Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
American bounces back after Friday's late crash
BMC's Tejay van Garderen was able to warm down on the turbo trainer and quietly reflect on his race after stage 8 to La Mauselaine in the hills above Gérardmer, knowing he limited his losses to overall rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkof-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the first uphill finish of the 2014 Tour de France.
Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team split the front group on the three short but steep climbs in the finale of the 161km stage. Van Garderen was able to sit safely on the wheels and only lost 20 seconds when Contador accelerated in the final kilometre thinking he could win the stage. He finished eighth on the stage won by Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and so moved up to 13th overall, 3:34 behind Nibali but much closer to the other overall contenders. He is exactly one minute down on Contador.
Van Garderen lost 1:03 at the end of Friday's stage and has bandages on both legs. But he fought the pain and seemed not to have lost his climbing power.
"I'm doing okay. I am doing my best to brush it off and keep looking forward," he told journalists a few second after the finish, with rain droplets covering his face.
"I think today I did a good job. But we have another couple of hard days before the rest day."
Van Garderen praised Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team for the way they controlled the race, no doubt knowing he will have to take advantage of other teams in the high mountains that begins this weekend, after losing precious teammate John Atapuma. The Colombian climber fell at the same time as van Garderen on Friday and suffered a non-displaced fracture in his...
Orica-GreenEdge rider hoping to make it all the way to Paris
A determined Yates made it into the day’s break and kept the peloton at bay until the final climb of Gérardmer. "It was a hard day out, but it was a good experience. It might come off another time," Yates told the gathered press at the finish.
"What was left of the peloton was breathing down my neck, so to speak, and I had the car coming up to me. I was just riding as hard as I could and what can you do when the best bike riders in the world are chasing you?"
It was a fast start to the day, with the peloton averaging more than 48kph. The quick pace made it difficult for an escape to form and it wasn't until 36km had passed when the peloton allowed two riders to go. A week into his first Grand Tour, Yates was determined to show that he earned his place in the team. The 21-year-old missed the initial attack by former teammates Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling).
With the bit between his teeth, Yates chased with two other riders to make the junction to the two out front. "It was tough even trying to get into it. I was going flat out just to get into it with 30 other guys," said Yates.
Yates looked strong in the group of five, but when it came to the crunch on the Col de la Croix Moinats, he couldn't match the pace of Kadri and Chavanel. Yates tried valiantly, but the weather conditions had taken their toll. "I'm...
Belgian rider loses time to overall contenders
One day ahead of the Vosges mountain stages, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) expressed his joy about finally heading into the mountains after crashing for three days in a row during the opening stages of the Tour de France. During a stormy stage 8, however, the Belgian rider was unable to live up his GC expectations as he faded on the summit finish to La Mauselaine, and lost 1:17 minutes to riders like Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Lotto-Belisol had not expected Van Den Broeck to struggle so much during the small mountain sections of the race, but the atmosphere at the team's camp was not too down-hearted. The 31-year-old Belgian didn't talk to the media at the finish line and took his time to freshen up on the team bus before taking a seat on the steps of the bus. Just like a day earlier, Van Den Broeck sounded quite upbeat and he explained that it was an off-day caused by his three crashes during the three previous stages.
"The doctor told me that I should not underestimate the impact of the three crashes on my body and that's why I'm not panicking. My legs were not good today but on La Planche des Belles Filles, I lost much more in 2012 and I even came fourth. I'm at about a minute from the third place I'm targeting so I don't have to panic. The high mountains are still coming up but it’s a pity I dropped a few places today. Monday could be completely different. What's a minute on a high mountain? And I managed to stay upright," Van Den Broeck said.
When trying to analyze his race, Van Den Broeck explained that the fast pace set by the Tinkoff-Saxo team took his breath away. "On the Col de la Croix des Moinats, it went really hard and I didn't feel 100...
Spaniard shows he is ready to attack Nibali in the mountains
Alberto Contador thought he was fighting for the stage 8 victory until the final metres of the mountaintop finish to La Mauselaine, above Gérardmer, the first stage in the Vosges mountains at the Tour de France. But despite Blel Kadri managing to hold off the Tinkoff-Saxo-led peloton for the win, Contador was still pleased with the day's racing, knowing that he and his teammates had shown they were the strongest team in this year's Tour peloton.
"It was the first day of mountains and I think we did some excellent work as a team," Contador said proudly.
"I felt good, my legs responded well. The gaps were small but it was a short stage and I couldn't really distance Nibali because we ran out of road."
If the stage was a boxing match, Contador won it on points after landing some psychological blows on his biggest rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and the other overall contenders.
During the three late climbs, the Tinkoff-Saxo team set a fierce tempo with first Rafal Majka, then Nicolas Roche and finally Michael Rogers. That brought a smile to team owner Oleg Tinkov, who sat in the team car next to manager Bjarne Riis. It also blew the main peloton to pieces and saw several big names lose time.
Contador tried to finalise the work of his loyal teammates by accelerating away in sight of the line. The remains of the day's break were swept up on the climb but Contador only realised that Kadri had stayed away when he looked up at the clock. However, he was happy to have gained a psychologically significant three seconds on Nibali, reducing his deficit to 2:34 and moving up to sixth place overall. The time taken on other riders was much bigger and much more...
Race leader concedes three seconds on Contador
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) managed to defend his overall lead in style during stage 8, the first mountain stage of the 2014 Tour de France, which hit three Vosges climbs in the final 20km. Challenger Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team set a blistering pace over the climbs that cost most riders their spot up front. Only Nibali managed to hang on until the final metres of the summit finish up to La Mauselaine where he lost a seemingly futile three seconds on Contador.
"It was a very hard 1,800 meters as I'm not a very explosive kind of rider. I was waiting for Alberto Contador's attacks and I wanted to respond to them as best as possible. I'd spent a lot of energy and in the last 100 metres he accelerated a lot," Nibali said after the stage.
The Sicilian noticed that Team Sky found a worthy replacement for Chris Froome in his teammate Richie Porte. "Richie Porte is very strong. He's now Sky's big plan and he's sure to do a good race as he's not that far behind," Nibali said. Porte finished a short distance behind the two protagonists, losing only four seconds to Nibali and seven to Contador.
"At the Tour of Romandie Richie Porte was not in a great place but here he has been. Surely he's going to be a man for the overall. And we have to add Valverde to the GC, even if he was a little behind today."
Not only a thunderstorm unleashed its forces on the riders through the Vosges mountain stage but so did Tinkoff-Saxo. In high contrast, Nibali's Astana teammates were unable to stay with him at the end of the stage. Michele Scarponi faded on the final climb and Tanel Kangert was supporting second-placed Jakob Fuglsang, who struggled in the final kilometers while the rain poured...
Cannondale rider hoping to make it to Paris
This time last year, Ted King (Cannondale) was already back at home and out of the Tour de France. The Cannondale rider had been thrown from the race for finishing outside of the time cut during the team time trial. King was suffering with a separated shoulder going into fourth stage and finished just seven seconds outside of the time cut.
The manner of his departure was tough for King to take and he sees the Tour de France as unfinished business. It has not been a bed of roses for King on his return to the Tour. Like many riders, he had had one or two meetings with the tarmac, but he is taking it all in his stride. "I'm obviously licking my wounds but I'm happy," he told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 8.
"Last year, I got through one day and half a week, and that was extremely difficult to leave under the circumstances I did. Every day I'm feeling a little bit stronger and it was a big confidence boost to pull for literally five hours. Things are good."
After his ignominious departure from the race last year, King is tentative about thinking too far ahead. However, his performances over recent days have given him a boost of confidence. "I'm pretty positive about making it all the way to Paris," said King. "I'm taking it one day at a time. My goal is to be an impactful team player in this, on this team and with the ambitions we have."
With no general classification hopes, Cannondale are putting all their resources behind Peter Sagan in the sprints. The Slovakian is looking to add the green jersey to his palmarès for the third year running and King has been brought in to support...
Broken nose doesn't stop Voss
Leo König's (NetApp-Endura) aspiration for a high overall placing at the Tour de France suffered a blow as he crashed on the ascent to Gérardmer La Mauselaine losing time to his rivals. Although König moved up to 24th overall, he is now 7:35 minutes down on yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
König was with the select GC group at the front of the race behind Blel Kadri (Ag2r) — who rode to the win having been in the day's breakaway — before his crash halted any ambitions for a good result despite feeling good.
"Today our riders worked well together and everything worked out just the way we had planned," said the team's director sportif Enrico Poitschke.
"Leo's legs were good, and I think it was easy to see that he was in a good mood. He rode into a good position up until his unfortunate crash. He lost three minutes to the other riders in the general classification, which is of course a lot. We will now have to see how the injury this morning will affect him. Then we will decide what to do about the general classification, i.e., if it makes sense to continue pursuing this goal or if we should instead focus on the individual stages.
"Right now, I am assuming that we will still have our eyes set on finishing in the top 15 overall."
Despite finishing in 38th place, König was the team's second best finisher on the stage behind Tiago Machado who was 34th.
Having crashed in the final kilometre of stage 7, breaking his nose and fracturing his little finger, FDJ's GC candidate moves up to twelfth overall On the first summit finish of the 2014 Tour de France, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) rode through the rain and fog to cross the line in fifth place conceding less than 10 seconds to his main GC rivals. Pinot now sits in 12th place overall, 3:32 minutes down on Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and is currently the third best young rider in the race. "It's sure that I wanted to test myself," Pinot said after the stage. "It's a pity to see such a beautiful region in the mist. I still hope it was a great show in spite of the rain. To start with mid-mountain allows us to step up a gear. We spent one week on the big gear and on the climbs you need to adjust your pedaling." The next two stages of the Tour are also in the Voges mountains and Pinot is expecting Nibali and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to emerge as the top-two riders on the overall classification. "For me, obviously it's going to be between Nibali and Contador," he said. "Today I saw it from a distance, I'm a little bit behind. Maybe on a stage or a hill that suits me better I will have a chance, but for the three-week race, I'm afraid they're still ahead of me." Having been caught out in the wind and lost 59 seconds to his GC rivals on stage six, Pinot was happy to have shown what he is capable off on the slopes of the climb to Gérardmer. "Personally, I'm happy," he said. "I am...
FDJ's GC candidate moves up to twelfth overall
On the first summit finish of the 2014 Tour de France, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) rode through the rain and fog to cross the line in fifth place conceding less than 10 seconds to his main GC rivals. Pinot now sits in 12th place overall, 3:32 minutes down on Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and is currently the third best young rider in the race.
"It's sure that I wanted to test myself," Pinot said after the stage. "It's a pity to see such a beautiful region in the mist. I still hope it was a great show in spite of the rain. To start with mid-mountain allows us to step up a gear. We spent one week on the big gear and on the climbs you need to adjust your pedaling."
The next two stages of the Tour are also in the Voges mountains and Pinot is expecting Nibali and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to emerge as the top-two riders on the overall classification.
"For me, obviously it's going to be between Nibali and Contador," he said. "Today I saw it from a distance, I'm a little bit behind. Maybe on a stage or a hill that suits me better I will have a chance, but for the three-week race, I'm afraid they're still ahead of me."
Having been caught out in the wind and lost 59 seconds to his GC rivals on stage six, Pinot was happy to have shown what he is capable off on the slopes of the climb to Gérardmer.
"Personally, I'm happy," he said. "I am...