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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 14, 2012

Date published:
July 14, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Fränk Schleck warns his Tour won't get better

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan) climbs
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 5:12 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Luxembourger not keen on riding a third grand tour in 2012

    Win or lose the RadioShack-Nissan bus is always one of the most popular at the Tour de France. Both the media and fans are drawn towards it in the hope of interesting quotes, sound bites, and in the case of the fans, bidons and photos.

    And at the Tour there are normally two Schleck's in the race giving a journalist a fighting chance of picking up audio from either Fränk or Andy during the media scrum. But at this year's Tour, with the younger brother out injured, Fränk Schleck has become the sole representative of the family clan. His Tour has been mediocre by his recent standards and lying 12th on GC, almost ten minutes down on Bradley Wiggins, the former podium rider has provided a cameo performance for RadioShack.

    Stage 11 to La Toussuire was the first time Schleck appeared in contention in the mountains but with a less than ideal preparation and a route designed to expose his time trial weaknesses he has been on the back foot.

    "The biggest different is that this Tour is for time trials, it's not for climbers. Of course I do miss Andy especially in the mornings when you have some little doubts and before the race you're always doubting and a little and scared and you have days don't want to do it," he says.

    In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, Fränk Schleck talks about his Tour so far; how it's not designed for climbers, how he'll not ride this year's Vuelta despite its mountainous profile and how he misses his brother in this year's Tour.

     

  • Team Sky faces fan backlash

    Richie Porte sets tempo for Sky leader and maillot jaune wearer Bradley Wiggins.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 7:23 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Wiggins hit by flare; Porte and Rogers booed

    They may have two places on the general classification podium seemingly wrapped up, but several riders for Team Sky have felt the wrath of 'fans' on the side of the road this Tour de France.

    Maillot jaune Bradley Wiggins suffered minor burns to his arm when spectators running alongside the peloton with flares collided with him on the outskirts of Sarras, 25 kilometres from the close of Stage 12.

    "I'm covered in all this yellow stuff," said Wiggins. When flares are lit, a residue forms as part of the smoke plume.

    "I got hit in the arm with a flare, burnt my arm a bit but it's alright. It's pretty dangerous, and I'm sure them guys are nursing a few wounds tonight because there were quite a few bottles in their direction."

    Meantime, his two Australian teammates Richie Porte and Michael Rogers discovered there is a price to pay when you're riding in support of a Brit who is chasing the title held by Cadel Evans (BMC).

    On Stage 11, Evans attacked Sky on the Glandon during Rogers' hour-long stint setting tempo for Wiggins.

    "Perhaps the Aussie's (sic) booing @richie_porte and myself yesterday would like to pay our wages from now on! #getoverit" Rogers quipped on Twitter.

    He later told the Sydney Morning Herald that much of the response from fans had been positive.

    "Some guy on Twitter said I should have my passport taken away from me," Rogers said. "That's a bit extreme. But I was surprised by the support from the Australian public. From...

  • Senator McCain backs USADA investigation into Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong's seven Tour wins are the most by any rider
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 9:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Debate infiltrates Capitol Hill

    On Friday, United States Senator John McCain has backed the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into Lance Armstrong and his associates.

    The move follows Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) querying the $9million dollars of tax payer funding given to the Agency on Thursday.

    "While the charges are serious, and I expect the process to be fair, I fully support USADA and its right to undertake the investigation of, and bring charges against, Lance Armstrong," former Presidential candidate McCain said via a statement.

    "USADA is authorized by Congress and provides assurances to taxpayers, fans and competitors that sports in America are clean. USADA's rules and processes, approved by America's athletes, the United States Olympic Committee and all U.S. sport federations, apply to all athletes regardless of their public profile or success in sport. This process is the proper forum to decide matters concerning individual cases of alleged doping violations."

    In a lengthy letter to R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of ONDCP, Congressman Sensenbrenner puts forth a number of queries that relate to the way the tax-funded money is used by USADA and how the ONDCP oversees their spending. More specifically, the letter focuses on the current case against Lance Armstrong and suggests the ONDCP has little "oversight" of whether these funds are being spent appropriately.

    Sensenbrenner acknowledges, in his letter, that the US Congress has no jurisdiction to handle sport doping matters but is...

  • Peace declared after Greipel sends threatening SMS to Boeckmans

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) outsprints Andre Greipel for the stage win in Metz.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 10:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto-Belisol rider was unhappy at Belgian's sprint tactics in Metz

    A truce has been declared between Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) after it was revealed that an argument over sprint train tactics at the 2012 Tour de France spilled over into threats being sent by SMS. Team bosses have moved in to diffuse the row and calm has been restored after a week of animosity according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    Greipel was unhappy at Boeckmans attaching himself to the Lotto-Belisol sprint train at the climax to last Friday's sixth stage in Metz. Greipel was comfortably out-sprinted to the line by Peter Sagan (Liquigas) after his leadout train was disturbed by Boeckmans. The German's frustrations clearly got the better of him in the hours that followed, and he reportedly sent Boeckmans a strongly worded SMS that read: "Never ever go in my train again, you amateur."

    The following day, according to the newspaper, Greipel almost rode Boeckmans off his bike as he attempted to reinforce his point from the night before. Boeckmans then reported the two incidents to the race officials.

    Team bosses Marc Sergeant (Lotto) and Hillaire Vanderschueren (Vacansoleil) were then called in to resolve the dispute. Sergeant confirmed that Greipel had contacted Boeckmans, while the young Belgian rider said that the matter was in the past.

    ""Boeckmans was at fault in Metz," Sergeant said. "He jumped on the train without paying. His team had not worked and then he comes into our train ride. It cost us the victory, because the chain broke there. Yes, Greipel has sent him a text message. Just to point out that a train should not be...

  • Moncoutié out of the final Tour de France

    The mercurial David Moncoutie (Cofidis).
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 15:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Crash forces Frenchman's first ever abandon

    David Moncoutié (Cofidis) brought the curtain down on his Tour de France career in sorry circumstances on Friday, when a crash on stage 12 forced him to abandon the race. It was the 37-year-old’s 11th and final Tour appearance, and it was the first time that he had ever abandoned a grand tour.

    Moncoutié fell heavily on the descent of the Col du Grand-Cucheron, and although he sustained no broken bones, he suffered heavy contusions to his left side and required stitches to an injury on his right elbow.

    “I overshot a corner on the descent and I wasn’t able to change my line as there was a lot of gravel and it was fast,” Moncoutié told L’Équipe. “After the crash, I thought about the fact that it was my last Tour.”

    13th overall in the 2002 Tour and a stage winner at Figeac in 2004 and Digne-les-Bains in 2005, Moncoutié is set to retire at the end of this season and he was disappointed to miss out on racing on the Champs-Élysées one final time.

    “It’s the first time I’ve abandoned a Grand Tour and it hurts to quit the most beautiful race in the world,” he said. “I’m a bit dejected, I thought I’d get to Paris, I was getting back into good condition. It’s sad, but that’s cycling.”

    Moncoutié was optimistic about his chances of recovering from his injuries in time for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway on August 18. In the twilight of his career, Moncoutié has put together a fine sequence at the Spanish race, winning a stage and the mountains classification in each of the past four...

  • Leopard denies rumours RadioShack team is near collapse

    The RadioShack team lead the peloton over the start line on stage 3
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 17:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says UCI auditors confirmed "capacity"

    The owners of the RadioShack-Nissan team, Luxembourg holding company Leopard SA, has hit back at rumors published in the German media that the squad has not been paying its star riders and is near collapse because of financial problems of owner Flavio Becca.

    The Süddeutsche Zeitung today reported that Fabian Cancellara and Fränk and Andy Schleck have not been receiving regular paychecks, and that one of the riders has sued Leopard SA.

    The UCI confirmed non-payment last month. Team spokesman Philippe Maertens said at the time,"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.”

    The Luxembourg paper Tageblatt also picked up on the rumors, claiming that Leopard SA lost 7.6 million Euros this year and that Becca's ownership of the team's WorldTour license is in jeopardy. Becca was reported to be under investigation in Luxembourg for financial irregularities, and his home and office were searched last fall.

    Leopard SA hit back at the news reports, calling them "malicious and unfounded rumours" and said it "formally denies any situation that could be interpreted as close to collapse or to bankruptcy".

    It states that it anticipated in its business plan a significant financial loss in the first years of the project, and said its budget was on track as of the end of 2011. It also states that the UCI's auditors "did not only confirm the validity of the annual accounts, but also confirmed the capacity of the company to pursue its activities" but did not specify when this audit was completed.

    Leopard spokesman Carlo Rock told...

  • Video: Wiggins pulls the strings into Le Cap d'Agde

    Bradley Wiggins charges to the front in the closing stages to lead out Edvald Boasson Hagen
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 18:20 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Sky boss praises race leader's team ethic on stage 13

    Sky’s dominance at this year’s Tour de France was in quiet but firm demonstration on stage 14 of the race to Le Cap d'Agde. The stage win may have slipped through their fingers but Bradley Wiggins pulled the strings, first subduing the ambitions of Cadel Evans and Jurgen ven den Broeck on Mont-Saint-Clair and then reminding the field of his pursuit skill as he led out Edvald Boasson Hagen in the sprint.

    “We planned this from this morning,” said Sky’s principle Dave Brailsford.

    “On that last drag with 2 kilometres to go our guys would try and take it up there and come into the corner. When Bradley found himself on the front with Edvald on his wheel I think he was thinking of a bit of payback and just tried to set him up for the opportunity of the stage win.”

    Evans’s acceleration on Mont-Saint-Clair bore similarities to his attack on the stage to La Toussuire. This time he dispatched his team to the front, who split the field on the run-in to the narrow climb. The defending champion moved to the front on the early slopes before making two testing accelerations. Jurgen van den Broeck was the only GC rider willing to match the Australian and for the briefest moment Wiggins was alone, Froome positionally exposed.

    “Credit to Evans,” Brailsford said.

    “He’s a great racer and you know he’s going to race all the way to the final and you’d expect that. I think that’s testament to his fighting spirit but I don’t think he ever put any of the guys under pressure. They rode up relatively easily and from talking to the guys on the bus it...

  • Greipel credits teamwork for third Tour de France stage win

    A jubilant Andre Greipel on the podium after stage 13
    Article published:
    July 14, 2012, 19:30 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    German draws level with Sagan

    André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) drew level on victories with Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) at the 2012 Tour de France after he pipped the Slovak in a thrilling sprint at the end of stage 13 in Le Cap d’Agde.

    The pair have been the dominant forces in the bunch finishes at the Tour to date, with Greipel having the better of the exchanges on the flat, while Sagan has been imperious on the stages designed for puncheurs. Both have three stage wins in this Tour to date.

    Given the presence of the sharp Mont Saint-Clair 25 kilometres from the finish, the consensus beforehand was that Saturday’s stage would be better-suited to the green jersey Sagan. Indeed, Greipel was duly among the sprinters distanced as the gradient reared up on the stiff 1.6km climb, but thanks to the efforts of his Lotto Belisol teammates, the German was able to rejoin the 40-man front group on the windswept run-in to the line.

    "This victory is special because we came over Mont Saint-Clair, which is very difficult and caused a big selection," Greipel said afterwards. "We spoke about it this morning and I knew that I had to be at the front of the peloton as the climb began. I was dropped but I managed to stay in contact, but it was the work of my team that really allowed me to win."

    While Lars Bak was the man who did most to bring Greipel back into contact with the head of the peloton, he paid tribute to the collective efforts of his team. "Even Van Den Broeck, who’s here for the GC, worked for me," he said.

    The reduced lead group fragmented and reformed several times on the high-octane dash along the Bassin de Thau to the finish in Le Cap d’Agde, but Lotto...