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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 23, 2009

Date published:
July 23, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Possible broken wrist forces Marchante to abandon

    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 18:13 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Spanish rider looks ahead to Vuelta preparations

    Having injured himself in a fall during stage 16 of the Tour de France, Cervelo rider José Ángel Gómez Marchante was forced to abandon the race during yesterday's queen stage to Le-Grand Bornand. He faces the possibility that his wrist is broken, although he will undergo tests at a team clinic in Switzerland to determine the extent of his injuries.

    Marchante crashed on the Col du Grand Saint Bernard while in the break during the 16th stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Despite starting stage 17 it was obvious from the beginning of the day that he would struggle to continue the race.

    "From the early part [of the stage] I felt really bad - between the rain and injuries, it was very difficult to control the bike. I have burns on the palms of the hands so braking was impossible, I also found it was very difficult to grab the handlebars, so I decided to leave because it was impossible to continue like this, besides being able to cause another new incident and involve other riders," said Marchante.

    He was taken to hospital in the team car for tests during the stage, where the diagnosis is not yet clear. Initial test results point to a possible fracture in the right scaphoid.

    "It's a pity to leave the Tour due to this, but the truth is that I can't finish la Grand Boucle and I must start to get over the dint to my morale; I now hope that the results of the tests rule out any fracture and I can prepare for the Vuelta a España."

  • Simeoni suspended four months

    Italian Champion Filippo Simeoni (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 18:34 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Italian sanctioned for returning national championship jersey in protest

    Filippo Simeoni has been suspended for four months by the Italian Cycling Federation for returning his 2008 Italian Championship jersey in protest in May.

    Simeoni was protesting the exclusion of his team Flaminia-Bossini from the Giro d'Italia. "It is unacceptable that, despite being among the top 10 teams in the ranking of Europe Continental Tour and [having] received the wild card Label, our team is systematically excluded from most major competitions for the benefit of other teams that will not be more competitive than us," he said.

    In announcing the suspension on Wednesday, the federation did not say when it would start or end, or why the return of the jersey was found to be a violation.

  • Stevens' Webcor debut starts with a win at Cascade

    Women’s Stage 1 podium: Tina Pic (Colavita), Evelyn Stevens (Webcor) and Chrissy Ruiter (Value Act Capitol).
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 18:42 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Racing newcomer claims another significant victory

    Evelyn Stevens, the newest face in women’s cycling, has scored another significant victory in the Cascade Cycling Classic's opening stage. Kitted up in her brand new Webcor Builder’s duds, the New York City girl stormed passed the peloton in what she thought was a lead-out for her teammate, sprint specialist Gina Grain, only to discover no one could come around her at the line.

    "I jumped to do a lead-out for Gina but I think I went a little too hard. No one ever taught me how to do a lead-out," said Stevens. "I had a gap, saw 200 meters to go and kicked it. I got it. It feels really cool to win against good sprinters. I’ve never done it before, not at this level."

    Stevens now leads the overall classification after she won the opening stage bunch gallop ahead of Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) and Chrissy Ruiter (Value Act Capital).

    The bike racing newcomer turned heads after winning her first NRC title at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic two weeks ago. A guest rider for Lip Smakers, Stevens claimed the general classification ahead of world-class talents Alison Powers (Team Type 1) and Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Vital Plus). She was subsequently picked up as a guest rider with the Webcor Builders women's team for this week's Cascade Classic. However, after her winning performances it won't be too long before she lands a full-time contract.

    Stevens, 26, has taken a break from a career in finance and is trying her hand at bike racing. She upgraded quickly from Cat 4 to Cat 1 after wins in the Vermont’s Green Mountain Stage Race last September and the Arizona’s Valley of the Sun in February. She went on to compete as a Cat 1 rider in California’s Redlands Bicycle Classic and Minnesota’s Nature Valley Grand Prix this summer.

    She grew-up in Boston, Massachusetts but now calls New York City her home. She joined the Century Road Club Association’s (CRCA) women’s clinic after...

  • Contador distances his teammates with controversial attack

    Fränk and Andy Schleck lead race leader Alberto Contador on the Col de la Colombière.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 20:04 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Further tension building in Astana camp?

    The Tour de France drama inside the Astana team camp was supposed to have ended when Spaniard Alberto Contador assumed the team leadership and the maillot jaune in Verbier on Sunday, but he may have caused more friction with his attack near the top of the Colombière today.

    While Contador looked to distance himself from Saxo Bank brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck, he not only succeeded in dropping teammate Andreas Klöden, who was third overall behind at the start of the day, the eventual split pushed the German further away from hopes of a podium finish in Paris.

    "I spoke about attacking the Schleck brothers with [team director] Johan Bruyneel, the goal was to gain minutes. I also spoke with Klöden on the climb, and he told me to go for it," Contador said.

    Contador's attack with 1.7 kilometres from the crest of the Colombière and 16.7km before the finish in Le Grand-Bornand did not dislodge the Saxo Bank rivals. However, it did manage to help distance Kloden from challenging for the podium.

    "I thought I could go alone but the brothers managed to come back. When I saw Andreas could not follow, it was too late. He was really struggling at that moment."

    Fränk Schleck won the stage over Contador and his brother Andy.  Armstrong finished 2:18 back and slipped from second to fourth overall. Klöden finished 2:27 back and slid from fourth to fifth.

    With Contador clearly the superior time trialist amongst the top three, and now having nearly four minutes on Armstrong and more on Klöden and Wiggins, he has given himself a large buffer coming into the final two decisive stages. But Bruyneel said following the stage that he did not see the necessity in the attack.

    "I told [Contador], 'you don't have to attack today to win the Tour de France.' The difference was already there to Bradley Wiggins, who we were most worried about," said Bruyneel. "It is...

  • Reaction from stage 17

    The Schleck brothers lead Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden on the Col de la Colombière.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2009, 1:52 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Five cols, two brothers and a world of hurt

    Alberto Contador (Astana) - second on stage, first overall

    "It was a pity [about Andreas Klöden]. I had spoken with Johan Bruyneel, who told me that I should speak with Andreas and he [Klöden] told me that I should attack if I wanted. I was thinking to go ahead alone or with Andy, but the only one that was behind was Andreas. Because of it I decided to stop, to see if he was coming back, but he couldn't and lost a lot of time.

    "Andreas said to me that I could attack, no problem, but the brothers Schleck surprised me very much and when I saw that Andreas was in difficulty I stopped [attacking]. I looked back to see if Klöden was coming, and because he didn't I am very disapointed.

    "I knew that they were going to attack me. I decided to continue with them; Frank did the sprint and I preferred to be conservative and to think about tomorrow's time trial. Wiggins was my main rival for the time trial and now the differences are comfortable enough.

    "The Schleck brothers are in great condition, but they aren't so good in the time trial. Tomorrow is a long time trial and both Andreas and Lance are strong and they are going to be there, fighting for the podium.

    "There are still three complicated stages, including a time trial, and it's still a big task to win. It was a very dangerous stage and today I have taken an important step because riders behind me in the general [classification] are not very good in the time trial, although by no means is the Tour won yet."

    Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 18th on stage, 10th overall @ 10:50

    "I knew it was going to be a difficult stage, a very hard one where I could feel the effort of the race yesterday. The result was positive, however. I managed to get among the top 10 on the general [classification]. To do that on a day when I wasn't feeling very good is not bad.

    "I suffered from the beginning but it was worth...

  • Hincapie to continue despite crash

    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) in the break
    Article published:
    July 23, 2009, 9:05 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Collarbone problem won't stop Columbia's American

    George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) will continue in the Tour de France despite being battered after suffering a fall in Wednesday's 16th stage.

    “The doc is thinking I have a badly bruised collar bone. Not a great day for me. Tomorrow may be a survival day,” the American wrote on Twitter Wednesday night.

    The stubborn 36-year-old was determined to stay in the race at all costs. “He didn't want x-rays because he didn't want to drop out and he wants to continue in the Tour,” team spokeswoman Kristy Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews Thursday morning.

    “He is very stiff and sore. We don't really know if it is broken or not!”

  • Hushovd attacks solo for green jersey respect

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) arrives at the finish after attacking solo over some big climbs earlier in the stage to scoop up intermediate sprint points.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2009, 10:58 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Sprint leader strong on Tour de France mountain stage

    Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd went on a solo attack in one of the Tour de France's toughest stages on Wednesday in the Alpine mountains near Le Grand-Bornand. He gained points towards the green jersey at two intermediate sprints and a measure of respect, after his confrontation with Mark Cavendish in Saturday's stage 14 finish.

    "Now the people think that maybe I deserve it, after the disqualification of Cavendish," Thor Hushovd told Cyclingnews.

    The race commission relegated Cavendish to the back of the main group Saturday in Tour de France stage 14 to Besançon. It made its ruling after a protest of "irregular sprinting" from rival Thor Hushovd. The decision meant that instead of Cavendish gaining one point on Hushovd he lost 13.

    Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) gained 12 points yesterday thanks to his solo attack on stage 17. He went clear of the main group on the first climb up the Cormet de Roselend, caught and passed the lead escape group on the descent, and remained solo over the Col des Saisies and Cote d'Arâches climbs.

    "I think I had my best day on my bike ever. I enjoyed every second on my bike today."

    Hushovd said his attack was not inspired by Cavendish's comments on Monday's rest day in Verbier. Cavendish said he told Hushovd, "You've won the green jersey now but that's always going to have a stain on it."

    "That's not true because he said that was behind us. He told me 'no problem' before the stage," said Hushovd.

    He still agrees with Saturday's regulation of Cavendish. "It was me who made the decision and then the judges, I think that says enough."

    In the final 300 metres of the sprint, Hushovd tried to pass between Cavendish and the right-hand barriers. The barriers edged further onto the road, closing the gap and leaving Hushovd no space.

    Hushovd leads the green jersey competition by 30 points over Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and 104 points...

  • Armstrong's new American sponsor to be announced on Thursday evening

    Lance Armstrong riders near yellow jersey Alberto Contador on the Côte d'Araches. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in front of teammate Bradley Wiggins.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2009, 10:59 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Radio Shack being touted as backer for Lance Armstrong's new team

    The American sponsor of Lance Armstrong's new team for 2010 will be announced on Thursday evening.

    Phillipe Maertens, the press officer of Armstrong's current team, Astana, said an announcement would be made at 6pm, European time.

    Maertens said he was aware of the sponsor's identity but would not be drawn on who would be supporting the new formation.

    Texas based consumer electronic company, Radio Shack, is being touted as a likely sponsor. The company is based in Armstrong's home state and has already been involved in high profile sporting sponsorship; the company was a co-sponsor of the Texan round of the NASCAR sprint series.

    Armstrong, who returned to cycling this year after a three year retirement, is currently racing for Kazakh backed squad, Astana. The American indicated in May that he wanted to form his own team for the 2010 season.

    Armstrong has already denied rumours that the new squad would be sponsored his cancer charity, Livestrong, and long-time personal sponsor, Nike.

    "You want to know the sponsor? You will have to wait for still a little," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday. "I can tell you that the team will not be called Nike-Livestrong."

    For images of Lance Armstrong racing at this year's Tour de France click here