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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Date published:
July 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de New York canceled

    The race in Rochester was won by Dominique Rollin in 2008.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 21:11 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Financially strapped race fails to get off the ground

    After months of rumors surrounding the status of the UCI 2.2 Tour de New York, event organizers have officially pulled the plug on the five-day event that was scheduled to take place from August 7-11 near Rochester, New York. Race Director, Todd Scheske cited a lack of funding was main reason for canceling the race.

    "We were unable to secure the support required at this time so have regretfully had to cancel the 2010 Tour de New York," Scheske told Cyclingnews.

    The stage race received its inaugural UCI 2.2 sanctioning in 2009 but was forced to cancel due to a lack of sponsorship dollars in light of the down economy. Organizers secured UCI sanctioning for a second year and again they were forced to cancel the race due to funding troubles.

    Executive Director, Scott Page, said in a recent press release that despite enormous support, unprecedented financial commitment and diligent endorsements from Rochester’s Mayor Robert Duffy and Rochester’s City Council, the financial resources to produce the world-class event could not be realized for this year.

    The event began in 2004 as the single-day Rochester Twilight Criterium held in Rochester, New York. In 2006, it upgraded to a National Racing Calendar (NRC) status and then brought on Saturn as a title sponsor.

    In 2008 the one-day event became a three-day omnium that included a time trial, criterium and road race and showcased the rolling terrain of of Upstate New York.

    With the loss of the Tour de New York, USA Cycling's Pro Tour, the list of all UCI races in the United States, has been reduced to just four events plus the three professional national championships in road, time trial and criterium.

  • Contador makes up time on rivals on Arenberg pavé

    Alberto Contador (Astana) learned his lessons well from Classics ace Peter Van Petegem.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 21:14 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Spaniard gains time on Armstrong, loses time to Andy Schleck

    Defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has not only survived the pavé sections of stage three to Arenberg, he is also one of the day's winners as he made some precious time up on some of his rivals for the general classification.

    The Spaniard lost 1:13 on Andy Schleck at the finish in Arenberg, reversing the 40-second lead he had over the Luxembourger at the start of the stage in Wanze, Belgium. Now, Contador sits 31 seconds behind the younger of the Schleck brothers.

    The gap would have been closer had Contador not suffered a broken spoke that saw him lose 20 seconds further in the final kilometre.

    A puncture in the crucial stage finale on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix made seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong lose 55 seconds on Contador, so the American is now 50 seconds adrift of his Spanish rival.

    "I think I can be satisfied with how the stage went," Contador told Cyclingnews at the finish. "I made up some time on Armstrong, but not only on him. The circumstances of the race went to my favour. I'm happy."

    Contrary to what had been expected, the Astana leader went over the pavé sectors without too much trouble. "At the start I didn't feel so good but as the stage unfolded I felt better," he said. "I concentrated on getting on the cobbled sectors in a good position. Then, I actually felt really comfortable on the pavé."

    Contador, with the help of Alexandre Vinokourov, was able to follow a main chase group behind the only remnant of the day's breakaway in the finale, a group that included Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank). But Armstrong (RadioShack), as well as other overall contenders such as Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) lost more time, partly due to mechanicals.

    Contador wasn't spared of mechanicals, either. The Spaniard rode the last 30 kilometres with a broken spoke in his front wheel. "It was a shame...

  • Wiggins employs fighting mentality on pavé

    British champion Geraint Thomas (Sky) put in an impressive performance.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 21:34 BST
    Richard Moore

    Thomas enjoys "amazing" ride

    Team Sky was one of the teams fancied to make gains on the cobbles, and the British squad lived up to their billing by being one of the more prominent outfits, with Steve Cummings in the early break and another of their trio of British riders making the decisive split.

    But the rider in the lead group was not the one many had tipped to be there. While Bradley Wiggins was delayed by Saxo Bank's co-leader Fränk Schleck's crash, another Sky rider, Geraint Thomas, sneaked into the six-man group that fought out the stage.

    The Welshman capped an outstanding performance by finishing second to Thor Hushovd (Cervélo Test Team), while Wiggins completed a solid day for the team by placing eighth, 53 seconds down.

    Thomas, who ousted Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) from the white jersey, admitted afterwards that he might not have been there to challenge for the stage win had he followed his instincts to go back and help Wiggins.

    "I was in two minds about it," he said. "I wondered if I should go back and help him but Sean [Yates, the team's directeur sportif] said I should stay in there."

    The 24-year old also revealed that he was the last man to make the escape, which formed in the chaos after Schleck's crash.

    "We hit section four of the cobblestones [at Sars-et-Rosieres] pretty fast and there was a big fight to get in there," said Thomas. "I was around tenth or so, and that's when the big crash happened. I managed to get through it quite well, and closed he gap.

    "The others had a bit of a gap in front of me, but I gritted my teeth and got on. Then we were straight into the next section so it was quite a while before I could sit back, relax and see what was going on."

    Thomas has experience on the pavé, having won the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2004. "Yeah, but it's a bit different with the big boys," he said. "Having the national champion's jersey on my back, and being in the front group with the world...

  • Déjà vu for Basso after Tour pavé

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) not looking very comfortable on the pavé
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 22:15 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Giro winner looks forward to the Alps

    Just as Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) bested Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) on the Giro d'Italia's strade bianche, the Australian world champion won his duel over the Italian Giro winner on the pavé of the Tour de France. Although there are more adversaries for them in July, the duel is on again between the two main pupils of coach Aldo Sassi.

    Basso seemed to be one of the losers of the day, but it's not much different from the deficit he faced after stage 7 of the Giro d'Italia in Montalcino when he finished 2:05 behind Evans. When the 20-second bonus Evans earned for winning the stage in Tuscany is factored in, the difference between those two is exactly the same in Arenberg: 2:25.

    Evans is now the highest ranked of the Tour favourites in third place behind Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Geraint Thomas (Sky), while Basso is 2:41 down on the Australian.

    "It's been an extremely demanding day," Basso said. "But we expected it. I can't see it as a positive day, but it's also not too negative. I've had worse times in my career, for example in this year's Giro d'Italia. I'm smiling now for coming home physically safe, but I'm not so happy with losing a bit of time."

    Basso's ride was delayed because of a crash that put an end to Fränk Schleck's 2010 Tour de France. The Italian started a new race trying to catch up with groups ahead.

    "Unfortunately my teammates Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato each had a flat tyre and it took away two important support riders at the end," Basso said. Oss, 23, was a revelation of Gent-Wevelgem when he finished fifth and Quinziato, his experienced compatriot from the Trentino in the north of Italy, is Liquigas' best rider on the pavé in the Spring classics.

    "We need a bit more luck in the coming stages," Basso said. "I take note of today's result and I look ahead. In a couple of days in the Alps, I'll find a terrain that suits my characteristics better than...

  • Menchov escapes pavé unscathed

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) drives the chase group through the Haveluy section of cobbles.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 22:42 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Rabobank leader making solid progress

    Never to be underestimated, Rabobank's Russian leader Denis Menchov is looking rock solid after four stages of the Tour de France. Unlike many of his competitors, the 2009 Giro d'Italia winner and two-time Vuelta a España champion has come through an unusually crash-plagued first few days upright.

    Menchov ticked off another solid day on the 213km trek to Arenberg, coming in safely in the second group after being delayed by the crash of Fränk Schleck on the Sars-et-Rosières sector of pavé with 26km to go. He finished 11th, and is now in 13th overall, 1:49 behind race leader Fabian Cancellara, and only nine seconds adrift of defending Tour champion Alberto Contador.

    Not a specialist in the Classics, Menchov was happy to find himself riding right alongside Paris-Roubaix winner Cancellara on the critical cobbled sector until his progress was hampered by the fall of Schleck.

    "I'm very satisfied," Menchov said. "I have felt very good from the first day in Rotterdam and if you're good, then a high finish in this stage is possible.

    "I did not fall and did not puncture, but I still missed the group of Cancellara because Fränk Schleck was in front of me when he crashed.

    "All day I felt unafraid on the cobblestones. It was very nice," said Menchov. "I got a lot of good help from the other guys. Too bad there was a gap [to the group with Andy Schleck - ed.], but the result is acceptable and I am satisfied with my performance today."

    Now that he has gone successfully over the pavé and emerged unscathed, does Menchov plan to race in Paris-Roubaix some day? The answer from the 32-year-old was unequivocal: "Not on my life."


  • Investigation into Landis claims widens to include Interpol

    Floyd Landis at the Tour of California.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2010, 22:59 BST
    Cycling News

    WADA director confirms a "significant inquiry"

    An investigation into claims of widespread, organized doping made by Floyd Landis against his former teams has been broadened to include the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

    The new development was confirmed by the World Anti Doping Agency's general director David Howman, whose agency has helped the United States federal investigators gain the cooperation of the European agency.

    Statements by Floyd Landis in May led the US Food and Drug Administration to launch the investigation into claims that his former US Postal team engaged in organized doping practices and that Lance Armstrong was one of the riders to take part.

    Armstrong has vehemently denied that Landis's statements have any merit, but this has not stopped the inquiry from widening.

    "This investigation has been going on for many weeks and I think it is a significant inquiry," Howman told AFP. "And it's one that might go on for many more weeks because it essentially started with a US inquiry and is spreading. We've been persuading people to cooperate and think that would be helpful."

    The fact that WADA is helping to give Landis's claims more merit by encouraging the investigation is ironic, considering that it spent large sums fighting against the deposed 2006 Tour champion in year-long arbitration hearings in Landis's own doping case.

    "We have to say we were disappointed at having to spend so much money pursuing Mr. Landis, but you can't say that's something which should stop you from listening to him," Howman said. "That would show a closed mind."

    Landis testified under oath during his arbitration that he had not used performance enhancing drugs during his time with US Postal, but reversed that with his claims made public during the Tour of California.

  • Armstrong admits he was nailed on Tour pavé

    Lance Armstrong chases amidst the dust cloud kicked up from the cars ahead.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:07 BST
    Richard Moore

    Flat tyre hasn’t ended title hopes says former champion

    A philosophical Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) faced the media at the end of stage three of the Tour de France, which saw his hopes of winning an eighth title take a dent, if not a hammer blow.

    The American put it best when, towards the end of a refreshingly honest appraisal of one of the most challenging days of his Tour career, he said: “Sometimes you’re the hammer and some days you’re the nail. Today I was the nail. I’ve had plenty days when I was the hammer.”

    Luck was not on Armstrong’s side as he suffered a front wheel puncture at possibly the worst moment, on the sixth and penultimate section of cobbles, just as the third chasing group - containing defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana) - was about to merge with Armstrong’s group.

    It had been section four of the cobbles, and Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank)’s heavy crash, that had done the initial damage.

    As the older of the Schleck brothers hit the deck the race splintered into pieces. Six riders - including Armstrong’s fellow overall contenders Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Cadel Evans (BMC) - went clear at the front, while other groups formed behind.

    Armstrong initially appeared well placed to gain time on Contador, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and others. But fate - or a sharp cobblestone - intervened.

    As Armstrong explained, “Section four was the major selection. Then something happened in front and Frank Schleck came down, and that just kind of opened the group and we hung in there, we were right behind them, and just as we were coming back on to them in section six, I believe, I just got that front flat [tyre].”

    With team cars caught behind on the pave, RadioShack did what other teams did, deploying staff members with spare wheels at various points along the cobbled sections. But, unfortunately for Armstrong, his puncture didn’t happen close to any of these...

  • Riis rejects pavé inclusion after bittersweet day

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) dons the yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:43 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Saxo Bank takes yellow jersey back but loses a Schleck

    Stage three of this year's Tour de France held its promises. As much spectacle as it provided, the race over the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix also claimed many victims, of which Fränk Schleck of Saxo Bank may be the most important one.

    The Danish team had a brilliant day with Fabian Cancellara re-claiming the yellow jersey he had purposely given up on Monday, and overall favourite Andy Schleck making up some precious time over his nearest rivals. But they also lost Andy's older brother Fränk, who crashed in the third cobblestone sector with 40 kilometres to go and was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone.

    "About Fränk, it's very sad," team manager Bjarne Riis in the finish, keeping his usual calm but probably not knowing whether he should laugh or cry. "It's very sad for us, and for the Tour. A great rider has to go home. We did everything we could to keep them out of trouble on the pavé, but today it was not enough for him."

    Riis re-iterated that he wasn't sure that the inclusion of the pavé roads of Paris-Roubaix in the Tour de France was a good thing. "I'm not sure I'm a big fan of the cobbles in the Tour de France. It's stressful, and very dangerous. Even if we showed a great performance with Fabian and Andy today, I'm not sure that this is the right thing to do."

    Cancellara paced Andy Schleck to the finish, making up time on general classification, and profited of the fact yellow jersey Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) punctured several times in a row to re-claim the race lead.

    "The team rode great today," Riis said. "We saw an excellent Fabian, and Andy, too. I'm very happy about how they rode. They were very strong."

    But the tall Dane could not help regret the abandoning of Fränk Schleck, an essential part of the squad in its search for stage victories and the overall win in Paris. "Fränk is in the hospital now," he said. "He's OK, but he has a broken...