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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 5, 2013

Date published:
July 05, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Brajkovic out of Tour de France

    Janez Brajkovic (Astana) sits on the pavement after crash
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 17:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana rider abandons after late crash on stage 6

    Astana’s Janez Brajkovic is out of this year’s Tour de France after crashing with less 10 kilometres to go on Thursday’s stage 6 from Aix-En-Provence to Montpellier.

    The Astana all-rounder sustained a deep wound in his left knee which although was stitched up after the stage, meant that he could not longer continue in the race. Brajkovic, who finished in the top 10 in last year’s Tour de France had returned this year to help Jakob Fuglsang challenge in the overall.

    "I was really scared when I saw the size and depth of the hole in my knee," Brajkovic said according to his team.

    "I knew it was bad, but I wanted to finish because you never know. The doctors were very fast and very professional, and they sewed up both of the wounds. They also said that when the anesthetic wears off I am going to be in a lot of pain," Brajkovic said.

    Astana had already lost Fredrik Kessiakoff after the Swede crashed earlier in the stage and abandoned. Andrey Kashechkin withdrew on stage 3 suffering from illness, and Astana now has just six riders left in the race. 

    "It's nobody's fault. It's the Tour de France, everybody is here to do a good job, everybody is here to work for their captain, and everybody wants to be at the front of the race," said Kessiakoff. "The road is only so wide, and it is impossible for everybody to be at the front."

    "I couldn't shift today I was in so much pain, and when the crosswinds started and the peloton was speeding up, I couldn't accelerate and hold on to the bars because my whole body was in pain. I'm sorry for myself and I'm sorry for the team, because six guys now have to do the work of nine for the next two and a half weeks," Kessiakoff said.

    Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Dmitriy Sedoun said the crashes were an unlucky coincidence, and they made for a frustrating challenge in the coming weeks.

    "Fuglsang in the mountains now has five riders to help...

  • RadioShack Leopard does not re-sign Fränk Schleck

    Luxembourg champion Fränk Schleck Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 17:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourg rider's future uncertain

    With Fränk Schleck's doping ban set to end on July 14, the 33-year-old Luxembourger's team RadioShack Leopard announced today that his comeback to racing will not be with them.

    "With the end of Fränk Schleck's suspension approaching, Leopard and its partners have assessed the situation in view of a possible renewal of the collaboration with Fränk Schleck," said the RadioShack Leopard team. "Having finalized this assessment in a broad and objective way, Leopard has decided to not renew the collaboration between Fränk Schleck and the RadioShack Leopard Trek cycling team.

    "Leopard wishes Fränk Schleck a successful continuation of his career."

    Schleck tested positive for the banned diuretic and masking agent Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France in an anti-doping control after stage 13, and received a 12-month ban. He recently told Cyclingnews that he's fit and training hard and expected to return to racing in the near future.

    Fränk Schleck's brother Andy is currently contesting the Tour de France and is placed 34th overall at 34 seconds with the first mountain finish set to take place this Saturday at Ax 3 Domaines.

  • Daryl Impey becomes first African to wear yellow jersey

    Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 18:57 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Orica-GreenEdge man moves ahead of teammate Gerrans

    Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) became the first ever South African to pull on the yellow jersey at the Tour de France when a split in the peloton saw him move ahead of teammate Simon Gerrans at the head of the overall standings.

    That the moment happened in Montpellier on stage 6 is a remarkable coincidence given that in 2007, Robbie Hunter became the first South African to win a stage of the Tour in the same city.

    “Sometimes all the stars line up for you and this was definitely one of those moments,” Impey said after pulling on yellow in Montpellier. “It’s a career changing moment to wear this jersey in the centenary year and to be the first South African.”

    The stint in yellow came as Impey has been level on time with team-mate Simon Gerrans since the Stage 4 team time trial in Nice. When Gerrans led out Matt Goss for the sprint today and subsequently finished in a split five seconds down, Impey was the beneficiary. He now leads the race by three seconds over Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).

    Impey’s tenure in yellow – which will probably last until Saturday when the Tour snakes its way to the first mountain summit finish at Ax 3 Domaines – will be greeted with jubilation in his nation back in South Africa. “Everyone’s going crazy back home,” the 24-year-old said in a press conference afterwards.

    “The team rode a great race today and I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said. “It was so stressful and you need a strong team and we’ve really kept united and I think tomorrow we can definitely try and keep this jersey one more day.”

    Impey has endured a tough slog to get to this particular career summit. In 2009, riding for...

  • Cavendish angry after missing out in Montpellier at Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick Step) gets back underway
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 19:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Holm: They kicked us in the balls

    Mark Cavendish rode straight to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step bus after finishing fourth in the high-speed hectic stage 6 sprint into Montpellier at the Tour de France on Thursday.

    He was understandably angry after a series of events forced him to start his sprint from too far back, leaving him with no chance to beat André Greipel, who got a perfect lead-out from his Lotto Belisol teammates in the final kilometre.

    Cavendish also crashed in the finale of the stage, chased alone to get back on and then was forced to look after himself in the sprint after his teammates were unable to match the speed of Argos-Shimano and Lotto Belisol. Cavendish tried to move up in sight of the finish line but could only take the long line around the last curve and eased up when he realised he could not beat Greipel.

    He vented his anger on the Omega Pharma-Quick Step bus, shouting loudly to let out his disappointment about the sprint and the pain of his crash.

    “I came out of a roundabout, it was tight coming out and my front wheel went from under me and I ended up on the ground,” he told French television later.

    "I think there were a lot of factors — for sure the crash didn't help. It took a lot of energy to get back. I can't say for sure though, you know, Andre was really strong today and he deserved the win. I'm disappointed, but you know we won the stage yesterday, and the morale is still good. We rode strong all day in difficult conditions, so it's OK. We've got another two weeks left."

    Cavendish also shared his emotions via Twitter saying: "So so hot today! But no Manx sunburn.. Road-burn? Yup. Hit the deck. Leg-burn? Yup. Got beat...

  • Greipel's Tour stage victory softens blow of losing injured Van den Broeck

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won in Montpellier.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Fifth Tour de France stage win for German sprinter

    Andre Greipel said that his victory in stage 6 of the Tour de France today demonstrated Lotto-Belisol's fighting spirit after being hit with news that their GC rider had abandoned through injury. The Belgian team learned this morning that general classification hope Jurgen Van den Broeck had abandoned because of injuries caused in a pile-up yesterday.

    "Happiness and sadness can be so close together," said Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) after his win.

    "I think this shows the character we have in this team - and obviously also the horsepower."

    It was also case of third time lucky for Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). After being held up with a mechanical on stage 1 and experiencing problems with his sprint train into Marseille yesterday, the team finally managed to bring the race under control in the closing kilometres of the race.

    About 2km from the line, the well-drilled line of Lotto-Belisol riders passed the flagging Argos-Shimano train and left Greipel in the perfect position to battle with the top sprinters at this year's race. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finished second, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) third, and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), forced to chase back on after a crash with 30km to go, was fourth.

    Greipel's success - the fifth Tour stage victory of his career - also fires up the contest for the green jersey. Greipel won the intermediate sprint in Maussane-Les-Alpilles to move him to within 30 points of the current jersey holder Sagan.

    "I think like everybody could see in the intermediate sprint, I went for the points, so I still see a chance to get green and we'll still fight for it," he said.

    Tomorrow's stage into Albi will be the last...

  • Tour de France: Froome and Porte look forward to the Pyrenees

    Chris Froome (Sky) rides next to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 21:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky duo ready for the first mountain stages

    Chris Froome, Richie Porte and all their overall contenders lost five seconds in the hectic Tour de France stage 6 sprint finish in Montpellier, but the Team Sky leaders were happy to have successfully survived a possibly hazardous stage across the south of France, taking another step towards the important weekend Pyrenean stages.

    Froome and Porte finished 18th and 19th, right behind Cadel Evans (BMC). Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was just behind in 25th place and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) also stayed close, finishing the stage in 29th place.

    Froome and Porte are eighth and ninth overall, eight seconds down on Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge).

    "It was a stressful but good first week. I think as a team we've come through it really and are sitting in a good position going into the Pyrenees," Froome said after again warming down on the rollers after the finish in Montpellier.

    "It's been quite nerve-wracking on the flat stages with everyone really close in the GC and fighting for position. Hopefully when we hit the climbs, it's going top open up and things will calm down a bit."

    "I think we're in a great position heading to the Pyrenees. I'm happy with the team around me on and off the bike. I'm looking forward to getting stick unto the second week."

    Two key days in the Pyrenees

    The weekend stages in the Pyrenees are expected to host the first real showdown between the overall contenders in the Tour de France. Saturday's 195km stage will finish at the Ax 3 Domaines ski resort, while Sunday's 168.5km stage will include five categorized climbs.

    "It's going to be a fight, too, but it's something I'm looking forward to and doing things with...

  • White: Impey earned Tour de France yellow, it was no gift

    Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2013, 22:12 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Lead shifts from Gerrans to Impey during stage 6

    There are no gifts, or so they say. A sentiment that Orica-GreenEdge's Matt White echoed as Daryl Impey pulled on the maillot jaune at the Tour de France, slipping on the jersey after teammate Simon Gerrans lost his lead due to a split at the end of stage 6 in Montpellier.

    White, who returned to directing duties at the team in June following the Vance report, praised Impey, who made history as the first African rider to wear the Tour's yellow jersey.

    Impey had the chance of moving into yellow on stage 5 but heading into stage 6 he only had to finish eight places ahead of Gerrans to do so. The split that separated the field made sure of that with Impey leading the race with a three-second advantage over Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen. Gerrans, who earned the lead after the team time trial in Nice, now sits in third, a further two seconds back.

    "It was actually Simon's idea," White instantly said when asked about the change in race lead.

    "For him [Gerrans] it's two days or three days in the yellow jersey but for Daryl Impey it's going to change his life."

    "It was Simon's idea," he repeated. "They're good mates and that's the sort of team we are. Simon just asked me if it was okay to give the jersey to Daryl tomorrow, and I said it was no problem at all," he added, surely aware of the added publicity a change in leadership will bring for the team and the race as a whole.

    However, White was keen to stress that yellow hadn't been a gift, and that Impey, who had been in the Continental ranks less than two years ago, had earned the right to lead the race.

    "People who would say that it was a gift have probably never done a sprint at the Tour de France...

  • Hesjedal races on despite broken rib at Tour de France

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) at the start of stage 5
    Article published:
    July 05, 2013, 0:22 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin Sharp riding with two in the top 15

    Despite suffering from a broken rib, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) put on a brave face as he warmed down from the soaring temperatures of stage 6 at the Tour de France.

    Hesjedal crashed on stage 1 before soldiering through the opening stages and the team time trial in Nice. In the last two days, has kept a low profile towards the back of the bunch, moving up inside the finales of each stage and remaining in contention with the rest of the GC hopefuls.

    "It would of course be better if the wasn't broken. It's like having a knife going into your chest and back, and it's all day with my breathing and pedalling. It sucks," he told Cyclingnews as he warmed down outside the Garmin Sharp team bus.

    Both Hesjedal and his teammate Andrew Talansky sit inside the top 15 on GC, with Daniel Martin and Tom Danielson just a handful of seconds further down the pecking order. It leaves Garmin with a number of options heading into the mountains although Christian Vande Velde has switched to survival and recovery following a crash on stage 5.

    "I'm just going to be fighting for it everyday, just like I do every time. That's what we do as a team. We still have lots of guys in the race and that's what we wanted, and I think we're sitting pretty good based on how the race has been so far."

    Hesjedal came into the Tour as a potential leader of Garmin. However the former Giro d'Italia winner has endured a mixed year due to illness and crashes. His merited performances at the Tour of Catalunya and Liege-Bastogne-Liege were damped by a Giro defence ruined by illness, while his Tour preparations were thrown into jeopardy by a crash in the Tour de Suisse.

    However, despite the fall,...