MCEWEN SEALS GREEN JERSEY
Australia’s Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) sealed overall victory in the points competition two days early on Friday after his biggest rival Oscar Freire (Rabobank) quit the Tour with flu.
With Tom Boonen and Daniele Bennati already out of the Tour, McEwen is now mathematically sure of winning his third green jersey (after 2002 and 2004) with a total of 254 points. Erik Zabel (Milram) is now second with 175 points and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is third with 160 points.
“It’s a strange feeling to know it’s unloseable,” McEwen said.
“It’s just starting to sink in now that I’ve got it, that I’ve won it. In recent years I’ve had to fight like anything to win it or lose it. Of course I’ve still got to get to Paris and make it through the time trial. I just hope a dog doesn’t run out in front of me or some drunk step out in front of me.”
McEwen did not contest the bunch sprint on Friday and will save his energy during the time trial so that he can be fresh for the final sprint on Sunday in Paris.
“I’m still concentrating on the stage to the Champs Elysees on Sunday because I really want to get on the podium twice,” he said.
The Brisbane pocket rocket won three stages in the first week but explained he set up his points victory in the second week.
“I think the hardest work I did was in the second week in the transitional stages. In the first week my team mates worked for me and I did what I normally do: win sprints. In the second week I really had to follow attacks and keep an eye on Boonen, Freire, Freire and Bennati. All of them were attacking and I even took a radio with me on some stages so that I could tell my team mate who was attacking. That was the hardest part but I’ve got it now and nobody can take it off me.”