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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Date published:
July 06, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Phillips calls on women for Aspen Pro Race

    Jessica Phillips (Colavita-Baci) sporting her national champion stars and stripes jersey.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 23:13 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Colorado event to coincide with pro men's race

    Former US National Road Champion, Jessica Phillips, one of the promoters of the inaugural Aspen Women's Pro Race, is hoping to attract the top women to Colorado for an omnium event set to take place from August 22-24.

    The three-stage event has already drawn interest from top women's teams and riders from across the nation, including two former world champions Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) and Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad) along with six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes.

    "One of my main messages is that in order to improve women's cycling, to create more sponsorships and to increase pay, we need to all do our part," Phillips told Cyclingnews. "I am asking that teams and riders do what they can to come to this event. It is looking good for some live Versus [television] coverage, there will be thousands of spectators for the crit and the courses and towns are amazing."

    Phillips, who currently races for the local Ajax Tavern women's team, was involved with starting a non-profit organization benefiting women's athletic events. The organization decided to put together a three-day stage race for women after hearing about the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge, held only for professional men from August 22-26 across 12 cities in Colorado. The women's race is funded through Ajax Tavern, UnitedHealthcare and several private donations.

    "The [USA Pro Cycling Challenge] article emphasized how Colorado is a huge cycling state, and people are so athletic and love riding," Phillips said. "I didn't understand why that meant just hosting a men's race, so we decided to do it ourselves. At first we were going to have just a criterium in Aspen before the men finish, but after speaking with some of the top women's teams, and asking what would make it worth it for them to send a team, we created a three-day event."

    "Our goal is to showcase women's cycling," she added. "We are not making a dime off this race, we...

  • Schlecks take positive spin on Mur de Bretagne results

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) struggled on the Mur-de-Bretagne.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 23:46 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Andy Schleck's loss of eight seconds not significant

    Leopard Trek's leading duo of Andy and Fränk Schleck had mixed report cards at the end of the Tour de France stage 4 from Lorient to Mûr de Bretagne. Older brother Fränk managed to hang on when Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador ratcheted up the pace on the final climb, and he finished in the same time as Evans, but Andy lost eight vital seconds to his GC rivals.

    At the finish the two brothers were keen to put a positive spin on the outcome of the stage and they crucially still both hold more than a minute over Alberto Contador.

    "I'm happy with my form," Fränk told journalists at the finish.

    "The most important thing, I'm happy with is the team. We're by far the most united team in the entire peloton," he added.

    Just as Fränk climbed back onto the Leopard Trek bus, Andy emerged and despite his time loss he appeared as jovial as ever.

    "I hope it doesn't mean a lot for the battle for yellow," he said.

    "It's only the 4th stage of the Tour but I've felt good on the hills so far. It's true I missed a little of punch in the final kilometers but it's not really my favourite terrain."

    The climb arguably suited Contador more than the Schleck brothers and Andy drew a parallel to last year's Tour de France climb to Mende where he lost 10 seconds to Contador after the Spaniard's explosive climbing legs blew the race apart in a matter of vertical meters.

    "It suited Contador perfectly and in Mende I lost 10 seconds and today it was only seven [sic] so I'm going better," he said.

    The only moment of frustration displayed by either sibling came when Fränk was asked by one journalist if today's events...

  • Sastre: There's a lack of respect for Contador

    Carlos Satre (Geox-TMC)
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 1:21 BST
    Peter Cossins

    2008 Tour champion critical of Tour's implementation of the rules

    2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre has criticised the way that the rules were applied on stage one of the Tour de France, resulting in defending Tour champion Alberto Contador losing a significant amount of time compared to his main rivals. Writing in his current role during the Tour as a consultant for Spanish national TV, Sastre said he believes that some bodies are taking a stance "against Alberto at all costs". He added that his compatriot is not being shown the respect he deserves.

    Currently riding for his Geox-TMC team at the Tour of Austria, Sastre said he had been talking there with two former teammates about the Tour's opening stage, and all agreed that Contador appeared to have been treated unfairly according to their knowledge and experience of the sport's regulations. "We agreed that Alberto Contador has not been sanctioned [for his positive test for clenbuterol], which gives him every freedom and right to compete. Contador has been and continues to be a scapegoat, and it seems that the only way of dethroning him is to take a stand against him and not support him on any decisions," said Sastre.

    The experienced Spaniard then went on to explain his thinking. "The crash that occurred on Saturday with 8km remaining didn't favour him at all. In addition, another crash in the lead group with 2km remaining complicated things even more and resulted in everyone [involved in the crashes] arriving at the finish together. However, they didn't take time away from the riders involved in the second crash because they were held up in the final 3km."


  • Wiggins pleased as he moves up to sixth

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) limited his losses on the Mur-de-Bretagne.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 3:14 BST
    Cycling News

    British National champion loses time, but says it won't mean much

    It may not have been the easiest day in the saddle but for Sky Procycling's general classification hope, Bradley Wiggins, stage 4 between Lorient and Mûr-de-Bretagne it was a case of so far, so good.

    "It's still early days yet and these stages are all about not giving anything away but the real stuff is still to come," said the Brit following the 172 kilometre stage.

    While there was heart-stopping action at the finish line with mere centimetres separating Wiggins' GC rivals Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard), the British National Road Champion led home the second group of 31 riders to cross the tape in 11th position. Wiggins lost six seconds to be 10 seconds back, but moved up four spots to sixth on GC – the best of the Sky men, with fast men Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen at 12 seconds, also in the top 10.

    All in all, Wiggins was satisfied with his performance where he, like stage winner Evans, had fought his way back to the main bunch after a mechanical.

    "It's probably not much of a climb if you do it in training but the way the stage was, with the wet, the wind and a nervy peloton, that was pretty tough at the end of 170k.

    "I just conceded a few seconds at the top there but gained a lot on other people and at the end of three weeks it's not going to mean much. It was a tricky finish and it's a question of making sure you stay out of trouble again, staying upright and getting it all out so I'm pretty happy."

    Equally content with the situation his team find themselves in was Sports Director Sean Yates who said: "It was an exciting finish and...

  • Förster continues strong 2011 form with top honours in China

    Robert Forster (UnitedHealthcare) trying to cool off after a hot stage.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 6:18 BST
    Cycling News

    American team proving themselves outside the US

    Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare) resumed his winning ways after taking out the sprint in yesterday’s 152.4 km stage to Xihaizhen in the Tour of Qinghai Lake. The victory was Förster’s sixth in 2011 and continues the German’s impressive run after his switch from the European racing scene at the end of 2009.

    "Today was tough, but I'm glad I was able to deliver the win for my team," Förster said after the stage. "Our strategy was good; our guys covered a lot of the breaks that formed today, and I did not want to let them down."

    The German was also enthusiastic about the team’s chances in the days ahead.

    "We're looking forward to tomorrow as well as the next few stages. If we stay on strategy, hopefully good things will continue to happen."

    The UnitedHealthcare team has long been a dominant force in the United States, but having upgraded their license this season to Professional Continental, the team has taken on a broader focus. Förster’s win today comes in addition to the team’s success in the European spring races.

    Team Director, Eric Greene, who is leading the squad's efforts in China, is also happy with the way the team has performed so far, particularly considering the quality of the field in this year’s race. Greene was proud of the way the team came together in the final 20 kilometres, after a pretty chaotic finale.

    "The boys did what they had to do deliver Robert to the finish," he said. "In the last two kilometres it was up to Robert and once again, he made the right choices and was able capture the stage for the team."

  • Izagirre rides like a true Euskadi in debut Tour

    Gorka Izagirre showed off his versatility in the stage four breakaway.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 7:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Twenty-three-year-old's effort takes pressure off Sanchez

    Gorka Izagirre (Euskatel-Euskadi), at age 23 and riding in his first Tour de France, distinguished himself in yesterday’s five man breakaway on the roads to the Mûr de Bretagne. Like Amets Txurruka in 2007, and Iban Mayo before him, the Spaniard rode aggressively throughout the day, and was the last of the escape to finally give in to the chasing peloton. Speaking after the race, Izagirre was happy with his efforts, though slightly disappointed to have been caught so close to the finish.

    "At the start of the day we knew there was going to be an escape and that we had to be in it," explained Izagirre. "I personally thought the break would be bigger, but in the end we were only five."

    "We rode well all day together, and made things difficult for the chase. Of course you never want to get caught and we put in a lot of effort in the finale to stay away, but in the end it was impossible."

    Having a rider in the break took some of the pressure off the Euskatel-Euskadi team leader Samuel Sanchez, whose performance on the final climb was encouraging after a number of difficult days for the Spaniard.

    "The team worked really well again today. After yesterday when we had Rubén [Pérez] get in the break, Gorka [Izagirre] got in there today and did really well," said Sanchez.

    The Olympic Gold medallist, who finished fourth in the 2010 Tour de France, was one of the big losers of the stage one crash which also caught out pre-race favourite Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Sungard). The Spaniard however remains positive as the the race approaches his more favoured terrain in the high...

  • Tour de France news shorts

    Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) not feeling well on stage 4
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 9:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Hesjedal's stocks rise, Sick Spartacus, Horner's odd odyssey and a Leopard cub

    Hesjedal profits from reviewed stage 1 finish times

    The hectic final kilometres of stage 1 continue to cause fuss in the Tour de France peloton. After stage 3 the jury announced that three riders were given the time of the group in which they featured before a crash in the final three kilometres put them at distance.

    The three riders who profit from the jury decision are Sandy Casar (FDJ), Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervélo). Casar gained half a minute in the general classification, Feillu moved up by more than four minutes and Hesjedal knocked 35s from his delay on stage winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto). Especially for Hesjedal this is good news as he's eyeing a good result in the general classification. If the result of stage 1 would stand the Canadian would lose 95s on stage winner Gilbert.

    The next day Hesjedal and his team bounced back with the win in the team time trial. Back then Hesjedal reacted philosophical on gaining back time on his GC rivals. "As soon as one day is over you're up to the next and I think we showed what we're here to do." After stage 3 Hesjedal trailed race leader Thor Hushovd by 39s instead of 74s.

    There was no new information on the finish time of Albert Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) so it seems that the lost time during stage 1 for the Spanish top favourite is definitive.

    Sick Spartacus

    It's been a shaky start for Fabian Cancellara at this year's Tour de France, with the seven-time stage winner enduring a frightening plane journey ahead of the Grand Depart last week.

    Now, the 30-year-old has revealed via his Twitter feed that he is unwell , following Tuesday's fourth stage.

    "Great team...

  • Riis admits that losing Schlecks and Cancellara was a hard blow

    Bjarne Riis at Saxo Bank-SunGard's pre-Giro d'Italia press conference.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 10:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Says personal management style made the losses hard

    Bjarne Riis has admittited that losing so many riders and personnel to Leopard Trek was one of the most difficult moments of his career. However, the Saxo Bank-SunGard chief concedes that such a separation is part of the sport.”

    Writing in the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet, he said that the question of how the loss of Andy and Fränk Schleck and Fabian Cancellara, amongst others, affected him “is natural enough, because so many of my employees decided to join the newly established team - six of the nine riders on their Tour team were riding for my team last year. And the answer is probably just as naturally. My answer is yes. It was extremely hard, and worse than anything I have experienced before in my professional career."

    He said he felt hurt by their departure and he still does. “But that's not the point here. When I look back at last year's event, I see it as an extreme example of how the world of cycling basically works: that separations are part of the sport.”

    Riis claims his emotional reaction reflects his management style. “You can be the boss the old fashioned way where you always keep people out of your life and never get involved with them personally, like my old boss at Team Telekom, Walter Goodefroot. Or you can - as I try - embrace people with open arms and try to get close to them,” he said.