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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Date published:
June 28, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Andy Schleck: the Tour starts at Luz Ardiden

    A lot done, more to do. Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) crosses the line in second.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2011, 12:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger questions strength of Contador's Saxo Bank-SunGard team

    In spite of an opening ten days filled with potential pitfalls for yellow jersey contenders, Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) believes that the Tour de France begins in earnest on stage 12 to Luz Ardiden.

    While Schleck acknowledged that the Tour’s testing foray into Brittany in week one would require vigilance, he is confident that the first decisive blows in the battle for the general classification will not be dealt until the Pyrenees.

    “You’ll have to be ready straight away all the same in this Tour de France, where a finish like the one at the Mur de Bretagne won’t be easy to manage,” Schleck told Le Quotidien. “There’s no secret, the Tour really starts in Luz Ardiden. I always say that the first week serves to build your strength in order to be at your best for the last two weeks.”

    Last year, the time Schleck lost to Alberto Contador in the prologue exceeded his final overall deficit of 39 seconds, while the Luxembourg rider also benefited from a truce in the peloton to chase back on after crashing on the treacherous descent of the Côte de Stockeu on stage two.

    On that controversial day, yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara succeeded in slowing the bunch to rescue his teammate’s Tour de France, and Schleck acknowledged that his teammates would play an important role in shepherding him through the opening week.

    “For me, the most important one is Stuart [O’Grady],” Schleck said. “He’s always with me. He watches behind me, in front of me, like Fabian does for Fränk [Schleck]. That’s how...

  • Cunego and Petacchi lead Lampre-ISD Tour de France team

    Lampre's Damiano Cunego doesn' seem happy with second place
    Article published:
    June 27, 2011, 12:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian TT champion Malori included in line-up

    Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi will lead Lampre-ISD at the Tour de France, as the Italian squad bids for stage victories and a potential assault on the general classification.

    After skipping the Giro d’Italia, Cunego approaches the Tour de France in a considerably fresher state than he did twelve months ago. His ambitions will be high after an impressive Tour de Suisse, where he finished second overall, just four seconds behind the seemingly evergreen Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack).

    Speaking to Cyclingnews last week, Cunego explained that he would test the water in the opening week before deciding on whether his final objective would be a stage victory or a high overall placing.

    The 37-year-old Petacchi won two stages and the green jersey twelve months ago, and he lines up at the Tour as one of the few sprinters in the field to have beaten Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) on the big stage.

    Petacchi recently outfoxed the Manxman on the opening road stage of the Giro di Parma, and was prominent in support of Michele Scarponi on the slopes of Mount Etna later in the race. His most recent sprint outing was a defeat to the precocious Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) at the Tour de Slovenie.

    As usual, Petacchi will be led out by the canny Danilo Hondo. The veteran German lines up in just the fourth Tour of a lengthy career.

    Newly-crowned Italian time trial champion Adriano Malori is also included in the Lampre selection. The youngster was lanterne rouge (the last on general classification) twelve months ago and he is enthusiastic...

  • Millar: podium a step too far for Wiggins

    Article published:
    June 27, 2011, 14:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Scot backs Contador's participation in Tour

    David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) believes that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) can finish in the top 10 of the Tour de France, but reckons that a spot on the podium in Paris is out of reach for his fellow countryman.

    Wiggins finished fourth overall in 2009 while riding for Garmin, but could only manage 24th a year later following his high-profile move to Sky. Following overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné and his triumph in Sunday’s national championships, however, Wiggins is clearly on song as the Tour approaches.

    “I wouldn't put him on the podium, I think the top 10 is realistic and he should be very happy with that," Millar told the Independent. "The Tour is a lot harder than the Dauphiné and a lot more riders are going to be going a lot better. Maybe fifth is possible, but the podium is just out of his reach.

    “The bottom line is that he won the Dauphiné, which is one of the Classics. Unfortunately, the Dauphiné isn't a pure indicator of Tour de France form, so I hope he's rested up and taken it easy. If he's got the same condition, then he could do a very good Tour. But being realistic – top 10.”

    Millar has also credited Wiggins’ Sky team for finding a degree of humility following an entry to the peloton that was viewed as overly-bombastic in some quarters. He feels that their victories at the Bayern Rundfahrt and the...

  • Voeckler leads Europcar at Tour de France

    The 2011 Europcar team
    Article published:
    June 27, 2011, 15:33 BST
    Cycling News

    No place for Sebastien Chavanel in nine-man squad

    Jean-René Bernaudeau unveiled his Europcar team for the Tour de France on Monday, with Thomas Voeckler, Anthony Charteau and Christophe Kern the leading lights in the all French selection.

    Voeckler may have lost his national title to Sylvain Chavanel on Sunday, but the Frenchman is sure to be the centre of much attention during the opening weekend of the Tour de France, as he leads Europcar in their home region of the Vendée.

    He has enjoyed a stunning run of form since the beginning of the season and has been the most reliable Tour performer in Bernaudeau’s squads in recent years, winning stages in the past two editions of the race.

    While Voeckler’s selection was never in doubt, Bernaudeau explained that there was plenty of competition for the remaining seats on the team bus for the Tour.

    “The whole of Team Europcar has been exemplary since the start of the season, and picking nine riders hasn’t been easy,” Bernaudeau said. “The team that we’re bringing to the Tour is ambitious and very united, with some experienced riders like Anthony Charteau and Christophe Kern, and also young talents like Pierre Rolland and Cyril Gautier, gathered around Thomas Voeckler.”

    Charteau was a surprise winner of the king of the mountains classification in 2010, although changes to the points system will make the defence of his title a difficult proposition.

    Kern took his first win in seven years during the Critérium du Dauphiné on the uphill finish at Les Gets, following sterling work from Voeckler, and Europcar will be hoping for something similar at La Grande...

  • Katusha confirm all-Russian Tour de France team

    Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) could be to the fore in Scheldeprijs.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2011, 17:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Moncoutié chases king of the mountains for Cofidis

    Katusha has named an all-Russian team for the Tour de France. The squad announced its intention to select only home riders in May, and there were few surprises in Andrei Tchmil’s line-up when it was revealed on Monday.

    With Joaquim Rodriguez resting for the Vuelta a España and the injured Filippo Pozzato seemingly irredeemably out of favour, the way was cleared for Tchmil to give a definite Russian bent to his selection. The squad’s overall challenge will be led by Vladimir Karpets, while the young sprinter Denis Galimzyanov could prove to be one of the revelations of the race.

    “Being at the Tour de France is always something to be proud of, but being there with a 100% Russian team represents, in the sporting point of view, an historical event,” Tchmil said. “We know that, for this reason too, we will be under the spotlight, and so we'll try our best for being a credit to the country we represent.”

    Born in the former Soviet Union, Tchmil himself raced under the flags of the USSR, Moldova, Ukraine and Belgium during his lengthy career.

    As well as Karpets and Galimzyanov, newly-crowned Russian champion Pavel Brutt is included in the Katusha line-up, along with time trial champion, the stylish Mikhail Ignatiev.

    The team also features Vladimir Gusev and two-time world championship silver medallist Alexandr Kolobnev, and Tchmil has good reason to believe that somebody from his stable of Russian-born rouleurs can emerge to take a stage victory, even if he was loathe to set any specific targets.

    “Our performance, when we'll cut the finishing line in Champs Elysees, won't be judged by wins, but instead by the courage and the commitment we put in...

  • WADA teams up with World Customs Organisation

    Director General of the WADA, David Howman
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 0:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Agreement to provide further boost to stop trafficking of doping products

    The fight against doping in sport has received a boost with the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) signing a memorandum of understanding with the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

    Signed late last week at the WCO's headquarters in Brussels, the MOU will foster co-operation in activities of common interest in the areas of anti-doping and the trafficking of doping substances within the organizations' respective mandates.

    There will be co-operative efforts in the collection, storage and exchange of information while information sessions and seminars will be set up with cross-organization alerts on trends observed in the areas of anti-doping and the trafficking of doping substances.

    "This MOU is a significant development for WADA as it will enable the agency to increase intelligence on upstream perpetrators involved in doping activities, the illegal organizations and individuals that provide doping substances to the sporting world," said WADA Director General David Howman.

    "We are grateful to the WCO for their commitment to the fight against doping in sport. The partnership sends out another very clear message that there is strong unity amongst agencies across the world to eradicate all forms of doping – not just for the sake of sport, but for the health and well being of society as a whole."

    The move follows Howman's comments earlier this year that the trade in doping products as being more lucrative than the trade in heroin. WADA also introduced guidelines to help national anti-doping organisations (ADOs) work more closely with local law enforcement agencies, and prevent doping in sport by targeting those involved in the sales and distribution of substances banned in sports.


  • Jonker praises "hard" Tour of Geelong course

    Rohan Dennis (Team Jayco Skins) is the new leader of the 2010 GMHBA Tour of Geelong. Dennis will take a 1:38 minute lead over Patrick Shaw (Virgin Blue/RBS Morgans) into the final stage around Geelong's Eastern Gardens.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 2:52 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Outstanding fields anticipated in both men's and women's

    Australian cycling great Pat Jonker has given his tick of approval to the challenging 407 kilometre course of the Tour of Geelong, which is set for August 10 to 14 . The tour, first held in 2009, incorporates the Victorian open road championships over the final three days.

    Darren Rolfe (Fly V Australia) was the inaugural winner of the event while in 2010, Rohan Dennis claimed overall honours while riding for the Jayco Skins team.

    "There's a bit of everything in it for everybody," Jonker, current sports director of the Jayco-2XU team said. "It's a hard course but it's really good. Some days will suit sprinters, other days will be for the all-rounders."

    His outfit is still looking for its first win in their debut season, despite several podium finishes in the Mersey Valley Tour, Canberra Tour and the Tour of Toowoomba.

    Jonker, 12th placegetter in the 1996 Tour de France, bronze medallist behind Stuart O'Grady and Allan Davis in the 2003 Australian road championship, and winner of the 2004 Tour Down Under, gained first-hand experience of the course's varying challenges last year as manager of the Virgin Blue RBS Morgan team.

    Virgin Blue's Cameron Peterson, of NSW, won the 143km Victorian road championship at Anakie, while team-mate, Ballarat's Patrick Shaw, was second overall in the tour to Dennis, later to finish fifth in the world Under 23 time trial championship in Geelong.

    "I like the Tour of Geelong," Jonker said. "It's a reminder that the world championships were held there and the course gives everybody a chance to do something if they're good enough."

    The six-stage tour will begin with a 48km closed circuit criterium starting at 10.30 a.m. at North Shore Sports Club on...

  • Simon Gerrans: 'individual success isn't everything'

    Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) is back
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 5:10 BST
    Alex Hinds

    Australian on riding the 2011 Tour de France in support of an in-form Bradley Wiggins

    Simon Gerrans’ (Team Sky) 2011 season doesn’t quite have the same lustre as seasons past. It's not that the Australian has been inconsistent or has lacked results; he was third in the Australian Road Championships, fourth in a stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, and rode to a career-best result in the Ardennes with third at Amstel Gold. However clearly absent is a victory. The Australian needs one – in fact, he’s been itching for one since his move to Team Sky at the end of 2009.

    For a rider of Gerrans' pedigree it seems hard to believe. Perhaps even harder considering that his move to Team Sky came after a bumper couple of years with Cervelo Test Team, in which many pundits felt the classics specialist had finally come of age. Gerrans however, seems relaxed about the situation and speaking to Cyclingnews explained that success at Sky doesn’t always mean taking top honours.

    "We've had a lot of success, I just haven’t had the same amount of individual opportunities as I did in 2009 - but personal success isn’t always measured by crossing the line first," he said.

    The shift in focus has seen the Australian become a key pillar in Bradley Wiggins support team, and to that end with good team performances at Paris-Nice (where the Brit finished third overall) and the Criterium du Dauphine, Gerrans' season has more to it than meets the eye.

    "At Paris-Nice the big goal was to support Wiggins, and not so much to go for stage wins. The same could be said of the Dauphine," the...