Sunday, July 10, 2005

Stage 9: Mountain fever epidemic

American Dave Zabriskie, riding for CSC, dropped out of the Tour de France today at about the 10 km point in Stage 9. He was visibly exhausted and demoralized. He said he had an "overall extremely bad feeling in my whole body" and called his withdrawal "a bad moment in my life". He said of his dizzying descent from leader of the Tour to withdrawal from the race, "I was way up here and way down there - it's a crazy sport".

Commentator Bob Roll criticized the CSC team for leaving Dave alone on the side of the road bleeding after his crash near the finish line of the team time trial, and indicated that the experience must have contributed to his poor performance the last few days.

Dave hopes to recover sufficiently to go on to the world cycling championships in a few weeks. Bravo, Dave, good luck and thanks for giving us spectators such a great ride on your first Tour de France! As his teammate Jens Voigt said, "Whatever happens, he's still my hero. He gave the team a great start with the stage win and the yellow jersey. He beat Lance Armstrong and that doesn't happen very often."

Also withdrawing today from the Tour de France: Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, a Spaniard riding for Saunier Duval who broke his collarbone in an accident in the feed zone; Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, a Spaniard riding for Liberty Seguros who crashed at the 4 km mark going at a speed of about 30 mph, but fortunately suffered only severe bruising. [Update, July 23: Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has been diagnosed with a broken coccyx (tailbone), 12 days after he pulled out of the Tour de France. The rider underwent a new MRI scan this week due to the persistent backaches he has suffered since his bad crash on stage nine of the race. The Liberty Seguros rider must take a break and allow the injury to heal, with rest the only treatment for the fracture. Manolo Saiz will wait for him to recover before designing his program for the rest of the season. In theory, the Vuelta a España is a big objective, providing he can get into condition for the race. ]

Also abandoning were two riders who experienced trouble starting on the Category 2 climbs yesterday: Jaan Kirsipuu, an Estonian sprinter on the Credit Agricole team (who routinely withdraws from the Tour in the mountains) who was dropped by the peloton at 5km; and Luciano Pagliarini, a Brazilian on the Liquidgas team (a sprinter and teammate of Magnus Backstedt).

That leaves 175 riders still in the peloton as the race heads into the Alps after a rest day tomorrow.

Iker Flores maintains his position as Lanterne Rouge, last in the General Classification, with an aggregate time of 1:12:25 behind the maillot jaune. He had a solid finish in 101st position for the stage today, however. From the Euskaltel-Euskadi team site after Stage 6 on July 7, a really bad translation from the Spanish: "The equipment this good. Iker Flores this a little sore due to the fall that underwent the other day, but good, is logical. Of to the Alps one recovers here safe. By the others, all we were well, with the high moral. If it were not thus, equal already we would have gone away. We have margin and we aspired to make pretty things in this Tour."

The only rider to finish significantly behind the major groups in Stage 9 was #34 Daniel Becke, a German sprinter on the Illes Balears team, who crossed the finish line last by himself about 5 minutes in arrears. Becke was 4th in the 1st stage of the Vuelta a Alemania last year.

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Hey...for those of us not following le Tour, but ROOTING for's he doing????

(And didja make it to your Rock Creek run today?)

I've gotta go shower my pretty little Baltimore niece with prenuptial girly-gifts now!

Lance, Lance, everybody covers Lance. I love Lance too, but tune into the Only Lance Network and you'll see a lot of him. Me, I cover the Rest Of The Guys that nobody mentions. :)
I agree with Bob Roll, CSC had another rider they could have left with Zabriskie. That was poor sportsmanship. And in a sport where today's adversary may be your only available ally tomorrow, that's not smart.
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