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Tour in brief: McEwen back to green; McGee still suffering; Simoni loses big time

McEwen loses yellow, but keeps greenLotto’s Robbie McEwen handed the yellow jersey over to Lance Armstrong after Wednesday’s team time trial, but he probably didn’t mind too much - on Thursday, he will be wearing the green points jersey and hunting another stage win. McEwen's short stint in the maillot jaune was a tough one for the 32-year-old from Brisbane, who suffered mightily as his team posted a time that was more than five minutes behind U.S. Postal. Still, he enjoyed his day in yellow. "It was very difficult for me today,” McEwen said. “Wearing the yellow jersey is now over. I only

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By VeloNews Interactive and wire services

McEwen loses yellow, but keeps green
Lotto’s Robbie McEwen handed the yellow jersey over to Lance Armstrong after Wednesday’s team time trial, but he probably didn’t mind too much – on Thursday, he will be wearing the green points jersey and hunting another stage win.

McEwen’s short stint in the maillot jaune was a tough one for the 32-year-old from Brisbane, who suffered mightily as his team posted a time that was more than five minutes behind U.S. Postal. Still, he enjoyed his day in yellow.

“It was very difficult for me today,” McEwen said. “Wearing the yellow jersey is now over. I only had it for a day, but I had a great day wearing it.”

McGee soldiers on despite pain
Another Aussie was suffering on Wednesday, too. Bradley McGee, who has been fighting a pelvis problem that refuses to go away, was grimacing again as he struggled to keep up with his Fdjeux.com team’s relatively slow pace over the mainly flat but miserably wet course.

The 28-year-old from Sydney, who is scheduled to go for track gold at this summer’s Olympic Games , admitted that the niggling injury he’d picked up while potting plants at his new home a week before the Tour had severely compromised his team’s performance (they finished last and were overtaken by the Liberty Seguros squad despite starting five minutes in front of them).

“The warm-up and the start of the stage went really good,” said McGee. “But after the first 10 to 15 kilometers I began to suffer. The team’s rhythm wasn’t too fast in general, but it began to be too fast for me.”

Simoni falls, loses big time
A crash and a rule misunderstanding have seriously damaged the chances of Italian Gilberto Simoni, one of Lance Armstrong’s main rivals.

Simoni, the 2001 and 2003 Giro d’Italia winner, came down on the last corner 100 meters before the finish line, but arose and crossed six seconds behind his Saeco teammates.

Saeco finished ninth, two minutes and 36 seconds behind Armstrong’s U.S. Postal team. Under the new rules governing the TTT, that time was then trimmed to 1:30. Simoni thought he would be given 1:30 as well, but it turned out that the rule applied only to riders finishing together – he was ranked as finishing 2:42 behind Armstrong, which puts him 3:22 behind the American in 70th overall.

“Everything went wrong in the final kilometer,” said Simoni, who won a stage last year. “Now I’m more than three minutes behind Armstrong. The weather was unbelievable.” AFP and Reuters contributed to this report