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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 12, 2009

Date published:
July 12, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Bicycle safety expert killed in collision with car in North Carolina

    Bruce Rosar lectured extensively on bicycle safety.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 14:13 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Triangle will miss its most enthusiastic bicycling advocate

    The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill "Triangle" area has lost one of its most vocal and knowledgeable cycling safety experts in a crash with a car in Apex, North Carolina. Bruce Rosar, 56, died after being struck by a vehicle while cycling along one of the area's popular routes on Saturday afternoon.

    Details of the incident have not been released, but according to the News and Observer, Apex police were looking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision.

    According to his biography, Rosar was president of the North Carolina Bicycling Club from 2002-2003 and was a Director of the North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance.

    He was also a founding member of the NC Coalition for Bicycle Driving, the Education Officer for the NC Bicycle Club, the elected representative for Region 3 on the League of American Bicyclists Board and a member of the CAMPO Bicycle/Pedestrian Stakeholders Group.

    He actively promoted commuting by bicycle as a safe and enjoyable way to get to work, and was active in Raleigh's "Bike to Work Week". He also lectured on bicycle safety to area businesses and taught cycling safety for Triangle Roadway Bicycling and at various bicycle rallies.

    Anybody with information on the collision which killed Rosar should call Apex police at (919) 362-6661.

    On a personal note, Bruce was one of the first cyclists I met when I took up the sport many years ago. He was always friendly, helpful and a pleasure to ride with. The entire cycling community will miss him dearly, and so will I... LW

  • Bruyneel holding the cards after first mountain finish

    Alberto Contador (Astana) riders into second place on general classification.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 15:37 BST
    Richard Moore

    Contador, Armstrong both on good form

    Astana team director Johan Bruyneel has his team poised to claim the lead of the Tour de France, and is in the enviable position of having four riders within a minute of taking the maillot jaune. 2007 Tour champion Alberto Contador moved into second spot on GC, now  just two seconds over Lance Armstrong, with a powerful surge in the final kilometre to Andorre Arcalis.

    While many would like to think Contador was asserting his claim to the team leadership, Bruyneel played down any suggestion that the Spaniard had acted in his own, rather than the team's, interests.

    "Every opportunity you have to distance your rivals, you have to take it," said Bruyneel. "We didn't have a plan to attack. Our plan was to maintain our collective strength first and wait for attacks from the others."

    As Bruyneel pointed out, Contador actually counter-attacked, following Cadel Evans's surge. "Because of the headwind, it wasn't an ideal stage for an early attack on the climb. I expected an attack from [Carlos] Sastre, but he didn't go, also because of this headwind."

    "The race itself decided who is the strongest. This morning, we didn't give any specific instructions. I just told them to talk to each other, and do what you have to do. Alberto was strong, he is a great climber and there are three summit finishes at this Tour, so this was one of his possibilities today."

    With the race only at the end of its first week, Bruyneel said the team was not intending to take the yellow jersey yet, rather it hoped to give the jersey to a breakaway rider whose team would then be obligated to control the race.

    "When we saw who was in the break, our intention was to let it go, and control it with the intention that one of these guys could become the overall leader. Ideally, with two, or two and a half minutes – that would have been even better [Rinaldo Nocentini of AG2R has just six seconds' lead on Contador, eight on...

  • Former winner Pereiro abandons Tour

    Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) waits for the start in Saint Arnoult en Yveline.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 15:37 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Spaniard leaves race 90km into stage eight

    Oscar Pereiro, winner of the 2006 Tour de France, abandoned this year's race today 90 kilometres after stage eight left Andorre-la-Vieille, Andorra. The Spaniard of team Caisse d'Epargne said he just did not have the form to complete the race.

    “I have had very bad sensations since the Tour started from Monaco," said Pereiro. “It was no use to go on like that and I prefer to concentrate on my next objective which should be the Tour of Spain.”

    Pereiro was 38th at 5:36 behind race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) at the start of stage eight.

    He was upbeat on Thursday and looked ahead to the Tour de France's mountain stages. "It will be time to try and win a stage," he told Cyclingnews.

    Pereiro had to abandon last year after he broke his arm in a crash in stage 15. He had to miss the rest of his season and only returned to racing this season at the Tour Down Under.

    Organisers declared Pereiro winner of the 2006 Tour de France after the disqualification of American Floyd Landis.

  • Evans attacks but fails to gain time

    Evans above: Cadel goes on the attack but it wasn't to last
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 18:37 BST
    Richard Moore

    Australian goes on the offensive but leaves Bruyneel baffled

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) lit up the early part of the eighth stage, going on the attack to try and claw back some of the time he conceded in the first week. He began the day in 18th, 3:07 down, but surprised everyone when he joined a counter-attack on the climb of Port d’Envalira, and then worked hard to drive the move clear.

    With the presence of Evans, who has finished second overall in the last two Tours, the break was arguably always doomed to failure, but the Australian earned praise from most observers for at least having a go, even if his tactics baffled some others including Johan Bruyneel, the Astana team director.

    At the finish, as he spoke to reporters, there was a glimpse of the Evans that began last year’s Tour as the favourite, and appeared less than comfortable with the attendant pressure.

    "I took advantage of an opportunity at the start, but to no avail, "said Evans. "It wasn’t planned."

    Then he turned his guns on the media; to be precise, "ignorant members of the media who say I never attack."

    He continued: "I get so sick of being told, ‘Why don’t you go in an early break? Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that?’ Do you think anyone in the Tour de France would let me go in a break?"

    He was similarly unimpressed with his breakaway companions. "I get in the breakaway and they carry on like three-year olds with a tantrum, saying, ‘Err, get out of the group… they are going to chase us.’ Honestly, that is typical bike riders’ tactics. They are more than welcome to go back to the peloton if they want."

    Regaining his cool, Evans added: "I saw an opportunity, I had nothing to lose… but as it turned out, it was a big waste of energy."

    Despite that, Evans promised to "have a go at Verbier," in eight days. "I’ll seek more opportunities," he said.

    Bruyneel seemed confused, meanwhile, by...

  • Bodrogi back to form in Austria

    Laszlo Bodrogi
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 18:43 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Hungarian rebounds from last year's injuries to third in time trial

    Multi-time Hungarian champion László Bodrogi showed a return to form in the Tour of Austria by taking third in the 26.3km time trial on Saturday. The Katusha team rider has been battling to regain his fitness after breaking two bones in his leg in a crash in the Tour of Germany last year.

    Now a nationalised Frenchman thanks to his marriage, Bodrogi came within 15 seconds of the time of stage winner Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank). Canadian Svein Tuft (Garmin-Slipstream) took second place just two seconds off the win.

    His recuperation is not 100% complete, said Bodrogi, but he was happy with the result.  “It means the end of a long period of trying to get back into racing and find an acceptible condition. Today there were a lot of cross winds and at the end it cost me power. It still says to me that my left leg has an inferior muscular tone in comparison to the right. However the positive thing is that I finally see the end of the tunnel even if often feel pain down to my ankle."

  • Experience pays off for Sanchez

    Taking his Sanchez: Luis Leon wins stage eight after a display of tactical brilliance
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 19:18 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Stage eight winner aims for overall classification

    When Cyclingnews spotted Luis Leon Sanchez at the start of stage eight in Andorra La Vella, he was circling around the team bus, warming up his muscles for the 23km-long climb that was the starter of the second Pyrenean day's menu. The Spaniard was then 4:10 minutes back on the overall classification - a good bet for today's breakaway?

    "Yes, today is a beautiful day," said Sanchez when asked if he planned to attack on a stage that suited his abilities. "But I suppose a lot of guys want to get in the break, so it will be complicated. Still, I'll try to be up there and go for the stage victory."

    And so he did. After joining the day's escape group which formed after the first climb, the Caisse d'Epargne rider not only let his legs do the talking, but also rode with his head to take victory in a three-man sprint in front of Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel).

    Together with Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), the three riders formed as the remnants of the break day's break formed on the descent down to Saint-Girons.

    Efimkin attacked and held an advantage of a handful of seconds for the last three kilometres, but it didn’t last. "I knew that Efimkin had no other choice than to attack," said Sanchez.

    "I know him well because he used to be one of my teammates. He's not very fast [in a sprint], so I knew he was going to attack from a long way. I told Astarloza and Casar that we had to get him back. I needed a bit of luck but I know I’ve got a good sprint so I was able to take the win."

    The Spaniard rode onto Casar's wheel as the latter went for the line with 300 metres to go but the Frenchman misjudged his effort, and Sanchez was able to come through in the last few metres. "It's never easy to control a sprint," he said. "But I kept a cool head because I already had the experience from last year. It wasn't easy - it's never easy, especially in the Tour."

    It was...

  • Silence-Lotto director: teams have to work together to beat Astana

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) leads the escape group.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2009, 22:07 BST
    Richard Moore

    Redant hoping for an alliance on the road

    Cadel Evans said that his attack on stage eight wasn't planned, and that was confirmed by comments made by Silence-Lotto director Henrik Redant on the morning of the stage.

    With his team leader sitting at 18th overall, 3:07 behind the Astana juggernaut, Redant saw little opportunity for Evans to gain time until the race heads to Switzerland at the end of next week.

    "The race is blocked now for a week," Redant said in Andorra, dismissing Saturday's and Sunday's Pyrenean stages.

    "Nothing will happen today," he confidently predicted. "Nothing will happen until Verbier. A guy will win today but nothing will happen to affect overall classification."

    Barely an hour later, Evans was on the attack. To be fair to Redant, he had said that his team leader would seek opportunities to make up his time, saying "he will be aggressive – he will attack," but adding: "You can't go running around like a chicken with no head – you have to think about it."

    If there was a criticism of Evans' move it was certainly not that it lacked ambition, but that it didn't appear to be thought through, given the distance from the summit of the first climb to the finish – around 150km.

    Redant also suggested that, in order for a non-Astana rider to win the Tour, other teams will have to join forces. "But it can't be pre-planned," he said, "it will have to happen on the road, if the opportunity is there."

    "The other teams will have to work together," added Redant. "Not everyone has three or four leaders like Astana. If you really want to achieve something, you must work together."

    Perhaps trying to emulate Floyd Landis in his epic 130km breakaway of 2006, Evans gambled, but found no allies in the ultimately futile move. When he was caught, it was Caisse d'Epargne's Luis Leon Sanchez, not Evans, who would break free to take the stage win and make up nearly two minutes in the general classification.

    On the...

  • Nocentini saves the yellow jersey

    Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2009, 9:57 BST
    Richard Moore

    He looks ahead to Monday's rest day

    It might not be accurate to say that Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) enjoyed his first day in the yellow jersey of Tour de France leader, but he was relieved, at the end of it, to have kept it.

    At one point, as Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) thinned out the main group on the climb of the Col d'Agnes by launching a series of attacks, Nocentini seemed to be in major trouble. But as Schleck gave up on his efforts to break clear, and the Astana-led group slowed, Nocentini was paced back by his veteran teammate Stéphane Goubert, and yellow was saved.

    Now he believes he can keep it until Monday's rest day, and then "as far as possible."

    "Today was a really tough day after my breakaway yesterday," said the Italian. "It was probably the toughest day to be in the yellow jersey. Tomorrow there's the Col du Tourmalet, [which is] a very difficult climb, but it's very far from the finish. I hope there will be a breakaway, and they can fight it out, and I'll be able to keep yellow until the rest day and as far as possible."

    AG2R played a shrewd hand by placing Vladimir Efimkin in the break. They gave themselves a reason not to work on the front, as the team defending the yellow jersey would ordinarily be expected to do.

    Johan Bruyneel, the Astana director, explained that he wanted the yellow jersey to return to the group on the Agnes, though he admitted that it didn't make much difference in the end, with Astana having to assume the responsibility that should have been AG2R's.

    "They didn't do a lot today," said Bruyneel. "They rode smart."

    "We spoke before the start," said Nocentini, "we knew it was a difficult first climb and that eventually a breakaway would take off with Efimkin or Goubert. And Efimkin was there, meaning that the team didn't have to work, and Astana had to do most of the work.

    "I knew Schleck or [Cadel] Evans would eventually attack on the climb," he continued. "I can't follow those guys, so I...