Bram Tankink will be the ninth man on the Rabobank Tour de France squad, taking the place of the injured Laurens ten Dam. The Dutch ProTour team announced Monday evening that Tankink would fill the final spot.
Rabobank was the first team to announced its Tour de France line-up, on June 3, with Tankink and Peter Weening as the reserve riders.
Ten Dam was named to the original squad but fractured two vertebrae and a wrist in a crash in the Tour de Suisse. He was re-injured Monday in an auto accident.
The team waited until after the Tour de Suisse and the Ster Elektrotoer to choose its final rider. "The choice was very difficult and we were aware of that when we presented Weening and Tankink as reserves,” said technical director Erik Breukink. “Bram is just a little more versatile than Peter, just slightly more usable in all areas. But they were very close. "
Rabobank will be led by 2009 Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov, with Robert Gesink and Oscar Freire also expected to play important roles.
Rabobank for the Tour de France: Denis Menchov, Robert Gesink, Oscar Freire, Lars Boom, Grischa Niermann, Koos Moerenhout, Maarten Tjallingii,Bram Tankink and Juan ;Manuel Garate.
Wegmann, Kluge and Roberts fill out German team squad
Fabian Wegmann, Roger Kluge and Luke Roberts are the final three riders named to Team Milram's Tour de France squad. They will join the line-up led by team captains Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek at the start in Rotterdam on July 3.
The German ProTour team announced its first six starters earlier this month.
Wegmann has had a mixed season, with numerous injuries. However, he came out of the Tour de Suisse in good form and with no physical problems, the team said.
Kluge will be making his Tour debut in his first pro year. “Roger is getting a huge chance for a young racer. With his abilities, he will be a big help to us especially in the first week of the Tour, with its many flat stages,“ said Milram general manager Gerry van Gerwen.
Roberts will be riding only his second Tour de France, having ridden it in 2005 with Team CSC. “Luke is a very steady rider, who will sacrifice himself for the good of the team,” van Gerwen said.
Team MILRAM for the Tour de France: Gerald Ciolek, Linus Gerdemann, Niki Terpstra, Thomas Rohregger, Christian Knees, Johannes Fröhlinger, Roger Kluge, Luke Roberts, and Fabian Wegmann.
Thijs Rondhuis is the new Sport Director for Equipe Noris Cycling. The German women's team announced the appointment Monday afternoon. He replaces Jochen Dornbusch, who will become the national trainer in Hong Kong.
Rondhuis, 33, has a contract through the end of the season. "Thijs Rondhuis already worked for us in the Giro del Trentino this last weekend," said team manger Alexander Oppelt.
"We are happy that we were able to sign an internationally-experienced director in such a short time, and we wish him much success."
Rondhuis was with Team DSB Bank from 2004 to 2008. While there he worked with Marianne Vos, who became World Champion 2006.
Equipe Noris Cycling is operating this year without a title sponsor, and is riding a reduced scheduled with a small cadre.
Although Christian Vande Velde had a quiet Tour de Suisse, the Garmin Transitions rider is hopeful that a good Tour de France is in store.
The Chicagoan finished 70th overall in the Swiss race, but that result is misleading in that he was nursing the effects of a bad crash and therefore couldn’t go as deep as he wished.
“I was lucky enough not to be involved in the sprint crash, but I crashed three or four days ago and cracked some ribs,” he told Cyclingnews after his time trial yesterday. “They are not broken, but they are cracked. It really hasn’t been that nice breathing, nor sleeping. But whatever, it happens…there is nothing you can do about ribs, it is just a question of waiting.
“I never thought about going for GC here, but at the same time starting a little beat up and getting even more beat up throughout the race has just made a hard race even harder. I was definitely going to try to test myself on some stages but when I hurt myself the other day, it changed.”
Vande Velde has had a frustrating season, being affected by a hip injury and then a lung infection. He showed his form was on the up when he finished 13th overall in the Tour de Romandie and went to the Giro d’Italia planning to further build his form. However he crashed on stage three, breaking his collarbone, and so was forced out of the race.
Bizarrely, he also crashed out on stage three of the 2009 race. On that occasion he suffered more serious injuries, including broken vertebrae, yet amazingly recovered to finish eighth overall in the Tour de France. He had placed fourth one year earlier.
A good performance in the Tour de Suisse would have boosted his morale, but he’s remaining upbeat. “My condition is about the same as this time last year, if not a little bit better,” he said. “It is just a different kind of form..I think I am more fit, but I can’t...
With 11 races remaining in USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar series Jamis-Sutter Home’s Luis Amaran and Team Vera Bradley Foundation’s Alison Powers lead the elite men’s and women’s series respectively. Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare-Maxxis) and Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12) hold second place in their series after winning the 13th round, the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Amaran and Powers’ position in the individual standings is replicated in the teams’ standings, with Jamis Sutter Home leading the men’s series and Team Vera Bradley Foundation atop the women’s contest.
The series continues this Sunday with the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. The NRC’s next stage race, the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, takes place in early July.
The Spanish time trial championship is assured of changing hands this week, with current champion Alberto Contador announcing he won’t defend the title. Contador has hoped to defend the title and wear his national colours at next month’s Tour de France, but he’s been suffering from flu symptoms since Saturday.
"It's a pity, but I'm not able to attend the Spanish Championship because I'm having a little flu,” said Contador. “I had wanted to defend the jersey, but unfortunately I am not in good condition and against this I can not do anything.”
Contador is training with Astana team-mates Paolo Tiralongo, Dani Navarro, David de la Fuente, Jesús Hernández, Benjamin Noval and Oscar Pereiro in Sierra de Madrid this week. The week-long camp will help the Kazakh-backed squad decide its final roster for the Tour de France, which commences at the end of next week.
Had Contador successfully defended his national title he would have started this year’s Tour in the Spanish colours, with the race opening with a flat 8.9 kilometre prologue in Rotterdam. The jersey would have been displayed again on Stage 19, when the Tour will tackle a 52 kilometre time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac.
Contador’s absence from this Thursday’s event in Albacete will be welcomed by Caisse d’Epargne’s Luis León Sánchez. Sánchez held the title in 2008 but finished second to the Tour champion at last year’s race.
Danilo Hondo has secured his future in the professional peloton after renewing his contract with Lampre-Farnese Vini. The German rider will spend a further two years with the Italian ProTour team, which could well be the balance of the 36-year-old’s professional career.
"I'm very happy to be part of the project for the next two years,” said Hondo. “In blue-fucsia team there’s a perfect situation for working in a professional way and it will be an important input for giving the best. I'm sure that I'll give my support to the team in the necessary way."
The team named Hondo’s successful start to his first season with the outfit as its motivation for the two year deal. He won a Giro di Sardegna stage early in the season and placed 18th at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in the lead up to his ninth at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Hondo finished second at the Tour de Romandie’s second stage as he prepared for the Giro d’Itaia, where he took five top 10 stage placings including second on Stage 17.
Team manager Giuseppe Saronni said despite Hondo’s age, he’s a rider with a powerful physic that has much to offer the squad. "Danilo showed that he's a real professional cyclist, perfect in every side of his work, and so it was natural that we offered the renewal,” he said. “Hondo gives us his experience and high quality in support of the sprinters and moreover he's reliable when he had the freedom of going in search of personal results. He's 36 years old, but his physic is powerful and in perfect fit."
It’s been a bumpy return to a ProTour team for Hondo, since serving a suspension for doping at the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia. After a legal battle that saw his doping suspension initially reduced then reinstated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and finally overturned in a civil court, Hondo returned with German squad Team Lamonta in 2006.
Welsh artist Steve Dennis has taken the wraps off his collection of work that captures the 2010 Spring Classics winners. Dennis, who is based in Chicago, has used a range of techniques in the body of work including pencil and water colour.
While it seems the Classics were a lifetime ago with the Giro d’Italia won and the Tour de France just weeks away, Dennis’ work recalls memories of what was an incredible Spring. His works include Bobbie Traksel’s victory at a weather battered Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, where just 26 riders finished the event as storms swept through Europe, and Fabian Cancellara’s victories at Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen.
While many of the eight works are painted, it also includes two unique drawn pieces including the victory by world champion Cadel Evans at La Flèche Wallonne and Bernhard Eisel’s spectacular Gent-Wevelgem win.
“By drawing for no more than an hour on each piece using a variety of materials and techniques, I have endeavoured to portray the winners of 2010's spring classics campaign,” said Dennis. “It was fun, occasionally surprising and sometimes tormenting.
It’s not the first time Dennis has produced his Spring collection, however he will sell prints for the first time this year, starting in September. Click here to see the collection or visit Dennis’ website www.velopaint.com.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) on his way to victory at the 2010 Paris-Roubaix.