Casper Wins Stage 1 of Tour; Hincapie Takes Yellow Jersey

News & Results

07/4/2006| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Jimmy Casper takes the win ahead of McEwen and Zabel. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Jimmy Casper takes the win ahead of McEwen and Zabel. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Casper Wins Stage 1 of Tour; Hincapie Takes Yellow Jersey

Jimmy Casper (Cofidis) has won Stage 1 of the Tour de France.

Jimmy Casper (Cofidis) has won Stage 1 of the Tour de France. The Frenchman took a bunch sprint to win the flat, 183-km ride in and around
Strasbourg
in 4:18:15. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) finished second, and Erik Zabel (Milram) finished third. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) has taken the maillot jaune from Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), who suffered a bad cut when he struck a promotional banner during the sprint.

 

 

From the start, the racing was fast and aggressive. At 10 km , Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom), and Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux) sallied off of the front. Nicolas Portal (Caisse d?Epargne) joined the trio, and after 12 km , Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Unai Etxebarria (Euskaltel), and Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom) joined the break. The septet led the field by 3:00 at 22 km .

 

By 85 km , the bunch led the break by 5:00. Credit Agricole rode tempo. At 103 km , Quick Step, CSC, and Milram joined the French squad at the front. At 136 km , the break?s lead was 2:10, and 20 km later, the bunch was within 1:25 of the break.

 


When the break?s lead fell below 1:00, Beneteau set out alone. He led his erstwhile companions by 0:20 with nine km remaining. At that point, the bunch caught the break, and the field fought for bonus seconds at the day?s second intermediate sprint at Kehl. Hincapie grabbed 0:02 for third place in the sprint and virtual first place overall.

 

Quick Step lifted the tempo and reeled in Beneteau with seven km left. Filippo Pozzato (QuicK Step) led teammate Tom Boonen into the final km. With 400 m remaining, Boonen jumped and then slowed. With 220 m left,
Casper
made his move and held on for the win.

 

 

Hushovd, who finished in ninth place, was sprinting along the barriers when a fan holding a promotional hand accidentally hit the Credit Agricole rider on the right arm and cut him. After crossing the finish line, Hushovd collapsed, was examined by Tour doctor Gerard Porte, and was rushed to a hospital. The Norwegian?s arm was stitched, and he is expected to continue racing.

 

In the overall, Hincapie leads Hushovd by 0:02 and David Zabriskie (CSC) by 0:06. Stage 3 could cause another change of race leadership. The 223-km run from Obernai, France to
Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg will feature two Category 4 climbs in the last 20 km , which should prompt individuals or small groups to attack. Will they succeed? Check in at
http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!

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