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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 19, 2013

Date published:
July 19, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Contador's Tour de France hopes fade on Alpe d'Huez

    Alberto Contador had a rough day in the saddle
    Article published:
    July 18, 2013, 21:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Smoke and mirrors but no Houdini act for Spaniard

    Alberto Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team took the fight to Chris Froome (Sky) early in stage 18 in a bid to shed him of teammates and they tried to put him under pressure on the sinuous descent of the Col de Sarenne, but the final haul to Alpe d'Huez delivered an ineluctable truth – the Spaniard does not have the legs to win the 2013 Tour de France.

    When the biggest engines in the race began to open their throttles at the base of Alpe d'Huez, Contador found that he had run out of gas. The dancing figure of yesteryear was again replaced by the leaden-legged one who had already suffered so on Ax 3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux, and he was unable to follow when Froome, Richie Porte (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) motored out of sight a little over 9 kilometres from the summit.

    "I had a very bad day, at least I've saved my position and hopefully now I can recover," Contador said. "From the very beginning, my legs were feeling a bit hard and in the end I suffered a bit with dehydration. The team was very good but once the attacks started I preferred to go at my own pace because I knew the climb was long. At the end, I did a time that was more or less acceptable for the sensations I had."

    It took Contador 41:52 to climb Alpe d'Huez and he crossed the line two minutes down on Rodriguez and Quintana and a little over a minute behind Froome and Porte. While he remains second on general classification, he now trails Froome by 5:11 and has just 21 seconds in hand over Quintana.

    Throughout his...

  • Van Garderen's bid for stage win falls short on Alpe d'Huez

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) put in a brave effort but was passed before the top of Alpe d'Huez
    Article published:
    July 18, 2013, 23:09 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider explains mechanical incident on Col de Sarenne descent

    Much was expected of Tejay van Garderen (BMC) at the 2013 Tour de France following his fifth place overall result and best young rider classification win at last year's edition. But at the start of today's 18th stage and its unprecedented double ascent of Alpe d'Huez, the 24-year-old American stood in 50th place overall, more than one hour and ten minutes in arrears of Chris Froome on general classification.

    Van Garderen, however, came tantalisingly close to salvaging both his and his BMC team's Tour de France campaign as he found himself alone in the lead for much of the second ascent of Alpe d'Huez. The BMC American was seemingly en route to the biggest victory of his career when former breakaway companion Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), riding second on the road, began to claw his way back to van Garderen. Riblon steadily neutralised his 45-second deficit to van Garderen, made contact with two kilometres remaining, and immediately attacked.

    Van Garderen had no answer and ultimately finished second to the Frenchman, 59 seconds down.

    "It was painful to lose," said van Garderen. "It was an amazing feeling being at the front of the Tour de France on such an iconic climb. This would have been a good one [to win]. Alpe d'Huez is one of those climbs that everyone knows. To be up there with the win in sight and to lose it, that sucks.

    "But at the same time it was kind of surprising we were even in the hunt for the win. When I did my first attack the first time up Alpe d'Huez, when we only had seven minutes, I didn't actually think at that moment we were going to stay away. I was just doing it to show my presence in the race."

    Van Garderen was originally part of a...

  • Porte provides key support to Froome on Alpe d'Huez

    Richie Porte helped Chris Froome to the line
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 1:27 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian shepherds Sky leader suffering from hunger knock

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) demonstrated his importance to Sky's ambitions of winning this year's Tour de France by shepherding Chris Froome to the finish line on Alpe d'Huez after the race leader suffered a bout of hunger knock.

    The Australian paced Froome to the finish, limiting his leader's loses to Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez to just over a minute. The Sky pair were later handed a twenty-second penalty and a nominal financial hit for feeding in the closing kilometres.

    "It was a bit of a mess for us. I don't know all the details but we sent Peter [Kennaugh] back in the valley to get some food but there was no car there," Porte told Cyclingnews from the team's hotel.

    "However the team were incredible today. I had quite an easy ride up the mountain for the first time and then Movistar and Katusha took over once we were in the valley. That mean I was quite fresh as we came into the climb for the last time. I had a good day but I think I have to put that down to yesterday and taking it so easy in the time trial. All the GC guys were quite tired today."

    Porte set pace for Froome on the lower slopes of Alpe d'Huez and then after being distanced by his leader, Quintana and Rodriguez, managed to claw his way back into contention.

    "Valverde was pulling behind but it was more about putting time into Contador and Kreuziger who were the closest on GC. It was just a shame that Chris had that hunger knock otherwise we could have done some more damage."

    Contador remains in second overall but has now lost 5:11 to Froome. Quintana has closed to within 5:32 but unless Froome suffers a nightmare in the two remaining Alpine stages he will...

  • Video: Andreu on the Alpe d'Huez

    Frankie Andreu talks to Cyclingnews on the Alpe d'Huez
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 3:23 BST
    Cycling News

    American ponders the fortunes of Froome, Contador, Rodriguez

    Former road captain on US Postal, Frankie Andreu was as surprised as any the way the cards fell for general classification rivals Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) over two ascents of Alpe d'Huez.

    In this exclusive video, the American casts his eye over the edge-of-your-seat action that took place on stage 18.

    "I think [Contador] expected to get a little bit more time on the downhill and that didn't happen," says Andreu. "I think it took a lot of energy out of him. But when you don't have the legs you've got to search for desperate tactics and I think that's where Alberto is. He doesn't want to be second, he's not satisfied with second or third."

    Andreu was also surprised to see Froome suffering as much as he did on the second ascent.

    "I hadn't seen Froome bonking with the sugar low. I hadn't seen that before."

    Watch the complete video below.


  • Rodríguez nears Tour de France podium spot

    Joaquim Rodriguez is looking better and better in the final week
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 5:12 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Spaniard rues his bad form early on

    Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) continued on his mission to salvage his Tour de France with a fifth place result Thursday on stage 18 and its double ascent of Alpe d'Huez. The last week of the Tour has seen Rodríguez in a rich vein of form, allowing him to move up places in the general classification almost daily.

    "I just wish I could have had this form in the Pyrenees too," he said ruefully after stage 18. "Because I certainly would have been a bit further up."

    Rodríguez lost a lot of time to the main contenders when the race hit the Pyrenees and found himself languishing outside of the top 10, almost six minutes down on the leader. The Spaniard doesn't believe that his bad showing in opening stages was down to a lack of training.

    "I had prepared very well for this Tour de France," he said. "I think I wasn't at my true level in the Pyrenees. There was something that wasn't going right and this is my real level now, which is the same as I showed at the Giro and the Vuelta last year."

    The Katusha rider's turn of form came on the wind-affected stage 13, where he made time on some of his rivals and moved back into the clutches of the top 10. Since then he has moved up at least one position in the general classification on all but one day, when the peloton finished all together.

    Rodríguez's performance on Alpe d'Huez puts him into fifth overall and gives him a genuine shot at a podium place. "Getting on the podium in all three of the Grand Tours would be a great achievement," said the 34-year-old Spaniard, who took second at the Giro and third at the Vuelta last year. "Winning it is beyond me this year. It's impossible to peg back [Chris] Froome now but I've given myself a chance of getting on the...

  • Tour de France shorts: Voigt fights on, Hansen experiences the delights of Dutch corner

    The Alpe d'Huez was absolute mayhem with fans.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 7:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Vino on Fuglsang, chasing Pantani and more

    Jens Voigt animated the early break on stage 18, at age 41, showing no signs of slowing down.

    "I don’t know – maybe plain stupidity!" the RadioShack Leopard veteran responded when asked why he continues to fight for victory. "Maybe I just look at each stage as a one-day race and don’t think about the next day. I was pretty much all in today. It was good for awhile but then Saxo wanted to protect their team GC so they made the race hard behind us. Also the guys in the front were doing silly things by causing all the splits instead of riding together and then going hard on the last climb. It was a good try but now I’m really tired."

    Voigt eventually finished the stage 15:34 down on stage winner, Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale). The last kilometres he said, were simply about getting through.

    "I was thinking about a nice warm shower and some food; maybe the last song I heard on my headphones. Definitely not about Einstein and his theories."

    Hansen enjoys some Dutch hospitality

    "Who said I did not have fun today?" That was the question from Adam Hansen via the Lotto Belisol rider's twitter feed following stage 18.

    Hansen linked to a photo on the nieuwsblad website showing him happily wielding a cup of beer as he rode through Dutch Corner. The site was hopeful that the Giro d'Italia stage winner had not drunk any of the amber liquid "in that case he may have to abandon tomorrow sick."















  • Dutch Mountain provides no solace for Mollema and ten Dam

    Bauke Mollema crosses the finish line on the Alpe d'Huez in 26th place
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 9:34 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Mollema to continue in race despite illness

    A double ascent of the 'Dutch Mountain' did not prove a happy omen for Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) as they each lost further ground after struggling on stage 18 of the Tour de France to Alpe d'Huez.

    It was announced after the stage that Mollema has been suffering from the flu since the time trial, and there was some question as to whether he would be able to continue. However, Friday morning Belkin directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman confirmed that Mollema would be at the start of the 19th stage in Bourg d'Oisans.

    Mollema lay second overall at the beginning of the Tour's third week but he has shipped significant losses on two consecutive days. On Wednesday, he slipped to 4th overall after losing over two minutes in the Chorges time trial and he conceded two further places on general classification after he could only manage 26th on Alpe d'Huez, 6:13 down on winner Christophe Riblon (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and three minutes behind yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky).

    The 26-year-old already appeared to be suffering on the first ascent of Alpe d'Huez and the subsequent short climb of the Col de Sarenne. The impression was confirmed when he was dropped from the yellow jersey group as soon as the pace went up on the second climb of Alpe d'Huez and his directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven later confirmed that he was stricken by illness.

    "It was a hard day," Mollema said. "I didn't feel very good since yesterday and today was a fight right from the start. Fortunately, Robert [Gesink] and Lars Petter [Nordhaug] stayed with me and helped me. Without that, I would have lost even more time. The podium is too far off but I'm happy that I only lost two places."

    As was the case the...

  • Moser races with intelligence to Alpe d'Huez podium

    Moreno Moser was impressive on the Alpe d'Huez stage
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 11:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian goes on the attack in the Alps

    Moreno Moser (Cannondale) delivered one of the most impressive performances of his bourgeoning career on Thursday, racing to third place on the Alpe d'Huez behind winner Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC).

    The 22-year-old nephew of Italian great Francesco Moser, riding his first Grand Tour, rode into the nine-man early breakaway and dropped back on the first ascent up Alpe d'Huez before fighting his way back to lead pair Riblon and van Garderen just before the summit. As the American's progress was hindered on the Sarenne descent, Moser led the way for Riblon.

    "It was the first day since the start in which I feel really good" said Moser. "In the morning, it didn't seem a good day to go in breakaway because we expected a big fight among the GC riders. Then, when the first riders escaped from the peloton, I decided to follow my instinct and try."

    The three riders came together as they rounded the circuit back to the bottom of the climb to Alpe d'Huez but Moser again lost contact, only to put in a measured performance ensuring both that he'd finish on the podium and maintain a gap to the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

    "I'm happy for the result and for my performance," said Moser. "When van Garderen accelerated I knew he was stronger than me as a climber so I decided to proceed with my rhythm. I think I raced with intelligence. Following him and Riblon was too hard for me."

    Moser joins Peter Sagan as the only rider from Cannondale to have claimed a podium finish at this year's Tour de France.

    "The Alpe d'Huez was really an amazing show, something that I'll keep inside for all...