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Latest Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Date published:
June 30, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Française des Jeux anounces ninth Tour rider

    Francaise des Jeux started the day without Carlos Da Cruz, and are down to eight.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 8:16 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    French team sidelines climber and sprinter

    La Française des Jeux finalised its line-up for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26, after the French national championships Saturday. The French team had eight riders confirmed last week, with one yet to be named.

    Sandy Casar, Jérôme Coppel, Anthony Geslin, Yauheni Hutarovich, Sébastien Joly, Christophe Le Mevel, Benoît Vaugrenard and Jussi Veikkanen were certain to be at the start of the race in Monaco Saturday.

    Team manager Marc Madiot's selected yesterday Jérémy Roy over Rémy Di Gregorio for the team's ninth spot.

    Di Gregorio, a talented climber, has had an irregular season – similar to sprinter Sébastien Chavanel, who has also been looked over.

    The team's captain for the Tour's sprint finishes will thus be Belarusian Hutarovich.

    Anthony Geslin, winner of the Flèche Brabançonne this spring and second in the French championships, will be back on the Tour after one year of absence. Jérôme Coppel, 22 years of age, will make his Tour debut.

     

  • Contador recons team time trial course one last time

    Alberto Contador says he is ready to target his second Tour win
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 8:39 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    All set to take on Tour challenge

    Alberto Contador will be joining his Astana teammates in France on Tuesday for one last test run of the stage four team time trial in Montpellier, before arriving in Monaco for the start of the 2009 Tour de France set to begin next Saturday, July 4. Following his recent victory at the Spanish national time trial championships the 2007 Tour winner says he will arrive to this year's edition well-prepared and highly motivated.

    "I have done the preparation that I believed is well-suited, always thinking of the Tour," Contador said. "I have not had any setbacks and I hope to have success. The team time trial will be the fourth day of the race and it's a key stage for the general classification riders. Because of this we are going to see it before travelling to Monaco."

    Contador claimed his first national time trial championship title in Spain on Friday. His time trialing abilities have improved dramatically since past years where he has claimed three time trial stage wins in the Tour of Algarve, Paris-Nice and Pais Vasco.

    "Winning the national jersey has not influenced me a lot, but it gives me more morale now," he said. "I'm very proud to have won the championship. I knew that I could win or lose but my idea was to make it my last test before the Tour and that if I won, it would be a burst of morale."

    Contador noted the importance of performing well in the opening individual time trial in Monaco on Saturday. "It is better than in the other years when it was completely flat," he said. "The course is not too bad for me and my aim is to lose as little time as possible to those in contention for the general classification and if it is possible, take some time early. In this Tour the differences will be small and any time that can be taken will be very good in the end."

    He went on to point out his likes and dislikes of the the Tour route and its changes since his 2007 victory. "The first and second week lack the more decisive...

  • Bouygues' Tour team complete

    Perrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 9:44 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Bernaudeau aims for early stage wins

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom confirmed Monday the final three riders in their team selection for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26.

    The riders, all French, are veteran Laurent Lefèvre, Alexandre Pichot and sprinter Saïd Haddou. Team director Jean-Rene Bernaudeau added them to the six men already selected.

    Lefèvre will lend his experiences in his tenth Tour de France, Haddou will target sprint wins and Pichot, 26, will look for escape group opportunities in the early stages.

    "There are some stages which could be appropriate for [Pichot]. In particular when the group approaches Spain. We will count on him there," said Bernaudeau.

    The full Tour de France for Bbox Bouygues Telecom line-up is Yukiya Arashiro, Pierrick Fédrigo, William Bonnet, Saïd Haddou, Laurent Lefèvre, Alexandre Pichot, Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler and Iouri Trofimov. (RT)

     

  • Paolini proud of third at nationals

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) tops the podium with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), l & r.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 10:54 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    A podium spot behind Pozzato and Cunego

    Luca Paolini capped off a run of good form with third at the Italian national championships Saturday in Imola. He made the main escape group and sprinted to third place behind Filippo Pozzato and Damiano Cunego.

    "I was only able to race a small number of races prior to the Italian championships, so I think this is a good result. Above all, because there were two big riders who finished ahead of me, but the win would have been something else," he told Cyclingnews.

    It was Paolini's highest placed finish at the nationals. He finished fifth last year and eighth in 2003.

    Paolini made a group of 17 riders that formed 52 kilometres from the finish in Sunday's race. He had the help of Acqua & Sapone teammate, Andrea Masciarelli, who pulled during the final two circuits of 15.3 kilometres.

    "I was going well in the last five kilometres and was able to close the gaps to Alessandro Ballan and Vincenzo Nibali. I had a great condition and the sprint also went well."

    Paolini knew his condition was on the rise thanks to the Tour de Slovénie. He finished second in the last stage of the four-day race

    "I will now take a week off and then I will travel to Passo Stelvio to train at altitude. I will restart with Brixia Tour at the end of July."

    Acqua & Sapone's Dario Andriotto and maybe Lampre's Enrico Gasparotto will join Paolini to train in the Italian alps. After his return to racing in Brixia, he will race GP Carnago, GP Camaiore and the Trittico Lombardo races.

  • Andy Schleck warns of Tour's Colombière stage

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) at the 2008 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 11:54 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    New Luxembourger Champ "ready" for Tour de France

    New Luxembourger champion Andy Schleck has prepared for his second Tour de France, July 4 to 26, by previewing all of the mountain stages. He warned of danger in the third week when the stage race travels through the Alps.

    "Stage number 17 does not look hard but for me it is the hardest day in this year's Tour de France. It is the accumulation of climbs," Schleck told Cyclingnews.

    The stage covers the Cormet de Roselend, Col des Saisies, Côte d'Araches, Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière before its finish in Le Grand-Bornand, after 169.5 kilometres.

    "Maybe we don't go up to 2000 metres, but they are hard and steep. The Col de Romme is a real nasty one. With the three climbs before you have in your legs, it is going to split the race up."

    Schleck's Saxo Bank team won the Tour de France last year with former teammate Carlos Sastre in the Alps. Schleck, 24, used the mountains to secure the maillot blanc of best young rider.

    He will lead the team this year with brother Fränk. The two will preview the 39-kilometre team time trial today in Montpellier with their seven teammates: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Gustav Larsson, Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen and Jens Voigt.

    Fränk was national champion last year, but for the first time Andy will wear the national road champion jersey at the Tour de France. He won the road race Saturday ahead of Laurent Didier and his elder brother.

    "I am proud to go to the Tour with the national colours on my back. I did a good test for myself and I felt good."

    Schleck's season also includes a win at the one-day Classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège and stage two of the Tour de Luxembourg. Last week, he finished 24th overall in the Tour de Suisse.

    The team won the race's overall and both time trials with Cancellara and Matti Breschel won stage four to Stäfa.

    ...
  • French judge not competent in Boonen affair

    Sweating: Tom Boonen's participation in the Tour de France has hit another hurdle
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 12:00 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    No decision over Tour participation from court

    The civil court of Nanterre, France, has declared itself not competent to rule on the case between the Belgian Quick Step team and Tour de France organiser, ASO. The two parties are at odds over the participation of Tom Boonen in the race starting this Saturday.

    The team wants its roster to be captained by the newly-crowned Belgian champion, but ASO refuses Boonen because of his recent problems with cocaine.

    Boonen has tested positive for the drug on three separate out-of-competition tests. Cocaine is only illegal if detected during competition, according to the World Anti Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances.  Despite Boonen's positives occurring out-of-competition, ASO decided that his inclusion would not be in the best interests of the Tour de France's image.

    Quick Step had asked the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Nanterre to decide over the affair, but on Tuesday morning, the judge who heard both parties last Thursday has declared himself not competent to do so. This means there will be no verdict from the civil court at this point.

    Quick Step and Boonen have decided to ask the French Olympic Committee court (CNOSF) make a ruling. A court date is expected soon.

    Time may be running out for Boonen as the Tour start in Monaco is only four days.

  • Caisse d'Epargne name nine men for Tour

    The Caisse d'Epargne riders put in a strong effort to bring the break back.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 13:47 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Former winner Pereiro part of Spanish team

    Spain's Caisse d'Epargne confirmed today all nine of its men who will start in the Tour de France Saturday in Monaco. Its roster includes 2007 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro.

    The nine men are Spaniards David Arroyo, Iván Gutiérrez, Luis Pasamontes, Oscar Pereiro, José Joaquín Rojas, Luis León Sánchez, Portugal's Rui Costa, France's Arnaud Coyot and Colombia's Rigoberto Uran.

    Caisse's highest-ranking rider in the 2008 Tour de France was Spain's Alejandro Valverde. A two-year suspension in Italy for his involvement in the 2006 doping investigation, Operación Puerto, prohibits him from racing. The race passes through Italy on stage 16.

    Caisse confirmed he would be left off the team last week.

    The team has many options for the overall classification. Arroyo rode well last year and finished 30th overall. Sánchez is going well so far this year with overall wins in the Paris-Nice and Tour Méditerranéen stage races.

    The three-week stage race starts July 4 and ends Sunday, July 26, in Paris.

     

  • Hot property: Kristian House

    Kristian House gets his first national championships victory.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 14:37 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    A corner turned for new British champion

    Kristian House took his first win of the season in Sunday’s British national championships. For House and Rapha-Condor team manager, John Herety, the win closes a chapter on what has been a difficult season so far.

    "Honestly, it’s a dream come true, it’s something I’ve wanted for such a long time,” House told Cyclingnews. “For it to happen in the team I’m in now, with the manager and all the people involved, it really is a dream come true.”

    This year saw one of the strongest ever fields line up for the British championships. House worked his way into the race winning move on the climb of the Tumble before outsprinting Daniel Lloyd (Cervélo TestTeam) and Peter Kennaugh (100% ME) to take his first championship win.

    Leading into the race House had been unsure how he would cope with the tough course in Wales. “It’s easy to say that it doesn’t matter now that I’ve won but going into it I was a bit unsure about how much I’d done, whether it would be enough,” he said. “John [Herety] was keeping our spirits up, telling us that we were actually going well, so when I got to the finale of [the national championships] I thought ‘Well, I’m not going to lose here’.”

    Rapha-Condor have been regular visitors to the podium with Darren Lapthorne, Matt Cronshaw, Dean Downing and Tom Southam all winning races in recent months. Despite riding strongly at the service of his teammates throughout the year House has been frustrated by his own absence of wins. Happy to have now joined in the team’s success, House is looking towards the remainder of the season.

    “The way the team’s been going the last couple of weeks, [with] these guys all starting to win races, I almost felt a bit left out, so it has taken a bit of pressure off now. I guess the morale of the team is just sort of snowballing and I think...