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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Date published:
July 17, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Saxo Bank commits to Riis for another year

    The new Saxo Bank Tinkoff team kit
    Article published:
    July 16, 2013, 21:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Danish investment firm wants "good cooperation" with Tinkov

    With their agreement due to expire at the end of the current season, Danish investment firm Saxo Bank has extended its sponsorship of Bjarne Riis' team for one more year.

    Saxo Bank founder Lars Seier Christensen told Ritzau that they had come to an arrangement with co-sponsor Oleg Tinkov.

    "We have committed to the team again. And we've also come to a definitive agreement with our Russian friend," Christensen said.

    Tinkov said earlier this month that he was likely to up his stake in the team which would result in the squad being named Tinkoff Bank-Saxo Bank. Christensen indicated that the slight name change may well be on the cards.

    "I am not particularly swayed to one or the other. So it can be anything. I guess basically it's a question of who would want it most. That is a question of money," he explained.

    "We would like to have a good cooperation with Oleg. I have 'commited' to next year. It's now about what Oleg will do."

  • Video: Porte shepherds Froome through Tour de France trouble

    Richie Porte (Sky)
    Article published:
    July 16, 2013, 23:39 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Minor incident on descent to Gap a brief scare

    Nearly every stage of this Tour de France has offered up some challenge for Team Sky, but once again it was Richie Porte who helped to usher race leader Christopher Froome through the drama and safely onto the bus with another maillot jaune on stage 16.

    On the final climb of the category 2 Col de Manse, and the tricky descent that preceded the line in Gap, Froome and Porte withstood a number of attacks from Alberto Contador, one of which caused the Spaniard to crash and Froome to swerve around into the grass.

    Though Froome had to unclip and drop his bike, the Sky captain came away unscathed, although with a significantly higher heart rate.

    Porte was at his side, quick to lead him down the mountain and bring back their previous companions, including second placed Bauke Molleman (Belkin) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

    "They threw everything at us on that last climb, but we expected that. Katusha was absolutely brilliant there, they took it up and made it a hard climb. There are some guys on GC that got gapped today."

    Porte wasn't sure that Contador gave everything he had into the numerous attacks. "I think he knew even if he got a gap it was goign to come back, I don't think he attacked full gas," he said.

    The surges did help to shuffle the top 10 around. Losing time were Michal Kwiatkowski, at 1:39 from Quintana in the young riders for the stage, and Laurens ten Dam (Belkin).

    "I didn't know Ten Dam was.. how far back was he? If they want to ride for second place, then good on them. I'll support them in that."


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  • Gilbert disappointed with eighth place in Gap

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) in the breakaway on stage 16
    Article published:
    July 17, 2013, 5:14 BST
    Cycling News

    World Champion frustrated by questions over Evans, van Garderen

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had the chance to go on the offensive on Tuesday's 16th stage of the Tour de France, but finishing eighth across the finish line in gap, the Belgian was somewhat disappointed.

    Gilbert, along with teammate Manuel Quinziato made the 26-man breakaway from which Rui Costa (Movistar) eventually attacked for the stage win. It was a position that World Champion Gilbert was only able to be in with team leader Cadel Evans definitively out of contention for the general classification's top 10.

    "But with an eighth place today I'm not happy," Gilbert told Sporza. “This was a missed opportunity."

    The topic of the change of tactics from BMC irked Gilbert.

    "I've had enough questions about Evans and Van Garderen," he stated. "Our tactics have changed, yes. The race is like that now. It was nice to spend a day at the front and this is the main thing. "

    Gilbert said he was not surprised to see Costa attack on the Col de Manse and go on to win the stage.

    "The tailwind we had all day made it hard racing, especially on the climb," Gilbert said. "I knew Costa was the rider to follow because without the incident on Stage 13 where his teammate, Alejandro Valverde, lost time, he would have been up there with the top contenders."

    Gilbert crossed the finish line 1:04 in arrears of Costa, leading home a group of seven of his original breakaway companions.

  • Is Martin's ITT winning streak about to come to an end?

    Time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) powers to the finish line in Mont-Saint-Michel
    Article published:
    July 17, 2013, 8:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Start times for Stage 17 as Froome, Contador battle resumes

    Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) has won his last five consecutive time trials but maillot jaune Chris Froome (Sky) is poised to bring the German's winning streak to an end in Wednesday's 17th stage of the Tour de France.

    In fact, Martin's record is so good that since taking his World Championship title in October last year, he's only been beaten once in the chrono and that was in the Prologue at the Tour of Romandie.

    The 32km ITT between Embrun and Chorges is vastly different in terrain from the race against the clock witnessed on stage 11. Instead of a slightly undulating parcours, two climbs await the 179 men left in the peloton. The first, just 6.5km into the stage, the Cat. 2 Côte de Puy-Sanières is followed by the slightly longer and harder Cat. 2 Côte de Réallon with 12km left to race.

    Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEdge) will be the first man out of the start house at 10:17am local time, Martin will leave at 12:39pm while Froome as race leader will be last away at 4:33pm.

    A look back at the events of stage 11 saw Martin get the better of Froome by 12 seconds and the race leader's climbing skills should give him an edge this time around and a third stage victory. Martin said as much to AFP.

    "If I say I am going to win on Wednesday, I might as well say that I am also capable of winning at L'Alpe d'Huez," he admitted.

    "With the right motivation and if the circumstances are perfect, then I could get lucky, but this is not a classic time-trial."

    The wet conditions forecast however, could play into the hands of Alberto Contador as the Saxo-Tinkof,...

  • Tour de France sparks transfers talk

    Laurens ten Dam sporting Belkin's new kit
    Article published:
    July 17, 2013, 11:08 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dehaes, Devolder, Albasini and ten Dam in the news

    The official transfer season doesn't start until August 1 under UCI rules, but that doesn't stop the flow of early negotiations, rumours and news of riders extending their contracts with their present squads.

    Lotto Belisol has been busily re-signing as many of its riders as it can during the Tour de France and the latest is Kenny Dehaes. He has already brought in four wins this season, including the GP Dubois this week. Andre Greipel, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson have agreed new contracts for the next two years.

    "I'm really happy with the extension of my contract and with the confidence that the team shows in me," Fehaes said on the team's website. "Racing for a team such as Lotto Belisol is very pleasant because it's like being in a family or in a group of close friends, in which everyone supports each other unconditionally.”

    Michael Albasini is said to have re-upped with Orica-GreenEdge, according The 32-year old has been with the Australian team since 2012 and will now stay with them another two years.

    That means Albasini will not be joining IAM, where his father Marcello is a directeur sportif. But Swiss rider Mathias Frank may well be heading there. After five years with BMC Racing Team, he is leaving, team owner Andy Rihs has confirmed to the

    Stijn Devolder has not yet signed, but has agreed to ride for the new look Team Trek that will rise from the ashes of Radioshack-Leopard. The Belgian joined the team this season after what the Gazet van Antwerpen called “two absolutely disastrous years” with Vacansoleil-DCM.

    Laurens ten Dam...

  • Tour de France shorts: Fuglsang's wrong turn, More from Meyer

    Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) lost a bit of ground on stage 16
    Article published:
    July 17, 2013, 11:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Pinot may have mononucleosis

    Swings and roundabouts for Fuglsang

    Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) lost a minute to his general classification rivals on stage 16, with the Dane now in 8th overall, 7:22 in arrears to race leader Chris Froome (Sky).

    The reason?

    "I went the wrong way round a roundabout," Fuglsang told TV2. "I followed Cadel Evans and it turned out to be the long way around and I dropped back 100 places in the field. Then I try rectifying that in the beginning of the climb and moved forward to the front again. So I was under a little pressure already and then Katusha started to attack. I was lacking what I needed to go with them."

    More to come from Meyer?

    Cameron Meyer was one of the several riders from the Orica GreenEdge team spotted warming up in order to better their chances to get in the stage 16 breakaway, and he would be joined by teammate Michael Albasini.

    While according to sports director Matt White, the Swiss was still recovering from his runner-up performance on Saturday's stage 14, Meyer "had good legs." The 25-year-old Australian riding his first Tour de France, lost contact on the Col de Manse but was able to recover to finish in 9th place in what was his best result in a road stage in a grand tour. Meyer has had several top 10 performances in individual time trials.

    "I got a bit of a monkey off my back, I've been trying for a couple of days now to get in the breakaway. I finally did it today," Meyer said on Backstage Pass. "I'm really happy. I think I might have scraped into a top-10 which is an unbelievable experience in my first Tour."

    He said he would attempt a breakaway again in the remaining stages in the Alps.

    Pinot's season may be over...