Discovery Channel Wins TTT; Armstrong in Yellow
Discovery Channel has won Stage 4 of the Tour de France. The American squad nipped CSC to win the rolling, 67.5-km team time trial from Tours to Blois in 1:10:39. CSC finished second at 0:02, and T-Mobile took third at 0:35. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) is the new maillot jaune.
Liquigas set the early standard. The Italian team rode a 1:13:05, a time that was good enough to withstand the assaults of Bouygues Telecom, La Francaise des Jeux, Domina Vacanze, Quick Step, and Rabobank. Eventually, however, Illes Balears took the lead with a 1:12:44.
Credit Agricole took the lead from Illes Balears with a 1:12:20, but Liberty Seguros bettered the French team?s mark with a 1:32. T-Mobile then rolled in with a 1:11:14.
At this point, only four teams remained on the course: Gerolsteiner, Phonak, CSC, and Discovery Channel. Gerolsteiner posted a 1:12:44 for eighth place, and Phonak rode a 1:12:10 for fifth. That left CSC and Discovery Channel to battle for the day?s honors.
At the first checkpoint (25 km), CSC led Liberty Seguros by 0:06 and Discovery Channel by 0:15. At the second time checkpoint (45.8 km), the American squad had leapfrogged over the Spanish team and closed to within 0:06 of CSC. At 61.5 km, CSC was 0:02 ahead of Discovery Channel. Clearly, it was going to be close.
Going into the final km, all that maillot jaune David Zabriskie (CSC) had to do to stay in yellow was finish with his mates. However, he crashed with 1.5 km left. As was previously agreed, his teammates proceeded without him. Zabriskie crossed the finish line 1:26 behind his teammates, with his maillot jaune, shorts, and flesh torn and with his ribs bruised. Discovery Channel overtook CSC for the win.
In the overall, Armstrong leads teammate George Hincapie by 0:55 and Jens Voigt (CSC) by 1:04. Stage 5 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, 183-km run from Chambord to Montargis should see the sprinters return to center stage. Which one will take the win? Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!