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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 16, 2012

Date published:
July 16, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France organisers doubtful of locating sabotage suspects

    The BMC mechanic fits Cadel Evans with a new wheel
    Article published:
    July 15, 2012, 22:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Tack incident disrupts stage 14

    Organisers of the Tour de France denounced the action of unknown assailants who scattered upholstery tacks along the final climb of stage 14 on Sunday, causing at least one crash and punctures for dozens of riders.

    Race director Jean-Francois Pescheux said to AFP, "One or two spectators had thrown nails on to the road, we don't know why, but there were around 30 punctures altogether", adding that it would be difficult to locate the perpetrators amongst the thousands of fans that lined the road sides.

    Tour director Christian Prudhomme denounced the action, saying "it could have had tragic circumstances", but emphasized that despite the difficulties in securing a route several thousand kilometers in length, acts such as these are not common.

    "It's very rare, but particularly dangerous. I can only condemn it as a stupid act."

    Stage 14 finished as one might expect: with the general classification contenders finishing together behind a breakaway that contested the stage victory. It is a textbook demonstration of race tactics in a transitional stage between mountain challenges. Sunday's stage to Foix, however, was a bit more dramatic after the tacks stopped first Andreas Klöden on the approach to the summit of the Mur de Péguère, and then Cadel Evans at the top with flat tyres.

    Astana's Robert Kiserlovski, an animator of several stages in the Tour, crashed after the summit of the Mur de Péguère as he swerved to help team leader Janez Brajkovic, who had flatted. Kiserlovski was forced to drop out of the Tour with a suspected collarbone fracture. The incident also sent American Levi Leipheimer to the ground.

    "Brajkovic had a flat tire just after the last climb," Leipheimer said. "Kiserlovski...

  • Wiggins reiterates willingness to publish passport data

    Bradley Wiggins survives another day in yellow at the 2012 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 0:42 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Sky rider considers defying team doctors' recommendation

    Despite advice from his team doctors to refrain from releasing his biological passport data, Bradley Wiggins is still keen on the idea. The Tour de France leader last released his data in 2009, having finished fourth in that year’s Tour.

    “I did it in 2009 and people still said I was doping,” Wiggins said.

    “Whatever you do with the passport information it’s almost a no-win situation. I’ve spoken to the doctors on the team about it and they’ve said the blood passport isn’t clear-cut on doping or not doping. There are so many variables in it. So if I was to do that certain people would scrutinise it and say it’s either too stable or it’s up and down. It’s something I’m looking into doing but it’s something I’ve been advised against, but it’s something I’d like to do and I’ve got nothing to hide. So I don’t see why it shouldn’t be out there.”

    Wiggins has answered questions on doping since his time trial performance in Besançon. The first encounter was prickly; with the Tour leader hitting out at those who had likened Sky’s performance to US Postal’s and those whom questioned his stance on doping via Twitter.

    However since Besançon. Wiggins has attempted to build bridges and in the process offered more precise and in-depth answers to doping and anti-doping related questions. A blog on the Guardian’s website has also appeared, in which Wiggins provided a detailed account as to why he would not dope.

    In his press conference on Saturday though, he talked about the biological passport but also raised the important point of time. As one English-speaking Tour winner is...

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 14 highlights

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) soloed to the win in Foix
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 1:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Sánchez escapes for fourth career Tour stage victory

    Rabobank's Luis León Sánchez won Stage 14 of the 2012 Tour de France with a 47 second-gap from Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Sandy Casar (FDJ-Big Mat).

    Having spent the majority of the stage in an 11-man break, Sánchez attacked the remnants of his breakaway companions with 11.5km remaining. Rabobank have been left with a team of just four men after a diabolical run of bad luck, and the Spaniard's win will be a cause for relief among team management.

    The classification leads remained unchanged, despite the best efforts of saboteurs who threw tacks on the road on the final climb of the day.


  • Sagan makes down payment on green jersey

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was voted most combative and given the red dossard for his fighting spirit
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 2:31 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Slovak second on first stage in Pyrenees

    Peter Sagan had long exhausted all superlatives even before the Tour de France began, but the Liquigas-Cannondale rider continued to showcase his apparently limitless repertoire on stage 14, as the race made its entry into the Pyrenees.

    Perhaps it was to chase points for the green jersey, or to prepare the ground for a possible attack by Vincenzo Nibali. Maybe it was to win the stage, or maybe it was simply because he could.

    Whatever his motives, and in spite of the two first category climbs on the agenda, the 22-year-old Sagan delivered another startling performance when he infiltrated the break of the day after 50 kilometres of racing, and then came closer than anyone anticipated to adding his fourth stage win of this year's Tour when he finished second behind the canny Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank).

    "It was a good day and I was feeling well so I managed to get into the break which was good for picking up points for at the intermediate sprint," Sagan said afterwards by way of explanation.

    When Sagan hoovered up the 20 points on offer in Tarascon-sur-Ariège with the minimum of fuss, his breakaway companions must surely have expected the Slovak to bid them adieu once the Pyrenean pursuits began in earnest on the Port de Lers shortly afterwards.

    "I thought that I'd get dropped on the first climb because I wasn't feeling too good there. I had a moment of crisis," Sagan admitted, but somewhat improbably, he was still there as the eleven-man group crossed the summit. Perhaps there was something in the Ariège air – at the same time, world champion Mark Cavendish was putting in a stint of pace-making in the Sky-led peloton, 10 minutes...

  • Froome had options on the table at 2011 Vuelta

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 3:35 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters attempted to snare Sky rider

    In Sunday morning's edition of L'Equipe Chris Froome (Sky) talked about the sacrifice he'd made in this year's Tour in supporting Bradley Wiggins. It could have been different though, had the Kenyan born rider taken up one of a number of contract options laid before him after the Vuelta last year.

    Currently riding in second place in this year's race, Froome has been somewhat shackled, having been ordered to support and race for Wiggins. However, during and after last year's Vuelta, where Froome pushed Wiggins down into third place overall, a number of teams, including Garmin, showed more than a hint of interest in signing the rider.

    "I tried to convince him to come to our team but he wanted to stay at Sky," Garmin's Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    Froome eventually settled for Sky, on a multiple year contract and increased salary.

    "We started to talk to him five or six days into the Vuelta, before he'd done anything incredible but as his performance got better and better he just became out of reach financially. It just became unrealistic for me to continue down that path.

    "I offered him a contract but as soon as he started doing well at the Vuelta there were tonnes of teams. It was just a case of a being a day late and a dollar short."

  • Rolland attacks as Evans suffers punctures in stage 14 at the Tour

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 4:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Europcar rider insists he respects the code of the peloton

    It was a relatively straightforward day for the peloton during stage 14 of the Tour de France but the final decent turned into chaos when a number of riders suffered multiple punctures. Cadel Evans (BMC) was struck by a series of flats within a short period of time and, at least from a viewer’s perspective, appeared to have the worst luck of everyone. Even when his first puncture occurred the team car was not nearby and when a teammate, Steven Cummings finally appeared, he was of little assistance with a double puncture to both front and rear tyres.

    Punctures and mechanicals are part of racing but when someone like Evans - last year’s Tour winner and still a contender for this year’s race - punctures not once but three times, it’s customary to wait for him to join. It’s one of the ‘gentleman’ sides to the sport which isn’t enforced by any particular person but out of respect, it is quite often implied by one of the patrons of the peloton. In this particular case it was race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) summoned the bunch to ease the pace on the long decent of the Mur de Péguére.

    Not everyone was aware of this temporary truce and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked and rapidly gained over a minute gap on the bunch. Much to the annoyance of Wiggins and his team, they let him continue whilst waiting for the fourth-place rider, currently 3:19 behind Wiggins.

    After a short delay and confusion over the appropriate action following Rolland’s attack,

  • Boonen uncertain over Olympic fitness

    Tom Boonen back at the Quickstep car for advice
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 5:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian suffered fractured rib in Tour of Poland crash

    Having abandoned his key Olympic Games warm-up event the Tour of Poland, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has been diagnosed with a rib fracture.

    The Belgian had new medical checks in the Herentals Clinic on Sunday.

    Boonen crashed with around three kilometres left to race on Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland and continued several more days before abandoning.

    It has now been confirmed that the 31-year-old is suffering from a fractured sixth rib on his right side. According to a team press release Boonen will now observe three days of rest before attempting to resume training on Thursday. A decision will then be made on wither the Belgian champion will race the Tour de la Region Wallone before the Olympic Games road race on July 28.

    "There's nothing more to do than wait and see how the situation will evolve," said Boonen. "I'm sad because my condition is good and I really don't want to lose the chance to participate in the Olympics.

    "On Thursday I will have the answer that I'm waiting for."

    Boonen deliberately avoided racing both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, in the lead up to the Games, and recently admitted that it was also unlikely that he will ride the Vuelta a España prior to an attempt at a second world title to add to his 2005 crown.


  • Tour shorts: Frison loses bet, Peraud airlifted

    Andre Greipel enjoys his podium time at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 16, 2012, 7:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Parcour sabotage, rough night and Leipheimer blame

    Frison loses "naked" bet with Greipel

    Herman Frison, team manager of Lotto-Belisol, really ought to know better than to bet against his ace sprinter Andre Griepel. He said he would visit the nude beach at Cap d'Agde if Greipel won Saturday's 13th stage.

    Greipel won.

    "I promised to visit the nude beach if Greipel won. I did not take into account that he could win because we particularly wanted to lose no time for Van den Broeck," he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    "Besides, I thought the last slope would be too demanding," the 51-year-old said. "Greipel was in front with a group of 50, 60 man. I'm not going to walk naked on that beach, but will fulfill my promise tonight in the shower in the hotel. "

    Peraud airlifted to new baby

    French cyclist Jean-Christophe Peraud was given a helicopter ride to visit his newborn daughter at a hospital in Aubenas. Valentine was born earlier than expected, during stage 13 on Saturday. Following the stage, the race organisation put one of its helicopters at Peraud's disposal so he could fly the 200km from Le Cap d'Agde to Aubenas to see his wife and new family addition.

    Peraud returned to the Tour caravan road last night and was ready to start stage 14 this morning.

    Dyslexic saboteurs?

    Overenthusiastic spectators have always run alongside the peloton, often in a hazardous way, risking being run over by the race vehicles or punched by a rider - but Sunday's scattering of tacks along the road was likely not an act of extreme fan-dom. Could it be sabotage in the form of some unknown protest? Hatred of cyclists? Or, as L'Equipe's Stéphane Kohler suggests, a form of dyslexia?

    The French word for "run" (courir) is somewhat close to that of "nail" (clouter): "Ne cloutez pas à côté des...