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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 26, 2010

Date published:
July 26, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Reactions from the Tour's 20th stage

    Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) lets everyone know this is his fifth stage victory of the Tour.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 2:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Relief in Paris for a tired peloton

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) - stage winner, 154th overall @ 3:51:23: My Tour didn't start too well and in the first week I was wondering how it would turn out, but the team rode incredibly strongly for me and I tried to make amends.

    As the race progressed my feelings got better and better and winning here in Paris on the most spectacular finish of them all is a great way to end the race. When you win you get confident, when you're confident you win. It's as simple as that.

    [HTC-Columbia teammate] Bernie Eisel took me to the tunnel and then Tony Martin dropped me off where I needed to be to go for the win. It's been a real rollercoaster event, but the people here in France always make it special and I want to thank all of them, the team and support staff and all the other people who have helped me all the way.

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) - 88th on stage, second overall @ 39 seconds & best young rider: When you're that close to taking the overall win you can't help thinking about what you could have done differently.

    But with two mountain stage wins, the overall youth competition, six days in the leader's jersey and overall second, you're really not in the position to complain. In addition, Fabian took two stage wins and was in the lead over six days as well so we had a great Tour de France.

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) - second on stage, 150th overall @ 3:44:38, points classification winner: It's an outstanding result that, considering also the two stage victories, makes this Tour de France unforgettable.

    The green jersey is the best prize for the regularity of performances and results: I always gave my best and the team was always perfect, so the victories and the results came as a consequence.

    At the beggining of the Tour the points classification was not my target but, stage by stage, I understood that I could be competitive and now I'm...

  • Lissavetzky lavishes "legend" status on Contador

    Alberto Contador (Astana) has a few sips of bubbly to celebrate his third Tour victory.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 5:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spanish sports secretary revels in countryman's win

    Spain's State Secretary for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, has dubbed Tour de France champion Alberto Contador as a "legend of Spanish sport" following his countryman's third Tour triumph in four years.

    The Astana captain, who also took out the 2007 and 2009 editions of the race, celebrated his third Tour de France crown in Paris on Sunday afternoon after one of the closest battles in the history of the race, with a winning margin of just 39 seconds that drew immense praise from Lissavetzky.

    "Three Tours de France will become a legend of Spanish sport. The credit goes to Alberto, who managed to overcome the hard times - he had some problems during the past year and was able to overcome them," Lissavetzky told Europa Press.

    "This year he struggled greatly to win the Tour. We must also congratulate Andy Schleck who rode a great race," he added.

    And during a month that also saw Spain overcome the Netherlands in the final of football's showpiece event, the FIFA World Cup, the first time it has achieved that honour, Lissavetzky is living a dream as the nation's chief of sport.

    "We have achieved the perfect square. It was unimaginable to live a month of July as we have lived, the credit goes to them, we are living a special moment," said Lissavetzky of Spain's distinguished athletes. "It's spectacular to think about what we have achieved, we have good athletes in all disciplines."

    Contador will be received by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero this evening at the Palacio de la Moncloa after the nation's leader had called the rider in Paris to convey his congratulations.

  • Vuelta start for Menchov?

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) after the finish of stage 6 in Gueugnon.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 7:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Nothing to lose for Rabobank's Russian

    Rabobank technical director Erik Breukink has suggested that 2005 and '07 Vuelta a España winner Denis Menchov could return to the Spanish Grand Tour following his third place overall in the Tour de France.

    The stoic Russian has nothing to lose by starting the Vuelta, according to Breukink, after Menchov rode a consistent Tour to finish on the podium in Paris for the first time in his career.

    While he admitted that it's too early to make an announcement concerning Menchov's possible second Grand Tour start of 2010, the signs are encouraging. "We must first see how he recovers from this tour, because it was still an extremely difficult tour, but the morale will be good," he said.

    According to Breukink, the key to Menchov's success in France was his freshness, given that he didn't ride the Giro d'Italia, unlike in 2009, when he won the Italian event but faded during July. It also means that he'll possibly carry the form that saw him convincingly beat Samuel Sanchez for the remaining podium spot into the Vuelta.

    "We had him starting [the Tour] fresh, as it didn't seem clever to race [before the Tour] given the experience of 2009 when he had a brilliant Giro win but then came short in the Tour. The Vuelta is now [a possibility] because the main goal, a top finish in the Tour, has been achieved. There isn't much to lose," he said.

    And while the Russian's contract negotitations aren't far off, Breukink was giving nothing away as to the likelihood of keeping the 32-year-old at the Dutch outfit. Speculation is rife in the Dutch media that Rabobank will release Menchov, the talk spreading just a day after he secured the team's first appearance on the podium since Oscar Freire's green jersey triumph in 2008.

    In the meantime, the team will turn its attention to the Clasica San Sebastian this Saturday, with Robert Gesink, who managed sixth overall at the Tour, joining Menchov for the Spanish ProTour race.

  • Van den Broeck performance pleases Coucke

    Ivan Basso, Jurgen Van Den Broeck and Lance Armstrong try to limit their time gap to Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador on the Col de la Madeleine.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 8:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma boss says Greipel deal imminent

    Jurgen Van den Broeck's mature performance at the Tour de France has Belgian cycling fans swooning, not least of all Omega Pharma boss Marc Coucke.

    With his fifth place overall, Van den Broeck became the first Belgian since Claude Criquielion in 1986 to make the top quintet of riders at the Tour by race's end and it signals a new era of optimism in the Omega Pharma-Lotto squad.

    "We have worked seven years to achieve this," Coucke told Sporza. "Evans was one of the top riders of our team, but Cadel wasn't Belgian, of course. This is different."

    "Jurgen has proved that he is world class. His performance is an example for the youth. Belgium is proud of us," he added.

    Greipel deal almost done

    The advent of Van den Broeck as a Grand Tour force is vindication for the lean periods suffered by the squad over the past two years, and Coucke hopes the likes of Philippe Gilbert and imminent signing André Greipel can continue that process.

    "We're working towards the future. We have almost agreed [terms] with Andre Greipel. In sporting and financial terms, negotiations have concluded. Maybe we can sign the contract in about two weeks," said Coucke.

    "He wants to bring a few strong riders. It can also be positive for Van den Broeck and Philippe Gilbert," he explained.

    "I flew over the cobbles a little"

    Riding into Paris safe in the knowledge he had made the Tour's top five, Van den Broeck says he was living a scenario long imagined but seldom thought possible until yesterday.

    "I flew over the cobbles a little - the last eight laps were a dream and enjoyable," said Van den Broeck. "Every lap I thought, 'This cannot be true'. As a child I watched the Tour and I thought: 'Wow, that top five is for big riders'. And now I am there myself. It's difficult to express and understand. Now I'll enjoy it."

    The 27-year-old added that he had received...

  • Devolder leaving Quick Step for Vacansoleil

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step).
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 11:11 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian champion looks forward to Spring Classics

    Stijn Devolder has confirmed that he will leave Quick Step for Vacansoleil ahead of next season. “They give me a good feeling,” he said.

    "The negotiations did not take long. The contacts were friendly and this team has big ambitions," Devolder told Het Laatste Nieuws.

    "Together with Björn Leukemans, I want to go for victory in the Classics. I do not expect any difficulties. At Quick Step I worked well together with Tom Boonen."

    Devolder had problems this year with Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere, who accused the rider of focusing solely on the Tour of Flanders. Devolder, who won the race in 2008 and 2009, finished only 25th in it this year.

    The 30-year-old won the Tour of Belgium this year. He turned pro with Vlaanderen-T-Interim in 2002, and rode for US Postal Service/Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007, before joining Quick Step.

  • Roche extends with Ag2r

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) got changed after finishing 12th on the stage.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 13:10 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman ignores rumoured Sky interest

    Nicolas Roche has extended his contract with Ag2r-La Mondiale until the end of 2012. The Irishman has opted to resist the rumoured overtures of Team Sky to lengthen his stay with Vincent Lavenu’s squad, according to the French Cycling Federation.

    Roche was already contracted to ride in Ag2r colours until the end of 2011 and team management moved quickly to hold him and to secure his services for another season in the wake of another impressive Tour de France performance. Roche finished a strong 15th overall, following on from the solid 22nd place of his debut Tour in 2009. He also took the Irish National Championship last season and finished 13th in the 2008 Vuelta a Espana.

    The Irish rider was disappointed by teammate John Gadret’s failure to wait for him when he punctured on the Port de Bales climb on stage 15 of the Tour but Roche has nonetheless developed into a leader in his two seasons at Ag2r since arriving from Credit Agricole. He was keen to reiterate this status at the end of the Tour, making a gift of a watch to each of his teammates in thanks for their help over the course of the three weeks.

    Roche revealed the gesture in his column in the Irish Independent. “To mark my first Tour as a team leader and to thank all of the riders on the team I bought the riders and my manager Vincent a Festina Tour edition watch and when we had a quiet minute on the bus after the stage, I gave them one each,” Roche explained.

    “I realise that all of the guys put their personal goals to one side for three weeks to try and help me do the best I can and it was just a small gesture to show that I really appreciate all they did for me.”

  • Wiggins out of Worlds and Commonwealth Games

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) gave it everything in the timetrial
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 15:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Englishman to end season at Tour of Britain

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has announced that he will not take part in the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, or the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and that he will instead bring the curtain down on his season after the Tour of Britain in September. After a mixed opening season as Sky team leader, the Englishman has acknowledged that he needs "a proper break" ahead of the 2011 season.

    Wiggins impressed in winning the Giro d'Italia prologue in May, but subsequently rode a disappointing Tour de France, finishing in 24th place overall. It was a significant drop from his showing 12 months previously when he fell just shy of a spot on the podium in Paris.

    "I've pulled out of the Commonwealth Games, and I'm not going to do the world championships, either. I need a proper break," Wiggins told the Guardian. "Half the reason I wasn't that good here [at the Tour] was because I've done too much already."

    "Since I finished fourth last year at the Tour it's been almost non-stop, because of the saga that went on all through the winter," Wiggins said.

    The "saga" in question was Wiggins’ departure from Garmin-Transitions in order to lead the new Sky team. His withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games negates one of the Delhi event's most intriguing subplots, namely an expected time trial duel between Wiggins and his erstwhile teammate David Millar. Millar will compete for Scotland in India, while Wiggins was expected to be part of the English selection.

    Wiggins will compete in front of his home crowd before the season's end however, before beginning his preparation for 2011. "I just feel (like) I need a break," he said. "The Tour of Britain will be my only other race this year, then I'll have a proper break and start building towards next year. I've already thought about next year. We know what we have to do, and what we're going to do."

  • Open letter from Dr. Michele Ferrari

    Dr. Michele Ferrari
    Article published:
    July 26, 2010, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Response to Greg LeMond's blog

    The following is an open letter from Dr. Michele Ferrari to Cyclingnews. On Friday, July 23, Cyclingnews published a blog from Greg Lemond titled ‘Bravo to the new generation’. Lemond, a three-time winner of the Tour de France and staunch anti-doping advocate has written a blog for Cyclingnews since the start of the Tour in Rotterdam.

    You can read ‘Bravo to the new generation’ here.

    Dr. Michele Ferrari is an Italian coach who has worked with the likes of Moser, Merckx and Armstrong. On October 1, 2004, Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud and abusive exercise of the profession of pharmacist and sentenced by Judge Maurizio Passarini.

    On May 27, 2006 the Italian Court of Appeal in Bologna absolved Dr. Michele Ferrari of all charges.

    After reading Mr LeMond's blog article "Bravo to the new generation" which concerned me personally, I felt compelled to compose an appropriate response in order to clarify a few of the issues presented in his letter:

    - I have never met Erwann Mentheour, nor had any kind of relationship with him, as resulted and documented in the proceedings of my Court Trial, during which the issue of Mentheour was actually dismissed already in the preliminary phase and archived as completely unfounded.

    Moreover, the same Mentheour never declared in front of Judicial Authority that the “dottore” was in fact Michele Ferrari.

    His "Veritè sur le dopage" is rich of fanciful lies such as the one of the “solcinella” potion, which Greg LeMond actually reports about in inaccurate and slanted fashion.

    - I have never coached more than twenty professional cyclists at the same time. In recent years, less than half of that.

    - It is not true that the athletes paid for my services with a percentage of their...