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The tour keeps on changing

Jens Voigt (CSC)

Jens Voigt (CSC) (Image credit: AFP)

A new yellow jersey and a deserved stage winner

By John Trevorrow

Jens Voigt is a German with an Aussie accent and a teammate of Stuart O'Grady. He has been the catalyst of many breakaways over the past week and finally one stayed clear. Amazingly, this time it was by nearly 30 minutes, a winning margin which threw second placed Spaniard Oscar Pereiro into the leader's maillot jaune.

Voigt spent a few years with the Australian Institute of Sport when they had a professional team and speaks with a definite Aussie twang.

Race favourite American Floyd Landis has dropped back to second place one minute 29 seconds back but is quite happy with the situation. It takes the pressure off his Phonak team who will not have to ride on the front to defend the jersey. That role will now fall on the new leader's team, Caisse d Epargne-Illes Balears, who may hold it for one more day, but will certainly lose it up the testing slopes of Alpe d'Huez.

Robbie McEwen snatched back the ascendancy in the fascinating battle for the green jersey. He comfortably beat Boonen in the bunch sprint while Freire was nowhere to be seen.

Before the start, rumour had it that McEwen was unhappy with the media because of a story on the web, and consequently didn't want to speak to the press. This turned out not to be the case. "I have done lots of interviews and I just wanted a relaxed start," he said. "It all went well and according to plan. I was happy to see a break get up the road with no GC guys and no one close in the points race. It was a long hot day but in the end I had a good sprint and had speed to burn.

"I haven't been on the internet since the tour started, but I suppose it is time to check my emails. I'm not interested in what others are saying about the race because I'm in it and I know what's going on. I'm also not interested in any controversies - true or fabricated. I'm only interested in winning the green jersey," a relaxed McEwen said.

Compatriot Stuart O'Grady had a comfortable day and was rapt with Voigt's win. "Awesome, we really needed that," he said. "No one deserves it more than Jens. He is an animal. He is one of the hardest working guys in the peloton - no make that "the" hardest working guy. When the going gets tough the tough get going," O'Grady said.

As for Cadel Evans, he looked very comfortable in the bunch and his next big challenge will come on Tuesday up the challenging slopes of Alpe d'Huez. The exotic dreams of a first Australian victory are very much alive and they will be answered to some degree on that mountain. Of course there are two more monstrous mountain days and the all important time trial as well.

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