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Latest Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 6, 2009

Date published:
July 06, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Hectic finale disrupts plans in Brignoles

    Finland's Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux) leads the mountains competition.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 2:56 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Reaction from stage two

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) - fourth on stage, 120th overall @ 2:02

    "We had our strategy for the sprint to come from behind the Columbia train. They were very strong again today and we decided to wait until the final kilometres. There was a crash and we lost each other. Some of us went left, others had to brake. The crash lost us everything in the end."

    "Tomorrow is another day and we will try. It's very warm, but it was OK for me. I prefer when it's 15C cooler, but I had to fight through it."

    Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) - sixth on stage, 150th overall @ 2:22

    "During the Tour, unfortunately it is often the case that one of the sprinters tries to ride through a gap that doesn't actually exist. This lead to a fall about 500 metres from the finish today."

    "We [the Milram team] gathered in the final part [of the stage] in an excellent manner and the we were prepared for the sprint. It is really unfortunate because we worked very well as a team, but we were not rewarded."

    Hayden Roulston (Cervelo Test Team) - 52nd on stage, 111th overall @ 1:57

    "It was pretty hectic in the finale, but that's normal. It's the first sprint in the Tour and everyone wants to be at the front. Everyone is fresh, they have a lot of power, but there were some people taking some unnecessary risks. You don't have to risk your life. There was a crash in the end and we lost our position,"

    José Joaquín Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) - 18th on stage, 86th overall @ 1:47

    "I feel very well and I intended to take part in the sprint. The weather is really hot and I am used to that because in Murcia, where I live, it is just the same. I was well placed in Tom Boonen and Oscar Freire's wheel but in the last curve to avoid a crash we were obliged to enter the [team] car's route deviation. It was too late then to come back in front of the bunch."

    ...
  • Menchov questioned in Austrian doping case

    Giro d'Italia champion Denis Menchov (Rabobank) prepares for a ride outside his team hotel.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 10:26 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank rider in Vienna last month voluntarily

    Denis Menchov travelled to Vienna, Austria, last month to answer questions from investigators concerning his alleged involvement with the blood clinic "Human Plasma". The name of the Russian Rabobank rider has been mentioned in connection with the blood-doping circle in Austria.

    "Since we received a request from the Austrian authorities, the concerned riders have immediately expressed their unreserved cooperation to be heard under oath," team spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews. Austrian authorities have confirmed "that this is on a voluntary basis. As long as the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment.

    "Further, we have no reason to believe that one of the Rabobank team members has done anything that conflicts with our no-compromise zero tolerance policy," Eisenga continued. "In the case that we would ever have to doubt the integrity of a team member, we will act immediately."

    The team did not believe that the matter had anything to do with the Giro d'Italia winner's showing in the opening time trial on Sunday. He finished 1:31 slower than winner Fabian Cancellara, which put him in 53rd place. "I have the right condition, "Menchov said. "I have no explanation for my poor chrono."

     

     

  • Skil-Shimano admits Rooijakkers hit out at Cavendish

    Piet Rooijakkers (right) came into contact with Cavendish with 2km to go in stage 2 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 10:38 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Cavendish wins regardless

    Skil-Shimano has confirmed that, Piet Rooijakkers, was the rider involved in an altercation with Mark Cavendish in the run in towards Brignoles for the finish of stage 2 at the Tour de France.

    The exchange occurred with two kilometres remaining in the stage. Cavendish could be seen grabbing Rooijakkers jersey before the Dutchman removed his right hand and swung twice at the Columbia-HTC rider. Responding to the incident Cavendish had initially confused the Rooijakkers with his Skil-Shimano teammate, Kenny Van Hummel.

    "Van Hummel has absolutely no respect for its colleagues," said Cavendish after the stage, reported Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    A spokesperson for Skil-Shimano confirmed that Rooijakkers had been the rider to strike out at Cavendish, after being pushed into the line of the Columbia-HTC train by Frenchman Lloyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale).

    Regardless of the incident Cavendish was able to avoid a crash inside the final kilometre to claim his fifth Tour de France stage win. Cavendish's win also moved him into the lead of the green jersey classification.

    Rooijakkers finished the stage 2 in 61st place.
     

  • Schleck ready to defend Cancellara's lead

    The Schleck brothers, Frank and Andy, await the start of stage two in Monaco.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 11:26 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Luxembourger suffers "superficial injuries" in stage 2 crash

    Saxo Bank's Fränk Schleck will start stage 3 of the Tour de France after suffering only minor injuries in a crash during stage 2 of the race. Schleck and Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) crashed 70km into the 187km stage.

    Saxo Bank team manager, Bjarne Riis, told L'Equipe that Schleck would be ready to support his teammate, Fabian Cancellara, in defending the yellow jersey on Monday's stage. "[He] fell but is not suffering and he has only superficial injuries to his hip, Everyone is in shape to continue to defend the yellow jersey tomorrow," said Riis.

    Both Schleck and Igor Antón were able to return to the peloton and complete the stage, finishing in 90th and 68th place, respectively.

    Riis also commented on his team's performance during the second stage. Despite high tempratures throughout the stage, Saxo Bank were able to maintain Cancellara's lead in the race.

    "It was a hard and hot day, and obviously we made a huge effort, but it was no more difficult than what we expected, and we had everything under control," said Riis.

    Cancellara, who won the Tour de France's opening individual time trial on Saturday, will go into stage 3 with an 18 second lead over Alberto Contador (Astana).
     

  • Bell wins Fitchburg Longsjo Classic

    The pro men's general classification podium (l-r): Tom Zirbel, Zach Bell and Charles Dionne
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 13:36 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Overall victory slips from Zirbel's grasp

    Kelly Benefit Strategies sprinter, Zach Bell, won his first NRC stage race at the 50th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, held in Massachusetts over the US Independence Day holiday weekend. Bell used his cagey sprint to pull back a six second deficit to previous race leader, Tom Zirbel, in the final criterium.

    Bell finished with a four second advantage on runner up Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia) and nine seconds ahead of Zirbel (Bissell).

    “None of this would have happened without our team cohesion and I think that’s where we put pressure on Bissell,” said Bell. “All the guys put in huge efforts, especially in the last criterium. They put me in good position to make it possible to win. When the guys did that, it made my job seem much easier.”

    Zirbel had kicked off the four stage race by taking the leader's jersey with victory in the opening time trial. Through the help of an under-manned Bissell squad, he held the lead until the final stage. Kelly Benefit Strategies had placed three riders directly behind Zirbel in the time trial, with Bell in fourth. Bell gained time toward the overall through strong performances on the steep finishing climbs in stages two and three and by securing time bonuses at stage finishes.

    “I think I’m definitely leaning more toward the sprinter side,” said Bell. “As a sprinter, I climb better than most and time trial better than most but my stength is definitely the sprint. I’m not usually a GC threat if there is any sort of significant climbing involved.”

    Bell moved into second place, six seconds behind Zirbel heading into the fourth and final stage. He made his winning move by using his sprint to jump across to a late-race breakaway and gained 15 seconds on the field that contained Zirbel.

    “I saw that after chasing, Bissell was really starting to crack and Tom only had a few riders left,” Bell said. “I felt...

  • Stevens turns heads in Fitchburg

    The pro women's general classification podium (l-r): Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, Evelyn Stevens and Alison Powers
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 14:01 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Newcomer beats quality field

    Evelyn Stevens (Lip Smackers) turned heads after winning her first NRC title at the 50th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic on Sunday, in Massachusetts. Stevens claimed overall victory ahead of world class talents Alison Powers (Team Type 1) and Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Vital Plus).

    “There was such a high calibre of racers here so it was a wonderful experience,” said Stevens who began her professional cycling career just six months ago. “I have so much to learn right now and I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I’m learning each race and getting advice and picking up on all the skills. I’m not sure what my speciality is yet. It’s all exciting and surprising and being in the yellow jersey has given me a lot of confidence.”

    Stevens placed second behind Powers in the opening time trial. She over took the lead after capturing time bonus for her third place in stage two and went on to capture another time bonus for her second place in stage three.

    “It was exciting to win here especially ahead of two great riders,” Stevens said who guest rode for Team Lip Smackers. “I couldn’t have done it without the backing of my team. They kept me nice and protected.”

    Steven, 26, grew-up in Boston, Massachusetts but now calls New York City home. She joined the Century Road Club Association’s (CRCA) women’s clinic after encouragement from family members. “It’s the oldest bike club in America and I believe it was a great way to get introduced to racing,” said Stevens who does much of her training in Central Park or by crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey.

    She upgraded quickly from a Cat 4 to a Cat 1 after her wins in the Vermont’s Green Mountain Stage Race last September and the Arizona’s Valley of the Sun in February. She went on to compete as a Cat 1 rider in California’s Redlands Bicycle Classic and...

  • Armstrong and Contador fined after late sign-on at Tour de France

    USA's Lance Armstrong (Astana) arrives in Monaco for stage two of the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2009, 16:12 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Team refute claims they are ignoring the public

    Astana's riders have been fined by Tour de France commissares after arriving late to register for the race's third stage, on Monday. Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and the remainder of the Astana team are expected incur a fine of 100 Swiss Francs each.

    Tour de France race regulations dictate that a rider must have arrived to sign-on at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.

    Tour de France competition director, Jean-Francois Pescheux, told Reuters that he would like to see the International Cycling Union (UCI) take further action. "Today, and as usual, the Astana team arrived late at the pre-stage registration, in contempt of the crowd, who has once again not seen Lance Armstrong," he said. "They don't care about the fine. We are going to ask the UCI to be tougher.

    Astana's press officer, Phillipe Maertens, told Cyclingnews that while the team bus had been late in arriving to the start, he stressed that they were not intentionally avoiding the public. "Yes, the team was late this morning, got caught up coming into Marseille," said Maertens. "It's not as though the team were hiding on the bus. With Armstrong and Contador [on the team], it can be difficult for the riders to get to the start, but the team were signing autographs and speaking to the public."

    The fines do not affect the rider's ability to start stage 3. At the start of the stage Alberto Contador sits second on general classification, 18 seconds down on Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank); while Armstrong is 0:40 behind the yellow jersey, in tenth position.