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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Date published:
July 09, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Kristoff clarifies his comments about Cavendish

    Alexander Kristoff gives the thumbs up for his birthday.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 21:38 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Katusha sprinter says he did not think the Manxman crashed on purpose

    Team Katusha's Alexander Kristoff has clarified the comments he made about Mark Cavendish after he crashed during stage 1 in Harrogate, saying he does not think the Omega Pharma-QuickStep sprinter somehow 'crashed on purpose' in the sprint that decided the Tour de France opener on Saturday.

    Late on Monday, after stage 3 into London, the BBC reported that Mark Cavendish's agent Simon Bayliff said Cavendish was considering legal action and considered Kristoff's comments libelous.

    Cavendish is due to undergo surgery on Wednesday after he ruptured several ligaments in his right shoulder during the crash. He is expected to be out of action for at least six weeks.

    Kristoff defended his right to express his opinion but explained what he really intended to say.

    "I don’t think anyone crashes on purpose, that's not what I wanted to say," Kristoff told Cyclingnews and the dozen Norwegian journalists on the Tour de France, after finishing second in the stage 4 sprint in Lille.

    "He moved towards Gerrans and that's what I think he did on purpose. I didn’t mean to say that he crashed on purpose, I know he wouldn't do that.

    "I've got a lot of respect for Cavendish. He's one of the greatest sprinters that I've ever seen. But I don't think his move (in the sprint) was a good one. I'm always going to speak my mind but I didn't intend to be disrespectful to Cavendish. I hope he can understand that."

    Looking for a Tour de France stage win

    The Katusha team is working hard to set up Kristoff for a stage victory...

  • Tour de France: Cobbles an opportunity for Terpstra

    Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) knows how to ride the cobbles
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 1:20 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Omega Pharma hoping to get out of bad luck cycle

    With the crash of Mark Cavendish during the first stage of the Tour de France, the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team received a big blow. Gone were the realistic hopes of winning the bunch sprints, but the cobblestones of stage 5 could offer a way out of the doldrums thanks to the presence of Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra in the team.

    However, with a nearly 100 per cent chance of rain in the forecast and a string of misfortunes that included a crash by Terpstra in today's stage 4, the team will need more than just a little bit of extra luck.

    "If it's wet you need a hundred times more luck than when it's dry," Terpstra said while spinning down after the stage, showing the signs of his crash. "I don't think it'll bother me. I look forward to tomorrow."

    While Terpsta has his ambitions, there's also the aim of keeping the team's general classification rider Michal Kwiatkowski in a good position, and that might mean that Terpstra will have to flank the Polish rider on the cobbles. Since mechanicals are part of riding over the cobbles it will be crucial to have someone to offer a wheel as team cars will have a hard time to get to their riders on the narrow farm roads.

    "Gaining time with Kwiatkowski would be ideal. He surely is capable of doing this work. He's our priority. It'll be a big war but is it any different in the Classics?" Terpstra said. When a journalist asked if one rider could neutralize the race when it became too dangerous Terpstra was clear, "not tomorrow."

    For the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team, the very important battle for a good position within the team cars was lost during the first stage, as Wilfried Peeters explained.

    "The first rider of the team decides the order of the team cars. When team time is equal,...

  • Tour de France: Keukeleire mortified by involvement in Froome's crash

    Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 2:50 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Defending champion hit Orica-GreenEdge rider's wheel

    Tour de France debutant Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) was mortified on Tuesday when he collided with the race's defending champion Chris Froome, resulting in the Sky captain's crash. However, the ever-polite Froome absolved the young Belgian of any blame.

    The incident happened during Tuesday's stage from Le Touquet to Lille in the north of France, early in the stage and on flat, wide-open roads. Some movement near the front of the peloton resulted in Keukeleire shifting, taking out Froome's front wheel.

    It was a very awkward situation as Keukeleire described in his Krant van West-Vlaanderen blog.

    "A rider from Belkin wanted to go through a gap that wasn't there," Keukeleire stated. "He hit me and I was barely able to avoid the wheel ahead of me. Behind me was Froome and he touched my wheel and crashed."

    "Immediately I thought, even though it wasn't my fault, 'Fuck, I took down the winner of last year's Tour de France,' but in the end he seems to come away with some minor scratches."

    The Belkin-rider in question was not identified, but he'll surely regret the manoeuvre as his own team leader Bauke Mollema was caught up in a crash occurring near Froome's fall.

    After the crash, both Mollema and Froome were able to get back in the peloton and Keukeleire went over to Froome to apologize. "He said it wasn't necessary because it wasn't my fault since the Belkin rider was to blame, although he appreciated the gesture."

    Keukeleire was forced to switch bikes himself as Froome wrecked his derailleur. At the finish line in...

  • Tour de France: The cobbles are going to be crazy, says Vansummeren

    Johan Vansummeren heads up Garmin's team for Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 4:30 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Garmin rider looking to keep Talansky safe and take victory

    After the third sprint finish of the Tour de France, the riders will be looking towards the cobbles. The general classification is anyone's game at the moment, but that could all change by Wednesday evening.

    Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) is one of the specialists who will be in with a chance of victory in Arenberg-Port Hainaut. Stage five will be a day of two races where the classics specialists do what they do best and fight for victory and the general classification riders try not to lose too much time.

    Throw in the added complication of the rain that has been falling over the last week, and is expected to continue tomorrow, it's going to be a chaotic day - where ever you are in the bunch. "They're going to be crazy. There will be some riders that won't be able to start the day after. It's going to be something special," Vansummeren told Cyclingnews.

    "The thing is, it's not the cobblestones. It's happened so much before with the positioning and the stress in the peloton, so it's important to be in a good position when you hit the stones."

    The Belgian won Paris-Roubaix in 2011, after making a solo break with around 15 kilometres remaining. Vansummeren is into his 11th season as a professional and has a vast wealth of experience to draw when it comes to racing on the cobbles. He will no doubt be the man calling the shots on Wednesday.

    Andrew Talansky is one of many riders who has never raced on the cobbles – nor has race leader Vincenzo Nibali. Vansummeren says that inexperience shouldn't be a problem with so many teams investing in course recons. Talansky can also rely on his teammates to get...

  • Tour de France: Mollema unsure of what caused crash

    Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Ion Izagirre (Movistar) crash during stage 4
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 5:40 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea & Zeb Woodpower

    Belkin captain ready for the pavé regardless of weather

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) may have been the high profile crash victim of stage four of the Tour de France but he wasn't the only rider who arrived in Lille nursing wounds. Belkin's GC candidate Bauke Mollema avoided any major injury and explained he was unsure how he ended up on the ground just ahead of where the defending champion fell.

    "I don't know what happened really, there was a crash on the left side with Froome and then I was past the crash and [Jon] Izagirre, the Spanish champion, he crashed right in front of me like 20 metres after the crash," Mollema said.

    "I don't know if he rode on a bidon or something happened with his handlebar but then I was on the ground. It was not a big problem. There are no real effects from it, just small bruises but nothing serious."

    Having sustained only superficial injuries, Mollema isn't too phased about racing on the pavé of stage 5 although the 27-year-old has never before raced Paris-Roubaix.

    "It's ok for me, everybody knows and everybody has seen the parcours, its part of cycling to ride on the cobbles so I have no problem with that," he said. "It will probably be really dangerous with some crashes, but that's part of cycling."

    The last time the Tour made an excursion into the pavé was in 2010 on a hot and dusty day. The forecast for the 2014 rendezvous however is for wet conditions but Mollema is confident that his team is prepared, regardless of the weather.

    ...
  • Maiden win for Dayer Quintana in Austria

    Didi the devil and Dayer Quitnana
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 6:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian announces himself on the Kitzbüheler Horn

    On the queen stage of the Tour of Austria that saw riders cover a wet and cold 206km to arrive at the top of the Kitzbüheler Horn, it was Dayer Quintana (Movistar) who announced himself to be much more than Nairo's brother by soloing to victory

    The 21-year-old signed for the WorldTour team in October last year and was handed starts at three monuments in the Spring – Milan San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix – but had started only two stage races prior to the 2.HC Austrian race and had not raced since the Giro del Trentino in April.

    "I felt physically well before this race and wanted to test my legs," Quintana said after the stage. "I wasn't planning to get into today's breakaway, though - we were just controlling the race, but at some point, we were into a group of ten up-front. I had to keep going after making the group, and also profiting of the gap staying the same practically until the foot of the climb."

    With only 'Didi the Devil' for company on the upper slopes of the climb, Quintana explained he was unsure what his advantage on the road was over the chasers.

    "I took a strong relay into the first slopes and when I could realize, I was alone," he said. "I told to myself: 'It's now or never.' I went on full steam until the finish - there were no time references, only visual ones, and until I got into the final 200 meters, I didn't feel I could win."

    Quintana finished 54 seconds ahead of Cannondale's Damiano Caruso and race...

  • Tour de France: Contador leaning on teammates for cobbled stage

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 8:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard expects "ice-skating with bikes" on stage 5

    When the Tour de France last encountered the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix in 2010, Alberto Contador conceded 1:13 to then-rivals Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans. This year, he is hoping that his Tinkoff-Saxo team will protect him in what is expected to be absolutely brutal conditions - with rain and wind creating a kind of hazard most of the riders of the current peloton have not encountered in their careers.

    Back in 2010, Schleck had the assistance of pavé expert Fabian Cancellara, and the Swiss rider sacrificed his ambitions to win the stage to help his teammate. This year, Contador's competitors such as Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) each have Classics specialists at their sides - Paris-Roubaix winners Johan Vansummeren and Niki Terpstra, respectively, and will be looking to profit from their experience.

    Contador has no such specialist at his side, but his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates have ridden defensively, often trading elbows with the sprinters' lead-out trains, in the first four stages. He expects they will continue to do so en route to Arenberg.

    "The last days has been nervous with great risk throughout the stages. And today the crosswind was a factor as well forcing us to be well positioned. My feeling is that I wasn't further down than 20th position in the peloton during the entire stage. That kept me safe and is a direct result of the work of my teammates," Contador said, pointing out that the fight was not only to stay out of trouble. The team car moved into fifth position in the caravan thanks to today's results. "We didn't crash, but we had to eat a lot of wind to keep our positions. I...

  • Nibali ready to take on cobbles at Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will be in yellow when the race tackles the cobbles
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 10:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sicilian not concerned by prospect of losing jersey at Arenberg

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will aim to keep the maillot jaune on stage 5 of the Tour de France. The Sicilian has said that the most important thing is to keep his chances of overall victory alive on the race’s trek across the cobbles.

    “The stage is important to begin with and now the weather is for rain, too. But if I were to lose the jersey, I wouldn’t lose my head about it,” Nibali said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Nibali currently holds a two-second lead in the overall standings after landing a canny victory in Sheffield on Sunday at the end of a stage with a profile reminiscent of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    Wednesday’s stage 5 takes the Tour into the heart of Paris-Roubaix country. The peloton will tackle nine sectors of pavé on the rocky road to Arenberg. Crashes and mechanical problems on the corresponding stage four years ago wreaked havoc in the bunch, and Nibali pointed out that the position of the team cars in the race convoy could be crucial.

    “We’re second in the team classification so our car is at the front in the event of problems,” he said. “It could be a small advantage – if you puncture or have mechanical problems you could even lose a minute. I’m fairly capable when it comes to bike handling but in these days there are situations that get out of control.”

    The riders had a fleeting taste of the cobbles on stage 4 to Lille and the portents were ominous, as the short stretch of pavé on the descent from Cassel briefly split the peloton. “We had a bit of pavé on a descent and the peloton split,” said Nibali, who acknowledged that his experience on the cobbles is limited. “I’ve never...