- Article published:
- January 23, 2011, 19:36 GMT
- Barry Ryan
Photo gallery from Saur-Sojasun presentation
Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) is targeting a top 15 place at July’s Tour de France. The young French hope impressed in finishing 5th at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and in 2011 he will have the opportunity to exhibit his talents on the sport’s biggest stage.
“It’s true that I’m progressing every year,” Coppel told L’Équipe. “Now I’m more of a climber-rouleur than a rouler-climber and I think that I can make the top 15 in my first full Tour.”
Coppel made his Tour debut as a 22-year-old with Française des Jeux in 2009 but abandoned the race during the 12th stage. After a first campaign with Saur-Sojasun in 2010, the fourth-year professional will lead the team in its first Tour outing.
“I feel capable of it, they have confidence in me on this team,” he said. “We don’t have big names but we’re closely-knit and that’s what I’m looking for. Furthermore, it’s only by riding the Tour as a leader that I’ll be able to see where I’m at.
“I’m giving myself another three years to progress well. At 27, 28 years of age, I’ll be capable of doing great things.”
Coppel gave one of the first signs of his potential at last year’s Paris-Nice, where he finished in 10th place. This time around, however, he will instead ride the Ruta del Sol and Tour of Murcia, as Saur-Sojasun were not invited to the race to the sun this time around. They lost out to the Bretagne-Schuller team.
“At first, it was a bit of a shock,” Coppel said of his team’s exclusion. “But in any case, it’s better to go to the Tour and not to Paris-Nice than the opposite.”
Meanwhile, Saur-Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot echoed his star rider’s high aspirations for the Tour.
“It’s not a...
- Article published:
- January 23, 2011, 20:49 GMT
- Kirsten Frattini
Spaniard crashes out of contention in stage six
Xavier Tondo (Movistar) was at the top of the leader board at the Tour de San Luis with two stages to go but a crash on the way to the stage six finish line cost him 15 minutes and took him out of contention for the overall title. Marco Arriagada (Team Chile) replaced Tondo as the new overall race leader heading into the final stage seven, a circuit race in the city of San Luis on Sunday.
“I know it is disappointing but sometimes the man with the hammer hits you and he hit me today,” Tondo told Cyclingnews. “I’m really disappointed and more because my team did a really good job, but racing is like this sometimes. Congratulations to Marco because he showed everyone that he was really strong in the mountains.”
Tondo entered the event as a likely candidate to win the overall classification along with his teammate Mauricio Soler. He moved into the race lead following his victory in the stage four 19.5 km time trial. He increased that lead to 34 seconds on the mountaintop finish in stage five. The odds of securing the race win were in his favor with one mountainous stage to go, the queen stage six.
With help from Soler, Tondo passed the two decisive climbs with his rivals Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Josue Mayano (Team Argentina) and Marco Arriagada (Team Chile). However, he crashed along the predominantly downhill but undulating terrain inside 20 km to the finish line.
“The problem was not the crash, the problem was that Marco attacked at the bottom of the climb and he showed that he was in really good shape,” Tondo said. “We reacted really well with Mauricio Soler and caught him with three kilometres from the top of the climb.”
“Just after the top we rode together and I was feeling like sooner or later I would get dropped,” he said. “I thought that the last part was flat but there were a lot of little...
- Article published:
- January 23, 2011, 23:28 GMT
- Cycling News
Armstrong's career ends at Tour Down Under
Lance Armstrong wrapped up his international racing career on Sunday at the final stage of the Tour Down Under.
Armstrong riding for RadioShack, finished his final international World Tour event in 67th position, 6min 42sec behind overall winner 23 year-old Australian Cameron Meyer of Garmin-Cervelo.
The Texan was presented with a thank you gift from South Australian Premier Mike Rann who credited Armstrong with drawing crowds of nearly 800, 000 and raising AUS$40 million for the local economy this year alone.
Rann said he hoped a pair of locally-made RM Williams boots, an iconic Australian manufacturer, would be worn by Armstrong the next time he visited the race. To that Armstrong excitedly replied after inspection: "I'll wear them tonight."
"This is amazing and to start and finish in this city and to be all around the area, all over South Australia, to be treated like kings when we often are not, I should say, sometimes, it's been a real pleasure," Armstrong told the crowd at the presentation.
"I congratulate you all on building an unbelievable event ... we travel all over the world and you do not see crowds or an atmosphere like this in many places.
"This rivals the Tour [de France], the Giro [d'Italia]and all the big races.
"Thanks for a great couple of years, a great few years. Not just from myself but from all of us in the peloton."
Armstrong made a quick getaway from the presentation and did not take any questions from the waiting media.
In 2009, Armstrong chose the Tour Down Under as the event for his international comeback from retirement.
As he steps down from racing in these major events, Armstrong is facing an ongoing US federal investigation that his former mechanic and assistant, Mike Anderson, sees as likely to have a negative outcome.
"Whatever happens, happens," Anderson said, according to the Sunday Star-Times. "But what he may become is a symbol for...
- Article published:
- January 24, 2011, 6:05 GMT
- Les Clarke
Luck the key ingredient for a 2011 contract
Luke Roberts has done his chances of finding a new professional team no harm with another top 10 overall and the mountains classification at this year's Santos Tour Down Under, which finished yesterday.
The South Australian was dominant in the latter classification whilst finishing just 28 seconds behind overall winner Cameron Meyer of Garmin-Cervélo. He may have shown his class with his performance over the past week but it doesn't guarantee him a place in a professional team for this season, however.
Roberts was one of Pegasus Sports' marquee riders, having made the decision to join the fledgling outfit that aimed to gain ProTour status and then changed its goal to a ProConti licence, which was not forthcoming late last year. With "nothing concrete" from Pegasus regarding a Continental ride for 2011, it's left Roberts in a sticky predicament.
"It's extremely stressful for the riders over the last month; the position I was in at the Tour, with so many ProTour points... I made the decision to go with the Australian pro team and be a part of the project. After what happened there are a lot of unanswered questions - I don't know whether to put the blame on the management or the blame lies with the UCI..." Roberts told Cyclingnews at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
"To me there are just unanswered questions and at the end of the day it's the riders who are the victims of the whole thing. Some riders are lucky to get out and find spots somewhere else but there are still riders who are sitting here and have been totally burned by it."
With the advent of GreenEdge Cycling, there's the possibility Roberts could aim for a ride at the team headed up by former Australian Institute of Sport director of high performance, Shayne Bannan. The former CSC rider, who has ridden the Tour de France and has an Olympic gold medal to his credit, says that the timeframe involved could hurt him, with the Australian professional outfit not...