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13th on the 13th: McEwen recovering but disappointed with stage 6 finale

By:
Shane Stokes
Published:
July 14, 2007, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 22:32 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for July 14, 2007

Despite his injuries from his accident on stage 1, Australian sprinter and green jersey contender,...

Despite his injuries from his accident on stage 1, Australian sprinter and green jersey contender, Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), is feeling better and the effects of that spill may be all but behind him.

Commentators questioned McEwen's condition after his virtual no-show in the finale of stage 6 where he finished in 13th position, swamped by his major rivals in the points competition. McEwen was visible in the final kilometre but then virtually disappeared from view in the final mad scramble for the line, where Belgian superstar Tom Boonen recorded his first stage win of the 2007 Tour de France.

"I got a perfect position at 450 metres to go in Boonen's wheel," he told Cyclingnews after the stage. "(Erik) Zabel came by on the right and cut in on me, and then I got passed by 12 more riders as I was boxed in," he said of the chaotic finale into Bourg-en-Bresse.

"I can come out on top a lot in those situations, but not today," he said. "It was a shame because I felt good." In stage 1, McEwen crashed and was separated from the main field only 20 kilometres from the finish-line, and with the peloton ramping up the speed in the final hour.

The Australian was joined by his team-mates from Predictor- Lotto and they furiously chased back on. While almost all had written off the plucky Queenslander, he emerged from the fast-finishing peloton in the last hundred metres, to go clear and out-jump his rivals for a memorable stage win.

While he got by on adrenaline for that stage, the effects of that crash have certainly dulled his finishing speed in the following days. Today, McEwen will most likely take his seat in the autobus in the Tour's first foray into the Alps that finishes in Le-Grand-Bornand. Stage 7 includes four categorised climbs and finishes with the delightful ascent of the Col de la Colombière, a favourite climb among the sprinters, who show their appreciation for the 16 kilometre uphill slog at an average gradient of 6.8 percent by riding as slowly as possible to just avoid the time-cut.

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