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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 6, 2012

Date published:
July 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Greipel has third stage win in his sights

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) takes his second straight victory at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 6:20 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    "I don't know why everybody is saying I can't beat Cavendish," says Lotto sprinter

    After two wins in two days, Lotto-Belisol sprinter André Greipel will be going for a third successive victory on the final flat stage of the Tour's opening week to Metz. The powerful German admitted he had had some good fortune when he managed to avoid the crash that took out Tyler Farrar late on Thursday's stage to Saint-Quentin, and praised his teammates for the efforts they made to get him back into contention.

    "I needed some good bike handling to stay on my bike when Farrar crashed. I did drop back quite a few places, but Adam Hansen was waiting for me and he brought me back up to our other teammates. So we had some luck there, but then the train worked perfectly again heading into quite a tough finish. It was perhaps 700m full gas," said Greipel.

    Unlike the stage four sprint in Rouen that didn't feature Mark Cavendish after he had crashed out, Greipel beat his Sky rival with something to spare in Saint-Quentin. Asked if he had savoured this victory more for that reason, the German responded: "I don't know why everybody is saying that I can't beat Cavendish. I did it last year at the Tour and I've done it before.

    "I've got the best team around me so why shouldn't I have the ability to beat him? If I stay on their wheels I'm always there when I need to be and that makes it easy."

    Among the many delighted faces around the Lotto team bus following Greipel's second stage win was DS Herman Frison, who praised the work his riders had done throughout the stage and suggested the second win was more laudable. "The teamwork was very good from the beginning. Yesterday we had a great victory, but there were many questions because André won after Cav had...

  • Tour shorts: Petacchi narrowly avoids sprint chaos

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 9:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Plus - Scaphoid watch; Cancellara on Voigt and what's Cantwell missing?

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) often relies on his considerable experience to sense and evade danger during the riotous finales of the Tour's opening week, but the veteran admitted that on Thursday, he was simply lucky to avoid going down in the crash that put an end to Tyler Farrar and Peter Sagan's chances.

    "I think the fall might have been on my wheel, because I felt something hit my rear derailleur with about 3km to go," he said while still rasping for breath after wheeling to a halt in Saint-Quentin. "For a bit I thought I'd broken it and that I wouldn’t be able to contest the sprint. But I was just lucky I was able to get through and carry on to the sprint."

    A fully-paid up member of the sprinters' union, Petacchi was reluctant to apportion the blame for this week's crashes to his fellow fastmen. "There’s always a lot of confusion because the teams of the riders who want to win the Tour are looking to stay at the front as well, just because they don’t want to lose seconds," he said.

    Although he managed to stay upright, Petacchi found he had too much to do in the finishing straight, and came home in 8th place. "I braked too much and I couldn't get going again," he said dolefully. But there's still tomorrow, someone volunteered hopefully.

    Cue a baleful look from Petacchi, and a deep outtake of breath before his face finally creased into a grim smile. "Yeah, let’s hope for tomorrow." (BR)

    Martin and Sánchez compare notes

    Often spotted right at the very back of the peloton, following their crashes on stage 1, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) have spent a fair bit of time together over the last few days.

    Both riders are sporting bandaging on their injured wrists, with Martin worse off with a fractured left scaphoid.

    "We are always together in the back of the peloton, where there is room...

  • Voeckler's knee problems unchanged

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) signs autographs before the start of stage 4.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 10:07 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman accepts not getting selected for Olympic Games

    The right knee of Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) is arguably the most famous body joint in France right now: In Google News, the sole word "genou" (French for knee) makes articles about Voeckler come up heading the list of results. Every day, a whole nation hopes that the national hero - who finished fourth in last year's Tour de France - will be able to continue the race despite the inflammation which has made his life difficult in recent weeks.

    "It's not getting any better, but not any worse, either," Voeckler told L'Equipe on Thursday evening after stage five. "I continue to take one day at a time."

    Without dramatizing his condition, the Frenchman still asks himself how long he'll be able to hold on in the race, and at what price. "In the bunch, there are guys that are torn up everywhere, so I shouldn't be pitied. Sitting down, it's okay even though I can't push in the same way with my two legs. But I can't get out of the saddle. I don't want to abandon the race at the moment. But I have to be reasonable. Last year, Christophe Kern wanted to keep on during many long days and then he had to cross out several months of the 2011 season."

    In these circumstances, not getting selected by Laurent Jalabert for the Olympic Games was not very surprising. "That's the way it is, you have to accept it. I can understand that he can't count on me in the light of the situation. Of course, I would have preferred to compete in the Olympics, because they are probably the last ones I could have done. In four years, I think and I hope that there will be young riders to take my place," the 33-year-old added.

  • Tinkov happy with polka dot jersey but wants more

    Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) continues to lead the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 11:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank sponsor looking for stage wins

    New Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank co-sponsor Oleg Tinkov is happy with Michael Mørkøv's stint in the mountain jersey at the 2012 Tour de France. But the Russian businessman and cyclist wants more.

    “So far so good. There are 22 teams and there are few jerseys to be awarded,” he told sporten.dk. “We have one of them, and it is an important jersey. It is one of my favourites, I like it better than the green, though I myself was a sprinter.

    “We get on the podium each day and get exposure in the media, it's not a bad start. But it is nothing more than what I expected. I am a businessman, I know what I do.”

    Still, Tinkov hopes there will be more to come . “Of course I appreciate the mountain jersey, but I expect a stage win - or two. The squad is perhaps not the strongest team in the Tour de France this year, but it's not the worst. And when you are not riding for the GC, then you have a little easier to go after a stage win,” he said.

    Impressed by Mørkøv's participation in escape groups in three consecutive stages, Tinkov tweeted that the Dane deserved a platinum credit card from the Tinkoff Bank. But now he has a better idea: “We will make a polka dot credit card to honour him!”
     

  • Evans predicts "interesting" week-end

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 13:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian safe in the bunch through sprint stages

    With Friday's stage six from Epernay to Metz another tailor-made route for the sprinters, those who are aiming at the general classification of the Tour de France are inevitably eager for the race to gain some altitude this week-end. Interviewed by Australian TV Channel 10 at the start in Epernay, defending champion Cadel Evans looked forward to Saturday's stage seven, the first real mountain test of this Tour as it finishes on the Cat. 1 climb of Planche des Belles Filles.

    On top of finally being able to put on a smaller gear, the BMC leader enjoyed the prospect of finally discovering his rivals' state of fitness. "Normally the first mountains are a good indicator of who's climbing well and therefore, who will be there in the other mountains," the Australian said. "You go in not knowing who's the best climber in the race, or who's bad and so on. But everyone one gets in looking for that, to get an idea of how everyone's going.

    "That's the first thing, but then it's also an opportunity to make some time, hopefully... it's going to be an interesting race," he predicted.

    Even if he conceded 10 seconds in the race prologue on probably his greatest rival, Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Evans was satisfied with the outcome of this first week of racing. "I'd rather have ended a bit closer to the front guys in the prologue, it's not really important but you always want to be as close to the front as possible," he admitted. "But seven kilometres in a week of racing isn't much. More importantly the team's been incredible the whole week, to keep me safe without spending too much energy. That's crucial. So it's one more day...

  • Video: Van den Broeck looks to the first mountain stage

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 17:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol may contest both yellow and green jerseys

    Lotto Belisol has enjoyed a successful opening week in this year's Tour de France with two stage wins courtesy of Andre Greipel while Jurgen van den Broeck, their overall prospect for the race, remains in contention for the general classification.

    After a week of almost completely flat terrain the Tour turns to the first mountain test on stage 7 from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles. The final climb may only be 6 kilometres in length but Van den Broeck is predicting two battles, the first simply to arrive at the bottom of the climb at the front of the bunch, followed by a round of attacks towards the finish.

    The climb will signify the first genuine uphill battle between the GC contenders at this year's  Tour and in the video Van den Broeck discusses how he and his fellow climbers will approach the stage.

    Marc Sergeant, the team's manager, is tasked with prioritising the squad's energies and with Greipel looking strong in the sprints ,the team may well look to compete for the green jersey as well as yellow. For now though Lotto will concentrate on stages wins for Greipel, sacrificing the intermediate sprints until such a moment in the race when winning green becomes a more tangible aim.

  • Garmin-Sharp bus like a hospital after disastrous Tour de France stage

    Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) looks like he went through a paper shredder.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 18:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Hesjedal loses time, Danielson drops out

    The Garmin-Sharp team were left licking their wounds after another disappointing day in the year’s Tour de France, with Ryder Hesjedal and almost all of his teammates affected by the mass pile-up on the stage to Metz. It proved too much for Tom Danielson, a crash victim from earlier in the week, with last year’s top ten rider abandoning the race. However it was the sight of Ryder Hesjedal on the ground that will have caused the team the most heartache. The Giro winner had been seen as a potential rival for Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggin in this year’s Tour but lost over 13 minutes. The Canadian was later treated on the team bus, which one Garmin spokesperson called a hospital after several race medical staff were called to on board to treat riders.

    Two hours after the finish it was unclear whether Hesjedal would continue in the race but along with Danielson’s abandonment, Johan Vansummeren was taken to hospital with an injured shoulder, while David Millar and Christian Vande Velde were also treated for minor injuries.

    With Hesjedal’s overall ambitions over and his race in the balance the team will now have to focus on stage wins, a task made even harder with Tyler Farrar already nursing cuts and bruises from several crashes in the last few days.

    "It was a disaster day for us," said Allan Peiper. "It’s very disappointing for us all-round over the last few days. It’s definitely a week to forget and sometimes it just doesn’t work. We’ve got so many guys who are injured, we’ll have to take stock tonight and see who is capable and who is not. Vansummeren was looking dazed on the ground and it looks like he might have something wrong with his shoulder. We’ll see what the doctors say and see tonight."

    Peiper, a seasoned ex-pro himself, is of...

  • Schleck's Tour de France challenge unravels on the road to Metz

    Franck Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) tries to limit his losses after crashing late in stage 6.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2012, 19:07 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    RadioShack-Nissan rider isolated after crash

    With over 100 kilometres of time trialling on the course, Fränk Schleck's Tour de France challenge was already hamstrung from the moment the route was unveiled last October, but the RadioShack-Nissan rider's task was complicated still further when he lost time in a crash on the run-in to Metz at the end of stage 6.

    Schleck was one of a number of riders to hit the deck in a pile-up 26 kilometres from the finish, and such was the chaos when he picked himself up off the tarmac that he faced a lengthy and increasingly exasperated wait for a replacement bike. To compound matters, once he gingerly got going again, he found that only one teammate – Yaroslav Popovych – had remained with him.

    The pair then gave chase as part of a 25-man group that included other stricken GC hopefuls such as Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar), and they succeeded in limiting their losses to 2:09 at the finish.

    On crossing the line, a frustrated Schleck was first summoned to a random doping control, but by the time he wheeled to halt outside the RadioShack-Nissan team bus 20 minutes later, his annoyance had not yet dissipated. A loose string of reporters tightened around him as he dismounted, and the first question was the blindingly obvious one – what happened?

    "There was a big bunch of riders going at 80kph," Schleck said flatly. "There was a big road but there was one crash and I couldn't avoid it. If you go at 80kpk you can't really avoid it."

    Schleck's countenance darkened still further when a voice volunteered that he had seemed unhappy as he stood at the roadside.

    "No, I'm fantastic. I just crashed and I'm...