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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 29, 2012

Date published:
June 29, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Péraud maintains top 10 goal in Tour de France

    Former French time trial champion Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale) cracked the top-ten on the closing stage and finished 7th overall.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 10:07 BST
    Cycling News

    AG2R co-leader forced to change last minute preparation

    At the 2011 Tour de France, Europcar riders Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland captivated a whole nation, somewhat concealing an additional top performance of a Frenchman: AG2R La Mondiale's Jean-Christophe Péraud, who finished ninth overall. This year, the 35-year-old had good hopes of repeating his feat, but the preparation for his Olympic bid on the mountainbike got the allrounder slightly off track, forcing him to re-adapt his schedule during the last month.

    Péraud, an Olympic MTB silver medallist in 2008 and French time trial champion in 2009, focused his season on what will be his third participation in an Olympic Games in London, as well as trying for a high GC placing in the Tour again. But the first half of the season was not promising, and the need to take action came when he finished 68th in the Critérium du Dauphiné despite his plans to enter the top 10 overall.

    "That wasn't very glorious," Péraud admitted to L'Equipe. "After that, I was on a rescue mission."

    AG2R's Tour de France co-leader - together with Nicholas Roche - explained that his race schedule this year may have been too full ahead of the Tour, overtraining him rather than building him up slowly. "I completely changed and re-adapted my preparation after the Dauphiné. The problem was that I hadn't taken any races off my calendar, instead I added some, designing a mountainbike programme. Perhaps I was just powered out at the Dauphiné. So I tried to recover and re-start on a healthy basis. I took some rest, which I needed, and then I put in more intensity that I used to."

    The only race Péraud competed in during the last three weeks was the French...

  • Luis Leon Sanchez extends with Rabobank

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank Cycling Team) on the podium
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 11:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish time trial champion with Dutch team through 2014

    Rabobank continues to form its team for 2013, as it has announced that Luis Leon Sanchez has extended his contract for another two years. The Spanish time trial champion will now remain with the Dutch outfit through the 2014 season.

    Sanchez, 28, has five wins so far this season, more than any one else on the squad. In addition to the national title, he has also won stages at Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, where he wore the leader's jersey for one stage. He also took two consecutive stages at the Tour de Romandie, again leading the race for one stage.

    The Spaniard joined Rabobank last season, and had a difficult transition to his new team at first. “Last year I didn't speak much english and I had a lot of support from my Spanish colleagues Juan Manuel Garate and Carlos Barredo. I went to work on my english right away and in the course of the year it got better and better.”

    However, he is very content now. “This is a really good team and I feel much appreciation and trust from the team. I'm very happy here,” he said on the Rabobank website. “Now I'm in the middle of the group, so it can only get better over the next two years.”

    Technical Director Erik Breukink was also happy to have secured his services for another two years. “Luis Leon has proved to be one of the top of the pack, he is not in the Spanish Olympic selection for nothing. He now has five victories for us, including three World Tour victories. We have every confidence that he can maintain this level and perhaps get even better.”

    The team has also re-signed Bram Tankink and Maarten...

  • IG Pro Cycling Index: Tour de France preview

    Tour de France favourite Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is all smiles prior to a team training ride.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 11:47 BST
    Cycling News

    World's biggest race set to shake up the standings

    If you look at the start list for the Tour de France and top 10 of the Pro Cycling Index, the most striking fact is that the top two riders in the Index are not at the start line. Joaquim Rodriguez is not riding the Tour de France due to tiredness. The Spaniard has ridden the last two grand tours and decided that after coming second in the Giro d’Italia he would skip the Tour de France and the next goal he will focus on is the Vuelta a España.

    Tom Boonen is not riding the Tour de France this year as he focusing on the Olympic road race. While other riders going for gold in London are riding the Tour, Boonen says he is not able to combine both as he always needs recovery time after it. Yet both of the top two riders in the Index do not face the problem of losing points from last year - Rodriguez did not take part and Boonen pulled out early on and only earned 25 points.

    As a result the riders below them have the potential to replace them at the top. The next two riders in the standings are Mark Cavendish and Cadel Evans, but both may struggle to move up. Third-placed Cavendish won five stages and the green jersey at the Tour last year. His exploits won him 1,387 points, the second highest total of any rider in the race. In the press this week Cavendish has lowered expectations for this year. He has said that he will win stages, but probably not as many as five because his sprint has suffered due to his weight loss ahead of the Olympic road race. Taking this into account, he will probably struggle to defend his points total from 2011 and not make up ground on those above him in the Index.

    Last year’s Tour winner Cadel Evans is in fourth place in the Index. Unsurprisingly, as winner of the...

  • Wiggins: I'm in the ideal position

    Bradley Wiggins on a training ride in Liege, Belgium with his Sky teammates.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 12:26 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Tour de France favourite can't wait to get started

    Bradley Wiggins has played down his status as the Tour de France favourite, but has admitted that the fact that he is in that position indicates that his build-up to the race has gone to plan. Speaking before the Tour presentation in Liège on Thursday evening, the Team Sky rider said he can’t wait for the race to get underway, beginning with what he described as an “awesome” prologue on Saturday.

    Asked about his approach if he happens to win that prologue, Wiggins replied: “I don’t know what the situation will be if I win it and end up in the yellow jersey. It’s the Tour and we’re obviously not going to defend the jersey for three weeks that’s for sure. But you take anything you get in the Tour because it’s the Tour de France. But we’ll worry about that on Sunday if it happens.”

    The Briton added: “What I’ve been really good at this year is putting performances together and I don’t think that should be any different on Saturday when I roll down that ramp. This is what we’ve been training for, regardless of all the other races and people saying ‘Has he peaked?’ They’ve been saying that since March 3rd and here we are two days before the Tour de France and I’m the favourite so I think we’ve done pretty well to get here. I’m just looking forward to it. It’s going to be an awesome prologue.”

    Pressed on how being the favourite has changed things for him, Wiggins responded: “It doesn’t really change anything. It doesn’t change what you have to do. It just means that you have to answer more questions – ‘What does it mean?’ and that kind of...

  • RCS Sport hires IMG to boost Giro d'Italia TV coverage

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 14:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Eight-year contract to bring Italian races more global coverage

    Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport has announced that IMG Media is its new audiovisual consultant with the remit to raise the race's international profile and reach more viewers around the world. The New York-based firm is the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming. The two firms have signed an eight-year contract.

    According to the RCS press relase, Italian state broadcaster RAI has produced and distributed not only the Giro but also Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardi in recent years. “This could now change as IMG use their influence and expertise from tennis and golf to introduce high definition television coverage, more digital interaction and better internet streaming.”

    RCS Sport managing director Michele Acquarone said: “We are working hard to make the racing and the television coverage of the Giro d'Italia as spectacular as we can for a global audience.

    "The last Giro d'Italia attracted huge interest around the world and was broadcast in 165 countries across all the five continents reaching 125 million households and a global accumulated audience of 775 million people. We're confident that by working with IMG, we can increase those numbers considerably."

    IMG Media already works with the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse and is looking to add more cycling to its portfolio. It's mission “is to further expand the success of the Giro d'Italia and the other Italian classic races, across all five continents. The sponsor and media appetite for road cycling is as strong as it has ever been,” said Ioris Francini of IMG Media.

  • UCI confirms unpaid riders at RadioShack

    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 14:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Fuglsang possibly one of three riders left without pay

    UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani has confirmed to members of the media that three riders of RadioShack-Nissan have not been paid their salaries since the month of May, L'Equipe has reported. These three riders have turned to the world governing body of cycling to signal the failure of payment, which in turn is currently seeking answers of the team manager Johan Bruyneel.

    Carpani has refused to reveal the identity of the riders, but it seems possible that they would include Jakob Fuglsang, who has recently been excluded by his team to race any WorldTour events, following his public statements that he would likely leave the outfit next year.

    Danish Ekstrabladet has speculated that Fuglsang may be one of the concerned. "I have no comment to make," Fuglsang told the newspaper when asked whether this was true. "Ultimately I just want to ride a bike and not read my name every day in more or less controversial articles in the newspapers. Therefore I have no comment."

    The news adds to the current difficulties of the team, which is dealing with a number of issues: Andy Schleck's injury and subsequent absence from the Tour de France, the strained relationship between the Schleck brothers and team management and, last but not least, USADA's investigation of Bruyneel's implication in Lance Armstrong's alleged former doping activities - which is the reason why the Belgian is absent from the Tour de France.

  • Orica-GreenEdge determined to be competitive in first Tour de France

    Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was a deserving winner.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 14:04 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Team boss Bannan says that Tour debut is a great moment for the team

    Orica-GreenEdge team manager Shayne Bannan looked a very proud man as he watched his riders being introduced at the Tour de France presentation ceremony in Liège on Thursday evening. Formerly the head of the road cycling programme at the Australian Institute of Sport, Bannan has spent two decades dreaming about putting together an Australian team to compete in cycling’s biggest event.

    “This is a great moment for me personally and for this team. We’ve been building towards this for years and to finally be here is great,” Bannan told Cyclingnews. “The last couple of months have been pretty hectic working on the logistics, but now I’m really looking forward to the prologue and seeing the guys up there.”

    Bannan also paid warm tribute to the team’s backer, Gerry Ryan, and to his son Andrew, who, along with Bannan is co-manager of the squad. “This wouldn’t have happened without Gerry, and to see Gerry and Andrew here and the excitement on their faces has been a real privilege.”

    Bannan revealed that the Australian team aren’t going into the Tour with any specific targets beyond being competitive whenever they can be. “We’ve always said that in the initial years we want to target the areas in which we believe we’re strong and that’s the flatter stages and the slightly hillier stages, which will suit Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans or Michael Albasini. We want to entertain and we want to make sure that we’re there at the pointy end being competitive and whatever result that brings is whatever it is.”

  • Tour shorts: Millar on the mend, Vinokourov in Virenque's footsteps?

    David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 15:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Plus: Dennis to Sky?, Grabsch targets final TT and Wiggins talks up Van Den Broeck

    Grabsch the realist

    Former world time trial champion Bert Grabsch may have his work cut out for him over the next three weeks as he fights on a number of fronts for Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Along with defending the positions of both Tony Martin and Levi Leipheimer on the flats, the German will be expected to set pace on the front of the peloton for countless kilometres through the French countryside. But that hasn't stopped him from pinpointing his own aim for the race, notably the final time trial of the race from Bonneval to Chartres.

    "I know the first major TT. We rode it a few weeks ago and there are some long flat parts for me but the last one is my favourite and that's my personal goal in the Tour. It's 50km, it's flat and there should be a lot of wind." DB

    Wiggins watches VDB

    Putting someone in the spotlight is almost as important as putting them on the front in a headwind. Bradley Wiggins: "I think [Jurgen] Van den Broeck is in a similar position to me. Obviously he crashed last year when he was looking to improve on 2010. He looked really good in the Dauphiné. The thing I've noticed about him more this year is that he's really improved his time trialling, so I think he's in a good position to do well. I don't think the podium is out of the question." PC

    Millar on the mend

    Despite missing out on the Tour de France teams' presentation on Thursday due to illness, Garmin-Sharp's David Millar is still set to compete in the race.

    "I'm feeling much better," he said. "The team has taken really good care of me and at this point, I'm optimistic that I'll be fully recovered by tomorrow."