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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 23, 2012

Date published:
July 23, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Yates says Tour victory looked comfortable but it wasn't

    Bradley Wiggins, the first British Tour de France champion, celebrates with his Sky team.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2012, 21:30 BST
    Mark Robinson

    Sky DS hails completion of year-long plan

    Team Sky has appeared to tick every box at this year's Tour de France, a point that was underlined in emphatic fashion at today's final stage in Paris where Mark Cavendish sprinted to his third stage win of the race and his second in the last three days. It was Cavendish's fourth consecutive victory in the Tour's signature final leg and his first in Sky colours.

    With Bradley Wiggins securing an historic first British Tour victory and Chris Froome finishing in second place in the overall GC, the last three weeks have seemed more comfortable than anyone thought possible for the British team, who have made good on their promise to win the Tour in their first five years of operation two seasons early.

    But when Cyclingnews caught up with Sky sporting director Sean Yates at the finish on the Champs-Élysées today, he revealed that Sky's dominance of this Tour hadn't been as easy as it possibly appeared to the untrained eye.

    "I wouldn't say it was comfortable but we made it look comfortable," he said. "Every race is big and this is the biggest of the lot. We've been building towards this since we started winning in the Algarve. This team has always been together with the exception of [Bernhard] Eisel and Cav but we knew we were on track and we knew we wanted to be at our best in July and we were.

    "The team has been delivering this year, race in and race out. It was a case of continuing in that theme. It looked fairly boring at times and fairly easy but I can assure you it was not. The boys are all pretty exhausted but the trick is...

  • Evans to lead BMC in 2013 Tour de France

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2012, 23:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    "Then we'll pass the baton to Van Garderen"

    As he rolled onto the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, Cadel Evans (BMC) could have been forgiven for feeling as though he were yesterday's man. Where 12 months ago all eyes were drawn to his yellow jersey, he now brought the curtain down on his Tour de France in the anonymity of the main peloton.

    Such thoughts might only have been exacerbated by Saturday's time trial to Chartres, when Evans suffered the indignation of being caught for three minutes by his young teammate Tejay van Garderen. The American finished the Tour in 5th overall, two places ahead of his leader Evans, and it seemed as though the succession plans had been brought forward.

    On wheeling to a halt in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, however, Evans said that he would return to the Tour as BMC leader once again in 2013 before handing over the reins to Van Garderen.

    "He's showed his potential and we knew what potential he had," Evans said of Van Garderen's performance, which also saw him land the white jersey of best young rider. "I hope that I could offer him some invaluable experience that's going to help him in years to come. I think next year, we'll go one more time for me and then we'll pass over the baton to Tejay."

    Evans will be 36 years old when next year's Tour gets underway in Corsica, but he was resolute in his belief that he can still win the race again. After already losing ground in the first time trial and the Alps, Evans' 2012 Tour challenge formally ended when he cracked on the set-piece Pyrenean stage to Bagnéres-de-Luchon, citing illness.

    "I'll come back again 100 percent and better than this year, that's...

  • Nibali: I want to win all three Grand Tours

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) on the final podium in Paris.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 2:51 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sagan seals green jersey in Paris

    After completing the full set of Grand Tour podiums by finishing in third place at the Tour de France on Sunday, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) now has his sights set on joining an even more elite group by winning the three great stage races outright.

    "The big stage races have a special fascination, I'd like to win all three of them," said Nibali. "I've already won the Vuelta [in 2010 - ed.], while at both the Giro and Tour, I've shown that I'm capable of being a protagonist and finishing on the podium."

    In a race dominated by the collective might of Team Sky, Nibali was the man who put up the stiffest resistance, attacking in both the Alps and the Pyrenees, although he was unable to make any inroads into the losses he sustained in the Besançon time trial.

    Given that there were over 100 kilometres of time trialling in this year's Tour, however, Nibali admitted that finishing on the podium on such a course was already a victory of sorts.

    "Considering that I'm not exactly a time triallist like Wiggins and Froome, it needed a good performance to finish in the top three in Paris," Nibali said.

    "It's hard to describe the emotion of arriving in Paris, but it gives you goose bumps. The crowds were out for the whole course. It was wonderful, just an incredible festival."

    Heavily linked with a switch to Astana at the end of the current campaign, it seems all but certain that Nibali will not be wearing Liquigas colours in 2013, although it remains to be seen if he will focus his attentions on the Giro d'Italia or the Tour.

    Speaking as he freewheeled back down the...

  • Rolland confirms Grand Tour talent

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) in the group of favorites
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 5:10 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Europcar rider vows to improve time trialling skills

    The 2012 Tour de France has again been a great success for French team Europcar. With three stage victories, the polka dot jersey for Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland's eighth overall placing, team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau was a happy man in Paris on Sunday. Especially since Voeckler's participation in the event had almost been compromised due to knee problems, and Rolland having been unsure of repeating his 2011 general classification feats because of the increased amount of time trial kilometres at this year's event.

    But Rolland proved a point at the Chartres time trial on Saturday. "A lot of people said that I would lose several placings in this time trial, dropping from eighth to 11th or 12th. But I stood my ground. I'm happy and proud of my performance. I lost a lot of time in comparison to the winner [6:14 minutes] but I've maintained my place in view of those who are around me in the classification," he said in the finish.

    Rolland's greatest threat was ninth-placed Janez Brajkovic (Astana), but the Frenchman was able to hold him off, even if it was only by seven seconds.

    The confirmation of his Grand Tour talent meant a lot to the 28-year-old, who's felt the pressure of the French public and media following his 2011 success of taking the Tour's best young rider jersey and winning a mythical mountain stage in the Alps, as well as getting his first top-10 placing. "At the start of the Tour, some people wrote me off considering that there are 100 kilometres of time trialling. But I've proved that I can be counted on. When I think of all my bad luck with the crash in Metz that could have seen me quit the...

  • Cavendish may want more than Sky can offer

    World champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) awaits the start of stage 17.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 6:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Manxman deserves a dedicated team around him says Brailsford

    Mark Cavendish become the fourth winningest rider at the Tour on Sunday when he took his 23rd stage win but the world champion may still want more than his team can offer. With Bradley Wiggins and Sky’s Tour de France victory comes the expectation to repeat this success and that may mean Cavendish is left to fend for himself.

    Cavendish was only given two complete lead-outs at this year’s Tour and while he won three stages, it could have been more. Last year we saw a team solely dedicated to his sprinting prowess and he didn’t fail to repay his teammates. He won five stages and the points jersey. Twelve months later we watched the rider in the rainbow stripes collecting bottles for his teammates. He knew the deal before coming to the start of the Tour but that doesn’t mean he is entirely happy about it.

    "I understood the deal with Cavendish and Sky very well. After the world championships in Copenhagen he [Cavendish] felt he owed something to Bradley Wiggins," said Omega Pharma-Quickstep director Brian Holm to Het Nieuwsblad.

    Holm was a sports director during Cavendish’s time with HTC-Highroad and believes, along with his current director Dave Brailsford, that Cavendish may be looking to change teams for 2013. Cavendish signed a multi-year with the British outfit and at the end of last season but according to Brailsford, he’s welcome to leave.

    "If he felt, or if it was felt, that he would like a dedicated team around him, then he is quite within his rights to want to do that, said...

  • Evans optimistic over Olympic Games start

    Cadel Evans (BMC) had a tough day.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 8:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Durbridge, Haussler, Hayman or Renshaw to come into Australian team

    Tuesday looms as decision day for Cadel Evans regarding his place in the Australian Olympic Road Cycling Team for the London Games. The 35-year-old's recovery from his Tour de France defence, where he finished seventh overall, will be key.

    Luke Durbridge, Heinrich Haussler, Mathew Hayman or Mark Renshaw stand to benefit should Evans withdraw.

    Evans did not have the form in 2012 that was crucial to his success 12 months ago, and the final few days of his Tour were blighted by a stomach bug. He met with Australian Professional Men's Road Coordinator Matt White prior to Sunday's final stage in Paris.

    "We're going to play day-by-day, but on Tuesday we'll make a final decision," White told AAP.

    "If he hasn't recovered in the next 48 hours, then we'll look at doing something. But at the moment, the plan is Cadel rides the Olympics Games road race."

    Evans has told White that he is optimistic of competing in his fourth Olympics having competed in Beijing in 2008 and in mountain biking in Sydney in 2000 and 1996.

    "He's tired, like everyone is - he's obviously still suffering a little bit from the illness he had on the rest day, but he's quite confident he'll be ready for the Olympics," White explained.

    The Australian team - Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Stuart O'Grady,

  • Sagan: I wanted a Tour stage win and I got three

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) celebrates on the Champs-Élysées after a remarkable Tour de France debut.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 9:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Focus now turned to Olympic Games in London

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) couldn’t be happier with the results he has taken in his first grand tour. He won three stages and the points competition by a huge margin and while he was a definite pre-race favourite to win the malliot vert, his experienced rivals were never going to make it easy.

    "I achieved results in this Tour that went way beyond what I expected. I wanted a stage win and I got three, I wanted the green jersey and I won it. I definitely couldn’t have asked for more," he said.

    Sagan was the first of the sprinters to win a stage and when he won the technical finish into Seraing it seemed the likes of Mark Cavendish (Sky), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) would have to do something special to beat the Slovakian national champion.

    "It’s been a wonderful experience that has made me understand that I can always try to win, even on the most difficult terrain," he said.

    Just to prove his dominance, Sagan went on the attack and picked up valuable intermediate and finish line points on the mountainous stage 14 when the remaining sprinters were riding in the groupetto. Sagan was the best sprinter in the race but he wasn’t always the quickest. He didn’t need to be, but with many more Tours de France to come, the 22-year-old has time to work on his abilities.

    "Sagan is a phenomenon. He took a convincing victory in the points standings and also three stage wins. For me, he has also shown that in the future, he could ride for the overall classification," said race director Christian Prudhomme.



  • Boonen working in Wallonie to prepare for Olympics

    Belgian champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    July 23, 2012, 10:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Broken rib still not completely healed

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) has not allowed a broken rib to hamper his ambitions to win the Olympic road race on Saturday and he’s made sure his condition is prime by working hard at the current Tour de Wallonie - which finishes on Wednesday. Boonen won’t be there to contest the final day as he and Belgian teammate Greg van Avermaet (BMC) leave for London following the completion of Monday’s ‘Ardennes-like’ stage.

    "With my crash in the Tour of Poland and my broken rib, I have not had the ideal preparation for the Olympics, so I must work and make efforts during the race. I feel safer in the lead, it's better to prevent falls. In addition, with three or four kilometers to go, I prefer to get up and finish behind. It's better for my injury," said Boonen to Lavenir.

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep are yet to capture a stage win without their star sprinter but his focus is on ensuring he doesn’t fall again before his departure to London on Tuesday. The Belgian champion will be the leader for the race in London and according to his national coach, he’ll be ready come Saturday.

    "It looks good, it's a good sign and reassuring, because with his fall it was not ideal, but Tom looks ok," said Carlo Bomans.

    Boonen has not fully recovered from his injuries but apart from sitting out the sprint finishes, he said that the broken ribs do not effect him too much. It's a promising sign as he'll no doubt have to sprint in the Olympic race if he's to contend for a medal. 

    "I do...