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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 11, 2011

Date published:
July 11, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • UCI strict on rule

    Bernhard Eisel takes on a turbo bidon from the HTC-Columbia car during stage three.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 1:09 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Danish HTC-Highroad director received second warning for 'bidon collé'

    On July 1 the UCI introduced a new rule ( concerning the pushing of riders with the team car while passing on bottles, making mechanical adjustments or handing over rain jackets.

    During stage 7 Brian Holm, directeur sportif for the HTC-Highroad team, received a second warning from the UCI. It means that Holm had to drive at the back of the caravan with his team car, making it extremely hard to reach the riders when needed. Should Holm receive a third warning, he'll be kicked out for the remainder of the Tour.

    Speaking in Lisieux before the start of stage 9, the Dane wasn't aware of having broken the rules.

    "Maybe I made the mistake that I misunderstood the new rule," Holm told Cyclingnews. "I thought the rule was about going uphill while giving a bottle. I saw somebody crash and he was going at 25 km/h, he was giving a jacket to the car and taking some bottles. I really didn't have a clue that what I did was wrong and I didn't take it [the rule] serious enough. If something happens again I can go home tomorrow. Maybe I deserve it but I didn't know it."

    "It's not that when someone is dropped that we hang him on the car. We're talking about driving at 25 km/h, passing a bottle to a rider while trying to keep my place in the convoy so it's not a high-speed situation. I could not have avoided it because I didn't know what I did. It's difficult but the rules are there so I have to obey them. I just have to pay more attention to it as now has become part of the race. I don't know what I have to do. You have to respect the commissaires."

    It's no secret that riders are often brought back into the peloton after going through some sort of bad luck. One might figure that this is somewhat fair, but team cars during this Tour have also been spotted while helping riders to stay in...

  • Van den Broeck forced to abandon Tour

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) launched a strong attack on the final climb
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 4:12 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian podium contender taken out by massive bike crash

    A massive crash on a dark and humid blind corner during the descent of a seemingly unimportant category 2 climb at about 100km from the finish of stage 9, caused a lot of damage in the Tour de France peloton. Among the victims were Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) but also podium contender Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

    After receiving some treatment the Belgian rider tried to continue the race but quickly found out that wasn't possible. On the slopes of the Col du Perthus he disappointingly dropped himself on the ground while angrily shaking his head. After being brought over to the hospital Van den Broeck was diagnosed with a collapsed lung, three broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade. Before stage 9 the Belgian was 12 in the general classification at 39s from race leader Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo). In last year's Tour de France the Belgian finished fifth.

    For the Belgian Omega Pharma-Lotto team the elimination of Van den Broeck brings an abrupt end to its general classification ambitions. Team manager Marc Sergeant was devastated when looking back on the incident when talking to Sporza.

    "Jurgen worked for this race for months and in one second it's over. When I saw him lying on the ground he could barely breathe. For a brief moment he wasn't conscious and looked very pale," Sergeant said.

    "It's unreal. We were controlling the race with our team and suddenly this happened. Everybody in our team was convinced that a podium result was possible for Jurgen. He'll be downhearted that he abandoned but he...

  • France Television vehicle excluded from Tour after collision

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) were both vying for victory in the winning five-man break but crashed heavily after being hit be a French television car.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 6:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Prudhomme says driver behaviour is "intolerable"

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has been left livid following the accident in which Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vaconsoleil) were hit by a vehicle from France Television on stage 9 between Issoire and Saint-Flour. Race organisers announced that the car would be excluded from the remainder of the race.

    It was the second incident in the Tour's opening week, with a motorbike carrying a photographer collecting Saxo Bank's Nicki Sørensen on Wednesday.

    Hoogerland and Flecha were riding in the day's five-man breakaway when the vehicle swerved into the middle of the road in order to avoid side-swiping a tree that was on the verge. Hoogerland sustained serious lacerations, while Flecha lost skin and was heavily bruised - both riders were able to complete the stage.

    Christian Prudhomme said that the offending car had not taken directives from race radio.

    "I announced on Radio Tour, which is the channel everyone should be listening to, that all cars should pull to the side and give priority to the team cars," he explained.

    "The car previously received the order from the race direction not to pass and let the Europcar team manager get through to the breakaway to give Thomas Voeckler the bottle he was asking for. They did not take that order into account... and caused the crash of...

  • Vinokourov: "I never expected such a dramatic end on the Tour de France"

    Alexandre Vinokourov is assisted by Astana staff and teammates following a serious crash which would force the Kazakh rider to abandon the Tour.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 7:00 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Teammates say Kazakh deserved to go out another way

    Usually, positioning yourself towards the front of the peloton is enough to keep you out of trouble, Not so for veteran Kazakh Alexandre Vinkourov (Astana), who crashed out of the Tour de France on Sunday.

    This 98th edition of the Grand Boucle was set to be Vinkourov's last before retirement, so it was with a sense of melancholy that the 37-year-old spoke following news of his race-ending injuries.

    "I never expected such a dramatic end on the Tour de France," he said on a statement posted on the Astana website. "This is a terrible disappointment to me, I am so sad tonight. But I want to reassure myself by telling myself that it could have been much worse. The injury will stop me for quite a long time, and I will follow the Tour on television to support the entire Astana team. I know my friends on the team won't forget me and they will do everything to win at least one stage. "

    Vinokourov was carried from the bushes in a ravine beneath the road from where he crashed around 110 kilometres into the ninth stage. Once transported to the hospital in Aurillac, x-rays revealed that Vinokourov had fractured the head of his right femur, an injury which given its recovery time is likely to bring a definitive end to his season. The Kazakh was later transferred to Hospital La Pitié Salpetriere in Paris where he underwent surgery by Professor Yves Catonne, Head of Orthopedic and Traumatology service.

    Teammate Dimitry...

  • No fracture for Klöden

    Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) stayed out of trouble on stage two.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 9:41 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack rider to decide today if he will ride further

    RadioShack's Andreas Klöden was amongst the lucky riders who crashed on stage nine - and remained lucky. After undergoing x-rays in a hospital in the evening, the German was reassured he had not broken anything, suffering only hematoma and severe muscle tenseness on his back.

    Still, team spokesman Philippe Maertens told that "Klöden is going to do a test ride on Monday and then decide if he'll continue the race."

    The 36-year-old, one of the team's GC hopes, lost eight seconds on the other favourites on the crash-marred stage. His teammates Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner were forced to abandon the event earlier in the week.


  • Rabobank has a reason to smile

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) celebrates his stage victory on the podium.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 9:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Sanchez with stage win, Gesink on the rebound

    Rabobank was one of the few teams able to smile after Sunday's dramatic crash-filled stage, with Luis Leon Sanchez winning in Saint Flour to the Dutch team's first victory in the Tour de France since 2009. Team captain Robert Gesink also seemed to have recovered from his problems of the previous day.

    Sanchez dedicated the third Tour stage win of his career to his late brother Leon and his daughter who is due to be born next month. He movingly pointed to the sky and then sucked his thumb and indicated that his wife was pregnant.

    Last year Sanchez had been in a similar long breakaway but finished second behind Sandy Casar. He admitted to that defeat was his fault for not studying the road book and knowing the finish. This time he had done his homework and knew that it was a “demanding finish with a steep slope after a hard day. When you're confident, you can win. It's an important win for me and the team.”

    It was extra special for the Spaniard because the Rabobank team had started the Tour de France with the sole goal of helping Robert Gesink finish on the podium. “Who would have dared to think this would have happened? I dreamed of winning a stage, but we were mostly at the Tour came to work for Gesink," Sanchez said.

    Gesink comes back

    Gesink lost just over a minute to the other favourites on Saturday but bounced back from his problems. He was one of many riders involved in crashes during the fifth stage, leaving him with an injured elbow and back problems.

    After Saturday's stage he was...

  • Contador worried about continued knee problems

    Another hard day at the office for Alberto Contador as the Spaniard crashed during the Tour's ninth stage.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 11:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Pains aggravated by Sunday crash with Karpets' saddle

    Alberto Contador is having a hard time of it at this year's Tour de France, admitting “This is not my Tour.” He was again involved in a crash on Sunday, which left him with further pains in his right knee.

    "Today's crash was simply an accident caused by a situation where my handlebar got mixed up with Karpets' saddle and as the stage progressed I felt increasing pain in my right knee and am a bit worried because the last few days I have been feeling pain in the same knee,” he said on the Saxo Bank-SunGard website after the stage.

    "I hope that today and tomorrow and a whole lot of ice can make it recover for Tuesday. It has been a troubled Tour with accidents and bad luck but I've to be optimistic. There is still a lot to do and I must focus on recovering as quickly as possible for the Pyrenees.”

    On his personal website, the defending Tour champion admitted that “This is not my Tour, “ and that he welcomed the first rest day. “It's good to have this rest day because the inflammation is very big.”

    As to why there have been so many crashes, Contador noted that “We're riding over very narrow roads, more than normal, perhaps because we went to the north and, for sure, because there has been a lot of rain, which causes crashes.”

  • Van den Broeck to stay in intensive care, Vino operated on overnight

    Alexandre Vinokourov
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 11:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Medical update after stage nine crashes

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck will stay in intensive care for two or three days as he recovers from his injuries after crashing out on a descent during Sunday’s ninth stage to Saint Flour.

    The Omega Pharma-Lotto team leader fractured three ribs, his shoulder blade and also suffered from a collapsed lung. He initially tried to continue in the race but the pain was too great and doctors feared he had suffered a ruptured spleen or liver damage.

    "Jurgen needs to stay two or three more days in intensive care," team doctor Els Lemmens told Belgian television. “We have to make sure that his breathing problems don’t get any worse. We were worried about his abdominal pain because we feared a ruptured spleen or liver but that has turned out not to be the case. Everything is under control now."

    Vino undergoes surgery

    Alexandre Vinokourov also crashed out of the Tour de France at the same time as Van den Broeck. Although he was helped back up on to the road, he had hit a tree at high speed and was diagnosed with a complex fracture to the head of his right femur.

    He was immediately flown to Paris and underwent successful surgery overnight by Professor Yves Catonné. He will be joined by his wife today who was in Kazakhstan when the crash happened.

    The fracture is expected to end Vinokourov’s season and most likely his career. He had hinted he may delay his planned retirement and take part in the London 2012 Olympics but that now seems unlikely for the 37-year-old Kazakhstani.