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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Date published:
July 06, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Hushovd furious as points neutralised in Spa

    Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd respected the go-slow, but missed points toward the green jersey.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 20:58 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Tour organisation awards points only to Chavanel after rider protest

    Green jersey hopeful Thor Hushovd looked furious after crossing the finish line of the Tour de France's second stage from Brussels to Spa. Likely to lose his temper and use too-strong words in front of the media, he had to go inside his team bus and cool down before talking to the press about the race jury's decision to neutralise the points classification for the day.

    After a large portion of the peloton crashed on a slippery descent of the Col du Stockeu, race director Jean-François Pescheux and chief commissaire Francisco Cenere agreed with Fabian Cancellara, the leader of a rider protest, that the rest of the stage order would not count for the points classification. The peloton slowed down before crossing the finishing line and stage winner Sylvain Chavanel was the only rider allocated points for the finish.

    That decision pushed Chavanel into the lead of the points classification, taking away a prime opportunity from sprinters like Thor Hushovd and Robbie McEwen to gain an advantage over foes like Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar who had been dropped from the main peloton.

    It wasn't until two hours after the stage finish when Hushovd finally gave his opinion to Cyclingnews and his frame of mind was no different than his post-race anger: "What happened is not normal," Hushovd said on the phone. "I'm very sorry for the riders who crashed. It was a big mess. But yet, this is still a bike race. Crashes happen all the time. It's been a really big mistake from ASO and the UCI commissaires to agree to neutralise the end of the stage. The Tour de France is a big, big race. Things like that shouldn't happen."

    "Why should Cancellara decide?," the Norwegian questioned. "He's a rider like us." Hushovd and the Cervélo team were one of the few to not accept the decision of the yellow jersey to wait for some injured riders and then to prevent the sprint for second place from being contested. Jeremy Hunt chased behind...

  • Leipheimer describes Ardennes stage as pure survival

    Levi Leipheimer facing questions
    Article published:
    July 05, 2010, 21:20 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    American blames ban of TV in DS cars for chaos

    American Levi Leipheimer pointed to Monday's crash on the descent of the Col du Stockeu as a prime example of why communication between the team cars and the riders is important. The RadioShack rider said the new rules banning television monitors from the front seats of team cars prevented them from knowing what was happening in the ensuing chaos.

    The lack of information was one of the reasons behind the strike that led the riders to wait for Andy Schleck and negotiate with the race director the cancellation of the points from second to twentieth place.

    "It was hectic," said Leipheimer on the finishing line. "It was like some kind of car game. Down Stockeu, it was just chaos. Everyone went off the road. We didn't know who was where. The directors couldn't tell us. They can't have TV anymore in the cars."

    The Saxo Bank team suffered from the same kind of confusion, as Jens Voigt described. "Fabian (Cancellara) and I hesitated on what to do when Andy and Fränk (Schleck) were at the back," Voigt told Cyclingnews after the finish. "Bjarne Riis eventually decided we had to slow down and he asked me wait for them. But when I got caught by the followers, [Jakob] Fuglsang told me he was the only Saxo Bank rider in the peloton. I turned back because Fränk and Andy were even further." They made it back to the main peloton after Cancellara convinced everyone else to wait.

    "We thought enough is enough," Leipheimer said, describing the attitude in the peloton. "It's chapeau to Chavanel. He deserves his win. There are always crashes in the first week of the Tour, it's the history of the race. But today was pure survival."

    In the middle of the stage, the race organisation issued a release about transport regulations for stage 3, which included a reminder to the team managers: "For safety reasons, we remind you that a TV receiver in the front positions of the vehicles is prohibited."

    The issue of communication...

  • Moreau close to Zoetemelk's mark

    French veteran Christophe Moreau (Caisse d'Epargne) signs an autograph
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 8:30 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Experience the key for oldest rider on the race

    Frenchman Christophe Moreau is the oldest rider at this year's Tour de France, his 15th edition of the race. The 39-year-old is the oldest man on the start list, closely followed by Lance Armstrong and Jens Voigt, and is pleased to be back at his national tour with the Caisse d'Epargne outfit in what could be his final Tour.

    "We in our later thirties are still in good shape," Moreau told Cyclingnews before the start of stage two. "Just look at Armstrong, he's the same age. It's great to still be here at our age, it just goes to show that age is not a limiting factor.

    "It's more a psychological barrier: we may be a little less strong than five or ten years ago, but we still have great resources. The riders in their thirties are definitely not the less competitive ones!"

    Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk holds the record for the most Tour participations with 16 but Moreau isn't far behind. "It's a number that gets a lot of attention lately but I don't really think it's that important," said the mercurial Frenchman.

    "What is important to me is to do well in this Tour, to finish it in Paris. I certainly want to have a good time and take advantage of all these beautiful moments. That's my motto for this Tour."

    In support of Caisse d'Epargne leader Luis Leon Sanchez, Moreau will do his best to "be active in the race, to experience beautiful stages and to go for a stage victory, of course. We don't have a unique leader this year at the Tour, so our team is very open to attacks and more opportunistic than if we had a single leader for the podium in Paris."

    Moreau hasn't finished all of his 14 previous Tours, although his best result was a fourth place overall in 2000, with his victory in the 2001 prologue netting him the maillot jaune for two days. In his 15 years of being a professional rider he has gained a massive amount of experience, which he is now happy to share with younger charges.

    "I like my new role of road...

  • First Easton wheelset winners named

    Hincapie runs Easton EC90 Aero Carbon wheels with Easton R4 SL hubs.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 9:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Have you won a new wheelset? If not, there's still time...

    There have been two winners in our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway, which we’re now pleased to announce.

    Andre Lui won a set of Easton EC90 TT wheels for correctly answering our trivia question from the Prologue. George Hincapie is starting his 15th Tour de France in 2010. Who has the most Tour starts in history? Joop Zoetemelk with 16.

    Michael Pepe won a set of Easton EC90 Aero wheels for correctly answering our trivia question from Stage 1. Professional riders rack up thousands of miles a year in training. According to the team’s own estimate, how many miles will BMC riders rack up this season? BMC’s team will pedal more than half a million miles in 2010.

    In case you're not yet familiar with the contest, Easton Cycling has teamed up with Cyclingnews to give you a chance of winning a major upgrade to your bike during the Tour de France. Each day, during our live Tour de France coverage (live.cyclingnews.com), we'll ask a trivia question. Answer correctly at our contest page (easton.cyclingnews.com) to be entered into the draw for that day’s prize.

    The Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway gives you 21 chances to try for a prize and you need to follow our live coverage for your shot.

    Easton makes some of the most durable high-performance wheels in cycling and they are used by World Champion Cadel Evans and US National champion George Hincapie, who ride for Easton-sponsored BMC Racing Team.

    Easton has included the best of their line in our giveaway:

    - EC90 Aero wheelsets on flat stages

    - EC90 SL wheelsets on hilly stages

    - EC90 SLX wheelsets on mountaintop...

  • McEwen to continue despite nasty wound

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) wins the bunch sprint for fourth.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 9:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian looking for another Tour stage win

    Robbie McEwen (Itera-Katusha) will continue searching for his first Tour de France stage victory since 2007, despite suffering a deep laceration to his elbow on stage 2. McEwen was taken to hospital for treatment to the wound after rolling across the line in fourth place.

    McEwen had predicted stage 2 would see a nervous peloton after the previous day’s crash-plagued finish, but nobody anticipated the carnage that took place. McEwen was caught in one of several crashes over the Col du Stockeu, which took down general classification riders like Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador, while ending the race of Christian Vande Velde who broke two ribs.

    "Crashed. In hospital having my elbow treated," McEwen said on Twitter. "Very deep wound & lost quite a bit of blood. Dr says will be ok to race. Won't be comfortable."

    McEwen has won 12 stages of the Tour de France throughout an extensive career, however missed last year’s race due to a serious knee injury that wiped out much of his season. He had won the event’s points classification on three occasions: 2002, 2004 and 2006.

    Detracting from McEwen’s comfort on today’s stage will be seven sectors of cobbled roads, over 13 kilometres in total length, finishing just before the famed Arenberg forest.

  • Cancellara not disappointed after putting riders ahead of yellow

    Yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) leads white jersey holder Tony Martin (HTC - Columbia).
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 9:45 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Swiss rider says fairness comes before being selfish

    Despite losing the yellow jersey on stage 2 of the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) found himself at the centre of attention, leading the peloton home in a protest against the dangerous conditions the riders faced during the stage

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) won the stage and took the yellow jersey but the day was overshadowed by a flurry of crashes on the descent of the Col du Stockeu, that saw almost half the field come down.

    “At that point it was dangerous. I don’t know if there was any protest. I don’t know anything about it. Is that a protest? I think it’s more security and respect for the race,” Cancellara’s team boss, Bjarne Riis told Cyclingnews.

    “In a situation like that the riders should decide for themselves on what to do. It’s those guys that are racing out there,” Riis added.

    Cancellara’s teammates and general classification contenders Andy and Fränk Schleck were two of the riders who crashed. Both were struggling to make contact with the field before Cancellara moved to the front of the lead group and began calling for the field to slow and wait as a number of riders, not just the Schlecks, rejoined. Subsequently, with Chavanel already up the road and the gap increasing, Cancellara lost his overall lead. More was the follow though, as the peloton, still with Cancellara at the front, rode tempo until the finish.

    “There's other things to think about than the yellow jersey,” said Cancellara. “You are also responsible for also trying to look at… There was a whole bunch on the ground ....and try to get everybody back get to the finish. When the whole bunch is on the ground it's better to stay together and go all the way to the finish together.”

    While the Cancellara bunch waited the Swiss time trial world champion could be seen talking to Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) on the front of the bunch.

    ...
  • Reactions from a crash marred Stage 2

    Tyler Farrar is attended to after crashing on the Col du Stockeu.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 9:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riders blame oil on Col du Stockeu for spills

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) - 42nd on stage, 19th overall at 3:36: "It was a straight road – downhill – with oil or whatever on it and the whole peloton went down. Sorry to the public for not racing. But it would not have been fair to the many who were injured."

    Alberto Contador (Astana) - 81st on stage, 7th overall @ 3:24: "It was a really crazy stage. On this road it was impossible not to fall. I fell on a straight part at about 60 km/h. I saw at every turn there were people on the ground, it was impossible to go without falling.

    “As soon as I heard that Andy was behind I ordered all my teammates to stop. As I wished he'd do with me, I had to do with him. [There was disagreement] with some teams who wanted to go ahead in spite of everything, because there were many dangerous riders in front too. In the end they acted with logic and decided to stop in front too.”

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) – 45th on stage, 51st overall @ 3:51 minutes: “Today has been another fairly stressful day, with lots of agitation. It was a very fast stage in which we tried to control the breakaway that took place at the start, as today was a good day for Thor. The team did a sensational job. Then there was quite a bit of chaos in the ride down Col de Stockeu, which was caused by some patches of oil on the tarmac.

    “There were lots of falls and a great deal of chaos amongst all of the teams, with groups all over the place... We took the initiative to start racing again as Thor Hushovd, Jérémy Hunt and I were in the leading group but no-one was helping us. Then Fabian Cancellara told Thor that the race had been neutralised and we weren’t receiving any information on the radio. The race was stopped and then all the people who had taken a fall came back into the main group. It was a strange situation that didn’t help us at all, but...

  • Broken ribs crack Vande Velde’s Tour dream

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) abandoned the race with a broken collarbone.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 9:49 BST
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    American out after stage two crashes

    Garmin-Transitions general classification hope Christian Vande Velde has withdrawn from the Tour de France after suffering two broken ribs after a crash-plagued second stage. Vande Velde was caught in two accidents on the Stockeu, which also left him with left eyelid lacerations that required multiple stitches.

    The American rider was obviously disappointed with the news, and made his feelings towards the day’s stage clear. “No one wants to leave the Tour de France,” he said. “I worked really hard to get myself ready to be here again and I was just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    “I’m indescribably disappointed to not be starting tomorrow. I wish everyone luck – my team and all the other riders at this Tour de France,” he added. “I don’t ever want to have to see another day like today, whether I’m in the race or not.”

    Team director Jonathan Vaughters said he was proud all of his riders finished the day’s stage, despite the injuries they carried. Vande Velde is the only Garmin rider that won’t start today’s third stage, which has an obvious impact on the team’s plans for the event.

    “Clearly, this will mean a change in the general strategy for team Garmin-Transitions,” said Vaughters. “We will focus on the multitude of talented riders we have on this team. We’ll be looking for stage wins and ways to animate the race.

    “I’m proud of the ride our team did today,” he added. “We’ve lost Christian, and we’re all sad about that. He’s had a tough season and has preserved and pushed himself like few other athletes could.”

    Vande Velde lost nearly 10 minutes on the main general classification contenders, with the pain too much to stay with the likes of fellow crash victim Andy Schleck. He described both crashes, saying he hit a pole after being...