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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 13, 2013

Date published:
July 13, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Campaign launched for a women's Tour de France in 2014

    Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) celebrates her win ahead of Emma Johansson (Orica - AIS)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 21:35 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Letter and petition sent to Prudhomme and the ASO

    Multi-discipline world champion Marianne Vos is among four cyclists spearheading a campaign for women to be included in the Tour de France, starting next year.

    Vos, former world champion Emma Pooley, world champion ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington and Kathryn Bertine have published a letter to Amaury Sports Organisation and Tour director Christian Prudhomme with an accompanying petition outlining the reasons they believe that women should have an event running in conjunction with the men in what is the most recognisable cycling event in the world.

    Such an event is not a new concept. Tour Féminin, a French grand tour for women, ran from 1984 through 2009 albeit with considerable difficulty and three years where it was disbanded (1990, 1991 and 2004). Among the issues were unpaid prize money, excessively long transfers and stages, scheduling issues, poor sponsorship, and a legal battle with ASO subsidiary Société du Tour de France over its then-name, the Women's Tour de France.

    The recently-held Giro Rosa, won by the USA's Mara Abbott, now exists as the only grand tour on the women's calendar. It too was threatened with complete extinction until a new organiser stepped in earlier this year guaranteeing it will run through 2016.

    In less than 24 hours, the petition had generated the support of just under 6000 people.

    "We seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men's event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender's race interferes with the other," the letter states.

    Such an event would force a revision of the UCI rules which currently requires women's stage races to be no more than 130km in length (110km less than under-23 men), while a special waiver allows one...

  • Sky not worried about team strength to support Froome at Tour de France

    Team Sky took control of the race on stage 8
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 21:42 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Loss of time in GC does not concern Knaven

    Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven said he isn't concerned about the team's ability to support Chris Froome's yellow jersey campaign during the rest of this year's Tour de France.

    That's despite the Briton appearing isolated and conceding more than a minute to GC rivals at the finish of today's crosswind-affected stage.

    Froome's GC lead was eroded in Saint-Amand-Montrond when Saxo-Tinkoff Bank prized a 14-strong group off the yellow jersey bunch with 30km to race.

    Despite work by Sky teammates Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Kanstantsin Siutsou to reverse the deficit, Froome ultimately crossed the line without teammates and 1:09 lost to Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff Bank) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin).

    The team is also down to seven men after losing Vasil Kiryienka to the time cut on stage 9 and Edvald Boasson Hagen yesterday through a crash and subsequent fractured shoulder blade.

    "We are not worried, but of course a minute is a minute," said Knaven after today's 173km stage.

    "Everybody forgets that we had seven guys in the first group so they were all there. Some of the seven are not really specialists in the crosswinds but they were there."

    Asked if the team had anticipated crosswinds, Knaven said: "Yesterday we expected it, today we were aware. It can always happen and when there's one team that wants to do it, they can.

    "Today QuickStep had the plan and they went for it. That made the race really tough especially with the open roads and a lot of crosswinds.

    "We are not worried about the team's capabilities, but if you see the breakaway at the end with seven [six - ed.] Saxo Bank riders really going for it, and if you only have...

  • Fuglsang moves up Tour de France GC after making decisive break

    Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) bridged up to Daniel Martin on the final climb of stage 9
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 22:25 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Dane bounces back from lackluster time trial

    Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) was in the right place at the right time on stage 13 of the Tour de France, latching onto a break created by Saxo-Tinkoff in the crosswinds that battered the roads between Tours and Saint-Amand-Montrond in the final 30 kilometres. The stage was won by Mark Cavendish but behind the sprinter, the battle for the overall raged as Saxo-Tinkoff put Sky under increased pressure.

    Fuglsang started the day in 13th place overall, 5:48 down in the general classification, and with many predicting a quiet day of action as the peloton rode towards Mont Ventoux on Sunday, a bunch sprint seemed most likely.

    However, by the end of the stage Fuglsang had moved up to sixth and shaved the gap between himself and race leader Chris Froome down to 4:39. For a rider with top ten aspirations it was the perfect tonic after a mediocre time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel earlier in the week.

    Fuglsang's positioning was key and when Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) drove his team to the front Fuglsang shifted through the wheels after his team had supported him during the opening stages of the day.

    "Saxo Bank opened up and I just happened to be in a good spot, a good position, and I managed to get on the wheel of Sagan," he said at the finish.

    "The moment they start going you can see it and you can hear it because people start screaming and it goes crazy."

    Fuglsang rode at Saxo Bank for several years before moving to RadioShack and then Astana and was aware that the Danish team would seek any opportunity in their quest to trouble Sky.

    "I knew that Saxo Bank are a team that try if the opportunity is there. They did a really good job to make it but also to wait for as long as they did and then do it as close to the finish...

  • Rusvelo face four-week suspension after three positives for asthma drug

    The RusVelo jersey
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian team blames error by team doctor

    The Russian RusVelo team is under pressure to serve a period of self suspension after it confirmed that three riders had tested positive for the asthma medication Fenoterol.

    The Professional Continental team is a member of the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible), whose rules call for a four-week suspension in the case of three positive tests within a 24 month period.

    In April, Valery Kaykov was provisionally suspended and sacked by the team after failing a test for the new fat-burning drug GW1516.

    Rusvelo confirmed that Andrey Solomennikov, Roman Maikin, and Artem Ovechkin all tested positive for Fenoterol after the Russian national championships in late June. The substance is banned for in-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Code.

    “The internal team investigation proved that the drug was contained in asthma medication used by the athletes for acute asthma episodes. The medication which contained the prohibited substance was prescribed to the athletes by the team doctor,” the team said in a statement.

    “The team will now apply all appropriate sanctions to the team doctor for this mistake. The riders are currently temporarily suspended from competitions and team trainings until the decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the national anti-doping agency, RUSADA. Rusvelo management reminds that the main principle of the team is zero tolerance for doping. We support clean cycling and we intend to continue doing that.”

  • Rogers inspires break which moves Contador closer to Froome

    A split-second decision by Michael Rogers led to Saxo-Tinkoff blowing the lead group apart in the final hour of stage 13
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 23:28 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Saxo-Tinkoff drives late stage 13 escape

    The loss of Michael Rogers at Team Sky was clear for all to see on stage 13 of the Tour de France after the Australian inspired a break that included team leader Alberto Contador and saw Chris Froome lose more than a minute to his rivals.

    The stage from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond was set to be a battle between the sprinters, a day off for the riders gunning for the maillot jaune as they stretched their legs before Sunday's outing up Mont-Ventoux.

    However, with crosswinds ripping through the peloton, Rogers used his considerable experience to great effect and ordered his Saxo-Tinkoff teammates to split the field. It worked perfectly with the team demonstrating not just their growing form but the brittle nature of Froome's men. By the finish Froome had conceded 1:09 to Rogers' leader Alberto Contador and the Belkin duo of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam.

    In scenes reminiscent of the Tour stage to La Grande-Motte in 2009, when Rogers and his HTC teammates split the field with Lance Armstrong – that time at Contador's expense – Rogers picked the moment perfectly with 30 kilometres to go.

    "I saw the opportunity arise in the crosswinds and I said to the boys lets put our heads down and go as hard as we can. It was harder than a mountain stage and I think the hardest stage I've ever done," he said at the finish.

    "It's not over and today worked well because we've clawed back some time. It wasn't planned in the morning but it was decided in a split second. I saw everyone was tired with roughly 30 kilometres to go and I said to the boys let's go, let's try, we've got nothing to do. It paid off.

    "It was similar to La Grande-Motte, yes. We had similar conditions. I saw everyone was on the limit...

  • Contador: I still have to attack in the Alps

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-tinkoff) would gain time on Tour de France leader Chris Froome during stage 13
    Article published:
    July 13, 2013, 3:55 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Spaniard pegs back a minute with surprise attack

    Alberto Contador breathed life into his Tour de France challenge when he showcased the strength in depth of his Saxo-Tinkoff team with a surprise collective attack on the road to Saint-Amand-Montrond on stage 13.

    Saxo-Tinkoff's clinical move saw Contador shave 1:09 off Chris Froome's overall lead and move up to 3rd place overall in the process, although he acknowledged that he still has considerable ground to try and make up in the final week.

    "Being 3:57 down or 2:45 down doesn't change much overall," Contador admitted afterwards. "I still have to go on the attack in the Alps but we have cut the minute that I lost in the time trial. The Tour is tough but it's not over yet and a thousand things could still happen. For now, I just have to rest because tomorrow is another day."

    Saxo-Tinkoff's move came in the closing 30 kilometres of a dramatic stage that had already seen Belkin and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step split the peloton in three in the crosswind midway through the stage. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lost ten minutes and all hopes of a podium place in Paris when a wheel change forced him out of the leading group, and Contador said that he had been reluctant to take advantage of his fellow countryman's poor fortune.

    "At first we didn't work because Alejandro Valverde had a mechanical, so we decided not to cooperate," said Contador, but once it became apparent that the Movistar would not come back on, Saxo-Tinkoff decided to put Froome and Sky under pressure.

    Daniele Bennati led the charge and accelerated with Contador, Nicolas Roche, Matteo Tosatto, Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers lined up on his wheel. Their acceleration saw a 14-man group surge clear...

  • Evans benefits from Movistar pair's misfortune

    2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 13, 2013, 5:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Tour winner "sorry" for Valverde

    Cadel Evans (BMC) moved from 14th to 12th overall courtesy of the misfortune of Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa (Movistar) during a hectic 13th stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

    The 2011 Tour victor finished sixth in the chase group in 21st place, led home by Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) just over a minute behind stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). Valverde meanwhile, tumbled from second overall to 16th, with Costa now in 18th. While Evans, who is hopeful of at least cracking the top-10 overall, was pleased to have moved up the classification, he would have preferred to have made the front split.

    "I'm a bit disappointed I missed the final split," Evans said. "Moving forward a couple places is good, but I want to move forward a lot of places. But we have a couple of big days of racing over the weekend, so we'll see."

    Evans remains 6:54 behind the race leader, Chris Froome (Sky) with the Australian saying that while he expected the move to come from Omega Pharma-Quick-Step in the cross-winds, the ramifications for Valverde and Costa came as somewhat of a shock.

    "The first split there was a little bit expected," Evans said. "But the big thing was that Valverde had a really unfortunate puncture. I'm sorry for him. It's sometimes how it goes. It's happened to me as well in the past.

    "The second split with Contador in front was a good move by them. They held back, they stayed calm and then they went and I think they got a much bigger element of surprise there," Evans continued. "At that point we were back with the yellow jersey but that was too far back as well and in the end there was a bit of a GC shake-up on a day we didn't expect."

    The next shake-up of the GC is expected on Sunday's stage...

  • Tour de France shorts: Bad timing strikes Argos-Shimano, Pineau and Chavanel as you've never seen them before

    German sprinting sensation Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    July 13, 2013, 8:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Sergeant unhappy with Greipel, thieves strike and more...

    Bad timing for Kittel

    Argos-Shimano, with three stage wins to their name so far, were left frustrated by the timing of a mechanical by in-form sprinter Marcel Kittel during stage 13. Kittel dropped his chain and was at the back of the bunch when Omega Pharma-Quick-Step launched the attack that caused the first split.

    "We tried to respond for Kittel with Timmer, Geschke, Fröhlinger, Curvers, Dumoulin in the second group while De Kort, Veelers and Degenkolb were in the first group," explained team coach Christian Guiberteau. "The second group came really close, but just didn't make it, than the flat of [Alejandro] Valverde did not make it easier because the GC teams in the first group put the hammer down."

    That meant that the team was now throwing their weight behind Degenkolb but when Saxo-Tinkoff attacked with around 30km left to race, Argos-Shimano's day was done.

    "It was hard today, we lost Marcel at the first part and were left with Tom Veelers, John Degenkolb and myself in the first group" said Koen de Kort. "The GC teams tried to keep their riders out the wind, so it was a big fight in the first group. We expected a move but weren't prepared right at that moment when Team Saxobank attacked. We put Tom Veelers in the chase but we couldn't come back anymore unfortunately. Not a good day for us; a pity."

    Sergeant unhappy with positioning

    Lotto Belisol manager Marc Sergeant was left unimpressed with the team's positioning during stage 13. Along with Team Sky, the Belgian-based squad took up the chase to the lead group of 14 riders, which included Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

    "When Saxo placed a new coup with 30 km to go and only 14...