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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Date published:
July 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Oss takes on the Tour de France sprinters

    Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 21:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian looking for opportunities while working for Basso

    Daniel Oss is at the Tour de France to protect Liquigas-Cannondale team leader Ivan Basso but with good legs and a good morale, the Italian is trying to take any chance he gets to ride for himself.

    Many failed to identify Oss as he dived through the final corners of the stage to Carmaux, leading out the sprint, but he had been let off the leash by directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta and tried to take his chance against Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and eventual winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

    Oss was also overtaken by Jose Joaquim Rojas (Movistar), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), but finished an impressive sixth after hitting out too early. The lanky rider form the northern Trentino region of Italy had a troubled spring but seems to have found his form for the Tour.

    “My legs are good, I can feel it,” he said in a press release from the team.

    “I’ve handled the climbs pretty well and that’s a good sign. On the last climb today I was at the front when it split. The important thing was to look after Basso and I did that with Paterski without problem. Then the team car gave me the green light to have a go in the sprint.

    “Zanatta gave me two vital pieces of advice for the final dangerous corners. I was with the sprinters after the red kit that indicates the final kilometre. They know the tricks of the trade a little better than me and I perhaps went a bit too early. If I’d been a bit more aggressive I think I could have finished in the top three but when you’re going for it, you follow your instinct instead of logic.”

    Built around Basso

    The Liquigas-Cannondale team has been built around helping Ivan Basso target...

  • Feillu frustrated by tendonitis

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 21:44 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman thought he was the fastest in the last 150 metres

    Romain Feillu finished fifth in stage 10 of the Tour de France in Carmaux but he felt he had the ability to outsprint arch-rivals Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish.

    "From the helicopter shots, I'm sure you can see that I was the fastest man in the last 150 metres," the Frenchman told Cyclingnews after crossing the finishing line.

    "I went to reconnoitre the finale of this stage," said Feillu, who doesn't live too far from Carmaux in the centre of France since he relocated to his girlfriend's hometown. "I was well positioned at the 1km to go mark. I was right behind Greipel. As there was a choice to be made, I let Cavendish pass me but Thor Hushovd also did so before the curve, and he took it too slowly. I was forced to brake. Then I had a too big gear. I won't blame Thor though, that's just racing. The other day, I was told that I'm a kamikaze."

    "It's a pity because a big coup was possible today," Feillu said. "The headwind gave an opportunity to people like me who prefer to sprint from behind. I hope there is another such opportunity tomorrow. The course is easier and I hope it'll help my tendonitis to get better. My knee was painful today in the climbs. It makes it frustrating to not win. If I happen to win a stage at the Tour de France, I won't yell because of joy, it will just be a relief. I'm 27, and I'm sure my time will come."

    It sounded like Feillu already has the next few years in mind, as the mountains might be something too difficult for him this year because of his tendonitis. Courage seems to be a trademark at Vacansoleil for the team's first participation to the Tour de France, as Johnny Hoogerland carries on with the polka dot jersey despite the...

  • Contador says his knee is feeling better

    Marianne Vos, winner of the Giro Donne, and Giro d'Italia champion Alberto Contador met after the Tour de France stage 10
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 22:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard still aims for fourth Tour de France win

    One day on from the Tour de France rest day, defending champion Alberto Contador is feeling better about the state of his injured knee after having passed the 10th stage to Carmaux without incident.

    The Saxo Bank Sungard leader said his knee was a little bit tender at the start of the stage, but over the course of the day things improved.

    "I'm feeling better and better. At the beginning of the stage, I wasn't sure what to think but as the stage progressed my knee was feeling less sore.

    "In the last climb we were going so fast, there was a split in the peloton and I was a little bit in back, but I was able to go to the front, and this is good because [it means] the legs are OK."

    "Hopefully, another day in the peloton can make me ready for the big climbs. My overall goal remains the same - overall victory in Paris,"

    Following the stage, the winner of this year's Giro d'Italia took time out to pose for photos and meet with the winner of the women's Giro, Marianne Vos.

    He later paid tribute to the Dutch champion, who is also the UCI number one and World Cup leader, and has claimed no fewer than 27 race wins so far this season. "Great visit today of @marianne_vos Giro's winner and of everything she wants!"


  • Sergeant: Greipel went from teddy bear to grizzly

    Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 23:16 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Omega Pharma-Lotto director pleased with Tour de France stage win

    Andre Greipel finally achieved what he'd been aiming for since turning professional, claiming a sensational stage win on stage 10 of the Tour de France. The German sprinter pipped his biggest rival Mark Cavendish in the process, meaning he has now won stages in all three of cycling's grand tours.

    At the finish in Carmaux the German thanked his teammates and support staff, and as he strutted onto the podium a beaming Marc Sergeant paid tribute to his sprinter. Sergeant signed Greipel in the off-season, tempting him from HTC-Highroad with a lucrative contract and the promise that he would ride the Tour de France, something Highroad could never match with Cavendish still on the payroll.

    "I'm happy for him because he never did the Tour and that was because of Cavendish. They [HTC-Highroad] made the right decision in that period to bring Cavendish but that's why Andre changed teams and it's a victory for him and beating Cavendish," Sergeant told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    "I've always had a great feeling for Andre and I've always believed in him. If you have a really good team like HTC you can have a sprinter, a GC rider all working well together."

    There has never been any doubting Greipel's raw speed but questions have been raised over both his positioning and mental frailties in the past. At the finish in Cap Frehel he questioned the team's support of his abilities, but Sergeant pointed out that Andre had toughened up since signing for the team and that they were united.

    "I read quotes that said because he looks like a tank he should act like a tank, but you can be a teddy bear and be giving out presents. You should be a grizzly bear in the final and I think...

  • Non-asphalted paths to the Tour, suggests Tro-Bro Léon organizer

    The peloton swoops down the coastline of Northern France.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 2:08 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Special roads in Brittany would be like the 'strade bianche' stage in Giro

    One week after Brittany hosted the Tour de France, the Tro-Bro Léon's organizer says he expects the race to go back to the region as soon as possible and use the non-asphalted roads of his own race, a French Cup event ranked 1.1 in the UCI calendar.

    "It would add some spice to the first week," Jean-Paul Mellouët told Cyclingnews. "Such a stage would be like the 'strade bianche' day in the Giro d'Italia."

    Created in 1984, the Tro-Bro Léon explores the countryside around Lannilis, Finistère, the most Western part of Brittany. The course includes 34 kilometres of 'ribinou,' the local non-asphalted paths used by farmers to go to their fields. Some Flemish experts have won it, notably Jan Kirsipuu, Jacky Durand, Baden Cooke and Frédéric Guesdon.

    Mellouët believes the 'ribinou' in the Tour de France would be safer than the Paris-Roubaix cobblestones that the route took last year. "These paths are not dangerous, even if it rains," he said. "If a rider crashes he falls in the grass on the side of the road."

    The organizer dreams that Lannilis will host a stage finish. A bigger town, Brest, is near the 'ribinou' too, with the addition of a Plabennec sector about ten kilometres from the line.

    FDJ's manager Marc Madiot, a steadfast supporter of Tro-Bro Léon, is pushing ASO for such a stage on the Tour, Mellouët explained. He is hoping to see Christian Prudhomme as a VIP at his race but Mellouët notices it happens a few days before the Ardennes Classics, which are run by ASO.

    The winner of this year's Tro-Bro Léon,

  • Gillow shines in dominant week of racing for Aussie women

    Shara Gillow (Bizkaia - Durango) after the finish
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 3:00 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Reigning national and Oceania road champion impresses at Giro Donne

    In a difficult week for Australian cycling following the death of Carly Hibberd, if there was a shining light it was the performances of her female compatriots, including Shara Gillow who in a guest appearance for Spanish team Bizkaia-Durango, blazed her way to a stage win and ninth overall in the Giro Donne.

    In the Czech Republic, Amanda Spratt riding for the Australian National Team, lead the Tour de Feminin - Krásná Lípa from start to finish after her opening stage win. West Australian Melissa Hoskins (Team Jayco-AIS) led home an Australian clean sweep of the podium on the second stage ahead of team mate Annette Edmondson with Tasmanian Belinda Goss (Australian National Team) in third place.

    Adding to Gillow's success in Italy was her Jayco-AIS women's development program teammate Ruth Corset, who was also stepping in for Bizkaia-Durango, finished the Giro Donne in sixth overall.

    Gillow, reigning national and Oceania road champion, powered away from Garmin-Cervélo's Sharon Laws within sight of the finish line in Pescocostanzo on stage 2 having spent much of the day's 91 kilometres in the break.

    "All day I was feeling really good," Gillow told Cyclingnews once back at her Varese-base. "I just sort of went with the opportunity because I saw the break up the road and we didn't have anyone from Bizkaia-Durango in it. There were heaps of...

  • Voeckler in no mood to curb his enthusiasm at Tour de France

    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 6:03 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Yellow jersey on the offensive on the road to Carmaux

    Lauded as France's 'petit fiancé' in L'Équipe on Monday, the new yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), was never liable to let his public down on the road to Carmaux on stage 10 of the Tour de France.

    Conventional wisdom decreed that Voeckler's aggressive instincts would be curbed as he sought to defend his overall lead, but the Frenchman bore the burden of race leadership with characteristic exuberance. When Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) began pressing on the fourth category Côte de Mirandol-Bourgounac with 15km to go, Voeckler couldn't resist shadowing the move.

    "I'd just decided to stay attentive," Voeckler shrugged after descending from the podium. "I rode in my own way, and I could see that it was clear Philippe Gilbert wanted to go on the attack, so I followed."

    Voeckler led Gilbert, Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) and Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) over the top of the climb, and the quintet spent the bones of ten kilometres off the front. However, Martin's policing presence meant that the group lacked the cohesion necessary to fend off the speeding peloton.

    "Tony Martin wasn't riding, but that was normal," Voeckler explained. "He couldn't collaborate with Philippe Gilbert seeing as he is Cavendish's big rival for the green jersey. I collaborated a little bit, but I didn't really see how we could stay clear given how organised the sprinters' teams were behind."

    Voeckler was caught with a little over five kilometres to race, leaving Gilbert to make a brief solo rally before relenting. The Frenchman confessed that he was still recovering from the lengthy break that had brought him the overall lead on Sunday, 1:49...

  • Tour de France news shorts

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC) cruising along on the climb.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2011, 8:12 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    BMC in "good position", Voigt vs the Twitterverse, Di Grégorio's breakaway, Rojas fights on, Quickstep's wounded

    Keeping Evans out of trouble

    One man very happy to be back in the saddle on Tuesday was BMC Racing's Brent Bookwalter. The American will be an important ally for Cadel Evans as the Tour heads into the mountains but it was touch and go for the 27-year-old on stage 9 when he came down in the crash on the descent of the Pas de Peyrol and hit his head.

    "My legs felt decent considering the first week we've had," he said. "My body still feels kind of beat up from the crash the other day. It was nice to come back with a slightly shorter stage, although it was a fast one.

    "There were also nicer roads today, which was very welcome after being on so many goat paths for the first nine days."

    Evans has been one of the very few lucky ones in terms of incidents, and Bookwalter noted the Australian's good fortune.

    "The main selections or time gaps thus far have been from crashes and technical conditions," he said. "There are a lot of really brutal stages coming which are sure to shake up the GC and really only one more day until those start... So far, we are still in a good position going into those days."

    Jens in the Twitterverse

    He's never been short of interesting things to say, so it was only natural that Jens Voigt would join the peloton already on Twitter. Amazingly, the German still needed to have his arm twisted.

    "You know, there's nothing more convincing than a cool barrel of a gun on your head," Voigt said of the campaign by his Leopard Trek teammates to get him to open a Twitter account.

    "What can I say? Of course I had to agree. No, no, in all...