- Article published:
- July 12, 2011, 21:15
- 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 overall success. He is eleventh at the moment, 3:36 behind Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) but for now the team’s focus remains on protecting him all the way to Paris. Oss is happy to accept that his own ambitions are secondary but will continue to sniff out opportunities for success.
“I’m here to protect Ivan and that’s the number one priority. He’s got big plans and we’re with him all the way,” Oss said.
“We know it’s worth it when we work to keep him out of trouble at the front. Our personal ambitions are not important but we’ll try something when the race, our tactics and form offer us a chance to get in a break.”
“”I tried today and was vigilant. I even tried to get across to the break but came up short by just fifty meters. Perhaps it was better that way in the end…”
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- July 12, 2011, 21:44
- 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 consequences of his spectacular accident on stage 9.
"Johnny wanted to keep racing because it's a mark of respect to the Tour de France," Feillu said. "He's new at this race and he really wants to finish. He's almost becoming the most popular rider in the bunch after what happened on Sunday. He's a very good climber. It's a pity that he might not be able to defend his polka dot jersey. He'll keep it at least until Luz Ardiden."
"Today we had Marco Marcato in the break taking the points for the king of the mountains. It would be nice if Johnny could finish the Tour. Our priority at Vacansoleil is to help him if needed."
- Article published:
- July 12, 2011, 22:45
- 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!"
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- July 12, 2011, 23:16
- 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 he turned out to be more aggressive, otherwise he would not have been in third position in the last corner."
Van Den Broeck inspires win
This morning the Lotto team visited Jurgen Van Den Broeck in hospital. The Belgian climber is still in intensive care since crashing out of the race on stage 9. Sargeant brought this entire staff of riders and support crew to Van Den Broeck's bedside and said that it had inspired the team towards today's win.
"The win will never make up for what he went through or the team that worked around him to get him here at 100 per cent. This morning we went to visit him and it was special. He's in intensive care and at first they wouldn't let us in, but we insisted and they finally let us in. We went in with a small heart and we left with a big heart.
"I saw him looking bad when he crashed, he was so pale and I'm glad I could erase that image from my mind and see the Van Den Broeck I know."
- Article published:
- July 13, 2011, 02:08
- 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, held on April 17 was Europcar's Vincent Jérôme, the current "lanterne rouge" in the Tour.
The Breton one-day race should include new 'ribinou' next year, according to its organizer, notably a "KoppenBreizh", one kilometre long track with a three hundred meter steep climb, so called in tribute to the famous ascent of the Tour of Flanders.
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- July 13, 2011, 03:00
- 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 other teams being represented and I thought, ‘it's only the early stages of the Giro' given it was stage two of a 10-stage race so I just thought, what the heck. Whether the break was going to come back or not, one of us needed to be in there."
As it turned out, it was an opportunity worth taking with the original 14-woman breakaway group eventually whittled down to Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss), Laws and Gillow by the time the race reached the twisty descent to San Maurizio. Kapusta would fade, leaving only Laws and the 23-year-old Australian to fight out the stage with the uphill finish in Pescocostanzo.
"I don't think there was a moment when I thought, ‘I've got this in the bag,' because a lot of things can happen when you're racing and I didn't really know how strong the other riders were or what I was up against," Gillow admitted.
The Queenslander was however quite relieved to have left Polish rider Kapusta behind however, "She's quite a good climber and power to weight ratio, she could probably be like a little pocket-rocket compared to me up the hill," Gillow explained.
Gillow, who is also the reigning Oceania time trial champion, went on to wear the pink leader's jersey on stage 3 before Nederland Bloeit's Marianne Vos resumed her dominance of the event.
Their team without an invite for the Giro Donne, Gillow described it as "a real blessing" for herself and Corset to get the call-up from Bizkaia-Durango. Unsure whether it's an arrangement that will continue, it could be an option for Gillow who says she is unsure of "what's happening next year."
- Article published:
- July 13, 2011, 06:03
- 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 ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank).
"I could still feel the efforts of the other day in my legs," Voeckler admitted, pointing out that wearing the yellow jersey into the rest day meant that he had had less time to devote to recuperation on Monday.
"The rest day was a little bit stressful, as having the yellow jersey in the team isn't a small thing, so there were a lot of requests. But still, it was a nice day and it's a part of the job."
It's a part of the job Voeckler plans to repeat at least until the race reaches the high mountains, and the maillot jaune tentatively fixed a date with the media for Wednesday afternoon as he left the mixed zone.
"Oh, I hope I'll be back here to say the same things again tomorrow," Voeckler joked.
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- July 13, 2011, 08:12
- 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 seriousness, I decided to give it a try. Stuey [O'Grady] was already tweeting for many days that the team would get me on here. He would say "Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow." Finally on the rest day, we said we'd do it.
Since then, the response has been nothing short of a phenomenon, with over 31,000 followers.
"It's a great chance to have direct contact with your fans, but it can also turn into a very sharp sword to do some harm if it is used as an aggressive weapon. I see great possibility here but with it comes great responsibility."
What makes a successful breakaway?
Rémy Di Grégorio did his best to boost the spirits of an Astana team stinging from the loss of leader Alexandre Vinokourov on stage 9, taking his chances in the breakaway on Tuesday's 10th stage to Carmaux.
The Frenchman spent much of the day in the break, along with Arthur Vichot (FDJ), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Julien El Fares (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun)which at one point got out to three minutes before gradually being reeled in on the ascent of the Côte de Mirandol Bourgnounac.
Di Grégorio was disappointed the break wasn't able to succeed - "We thought it would go till the finish, after the rest day, some riders are often tired, so it is likely to remain unchallenged," he said.
The Astana man believed that the difference between the break succeeding and not, came down to the riders involved.
"I think we were missing a few riders in the break, if there had been a rider from Lampre or HTC, we'd have been away until the finish."
Rojas back in battle for green
Seemingly missing in action due to a virus on stage 9, having missed out on any points in the day's intermediate sprint and on the verge of abandoning the Tour, Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas was back in the thick of the action on stage 10.
The new Spanish road champion finished in third place for the stage behind winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) while at the intermediate sprint, claimed seven points for being the third rider over the line, again behind Cavendish, when the peloton went through. The results gave Rojas a tally of 28 points for the day and 209 in total in the battle for the green jersey, which is being led by Philippe Gilbert on 226, the Belgian managing just nine points for the stage.
"It was a super important day for me, especially to gain some morale, because after nearly seeing the end two days ago, I felt really worried about having to leave the race," Rojas revealed.
The 26-year-old used Monday's rest day to do just that, and didn't train at all.
"I took many points back on the fight for green, but the most worrying thing was confidence," Rojas said following stage 10. "There's still a two-week race for the green jersey, and we have to stay fighting day by day."
Quickstep's walking wounded
Despite the best efforts of Dries Devenyns who did his best to go with Philippe Gilbert's attack on the Côte de Mirandol Bourgnounac, the news for Quickstep does not seem to get any better, having already lost the services of Tom Boonen.
Jérôme Pineau was one of several riders involved in a crash that occurred about 10 kilometres after the start of stage 10.
"I couldn't do anything to avoid the fall," he said. "It's never fun to wipe out, but luckily the consequences weren't too serious. I just have some scrapes on my left side and knee, but they shouldn't be a problem."
French national road champion Sylvain Chavanel, who crashed on stage 5, is still not firing on all cylinders.
"Today I finished in the first group," he said. "It was hard for me, but the rest day surely helped me a lot. At the moment I still don't have the energy I need to attack, but I'm hoping that in the next days I won't have any more troubles and maybe I can try to needle my way ahead of the group."
Meantime, it's been revealed that sprinter Gerald Ciolek "is suffering from a pimple that makes it uncomfortable for him to stay on his saddle," while Gert Steegmans is still experiencing pain in his left wrist.
- Tour de France