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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Date published:
July 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Van Hummel again makes time cut

    Danilo Napolitano (Team Katusha) and Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) climb to Andorra Arcalis on stage 7, finishing just inside the time cut.
    Article published:
    July 21, 2009, 20:39 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Flying Dutchman hangs on

    While the battle for the yellow jersey rages on, lanterne rouge Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) faces his own individual war of attrition each day in the mountains as he tries to avoid being eliminated on time. The 26-year-old Dutchman finished today's stage 34:43 down on stage winner Mikel Astarloza but kept within the time limit and remains dead last, now 3:35:54 down on leader Alberto Contador.

    A quick calculation shows that while Contador has averaged 40.567 kph for the Tour's 16 completed stages, van Hummel, making his Tour debut, has raced the same distance in an average of 38.516 kph.

    During today's stage in the Alps, which crossed the highest point of the race, the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard, at 2473 metres above sea level, van Hummel once again found himself on his own, dropped by the peloton.

    "I was left by the bunch on the first climb today but I stayed at my own pace and kept on going. I had to take some pretty big risks on the descent to limit my losses but I can do that. I can go downhill very fast when I have to. I can gain two minutes back, no problem," Van Hummel said with a grin, after making the cut yet again.

    "On the flat part after the first climb the terrain was up and down and of course the second climb was also hard, but I could hold the speed a little bit. Once I got to the top I knew that I would make it to the finish in time."

    Van Hummel has received attention from the press in this year's Tour for his style of riding, but he's doing more than just surviving, often competing in the sprints, with several top 10 places to his name already. "I just do my job," van Hummel said when asked about the media attention he has received.

    "There are some better climbers than me in the race," van Hummel joked. "I'm a sprinter and generally riders like me tend to struggle in the mountains. In the Pyrenees I had a few guys with me but they've all gone home now."

    With another tough day in...

  • Pellizotti satisfied with Tour objectives

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2009, 21:35 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italian leads mountains classification with five days to race

    Franco Pellizotti is happy with his decision to focus on a stage win and the climber's polka dot jersey of the Tour de France instead of general classification, he said after Tuesday's stage 16.

    "It would have been too difficult and I could have only achieved a top five. I preferred to aim for this jersey and I hope to take it all the way to Paris. Taking it to Paris is the same as a top five finish for me," he said.

    Italy's Pellizotti (Liquigas) gained many of his points in the mountains classification in last Sunday's stage to Tarbes. He narrowly took over the lead from Spaniard Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) after Friday's wet stage to Colmar.

    He gained 50 more points today thanks to being part of an escape group that formed on the first of two climbs, the Col du Grand-St-Bernard. He attacked the group with Russian Vladimir Karpets (Team Katusha) and topped the climb first.

    "I attacked from the escape because there were too many of us and only a few were contributing to the work. I took off and then Vladimir Karpets joined me, he was aiming for the classification and so it was a good alliance."

    A chase group caught the duo, but Pellizotti found a new partner in Jurgen Van den Broeck (Silence-Lotto). Pellizotti topped the Petit-St-Bernard climb first and took maximum points.

    Martínez failed to gain any points on the two climbs, losing 50 points to Pellizotti today. Pellizotti leads the classification by 58 points over Martínez and 62 points over Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

    Pellizotti missed winning the stage despite today being the third time he has been in an escape. He lacked the power to respond to the race-winning move by Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and finished seventh.

    There are two more high-mountain stags, tomorrow's stage to Le Grand-Bornand and Saturday's stage to Mont Ventoux. There are five climbs in the 169.5 kilometres to...

  • Reaction from stage 16

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) collects another spotty jumper
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 2:53 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Astana defends, Pellizotti potent in plundering mountain points

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) - 24th on stage, ninth overall @ 3:52

    "This stage was exciting, as was expected, and very fast from the start. There were a series of attacks, but the Astana team managed to control the race without any trouble. My teammates tried to get in with those breaks and were going after the victory, but Gómez Marchante, who had a possibility of winning, had a fall and missed out on his chance today.

    "I felt good. Even though I didn't manage to respond to the attack by a number of riders, I'm happy with how I'm feeling. Another day's gone by without me losing any time against the top riders in the general classification, which is important for the coming stages."

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) - 11th on stage, sixth overall @ 2:51

    "I have worked hard to get to this stage of the race in the best form and now I am reaping the rewards. I feel very good and I intend to again battle to earn a higher place in the standings.

    "Certainly it won't be easy as I have many opponents and they're difficult to peg back, but I feel that I have greater awareness of my ability. The confidence that the team puts in me is great and has been rewarded with performance up to my capabilities.

    "In the time trial in Annecy, I'll try my luck for a notable result, as well as on the Mont Ventoux, a climb that I studied during the Dauphiné and that will have many victims. The white jersey? Overcoming Andy Schleck is not impossible."

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Slience-Lotto) - fifth on stage, 22nd overall @ 11:11

    "Fifth is fine, really fine... But I wanted more, I wanted to win. Sunday night, I didn't sleep well because the finish at Verbier had not been good enough and I fear that again I shall not sleep well tonight.

    "I wanted a win, not a place of honour. And therefore, I am not yet interested to know how many positions I gained in...

  • Cavendish: Green jersey has a stain

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) wonders what Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) was doing in the sprint
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 6:50 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Manxman hopes protesting Hushovd can sleep at night

    Mark Cavendish believes this year’s green sprinter’s jersey has been tarnished by new classification leader and likely winner Thor Hushovd. The Cervelo Test Team rider lodged a successful protest that saw Cavendish disqualified from Stage 14’s final sprint, putting the Norwegian in prime position to take the jersey.

    "I spoke to him yesterday and said to him: 'You've won the green jersey now but that's always going to have a stain on it'," Cavendish told BBC5. "For sure I'm upset that the green jersey is not going to be decided on the best man but on a piece of paper, which I don't think is fair.

    “I've never sprinted unfairly or dangerously in my career and nobody has ever accused me of it,” he said. “To lose the green jersey like this is a little disappointing.”

    Cavendish and Hushovd has been engaged in a point-for-point two man tussle over the jersey in one of the most entertaining aspects of this year’s Tour to date. Cavendish, known for his blunt approach, didn’t mince words when speaking of Hushovd.

    "This guy [Hushovd] thinks so highly of himself that he thinks I'm trying to cheat to beat him,” said Cavendish. “He thinks so highly of me and my team that the only way he can beat us is to have us disqualified.

    "He even admitted yesterday it was a fair sprint: what happened was [there was] a right-hand corner and there's a kink in the barriers and he thinks I've blocked him in but I've held a straight line,” added Cavendish. “Usually you're disqualified if you deviate from the straight line. I held it but the barriers kicked in and he's blocked in and he's kicking and screaming and it causes you problems. But that's bike riding for you. Worse things happen.”

    Columbia-HTC’s Cavendish has now changed focused to his second goal of the Tour. Cavendish wants to win the final Tour stage in France’s capital, Paris, on...

  • Ambitious Van Den Broeck disappointed with fifth place finish

    Jurgen Van den Broek (Silence-Lotto) on the Tourmalet
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 11:10 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian gambled on a sprint finish to stage 16

    A fifth place finish on Tuesday's 16th stage of the Tour de France was “a terrible disappointment,” according to Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Silence-Lotto. “I gambled on my sprint, but it was not to be.”

    Van Den Broeck, 26, had fancied his chances in a sprint as he and a small group of riders approached the finish, but Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was able to escape 2.5km from the line to take a solo win. “I could not close the gap and [had expected] Amael Moinard (Cofidis) would go, too,” he told sporza.be.

    Van Den Broeck had been part of an early escape group which got away only 5 km into the race. The group was originally was made up of 17 riders and he was one of just eight to stay away until the end.

    "Fifth. Fine. Really fine. But I wanted more, I wanted to win,” he said. “Sunday night, I did not sleep well because the finish at Verbier had not been good enough, and I fear that I shall not sleep well tonight again.”

    Van den Broeck, who had hoped to deliver a stage win on the Belgian national holiday, admitted that he hadn't felt comfortable in the early part of the stage. “The first Col [the Col du Grand-St-Bernard] did not go very well, but afterwards I was feeling progressively stronger,” he said on the Silence-Lotto website. “I climbed at least as well as KOM Pellizotti. He was the ideal companion to stay ahead.”

    His result on the stage also meant that Van Den Broeck rose from 30th to 22nd on general classification, but the Belgian was indifferent to his position in the overall. “I want a win, not a place of honour. I'm not interested in knowing how many positions I gained in the general classification.”

  • Lance Armstrong rules out Tour de France win

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) takes a turn at the front.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 11:42 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Attack on Petit-St-Bernard raises hopes

    Lance Armstrong ruled out an overall win in the Tour de France despite a strong performance in the Tour's 16th stage on Tuesday. Armstrong, second on general classification, will continue to help race leader and teammate, Alberto Contador.

    "It will be hard to win," he said in Bourg-St-Maurice yesterday. "Not only is there a guy who has asserted himself in the race and shown he is the best, but he is on my team.

    "I remember the years when I was the leader of my team and if someone even remotely considered their own individual interests, we would have sent him home the next day. I don't want to be that guy."

    Contador took over the race lead on Sunday's stage to Verbier. He defended the yellow jersey strongly yesterday as he followed attacks from rival Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).

    Schleck's attacks on the climb of Petit-St-Bernard distanced Armstrong by around 35 seconds. He was able to re-join the Schleck/Contador group with a two kilometre solo effort. Armstrong's performance on the climb was reminiscent of the efforts that helped him win seven editions of the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.

    "The quick accelerations, see if anyone is there, and then just ride a little tempo and accelerate again. That is stuff I would have done before."

    Armstrong is 1:37 behind Contador in the overall classification after 16 days of racing. The Texan indicated that it would be possible to take over the race lead if Contador has a bad day, but said there were no plans for late-race coup before the Tour's conclusion on Sunday in Paris.

    "I don't think Alberto will make a mistake, but you're a minute and a half out, you have a time trial coming up, you do a good one and get a little closer, then the Mont Ventoux climb... You could see where it would be possible, but that is not what I am planning or scheming."

    There are two more high-mountain stages remaining in this year's tour, Wednesday's stage to Le...

  • Nibali looks to attack Schleck for Tour's white jersey

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 12:31 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italian holds ground in important Alpine tests

    Italian Vincenzo Nibali is moving closer to a Tour de France top-three finish and the lead of the best young rider classification. Nibali said on Tuesday that he wants to attack in the Tour's two final mountain stages to claim the white jersey.

    "Andy [Schleck] has the white jersey and so I need to make sure to follow him. I will see if there is a chance to attack him and take the white jersey," said Nibali.

    Team Saxo Bank's Schleck leads the young rider classification by 25 seconds over 24-year-old Nibali. He won the competition last year, Nibali finished third 17:01 back.

    Nibali rode impressively in yesterday's stage over the Grand and Petit St-Bernard climbs. Schleck attacked twice on the second climb, the Petit-St-Bernard. He temporarily distanced Lance Armstrong, but failed to leave behind Nibali and race leader Alberto Contador.

    Contador, the Tour winner in 2007, leads the overall classification by 1:37 over Astana teammate Armstrong. Schleck is fifth at 2:26 and Nibali is sixth at 2:51.

    "[Alberto] Contador appears to be unbeatable," said Nibali. "Andy tried again, but Contador was right there with him the whole time. It will be difficult to drop him in the coming days."

    Nibali faces three more days that are critical to the outcome of the race: Today's stage, Thursday's individual time trial and the stage to Mont Ventoux on Saturday. Today's stage to Le Grand-Bornand covers five category 1 and category two climbs over its 169.5 kilometres.

    "It will be another difficult day. We will see what Saxo Bank invents.

    "The podium is a dream for me, for sure, but I am going to keep my feet on the ground. It is going to be hard [today], with all the climbs, plus we just finished a hard stage."

    Nibali finished 18th overall in his debut Tour de France last year. He finished seventh overall in June's Dauphiné Libéré stage race. During the Dauphiné he finished...

  • Tour de France rider galleries

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) leads Astana teammates Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong
    Article published:
    July 26, 2009, 16:17 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Epic shots of Armstrong, Contador, Cavendish, Vande Velde, Wiggins, Evans, Schleck and Hushovd - UPDATED

    It has been another battle royale on the roads of France and it isn't over yet. Cyclingnews presents images of just some of the riders who have illuminated this year's edition of the Grande Boucle.

    Some have had a great Tour, some haven't fared quite so well. Every rider at the Tour has a different story to tell and each of the images in these galleries paints a tale of its own.

    Click on the links below, or right, to view each rider's gallery:

    Lance Armstrong

    Alberto Contador

    Mark Cavendish

    Christian Vande Velde

    Bradley Wiggins

    Cadel Evans

    Andy Schleck

    Thor Hushovd