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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 4, 2011

Date published:
July 04, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Liquigas-Cannondale TTT specialists only 15th in Vendée

    Liquigas-Cannondale were not satisfied with their ride
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 0:19 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Disappointing result for Italian squad

    The 15th place collected by Liquigas-Cannondale at the team time trial of the Tour de France wasn't exactly what the Italian outfit had in mind. All 22 teams took to the start of stage 2 on Sunday.

    Two years ago, the last time there was such an event in the Grand Boucle, Liquigas-Cannondale finished fourth in Montpellier behind Astana, Garmin and Saxo Bank. In 2010, the team won the team time trial at the Giro d'Italia and it was third this year's at the opening stage of the corsa rosa in Turin.

    "We can't be satisfied with this result, especially because it doesn't reflect our capacities in this kind of stage," the team's directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta said after the race. "We haven't managed to maintain the right race rhythm and we lacked the necessary accelerations to be competitive. However, this is a result that we have to use as a motivating factor to demonstrate that this has only been a bad day."

    On the finishing line, team captain Ivan Basso didn't hide his disappointment. "I was hoping for something more," he told Cyclingnews. "But I don't think this was an important stage of this year's Tour de France. It's not a drama. Yesterday wasn't a good day either because we cannot enjoy the bad luck of other riders. Fortunately for us, the crashes went without any consequences but this is the Tour de France: every day, something unexpected happens."

    "Our ranking is for sure not an excellent one", Basso said. "It wasn't a good day for us and we'll bear it in mind. The team has functioned well but obviously, our performance is below our expectations. Compared to what we've done in the past at team time trials, we haven't been that good, myself included....

  • Gallery: Garmin-Cervelo toast team win and yellow

    The riders raise a glass after their best ever day in the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 1:45 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters and riders enjoy Tour success

    With the podium ceremony dealt with, Garmin-Cervelo returned to their base in Tiffauges to recover from their stage 2 victory in the Tour de France.

    Once massage and post-recovery was out of the way the riders and staff gathered in the small village’s secluded square for an intimate but press friendly event to celebrate their first ever stage win and yellow jersey.

    Jonathan Vaughters called a toast, celebrating the team’s achievements, and he was quickly followed up by Slipstream’s chairman Doug Ellis.

    Perhaps one of the proudest members of the squad was Robby Ketchell, the team’s aerodynamicist. Ketchell has helped pioneer some of Garmin’s most influential components, from skin suits to helmets, and was dubbed as the team’s tenth man for the team time trial.

    He modestly played down his involvement as the team sipped a rare glass of champaign: “It came to down everything from the riders hard work to the organisation of this team and the equipment that we had but the biggest asset was being able to integrate all those components together,” Ketchell told Cyclingnews.

    “It’s a huge moment. It’s exciting to be part of this team and it’s pretty much in terms of time trials the biggest one.”
     

  • Evans gains crucial time over rivals in TTT

    Cadel Evans leads the BMC team
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 2:56 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    More time on Contador, Leipheimer, Horner, Gesink, Sanchez and Basso

    The Tour's second stage, a 23 kilometre team time trial around Les Essarts, proved to be mission accomplished for BMC leader, Cadel Evans. The Australian's outfit went into Sunday's stage with an eye to not lose any time and secondly, to gain time and both items were ticked on the to-do list.

    Evans is now just one second behind general classification leader Thor Hushovd and David Milllar (both Garmin-Cervélo), in third overall. BMC racing was the penultimate team out of the start house, with only Omega Pharma-Lotto to follow.

    The two-time Tour runner up pulled some big turns on the front of the black and red train, but it wasn't enough for a completely flawless performance, with Michael Schär and Marcus Burghardt struggling through the corners when George Hincapie was dragging the team up to full speed mid-race.

    "We've been quietly working away, doing our homework and keeping at it," Evans said after his team came home in a time of 24:52. "Our first goal was not to lose any time and our second goal was to actually gain time. The fact that we were actually there, nearly in the running for the win, was really something."

    The team had been fastidious in their preparation for the stage, with several reconnaissance rides of the Les Essarts course last week already in the bank. With that in mind, directeur sportitf John Lelangue said that it was not surprising that BMC had finished just four seconds off the winning time of Garmin-Cervélo.

    "In the end, it's always a nervous day. But at the end of the day we had a great result," he said. "We only missed the victory by a few seconds and the yellow jersey by a few seconds, but we are happy to be in this...

  • Galimzyanov ready to fight for his first Tour stage victory

    Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) on the podium for winning stage one at the Tour de Luxembourg.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 4:24 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Young Katusha sprinter set to build on early season success

    Team Katusha hope their 24-year-old sprinter Denis Galimzyanov can put in a strong performance on Monday’s third stage between Olonne-sur-Mer and Redon. "He's obviously very dedicated and we are happy to promote him," Andrei Tchmil, the President of the team, told Cyclingnews. "I think Galimzyanov can be in the elite sprinters even if he's a rookie in the Tour de France. He can reach the top 3 in some stages."

    This year the Russian wunderkind won a stage in the Tour of Luxembourg and the Three Days of De Panne. He came second in Belgian semi-Classic Sheldeprijs and in two stages of Paris-Nice.

    "Gali" had a first grand tour experience last year with the Vuelta which he left after two weeks. He finished five times in sprints' top 9 and reached a promising fourth place in Lleida, behind Cavendish, Farrar and Goss, but before Hushovd and Freire.

    Tchmil notes than Galimzyanov is the first rider having followed every stages of the Russian cycling project, as he turned pro with Continental team Premier in 2006 before joining Tinkoff, the former name of the Katusha structure.

    At the Tour de France Galimzyanov will be supported by all his teammates, notably his lead out man Vladimir Isaichev, an ex-European Champion in junior team pursuit.

    "It's a pity that Alexander Porsev crashed in Belgium late June [in Halle Ingooigem, Ed] because he was a key man of our lead out," Tchmil says.

    Team Katusha trained for sprints with their special adviser Mario Cipollini near St-Moritz, Switzerland.

    Very motivated for bunch sprints, Katusha will target "a good team ranking" according to Tchmil, as well as a good performance for Vladimir Karpets, "the wild card". Best...

  • Blazing saddles: Row erupts over rider positions in TTT

    The Saxo Bank Sungard team gets ready under the shade of the tent.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 6:06 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Bruyneel, McGee fined for "improper conduct towards officials"

    Johan Bruyneel (RadioShack) and Bradley McGee (Saxo Bank SunGard) drew the ire of race officials at the start line of the Tour de France's second stage, the team time trial around Les Essarts on Sunday.

    Bruyneel and McGee were both on the end of fines for "improper conduct towards officials in the zone where the bikes were being checked," organisers said, and each hit with a penalty of 200 Swiss francs.

    The UCI said that teams had been warned last month that saddles should be parallel to the ground for time trials (as per UCI rule 1.3.012). Tempers flared on Sunday given the belief that the rule that was not previously strictly enforced and UCI commissaires were 'suddenly' putting equipment under the microscope on race day. The idea being that with a slight tilt of the saddle nose of the saddle towards the ground, the rider is provided with better lumbar support while they can also push a bigger gear.

    "Before it just had to be 'flattish', now it has to be perfectly flat to the ground," BMC Racing chief mechanic, Ian Sherburne told news agency Reuters. "They were insisting that the saddle be perfectly level which isn't how the rules had been interpreted. They're deciding to enforce the rule in a different way, right now."

    BMC team leader, Cadel Evans described the situation as "nearly ridiculous".

    "I suppose it compares with speeding motorists; on an Italian freeway the police tolerate 20-30km/h over the limit," the Australian said on his website. "In...

  • Hunter: Austrian victory birthday present for my daughter

    Robbie Hunter (RadioShack) claims the win
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 7:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African showing solid form after Tour snub

    Robbie Hunter (RadioShack) may not be racing where he would've liked to be in July, but the South African didn't let that get in the way of an impressive sprint win in the first stage of the Int. Osterreich Rundfahrt. For Hunter, who many tipped to ride the Tour de France with Australian Robbie McEwen who was also overlooked, the win was particularly sweet because it also fell on his daughter's birthday.

    "It's nice to win today," said Hunter after the race. "The team worked well and had confidence in me, which always makes it a lot easier."

    "Team Sky worked hard for their man [Chris] Sutton. [But] Gregy Rast and Michal Kwiatkowski brought me to the sprint perfectly positioned. I waited a long time and only went full gas at 100 meters from the line."

    Surprisingly the win today was only the second of the year for the RadioShack rider. His first victory was back in February of this year, when he won at the Tour de Mumbai. Hunter also earned himself the leader's jersey, but his spell in yellow will likely be short with Monday's mountaintop finish on the Kitzbüheler Horn likely to be too much for the sprinter.

    Although missing what would've have been his ninth Tour de France came as a blow, the sprinting veteran has his sights now set firmly on doing well in the Vuelta a Espana and the world championships later in the year.

  • Tour de France news shorts

    Thanks to his win Gilbert also too the green points jersey
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 8:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Contador's good deed, Ventoso's done deal, Quick Step's match made in heaven, Eisel's apology and wardrobe shuffles

    Contador makes a wish come true

    Despite all the pressure on his shoulders before starting Sunday's team time trial, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) took the time to make a wish come through for 10-year-old Nico Verdoodt.

    The Belgian child was diagnosed with Aplastic anemia, a condition related to leukemia. It was Verdoodt's wish to do an interview with Contador. Nico's godfather at the make-a-wish foundation is Paul Herijgers, and the former cyclo-cross world champion had the connections to make it happen.

    On Sunday Verdoodt waited for Contador with the microphone of Belgian TV-channel Sporza in his hands until Contador walked up to him during his warm-up session.

    "Can you win the Tour de France?" Nico asked in perfect English.

    Contador took his time to reply and said the crash on the first race day wouldn't help him. "I can only do my best," Contador said.

    Members of the press watched jealously as Verdoodt beamed with joy upon talking to his hero.

    Verdoodt's own history comes with an interesting twist. "When Nico was born, we donated stem cells from the umbilical cord to help people in need. Last year we thought about that when Nico was ill and after a long search, it turned out that his own cells still exist. We have been able to use those, and Nico's situation has improved a lot since then. We're winning this fight," said Nico's proud father.

    Ventoso extends with Movistar

    There's a lot more going on at the Tour de France than just racing, as it is also the time for agents to do their things with teams and riders and the future. One of the first to sign on the dotted line was

  • Gilbert has a day to savour in Les Essarts

    Philippe Gilbert tried to limit his losses while in yellow
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 9:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian champion not giving up on retaking yellow

    Phillipe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) enjoyed his day in yellow, but the Belgian champion has not given up on wearing the jersey again in this year’s Tour de France. Speaking to DH.be after Sunday’s team time trial around Les Essarts, Gilbert praised his teammates for making the best of a less than ideal situation.

    "Doing a team time trial wearing the yellow jersey was a beautiful experience," he said. "And I don’t think we should be disappointed [about losing the jersey], because we gave it everything. With three guys crashing yesterday [Saturday] it was never going to be ideal."

    Of those to go down, Jurgen Van de Walle went down the hardest, and is reported to have fractured his shoulder. Nonetheless Omega-Pharma Lotto began the stage with all nine riders and despite a fast start, they lost a chunk of time in the second five kilometres of the course. Gilbert now sits 32 seconds down on race leader Thor Hushovd but thinks that there is a possibility of retaking the yellow jersey.

    "I don’t know if the deficit is too much to bring back - and if my time in yellow is now over. It may be too difficult to get that time back on Mûr de Bretagne. But the Tour doesn’t end on Tuesday. We can try and force splits on the windy days ahead," he said.

    One thing the Belgian wanted to play down was his ambition for the green jersey. Despite currently leading the classification, Gilbert will look to chase another stage victory rather than focus on picking up points.

    "For me the focus has to be on stage wins. Going for [intermediate] sprints costs strength that I...