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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 8, 2011

Date published:
July 08, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France news shorts

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) outkicked Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) and race leader Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) for the stage win.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 14:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Goss, the weather, bike paint jobs, motos and more

    Goss, close but no cigar

    HTC-Highroad sprinter Matt Goss began the Tour with lofty ambitions and on Thursday came very close to a dream start to his debut Tour de France, finishing a bike length behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling) on stage 6.

    Goss, speaking to Fox Sports News Australia, explained that it was a case of "mixed emotions," following the stage.

    "I felt really good and I just had to hesitate for a brief couple of seconds when [Gerald] Ciolek started to sprint,' he said. "When I got going I was coming a lot faster but I just run out of metres to the finish line so I'm disappointed but I still got second in a stage on my first Tour so I'm not too unhappy."

    The next opportunity for Goss comes on Stage 10, between Aurillac and Carmaux – a short day and the race heads south through the Cevennes with the 24-year-old not ruling out standing on top of the podium.

    "There's a few more stages like that so hopefully I can go one better somewhere along the way," he said with confidence.

    Goss, who comes from Tasmania, said he felt quite comfortable in the cold and wet conditions, given they were similar to what he is used to back home.

    "I actually don't mind these kinds of days – I guess you have to if you want to be decent in the Classics."

    Keep on riding in the free world...

    The weather hasn't been the nicest over the opening week of this year's Tour. For Garmin-Cervelo's David Zabriskie, the similarities between Neil Young's classic ‘See the sky about to rain' and the sixth stage into Lisieux proved too much.

    "See the sky about to rain...broken clouds and rain...locomotive pull the train.whistle blown through my brain. -Neil Young describes stage6," Zabriskie tweeted on Thursday.

  • Rasmussen sues Rabobank for 5.6 million Euro

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 16:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Lawsuit stems from Tour de France 2007

    Michael Rasmussen is suing Rabobank for 42 million Danish kroner, or about 5.6 million euro.  He is claiming damages stemming from his dismissal from the team after the Tour de France 2007.

    Rasmussen was wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour when he was removed from the race and he was subsequently fired by the Dutch team.  He was later suspended for two years after it was found that he had lied about his whereabouts whilst training for the Tour.

    In July 2008, a Dutch court ruled that while Rabobank had rightfully dismissed the Dane, it still owed him 715,000 euros.

    “I won the first case,” Rasmussen told De Telegraaf.  “However, the judge made a miscalculation.”  That payment included his Tour de France bonus payment and two months of salary. 

    “My contract ran through the end of the year.  Furthermore, I was missing out on 300,000 euros in signed criterium contracts plus sponsorships and contributions.  Just based on that, I should be reimbursed 1.1 million euros.

    “Now, however, I can demonstrate the consequences of the decision.  If I had won the Tour I would have had a contract for several million for a few years.  We demand more than 5.6 million.  We are not looking too high.”

    The hearing is expected to be held sometime this fall.

  • Wiggins out of Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins at the press conference
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 16:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Updated: Sky confirms broken left collarbone

    The Tour de France is over for Team Sky's captain Bradley Wiggins. A crash with 35km to go in the race's seventh stage left the British champion with a fractured left collarbone.

    At the time of his accident, Wiggins had been lying in sixth place, just 10 seconds off the yellow jersey of race leader Thor Hushovd.

    The 31-year-old was on fine form for the Tour, having helped his team to third in last Sunday's team time trial before assisting in the squad's first stage win by teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen on stage 6.

    "Bradley has broken his left collar bone. It is hugely disappointing news for him, and for the team," confirmed Team Sky manager David Brailsford.

    "Bradley has been in the best shape of his life and worked exceptionally hard to be ready for this year's Tour de France. We were in no doubt as to the form he was in. Brad was climbing with the best climbers, time trialling with the best time trialers and once the race hit the mountains we were very confident that he was going to challenge for the overall. Unfortunately crashes happen in bike races.

    "Our priority now as a team is to regroup and focus on the rest of this Tour. We still have eight world class riders in the team and they will be back out tomorrow, on the front foot and looking for more stage victories. There is still a lot of racing to be done between here and Paris."

    Wiggins was one of dozens of riders to be caught up in the crash, which happened on a straight, wide open stretch of road. RadioShack's Chris Horner, another GC hopeful, was also hurt in the wreck and finished 12:41 down on stage winner Mark Cavendish.

  • Video: No luck for RadioShack in Tour de France

    Chris Horner takes the lead from his RadioShack team leader Levi Leipheimer in the final kilometres
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 18:19 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Horner, Leipheimer lose GC chances

    RadioShack's Tour de France went from bad to worse on stage 7 of the race with Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner both losing significant time. The American squad came into the race with four potential threats for GC but after seven days of racing only Andreas Klöden remains a realistic challenge, 10 seconds down on the yellow jersey.

    Janez Brajkovic had been forced out of the race with concussion on stage 5, while Leipheimer had lost a minute yesterday due to a crash. On today's stage to Chateauroux, Horner and Leipheimer were both involved in a crash within the final 35 kilometers, with the former losing 3:06, and the latter lost over 12 minutes.

    At the finish Leipheimer talked about the crash-effected first week of racing at the Tour de France but stressed that the team would be going all-out to support Kloden.

    This year's race had started well for Lance Armstrong's former team. All four GC contenders had finished in the chase group behind Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on stage 1, while the team had put in a robust but unspectacular performance to seal 6th place in the team time trial.

  • Leopard Trek weigh up options ahead of Super-Besse test

    Fabian Cancellara looks after Leopard Trek leader Fränk Schleck
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 19:13 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Nygaard wary of Tour de France's tough final week

    With three riders within touching distance of the yellow jersey, Brian Nygaard and his team of sports directors at Leopard Trek will have to think long and hard about how they approach tomorrow's key stage of the Tour de France to Super-Besse.

    Stage 8 offers the first real look at the GC contenders for the Tour, with a finishing climb that is predicted to split up the majority of the peloton. With Fränk Schleck 4 seconds down, and brother Andy and Jakob Fuglsang a further 8 seconds back, Leopard Trek head into the stage with more options than any of their rivals.

    "We have three guys who are within touching distance. I'm not sure there will be a massive selection and there's so much hard climbing in the final week so they'll want to save their legs but this first week has been a lot harder than expected," Nygaard told Cyclingnews.

    However, there's no underestimating what the maillot jaune would do for Nygaard's riders in the team's inaugural Tour de France. The team went through the spring Classics campaign without victories in the monuments, and Nygaard, a former press officer no less, will be well aware of the media exposure his team would receive by leading the world's biggest cycling race, even with more than two weeks remaining.

    "I'd be absolutely thrilled to take yellow, of course," Nygaard said at the team bus after stage 7.

    "But if you look at the Pyrenees, you don't want to keep it at any price because you don't want to use up all your guys in those really hard stages. No one here would say no to the yellow jersey, it's just about how much energy you want to use up in getting it and then keeping...

  • Concussion, broken nose for Horner

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) lost over twelve minutes in a crash.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 19:51 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack rider may abandon Tour de France

    The Tour de France may be over for RadioShack's Chris Horner, after another crash on stage 7 left him with a concussion and broken nose.

    The winner of the Amgen Tour of California was primed to contest for the final podium in Paris, but now may be out of the race, his team said today. The decision whether or not the 39-year-old will take the start in Aigurande on Saturday will be made in the morning.

    Horner was involved in a crash 35km from the finish in Châteauroux, and while he was able to complete the stage, he finished 12:41 behind, his hopes for the general classification over.

    The American was caught up in the same crash which ended the Tour for Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins and FDJ's Remi Pauriol. The bad luck for Team RadioShack continued as Yaroslav Popovych, Haimar Zubeldia, Markel Irizar and Levi Leipheimer were also involved in crashes on the day. Of the four GC leaders, the team brought to the Tour, only Andreas Klöden remains in contention.

    "I can tell you what happened from the car perspective," said Team Manager Johan Bruyneel after the stage. "We don't know how the crash happened, but I just spoke with the guys and we were basically on the right side of the peloton near the front. They came out of an open area into a covered area and they all went off to the right.

    "We had a few guys right there: Levi, Haimar, Markel and of course Chris. He was the worst. When I got there, he was lying in a ditch and was very shaken. It was obvious he'd hit very hard. He finished the stage and I think basically he's OK physically ... But we're taking him to the hospital to have a scan. He...

  • Tour de France Video: HTC-Highroad's flawless day

    Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 20:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team director Allan Peiper talks about Cavendish's victory

    Allan Peiper described HTC-Highroad's overall performance on stage 7 of the Tour de France as 'flawless' as Mark Cavendish took his second stage of the race after being led to the line by his teammates. It was the sprinter's second stage win in three days and pushed him further back into contention for the green jersey.

    The team had all nine riders on the front of the bunch in the run into Chateauroux and they collectively avoided the crashes that affected both Garmin-Cervélo, Sky and RadioShack.

    In the closing kilometres the team led out Cavendish for his 27th grand tour stage win and he was quick to praise his teammates, Tweeting: "I crossed the line 1st, but I was absolutely nothing today without 8 of the most amazing guys I'd ever wish to be associated with. So proud."

    And at the finish Peiper explained the method to the team's success rate in bunch sprints.

    Tomorrow's stage to Super-Besse will see team change focus from their lead out duties to overall prospects of Tony Martin and Peter Velits, who both lie 13 seconds down on the yellow jersey.

    As well as talking about his own team's goals Peiper also discusses the overall chances of compatriot Cadel Evans (BMC) and whether tomorrow's stage is too early in the race to assume the overall lead.

  • Boonen abandons Tour de France after head injury

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) calls it a day
    Article published:
    July 08, 2011, 21:35 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Bad luck continues for Belgian star

    Belgian star Tom Boonen (Quick Step) abandoned the Tour de France on Friday. About 90km into stage 7 from Le Mans to Châteauroux, he stepped off his bike. After crashing on his head during stage 5, it seems clear after the fact that he suffered a concussion.

    Friday's withdrawal marked the fourth time that Boonen has abandoned the Tour de France. In his career thus far, he has won six stages and one green jersey.

    After being driven to the team bus, Boonen sat down to talk with the press but this clearly wasn't his usual self. He was pale and talked quietly. Almost at the same moment, Cavendish crossed the line after winning the stage's final bunch sprint. It didn't matter much to Boonen.

    "I've got a huge headache," said Boonen. "Every kilometre was one too many. I was wondering, 'who am I pleasing by continuing?' Not myself, that's for sure.

    "I was a danger for the other riders, too. I think I suffered a concussion. Noise, colours... I couldn't stand them. A honking car that passed was echoing a thousand times in my head. Yesterday was a dark day - due to the rain - and maybe that's why it went better."

    There was a huge contrast between how Boonen appeared after Thursday's stage finish and his downbeat self after abandoning on Friday afternoon. The Belgian rider had had a rough night during which he couldn't sleep. On Friday morning, he threw up, yet still started the stage.

    In hindsight, starting the stage didn't seem like such a good idea. "That's cycling," said Boonen with a sigh. "If you can put on your racing number you can race."

    Once on the bike, Boonen struggled....