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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 2, 2012

Date published:
July 02, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Stage details announced for 2013 Santos Tour Down Under

    The Willunga Hill
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 1:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Peloton goes 'off-road' in Modbury while Willunga hilltop finish returns

    As the Santos Tour Down Under celebrates its 15th edition in 2013, organisers have revealed that the Australian WorldTour event will introduce some new firsts next January.

    Following the success of the long-hoped-for hilltop finish on Old Willunga Hill this year, where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) held off Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in a nail-biting finish, the queen stage will return. Gerrans went on to win the 2011 event, his team's first overall victory of the season in their inaugural year.

    The Tour's second stage from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills to Rostrevor on the east of the city outskirts is a new route and will be the shortest open road stage in the race's history at 116 kilometres, and also includes a gruelling new Škoda King of the Mountain climb on Corkscrew Hill.

    In what is believed to be a unique feature in the WorldTour, Stage 4 Modbury to Tanunda will begin with a grass start. After successfully hosting stages last year, Prospect, Lobethal, Unley, Stirling, Tanunda, and McLaren Vale will again host stage starts or finishes.

    "We've built the Santos Tour Down Under successfully over 15 years and it now brings in more than $42 million of economic activity, which is quite an achievement, but we're always looking at ways to keep the event dynamic and constantly evolving," said race director Mike Turtur.

    "Last year's event was soaked up by more than 760,000 spectators, which included more than 36,000 interstate and international visitors," he continued. "With the race route travelling through South Australia's spectacular regions, it's a great opportunity for visitors to explore the state's diverse attractions and scenery and enjoy the warm January weather. I look forward to seeing the exciting new...

  • Gilbert aggressive but no repeat of 2011 stage win

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and son prior to the start of the Tour's first road stage.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 1:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Evans says BMC is functioning well and is falling into routine

    Having previously warned that the Tour de France Stage 1 finish in Seraing would be "too steep" for him to succeed, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) charged into fourth place behind winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    There was much speculation as to what could be expected from BMC, after Gilbert won a similar stage on the opening day of the Tour last year, while 2011 overall winner Cadel Evans was also capable of a strong finish on the rolling parcours and was already 10 seconds in arrears to GC rival Bradley Wiggins (Sky) following Saturday's prologue.

    Gilbert, who hails from nearby Remouchamps, fought hard to maintain his position in the swarming and nervous peloton in the blustery conditions.

    "At 23 km to go, someone touched my wheel and I thought I was going to crash," he said. "I stayed up, but lost a lot of places. Then I dug deep to come back in the final two kilometers and took some risks in the last descent. It's a bit of a pity because I finally won the bunch sprint, but it wasn't for the win."

    It was Gilbert's second-best result of the season, after a third place at Flèche Wallonne and fourth on Stage 5 of the Tour of Belgium.

    Meantime, Evans was able to stay out of trouble and was the next-best finisher for the team in 20th position across the finish line in the bunch. He remains in 8th place on general classification.

    Marcus Burghardt did much of the early work while George Hincapie towed him up to fifth wheel as the climb began three kilometres from the finish.

    "As it was it was, it was a headwind, which makes it easy for everyone to stay on your wheel," Evans said. "But the team is working well and functioning well and I'm glad...

  • Injury update: No fractures for Luis León Sánchez

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) goes through some last-minute checks
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 3:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider is fit to start stage two of the Tour

    Luis León Sánchez was one of the unfortunate riders to go down in the high-speed, final kilometres of stage one of this year's Tour de France. The Rabobank rider was seen nursing his right hand following the fall and the concern was he had incurred a fracture to his wrist. Sánchez was able to remount and finish the stage but he lost over four minutes to stage winner Peter Saggan (Liquigas - Cannondale).

    He was taken to hospital following the end of the stage where he underwent x-rays for his injury. Good news came this when he announced:

    "We just received a call from the hospital that has seen us. And there is no fracture. It seems to only be the slam. Good news!"

    Sánchez had been one of the favourites for the technical and challenging finish before the crash, approximately 20km from Seraing derailed his hopes of capturing the stage. He will now look to recovering in time for the start of stage two.

     

  • Tour shorts: Van Garderen relieved, Poels and Leipheimer find Seraing tough-going

    Bradley Wiggins and his Sky team.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 6:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Plus: Fuglsang speaks from Austria, postcards from Greipel

    Classification ups and downs for BMC

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was glad to come through the Seraing stage unscathed.

    "The break went straight away and it was pretty relaxed until the last 60k. Then there was a lot of fighting in the bunch and it was stressful. I don't think we had any problems in the end, although it would have been nice to have Cadel [Evans] gain a few seconds, but there's plenty of other chances. That final climb was hard, though." PC

    Tell us what you really think, Jakob...

    The introduction of yellow helmets for the leading team at this year's Tour de France has divided opinion after Team Sky rolled out for Stage 1 in Liege. Banished RadioShack-Nissan rider Jakob Fuglsang for one wasn't too sure.

    "Watching TDF now," he tweeted while at the Tour of Austria. "@f_cancellara you are looking great in yellow but think that @TeamSky got a good discount on those helmets :-)"

    More power for Poels

    Sure to be in the running for the Tour's best young rider, Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) was forced to settle for a place in the bunch when it came to the steep finale on Stage 1 in Seraing.

    The Dutchman, who made a name for himself on the slopes of the Angliru in the 2011 Vuelta a España, struggled with the speed of Sunday's approach to the finish.

    "The final kilometers were very hard," he...

  • Hesjedal comfortable in finale of Tour's first road stage

    Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) climbs to the finish in the front group.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 8:23 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Canadian "riding into the race" in first competition since Giro

    You could spot a Tour de France GC contender a mile away at the finish of stage 1 in Seraing, Belgium. They were the ones in control of their breathing when crossing the finish line, the ones who didn't collapse in a heap, and the ones who, like Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), even considered a late attack on the final climb.

    Coming into the Tour ,Hesjedal's overall chances have divided opinion. There are those in the press room unmoved by his Giro win, who recount that the last winner of the Giro and Tour double was the late Marco Pantani. They almost scoff at the prospect of the gangly Canadian being mentioned in the same breath as the once great climber. Not even Alberto Contador could do it, they add.

    However, there are others who believe that Hesjedal stands a chance. With Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck watching from their sofas at home and Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans sharing the majority of the limelight, Hesjedal has kept a lower profile than perhaps he merits.

    At the finish in Seraing, where he finished 9th and ahead of both Wiggins and Evans, he refrained from spelling out his GC ambitions but gave warning as to his current form.

    "The prologue was good but today was a hard finish there but I was comfortable and near the front. I didn't think there was much point of trying to do anything off the front," he told Cyclingnews.

    "If anything I'm riding into the race. I've not raced between now and the Giro but based on how I feel now, if I can get some more days in my legs and we can get further into the race, that will be a nice situation."

  • UCI's accountants investigate RadioShack-Nissan's alleged salary payment problems

    The RadioShack team worked hard
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 9:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team acknowledges visit from Ernst & Young but denies any difficulties

    The saga of delayed salary payments at RadioShack-Nissan has taken a new turn, as the team confirmed that the UCI's accounting firm came to team headquarters last week to examine the books. The squad's spokesman confirmed that some wages were delayed for “private” reasons, but both he and team manager Johan Bruyneel denied any serious problems.

    The UCI confirmed last week that three riders from the Luxembourg-based team have officially notified them of failure of payments. Sporten.dk has now reported that Ernst & Young, the UCI's accounting firm, visited the team headquarters in Luxembourg last Thursday.

    "It's true. They were there because some riders had complained that they were not getting their salaries on time, and it is the UCI's job to investigate. It was not Ernst & Young who had set it going, but the UCI,” team spokesman Philippe Maertens said.

    "They were looking for the reason that wages were delayed, and they found it.” The reason for that is “private. Nobody is talking about salary.”

    However, Maertens said, that did not mean there were problems with team salary payments. “Absolutely. No problems at all.”

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel, who is following the Tour de France from his home in London, also denied any problems. “Everyone has been paid,” he said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “That can be checked at the audit bureau. I will ask the UCI where that report comes from.”

    UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani would not comment on the investigation. “I have not seen the result and we will not publish it when it comes,” he said.

    Sporten.dk said that pay problems at the team started last year, with payments being delayed up to a week....

  • Report: Tirreno-Adriatico under financial threat

    The men behind Tirreno-Adriatico (l-r): Captain Vittorio Alessandro, Michele Acquarone (General Manager, RCS Sport), Alfredo Martini (former director, Italian cycling team), Gianni Valenti (Vice Editor Gazzetta dello Sport), Giuseppe Bellandi (Mayor of Montecatini), Mauro Vegni (Chief of Operations, Giro d’Italia)
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 10:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Acquarone says television rights at the heart of the issue

    After 45 years in existence, the future of Tirreno-Adriatico is under a very dark cloud.

    De Telegraaf reported on Monday that organisers of the WorldTour event, RCS Sport, are struggling to maintain its funding.

    "For several years the Tirreno-Adriatico has cost us much money," Michele Acquarone said. "That needs to stop."

    "I cannot keep asking my bosses at RCS Sport to lose so much money on the race. Especially in these times."

    Acquarone told the publication that the major issue is television rights. The event shares calendar space with Paris-Nice, which seems to be the preferred option for international broadcasters.

    "We have great champions at the start, great racing, but nobody can see it," he said.

    This year, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was crowned champion, while in 2011, Cadel Evans took the honours en route to his Tour de France victory. Other previous winners include Fabian Cancellara (2008), Óscar Freire (2005), Tony Rominger (1989-1990), Francesco Moser (1980-1981) and Roger de Vlaeminck (1972-1977).

    Acquarone also warned about profit margins on two Italian classics, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia.

    "Financially, these classics are certainly not healthy," he said. "A classic like the Strade Bianchi however has big potential. Maybe in future we should move Milan-San Remo and the Tour Giro di Lombardia to the Sunday."

     

  • Chavanel on attack at Tour de France

    French time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) goes all out on the streets of Liege.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 10:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    More to come from Frenchman after fine prologue result

    Coming into the Classic-like uphill finish in Liège on stage one of the Tour de France, it seemed highly probable that Sylvain Chavanel, at only seven seconds off race leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), would make a bid to take over the yellow jersey. But the Swiss powerhouse easily came back on the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider, only to launch an attack himself - which in turn resulted in Peter Sagan's first victory in the French grand tour.

    Overall standings between Cancellara and Chavanel finally remained unchanged, which means that the Frenchman, who turned 33 years old last Saturday, will continue to launch attacks on the yellow jersey, which he already wore for two days in 2010.

    "I hadn't planned anything special for the finale," the French time trial champion nevertheless told L'Equipe. "But when I saw Cancellara drop back a bit during the climb, I decided to play my card. He's a smart one though, he already knew what he was preparing for.... But nobody let me go when I jumped, so that must mean that they are a little bit afraid of me!"

    In the end, Chavanel was not surprised with Sagan's stage win over Cancellara. "It was predictable that he would not succeed. And any other scenario would have had the same outcome: Sagan on this kind of finish was unbeatable," he added, satisfied with his placing.

    "It's a good sign to finish 12th on the stage despite my attack. It confirms my good sensations. The Tour has only started - now I will get on the attack!"

    French national coach Laurent Jalabert also watched the racing of his possible Olympic captain closely. "Chavanel was excellent. He said...