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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 14, 2012

Date published:
July 14, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Rolland finds solace at La Toussuire

    The moment of victory for Europcar's Pierre Roland
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 15:50 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Second win in two days for Europcar

    After a troubled start to the Tour de France, Pierre Rolland claimed Europcar's second stage win in as many days at La Toussuire on Thursday, following in the wheel tracks of his team leader Thomas Voeckler.

    The darlings of the French public twelve months ago – when Rolland announced his arrival at world level and Thomas Voeckler spent a remarkable ten days in yellow – a shadow was cast over Europcar's fairytale on the eve of this year's race. As the Tour began in Liège, it emerged that the squad had been placed under investigation for suspected use of corticosteroids and intravenous vitamin solutions in 2011.

    "At the beginning, I didn't pay any attention to the story, but I was affected when I was jeered during the prologue," Rolland said in his post-race press conference. "That evening I was depressed and I even thought of going home if the Tour was going to be like that, but the public was more supportive once we got to France."

    Rolland, who had struggled with a knee injury earlier in the season, saw his general classification aspirations dented during the crash-littered opening week. The Frenchman quickly took the decision to focus exclusively on chasing stage victory, even if his efforts on Thursday saw him move up to 9th overall."

    "Moving up a place or two on GC, from 10th to 9th and so forth, is important for WorldTour points, but in terms of racing, only the podium counts," he said. "When you're not looking to defend a placing, it means that you can take more risks to win stages."

    Rolland duly infiltrated the early break, which formed ahead of the Col de la Madeleine, and thanks to his teammate Christophe Kern's...

  • Goss docked 30 points after sprint deviation in Tour stage 12

    Matthew Goss (Orica - GreenEdge) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas - Cannondale) sprint for points, but Sagan is not happy
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 18:27 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Sagan strengthens grip on green jersey

    The green jersey sits ever more securely on Peter Sagan's shoulders on Friday evening after Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was docked 30 points when he was adjudged to have impeded the Liquigas-Cannondale rider in the bunch sprint for sixth place on stage 12 of the Tour de France.

    After finishing three places ahead of Sagan in the intermediate sprint at Marcilloles, Goss had appeared set to cut his deficit in the points classification to 22 points but instead sees that gap stretch out to a hefty 56 as commissaires deemed him guilty of changing his line in the sprint and placing his colleagues in danger.

    Although Goss won the sprint in Annonay, he deviated from his line in the final 100 metres, with a visibly aggrieved Sagan raising an arm in protest. The commissaires agreed with the young Slovak's interpretation of events and duly awarded him sixth place ahead of Goss. Indeed, Goss would have been relegated lower than seventh place had the judges not ruled that there was a one-second gap between the pair and the remainder of the peloton.

    Speaking to reporters after he emerged from the Orica-GreenEdge bus shortly after the finish line, Goss had been informed that he would be relegated but was not yet aware of his 30-point penalty. He acknowledged that he had veered slightly from his line in the sprint, but felt that he did not deserve to be punished for an infraction, and instead felt that Sagan's reaction had exaggerated the incident to such an extent that the commissaires were alerted to take action.

    "You guys be the judge," he...

  • Video: Emotional win for Millar on Simpson anniversary

    David Millar (Garmin - Sharp) wins the stage
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 19:28 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Race-saving stage victory for Garmin-Sharp

    While one British rider dominates the Tour for the first time, stage 12 to Annonay Davezieuz saw another turn back the clock, with David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) winning his first Tour de France stage since 2003.

    The 35-year-old Garmin-Sharp rider formed part of the day's main break and used his experience and guile in the closing kilometres to take a memorable stage win. As for his team, which he partly co-owns, it was a race-saving day after the squad had lost Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson in the opening week of racing.

    Millar's win was a poignant moment for two other reasons. As an ex-doper, a tag Millar is rare to shy away from, the stage signified Millar's first individual Tour stage win since his comeback from suspension. And on the 45th anniversary of Tom Simpson's tragic death on the slopes of Mont Ventoux, Millar admitted that the win had more than the typical emotional significance.

    "Yes I've won in the past but today is very special, it's the 45th anniversary since Tom Simpson's death and it's very emotional. It's also a symbol. I'm a rider who has made mistakes and I'm an ex-doper but I'm clean now and it's very important to show what you can do when you're a clean rider. That you can win races," he said.

    Millar's career, with its bright start at Cofidis, followed by the drugs and then his second chance, has stood out as one of the most important chapters in cycling's recent past. Millar is a rider who broke the rules, learned his lesson and now is a clear advocate for clean sport and transparency.

    "I don't think there's any point in hiding [the past]. The reason I was given a second chance was...

  • Video: Sky's Sean Yates on Wiggins and Froome

    Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on the podium after stage 12.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 20:16 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    DS discusses team's GC ambitions, evolution of cycling since the '80s

    The morning before stage 12 was dominated by the aftershocks from the previous stage when Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins defended his yellow jersey on the climb to La Toussuire. On paper, it was a successful stage for Wiggins and his Sky team. Time was gained on a number of rivals, including the defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC).

    However, the stage brought up a potential spoke in the works when Chris Froome dropped his team leader, Wiggins, on the closing stages of the final climb. It was another indication of Froome's superior powers in the mountains and, despite waiting for Wiggins, Sky faced several questions relating to the team's hierarchy in the race.

    Wiggins leads, with Froome now in second, 2:05 down, and at the team bus on Friday morning directeur sportif Sean Yates played down any talk of Froome assuming the mantle of team leader, emphasising that the team was in a ‘perfect position' and that gambling with the yellow jersey may not pay off.

    "Our goal from the start has been to win the Tour. We're in the perfect position now," Yates said "We can't play the roulette, we need to be conservative and keep our cards in the right places.

    "It's not the swashbuckling days of the '80s when Hinault was attacking left, right and centre."

    In this video Yates talks about Sky's GC ambitions, how cycling has evolved since the 1980s and the commercialisation of the sport that has led to an affect on the tactics of racing.

  • Toughest day for Pinot at Tour de France

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) gets the Tour de France stage to Porrentruy
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 22:02 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Tired legs for Frenchman on Col du Granier

    There is no more daunting school for a young rider than the Tour de France and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) has had a wide range of lessons in his two weeks on the greatest race of all.

    For the most part, Pinot has passed his tests with flying colours. He coped admirably with the pressures of riding in front of his home fans at La Planche des Belles Filles and then soared to a stylish victory at Porrentruy the following day.

    That win prompted a crash course in the demands of an expectant French media, and while Pinot flagged slightly in the subsequent Besançon time trial, he lifted himself once again as the Tour entered the Alps, tilting nonchalantly at some lofty reputations on the road to La Toussuire.

    On what seemed set to be a routine transitional day, however, Pinot suffered his most trying moment to date during the early exchanges of stage 12 to Annonay Davezieux. As Sky set a fierce pace to stifle the flurry of attacks on the 1st category Col de Granier, Pinot was among those riders jettisoned off the back of the peloton.

    For once, the graceful climber appeared leaden-legged as the road veered upwards, and Pinot found himself two minutes off the back and suffering by the time he reached the summit of the Granier. Fortunately, his teammate Jérémy Roy was on hand to help guide him back to safety, and Pinot returned to the peloton as its urgency slackened on the long drop towards Saint-Cassien.

    "I could feel yesterday's stage in my legs and I felt really bad early on," Pinot said after...

  • Bruyneel to fight USADA charges

    Johan Bruyneel looks towards a clean cycling.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 0:10 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Armstrong's former team manager facing lifetime ban

    Former team manager of Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel will fight U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charges which allege he engaged in anti-doping rule violations.

    "USADA can confirm that in accordance with the rules that are compliant with federal law and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and all Olympic sports organizations, Mr. Bruyneel has requested to move forward in the process and have his case heard at an arbitration hearing, which can be open to the public," the Agency announced via a statement.

    "As in all cases, during the arbitration hearing, all the evidence will be presented, witness testimony will be subject to cross examination and will be given under oath, and an independent panel of arbitrators will ultimately determine the outcome of the case."

    On June 12, Bruyneel was informed that he was being charged with:

    • Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.
    • Trafficking of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.
    • Administration or attempted administration of EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids, and masking agents.
    • Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up, and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.
    • Aggravating circumstances justifying the period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction.

    Bruyneel faces a lifetime ban if found guilty.

    The Belgian was Armstrong's team director in his career following his remission from cancer, beginning with United...

  • Brailsford: We're here to win the Tour, not read Twitter

    Dave Brailsford looks confident as Sky team car heads out behind bunch
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 2:07 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Sky manager downplays Froome acceleration

    After Bradley Wigggins and Chris Froome got their wires crossed on La Toussuire on Thursday, speculation rapidly began to mount as to the possibilities of an internal leadership battle on Team Sky's Tour de France team.

    Wiggins holds a commanding 2:05 lead over Froome at the head of the overall standings, but in spite of the yellow jersey's mastery in the time trial, Froome has appeared the stronger in the mountains. That sense was reinforced by events at La Toussuire, when Froome accelerated and Wiggins was briefly distanced from the group of favourites.

    Speaking to reporters in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne before stage 12 on Friday morning, however, team principal Dave Brailsford insisted that there were no problems between Wiggins and Froome.

    "We're very happy to have two riders of the quality of Bradley and Chris here," Brailsford said. "Everyone thinks it's a problem but I don't think that. Having the 1st and 2nd rider on the GC at the Tour de France isn't a problem. If we were 20th and 21st, we'd have a problem, but 1st and 2nd isn't a problem."

    Wiggins lost contact with the group of favourites following Froome's sustained forcing a shade over 4 kilometres from the summit of La Toussuire. Froome was quickly ordered to relent via his radio earpiece, and when he sat up, Wiggins was able to safely latch back on to the group.

    Brailsford dismissed the idea that Froome had looked to attack the yellow jersey and said that his subsequent acceleration within sight of the finish - which gained him two seconds by the line - had been an agreed tactic.

    "If Chris wanted to attack, he would have continued until the summit but he didn't do that," Brailsford said....

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 12 highlights

    David Millar (Garmin - Sharp) celebrates a stage win
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 3:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Millar outwits Peraud for victory in Annonay Davézieux

    David Millar won the fourth Tour de France stage of his career on Friday, and the first of this 99th edition for his team Garmin-Sharp on Stage 12.

    Millar had been part of the five-man breakaway which took advantage of a heavily fatigued peloton following a tough few days in the Alps. Ag2r-La Mondiale's Jean-Christophe Peraud fought with Millar until the very end of the 226km stage, but the Scot's experience was evident as he outkicked the Frenchman to be first across the finish line.

    Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins remains the overall leader.