Sunday, July 9

Cup and Tour

It probably was little consolation for France that despite their loss in the World Cup, they were able to claim a win in the eighth stage of Tour de France.

The decisive World Cup game between Italy and France was highly entertaining, hard fought throughout, and finally won in stunning fashion by a penalty shoot-out. But, this World Cup final will be probably best be remembered for Zinedine Zidane's career-ending disgrace. During the second overtime period he appeared to have lost his cool, head-butting an Italian defender after a heated verbal exchange. It was a shocking display of impudent unsportsman-like conduct. He was summarily red-carded and sent off the pitch. It was a revealing turn-about for the wily veteran. The French side somehow held on to the end of that overtime period, but then lost the shootout, 5-4.

In the Tour however, a French star shone brightly. On a long breakaway the unheralded Frenchman Sylvain Calzati attacked solo and then held on to finish the 181K stage across the hilly Brittany region. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Sergei Gontchar and America's Floyd Landis safely finished in the main bunch, 2:15 back, to retain the top two spots in the overall standings--in fact, all of the top twenty-five places remain unchanged:

1. Sergei Gontchar (Ukraine)
2. Floyd Landis (USA)
3. Michael Rogers (Australia)
4. Patrik Sinkewitz (Germany)
5. Marcus Fothen (Germany)
6. Andreas Kloden (Germany)
7. Vladimir Karpets (Russia)
8. Cadel Evans (Australia)
9. Denis Menchov (Russia)
10. David Zabriskie (USA)
11. Matthias Kessler (Germany)
12. Christophe Moreau (France)
13. Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
14. Eddy Mazzoleni (Italy)
15. Sebastian Lang (Germany)
16. Carlos Sastre (Spain)
17. George Hincapie (USA)
18. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spain)
19. Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden)
20. Didier Rous (France)
21. Tom Boonen (Belgium)
22. Christian Vande Velde (USA)
23. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine)
24. Rubiera Jose Luis (Spain)
25. David Millar (Britain)