Cycling: Battling Boardman returns to form

Chris Boardman's new-found confidence about lasting the distance in the Tour de France was underlined when he volunteered to contest the Olympic track pursuit in Atlanta 72 hours after the Tour finishes in Paris on Sunday.

"I was prepared to do it if they wanted me, but obviously they do not," he said after world pursuit champion Graeme Obree's performance in the last World Cup pursuit signalled something was wrong.

"He was 15 seconds slower than the best, and that is a serious chunk of power. The British Cycling Federation are going to let Graeme ride regardless of form, and hope for a miracle. Knowing Graeme, there may be one. It would have meant a hell of a shift around if they had taken up my offer. It was not ideal, but I was prepared to do it, and I reckon that I would have had a damn good chance of winning."

Although he is the Olympic champion, Boardman was content to let Obree represent Britain in the 4,000m event on the Stone Mountain Park track on 24 July. Boardman's target is the inaugural road time-trial on 3 August, which gives him time to recuperate from slogging 3,900km through France.

His patriotic gesture gained momentum when Boardman heard the results of tests to discover the reason for his own loss of power - an intestinal infection is impeding his intake of carbohydrates. "It takes time to get better, but at least I now know what was wrong," he said. "It has shown me why I was OK for the opening time-trial, but then went downhill quickly.

"My form is not super, but now I have become more stable with each day. I am not suffering like I was. It is difficult to suffer each day for 21 days. Now things have stabilised I am confident about reaching Paris," he said. His black day came on the road out of Turin six days ago. "I was in big trouble on a climb," Boardman said, although he only lost just over a minute.

He and 144 others are bracing themselves for a severe test when Miguel Indurain decides to unleash himself. "The race will explode on the climb to Hautacam tomorrow," Boardman said. "Half-minutes and minutes will be lost, but the only day that Indurain can do massive damage is on Wednesday's stage to Pamplona. That is the only real hard day remaining."

Although Indurain is the shy and retiring type, even he can savour the theatrics of such a performance on his homecoming day. Yesterday, however, he had to chase for 55km to wipe out a lead of almost a minute after he and the injured Swiss contender Tony Rominger were left behind by the rest of their rivals. After that, the battle for the yellow jersey mellowed under the hot sun in the verdant Auvergne, and allowed those with energy, ambition and no chance of toppling Bjarne Riis.

The stage to the lace-making town of Tulle fell to Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. In the early 1990s he was the terror of the sprinters, but his potent finish waned. Yesterday, he was back on the podium after breaking clear in the last two kilometres to win by seven seconds from Italy's Mirco Gualdi.

Riis and his entourage arrived four minutes and 53 seconds later, unmoved by the day's events. He is still 56sec clear of the world champion Abraham Olano, of Spain, and the countdown to the Paris finale stands at seven days.

TOUR DE FRANCE 14th stage (Besse to Tulle, 186km) Leading placings: 1 D Abdoujaparov (Uzbek) Refin 4hr 6min 29sec; 2 M Gualdi (It) Polti +7sec; 3 L Madouas (Fr) Motorola +9sec; 4 D Rous (Fr) GAN +16; 5 B Hamburger (Den) TVM +31; 6 T Bourguignon (Fr) Aubervilliers +3min 56sec. Selected: 45 C Boardman (GB) GAN +4:59. Leading overall standings: 1 B Riis (Den) Deutsche Telekom 65hr 11min 40sec; 2 A Olano (Sp) Mapei +56sec; 3 Y Berzin (Rus) Gewiss +1:08 4 Tony Rominger (Swit) Mapei +1:21; 5 J Ullrich (Ger) Deutsche Telekom +2:06; 6 P Luttenberger (Aut) Carrera +2:38. Selected: 31 Boardman +33:20.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - North East Region

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas