Van den Broeck clashes with Sarkozy

Belgian climber annoyed with mountaintop finish bustle

After finishing a great stage 17 which left him in view of a top five Tour de France finish in Paris, Jurgen Van den Broeck of Omega Pharma-Lotto got a bit annoyed with the media bustle around French president Nicolas Sarkozy on top of the Col du Tourmalet.

Sarkozy had spent the final ascent of the day in race director Christian Prudhomme's car, and was a wanted man by the media once the riders had come into the finish. Van den Broeck had been called to a post-race anti-doping control and rode straight through a TV interview with Sarkozy.

While his soigneur apologized and Sarkozy's bodyguards rushed around the president, Van den Broeck was outspoken about the situation.

"If he's in my way, I'm going over him. If he comes to the race, he's got to move aside for the riders," said the Belgian, who was blocked again by the presidential car as he wanted to ride down the mountain to the team bus. Van den Broeck started shouting out his annoyance as he tried to find his way down. Cyclingnews told him that it was the car of the French president and he said, "It can be anybody. I don't care."

Meanwhile, the president himself seemed to know that he was stealing the show from the riders. "I'm not the star here, it's about the riders," he said as he left.

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