American sensation gets podium finish in French Alps
Tejay Van Garderen claimed an unexpected result at the Dauphiné with a third place overall, an exceptional result for a neo-pro. The HTC-Columbia rider is fully aware of the significance of his performance although he had already given some indications about his potential in stage races when he finished second at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in April.
"This is the huge level of the Pro Tour," he said, comparing the Dauphiné to the Turkish race which he finished behind Giovanni Visconti but ahead of Grand Tour star David Moncoutié. "Multiple Tour de France winners have made the podium finish here! If I had been told at the beginning of my first pro season that I'd make the top three at the Dauphiné, I would have laughed," he said to Cyclingnews prior to going on stage to share the honours of the final podium with RadioShack's Janez Brajkovic and Alberto Contador. "Somehow things just worked out."
Van Garderen had a great time trial. He finished in fourth place on Wednesday in Sorgues at the end of a 49km long effort and maintained his position not far from the best climbers in the mountain.
On l'Alpe d'Huez on Saturday, he received the strange help of Chris Horner who rides for RadioShack as he could no longer help Brajkovic, who was up the road with Contador. The 39-year-old Californian might have been thinking of the US qualification for the World Championship via the world ranking for which the Dauphiné allocates an important number of points.
"I've suffered a lot," said Van Garderen to Le Dauphiné newspaper. "But Horner helped me a lot in the climb up to l'Alpe d'Huez. He didn't have any reason for doing it, except that we're both American. It was really nice of him. When Contador attacked, I was at my limit. I couldn't follow him. I'd done all I could."
Van Garderen was scared of the last day "because my legs were dead". However, he finished fifth in stage...
The International Cycling Union has denied reports published in the Spanish Meta2mil magazine that it tried to reach a deal with Alejandro Valverde, offering him a reduction to his suspension in exchange for a confession to his involvement in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation.
According to Meta2Mil, the UCI offered Valverde a reduced sentence and the possibility of keeping his race victories from 2010. He would have been able to return to racing in July 2011. However Meta2mil claimed Valverde refused to drop his appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport or admit that bag blood number 18 discovered during Operacion Puerto and labelled Valv.Piti is his.
The UCI responded to the story by issuing a stern statement denying any negotiations had taken place.
“The UCI firmly denies the existence of such a negotiation with the lawyers of Mr. Valverde, and does not know how or where this info came out. Rejecting categorically this allegation, the UCI also wishes to make clear that the sanction decided by the CAS - until 31 December 2011 - is confirmed.”
Immediately after his suspension was confirmed by the Court for Arbitration for Sport, Valverde announced he would make a further appeal to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.
Laurens ten Dam was seriously injured in a crash in the second stage of the Tour de Suisse, and will miss the Tour de France. The Rabobank rider suffered two broken vertebrae, a fractured wrist and chin, and a severe concussion.
The 29-year-old was taken to hospital in Sion, Switzerland, after crashing on the final descent of Sunday's stage. He will return to the Netherlands on Tuesday, the team said Monday afternoon.
Ten Dam had been named in Rabobank’s Tour de France squad. His place will now be taken by one of the reserves, Peter Weening or Bram Tankink. Team doctor Dion van Bommel, who was with ten Dam, said, “I more or less agreed with Laurens that he will ride the Vuelta a Espana.”
“He will have many painkillers. Laurens will have to lie completely flat for one week. On Monday I will go to the hospital and decide with the doctors how and when he can go home. The recovery will take some time, but the Vuelta should be feasible,” van Bommel said on the team’s website.
Ten Dam Twittered that this was the, “biggest disappointment in my career so far. Trained whole year for Tour start in my home country.”
Mollema angry, Martens goes home
Ten Dam's teammate Bauke Mollema got a 10-second penalty in the same stage, which he called “really ridiculous.” He dropped form ninth overall to 23rd.
“At first I had no clue why. But when I asked the jury they told me I held a bidon too long,” he wrote on his website. “That is absolute nonsense! At the top of the long climb I had to get some clothes from the car, I also took one bidon but really not for long.
“If they give me a time penalty for that they should give a time penalty for almost everybody who gets a bidon from the car. Also they should have sent a top sprinter home who hung from a car for a really long time!"
Second overall, two stage wins and points jersey for Astana rider
Alberto Contador was more than satisfied with his performance in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Astana rider finished second overall behind Janez Brajkovic of RadioShack, snatched victory in the green jersey points classfication on the final stage, and won two stages, including one at Alpe d'Huez, the first he ever raced on the legendary Alpine climb.
“I'm very happy with how I finished this race,” Contador said.
“The assessment I make of this week's competition is very positive. It was very good preparation for the Tour de France and, furthermore, I have won two stages”, he said. “And it has also been a very good performance by the team, with the added victory by Dani Navarro. All my teammates have been at a high level and that makes me very confident.”
Navarro won the fifth stage to Grenoble with a solo effort, after escaping on the final climb.
Contador will stay in the French Alps to check out the two mountain stages in this year's Tour de France: Rousses to Morzine Avoriaz and Morzine to Saint Jean de Maurienne. The stages include the Colombiere, Aravis, Saisies and Madeleine climbs. He will be joined by teammates Benjamin Noval, Jesus Hernandez, David de la Fuente, Paolo Tiralongo and Daniel Navarro, who are expected to form the core of the Astana team for the Tour de France.
On his return to Spain, Contador will train in the mountains around Madrid before riding the Spanish national time trial championship on June 25.
Frenchman ready to target a top ten placing at the Tour de France
Christophe Le Mével wanted to finish the Critérium du Dauphiné with the confidence that he can target another good overall result at the Tour de France after finishing ten and as best French rider in 2009. The Française des Jeux team leader had a difficult week in the Alps but his fourth place on the last stage showed he ended the race on good form.
On the testing finishing circuit around Sallanches, where Bernard Hinault won the world title in 1980, it seemed that Le Mével, who like Hinault comes from Brittany, was going to win. However it was a different B.H who emerged to take the stage, with Boasson Hagen first to the finish. The Norwegian attacked alone just as Hinault did in 1980 and Le Mével couldn’t follow him on the last climb of the Côte de Domancy.
“Boasson Hagen was really strong”, Le Mével told Cyclingnews. “But our breakaway would have probably been caught if I hadn’t forced the pace in the two previous ascents of the climb. I lacked that little bit of strength on the last climb. I thought I could follow him but I wasn’t able to. It was disappointing but I finished the Dauphiné on a positive note despite my big crash during the time trial.”
Le Mével hit a wall and finished five minutes slower than eventual winner Janez Brajkovic in the time trial. He went on to finish 14th in the overall classification, 9:14 down.
“I felt terrible when I had to climb to Risoul on the day after my crash and I lost one and half minutes,” he said. “In the Alps, I lacked ten to fifteen watts compared to what I should be able to push at the Tour de France. The positive thing I can take from the Dauphiné is that I managed to regain my focus during the race and ride well, even though I hadn’t totally recovered.”
“My body was affected and my morale as well,” he added....
The organiser of the Vuelta Espana has revealed the names of the 22 teams that will ride this year’s race that begins on August 28 in Seville.
The list includes the 16 teams that signed an agreement with the UCI and Unipublic in 2008 plus six other teams that were invited.
New UCI ProTour squad Team Sky has secured one of the six invitations. Both RadioShack and BMC are not on the list.
The teams are:
Covered by the agreement:
Ag2R La Mondiale Astana Bbox Bouygues Telecom Caisse d'Epargne Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne Euskaltel - Euskadi Footon-Servetto Française Des Jeux Lampre-Farnese Vini Liquigas-Doimo Omega Pharma-Lotto Quick Step Rabobank Team HTC - Columbia Team Milram Team Saxo Bank
Invited by the organisers:
Andalucia - Cajasur Cervelo Test Team Garmin - Transitions Sky Professional Cycling Team Team Katusha Xacobeo Galicia.
Team Sky and Cervélo TestTeam amongst 22 teams to line up in Seville on August 28
Team RadioShack is the most prominent absentee from the list of 22 teams that will line up in Seville for the start of the 75th Vuelta a España on August 28.
The American squad did not feature among the six teams invited by Vuelta organizers Unipublic to join the 16 squads that had been pre-selected under a 2008 agreement between organisers and the UCI.
The six teams that have received invitations are Andalucía-Cajasur, Xacobeo-Galicia, Cervélo TestTeam, Team Sky, Katusha and Garmin-Transitions.
It was always likely that the two Spanish Professional Continental teams would receive invites to their national Tour. The race starts in Andalucía-Cajasur’s home region, while Xacobeo have one of the leading contenders for the Vuelta’s new leader’s red jersey in Ezequiel Mosquera, who was fifth last year and fourth in 2008.
Carlos Sastre’s Cervélo TestTeam was also expected to get an invite given the Spaniard’s past record in his home Tour and their two stage wins last year. Three stage wins and a strong line-up in 2009 look to have secured Garmin-Transitions’ place, while Katusha are likely to be led by another potential Spanish winner in Joaquín Rodríguez.
The competition for places may well have left Team Sky, RadioShack and BMC as rivals for the final place, with the new British team getting the invitation.
RadioShack did not ride this year’s Giro d’Italia but wanted a place in the Vuelta.
“We really wanted to ride the Vuelta but we weren’t invited,” RadioShack team spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews from the Tour de Suisse.
“The organisers said we didn’t have a strong team on a sporting level, that other teams are better. That’s strange because we wanted to send a very strong roster.”
Maertens refused to name riders who were scheduled for...
The top three in the world rankings remained unchanged after the Critérium du Dauphiné, with World Champion Cadel Evans (BMC) maintaining his lead over Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).
The three riders were challenged by Alberto Contador (Astana) whose second place overall in the French race pushed him ahead of Caisse d'Epargne's Luis Leon Sanchez.
The biggest mover of the week was overall Critérium du Dauphiné winner Janez Brajkovic (Radioshack), who slotted in at 11th place in the standings.
Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) was the top debutante in the list, entering at 42nd after his third place overall this weekend.
The UCI's World Calendar consist of all ProTour and Historical races. The next race to affect the World Rankings is the currently running Tour de Suisse, which concludes on Sunday.