Friday, July 09, 2004


Belgian Tom Boonen wins sixth ride
Lance takes a fall early in Bonneval/Angers

Belgian Tom Boonen (the guy in blue right in the middle) wins the sixth ride in the Tour de France 2004. After having been at the spearhead of the ride Bonneval-Angers for most of the time, he broke away from direct competitors Stuart O’Grady and Erik Zabel in the final two hundred meters. Behind him however was the carnage caused by a massive crash in which some twenty rides were involved (no, Tom did not cause it). As a matter of fact, today’s ride from Bonneval to Angers over a distance of 196 kilometers was marred by rain, like Thursday, but this time resulting in quite a few falls. Axel Merckx, yes, son of, went down two times and Lance also (see pic – this was NOT in the final breakdown just mentioned) although he managed to get back on his bike right away. Two important Italian champs, Cippolini and Petacchi, gave up because of injuries.

Maybe I should give you some more info the coming days of the diverse ranking systems and classifications in use. Apart from the daily Ride Score (winner today Tom Boonen) there’s the General Classification upon which is determined who the Yellow Shirt Bearer is (that’s still Frenchman-despite-his-name Thomas Voeckler), the Point Classification, the Mountain Classification, the Team Classification (Danish CSC being first, US Postal/Berry Floor 5th) and the Youth Classification. God knows I still have a business to run, but I’ll try to clarify something over the coming days.

In the General Classification you will notice Lance still on no. 6. Note also that the US Postal Team cyclists are a tight group – they stick together and work for each other – and for King Lance, as it fits. Indeed, the US Postal Team is being described as a well oiled machine and a clockwork. Kevin, you are right, I used the phrasing “cede the Yellow Shirt” in a wrong way two days ago. It’s just that Lance is biding his time. Scott, you were right about the French being pissed off about an American cowboy moving at will on what they still consider as their turf. When Frenchman Thomas Voeckler became Yellow Shirt bearer two days ago French Press was ecstatic, describing it as a miracle and a wonder.

Poor frogeaters. They so desperately try to matter in today's world. Why, apparently, even with a human tragedy looming large over the Sudanese Darfur region and being offered the opportunity to stick for once with the US in confronting the hypocritical Sudanese regime with its complicity in the janjaweed killings, new French Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier still can't bring himself to call a spade a spade. So desperate are they to show their policy does not necessarily reflect the US's, that according to Mr. Muselier (heartthrob Dominique de Villepin is now Interior Minister) the thingy in Sudan is just a civil war and as such an internal affair with both parties carrying the burden of guilt. Sure. Whatever you say Renaud.



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