McEwen Takes Second Stage Win in Tour
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) has taken his second win in the 2005 Tour de France.
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) has taken his second stage win in the 2005 Tour de France. The Aussie snared a bunch sprint to win Stage 7, a rolling, 228.5-km ride from Luneville to Karlsruhe, Germany, in 5:03:45. Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas) finished second, and Bernhard Eisel (La Francaise des Jeux) took third. Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) remains the maillot jaune .
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From the beginning, the racing was aggressive. The pace was fast, and after several early moves, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) attacked on the Category 4 Col de la Chipotte. Inexplicably, McEwen bridged up to the German and stayed with him for 22 km. Then, with the pair?s lead at 1:20, McEwen dropped back and waited for the peloton to overtake him.
On the Col du Hantz (74 km), Wegmann led the field by 7:05 and was the maillot jaune virtuel . At 100 km, the Gerolsteiner rider was 6:50 ahead of the Discovery Channel-led bunch. He extended his lead to 8:30 in Molsheim, but the peloton was just toying with him.
At 230 km, Wegmann?s lead was 8:00. Twenty-three km later, Davitamon began to chase. Quick Step and Credit Agricole joined the Belgian squad at the front, and Wegmann?s advantage was down to 2:40 when the race reached the Franco-German border. With 21 km remaining, the bunch reeled in the German in Neumalsch.
During the closing km, the sprinters? teams battled for position. La Francaise des Jeux led the field into the last km. With 200 m left, Angelo Furlan (Domina Vacanze) and Isaac Galvez (Illes Balears) crashed. McEwen charged into the lead and held off Backstedt.
Today, many teams opted to avoid the fray and save energy for the mountain stages that will begin with Stage 8. CSC is an example of this. Directeur sportif Bjarne Riis said, ?As per usual, we attempted to break away a couple of times at the beginning, but when unsuccessful we preserved our strength hanging back in the peloton. Where we are right now is perfect for this weekend, when the Tour de France hits the mountains, which is where it truly begins for Team CSC.? In other words, watch out for CSC in the mountains.
In the overall, Armstrong leads teammate George Hincapie by 0:55 and Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile) by 1:02. Stage 8 will be the first mountain stage in this year?s Tour, although the heads of state will not find it challenging. The 231-km ride from Pforzheim, Germany to Gerardmer will feature four Category 3 ascents in the early going and one Category 2 climb just before the end of the stage. A single rider or group of riders could steal time on the final climb and the downhill run to the finish. Will it happen? If so, who will carry it off? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!