ST.-ÉTIENNE, France — Bob Stapleton brought his cycling team to the Tour de France with a new name, new uniforms, a new sponsor and a heralded drug-testing policy. He also brought the youngest team in the race. That left him, as he said at the start, hoping for perhaps a couple of stage wins and a top-10 finish by one of his riders.
With a victory Thursday by Marcus Burghardt, a 25-year-old German, Stapleton’s Team Columbia has now won five stages. Burghardt outdueled Carlos Barredo of Quick Step in the final 300 yards after a long breakaway as the Tour moved out of the Alps and toward Sunday’s finish in Paris.
Combined with the four days that Kim Kirchen spent in the race leader’s yellow jersey, the Columbia team has performed among the best of any of the 20 teams in the Tour.
“We had a great preparation for the Tour, and there is on the team a great team spirit,” Burghardt said after his victory. “Every rider works for the other. That’s why we manage to be so successful.”
Burghardt and Barredo finished three and a half minutes ahead of another small breakaway group and six and a half minutes ahead of the main pack.
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New York Times