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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 27, 2013

Date published:
June 27, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Evans says Tour de France build-up is improved on 2010

    Cadel Evans (BMC) suffers in the snow
    Article published:
    June 26, 2013, 23:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC leader focused on recovery post-Giro

    Cadel Evans (BMC) is set to take on his first Giro-Tour double since 2010 and the 36-year-old Australian remains optimistic.

    Evans finished third overall at last month's Giro d'Italia off just five weeks of dedicated preparation with the initial aim of improving his build-up for the Tour de France. Since, Evans has not raced.

    "Having a Giro in my legs already this year, means my lead up has been more focussed on recovery than training," the 2011 winner of the Tour said on his website.

    That recovery has included a training camp with teammates Steve Morabito and Brent Bookwalter along with some time with his family.

    Before the Giro, Evans was reluctant to draw on his experience of starting both grand tours in 2010 on the basis of the virus he suffered in Italy which did not allow for a satisfactory recovery for the Tour where eventually crashed breaking his elbow, all while riding into the yellow jersey. He finished 25th overall and told Cyclingnews in April this year that: "I've done it before but I don't like to use that as a measure because obviously that's not what I plan to happen in 2013."

    What is planned is a BMC Tour de France campaign built around Evans with Tour of California winner Tejay van Garderen riding as key support and ready to step up should the Australian falter.

    Much like his analysis of what lay ahead before the Giro, Evans is taking a wait and see approach to his Tour...

  • Kreuziger ready to support Contador's Tour de France bid

    Amstel Gold Race winner Roman Kreuziger
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 2:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Czech admits campaign will be "a little bit different"

    Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) has gone from being a designated grand tour leader with Astana to playing a key support role for Alberto Contador with the Danish squad at this year's Tour de France.

    "The objective is perfectly clear," the Czech rider said. "We want win the Tour with Alberto. That's the goal for our team. We have three long and very hard weeks ahead of us. My own personal ambition is no other than the team's ambition. Every one of us in the team are motivated and focused to give our very best in the 100th Tour de France."

    Kreuziger won this year's Amstel Gold Race and more recently finished third overall at the Tour de Suisse. The results added to a palmares that already includes overall wins at the Tour of Romandie and Suisse, fifth overall at the Giro d'Italia and twice in the Tour de France's top 10.

    Questions were asked of Kreuziger following his victory at Amstel as to how he would fit into a line-up that was focused on the fortunes of Contador – especially at a grand tour level but the 27-year-old remained philosophical, despite having come from Astana where he was a designated leader.

    "There are three Grand Tours in the year so I think there is an opportunity for everybody," Kreuziger said in April. "We have a different program [he and Contador]. It's a good team for me also because I'm still a very young rider."

    Now, Kreuziger admits that his experience riding the Tour will be "a little bit different" but he's no less enthused.

    "In my opinion, we have the best Grand Tour rider in the world and I'm so ready to support Alberto," he confirmed. "My most important support will be executed in the mountains but I assume I can do some good in the team time trial as well."

    Much

  • Live coverage of the Tour de France Teams Presentation

    The 2013 Tour de France map
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 4:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Catch all the colour and commentary on Cyclingnews

    Cyclingnews transports you to Porto Vecchio, Corsica for the Tour de France Teams Presentation live Thursday evening.

    The 198 riders taking part in this 100th Tour de France will be introduced one-by-one as the countdown begins in earnest to Saturday's Grand Départ. The Teams Presentation begins the festivities as Corsica hosts the Tour de France for the very first time. Taking place at the dramatically beautiful Port de Plaisance, the teams will take to the stage in front of the Port with the fans getting their first real look at those set to battle it out over the next three weeks and 3,403.5kms.

    Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour de France Teams Presentation begins at 1830 CET.

  • Tour de France: Brajkovic lines up to support Fuglsang

    Janez Brajkovic (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 10:19 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Astana back Dane for Tour GC

    Despite finishing in the top ten in last year’s Tour de France Janez Brajkovic is ready to support teammate Jakob Fuglsang in this year’s race.

    Brajkovic finished ninth in last year’s Tour but has struggled to find his top form this year. However the all-rounder is looking forward to racing with less pressure and helping Fuglsang – who finished fourth in the Dauphiné - deliver on his GC aspirations.

    “Mentally I’m not in the same position as last year. Then I had a few good results before the Tour and I was very self-confident,” Brajkovic told Cyclingnews.

    “That’s not the case this year so at this point I really don’t know where I am. All the information from training says I’m pretty good but I have to show that in the race. I’m still waiting for that conformation.”

    “I had a pretty rough start to the year and the winter was bad. The spring was bad with the weather and that I think affected me more than most other riders. Then I got sick and had to skip the Giro. I’m not going to say that I was unlucky but it was just one bad thing after another. Hopefully better days are on the horizon though.”

    Brajkovic still managed a respectable 14th place in the Tour de Suisse, showing himself with a strong individual time trial in the race. The former Dauphiné winner is now hoping to carry the shoot of his good form into a blossoming Tour de France.

    “I was suffering from a few allergies a bit which was quite unusual for that time of year but overall I was okay, especially with the final time trial. I would have liked to have ridden better in the race but I’m hoping to do better here.

    “I’ll try and...

  • Wiggins: two hours define my sporting career

    Bradley Wiggins celebrates his 2012 Tour de France win.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 11:21 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky rider on achievements, coping with pressure and starting out

    2012 was Bradley Wiggins' year, as he won both the Tour de France and the Olympic time trial gold medal. “We had a goal and we worked for three years to try and achieve it, and we did achieve it. Sport  is what we live for.” The 2013 season has turned out completely differently, though, and the Team Sky rider won't even be riding the Tour this year.

    The time trial at the Tour “was my greatest moment,” he told Eurosport. In fact, he added, “I think I've had two hours define my whole sports career and that was one of them. The other one was the London Olympics the week after, so those two one-our time trials were probably the highlight of my sporting career.”

    Those victories last season gave him “an overwhelming sense of pride that no one can ever take   away from me. That's something I'm going to have for the rest of my life now,” he told Eurosport.

    The Tour is like no other race in the world, especially when you are going for the win. It is not easy to cope with the pressure which comes from the media, the public, the competition, the team and even from within oneself. Wiggins' coping strategy was “to keep hold of what was real. You get so consumed by the Tour that you forget what is reality."

    “At the end of the day, it's just a bike race like every other bike race you go to through the year but somehow you arrive at the Tour de France and everything's changed.  You're made to feel sometimes like it's life or death and it's not.”

    Looking back at how he started in cycling as a youngster, he said much of his time “was on the turbo trainer as I grew up in central London, so my mum...

  • Contador: "I'm at 90 per cent going into the Tour"

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacks on the Dauphine stage to Valmorel
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 12:04 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Says there are “more actors than Froome and me in this film”

    First up at the start of a day-long run of press conferences in Porto Vecchio, Alberto Contador was his usual calm and relaxed self as he faced what is likely to be the first of many grillings about his rivalry with Sky’s Chris Froome. Describing his condition as being at “90 per cent due to the difficulty of the race this year,” the two-time Tour de France champion played down suggestions that he and Froome are the overwhelming favourites for this year’s title, saying, “There are a lot more actors than us in this film, that’s for sure.”

    Back at the Tour after missing last year’s race due to suspension, Contador said of his return: “It’s not much different to other years. The plan is to do the best possible.” Asked about being nudged out of favourite status by Froome, he replied: “It doesn’t change much, it’s better in a way as in previous Tours that pressure all fell on me. That said, the pressure is the same as it always has been at the Tour.”

    Speaking at Saxo-Tinkoff’s hotel overlooking stunning Porto Vecchio bay, the Spaniard admitted he had been impressed by Froome’s performances this year, but not intimidated by them. Do you think you can beat the Briton, he was asked? “If I didn’t think I could beat him I wouldn’t be able to find the motivation to be here today.”

    As for his admission at the Critérium du Dauphiné that he was only at 75 per cent of his best after being crushed by Froome in the time trial during that race, he commented: “It’s difficult to say where I am right now. That will become clearer when the race gets under way. I would say that I am at about 90 per cent right, which is just about...

  • Tour de France: Belkin ready to race in Corsica

    Bauke Mollema will lead Belkin at this year's Tour
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 13:01 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    New sponsors boost morale in Dutch team

    The Belkin Pro Cycling riders trained in their new green, white and black colours around Porto Vecchio on Thursday morning after being the first team to hold their pre-race press on board the huge ferry that is the floating press centre for the Tour de France stages in Corsica.

    Bauke Mollema, Robert Gesink, Sep Vanmarcke Lars Boom and their teammates sat shoulder to shoulder, with new team leader Mollema in the middle.

    Mollema, and not Robert Gesink, will be the team's protected rider throughout the Tour de France, with directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven confirming the team's goal of a good overall classification and stage victories when the sprinters do not dominate the racing.

    Chet Pipkin, the owner of Belkin and a reported billionaire, was also at the press conference, reiterating his optimism and hopes for the team after agreeing to back them for the next two and half years. Mollema finished second overall at the Tour de Suisse and trained specifically for the Tour de France with teammate Lars Peter Nordhaug at altitude in Sierra Nevada in the south of Spain.

    "Nobody knows now what I can do but I just hope to finish as high up on GC as possible," Mollema said with a nervous laugh and smile, clearly enjoying being in the spotlight but aware of the pressure on his shoulders.

    "We've got a strong team, I had good preparation in the Sierra Nevada. We'll go for maximum. We'll see. I feel ok and ready. I've been here for Critérium International, it's a nice island for cycling. Maybe not the best place to start a race, especially the Tour de France because the roads are narrow and dangerous. There are lots of corners, so the first few days will be stressful."

    Gesink has been moved aside in the team hierarchy but seems ready to accept the role, pointing out that he rode the Giro d'Italia and has not...

  • Gallery: Tour de France press conferences

    It's Tour de France time
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 13:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Schleck, Contador and Belkin meet the media in Corsica

    With the Tour de France less than 48 hours away teams competing in this year’s race have begun their ritual pre-race press conferences in earnest.

    As the start of this year’s race takes place in Corisca, a ferry has been transformed into a makeshift press centre for the race’s press corp. First up on Thursday were the Belkin team with Bauke Mollema and Robert Gesink fielding questions over leadership and Tour aims.

    Next up were Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck both of whom come into this year’s race with different points to prove.

    More teams, including Sky and Omega Pharma QuickStep will hold press conferences throughout the day.

    Click here for our gallery.