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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 12, 2010

Date published:
July 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Prudhomme pleased with exciting Alpine outcome

    Tour director Christian Prudhomme (R) was joined by Prince Albert II of Monaco in the red Skoda today.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 6:06 BST
    Cyclingnews staff

    Tour director laments demise of Armstrong's challenge

    Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme says he's excited by the prospects of a thrilling general classification battle after the first real Alpine test of this year's event.

    "It is very exciting, we don't know what's going to happen," said Prudhomme (pictured with Prince Albert of Monaco, right). "Cadel Evans has the yellow jersey, with only 20 seconds on Andy Schleck. Contador is behind, together with others, like Basso and Kreuziger.

    "Everything is possible. The only certainty that we have is that Lance Armstrong won't win the Tour 2010," he added.

    After an opening week that saw several contenders slip by the wayside courtesy of crashes, the 189km to Morzine-Avoriaz also witnessed the fall of another Tour favourite in Armstrong, who lost almost 12 minutes by stage's end high on the ski slopes above Morzine.

    "I didn't expect such a crisis. I understand he had a saddle sore which could explain things," continued Prudhomme. "It's true that we knew a dominating Armstrong - during seven years he never crashed.

    "I still remember that stage to Gap in 2003 where he was even able to cross a field without crashing. So falling two and a half times during this stage is a lot.

    "Since he came back, he's crashed more. We also know that he has a hard time dealing with the heat, as the one Tour that was the least easy for him to win was the one in 2003 during the heatwave.

    "I really couldn't imagine that he'd lose 11:45 on the very first mountain stage, and I'm sure he didn't imagine it, either."

    While the American has said he'll now turn his attention to helping Team RadioShack deliver countryman Levi Leipheimer in a prime position to contest the general classification fight, Prudhomme isn't sure whether fans can expect any more fireworks from the former Tour champion.

    "I don't know at all what he is still capable of doing, if this could be the one Tour too many," he said. "I don't know...

  • Sánchez makes good on promise

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was in the main favourites group.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 9:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion impresses on first Alpine challenge

    Although yesterday's stage to Morzine-Avoriaz may not have ultimately played out the way Samuel Sánchez would have liked, the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider is pleased with his performance and hopes to maintain that strong form throughout the rest of the Tour de France.

    The reigning Olympic road race champion took second on the stage, narrowly beaten by Andy Schleck after the pair sprinted hard for the line at the end of a tough 189km in the saddle. He now sits in ninth place overall, 2:15 behind new overall leader Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).

    "It was the first serious test in the mountains and I responded with strength and ambition," said Sánchez. "I know that opportunities are few and that we must try to take advantage of them, but it's a matter of trying a thousand times. I may have started [the sprint] a little early, but at that time I was convinced that it was the best [idea].

    While his teammates have had a tough time of it in the first week of this year's Tour, with many crashes plaguing the Spanish squad, Sánchez is pleased with where he's positioned heading into the rest day and a major push into the pyrenees.

    "I'm happy with my performance on the stage today. I worked hard to get in better shape for the Tour de France and demonstrated that with this performance which makes me optimistic for the remainder of the race, of which there is a lot," he continued.

    "I am placed ninth overall and I've cut some time to the other candidates for the top spots, except Andy Schleck, who was super [today]. Tomorrow we have the rest day and I'll take time to recover my strength; these first eight stages have become very hard."

    Sánchez's performance capped a great day for Spanish sport, with his countrymen later winning the FIFA World Cup final and Alberto Contador moving onto the podium overall. Astana's leader paid tribute to his friend and compatriot for a job well done.

    "I am delighted that he...

  • Moinard to resume hostilities after rest day

    Amaël Moinard
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 10:12 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman's ambitions ruined by Quick Step chase

    The final man to be caught from stge eight's break on the climb to Avoriaz, Amaël Moinard was very disappointed to have missed an opportunity for the stage win but says he'll try again after the rest day if he has the legs to go again.

    "I was disappointed yesterday [stage seven]," said Moinard in Morzine-Avoriaz. "When [Sylvain] Chavanel attacked, I hesitated and it was too late. I did reconnoitre the col de la Ramaz and the finale to Avoriaz before the Dauphiné.

    "I liked this stage, that's why I initiated the breakaway. My goal was to win the stage. Our breakaway could have had a lot of advance and I don't understood why Quick Step didn't let us have a bigger gap."

    The Belgian team tried to defend Chavanel's yellow jersey but the Frenchman was lacking energy from his exploits on Saturday. "We needed a lead of three to four minutes at the bottom of the climb in Morzine but as we only had 1.30, I realised our initiative was dead," Moinard continued.

    "I had produced big efforts to come across to [Koes] Moerenhout but I felt better and better. The succession of the climbs was good for me, so I gave it all in the last one even though I knew I'd get caught.

    "Opening the road of the Tour de France in the mountains brings a lot of happiness. It's rare in a Grand Tour. Most of the time, we suffer."

    Moinard's parents and sister were on holiday in Avoriaz to welcome him. His girlfriend and their baby also arrived today. Tomorrow is a rest day, which for many riders, means a family day.

    "Usually I'm doing good after the rest day," the Normand noted. Last year he finished fifth in stage 16 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, won eventually by Sandy Casar after the disqualification of Mikel Astarloza.

    Tuesday's stage nine from Morzine to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne is another Alpine test with a succession of climbs. That's what suits Moinard. "If I feel good again, I'll try to make the break again," he said.

  • Evans revels in rare honour

    An emotional Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 11:38 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian adds yellow jersey to rainbow stripes

    Cadel Evans (BMC) grabbed the overall lead at the Tour de France with a solid ride on the climb to Avoriaz on Sunday, and the World Champion was in relaxed mood when he spoke in Morzine this morning. It is the second time in his career that Evans has spent a rest day in the yellow jersey and the experience garnered in 2008 is standing him in good stead this time around.

    “Getting the yellow jersey at the Tour is always something special, and swapping the rainbow jersey for the yellow jersey is a rare honour,” said Evans.

    Remarkably, the experienced Australian has now held the leader’s jersey in each of the last three Grand Tours: the 2010 Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and the 2009 Vuelta a España.

    Evans joined the BMC team in the wake of his world title-winning ride in Mendrisio last September and he was keen to dedicate his success to his new squad.

    “It’s for all the team and for all the work that went into building this team. It’s really just a nice reward for everyone,” said Evans. “It was so nice to be able to walk down to the dinner table with the yellow jersey and give it to [assistant sports director] Jacques Michaud, whose birthday it was.”

    Sunday wasn’t completely without incident for Evans, however, as he was among the fallers in a crash in the early kilometres of the stage. His injuries required the attention of the race doctor and Evans will be hoping to take advantage of the rest day to aid his recovery.

    “I have a very sore left forearm, but the legs are still going which is the important thing,” Evans explained. “It’s a little bit uncomfortable right now, but hopefully by tomorrow it’ll come around and after a good night’s sleep I should be alright. I’ll try to take it as easy as possible [during the rest day] and I’ll have a lot of physiotherapy on my left arm.”

  • Boonen back on the bike

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 11:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Check-up today to see if he can resume full training

    Tom Boonen is back on his bike and training again. He will undergo further medical examinations on his injured left knee today.

    The Quick Step sprinter had to withdraw from the team's Tour de France line-up due to tendonitis of the knee. He first injured the knee in a crash during the Tour of California and exacerbated it with another crash at the Tour de Suisse. The injury also forced him to miss the Belgian national championships, where he had hoped to defend his title.

    Boonen first tested his knee on Tuesday, with a 30 minute ride, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen, before taking longer rides over the weekend. The team medical staff will examine his knee again today, and if the signs are good, he will be able to resume training.

  • Gerrans out of Tour de France

    Simon Gerrans (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 14:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian breaks arm in stage 8 crash

    Simon Gerrans (Sky) has been forced to abandon the Tour de France during the rest day in Morzine. The Australian was injured in a crash 7km into Sunday's stage to Morzine-Avoriaz. Although the Australian remounted and managed to finish the day in the autobus 32:34 down on stage winner Andy Schleck, x-rays today have confirmed that he broke his arm in the fall.

    Gerrans, a stage winner in the 2008 Tour at Pratonevoso, announced his withdrawal from the race via Twitter. "Just had a scan that confirmed what I feared, I broke my arm when I crashed after 7km of yesterdays stage. My 2010 TdF is finished," he wrote. "What's harder than racing an Alpine stage of the TdF? Racing an Alpine stage of the TdF with a broken arm."

    Gerrans joined the new Sky team this season, having won stages in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España for Cervélo in 2009. Gerrans was lying in 142nd position at 59:51 after yesterday's stage.

  • Riis announces two new sponsors for future

    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 15:34 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    UPDATED: Sungard signs on, but name sponsor not yet public

    Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis announced during the first rest day of the Tour de France that his team would continue to exist for at least two more years. Current co-sponsor, US-based IT firm Sungard, becomes co-title sponsor, next to a yet unnamed new title sponsor. Whether or not current top gun Andy Schleck would still be present in Riis's team next year remained an unanswered question.

    "The next two years are secured for this team," Riis said on Monday afternoon. "Last year we started a relationship with Sungard and I've been able to prove to them what we could do. They're happy and ready to step up. They will become a very important sponsor for us; a co-title sponsor.

    "We reached an agreement with another company, as a title sponsor, which will make it possible for us to continue. I can not announce the name right now, because of business strategy reasons. This will happen later, not during this Tour, even though I know there will a lot of speculation be going on about it," Riis said.

    "The most important thing is that this team is continuing, and on a high level. We are still negotiating with other sponsors and still seeking other sponsorships for this team because we want to bring it on an even higher level. This team has a lot of ambitions. We want to be the leading team in the world. That's always been our essence for many years now and we're still working on that.

    "I believe it's good for cycling, because I believe the things we do are good for cycling. The philosophy we have is very important for the future of cycling and we want to have a huge influence on the future of cycling. Now we're having the guarantee that we will be able to do that; I'm very happy about that," Riis said. "We're all very motivated now. We're going to show the world what we're here for."

    His key rider to reach that goal is Andy Schleck. Whether or not the young rider from Luxembourg would still be there in 2011 to help Riis win the...

  • Basso counts on experience against Tour young guns

    Ivan Basso speaks to the press on the Tour's rest day in Morzine-Avoriaz.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2010, 17:26 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Giro winner blames himself for deficit on the cobblestones

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo), 13th overall and 2:41 behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) on general classification at the first rest day, is looking for better results in the upcoming two thirds of the Tour de France. The 32-year-old Italian doesn't blame anyone but himself for the time lost on the cobblestones and predicts Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) will still be an important rider in this race.

    "I think the first part of the Tour de France hasn't been very good for me because I came out of the cobblestones stage with more of a deficit than I should," the winner of the 2010 Giro d'Italia told reporters during the first rest day in Morzine. "It's partly due to bad luck and partly my fault. A rider like me should have been in the first positions but my problem in my profession is my lack of agility that penalises me and costs me too much energy. But this is the Tour. It's so competitive, it's not simple to do just what you want."

    The captain of Liquigas-Doimo felt reassured after the first mountain stage. "It takes me back to the same ambitions I had before the Tour started," Basso said. "Yesterday I was at the front at my ease. But this stage has said very little about the hierarchy of the Tour. All the favourites are still up there. The only thing that happened was Armstrong's bad luck. His crash has jeopardized everything.

    "You know the respect I have for him and the friendship I have with him. He arrived super-determined but now the yellow jersey is unworkable. This morning I've seen him on his bike, it means he wants to do something in this Tour before the end.

    "We've done only one third of the Tour," Basso said. "There is the second third coming and the third third! I don't remember in my whole career having experienced such high temperatures. Yesterday again it showed 40 and 41°C on my SRM, that was with other riders surrounding me. Therefore, we don't know what's gonna happen next in this race. Maybe those like me and...