McEwen wins seventh Tour de France stage

8th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 July 2005, KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Australian Robbie McEwen made a bid for the sprinter's title of the 2005 Tour de France as he won Friday's seventh stage, while race leader Lance Armstrong enjoyed another leisurely day in the saddle.

8 July 2005

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Australian Robbie McEwen made a bid for the sprinter's title of the 2005 Tour de France as he won Friday's seventh stage, while race leader Lance Armstrong enjoyed another leisurely day in the saddle.

McEwen, last year's Tour sprint champion, raced the 228.5 kilometres from Luneville in France to the German city of Karlsruhe in 5 hr 03:45 min, an average speed of 45.14 kph, edging out Magnus Backstedt of Sweden.

The current leader in the sprint competition, Belgian Tom Boonen, was well beaten in seventh place.

The 33-year-old McEwen was obviously delighted to score his second stage win of this year's Tour and the seventh of his career, and he praised his Davitamon-Lotto team-mates for working to help him win.

"I'm happy for the team," he told France 2 television. "They worked very hard. They always ride for me. I had two men piloting me (in the final kilometre)."

Armstrong finished with the main pack and maintained his lead in the overall standings.

His team-mate and fellow American George Hincapie is second, 55 seconds adrift, while third place is occupied by a rider considered one of Armstrong's main challengers for the title, Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, who trails by 1:04 minutes.

The race was marked by a long breakaway by German Fabian Wegmann, who rode alone for nearly 160 kilometres before being hauled in by the main pack.

However, his effort was not in vain. The 25-year-old Wegmann was loudly cheered by the many spectators lining the route in Germany and he took over the lead of the race for the Tour's climbing title.

The stage began with a minute's silence by riders and spectators in honour of the victims of Thursday's bombings in London.

In Saturday's eighth stage, which brings the Tour back to France, the riders will be tackling the first serious climb of this year's Tour, a category 2 mountain just 15 kilometres from the finish.

DPA

Subject: German news

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