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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 7, 2011

Date published:
July 07, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France race director blames nervousness for crashes

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) was battered and bruising after his crash
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 20:47 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Moto driver banned from the Tour de France

    The fifth stage of the Tour de France on the narrow, wind-swept roads of Brittany proved to be the most crash-marred stage thus far with no less than five serious accidents wreaking havoc on the peloton. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) abandoned the race after his crash, Nicki Sörensen (Saxo Bank Sungard) was taken out by a motorbike and top riders like Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Tom Boonen (Quickstep) are licking their wounds as well.

    Course director Jean-François Pescheux, from race organizer ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation), said that the peloton's nervousness caused the problems.

    "It's the nervousness which reigns in the peloton," said Pescheux. "For the green jersey the leaders are separated from each other by only a few points and for the yellow jersey it's a matter of seconds. If the riders would be at three minutes in the general classification they would not ride like this.

    "Everybody was afraid of this stage because there was wind as we were close to the sea. They rode fast on a course with a lot of corners. The biggest crash occurred right after the [intermediate] sprint. It could've been some sort of decompression. The crash with Boonen happened in the middle of the peloton so maybe there was less vigilance as during previous days as we're already in stage five.

    "It's part of the Tour de France as there have always been crashes in the past as well. Today was remarkable in that several favourites were among the victims. It's typical for the first week in the Tour in which everybody wants to ride near...

  • Delaplace enjoys his first Tour de France breakaway

    Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) takes a turn at the front of the break during stage five.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 21:43 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Saur-Sojasun Frenchman is Tour's youngest rider

    The Tour de France's youngest rider, Anthony Delaplace, drew attention to himself today on stage five through a 115-kilometer breakaway to Cap Fréhel. The Saur-Sojasun Frenchman, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday in September, says he was "happy to be in front but would have preferred to go to the finish."

    Delaplace went on the attack with his countryman Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Spain's José-Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), who obviously taught the Frenchmen how to ride a breakaway. "We were riding over the top, it was real nuts," Delaplace said. "Gutierrez told us to save energy for the last kilometers. But the peloton didn't give us this opportunity..."

    Born in Valognes, Normandy, Delaplace previously targeted an escapee on stage 6 to Lisieux. "But you never decide what day the bunch will give you a wild card," he told Cyclingnews before the start of the stage today in Carhaix. After his breakaway he announced he expected to go on the attack again during the Tour.

    Due to his young age, Delaplace is racing the Tour without any pressure from his team. "He's got very good recovery skills but we'll help him to save his energy and relax sometimes," his directeur sportif Nicolas Guillé said. "We have to be careful because he's usually very generous [with his energy] in a race."

    Delaplace says he is happy to help his leader Jérôme Coppel like he did yesterday, before the uphill finish at Mûr-de-Bretagne.

    He strongly wishes to reach Paris unlike Italian Fabio Felline, the youngest rider of last year's Tour de France, who was aged 20 and withdrew after completing eight stages. "I can't pull out because of my teammates who haven't been selected for racing the Tour," he said. "I will never forget there...

  • Tour Shorts: Dominoes, wallets and Weening

    Janez Brajkovic is helped up after his crash
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 23:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders react to crash-filled day

    The fifth stage of the Tour de France was plagued with crashes, the most gruesome, and apparently the most photogenic one, involving RadioShack GC hopeful Jani Brajkovic, whose head wound gushed blood in full view of the cameras. Luckily the Slovenian time trial champion was relatively OK aside from a broken collarbone and a concussion.

    RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel commented on his blog, "I don't remember a day filled with so many crashes, especially on a day with dry roads. But narrow roads, wind, nerves, trying to get to the front, not always being alert, and just bad luck."

    Bruyneel estimated there were 10 wrecks along the way, listing off the incidents involving his riders, including Brajkovic, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner and Yaroslav Popovych. Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador was also among the casualties.

    "Popo gave his wheel to Horner after Horner crashed. Popo was making his way back through the caravan, but got sandwiched between an ambulance and car. He must have been going over 70 km/h and went right over the handlebars. Bike broken. He then later crashed again on a roundabout."

    Crash etiquette

    Alexander Kolobnev responded to some criticisms that the peloton didn't observe its normal courtesy of slowing up after crashes to let riders get back on.

    "The first five kilometres were real quiet but suddenly then the chaos started. From kilometer 15 started the first crashes. It seemed that the race was accelerating after a crash but what really happened was that we did not want a cut in the peloton so we [had to] greatly accelerate."

    Too fast!

    Saur-Sojasun's Jimmy Engoulvent was pretty angry about the stage, but not because of narrow, dangerous roads or massive pile-ups. No, he was upset because of the...

  • Rojas not impressed after being stripped of points lead

    Points leader JJ Rojas (Movistar) added to his talley in both sprints today.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2011, 3:02 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Spaniard also claims he was punched by Petacchi in sprint finish

    Jose Joaquin Rojas has been left reeling following the decision by race officials to strip him of the green jersey following the 164.5 kilometre fifth stage between Carhaix and Cap Fréhel.

    The Movistar sprinter took third at the finish line behind winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and was actually presented with the green jersey as points classification leader for the third day in a row. Any celebrations were short-lived with Tour commissaires announcing an infringement by the Spaniard during the day's intermediate sprint at 70 kilometres.

    "After reviewing the intermediate sprint it has been decided by the race jury to relegate Jose Joaquin Rojas and Tom Boonen from the intermediate sprint," said the race's competition director, Jean-Francois Pescheux.

    "Both riders blocked Cavendish when he was trying to race up the inside. As a result both riders lose the points.

    "The green jersey now goes to Philippe Gilbert."

    The overhead shot of the sprint to the line showed Cavendish following the wheel of the Movistar man, with Boonen to the Spaniard's left. As Rojas veered to the left, Boonen too was forced across the road, and Cavendish's path was blocked.

    The initial points breakdown at the intermediate sprint awarded sixth-placed Boonen with 10 points, Rojas (ninth) therefore earning 7 points, while Cavendish, who took out his frustration on his...

  • Australian cycling saddened by the death of Carly Hibberd

    Carly Hibberd claimed the women's national road series title this year, while David Pell, who wasn't there on the night, took the men's series.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2011, 3:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Twenty-six-year-old remembered as a "bright, friendly, energetic young person"

    The Australian cycling community has reacted with shock following the death overnight of 2008 National Road Series winner, Carly Hibberd.

    The 26-year-old from Sherwood in Queensland was on a training ride with Colombian Diego Tamayo north of Milan on Wednesday morning Italian time, when she was struck by a car. Emergency services flew to the scene by helicopter but were unable to save her and she died at the scene. Tamayo escaped uninjured.

    Hibberd was a former runner who came into cycling through a talent identification scheme. She was a scholarship holder at the Queensland Academy of Sport for two years and raced domestically with the MBCycles team from 2006 to 2008.

    Hibberd won the women's Cycling Australia National Road Series in 2008 after earning points in all six rounds. She moved to Italy in 2009 to pursue a cycling career racing with the Michela Fanini-Record-Rox team up until this season when she joined Cassina Rizzardi A Style Fionucci.

    Hibberd's family and her fiancé Cameron Rogers, released the following statement:

    We appreciate everyone's kind thoughts on the very sad news we received overnight, regarding Carly's sudden passing in Italy.

    Carly has been racing in Italy for the past three years and loving every minute of it. She was living her dream. It was her passion, along with her love for Cameron, to whom she was to be married in October this year.

    They spoke to each other constantly, not a day went by without numerous calls.

    Her love of cycling was fostered from a very early age by her parents, her father, Mark and brother Luke, riding along with her and her mother Ros was a constant support and gave her great encouragement.

    Carly's many friends throughout the world have been coming forward with messages of love for Carly, Cameron and...

  • Inaugural Gran Fondo Colnago Los Angeles a success

    World famous Rodeo Drive was the start for the Los Angeles Gran Fondo
    Article published:
    July 07, 2011, 5:27 BST
    Peter Suciu

    Around 1300 participate in challenging ride

    There is no denying that greater Los Angeles area is "big," and it was fitting that on the last Sunday in June with perfect weather and deep blue skies that it was the setting for the first Gran Fondo Colnago Los Angeles.

    Immensely popular in Italy, the gran fondo — which mean "Big Ride" in Italian — the Gran Fondo USA series grew this year after their inagural San Diego event in 2010 — that ride became the second annual event in April this year.

    The first Los Angeles Gran Fondo proved to be something special, beginning with the mass start on world famous Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which served as the culmination of a week called, "La Dolce Vita Beverly Hills". On the start line Beverly Hills Mayor, Barry Brucker, joined Nicola Faganello, Consul General of Italy, and Ernesto Colgano, Italian bike pioneer and founder of Colnago sports bicycle manufacturing company to start the event.

    "It's been a great week of Italian food, cinema, fashion, art, cars and now this," said Mayor Barry Brucker, just before the start of the 72 mile ride. "It's officially our first bike ride in Beverly Hills and I hope this becomes a yearly event for us."

    Gran Fondo co-founder Mattelo Gerevini shares this sentiment, and in addition to this year's San Diego and Los Angeles events, there will be a ride in Philadelphia in August, followed by a ride in Miami in November. "The success of our events is based on our adaptation of the ‘Made in Italy' theme for the American cycling community," says Gerevini.

    The Los Angeles ride certainly captured the spirit of climbing in the rolling hills of Tuscany or cycling along the Italian coast. After heading out of Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, riders turned on to scenic Pacific Coast highway and into Malibu and through numerous canyons that seemed another world away from the shopping and...

  • Malaysian co-deal for Garmin-Cervélo?

    Terengganu Pro Asia team
    Article published:
    July 07, 2011, 6:25 BST
    Steve Thomas

    Terengganu to link with Chipotle Development Team

    For several years now Malaysia has been clearly intent on using cycling as a marketing and status-building tool, and with great success too.

    The sport has gone from strength to strength over the past decade or so; not only in Malaysia, but also in the entire Southeast Asian region, largely thanks to the efforts of the Malaysian government in their continued support to the annual Tour de Langkawi.

    The race has been instrumental in lifting cycling to a whole new level in the region, particularly where racing is concerned, as well as helping to raise the profile of Langkawi island, aiding in its quest to become a major player in the tourism market.

    In recent years the government and its sub-divisions have also invested heavily in backing Malaysian cycling at grass roots level, and have achieved great success internationally on the track, and have a slowly but steadily evolving road racing scene, too. This investment has not only helped Malaysian athletes, it's also helped boost the credibility of the nation in sporting and organisational arenas.

    On a worldwide scale the Tour de Langkawi may have lost a little of its lustre in recent years due to the emergence of other major "off season" events around the world; but in Malaysia it's easily as popular as ever, and ranks in popularity just behind events such as the Malaysian F1 GP and Moto GP, so still draws a strong field and pulls in an avid following.

    One particular state of Malaysia, Terengganu, has gone cycling crazy over the past two to three years, and has also produced the lions share of the countries top cyclists, and has more recently backed the Terengganu Pro-Asia Continental team.

    The Terengganu state government have become heavily involved with the development of cycling, and are already in the on the way to constructing a velodrome to help aspiring riders to follow in the footsteps of...

  • Hard recovery from Giro for John Gadret

    John Gadret had a strong Giro and is here to work for Roche
    Article published:
    July 07, 2011, 9:48 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    French rider suffering at Tour de France after fourth place at Giro

    Pocket climber John Gadret seems disenchanted by his Tour de France and his chances to finish the race. "I really feel bad since the start", he confided to Cyclingnews on Wednesday morning, at the start in Carhaix. "It's terrible to struggle like that. I certainly limit the damage if you see my results, especially in stage four to Mûr de Bretagne, but I feel empty, I've no power."

    On general classification the AG2R-La Mondiale rider is currently 109th, 7:18 behind Thor Hushovd.

    His initial goal was to support his leaders Nicolas Roche and Jean-Christophe Péraud and perhaps win a stage, so his time loss in the first week of the Tour shouldn't be dramatic.

    However, Gadret suggests he's so tired that he could pull out. "If I've to struggle like that for three weeks, it's not worthy to race..." On a more optimistic note, the Frenchman hopes his vital energy will be back in the coming days.

    The reason of this exhaustion is unambiguously the Giro d'Italia. "I have not recovered since then", he noticed. After he crossed the line in Milan, Gadret said he didn't expect to ride the Tour and wanted to relish his Italian performances: a fourth position overall and one stage victory.

    When his managers offered him a chance to go to the Tour, he accepted because he was confident in his recovery skills. He had a little break and came back to competition at the Route du Sud (13th) and the French road Championships (18th).

    Gadret has "no regrets" about his schedule. "The Tour de France is a nice bonus but the race I love remains the Giro d'Italia", he told Cyclingnews before the Grand...