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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Date published:
July 12, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Freak accident ruins Vacansoleil-DCM ambitions

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) is attended to by a Tour doctor following a frightening crash onto a barbed wire fence.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 0:41 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Director sportif Van der Schueren analyses crash

    The freak accident that took out Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) caused a stir in the cycling caravan of the Tour de France. Hilaire Van der Schueren is an experienced director sportif on the Vacansoleil-DCM team. It's been a few years since he has featured in the Tour de France but what he endured during stage 9 was something he, like many others, had never witnessed. Van der Schueren felt sorry for his rider, but right after the crash he was already considering the long-term consequences in his analysis of what happened.

    "The Tour has become even bigger and more hectic," he said. "What happened was the mistake of one person who passed the tiny group of five riders in a reckless way in a place where that should not have happened. Nobody can do anything about it: not the team, not Johnny, not the organization... it all has nothing to do with it. One person took a risk that he should not have taken.

    "It's a real shame for Johnny because he might even taken the stage as there was a climb near the finish. He was one of the best in the group," Van der Schueren considered. Eventually the stage was won by Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) who easily out-sprinted his French breakaway companions Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Sandy Casar (FDJ).

    When asked whether he had seen television footage of the accident, Van der Schueren said that he had seen enough.

    "I haven't seen the footage and actually I...

  • Sight of massive crash frightened Evans

    Cadel Evans (BMC) looks to be the most in-form of the overall contenders so far.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 4:39 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Australian heads into second week of the Tour in perfect position

    The massive crash that occurred at the halfway mark of stage 9 of the Tour de France on the descent of the Col du Peysur caused the peloton to slow down. Podium contender Cadel Evans (BMC) wasn't among the casualties but he immediately realized that those who went down had sustained serious injuries. The Australian cycling star explained that seeing the riders and the bikes spread out over the road frightened him, immediately bringing back memories to the recent crash that claimed the life of Wouter Weylandt in the Giro d'Italia.

    Right after crossing the finish line in Saint-Flour, the BMC-rider approached the team bus and then discovered a nice surprise. Evans' wife and dog were there to welcome him and the former world champion clearly appreciated their presence.

    A little later, the Australian considered the day's stage and his face turned grim. "That was carnage," he said bluntly. "To be honest, they were going pretty fast down there and I was leaving a few gaps. It was like a Pyrenees descent. If you let your brakes go you went too fast. I spent more time trying to slow down than speeding up. We came into a blind corner and they were all lying there. I saw a lot of riders on the road. I thought it was [Frederik] Willems.

    "Honestly, it really, really, really frightened me. After what happened with Wouter at the Giro. I saw him [Willems] there and Brent Bookwalter was down as well unfortunately. I heard he came back on to our group. I saw that [the crash] and it really frightened me. If it's the front wheels and the front forks it must've been a frontal impact. I was leaving a safety margin to go down there," Evans said.

    The Australian is now in a...

  • Tour de France rest day gallery

    Voeckler reads on.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 6:36 BST
    Cycling News

    A perspective on what the riders did on their day off

    The first rest day of the Tour de France comes not a day too soon for the peloton, which endured a very nervous and dangerous opening week. Cyclingnews has put together a gallery of the press conferences, training rides, photoshoots and rehabilitation sessions that make up a Tour rest day.

    The King of the Mountains leader

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) used the day for some much-needed recovery after Sunday's horrific crash. Hoogerland had cold-compression treatment on his wounds to speed the healing of his 33 stitches, and yet still had the time to go for a light ride and sign some autographs.

    A busy day if you're a physio

    Matt Rabin, team physio for Garmin-Cervelo described his day ahead as steady, but busy.

    "[Like most rest days] We go to work to reset their bodies biomechanically to be functioning as optimally as possible when they climb on for stage ten tomorrow," he explained.

    "The mantra is trying to find the one or two things which allow everything else to fall into place from a functional perspective, and switch on/engage inhibited muscles, or return normal range of motion or muscle length or whatever it may be."


    Leopard-Trek are sitting pretty after the first week, with both of their GC contenders, Fränk and Andy Schleck sitting high in the overall...

  • CPA calls for greater attention to rider safety from convoy

    The tour convoy follows the race.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 8:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Bugno suggests Tour incidents could have been worse without radios

    The first rest day of the 2011 Tour de France has resulted in the professional cyclists' union (CPA) asking for heightened awareness of riders from the convoy.

    The call comes following a series of crashes which effected nearly every stage of the Tour's opening week, with two of the most serious resulting from incidents where the convoy collided with riders - Saxo Bank's Nicki Sørensen was clipped by a motorcycle carrying a photographer that was moving ahead of the peloton on stage 5, while Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)were hit by a France Television car which did not follow orders from race radio and pull to the side of the road as requested on stage 9.

    "We must not forget that the protagonists are the riders in each race," said CPA president Gianni Bugno, in a statement. "The greatest attention and all necessary measures for their safety must be ensured and constantly met ... "

    Bugno used the stage 9 incident as a prime example in the argument against International Cycling Union's (UCI) radio ban which has been rolled out on top-level events this season.

    "Given the difficulty in ensuring security in the races now, I cannot imagine what happens when you prevent the use of headsets in the big races like the UCI wants to do," he continued. "We hope that some decisions be...

  • Popovych out of Tour de France, Klöden to start

    Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 9:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Ukrainian stopped by fever

    Team RadioShack lost another rider on Tuesday morning, announcing that Yaroslav Popovych will not start today's tenth stage of the  Tour de France from Aurillac to Carmaux. The 31-year-old has been suffering with a fever since Sunday. German Andreas Klöden, the team's only remaining captain, will start the stage despite a sore lower back.

    Popovych's condition didn't improve on the rest day, so the team decided to stop him riding further in the Tour de France. He will now undergo further medical tests to discover what is causing his fever.

    The Ukrainian was suffering after crashing twice during the fifth stage. “With a lot of character he survived four more stages,” the team said in a statment. “The current illness however makes an end to his Tour de France.”

    The team also announced that Andreas Klöden would start stage 10 and that he “hopes for improvement in the coming days.”

    The German was involved in Sunday's crash which took out Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo). He is suffering with lower back bruises and stiffness. Klöden, 36, is the team's highest ranked rider in seventh place, 2:43 behind Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

    RadioShack started the Tour with four captains but two of whom have already left the race with injuries. Jani Brajkovic crashed out of stage five with a broken collarbone, and Chris Horner did not start stage eight due to a severe concussion suffered the previous day. Levi Leipheimer has crashed three times and is now over seven minutes down.

  • Transfer carousel: Astana, Quick Step, Skil-Shimano

    Paolo Tiralongo made his first trip to the podium the best in the Giro.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 9:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Teams announce contract extensions with riders

    Astana, Quick Step and Skil-Shimano have all announced contact extensions with riders for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

    Astana has extended his contract with Paolo Tiralongo for two years. The veteran Italian climber will now stay with the Kazakh team through the 2013 season. Tiralongo, 34, won the 19th stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, just ahead of his close friend and former teammate Alberto Contador.

    "We are very pleased to keep in our team an exceptional teammate like Paolo. We know that he will devote himself for our leaders with talent,” team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said. “Also, he demonstrated that he can win stages as during the last Giro d'Italia and we leave him new opportunities."

    Tiralongo has been with the team for two years and said:  "I have an important role in this team and it can still move forward, I am very happy to continue this adventure for the next two years!”

    De Weert stays with Quick Step

    Quick Step announced that Kevin De Weert will stay with the Belgian team until 2013, with a option for 2014. The 29-year-old has been with the Belgian team since 2009. He finished 18th overall in the 2010 Tour de France, and is currently 14th in this year's race

    "Kevin is proving to have reached an optimal level of maturity,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere in a statement. “He's a serious athlete, an example for the team. After the good 2010 Tour, Kevin is showing that...

  • Kolobnev denies doping after positive test at the Tour de France

    Alexsandr Kolobnev (Katusha) could be an outsider for victory
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 10:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian insists he has not been sacked by Katusha

    Alexandre Kolobnev has claimed he does not know how the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide was discovered in his urine sample taken after stage five to Cap Fréhel and has insisted that he has not been sacked by his Katusha team.

    The former Russian national champion was informed of his positive test by the UCI on Monday afternoon during the first rest day of the Tour de France. He was the first rider to test positive during this year's race. Kolobnev and room mate Egor Silin were questioned by French police in the presence of Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil on Monday evening but were allowed to return to their hotel.

    "Yesterday, during the rest day I was reported the laboratories had found a substance, hydrochlorothiazide, which I do not know where its come from” Kolobnev writes in a message on his personal website.

    “Therefore, waiting for more information, I have nothing to say about it for respect to the race organizers and cycling in general. After police's investigation made after being tested positive, the French police found nothing suspicious so we are waiting for the results and what investigation may say.”

    Kolobnev has twice finished second in the world championships, and was awarded the bronze medal from the Beijing Olympic Games road race after placing fourth behind disqualified Italian runner-up Davide Rebellin.

    He claims he had voluntarily quit the Tour de France as he awaits for the results of his B sample test.

    “Asked by my team about what I wanted to do after this news, I have decided to leave the Tour de France in a voluntary and personal decision waiting for the b-sample in the following days and, again showing my respect to UCI and WADA rules. I...

  • Flecha: The driver didn’t even stop

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) is assisted following his heavy crash.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 12:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider says he’s had no apology from France Télévision

    Juan Antonio Flecha has spoken for the first time about his crash on stage nine that occurred when the driver of a France Télévisions VIP car swerved into the five-man breakaway 36km from the finish in Saint-Flour. Talking to El País, the Team Sky rider revealed that he and his breakaway companions had no warning at all from the car as it attempted to speed past them and that the incident was made worse because the driver of the car didn’t stop.

    “Strangely, I didn’t hear anything,” Flecha replied when asked about his memory of the moments before the crash. “All day cars with guests in them had been buzzing past us like irritating flies, making a hell of a noise with their horns to tell us to get out of the way, and then flying by right next to us, but this guy came up without sounding his horn. I was surprised and I didn’t have time to move out of the way. I saw a car was bearing down on me and, of course, you never really expect them to drive over you. This has never happened in the Tour. What did he think was going to happen to me?”

    Asked if the driver had apologized to him, Flecha declared: “He’s not come to see me and I think if he did I wouldn’t want to talk to him. France Télévisions haven’t tried to apologize to me either.”

    Then asked what he would do if he did happen to come across the driver, Flecha said:  “One day when I was out training a car came out of a side road without seeing me, it didn’t brake and knocked me flying through the air. I got up and didn’t even want to speak to the driver. I...