Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stage 4: Villers-Cotterêts to Joigny

Today's stage saw the withdrawal of one rider, Xabier Zandio, a Spaniard on the Caisse d'Epargne team. He was in 178th position in the General Classification. This reduces the peleton to a total of 186 riders.

Thirteen riders lost time on the stage today as they straggled in after the main peleton. Ten of them gained more than two minutes:

177. VANDEVELDE Christian 37 TEAM CSC 04:40:28 + 00:02:41
178. DE GROOT Bram 53 RABOBANK 04:40:28 + 00:02:41
179. ARVESEN Kurt-Asle 32 TEAM CSC 04:40:28 + 00:02:41
180. RIGHI Daniele 87 LAMPRE-FONDITAL 04:40:28 + 00:02:41
181. CARDENAS Félix 212 BARLOWORLD 04:40:28 + 00:02:41
182. ZABRISKIE David 39 TEAM CSC 04:40:32 + 00:02:45
183. VERDUGO Gorka 79 EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 04:40:53 + 00:03:06
184. SPRICK Matthieu 127 BOUYGUES TELECOM 04:40:55 + 00:03:08
185. VANSEVENANT Wim 49 PREDICTOR - LOTTO 04:40:56 + 00:03:09
186. DI GREGORIO Rémy 164 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 04:45:45 + 00:07:58

Again, many of these are riders like Dave Zabriskie who was undoubtably worn out after taking several big turns on the front of the peleton chasing down the breakaway, in support of their team leaders.

The order at the bottom of the GC has been shaken up a bit and Di Gregorio gaining nearly 8 minutes today puts him into the Lanterne Rouge position for the first time:

182. DE GROOT Bram 53 RABOBANK 19:54:42 + 00:04:47
183. ZABRISKIE David 39 TEAM CSC 19:57:04 + 00:07:09
184. VANSEVENANT Wim 49 PREDICTOR - LOTTO 19:57:25 + 00:07:30
185. KUSCHYNSKI Aleksandr 156 LIQUIGAS 19:58:56 + 00:09:01
186. DI GREGORIO Rémy 164 FRANCAISE DES JEUX 19:59:26 + 00:09:31

Zandio and Di Gregorio were both involved in a crash at about 62 km on the course today, which forced Zandio to abandon from a fractured collarbone. It took nearly 20 km for Di Gregorio to chase back to the peleton, with the aid of his teammate Lilian Jégou, but he still required treatments from the Tour doctor for an injured elbow at about 95 km. It was reported he was so injured that he needed help from a teammate with his musette bad in the feed zone, and he was struggling as he dropped off the back of the field with about 15 km to go to the finish line.

In other Lanterne Rouge press, there's a somewhat snarky piece at that refers to the Lanterne Rouge as "first worst". That's certainly not what I would call some of the hardest-working, least-recognized riders in the peleton, but YMMV.

Update: Lanterne Rouge Rémy Di Gregorio has broken a bone in his arm which will require surgery, so he will be a DNS for Stage 5. We wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to form. That will bring the number of riders down to no more than 185 in tomorrow's start.

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