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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Date published:
June 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Brice Feillu hoping for Tour de France selection

    Brice Feillu (Saur Sojasun)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 11:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Saur-Sojasun rider proves improving form at Dauphiné

    Despite having already won a stage at the 2009 Tour de France, Saur-Sojasun rider Brice Feillu is not certain to be selected into his team roster for this year's race. At the Critérium du Dauphiné's queen stage on Saturday, where he rode the final 30 kilometres solo in front, the climber thus took the opportunity to show himself and improve his form.

    "We have a strong team, so it's difficult to make choices for the big races," Feillu told La Nouvelle République. "Even more so because I'm new to the squad [having come from Leopard-Trek - ed.], so I don't have a priority."

    The 26-year-old broke away from the day's escape group on stage six on the penultimate ascent with 44 kilometres to go, and even though he was caught by the eventual stage winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) near the top of the final climb, his feat should have impressed his team's management.

    "I really wanted to try something on that stage," Feillu continued. "It was risky to go off on my own that far away from the finish, also because Team Sky is so strong. Physically, I'm not at 100 percent yet, but I'm starting to have good feelings. Since the start of the season, I feel that the form is coming back."

    The Frenchman suffered a collarbone fracture in December last year, and the injury held him back in his early season preparation. He was forced to miss out on Paris-Nice, choosing to train instead, and continued his build-up at the Volta a Catalunya. If selected for the Tour de France, Feillu may get his own chances but will also be asked to work for...

  • Martin: Sky are the Bayern München of cycling

    World champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) gets ready to take off for the prologue
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 12:27 BST
    Cycling News

    World time trial champion to recon Tour de France mountain stages and time trial

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Tony Martin will be staying in the French Alps for a few more days after having finished the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday. The World time trial champion will be reconnoitering the Tour de France stages located in the Alps as well as the course of the first long time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon (41.5 km).

    "Until Thursday, we will inspect the Alps and the first long time trial. After that, I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend at home," the 27-year-old told German Radsport-News.

    Martin, who suffered a training setback in April due to a heavy crash, was "very satisfied" with his form at this stage. He placed second behind overall winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the Dauphiné's 53km race against the clock last week, and continued to work on his climbing during the difficult mountain stages.

    "I'm on schedule. It was important to me to make sure that my form is where it should be. My aim at the Dauphiné was not on the general classification, anyway," he added.

    Martin will be one of his team's leaders at the upcoming Tour de France, where his main goals will certainly be to win one or even two of the race's long time trials, as well as to pursue a top GC placing. However, the German was very impressed with British outfit Team Sky, who dominated the race in the mountains and practically escorted its leader Wiggins to the overall win just like US Postal used to do with seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.

    "They had the race in their hands. Wiggins has very strong domestiques, who could...

  • Gilbert grateful for uphill kilometres

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 13:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Climbing at Dauphiné and Tour de France to take Belgian back to the top

    Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert is confident that further racing, and especially more climbing, will bring him back to top form in time for the Olympic Games in London. The BMC rider, whose results have been disappointing since the beginning of the season, has just completed the Critérium du Dauphiné and is looking foward to the Tour de France to get back to the shape that helped him take one victory after the other in 2011.

    "I haven't been great so far this year," Gilbert told Sporza. "But I continue to believe in it. I'm sure it's going to be alright.

    "In the Dauphiné it was all for Evans at BMC, but I also raced hard. In the Tour, there will be a lot of uphill kilometres to tackle, too, and that always does me good. I'm getting stronger from climbing."

    Gilbert is specifically aiming to be on top for the Olympic road race on July 28. "The Tour is my set-up to be in shape for the Olympics. There's one week between the Tour and the Games. That has to be enough," he explained.

    But before the French grand tour starts in Liège - close to the Belgian's home - the 29-year-old will try to defend his national jersey in Geel on June 24. "Of course I'd like to ride wearing the jersey for another year," Gilbert insisted, even though "the parcours doesn't really suit me. But at the national championship in Antwerp, I got on the podium and it was completely flat. Moreover, last year it was almost completely flat, too.

    "[Tom] Boonen is of course the favourite. He'll be racing in his backyard and will thus be very motivated. But I'm certainly not going to the start thinking that I'll lose!"

  • Hincapie announces retirement

    George Hincapie (BMC) leads a dangerous BMC move
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 15:21 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider says 2012 is his last season as a pro

    George Hincapie (BMC Racing) announced on Monday that this will be his final season of professional cycling. The three-time US national road champion said the Tour de France and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August will be the last two races of his 19-year career.

    Hincapie said his decision came after much thought and discussion with people closest to him - particularly his wife, Melanie, whom he met while competing in the Tour de France.

    "This is definitely not a decision that has been easy," Hincapie said. "I came to the conclusion that I want to go out while I can still contribute and make a difference. To be able to compete for 19 years as a professional cyclist has been something I would have never dreamed of doing. But at the same time, it's also going to be good to spend more time with my kids, who are getting to be the age where they miss me when I'm gone."

    The soon-to-be 39-year-old has played an integral role in helping teammates like Cadel Evans, who was third at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and Alessandro Ballan, who was third at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, to success. The Greenville, South Carolina resident said he hopes to stay involved in the BMC Racing Team and the sport in some capacity.

    "I don't want to get completely out of cycling," he said. "My company, Hincapie Sportswear, obviously revolves around cycling. So I want to see it grow while putting in more time with the people I love. But also know that I'm still feeling strong and healthy and ready to make a contribution to the team these last two months. I'm 100 percent motivated to help Cadel win another Tour."

    Evans, the defending Tour de France champion,...

  • Cavendish on a diet for Olympics

    Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) on the podium in his rainbow band
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    World champ has lost four kilos in preparation for London Games

    The Olympic road race in London being a major goal for British sprinter Mark Cavendish, the Sky rider has started dieting early for the event. With a parcours not necessarily suited to the pure fast men, Cavendish has decided to lose weight by banning all sugars, according to Sporza.

    "I'm already four kilos lighter than my normal race weight," the world champion told the Belgian media. "I've stopped candy, soft drinks and ready meals. That's not easy: in the beginning I got tired very fast and I found it difficult. It was hard to adapt to it."

    But the prospect of Box Hill, a short but sharp climb featured in the Olympic race course, made the Manxman continue his new diet. "The route is not bad, but it's not tailor-made to me either. That's why I'm dieting now. I'm adapting my life to it."

    Losing some of his body fat will also help Cavendish in his quest to defend his green jersey at the Tour de France.

  • RadioShack-Nissan selects preliminary Tour de France team

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2012, 21:38 BST
    Cycling News

    American Chris Horner left off list

    The Radioshack Nissan Trek team management made a pre-selection of 14 riders for the 2012 Tour de France, which is scheduled to start June 30 and end on July 22.

    The selected riders include Fabian Cancellara, Jakob Fuglsang, Tony Gallopin, Linus Gerdemann, Markel Irizar, Andreas Klöden, Maxime Monfort, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston, Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck, Jens Voigt and Haimar Zubeldia.

    Andy Schleck was recently named the 2010 Tour de France champion after Alberto Contador was disqualified per his doping ban. Cadel Evans is the defending Tour de France champion.

    American Chris Horner, who had been hoping to make the team, was not selected.

    The final roster of nine riders will be announced in the week of June 18.

  • Argos Shimano announce Tour de France long list

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2012, 2:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Degenkolb a shock omission following solid 2012 season

    Pro Continental outfit Argos Shimano has named its long list for the Tour de France later this month, with Marcel Kittle set to make his debut at the grand boucle.

    Absent from the list is John Degenkolb, who will attempt to keep his legs fresh for the Olympic Games in London.

    "John has had a busy spring, riding almost all the spring classics and many stage races," explained team manager Iwan Spekenbrink. "At this point the Tour de France is too much for him. John is a talented rider, but still just 22. The Tour de France comes a year too early for him."

    Degenkolb is in the German selection for the Olympics and wants to focus on that, the Vuelta a España and the World Championships in Valkenburg. He is looking forward to the rest of the season.

    "I want to do well in those races," he said. "Next year however, I want to shine in the Tour de France. It will be my main goal. It is my dream to win the green jersey."

    With one more win to his name than Degenkolb, it was little surprise that Kittel will be the team's sprint hope after victories at Etoile de Bessèges, the Tour of Oman, Driedaagse van De Panne and the Scheldeprijs. The 23-year-old has been open this season in admitting that he believes he can win at least one stage at the Tour.

    Argos-Shimano was invited to the 2009 Tour de France when racing under the Skil-Shimano banner but missed out on wildcards in 2010 and 2011. The team rode last year's Vuelta a España, winning a stage with Marcel Kittel, and has enjoyed a solid beginning to the 2012 campaign. Argos Oil was unveiled as the team's new primary sponsor at a presentation in Rotterdam in...

  • Close call for Cooke at Tour de Suisse

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) raises his arms to celebrate
    Article published:
    June 12, 2012, 4:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge had been riding for Davis

    Orica GreenEdge finished with two riders in the top five on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, with Baden Cooke only just being pipped on the finish line in Aarberg by Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    Michael Albasini dragged Cooke and Allan Davis to the final kilometre of the twisty finish with Cooke unconcerned about his own chances at the finish.

    "Today I was focused on getting Allan to the line," said Cooke on the Orica GreenEdge website. "It wasn't my job to do the sprint today but because of the corners and the skinny roads, doing the lead out lent itself to be on the front. I realized in the last kilometer that Allan had lost my wheel. I was in a good position, so I went for it. I nearly held it to the line.

    "The day was tough from the start of the chase," Cooke explained. "We spent a lot of energy pulling back the break. Unfortunately, a lot of the other sprint teams choose not to contribute to the chase, so we were forced to sacrifice riders on the front that we would have liked to have saved for the finish. We didn't hold back today. We took the race by the scruff of the neck to have a chance in the sprint."

    It was the second time this season that Sagan has got the better of Cooke, with the Slovakian defeating the Australian in Stage 2 of the Tour of Oman in February – albeit in very different circumstances. On the previous occasion, Sagan led out Cooke and was unchallenged to the finish line. On Monday, the result was only decided with metres to spare.

    "Because I wasn't focused on myself today, I wasn't thinking how to win this particular sprint," explained Cooke. "My only focus was delivering Allan to the line. When I realized I was in a good position, I just charged for the line, and...