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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 23, 2011

Date published:
July 23, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Cavendish survives Alpe d'Huez stage with green jersey

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) leads the points classification.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 20:51 BST
    By:
    Sam Dansie

    Race jury again docks points from sprinters for missing time cut

    For the second time in two days the Tour de France race jury has docked green jersey competitors 20 points for finishing outside the time limit – but despite the action Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) retains a 15-point lead before the final showdown on the Champs-Élysées.

    Speaking after the fast and furious stage 19 to l’Alpe d’Huez, Cavendish said that the top of the day’s first climb to the Col du Télégraphe was his finish line, where he hoped a strong unit would to make their way to the finish.

    “I’m really happy with today,” Cavendish said after crossing the line looking as exhausted as the GC riders. “I was pretty nervous about it – and yesterday as well. The time limit was only 25 minutes for today and I treated the top of the Col du Télégraphe as my finish line. I thought I had to get there as best I could and I went over the Télégraphe with Thor Hushovd and Joaquin Rojas – the guys for the green jersey – and that that was important.

    “Things calmed down and we rode up and down the Galibier and then we just gave it everything on Alpe d’Huez.”

    Despite race commissaires extending the time limit to the maximum 13 per cent of the winner’s time, the high pace meant that the 82-strong gruppetto was still technically outside the time limit by less than 30 seconds. But despite the 20-point penalty, because Rojas and Cavendish finished in the same group, they maintained their relative positions.

    On Thursday’s stage finish atop the Galibier however, Cavendish, along with 88 other riders missed the time limit by 2:30. The race jury

  • Rolland makes French history on Alpe d'Huez

    Pierre Rolland celebrates his Alpe d'Huez triumph
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 21:30 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Europcar rider nets stage win and white jersey

    During Thomas Voeckler's ten days of glory wearing the yellow jersey, one of his teammates stood out as being particularly strong in the support of his Europcar leader: Pierre Rolland. On stage 19 to L'Alpe d'Huez, as Voeckler's overall lead was taken by Andy Schleck, the 24-year-old Rolland was given the opportunity to prove his enormous talent and he did not fail: he got the better of the world's greatest climbers Alberto Contador and Samuel Sanchez, winning his first Tour de France stage on top of a mythical mountain and taking the white jersey of best young rider from Rein Taaramae.

    The tall and lean Europcar rider was the first Frenchman to win atop of the Alpe since Bernard Hinault in 1986. "I'm on a cloud right now, I don't realise what I've done," an incredulous Rolland told the press in the finish. "Bernard Hinault's win in 1986 corresponds to the year of my birth. I'm proud of myself..."

    Rolland started the stage as a domestique to Voeckler, whom he tried to maintain in the overall lead. But after Contador had attacked early in the Col du Télégraphe, taking Andy Schleck with him - and it became clear that Voeckler would not be able to come back on them - the 24-year-old was given the green light to leave his leader.

    "When Thomas told me that I could play my own card and go for the white jersey, I knew I could go for the stage," Rolland explained. "I know the area here really well so I knew when to make my move on this little hill in the valley [leading to the foot of the final climb]." The Frenchman collaborated with Garmin's Ryder Hesjedal to catch Contador and Schleck, before the Spaniard launched further attacks.

    "Contador attacked like only he can, and I was at 20 seconds. But they told me in the earpiece...

  • Video: Eisel talks time limits at l'Alpe d'Huez

    Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) ready to get some racing done
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    HTC rider happy to see the back of the mountains

    Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad) made helped Mark Cavendish reach the finish at l'Alpe d'Huez to ensure he kept the green points jersey but the veteran Austrian had to fight all the way to the finish line.

    The time limit cut off flashed constantly at the finish and the gruppetto actually crossed the line 18 seconds outside it. But Eisel revealed that technical race director Jean-Francois Pescheux gave him a reassuring nod because the seconds are rounded up.

    Eisel has given his all to help Cavendish in the mountains but suffered himself on the Col du Télégraphe and Galibier. He revealed how David Millar helped him survive on the climbs after the two were dropped early in the stage.

    David Millar himself wrote in a string of tweets:

    "Bernie Eisel & I formed an eternal bond today. We were off the back on our own within the first few km's of Telegraph. Seemed Game Over."

    "We'd each have good & bad patches. During one of my bad patches I told Bernie just to go, 'Davie, we go home together, or Paris together.' Camaraderie transcends teams on occasions, that was one of them. Mind you, he scared the bajesus out of me on the descent of the Galibier."

    Not surprisingly Eisel was glad to see the back of the Alps. His last big effort will be making sure Cavendish win the sprint on the Champs Elysees on Sunday and so takes the green points jersey.
     

  • Contador shows his pride with long-range attack

    There's no denying that Alberto Contador suffered on the Alpe d'Huez.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 22:30 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard comes up empty but happy to have tried to win at L'Alpe d'Huez

    Alberto Contador was unable to win the stage to L'Alpe d'Huez and is unlikely for him to finish higher than fourth in this Tour de France. The Spaniard went down fighting on Friday, however, as he tried to turn his Tour de France around, attacking at the very foot of the Col du Telegraph and Galibier and then attacking again on the hairpins of the L'Alpe d'Huez.

    He was caught after Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Pierre Roland (Europcar) got across to him with three kilometers to go but showed real character by going on the attack just 24 hours after losing any chance of a fourth Tour de France victory.

    Rolland went on to win the stage and take the best young rider's white jersey, while Sanchez pulled on the polka-dot climber's jersey. Contador only prize was a show of pride and the vote as most aggressive rider.

    "Last night when I was in my bed, I told myself: ‘Are you going to just stay in the peloton with no pain and no glory? I couldn't stand the idea of leaving this race without doing anything. So all I could think of today was attacking," Contador said.

    The Saxo-SunGard team leader threw caution to the wind by attacking at the very foot of the Co du Télégraphe. His attack made a quick selection. It pushed Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) into the red and meant the plucky Frenchman would finally lose the yellow jersey and even any chance of a place on the final podium in Paris.

    "It would have been easier to wait for the finale before going, but I attacked early because I had good legs," he said.

    "Waiting wouldn't have been the same. I've been on the back foot for the whole Tour, with knee problems. If I hadn't attacked from the gun today I wouldn't have been happy with myself. It didn't...

  • Evans has simple strategy for decisive time trial: ride fast

    Cadel Evans (BMC) will ride for yellow in tomorrow's TT
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 23:15 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Australian talks about the bike problems that almost cost him the Tour de France

    Cadel Evans (BMC) rolled to a stop just after the finish line in l'Alpe d'Huez and leaned on the side of a truck, exhausted by yet another huge effort in the Alps on stage 19 of the Tour de France.

    He was immediately pounced upon by television cameras and journalists and didn't know the exact amount of time Alberto Contador had finished ahead of him, nor the gap to Thomas Voeckler behind. However, by finishing with the Schleck brothers, he knew he still has a great shot at winning the Tour.

    Andy Schleck pulled on the yellow jersey and so will start behind Evans in the 42.5km time trial around Grenoble on Saturday, but the Australian must be quietly confident he can pull back the 57 seconds that stand between him and victory.

    Evans admitted that he was surprised by Contador's early attack on the Col du Télégraphe. He was able to go with him but was then slowed by a mechanical problem and was forced to change bikes. It meant he had to chase all the way up to the 2556-meter summit of the Galibier and down the descent.

    "I was sort of expecting Contador's attack but it was a real early, early and bold move, like Andy (Schleck) did yesterday," Evans said.

    "I was well placed but was feeling pretty average. I could feel there was something wrong with my rear wheel, that was slowing me down. I think it was rubbing on the frame. It put me over the limit when I accelerated and that seemed strange. It's why I changed bikes. But when they're going pretty fast up front and you have to stop three times, the chances of getting back by yourself are pretty limited."

    Evans chased hard on the Galibier and just failed to catch Samuel Sanchez when he jumped across the gap over the top. He eventually caught them after...

  • Berlin seeking Tour de France start in 2016 or 2017

    The Tour de France peloton is about to roll out of Cambrai
    Article published:
    July 23, 2011, 0:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German city last hosted Tour in 1987

    The Tour de France may start from Berlin in 2016 or 2017, according to the German capital’s secretary of state for sport.

    “I’m going to meet the organisers of the Tour de France in Paris on Monday to discuss it,” Thomas Härtel told Tagesspiegel. “The organisers themselves have already come to Berlin to look around the city.”

    Although plans are at an early stage, it is understood that a Berlin Grand Départ would feature a city-centre prologue and a road stage taking in the surrounding hinterland. The bid has received the backing of German cycling federation president Rudolf Scharping. “This is a great idea from Berlin, which we of course support,” he said.

    One potential stumbling block to a Tour start in Berlin is German scepticism regarding cycling’s doping problems. German broadcasters ARD and ZDF are set to stop screening the race after this year, while three major German team sponsors (T-Mobile, Gersolsteiner and Milram) have also withdrawn from the sport in recent years.

    “We know that the Tour de France has been much criticised in Germany,” Härtel said. “If the Tour begins in Berlin, it would mean that all efforts must be made against doping. It’s a common struggle.”

    The Tour previously began from Berlin in 1987, as the race celebrated the 750th anniversary of the city’s foundation, which was at the time divided by the Berlin Wall.

    Unable to use East German roads, that Grand Départ consisted of a prologue, a 106km circuit race and a team time trial over two days in West Berlin. After victory...

  • MPCC riders are all clean, Legeay says

    The Europcar team protected Voeckler all day
    Article published:
    July 23, 2011, 0:30 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carey

    Europcar missed an internal test in June because they had a UCI test the same day

    At the start of the Tour de France stage to Alpe d’Huez there were 49 riders from teams part of the "Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible" (MPCC) and their President, Roger Legeay, has told Cyclingnews that all of them completed an 'anti-doping' test that showed "no abnormal results".

    The MPCC covers seven teams: AG2R-La Mondiale, Cofidis, Europcar, Francaise des Jeux, Garmin-Cervélo and two squads which are not in this year's Tour de France, Skil-Shimano and Bretagne-Schuller.

    In order to protect both athletes’ health and prevent doping, the MPCC runs internal tests to check the level of Cortisol (a stress hormone) in riders' blood.

    “The latest internal test happened the day after the second rest day in the Tour de France [last Monday, Ed.]”, Legeays told Cyclingnews.

    “Our independent expert [Armand Mégret, also the doctor of French Cycling Federation, Ed.] supervised the controls. There are no abnormal results.”

    Cyclingnews understands the penultimate internal test happened in June, at the Critérium du Dauphiné. All the MPCC teams which took part to the race were tested, except Europcar.

    Asked about this test by Cyclingnews, Legeay said: “It is true they missed the test but I agreed to that, as Europcar had another test the same day, run by the UCI.”

    MPCC’s internal tests are an important part of the organisation’s policy since its foundation in 2007. A rider from a MPCC team isn’t allowed to take any corticoids, even for medical reasons, in an eight-day window before a race.

    Legeay picked up on the fact that there is now a UCI rule which bans corticoids, two days before a competition. He cites another idea launched by the MPCC and then accepted by the UCI: the points’ penalty in the World ranking,...

  • Shaw looks to go back-to-back at Tour of Gippsland

    Pat Shaw (Genesys) takes the stage 2 win at the Tour of Toowoomba
    Article published:
    July 23, 2011, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Genesys rider enjoying racing with the Orange Army

    Pat Shaw will be attempting to defend his Tour of Gippsland title, the event starting next Wednesday in Victoria set to kick off the race for the 2011 Scody Cup.

    Shaw, who also won the Scody Cup last season, will be one of the favourites for the 520 kilometre tour, with his team Genesys Pro Cycling proving a dominant force over the opening rounds of Australia's National Road Series. After three events, the Tours of Mersey Valley, Canberra and Toowomba, Shaw and his teammate Nathan Haas from the Orange Army sit on top of the NRS rankings on 160 and 235 points respectively. Another Genesys rider, Steele Von Hoff is next best on 85 with Jayco-2XU's Glenn O'Shea providing some relief from the domination in fourth place with 65 points from the Tour of Canberra.

    Twenty-four-year-old Shaw told Cyclingnews that it was no surprise that Genesys were so prominent, given the amount of options available to take stage wins.

    "I think that's something where we have an advantage, that we have several strong riders not just one or two, there's probably up to six cards for us in Gippsland depending on how it unfolds," he explained.

    As for his own form, Shaw is confident, saying that it's on par, if not better than what he produced in 2010 where he took out the event without winning a stage.

    "But whether that means anything for how I'll go this year I don't know because the level is rising all the time in these races and it makes it more difficult being heavily marked in a lot of the races," he said.

    With a handful of teams in the NRS able to come up with the goods for overall honours, the result is fast and furious racing, dominated by breakaways. Within...