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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 6, 2012

Date published:
July 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • More bad luck for Farrar at stage 5 of Tour de France

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) gets medical attention after crashing in the closing kilometres of stage 5.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 18:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Sharp rider hits the tarmac for third straight day

    Tyler Farrar's Tour de France went from bad to worse when he crashed in the closing kilometres of stage 5 from Rouen to Saint-Quentin. It was the third straight day in which the American had hit the tarmac, and ended with him trying to confront sprint rival Tom Veelers outside the Argos-Shimano bus.

    Farrar was hoping to end his year-long wait for a win and inside the final five kilometres looked in contention. However he and Veelers collided, with a Lampre rider then making it almost impossible for Farrar not to crash.

    "He said last night that he was as low as he could go so if he was that low last night then it's difficult for him," Garmin-Sharp's Allan Peiper said at the finish.

    "He's taken so much skin off, he's got burn marks all over his chest from tires from two days ago, then he's lost skin off his back yesterday. He's only got one leg that was unhurt so I don't know how he's going to be tonight. He's a tough and he's been breaking bones since he's been a kid but this might be too much for most people to survive."

    The past twelve months have been tough on Farrar. His Tour stage in Redon last year appeared to be a turning point but since then he has failed take a single win. Podium places have been a rarity and he crashed out of both last year's Vuelta and this spring's Giro d'Italia. Heading into the Tour Garmin stacked their GC bid, leaving Farrar with a shorter leadout than in previous years. However Peiper believes that Farrar's problems could be down to a combination of luck and an element of trying too hard.

    "It's just pure bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe when things aren't going your way you start trying too hard and you make mistakes," he told...

  • Cancellara: winning the Tour is a dream not a goal

    Maillot jeune holder Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 19:55 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Swiss star not confident of his chances of reaching Switzerland in yellow

    Tour de France leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has admitted that he is not confident of his chances of wearing the yellow jersey when the race reaches Switzerland on Sunday. He also dampened speculation that he might target the Tour's overall classification in coming seasons.

    Having notched up five days in the yellow jersey and with at least another one to come, Cancellara says that he has a tough task ahead if he is to reach Switzerland in yellow, particularly in Saturday's stage to La Planche des Belles Filles. "Everything is possible in life if you believe in it. However, in my opinion, from what I've seen of the Planche des Belles Filles climb and what I've heard about it, it's a little bit too hard for me," he said after stage five into St-Quentin.

    "I expect to see the GC riders creating some damage for the first time. But as long as I get to that stage with the yellow jersey then I will be happy and then after that we'll see," he added.

    The RadioShack-Nissan star also played down speculation that he might target the Tour's general classification. "I've already said many times about the Tour that winning it is a dream and not a goal. Those are two different things. That's why winning the Tour will always remain a dream for me. I won't work for a dream. I have goals and there are some big Classic races that I still want to win, and those goals are possible."

    Cancellara broke a long-standing Tour record today when he finished in the bunch behind stage-winner André Greipel. The 31-year-old Swiss has now spent 27 days in yellow, a new high for a rider who has not won the Tour. The record was previously been held by René Vietto, who rode between...

  • Crash ruins Sagan's chance at Saint-Quentin

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) emerged from the crash in the stage 5 finale relatively unscathed while Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) still remains dazed on the sidewalk.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 20:48 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Green jersey lead cut, Slovak relatively unscathed

    After dominating the puncheurs on the uphill finales at Seraing and Boulougne-sur-Mer, the shallower but deceptively difficult finishing straight at Saint-Quentin at the end of stage 5 of the Tour de France seemed the ideal arena for Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) to extend his rule over the pure sprinters.

    The testing drag from the River Somme to the finish line would have provided a fascinating neutral venue for a prize fight between Sagan and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), but unfortunately for the Slovak, he was left sprawling before he could even step in to the ring, knocked out by a crash just inside the final three kilometres.

    Sagan was caught in the crossfire when Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) clashed with Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) as the jostling for position began in earnest. He was forced into the gutter on the right hand side of the road, and was left dazed as the travelling circus sped on towards Saint-Quentin without the main attraction of its opening week.

    "It's like I say every day: everybody wants to do these sprints, and everybody thinks they can do these sprints," a disappointed Sagan said after he came across the line in 152nd place. "Somebody feels bad and is tired but still tries to be in front. I don't know why, but it's like that."

    Sagan's downbeat demeanour at the finish was a far remove from the playful exuberance of his victory celebrations earlier in the week. At just 22 years of age, the Tour debutant is having something of a crash course in the fickle nature of fortune's hand at La Grande Boucle, but he was determined to count his blessings as he...

  • France fills one Olympic road spot with track sprinter

    Mickael Bourgain in action at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 21:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Chavanel, Demare, Gallopin to represent France in London

    The French Cycling Federation (FFC) has come up with a unique solution to fulfill its goal of having a full track cycling squad at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer: it has included track sprinter Mickaël Bourgain on its road team so that he can take advantage of a rule that allows athletes to cross disciplines.

    That leaves Sylvain Chavanel, Arnaud Demare and Tony Gallopin as the main riders for the road race in London, although Bourgain will be forced to compete in the event. Replacements for the road race are Thomas Voeckler and Arthur Vichot.

    Bourgain will now be able to join his track teammates Grégory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Mickael d'Almeida, who will contest the team sprint at the Olympic velodrome. Bauge will take on the individual sprint. Since France had filled its quota of riders for the track events, Bourgain had to be included in the road team before he would be allowed to compete in the keirin.

    "Either we don't pick him, and that wouldn't be fair, or we select him for the road," said FFC president David Lappartient according to AFP. "The proposal came from the Olympic squad's technical director and was accepted by the FFC."

    The move follows a similar tactic from the Germans, who put Robert Forstemann on the Olympic mountain bike team in order to have an extra rider for the track team sprint.

    "This is in no way designed to devalue the road racing team," said Lappartient. "But Bourgain has legitimately qualified for the Games and, since he is a real medal hope, it would not have been correct to act otherwise."

    "I am happy with the selection," Chavanel said. "I am very motivated. It is always important to defend the colors of my country in the most important sporting event in the world. The track of the time trial is...

  • Goss continues to battle on twin fronts at Tour de France

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) timed his sprint to perfection to win stage 5 ahead of Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff).
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 23:10 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian chases stage wins and green jersey

    Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) continued his string of near misses at the 2012 Tour de France when he finished second behind André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) in the finale at Saint-Quentin on stage 5.

    The Australian opted to hit the front early on the deceptively difficult drag to the line as the peloton belatedly closed in on the break of the day, but rather than drawing the sting out of his rivals’ legs, Goss’ move saw the venom ebb away from his own sprint, and Greipel swept past him in the final 100 metres to take his second stage win of the race.

    “I knew I was running out of legs, I don’t last forever unfortunately,” Goss said wistfully afterwards. “We went full gas from the very bottom of the drag, but I knew that if my legs were running out then just about everyone else’s were running out too. That was kind of why I jumped a little earlier because I thought everyone was tired.”

    That thinking was enough to propel Goss clear of Mark Cavendish (who finished 5th, still suffering the effects of his fall the previous day) and Juan José Haedo (3rd), but he was unable to shake off the tenacious Greipel. The German barely avoided the crash that took Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) with 3km to go, but he composed himself sufficiently to put himself in the box seat ahead of the final kick to the line.

    “Greipel got a good run behind me and he came past,” Goss said. “He nearly came off with 3km to go and he did a fantastic job just to stay upright and then get back up to his team and win the stage. Chapeau to him.”

    3rd in Tournai and 4th in...

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 5 highlights

    A beaming Andre Greipel on the podium after winning stage 5 at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 0:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Two in a row for Greipel

    Lotto Belisol's Andre Greipel made it two sprint wins in a row, winning Stage 5 of the 2012 Tour de France. The German overcame Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) who had been the first of the fast men to jump, and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).

    A crash three kilometres from the finish tangled up points classification leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), a hold up Greipel was able to come back from. Sagan's absence at the finish meant that Goss made up significant ground in the battle for the maillot vert. The Australian will have one more chance this week, on Friday, to claim his so far elusive stage win.

    There was no change to the classification leaders with Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) retaining yellow, Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) still wearing the polka dot jersey with no points available for the climbers on Thursday and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) stays in white for another day as best young rider.


  • Change of tactics for Sky on stage 5

    Sky teammates Bernhard Eisel and world champion Mark Cavendish.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 2:35 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Whole team decided to commit to riding on the front to avoid trouble

    Watching the closing kilometres of stage five into Saint-Quentin, there was little doubt that Sky had altered their tactical approach for stage finishes as the whole team lined up on the front of the bunch. Following the stage, team boss Dave Brailsford revealed that in their pre-stage briefing the riders had decided to ride with greater commitment and intent to defend the interests of both Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.

    "If you're not at the front you run the risk not only of crashing but also of losing time if you're caught behind a crash. After the crashes yesterday, we had a good talk this morning as a team and really coordinated everything. We decided to take it on from 30k out and really ride hard," Brailsford explained. "Keeping out of trouble was the objective as well as getting Mark into the front of the race for the last kilometre."

    Brailsford praised his riders for a "fantastic" performance that enabled all of them to avoid the crash in the peloton just inside the 3km banner. "I think the guys rode with real commitment and intent today and that's what you've got to do if you're going to win the biggest bike race in the world," said Brailsford.

    "We know that the safest place for Brad is at the front and for him to do 500m on the front on a stage like that doesn't take that much out of him. It's a good thing to do, it's a safe thing and I think we did it with way more accuracy than we have done in the last couple of days. We're getting closer to the mountains and it's time to say, ‘Okay guys, let's commit to the front of this race.' And that's what we did."

    Brailsford didn't agree with a suggestion that Cavendish's fifth place in the bunch sprint...

  • Sky tactics take Van Garderen by surprise

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) remains the leader of the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 4:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Lelangue pleased with BMC's first week performance

    As a nervous first week at the 2012 Tour de France comes to a close, the two biggest rivals for general classification honours have been taking stock.

    Sky, one man down after Kanstantsin Siutsou was forced out with a broken left tibia, and juggling the intentions of Bradley Wiggins and world champion Mark Cavendish went on the offensive on Stage 5, more active at the front of the peloton. BMC meanwhile, have been attentive just slightly behind the front of the chase, with the fortunes of defending champion Cadel Evans their primary concern. The change from the British team on Thursday surprised BMC's Tejay van Garderen for one.

    "It seems like with Cav' in the team, comes a lot of responsibility and if you're the best sprinter in the world and if you don't want to pull, then chances are you're not going to get a bunch sprint," said the American who's enjoyed six days as the Tour's best young rider.

    "It's just a respect thing with Cav that they have to pull if they want the world champion to win."

    One sprint stage remains on Friday before a slight reshuffle of the general classification is expected on the 199km medium mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles.

    BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue admits that Saturday's stage 7 is "not the most difficult day" but...