Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stage 5: A French Lanterne Rouge

Sébastien Joly, a French rider on the Française des Jeux team, limped over the finish line in 171st place today, 7 1/2 minutes after the previous finisher. He was followed a minute later by David de la Fuente, a Spaniard on the Saunier Duval team. Their previous accumulated times put de la Fuente in 167th place overall and Joly goes into the 172nd Lanterne Rouge slot, 5 minutes behind previous LR Magnus Backstedt (who was on the front of the peleton again today).

De la Fuente was involved in the crash which took place near the time of the 3rd sprint on the road. Velogal reported: ". . . a Saunier Duval guy hit his brakes hard and went ass-over-teakettle, or rather handlebars, and caused several riders to go down. My guess is that he heard a sound from ahead that sounded like brakes, so he instantly grabbed his."

I haven't found any mention of Joly getting in trouble on the road today nor being involved in the crash that occurred about 7 minutes before the finish, nor whether he was involved in efforts to help his teammates such as Bernhard Eisel who crossed the finish line in 10th place for the stage, or Sandy Casar who finished with the front group today. Nor for that matter any of the young riders on the FdJ team who hold an impressive 2nd (Vaugrenard), 3rd (Gilbert), 4th (Lovkvist), and 5th place (Eisel) in the Young Riders category. I'll keep looking for the story. There's a brief mention of Joly being injured in a crash in Stage 3, two days ago, but I have no other details. The FdJ website is no help, nor is Joly's personal news page!

Update: No news found yet about the problem yesterday, but Joly is apparently serving well in his domestique role, and that may have caused his delay in finishing Stage 5. From Stage 3, about the problems before the Cauberg climb, Philippe Gilbert told Eurosport: "I was on the wheels of Valverde when we both fell... I then had to borrow [team-mate] Sébastien Joly's bike. I only got back in the pack with seven kilometres to go and I was already shaken up after the spill, I didn't have the strength to contest in the climb up the Cauberg."

Hmmm - I wonder if de la Fuente's crash was related to punching a fellow rider in the face??? That's Voigt's assertion. Is it just me, or does this year's race seem crazier than normal? Both riders and fans.
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