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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 11, 2011

Date published:
July 11, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France news shorts

    Cadel Evans (BMC) launches his sprint ahead of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 12:47 BST
    Cycling News

    The virtual GC, 18 abandons, Goss's text message nightmare and Tour tweets

    Virtual GC on the Tour de France first rest day
    A look at how all the big-name favourites are fairing after the first nine days of racing. 

    1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 38:35:11
    3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 02:26
    4 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 02:29
    5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 02:37
    6 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad 02:38
    8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 02:43
    11 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 03:36
    12 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 03:37
    13 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 03:45
    15 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 04:01
    16 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 04:07
    19 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 04:53
    20 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 05:01
    31 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ 05:43
    36 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 07:16
    55 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad 15:16
    60 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 18:09
    76 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 25:21
    115 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 40:31
    126 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team 44:16

    Where and why 18 riders abandoned the Tour de France

    Stage 9:
    DNF Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team - illness
    DNF Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
    DNF Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana - crash, broken head of the femur
    DNF David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo - crash, broken wrist
    DNF Frederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - crash, broken collarbone
    DNF Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - crash, collapsed lung, three broken ribs and broken shoulder blade
    DNF Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - crash,...

  • Schleck brothers confident as the mountains loom

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 15:36 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Leopard Trek duo ready to take on Contador and Evans

    Fränk and Andy Schleck have managed to avoid the numerous crashes that have wrecked the chances of so many of their rivals at the Tour de France and are optimistic for the outcome of the rest of the race as the peloton enjoys the first rest day of the race.

    Fränk Schleck is fourth overall, 2:29 behind new race leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) but only four seconds behind main rival Cadel Evans (BMC). Andy Schleck is fifth, eight seconds behind his brother, and is also sitting pretty and able to enjoy the first rest day in the Massif Central.

    In comparison Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) is 16th overall, 1:28 down on Frank Schleck and struggling with a bruised knee.

    “I think I’ve been good so far,” Frank said during the Leopard Trek press conference on Monday. “On the Mur de Bretagne, I was up there. I was up there two days ago, again yesterday and I’m fourth on GC. I certainly believe I can finish on the podium. I don’t know where I will but I certainly think I can be up there.”

    Andy conceded that they had been lucky to avoid the many crashes that have affected so many of their rivals.

    “I didn’t think we’d have this advantage, but we’ve had a lot of luck as Well,” he said. “Yesterday the fall was right in front of me, but I missed everything. We had a really good team time trial, too. I haven’t attacked yet but despite that, we’re in very good position.”

    “The crashes are bad for the Tour. I mean, not only have there been a lot of crashes, a lot of GC guys have gone down and are either suffering or out. I know Robert Gesink is suffering a lot at the moment. Everyone wants to see a big battle between the...

  • Hoogerland hopes to continue in Tour de France

    New KOM leader Johnny Hoogerland is overcome with emotion on a day which he suffered a serious crash while riding in the winning break.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 17:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil rules out taking legal action after high-speed crash

    Johnny Hoogerland hopes to try and continue in the Tour de France despite having 33 stitches applied to the wounds he suffered in a crash during Sunday’s ninth stage.

    The likeable Dutchman from Vacansoleil-DCM was flung into a barbed-wire fence after a French television car hit riders as it tried to over take them at speed near the end of the stage. Hoogerland was in tears as he pulled on the climber’s polka-dot jersey on the podium and suffered from nightmares during a difficult night. Yet said he will be at the start of stage 10 in Aurillac on Tuesday.

    “I’ll be at the start. I don’t know if I’ll make it (to the finish) but I want to try,” reported Hoogerland as saying.

    Hoogerland spent most of Sunday evening in hospital having stitches applied to the deep cuts on his legs.

    “Some are in bad places but I want to try everything (to ride). I actually feel better on the bike than when I climb the stairs,” Hoogerland said after riding for 90 minutes with his father.

    According to the De Telegraaf newspaper, Hoogerland slept for just four hours on Sunday night and suffered nightmares after his accident.
    “I relived the crash last night. I dreamed that my back hit a pole and that ended up in a wheel chair. The incident played out in my head and I woke up in a sweat,” he said.

    Despite the nature of the accident and his injuries, Hoogerland and his Vacansoleil team have confirmed that they will not take legal action against the driver or the Tour de France.

    "They have apologized and we’ve accepted their apology. We’re not looking for a scapegoat. They went too far and they know that,”...

  • Evans says Contador is still a threat

    Cadel Evans (BMC) looks to be the most in-form of the overall contenders so far.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 18:31 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Knee injury could hamper Spaniard

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has hinted that Alberto Contador's (Saxo Bank) knee injury could jeopardise his race but admitted that the Spaniard still could still claim his fourth Tour de France title.

    "I saw that he almost has a limp on the bike earlier in Tour and it looked like he was struggling a bit but it's hard to read. If you hit ground it can really take it out of you in a three week race. He might be struggling or he might be best rider in the race, you don't know," Evans said during his rest day press conference.

    "Knee injuries are complicated. You can have little things and not be able to pedal your bike. You can adapt to shoulder injuries but not knee. You'd have to ask Alberto how bad it is. He's still a big threat."

    Evans currently sits third overall in the race but importantly ahead of all his major GC rivals. Having ridden aggressively but successfully – he has one stage to his name already – he heads into the Pyrenees in a strong position.

    "I've been saying every day that the team have delivered me into a great position."

    The team had been criticised both from within the peloton and the press room for doing too much work in the opening week, with the likes of Leopard Trek and Saxo Bank keen to take a back seat and do as little work on the front of the peloton as possible. However, Evans disagreed with the evaluation of his team.

    "No, no, [the team's not doing too much]. We're really well positioned now. It would have been too much [to have the jersey] and to control the race yesterday and it was clearly really hard for Garmin yesterday. Still, compliments to

  • Kolobnev Tour de France's first doping case

    Russian champion Alexandre Kolobnev (Katusha).
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 19:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Updated: Katusha rider tests positive for diuretic, leaves Tour

    L'Equipe has reported that Katusha's Alexandr Kolobnev has tested positive for a diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) in the first week of the Tour de France, and has been removed from the race on the first rest day. The positive sample was taken the day of stage 5 on July 6, 2011.

    The Russian champion's A sample reportedly showed evidence of the substance, which can be used as a masking agent and is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list. It is the first doping case of the 2011 Tour.

    The French newspaper received confirmation of the results of the test performed by the laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry before the rider himself was notified.

    The UCI later confirmed the news, but said it will not provisionally suspend the rider because HCT is not a "specified substance". This means the rider can continue to compete, but the UCI press release stated it is "confident that his team will take the necessary steps to enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity and to ensure that their rider has the opportunity to properly prepare his defense in particular within the legal timeline, which allows four days for him to have his B sample analyzed".

    In the UCI's anti-doping rules, if a rider can explain how a "specified substance" may have entered his system, he can receive anywhere from a warning and a time penalty of one percent on the stage for which he tested positive to a two-year ban from the sport.

    HCT is the same substance for which Belgian track star Iljo Keisse tested positive in 2008. He blamed the result on a contaminated supplement, and was able to convince the Belgian cycling federation not to suspend him. However, the...

  • Contador promises battles but doesn't say where

    Alberto Contador is worried about his knee, which he injured in several different crashes.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 19:53 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Defending champion still concerned about his knee

    Alberto Contador is adamant that no conclusion can be drawn from the first week of racing at the Tour de France. He remains ambitious but he's also skeptical about his recovery from a knee injury.

    "This Tour de France is a bit different from the other ones I've done and more similar to my first one in 2005," the defending champion said in a press conference at his hotel in Murat in the center of France. "It's complicated, but the main reason is meteorological. The weather conditions have played an important role in the crashes. The number of uphill finishes has put the sprinters in the middle of the GC riders who all have to be at the front as well to not lose time. My first crash on day one also has a big responsibility. After that, everyone has wanted to ride at the front."

    Like other riders, Contador singled out the Garmin-Cervélo team in regard to the crash that cost Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen Van den Broeck their Tour de France. "They rode too fast and didn't perceive the danger," the Spaniard said.

    Contador also blamed the non-selective parcours for causing problems. "A prologue normally creates a selection and sets a classification. There was none this year, but the course is what it is and we have to cope with it."

    Contador shortened his training ride with the Saxo Bank-Sungard team during the rest day a little, but only because he considered he had done enough. He didn't have any particular pain following his crash on Sunday, but he's still worried about its effects. "I touched the right knee cap for the second time," he said. "Both the inside and the outside are a bit painful but it's been treated...

  • Kolobnev suspends himself after doping positive

    Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 22:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian exits Tour de France, stands to be fired

    Russian champion Alexandr Kolobnev has quit the Tour de France after testing positive for a banned diuretic following stage 5. His Katusha team announced that he had taken the action and said that team rules state that if his B-sample is also positive he will be fired and have to pay five times his salary as a fine.

    French police arrived at the team's hotel during the first rest day of the Tour after the doping positive was announced.

    "The President of the sport group Andrei Tchmil went voluntarily to the police, together with Kolobnev and his roommate [Egor] Silin, in order to translate and reinforce the fact that he and the team are not involved to the contested facts," said the team's press release.

    The positive test for hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) was announced on Monday, and although the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed the news, it said it would not issue a provisional suspension because the drug is a "specified substance" under its anti-doping rules, meaning that even though it is banned in and out of competition, there is a chance HCT could have been ingested through no fault of the rider.

    The UCI did, however, indirectly call for the team to pull Kolobnev from the race in order to "enable the Tour de France to continue in serenity".

    Despite having an opportunity to defend himself with a B-sample analysis in the coming days, the Katusha team pulled Kolobnev from the race and gave him his walking papers.

    The doping case is the third for Katusha in its history after Antonio Colom Mas (EPO) and Christian Pfannberger (also EPO) in 2009.

    The 30-year-old Kolobnev twice placed second in the world championships, and was awarded the bronze medal from the Beijing Olympic Games road race in...

  • Voeckler notes the downside of wearing yellow

    New Tour leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) soaks up the applause.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2011, 22:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman predicts he won't get into any breaks while in race lead

    After taking over the lead of the general classification in the Tour de France on Sunday during stage 9, Thomas Voeckler will have to wait until Tuesday morning to race in it, following Monday's rest day.

    Voeckler last wore yellow in the Tour de France in 2004 when he was just 25. That year he entered into a breakaway which gained 12 minutes on the main peloton, and he was able to hold onto the lead for 10 days.

    "I will not keep it as long," said Voeckler. "I'm not a bother to the general classification favorites. I'm an intermittent yellow jersey wearer."

    Those days in the maillot jaune made him a known name in cycling around the world.  Now 32, he told L'Equipe, "It's the only race in the world where to be a leader, even temporarily, is more important than a stage victory."

    This year, as in 2004, being in yellow will not be easy and holding onto it will be even harder with a finish in Luz Ardiden on Thursday's Bastille Day, and Voeckler with just over two minutes on main contenders like Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck.

    In the meanwhile, he will also have to protect his jersey from opportunists like himself who will test his Europcar team to its limits with breakaway attempts over the next two stages. "I will not have time to enjoy. It's all about concentration," said Voeckler. "You see who escapes and try to control the dangerous riders."

    There is a downside to being in yellow, as Voeckler pointed out. "It means I won't be able to get in any breakaways which is almost a shame because the 158km stage 10 offers ideal terrain for attackers."

    The Europcar team has lost riders like Christophe Kern and Vincent Jérôme in the first week, but manager Jean-René Bernaudeau believes the...