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  Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Miserable Moreau struggles in Tour
Rubens Bertogliati (centre) wins stage one of the Tour de France
Moreau trailed in over three minutes behind the winner
France's Christophe Moreau suffered a second straight day of misery to leave his Tour de France hopes hanging in tatters.


Moreau, 31, was one of the pre-race favourites but two falls on stage one in Luxembourg saw him languishing three minutes 47 seconds behind overall.

Moreau was involved in two separate crashes in the peloton and each time, the Credit Agricole rider was paced back to the pack by team-mates.

But he wheeled home 3:20 behind Rubens Bertogliati, who held off Erik Zabel and Robbie McEwen to win and grab yellow from Lance Armstrong.

Christophe Moreau
Moreau struggles to get back into the race

"Today was a terrible day for us," said Moreau's team-mate, Australian Stuart O'Grady.

"Christophe crashed twice and lost three minutes after putting his gears into his back wheel on the final climb."

Moreau also had a disappointing prologue, finishing in 40th place, 24 seconds behind Armstrong, despite winning the initial time trial last year.

He went on to retire from the race at the foot of the Pyrenees but this time he carried with him much expectation after battling back from a broken collarbone.

French hopes may now lie with either Laurent Jalabert, the holder of the polka dot jersey for the king of the mountains, or Richard Virenque, who is bidding to win it for a sixth time.


It's going to be hard to take the yellow jersey
Stuart O'Grady

Jalabert is three seconds behind Bertogliati in the overall standings, level with three-time champion Armstrong.

Meanwhile, O'Grady finished sixth in the sprint in pursuit of Bertogliati.

He said: "I was up there but I was very tired. The stage was very hard and the final climb was very tough.

"I gained four seconds in the intermediate sprint but I'm still 22 seconds behind the race leader.

"Anything can happen in the Tour de France but it's going to be hard to take the yellow jersey."

O'Grady's countryman McEwen, of the Lotto team, admitted his third place was a good achievement.


I'm going to concentrate on winning a stage in the next few days
Robbie McEwen

He said: "It's not a bad result because yesterday I pinched a nerve in my back in the prologue.

"The osteopath worked on me and I rode with a heat patch, but it was still hurting."

"I'm going to concentrate on winning a stage in the next few days.

"Zabel has already gained some time today, so unless things change I won't contest the intermediate sprints but concentrate on winning."

Monday's 181km stage two travels from Luxembourg to Sarrebruck in Germany.

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