No probs for Landis, breakaway-crazy Le Mevel and Voigt, Savoldelli out and Simoni drops way back.
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
No problems for the ‘new American’ during his first day in the hallowed Tour de France maillot jaune. Always up at the front of the peloton, surrounded by his yellow-and-green-clad Phonak foot soldiers, Landis looked every bit as though he had the potential to be the new Tour patron…
Breakaway efforts from Christophe Le Mevel and Jens Voigt
A good effort from Frenchman Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole) on Bastille Day, but it was unfortunately not enough to take glory, dropped when eventual stage winner Yaroslav Popovych first attacked from the breakaway quartet with 10km to go. Le Mevel had already been in the first serious break of the day with just five kilometres covered, as had Jens Voigt (CSC). After being caught by the peloton, Voigt tried again, and went away with eight others until he was caught at the 94km mark. It was then Le Mevel’s turn again, getting away in the winning four-man move. You can certainly expect to see plenty more of both Le Mevel and Voigt in the coming days.
Paolo Savoldelli (and team-mate Ben Noval)
Following the poor showing of his Discovery team on Thursday’s last day in the Pyrenees between Tarbes and Val d’Aran, Paolo Savoldelli’s crash with a spectator while descending the Pla-de-Beret back to the team bus, which resulted in stitches for a head wound, caused the Italian to have to abandon the stage, and with it the race. After just 15km, Savoldelli went back to speak with Discovery manager Johan Bruyneel in the team car, clearly suffering with the tough pace of the stage, and he decided to climb off after 43km. Team-mate Ben Noval abandoned seven kilometres further on, and Discovery, who would often take pride in finishing with a full complement of riders while riding for Lance Armstrong, are already down to seven.
The two-time Giro champion lost contact with the peloton on a small rise with 40km to go, just after the day’s last intermediate sprint, along with 10 other riders, including Francaise des Jeux’s Sandy Casar and Milram’s Mirko Celestino. By the finish, Simoni and the others had lost almost eight minutes to the speeding peloton, and over 12 to stage winner Popovych. The Italian climber will now have to look towards doing something spectacular on either next week’s stage to Alpe d’Huez or the following day’s stage to La Toussuire.
Press, teams and organisation trying to get to the stage finish
A combination of national holiday Bastille Day and the theatre festival in Carcassonne created havoc for traffic trying to get into the town. Luckily, everyone was in the same boat, and there was plenty of the really-quite-delicious press buffet to go around.