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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 17, 2011

Date published:
July 17, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Ten Dam escapes fractures in Pyrenean face-plant

    Laurens Ten Dam is quite a sight after his face-plant on stage 14.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2011, 23:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider bloodied, unsure of stage 15 start

    Rabobank's Laurens Ten Dam has escaped serious injury in a crash on stage 14 of the Tour de France, but is not sure if he will start tomorrow's stage to Montpellier.

    The Dutch rider finished the stage with gauze wrapped around his face, covering his bloodied nose. He crashed on the descent of the Col d'Agnes, going over the bars into a ditch face first.

    He was able to get back up and finish the stage with the main 'gruppetto', 26:45 down on stage winner Jelle Vanendert.

    Following the stage, he said via Twitter, "I'm ok so far. No fractures. Only future scars. Will see tomorrow if a start is possible. Thanks for all the support."

    He was taken immediately after finishing by ambulance a the hospital in Foix, where it was determined he sustained no broken bones. He suffered abrasions to his hands and back as well as a deep gash to his nose.  His team's medical staff and management will decide if he is fit to continue, his team said on its website,


  • Casar disappointed by another missed opportunity for FDJ

    Sandy Casar (FDJ)
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 1:02 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman rues lack of cooperation in stage 14 breakaway

    For the fifth time since the start of the Tour de France in Vendée, the FDJ team won the prize for the most aggressive rider with Sandy Casar seducing the panel of experts on stage 14 as well as his team-mates Mickaël Delage (stage 3 and stage 11) and Jérémy Roy (stage 4 and stage 13). The French squad also added one more intermediate sprint to their collection: Delage was the first man of the breakaway at Orgibet (km 36), so the riders sporting a four leaf clover on their kits now have eight half-way stage wins out of thirteen.

    However, there were mixed feelings at FDJ at the Plateau de Beille as Casar also missed out on the stage win, Jérémy Roy lost the polka dot jersey to Jelle Vandendert, Arnold Jeannesson lost the white jersey to Rigoberto Uran (Sky), while William Bonnet was the only rider who didn't make the time cut.

    "William had a knee inflammation for three days," directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud explained. "If it wasn't the Tour de France, he'd have gone home earlier." Jeannesson suffered a stitch at the beginning of the ascent to the Plateau de Beille but he remains in contention for the white jersey as well as Uran, Rein Taarämae (Cofidis) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar).

    "I'm disappointed to not win the stage after attacking early this morning," Casar commented. "With about 10 minutes lead at some stage, I wanted to make it a success but there was no good cooperation in the breakaway. Some riders were there as team players for race favourites. I've tried my luck at the bottom of the Plateau de Beille. I believed a little...

  • Riis says Contador is "progressing"

    Alberto Contador keeps his rivals close on stage 14
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 3:08 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Saxo Bank boss doesn't believe knee injury will be an on-going issue

    Bjarne Riis stressed that the importance of today's result at Plateau de Beille could only be fully analysed at the end of the race, but there was no hiding his relief that Alberto Contador had only lost two seconds to Andy Schleck and stayed in contact with all his other Tour rivals.

    The Spaniard had suffered on the climb to Luz-Ardiden conceding vital seconds to both Schleck brothers, Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso. But on stage 14 he looked marginally sharper and was able to accelerate after all but one of the Schlecks attacks. The fact that he marked moves by only those two riders a key indication of who he believes is his main rivals at present.

    "Today's stage wasn't what everyone expected but what can you expect? I'm happy and pleased with the performance. Alberto is progressing and he's better today than he was two days ago, while his adversaries were on the same level from Luz-Ardiden," Riis told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    Asked what the fallout from Saturday's GC standings meant and whether he and Contador had won a minor psychological battle with the Leopard, Riis played it cool:

    "It's important but a victory is different. He stayed there without problems and that's a good sign for the future. The knee is okay and I don't see it as a major problem."

    Contador's knee has been causing him problems since a crash earlier in the race but Riis was asked if the injury had been used in order to mask other issues with Contador's form. The Spaniard is the only rider within the current 35 on GC that rode this year's Giro d'Italia, while his rivals built their

  • Cunego content to limit losses at Plateau de Beille

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) limits his losses on Plateau de Beille.
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 6:01 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian unable to follow accelerations in final 5km

    In spite of slipping out of the back of the yellow jersey group on the final push to the line at Plateau de Beille, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) was in upbeat mood after stage 14 of the Tour de France.

    Cunego slipped to eighth overall after losing 39 seconds to the other overall contenders, but the Italian was pleased with the way in which he limited his losses after being dropped 5 kilometres from the summit.

    As he recovered from the tumult of the fearsome final climb, a relaxed Cunego told Cyclingnews that the finale at Plateau de Beille had been far tougher than Thursday's tense Pyrenean opener.

    "It was harder than Luz-Ardiden, especially because all of the accumulated fatigue I have at this point," Cunego explained. "But I didn't ever lose concentration and I didn't lose so much in the end."

    With Fränk and Andy Schleck accelerating and then desisting on a number of occasions on the upper section of the climb, Cunego admitted that he struggled to cope with the stop-start nature of the race. Rather than cover the moves and risk cracking, he opted to follow his own tempo once he had been dropped.

    "The changes in rhythm were really very violent, and I preferred to follow my own pace because if I'd responded to all of those accelerations, it would have been worse," Cunego said. "I would have risked coming in five minutes down if I'd tried to follow those attacks, so it was better to continue regularly."

    Marco Pantani was the Tour's first winner at Plateau de Beille in 1998, and while Cunego is not going to follow in his late compatriot's wheel tracks, he remains confident that he...

  • Uran on the verge of Tour de France top 10

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky) took over the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 10:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Colombian takes the lead in young rider classification for Team Sky

    During the battle for the general classification on the slopes of Plateau de Beille, Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran was fighting on two fronts: for a place in the top ten and for the best young rider's white jersey. 

    The young Colombian went on to finish fifth, 48 seconds behind Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jelle Vanendert, ensuring he took the white jersey and moved up the special classification ahead of Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) and Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) who are now 1:07 and 1:25 back respectively.

    Team Sky directeur sportif Sean Yates praised Uran for his ride and the earlier efforts of Xabier Zandio who made the day's break which formed before the category two Col de Portet d'Aspet.

    "It was a good day all round, and for Rigoberto especially," he said. "It went very much as planned."

    "Xabier [Zandio] made the breakaway and that was perfect for us. It enabled the rest of the team - including Rigoberto - to know we had all bases covered and didn't have to waste any extra energy."

    "It (the break) was always likely to come back and then turn into a battle between the GC guys on the final climb but Xabier couldn't have done any more, he judged it just right."

    While he didn't gain any time on stage 14, 24-year-old Uran moved from 18th to 11th on general classification which Yates said is "all good, without getting carried away."

    "When we lost Brad we had to re-evaluate and look at what was the best way to go and Rigo will be doing everything he can to win the white jersey and climb into the top 10 overall," he explained. "He [Uran] played it cool today and did it to perfection. He did great. There's still a lot of competition in that young rider category but with the finish on the Galibier to come - where altitude will have an effect - you'd hope that's to Rigoberto's advantage."

  • Video: Mark Renshaw talks points jersey sprint tactics

    Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) have built up a wonderful understanding over the past three seasons.
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 11:41 BST
    Daniel Benson

    HTC lead out man names Gilbert as Cavendish’s big rival for green

    Mark Renshaw has predicted that Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is the biggest threat to Mark Cavendish’s chances of winning the green points jersey in Paris because he will be able to score points during several hilly stages in the final week of the race.

    Renshaw is Cavendish’s valued lead out man for the flat high-speed finishes like Sunday’s stage to Montpellier and also plays a vital roll in the now more valuable intermediate sprints on every stage. The Australian has to lead out Cavendish and then sprints himself to take away points from their rivals.

    Renshaw reveals to Cyclingnews that he has carefully studied each of the stages of the final week of the Tour and identified where rivals like Gilbert and possibly Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) could score points. He has also seen how the HTC-Highroad team might try and stop them.

    Renshaw has lead Cavendish to victory on the Champs Elysees twice in recent editions of the Tour de France and conceded that he may need to do it again if Cavendish is to win the green jersey.

  • Ten Dam continues in the Tour de France

    Laurens ten Dam
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 12:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank back in the saddle despite facial injuries

    The Rabobank team management has described Laurens ten Dam as “hard as rock” after he started the 15th stage of the Tour de France despite crashing and hurting his face in a high-speed crash during Saturday's stage to Plateau de Beille. 

    The 30-year-old finished Saturday's stage with a bloodied bandage wrapped around his head and nose. Last night he tweeted: “No fractures. Only future scars.”

    On Sunday morning he compared his eight stitches to the 33 received by Johnny Hoogerland, saying: “Start. Still 25 fewer than Johnny.....”

    Luuc Eisenga, the Rabobank communications manager posted a tweet with a quote from ten Dam saying: "You don't quit the Tour because of a thick lip."

    Ten Dam crashed on the descent of the Col d'Agnes, doing a half-somersault over his handlebars to land face first in a ditch. He was taken to hospital after the finish, where it was found he had no fractures, only deep gashes to his nose and abrasions on his hands and back.

    Despite all of that, he had a good night's sleep, the Rabobank team said, and after consultation with the medical staff and team management, it was decided that ten Dam would be allowed to start Sunday's stage. The  team pointed out that they are monitoring his condition closely and will pull out of the race if necessary. 


  • Tour de France news shorts

    Fabian Cancellara looks after Leopard Trek leader Fränk Schleck
    Article published:
    July 17, 2011, 13:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Transfer rumours, Cancellara flying high, Evans and the status quo

    Today’s transfer rumour is… ‘Peter Velits to Quick Step’

    As the August 1 transfer announcement date approaches and teams with backing in place continue to build for 2012, the rumours about riders changing team are coming as quickly as the attacks by French riders trying to get in the early break.

    On Sunday it was reported that Tejay ‘Tigger’ Van Garderen has signed a three-year deal to join BMC. Today L’Equipe is reporting that Slovakia’s Peter Velits may be heading to Quick Step if HTC-Highroad fails to secure a sponsorship for 2012.

    Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere seems ready to splash the cash after Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala bought a majority stake in the team. Lefevere had apparently tried to secure Alejandro Valverde as his stage racer but L’Equipe is convinced Velits could fill that role, while Tom Boonen, and possibly Philippe Gilbert, lead the team in the classics.

    Flying high after the strip club

    Everyone on the Tour de France had to fight the traffic to descend from Plateau de Beille but a select few were lucky enough to get a helicopter ride from the Pyrenean mountain finish.

    Race organiser ASO provides places in official helicopters for riders who have to go through the lengthy post-stage podium and media protocol, and for riders delayed by anti-doping tests. And so on Sunday Thomas Voeckler (yellow jersey), Jelle Vanendert (stage winner), Andy Schleck (selected for anti-doping) all got a golden ticket for the ASO chopper.

    However in a move that could upset other riders and teams, L’Equipe claims Fabian Cancellara has called on his sponsors to provide a helicopter so that he could avoid the traffic.

    Cancellara worked his legs off to work for the Schlecks during in the stage and was reportedly not in a good mood when he reached the Leopard Trek team car to get changed....