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Latest Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 16, 2009

Date published:
July 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Reaction from stage 11

    Success leads to happiness, as Mark Cavendish knows well.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 2:58 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Even an uphill finish can't stop Cav

    Marcin Sapa (Lampre) - 149th on stage, 141st overall @ 1:16:38

    "When I'm in a breakaway I'm happy even if, as today, it's very tough to get amongst the action. With Van Summeren the agreement was good, but this time it [the break] was neutralised when there were a few kilometers to go".

    Alberto Contador (Astana) - 43rd on stage, second overall @ 0:00:06

    "It was a transition day... boring for those who saw it on television, but it was also a day with a lot of tension at the beginning. There were some complicated falls but we avoided them.

    "It calmed down up to the last 20 kilometres, where the whole world wants to be ahead to avoid losing any time and the truth is that I was fearful due to the speed we passed close to the fences. The two accidents I saw were ahead of me but I had time to stop the bike.

    "I feel good, though it was one more day of punishment in the legs but also one less day of suffering. At the moment I want to think of nothing more than tomorrow, which is another difficult day and which I have to ride without losing time and without any type of falls. Then I will think about the mountains, which I want to arrive already."

    Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) - fifth on stage, 120th overall @ 1:04:32

    "I was in good position for the sprint, but it just wasn't my day. I am very disappointed of course, and will continue to fight for the green jersey."

    "I still want to fight for the green jersey. It's still a long way to Paris. It was a hard fight for [Cavendish's] wheel. It was difficult because everyone knows that is where you want to be. I will try to win another stage before this Tour is over. I will take it day-by-day."

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - 63rd on stage, 16th overall @ 2:52

    "Today's stage was a very fast, atypical and strange stage. There was a huge number of falls right from...

  • Garmin announced for Sun Tour start

    Garmin-Slipstream's Cameron Meyer leads the chase.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 6:29 BST
    Daniel Simms

    American squad to race Down Under in October

    American ProTour squad Garmin-Slipstream will contest October’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne, Australia, after being named as one of the first squads for this year’s edition. Perth youngster Cameron Meyer will contest the event alongside Trent Lowe and Chris Sutton, with Julian Dean also likely to make the team’s roster.

    Garmin-Slipstream sport director Matt White said the event is important for gauging the development of its younger riders. "To be able to win on the biggest stage, like at the Tour de France, you need to learn how to win at races like this,” said White. "The career of Simon Gerrans is a perfect example. He put a lot of pressure on himself to win the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, which he did in 2005 and 2006, and has since gone on to win a stage at both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia."

    The course for this year's race will kick off in Ballarat on October 11 and go through Colac, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Anglsea, Baron Heads and Geelong before a twilight final-stage circuit race on Lygon Street in Melbourne on 17 October.

    "With no big mountain stages the race is going to be very tactical and makes having a strong team even more important," said White, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong at U.S. Postal Service. "With that in mind plenty of thought will go into exactly who we bring down for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and those selections will be made with the objective of taking the overall honours.

    "The plan at the moment is to have New Zealand's best ever cyclist Julian Dean part of the team,” added White. “[Dean] is just so valuable in a tough race like this, and most likely some of our feisty Dutch riders who are really well suited to this year's course."

    Garmin-Slipstream will confirm its full roster closer to the October event.

  • Sprinters attempt to beat 'Cav' - in vain

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin) tries to hold off Mark Cavendish in the sprint on stage 11.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 10:38 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Not many more opportunities for "frustrated" Farrar, Boonen and Ciolek

    With Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish being this year's "man to beat" in Tour de France bunch sprint finishes, challengers of the fast Manxman feel "frustrated" with their inability to equal the final speed of the four-times stage winner.

    In Wednesday's stage 11 to Saint-Fargeau, second-placed Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) was the only one who came close to Cavendish. "It's frustrating to come second but at the same time you can see there are only a few guys going that fast right now," the young American rider said in the finish.

    Belgian Tom Boonen, without luck since the start of this Tour, noted that "there won't be many more opportunities [to beat Cavendish] before reaching Paris. In the final kilometre, I tried in vain to take Cavendish's wheel. I lost my teammates and had to manage on my own." Unlike Farrar, who has had a few very good placings behind Cavendish at this Tour, the Quick Step sprinter only finished 16th of the stage.

    Milram sprinter Gerald Ciolek, another one of Cavendish's rivals, said he was "disappointed. It's extremely difficult to beat him. We prepared the sprint really well, and my teammates put me in a good position. But I lacked some strength in the final." The German ended up seventh.

    Thursday's stage 12 from Tonnerre to Vittel might be one of the last possibilities to get around the Manxman at this Tour. The day's profile looks rugged with six categorized climbs and many more bumps to master, but it won't be impossible to make it come down to a sprint if several teams pull to reel in the very probable breakaway. That is, if Columbia-HTC's rivals still have hope to get the better of Mark Cavendish...

  • Zabel prepares L'Etape du Tour

    Erik Zabel, advisor to Mark Cavendish (R).
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 11:25 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cavendish mentor recons stages between training rides

    Former pro Erik Zabel will be one of 9,500 riders participating in the Etape du Tour on July 20. The cyclosportive, covering the Tour's 20th stage from Montélimar to the top of the Mont Ventoux, is the German's next sporting goal, alongside supporting Mark Cavendish in his efforts to claim sprint victories at this year's Tour.

    The seven-time green jersey winner is at the Tour with Team Columbia-HTC, acting as a route scout in the stages prone to be decided in a bunch sprint. Zabel reconnoitres the parcours before the race and phones through useful information, especially on the final, decisive kilometres. "Yesterday, Erik's instructions were extremely helpful - the details in the road book are often not as precise," said Columbia's sports director Rolf Aldag after the finish of stage 10, Cavendish's third stage victory.

    In between his duties for Columbia, Zabel goes on training rides to keep up his shape for the Etape. "I rode two hours on Wednesday morning. As soon as I can, I go out and train, which is not an easy thing to do at this Tour," said the legendary sprinter, who has accumulated "about 10,000 kilometres" this season. "What counts now is the fun," he added.

    On July 20, riding up the dreaded Mont Ventoux in Provence will definitely be fun for the former fast man, who will join other ex-pros such as Chris Boardman and Laurent Brochard on the 167km ride.

  • Combative Van Summeren reflects on big day out

    A two-man break containing Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC) and Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) was finally captured five kilometres from the finish.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 12:32 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian was realistic about stage 11 chances

    Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) received the daily combativity prize as reward for his day-long escape with Lampre-NGC rider, Marcin Sapa, in the Tour de France's stage 11, on Wednesday.

    The Belgian said his attack, 24km into the stage from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau, had been premeditated.

    "The team was not in a good mood, I had the impression that some were growing nervous," said Van Summeren on his team's website. "Today's instructions were short but precise: one of us with each attack."

    The two breakaway companions spent more than three quarters of the 192km stage to Saint-Fargeau, building up a maximum lead of five minutes over a Columbia-controlled peloton. Despite working well together, the two riders were caught with five kilometres remaining.

    Formerly one of Robbie McEwen's key domestiques for reeling in early breakaways at the Tour, Van Summeren said that while he was satisfied with his long breakaway, he knew that the two riders had little hope of holding off the peloton.

    "Only Sapa joined me. So far [from the finish] and just two [of us], I knew that dreaming was useless. But I have always been at top speed. It is pleasant to spend so much time in the lead."

    Despite the failure of his breakaway attempt, Van Summeren revealed a fringe benefit of his day out.

    "I did enjoy it. And as most combative rider of the day, I had the pleasure to kiss Gert Steegmans' girl, she is an hostess with the sponsor of that challenge."

  • Teams will have radios on Tour's 13th stage

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) getting his radio situated on the side of the road.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2009, 13:49 BST
    Richard Tyler

    UCI cancels second experiment

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has cancelled the second of two planned radio ban days at this year's Tour de France.

    On Thursday the UCI said that teams competing in the Tour de France will be allowed the use of team radio communications in Friday's stage 13 from Vittel to Colmar.

    "To put an end to the controversy which is compromising the running of the Tour de France, the International Cycling Union (UCI) Management Committee has decided not to repeat the experiment of a stage without radio communication on Friday 17th July," the UCI's statement read.

    The first stage of the experiment was carried out on stage ten to Issoudun, on Tuesday. The stage, eventually won by Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC), saw the peloton staging a relative 'go slow', the exact opposite of what proponents of the ban had been hoping for.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews on Thursday afternoon Astana's press officer, Phillipe Maertens, said the team had not yet been informed by the UCI of the decision, but that he was pleased with the outcome.

    "No, we have not heard anything. I knew that they would announce something today but this morning we hadn't heard anything yet," said Maertens. "Our team is not against the experiment, we were against the fact that it is being done at the Tour de France."

    Astana's directeur sportif, Johan Bruyneel, had led calls to overturn the ban, which has been one of the hottest topics at this year's Tour de France. During the first week of the race, 14 teams signed a petition in an attempt to overturn the ban. Subsequent meetings between the teams objecting to the ban, on the Tour's first rest day in Limoges, failed to convince the UCI to reverse its decision.

    The UCI said today that it would continue to "pursue the debate on the appropriateness of using radios during racing and will continue to consult all those involved in cycling as far as their use is concerned."