Tour de France: Pineau battles on in hunt for mountains jersey
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour de France: Pineau battles on in hunt for mountains jersey

by Conal Andrews at 3:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Two way battle with Charteau keeps French happy

Jerome PineauFrench riders missed out on the chance to take a fourth stage victory on Bastille Day, but Jérôme Pineau nevertheless ensured that the home nation had a good representation on the stage-end podium when he got to don another polka-dot jersey.

The Quick Step rider had started the day level on points with compatriot Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), but was out of the mountains jersey due to the latter’s win on the Col de la Madeleine the day before. Pineau had originally taken the Maillot a Pois on stage two and was very disappointed to be back in his standard issue team jersey.

A six man break soaked up most of the points on yesterday’s final alpine stage, but the category one Côte de Laffrey offered a chance for Pineau to jump back into the lead. He and Charteau sprinted for the top, with the honours going to the former. As a result he pulled one point clear, and will wear the distinctive jersey today.

“Yesterday I was very disappointed because the work I did in the breakaway was all for nothing,” he said after the stage. “I like this polka-dot jersey, I think it suits me well and so I wanted it back. It was enough of a sprint to get there
.
“Initially, I wanted to try to be part of the escape, but this was not the kind of stage start which allows me to put myself in the move. Then I was happy when I saw that there would still points to be distributed at the top of the Laffrey climb. At the top, both [Anthony] Charteau and I sprinted ahead but I was faster than him on this kind of climb.”

Charteau was very disappointed, but took it as well as might be hoped. “There are no friends in the heat of competition but I have respect for him and that’s why we shook hands after the sprint,” said Pineau.

Neither rider would have been tipped beforehand as being likely to wear the jersey in Paris, but they have a solid-enough lead on those behind and will continued to battle each other in the days ahead.

Pineau has 91 points in total, one more than his rival. Fellow Frenchman Christophe Moreau (Caisse d’Epargne) is next with 62, while Mario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto, 58), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini, 56) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank, 50) are next in line.

Former Giro d’Italia winner Cunego is the obvious danger, but would need to start scoring points heavily if he is to battle for that classification.

Today’s stage takes the riders 184.5 kilometres to Bourg les Valence and includes just one climb, the category three Col de Cabre. Tomorrow’s stage features five, including the steep category two ascent of the Croix-Neuve/Montee Jalabert to Mende, and will have an important role in determining who wears the jersey heading into the Pyrenees.

The last French winner of the King of the Mountains was Richard Virenque, who took the title in 2004. He also holds the outright record, with seven wins.

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