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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 4, 2014

Date published:
July 04, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France shorts: Nibali's wardrobe and onboard cameras

    Alberto Contador shows of the new Tinkoff Saxo kit
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 17:23 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI and AFLD announce anti-doping collaboration

    Bugno's style counsel

    There were few more stylish riders than Gianni Bugno and his elegance is still such that he can wear jeans to the black tie Giro d’Italia route presentation each October without getting turned away. No surprise, then, that when asked to run the rule over newly-crowned Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali's Tour de France chances, Bugno's thoughts soon turned to sartorial matters.

    "I'm anxious to see him in the tricolour jersey. I only hope that Astana prepare a 'true' tricolour jersey for him, where you see the green, white and red clearly," Bugno told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Otherwise, the significance of the symbol is lost and at that point you might as well just put a sticker on the front instead. No, a classic jersey is best. And besides, our flag is beautiful."

    Bugno’s concerns are not without foundation. Astana are understood to be keen to have the blue and yellow of Kazakhstan visible on Nibali's kit at the biggest race of the year. The solution should be unveiled at tonight’s Tour presentation. Let’s just hope it’s a bit smarter than the garish pink "Shark of the Strait" t-shirts that manager Alexandre Vinokourov handed staff members before the final stage of last year's Giro d’Italia.

    Wisdom behind Tinkoff-Saxo's late unveiling of Tour kit

    Staying with fashion matters, Tinkoff-Saxo have altered their colours for the Tour. The design of the kit remains unchanged but Alberto Contador and company will sport a decidedly more luminous hue of yellow on their kit for the month of July, while the Tinkoff name on the sleeve is now written in Cyrillic lettering.

    This is not, we hasten...

  • Gallery: Tour de France press conferences

    Marc Madiot discusses FDJ's aims for the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 17:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Press swarm Omega Pharma-Quickstep in Leeds

    Pre-race team press conferences got under way two days ahead of the start of the 2014 Tour de France on Thursday. Teams like Trek Factory Racing, FDJ, BMC and Bretagne Schuller all presented their teams to the media.

    The Tour will kick off on Saturday, July 5 with a road stage from Leeds to Harrogate. The race will stay in Great Britain for three days before heading to France.

    At the Trek Factory Racing press conference, star rider Fabian Cancellara talked about the cobbled stage 5. "It's a special scenario when you have a cobbled stage in the Tour de France. It's good for me and I will, and we will, go for that," Cancellara said in his unique version of Swiss-English.

    "When people ask if it's safe or not, I say that we're in the Tour de France and it's part of racing. This (stage) is a benefit for me. The Tour de France is not just about climbs and time trials, other aspects make the decision about what is the final result in Paris.

    "It's risky but that's how it is. We'll fight for the best and do the best we can. We'll see what [Chris] Froome, [Vincenzo] Nibal and the others do, but for sure it's going to be tough."

    Meanwhile his teammate Andy Schleck, who hasn't been on podiums as much in recent years, said, "I've still got a name, good capacity and good legs, even if I'm going into the Tour with low ambitions. My first objective is to help Fränk and Haimar and see how far I can go. I've got a good chance to go for a stage too. I'm realistic...

  • Kwiatkowski happy to be out of the spotlight

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 18:49 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Pole says he'll start Tour without any specific GC goals

    Mark Cavendish naturally hogged the attention when Omega Pharma-QuickStep made their appearance before the media in Leeds on Thursday afternoon. But Michal Kwiatkowski, for one, wasn't complaining. Despite a very impressive spring campaign that had some talking up his Tour de France prospects, the Pole is happy to remain out of the spotlight for now.

    He says he'll start the Tour without any set goals either for the GC or the white jersey of best young rider, for which he is one of the favourites. "I've heard that I'm one of the favourites for the white jersey, but I've not come here with that or the GC particularly in mind. I'm still looking to gain experience and will just take the race from day to day. I think riders like Thibaut Pinot and Andrew Talansky are really the contenders for the white jersey," Kwiatkowski told Cyclingnews.

    Last year, Kwiatkowski rode to 11th place on his Tour debut with just Peter Velits to support him on the high passes. This year, the Pole's compatriot and friend Michal Golas will play that crucial role.

    "Having Golas on the team with me is really important because he's my friend and we train together. It helps having someone around like that when you're having a bad day," said Kwiatkowski. "We've known each other since 2007 or 2008, and he's backed me a lot during that time. I really need him here."

    Kwiatkowski continued: "I think it worked well with Peter Velits last year. To have the whole team behind you on GC you have to really deserve it, and it's too soon for me for that. Having Golas in the team does give me a lot of potential support though."

    The 24-year-old said he is ready and happy to be part of...

  • Cavendish quiet about his Tour de France prospects

    Mark Cavendish celebrates victory on one of the classic Tour de France stages
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 19:18 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep will try for opening stage sprint in Harrogate

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Mark Cavendish is remaining quiet on his prospects for this year's Tour de France. It's the second time in his career that the race will begin in Great Britain and there is the added bonus of possibly winning the yellow jersey in his mother's hometown of Harrogate at the stage 1 finish. However, the Manx Missile shied away from questions about taking glory on the opening day.

    "I'd like to wear yellow in my career, but the Tour de France is the Tour de France, stages are hard to come by in your whole career, let alone every year," he told the amassed media in Leeds.

    "The first day of the Tour de France is always nervous. There's a lot of teams vying for it. It could be a sprint, a group could get away. Omega Pharma-QuickStep have a very strong team and we will try for a sprint and try to win it, but there are 200 bike riders here trying to wear yellow."

    Cavendish refused to be drawn on his rivalry with Kittel, who he is yet to beat in a flat-out sprint. Last year, he found himself bettered by Kittel for total stage victories, with the German taking four and ending Cavendish's run on the Champs Élysées. The team have since made a number of crucial tweaks to his lead-out train, taking on Alessandro Petacchi and former lead-out man Mark Renshaw in the past 12 months. It has faltered at time during the season, but Cavendish remains confident in himself and the team.

    "I have really good condition for the Tour de France. A lot of the guys got sick at the Tour de Suisse, but hopefully I am over that," he said. "The Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad is very strong this year and it was a hard selection for the Tour de France. There is...

  • Video: Garmin ready to build Tour de France success with Talansky

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) is on his way to winning the Critérium du Dauphiné
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 20:13 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    American to stay with US team until 2016

    The Garmin-Sharp team is ready to begin a new cycle in its evolution as it supports Andrew Talansky's shot at overall success in the 2014 Tour de France.

    With no room in the Tour de France line up for David Millar, the nine riders in Leeds form the new guard at Garmin-Sharp, with former Paris-Roubaix Johan Vansummeren now the oldest and most experienced rider in the squad. Gone are the senators of the team such as Millar, Vande Velde, Zabriskie and Danielson. Riders now secure their place on merit and fitness as team manager Jonathan Vaughters and senior directeur sportif made very clear during the team's pre-race press conference.

    "This year we are tightening it up considerably, our race strategy is very singularly focused to obtain the highest possible place in the GC (with Talansky). The focus of these nine guys is trying to get Andrew in the best position possible," Vaughters said clearly.

    Talansky made his Tour de France debut in 2013, finishing 10th overall. He's has developed rapidly in the last 12 months and won the Criterium du Dauphine in June, beating Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

    True to character, he is ambitious but with moderation and intelligence.

    "It'd be presumptuous to come here and say you're here to win the Tour unless you're name is Chris Froome or Alberto Contador. My placing might be 10th or first, but we are going to have to wait until Paris to see what happens," Talansky said.

    "Last year was my first Tour de France. It lived up to the hype. Mentally and physically it proved to be one of the hardest races in the world. This time I have a good idea of how much it'll hurt over the course of three weeks. It won't be so much of a shock going to the mountains and into the second...

  • Brailsford ready for the challenge of a third Tour de France victory

    Chris Froome (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 20:14 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Froome confident about winning again

    Team Sky was the last team of the day to face the Tour de France media before heading to the official team presentation in central Leeds on Thursday afternoon.

    Last year the atmosphere turned tense during the same event in Corsica, but this time team manager Dave Brailsford set a more celebratory, patriotic tone by highlighting just how much cycling has developed in Britain in the last 15 years and especially in recent years, thanks to the support of Sky and the creation of Team Sky.

    "Sky's goal was to get one million people cycling. A recent report has shown that 2.1 million people are now cycling at least once a week in Britain. That cements that we've become a cycling nation in many aspects. I'm sure the crowds will do the race proud and we hope to do so as a team. We're here with great riders and with a rider who win it last year, he's a great champion," Brailsford said in his rallying call.

    During the press conference, Brailsford was asked about Team Sky's policy on Therapeutic Use Exemptions following the recent controversies about Froome's TUE at the Tour de Romandie. He did not answer the question directly, preferring to reiterate the team's stance on doping and on winning clean.

    "We set out to try to win this race with a British rider and do it clean. We did that. We race clean and we operate by the rules. We'll continue to do that," he said.

    The British team manager also revealed his determination to win a third consecutive Tour de France after Wiggins in 2012 and Froome in 2013. Brailsford preferred not to think of this year's race as a defence of their 2013 victory but rather as a new challenge.

    "We love this race because it's different every year, it's a different route every year, different riders and their form is different. Winning comes back to ambition and desire," he said.

  • Video: Jens Voigt on riding his final Tour de France

    Jens Voigt (Trek) signs on for the final time in his carrer
    Article published:
    July 03, 2014, 21:37 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Trek veteran predicts "carnage" on second stage

    Jens Voigt, who will equal the record for the most Tour de France appearances when he lines up in Leeds on Saturday morning, said he felt "proud and honoured" to be selected by Trek Factory Racing when the team faced the press on Thursday morning.

    The 42-year-old German is set to make his 17th Tour appearance, putting him level with Stuart O'Grady and George Hincapie. He admitted that for most of this season he wasn't expecting to make it into Trek's Tour line-up.

    "To be honest, until two or three weeks ago I still wasn't sure if I'd be in the Tour team because there were parts of this season where I couldn't perform the way I wanted to or how I expected to. So I rated my chances of starting as 40-60 against. So I'm proud to be here and also honoured that Trek selected me," said Voigt.

    "But then I went to the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Dauphiné, and they went OK. I was able to do the job the team expected of me. So here I am again for what is very probably my last Tour de France. I promise that I am going to stop, especially as Trek want to invest in youth."

    When it was pointed out that he had said that last year's race would be his final Tour, Voigt pointed out: "I'm very sure I also put a 'very probably' before that comment." Asked about the challenge ahead, he said: "After 16 years' experience of this race, I know not every day is sunshine and a stroll in the park."

    The German breakaway specialist said he is likely to be focused on providing support to Trek's leaders, but hopes he might get let off the leash once or twice. That's unlikely to happen until further into the race. For now, he is focusing on the stages in Yorkshire, which he believes will produce some big surprises.

    "They are going to be challenging. There are...

  • Ridley's new retro paint scheme for Lotto-Belisol

    The Ridley Helium SL is built to be light and stiff for efforts in the mountains
    Article published:
    July 04, 2014, 1:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian WorldTour team gets updated bike graphics

    This article first appeared on

    Ridley Bikes, the official bike partner of Lotto-Belisol, has just released details of its updated paint scheme in time for the Tour de France.

    The new paint brings gives the bikes a retro look to match the 2014 team kit. Both the team Helium SL and Noah FAST models will receive the new detailing.

    The frames are now red, and feature the Belgian flag. On the top tube, you can see the the words ‘ride your dream’, in reference to the team slogan 'live your dream'.

    Alexander Torelli, head of design at Ridley Bikes, said, "The black paint on the frame covers the more modern parts, and are designed to resemble the ‘lugs’ that were used on steel frames to connect the tubes. We chose a matt clear coat finish, which is lighter, but in my opinion also looks older. The established Ridley font was also changed to better suit the retro design."

    The Helium SL is the brand’s lightweight and efficient climbing machine, while the Noah FAST is built for sprinters and offers extreme stiffness and slippery aerodynamics. We’ve often seen riders using the Helium SL during the mountain stages, with sprinters such as German André Greipel pulling out the Noah FAST for when it counts.

    Unveiled at last year’s Tour de France, the Dean FAST time trial bike continues, but has had a further weight reduction thanks to an integrated cockpit and carbon handlebar setup.

    Following a win at last weekend’s German National Championships, we expect André Greipel to show up with a refreshed custom paint to his Ridley Noah FAST, or perhaps continue with his current bike.