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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 9, 2012

Date published:
July 09, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Kessiakoff aiming for Tour de France mountains classification

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) claimed the polka dot jersey after stage 8
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 22:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Astana rider most combative on stage 8

    Fredrik Kessiakoff’s efforts on stage 8 of the Tour de France were rewarded with the lead in the king of the mountains competition and the red dossard of most combative rider. The Astana climber broke from the main peloton and was first at the top of the Cote de Saulcy and Cote de la Caquerelle. Although he could not hold Thibault Pinot on the ascent of the Col de la Croix he still picked up 8 points and at the finish in Porrentruy leads Sky’s Christopher Froome by a single point in the mountains competition.

    Two years ago it looked as though Fredrik Kessiakoff’s career on the road was all but over. Having been released one year into his deal with Garmin-Transitions the Swedish rider found himself scrambling for a contract with little time to spare. Having only turned to the road in 2009 and with only a few minor results to his name Astana came to the rescue, although Garmin were helpful in his search.

    Last year Kessiakoff reminded everyone of his talent with overall victory in the Tour of Austria and briefly looked like a GC contender in the Vuelta until illness ruled him out of the running.

    Competing in his first Tour and with Astana still searching for a stage win in the Tour since Alexandre Vinokourov Revel stage win in 2010, Kessiakoff’s performance briefly looked good enough. In this video for Cyclingnews Kessiakoff talks about his solo bid for the stage, his chances of keeping the polka-dot jersey and his Astana team.

  • Nibali: We've all come here with big ambitions

    Vincenzo Nibali defended his position well on stage 8
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 23:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian ready to take on Sky

    The Tour de France may have been billed as a battle between Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC), but Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) has carried himself with a quiet defiance through the opening week of action.

    Weaker in the time trial than both Wiggins and Evans, the Sicilian is aware that he must pick up seconds on the pair wherever he can, and he sent a brief frisson through the yellow jersey group when he hit the front on the final downhill section of stage 8, the technical descent of the Col de la Croix.

    Although Nibali's probing effort yielded no tangible gain – he rolled into Porrentruy safely alongside Wiggins and Evans – it was emblematic of the kind of campaign he will have to wage over the coming two weeks if he is to upset the prognostics and carry off the maillot jaune.

    After showering and changing into a team issue polo shirt, a relaxed Nibali sat on the steps of the team bus to talk reporters through a day of tense détente ahead of the first lengthy time trial of the Tour.

    "I was trying to get away on the descent alright," Nibali said. "I knew that Evans would be able to follow me, so I suppose it was a bit of an effort to get away even if I knew the descent was very short. It was very difficult, and there was a headwind on the run-in afterwards, so it was going to very hard to stay away."

    With 41.5 kilometres of time trialling between Arc-et-Senans and Besançon weighing heavily on the contenders' minds, Nibali was not surprised that the leaders remained deadlocked, in spite of the forcing of Lotto Belisol's Jurgen Van Den Broeck on the way up the Col de la...

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 8 highlights

    Thibaut Pinot wins stage 8 of the 2012 Tour de France to Porrentruy
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 1:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Pinot's attack reaps the ultimate reward

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) pulled off a daring escape to win Stage 8 of the Tour de France in his debut in the grand boucle. General classification hope Cadel Evans (BMC) was second while Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Nissan) was third with an ever-watchful Bradley Wiggins (Sky) retained the yellow jersey in fourth place.

    The top 10 is set for a further shake-up on Monday’s 41.5km individual time trial where Wiggins is tipped to increase his lead over Evans.

  • Sánchez recounts tale of broken finger and broken Tour dreams

    Spain's Samuel Sanchez in relaxed mood at the 2012 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 2:00 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Basque refuses to rule out chances of Olympic ride

    Just a few hours after abandoning the Tour de France, Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has announced that he has no intention of abandoning his Olympic dream.

    Sanchez' injuries are serious but not as bad as initially feared. He has a broken fingerbone, a badly bruised upper back and shoulderblade - but not, as was first suspected, a broken collarbone.

    "I'm more worried about my upper shoulder than about my finger," Sánchez told Basque newspaper Deia as soon as he left the hospital in eastern France - where the 2011 King of the Mountains and stage winner at Luz Ardiden had been taken after crashing out after 60 kilometres of racing on stage eight - on Sunday afternoon.

    "At the moment it's bandaged up, but I'm worried about the muscle ligaments. Until we do a scan I won't be able to tell."

    Sánchez says that although he cried after he abandoned, he is now fully focussed on making a fast recovery. And that London 2012 remains a key objective.

    "The first priority is my health. I have to see what my condition is really like and evaluate things after that. As for the Games, I have to talk to the Spanish national coach. Obviously his opinion matters a lot, too."

    Sánchez says he only has blurry recollections of the accident, that everybody braked hard, that he was pushed from behind and that he went over the top of the bars. After that, he lost consciousness.

    "As soon as I hit the ground I knew it was over. I didn't even try to continue. Cyclists know when they've done themselves some serious damage.

    "I cried in the ambulance, and I cried a lot, but that was because I knew what...

  • Ochowicz confident in Evans in 'technical' time trial

    Cadel Evans (BMC) pushes to the line for second
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 3:02 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Aggressive approach pleases BMC management

    BMC and Cadel Evans may not have pulled back any of the ten seconds separating the Australian from Bradley Wiggins on stage 8 of the Tour but they showed their intent to defend Evans’s title with an aggressive approach. Philippe Gilbert was present in the first break of the day with Amaël Moinard joining the second later in the race.

    However it was the sight of Evans attacking on the descent of the Col de la Croix that will have pleased the BMC Racing Team management most. With Sky in yellow BMC’s approach is clear: conserve energy while Wiggins’s team controls the peloton and then exploit any fatigue with maximum effect.

    "It's perfect for us that we don't have the yellow jersey so we don't have to control too much," John Lelangue said.

    "It's also been perfect for us that there are some guys who are close (to the lead) and want to make the race a little harder and some guys who have lost two or three minutes and want to make up time."

    Team manager Jim Ochowicz agreed with Lelangue’s assementment: "I think that today went well," told Cyclingnews at the stage finish.

    "We had Gilbert in the first break and then Moinard in the second break and that takes pressure off the team. We followed the race then and Cadel’s plan was to make an effort here at the end because he knows the down hills. Today was a good race for us."

    Evans joined forces with Jurgen van den Broeck in the closing stages, forcing Wiggins to close the gap himself but tomorrow’s individual time trial will see Evans and Wiggins go head-to-head in the race of truth, with a 41.5 kilometre race from Arc-et-Senans – Besançon.

  • Tour shorts: Losing interest, time trial preparation and drinking

    Matthew Lloyd (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 4:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Lloyd's morale on the rise as the Tour hits the mountains, Martin getting better

    Too much excitement for Lloyd

    The first crash of the day happened before the race has properly begun. Matthew Lloyd (Lampre-ISD) fell in the neutral zone but was back on his bike promptly and after short delay by the race officials, the flag was dropped and racing could commence. It was his second of the Tour and both have been inside the neutral zone. He hasn’t been involved in any of the huge pile-ups.

    "I haven’t come down at all during the race but I did have one crash in a neutral zone and that was my fault. No one else fell but just...losing interest," he told at the beginning of the stage. "I’ve become interested now and the profile today helps with the motivation. It’s all good. We’ll let it roll and see what happens," he said.

    Lloyd has a bruised elbow and a number of abrasions according to his team. He finished the stage in the groupetto, 22:19 down on the day’s winner.

    Support for Menchov takes a hit as Gusev goes down

    Shortly after Lloyd’s fall, Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) took a tumble in the eight stage when he failed to negotiate a traffic island. Gusev suffered a blow to his right shoulder in the opening minutes of the stage and while he managed to remount and get going again, he was clearly in pain. He spent some time with the race doctor with a fear that he may have broken his collarbone.

    Gusev had been sitting in 22nd place, 3:26 behind race leader Wiggins, prior to the start of stage eight but the pain of his fall was too much for the Russian. He ended the stage in last place - more than 23 minutes behind the stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-Big Mat).

    The Katusha rider "suffered a strong contusion to his right shoulder. Tomorrow, Gusev will be able to take part to the individual time trial before trying to recover completely during...

  • Video: Taaramäe fights to hold young rider's jersey

    Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) as best young rider in the Tour
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 6:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Cofidis rider hoping for better stages ahead

    After holding fast to the front group on stage 7 in the first mountain top finish of the Tour de France, the race's best young rider Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) nearly lost his grip on the classification in the undulating run from Belfort to Porrentruy on stage 8, but the Estonian is hoping for better stages ahead.

    Taaramäe was dropped in the closing climbs of the 157km stage, but together with teammates Rémy Di Gregorio and David Moncoutie, he limited his losses to Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Nissan), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) and stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) to hold onto the white jersey over Gallopin by 46 seconds. Pinot is now in third at 1:14 while the previous leader Van Garderen is fourth at 1:41.

    "I hope to recover and have more good stages ahead," Taaramäe said, looking forward to the race's first long individual time trial tomorrow, the 41.5km stage from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon.

    "I'm a little bit better time trialist than climber - I just hang on in the climbs, but in the time trial I can do good."

    Last year the Estonian was 9th in the long time trial in Grenoble and placed 11th overall in the Tour. He is positioned well heading into the last critical stage before the first rest day of the race, having survived a crash-filled first week of the Tour.

    "The first week is the hardest, guys are really nervous. Now they're like soldiers in the war," he commented on all the bandaged bodies that surround him in the peloton. "I have good eyes and I take no risks," he explained how he avoided the crashes.

    The fact that Taaramäe is doing so well is all the...

  • Bruyneel: "It's nothing personal against Jakob"

    Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) remains in the leader's yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2012, 7:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Fulgsang a definite non-starter in remaining WorldTour races

    Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) put some of the disappointment of being excluded from the Tour de France team by winning the Tour of Austria. Fulgsang took over the lead from stage two winner Danilo Di Luca (Acqua & Sapone) and held his advantage throughout the remaining stages.

    The eight-stage race was Fuglsang’s second Tour victory of the season after winning the Tour of Luxembourg in late May. The stage race win was the first of the year for his RadioShack-Nissan team but after withdrawing prior to the start of the Giro d’Italia, he was increasingly unlikely to be given a Tour de France start.

    The Giro had been slotted as Fuglsang’s main objective for the year however knee problems prior to the start of the grand tour meant he was pulled from the line-up. This was the catalyst that sparked the Dane being left out of the Tour roster and with speculation of a return to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank and unpaid saleries, Bruyneel and Fuglsang became increasingly vocal about the situation.

    Fuglsang had voiced his opinion regarding his Tour de France omission and WorldTour exclusion shortly before the start of the Tour and suggested that his decision to leave his current team was becoming easier. Bruyneel has reinforced his position regarding Fuglsang and while it's a shame not to have this talented rider in the roster for the biggest events, his role is, according to Bruyneel "to look out for the best interests of the entire team and...