Metz – Reims 174.5km
5:15 p.m. Either way, Zabel — who finished second in the stage — is the new overall leader of the Tour de France.
5:13 p.m. It’s a huge scramble for the front.
McEwen gets it…. but he’s moved out of his line, and cut across Zabel’s line.
5:10 p.m. All of the big players are up front. Nico Mantan is attacking. He’s caught.
Zabel is up front on his own… the Telekoms are not in a position to lead out their man.
5:08 p.m. With 4km to go, Lotto is at the front. Telekom is beginning to set up Zabel.
5:05 p.m. The swarm is beginning. With 5km to go, the sprinters are moving up, getting ready for that last charge into town. There is a hard corner about 500 meters from the line.
5:04 p.m The break is over.
With 7km to go, the two men have been pulled back into the peloton, after 160km at the front.
5:02 p.m With 9km remaining the two men up front are less than 30 seconds ahead of the field.
4:59 p.m We are 11km from the finish. The gap is 48 seconds. The two escapees are well within sight of the peloton.
Sadly, the two men can also see the finish line town of Reims. Soooo close, yet so far away.
The Telekoms, Lottos and Mapei riders are driving the chase. Be ready for some serious counter attacks.
4:57 p.m With 12.5 km remaining it looks like Durand and Rénier have lost a good chunk of time. The are now just 52 seconds ahead of the field.
4:55 p.m With 14km remaining, Durand and Rénier have lost another five seconds. They now have an advantage of 1:25.
4:53 p.m With 15km to go, the two men up front have an advantage of 1:30.
The peloton is being driven by Lotto, Mapei and Telekom.
4:51 p.m With 16km remaining, Durand and Rénier have an advantage of 1:35.
4:45 p.m Durand and Rénier have 20km to go, but the last time check gave them an advantage of just 1:15.
The two have been out front since km6.
4:40 p.m Durand and Rénier are still toughing it out up front. They are not giving up, even though all of the big sprinters’ teams — Telekom, Lotto, Mapei, among them — are driving an active chase.
4:39 p.m With 25km to go, the two leaders have had their advantage cut to 1:55.
4:34 p.m The two leaders’ advantage is coming down fast. The Telekom team is leading the chase and have trimmed the lead down to 2:33.
4:32 p.m O’Grady is back in the peloton, but is taking it easy at the back of the field.
Durand and Rénier have an advantage of 3:05. Telekom is leading the chase.
4:28 p.m Race radio reports that Stuart O’Grady is suffering from some sort of medical problem. He is back speaking with Tour medical staff. He is reportedly experiencing an inexplicable elevated heart rate.
Meanwhile, the two leaders are still around 3:30 ahead of the field. They have 30km remaining.
4:22 p.m The weather is holding up nicely. The much feared afternoon thunderstorms have not materialized.
Durand and Rénier are 35km from the finish. They now have had their lead trimmed to 3:20.
4:19 p.m With less than 40km remaining, the two men up front — Jacky Durand (FDJeaux.com) and Franck Rénier (Bonjour)– have had their lead trimmed to 3:28.
They have now been out front for 128km.
4:15 p.m Zabel was unchallenged as he went for the third spot in today’s third intermediate sprint.
He now has a two-second advantage over race leader Rubens Bertogliati.
The leaders ahead are now less than 4:00 ahead of the field.
4:13 p.m Jacky Durand has passed through the sprint zone ahead of Franck Rénier.
The Telekom team is working hard at the front and working to give Zabel that third spot, which would give him the advantage in the overall standings — assuming the two leaders are caught.
4:10 p.m Just a couple of kilometers from the sprint, the two leaders are continuing on their own, but the Lotto/Telekom-led chase has cut another 30 seconds off of their lead.
4:07 p.m The two leaders are within 4km of the day’s third intermediate sprint mark. According to our last time check, they are maintaining a lead of 4:40.
4:03 p.m The Lotto and Telekom teams are still driving the chase and continue to trim the two leaders’ advantage.
Jacky Durand (FDJeaux.com) and Franck Rénier (Bonjour) have been out front for 118km. At one point their lead approached 12 minutes, but it has just slipped below five. Our last time check gave them a lead of 4:53.
3:58 p.m With 55km remaining, the two leaders have had their lead cut by another minute over the last few kilometers.
3:48 p.m The two leaders at 117km and are maintaing a 6:11 advantage over the field. The are now 15km from the day’s third sprint mark.
Expect to see Zabel aiming for that third spot for the sprint points. Right now he is tied with race leader Rubens Bertogliati — even after working through three tie breakers — and the two seconds of bonus time would move him ahead of the young Swiss rider.
3:48 p.m After 113km (with 62 remaining) the two leaders’ advantage is down to 6:35.
3:45 p.m Looking back at that last climb, Christophe Mengin’s third place, has moved him ahead of Stephan Berges in the climber’s jersey contest.
3:38 p.m The day’s second sprint came just after the descent of the Cote de la Biesme. Erik Zabel earned his two seconds of bonus time, so if we see a field sprint today, he stands a good chance of taking over the yellow jersey.
The two leaders have an advantage of 7:25.
3:36 p.m The two leaders crested the day’s second climb, the Cote de la Biesme, 7:50 ahead of the field. Rénier crossed ahead of Durand. Christophe Mengin took the third spot when the field passed over.
3:33 p.m. For American cable viewers, Outdoor Life’s Live (but alas, Bob Roll-less) Tour coverage has kicked in.
3:26 p.m. The two leaders are at 100km. They have managed to get their lead back up to around 8:00.
3:16 p.m.At the 93km mark, the two leaders have had their advantage further cut to 7:11.
3:14 p.m. What little rain there was on the course has stopped again, but the wind is still a brisk 15 to 20 mph from the south.
Looking ahead, that wind will be a much more siginifican factor in the final 50km, which are preety much a straight shot into Reims.
If the wind picks up or remains like it is, it may break things up into echelons and we could see a shake-up in the overall standings, even if these two don’t stay off the front until the finish.
3:11 p.m. When the chase gets serious, the effect is easy to see.
The peloton has upped its speed and the two leaders’ advantage is being chipped away.
Durand and Rénier are at the 86km mark — passing through the feedzone — and their advantage is already down to 9:05.
By the way, if this break were to hold and they were to finish at least 42 seconds ahead of the field, Rénier (who began the day in 73rd place at 41 seconds) would be the new race leader. Durand is at 5:13 and poses less of a threat from 166th place.
3:03 p.m. That gap was getting a bit too large for comfort.
The Lotto and Credit Agricole teams have moved to the front and already knocked a minute-and-a-half off of the lead.
So at 84km (with 90km remaining) the two men up front have an advantage of 9:47.
2:56 p.m. This could be one of those pay-off days for Durand — or Rénier, of course.
At 77km, the two leaders continue to up their advantage over the field. They are now 11:40 ahead of the peloton. There is a chase effort, but it is obviously not intense.
The rain is moving in, though not very heavy at this point.
2:47 p.m. Our latest time check using our exclusive VeloNews timing system (okay, it’s Wilcockson’s wrist watch) gives the two leaders an advantage of 11:05. Durand’s “headbanging” may pay off. He has a great reputation for trying these sorts of early breaks (recall that this one started at 6km) and hoping against hope that he can pull it off. It’s paid off before. He’s got three Tour stage wins to his credit, though he hasn’t won a Tour stage in four years.
On another note, we have gotten a lot of requests (complaints?) regarding the automatic refresh on the live update window. No, you can’t actually turn that off — that “Do not Refresh” is written in the imperative.
However, you can go to the non-Java page and read there without having the refresh kick in.
The reason we opted for the auto refresh on the Java window is to avoid the constant user-driven refreshes in the closing kilometers. Sometimes the servers would get so bogged down that we couldn’t update the page.
Anyway, here is the address for the standard HTML window: http://vn1.velonews.com/race/tour2002/articles/2615l for today’s live reports.
2:40 p.m. Jan Svorada of Lampre earned the third spot in the intermediate sprint, thus denying Erik Zabel a shot at the two-seconds of time bonus that would have put him in the yellow jersey.
The peloton crossed through 9:45 seconds after the two leaders.
There are a few spots of light rain along the route. Ahead, the leaders are at the 69 km mark and there are another 110 km remaining.
2:33 p.m. Our two men at the front — Franck Rénier (Bonjour) and Jack Durand (FDJeux.com) — are at the 64km mark and remain approximately 9:25 ahead of the main field.
2:25 p.m. Franck Rénier (Bonjour) rolled through the sprint, just ahead of Jacky Durand (FDJeaux.com).
There may be an effort for the remaining slot when the peloton comes through in about 9 minutes.
2:24 p.m. The two leaders are coming up on the sprint in Verdun. We can assume that they will simply roll through and not expend energy fighting over sprint points.
The peloton is still about 9:00 behind.
There are 117km remaining in today’s stage.
2:14 p.m. The two leaders are now at 51km. Their advantage continues to grow. They are now 9:20 ahead of the field.
From the VeloNews car, John Wilcockson reports that the two leaders are looking fresh and are working well together.
The skies are beginning to cloud up a bit, but the feared storm front may not arrive in time to really affect today’s stage.
2:09 p.m. Correction – the newest time check gives Durand and Rénier a 9:00 advantage over the field.
2:07 p.m. We are at the 47km mark, about 10km from the day’s first intermediate sprint at Verdun. The two leaders — Jacky Durand (FDJeaux.com) and Franck Rénier (Bonjour)– still have an advantage of around 6:00 over the field.
Kroon is about to be pulled back into the field.
2:01 p.m. After an hour of racing today, the average speed was 41.5kph.
The two leaders are now 6:05 ahead of the main field and Mr. Kroon has given up the chase and is sitting up to wait for the peloton.
1:54 p.m. We are now approaching the 40km mark and the two leaders are 2:20 ahead of Kroon and 6:03 up on the main field.
1:48 p.m. At 30km, the two leaders had an advantage of 2:20 on the main field. Kroon is still out there in no-mans-land about 1:30 behind Durand and Rénier.
1:40 p.m. At the 25km mark, the two leaders — Jacky Durand (FDJeaux.com) and Franck Rénier (Bonjour)– have an advantage of 1:30 over the peloton.
Behind them by about 1:10 (or 20 seconds ahead of the main field) is Rabobank’s Karsten Kroon, desperately trying to join the two leaders.
1:31 p.m. Radio Tour gives the two leaders an advantage of 1:15 at the 23km mark.
By the way, the weather situation is still good. That breeze, however, is the sign that the predicted storm front is moving in and we may see a change in the weather a little later on today.
Heavy thunder showers are forecast, accompanied by wind gusts of up to 50 mph. Besides the rain, which is likely to continue through the finish, the peloton will have to face head winds on the long run-in across open fields into the Champagne district.
Of course, that all depends on when — and if — this front hits.
1:27 p.m. The big teams are not cutting these guys any slack. U.S. Postal and Credit Agricole are at the front and are already beginning to trim away at the two escapee’s lead.
At the 20km mark, their advantage is down to 1:10.
By the way, if you want to review yesterday’sresults, as always we have them posted. Just click on the link.
1:21 p.m. At the 13km mark, the two leaders have an advantage of 1:25.
John Wilcockson, who is close to the break in the VeloNews car, reports a strong cross-wind from the left of the road. The breeze is strong enough to keep some fairly large flags, lining the road a spots, completely unfurled.
1:15 p.m. Flickinger lasted all of two km. He was caught at the 5km mark and then a kilometer later an attack from two riders: Franck Rénier (Bonjour)and our man Jacky Durand (FDJeux). We like the guy so much because he tries these early attacks all the time and every once in awhile they actually stick.
Anyway, these two have a lead of 45 seconds at the 12km mark. We’ll keep you informed.
1:05 p.m. Today’s startwent off officially at 12:59.
The first obstacle of the day, the Cote de Gravelotte began almost immediately after the start and offered KOM points at the 3km mark.
The results of that Cat 4. climb:1. Christophe Mengin (FDJeux.com)2. Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour)3. Andy Flickinger (Ag2R)
Flickenger is continuing with the effort and has broken off the front.
12:50 p.m. Good morning to our U.S. readers. We are about 10 minutes away from today’s start outside of Metz on the N.3 at the Rozérieulles exit.
Check out today’sstage details to get a feel for what’s ahead.
1. Robbie McEwen (Aus/LOT), 174.5km in 4hr 13 min 37sec (average: 41.283 kph)
2. Erik Zabel (Ger/TEL) at;
3. Baden Cooke (Aus/FDJ);
4. Andrej Hauptman (Slo/TAC);
5. Fabio Baldato (Ita/FAS);
6. Paolo Bossoni (Ita/TAC);
7. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est/A2R);
8. Francois Simon (Fra/BJR);
9. Jan Svorada (Cze/LAM);
10. Stuart O’Grady (Aus/C.A);
11. Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Spa/KEL);
12. Oscar Freire (Spa/MAP);
13. Laurent Brochard (Fra/DEL);
14. Luciano Pagliarini (Bra/LAM);
15. Karsten Kroon (Ned/RAB);
16. Davide Casarotto (Ita/ALS);
17. Constantino Zaballa (Spa/KEL);
18. Jerome Pineau (Fra/BJR);
19. Pedro Horillo (Spa/MAP);
20. Fred Rodriguez (USA/DFF);
21. Cristian Moreni (Ita/ALS);
22. Jimmy Casper (Fra/FDJ);
23. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus/A2R);
24. David Etxebarria (Spa/EUS);
25. Christophe Edaleine (Fra/DEL);
26. Andy Flickinger (Fra/A2R);
27. Damien Nazon (Fra/BJR);
28. Tom Steels (Bel/MAP);
29. Thor Hushovd (Nor/C.A);
30. Danilo Hondo (Ger/TEL);
31. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus/USP);
32. Sebastien Hinault (Fra/C.A);
33. Lance Armstrong (USA/USP);
34. Andrei Kivilev (Kaz/COF);
35. Cedric Vasseur (Fra/COF);
36. Christophe Mengin (Fra/FDJ);
37. Gorka Gonzalez (Spa/EUS);
38. Alexandre Shefer (Kaz/ALS);
39. Santiago Botero (Col/KEL);
40. Servais Knaven (Ned/DFF);
41. Oscar Sevilla (Spa/KEL);
42. George Hincapie (USA/USP);
43. Nico Mattan (Bel/COF);
44. Tyler Hamilton (Usa/CST);
45. Nicki Sorensen (Den/CST);
46. Marco Velo (Ita/FAS);
47. Stefano Casagranda (Ita/ALS);
48. Nicola Loda (Ita/FAS);
49. Gerhard Trampusch (Aut/MAP);
50. Christophe Moreau (Fra/C.A);
51. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra/BJR);
52. Laurent Jalabert (Fra/CST);
53. Bradley McGee (Aus/FDJ);
54. Franck Bouyer (Fra/BJR);
55. Arvis Piziks (Lat/CST);
56. Walter Beneteau (Fra/BJR);
57. Unai Osa (Spa/BAN);
58. Abraham Olano (Spa/ONE);
59. David Millar (Gbr/COF);
60. Axel Merckx (Bel/DFF);
61. Massimo Apollonio (Ita/TAC);
62. Piotr Wadecki (Pol/DFF);
63. Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel/LAM);
64. Dario Frigo (Ita/TAC);
65. Andrea Peron (Ita/CST);
66. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat/LAM);
67. Mario Aerts (Bel/LOT);
68. Ivan Basso (Ita/FAS);
69. Grischa Niermann (Ger/RAB);
70. Victor Hugo Pena (Col/USP);
71. Rik Verbrugghe (Bel/LOT);
72. Martin Hvastija (Slo/ALS);
73. Levy Leipheimer (USA/RAB);
74. Pavel Padrnos (Cze/USP);
75. Michael Boogerd (Ned/RAB);
76. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/EUS);
77. Peter Luttenberger (Aut/TAC);
78. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spa/ONE);
79. Mauro Radaelli (Ita/TAC);
80. Mikel Pradera (Spa/ONE);
81. Hans De Clercq (Bel/LOT);
82. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra/BJR);
83. Unai Etxebarria (Ven/EUS);
84. Richard Virenque (Fra/DFF);
85. Denis Menchov (Rus/BAN);
86. Ludovic Turpin (Fra/A2R);
87. Leon Van Bon (Ned/DFF);
88. Frederic Guesdon (Fra/FDJ);
89. Didier Rous (Fra/BJR);
90. Andrea Tafi (Ita/MAP);
91. Enrico Cassani (Ita/DFF);
92. Patrice Halgand (Fra/DEL);
93. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus/LOT);
94. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita/BAN);
95. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi/LAM);
96. Roberto Heras (Spa/USP);
97. Joseba Beloki (Spa/ONE);
98. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita/COF);
99. Tomas Konecny (Cze/DFF);
100. Jose Angel Vidal (Spa/KEL);
101. Isidro Nozal (Spa/ONE);
102. Jose Azevedo (Por/ONE);
103. Francisco Mancebo (Spa/BAN);
104. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun/MAP);
105. Bobby Julich (USA/TEL);
106. Laurent Dufaux (Swi/ALS);
107. Carlos Sastre (Spa/CST);
108. Marcos Serrano (Spa/ONE);
109. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol/BAN);
110. David Moncoutie (Fra/COF);
111. Floyd Landis (USA/USP);
112. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit/LAM);
113. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa/BAN);
114. Rolf Aldag (Ger/TEL);
115. Paul Van Hyfte (Bel/CST);
116. Sandy Casar (Fra/FDJ);
117. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr/FAS);
118. Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita/LAM);
119. Laurent Lefevre (Fra/DEL);
120. Inigo Chaurreau (Spa/A2R);
121. Stephane Goubert (Fra/DEL);
122. Jens Voigt (Ger/C.A);
123. Serge Baguet (Bel/LOT);
124. Steffen Wesemann (Ger/TEL);
125. Dave Bruylandts (Bel/DFF);
Marco Serpellini (Ita/LAM);
127. Volodomir Gustov (Ukr/FAS);
128. Marc Wauters (Bel/RAB);
129. Stephane Auge (Fra/DEL);
130. Jorg Jaksche (Ger/ONE);
131. Oscar Pozzi (Ita/FAS);
132. Bingen Fernandez (Spa/COF);
133. Daniel Atienza (Spa/COF);
134. Miguel Martinez (Fra/MAP);
135. Michael Sandstod (Den/CST);
136. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra/FDJ);
137. Cyril Dessel (Fra/DEL);
138. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/EUS);
139. Wladimir Belli (Ita/FAS);
140. Nicolas Vogondy (Fra/FDJ);
141. Benoit Joachim (Lux/USP);
142. Serguei Ivanov (Rus/FAS);
143. Aart Vierhouten (Ned/LOT);
144. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa/USP);
145. Francisco Cabello (Spa/KEL);
146. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra/A2R);
147. Addy Engels (Ned/RAB);
148. Iban Mayo (Spa/EUS);
149. Andrea Brognara (Ita/ALS);
150. Jakob Piil (Den/CST);
151. Eddy Seigneur (Fra/DEL);
152. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita/TAC);
153. Christophe Oriol (Fra/A2R);
154. Ivan Gotti (Ita/ALS);
155. Beat Zberg (Sui/RAB);
156. Massimo Donati (Ita/TAC);
157. Alvaro Gonzalez Galdeano (Spa/ONE);
158. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita/TAC);
159. Santiago Blanco (Spa/BAN);
160. Santiago Perez (Spa/KEL);
161. Anthony Morin (Fra/C.A);
162. Anthony Langella (Fra/C.A);
163. David Latasa (Spa/BAN);
164. Jose Javier Gomez (Spa/KEL);
165. Igor Flores (Spa/EUS);
166. Gorka Arrizabalaga (Spa/EUS);
167. Antonio Tauler (Spa/KEL);
168. Frederic Bessy (Fra/C.A);
169. Jerome Bernard (Fra/DEL);
170. Inigo Cuesta (Spa/COF);
171. Stephane Berges (Fra/A2R);
172. Bram De Groot (Ned/RAB);
173. Ruslan Ivanov (Mol/ALS);
174. Jonathan Vaughters (USA/C.A);
175. Thierry Loder (Fra/A2R);
176. Vicente Garcia-Acosta (Spa/BAN);
177. Roberto Laiseka (Spa/EUS);
178. Franck Renier (Fra/BJR);
179. Marco Pinotti (Ita/LAM);
180. Fabien De Waele (Bel/MAP);
181. Robert Hunter (Rsa/MAP);
182. Udo Bolts (Ger/TEL);
183. Kevin Livingston (USA/TEL);
184. Christophe Brandt (Bel/LOT);
185. Erik Dekker (Ned/RAB);
186. Giuseppe Guerini (Ita/TEL);
187. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita/TEL), all s.t.
188. Jacky Durand (Fra/FDJ) 01:30.
189. Thierry Marichal (Bel/LOT) 06:18.