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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Date published:
July 20, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Schlecks defiant despite bad day in the rain

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) conceded more than one minute to Evans, Contador and Sanchez on the run-in to Gap.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 20:15 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Leopard Trek riders intend to gain time

    Fränk and Andy Schleck climbed onto the Leopard Trek team bus without saying a word to team manager Brian Nygaard, appearing stunned and angry about losing time to key rivals Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans after the attacks on the Col de Manse and the high-speed descent to the finish in Gap.

    Fränk Schleck limited his losses to just 21 seconds but Andy lost contact on the descent and finished a more significant 1:09 behind Evans. Andy is still fourth overall behind Thomas Voeckler, Evans and his brother but is now 3:03 behind the Frenchman and 1:18 behind Evans. Alberto Contador moves up one position on GC to sixth and now trails Fränk Schleck by 1:53 and Andy Schleck by only 39 seconds.

    After getting changed, gathering their thoughts and understanding the damage the rain-soaked climb and descent had caused, the brothers emerged defiant, promising to take the race to their rivals in the Alps later this week.

    "I think it's not a tragedy. I lost 20-25 [seconds], Andy a little bit more but that doesn’t change anything for the coming days," Fränk told the media gathered outside the Leopard Trek team bus.

    "It was a good move by Contador because he saw the race and took advantage. He knows we don’t like bad weather and descents. So it's a good call on his part.

    "It doesn't change our plans for the upcoming days. It's not enough that we stay in the same time [as our rivals], we need to gain time. Everyone is waiting for a nice Tour. That's what we're going to see in the next few days."

    Andy critical of the Col de Manse descent

    Andy Schleck was in...

  • Contador makes come-back in surprise move

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) put in a powerful attack on the Col de Manse.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 21:00 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Voeckler, Schleck brothers take a hit in stage 16 finale

    Alberto Contador has finally put his rivals in the Tour de France under the attack, and did so much earlier than many observers had expected. In stage 16 to Gap, the Saxo Bank Sungard leader took advantage of the stage's final climb, the category 2 Col de Manse, as a springboard to take back some of the time he lost in the Tour's first half.

    "I'm happy because the gaps are greater than I had expected," the Spaniard said at the finish. "I wanted to attack and I didn't care about who was going to be on my wheel. I knew that someone could falter."

    Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez and Cadel Evans from BMC were able to follow Contador when he put in several jumps on the medium mountain above the town of Gap. The Schleck brothers, yellow jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) as well as other GC contenders finally gave in and rode to limit their losses.

    In the end, Contador made up 18 seconds on Voeckler and Fränk Schleck (Leopard Trek), 51 seconds on Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and even 1:06 on Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek). "This result is nothing to be euphoric about, either," the Spaniard said. "The most important thing is that my legs respond better and this always motivates my team and myself. My rivals remain the same as yesterday."

    Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis revealed that it had been the Spaniard's own decision to attack on this less challenging climb rather than wait for the higher mountains that are still to come in the final week of the Tour de France.

    "It was him who said he wanted to try today," Riis told reporters. "It was his intention from the start. The...

  • ASO denies descents in Tour de France are too dangerous

    Deep in concentration, Andy Schleck considers the days ahead.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 21:58 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Andy Schleck and Contador concerned about Wednesday's finish

    There is concern amongst the Tour de France's top contenders about the finish of stage 17 in Pinerolo, which comes immediately following an eight-kilometer descent of the Cote de Pramartino. Andy Schleck criticized the course during the rest day on Monday. "That's ridiculous," he said in his press conference. "It looks like a bike path across a wood. I trained three times in the descent and I already felt it too risky".

    Dramatically, Schleck added the downhill is "mortally dangerous."

    "If it rains many riders will go to the hospital," he said. The Leopard Trek team is especially sensitive to dangerous descents after the death of Wouter Weylandt on the descent of the Passo del Bocco on stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia, but Schleck also has fresh memories of last year's Tour de France when a crash on the Stockeu on stage 2 nearly cost him the race.

    Schleck already showed his trepidation on the descent to Gap on stage 16 on Tuesday, losing 1:06 to Alberto Contador after being tailed off over the top of the Col de Manse.

    In contrast, defending Tour champion Alberto Contador showed fine descending skills on Tuesday, but the Spaniard is still worried by Pramartino's downhill. "If you are not ready you can lose the Tour there," he predicted.

    Tour de France's race director Jean-Francois Pescheux answered the critics. "The finish is not dangerous," he told Cyclingnews. "It is part of the race anyway. The winner must be an all-rounder."

    Pescheux reckoned there are "certainly some spins" in the descent. "But shall we cancel the Poggio in Milan-San Remo? Shall we draw the Tour's route on a motorway between Paris and Marseille? If so, those who...

  • Video: Hesjedal on Garmin-Cervelo's great day in Gap

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates teammate Thor Hushovd's victory as he crosses the finish line two seconds later.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 22:31 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Canadian worked hard to ensure Hushovd's stage win

    Ryder Hesjedal could hardly stand up after finishing stage 16 in Gap today. The adrenaline produced by victory helped Thor Hushovd smile as he headed to the podium, but Hesjedal's pain is clear to see in this video recorded just after the two hugged in celebration after taking first and third in Gap.

    Hesjedal played the perfect team role for the world champion, and the Canadian did everything he could to ensure Hushovd would beat Edvald Boasson Hagen in the sprint to the line.

    "When it's two against one, it does not getter than that," Hesjedal said.

    "Edvald and Thor are both faster than me, so it was up to me to keep the pace and make sure Thor had the best chance to finish it off."

    Hushovd's second stage is the fourth at the Tour de France for Garmin-Cervelo after they also won the team time trial and took two other stages with Tyler Farrar and Hushovd.

    The team also has Tom Danielson well placed overall. Danielson finished just behind the Fränk Schleck chase group and so lost time to some of his GC rivals but is still ninth overall, 6:04 behind Thomas Voeckler.

  • Stage to Gap a good day for Evans

    Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador fly down the tricky descent to Gap.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 23:22 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    BMC leader took perfect advantage of Contador attack

    Cadel Evans proved again on Tuesday that not only is his climbing is more consistent than some of the other favourites in the Tour de France, but that he can also count on superior bike handling skills in descents when facing his rivals. In the finale of stage 16 into Gap, the BMC leader may have made up only a few seconds on the other GC contenders, but he's shown that he will be the man to beat if current race leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) fades in the coming high mountain stages.

    By having followed Alberto Contador's surprise move on the day's ultimate climb, the medium mountain Col de Manse looming above Gap, and shaking off his breakaway companions in the descent to the finish line, the former mountain biker picked up another three seconds on the Tour de France champion as well as 21 seconds on the other favourites including the yellow jersey. Andy Schleck even lost 1:09 on the Australian.

    In the finish, Evans admitted that the move hadn't been premeditated but that he was able to take advantage of it perfectly.

    "I hadn't excpected the attacks on the climb, I was more prepared for the downhill which was narrow and actually really scared me," Evans told reporters on the line. "I just followed the moves. George (Hincapie) and Burghie (Marcus Burghardt) got me in the right position at the bottom of the last climb, and then I played my card from there. It was a good day."

    In the rainy and cold conditions, Contador used the climb to surprise his rivals in a bid to take some lost time back. Evans was able to gradually bridge up to him and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), putting on a steady rythm. "I took my time because there were still 21 or...

  • Cantwell continues pressure on Mancebo at top of NRC

    The men's podium at Boise; Escuela, Cantwell, and Kersten.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2011, 2:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Fly V Australia rider eyeing overall title

    Jonathan Cantwell's (Fly V Australia) win at the Boise Twilight criterium on Saturday propelled the Australian to third on the overall in the USA's National Racing Calendar rankings, eclipsing Frank Pipp (Bissell). The prolific sprinter also closed on current leader Francisco Mancebo (

    Fly V Australia dominated Boise, taking three of the top five positions. Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) who won last year's race placed second behind Cantwell and now moves into the top 25 of the overall standings.

    In the team's competition Bissell Pro Cycling has extended its lead over UnitedHealthcare courtesy of Frank Pipp's creditable sixth place in Boise. Bissell now have a 102 point advantage but there are still eight races left in the men's calendar and nothing is decided.

    The next race for the men is the Cascade Cycling Classic which starts today in Bend, Oregon.

    Women's rankings

    The women's rankings remain unchanged since there was no event for them in Boise. Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad) and Colavita/Forno d'Asolo retain their positions atop the rankings. The women's peloton returns to racing, like the men, at the Cascade Cycling Classic.

  • Australian bike safety campaign needs support to become a reality

    Amy Gillett
    Article published:
    July 20, 2011, 3:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Six years on, Amy Gillett Foundation needs cyclists to join forces

    The Amy Gillett Foundation has decided that it is high time to change drivers' attitudes towards bike riders through a major national advertising campaign that will draw attention to the importance of bike safety.

    It has been six years since Amy Gillett was killed at just 29 years of age, when a motorist collided with the Australian road cycling team during a training ride in Germany. The tragic news earlier this month of the death of Australian cyclist Carly Hibberd, killed when hit by a car whilst training in Italy, is yet another reminder of the issue. Each year nearly 40 bike riders die on Australian roads and over 9000 more are hospitalised.

    The Foundation is hoping to gain the support of the Australian cycling community to make this campaign happen. Australian communications agency, Publicis Mojo, has put together a powerful and compelling concept to promote the message of bike safety.

    To bring life to this vital campaign much funding is needed and CEO of The Amy Gillett Foundation, Tracey Gaudry, is hoping Australian cyclists will join forces to support each other and ensure a safer future for bike riders.

    "A national bike safety campaign aimed at addressing both the attitudes and awareness towards bike riders is urgently needed if we are going to reduce serious injury and save lives," she explained. "I know the Australian cycling community will rally together to support each other and improve bike safety for future generations."

    The Foundation has already been shown great support in getting this campaign off the ground with the voice of cycling, Phil Liggett and Amy Gillett Foundation Ambassador, Cadel Evans lending their time to front the campaign. Broadcaster SBS and have worked with The Foundation in the...

  • Boasson Hagen regrets missed opportunity in Gap

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) is enjoying his Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2011, 6:04 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Outnumbered, Norwegian waited too long

    Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen said opening the sprint against his Norwegian compatriot Thor Hushovd earlier could have won him a second Tour de France stage.

    Speaking after the dramatic finale in Gap on stage 16, second-placed Boasson Hagen insisted that the numerical advantage of Garmin-Cervelo's Hushovd and Ryder Hesjedal was always going to be difficult to counter.

    "It was always going to be hard because there were two against one. In the last kilometer I had to close the gap to Ryder and Thor was just sitting on my wheel.

    "If I'd opened it a bit earlier then yeah, maybe I could have beaten Thor, but now it's in the past and I can't do anything about it." He explained he was getting limited input on tactics for the team car. "I tried to do as much of it as possible myself and react in the moment."

    The trio made it to the finish line more than four minutes ahead of the GC favourites on the 162.5km route between Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux and Gap. The three riders splintered off from a ten-man break on the Col de Manse with about 15km to go when Hesjedal launched countered an attack from Katusha's Mikhail Ignatiev.

    It was the first time Boasson Hagen has competed in such a small sprint against the current world champion, 33-year-old Hushovd, although the pair did share a podium earlier this Tour at Lisieux in which Boasson Hagen won. After that stage he said: "I've always wanted to be as good as Thor or better," and at 24, Boasson Hagen is seen by many as Hushovd's heir.

    Despite the narrow loss today, Boasson Hagen said he was satisfied with his race so far. "It's been a good Tour – I've won a stage so I can be happy with my performance."

  • Men's NRC standings 18/7/11