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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 10, 2014

Date published:
July 10, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Van Garderen feels Tour de France should not include cobbled stages

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 19:00 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    American crashes but limits losses at Arenberg

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) finished more than two minutes down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) after a dramatic stage 5 of the Tour de France that was akin to a wet mini-edition of Paris-Roubaix.

    The American rolled home in a group that also included Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and world champion Rui Costa (Movistar), arriving just behind fellow American Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp). Van Garderen is now placed twelfth overall at 2:11 from race leader Nibali.

    Not many riders found the energy to get back on the bike after the finish but the mud-clad BMC rider was spotted warming down at his team bus, while the rain kept pouring down in Arenberg. Van Garderen reflected on his general classification ambitions with a sigh.

    “It could’ve been worse, could’ve been better. I’ve just got to look forward,” he said.

    The 25-year-old endured a very rough day. The blood on his knee showed the signs of the crash which occurred on a roundabout 70 kilometres from the finish, shortly before the first cobbled sector. It was in the same zone that last year’s Tour de France winner Chris Froome abandoned.

    “With the cobbles we were running lower pressure in the tyres which has a bit of a different feeling. My rear wheel just got away from me."

    Van Garderen has never ridden Paris-Roubaix and his only experience on the cobbles came during a recon in which he tested all of the pavé sectors of this stage. He even added the famous Arenberg forest to his recon ride. Back then it was dry but during stage five of the Tour de France the cobbles were doused in rain and slick mud.

    Even though he didn’t crash on the cobbles, the American felt that the profile of...

  • Talanksy satisfied with Tour de France cobbled stage

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin - Sharp)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 19:05 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp leader up to ninth overall

    Andrew Talansky's satisfaction after the cobbled stage of the Tour de France was easy to see as he warmed down on the rollers under the canopy of the Garmin-Sharp bus. He arrived tired, wet and dirty but after a quick change he was smiling and satisfied.

    The American lost a precious 2:02 to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) but was happy to have survived the cobbles.

    "It was an epic day and one I'll remember for the rest of my life," Talansky said to the media at the Garmin-Sharp bus.

    "It wasn't a day that could win the Tour but it absolutely was a day that you cold lose the Tour. We came through unscathed and in a good position.

    "It went incredibly well for us. My team was with me all day. We brought a team that was well prepared for this stage. We had Sebastian Langeveld – a top ten in Paris-Roubaix and Johan Vansummeren – a Paris-Roubaix winner. They were with me in the last ten kilometres and I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys to get me through."

    Talansky moved up to ninth overall, 2:05 down on Nibali.

    "I'm very pleased with that. If you look at the list of guys up there, a lot of them are going to be gone when we get to the mountains and aren't going to play a factor in the overall GC, so we're sitting pretty well," he said.

    Chris Froome was the only rider not to finish the stage, and like his fellow Grand Tour contenders Talansky was sorry that the defending Tour winner is no longer in the race.

    "It's really disappointing that Froome's out," he said.

    "That's always a risk with a stage like this. I came through and I can say it was an epic day but it's really sad for the race as a whole as well as for Chris and Sky.

    "There was panic the whole stage it was panic for 155km. I...

  • Mechanical hinders Contador at Tour de France

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 19:52 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Two-time champion says he will miss Froome

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) saw the gap to race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) widen, after a mechanical issue prevented him from chasing the Italian. Contador began stage 5 of this Tour de France in fifth place, just two seconds behind Nibali, but has now fallen down to 19th – 2:37 down on the yellow jersey.

    "Because of the mud I didn’t drop into the small sprockets and I couldn’t keep up with the front," Contador said after he rolled across the line.

    They day was always going to be an incredibly tricky one for the general classification rider, but the rain added an extra problem that they could have done without. When the cobbles last featured in the Tour de France, Contador was one of the few who sailed through with little difficulty. Aside from the mud in his gears, Contador’s day went off without a hitch. However he wasn’t willing to put it all on the line when the mountains are still to come.

    "It was a difficult stage from the outset, there was a lot of danger. The differences are big, but the Tour is all ahead. And I want to thank my team, which was tremendous," he said. "Of course I wish we were at the same time or the lead was in my favour, but seeing how the situation is and how the cobbles were, I did not want to take more risk than necessary. I'd rather lose a minute than to fall and, on the other hand, the Tour is all still ahead.

    "Now I will take some rest and then we will arrive on my terrain."

    The big news of the day was that Contador’s biggest rival and the defending champion Chris Froome had abandoned the race. Froome crashed twice before the riders had reached the cobbles and...

  • Mixed day for Kwiatkowski at Tour de France

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) flatted out of the leading group
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 20:32 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Crash and mechanical hold him back in stage 5

    It was a day of mixed fortunes for Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on stage 5 of the Tour de France. The 24-year-old suffered a crash and a mechanical, which left him more than a minute behind the stage winner. He does, however, take heart from his performance and has moved himself up to fifth in the general classification.

    "What can I say, we had bad luck. With a bit of good luck, who knows what could have happened, with how good I felt," said Kwiatkowski. "Many guys in the peloton had bad luck today, and to be in the group with Nibali in yellow like that is encouraging. In the end, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is the team that knows what they have to do even when they have trouble. We showed we are really strong today and we will keep going on in the next stages."

    Kwiatkowski hit the deck before the race hit the cobbles, but bounced back fairly triumphantly by making it into the front group when the peloton began to split up on the rain-soaked pavé. As the lead group slowly whittled down in numbers, it was looking good for Kwiatkowski to put himself in an enviable position ahead of the mountains. But things began to derail on him as they hit the penultimate sector.

    "We were calm and waiting for the hardest moments. I was feeling super good. I was much more relaxed on the cobbles than ever before," said Kwiatkowski. "On the cobbles of the second-to -last sector, however, I had a flat tire on the front at about 700 meters from the end of the sector. I was sliding left to right, but knew there would be mechanics at the end of the sector. So I tried to get there and I then swapped my wheel. Renshaw was trying to help me and Matteo, until the end of the stage, we tried to chase the group in front of us. But it was really hard to close...

  • Cancellara turns against cobbles in the Tour de France

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek) had no luck on the cobbled Tour de France stage
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 21:11 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Trek leader says the wet roads were dangerous as Schleck loses eight minutes

    Despite finishing fifth on the cobbled stage of the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara suggested that cobbles have no place in the race due to the dangers of racing on the pave in such difficult conditions.

    Cancellara had predicted that the fifth stage in the Tour de France would end in carnage but told Cyclingnews that it was right on the cobbles, saying, "It's a risk for everyone, including me, but we've got to live with it and calculate the risks involved."

    After finishing the day caked in mud and hearing that his teammates were involved in multiple crashes, he changed his opinion. Trek Factory Racing team leader Frank Schleck finished 43rd on the stage, losing eight minutes to race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

    "The race was a mess. When I heard on the radio what was happening just with our riders, I could imagine what must be happening with the others - in my opinion this does not have a place in a Grand Tour," he said according to the Trek Factory Racing team website.

    "It was completely different than in April because the field is so different. Also the wet roads made it very dangerous - the whole course was now dangerous."

    "The problem was that there was always a gap because someone was tired, or slipped a bit, and you could not pass him on the cobbles. When the three Astanas and Boom went, this is what happened. Also, on wet cobbles, it is very different, you cannot use a high cadence like when it's dry, which is how I like to do it."

    Cancellara was caught in the chase group with Peter Sagan, while Lars Boom (Belkin) powered away to a solo victory and Vincenzo Nibali gained time with teammate Jakob Fuglsang.

    He refused to do all the work to close the gap and finished fourth, in the same time but one place...

  • Tour de France: Boom uses cyclo-cross skills to conquer the cobbles

    Lars Boom on the podium
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 21:32 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Dutchman claims memorable victory in Arenberg

    Ever since walking away from his beloved discipline of cyclo-cross in 2009 Lars Boom has dreamt of a win in Paris-Roubaix. His ideal scenario to win that race would include rain and mud, just like in cyclo-cross.

    Boom has three top 15 finishes from his four Paris-Roubaix participations to date, all in dry conditions. But when stage 5 of the Tour de France, on a course akin to a miniature edition of Paris-Roubaix, turned out to be a mud fest, Boom must have felt like a kid on Christmas morning. The 28-year-old duly blew men like Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan away with a splendid ride to claim stage victory.

    "If it's drier, more riders can follow. I've been dreaming for years about a wet Paris-Roubaix. Then you’re offered these circumstances. With my past as a cyclo-cross rider I had and I wanted to perform really well," Boom told NOS radio.

    "I expected Cancellara and Sagan would come back but they didn't. After the last corner you know you win and you feel goose bumps and tears on the bike. In the past I've been in the breakaway of the Tour with French riders who ride for a red dossard [combativity price] rather than a stage win which was possible. That was sad but winning this Tour de France stage in this weather is mega."

    While most riders were anxious when heading to the start line in rainy Ypres at midday, Boom was decidedly more relaxed. He received a big kiss from his wife and waved goodbye to his children, and the removal of two out of the nine cobbled sectors due to the conditions did not faze him.

    Just over three hours later, Boom was standing after the finish line in Arenberg with his oldest daughter Kee on his arm. A little later, he stepped on the podium as winner of an epic fifth stage of the Tour de France, once again with Kee accompanying him.


  • Froome devastated after Tour de France abandon

    Tour de France defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 22:40 BST

    Team Sky rider unsure of injuries, when he can race again

    Already suffering a wrist injury, Team Sky's captain Chris Froome crashed hard twice more on stage 5 of the Tour de France, and the second blow was too much. He abandoned the race, and his defense of his title, and is now facing uncertainty over his injuries and when he will be able to get back to racing.

    "I'm devastated to have to pull out of the race. It was the right thing to do after crashing again and I knew that I couldn't carry on," Froome said to

    "I'm going to fly home tonight and over the next few days I'll go for some more scans on my wrist to find out exactly what injuries I've sustained."

    Conflicting reports came during the stage as to whether or not Froome's wrist was fractured in his crash on stage 4. He started the day with bracing on his left wrist, but confirmed what had been announced yesterday, that the scans showed no clear fracture last night.

    "Clearly I was in pain and we put heavy strapping on the left wrist from the start. It's too early to say for definite when I'll be back on the bike, I'm just going to concentrate on getting back to full fitness."

    There are many small bones in the wrist and hand, and swelling can obscure fractures. The Team Sky doctor Alan Farrell said, "with the nature of the bones involved at the wrist, it was prudent to keep an open mind on any potential fracture that might not have been evident straight away."

    The pain kept Froome from being able to control his bike, something that made an already hazardous, crash-riddle stage even more dangerous.

    "Chris is bitterly disappointed but recognises that it was the right thing to do," Farrell said. "He will now return home and...

  • Merckx: I would have loved to race in this Tour de France

    Belgian Eddy Merckx celebrates winning his fifth Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 10, 2014, 0:40 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    The Cannibal of cycling impressed by Vincenzo Nibali

    When Cyclingnews asked Eddy Merckx if he would have loved to race the cobbled stage of this year's Tour de France, his smile said it all.

    "Absolutely, yeah, I would have loved to race out there on the cobblestone in this Tour de France," the Cannibal told Cyclingnews, with a grin that clearly explained why he earned him the nickname of the Cannibal.

    Merckx won Paris-Roubaix three times in 1968, 1970 and 1973 and the Tour de France five times in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974.

    He would no doubt have ridden like Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), attacking his rivals on the cobbles and gaining time in extreme conditions while most of the peloton suffered and hoped to finish the stage in piece.

    "It was an incredible, an amazing day, with all the cobbles and the rain. It's a pity what happen to Chris Froome but that's life," he said of the incredible day of racing.

    "It was unbelievable what Nibali did today on the cobblestones. He was very good."

    Nibali leads his big-name overall Tour de France rivals by close to two minutes. Merckx knows what is needed to win the Tour de France but he also knows that the yellow jersey is only won when the Tour de France ends in Paris.

    "It's too early to say if he's going to win the Tour de France, it's too early for that. But what he did was very impressive. It's going to be a great Tour de France now."