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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 12, 2012

Date published:
July 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Howes fighting to be fit for USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Alex Howes (Garmin-Barracuda) at the start line
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 23:20 BST
    Pat Malach

    Garmin-Sharp neo pro recovering from boken collarbone

    Garmin-Sharp first-year pro Alex Howes takes the team ethos to extreme lengths. The day after eight of his teammates hit the pavement in the Tour de France – with Tom Danielson, Ryder Hesjedal and Robbie Hunter eventually abandoning – the 24-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, broke his left collarbone in seven pieces while training back in the states.

    "I guess I kind of fell down out of sympathy for them," Howes joked Tuesday while recovering at home. "We're a tight-knit team, so we win as a team and we fall as a team, I guess." Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters also shared the pain, reacting to the news on Twitter by writing, "when it rains, it pours."

    Howes was in the middle of a motorpacing session outside of Boulder with teammate Peter Stetina, Spidertech's Lucas Euser, Champion System's Craig Lewis and BMC's Taylor Phinney, who is scheduled to represent the US at the London Olympics at the end of this month, when he went down hard after making contact with the pacer.

    "I got tangled up with the scooter a little bit and ended up on the floor," Howes said. "Taylor was behind me, so we were lucky he didn't go down."

    A friend with a car took Howes, who was the only rider injured in the crash, to a local hospital where doctors operated within hours, using 10 screws and "a big old metal plate" to fix the shoulder.

    "It seems to have gone well," Howes said of the repair job. "It's not too long after surgery, just three days now, and a lot of the swelling has already gone down. I'm getting more movement in the arm, starting to straighten up a little bit and back off on the pain pills, so, all things considered, it's going pretty well."

    The bad luck comes in the middle of a season in which Howes has been making the most of his first year in the European professional peloton. Aside from...

  • Nibali: Wiggins needs to respect his rivals

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) dropped his GC rivals on the descent of the Grand Colombier and has caught Andriy Grivko (Astana), one of the members of the day's big escape.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 23:50 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian dissents against Sky dominance

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) has been the most consistent dissenting voice in a Tour de France that has to date bended to the laws imposed by Team Sky's autocracy, and he continued in that vein on and off the bike on stage 10 to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.

    As anticipated, Nibali used the treacherous descent of the Col du Grand Colombier to launch a constitutional challenge to Bradley Wiggins' yellow jersey, but in spite of gaining a lead of a minute at one point, his insurgency was quashed by Sky's storm troopers on the slopes of the final climb, the Col de Richemond.

    Nibali would go on to finish alongside the yellow jersey and the other overall favourites, 3:16 down on stage winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), but complained afterwards that Wiggins had shown a distinct lack of respect by staring him down as they crossed the line.

    "When we crossed the line, Bradley turned and looked at me," Nibali said. "If he wants to be a great champion, he needs to have a bit of respect for his adversaries. Sometimes turning around and looking into your face is an insult."

    Nibali made headlines at the weekend when he told L'Équipe that Wiggins didn't impress him, and while he acknowledged the pre-eminence of Sky thus far, he warned that the lie of the land can change very quickly in cycling.

    "You need to show a bit of respect for your adversaries. Right now, we know, they're going very well, but the wheel can turn for everybody," he said. "We've never had riders kicking and punching each other as happens in football. There's always been respect for rivals. For me, there's always been this...

  • Scarponi falls short in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) leads the four survivors of the early break late in stage 10.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian shows himself at the Tour

    A low-key presence at the Tour de France to date, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) finally showed himself on stage 10 to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, infiltrating the break of the day and then taking second place, falling just shy of catching winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) on the line.

    Caught up in the tumult just past the finish area, Scarponi was left to ponder the whys and wherefores of a tactical finale, and he admitted that he may have erred in focusing on Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) rather than Voeckler in the closing kilometres. After closing the gap to a scant three seconds on the final drag to the line, Scarponi could be forgiven for feeling a degree of frustration at how things panned out.

    "When you're in a situation like that and you don't manage to finish it off, you always end up biting your hands and asking yourself what else you could have done," Scarponi said. "In the end, maybe I watched Luis León Sánchez a bit too much. We're at the Tour and it's not easy, my breakaway companions were very strong. I waited a bit because I was the slowest sprinter in the break, and I was hoping that Luis León would bring me back up to Voeckler."

    The trio were joined in the winning break by Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), after they had all been part of a strong 25-man group that had gone clear in the opening hour of racing.

    Scarponi, who is due to meet with the Italian Olympic Committee after the Tour to discuss allegations that he was trained by the controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari, has insisted from the off that his overall ambitions were limited. The Italian began the day over 10 minutes off the...

  • Di Gregorio and 'naturopath' could face doping charges

    Remy Di Gregorio of France
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 2:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Cofidis rider still in custody, facing judge Thursday

    Remy di Gregorio and one of two others who were arrested as part of an investigation into possible doping may be charged in Marseille this week. According to L'Equipe the Cofidis rider and a 75-year-old naturopath will appear before judge Annaïck Le Goff on Thursday morning. A third person was released today.

    The case was reportedly part of an investigation dating back to 2011 when Di Gregorio was a member of the Astana team, but the case had stalled. He was competing in the Tour de France when, on Monday's first rest day, he was detained and his hotel searched after police reportedly intercepted telephone calls which they suspected of relating to doping.

    A search of a vehicle in Bourg-en-Bresse turned up products which are currently being analyzed to determine if they are illegal.

    Should the items be found to be doping products, all three could be charged with criminal charges under the French anti-doping laws.

    Cofidis has given Di Gregorio a provisionally suspension until the investigation is concluded.

  • Millar and Garmin aim for breaks in Tour of opportunities

    David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 3:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    British rider adds support and empathy to Wiggins

    After 10 difficult and not to mention, painful days of racing at this year’s Tour de France, Garmin-Sharp looked to bounce back on the first stage after the rest day. At the start of stage 10 in Maçon the riders were clearly in good spirits, with Dave Zabriskie providing the waiting media with a dance outside the team bus and David Millar saying he would aim for the day’s break.

    Charley Wegelius had been drafted in for DS duties and was putting together a plan for action, a strategy that paid off when Millar and Zabriskie joined together in the early 24-man break.

    "I wanted to go in the break today just to get my head back into racing," Millar told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    However with the Col du Grand Colombier both Garmin riders became unstuck, with a number of stronger climbers advancing towards the finish.

    "Once the break secured itself, Zabriskie came up to me and asked ‘do you think you can beat Sagan in the sprint and I just looked at him and said 'do you think you can out climb Scarponi?' We knew it wasn’t going to happen."

    Garmin came into the race with the clear ambitions of supporting Ryder Hesjedal attempt a rare Giro and Tour de France double, as well as offering Tyler Farrar a leadout in the sprints. However, with Hesjedal out through a crash and Farrar nursing injuries after several crashes the team have needed to refocus their efforts.

    "I don’t think we’re on the back foot I just think we’ve had to change our objectives," added Millar.

    "That’s not easy when we had such a clearly defined goal but I think we can do it. We’ve got the riders. It’s an opportunity that we don’t normally have within our team because normally...

  • Tour shorts: I'm on fire, Poels moves home

    The BMC motorhome is a hive of activity
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 4:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Ten Dam steps up, Valverde doing it for the fans

    Quick thinking Chef saves BMC's Tour

    There was drama in the BMC camp when the team’s equipment truck caught fire, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    BMC chef, Peter Cambre had to extinguish a fire which was believed to have started due to an electrical fault behind the driver’s cabin. Cambre used to work for Bruce Springsteen who ironically had a hit song titled "I'm on fire". The truck contained around 50 bikes and other assorted essentials, crucial to keeping the team on the road.

    Team president Jim Ochowicz praised the quick thinking of Cambre.

    "It would have been a disaster [otherwise]," he said.

    Poels moves closer to home

    Vacansoleil-DCM rider Wout Poels has been given the okay to be transferred back to Holland.

    Poels is now in a stable condition and was driven from Nancy in a specially equipped ambulance to Venlo on the Dutch-German border.

    Team manager Daan Luijkx explained that Poels would feel more comfortable in familiar territory.

    "Wout really wanted to leave France because of the language barrier," he said. "Closer to home, experts from different hospitals will work together to give him the medical care he needs."

    Poels suffered a host of internal injuries: a ruptured spleen and kidney, a bruised lung and three broken ribs following a crash on Stage 6 of the Tour.

    Ten Dam steps up in the face of Rabobank’s injuries

    Robert Gesink had hoped the first Tour de France rest day would help him recover from his injuries but the Dutchman was clearly still having difficulty, coming in over 15 minutes down. Gesink now lies in 56th place, more than 40 minutes behind the current leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

    "It was a day of struggle, always trying to keep up. In...

  • Spanish champion Ventoso to ride Olympics

    Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 5:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Oscar Freire removed from line-up following Tour crash

    Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) won the Spanish national road race title a little over one week before the Tour de France kicked off in Liège. His win signified his form was on track but he was nonetheless not part of his team’s ambitions for the 2012 race and was left off the nine-man roster.

    Ventoso was left off the Tour roster and was also informed that he would not be riding the Olympic road race for his country. Somewhat lucky for Ventoso, the hardship of another's injuries means he gets the chance to represent Spain as part of the five-man team. Oscar Freire’s participation was put immediately in doubt falling his crash and abandonment and the Spanish Cycling Federation has put Ventoso’s name forward as the replacement.

    "Freire is irreplaceable because he has been the favourite choice and was our reference for London. Ventoso is a rider who we had in mind from the beginning, but I had to leave out initially due to the five-rider limitation," said Jose Luis Santos.

    Ventoso has enjoyed three wins already this season, including the crash-marred stage nine of the Giro d’Italia. He is currently racing the demanding Tour of Poland where he is yet to have the opportunity for a sprint.

    "Ventoso is a great professional, a rider with experience in this type of racing with good top-end speed. He’s also shown his form is ready, as demonstrated by winning the Championship of Spain," said Santos.


  • Boonen still on track for London Olympic road race

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) debuted his Belgian champion's jersey
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 7:00 BST
    Cycling News

    No need to panic after crash in Poland

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) didn’t feature at the top of the results at the end of the first stage at the Tour of Poland but it wasn’t for lack of condition. A crash in the final three kilometers meant he could not contest the sprint but says there is no reason for concern.

    "It will be okay for London," said the recently crowned Belgian champion on nieuwsblad.

    Boonen demonstrated no ill effects from the previous day’s crash by finishing third in the 239.4 kilometre second stage. He finished behind Ben Swift (Sky) Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) but put his performance down to positioning, not condition.

    "I came roughly from tenth position in the sprint. I had to wait a little bit to launch my sprint because I was boxed in. It was uphill, so I came very fast, but a little bit too late. I had to close the gap," he said on his team site.

    It was a promising sign for Boonen who has skipped the Tour de France this year to ensure his preparation is tuned exactly to his requirements. He had already stated his reasons for staying away from the Tour and if stage two was anything to go by, it was the right choice.

    "Today, osteopath Steven Vrancken came along to thoroughly check everything again. "On this basis, I can continue working at my big goal. Tuesday splashed my Olympic dream almost apart. But today I am reassured: It is ok for London."

    Team director Rik Van Slycke was pleased that Boonen was not overly hindered by the day's previous fall.

    "For Tom it was important to try immediately a sprint after yesterday's crash, to leave behind a bad moment. He did it and with a bit of luck he could also have won. On the last turn, he came out of...