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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 1, 2011

Date published:
July 01, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Kreuziger unsure of form ahead of Tour de France

    Best young rider classification winner Roman Kreuziger (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2011, 21:03 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Czech to decide on GC aims after opening five days

    The enigmatic Alexandre Vinokourov is Astana's figurehead at the Tour de France, but the Kazakh squad may yet have another card to play in the shape of Roman Kreuziger. The 25-year-old Czech will use the opening days of the race to assess his form before deciding on whether to aim for a high overall placing in Paris or devote his energies solely to supporting Vinokourov.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Tour presentation in Le Puy du Fou on Thursday, Kreuziger admitted that he still does not know how well he has recuperated from what was a particularly gruelling Giro d'Italia.

    "Everybody is asking me that question and it's a hard one to answer," Kreuziger grinned. "But let me get through the first five stages, and I'll be better placed to give you an answer."

    Kreuziger has finished 9th overall in each of the past two editions of the Tour, but he said that it was still too early to tell if he would be capable of bettering those finishes this time around. With Vinokourov aiming to wear the yellow jersey in what is set to be his final Tour, the Astana squad will be dedicated to him in the opening days of the race.

    "I'm here to support Vino, but after five days or so I'll have a better idea of how the legs are. Then, if I'm able, I'd gladly try something in the general classification," Kreuziger said. "When Vinokourov needs my support, I'll support him, but if there's a chance to do something on GC, and the legs allow it, then I'd go for that too."

    Kreuziger has not raced since the Giro, where he finished sixth overall and took the white jersey of best young rider. He divided his time in June between the Czech Republic and Italy, as he attempted to recover from his exertions at the...

  • Video: Roche seeks top-10 Tour de France finish

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) finishes stage one of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2011, 21:47 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Irishman confident he can compete in the mountains

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is gunning for a top-ten finish in the Tour de France despite a less than ideal preparation for the French Grand Tour.

    The 26-year-old Irishman was forced out of the Critérium du Dauphiné last month after a serious crash on stage 5. Roche was left with multiple injuries including cuts to his arm, thigh and chin.

    At the Tour de France teams’ presentation at the Puy du Fou this afternoon the Irishman only had a light dressing on his right elbow as a reminder of the crash and despite admitting to feeling tired and having nerves ahead of Saturday’s first stage he remains confident that he can live up to expectations and compete in the mountains.

    Earlier this year Roche told Cyclingnews that, "This route suits me well. The route in 2010 suited me well, too. There are a lot of mountains! It'll be important to prepare well for the team time trial. I heard that even though 23 kilometres is short, a team could lose one and half to two minutes on that day. Every second will count for a good result."

    Last year Roche climbed his way to 14th place overall in Paris and this year, despite his Dauphiné set back, he is aiming at a top ten slot. He also confirmed that he will once again ride the Vuelta a España - his favourite race - and where he finished 7th overall.

  • Renshaw laments reduced stage race sprints

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) has a very specific job in Italy.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2011, 22:26 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Cavendish's lead-out man notes less and less bunch sprint opportunities

    One of the peloton's top lead-out men has questioned race organisers' increasing preference for climbing stages over bunch sprints which he says are popular with fans.

    Australian Mark Renshaw, Mark Cavendish's chief lead man out at HTC-Highroad, said overall opportunities for pure sprinters had declined. "I don't know the angle in which race organisers are heading, there just seems to be a preference for climbing over pure sprinting... and I think people miss them," Renshaw told Cyclingnews.

    He also questioned whether some stages that were bound to end in sprints needed to be so long.

    "We don't need to race super-long stages to contest a sprint. I'm sure a 240km stage that's going to end in a sprint - you could do the same in 130kms."

    While the comments from the fast man inevitably protect the interests of sprinters, their opportunities have declined. This year, in 38 days of racing at the Giro d'Italia, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, the number of sprints which didn't end with the complicating factor of an uphill finish tallied four. In 2010, at the same races, eight stages ended with a bunch gallop.

    His comments come in the aftermath of the Giro, which was criticised for being too hard. It looks likely the current race director, Angelo Zomegnan will lose his job as RCS Sport looks to change the race's direction.

    However, the trend for complicated finishes will continue at the Tour de France. In the first week - traditionally packed with sprint opportunities - three stages are ruled out because of uphill finishes. The stage two team time trial...

  • Follow the Tour de France with the Cyclingnews iPhone app

    The App for the iPhone and the iPad
    Article published:
    June 30, 2011, 23:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Enhanced version includes live coverage

    The Tour de France is easier than ever to follow on your iPhone or iPad with Cyclingnews' updated app. The latest version is now available in the App Store on your device or via iTunes and can be found by searching "Cyclingnews".

    You can still follow all of Cyclingnews' coverage of the Tour de France for free: race reports, results as well as news and our extensive tech and race features, but if you upgrade to the enhanced version for $1.99/£1.19, you will be able to experience our enhanced live coverage with real time text updates, photos and our new Tour tracker, which shows the position of the riders on the course and the stage profile.

    Download the app today here so you won't miss a single moment of the 2011 Tour de France when you're on the go.

  • Abbott raring to go for Giro Donne defense

    After launching a brutal attack just a few miles from the line, the only person that could stay with Mara Abbott was Flavia Oliveira (Pactimo).
    Article published:
    July 01, 2011, 4:12 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    US climber recovered from head injury

    Diadora-Pasta Zara’s Mara Abbott was crowned the first American to win the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile/Giro Donne last year and she will return to try and defend her title at this year’s event set to begin on July 1 in Rome. The Colorado native’s form is unknown however, and she has decided to take the race day-by-day after suffering from a concussion that rendered her unable to race during the month of June.

    "This has been a very different year," Abbott said to Cyclingnews. "There hasn't been much racing on the calendar in general, and particularly for me, I sort of took myself out at the start of my big block. So it’s hard to match my perception of fitness this year against others simply because the entire situation is so distinct."

    "Cycling is a sport in which your performance is defined only in relation to your competitors," she explained. "So it’s hard, especially with a race the length of the Giro, to start making judgments before the race even starts. Perhaps it is a bit superstitious, but I always have to take these sorts of things day by day, moment by moment."

    Top contenders in the race include her teammate Claudia Hausler, world time trial champion Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo), Tatiana Guderzo, Judith Arndt (HTC-Highroad), among others. The course is once again well suited to the climbers in the peloton.

    Last year, Abbott moved into the pink jersey leader’s jersey on stage eight’s lengthy climb up to Livigno and lengthened her lead on the peaks of Stelvio in stage nine. This year the climbs will include the mythical Mortirolo and will be followed by a difficult day to Valdidentro and stage nine into Ceresole Reale.

  • Rabobank and BMC's approaches to eating right

    Recovery food.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2011, 6:45 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Dutch team to have all meat tested

    After last year's 'contaminated meat' incident, food has become a key focus for a number of teams. The Rabobank and BMC squads have taken two different routes to insure they avoid any possible repeat of the scandal of the 2010 race.

    Rabobank recently announced that they will have all meat tested before for clenbuterol contamination. According to Robert Gesink's team are being as cautious as possible to decrease any chance of a mistake being made. Some of the meat to be eaten has already been tested and is at the Tour with Rabobank, and more is expected to arrive as the race goes on.

    BMC have gone a step further and will bring a chef with them to the Tour. Peter Cambré has worked with the team on a number of occasions before at major stage races. Cambré worked for Lotto in the past and generally travels with Cadel Evans. In 2011 he'll be looking after the whole team and he says that having a chef providing food minimises as much as possible the stress the riders have to deal with.

    "For example, Marcus Burghardt always wants to have an avocado and he likes to mix apple juice with sparkling water," Cambré said. "It's those little things that make them really comfortable," he said.

    The most extreme initiative comes from American Dave Zabriskie. According to the WSJ, Zabriskie will...

  • Women's peloton ready for Giro Donne

    The competition leaders - Vos (Netherlands), Abbott (United States), Guderzo (Team Valdarno) and Pooley (Cervelo Test Team)
    Article published:
    July 01, 2011, 7:20 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Van Den Brand joins AA Drink team, Gilmore to exit early

    The longest, most difficult and most prestigious women's race of the year gets underway today, with the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, otherwise known as Giro Donne, beginning in Rome.

    As the sole-remaining 10-day race on the women's UCI calendar, the event has attracted all of the top competitors in the peloton: 17 teams of 8 riders each will take to the start including UCI number one Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit), World Champion Giorgia Bronzini who will head up the Colavita-Forno d'Asolo team, double Italian champion Noemi Cantele (Garmin-Cervélo) will wear bib number 150 in honour of the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. Also favoured for the overall victory is Cantele's teammate Emma Pooley, the time trial world champion, as well as defending champion Giro Donne Mara Abbott (Diadora Pasta Zara) and Judith Arndt (HTC-Highroad).

    The race will not use bib number 108, the number worn by Belgian Wouter Weylandt when he suffered his fatal crash in the men's Giro d'Italia last month.

    Team additions

    There have been some new additions to teams ahead of the event, which is the only race of the year that the women can field teams of eight.

    Most notably, former cyclo-cross world champion Daphny Van Den Brand will make her Giro debut with the AA squad. The multi-time Dutch champion on the dirt raced her first road championships in more than a decade to prepare for the race.

    "I have raced three times on the road [this year], that's good. Normally speaking, I always win the fourth one ..." she joked.

    Fabiana Luperini, a four-time winner of the Giro Donne, was a late addition to the Cipollini-Giordana team in May. The Italian retired in 2009, but decided to return to the...

  • Only two more chances to enter the Cyclingnews Tour de France Trivia challenge!

    The 2011 Tour de France map
    Article published:
    July 23, 2011, 17:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Get your entry in for a shot at the grand prize of a BMC Teammachine

    Easton Cycling has teamed up with Cyclingnews to give you a chance of winning a major bike upgrade in celebration of the 2011 Tour de France.

    Each day, during our live Tour de France coverage (, we'll ask a trivia question. Answer correctly at our contest page ( to be entered into the draw for one of the prizes listed below (which includes a Grand Prize of a BMC Teammachine).

    With just two days to go in this years Tour de France, time is running out so don't forget to get your entries in. At the end of the Tour, winners will be randomly selected from all the correct entries. The contest closes 24 hours after the final stage of the Tour.

    Easton, of course, makes some of the most durable high-performance wheels and components in cycling. Just ask former road World Champion Cadel Evans and multiple-time US National champion George Hincapie, who both ride for Easton-sponsored BMC Racing Team. And Easton has pulled the best of their line for our giveaway as well as grabbed a couple of things off the BMC team bus for you:

    - One runner up will take home a set of Easton's SL carbon clincher wheels - EC90 SL carbon clincher wheelset information

    - One runner up will kit their bike out with a combination pro-grade Easton stem, handlebar and seatpost - EC90 SL stem, SLX3 handlebars &...