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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 9, 2010

Date published:
July 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Kirchen out of the hospital

    Kim Kirchen (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 18:40 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Katusha rider becomes a father to twins the same day

    Kim Kirchen has come out of the Luxemburg hospital where he was under observation since he suffered a heart attack during the Tour de Suisse two and half weeks ago.

    He was initially placed in a medically induced coma in a Zurich hospital before being transferred to his own country. Today the doctors gave him the green light to home, but he instead went straight to the other hospital where his wife Caroline gave birth to their twins. The baby boys have been named Mika and Liam.

    "I'm very happy," said Kirchen. "I got out of the hospital, and I was able to stay close to my wife when my children were born."

    Kirchen gave an update on his own health. "I feel better now, I'm walking and I can do everything normally. The doctors don't understand what's happened. They're still studying it."

    At the start of stage 5 in Epernay, Katusha's press officer Andrea Agostoni told Cyclingnews that thrombosis and cardiac arrhythmia were excluded from Kirchen's diagnosis, but the cause of his problems still remain a mystery. "The doctors will use DNA to check if this is a genetic problem, which is probably the case as his grandfather and another family member had similar incidents," Agostoni said.

    Kirchen's future has yet to be determined in discussion with the management of Katusha. He has another year on his contract but his career is possibly over.

    Kirchen was also the first person to visit Fränk Schleck yesterday after his compatriot from Saxo Bank's collarbone surgery. Schleck was in the same hospital as Kirchen's wife following his crash on the cobblestones on stage 3.

  • Cavendish aces Tour de France test, gets stage at last

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) was emotional on the podium after his stage win.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 18:47 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Lessons learned prove fruitful for HTC-Columbia sprinter

    Mark Cavendish won his first stage at this year's Tour de France with a clinical finish in Montargis. The HTC-Columbia sprinter was taken to the line by his entire team and finished ahead of Gerard Coilek (Milram) and Edvald Boassen Hagen (Team Sky).

    Cavendish had faced constant scrutiny throughout the race after failing to win a stage. However, as he wept with joy on the Tour podium for the first time since Paris last year, the win clearly meant a lot.

    "This is only my fourth year as a professional and it's hard when you had the success. People said that if I didn't win six at the Tour it was a failure but it's not, you just can't do that. Although I say to myself that I won't let it bother me, it does. It's just nice to finally win."

    Cavendish's win came after his team threw their entire line-up behind him in support. With Rogers and Martin saving themselves for the GC battle ahead and Adam Hansen out of the race through injury, HTC appeared stretched during the opening days of the Tour, with a limited lead-out train that was beaten by the likes of Lampre and Garmin-Transitions. However Michael Rogers, Tony Martin, Konstantin Siutsou and the entire team worked today.

    "They delivered me to the line and I just had to cross it first again," he said.

    "I started this sport because I love it, it's my life and the more you love it the more you're going to do it and get better at it."

    During the winner's press conference Cavendish skirted around the issues that have dogged his season – the dentistry, the lack of form and results, and the pressure heaped on him after winning six stages in last year's Tour. However, he gave an insight into the mentality of a winner who has been criticised for both his poor results this season and sometimes his behaviour.

    "There's people that just want to pull you off a cloud and will find every little thing to do that. The fact of the matter is, is that if you're not a cloud...

  • Procycling's daily Tour de France dispatch - stage 5

    High Road owner Bob Stapleton was delighted to announce the new title sponsorship deal.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 18:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Brailsford, Pévenage, Basso, Podium girls and a Bob

    Brailsford’s Midas touch

    Just what was Sky Team Principal Dave Brailsford whispering in Mark Cavendish’s ear before the stage start in Epernay this morning?

    Words of advice or consolation? A sure thing for the 4:20 at Epsom Downs? The on-sale date of Procycling’s September issue? Whatever it was - and Brailsford answered “Never you mind” when we asked him in Montargis this
    evening – it clearly did Cav no harm.

    The stench of scandal

    A Scandinavian TV crew asked HTC-Columbia chief Bob Stapleton before stage 4 whether Rudy Pévenage revelations to L’Equipe about arranging Jan Ullrich’s visits to Eufemiano Fuentes had unleashed an “ill wind” on cycling and the Tour de France. Stapleton’s priceless reply: “Whatever wind blowing
    out of Rudy Pévenage is usually pretty foul….”

    Crossed wireless

    Every day at the Tour, L’Equipe publishes its own version of the Procycling daily dispatch, with assorted rumours, quotes and indiscretions plundered from start villages and team hotels.

    Having caused a stir with their description of Robbie Hunter and Jakob Fuglsang’s mid-stage handbags yesterday, the L’Equipe scribes outdid themselves today with their account of Ivan Basso haggling over the price of wifi internet when Liquigas checked in to the Reims Novotel on Wednesday. Cue Basso’s sarcastic, visibly irritated response on having a L’Equipe TV microphone thrust under his nose
    in Epernay: “Tell your colleagues well done for what they wrote this morning… All I was asking was how to connect to the internet!”

    Basso’s cobbled capers

    One thing Basso didn’t establish any particular connection with this week was the pavé which his former CSC teammate Andy Schleck seemed...

  • Garmin-Transitions sprinter Farrar back in action

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Transitions) emerges from the team bus badly beaten after hitting the deck yesterday.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 20:02 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Positioning, not injuries kept American from top finish

    The Garmin-Transitions team produced its best lead out in Montargis but came up empty handed as Mark Cavendish and HTC-Columbia burst through the middle of the pack to bounce back and take their first win in this year’s Tour de France.

    After Tyler Farrar’s terrible crash and subsequent micro fracture in his wrist, it was unclear who the Garmin-Transitions team leading out. Julian Dean came second on stage four, acting as a replacement for Farrar. But this time, the American felt stronger and tried to give it a go in the sprint. Unfortunately it didn’t come off, with the American only finishing tenth.

    The double Giro d’Italia stage winner is still in the hunt for his first Tour stage win despite a left wrist, sprained his left elbow and multiple cuts and bruises suffered in his crash on the downhill of Stockeu on stage two. He also crashed during Sunday’s first stage finish in Brussels.

    “The plan this morning was for somebody to sprint,” lead out man Robert Hunter told Cyclingnews. “During the race, Tyler told us he felt good and he wanted to sprint. He’s our leader, that’s what we all agreed on, so we sprinted for Tyler. David Millar rode in the front until 1.2km to go, then it was myself until 300 metres to go, then Julian Dean.”

    “The lead out was perfect but I messed up,” Farrar admitted. “This morning I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to sprint again so quickly after my crash. During the race I didn’t feel too much pain, so I tried to sprint.”

    “It’s only my fault if I didn’t make it today,” Farrar continued. “I chose the wrong side of Julian Dean to sprint on.”

    The American sprinter felt a guilty for not having finished off the great work done by his teammates but he was also relieved that he is back sprinting again. “There will be other opportunities to...

  • UCI supports longer doping suspensions

    Team manager Eric Boyer has to convince Cofidis to continue their sponsorship
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 21:52 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Four-year bans to become a reality for first-time offenders?

    The president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Pat McQuaid, and Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer have long been at odds over the ProTour, but today agreed on something: strengthening the fight against doping in cycling.

    One pillar of the sports authorities' quest for a cleaner competition is anti-doping testing, others are the disciplinary proceedings ending in suspensions. Recently, the call for longer bans - even for first-time doping offenses - has become louder.

    "I support very much the idea of a four-year ban for first offenders, in the case of a very serious doping case," UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews at the start of the Tour de France in Rotterdam. "This would make it much harder for a rider to come back."

    Referring back to the Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), McQuaid said that cycling had to work within this framework, and that four-year bans were possible "depending on the gravity of the doping. In case of a first offense, the minimum ban is two years, but it can be up to four years. Life bans are being handed out only in the case of a second offense. We follow that procedure."

    Indeed, the revised Code of 2007 allows a first-time offense suspension of up to four years, but this ban has not been handed out yet in cycling even though severe cases of doping have happened. Under the Code, the "aggravating circumstances" resulting in four-year bans include violations as part of a doping plan or scheme, as well as the use of multiple substances or multiple uses as such.

    Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer, once president of the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP), would like to see tougher measures taken. "At the moment, the standard ban given for first offenses is two years. I think this should be raised to four years automatically, or for life, depending on the gravity of the doping. We need to step the fight against doping up one level," he told...

  • Throwing elbows part of the job for Renshaw

    Mark Renshaw gives an interview outside team bus.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 22:15 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    HTC-Columbia lead-out man gets the job done

    As Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) rode towards his eleventh Tour de France stage win, the wheel he followed throughout the final, hectic kilometres belonged to the rider who has now guided him to seven of those victories - Mark Renshaw.

    While last year Renshaw tended to follow a teammate in the well-drilled HTC-Columbia train before sprinting and dropping off Cavendish at around 200m to go, the finale into Montargis saw more of a free-for-all, and Renshaw needed to be physical as well as fast.

    As Garmin-Trainsitions led it out, first Oscar Freire (Rabobank), then Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) appeared to use their shoulders to try and barge Renshaw from the wheel of Tyler Farrar, the last man in the Garmin train.

    "There was a lot of shouldering," said Renshaw after the stage, "but that’s the sport. If Freire thinks I’m going to give him the wheel with 2k to go, what am I going to do?

    "And if Thor thinks I’m going to give him the wheel with 500m to go, come on - that’s my job [to hold the wheel in front]. Thor knows that - I’ve been on a team with him.

    "There’ll be no hard feelings later," added Renshaw. "We’re good mates, we train together every second day in Monaco. He might be a bit angry now, but that’s sport."

    Renshaw admitted that the team had had to compromise its efforts in the finale, after committing men to the earlier pursuit of the break. "A few teams didn’t want to help chase, so we had to use Tony Martin early, which was a pity," he said.

    "We shouldn’t have had to commit Tony Martin with 6k to go, or Michael Rogers, but as I said yesterday, we’re a few guys short. We had to compromise, to use different tactics. It shows how bad we wanted this win."

    For Renshaw, Cavendish’s victory was confirmation of the continued faith in him, and also of his pre-race forecast. "I said he’d win here and he did," said the...

  • Two new Easton wheelset winners named

    Easton claims its new EC90 TT carbon tubulars are actually faster than Zipp's 1080 model in certain wind conditions.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 0:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Four winners already, do you want to be next?

    There have been 4 total winners in our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway.

    Michael Rudolph won a set of Easton EC90 Aero wheels for correctly answering our trivia question from stage 2. Who has the greatest number of Tour podiums? 8 each: Raymond Poulidor (Fra) and Lance Armstrong (USA).

    Kirk Whitmer won a set of Easton EC90 Aero wheels for correctly answering our trivia question from Stage 3. Which country has the most stage wins (from all Tours)? 655-France.

    In case you're not yet familiar with the contest, Easton Cycling has teamed up with Cyclingnews to give you a chance of winning a major upgrade to your bike during the Tour de France. Each day, during our live Tour de France coverage (live.cyclingnews.com), we'll ask a trivia question. Answer correctly at our contest page (easton.cyclingnews.com) to be entered into the draw for that day’s prize.

    The Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway gives you 21 chances to try for a prize and you need to follow our live coverage for your shot.

    Easton makes some of the most durable high-performance wheels in cycling and they are used by World Champion Cadel Evans and US National champion George Hincapie, who ride for Easton-sponsored BMC Racing Team.

    Easton has included the best of their line in our giveaway:

    - EC90 Aero wheelsets on flat stages

    - EC90 SL wheelsets on hilly stages

    - EC90 SLX wheelsets on mountaintop finish days

    - EC90 TT wheelsets on days when the riders use the time trial bikes

    Every day gives you a chance to win a wheelset from...

  • Sky not pressuring Boasson Hagen despite top finishes

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) went close again on the fifth stage.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 2:13 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Future green jersey contender at Tour to learn, says Brailsford

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) was one of the most talked about Tour de France debutants ahead of this year’s race. His second third-place finish in a row, at the end of Thursday’s fifth stage to Montargis, helped justify some of the expectation that has surrounded the 23-year-old Norwegian since he won last year’s Gent-Wevelgem.

    Boasson Hagen seemed to emerge late in the sprint for the line, and in the closing metres appeared to be closing on the winner, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) - an analysis with which the Norwegian, who is hardly given to talking up his performances, seemed to agree.

    “I felt strong, and I was going really good, but then, the finish line was there,” said Boasson Hagen. “It was a bit too soon.”

    Although Boasson Hagen is regularly mentioned as one of the sport’s most exciting talents, it is worth noting that the top four on the stage were all under-25. Boasson Hagen was also led out by the leader of the young riders’ competition, his teammate Geraint Thomas.

    For many, though, the question that remains is to ask what kind of rider Boasson Hagen will develop into. While clearly in possession of a fast finish, he is not - as his team principal, Dave Brailsford, said - a pure sprinter.

    It is also notable that, although he was helped in the finale by Thomas and Juan Antonio Flecha, Boasson Hagen’s team is not devoting significant numbers, or attempting a lead-out train.

    By moving up to fifth in the points competition he has hauled himself into contention for the green jersey, but Brailsford insisted it is not a target.

    “It goes without saying he’ll be a green jersey contender in the future,” said Brailsford. “But here we just want him to learn and get used to this environment. You have to remember he’s only 23.

    “He’s a guy for the future,” continued Brailsford....