July 20/04 9:54 am - McConneloug and Florit to Athens, Redden Report from TDF
Posted by Editoress on 07/20/04
U.S. Reverses Mountain Bike Spot
Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) has won her appeal to take the sole U.S. women's spot for the cross-country in Athens. Initially, the spot was awarded to Sue Haywood (Trek-VW), after USA Cycling included 15 UCI points from a NORBA short track event last season, which were not included in the official UCI rankings released last week. This gave Haywood a one point lead over McConneloug, and the spot. However, McConneloug appealed the inclusion of these points, and the American Arbitration Association agreed with her.
Florit to Athens
Jimena Florit will also get to race in Athens, after the UCI awarded an available spot to Argentina. The U.S. had some hopes of getting a second spot, but the UCI decided to included countries that did not already have spots, rather than awarding additional spots to countries already with riders in the event.
Photographer Chris Redden is back at the Tour again this year, and has decided to try his hand at writing as well as photos. Here are his impressions from his 4th day at the Tour.
July 20, Stage 15
With a rest day behind the riders, the racing has begun again in full force.
While I enjoyed a rest day at the beach, the riders do not take the opportunity to enjoy the day like the most of us would. When Thomas Voeckler was asked about what he would do on his day off, he said (via translation) that he would train in the morning, and he would do more training than the last rest day as he feels that he didnâ€št train enough that day. His legs were feeling sore and tired so he would then rest his legs for the rest of the day and eat some too. Not much of a rest day if you ask me.
Todayâ€šs stage was full of energy with Lance wanting to take the yellow before the ITT on Lâ€šAlpe Dâ€šHuez. I talked to Sheryl Crow today and she was excited to be here when Lance took the yellow jersey. Tomorrow she will ride in an Official Tour car for the ITT. In a comment to the French media she said that she loved this area of France and she has been saying to Lance that they should buy a place here. Things sound serious between them if she is making those kinds of comments in public. Of course she got the podium flowers from Lance today as well.
Today brought the first appearance of Robin Williams at the race. Robin is a huge cycling fan and a friend of Lance, so he comes out every year. Today he was in the passenger seat of the Postal team car. I got a chance to ask him a few questions today. I asked him about how he felt about the fans on the course today and he replied, â€žThe fans are really wild and crazy on the courseâ€°. I asked him about his thoughts on tomorrowâ€šs stage and he said â€žit is the Bikestock of cycling. It will be great!â€° Of course he was hanging out with Sheryl. I am speculating but, look for him in the Postal car tomorrow.
There was a bit of a disturbance of the course today about 4 km from the finish. Someone cut down a huge pine tree that fell onto the course. The riders were only 10 minutes away at this time, but the fans were very resourceful and rolled the tree off the course just in time. Could have been a major problem!
The fans here either love Lance or hate him. There was a Basque fan who almost ran into Lance while giving him the finger on a mountain stage near the Spanish border. In fact, the fans there were booing Lance when he came up on the big Screen TVs. I think they were unhappy they Mayo was doing so crappy. On a positive note there are tons of American or just plain Lance fans all over the place. Good to see. I have even seen a few Canadian fans as we are speeding past. All we need is a Canadian in the race.
A few non-race notes: The fashion here in France is Capri pants for men. Sorry but it doesnâ€št work for me. Letâ€šs hope it stays on this side of the Atlantic.
The rental car that we got is an Alfa Romeo 156 Wagon. Not too bad for a rental! It really rips in the mountains too!
I bought a bottle of wine for .80 Euro cents (about 1 Canuck buck) yesterday. It looks good and it has a cork in it too. Hopefully it doesnâ€št make me go blind.
I am off to Lâ€šAlpe Dâ€šHuez now. It is going to be crazy!!