Stage eight - good day, bad day
Boonen still feeling under pressure, sting in the tail for Zabriskie, Brard’s jersey “rubbish” and a
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Good day Fans of retro jerseys Former French champion Eric Caritoux, winner of the title in 1988 and 1989, slammed the design of current champ Florent Brard’s Caisse d’Epargne version of the tricolore. In his day, no advertising was allowed on champions’ jerseys at all, allowing a simple blue, white, red design. “There’s too much red on Florent’s jersey,” Caritoux, who now owns a restaurant near Mont Ventoux, lamented. “And his shorts are red, too. He looks like he’s wearing Saeco kit.” Sprinters’ teams Tom Boonen’s Quick Step-Innergetic team excepted, which had to get their leader back in the peloton after he punctured, the sprinters’ teams got it relatively easy on stage eight. Davitamon-Lotto’s Robbie McEwen still managed fourth behind the remnants of the breakaway, but his team could sit back with Mario Aerts in the break for most of the day. Only Francaise des Jeux came to the front to help Floyd Landis’s Phonak team, followed by Lampre, wanting to set up Daniele Bennati. But it was too little, too late. And no one was really that bothered. Bad day David Zabriskie’s sting Following a dismal time trial performance on Saturday, CSC’s David Zabriskie tried to make amends as part of the day’s main breakaway. However, 55km into the stage, while in the six-man group, the quiet American had to drop back to the race doctor’s car to be treated for a bee sting. It didn’t seem to hamper his performance, however, and, as virtual race leader on the road, he was keen to make the break work. In the end, he, Kessler and Aerts were caught, while Calzati, Carlstrom and Halgand pushed on up the road. Tom Boonen The Belgian had seemed to get over his “I’m not talking to any journalists” phase, which had apparently been encouraged by Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere in the wake of the constant questions about his under-par sprinting. Having passed the yellow jersey on to Serhiy Honchar, Boonen seemed happy again. And despite puncturing in the closing kilometres of the race, Boonen made it back up to the front of the peloton to begin contesting the sprint for fourth place. But he then appeared unable to take it all the way to the line. It left journalists wondering if the Belgian superstar really is suffering a serious case of the yips. “I can’t sprint any more,” Boonen said afterwards. What has happened to that explosive sprint of his? He wants it back, and so do his fans. McEwen must be pleased, though.