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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Date published:
June 08, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Basso heads to the Alps to begin Tour de France preparation

    Ivan Basso clad in pink for his Giro d'Italia win
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 12:17 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro winner gets ready to target Giro and Tour double

    Following a week of riding criteriums and celebrating his victory at the Giro d'Italia, Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) begins his preparation for the Tour de France today, heading to the French Alps, to study two key mountain stages.

    Basso will spend two days in the Alps studying the climbs of stages 8 to Morzine and then stage 9 from Morzine to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Today he is expected to study the Col de la Ramaz (14.3km at an average of 6.8%) and the climb to Morzine (13.6km at 6.1%). Tomorrow he will ride the four early climbs during the 204.5km of stage 9 and study the Col de la Madeleine (25.5km at 6.2%) before the descent to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

    Basso has confirmed that he won't ride another stage race before the Tour de France but will spend time at altitude immediately after his trip to the Alps and only ride two one-day races later in June. He is convinced it is more important to focus on training and recovering as much as possible from the Giro, rather than ride the Tour de Suisse.

    "I'm going to train at the Passo San Pellegrino with some teammates between June 9 and 23. I'll only come down from there to ride the GP Nobili on June 19 and the Italian national championships on June 26," Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "I raced very little in the first part of the season before the Giro and that will be an advantage. But you can never relax too much after a big race. I enjoyed my win with my family for a few days after the Giro but I quickly got back to being a rider again. There are only five weeks between the Giro and the Tour but time flies and so we'll soon be in Rotterdam."

    Despite the huge effort needed to win a Grand Tour, Basso is convinced he can challenge Alberto Contador in July.

    "To win a Grand Tour you have to go well in time trials and in the mountains, and have a good team. I think Contador is currently the best climber in the world and in the top three time trialists in the...

  • Bole eyes Tour after Dauphiné win

    Grega Bole (Lampre-Farnese Vini) catches his breath after winning a chaotic finale.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 17:50 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Slovenian finds success in the absence of other sprinters

    Grega Bole of Lampre stormed to victory on stage 1 of the Dauphiné, overcoming his disappointment at crashing out of Paris-Nice in March. “This is my first Pro Tour win, so I’m very happy”, the 24-year-old Slovenian said after winning the stage into Saint-Laurent-du-Pont.

    He came second in stage 1 of Paris-Nice behind Greg Henderson but was a victim of a bad crash two days later in Aurillac. “I had two broken ribs and my thorax was perforated, so I had to stay in bed for one and a half months because it was too painful to move. Slowly I restarted cycling and I resumed racing last week but I already have great legs here.”

    He was second again in stage 3 of the Bayern Rundfahrt but he desperately wanted to get his first win of the year. It came on the right day. “A stage like today’s suited me to perfection because there was a small hill close to the finish”, Bole said. “I go well when hills are two or three kilometres long and other sprinters can’t follow. But I’ve had a fright because a Cofidis rider crashed downhill (Samuel Dumoulin) and I only came back into the front group at the start of the last kilometre. Two riders from Sky opened the sprint and I went out with 200 metres to go.”

    The former winner of the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège is looking ahead to the Tour de France, where he’ll line up alongside Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi.

    “I think I’m made for races like the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race”, he said. “When the hills are not too hard and too long, they’re good for me.”


  • Cervelo asks Sastre to ride the Tour

    Will Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) go on the attack?
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 18:58 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard could compensate for poor Giro

    Cervelo TestTeam wants Carlos Sastre to ride the Tour de France this summer. The Spaniard had earlier indicated he wanted to concentrate on the Giro d'Italia this year, but after his poor showing there, the team wants him to try the next Grand Tour.

    Sastre, who finished third overall in the Giro in 2009, had hoped to go for the overall win this year. However, he crashed three times in the race and the resulting injuries hampered his chances. He finished eighth overall.

    As recently as May 30, Sastre was undecided as to his next race. “All I want to do now is recover, let everything go back to normal and start thinking about the next challenge, which I'm still not sure what will be,” he said on his personal website.

    On Monday, however, the team announced that it had told the 2008 Tour de France winner that they expected him to ride the Tour.

    Cervélo TestTeam directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit told Cyclingnews that the rider had been asked to ride the Tour, but that Sastre asked for more time to make his decision.

    "Of course we are hoping that Carlos can ride the Tour de France, but his health is still our first priority," said the team's general manager, Joop Alberda. "For a three-week Tour, a rider must be in top shape and we will definitively take no risk on the health of the athlete. We have to wait for the green light from our medical staff."

    Pending the outcome of that medical assessment later this week, Sastre and the team will make an announcement on his Tour participation. Until then, he is not expected to ride any races, including the Spanish national championships at the end of this month.

  • Zubeldia breaks wrist

    Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) en route to a 25th place finish at the 2010 La Fléche Wallonne.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 19:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Out of Dauphiné, could miss Tour

    Team RadioShack’s Haimar Zubeldia has withdrawn from the Critérium du Dauphiné with a fractured wrist. The 33-year-old Spaniard was injured in a crash 15km from the stage one finish in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont but managed to complete the stage accompanied by RadioShack teammates.

    He has already undergone surgery in Voiron, France, with doctors inserting a plate in order to aid in a quick recovery. However, it is uncertain whether he will be fit enough to take part in the Tour de France in July.

    Zubeldia had been signed on the basis of his Grand Tour pedigree having been a general classification rider himself during his 11 years with Euskaltel-Euskadi, and then forming part of Alberto Contador's Tour winning team last year.

    The veteran Spaniard is in his 13th year as a professional and has twice finished fifth overall in the Tour de France.

  • Ladagnous is back on track for the Tour

    Matthieu Ladagnous (Francaise des Jeux) at the start of the 2010 Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 21:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French track rider leads Dauphiné mountains classification

    Matthieu Ladagnous was awarded the polka dot jersey in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont at the end of stage 1 in the Critérium du Dauphiné as a consolation prize for the missed opportunity of a stage victory. The Française des Jeux rider stayed away for 170 kilometres with Cyril Gautier (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Dominique Rollin (Cervélo TestTeam) and Sébastien Minard (Cofidis).

    "It was a nice breakaway," the rider from Pau told Cyclingnews. "We put a mark on today's stage because there was a real opportunity to make it successful since Astana doesn't want to defend the lead. I didn't suspect that Garmin-Transitions would ride behind us. Otherwise we could have made it."

    FDJ's team manager Marc Madiot was bitter after the stage. "We don't understand why Garmin brought it back," he said. Garmin-Transitions' best finisher in the sprint in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont was David Millar in 18th position. The American outfit didn't line up at the Dauphiné with any of their sprinters Tyler Farrar, Robert Hunter, Julian Dean or Murilo Fisher but they did all the work to condemn the breakaway after km 100.

    "I'm happy that I took the polka dot jersey, otherwise it would have looked like a lot of effort for nothing," said Ladagnous. Like many French riders, the strongman from Pau is at the Dauphiné in search of a selection for the Tour de France. One year ago, he was sidelined by FDJ because his form was judged not good enough. Two years ago, he also missed the Tour de France because of an injury in the Spring but his consolation prize was a selection for the French team to ride the Beijing Olympics in the team pursuit.

    Three years ago at the Tour de France, Ladagnous, the winner of the Four Days of Dunkirk, appeared like a great prospect as he almost held off the charging peloton in the streets of Compiègne where yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara eventually won stage...

  • Hushovd will return to racing at Tour de Suisse

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) leads Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky)
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 22:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian making comeback from broken collarbone

    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) will return to competition at the Tour de Suisse having recovered from breaking his collarbone during a training ride in Italy at the beginning of May. The 32-year-old Norwegian has been training for the past couple of weeks and is now focusing on the Tour de Suisse which kicks off on Saturday, June 12th in Lugano, Switzerland.

    "The healing process went well, I feel very good at the moment and I am looking forward to racing again," said Hushovd. "The Tour de Suisse is a great race and a good opportunity to prepare myself for my next big goal - the Tour de France."

    "We are very pleased that Thor is soon back in competition and feeling well," said Joop Alberda, Cervélo TestTeam general manager. "The health of an athlete always has priority and we didn't want Thor to come back too early. Now, everything is looking fine and our medical team have given him the green light to start racing again."

    Hushovd's early season was hampered by illness, but the Norwegian sprinter had shown good form with a sixth place at Milan-San Remo and a second-place finish at Paris-Rouxbaix.

  • Contador keeps Dauphiné lead

    Alberto Contador (Astana) in yellow
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 8:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana maintains advantage despite playing down ambitions

    It seems Alberto Contador can't help his winning ways; despite claiming he wasn't focused on maintaining the Critérium du Dauphiné lead, the Spaniard was in yellow at the end of yesterday's stage from Evian-les-Bains to Saint-Laurent-du-Pont.

    The reigning Tour de France champion pulled on the yellow jersey after winning Sunday's 6.8km prologue in Evian-les-Bains but claimed he wouldn't be aiming to remain in the lead throughout the race's following stages.

    But winning seems to be a habit for Contador and he remains in the ascendancy following a day in which Biel Kadri, Cyril Gautier, Dominique Rollin, Sebastien Minard and Matthieu Ladagnous spent most of the day at the head of the race before a chaotic sprint finish.

    "Today everybody wanted to be in front and had many interests. Although we did not have much interest in keeping the jersey and preferred that a break would go ahead," said Contador. "Others did the work and in the end we preferred to be at the front to avoid risks, as there were many falls.

    "It was a relatively quiet stage and yet there was some resistance from my legs after so many days without competing," he continued. "We did almost 200km and usually I wouldn't be going at this pace in training. I have to go slowly and think about testing myself in the time trial because some people are more prepared than me."

    As for his overall ambitions this week in France, Contador remained fairly coy. "I still think exactly the same [as yesterday]. Today the group finished together and I kept the jersey, but I still think the same," he said.

    "I think there are people better prepared [for the overall win]. Yesterday was a short time trial, which has nothing to do [with the final outcome], and today I noticed again my allergy, because here everything is much greener than in Spain. If it rains in the coming days I think it will be better for me if it is sunny."

  • Devolder Vacansoleil bound?

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 10:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian in talks with Dutch Pro Conti squad

    Professional Continental squad Vacansoleil has indicated it may be in the market for Quick Step's Stijn Devolder.

    The team's experienced directeur sportif Hillaire Vanderschueren told Dutch daily De Telegraaf that there have 'been conversations' with the dual Tour of Flanders champion, who recently won the Tour of Belgium.

    The Vacansoleil outfit is an incarnation of the squad, which was announced as a ProTour team during the 2008 season but wrangling over its ProTour licence and various political machinations meant it wasn't invited to some of the year's biggest races.

    The latest version of the team rode last season with a new sponsor - Vacansoleil, a mobile holiday company - and built the squad as a Professional Continental outfit, signing highly-fancied French siblings Brice and Roman Feillu at the conclusion of 2009.

    Last month a team spokesman told Cyclingnews that it was confident of extending its current sponsorship deal and was pursuing a secondary sponsor to aid in its push to participate in the Grand Tours.

    Devolder's signing would be another indication the team is ramping up its ambitions, and with the Belgian's contract with Quick Step due to expire at the end of 2010 the timing is right for a move. He also came under fire from current team manager Patrick Lefevere ahead of this year's Spring Classics for a lack of racing, giving cause to believe he may be on the way out at season's end.