Tinkoff-Saxo rider suffers head trauma in crash on stage 6
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has described the loss of his teammate Jesús Hernandez as a big blow ahead of the mountains of the Tour de France, which begin this weekend with the eighth stage from Tomblaine to Gérardmer La Mauselaine.
Hernandez is Contador’s right-hand man and one of his best friends in the peloton, and his departure will be tough to take for the team. "I have to say that the loss of Jesús is a big blow for the team. I had reserved him for the mountains, it’s a shame. I hope that it is not something too serious," Contador said after the stage. "For me it is very hard because I had a big confidence in him, but the most important thing is that he will be well and that he will be ready for the Vuelta."
It was a hectic day, with yet more rain and crosswinds up to 30kph hammering the peloton. Hernandez was hit by a big gust, which caused him to lose control of his bike and was sent tumbling into the tarmac. The Spaniard looked dazed as he sat on the side of the road and was taken straight to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with cranial trauma and contusions to his hip and back.
Despite the setback, directeur sportif Bjarne Riis won’t be changing his plans. "It’s unfortunate that we lose a guy. It’s never good, but that’s racing and that’s the circumstances. We can’t do anything about it and we must go on. It’s tough, it’s hard and he tried, but he couldn’t go on and he’s really hurt his head," said Riis. "We have what we have and we will get the best out of it. It doesn’t change our strategy. We have a man less and that’s it, we can’t do anything."
Contador has had a tricky few days ahead - he sits...
Marcus Burghardt was one of several riders to crash during a wet stage 6 of the Tour de France from Arras to Reims and is now a "50-50" probability to start according to BMC's chief medical office Dr. Max Testa
With around 80km left of the 194km stage, Burghardt was caught up in a crash due to the wet roads as he explained.
"It was slippery and one guy was braking and then there were guys crashing in front of me," Burghardt said. "I had a hard impact on the tarmac with my shoulder and felt directly that something was not right."
Burghardt managed to finish the stage and helped BMC's leader Tejay van Garderen from losing any time due to the winds before he crossed the line 6:20 minutes down on compatriot André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) who won his first Tour stage of 2014.
The German had an X-ray taken at the finish line which revealed no fractures. "Marcus has an AC (acromioclavicular) joint separation," Dr. Testa said. "We put some ice on him and will rest him and see tomorrow morning how he feels. Right now, it is a 50-50 possibility he can take the start."
On paper, the sixth stage of the Tour de France was a straight forward 194km jaunt from Arras to Reims that was bound to finish in a bunch sprint finish. While Andre Greipel sprinted to victory for his sixth career Tour stage, FDJ were left wondering were it all went wrong as Thibaut Pinot was caught out in the wind and conceded 59 seconds to his GC rivals while Arnaud Démare crashed for the second day in a row and was unable to contest the sprint for the stage win.
"Everything happened when we passed a village 15km from the finish," said Arthur Vichot who finished in the same group with Pinot. "We were a bit too far back. As we exited the town, there was a big acceleration and we had not positioned us in time. And when the sprint teams went full gas, it was too late."
The first split occurred in the peloton when Omega Pharma-Quick Step put the hammer down right by the Chemin des Dames ridge - scene of three World War One battles - but it was a second split in the peloton that caused the most damage a few kilometers later.
"Unfortunately we lost a minute," Vichot said. "We were unable to chase down like we wanted. We did not have enough strength to bridge the gap. When the sprinters teams started organising, it was hard to make up for lost time. Yesterday we limited the damage with Thibaut, today we lost time. I hope it won't be too consequential for the future."
After the stage, FDJ's team manager Marc Madiot said that the team was "not good today" and his two protected riders echoed...
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) continued his consistent sprint finishes at the Tour de France with fifth place on stage six despite not being at 100%. Sagan was feeling the effects of crashing twice in two days as he explained after the finish in Reims.
"Today the most important thing is that I have nothing broken," Sagan said. "Two crashes in two days are not something that makes me happy, but I'm ok. The crash happened during the descent before the intermediate sprint. The road was wet, few riders slid down in front of me and I had to put my foot on the road. Few other riders, who were coming from behind, slid as well and involved me."
Sagan made his way back to the front of the peloton and was in the front group when Omega Pharma-Quick Step split the bunch in the crosswinds.Quick Step's Michał Kwiatkowski launched a late attack under the flamme rouge to disrupt the sprinters trains but when he was reeled in with 150m left, Sagan explained his reserves were empty and could only watch André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) claim the win.
"About the finale... well, there are not many things to say," he said. "Simply, I wasn't able to sprint. I was closed in the bunch and I finished fifth doing nothing, just pedaling.I hope to absorb the bruises I have on my body as soon as possible."
"Mr Cancellara always sits at the front," says Trek Factory Racing's press officer Tim Vanderjeugd as he takes us on a tour of the team's bus at the Tour de France. Everyone has their own spot and there's plenty of room - public transport this most certainly isn't.
The team bus is crucial for the riders as they seek to minimise stress before and after each stage. Not only do they need space to relax, they also need to do the things they don't always have time to at the hotel. Trek's bus has all this covered with a kitchen, a coffee machine, wi-fi, showers, a first aid station and cupboards full of food and recovery products.
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"In the morning after the crash I went on the rollers and I couldn't push more than 80 watts. The doctor came and he asked me if I could push more but I couldn't because it was so painful. I got on the bus and we made the call to not start," he said.
"It goes without saying that the morning I pulled out of the race was the worst moment I've ever had in cycling. To give up in the Tour de France like that was crushing. It was heartbreaking. I was on the bus with tears in my eyes because I knew that I couldn't ride my bike anymore," said an emotional Schleck.
"Maybe I could see it coming. The night I abandoned I was up until midnight with the physio. They were very good and tried to reassure me but I could see in their eyes that they knew I was out of the race."
After pulling out of the race, Schleck travelled to Basle, Switzerland. An MRI scan and test revealed the full extent to his damaged knee with a rupture of both the collateral and cruciate ligaments plus a tear in the meniscus and bruising.
On top of that was damage to the cartilage behind the knee cap. Schleck...
The Giro d'Italia 2016 "is almost certainly" starting in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, according to a report Friday morning in a Dutch newspaper. The provincial government has agreed to help finance the start, according to the organizing committee.
Apeldoorn is in north-central Netherlands, in the Gelderland province. S'Hertogenbosch had also expressed interest in hosting the Giro start, but recently withdrew for financial reasons. It was announced in May that a Netherlands start was expected.
Finances don't seem to be an issue for Apeldoorn. "The support in Apeldoorn as well as in the province is enormous," Martin de Kok, head of the organizing committee told destentor.nl. "Now that the province is financially participating, an Apeldoorn start will move to the top of the list at the RCS, the Italian Giro organizer."
The province is said to be chipping in up to six million Euro.
De Kok said he expected a final decision from the RCS in the next few weeks.
The Giro would stay in the Netherlands for three days, including the team presentation, a prologue in Apeldoorn and a stage finishing in Nijmegen. The Giro has previously started in the Netherlands twice: Amsterdam in 2010 and Groningen in 2002. The 2015 Tour de France is to start in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Gear stolen from team headquarters and at Tour of Austria hotel
Bike thieves have struck again, this time targeting the RusVelo Professional Continental team and the GourmetfeinWels Continental team. The Russian team did not mention the financial damage, but the Austrian team said that it lost equipment worth 150,000 Euro.
The RusVelo team base at Lonato del Garda, Italy, was broken into at about 3am on Thursday morning, according to its website. Video cameras caught two unidentified males breaking into the warehouse through the roof. They took 30 bikes.
“We are the fifth team this year which falls victim of an incident like that in the region of Lombardy only,” said RusVelo team manager Renat Khamidulin. “There is no doubt that shortly the stolen Colnago bikes will pop up in online stores; it’s just the chain of events that has repeated itself a number of times. All we can do is to appeal to potential buyers – don’t be lured into purchasing these bikes!”
He added, “Let me assure the fans of RusVelo that last night’s events will not disrupt training and racing; we have excellent, reliable partners and we thank them for helping us with creating a sufficient supply of spare bikes. Our activity will go ahead as planned.”
The Gourmetfein bikes were stolen during the Tour of Austria, when all 15 bikes were taken from the hotel overnight. Roberto Marcuzzo, team co-ordinator for the race, started an action to help the team continue.
He sent all the other teams at the race a text message explaining the situation, and "within 16 minutes we had 30 bikes.The support of the international and national teams was unbelieveable,” he said.
“I have been in cycling a long time, but have never seen such a great and engaged show of support.”