost from the start of stage nine, and abandoned soon after.


– Illes Balears’ team boss Eusebio Unzue was mystified as to the tactics that some teams employed late on in stage eight. “I don’t understand why they gifted this time to a rider like Andreas Kloeden,” said Unzue, who was disappointed that Illes Balears’ Alejandro Valverde was sprinting for third place in Grardmer rather than first. “People who are thinking about the general classification ought to forget about sprints, and whether Alejandro Valverde can win them or not, and focus on their objectives. Really, the behaviour of the group surprised me.”