Stage 13 - Good day, bad day
Voigt, Pereiro, and, believe it or not, Phonak, are all pleased, while traffic queues and dehydratio
As one of cycling’s nice guys, a reserved cheer went up among the supposedly impartial press corps as the German won his stage. It was what CSC needed after Basso (remember him?) was withdrawn all those weeks ago before the Tour had even begun, so CSC, like Discovery with Popovych’s win on Friday’s stage, can go home with at least something.
The new yellow jersey admitted at the end that he had agreed with his breakaway companions that if he had done enough to get the yellow jersey at the end, he wouldn’t contest the sprint. As it was, the Spaniard slipped off the front with Voigt, and did contest the sprint, albeit half-heartedly. His Caisse d’Epargne directeur sportif, Eusebio Unzue, had earlier admitted: “Oscar is the worst sprinter in the group,” although he did then sportingly add, “But I wouldn’t say that he’s slow.” Will he be fast enough in the Alps to hold off the likes of Landis and Denis Menchov, though?
The green and yellow boys timed their day almost to perfection. Perhaps they didn’t want Landis to quite be 1-29 down on new leader Pereiro, but they were more than happy to let the jersey go, knowing that Landis will perform in the Alps, and in the final time trial next Saturday. They can look forward to a day without responsibility on Sunday’s ‘moyennes montagnes’ stage, followed by Monday’s rest day in Gap.
Publicity caravan hostesses
According to French newspaper Aujourd’hui, there are more than a few female members of the ‘caravane publicitaire’ suffering from cystitis. Apparently, their employers are so keen to press on and keep to the caravan’s time schedule that they are limiting the amount of water that they drink so as not to need so many ‘stops’. One for the health and safety regulations there, we reckon. The riders just go on the fly when they’re in a hurry.
Holidaymakers and Tour followers
After the chaos of getting in and out of the start and finish of Friday’s stage due to Bastille Day, the holidays have officially started in France, with the whole country seemingly heading south somewhere between Beziers and Montelimar. Huge queues on the autoroutes were enough to annoy both those working on, and trying to get to watch, the Tour and the holidaymakers trying to get away from it all, but the procycling-mobile just about made it to the finish in time.