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Tuesday, 4 July, 2000, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Brotherton's Tour moment
once
The ONCE team on their way to stage victory, marred slightly by a 20-second penalty
Throughout the Tour de France Simon Brotherton is providing daily race reports for BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC World Service - he is also giving Sport Online his Tour moment of the day.

The key moment of the team time trial revolved not around a rider - though some were affected - but around outspoken ONCE team manager Manolo Saiz.

His actions cost the team a 20-second penalty and nearly jeopardised their superb effort which left seven ONCE riders in the top 10 and Laurent Jalabert in the lead.

Exposed and windy conditions on the Pont de Saint-Nazaire bridge near the finish proved too much for Marcos Serrano, who began to drop off the back.

Saiz dropped the team car back alongside Serrano, giving him a few seconds protection from the buffeting wind and helping him to rejoin the other eight riders.

Penalty

Tour organisers dealt out a harsh penalty, considering the trivial nature of the offence and it reduced ONCE's impressive winning margin of 46 seconds back to 26.

It also allowed US Postal's Lance Armstrong to cut the gap on Jalabert to 24 seconds and leapfrog Abraham Olano into third.

Saiz could not really expect leniency for stepping out of line after his critical comments two years ago, in the wake of drug allegations surrounding the Tour, about the race organisation and the attitude of the French government.

Nevertheless, it was a superb display by ONCE, who finished all nine riders together, with a little help from Saiz, and dominated the stage.

See also:

03 Jul 00 | Tour de France
02 Jul 00 | Tour de France
01 Jul 00 | Tour de France
04 Jul 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
30 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
28 Jun 00 | Tour de France
04 Jul 00 | Tour de France
Links to more Tour de France stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more Tour de France stories

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