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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 30, 2014

Date published:
June 30, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Majka accepts Tour de France ride after initial doubts

    Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) through the tunnel of fans on the Monte Zoncolan
    Article published:
    June 29, 2014, 16:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tinkoff-Saxo rider to replace Kreuziger

    Rafal Majka has accepted a spot on the Tinkoff-Saxo Tour de France squad, reversing his earlier doubts about riding another grand tour so soon. On Saturday the Polish rider criticized the team for the nomination, in a posting on his Facebook page which has since been deleted.

    Majka will take the place of Roman Kreuziger, who yesterday announced that he had been informed of abnormalities in his blood passport. The team said that while Kreuziger is not suspended, he will not race again pending an outcome of the issue.

    The 24-year old Polish rider made another posting on his Facebook page overnight, in which he said he would start the Tour and looked forward to helping Alberto Contador win the race.

    "I thought about the whole situation and came to the conclusion that the TdF may be to me a step in the right direction. Sorry leadership of the team that doubted this decision.'ve come to the conclusion now that the start in the Tour de France will be a big challenge for me, but I want him to face. I will try to help Alberto with all my strength to achieve the most important goal - to win!"

    This was a dramatic change from his first reaction to the news that he would be on the Tour squad. Majka finished sixth overall in the Giro d’Italia last month, and said that he had not fully recovered from that race. He even questioned whether the team cared about his health.

    "Before the start of the season my calendar was primarily based on the Giro d` Italia, and later the Tour de Pologne and the Vuelta a Espana. Upon completion of the Giro, the management team wondered about my start in the Tour de France, but I was skeptical about...

  • White: There will be some surprises in our Tour de France team

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in his first ever yellow jersey
    Article published:
    June 29, 2014, 19:32 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Moves for Evans and Wiggins go cold

    Matt White has told Cyclingnews that there will be a few surprises in Orica-GreenEdge’s nine-man roster for the Tour de France. The final selection has been made internally but a public announcement will be issued at the start of next week.

    It’s expected that Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey – who both wore the maillot jaune in 2013 – will form the core of the team with Michael Matthews set to make his Tour debut after a stage-winning first outing at the Giro d’Italia in May.

    Matt Goss is expected to miss out on a slot after his crash at the Tour de Suisse and a lack of results this season. With White confirming to Cyclingnews that the team will target stage wins over a GC aim, the team manager has a number of options to pick from.

    White oversaw the team’s successful Tour in 2013 which saw them win the team time trial and hold the yellow jersey with Gerrans and Impey pulling on the leader’s jersey. At the Giro d’Italia, White and his team copied that blueprint with an early lead in the race courtesy of Svein Tuft before Michael Matthews pulled on the maglia rosa and won an individual stage to Montecassino. Although the team suffered badly in the
    second and third weeks in Italy, White is hoping that the Giro confidence can transfer with the team as they head to the Grand Depart in Leeds.

    The team will be spearheaded by Gerrans. The Australian national road champion won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the spring and he is one of a cluster of riders who suit the hilly stage between York and Sheffield on the second day of the Tour.

    “He’s in good shape and he’s ready to go. In the last couple of years when he’s had a target to aim for he’s been on song near...

  • Steegmans fumes after Belgian nationals

    Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2014, 21:43 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Boonen is best Omega Pharma Quick Step's best finisher in third

    Something went wrong in the Omega Pharma Quick Step team camp on Sunday. Gert Steegmans featured in the breakaway which was about to sprint for the victory at the Belgian championships in Wielsbeke, with a finish right next to the big Unilin factory, the company behind Quick-Step. But then with 6km to go, the team's riders started to lead the peloton to set up a bunch sprint for their fast man Tom Boonen. With 400m to go, the break was caught and Boonen finished third behind winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol).

    Steegmans was certain of the win, confident he would beat his seven breakaway companions in the sprint, but with the finish line in sight his teammates stormed passed him. Afterward, the 33-year-old Steegmans was extremely disappointed.

    "Today I feel like they flicked me," Steegmans told Sporza after freshening up in the team bus. "They said that I could go in the attack if I was confident about the win. I felt confident, but then my team closed the gap. For a third place. Bravo," a cynical Steegmans said. "Sorry, I can't help it. It makes me furious."

    One month ago at the Baloise Tour of Belgium, Steegmans received a blow, too, when he was heading for the bunch sprint win on the short De Wandelaar-climb in the stage to Knokke-Heist. Steegmans had a nice gap, but Boonen powered in front of the peloton and managed to win ahead of Steegmans and Theo Bos. Afterward, Boonen claimed that he thought more riders would be able to pass Steegmans.

    Back in 2007 and 2008, Steegmans won two stages in the Tour de France, including a brilliant sprint victory on the Champs Elysees. More recently, Steegmans is struggling. He won his last race in 2011. Steggel wasn't selected for his beloved Spring Classics...

  • Zdeněk Štybar wins Czech national road race

    Zdeněk Štybar beat Peter Sagan in the sprint but both riders won their respective national title
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 0:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vakoc makes it a Omega Pharma-Quick Step one-two

    Zdeněk Štybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won his first Czech national road title as he finished 53 seconds ahead of teammate Petr Vokoc on the 192km course which also decided the Slovakian national championships. Defending champion Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) finished third on the same time as Vajkoc

    "I'm super happy about this result," Stybar said after claiming his first road win of 2014. "For me, it's the first national title on the road and I'm really proud to wear this jersey. It will be fantastic to ride with it for an entire year."

    Stybar, who is the current Cyclo-Cross world champion, thanked the efforts of his 21-year-old teammate Vakoc who closed down attack after attack during the race.

    "The race wasn't easy," Stybar said, "The race was fast since the beginning, but we rode smart. The penultimate lap was really hard with a lot of attacks, especially from the guys of NetApp Endura. Then in the final lap we went on the first climb, me and Peter Sagan (Cannondale). As you know, the Czech and the Slovak championships are united in one race.

    "At that point, to me, it was easier to control and in the final sprint I was able to beat Sagan. I'm really happy that I could finish off with an overall victory."

    The win capped of a successful national championships for Stybar who finished third in the national time trial behind Jan Barta while Vakoc's second place in the road race matched meant he finished the championships with two silver medals.

  • Fränk Schleck wins fifth Luxembourg road race title

    Fränk Schleck (Trek) celebrates his 2014 Luxembourg national road race victory
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 1:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Ben Gastauer pips Andy Schleck for second place

    Fränk Schleck claimed his first win since 2011 with solo victory on the 160km, 10-lap circuit that comprised the Luxembourg national road race ahead of Ag2r La Mondiale's Ben Gastauer who was the only non-Trek Factory Racing rider in the top five.

    Defending champion Bob Jungels was fourth, over a minute behind Fränk Schleck, while third place went to the other Schleck in the race, Andy with Laurent Didier in fifth.

    "The four of us were really strong today; it was a full gas race until the end," Fränk Schleck said. "Only Ben Gastauser was capable of staying with us. Andy was really strong today; he's ready for the Tour [de France]. For me, after all what happened last year, and to be able to return to the WorldTour, this is just great! For my family, I never stopped training, they have always been my motivation. It is fantastic to be champion again - it's a real honour.

    "Also for Trek Factory Racing it is good that the jersey stays in the team. Laurent, Bob and Andy all worked super hard today, and we deserved to take it home."

    With four riders in the race, Trek set about making it a difficult race from the moment the gun was fired with Andy Schleck launching an attack which was reeled in the peloton after two laps.

    Andy Schleck attacked later in the race and his move saw drew out Fränk Schleck with Gastauer from the peloton and the three leaders on the road where joined by Didier and Jungels in what was to be the winning break.

    With the pace being set at a...

  • Ag2r La Mondiale announced final Tour de France team

    Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) celebrates starting the final stage with two big thumbs up
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 6:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Matteo Montaguti to ride his maiden Tour de France

    Having already announced eight-riders for the Tour de FranceAg2r La Mondiale have added Italian Matteo Montaguti as its ninth and final rider. The decision was made following the weekend of national championships in Europe and decided on the 30-year-old who will make his Tour debut on Saturday. 

    Montaguti has ridden seven previous grand tours since 2009 and his selection for the team means he will line up for his second grand tour of 2014 having raced the Giro d'Italia in May.

    Ag2r La Mondiale previously announced that its ambitions for the 101st edition of the Tour is to place two riders in the top-15 overall with one of them inside the top-10.

    The protected riders for the GC will be Christophe Riblon, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet, who was the best placed French rider in 2013.

    The team is also aiming for stage wins through  aggressive racing and will look to be present in breakaways throughout the race while the team classification is also an objective for July.

    "These nine riders will, I am sure, once again embody the values of solidarity and performance which are those of Ag2r La Mondiale on this beautiful race that is the Tour de France," said Yvon Breton, deputy general manager of the team.

    "I wish them every success and I invite them to make us live great moments of joy and...

  • Langeveld to debut new Dutch national jersey at the Tour de France

    Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin Sharp) drives the pace
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 7:15 BST
    By:
    José Been

    All about supporting Andrew Talansky in July

    Sebastian Langeveld will show his new red-white and blue national jersey in the Tour de France after his maiden Dutch national road race win. "I am on the shortlist of the team that hasn't been announced yet but you will see this jersey in July," the Garmin-Sharp rider told Cyclingnews.

    The 29-year old took his first national title in Ootmarsum on Sunday after three podium spots and a total of seven top ten positions in the past ten years. "You could say this is a finally," he said after the finish.

    The jersey will be one of many new national champions in the Tour de France peloton. For Langeveld going to France is for one reason only and that is to assist his captain Andrew Talansky. The American won the Criterium du Dauphiné three weeks ago and is ready for a great result in the Tour.

    "I am there solely to ride for Andrew Talansky. With him we have a candidate for the highest podium of cycling. For a team like Garmin-Sharp that is great thing, to have someone of his calibre. My job is to assist him and I am happy that I can do that in this beautiful new jersey," he told Cyclingnews.

    As a Classics specialist Langeveld eyes the fifth stage to Arenberg which includes the cobbles featured in Paris-Roubaix. His experience on that terrain might prove valuable for his captain but also offers Langeveld a chance to become the first Dutch Tour de France stage winner since Pieter Weening in 2005.

    "Maybe," he...

  • Bretagne Séché Environnement confirm final Tour de France team

    The Feillu brothers, Romain and Brice
    Article published:
    June 30, 2014, 8:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Romain Feillu, Florian Guillou and Benoît Jarrier all selected

    Following the conclusion of the French national championships, Bretagne Séché Environnement's final nine-rider team for the 101st Tour de France has been announced. One time wearer of the yellow jersey, Romain Feillu, makes his return to the Tour for the fifth time while Florian Guillou and Benedict Jarrier make their debuts.

    With a knee injury forcing Argentinian Eduardo Sepulveda out of La Grand Boucle, it is an entirely French affair for the team from Brittany.

    The team is aiming for a stage win and top-15 placing on GC with Brice Feillu, while Roman Feillu will be the team's designated sprinter and will look for his first stage win having finished second in his last appearance in 2011.

    At the French national championships, Armindo Fonseca and Anthony Delaplace were the best placed riders for the team behind Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) as they finished 13th and 14th respectively.

    Bretagne Séché Environnement for the 2014 Tour de France:  Armindo Fonseca, Florian Vachon, Anthony Delaplace, Arnaud Gérard Jean-Marc Bideau, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Florian Guillou and Benedict Jarrier.