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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 2, 2009

Date published:
July 01, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France start list complete

    An Euskaltel rider gets ready at the Tour de France start ramp.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 11:47 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Court decides final name on Thursday

    The provisional start list for the Tour de France is complete, following Caisse d’Epargne’s announcement of their nine-man roster on Tuesday.

    Belgian squad Quick Step is the only team expected to make a final adjustment to their squad pending the decision of a French court on its sprinter, Tom Boonen. The Chambre Arbitrale Française du Sport (CAS) is expected to decide on Thursday if Boonen can race.

    There will be 180 riders in the 96th edition of the Grande Boucle, which starts in Monaco Saturday. Race organisers have invited 17 ProTour teams and three wild card teams – Agritubel, Skil-Shimano and Cervélo TestTeam. The latter being led by last year’s Tour winner, Carlos Sastre.

    Stéphane Goubert (AG2R La Mondiale) will be the oldest starter at 39 and nine Tour starts. At the other end of the spectrum is Tour debutant, Columbian Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne), who at 22, will be the youngest rider in this year’s race.

    The 2009 Tour de France’s 21 stages will cover 3,445 kilometres. The course contains two individual time trials, one team time trial, 10 flat stages and eight mountain stages, including a finish to Mont Ventoux on the race’s penultimate stage. The Tour begins on Saturday, July 4, in Monaco and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 26.

    Click here to see Cyclingnews' provisional start list for the 2009 Tour de France. (RT)

  • Martin not thinking of white jersey

    Dan Martin while riding for Garmin-Chipotle in 2008
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 12:02 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Second-year pro to make Grand Tour debut

    Tipped before as a potential candidate for the best young rider award in the Tour de France, Garmin-Slipstream's Dan Martin has played down his chances of taking the Maillot Blanc. "I think it would be probably the hardest white jersey ever to win," he told Cyclingnews. "You have Andy Schleck, [Robert] Gesink, [Roman] Kreuziger...I think if you win the white jersey this year, you could possibly be on the Tour podium!

    "Those guys have a few extra years pro and a few more kilometres in their legs than I do. I am just going to go into the race with a completely open mind and just see what happens...I'll enjoy it, have fun."

    The Birmingham-born Irishman only turned pro last year and has yet to ride a Grand Tour, but his progress thus far has excited the American ProTour team. Two standout performances are his victory in last year's Route du Sud, and his second place overall behind Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in the 2009 Volta a Catalunya. He was also second on the hardest mountain stage there.

    However, although Garmin-Slipstream manager Jonathan Vaughters and teammate David Millar have been glowing in their praise of him as a possible future Grand Tour contender, Martin is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

    "The longest stage race I have done is 12 days, so we have got no idea how I am going to cope in that last week," he said. "I think we have to take it day by day and see what happens.

    "It also all depends on how the race pans out with the team time trial and how well positioned Christian [Vande Velde] is after that first week of racing. It will either be full gas for him with the general, which is what we are all hoping for, or I might get a bit more freedom in the last week to maybe sniff out a stage win in the mountains."

    He doesn't want to set his sights too high. "I think we can rule out the general classification...I am not going to even think about it. If it happens, it happens... it is...

  • Tour de 'Toona injury lawsuit dismissed

    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 17:07 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Race organisers not liable for racer's injury

    A Pennsylvania judge dismissed on Wednesday the lawsuit of a cyclist paralyzed from the sternum down in a crash which occurred during the 2005 Tour de 'Toona. Sarah Scott, 31, had sued the Tour de 'Toona, the Altoona Bicycle Club and its president, Larry Bilotto, USA Cycling, the Pennsylvania DOT and Huston Township for damages from an accident in which she rode off the course into a three-foot-deep ditch.

    Tim Sullivan, the Blair County, Pennsylvania, judge who issued the decision, stated that the two releases signed by Scott prior to racing were an acknowledgement that she assumed the risks of racing and would not sue in event of an injury, according to the Altoona Mirror.

    Scott's attorney had argued that the release forms did not absolve the race organisers of "reckless conduct", specifically that the organisers knew of, but did nothing to render safe, the ditch which Scott rode into.

    The judge ruled that there was "nothing ambiguous" about the releases' language and that the organisers were not liable for damages and injury of participants.

    Bilotto was hopeful that the Tour de 'Toona, which will not take place in 2009, will return next year. "We look at this [the judge's decision] as a positive direction for the race. Hopefully, the sponsorships will return."

    Scott's attorney will appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

  • Car collides with podium stage at European championships

    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 17:50 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Elderly driver lost control of vehicle

    An elderly man lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the podium stage while the Junior men's time trial was taking place at the European Championships in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium on Wednesday.

    "A man of about 75 years lost control of his vehicle after confusing his brake and accelerator," Rik Debeausaert, president of the event's organising committee, told "The car was finally halted at the stage. Fortunately there was only minor damage and no riders were affected. The driver and his wife were transferred to the hospital. An initial examination showed no malicious intent was involved."

  • Van Dijk claims European U23 time trial

    New U23 time trial champion Ellen van Dijk (Columbia-HTC) at the Tour of Qatar
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 18:05 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Dutchwoman wins second straight title

    Columbia-HTC's Ellen Van Dijk won the U23 women's individual time trial at the European championships for the second consecutive year on Wednesday. The Netherlands' Van Dijk completed the 28-kilometre course in Hooglede-Gits, Belgium with a time of 36:41, besting Sweden's Emilia Fahlin, her Columbia-HTC teammate, by 20 seconds.

    "I am very happy, of course," said Van Dijk. After suffering a concussion from a crash in the Ronde Van Gelderland in April, Van Dijk was unable to race or train for nearly six weeks, lowering her expectations for success. "I was very insecure about my fitness, but it seems I was able to succeed today, even after the lost training time.

    "The course was quite long, with a couple of stone sections that were also uphill, and it was very hard near the end. The uphill was at a very important part of the course where you can easily loose a couple of seconds, but the wind was behind me, so that was a bit of help."

    Van Dijk will also compete in the 135-kilometre European road championship on Saturday in Oostende. "We expect to ride very well, as we are a strong, international team of eight girls who work really well together."

  • The mean, lean battle for green

    Robbie McEwen has won the green jersey three times.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 23:20 BST
    Les Clarke

    Three-time maillot vert winner Robbie McEwen rates the contenders in this year's Tour green jersey competition.

    While discussion over the battle for the maillot jaune at this year's Tour de France has reached fever pitch, there's still a green jersey up for grabs. Cyclingnews spoke with three-time maillot vert winner Robbie McEwen to get an expert's view on who will be the man for green in 2009.

    McEwen knows more than the average professional about winning the green jersey at the Tour. The likeable Australian has a triumvirate of green triumphs to his name, having won the maillot vert in 2002, 2004 and 2006. He adopts the same meticulous approach to winning the points classification as he does with his preparation in the weeks leading up to those three weeks in July.

    He knows which stages he needs to take points on, how much energy to expend and where the classification can be won and lost; essentially, there's no better man to assess the candidates to succeed where he has in the past. Furthermore, after the retirement of Erik Zabel and before the return of Lance Armstrong, McEwen possessed the highest tally of Tour de France stage wins of any current rider.

    With his last win coming in the first stage to Canterbury during the 2007 Tour, Katusha's experienced sprinter is still searching for victory number 13, although he'll have to wait another year before he can have a crack at what's proving to be an 'unlucky' and elusive stage win. An accident during the second stage of the Tour of Belgium meant he'll be sitting out this year's edition of la grande boucle.

    In the meantime a new world order has emerged amongst the sprinting elite. The rise of British phenomenon Mark Cavendish has ignited a fervour and inflamed the interest of those who love to watch the fast men battle it out for stage supremacy. Comparisons between Cavendish and McEwen have regularly been made and McEwen believes the 23-year-old can take his mantle - for this year, at least - and wear the green jersey in...