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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 21, 2012

Date published:
July 21, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Gilbert barking mad after run-in with dog

    Philippe Gilbert not too happy after his stage 18 crash
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 19:40 BST
    Cycling News

    No fractures for Belgian Olympic hopeful

    BMC's Philippe Gilbert has had his run of bad luck in the 2012 Tour de France, but when a stray dog on the course in stage 18 knocked him off his bike, it was the final straw.

    The former Belgian champion had to be stopped from confronting the animal's owner by team director John Lelangue as his anger and fear at the possibility of missing out on the Olympic Games in London due to the spectator's carelessness came to a boil.

    "How irresponsible can people be to let such a big dog just roam free?" Gilbert said after the stage. "All of a sudden we saw a big black dog appear in the peloton. We were going at a high speed at that time, so it was inevitable that riders would crash."

    Taken down in addition to the Belgian were Denis Menchov (Katusha) and Frenchman Arthur Vichot (FDJ-Big Mat).

    "[The dog] ran into the middle of the bunch and there was nothing we could do to avoid it," Gilbert said. "I was pretty upset at the people because I think it's very dangerous to leave such a big dog running into the bunch. It could have been really bad. In the end, I have bruises on my left shoulder and elbow but nothing broken, which is most important ahead of the Olympics. I was lucky."

    Astana's Janez Brajkovic also had a bad fall in the stage today, adding to his multiple crashes in the first week. He was able to regain the front group and maintain his ninth place in the general classification.

  • Brailsford: Cavendish proves he is in a class of his own

    Mark Cavendish celebrates Tour stage win number 22
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 21:41 BST
    Mark Robinson

    Boasson Hagen a key component in another stellar day for Sky

    After the heady heights of the previous two days in the Pyrenean mountains, where Bradley Wiggins all but secured the yellow jersey, the Team Sky juggernaut that has carried all before it in this Tour de France might have been forgiven for spending today's 18th stage from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde in cruise control. But when there is a rider with the burning ambition of world champion Mark Cavendish in your ranks, there is the inclination to press harder on the gas rather than ease off it.

    Cavendish produced a decisive burst of acceleration at the climax of today's stage that will restore his name to the back pages. The Manxman has spent the last week or two in the shadows of both Wiggins' bid for malliot jaune history and the race leader's rivalry with teammate Chris Froome, which has captured the imagination of British fans back home and also generated much debate and head shaking amongst the world's press assembled in France.

    The shadows aren't a natural habitat for Cavendish and his performance today will return him to the spotlight that he thrives under. His work for Wiggins and Froome on this Tour is testament to his team ethic, but there is no doubting that today marks the beginning of an eight-day period that could see Cavendish steal a considerable amount of thunder from his friend and teammate Wiggins. On Sunday Cavendish will be the favourite to win the Tour's final bunch sprint on the glamorous tarmac of Champs-Elysees in Paris for the fourth year running, and one week from tomorrow he will again be favourite to win gold in the Olympic road race in London.

    "That wasn't easy, it was a very tough...

  • Pinot hoping to remain in top 10 until Paris

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ - Big Mat)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2012, 22:38 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    FDJ revelation needs to hold off Roche in last time trial

    One of the big revelations of this Tour de France has been young Frenchman Thibaut Pinot from FDJ-Big Mat. The 22-year-old is the youngest rider at the event, and it is also the very first Grand Tour of his career, but all of these circumstances didn't stop him from taking a stage victory and possibly finishing in the top 10 overall in Paris. Pinot finished fourth on the second mountain stage of the Pyrenees in Peyragudes, losing just a few seconds on the best riders, and now hopes to save his current 10th placing over the last time trial.

    The young climber was happy with what he achieved in the Pyrenees, even if he conceded some time in stage 16 to Bagnères-de-Luchon. "I had one mediocre day and one good day, so all in all the Pyrenees went OK for me. In the end, I took back a bit of time on the guys that are behind me, so the overall outcome is good," he told Cyclingnews at the start of the transitional stage up to Brive-la-Gaillarde on Friday.

    Pinot confirmed that for a 22-year-old Tour rookie, it must be an awesome experience to finish one of he race's key mountain stages with the very best riders. "Yes, it's impressive and I enjoy it very much. Plus, the spectators really push you on, so it's a great experience."

    The Frenchman's performance throughout this Tour has also been impressive, especially his competitiveness in the third week of racing which has proved that he may be a true contender for Grand Tours in the future. Pinot confirmed that his body coped quite well with the length of the event.

    "In the third week, it's actually more hard mentally, because you're tired," he said. "It's more staying concentrated during three weeks that's not easy. It's a bit...

  • Roche: I would have done what Froome did

    Former Tour and Giro winner Stephen Roche is looking to implement changes in cycling
    Article published:
    July 21, 2012, 0:50 BST
    Barry Ryan

    1987 Giro winner compares Carrera and Sky

    Although his 1987 Giro d’Italia victory famously came after a very public battle for leadership of the Carrera team with Roberto Visentini, Stephen Roche has praised Chris Froome’s loyalty to yellow jersey wearer Bradley Wiggins and the Team Sky game plan at the 2012 Tour de France.

    Froome gave his final and most emphatic demonstration of his superiority to Wiggins in the mountains on the road to Peyragudes on Thursday, turning and waiting for the maillot jaune on at least three occasions as they rode together to the finish. In spite of that strength however, Froome is destined to stand on the second step of the podium behind Wiggins in Paris on Sunday, as the team stuck rigidly to its preordained hierarchy.

    "I would have done exactly what Froome did, although yesterday I would have maybe said to Bradley, ‘You’re ok, you can look after yourself now, I’m going to get the stage,’" Roche told Cyclingnews in the start village in Blagnac on Friday. "If Froome had gone his own way, he would have caught Alejandro Valverde and won the stage."

    In repeatedly looking over his shoulder as he waited for Wiggins, however, some observers felt that Froome had gone out of his way to advertise the fact that he was stronger than his leader on the final climb, with Laurent Jalabert gravely noting that it was not a "beau geste."

    "Ok, it looked a bit ridiculous with Froome turning around and waiting for Bradley but at the same time he had no mirrors on his bike," Roche said. "I don’t think he was doing it purposely. There was nothing malicious or bad-minded about it. He was looking behind because he was anxious and nervous but there was...

  • Australian team named for mountain bike Worlds

    Dan McConnell leads the elite men's race
    Article published:
    July 21, 2012, 1:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Twenty six of the nation's best headed for Austria

    Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) announced the riders who will represent Australia at the upcoming UCI Mountain Bike World Championships held from August 31 to September 9 in Saalfelden, Austria. The 12-rider cross country team is headlined by current cross country elite national champions Dan McConnell and Jenni King with Rebecca Henderson filling the U23 women’s spot. Meanwhile, a 14-rider squad will showcase its skills and speed in the downhill, four cross and trials competitions.

    McConnell and Henderson will also represent Australia prior to the UCI World Championships at the London Olympic Games – just three weeks away on the weekend of August 11-12.

    Surprisingly one of the country's top-ranked U19 men has not been selected for the cross country race. Ben Forbes was not included in the junior line-up although he is amongst the best in his category. Cyclingnews has been informed by Forbes' coach that an appeal was lodged to MTBA and an answer is expected sometime late next week. Forbes is hoping his omission has been a simple oversight, with his results throughout the season proving he is deserving of a spot in the Australian team.

    The experienced Sam Hill and young-gun and current national champion Troy Brosnan will lead the men’s downhill team while Australian champion and former junior world champion Tracey Hannah continues her impress return to the sport and is aiming at the top spot in the elite women's downhill.

    Team for 2012 UCI MTB World Championships

    Elite men cross country
    Dan McConnell (VIC)
    Chris Jongewaard (SA)
    Lachlan Norris (VIC)
    Paul Van Der Ploeg (VIC)

    Elite women cross country
    Rowena Fry...

  • Vacansoleil don't want Stijn Devolder in 2013

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) after the stage
    Article published:
    July 21, 2012, 2:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Tour of Flanders winner struggling to impress management

    It has been a number of seasons since Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) was considered a contender of the ‘cobbled classics’. The 2008 and 2009 Tour of Flanders winner has been a shadow of the rider from past seasons and his team management isn’t impressed. The 2010 Belgian national time trial and road race champion hasn’t managed to find the same form of his Quickstep years and despite warnings from his Vacansoleil squad to lift his game, little has changed.

    "Show me that you still exist, I made clear to him countless times. But things change little or nothing," said team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren.

    Devolder hinted his condition was on track for the spring races but a fall in Tour of Flanders and subsequent DNF did little to change his status. He lined up for Paris-Roubaix but got tangled up in a fall with Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) and lost precious time. Since then, he’s achieved minimal results from a rider who is expected to deliver. With another lean season Devolder see’s his contract up for renewal at the end of this year and is likely to find a home for 2013 at another team.

    “Based on the results we cannot possibly be satisfied,” said Van der Shueren.

    Devolder is rumoured to be returning his old employer Johan Bruyneel at RadioShack-Nissan. He won the national championships during his time with US Postal, the team directed by Bruyneel at the time.


  • Video: GreenEdge should be proud of Tour de France showing says O’Grady

    Stuart O'Grady (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2012, 3:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Veteran Australian hopes to return next year

    Orica-GreenEdge have thus far failed to win an elusive first stage in their debut Tour de France, but the Australian team can be "proud" of their displays in the world’s toughest and most important race according to Stuart O’Grady.

    In this exclusive video O’Grady tells Cyclingnews that “there are no birthday presents” at the Tour and that his fledgling team have performed well in what is their first appearance in the race. The 37-year-old, a three-time stage winner and former yellow jersey holder at the Tour earlier in his career, also said that he hopes to return in GreenEdge colours next year.

  • Video: Tour de France Stage 18 highlights

    Mark Cavendish had a lead-out from none other than the Tour leader Bradley Wiggins
    Article published:
    July 21, 2012, 4:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Cavendish rockets to his second Tour stage win

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) was clearly the happiest man of the peloton when he crossed the line in Brive-La-Gaillarde to take his 22nd Tour stage victory. His win in stage 18 was the most dominant sprint-win of the Tour and with the Olympic Games drawing closer, it served as a warning to his rivals who have mentioned that Cavendish may have lost some of his speed in his bid to shed body weight. He may not have five stage victories at this Tour - as has been the norm over the past editions - but with his Sky team having essentially secured the general classification battle, he was given the green light for a chance to sprint.

    Remnants of the breakaway attempted to hold off the charging pack and the late move of Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) was spirited but little could stop Cavendish when he launched his sprint far from the line. Cavendish had plenty of time to enjoy the victory as he crossed the line with daylight behind. Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and points leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) rounded out the top three places.