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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 28, 2013

Date published:
June 28, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck happy to be back in the Tour spotlight

    Andy Schleck (Team Radioshack Leopard)
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 20:14 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Says he not a favourite, but could be considered as an outsider

    After a year that he confessed had been extremely testing in all kinds of different ways, Andy Schleck said he is feeling good and happy to be back at the Tour de France. The RadioShack rider missed last year's race after breaking his sacrum at the Dauphiné, then had another blow when his brother Fränk tested positive during the Tour.

    "I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that it was easy because it wasn't. I had a rough time," he said. "But I had my family, my friends, the people sitting next to me who believe in me and helped me through this. I managed it pretty well."

    Schleck acknowledged he has no idea what his prospects are for the Tour, saying he will only get an idea of this when the race reaches the first mountain stages. "I did a pretty good Tour of Switzerland and before that we did a lot of work, more than I've ever done before, but we will have to wait until the mountains to see how I really am," he said.

    "I think I'm not too bad. The riders and the team believe in me and support me, and I believe in myself as well. I don't consider myself as a favourite to win this year's Tour de France. I could maybe be described as an outsider, and we'll see what I can do in that role."

    He said, "I had some problems at the start of the season, which were perhaps related to the injury I had last season, but I got to the point where I thought, 'I don't want to get dragged down by negative things any more.' Instead I looked at small things like going up a climb in training with 10 additional watts and that was a positive thing for me. I was happy when I achieved small goals. That's how I got back up, by taking small steps. They say, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger', and I believe in that."

    The Luxembourger said it was...

  • Hinault fears for Tour de France in light of doping drama

    Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault at the start in Villié-Morgon
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 21:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France legend rails against French Senate's doping investigation

    Tour de France legend and five-time champion Bernard Hinault gave a visceral response to the French Senate's doping investigation, which this week unearthed claims of an EPO positive against Laurent Jalabert, labelling the action as "bullshit".

    Speaking to Europe 1 radio, Hinault said of the retroactive testing of the 1998 Tour de France samples, done by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) in 2004, "It was 15 years ago, so we've got to stop bringing out the dead."

    The French Senate ordered the identification of the riders whose samples turned up positive in the retroactive analysis, the same analysis that in 2005 enabled L'Equipe journalist Damien Ressiot to link positives to Lance Armstrong. This time one of those names was Jalabert, according to a report in L'Equipe. The resulting scandal from the positive led to Jalabert losing his position as a commentator for French television. Hinault, who works with the race organisation said, "It's like they want to kill the Tour."

    The full report is due to be made public on July 18, the same day as the Alpe d'Huez stage which is expected to decide the final overall champion of the race.

    The 100th edition of the Tour has already been under a damper of the disqualification of Lance Armstrong from his seven Tour de France victories after the USADA investigation and subsequent confession to doping by the American.

    As the sport tries to move on from its doping past, Hinault decried the focus on cycling by the French authorities.

    "Why are we always looking at cycling," Hinault asked. "Why don't samples from the 1990s...

  • Tour de France Gallery: Team presentation

    Mark Cavendish in his new British Champion's kit
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 22:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Corsica ships in the Tour peloton

    The 22 teams of the 100th Tour de France were presented in Porto Vecchio in Corsica today, with all 198 riders lining up in the port town with their respective teams.

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Mark Cavendish appeared in his new national champion's kit, as the winner of Great Britain's road race. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) had a chance to put his new German champion's jersey on display, and Arthur Vichot (FDJ) as French champion.

    The former Blanco, now Belkin team modeled their green and white strip, while Movistar debuted a new jersey with an additional sponsor, O2, added to the shoulders. FDJ turned up in an all-blue kit, perhaps to distinguish themselves from the white jersey holder in the race.

    Enjoy this gallery of images from the spectacle in Porto Vecchio.


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  • Brailsford convinced Froome can give Team Sky a second Tour win

    Dave Brailsford (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 0:11 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team manager clashes with Kimmage and talks about Wiggo

    Dave Brailsford has predicted that the 2013 Tour de France will be won by limiting mistakes rather than making one spectacular attack on a key stage.

    The Team Sky manager is known for his analytical and scientific approach to racing and as the riders count down to the hours to the start of this year's race, he is confident that in Chris Froome, he has the man to win the Tour de France for a second consecutive time.

    He insisted that Bradley Wiggins will be missed in the team but refuted any speculation that Wiggins was not selected for any other reason except his knee injury.

    "Rather than going out and thinking you have to do something spectacular to win this race, it's more likely that you've got to make the least errors if you want to win," Brailsford said after a packed pre-race Team Sky press conference that included a slightly tense moment with former rider and stanch anti-doping journalist Paul Kimmage.

    "We've got great riders and if they do what they're capable of doing, we're going to be in the mix. So it's about making the least mistakes. That will give us the platform to perform in this year's race"

    This year's far tougher route and the determination of other teams to take the race to Team Sky has set up a thrilling 100th edition of the Tour de France, which is expected to be decided in the mountains. Brailsford said he is ready for a more aggressive race.

    "Maybe we've changed our tactics, too," he suggested. "We've got different riders, different capabilities and you base your tactics on what you have. What we have this year is very different to what we had last year. I think we'll surprise a few people with what we have planned."

    "Every Tour is different, you start from zero, you start from scratch. It'd a...

  • Sky's Richie Porte blogs for Cyclingnews during the Tour de France

    Race leader Richie Porte (Sky) awaits the start of stage 6.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 2:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian doesn't hold back

    Want to know what's going on within the Team Sky camp during the Tour de France? Richie Porte will be continuing his series of blogs for Cyclingnews during the 100th edition of the French Grand Tour over the next three weeks.

    Today, the Australian begins with an update on life following his second overall at the Dauphiné and looks ahead to what's in store over the Tour's first week.

    "What it's really done is given me a bit more confidence going into the Tour," Porte writes. "There was a lot of guys there being touted for the podium at the Tour and I guess they've got a lot of tweaks to do too but Chris and I had just as much to improve on as they did."

    As usual, Porte is frank in his views and doesn't hold back.

    Also joining the 28-year-old throughout the Tour will be John Degenkolb, and Robert Millar.

    Read more by clicking here.

  • Armstrong not invited to ASO Tour de France function in Paris

    Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani on the Mont Ventoux during the 2000 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 3:27 BST
    Cycling News

    All living finishers receive invite

    Every living man who has finished the Tour de France has been invited to attend a function by the ASO in Paris on July 21, with the exception of Lance Armstrong.

    Stripped of his seven Tour victories at the end of last year, Armstrong's name has been removed as winner from 1999-2005 and according to director Christian Prudhomme the blank space that remains is "the story of a real talent who lost his way."

    News Limited reports that the 'Giants of the Tour' ceremony due to take place at the end of the 100th edition of the Tour de France, will not include the Texan. According to the report, ASO press officer Thomas Cariou did not answer questions as to why Armstrong was not invited nor was it expanded upon if any other riders were not invited.

    Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during his seven-year reign but denies that he violated anti-doping rules during his comeback between 2009 and 2011.

  • Vanmarcke primed for Tour de France debut

    Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) had to settle for second in Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 4:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Suisse experience gave Belgian confidence

    It's been one of the efforts of his life but Belkin's Sep Vanmarcke believes he's never trained as hard as he has to make the team for the Tour de France.

    Vanmarcke, this year's runner-up at Paris-Roubaix, is making his debut at the Tour de France with the 2011 Vuelta a Espana his only grand tour previously.

    "For me it would be a good Tour if there was a rest day after every stage," the 24-year-old joked at the Belkin press conference. "I've never raced in Corsica. Apparently there are quite a few curves in the road. It's not really good for a sprinters after that first stage. But I'm already ready for the Tour. I never trained as hard as I have for this race."

    Vanmarcke was informed of his inclusion in the Dutch squad last Monday after a fast and furious Tour de Suisse.

    "In Switzerland I did a lot of work to support the team," he explained. "It made me believe in my chances of making the team for the Tour."

    The Belgian has modest goals for his debut Tour.

    "The goal will be to assist our leader Bauke Mollema as long as possible in the mountain stages," Vanmarcke explained. "Then I can settle down quietly in the autobus. Of course, I would like to be part of an early breakaway, preferably one that is going to last, so I can sprint for the stage."



  • Armstrong: “It was impossible to win Tour de France without doping”

    Lance Armstrong in the Discovery Channel days
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 10:35 BST
    José Been

    Still considers himself the winner from 1999 to 2005

    “It was impossible to win the Tour de France in my time without doping,” Lance Armstrong told French newspaper Le Monde in an interview which will be published in its entirety tomorrow. Excerpts have been sent to the media but Cyclingnews had the opportunity to read the full interview with the seven-time Tour de France winner who was stripped of all his titles.

    Armstrong still considers himself to be the winner of those seven consecutive Tours  from 1999 to 2005. After the USADA Reasoned Decision  came out in 2012 the UCI stripped all of Armstrong’s victories from 1998 on, leaving seven editions of the biggest cycling race in the world without a winner. “It’s okay to erase my name but these Tours need a winner. I’ll leave the discussion as to who won to others but nobody has reported to me to claim those yellow jerseys.”

    Armstrong calls the conclusion in the USADA report that the US Postal system was the most sophisticated doping system ever “bullshit”. The Texan says the system Spanish gynaecologist Eufemiano Fuentes implemented was 100 times more sophisticated. “Our system was very simple, very conservative and not as harmful as USADA claims.”

    After a lengthy court case concerning Operación Puerto, the Spanish judge decided to have the blood bags which were retrieved from the lab of Dr Fuentes destroyed. “I am sure several football clubs influenced that decision. In any case, it’s still only cycling that serves as a scapegoat.”

    Whether Armstrong considers himself to be a scapegoat, remains open. “I’ll let others decide that. My feeling are my personal feelings. I just live my life, with my family....