His greatest sporting moment
Gerolsteiner has been knocking on the door for a stage win in this year's Tour, without quite getting there. But today's solo performance by Austrian climber George Totschnig to win Stage 14 was right up there with Rasmussen's fine win in Stage 9 last week, as Hedwig Kröner reports from Ax-3-Domaines.
Gerolsteiner's Georg Totschnig experienced the "greatest day" in his life on stage 14, "on a sporting level", of course. The Austrian broke away from the bunch very early in the stage today, totaling over 200 kilometres in front, of which the last 35 were on his own. Stefano Garzelli, the only one left from his break companions on this terribly hot day, had to let go of his wheel halfway through the Port de Pailhères, and Totschnig stayed almost four minutes clear of Armstrong et al. on top of the Hors Catégorie climb. In the final ascent to Ax-3-Domaines, the Gerolsteiner rider continued his bid for victory with a clearly painful pedal stroke, but managed to stay clear of Armstrong's last accelerations.
Totschnig collapsed after rolling over the finish line, where he banged his helmet in disbelief. The emotion was just too strong, and the Austrian lay down on the ground before being helped up to go the podium, where he burst into tears of happiness. "I never would have thought I could win a stage like this," he said in the post-race interview. "I knew I had to break away early to stand a chance against the likes of Armstrong, but I was also lucky. It's the most beautiful day of my life on a sports level, but I have two children, Emma and Maximilian, and that's more important than sports..."
Click here for the full interview