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First Edition Cycling News, June 25, 2008

Date published:
April 20, 2009, 20:37
  • Contador rates Evans as Tour favourite

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) has named his rival from last year's...

    Reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) has named his rival from last year's event, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), as favourite for this year's event. The Spanish youngster, who recently won the Giro d'Italia, will not defend his title this year but said missing one year of the French Grand Tour wasn't a "catastrophe."

    "My favourite for the Tour is Cadel Evans, he's a solid rider who can really make time differences count in the time trials," Contador told AFP. "It should be quite an open Tour, with Evans, [Alejandro] Valverde and [Denis] Menchov the main favourites.

    "The Tour is the best race in the world, but if I don't race it one year it's not a catastrophe," he added. "There are other races I can do."

    Contador's team wasn't invited to the French event after the drama which surrounded the Astana name at last year's event. While the current Astana team has a completely new management team, that of the former Discovery Channel outfit, event organiser ASO has sidelined the squad for the 2008 race.

    Under its former management, Astana rider Alexander Vinokourov tested positive during the Tour which led to the outfit being thrown out of the event.

    "I did think at one time about changing teams [to race the Tour], but I couldn't do that – especially as Astana built the team around me," he said. "In the end I think I've made the right decision."

    Instead the Spanish rider will focus on further cementing his name in cycling's history books. Contador will target the Olympic Games road race in Beijing, China, this year which features a course suited to the climber, as well as a Grand Tour triple with the Vuelta a España.

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  • Saunier Duval-Scott swaps Tour captain with Riccò

    Riccardo Riccò will lead Saunier Duval-Scott.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown Due to health problems that have hampered José Angel Gomez Marchante preparations...

    By Gregor Brown

    Due to health problems that have hampered José Angel Gomez Marchante preparations and a strong racing desire by a refreshed Riccardo Riccò, Saunier Duval-Scott has decided to reshape its nine-man Tour de France team. Italy's Riccò, winner of two stages and second overall at last month's Giro d'Italia, will captain the team for the three-week race where he will have climbing ace Leonardo Piepoli along side for support.

    "He asked if he could race the Italian Championships [June 29] and then, if [DS Joxean Fernández] Matxin agreed, if he could do the Tour," Saunier Duval-Scott directeur sportif Pietro Algeri said.

    Instead of waiting until after his country's nationals this weekend, the 24 year-old told his team that he wants to race the Tour on Tuesday morning, prompting the Spanish squad's announcement.

    Riccò has not officially raced since finishing second overall in the Giro d'Italia, where he also claimed the young rider classification and won the Agrigento and Tivoli stages. The Italian was slated to race the Tour de Suisse, June 14 to 22, but decided to stay home at the last minute.

    "When the moment came to depart for the Tour de Suisse he said, 'I don't feel it; I really just want to sleep,' and so on," Algeri said. "I reassured him that he won't lose his form, not in just a week's time, and that if he is tired in the head, after two or three days rest, the desire to race will return.

    "He told me that I was right, 'I had two or three days of only sleeping and the desire came back. Everyday [after], I trained just a little bit more and just a little bit better,'" added Algeri.

    Riccò reportedly performed a mountain test near his home in Formigine (Modena) and recorded more or less the same time that he had set going into the Giro d'Italia. Algeri stated that Riccò will evaluate his form after the first mountain stages and decide if he will ride for the classification or not.

    "He said that he does not have a lot of big adversaries, maybe more at the Giro," said Algeri.

    The last and only time he raced the French Grand Tour was in 2006, when he finished 97th overall riding at the side of then team leader Gilberto Simoni. This time around it will be Riccò captaining the squad and will have the help of compatriot Piepoli, who crashed out of the Giro d'Italia.

    "Piepoli is going well and has not really raced a lot race this season," said Algeri. "'It was a shame to leave the Giro and not do anything, and I want to do something at the Tour,' Piepoli said."

    Juan José Cobo, David De La Fuente, Josep Jufré, Alberto Fernández De La Puebla, Jesús Del Nero and Ángel Gómez Gómez will help fill out the team's roaster, with the ninth spot going to Rubén Lobato, Aurélien Passeron or Rubens Bertogliati.

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  • Vaughters names Slipstream's Tour roster

    Christian Vande Velde will lead the squad
    Article published:
    June 24, 2008, 23:00
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Team Garmin-Chi