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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 12, 2014

Date published:
July 12, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France: Slagter targeting victory in Gérardmer

    Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) won stage 7 in Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 8:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour debutante feeling more confident each day

    Having completed the first week of his debut Tour de France, 25-year-old Tom-Jelte Slagter is targeting a maiden grand tour stage win on the slopes of the Gérardmer in the Vosges.

    The finish of stage 8 suits the characteristics of the puncheur who won two stages of Paris-Nice in March this year and he is looking for a good result having missed out on his first goal of the race as he explained to

    "My first objective was the second stage but unfortunately I didn't feel strong or confident enough on the day to go for the win, which was my only goal and we changed plans and decided to toughen the pace in the hills working for Andrew Talansky and it turned out well," he said.

    "The other stage I pinned down is the one finishing in Gérardmer. Of course, the priority is to look after Andrew but if circumstances permit, the course suits me very well, I'm at my best in the mid-mountains."

    Talanksy will be feeling the effects of a crash in the final 200 meters of stage 7 in Nancy for which he blamed Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) for taking him down that could see Slagter freed to chase the stage win.

    While he sits almost 30 minutes behind the yellow jersey of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), a stage win could see Slagter earn himself a polka dot jersey on the "the pearl of the Vosges" as described by Victor Hugo's brother Abel. However the stage, while suiting explosive climbers like Slagter, may see the GC contenders test each other's legs ruling out Slagter's opportunity to ride...

  • Tour de France: La Mauselaine finale suited to Nibali, says Contador

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 9:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard looks ahead to La Planche des Belles Filles stage

    The Tour de France peloton faces its first summit finish at La Mauselaine on Saturday at the end of stage 8, but as far as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is concerned, the true climbing begins two days later on the road to La Planche des Belles Filles.

    There are three climbs packed into the final 25 kilometres of Saturday’s stage, including the short, sharp haul to the finish, but Contador feels the finale is better suited to maillot jaune Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) than to him.

    “The last climb is perhaps too short and explosive, and better for riders like [Alejandro] Valverde or even Nibali, but we'll be up there, waiting for Monday, which is more suitable,” Contador said.

    Contador lies 16th overall, some 2:37 behind Nibali, after losing ground on the cobbled stage four to Arenberg. He suggested that his fight back could begin at La Planche des Belles Filles and in the Alps, but believes the Pyrenean stages in the third week will be decisive.

    “The mountains really begin on Monday – Saturday will be an explosive finish, but better for other riders,” he said. “There is still enough terrain to recover time. The Alps will hurt but the Tour will be decided in the Pyrenees. People are going to have fun watching it on television.”

    As the Tour heads into the Vosges, Contador will be relieved to leave the tense, flat stages of the opening week behind him, where the high speeds in the peloton have contributed to a spate of crashes. “You have to be in front [to avoid crashes] and I have a team that is protecting me in an incredible way. There is time to come in the mountains to show what my form is like,” he said.

    Contador added that the Tour’s particularly demanding...

  • Report: 2015 Giro d'Italia to begin in Sanremo

    Fans in Belfast came out in droves to see the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 11:17 BST
    Cycling News

    24km team time trial planned for opening stage

    The 2015 Giro d’Italia will start in Sanremo and begin with three stages in the Liguria region, according to a report in Italian newspaper Secolo XIX.

    After its successful Irish excursion this year, the Giro’s Grande Partenza is set to return to home roads in 2015. According to Secolo XIX, the race will begin on May 9 with a 24km team time trial on Sanremo’s seafront cycling path.

    The following day’s opening road stage is slated to finish in Genoa, while the finale of stage 3 is touted to be in the Tigullio area, which last featured on the route in 2012, when Lars Bak won into Sestri Levante.

    While the Sanremo start has yet to be officially confirmed by Giro organiser RCS Sport, talks with representatives from the Liguria region and Area 24 – the Sanremo cycle path’s management company – are reported to be ongoing.

    The total cost to the region for holding the Giro start in Liguria is estimated at around €1 million, which is significantly less than what was reportedly spent – approximately €6 million – on bringing the Giro to Belfast this year.

    Sanremo last held the Giro start in 1987, when Roberto Visentini won the prologue time trial. The following day was a split stage, with Erik Breukink taking the short road leg in the morning, while Stephen Roche won a novel stage 2b – an 8km downhill time trial off the Poggio.

    Sanremo has hosted Giro stage finishes on eleven occasions in total. Pietro Caucchioli was the last winner there in 2001, although his victory was overshadowed by police raids on team hotels that evening, and the peloton's cancellation of the following day's stage in protest.

  • Roompot Vakanties prepared to invest in Dutch cycling

    Sep Vanmarcke will lead the Belkin challenge in Flanders
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 14:43 BST
    José Been

    Belkin and Orange Cycling seek sponsorship funding

    Roompot Vakanties, a Dutch holiday company, has money ready to invest in cycling, Omroep Zeeland reports. "We have a certain amount to invest in cycling in 2015," the company’s CEO said. "Both Belkin and Orange Cycling know the amount and the ball is now in their court."

    WorldTour team Belkin Pro Cycling is looking for a new sponsor after the American company used a clause in the contract to end the sponsorship after the 2014 season instead of the announced 2013-2015 deal.

    Richard Plugge, CEO of Belkin, has set aside some money from the Rabobank years [the Dutch bank continues to pay a large share of the wage bill in 2014] and Bianchi have expressed their intentions to try and stay with the team. "We want to be a team that can compete in the mid regions of the WorldTour," he told NOS television last week. The amount that is rumoured around the team is 7 million Euro.

    Orange Cycling is a new project by former procyclists Erik Breukink, Michael Boogerd, Jean-Paul van Poppel and businessman Michael Zijlaard. They want a Pro Continental team with only Dutch riders.

    Both Belkin as Orange Cycling have set deadlines on the August 1. Belkin will allow its riders to look out for a new team after that date. For Orange Cycling the deadline is more flexible.

    "We went to Roompot for another talk, which is a positive sign," Michael Zijlaard told Algemeen Dagblad on Saturday. "We are not looking for 7 to 8 million that Belkin wants.

    "Maybe with a smaller team, the August deadline is less strict. Whether we succeed? I remain positive but we can only approach possible riders when we can really offer them something."

    The Dutch holiday...

  • Menchov stripped of Tour de France results

    Denis Menchov (Russia)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 15:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian given ban through 2015 for biological passport violation

    Russian Denis Menchov has been stripped of his results from the 2009, 2010 and 2012 Tours de France, with the UCI surreptitiously slipping the news into a summary of doping cases that was published on July 10.

    Menchov finished second in the 2010 Tour de France behind Andy Schleck, after the disqualification of Alberto Contador.

    Menchov, who retired suddenly on May 21, 2013 from the Katusha team, is a mere line item in a long list of cases that includes life bans to Lance Armstrong and Danilo Di Luca. He raced last on March 24, 2013, when he dropped out of the Volta a Cataluyna.

    He is one of four riders banned for biological passport findings, but the cases of Leonardo Bertagnoli, Carlos Barredo and Leif Hoste were all announced publicly. There is no date listed for the adverse analytical finding, but Menchov's two-year ban ends on April 9, 2015.

    Menchov was not stripped of his overall Giro d'Italia victory from 2009.


  • Tour de France: Porte moves up to third overall

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) finished just behind the maillot jaune
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 18:46 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Tasmanian looking forward to longer climbs

    In the absence of Chris Froome, it was Richie Porte who carried the leadership of Team Sky troops as the Tour de France peloton hit the first mountain slopes in the Vosges region. The 29-year-old Tasmanian didn't disappoint during the stage 8 from Tomblaine to Gérardmer, as he limited his deficit to top favourites Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) to a handful of seconds on the first mountain top finish, moving up from seventh to third in the general classification, at 1:58 down on Nibali.

    After the finish, Porte took on a jacket and headed straight to the team bus to find some cover from the rain that had soaked the riders during the last hour of racing. After warming down on the bike for a few minutes he headed over to the gathered media to answer a limited amount of questions.

    "I'm happy with how it went. It's not really my bread and butter that short sharp stuff. I'm happy enough with how it was. I think it puts me in quite a good position. I'm a little bit behind on those guys on that stuff but maybe in the longer climbs I'm going to be a little bit better," Porte said.

    During Saturday's medium mountain stage, the Tinkoff-Saxo team took the initiative on the three climbs that featured in the final twenty kilometres, setting a blistering pace. Several riders with GC ambitions conceded a severe time loss but Porte stood tall.

    "That's the sort of riding that Sky usually does. I guess that they were good today. It's a little bit hard for Astana, they have had the jersey for about a week now. We'll just see how the next couple of days are. It's certainly nice for me to have this opportunity. I'm happy with how I was today and how I finished."

    Porte was not surprised by the drama of the first week in the...

  • Kwiatkowski still in white despite Vosges blow

    Michal Kwiatkowski launches an attack
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 19:13 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Young rider struggles on climb up to Gérardmer La Mauselaine

    Polish champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) was the best young rider and fourth in the general classification before the first mountain summit, stage 8 of the Tour de France. But he was one of the first big overall contenders to get dropped in the final kilometres of a stormy Saturday afternoon up to Gérardmer La Mauselaine.

    Eventually, he crossed the finish line in Gérardmer 1:36 minutes after race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). That keeps him narrowly in fourth overall and still in his white jersey of the best young rider. However, he lost a lot of ground on most GC rivals who were aiming for a top-10 result. After the stage, Kwiatkowski stated the fast pace and sore legs hurt him on the climb.

    Three climbs in the last 20km were on the route of the first mountain stage. Due to the fierce pace set out by the Tinkoff-Saxo team, Kwiatkowski had to let go of the peloton shortly before the top of the second climb. Nevertheless, he managed to finish ahead of many riders who only cracked on the final climb.

    "I had such a sore legs on the first climb and you saw Tinkoff-Saxo was trying to make a really hard race. I dropped back on the worst moment. The two kilometres before the top of the climb were easier. I could probably stay there in the group. Afterward, Tony Martin and Jan Bakelants really helped me to find my own speed so I could finish as best as I can the stage."

    Kwiatkowski figured he lost the white jersey and headed straight to the team bus after the finish. It turned out he still had 13 seconds over Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale). It meant he had to ride back through the rain to the podium to receive a...

  • Talansky suffers second crash in two days at Tour de France

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) rolls into the finish line after crashing in the sprint
    Article published:
    July 12, 2014, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    American loses more than two minutes to rivals

    Andrew Talansky's (Garmin-Sharp) general classification hopes were dealt another blow as he crashed on stage 8 of the Tour de France. Talansky came down on a corner of the final descent and ended up losing more than two minutes to his general classification rivals. He now lies in 16th place, more than four minutes back on the yellow jersey.

    The American was already licking his wounds from a spill in the finishing straight of Friday’s stage. The three kilometre rule protected him from losing time then, but he wasn't so lucky this time. The rain came hammering down on the riders, after starting in sunshine, making the roads slick. Talansky hit the deck with several other riders, including Geraint Thomas and Leopold König, on the descent of the Grosse Pierre.

    "The team did a really great job in preparation for the last climb and we were sitting in a good position. Unfortunately you can see how the weather is and the roads, the asphalt is very different," directeur sportif Charly Wegelius said after he arrived at the team bus. "In some corners it’s pretty smooth and in others it’s pretty rough. Unfortunately at that stage of the race he crashed and we’re just going to wait now till Prentice [Steffen], the doctor, gets back and can see exactly how he is."

    Talansky was unable to get going for a little while, struggling with his bike as he waited for the team car to arrive. "We were a little behind, because the judges were keeping the bikes behind and when we got to him we changed the bike immediately and tried to go up towards the end of the race," said Wegelius.

    Angry about suffering yet another crash and seeing his GC hopes slowly slipping from his grasp, Talansky refused to talk to anyone as he rode back...