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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 14, 2011

Date published:
July 14, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Farrar relates tense finale of stage 11

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) before the stage.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 19:09 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American anticipates two more sprinters' stages at the Tour

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) missed out on his second stage win of the Tour de France on stage 11 but said that there were two more opportunities for sprinters before the race ends in Paris.

    The American sprinter finished third in Lavaur behind Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and André Greipel (Omega-Pharma Lotto) but he appeared to be in the driving seat with two kilometres remaining as his lead-out train had the better over Cavendish’s equivalent.

    However, Farrar admitted that his team had jumped too early in the closing 500 meters, allowing HTC-Highroad and Cavendish to come back on terms and take the win.

    In this video Farrar takes us through the tense finale in Lavaur, describes the tough conditions the peloton has faced so far in this year’s Tour and the remaining stages he can compete in.

  • Greipel unhappy with Feillu’s "crazy" sprint in Lavaur

    Cavendish gives Greipel a gorilla hug
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 19:46 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman set to abandon Tour de France

    The André Greipel-Mark Cavendish duel has been a fascinating subplot to this year’s Tour de France, not least because the bitterness that marked the pair’s time together at Highroad appears to have been tempered since Greipel’s departure from the team last winter.

    Cavendish was magnanimous after being pipped by his German rival on stage 10, and following the reversal of that result on Wednesday, Greipel’s ire was directed not at Cavendish, but squarely at French fast man Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM).

    "We tried again today and the team did a great job," Greipel told reporters huddled around the Omega Pharma-Lotto team bus in Lavaur after the finish. He singled out Jurgen Roelandts for particular praise for his efforts in leading him out, but complained at what he perceived to be the careless sprinting of Feillu in the finale.

    "We had no luck today. I had some great help from Roelandts, but I had some problems with Feillu," Greipel said. "It’s a shame, because it was the first time that Jurgen and I found each other in the sprint."

    Greipel accused Feillu of switching wheels several times in the breathless run-in to Lavaur and showing little consideration for the safety of his fellow sprinters. The German was particularly aggrieved by Feillu’s attempts to latch onto Roedlandt’s wheel in the final kilometre.

    "Romain Feillu did a crazy sprint and he just didn’t care," Greipel claimed. "He needs to choose a wheel but he changes wheel every 50 metres. It’s pretty dangerous when somebody in the bunch is going crazy to get the right...

  • Boom’s escape doomed before the Pyrenees

    Lars Boom (Rabobank) is a formidable prologue rider.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 20:31 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Rabobank rider last man caught in transition stage

    After a run of unpredictable finales to this year’s sprint stages, normal service for the Tour de France was resumed on the final flat day before the first Pyrenean climbs tomorrow.

    On stage 11, a six man break stuck after 15km, was pulled back 2km from the finale, and Mark Cavendish wrapped up with his third stage win and the green jersey.

    It was standard transition stage fare, but Rabobank’s Lars Boom kept the television commentators talking with his do-or-die attack in the closing kilometres. He was the last man standing from today’s inevitably doomed break, which included Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Mickael Delage (FDJ), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun).

    And while he admitted to knowing the break would fail, Boom said being in the break was ‘relaxing’ because there was less risk of being caught up in a mass pile-up.

    "We went maybe a little bit too hard in the beginning, but with four men we didn’t get enough minutes to stay away in a super sprint. Halfway, the peloton came back at 2:50. We knew it was already too short.

    "There was a little bit too much wind sometimes. The French guys were riding OK, but not too hard. It was too hard to stay away in the final.

    "Maybe I should have stayed in the group a little bit longer and then jumped and maybe I would have survived, but it’s difficult to see it. It was nice to be in the break all day where you can relax and not have to worry so much about crashes in the big group."

    Boom is no stranger to kamikaze breaks. In his first Tour de France last year, he launched the very first attack of the race...

  • Video: Stapleton busy seeking sponsors

    Mark Cavendish's clever tribute to cell phone maker and sponsor HTC
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 21:04 BST
    Daniel Benson

    HTC-Highroad enjoys unmatched success in Tour de France

    Bob Stapleton made his first appearance at this year's Tour de France on the day Mark Cavendish won his third stage in the race and the American was just as confident as his sprinting ace as he talked about the team's sponsorship search.

    HTC are presently set to pull out at the end of the year, leaving Stapleton with a title sponsor vacuum.

    "We're busy on that. We've got a number of discussions under way. Obviously our goal is to focus with HTC and continue with them. They've had probably one of the most successful sports sponsorships in history with this team and that's the logical conclusion but at this stage we're trying to develop all the options we can. There are discussions with other companies and we'd love to get something done as soon as we can and that's the main goal," he told Cyclingnews.

    Pressed for a deadline, Stapleton refused to publicly give a date, stating that the team would assess their position at the end of the Tour de France.

    "I don't think there's a deadline. Our goal is to see where we are at the end of the Tour and assess what's likely to happen."

    Stapleton entered the sport at the end of 2006, rescuing the remnants of a damaged team and built a new project based on transparency, pragmatic racing tactics and unparalleled levels of success in both men and women's cycling. While a number of riders have left the team over the years he and his backroom staff have consistently impressed with production line of champions in both stage and one day races.

    Today's success at the Tour was the team's 49th grand tour win. Yet despite the prospect of a number of riders leaving regardless of whether he finds a new sponsor,...

  • Post that stopped Hoogerland to be auctioned for charity

    Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland wears the polka dot jersey while cycling with his father Cees near Aurillac, on the first rest day of the Tour de France cycling race, in Aurillac, southern France.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 21:58 BST
    Cycling News

    "I think the post and barbed wire saved Johnny's life"

    The fence post and barbed wire that stopped Johnny Hoogerland's flight path to gruesome effect on stage 9 of the Tour de France is set to be auctioned off for charity, reports.

    Speaking on the television programme "Tour du Jour", Hoogerland's father Cees was presented with the infamous object which inflicted so many deep cuts to his son's lower body.

    "I don't need that thing!", Hoogerland senior proclaimed, but then added he would probably use the post to support a charity. "Johnny is an ambassador for Jayden [a charity for childhood cancer], I think we will auction it off, there are probably plenty of people who want it.

    "I think it saved Johnny's life," he said. "It broke his fall - if you look closely at the pictures, you can see that he would have fallen on his back or head. Who knows how it could have turned out."

    Hoogerland was taken out of the day's winning breakaway when a vehicle from French television clipped Juan Antonio Flecha while attempting to pass at speed, sending the Spaniard into the Vacansoleil rider's path. It was a shocking incident in a Tour riddled with crashes.

    It was an emotional moment for Cees Hoogerland, who was on the course when his son suffered the fall. "We shed a lot of tears together after the finish," he admitted. "I'm glad he is alive, we all saw in the Giro d'Italia how things can go wrong," he said, echoing statements made by Johnny Hoogerland, who also remembered the death of Wouter Weylandt following his incident.

    Since then, Hoogerland has received an outpouring of support from the world, not just from his fellow riders like Fränk Schleck, who said "As from today, you are officially my hero", but also in a call from...

  • Luz Ardiden important but not decisive, says Basso

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 22:43 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Amadio lists Evans as dark horse

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) believes that the Tour de France's first mountain stage to Luz Ardiden will be important but not necessarily decisive in the battle for overall honours.

    "It will certainly be important, but it's not going to be the final exam," Basso said after Wednesday's rain-soaked finish in Lavaur.

    In spite of a lacklustre build-up to the race, the Italian has managed to avoid losing time in the carnage of the Tour's crash-littered opening half, and lies in 11th place, on the eve of the Tour's entry into the Pyrenees.

    Carefully wrapped up against the cold as he spoke to reporters on the steps of his team bus, Basso acknowledged that after the stresses and strains of the seconds won and lost in northern France, Thursday's stage would offer the first firm indication of the general classification contenders' form.

    "I think that after the first mountain stage tomorrow, we'll begin to understand who is going well and who is in contention," Basso said. "As for me, I'll be tackling the stage with great attention. It's obviously going to be an important stage."

    Amadio warns of Evans danger

    Liquigas-Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio told Cyclingnews that Basso can approach the Pyrenean stages with a degree of tranquillity following his solid showing in the Tour's chaotic opening salvoes, and that the onus is on the likes of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) to attack and recoup their early deficits.

    "It's always hard on the first mountain stage, because it's a big change after being on the flat for ten days," Amadio said. "But that said, there are other riders who need to go out and make up time in the...

  • Cunego awaits Pyrenean test

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) heads to the start
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 23:42 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    "Little Prince" is a GC underdog at the Tour

    Standing in 12th position on general classification, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) is a man to watch in the mountains of the Tour de France after finishing second at the Tour de Suisse last month. At the start of stage 11 in Blaye-les-Mines, the Italian didn't hide that he's feeling good on French roads as well.

    "I've looked for a good preparation for the Tour de France. Before making any plan for the mountains, I have to overcome the rain first," Cunego told Cyclingnews.

    Cunego has been primarily concerned about being properly positioned in the peloton in the stages thus far so as not be caught behind a split in the field and lose time on other GC favourites.

    "So far, we've had only one hard stage, the day before the rest day [stage 9]," Cunego said. "Up to now, it's been a question of maintaining position. Let's wait for the end of the first Pyrenean stage and we'll see the real value of everyone in the mountains. We'll make plans after that.

    "I'm not exactly looking for GC, but if a good GC comes to me, then I'll try and go for it. And if not, I'll look for alternatives: breakaways, stage wins."

    "There isn't even one per cent of stress about the general classification," said Lampre-ISD team manager Roberto Damiani. "We only expect Damiano to do his best. We'll go day by day to set goals. We ride the Tour with a maximum of tranquility. Since 2003, we know that Damiano can do well in the mountains."

    In 2003, Cunego won the world's highest stage race: the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China. But a second win in a Grand Tour is expected from "the little prince" since he won the 2004 Giro d'Italia. With a better approach to this year's Tour de France, not having...

  • Bassons calls for new faces in cycling management

    Christophe Bassons signs autographs during the 1999 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 2:08 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman unconvinced by UCI's new rules on former dopers

    Christophe Bassons has questioned the effectiveness of the UCI's decision to bar riders who serve doping suspensions from managing teams when their careers are over. The new regulation, which became effective from July 1, will not be applied retroactively, and Bassons said this meant that it was a rule which "did not really attack the milieu."

    "The UCI rule is quite strict, but then when you see managers like [Saxo Bank manager] Bjarne Riis – who admitted in 2007 that he had used EPO – you ask yourself questions," Bassons told Le Monde. "What culture have they that they can still bring to the riders?"

    Ostracised by many in the peloton after he clashed with Lance Armstrong over his views on doping during the 1999 Tour de France, Bassons abandoned the race and retired from cycling the following year. Over a decade on, the Frenchman feels that cycling's often troubled environment is a self-perpetuating one and that there is urgent need for a change in personnel.

    "To stop doping, you need new heads," Bassons said. "Certain people come back as commentators. What credibility or objectivity can these people have? They haven't taken responsibility."

    A noted proponent of clean cycling on the infamous Festina squad of the late 1990s, Bassons pointed out that a number of his former teammates retain high profiles within the sport. Richard Virenque, who admitted to using EPO while riding for Festina, is part of Eurosport's commentary team, while Didier Rous is a directeur sportif with Cofidis.

    "Many ex-Festina riders have stayed on the circuit," Bassons said. "Commentators, directeurs sportifs, drivers: they're still there, because the hardest thing is not to be...