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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 19, 2009

Date published:
July 19, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Anderson believes Evans can still make Tour podium

    Australian cyclist Phil Anderson
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 15:51 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian cycling legend questions team support

    Phil Anderson, the first non-European to wear the Tour de France's yellow jersey, believes that Cadel Evans can still aim for the podium in the Tour de France but doubted whether the Silence-Lotto leader is in the best team to support his Tour ambitions.

    Speaking at the start of stage 14 from Colmar to Besancon, Anderson, who now runs a tour operation that visits the race each year said, "Cadel has the potential to win the race so if he wants to do that then he needs to consider the options around him. If Lotto aren’t going to build a team around him and I don’t think they’ve done in a serious way then he needs to consider a few things. It was his decision to stay with that team. Hopefully he’s making a lot more money by staying."

    Anderson added that Lotto had lost the services of Bernhard Kohl and Tomas Dekker, two riders signed by the Belgian team last year: "A couple of riders have been thrown out due to circumstances, so it would have been a stronger team with them here but you don’t want those types on your team do you?"

    Anderson, who also won the white jersey in the 1982 Tour pointed to the team time trial as Evans’ Achilles heel, with the Australian losing precious time to his rivals. "The team time trial was disappointing but he needs to keep his chin up and take the opportunities that arise. It’s going to be difficult to win but he can still podium with a couple of good moves in the next few days. He’s only three minutes down on yellow plus there are some other riders who’ve lost more time than him."

  • Efimkin fights back after Tour crash

    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale) climbs to the finish in Andorre Arcalis.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 18:10 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Injuries healing prior to Alpine stages

    Russia's Vladimir Efimkin promised this morning in Colmar to continue his fight for a top 10 classification in the Tour de France despite a crash three days ago. He is 14th overall with one week of racing left, including the Alpine mountains.

    "The third week is very important, if you look at last year's results you know that some of the other riders will slip out of the top 10," he told Cyclingnews.

    Efimkin crashed early into stage 11 to Saint-Fargeau, but was able to finish with the race favourites. He is now 2:45 behind race leader Rinaldo Nocentini and 29 seconds behind 10th placed Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne).

    "Before the crash I was going well. I have pain all over: in my knee, all up and down my body. It is easy to crash here, the roads are narrow and there are a lot of us. What's difficult is to remain in the race."

    His AG2R La Mondiale teammate Rinaldo Nocentini has led the race for one week. He is not an overall favourite and should lose the race lead tomorrow.

    Efimkin placed tenth overall in his first Tour last year. The next stages will determine where he will finish this year: there is a mountaintop finish to Verbier tomorrow and one to Le Grand-Bornand on Wednesday. Monday is a rest day and Tuesday is a high-mountain day that finishes with a descent to Bourg-St-Maurice.

    "I have to take all the days with regularity and avoid exploding. I ask a lot of my legs, but I don't know how they will respond. I have days when I felt very good, and I hope those will coincide with the mountain days."

    Fans from Russia to the USA are supporting Efimkin at the Tour de France. His American wife and baby live near Sacramento, California, and send him messages everyday.

  • Cavendish relegated for irregular sprinting

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) wonders what Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) was doing in the sprint
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 19:29 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Hushovd protests Cavendish's tactics

    Mark Cavendish was relegated to the back of the main group Saturday in Tour de France stage 14 to Besançon. The race commission made its ruling after a protest of "irregular sprinting" from rival Thor Hushovd.

    "I was able to pass him, but when he saw me coming he tried to push me into the barriers. It is not a fair game," said Norway's Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam).

    Serguei Ivanov (Team Katusha) won the stage from a 12-man escape, but Cavendish and Hushovd were sprinting for 13th and valuable points towards the sprinter's green jersey. Great Britain's Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) won the sprint after the two fought for space in the final 300 metres.

    "I had to brake, I could not pass him," said Hushovd. "If he is faster than me I accept it, but it is not good when you don't follow the rules."

    Hushovd tried to pass between Cavendish and the barriers on the right side of the road. The barriers edged further onto the road and Hushovd had no space.

    "We can't appeal and the decision's already final," said Columbia-HTC's press officer, Kristy Scrymgeour.

    The commission fined Cavendish 200 Swiss franc (or 132€) and relegated him from 13th to 154th.

    The decision meant that instead of Cavendish gaining one point on Hushovd he lost 13. Hushovd retained the sprinter's green jersey and now leads by 18 points over Cavendish and 92 on José Joaquín Rojas.

  • Roche rides to best finish of Tour debut

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) finishes in second place
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 22:33 BST
    Daniel Benson

    AG2R Irishman an unpopular passenger on day's break

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) finished second on stage 14 from Colmar to Besançon, landing the highest placing thus far in the Irishman's Tour de France debut. After joining the day's successful break, Roche rode the majority of the stage as a passenger acting on team orders not to work in order to defend teammate Rinaldo Nocentini's yellow jersey.

    With 12 kilometres left Roche tried in vain to break clear of his breakaway companions but eventually succeeded in the final kilometre. Roche caught and passed Hayden Roulston (Cérvelo TestTeam) and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Slipstream) to secure second place, 16 seconds behind stage winner Serguei Ivanov (Team Katusha).

    "When I attacked on the climb with 12 kilometres to go I used up all the energy I had saved but I knew I was finishing with world-class riders so I didn't want to compete in a proper sprint," said Roche at the finish in Besançon.

    "It has been all about teamwork for the last few days. It's thanks to the team and the yellow jersey that I found myself in this break. The plan was to not let a big break go and if there were more than eight riders we had to be in it."

    Roche, however, was constantly harassed by some of his breakaway companions for sitting on and not working. "I can't say I had an easy life because the riders were putting a lot of pressure on me. I was called every name I can think of, in every language I can think of. I had to ignore that as much as possible. The directeur sportif said that the priority was for the yellow of Nocentini. The team has given so much energy in these last few days that we just wanted to continue this journey."

  • Fuse lit once again in Columbia's rivalry with Garmin

    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) lets his teammates know he has crossed the line. Columbia couldn't quite hold the peloton up enough as Hincapie missed out on yellow by just five seconds
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 23:59 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Columbia attacks Garmin's stage 14 tactics

    Serguei Ivanov won the stage and Rinaldo Nocentini remained in yellow but the biggest talking point to emerge from stage 14 was Columbia-HTC’s attack on Garmin-Slipstream’s racing tactics.

    George Hincapie had escaped earlier in the stage along with 12 other riders and with 10 kilometres remaining was the maillot jaune virtuelle. Astana, who rode most of the stage at the head of the peloton, was replaced at the front in the final hour by AG2R and Garmin-Slipstream. The latter sent riders to the front in what Columbia-HTC perceived to be a bid to help Nocentini’s AG2R team and foil Hincapie’s bid for yellow. Hincapie eventually missed out on the yellow jersey by 5 seconds and Columbia-HTC’s Bob Stapleton couldn’t hide his anger at the stage finish.

    "I’m really disappointed and at the right time I’ll talk to Jonathon [Vaughters]. The fact is we’ve won nearly 60 races this year and they’ve won less than 10 so they’re probably tired of seeing our guys in jerseys and I understand that. But to hurt George Hincapie in that way just doesn’t seem right to me. He’s the most liked cyclist in America and the second most known," Stapleton said.

    Stapleton wasn’t finished and went further still, adding that he’d possibly seek a conversation with Vaughters’ boss, Doug Ellis: "Maybe I’ll talk to his boss. He seems a little more forward thinking. If I was in their shoes why would I chase? You tell me why we’d waste our team energy for no reason. Their tactics were obvious and disappointing. It was a big effort to pull the jersey off his back."

    One reporter then asked Stapleton if he’d try and seek revenge throughout the rest of the Tour. "We’ve had our revenge. In the scoreboard it’s not a contest and if you look at the Tour it’s no contest but I don’t know why you’d do that with George. That would...

  • Hinault pushes intruder off podium

    Bernard Hinault shoves a spectator off the podium.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2009, 10:24 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Man escorted away by police

    Bernard Hinault had an unexpected podium guest after Saturday's 14th stage of the Tour de France, as a man in full Française des Jeux kit strode to the top step of the podium.

    It was not a member of the French squad but rather a determined intruder. As the manager of podium ceremonies at the Tour de France, Hinault, had no compunction about pushing the uninvited guest off the podium and off the stage.

    The young man was immediately surrounded by police officers and taken away. It is believed his action was the result of a bet with friends. It was not known how he was able to get up on the stage, or what the outcome of his impromtu meeting with police was.

    It is not the first time that Hinault, known during his racing years as 'The Badger', has had to employ his rather un-ceremonial, though very effective, tactic for removing trespassers. Saturday's incident it is the second such occurrence in recent years.


  • News flash: Tom Boonen out of Tour de France

    Belgian Champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) finishes stage six, he crashed near the end on the wet roads.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2009, 10:34 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian champion will not start stage 15

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has abandoned the Tour de France and will not start stage 15 in Pontarlier on Sunday.

    The Belgian champion withdrew from the race on Sunday morning after suffering from digestional issues overnight.

     "He [Tom Boonen] was up all night with diarrhoea, so there is no point in him starting today," Quick Step team director, Patrick Lefevere, told Cyclingnews on Sunday. "He has been vomiting and he could not eat last night."

    The former World champion was only allowed entry into this year's Tour de France a day before the start in Monaco. The French Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a ban on Boonen starting by race organisers due to a positive test for cocaine.

    Boonen has had a difficult time at this year's Tour. A former winner of the green jersey and six Tour stages, Boonen's highest placing at this year's race was 16th on stage 11 in Saint-Fargeau.

  • Tour peloton to observe a minutes silence in Pontarlier

    The peloton all together
    Article published:
    July 19, 2009, 10:47 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Race pauses to honour spectator's passing

    The Tour de France peloton will observe a moment of silence on Sunday to honour the memory of a spectator who died after being struck by a police motorcycle during Saturday's stage. The race will pause in Pontarlier before the start of stage 15 to Verbier.

    "Deeply affected by this tragic accident, the Gendarmerie, the Garde Republicain and the Tour de France organization offer their condolences to the families and friends of the victim and promise their full support to those who were injured," read a statement on the Tour de France website.

    An initial investigation into the accident was carried out on Saturday by the French national police. The Gendarmerie reported that the accident occurred 38km into stage 14 from Colmar to Besançon as the 61-year-old woman attempted to cross the road after the breakaway group had passed. The motorcycle, being ridden by a member of the Garde Republicain escorting the break, slid further down the road after the crash, injuring two other spectators.

    The Tour de France medical service began treating those involved in the accident before emergency personnel arrived at the scene. Despite the best efforts of the attending medical staff the woman initially hit died as a result of her injuries.

    The two other spectators injured in the accident, a 36-year-old and 61-year-old, were transported to a hospital in Mulhouse.

    "[I wish to express] the immense sadness of the Tour de France" said Race Director Christian Prudhomme to L'Equipe. "Safety [was] the first concern the organizers of the Tour de France. Since the last fatal accident in 2002, many measurements have been taken".

    In 2002 a seven-year-old boy died after being hit by a vehicle in the Tour's publicity caravan on stage 10 of that year's race.