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First Edition Cycling News, July 21, 2008

Date published:
July 21, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Stage video highlights and podcasts

    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once...

    Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once again this year to bring you video highlights of every stage plus daily podcasts courtesy of Bikeradar.com and Procycling magazine.

    Our video comes directly from Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and will be online shortly after the finish of each stage. We've also got highlights from classic Tours of the past so click here to see the full archive.

    Check out the podcasts page in our Tour de France section for a full round-up of news and views from the Tour.

  • Barloworld team to continue under new name

    Claudio Corti (Barloworld manager)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso Barloworld manager Claudio Corti aims to continue the team he took...

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    Barloworld manager Claudio Corti aims to continue the team he took over in 2006 despite title sponsor Barloworld pulling the plug following the failed doping test of Moisés Dueñas. "Barloworld does not want to be on the jersey anymore. They will not be on the jersey, but the organisation goes on," Corti told Cyclingnews Sunday morning in Embrun.

    French Gendarmerie escorted Dueñas out of the Tour de France the morning after the rest day in Pau when information leaked of his positive test for Erythropoietin (EPO), stemming from a test taken at stage four's time trial in Cholet. "It is a problem with the sport, when this mess can be created by just one person," Corti said. "Yesterday he admitted that he organised it all alone with a Spanish doctor and paid 2000 euro."

    Barloworld announced its departure as a sponsor Saturday. Following the Tour de France, it will no longer be on the team's jerseys or cars. "It is too bad because the team has always become better and better, both with its image and the riders' level," Corti added. "We will continue, and maybe even better."

    The good news is Corti will have financial support for his riders through to the end of 2009. Barloworld will fulfil its contract in an action similar to T-Mobile last year where general manager Bob Stapleton continued the T-Mobile Team, known as High Road, until he found title sponsor Columbia prior to the 2008 Tour. "The situation is definitely not easy, but Barloworld does not want to stay," said Corti. "It will be a little like [High Road]. Of course, it is just talk now and we need to sit down at a table and work out the details. They recognise it is not a problem with the management of the team."

    Chris Fisher, head of Barloworld corporate marketing, confirmed the South African company's support in the immediate future. "Discussions are underway for a replacement sponsor and we pledge our...

  • Pereiro out with broken arm

    This image shows just how far Oscar Pereiro fell
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    Spaniard Oscar Pereiro's Tour de France ended Sunday when the Caisse d'Epargne rider crashed on the...

    Spaniard Oscar Pereiro's Tour de France ended Sunday when the Caisse d'Epargne rider crashed on the descent from the Col Agnel. Pereiro crashed over the barricade on a rain-slickened switchback and fell down a rocky embankment to the lower part of the road. He suffered a displaced fracture to his left humerus, the bone between the elbow and the shoulder.

    Pereiro, who was declared winner of the 2006 Tour after the disqualification of American Floyd Landis, was lying in 15th overall at the start of the Tour's stage 15 from Embrun to the Italian town of Prato Nevoso. Following his crash, he was airlifted to a hospital in Turin, where he will undergo further tests to determine the extent of his injuries.

  • Childhood dreams come true for Kohl

    Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner in Prato Nevoso

    By Hedwig Kröner in Prato Nevoso Stage 15 from Embrun to Italy's ski station Prato Nevoso will...

    By Hedwig Kröner in Prato Nevoso

    Stage 15 from Embrun to Italy's ski station Prato Nevoso will forever remain in Bernhard Kohl's memory. The young Austrian climber from German team Gerolsteiner realised his biggest career goal; one he had since he started cycling when he was just a kid.

    Finishing fifth behind the day's winner Simon Gerrans (Crédit Agricole), Kohl jumped from fourth to second on general classification, and scored the mountain leader's jersey on the way. Although he did not win the stage, the polka-dot garment gave him podium honours on the mountain top finish. "Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed about getting up on that podium once in my life, so it's unbelievable," an incredulous Kohl said after the ceremony. "Moreover, to be second on the classification is enormous. My fan club was here today, too; my whole family cheered me on with two kilometres to go. That gave me so much motivation."

    The Austrian was able to stick to the favourites' group on the final ascent to Prato Nevoso, and even put a few seconds into Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Fränk Schleck (CSC) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle). In the lead up to the final climb, the German team worked for its new captain to put him into a perfect position, and get a shot for the polka-dot jersey, which he took over from his team-mate Sebastian Lang.

    "It was a really hard race today," Kohl said. "The whole team worked so well, I really have to thank them. Sebastian Lang sacrificed himself to get me to through the first climb and to the mountain points at the top. I don't take that for granted, you know.

    "At one point I crashed but nothing happened. Then, in the final climb, I was just so motivated, and I could take advantage of the work of Team CSC again. Andy Schleck did an excellent job and made the pace all the way up. Then, Fränk Schleck attacked once, then Sastre. Afterwards,...

  • Cavendish's Tour: Over and out

    Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish has called time on his Tour de France...

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish has called time on his Tour de France campaign, electing not to start Sunday's 15th stage from Embrun to Prato Nevoso. Cavendish, who made it through the three-week Giro d'Italia in May, believes the Alps are too much for a young and developing rider.

    "Maybe I could carry on and suffer a bit more, but I don't think there is any gain," he told Cyclingnews on the morning of the stage 15. "I don't know how I would have gone without doing the Giro, but I think in a way those climbs helped me. I realised I could get through them and suffer. I came here and I did suffer."

    The Manxman leaves with a fantastic Tour under his belt, having taken four stage wins and proven beyond doubt that he is the world's faster road sprinter. He now travels home to the Isle of Man for a week-long break and will then head to Manchester to sharpen his track skills before flying out to Beijing. Despite his withdrawal, Cavendish underlined that saving himself for the Olympics was not behind his decision to leave La Grande Boucle.

    "It was not a matter of hurting my Olympic chances; it was a matter of hurting my career," he said. "There are a lot of riders who have had their careers messed up just by one Tour de France and to do the Giro and the Tour is maybe the worst thing."

    Cavendish will return to fight for the points competition in future Tours de France. He left the 2008 edition 63 points behind points leader Oscar Freire and insisted he would not watch the final week of the race on television.

    "I spoke with my coach yesterday and he warned me it is maybe not the best thing to do. Whether I stay or whether I go, I am always going have regrets. If I go and watch the TV then I am going to have regrets that I left. The best thing to do is to go home and recover.

    "I think Oscar has a good lead and he is favourite to win it. I hope [Columbia team-mate] Kim...

  • Riis happy with 'perfect' CSC performance

    Bjarne Riis
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis praised the "perfect" team-work of his...

    By Gregor Brown in Prato Nevoso

    Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis praised the "perfect" team-work of his riders that allowed Fränk Schleck to take yellow on stage 15 of the Tour de France to Prato Nevoso. As expected, the Danish squad flexed its collective muscle in the Italian Alps, placing three men in the final 10-rider move and allowing both Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre to gain time on an outnumbered Cadel Evans by the finish.

    "It was okay," said Riis with a grin. "We wanted to put the pressure on and we also knew the climb was not that difficult. We need more climbs to make more selection in the group. I think it worked out great. It was good to see Carlos up there, he put the pressure on and Fränk could take advantage of that - it was perfect."

    On the climb's lower slopes, the stinging pace set by Andy Schleck, the younger of the Schleck brothers, had put Evans into difficulty, before Sastre launched an attack with Denis Menchov, Bernhard Kohl and Alejandro Valverde.

    "I think he did an excellent job," Riis said of Andy Schleck. "I was happy to see him work so hard for the team and then stay up there to fight until the end. He showed his class."

    The race takes its second of two rest days tomorrow in Cuneo, where Riis will sit down with his riders and plan the two remaining alpine stages to Jausiers and L'Alpe d'Huez. Riis said his team was not worried about defending the race lead, but knows it will need to take more time out of Menchov and Evans before the final 53 kilometre time trial at Saint Amand Montrond.

    "The next two days won't be any different because we are following our plan whether or not we have the yellow," said Riis "We have a rest day tomorrow and then we will think about what we will do. We need a little bit more time, we know that. But we still have a couple of days where we can try to do the best we can. Maybe it will happen, maybe not."

  • Schleck inches closer to goal

    Frank Schleck dons the coveted yellow jersey
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Prato Nevoso After six days of riding just one second from the yellow jersey,...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Prato Nevoso

    After six days of riding just one second from the yellow jersey, Fränk Schleck finally gained the coveted garment in Prato Nevoso, Italy. The CSC-Saxo Bank team played a tactical battle with its two leaders, Carlos Sastre and Schleck, using the renewed climbing strength of Schleck's younger brother Andy to put the morning's leader Cadel Evans into difficulty.

    Schleck made his first step at putting himself into yellow jersey contention on stage ten to Hautacam, where he attacked the group of Evans to gain back all but one second of the time he lost in the stage four time trial. His second step came on Sunday's stage 15, where he attacked in the final kilometre to gain nine seconds on Evans to take yellow. However, his result could also be viewed as an 18 second loss to Rabobank's Denis Menchov, who was further up the road behind Sastre.

    While their tactics placed Schleck in yellow and moved Sastre 37 seconds closer to former leader Cadel Evans, CSC-Saxo Bank's two leaders will need to gain more time on Evans and Rabobank's Denis Menchov, both of whom are superior time trialists, before the penultimate day's 53 kilometre race against the clock.

    To fulfil his dream of taking the overall victory in Paris, Schleck now faces the difficult prospect of taking the sole mountain top finish on l'Alpe d'Huez to gain enough time to hold the yellow jersey through the time trial. But the Luxembourg champion didn't want to think about the hard road ahead, but only wished to enjoy his moment.

    "Don't kick me now that I'm happy," Schleck said. "I know that I have to gain more time on some guys, but let me enjoy it for now. I know that I'll need to attack again if I want to win the Tour. Just leave me alone," Schleck said,...

  • Gerrans digs for dream stage win

    Simon Gerrans (Crédit Agricole) produced a masterful ride
    Article published:
    July 21, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Prato Nevoso

    Australian Simon Gerrans added to his country's successes in this year's Tour de France by taking a...

    Australian Simon Gerrans added to his country's successes in this year's Tour de France by taking a hard-fought stage win on Sunday's finish at the Italian ski resort of Prato Nevoso. The 28-year-old said that a Tour stage win has been his goal since he began racing in Europe. "It still hasn't really sunk in yet," said Gerrans. "It is great to be able to say I have now won a stage of the Tour. It is amazing."

    The Crédit Agricole rider was one of four men who made up the stage-long breakaway; he joined Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Jose Luis Arrieta (AG2R La Mondiale) and Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle) at the 16 kilometre mark, and the quartet went into the final climb with more than ten minutes' advantage on the chasing bunch.

    "When we started that final climb with such an advantage on the peloton I thought we could hang on. It was only then that I began to think it was possible to stay away but it wasn't until the last couple of hundred metres that I thought I could win," Gerrans said.

    The Melbourne native was in danger of being dropped by the accelerations of Pate and Martinez, but fought to stay in contact on the category one climb. "I was really in trouble, but once I caught [Danny] Pate and [Egoi] Martinez again, I did what I could to hang on."

    Gerrans spent the early part of the Tour working for the team's sprinter Thor Hushovd, but had also been trying to make the breakaway without success. "In the few stages leading up to today, I thought suited a breakaway and I was trying and trying and trying to get in the move. It just wasn't happening for me.

    "A big mountain stage like today is not one in which I'd usually back myself to go for the win but I thought, 'I've got nothing to lose, there's a rest day tomorrow' and I gave it everything to get in the break. Once I was there it was just a matter of racing with three other guys and not the whole peloton....