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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 13, 2011

Date published:
June 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck ready to challenge Contador at the Tour de France

    Luxembourg time trial champion Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 11:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Leopard Trek leader focused on his own race

    Andy Schleck has welcomed Alberto Contador’s announcement that he will ride this year’s Tour de France, insisting he has done everything he can to be ready to take on the Spaniard in the battle for the yellow jersey come July.

    Schleck started the Tour de Suisse, his final build-up race for the Tour de France, on Saturday but finished 147th in the 7.1km opening time trial after dropping his chain and being forced to change bikes. He shrugged off the problem and played down the significance of Contador’s announcement.

    “Honestly, I’m happy (that Contador is riding),” French newspaper L’Equipe reported him as saying.

    “I want to beat him on the road and that’s what I’ve prepared for. I’ve studied the stages and I love the route. Anyway it’s not a surprise. We knew that after riding the Giro he was preparing for the Tour.”

    “Alberto’s problem is… how do we say… black or white. If no legal authority stands against his decision, that means he’s in the right (to race). Last year, our duel was very exciting and that's what I remember about it.”

    L’Equipe suggested that Schleck was feigning interest in Contador’s decision to ride the Tour de France. But team manager Brian Nygaard insisted that the Leopard Trek team leader was focused on his own race, rather than that of his biggest rival.

    "I can assure you that not true,” Nygaard told L’Equipe. “When we speak, it’s about equipment or the team for the July, but never about Contador. If Contador was a concern, he would come up in our discussions. Sometimes people consider him to have a certain immaturity but that...

  • Sponsor split not affecting Omega Pharma-Lotto's performance

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) after his stage win
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 13:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sergeant praised Van den Broeck's ride in Criterium du Dauphine

    Omega Pharma and Lotto are going their separate ways at the end of the season, but the upcoming “divorce” of the two title sponsors is not having an effect on the team's performance, according to team manager Marc Sergeant.

    “Everybody is dealing with the future, but the results are not suffering because of it,” he told Sporza.be.  “All of the riders are continuing to work together.  That way they all keep their market value.  Omega Pharma-Lotto is a real team.”

    “I can't be anything but satisfied. With Philippe Gilbert we had a fantastic spring, the Giro was an unexpected success and now we've got Van den Broeck riding well.”

    Jurgen Van den Broeck won the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine to take his win of his professional career. 

    "I'm very happy with what I've seen in the Dauphine. The stage victory by Van den Broeck will help him feel good but also help him stay relaxed," Sergeant said.

    "Jurgen has always been very focused about his profession. It will be hard for him to improve even more in the future but he will be stronger in this year's Tour than he was in last year's race."

    "He should aim for the podium. Jurgen's still not at his best in the Dauphine, we've seen that in tests. He will really peak for the Tour."

    Gilbert leads the UCI's World Tour rankings, with wins in, amongst others, Montepaschi Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.  He most recently won the overall title in the Tour of Belgian. The Belgian team won a stage in the Giro d'Italia, when Bart De Clercq won the seventh stage for his first professional win.   Overall the...

  • Lewis looks to return to racing in Colorado

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 18:54 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    HTC-Highroad rider recovering from Giro d'Italia crash and fractures

    Craig Lewis believes that he can be back on the bike within a month and racing again this season. The HTC-Highroad climber crashed out of the Giro d'Italia on stage 19, fracturing a femur and breaking two ribs. Teammate Marco Pinotti was also involved in the crash and abandoned the race as well.

    Both riders were taken to hospital in Domodossola, Italy but Lewis was later transferred to Germany. He is planning to fly back home to the US on Tuesday, where he will continue his rehabilitation and training.

    "I had a couple of complications with the leg but I'm getting the mobility back and once that is done I'll be able to put some more weight on it and then start riding," he told Cyclingnews from his hospital bed.

    "At the moment it might be another month before I'm riding but I can see it being a little less than that. There was some nerve damage in his right shoulder and then some compartment syndrome in the leg."

    The syndrome meant that Lewis's doctors kept the wound in his leg open for several more days in order to allow the swelling to go down. Now with the wound closed Lewis is able to use crutches and is looking forward to putting more weight on his leg.

    Before crashing out of the Giro Lewis was down to race the Dauphine and the Tour of Utah in August. Having already missed the Dauphine and the Tour of Utah in mid August he has targeted the Tour of Colorado, which takes place later that month.

    "I had been down for the Dauphine and then I was going to have a big break until the Tour of Utah and if things keep progressing the way they are then maybe I could see myself missing Utah but being ready for the Tour of Colorado....

  • Wiggins honoured to add name to Dauphiné winners' list

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) on the last climb
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 21:36 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky racer looks forward to the Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) claimed the biggest victory of his road racing career by winning the Criterium du Dauphiné but true to character, he kept his feet rooted firmly on the ground.

    He insisted he has not hit his peak at the Criterium du Dauphiné and can still improve before the Tour de France, where he believes he has a chance of finishing on the podium if he carefully follows his own race strategy.

    "This is the win I'm proudest of. Adding your name on the list of a winners of a race like the Dauphiné... well, just look at the other names!" he told AFP.

    "This week I think I confirmed my potential for stage races. The Tour has been my goal since the start of the season and remains so. But I've had a great week. I can climb with the best and defend the jersey in the mountain stages. The experience of being in yellow on a climb like the Glandon will be useful. It's great!"

    Many of Wiggins' main rivals are still preparing for the Tour de France but the Briton also claimed he has further room for improvement before the start of the Tour de France on July 2.  "We have a plan for the Tour de France and the Dauphiné was part of the plan. My condition is not 100 percent yet, I have my training programme and I can still improve," he said according to the Team Sky website.

    "In terms of the Tour, I am just going to have to ride my race, not put myself in the red by trying to follow (Alberto) Contador and (Andy) Schleck. It's clear that the podium is certainly a real possibility, but others like Jurgen van den Broeck can also get there.".

    Wiggins will now head to Sestriere in Italy for a block of recovery and training at altitude for the Tour de France.

  • Beppu claims second national time trial title

    Japanese time trial champion Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 23:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack's Japanese rider to stay for road race

    Fumiyuki Beppu (Team RadioShack) is the new Japanese time trial champion.  He covered the 30km course in 37:39 to claim his second national title, after 2006, when he won both the time trial and road races.

    At the race held in Ogata Village (Akita Prefecture), second place went to Junya Sano (Team D'Angelo & Antenucci – Nippo), 19 seconds down.  Third was Ryota Nishizono (Shimano Racing Team), who was 53 seconds back.
        
    Beppu's most recent race was the Giro d'Italia.  In 2009, he and Yukiya Arashiro became the first Japanese riders to finish the Tour de France.  The 28-year-old will now remain in Japan to ride the national road race on June 26.

    "For me it was good to come back to Japan after an already long cycling season in Europe. This victory is for my family who have missed me in the last months,” he said in a team press release. “We are always in contact with each other by phone and internet.”

    “For me it was so hard to not be here when our country was dealing with the earthquake and tsunami."

    To help his fellow Japanese who are still dealing coping with the aftermath of the March catastrophe, Beppu introduced a white wristband reading in red, “You are not alone.”  many riders wore it during the Giro d'Italia.

    "The main aim of the wristband is to show those back in Japan that the wearer is thinking of them; it gives moral support rather than financial support," he said. 

  • Soler dedicates his Suisse win to Tondo

    Movistar's Mauricio Soler in action
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 23:26 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Colombian climber remembers Movistar teammate

    Mauricio Soler may not have won a race for four years before taking the first mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse to Crans-Montana on Sunday but he kept his emotions in check, preferring to dedicate his success to Movistar teammate Xavier Tondo, who died recently in a domestic accident.

    "My victory and leadership are dedicated to Xavi Tondo. He's not with us anymore, but he's still in our thoughts. Apart from being an excellent rider, he was a big friend of mine," Soler said in a statement on the Movistar team's official website.

    Soler had not won a race since the Vuelta a Burgos in 2007, just a few weeks after he won a stage at the Tour de France and secured overall victory in the climber's competition while riding for the Barloworld team. Since then the quiet but classy Colombian has struggled with injury and crashes, with visa problems also often disrupting his race programme.

    "I'm really happy. This is an important win for me because this is a top-ranked race and because I had spent four years without winning a race. I needed it," he said.

    "I haven't raced since the Vuelta a Castilla y León because I back to Colombia to train. The start of the season was difficult due to the crashes and physical problems I've had but I'd already done 30 days of racing, and the first two weeks home were important mental and physical recovery time. The last three weeks went well, and I felt good before coming back to Europe."

    In the finale of the stage, Soler made sure he was well placed and timed his final attack perfectly. He noticed that Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) were marking each other and took...

  • Rodriguez enjoyed the 'nicest' week of his career

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) climbs toward victory
    Article published:
    June 13, 2011, 0:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    First double stage winner at the Dauphiné since Hamilton in 2000

    Joaquim Rodriguez prolonged the pleasure of the Giro d'Italia by winning the last two mountain stages, the king of the mountain competition and the points classification of the Criterium du Dauphiné. He also finished fifth overall, the same ranking as at the Giro.

    The Spaniard from Katusha rode the Dauphiné for the first time at the age of 32, one year after participating to the Tour de France for the first time, and winning the uphill finish of stage 10 to Mende. This is one of the few surprising parts of Purito's career, as he obviously missed a few important things during his first nine years as a pro, although he always rode for big teams: ONCE, Saunier Duval and Caisse d'Epargne before joining Katusha last year and finishing the 2010 season with the title of world's number one rider according to the UCI.

    "This has been for sure the nicest week of my cycling career so far, in terms of condition and sensations," Rodriguez commented after the race. "I had never done the Dauphiné before because I was often at the Giro and the only year I've done the Tour de France, I went to the Tour de Suisse as in preparation. Maybe I should have come to this race earlier because it suits me at perfection."

    Twenty-four hours after claiming the queen stage to Le Collet d'Allevard on what was on Saturday a special family day with the visit of his parents and the birthday of his three-year-old son Pablo, the Catalan rider attacked impressively with 700 metres to go to the finish of La Toussuire.

    "I knew this hill because on the eve of the prologue of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, we were staying at a hotel in La...

  • Evans "happy with second for once"

    A determined Cadel Evans (BMC) kicks off his Dauphine.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2011, 2:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian finishes runner-up in Dauphiné for fourth time

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) secured second place overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday, leaving his team director John Lelangue declaring that he is confident ahead of next month's Tour de France.

    Evans finished 1:26 behind Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) having rode consistently in both of the two individual time trials and the mountain stages. He finished seventh on the final stage, in the same time as Wiggins, but did enough to hold off Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who finished third overall.

    "All things considered, I'm pretty happy with second for once," Evans said. "We were so closely matched here all week and the racing has been hard from start to finish each day. We didn't see the overall contenders winning many stages because it was so closely matched between the first three or four on the general classification."

    With the Tour less than a month away Evans will be hoping to go one better than the two second places he achieved in 2007 and 2008.

    Having already won Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie this season, the 34-year-old is enjoying one of his best build-ups in years. He has profited from a racing a light schedule and will have between 32-35 days of racing in his legs by the time he starts the Tour.

    Evans' team director John Lelangue added that the Dauphiné had...