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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 18, 2011

Date published:
July 18, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Rolland lives up to Tour de France expectations

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 4:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French up-and-coming climber in contention for white jersey

    Pierre Rolland has gained notice at the Tour de France as Thomas Voeckler's right hand man in the Pyrenees, but the French climber has also come out of the first block of mountain stages in 14th place overall. The 24-year-old is also in contention for the white jersey as he's the third best young rider only 1:25 down on Rigoberto Uran. This looks like the long-awaited coming of age of a rider who first gained attention in his second pro with Crédit Agricole in 2008.

    "I came out of the Pyrenees with my head held right," Rolland told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 15 in Limoux. "Hopefully, this will last. We'll take it by day. For now, Thomas is the leader and I'm a domestique. He's got the age and the physical maturity to perform, while I'm coming up step by step."

    Rolland was introduced as the next big French thing in 2008 when he finished 13th at Paris-Nice, 6th at the Circuit de la Sarthe and won the king of the mountains at the Dauphiné.

    His long lasting breakaway at Liège-Bastogne-Liège also earned him a spot in the French national team at the Beijing Olympics, but his team manager at the time Roger Legeay refused to burn him out. Rolland only lined up at the Tour de France once he moved to Bbox Bouygues Telecom after the cessation of Crédit Agricole.

    In 2009, he finished 21st in his Tour de France debut. He had higher ambitions in 2010, but he lost eight minutes in the first Alpine stage to Avoriaz and he finished in the grupetto with the sprinters 35 minutes after Sandy Casar the next day at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. His fourth place on stage...

  • Opportunities await at final event of Women's Prestige Cycling Series

    Erinne Willock (TIBCO) had a great ride to end up second overall on GC.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 5:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Willock ready to pounce in HTC-Highroad's absence

    With HTC-Highroad committed to racing in Europe, the final race of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series offers opportunities to move up in the standings to several riders when the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic begins Tuesday.

    HTC-Highroad leads the Women's Prestige Cycling Series individual (Amber Neben) and sprint (Chloe Hosking) categories and sits atop the team standings.

    Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To The Top) is one of those riders looking to improve in the standings. Sitting second in the individual classification, she finished third at the Cascade Cycling Classic a year ago.

    "It's a good race for me because I like the hills and I can do a good time trial," Willock said. "But it's hard, too, because it's at a little bit of altitude and it's hot and there are a lot of hard stages. But I am looking forward to it."

    There is a three-way tie for second in the Series sprint competition. Two of those riders will be at Cascade: Heather Logan-Sprenger and Leah Kirchmann, teammates on Colavita Forno D'Asolo. With HTC-Highroad in Europe, one of these riders is likely to take the sprinter's crown.

    In the best young rider category, Denise Ramsden (Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda) is also not on the start list for Cascade, opening the door for Kasey Clark (Primal-Map My Ride), who is coming off a week at the USA Cycling National Talent I.D. Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    "I'm hugely hoping to improve my performance at Cascade this year," Clark said. "My time at the Olympic Training Center was amazing. I'm hoping I can rest up from the travel and be ready."

    With 31 previous editions,...

  • Farrar laments missed opportunity on windy march to Montpellier

    Tyler Farrar makes a late charge but can't get past Mark Cavendish.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 7:20 BST
    Cycling News

    American now looking to Paris

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) was left ruing what could have been after leaving his sprint a fraction too late on the Tour’s 15th stage to Montpellier. The American, chasing his second Tour victory and his team’s fourth, ran out of road and was forced to settle for second behind sprint maestro Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad).

    "It was a stressful day with lots of wind but the team rode all day and got me into good position in the finale," Farrar said after the stage. "I really wanted the win today but unfortunately it just didn’t turn out."

    New Zealander Julian Dean partly blamed himself for a lack of acceleration off the HTC-Highroad train in the final 500 metres.

    "I was pinned on the wheel [of the HTC train]. I couldn’t come off the wheel [with enough kick] to give Tyler the extra bid of speed he needed to win," Dean explained.

    Sprint-ace Robbie McEwen was critical of Garmin-Cervelo and Omega-Pharma Lotto's tactics, calling their approach to the finale as akin to being led to the slaughter.

    "Farrar did the fastest sprint, but HTC and Cavendish were just far more organised," commented the Australian on his Twitter page. "To be honest i expected more [from the other teams] in the final kilometre but they simply weren't organised enough."

    Although not winning today, Garmin-Cervelo’s Tour de France has been far from disastrous. The team time trial victory on the second day of the race opened up the floodgates for the American team, with Farrar (stage 3) and Hushovd (stage 14) both taking memorable wins.

  • Terpstra may not participate in next year's Tour de France

    Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) was voted most aggressive rider
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 9:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Quick Step rider complains of poor victory chances

    Niki Terpstra has been in several escape groups in this year's Tour de France, and on Sunday was the last break rider to be caught, with only three kilometres to go. That was enough for the Quick Step rider, who said this may well be his last Tour.

    “You must be a sprinter or climber to win a stage in the Tour. If you are in between, like me, you don't stand a chance,” he told De Telegraaf. “I don't think I feel like riding next year's Tour de France.”

    Terpstra was named most combative rider for the stage from Limoux to Montpellier. He and four others got away only two kilometres into the stage, and never had more than a four minute gap. “In the break we collaborated very well. The wind in the first part of the race was at our backs and so it made things a bit easier,” he said on the team's website.

    With 22km to go, Mikhail Ignatiev of Katusha attacked out of the group, and only Terpstra was able to go with him.  Then with 6 kilometres left to the line, the Dutchman attacked again. “I found the strength to  break forward alone, but the altimetry in the last kilometres definitely didn’t help me.

    “I’m satisfied anyway that I got the prize for combativeness. It’s a good result, that’s a major payoff for me and the team, for all the hard work we’ve been doing these days. We’re always very active and this is a prize for our guts and drive after the first week, which was marked by several crashes," he said after the stage.;

    However, the 27-year-old had hoped for more. “You hope that you can stay away, but in a flat ride there is only one percent chance of success. That is nothing.”

  • Gilbert to BMC?

    IMG_4420 - Todays weather is cold,cloudy and rain from the start to finish
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 10:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Successful Belgian linked to American team

    At the Tour de France, cycling's great transfer market, rumour has grown in recent days that Philippe Gilbert has agreed to sign with American team BMC for next season. The Belgian, whose squad Omega Pharma-Lotto will split at the end of 2010, has reportedly made his choice of teams for next year with John Lelangue - but nothing has been revealed officially yet.

    According to L'Equipe, Gilbert opted for BMC not only for its promising financial and sporting proposal, but also because he was disappointed with the recent media coverage in his country. After a package containing doping products and destined to former Lotto rider Wim Vansevenant was discovered in June, some representatives of the media quickly linked the Belgian champion to the affair.

    "I will never forget what was said about me, the links to an affair with which I have nothing to do," Gilbert was quoted in the French newspaper.

    Even though he maintained that his first choice would be a Belgian team, it seems the offers he received in his home country did not convice him to stay. Nothing will be confirmed until August 1, but Belgian television yesterday interviewed team director Lelangue on how Gilbert would fit into the squad that already includes other Classics contenders such as Cadel Evans and Greg Van Avermaet.

    "The collaboration between Van Avermaet and Gilbert? That's a problem we'll solve this winter," Lelangue said to Sporza, implicitly confirming the transfer.

    The winner of this year's Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and...

  • Battered Ten Dam dreaming of Alpe win

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) starts in spite of his facial injuries.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 10:51 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Dutch climber hanging on despite facial injuries

    While some of the overall contenders at the Tour de France may have griped about an overly tense stage between Limoux and Montpellier on Sunday, Rabobank's Laurens Ten Dam was simply happy to have made it to the stage 15 finish at all. After his horrendous face-first crash on the road to Plâteau de Beille, that left him with his face bloodied and needing eight stitches in his wounds, Ten Dam was a relieved man when he rolled into Montpellier just a couple of minutes down on the bunch and with a rest day to come.

    "I'm glad I'm here," he said at the finish with some difficulty, his face still very swollen. The Rabobank climber started stage 15 on the understanding that he would quit if there was even the slightest doubt about his condition. "I've never felt worse at the start of a stage," he told the Rabosport website. "I was lucky that after all of two kilometres a group got away.

    "After that it became more relaxed in the peloton, which moved at a pretty constant rate. We did have a lot of wind, so I had to sprint a few times in order to stay in contact. Until the final, that is, when I fell back. But losing a couple of minutes is not so bad."

    The battered Dutchman admitted his biggest problem during Sunday's stage was taking in enough food. "My face doesn't feel bad, but it is difficult to eat. At the end I was really empty. I didn't get a lot down me. I had real difficulty eating the two rolls I had with me, so I ended up having a lot of liquid food and a few sweets, which I wasn't happy about. But I want to get Paris and I'm assuming that things will improve in the coming days," he...

  • Stapleton still waiting on sponsorship question

    HTC-Highroad's Bob Stapleton talks sponsorship before the start in Limoux.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 11:36 BST
    Cycling News

    No HTC-Highroad announcement expected today, despite rumours

    Bob Stapleton still has not made an announcement on the future sponsorship of HTC-Highroad, and none is expected on today's second rest day of the Tour de France. Still, the team owner is not worried about the possibility of losing top riders to other teams. 

    “The only thing I don't worry about is losing the quality of the team. Our sports management have been together for five years now, our staff is among the best in the sport, and they also want to stay together. We've always been good at getting new riders in, develop them and to some degree also to keep them,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “So I'm not worried about the offers from outside.”

    Directeur Sportif Brian Holm has already confirmed that he has received an offer to move to another squad, along with team manager Rolf Aldag, sprint advisor Erik Zabel and five or six unnamed riders, presumably including Mark Cavendish.

    Again, Stapleton was not concerned. “If we don't get a deal with new sponsors in the end, it can happen, yes. But it'd be great for them and it would make me happy. But I think they hope we can continue together. We have several options, and we investigate them thoroughly. If we are successful, everyone will be happy.”

    Rumours as to possible sponsors range from an extension by HTC to, ironically, an unnamed German company. Stapleton refused to comment on the story that a three-year extension with HTC was to be announced today, saying, “I can't confirm. I can only say that there are good, intelligent talks under way. But simply, nothing is in place before we have a signed contract.”

    At one point, Stapleton had said that

  • Time trial could be decisive, Leopard Trek's Anderson says

    Kim Andersen gives out the orders for the day
    Article published:
    July 18, 2011, 11:50 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Chance for decisive move in the Alps dwindling

    Leopard Trek team manager Kim Andersen believes the closing time trial could now prove decisive in determining the winner of this year's Tour de France, and that it was a ‘worry’ for the Luxembourg squad.

    Speaking at the second rest day press conference, Anderson agreed that upcoming Alpine stages may not prove as decisive as previously thought and the Grenoble time trial on Saturday could decide the winner.

    Before the Tour started, the mountainous parcours looked ideally suited to the Schleck brothers’ strong climbing and would outweigh Cadel Evans (BMC) and other TT specialists’ advantage against the clock. But with the Pyrenees over, the chances to land a decisive blow are dwindling.

    However Andersen said that the mood in the team was good.

    “We’re confident, the team has good morale and I think we can do well,” he told Cyclingnews. “I still think we have more time on some of the others than we expected,” he said referring to the 20 seconds Fränk gained at Luz-Ardiden and crashes which have contributed to Alberto Contador’s current 2:11 deficit to the elder brother. But asked if he believes the Alps could end with a stalemate he replied: “Yes, could be.” Asked if it worried him - “Yes,” he replied.

    Andersen also said two tricky descents to Gap and Pinerolo could cause time losses for the brothers, but the descents of the L’Isoard and Galibier were not a worry.

    “No, I don’t think the big descents are a problem – there is always a valley after – they are not a problem, but there are two small descents that are very dangerous – the one to Gap and also in Italy. Time could be made...