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?
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine