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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 16, 2010

Date published:
July 16, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • HTC-Columbia defends Renshaw

    Bob Stapleton and Rolf Aldag (r) still enjoying the team’s success from stage 1.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 4:23 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Stapleton and Aldag speak out on Australian's Tour expulsion

    Bob Stapleton heard that Mark Renshaw had been kicked out of the Tour de France as he returned to the HTC-Columbia bus after seeing Cavendish win the sprint from just beyond the finish line.

    His satisfaction of seeing his team take a third stage victory in this year's race quickly turned to disappointment and frustration, however.

    Having seen one replay of the sprint when he spoke, Stapleton stood by Renshaw when asked by Cyclingnews if it he thought it had been a dangerous sprint. "I think this is a hard sport, with hard men in it," he said.

    "You've got to fight and hold your position, that's the safest thing to do. They're sprinting down this road at 70km/h and guys are colliding. I wouldn't be quick to point blame. I didn't see anything that was obviously unsafe. It didn't look pretty but he had his hands firmly on his bars and was holding his position. I think that's what you're supposed to do."

    Stapleton did not agree with Renshaw's expulsion from the Tour de France due to the incident.

    "I think it's inappropriate to take him out of the race but we don't make that decision," he said. "There's no alternative to accepting the decision. I can't do anything about it and not even have a discussion about it."

    Aldag argues

    Team manager Rolf Aldag made one last chance to try and convince the race judges to overturn their decision. He and directeur sportif Alan Peiper went to see the UCI judges in the race headquarters. They argued with the judges for 15 minutes but came away angry and disappointed.

    "These are just old guys making bad a decision and you can quote me on that," Aldag said as he left the race headquarters.

    "I ask myself on what basis did they decide to kick out Mark? A few days ago a rider stopped at the finish, took his wheel out of bike and hit another rider with it. All he got was a 300 Euro fine. Today Renshaw tried to stay on his line and gets mobbed...

  • Devolder's Vacansoleil deal done?

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step).
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 5:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian could be bolstering Dutch lineup

    Following a year of discontent for Stijn Devolder, it appears that momentum is gathering for the two-time Tour of Flanders winner's exit from Quick Step ahead of a move to Dutch squad Vacansoleil at the end of the season.

    Cycling pundit for Dutch network NOS, Mart Smeets, indicated during the 'Studio Sport Summer' program that he believes Devolder will be on the move to Vacansoleil whilst André Greipel is likely to be headed to Omega Pharma-Lotto.

    Whilst UCI regulations prohibit the release of rider transfers until September 1, the host of the show revealed Greipel's possible move, which has been supported by confirmation from Omega Pharma-Lotto staff that they have expressed an interest in signing the German.

    Smeets pointed to the fact that Devolder would be an asset for Vacansoleil's Spring Classics campaign next season; in a year during which Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere has openly criticised the current Belgian national champion, a move to the Dutch Pro Continental squad may be a wise decision.

    Officials from the team have yet to confirm the news due to the aforementioned regulations but it's believed that a two-year deal has been done with the Belgian rider.

    Lefevere left Devolder out of his Tour de France squad, despite the rider indicating that the Tour would be a major racing objective during the 2010  season. Quick Step's manager openly criticised him for not racing enough and focusing his efforts on narrow targets.

    And as reported on Cyclingnews early last month, Vacansoleil directeur sportif Hillaire Vanderschueren told Dutch daily De Telegraaf there had 'been conversations' with Devolder about riding for the squad in 2011. It now appears that those talks may have come to fruition.

  • Race jury and ASO explain Renshaw expulsion

    Patrick Lefevre and Jean-François Pescheux have a chat before the start
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 7:28 BST
    Stephen Farrand and Brecht Decaluwé

    Decision was unanimous: Australian's behaviour unacceptable

    After the hectic scenes at the finish line in Bourg-lès-Valence the Tour de France race jury decided to expel HTC-Columbia rider Mark Renshaw from the race for what it considered a serious infraction. Cyclingnews asked one jury member, Pierre Curchod, how the decision was reached.

    "It was very easy. When you see the sprint it's an unbehavable [sic] case," began the Swiss commissaire. "He did three to four times a very bad thing. He also went to the left side and blocked another rider. We cannot accept that. It's out of rage [sic]."

    When asked whether Julian Dean should be punished for his infringements Curchod was unapologetic. "In every sprint you have some movements. You can analyse every sprint and you will always find some movements.

    "The case of the HTC-Columbia rider was a bad case and we cannot tolerate that, so we need to send him home. We are not happy with that, but we need to do that because it's our role. It's a big penalty."

    After stage six in Gueugnon a serious brawl erupted between Quick Step's Carlos Barredo and Caisse d'Epargne rider Rui Costa; Barredo attacked Costa with his front wheel and clearly tried to hurt him. Both riders eventually received a fine of 200 Swiss Francs each for their behaviour.

    Curchod wasn't keen to compare both cases, however. "The case from four days ago is already the past. Nobody was reclamating [sic] after that. It was a good solution because none of our commissaires saw it happen. We had to take that decision based on interviews. The day after we saw some photos... Today is another day and we had to send him home."

    Curchod justified the decision by referring to witnesses who have vindicated the harsh call through their judgements on the matter. "We have a lot of champions here and everybody agrees that it is a good decision," he said.

    "I can understand the team because they have to do all they can do get their rider in. That's their job. Our...

  • Dumoulin too tired to continue

    Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) on the Insubria podium
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 8:28 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Cofidis rider out of Tour de France

    Cofidis' Samuel Dumoulin has decided not to start stage 12 of the Tour de France after being dropped when the peloton rode hard in the last 15km of yesterday's stage, making the decision to withdraw with Cofidis staff, who agreed with the diminuitive Frenchman's choice

    French newspaper Le Progrès revealed that Dumoulin's decision was based on the fatigue he is currently suffering. "I was hoping to get better after the Alps, but it's the opposite, I haven't recovered, I've got no strength," he explained.

    Ranked third amongst the international peloton in terms of stage wins this season (only André Greipel and Alberto Contador have done better), Dumoulin had started the 2010 season strongly with six wins: stage one of the Tropicale Amissa-Bongo, stage three and the general classification of the Etoile de Bessèges, the GP Insubria, stage six of the Volta Catalunya and stage three of the Circuit de la Sarthe.

    "Maybe I made a mistake by taking a total break in April and May," said Dumoulin, who has accumulated 70 days of racing already this year. "Crashes have affected me as well at the Dauphiné and in the descent of [Côte de] Stockeu in stage two of the Tour.

    "It's a succession of details that has made me so tired. It's hard to accept to have to stay passive at the Tour - I came here with higher ambitions. It's a difficult decision to take, especially because I've taken the spot of other riders who also deserved to be at the Tour," he added.

    Cofidis' 10th man on the list of possible starters was Leonardo Duque. With the absence of the Colombian, this is the first Tour de France with no South American rider in 27 years. Dumoulin won stage three to Nantes in the Tour de France last year.

  • Omega Pharma agrees to continue sponsorship through 2012

    The Omega Pharma Lotto riders
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 9:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Firm CEO confirms plans

    Omega Pharma plans to stay in the professional peloton for at least another two years. Marc Coucke, CEO of the Belgian company, confirmed on Thursday that there is an oral agreement to continue through 2012.

    "Omega Pharma is very happy with our cycling project, especially now that our own name is on the jerseys," Coucke said in the Gazet van Antwerpen. "We are also ready for an extended stay in the pack through 2012. We're just waiting on a sign from the National Lottery."

    "I cannot speak for them, although I suspect that the change of government has a certain influence on their decision making."

    Omega Pharma has co-sponsored the Lotto team since 2005. For the first two years it sponsored the team under the name of its Davitamon vitamin product line, in 2007 as Predictor pregnancy tests and in 2008 as Silence anti-snoring products. Since 2009 it has used its corporate name.

    Based in Nazareth, Belgium, Omega Pharma is a major producer of over-the-counter health and personal care products. It was established in 1987 and conducts business in 35 countries around the world.

  • Win a Wattbike trainer

    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 11:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Competition now open

    Wattbike have teamed up with Cyclingnews to give you the chance to win a Wattbike training bike. Go straight to the competition page now, or read on for the benefits of training with the Wattbike.

    Why is the Wattbike such a great tool?

    Every pedal turn is analysed within 39 parameters, 100 times per second

    Your power output can be monitored accurately in every session

    There is no stopping at traffic lights, turning corners, coasting downhill or getting run over, so you get a high quality workout – every time

    This means you need to train less for a greater training effect

    Why does accuracy matter?

    Accurate data delivery means that you can ensure that each pedal turn of each training session is at the right intensity to get the most out of your training. Each of your workouts can be structured precisely using any combination of:

    Power output (watts)

    Cadence (rpm) and resistance level

    Heart rate (bpm)

    Or any combination of the other 36 parameters

    Pedalling technique

    In addition to being able to train smarter and get fitter, one of the unique features of the Wattbike is the ability to monitor your pedalling technique as you ride.

    Is each leg contributing equally to the power output? Is the angle of peak force the same in each leg? Are you delivering power smoothly? Is there a dead spot when your cranks are vertical? The Wattbike allows you to answer all these questions and eliminate ingrained technical faults while training efficiently – resulting in a fitter, faster you.

    How you can use the Wattbike

    For every resistance level and cadence combination the power output on a Wattbike is known. This means that the Wattbike can be used for:

    High cadence, low wattage workouts at one extreme

    Low cadence, high wattage workouts at the other

  • Bettini warns that Australian Worlds course is tougher than anticipated

    Former UCI World Road Champion Paolo Bettini was at the finish of the ninth stage.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 12:42 BST
    Barry Ryan

    New Italian manager sees Freire among the favourites

    Italian national team manager Paolo Bettini has returned from his reconnaissance of the World Championships Road Race course in Geelong, Australia, and has spoken of a tricky route that reminds him of an “Amstel Gold Race without the final climb of the Cauberg”. Bettini spent two days this week previewing the route in the company of Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo), Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Giovanni Visconti (ISD).

    This year’s World Championship route is an unusual one, in that the race starts in Melbourne and the riders must ride 85km to Geelong before covering eleven laps of the circuit there. While the race will undoubtedly be decided in Geelong, Bettini can envisage the early section as being anything but a procession.

    “For almost 60km you’re basically riding in open countryside on an undulating route exposed to the wind. A lot of wind. They told us that the windy season is September and October, so we know that we’ll be up against a sort of mini Ghent-Wevelgem”, said Bettini, speaking at a press conference this morning.

    The Geelong circuit itself also appears to be more difficult that widely touted. “It’s testing, it’s no Zolder,” Bettini warned. “Over the 175km that we’re on the circuit there we climb a total of 2,700 metres. The finishing straight has a 700m stretch of climbing at 6%, then a little section that climbs again to 4-5% to the line.”

    “There are two major climbs on the circuit, both tough. The first is 1.1km with three changes in rhythm. The second is a long straight that reminds me a little of Wallonia. It might well be a circuit suited to a fast man who knows how to climb as well.”

    When asked to compare it to his last world title-winning ride in Stuttgart, Bettini felt that the Geelong course is tougher. “Stuttgart was a hard course, but there were 3 or 4km in...

  • Hesjedal tests his limits on road to Mende

    Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Transitions)
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 17:35 BST
    Richard Moore

    Gamble almost pays off for Canadian

    An exhausted Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) crossed the line at the airfield above Mende, having conceded some time on the final climb, but with no regrets about the huge effort he expended on a stage that many described as the toughest so far of the 2010 Tour de France.

    Instead, the Canadian looked back with satisfaction on a day in which he was the highest-placed rider on general classification to make it into the eighteen-man break that went clear on the second climb. It was a gamble, he acknowledged, that could have paid off spectacularly.

    And although it didn't, he said that he was happy to have had a go: “I’m here to race... I’m not scared to go hard and leave it out on the road.”

    Hesjedal’s great escape lasted until the foot of the final climb to the airfield, when he lost contact with the three other survivors - Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d’Epargne) - though he limited his losses, finishing 24th, 53 seconds behind Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Alberto Contador (Astana).

    “I’d rather race than just sit and follow,” said Hesjedal. “When those guys came by on the [final] climb it wasn’t even that hard, after the amount of effort I did today, and I only lost 50 seconds or so.

    “People will probably say it was stupid [to attack], but I’m here to race,” he continued, “and I’d rather be out front. It was good guys at the end there - to make the selection with Vino and Klöden was good.

    “I did so much at the beginning - I wanted to be in that break, but the effort adds up at the end. But I felt good. And if we had stayed away, if I’d won the stage or gained a few minutes... you never know [if that’s possible] until you try.’

    Hesjedal said that the role he has assumed as Garmin-Transitions team leader is one he is...