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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 5, 2009

Date published:
July 05, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France stage one start times

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) trains.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 16:32 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Dutchman Van Hummel off first

    The start times of Tour de France stage one.   Dutchman Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) is first to start the 15.5-kilometre course in Monaco. The last is defending champion, Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam).

    Start times

    1, 16:00, Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano
    2, 16:01, Peter Wrolich (Aut) Milram
    3, 16:02, Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
    4, 16:03, Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha
    5, 16:04, Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step
    6, 16:05, Saïd Haddou (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
    7, 16:06, Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre-NGC
    8, 16:07, Stéphane Augé (Fra) Cofidis
    9, 16:08, Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
    10, 16:09, Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux
    11, 16:10, Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas
    12, 16:11, Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    13, 16:12, Maxime Monfort (Bel) Columbia-HTC
    14, 16:13, Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
    15, 16:14, Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-Slipstream
    16, 16:15, Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank
    17, 16:16, Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Saxo Bank
    18, 16:17, Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
    19, 16:18, Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence-Lotto
    20, 16:19, Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
    21, 16:20, Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano
    22, 16:21, Peter Velits (Svk) Milram
    23, 16:22, Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Agritubel
    24, 16:23, Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Katusha
    25, 16:24, Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel) Quick Step
    26, 16:25, Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
    27, 16:26, Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre-NGC
    28, 16:27, Bingen Fernández (Spa) Cofidis
    29, 16:28, David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
    30, 16:29, Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux
    31, 16:30, Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas
    32, 16:31, LLloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    33, 16:32, Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC

  • McEwen riding "pain-free" again

    Robbie McEwen after January's Down Under Classic, before misfortune and consequent injury hit his season.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 19:27 BST
    Hedwig Kröner in Monaco

    Currently in Monaco for physiotherapy

    Robbie McEwen found himself in the middle of the Tour de France on Saturday, without actually being part of the race. Currently in Monaco for physiotherapy, the Australian sprinter spent some time in the start/finish area of the Tour's opening stage, enjoying the meet & greet without having to focus on the bike race.

    "I've been here since Tuesday, for eight days, visiting my physio who's based here during the season," McEwen told Cyclingnews. "I'll go back to Belgium on Wednesday, and he'll come up to visit me. We planned this a couple of weeks ago - it just happened to coincide with the Tour!"

    The Katusha rider is currently recovering from breaking his leg in an accident during stage two of the Tour of Belgium, which was his return to racing after being forced to miss the Giro d'Italia through injuries sustained in a crash during the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. He is looking forward to a luckier second half of the season, and said his recovery was going to plan.

    "It's going good. I'm getting better every day, starting to ride without pain. I'm already up to about 80-100 kilometres per training ride now, even starting to ride a little bit uphill. So every day, there are little improvements. I should be able to come back to ProTour competition by the middle of August, at the Eneco Tour. Before that, I'll do a criterium in Belgium on the Tuesday after the Tour, in Diksmuide."

    McEwen admitted that it felt "kinda strange" to be an observer rather than an actor of the Tour, but then again, "I had a long time to get used to the idea that I'm not riding. It does make the town pretty busy, though!"

    Hopeful that 2010 will be a more fortunate year for him, the Australian was eager to heal his injury completely in order to prepare to ride Grand Tours again. "That's my thing - win stages in the Giro and the Tour," he said. "This year is pretty much a wiped-out year for me, as I couldn't do the Giro, and then was out of the...

  • Cancellara: Now I’m really back

    Cancellara out of the saddle during stage 1
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 20:08 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Swiss maestro vows to keep yellow

    Fabian Cancellara put a season blighted by injury and illness behind him in Monaco, winning the opening stage of the 96th Tour de France to confirm his status as the best time triallist in the world.

    Even on a course that was not best suited to his talents, with the tough climb of the Cote de Beausoleil coming at half-distance, the Olympic time trial champion annihilated the opposition. Behind him, clusters of riders were separated by one or two seconds – but there was clear daylight to Cancellara, who was some eighteen seconds faster than the second-placed overall favourite, Alberto Contador.

    "It’s a special moment and I’m very proud to be one of the favourites and to win," said Cancellara, who won the prologues in 2004 and in London two years ago. He explained that his strategy on the course had taken the climb into account: he was five seconds down on Contador at the summit, but made up the deficit, and built his lead, in the second half.

    "With the first uphill section the tactic was to take it easy, and not give it my maximum and use up lactic acid," said Cancellara. "On the flat afterwards I knew I could make the difference. Bjarne Riis told me I started strong, he could see the splits, but also that I was riding at my own pace.

    "I want to keep the yellow jersey for as long as possible, but there’s 3,500km to the finish. I will look to keep it to the team time trial [on Tuesday], but take it day-by-day. I don’t want to give [yellow] back. Like [after] London, it would be nice to keep it for seven days, but a lot can happen. There are tactics, and we have our goals over the coming weeks. I want to enjoy the moment but still focus on what’s coming."

    Cancellara admitted that he had struggled to overcome the illness and injuries that wrecked his spring campaign, including his bid to win the Tour of Flanders. Since then, he said, he has done "a lot of training, [made] a lot of...

  • Vaughters backs Wiggins to land yellow

    Wiggins leaves the start ramp. The Brit finished third
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 22:44 BST
    Richard Moore in Monaco

    Britain's Wiggins and Millar ready for TTT

    Bradley Wiggins could be in yellow on Tuesday night, according to his team director, Jonathan Vaughters. The British rider surprised many with his performance in Saturday’s opening time trial stage of the Tour de France, finishing third, one second behind Alberto Contador, and nineteen behind Fabian Cancellara, on a course that some considered too hilly for him.

    It means that the Garmin-Slipstream rider starts Sunday’s first road stage in the green jersey of points leader – rather ironically beating his countryman, Mark Cavendish, to that honour, though Cavendish is tipped to become the first British rider to wear the Tour’s second most prestigious jersey into Paris in three weeks.

    Cavendish’s 177th place on the stage – fourth from last – means that he won’t be challenging for yellow in this Tour. But Wiggins, according to Vaughters, most certainly will.

    "He’s very precise, he knew what he could do, though I think he exceeded his own expectations with that ride," said Vaughters. "But it didn’t surprise me. A lot of people discounted him on such a hilly course, but I knew he was capable of that.

    "And he has a lot more to show on this Tour," continued Vaughters. "He’s a lot lighter, he’s climbing better, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t see him in yellow at some point."

    After Tuesday’s team time trial? "Well, Astana, if you see how they performed in the time trial [with four in the top ten] are a pretty incredible team," responded Vaughters. "But the team time trial is our best chance."

    On the team time trial, in Montpellier, Vaughters and David Millar, who finished fourteenth on Saturday, said that Garmin-Slipstream had been placing special emphasis on the stage, and reconnoitred the course. "It’s a very technical course, there’s a lot of left and right, up and down, and very small roads," said Vaughters.

  • Boonen focussed on racing

    Belgian national champion Tom Boonen and his Quick Step teammates out on a training ride.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 23:20 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Belgian’s reprieve leaves no room for unlucky Davis

    After the Court of Arbitration's decision to allow Tom Boonen to race the Tour de France, the Belgian sprinter was happy to line up for the start of the race in Monaco on Saturday. Not knowing about his July whereabouts for so long did not help the newly-crowned Belgian champion's focus, but he vowed that his concentration now shifted back on the racing.

    "First, I wasn't planning on coming here, but when the team left, they called my and said, 'get your suitcase and come over here,'" he told Cyclingnews before taking on the first stage's time trial. "From that moment on, I was here and then it was a 'yes' or a 'no' – I was just waiting, not really hoping for anything. As soon as I had the answer, I tried to re-focus everything on the race. As soon as we start racing, I'll be fine."

    Boonen had been unwanted by the race organisation because of his positive test for cocaine, but CAS ruled he still had every right to participate. Asked how difficult it had been to wait for the decision, he replied in his usual, laid-back manner, "Oh, you know, there are worse things in life, it's still only a bike race. If you can take the start, it's good, if you don't, then you go home and do something else."

    Boonen seems unphased by the episode, which left Australian Allan Davis out of the race. Davis, also a world-class sprinter, was Quick Step's replacement in case Boonen remained excluded, and even attended the Tour's glamorous team presentation in the absence of Boonen. Having to leave Monaco to make way for the team's star must have been difficult.

    "I didn't see Allan before he left, but I called him afterwards," said Boonen. "It was so hectic yesterday when I came back to the hotel, and then he had already left after I did the press conference. I called him and said, 'sorry, but that's life...' and he was happy to go and see his family.

    "He was a little bit disappointed, of course, but that's life, isn't it."

  • Menchov loses time to main rivals

    Disappointing day in the office for Menchov
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 23:30 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Giro champ crumbles in first Tour test

    Rabobank's Denis Menchov, winner of the 2009 Giro d'Italia, lost precious time in the opening time trial of the Tour de France in Monaco, on Saturday. Compared to his main rivals for the overall classification, the Russian was the biggest loser of the day, as he finished in 53rd position, 1:31 down on the stage winner, Fabian Cancellara, with the Swiss rider even catching him before the finish.

    Knowing Menchov's excellent time trial abilities, observers wondered if the Russian had a mechanical problem, but according to Rabobank's press officer Luuc Eisenga, the rider just "had a bad day, that can happen to anyone."

    However it wasn't just Cancellara who put significant time into Menchov. The Giro champ lost 1:13 minutes on Alberto Contador (Astana), the race favourite, 1:08 on Australian Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and 1:01 on Contador's teammate Levi Leipheimer.

    "Menchov hasn't raced for one month, and couldn't find his rhythm on the parcours," Eisenga told Cyclingnews. Losing around one minute on his main rivals on a 15.5km parcours could be an indication that the Giro and Vuelta winner may not be at the top of his form at this year's Tour. Then again, as Cadel Evans pointed out, "it's only 15 kilometres, and a much longer way to Paris..."


  • Armstrong: I'm happy to be here

    Armstrong happy with tenth in Monaco
    Article published:
    July 04, 2009, 23:41 BST
    Richard Moore in Monaco

    Former winner on his return to the Tour

    As expected, much of the focus on the first day of the Tour de France was on the returning seven-time winner, Lance Armstrong. With the possibility of showers later in the day the American elected to start early, and went off number 18 – at 4:18 p.m., almost three hours before the final, seeded riders. He set the leading time at one stage, clocking 20:12 at the finish line but eventually dropped to tenth, 40 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara.

    Armstrong looked strong, if not entirely at ease on his bike – an impression he confirmed after his ride. "It was very technical and hard to find a good rhythm," said Armstrong. "I’m four years away from racing, I haven’t raced since the Giro, and I did the best I could.

    "The best way to sum it up is that I had fun," he continued. "I was feeling pretty good, but I didn’t expect to win or take yellow."

    Armstrong admitted that he had felt “a little nervous” before the start. "I didn’t feel comfortable [on the bike]. It’s a long time since I had those good sensations, but I felt like I knew the course well.

    "I’m happy," he added, "I’m having fun. Even if I can’t win, I’m having a good time, and I’m happy to be here."


  • Contador tops overall favourites

    Alberto Contador earned the polka-dot climber's jersey for having the best split time on the Côte de Beausoleil.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2009, 12:03 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Former Tour winner impressive in Monaco time trial

    Spaniard Alberto Contador clocked the best time of the Tour de France overall contenders Saturday in Monaco. He placed second in the 15.5-kilometre opening time trial behind time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara.

    "The important thing is that I earned a moral victory, it's a sign that I'm in great shape. These seconds are useful in what will be a very tight Tour," he said.

    Contador posted a time of 19 minutes and 50 seconds. He was five seconds faster than Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), 12" over teammate Levi Leipheimer, 22" on teammate Lance Armstrong, 39" on Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), 42" on Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), 48" on defending champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) and 1:13 on Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

    He was fastest at the midway point, at the top of Côte de Beausoleil climb. He won the mountain classification's polka dot jersey as a result.

    "It's nice to have, but I would like to change colours in a couple of weeks."

    Contador won the Tour de France in 2007. Organisers did not invite his team to the 2008 edition, but he raced and won the two other Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

  • Evans time trial "not bad, not great"

    2008 Tour runner-up Cadel Evans opens his 2009 Tour de France campaign.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2009, 12:50 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Australian satisfied with gap to rivals

    Cadel Evans found his time trial result in the Tour de France's opening stage "not bad, but it's not great either." The Silence-Lotto rider noted to Cyclingnews, however, that "there are quite a few time gaps already between a lot of the other overall favourites, so in that regard, it's a good start."

    Australia's Evans finished fifth, 23 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)  and five seconds behind his rival for the overall title, second-placed Alberto Contador.  A fifth place finish is not bad, but he had hoped for more, saying, "I was probably a little bit more optimistic, actually."

    "I'd rather have had a few seconds advantage on Contador - it's always better to have an advantage on someone like Contador at the Tour, but... you know, it's not bad," he said.

    "It's not the ultimate start, but it's a good start. It's only 15 kilometres, and a much longer way to Paris... It's a pretty good start. I felt okay on the course, nothing special with regard to performance."