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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 9, 2010

Date published:
July 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Ciolek looking for tougher Tour sprint finishes

    Gerald Ciolek (Milram)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 5:30 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Milram sprinter's form rising

    Germany's Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram), hailed as the country's most promising sprinting talent, achieved a solid second placing at the Tour de France’s fifth stage finish in Montargis. Having only recently returned from an injury suffered at the Tour of Qatar at the beginning of the season, Ciolek's form is on the rise and he hopes for more difficult stages finishing in a bunch sprint in the second week of the race.

    "I am disappointed, because getting second also means that you had the chance to win," Ciolek said. "The team brought me through that last curve wonderfully but then I wasn't able to pull my sprint off in the diagonal as I would have wanted to."

    Team directeur sportif Christian Henn explained to Cyclingnews at the start of stage five in Epernay the characteristics that suite Ciolek. "Gerald is not a typical mass finish sprinter. He is more suited to smaller group sprints or harder stages that involve two or three climbs before the run to the line. Uphill sprints are also more his cup of tea."

    Ciolek proved that in an impressive way at the end of stage five, as the run-in towards the line was slightly uphill. It is Ciolek's best result at the Tour de France so far, and one he intends to build on.

    Still only 23 years old, Ciolek has been a professional cyclist for five years, and many often forget his young age. He was U23 World Champion in 2006 and spectacularly won a stage in the 2008 Deutschland Tour, which finished on a Cat. 3 climb in Winterberg. One year later, he took stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana, but has failed to win since.

    A big objective at this Tour was the second stage of the race from Brussels to Spa, as it was held on a hilly Classics parcours that could ultimately show Ciolek which specialty he should focus on in his career. But the mass crash on the descent of the Stockeu climb marred his chances as the fast run into Spa was not to be.

    "I feel OK in the sprints,"...

  • Reactions from the Tour's Stage 5

    The first stage win of the year for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 5:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Temperature heats up as the action cools off

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) – 5th on stage, 7th overall @ 1:19: "It was very, very hot again today. I was really suffering in the heat. I was in good position for the final sprint. I used a lot of energy to get on the wheel of Renshaw, and Cavendish was able to win. He's one of the best sprinters in the world. I'm happy with today’s stage. I was able to get some more points in the hunt for the maillot vert. It's always better to win the stage. I am not racing just for points, I want to win the stage. I am actually looking forward to the mountains as it's going to be cooler up there."

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) – 7th on stage, 23rd overall @ 2:52: "Today I suffered a lot. My injuries got worse instead of better. I think it's partly because I have lost a lot of blood from elbow. I hope to get better tomorrow."

    Brett Lancaster (Cervelo Test Team) – 79th on stage, 156th overall @ 20:19: "Petacchi and McEwen are the most dangerous rivals right now in the green jersey. It's too early to say too much about the green jersey. The green jersey is always fought to the final day. Thor is a good climber and he will be able to do like he did last year and pick up points in the intermediate sprints. Thor always sprints for the victory, always all the way to the line. I think tomorrow we could see a breakaway. The sprinter teams are getting tired and no one will want to spend too much energy chasing before the Alps."

    Julien El Farès (Cofidis) – 58th on stage, 91st overall @ 7:32: "I spent a good day in front. We didn't spend all of our energy in the first part of the stage because we knew the bunch was just playing with us. We really started to race hard with about 30 kilometres to go. It was a nice day to be in front, to open up the road. I don't think I spent too much energy today, and I still have one stage to recover before we hit the mountains....

  • Horrillo makes Tour a journalist

    Former Rabobank rider Pedro Horrillo hard at work on a hot day in the Tour de France's press room.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 6:21 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Miracle survivor starts his new life

    The worst was feared when Pedro Horrillo plunged over 80 metres into a deep ravine at last year’s Giro d’Italia. Miraculously the Rabobank rider was found alive and winched to safety with a long list of injuries, but it brought an end to his 10-years as a professional cyclist.

    Having survived the accident, which left the Spaniard with fractures to his thigh bone, kneecap, and neck plus a punctured lung, Horrillo has returned to the Tour de France as a reporter. While he writes for Spanish daily El Pais, Horrillo still rides his bike on the course prior to each stage.

    On Thursday he arrived in Montargis, where he won stage two of Paris-Nice. It was exactly the same stage finish as that used in the 2004 edition.

    “I’ve had great pleasure riding this road again,” Horrillo told Cyclingnews. “I haven’t been here since then. I had watched Robbie McEwen winning at the Tour on TV in 2005 and I always remembered the name of Montargis because I haven’t won much in my career.

    “I recognised every detail of the final kilometre,” he added. “When I won here, it was a windy day and echelons formed with the whole CSC team at the front. I was supposed to lead Tom Boonen out but he had a flat tyre with 10km to go and I remained alone. I anticipated the sprint of the breakaway group formed in the echelons.”

    Horrillo, who studied philosophy at university before turning professional, wrote regular columns for El Pais during his racing days. “My articles were very personal,” he said. “Even when I wrote them from home and not from the races I spoke a lot about what I was doing. Now I write about the others. I feel like a real journalist now but I’m still too close to the riders. I have many friends in the bunch and my way of thinking is still the one of a rider.

    “Here, El Pais senior cycling reporter...

  • Future looks bleak for Caisse d'Epargne

    The Caisse d'Epargne team won the overall that the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 12:21 BST
    Cycling News

    No new sponsor found for 2011

    The Caisse d'Epargne team has been in the peloton under various names since 1980 and has produced Tour de France champions Miguel Indurain and Pedro Delgado, but the team's future seems is now in serious doubt. The title sponsor French bank is ending its sponsorship this year and the team has so far not been able to find a replacement.

    "We have leads but nothing's been signed. It's hard," Caisse d'Epargne team manager Francis Lafargue admitted to the Reuters news agency.

    The Spanish-based team started under the name of Reynolds in 1980, and has been sponsored by Banesto and Iles Baleares, before the French bank took over in 2006. The bank announced in January that it would end its sponsorship.

    "What with cycling's degraded image because of doping and the financial crisis, it's getting more and more difficult. The future is very uncertain," Lafargue said.

    The team hoped to have two major cards to play in its search for a new sponsor: its captain Alejandro Valverde and the prospect of signing Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. However last month Valverde was given a two-year worldwide suspension by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for his involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping affair.

    "We still believe that the decision was unjust but there is nothing we can do," said Lafargue. "It is hard for a team to be motivated on the Tour without a leader fighting for victory."

    The team had hoped to have Contador on its 2011 squad, but recent indication are that he will re-sign with Team Astana.

    The lack of a major name star could be the team's death blow. "Cycling is more and more popular in Spain as a leisure sport but not so much as a competitive sport. And in a period of crisis it's hard to compete with other sports like football, especially when Spain is in the World Cup final," said Lafargue.

  • Contador set to stay with Astana in 2011

    Will Contador be raising three fingers at the end of July? Stay tuned...
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 13:29 BST
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    Two or three year contract expected to be signed soon

    Alberto Contador is on the verge of signing a two-to-three year contract with Team Astana, according to his brother and manager, Fran Contador.

    "We've had a meeting with the sponsors. We still need to agree on some aspects but I don't think there will be any major problems. The contract duration is not definite, although it will be a minimum of two years, that is something we have to discuss but it will be two or three years," he told the Spanish site

    "We have had contact with other teams but we did not sit down with them to negotiate. Alberto had several important possibilities, but there is one that we are working on a lot and it will probably be final. And it is to continue in Astana. Today that is the most likely option."

    There is no exact date set for the contract to be signed. “During the Tour or after the Tour, but as soon as possible,” Fran said.

    “Above all, the sponsors are very interested in continuing with this project and building the best team around Alberto. It is their desire.” This year, despite everything, “they have a good team and want to make it better. "

  • Voigt says Saxo Bank adjusting well to one leader on Tour team

    Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 13:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Looks to bring Andy Schleck on to Tour podium

    With the yellow jersey sitting firmly on the shoulders of Fabian Cancellara and Andy Schleck ahead of nearly all his rivals in GC, Jens Voigt was in fine spirits at the start of stage six in Montargis.

    Team Saxo Bank lost podium contender Fränk Schleck on stage three to Arenberg after a crash in which he sustained a broken collar bone. Tactically the team will have to change direction, working solely for younger brother Andy in the mountains.

    “Sure the tactics change,” Voigt told Cyclingnews. “We used to have a double header and no one really knew who we were working for. Because they are brothers, they are really close friends so there was never any problems between then.”

    Voigt compared the Saxo Bank reshuffle to the set-up at RadioShack, where although they have a stellar team of proven Tour riders, the real focus and effort is behind Lance Armstrong.

    “You take a team like RadioShack, yes, they have a lot of former podium finishers in Klöden and Leipheimer, but if the shit hits the fan you know they’re all going to go for Lance anyway.

    “In theory they might have that advantage of lots of leaders, but in reality, no, they don’t. They’re all going to go for Lance and that was not the case for us. It wouldn’t have mattered if we’d had Andy or Fränk in yellow. That would have been our strength but now we have to change.”

    Voigt stressed the positive side of the situation, aware that in himself, Sorensen, Fuglsang and Cancellara, Schleck still has some of the best back-up in the world. “In one way it makes it clearer. We have one leader and that's it. All for one but we can’t have a surprise tactic as we only have one leader.

    “It can go both ways. Andy is in a good position, it’s up to Contador and Lance to attack and try and gain time on him. It’s a good situation for us at the...

  • Bruyneel questioned by Belgian authorities about Landis allegations

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel has finalized Radioshack's 2010 roster.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 14:10 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    RadioShack team manger denies all doping charges

    Johan Bruyneel has been questioned by Belgian federal prosecutors concerning doping claims made by Floyd Landis. The questioning was done at the request of the Koninklijke Belgische Wielrijdersbond (KBWB), the Belgian cycling federation, and the International Cycling Union, the KBWB said in a press release.

    Bruyneel denied all accusations made by Landis.

    In May, Landis revealed details his own doping past and claimed that there had been organised doping at the US Postal Team, of which Bruyneel was team director. Landis has since released further details of alleged blood doping and transfusion when he was with the team.

    Federal attorney Jaak Fransen, who conducted the questioning, will gather any further additional information to make the file complete, and then”take any initiatives which may subsequently proved necessary.” He had no comment on the matter.

  • Turgot emerges as the sprints' surprise package

    Sebastien Turgot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).
    Article published:
    July 09, 2010, 14:21 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Bbox's Tour debutant draws from track experience

    It has been some opening week at the Tour de France for Sébastien Turgot. After getting into the break of the day on stage 2 to Spa, the 26-year-old Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider has been mixing it with the top sprinting stars, taking sixth place on stages 4 and 5.

    Taking on and competing at the same level with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi and Thor Hushovd - all of whom he's outsprinted over the past two days - has been as much a surprise to the rider from Limoges as it has been to everyone else.

    "I wasn't expecting this at all, it's a nice surprise," said Turgot after his 6th place finish on stage 5. "For my first Grand Tour it's looking really good. I've also competed well in sprints, but this is the Tour de France we're talking about. I've never worked specifically on sprints, but I'm going to think about it now. From now on I'll have to start thinking that I can win. The most important thing is to have confidence in my ability."

    Turgot acknowledges that his rapid turn of finishing speed stems in some part from his experience as a track rider, but reveals that he's not spent much time on the boards recently. "The problem is that you have to be riding on the track regularly in order to have that little of zip and speed to compete in bunch sprints. After having mononucleosis last year, it's been almost 18 months since I was last on the track. Since I came back I've devoted myself to the road. Consequently, the track is not a key factor in my sprinting success here."

    Turgot says that Bbox doesn't have a sprint train to set him up for bunch finales. Instead, he relies on feel. "Thomas Voeckler has taken me up through the field with 15km left, then I just try to stay in the top 20 until we're 5km from the line. Then, in the final 2km, I work my way up into the top 10 and decide which sprinter's wheel to take. That depends really on who is the closest to me. Today [Thursday] I slipped in behind Tyler Farrar...