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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 20, 2012

Date published:
July 20, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • No Olympic Games for defending champion Sanchez

    Samuel Sanchez will have been disappointed not to be involved at the finish
    Article published:
    July 19, 2012, 20:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Castroviejo to substitute on Spanish squad

    The defending Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez will not take part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, his Euskaltel-Euskadi team announced today.

    The Spaniard was forced to drop out of the Tour de France with a host of injuries from a crash on stage 8, the worst of which was a broken finger and damaged shoulder.

    After taking a week off the bike, Sanchez reportedly got back to riding on Tuesday and realized that he could not train properly - his finger prevents him from being able to shift properly and his shoulder causes too much pain while riding.

    Sánchez called the move, "the most painful decision" he has had to make. "I am the Olympic champion and I wish to defend a medal that changed my life. After that victory, I have a street with my name, a life-sized statue depicting the time when I bit the medal ... It was a very significant victory, for four years I have worn a jersey that identified me as the Olympic gold medalist."

    He continued that he is sad, but that his first concern is his own health and that of his teammates, which he might endanger if he tried to pilot his bike with a broken finger.

    "There is still a lot of season ahead and there are very ambitious targets. I have to keep adding points in the World Tour, and the Worlds... I am looking forward to that. There are still many challenges ahead and the first thing is to recover fully to confront them with good condition and motivation," he said.

    Sánchez is the second member of the Spanish Olympic team to drop out due to injuries from the...

  • Video: Wiggins has all but locked up Tour victory

    Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is focussed on the day ahead in the final mountain stage.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2012, 21:05 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Sky dominance continues in final mountain stage

    Paris is visible from the summit of the final climb of the Tour de France, so the old adage goes, and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) all but sealed the yellow jersey when he reached Peyragudes with no more mountains left to climb and his commanding overall lead still intact at the end of stage 17.

    In truth, the suspense had long since been squeezed out of this Tour by the calculated efforts of a Sky team that stuck diligently to its playbook throughout. The only late excitement would come from observing the relative strength of Wiggins and his dauphin Chris Froome on the final kick to the line.

    Once again, Froome was demonstrably stronger when the road reared upwards but once again, he dutifully lowered the pace every time he began to drift clear of his leader. On three occasions in the finale, Froome had to slow and wait for Wiggins as the persistence of his forcing proved too much for his leader.

    Startlingly, their dominance was such that Froome's throttled back efforts were still enough to distance the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) by the finish, as the Sky duo came home second and third behind stage winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who had escaped early in the day.

    "We were talking about the time gap to Valverde because Chris really wanted to win the stage today," Wiggins said afterwards, when asked what words were exchanged when Froome turned repeatedly to look for him in the closing kilometres.

    The final climb to Peyragudes saw the leaders climb most of the way up the Peyresourde before a short descent led to the final drag to the finish, and it was at this point that Wiggins began to realise that the Tour...

  • Surgery for Sørensen after wheel incident

    Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    July 19, 2012, 21:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane needs skin graft after losing skin on hand

    One of the most combative riders in the Tour de France, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Chris Anker Sørensen is uncertain for the start of stage 18 after injuring his hand on the route to Peyregudes.

    Sørensen went on the attack on the day's first climb and was still away in the breakaway when a piece of newspaper became lodged in his front wheel. The Dane tried to remove it, but got his fingers caught in the wheel.

    The resulting deep cuts to his fingers were bandaged during the stage, but still quite gruesome in appearance when he came across the line 80km later, his bar tape red with blood.

    "After consultancy with the race surgeon, we're now rushing to the hospital in Toulouse where he's to undergo surgery on his fingers. It's still too early to determine whether or or not he'll be on the start line tomorrow," said the team's press officer Anders Damgaard.

    According to sporten.dk, the rider will need to have a skin graft to repair 1.5cm of missing skin from his left hand.

  • Video: Voeckler now certain to wear polka dot jersey to Paris

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    July 19, 2012, 22:30 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Europcar rider wins showdown against Kessiakoff on final mountain stage

    All those who expected a tough battle for the mountains jersey on the Tour de France's ultimate mountain stage on Thursday were not let down with the day's racing. Mountain classification leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was truly challenged by second-placed Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) in what unfolded as an exciting duel over four of five categorised climbs, finally won by the Frenchman, who is now certain of his podium spot in Paris on Sunday.

    Both the two-time 2012 stage winner Voeckler and his Swedish challenger jumped away in the day's first breakaway on the first ascent, the Col de Menté, and remained on the attack through the penultimate climb of Port de Bales. The Frenchman, who had an initial advantage of four points following yesterday's stage win, marked Kessiakoff closely, but every time the pair approached a KOM summit, Voeckler just had a tad more energy left to outsprint his rival. In this way, the 33-year-old slowly but steadily extended his lead in the mountains competition, and will now wear the polka dot jersey through to Paris due to his insurmountable 11-point advantage.

    "I rode with a calculator in my head today, following a precise strategy," Voeckler said at the finish. "In the last climb, I was finally able to slow down and appreciate what I'd done. It may not have been very beautiful, because I stayed in his wheel all the time, which is not my style of racing normally - but in this case, I didn't have a choice. I had to race in a very strategic way instead of showing panache."

    Europcar manager...

  • Beleaguered RadioShack still on course for team success at Tour de France

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) was prominent in the stage 17 endgame and finished 9th on the day.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 0:38 BST
    By:
    Mark Robinson

    Horner focussed on consolidating lead in standings

    A turbulent month or so for RadioShack-Nissan is promising to finish with at least some form of compensation – after 17 stages the outfit from Luxembourg are in first place at the top of the team standings at the 2012 Tour de France and are desperate to hold on to that spot over the final three days of racing.

    A troubled season hit a new low for the team earlier this week with the news that testers had made an adverse analytical finding in the urine sample of Frank Schleck. The man from Luxembourg, who finished in third place in last year’s Tour, immediately pulled out of this year’s race and has vowed to prove his innocence, but it was another blow for the team.

    RadioShack has endured disappointing results over the season as a whole and were also rocked by USADA’s charges brought against sporting director Johan Bruyneel last month.

    As they look to consolidate their position at the top of the standings, the team will be handicapped on Saturday’s penultimate stage by the loss of star time triallist Fabian Cancellara, who won the opening prologue but left the Tour a few days later to be present for the birth of his second child. But team success has become a priority for all their riders, including Chris Horner.

    Horner was the best-placed RadioShack rider in Thursday’s gruelling Pyrenean mountain stage from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Peyragudes. The veteran American finished in ninth place behind stage winner Alejandro Valverde, Chris Froome...

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 17 highlights

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 1:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Valverde claims solo win in Peyragudes

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) captured Stage 17 victory at the Tour de France, the final day in the mountains for this 99th edition.

    Nineteen seconds back, Sky's Chris Froome, ever the faithful teammate to Bradley Wiggins dragged the Brit to the finish line despite looking every chance capable of winning the stage for himself.

    Thomas Voeckler fought his way through the mist to keep polka dot jersey rival Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) at bay with just four point separating the pair at the start of Thursday's stage.

     

  • Tinkov wants to re-build Saxo Bank to become just like Sky

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Nissan) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 2:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Russian businessman says he might make a play for Cancellara, Cavendish

    Oleg Tinkov, whose bank is now a co-sponsor of Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank outfit says that he envisages the team becoming a cycling super power in the mould of Sky.

    Tinkov, speaking to Danish media at the Tour de France, explained that he was keeping an eye out for suitable recruits.

    "I like Cancellara, and of the sprinters, I like Mark Cavendish. That does not mean that we will try to buy them because they are under contract with other teams. But maybe we will in the future," he told ekstrabladet.dk.

    "Now we are building a team around Contador, I can understand, and then we will look at the possibilities, for example, if a team collapses," he continued.

    Earlier this week, Riis rejected claims in the Swiss media that Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) will once again ride for the Danish team.

    Cancellara abandoned the Tour de France last week ahead of the birth of his second child, while speculation as to the financial stability of his current team continues to grow amid allegations of non-payment by holding company Leopard SA and unhappiness within the roster.

    The Swiss powerhouse led an exodus from Saxo Bank to Leopard-Trek at the end of the 2010 season, leaving Riis unashamedly hurt. Cancellara reportedly apologised to Riis last September.

    Cancellara's current contract expires at the end of next season.

    Former Team Tinkoff riders Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar) and Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) are also believed to be of interest to Tinkov.

     

  • USADA calls for Armstrong lawsuit to be dismissed

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    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 4:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Agency claims Armstrong "clearly understood he was subject to the USADA Protocol"

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has fired back in response to the lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong on July 10. Late Thursday, USADA requested federal judge Sam Sparks of United States District Court dismiss Armstrong's lawsuit which claims that the Agency is acting outside its charter and that charges should be dropped, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

    In Thursday's motion, USADA argues 30 separate "unsupported factual statements" in Armstrong's refiled claim.

    Among those is that Armstrong has argued in the past that USADA does have jurisdiction over him as an athlete. The Agency cites a draft of a letter from April 2005 where a lawyer for Armstrong said that the U.S. Olympic Committee "has given USADA full authority to execute a comprehensive national anti-doping program encompassing testing, adjudication, education, and research, and to develop programs, policies, and procedures in each of those areas." At the time, Armstrong was suing SCA Promotions which had refused to pay winning bonuses from the Tour de France due to allegations that he had doped.

    As evidence, USADA has offered a signed affidavit from then general counsel and now CEO Travis Tygart which explains the Agency's processes, in a bid to prove that Armstrong "clearly understood he was subject to the USADA Protocol, including its results management and adjudication rules."

    Tygart said in a statement released following the filing of the motion - "Were we not to bring this case, we would be complicit in covering up evidence of doping, and failing to do our job on behalf of those we are charged with protecting."

    A hearing for the Armstrong case against USADA is set for August 10 and if dismissed, he will have three days in...