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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 4, 2011

Date published:
July 04, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Horner pleased with solid start to Tour de France

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) would have a lot more to smile about at day's end.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 9:46 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    RadioShack rider aims to reach top form after week one

    Chris Horner’s (RadioShack) attempt to break into the top five at the Tour de France has got off to an almost flawless start. The American made the decisive split on stage 1, avoiding crashes and time gaps, while he and his Radioshack teammates finished 6th at 10 seconds in Sunday’s team time trial. Horner currently lies in 21st place overall, just ten seconds off the yellow jersey.

    “I think it’s been the perfect start,” he told Cyclingnews after the stage 2 team time trial.

    “I’m happy and totally content. We’ve avoided crashes time splits and in the team time trial we had a strong performance.”

    Horner came into the race aiming for a top five place after finishing 10th last year. However he told Cyclingnews days before the start that a podium place wasn’t out of the question if he could regain the form that carried him to the overall win at May’s Tour of California.

    Coming into the Tour, Horner under-trained and is hoping to find his top form after a week of racing.

    “I think I’m a little bit under form at the moment but I think that’s to be expected because I did a little bit less training than I did for California in the hope that this hard week of racing here would bring the form up to that really high level. I’m confident that my form will peak again You have to remember this is the third peak for me this season and it’s pretty hard to keep turning the engine on and off.

    “I got a great programme doing the best races in the world, so I’m confident that in the next four or five days I’ll be at my highest level.”

    ...
  • Contador not discouraged by first two Tour de France stages

    Alberto Contador was not happy to have lost tmie
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 10:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    No appeal from Saxo Bank-SunGard over Contador time delay

    After losing 1:20 on the opening stage of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) conceded an additional 22 seconds in Sunday's team time trial and is now in 75th place. The defending champion is not discouraged, however, and is looking forward to proving himself in the upcoming climbs.

    Contador said that he would not give up. “Throwing in the towel is the last thing I would do. Now there are riders who have more options to win, but there is no reason to throw in the towel” he said in a statement after the stage.

    He praised the team's performance in the team time trial, in which it placed eighth, at 28 seconds. He was “happy, because my team gave everything, as I did. We went all out and now we must think of the next few days and try not to have a recurrence of yesterday (Saturday), when we had bad luck.”

    From here on, he said that it “will be a different Tour, we will face it with another point of view. The important thing now is to pass the days until we reach the mountains to see how we are.” And, after all, the mountains are “my forte."

    On Sunday, AS reported that Saxo Bank-SunGard team had decided to appeal Contador's loss of 1:20 on the opening stage, claiming that his deficit should only have been 34 seconds.

    Contador got caught in the crash 8km from the finish and was held up. He tried to catch up but, with a gap of only 34 seconds, was then stopped by yet another large crash just within the 3km limit. That crash blocked the road and cost him an additional 46 seconds.

    Bjarne Riis confirmed that the team had considered...

  • Sky's Tour de France start a contrast to 2010, says Wiggins

    Team Sky at full speed
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 10:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Thomas misses out on yellow jersey

    Although Sky missed out on stage victory and the yellow jersey, Bradley Wiggins was pleased with his squad’s performance in Sunday’s team time trial at the Tour de France.

    The British team finished 3rd, four seconds down on winners Garmin-Cervélo, and missed out on the opportunity to put Geraint Thomas into the overall lead. While Wiggins was disappointed for his young Welsh teammate, he said that Sky’s opening weekend in 2011 was a vast improvement on twelve months ago.

    "We gained more time on some of the GC guys and it's been a fantastic start to this year's Tour, in complete contrast to last year,” Wiggins said. “G [Thomas] you could see was hungry for it. That is the only slight tinge of disappointment, that he didn't get the jersey because he really deserved it."

    As team leader, Wiggins took responsibility for guiding his Sky team home over the final section of the course.

    “My role was to keep the pace in the final when the wind was at its greatest,” he said. “Everyone played their part today and it was just a fantastic performance. When you come away from a race like that knowing there was nothing else you could have done there is certainly no disappointment there.”

    Directeur sportif Sean Yates echoed his rider’s statements, and said that Sky had not made any technical errors out on the course, although he wondered if the wind conditions had been the same for all of the teams.

    “There were no incidents of any kind so basically they couldn't have gone any faster, and the fastest team won on the day,” Yates said. “The only area where there could be some area of debate is the strength of the wind from when we went off compared to...

  • UCI fire back on saddle issue

    Chris Horner (Team RadioShack) uses a Bontrager inForm RL saddle.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 15:31 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Criticizes “unprofessional behaviour” by Bruyneel and McGee

    The UCI has reacted angrily to criticism from riders and teams following yesterday's team time trial at the Tour de France.

    Johan Bruyneel and Bradley McGee were both slapped with fines from the sport's governing body for "improper conduct towards officials in the zone where the bikes were being checked."

    The dispute relates to UCI regulation 1.3.014 which dictates the position of saddles. A number of unsavoury scenes erupted before the time trial but according to a UCI spokesperson teams had been given a number of chances to make sure that their equipment met the needed standards.

    "If there's an element of unprofessional behaviour it's not coming from the UCI but from the teams. Once again it's disappointing because it's a very simple rule that must be respected. There's no other function of the UCI rule book than to lay down the rules that must be respected," the UCI spokesperson told Cyclingnews.

    "The UCI can't accept the behaviour of certain people like Mr Buyneel who have been fined for their behaviour.

    "Before the Dauphine the teams were informed by the new rules. We had a member of the UCI at the Dauphine who was at their disposal if they wanted clarity over the rules. After the Dauphine he returned. No teams talked to him at the race so he sent them a letter saying that the rules would be enforced at the Tour. We then reminded the teams again at the teams' meeting before the Tour."

    Bruyneel was frustrated by the timing of the action from race officials, saying that the action "led to an unprofessional spectacle in front of everyone to see – An embarrassment for our sport," on his personal blog.

     

  • Early crash spoils chances for HTC-Highroad in Tour de France TTT

    HTC-Highroad were handicaped by the loss of Bernhard Eisel in an early crash
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 15:55 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews

    Aldag praises team for coming back

    Together with the Garmin- Cervélo team, HTC-Highroad was one of the top favourites for the win in Sunday's team time trial. At the end of the day it was Garmin-Cervélo who stepped into the spotlights on the podium with the stage win and the yellow jersey for Thor Hushovd. For HTC-Highroad things went wrong right at the first corner of the 23km long time trial when Austrian rider Bernhard Eisel crashed.

    Right after rolling back towards the team bus Cyclingnews was there to ask team manager Rolf Aldag what the thought about the team's performance.  “It didn't really help that Bernie crashed in the first corner. That really ripped it apart. We cannot blame him,” Aldag said.

    “I told the guys before the race that if you make a mistake, you drop off the list of guys who can win it. Obviously we dropped off that list when Bernie was on the floor. The guys kept on fighting and got themselves together again and sped back up,” Aldag said.

    Nevertheless the HTC-Highroad team trailed Garmin-Cervélo by eight seconds at the first split. At the second split they were 14 seconds down on their rivals. Somehow they got the speed back up though and at the finish they were only five seconds slower.

    “The guys did well in the end, I think,” a smiling Aldag said. “They kept the motivation and everything. To go really hard, stop, regroup and restart, it's not easy. You could see it in the split time from the first to the second split. That was more the cracking point. They were probably thinking about how much they lost. But then they realized that it wasn't over yet.

    “Chapeau to the motivation and...

  • Cavendish, Hushovd relegated in Tour de France sprint

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) before the start
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 17:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Points classification to Rojas after intermediate sprint bash

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) have both been disqualified from the intermediate sprint on stage 3 of the Tour de France after making contact in the mid-race points classification battle.

    Cavendish had crossed the line in sixth, leading the bunch over the line behind a break of five riders. However, the race commissars deemed both his and Hushovd’s actions inappropriate.

    Judges said the Norwegian deviated from his racing line, while Cavendish clearly used his head either to keep upright or fend off Hushovd.

    HTC-Highroad's Rolf Aldag confirmed the news to Cyclingnews. “The chief commissar confirmed the news and talked to Allan Peiper. He said that Thor and Cav were disqualified. Thor lost his line but Cav can’t use his head."

    Aldag confirmed that HTC-Highroad would not appeal.

    “There is no appeal. I spent three hours talking to the commissars last year when they disqualified Renshaw. Once they make up their mind that’s it.”

    The incident dropped Hushovd from third to fourth in the race for the green jersey, which now rests atop the shoulders of Spaniard Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).

  • Third Tour de France a charm for Farrar

    Stage three winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 18:51 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American remembers Weylandt with stage victory salute in Redon

    Having had to wait three Tours de France for a stage win, Garmin-Cervelo has found themselves celebrating back-to-back victories after Tyler Farrar won stage 3 into Redon. The American sprinter capped off an unbeatable lead-out from yellow jersey and teammate Thor Hushovd to win ahead of Vacansoleil's Romain Feillu and Movistar's José Joaquín Rojas.

    For Farrar it was an especially poignant moment. Not only has the American been chasing this moment for the past three years, he has also had to overcome the loss of his friend and professional cycling colleague Wouter Weylandt in May's Giro d'Italia.

    "I've been to the Tour for a few years trying to win a stage, close several times but victory has eluded me until now. We showed yesterday just how strong our team is this year in the team time trial. That was a big relief and already a bit of pressure off our shoulders," he said.

    "The way the boys rode today was just as incredible and it just keeps getting better now."

    Farrar's progress as a sprinter has been steady but impressive. His stage win at Tirreno in 2009 was arguably his breakthrough moment but he missed out on a stage of that year's Tour de France, finishing second twice as rival Mark Cavendish dominated the bunch gallops.

    Last year he stepped up another level, winning two stages in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta. However, a Tour win eluded him still after he crashed early in the race and was forced to abandon several days later.

    "Two years ago I think I had the speed to win but maybe not the tactical savvy to ride the field sprints but I've progressed and I'm still learning."

    Farrar had racked...

  • Futile battle for polka dot jersey on Tour de France stage 3

    Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) finished second overall, three seconds down on Gilbert.
    Article published:
    July 04, 2011, 19:49 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Delage and Terpstra fail to take lead from Philippe Gilbert

    Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) and Mickaël Delage (FDJ) were among the five-man breakaway that dominated much of the proceedings on stage 3 of the Tour de France. With the 198km-long stage to Redon seemingly destined to finish in the sprint, both men eyed up the single king of the mountains point on offer atop the Pont de Saint-Nazaire as a recompense for their efforts off the front.

    Ultimately, it was Delage who reached the apex of the bridge first and the Frenchman also took the intermediate sprint and the day’s combativity prize, while Terpstra was left empty-handed as the break was swept up in the final kilometres of a stage won by Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo).

    Delage and Terpstra went clear inside the first kilometre of the stage, in the company of José Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

    Terpstra felt afterwards that the reduced number of points on offer for category four climbs meant that fewer riders were willing to gamble a day off the front in an early break, and theirs was the first and only attempted escape, as had been the case on Saturday.

    “Clearly nobody was interested in the sole point at stake for the best climber competition,” Terpstra said. “It was my only goal because if [Philippe] Gilbert still had another jersey, there was a good chance the winner of that point would ride in the polka dot jersey tomorrow. We quickly gained a nice lead.”

    For his part, Delage simply wanted to free the clutches of the peloton and enjoy a different view of the race, even if he...