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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 15, 2011

Date published:
July 15, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Chavanel better, but not enthusiastic

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) tried to show off French national champion's jersey on Bastille Day
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 10:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Quick Step rider hopes to improve in Tour de France third week

    Although still suffering after his crash in stage five, French national champion Sylvain Chavanel once again showed his combative spirit and tried to celebrate Bastille Day during yesterday's stage to Luz-Ardiden. On the La Hourquette climb, the Quick Step rider jumped away from the bunch in the company of Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) and Roman Kreuziger (Astana) in an attempt to bridge up to the early breakaway.

    While former polka-dot jersey wearer Hoogerland quickly faltered, Chavanel and Kreuziger pressed on and closed to within a minute and a half of the breakaway. The Czech rider proved stronger than the Frenchman, and Chavanel faded before hitting the final climb to Luz-Ardiden. However he was upbeat about his attack.

    "It was important to me to show the tricolore jersey on July 14 - I hope the spectators appreciated it," he explained to reporters at the finish.

    Set back by a shoulder injury as a result of his earlier crash, it is the first time the three-time Tour stage winner has been seen at the front of the race. Last year he won two stages and twice wore the yellow jersey.

    "We rode well, but to be honest, I pedalled more with my head than with my legs," the 32-year-old said. "In the coming days, I will try again if I get the chance."

    Chavanel added that he is feeling better and better as the race unfolded, and hoped to be back in the action in the third week. "At the start of the stage, I felt better than I've felt for the past few days, so we'll see what the third week brings. But it's not really my Tour this year..."

  • Klöden, Steegmans and Boom out of Tour de France

    Andreas Kloden (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 13:09 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    RadioShack down to five riders as mountains take their toll

    Andreas Klöden's injuries he suffered in multiple crashes at the Tour de France  forced him to abandon the race early during Friday's 13th stage. Gert Steegmans of Quick Step did not take the start after it was discovered he had a fractured scaphoid in his left hand, while Lars Boom (Rabobank) also retired after a very fast start to the stage. Russia's Vladimir Isiachev (Katusha) also climbed off.

    Klöden, 36, had come into the race as one of four captains for RadioShack but the team is now down to one, Levi Leipheimer, who is currently 7:51 down in 17th place. Janez Brajkovic was forced to retire after suffering a concussion and broken collarbone in the fifth stage. Chris Horner left with a concussion and broken nose after stage eight. The US-registered ProTeam is now down to five riders, after Yaroslaw Popovych did not start the 10th stage due to a fever.

    Klöden has been involved in several crashes during the first 12 stages. Most recently, he crashed on Thursday during the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan, suffering injuries to his right elbow and shoulder. He also had back problems after an earlier crash.

    Steegmans out with fracture

    Gert Steegmans became the second Quick Step rider to leave the race when it was discovered on Friday morning that the Belgian had a fractured scaphoid on his left hand.

    "I'm really bummed," said Steegmans before the stage. "I tried to continue, hoping that things would get better with time, that it was just a little swollen. In the...

  • Startline gallery: Tour de France stage 13

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has looked strong in the race
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 13:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Race reaches Pau

    After yesterday’s opening stage in the Pyrenees to Luz-Ardiden, the Tour de France has a slightly less daunting profile for stage 13 from Pau to Lourdes.

    However with the Aubisque on today’s menu the bunch were still in a for a hard day of racing and covered the first hour at over 49 kph, meaning there was little respite for those with tired legs.

    At the start village in Pau most of the talk centred around yesterday’s finish and the current form of Alberto Contador, with the majority of the people Cyclingnews talked to believing that the Spaniard is still the favourite for the race.

  • Video: Cancellara upbeat after first taste of Pyrenees

    Leopard Trek teammates Fabian Cancellara and Andy Schleck don't seem to mind the inclement weather.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 15:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Spartacus ready to work hard for the Schleck brothers

    If either Andy or Frank Schleck stands on the top step of the podium in Paris at the end of the Tour de France, then they'll likely owe a huge debt of thanks to Fabian Cancellara for helping them get there.

    The four-time world time trial champion is one of the strongest riders in the peloton. As well as being a team leader in his own right, he also forms part of Leopard Trek’s domestique line up.

    At the start of stage 13 of the Tour in Pau, Cancellara talked to Cyclingnews about Thursday’s stage to Luz-Ardiden in which both Schlecks gained vital seconds on Alberto Contador.

    However the stage was just the first in what will be several crucial days in the Pyrenees and Alps. Despite Leopard Trek looking strong, Cancellara knows that the Tour is far from over.

  • Mixed feelings for Roche after opening salvoes in Pyrenees

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) nears the finish at Luz-Ardiden.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 17:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman in the hunt for overall Tour de France top-10

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) had mixed feelings about his showing on the Tour de France's first summit finish at Luz-Ardiden. Although the Irishman was dropped from the yellow jersey group before the midpoint of the final climb, he gauged his effort well in the finale and ended the day in tenth place overall. Philippe Gilbert's audacious attack on the descent to Lourdes lifted him past Roche on Friday but the Irishman will surely move up overall on Saturday's testing stage to Plateau de Beille.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews Roche conceded that given his troubled build-up to the Tour, the glass was half full after the race's first major rendezvous.

    "I'm satisfied and disappointed," Roche said. "I'm satisfied because if I look back at things with all my crashes and injuries, the last time I was on a similar climb was at the Vuelta a year ago. So for a first effort it wasn't so bad, but on the other hand, I was hoping to go a bit better."

    Leopard Trek were prominent in setting a high pace on the lower slopes of Luz-Ardiden on Thursday but Roche only lost contact with the yellow jersey group when Liquigas-Cannondale's Sylvester Szmyd seized the initiative with eight kilometres to go. In spite of being dropped at that early juncture, however, Roche kept his cool to limit his losses to two minutes at the summit. The lessons of his top ten finish at last season's Vuelta a España helped him to set a sensible tempo.

    "I didn't panic and said it was better I got dropped then and kept a really steady rhythm which I wasn't able to do the other times," Roche explained. "Usually I can hang in, hang in and then when I blow, I blow."

    Roche was also able to rely on teammate Hubert Dupont to pace him on the upper section of the...

  • BMC and Saxo Bank head race to sign Hushovd

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) smashes it
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 17:08 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    World champ takes stage win in Lourdes and could strike it rich with new deal

    While Thor Hushovd won one race between Pau and Lourdes at the 2011 Tour de France on Friday, another was taking place between some of the world's leading teams to secure the Norwegian's signature for the 2012 season.

    Cyclingnews understands that Hushovd has already received offers from BMC Racing, Saxo Bank, Europcar and Vacansoleil and will also discuss a contract renewal with Garmin-Cervélo on Monday, the Tour's second rest day. Together with his agent Alex Carera, the world champion will then continue negotiations with his two preferred suitors before finally making his decision.

    At present, BMC Racing and Saxo Bank are believed to be Hushovd's favoured destinations. At Saxo Bank, the 33-year-old could link up with the German Tony Martin. The HTC-Highroad star is also rumoured to be high on Bjarne Riis's wish list.

    Monday promises to be a busy day for Carera and his peers, particularly with HTC-Highroad chief Bob Stapleton expected to tell his riders and their agents whether he is in a position to discuss contract renewals beyond the end of this year. Stapleton told Cyclingnews on Thursday that his efforts to secure new sponsorship and a future for his team are ongoing. Stapleton still hopes to prolong his team's partnership with mobile phone giants HTC, but is also exploring "other avenues including some creative solutions".

    Should Stapleton's efforts prove unsuccessful, the market will be flooded with the talent which has made his team the most prolific winners in the peloton. With Mark Cavendish strongly rumoured to be leaving for Sky, it will come as no surprise that his faithful domestiques, Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel, are also in the British team's sights. Leopard-Trek have also declared their interest in Eisel, while Renshaw may yet follow many of his Aussie...

  • No miracle finish in Lourdes for Jérémy Roy

    Jérémy Roy (FDJ) crosses the finish line in Lourdes for third place.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 18:50 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French engineer not consoled with polka dot jersey

    Both Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo), who won stage 13 of the Tour de France in Lourdes, and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), runner-up on the day, conceded that third-placed Jérémy Roy (FDJ) deserved to be the winner after his couragious lone attack. Sadly for the Frenchman, the headwind in the final valley going to the city of the miracles put an end to the hope of the French engineer of claiming his first stage win at the Tour de France.

    The day after crossing the Tourmalet in first position, Roy was again out alone in the lead at the top of the Aubisque. That gave him the polka dot jersey, at least for a day before the mountain finish at the Plateau de Beille, but that wasn't what Roy was seeking.

    "Jerseys are only temporary," FDJ team manager Marc Madiot said when asked to celebrate both the polka dot and white jerseys, as Arnold Jeannesson remains the Tour's best young rider. "When we draw conclusions in Paris, only the wins count."

    France continues to celebrate Thomas Voeckler's yellow jersey but there's still hasn't been a French stage winner after thirteen days of racing at this year's Tour de France.

    "Probably when you'll ask me again in a couple of months, I'll tell you that I've had a super stage to Lourdes, but right now my disappointment is huge," Roy told Cyclingnews. "This defeat is hard to swallow. There was a headwind in the valley and it was too hard for me."

    Good legs again

    The rider from Tours, who became a father for the first time last month, was pessimistic at the start in Pau. He felt so tired after his attack over the...

  • Hushovd on his perfect victory

    Thor Hushovd pulled of the rare feat of winning a Tour de France stage while wearing the rainbow jersey.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2011, 20:12 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    First world champion to win a Tour stage since Freire in 2002

    Despite having won the team time trial which was followed by a seven-day stint in the yellow jersey, Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) savoured a new emotional high by winning stage 13 of the Tour de France with an epic ride in the Pyrenees.

    "I can't believe that I've done it," Hushovd said after crossing the line alone in Lourdes, almost in tears. "This is almost too much for me.

    "I rode a perfect race. I attacked on the Col d'Aubisque to take some time before David Moncoutié attacked and so that I could ride at my own pace. I wanted to pass the top of the climb with no more than a two-minute deficit because I knew that I could regain one minute in the downhill."

    Hushovd's descent of the Aubisque was considered one of the most spectacular moments of the 2011 Tour de France and he is considered one of the world's best descenders.

    "But I didn't take many risks", said the 33-year-old Norwegian. "I even thought of my daughter Isabel. I love her a lot, she's at home, and I wouldn't do anything wrong or take too many risks. I'm just good downhill because I played a lot with my bike when I was a kid and skiing has helped me for sure as well. I can read the road. I'm not a guy who looks five metres ahead but always 50 or 100 metres, so I anticipate problems."

    Hushovd hunted down lone leader Jérémy Roy (FDJ). The ever aggressive Frenchman looked set to win in Lourdes but then Hushovd jumped away from David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and blasted past Roy inside the final three kilometres.

    "I had no intention to wait and sprint for second place," he said after becoming the first world champion to win a stage of the Tour de France since Oscar Freire in Sarrebrück, Germany, in 2002.

    "I didn't have the success I wanted in the rainbow jersey in the Classics," Hushovd...