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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 12, 2010

Date published:
July 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Worrack wins all five stages in Czech race

    Trixi Worrack (Noris Cycling) on a climb followed by Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Vienne Futuroscope).
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 19:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Spectacular performance expected to help with sponsor search

    Trixi Worrack dominated the Tour de Feminin in an astonishing manner, winning all five stages of the race in the Czech Republic. The five stage wins and overall title were the first victories of the season for her Team Noris Cycling, the follow-up team to Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung.

    It was the second time Worrack has won the race in the Czech Republic, having previously taken the title in 2004. The 28-year-old won the mass sprints of the first two stages, before winning the 21km long time trial by 23 seconds. She topped it off two more sprint victories on the final stages.

    Worrack took the overall title ahead of Alexandra Burchenkova (Fenixs-Petrogradets) and Sarah Düster of Cervelo TestTeam, who was riding this race for the German national team.

    “I am very happy with this success,” Worrack told Cyclingnews. “The wins were important for me and the team. They give me self-confidence for the second half of the season.”

    “Trixi Worrack just keeps on getting better. In the last two months the team's level of performance has improved,” said new directeur sportif Thijs Rondhuis. “That is good for the riders' self-confidence. The performance they have shown gives us hope for top placings in the Thüringen Rundfahrt the end of July.”

    It has been a difficult year for the team. Sponsor Nürnberger Versicherung announced last year that it was ending its engagement, and a new sponsor bowed out at the last second. The team has struggled to continue this season with a minimal budget and reduced squad.

    “Trixi's triumph comes at just the right time. Our captain could finally call on her abilities and give us the first tour win of the season,” said team manager Herbert Oppelt. “That gives us strength for the coming sponsor discussions. We haven't given up hope and will do everything so that women's cycling will continue to...

  • Evans gives BMC its first yellow jersey

    An emotional Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 19:48 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian assumes Tour de France lead from Chavanel on stage 8

    Cadel Evans gave BMC its first Tour de France yellow jersey on stage 8 of the Tour de France. The Australian finished sixth on the 189-kilometre mountain stage to Morzine-Acoviaz but it was enough to displace Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) from the leader's jersey. Evans now leads Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) by 20 seconds, with double Tour winner, Alberto Contador (Astana) 1:01 back.

    Evans didn't have everything his own way on the stage though and had to deal with a crash after just six kilometres of racing.

    "I went down pretty hard on my left side. Fortunately, my legs didn't take it. I took it all in my left arm, which is pretty sore. Fortunately, I made it to the finish."

    On the final climb to Morzine Evans briefly dangled at the back of the lead group but recovered, doing enough to ensure he would take the maillot jaune into the Tour's first rest day - a repeat from 2008.

    Coming into this year's race, many doubted as to whether he had the team to back up his credentials to win a Grand Tour but his BMC were there throughout today's stage, Morabito his last man, only dropping off in the final few kilometres.

    "I'd expected to take yellow. Chavanel is not a specialist in the mountains, so it was logical that I take the yellow jersey, even if Chavanel has had amazing Tour. Yellow is (the) reward for amazing work the team has done to date - Ale [Ballan], Kroon, Marcus Burghardt and Steve Morabito today. And riding with George Hincapie in this Tour has been just amazing," he said.

    As for race strategy in the coming days, Evans played a somewhat cagey game, aware that his team will shoulder the responsibility of controlling the race before the Pyrenees start. "We'll wait for stages after tomorrow, but I'm happy it's a rest day. We'll think about it and come up with plan but the Pyrenees are very hard, Andy (Schleck) is going well, (Alberto) Contador and Astana (are) really strong, so we'll have to see and decide how to...

  • Vinokourov fills domestique's shoes

    Alexandre Vinokourov and Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 20:14 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Kazakhstani happy with Contador's position

    If anyone had doubted whether Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov would be a faithful domestique for Alberto Contador, the first mountain stage has proven Vino to be a man of his word. The Kazakhstani struggled in the final climb to Avoriaz on stage 8 of the Tour de France, but after being dropped, he regained contact with the favorites and brought waterbottles from the team car to his teammates, who were setting a hard pace at the head of the front group.

    "We've played it well," said Vino in first words at the finish. "On the second last climb, when Lance Armstrong got dropped, we gave the maximum energy we had to create a difference. We have put a lot of time onto him. The team has worked well. [Daniel] Navarro has done an exceptional job."

    Vinokourov didn't expect Armstrong to disappear so quickly from the top positions of the classification. "I think he suffered in the heat," said the Astana star. "He also crashed quite a bit as well. Now he's out of contention for sure. We'll see - day after day - how we can get rid of our other adversaries."

    Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck, who won the day's stage, isn't a major concern for Vinokourov. "He hasn't taken much time on Alberto, I'm not worried," he said.

    VIno lost contact on the final climb after doing his job as a domestique. He finished the day 2:23 down on Schleck.

    "The heat is also not very good for me," said Vino, "and I've spent a lot of energy already at the Giro, but it's okay, I'm satisfied with what I can do for the team and I'm happy with the outcome of this stage."

  • Sastre survives first Alpine test at Tour de France

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo)
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 20:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    No time lost in tough stage

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) survived the first real Alpine test of this year's Tour de France, finishing in a group of pre-race favourites including Alberto Contador (Astana), Cadel Evans (BMC) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas). The 2008 Tour winner moved to 12th overall in the process, and now sits 2:40 down on Evans in the general classification.

    "I am satisfied with today's stage," he said at the finish in Morzine. "I was with the leaders of the race and I didn't lose time to any important riders in this Tour de France. It was a very hard stage today. The first nine days of the Tour were not easy for anyone. I am happy that all the problems we had at the beginning of the race are behind us. Now everything is good. I am feeling better every day and can be optimistic for the coming days. I am very satisfied."

    Sastre was under pressure on the final climb, dangling near the back of the lead group as attack upon attack rained down. However, his experience shone through and the dogged Spaniard clung on, setting his own pace and surviving. Like in yesterday's stage 7, he did just enough and finished at the back of the main group of favourites.

    "The last two kilometres were hard, but the last 15 kilometres were very hard. We were there, and I had the support from my teammates that I needed."

    With a rest day tomorrow, Sastre will have time to recover, but in the Pyrenees he may need to go on the offensive if he is to compete for a place on the podium in this year's race.

    Team directeur Jean-Paul van Poppel was satisfied with his rider's start the Tour.

    "I am really happy with today's stage. You see in the first mountain stage that there are only 13 riders are left in the final, and Carlos is there. We also saw other riders have some troubles. It's a wonderful start, because we know we only get better from here. It's really a pleasure to work like this with the team this strong. I am happy. It's the first mountain stage, but it's...

  • Abbott brings pink back to America

    Mara Abbott comes in after winning the Giro Donne.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 21:00 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    US National Team captures three stage victories

    US National Champion, Mara Abbott made history as the first American to win the UCI 2.2 Giro Ciclistico Internazionale Femminile, commonly known as the Giro Donne, that concluded in Monza, Italy, on Sunday. The US National Team concluded the 10-stage race, capturing victories in each of the final three stages along with the coveted maglia rosa.

    “It is so meaningful to be able to win the Giro," Abbott said. "This is one of the biggest races on the calendar for women, and I am so honored to be able to take the victory for America with my team. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the Giro Donne this year, and I can't even believe that I have the honor of taking home a pink jersey!"

    Abbott won the race more than two minutes advantage on Judith Arndt (HTC-Columbia) in second and an additional minute on the current UCI World Champion Tatiana Guderzo (Team Valdarno) in third.

    Abbott placed second to German Claudia Haussler in the overall classification in the previous year's event. The only other American to equal that performance was her teammate and former world time trial champion Amber Neben, who placed second to Italy's Fabiana Luperini in the 2008 edition.

    "Mara earning pink at the Giro is an indication of the hard work that has been put in these past few years," said Nicola Cranmer, Abbott's directeur sportif at the Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 Team. "The foundation has been set by USA Cycling's Director of Athletics Jim Miller and the future is being created by directeurs like Kristin Armstrong and Manel Lacambra the riders are learning to race together as a team, learning how to sacrifice and support the race leader."

    The US National Team sent a strong squad lead by Abbott and including Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Amber Neben, Sinead Miller, Shelley Evans, Carmen Small, Alison Starnes and Amanda Miller. Former Directeur Sportif of Cervelo, Manel Lacambra recently took over Jim Miller's duties in directing...

  • Contador satisfied with first mountain stage

    Alberto Contador (Astana) among the other favorites
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 21:18 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Defending Tour de France champion struggled to breathe

    Alberto Contador didn't win the first mountain stage of the Tour de France despite many people's expectations, but he is not considering his fifth place finish in Avoriaz at the end of stage 8 to be a defeat.

    "He's satisfied with himself, with his team and with seeing that the outlook is getting brighter for the GC," said Astana Team Manager Yvon Sanquer. Contador and his Astana squad eliminated several rivals from the status of potential GC contenders in the race's first mountaintop finish of 2010.

    The Frenchman argued that the flat finish in Avoriaz following the hard part of the climb where Contador's Astana teammate Daniel Navarro had concluded his incredible pace-setting work, wasn't suitable for Contador to repeat an uphill finish victory like the one he took atop l'Alpe d'Huez during the Dauphiné last month.

    "Alberto probably wanted to win the stage today. He's a little bit disappointed. He struggled to breathe in the final climb," said Sanquer. Contador confirmed that his breathing wasn't as good as usual.

    "Everybody has seen that our Astana team rode at the front all the time," said Contador. "The headwind affected us in the finale. The team has been extraordinary and has done a great work."

    Complimenting one of his top rivals and the day's stage winner, Contador said, "Andy Schleck has done really well. He's a rider who caused me some troubles last year as well. He surprised me when he started sprinting, so I decided to wait a little bit for the other riders, who were coming from behind. I've lost a few seconds but I felt good."

    Contador probably didn't want to take the yellow jersey after only one week of racing. To be in third position, 1:01 down on new race leader Cadel Evans and 41 seconds down on Schleck, is ideal for the defending champion at this stage of the Tour de France.

  • Murphy's Law for RadioShack

    Lance Armstrong's jersey was ripped after his second crash of the stage.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2010, 22:31 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Crashes and injury put an end to Armstrong's overall victory ambitions

    It was a black day for the RadioShack team. In the words of manager Johan Bruyneel, "Everything that could go wrong went wrong." Lance Armstrong went down three times during the stage: first, after six kilometres raced, where he did not suffer any damage and was able to get back to the bunch quickly.

    Then, a few kilometres before the Cat. 1 Ramaz climb, he crashed again and this time hurt himself, putting him in trouble on the decisive ascent. A third tumble, due to an Euskaltel rider in front of him with 21 kilometres to the finish, topped off a day that the Texan will surely want to forget: it put an end to his chances of an eighth Tour de France victory.

    "It's definitely the end of the Tour de France, the end of Lance's objective to win this Tour," Bruyneel said in the finish in Avoriaz. "He got held up in the beginning, then he really crashed badly 10 kilometres before the Ramaz climb. He was in difficulty on the Ramaz afterwards."

    Armstrong lost one minute on top of the Ramaz climb, and never managed to come back - despite the help of his teammates Chris Horner, Janez Brajkovic and Yaroslav Popovych. "Lance crashed again before the last climb in a roundabout, so we pulled really hard to come back with him," Popovych told Cyclingnews at the finish. "We did like eight kilometres à bloc to come back with Lance, but it was useless. It's a very bad day for Radio Shack."

    To Bruyneel, the reason Armstrong had to drop off the favourites' bunch was an injury to the American's hip suffered in the second crash. "Physically, before the race, there was no indication to say that he would find it hard - to the contrary, his ambition today was to race in front. On the last climb, he told me that he banged his hip badly and that it was impossible for him to put out maximal power.

    "On the third category climb [the last climb before the final ascent to Avoriaz], he crashed again. It was like everything had to go wrong...

  • Reactions from the Tour's eighth stage

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) attacks Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 11:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Contenders stake their claim in the Alps

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) - sixth on stage, first overall: I didn't have time to react [to the early crash]. I went down pretty hard on my left side. Fortunately, my legs didn't take it. I took it all in my left arm, which is pretty sore. Fortunately, I made it to the finish.

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) - 14th on stage, sixth overall @ 1:11: I'm happy with my ride today. It was another hard, hot day, but the team rode great.

    As much as I wanted to stay with the Contador group, I knew my limits on the last climb. I lost it a little and after that I decided to ride tempo; 14th on the stage and sixth overall is beyond what I ever expected, so I'm happy.

    I'm looking forward the rest day and getting at it again next week. Thanks to the team here, Christian at home and all the fans for all the support.

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) - ninth on stage, 13th overall @ 2:41: I've finished these two days in the Alps serenely. I knew it would be challenging and I was afraid to give something, especially today. I didn't falter in the finale, despite the forcing of Astana and the attacks, which is a very encouraging sign.

    I expected a battle and there was: Contador, Evans, Schleck and I were particularly impressive. Too bad for the final attack because Kreuziger deserved better luck. For my part I had to play defensively, take a strong but steady pace, even in the case of an attack. This allowed me to manage the forces and keep me in leading position.

    Tomorrow is a day off, I'll have time to catch my breath but I feel that my condition is growing. The Tour will be decided on account of the Pyrenees and there I can be a major protagonist.

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) - stage winner, second overall @ 20 seconds: I'm in the shape of my life and soon noticed that Alberto [Contador] was feeling bad so of course I wanted to gain as much as possible of the...