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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 8, 2014

Date published:
June 08, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Hushovd to leave BMC

    A happy Thor Hushovd (BMC) after winning stage 1 at the Tour of Beijing
    Article published:
    June 07, 2014, 19:05 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Norwegian hoping to ride for two more years

    Thor Hushovd has revealed that he will leave the BMC team at the end of the season after the US-registered team told him via telephone that his contract would not be renewed.

    The 36-year-old Hushovd joined BMC in 2012 as one of several big-name signings but has failed to show the form that saw him win the world road race title in 2010, stages in the Tour de France, or be competitive in the spring Classics.

    Hushovd is part of BMC's team for this week's Critérium du Dauphiné but faces a tough task to secure a place in the BMC squad for the Tour de France that will be built around Tejay van Garderen.

    "It's strange to receive a phone call like that. I'm used to teams wanting me and then suddenly they tell me they're no longer interested in me. It's clear that it's a disappointment," Norwegian television TV2 reported Hushovd as saying.

    "At the same time, I realize that I haven't delivered the goods for the team for three years now, so it's not a surprise."

    Hushovd agent Alex Carera told Cyclingnews that the Norwegian hopes to carry on racing for a further two years despite his age and long career. He did not ride the 2013 Tour de France but found the form to dominate the Arctic Race of Norway and win stages Tour of Poland and the Tour of Beijing in the second half of 2013.

    Several team are apparently interested in Hushovd, including IAM Cycling-where his former Crédit Agricole directeur sportif Serge Beucherie now has a key role. Hushovd could also perhaps play an mentoring role and lead out rider for Peter Sagan at Tinkoff-Saxo.

  • Contador afraid of winning the Dauphiné

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) leading the Basque Tour
    Article published:
    June 07, 2014, 22:47 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard confirms he will ride the Vuelta after the Tour de France

    Alberto Contador appeared focused and motivated but also full of doubts as he spoke in Lyon on the eve of the Critérium du Dauphiné, which starts on Sunday with a 10.4km individual time trial.

    "I think it's a good course for me," said the Spaniard in comparison with the traditionally fairly long time trial often scheduled in the middle of the week of the French Alpine race. "It will be an opportunity to see how my legs respond. There's a technical part where I'll ride relatively cautiously. It's also new at the Dauphiné to have an uphill finish at the end of stage 2 on Monday. [The col de Béal] is quite hard apparently. There I'll be able to judge the state of my pedaling style after two months without racing. But I believe the race will remain open until the second last day, which will be the real test for me."

    "My last race was the Volta al Pais vasco in April, but I've done a solid block of training at the Teide volcano," Contador said. "However, I haven't done intense efforts really. That's to be done at the Dauphiné. This is a race for working hard. It's not a goal or an obsession for me to win this race. I want to conclude it with the satisfaction of a good performance and a good recovery. I want my body to be fine for the Tour."

    "I might say the same thing every year, but the Dauphiné is a key race for me ahead of the Tour de France," the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo said. "The confidence I could gain through this race is something relative. Winning or not winning the Dauphiné wouldn't change anything for me. Maybe it would be better to not win as I've never done that before and it could generate some doubts."

    Contador acknowledged that he has enjoyed the best early part of...

  • Nibali hits back at his critics before the Critérium du Dauphiné

    Vicenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 11:09 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana leader reveals some of his Teide training numbers

    Italy's Vincenzo Nibali has responded to criticism from the Italian media and his own Astana team by revealing details of the intense training he has done in recent weeks to prepare for the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France.

    The 2013 Giro d'Italia winner is considered a favourite for the Tour de France along with Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) but his form and ambition have come under recent scrutiny due to a lack of results so far this season.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali and his teammates received a formal letter from Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov, criticising them for a lack of results and demanding they work harder. The Italian sports newspaper went as far as suggesting that Nibali could even leave the team after the Tour de France due to the tension between his group of Italians and the Kazakhstan management.

    Cyclingnews understands this is unlikely if Nibali performs well at the Tour de France but several teams have apparently shown interest in signing the Italian and paying his reported four million Euro salary if his relationship with Astana breaks down.

    Instead of replying directly to their critics, Nibali and his entourage have opted to reveal some information on Nibali's training during a camp on Monte Teide on the island of Tenerife. Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo has revealed that the Sicilian rode 1424km during a block of training between May 20 and June 2. He spent a total of 42 hours on the bike, climbing 25479m of altitude. The longest day of training lasted seven hours and 189km, with 4800m of climbing,...

  • Brailsford speaks about Wiggins-Froome spat

    Team Sky boss David Brailsford has masterminded the past three Dauphiné wins
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 14:59 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky manager decides who makes the Tour de France team

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has tried to calm the debate and polemics about Bradley Wiggins not riding this year's Tour de France by suggesting that the team has not yet been finalised and that he, and not Chris Froome, decides who is selected for the nine-rider line-up.

    Wiggins vented his frustration in interviews with L'Equipe and the BBC, revealing that he currently does not have a contract offer from Team Sky for 2015.

    “As it stands, I won’t be there, probably,” Wiggins said “The team is focused around Chris Froome, the defending champion who’s got a great chance of winning his second Tour and it’s decided that they’ll base the team around him, so unfortunately I won’t be there.”

    Brailsford stayed silent after Wiggins' announcement on Friday and opted to give his diplomatic reply to David Walsh and the Sunday Times newspaper.

    “Despite the impression that might have been created, the team for the Tour is not yet finalised. I will be the one making the decision on who is in that team. I speak with our performance team, the riders can offer an opinion but they don’t select the team and they never will,” Brailsford said.

    Brailsford refused to specifically say if Wiggins was wrong to say he will not ride the Tour de France, preferring to speak about the need for team harmony.

    “We knew from last year that my job was to build a team around Chris Froome because he’s the rider most likely to win this year’s Tour de France,” Brailsford said.

    “In building that team, I have to take the group dynamic into...

  • Froome stays focused on the Criterium du Dauphine

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) in yellow
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 17:28 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team Sky leader tries to avoid talking about Wiggins and the Tour de France

    Some time between now and the start of the Tour de France Chris Froome (Team Sky) may reach the point where he welcomes a question about doping as a form of light relief from the furore surrounding his relationship with Bradley Wiggins’ and his chances of being part of Froome's Tour de France squad.

    Froome had just scorched through the opening time trial in the Criterium du Dauphine, scattering his opposition and putting vital morale boosting seconds into both Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali in a 10.4km test through the streets of Lyon. In his post-winner’s press conference there were the initial questions surrounding the Team Sky rider’s form and his thoughts on whether he and his team would defend the leader’s jersey but it wasn’t long before the topic of Wiggins raised its head.

    “Chris, did you hear about the news, that Bradley Wiggins decided not to go do the Tour, and how do you think it will affect your team,” a journalist provocatively asked.

    The cycling world is still reverberating with the aftershocks of the news that Wiggins probably won't ride the Tour de France after he said as much on the BBC – Sky’s broadcasting rivals no less – revealing that he would have his feet up in July as he watched the Tour on television.

    Team Sky has taken stock and Dave Brailsford moved to calm the waters, telling The Sunday Times that only he and the team’s management would resolve the make up of Team Sky’s final nine and that no final decisions had yet been made.

    Yet Wiggins has no rivalry with Froome and it’s not Brailsford who sat before the media in Lyon. Despite that, there was a...

  • Contador stays up beat after Froome wins Dauphine opener

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 17:55 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Tinkoff-Saxo leader insists he is on track for the Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) may have taken first blood in the opening time trail at the Criterium du Dauphine but Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) talked a positive game after finishing second, eight seconds down on the British rider in Lyon.

    The pair were last to set off on the 10.4 kilometre test, with Froome the last man to roll down the start ramp as the defending champion. During the day a headwind had picked up and it looked as though Bob Jungles (Trek Factory Racing) would run away with a surprise victory. However Froome and Contador had other ideas.

    Although Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was fastest at the first time check atop the mid-stage climb, Froome and Contador could only be separated by a second after 4.4km of action.

    After the descent of the final climb, Froome pulled out another seven seconds, as the headwind was at its strongest. On the line Nibali had faded to eighth at 13 seconds – a more than respectable time given that the majority of riders in the early part of the stage had ridden in kinder conditions.

    Contador had briefly made his way to the podium after he finally knocked Jungles off the hot seat but he had barely made his way there before Froome scorched through to take the race lead and his second individual time trial of the season.

    “It’s okay. For me the last part was very hard with a very strong headwind,” Contador told reports at blustery finish line in the centre of Lyon.

    “I put in a small test on the climb and the feelings were good and I’m happy. You had to pay attention and not take risks on the descent of the climb because there was oil in the road but overall I feel good and I’m happy with the results.”

    Contador’s time trial has...

  • David Millar: I’ve still got one big win in me

    David Millar (Garmin Sharp)
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 18:44 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Sharp rider says he understands Brailsford's position on Wiggins and Froome

    Very few riders - no matter their achievements - have the luck to determine the perfect moment to hang up their wheels and retire. It’s generally a case of a quiet swansong or an unforeseen event that speeds up the inevitably end to a professional career.

    David Millar is hoping he fits squarely into the former as he targets a strong ride in the Tour de France before a taking on the Commonwealth Games and a possible ride at the Vuelta a Espana.

    Fourteen years ago in Futuroscope the Scot announced himself on the world stage, beating Lance Armstrong on the opening day of the 2000 Tour de France and beginning what would be a rollercoaster career that often saw him in the spotlight. Now, his final Tour de France is just a matter of weeks away and although his season to date has yielded few results, Millar believes that he has one last major win in his legs.

    “For sure, 100 per cent, I still have something inside me,” he told Cyclingnews on the first day of the Criterium du Dauphine in Lyon.

    “That’s what has been in the back of my mind all year. It doesn’t really matter what you do for the year but if you do well at the Tour then you’ve had a good season. The Tour is the race that has meant the most to me during my whole career so I’d like to guarantee that I can be good there and that meant being on the backburner at the start of the year.”

    Millar has built up form slowly this calendar year. At the Classics, a regular part of his season in the latter years of his career, saw him take on the role of road captain at Garmin-Sharp. The Dauphine marks a point where Millar will be looking to step.

    “My form is a lot better...

  • Time trial tech gallery: Critérium du Dauphiné

    A pretty messy cockpit on Rein Taaramae’s (Cofidis) Look 596 TT bike
    Article published:
    June 08, 2014, 21:44 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Riders battle tough headwind in final section

    This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) triumphed in the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné - a 10.4km time trial characterised by a block headwind in the final third after riders crossed the River Saône in Lyon, France.

    It was a tough day for most of the riders. Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) laid down the early marker to beat - 13:22 - that lasted for most of the afternoon. The Luxembourger's time stood until Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), the second last rider off, breached it. Then moments later, it was Froome - the last rider off - who took an extra eight seconds from the Spaniard. Afterwards he said he received intelligence that he would need to hold something back for the tough final. "Good advice" he called it in the winner’s press conference. He said the team will discuss whether they try to defend the jersey on Monday’s lumpy stage starting in Tarare.

    Cyclingnews was on hand to watch the riders come home and check out the gear they used to tackle the short urban course in Lyon. Bikes were fitted with large chainrings for the flattish course and a couple of the riders we saw had developed some nicely customised set-ups.

    Click through the gallery for more.