Filippo Pozzato Takes Stage 7
Fassa Bortolo’s Filippo Pozzato won Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour de France Saturday. The course wove riders 123 miles from Chateaubriant to Saint Brieue in Brittany, the heart of the France’s cycling region and home to such cycling legends as five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault. The win was Pozzato’s first ever at the Tour. Iker Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took second place while Francisco Mancebo (IBB) rounded out the top three. French National Champion Thomas Voeckler finished 43rd on the day, 10 seconds behind the leader. The finish was good enough for the Brioches La Boulangere team member to keep the yellow jersey on his back for a third consecutive day.
The peloton rode through rainy conditions past the Brittany shore during Saturday's Stage 7.The peloton rode through rainy conditions past the Brittany shore during Saturday’s Stage 7.
Lance Armstrong finished 55th and held on to his sixth place ranking in the overall standing. Rivals Tyler Hamilton (Phonak), Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), and Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguras) stand at 13th, 22nd, and 38th respectively in the overall standings.
After several unsuccessful attacks, Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Thierry Marichal (Lotto-Domo) finally executed an attack that stuck and were able to build up a lead of 8:30 minutes before the peloton began chipping away.
With 30 miles to go, CSC, led by Jens Voight, moved to the front of the peloton, stretching it, and ultimately splitting the group into two separate sections. The lead group, which included the likes of Armstrong and Ullrich, was able to close the gap to Dekker and Marichal to about 3:32 with 27 miles to go. With about 19 miles to go in the race, the two leaders were overtaken by the group and when just 17 miles remained, the gap between the two main groups was about 50 seconds. After a failed attack by a group containing Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), the peloton came together in the last five miles.
With just three miles left in the race, an attack by Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Davitamon), Laurent Brochard (Ag2R Prevoyance), Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears-Banesto), Iker Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo), and Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) put the group ahead of the peloton. With about 1.2 miles to go the group was able to garner a lead of about 10 seconds. Pozzato, Flores, and Mancebo were able to edge out Bettini and Brochard and jockeyed for position, setting up the last second push for Pozzato.