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Latest Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Date published:
July 07, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Martin's 'massive' day out

    Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC) is in white.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 2:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Young German strongman makes the podium in white

    Perhaps more so than ever before, Columbia-HTC rider Tony Martin realised the rewards of hard work following his endeavours in the final 30km of stage three. He was part of the sensational break in the closing stages of the day's journey to La Grande Motte, tenacious in his efforts on the front of the 29-man group.

    The young German, who has been tipped for big things in many quarters, lived up to his billing with a stunning performance that helped Mark Cavendish to another stage win to maintain his lead in the points classification. And there was also a reward of his own for the good work.

    Martin now leads the best young rider classification and donned the white jersey on the podium, a definitive moment in his career thus far. "This is gigantic and the greatest triumph of my cycling career," Martin told reporters after the stage.

    "I've said from the beginning, one day I will ride in white - now I have succeeded in this. It is an honour for me and maybe I stand for German hopes in cycling."

    The result could be seen, especially by Martin. Not only that the 24-year-old all-rounder is now included in the ranking of the best young rider relatively comfortable 40 seconds on the hitherto leading Czechs Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) has. Martin also moved in the overall standings to second place before, 33 seconds behind the Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), but seven seconds before the third Lance Armstrong (Astana).

  • Swiss open proceedings against Jan Ullrich

    Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 11:44 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Retired German star faces lifelong ban

    Jan Ullrich will finally have to face disciplinary proceedings in Switzerland for his part in Operación Puerto, three years after the news of his involvement broke.  He faces a lifelong ban if found guilty.

    The retired German star has lived in Switzerland for a number of years and rode under a Swiss licence.

    An investigation into Ullrich's involvement in Operación Puerto was carried out by Swiss Olympic, the organisation responsible for handling doping cases in Switzerland.

    Bernhard Welten, the man who led the Swiss Olympic investigation confirmed to Cyclingnews that ”I have turned in the recommendation.”

    The president of the Swiss Disciplinary Committee, Gerard Walter, confirmed to the Süddeutsche Zeitung that a recommendation for disciplinary action had been made and that proceedings against Ullrich has been opened. ”[Swiss Olympic] are convinced that an offence has occurred, so we are having this proceeding,” he said.

    Ullrich said on his homepage, janullrich.de, that he was unperturbed by the action. ”In the meantime I have build up a necessary detachment and am confident that I will soon be able to cross off the last three years. I will continue to fight for this goal and face this newest challenge.”

    The 35-year-old, who retired in 2007, added that ”Although haven't taken part in professional cycling since [2007], this news comes out exactly during the Tour de France – that is more than an incredible 'coincidence'.”

    His wife, Sara Ullrich, told Cyclingnews, "There is nothing more for him to say."



     

  • Astana last team to start in Team Time Trial

    Astana riding in TTT formation during the Giro d'Italia's opening stage in May
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 11:50 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Teams go in inverse order of team ranking

    Astana will be the last team out of the starter's blocks this afternoon in Montpellier, following its rivals Columbia-HTC and Team Saxo Bank. The fourth stage team time trial will open at 14:30 CET with Caisse d'Epargne the first squad to roll down the start ramp.

    The teams will start in inverse order of the team rankings. Astana currently leads by 1:46 minutes over Columbia, with Saxo Bank another seven seconds behind the American team.

    The teams start at seven-minute intervals, and are expected to cover the 39 km course in about 43 minutes. There are three intermediate time checks, at 10km, 19.5km, and 30.5 km.

    The teams' final time will be measured when the fifth rider crosses the finish line. All riders within the group will be awarded the same time. However, any riders who arrive after their group (more than a bike length) will be given their actual time.

    The cut-off time is the winning team's time plus 25 percent.

    Start order for the team time trial: (CET)

    14:30 - Caisse d'Epargne
    14:37 - Team Katusha
    14:44 - Rabobank
    14:51 - Lampre-NGC
    14:58 - BBOX Bouygues Telecom
    15:05 - AG2R La Mondiale
    15:12 - Skil-Shimano
    15:19 - Française des Jeux
    15:26 - Agritubel
    15:33 - Silence-Lotto
    15:40 - Quick Step
    15:47 - Cervélo TestTeam
    15:54 - Team Milram
    16:01 - Liquigas
    16:08 - Euskaltel-Euskadi
    16:15 - Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
    16:22 - Garmin-Slipstream
    16:29 - Team Saxo Bank
    16:36 - Columbia-HTC
    16:43 -  Astana

  • Julich coaching Saxo Bank time trialists

    Bobby Julich (CSC)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 11:55 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Praises Andy Schleck's improvement

    Former professional Bobby Julich has been a key part of Saxo Bank’s time trial training since his retirement last season and the former Olympic medallist has been helping the team prepare for today’s 39 kilometre team test in Montpellier.

    Julich spent time in Luxembourg working with both of the Schleck brothers earlier in the year with the aim of improving their skills against the clock. That hard work has already paid off with younger sibling Andy performing well in individual tests in the Tour de Suisse (15th), as well as Sunday’s opening stage of the Tour (18th).

    “It’s about spending time on the bike. There’s no magic pixie dust that can turn people into great time trialists. It comes down to hard work. What you’re seeing with some of the guys on the team, and especially Andy, is true progression. He’s taking it far more seriously and you could see that in the opening stage in Monaco. It goes to show that if you pay attention to the small details, like the warm-up, the training, the day before and your concentration, then you’ll perform,” Julich said.

    Asked if Andy Schleck’s time trial progresson could hamper his prowess in the mountains, Julich made clear that it was a balancing act: “Of course we don’t want to mess with a good thing and Andy is one of the most naturally gifted riders in the world. I’m not going to ask him to put on five kilos in order to go fifteen seconds faster in a time trial just to see him lose two minutes on a climb.”

    “He’s never going to look beautiful on a time trial bike. He’s not going to look like a Fabian [Cancellara] or Levi [Leipheimer], he doesn’t have the body for that, but he has to overcome that if he’s going to win the Tour de France. We’re on the right path and the second time trial should see him do a lot better as he seems to fatigue a lot less than some of the...

  • Skil-Shimano making their presence known

    Prince Albert of Monaco with the day's first starter, Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano).
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 12:11 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Tour's stage 3 was the team's first "victory"

    Skil-Shimano rider, Cyril Lemoine, picked up a third place finish in the Tour de France's third stage to La Grande-Motte, on Monday. The Dutch team was also able to place six riders in the day's decisive breakaway and finished first on the Tour's team ranking for the stage.

    Behind Columbia-HTC, Skil-Shimano were the best represented team in the original 28-man break that established itself with 32km remaining in the stage. Kenny van Hummel, Piet Rooijakkers and Albert Timmer were the only riders from the wildcard team to miss the break that saw 27 riders finish ahead of the main peloton.

    Skil-Shimano's prominence in Monday's break was especially impressive given that several higher profile teams were caught out by the move. Silence-Lotto, Garmin-Slipstream and a number of Saxo Bank riders were noticeable absentees from the group that finished with a 0:40 advantage over the main peloton.

    Skil-Shimano team manager, Rudi Kemna, viewed the stage 3 results as a significant achievement for the team in their first Tour de France. The Dutchman was pleased with his team's efforts and rewarded the riders with champagne at their hotel after the stage.

    "I congratulated the boys. Tonight there will be drinking champagne, " Kemna told De Telegraaf after stage 3. "We see it as our first victory in the Tour."

    Yesterday's results help to justify the decision of Tour organisers to grant Skil-Shimano a wildcard invitation to the race.

    The team was one of three pro continental squads invited by Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) after strong performances at early season races such as Paris-Nice.

    Skil-Shimano will be the seventh team to start in the stage 4 team time trial in Montpellier on Tuesday.
     

  • Contenders talk tough ahead of Tour’s team effort

    2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) prepares to start his time trial.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2009, 13:12 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Race could be lost, not won on Team Time Trial

    Former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador believes that today’s team time trial could give his Astana squad its first chance to distance general classification rivals like Silence-Lotto’s Cadel Evans. Contador, a favourite for this year’s title, believes the 39 kilometre time trial could provide a chance for the super-strong Astana to exploit the Belgian squad’s comparatively weak roster.

    "It is the one time trial where we could distance him, because he will be a rival very difficult to distance in the whole Tour,” Contador told astana-cyclingteam.com. “[Our main rivals] are Saxo, Garmin, and also Columbia. Those three are the likeliest candidates for the victory.”

    Another general classification contender, Cervelo TestTeam’s Carlos Sastre, will have his team’s full support for today’s stage. Team sport director Jean-Paul van Poppel says the Spanish rider is the only member his team-mates will wait for.

    "We know what we have to do and we expect to have a good performance in the team time trial,” said Van Poppel. “It's a stressful day for all the riders, but we only have to have five together at the finish line. So long as Carlos is one of those five, that's all that matters.

    “We know he is in good condition and we are ready to protect him,” he added. “I think we can make a big surprise in the team time trial."

    While Contador doesn’t consider the defending champion’s squad a threat on today’s stage, Sastre himself believes the squad will be in the mix. Describing his team as strong and experienced at team time trialling, Sastre said Cervelo is on the same level as Columbia-HTC.

    "I expect us to be close to the favorites,” he said. “I believe the differences between the top general classification contenders will be fairly small because we all have strong teams and good equipment. We're...