David Moncoutie slips out of the breakaway, giving France is first stage win of the 2005 tour, giving France a French victory from a French team on Bastille Day, giving France another cold mug of denial to help kill the pain of having not won their own tour in 20 years. In case you were wondering, since Hinault’s win in ’85, Americans have won 9 times, Spainards have won 6, while Germany, Italy, Denmark and friggin’ IRELAND, fer cryin’ out loud have taken one Tour win a piece.
The big winner on the day was FdJ’s Sandy Casar, who rocketed his way into the top 20 care of a very lazy peloton lead halfheartedly by Lotto-Davitamon, despite the fact they had a man in break. Notable bailouts today include Tom Boonen, who’d banged up his knee with 3 crashes in 5 days. Boonen remarked that finishing yesterday’s stage was an achievement well above his Flanders/Roubaix double.
Also out today was Disco’s Manuel “Triki” Beltran. The Spaniard/Engineering Student crashed on a descent early in today’s stage. Though many had speculated that the climber had aggravated his knee injury in the crash, DC directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel’s post-stage commentary was far more insightful:
“He pedaled for 10 or 15 more k, but was not remembering where he was…Then he didn’t know he had a crash, and the race doctor decided it would be best for him to stop.”
This leaves the Tailwind Sports-owned franchise with less than a full squad for the first time since 2001, and puts more pressure on what I’ve contually said is an overrated team. With the loss of Beltran, I can state almost with certainty that Rassmussen will at the very least pressure Lance over the coming climbs in the Pyrenees.