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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 20, 2013

Date published:
July 20, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Contador: No Vuelta a Espana title defence

    Alberto Contador had a rough day in the saddle
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff rider wants to rest up before focusing on the 2014 Tour

    Alberto Contador has said that he will not defend his victory at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana after a difficult Tour de France, where he has been unable to be competitive against Chris Froome (Team Sky). 

    “I will not be in the Vuelta a Espana this year,” Contador told Sporza TV before the start of the penultimate Tour de France stage.

    The Saxo-Tinkoff rider said that he would instead concentrate on preparing for the Tour de France  in 2014, noting Chris Froome's superiority and dominance this year.

    Contador returned from a ban for doping last summer and went on to win the Vuelta a Espana, beating fellow Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 1:16 and Joaquim Rodriguez by 1:37.

    He had come into the Tour de France as one of the favourites, but has never been able to seriously challenge Froome, who has led the race since the eighth stage. Contador and his Saxo-Tinkoff team seem to have accepted defeat and are now focused on winning the team prize ahead of Radioshack-Leopard.

    Saxo-Tinkoff directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit said that all concerned have accepted the fact that a victory is not possible. “Yesterday we sat down together after the stage and have come to the conclusion that there's nothing we can do about it,” he told Sporza. “We need to face reality.”

  • Former riders gather in Paris to celebrate the 100th Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) won the Tour's final stage in Paris for the fourth straight year.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 14:25 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italians ride from Rome and attend special event

    500 former riders who completed at least one edition of the Tour de France have gathered in Paris to celebrate the 100th edition of the race. Sunday's stage ends late in the evening with spectacular celebration apparently being organised by ASO.

    They will be present on the Champs Élysées for the special celebrations to mark the end of the 100th Tour de France but around 100 will also meet the public at the Cipale velodrome in the Bois de Vincennes near Paris on Saturday afternoon.

    Lance Armstrong has confirmed that he will not be present but many other living Tour de France finishers will be there.

    Joop Zoetemelk, who finished the Tour de France 16 times, as will Francesco Moser, Claudio Chiappucci and Guido Bontempi, will attend the event according to l'Equipe. 40 other Italian riders will reportedly arrive by bike after riding together from Rome via the Alps. They are lead by Franco Bitossi, who won the green point's jersey in 1968.

    Also expected to attend the special celebrations are the grandchildren of Geo Lefèvre –one of the creators of the Tour de France, and those of legendary race director Jacques Goddet.

  • Video: Brailsford talks about Froome's power data

    Dave Brailsford (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 15:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Sky manager calls on people to back race leader

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has again called on the media and the fans to believe in Chris Froome after his dominant performance at the Tour de France.

    The British manager suggested the first Tour de France after the Lance Armstrong affair was "probably the worst Tour to try to win."

    Speaking to a group of media, including the Cyclingnews video team, Brailsford said sentiment and suspicion was understandable but called on people to back Froome.

    "You'd expect that the public who trusted in this sport for a long time to be a bit angry and a bit frustrated with what they found out. It's understandable," Brailsford said.

    "I think people believed in the Lance era when deep down maybe they knew they shouldn't have. They are [doing that now] and disbelieving in Chris, where deep down they probably know they should."

    "Where the authorities look back on the Armstrong era and think 'we did a bit too little at that time to uncover what was going on', I'd say that hopefully they say now that they're doing a bit too little to protect Chris and demonstrate the support he deserves, that's my take on the situation."

    Brailsford said he feels hurt for the doubts about Froome.

    "We can't expect people to have 100 per cent confidence in this sport after the recent past, but I think we can optimize the level of confidence and get it as high as it could realistically go," he said.

    "We'll do everything we can to achieve that because Chris and the rest of the team have work incredibly hard for this. He's been fantastic member of team for a number of years. He started from very, very humble beginnings in bike racing and made himself to top of podium. He's doing it the right way. And while we've got to be patient, when I watch, I know what's going...

  • Becca offers Fränk Schleck a way back

    Team owner Flavio Becca with Fabian Cancellara
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 15:44 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Refuses to talk about Bruyneel's money

    Flavio Becca paid a visit to the Tour de France ahead of stage 20 on Saturday and although he would not discuss the financial situation between himself and Johan Bruyneel, after he lost a legal case against the Belgian, he did announce that he had offered Fränk Shleck a contract for the remainder of the 2013 season.

    Becca was joined at the start by an individual who thought it a requirement to take a photo of the Cyclingnews journalist's accreditation, while a second party with Becca videoed the conversation on his mobile phone.

    Becca was asked whether the team he had put together had been a success, given that he has sold the team's WorldTour licence and announced that he would leave the sport at the end of the season after three years in the sport.

    "A big success. Three years, three time and during these three years we had the yellow jersey three times. So I think there are a lot of other teams who wanted such a success that we had," he said.

    Cyclingnews then pointed out that the team had come into the sport with the dream of winning the Tour de France. Their best result was second and third with Andy Schleck and his brother Fränk flanking Cadel Evans on the podium in 2011.

    "In 2011 was good work and in 2012 we had Andy with his crash at the Dauphine and after that he had to start again at zero. I think he will be back for next year and we'll see what he will do because he's in big progression and what he needs is more time to prepare for next year."

    Andy Schleck has not confirmed whether he will ride for the new Trek team in 2014 and less certain is the future of Fränk who has seen his suspension for positive test in the 2012 Tour wind down without the confirmation of team for the remainder of the season. However, today there have been...

  • Rodriguez makes third consecutive Grand Tour podium

    Joaquim Rodriguez rode onto the podium with a strong climb
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 20:05 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Spaniard drops Contador and Kreuziger on Semnoz

    Joaquim Rodríguez rode himself onto his third consecutive podium place at a Grand Tour, after finishing second on the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.

    The Katusha rider looked strong on the final climb to Semnoz and was one of the key factors in making the decisive splits. Rodríguez attacked on a number of occasions to rid the front group of Alberto Contador and his right-hand man Roman Kreuziger. A last minute jump off the front from eventual stage winner Nairo Quintana was too much for the Spaniard to follow. He bided his time before distancing Chris Froome to secure his podium place.

    "To get rid of Froome was almost impossible because he is really strong," said Rodríguez. "I was feeling really good so I tried to test him and in the end I could still see that he didn't have any help.

    "I knew what my objective was. I found that I was climbing better every day and I had a little bit more momentum. It was the final day for us all to do something and I wanted to try and fight for the stage. It was a hard day, but I fought and I finished second to a champion. I gave it everything."

    More importantly for Rodríguez, he managed to put more than two minutes into Contador and Kreuziger [much more than the 22 seconds he needed] at the finish. It leaves him with a sizable buffer to Contador, who now sits in fourth. The result makes Rodríguez one of the few to make the podium in all three of the Grand Tours.

    "Tomorrow will be a huge day for me, for my family," the Katusha rider said at the finish of stage 20. "I don't know if I've seen them this happy about a podium, tomorrow will be great. My wife and my children will be in...

  • Talansky makes top ten at debut Tour de France

    Andrew Talansky made it up to Richie Porte and Alberto Contador on the final climb of stage 20
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 20:48 BST
    Barry Ryan

    American finishes strongly on Semnoz

    On crossing the line at Semnoz, Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) wheeled to a halt on the roadside and sat looking over his shoulder at the clock by the finishing banner. The American youngster had just finished ahead of no less a figure than Alberto Contador to take a fine sixth place on the penultimate stage of the Tour de France, but that particular scalp hardly registered as he sat on his top tube.

    Instead, Talansky was scanning the finishing area for the figures of Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who had been missing in action since the early slopes of the climb. Finally, after sixteen seconds that must have seemed an eternity had passed, Talansky allowed himself to accept the congratulations of his soigneur, and a broad smile began to break across his face as realised that he had finished in the top ten of his debut Tour de France.

    Cruelly, the road continues to climb past the finish line at Semnoz and so riders already in varying states of distress were forced to negotiate the gradient, the traffic of the race convoy and the scrums of reporters before they could make their way to the sanctuary of their team cars over the top. As he pedalled gingerly towards the summit, however, Talansky was happy to surrender his momentum and stop to talk to a television crew, while his fellow Tour survivors ghosted wearily past him.

    "I just [time trialed] up the climb," Talansky said. "I felt good from the start and I knew that I had half an hour of climbing to just give everything I had left in this Tour."

    When he did make it to his team car on the other side of the summit shortly afterwards, Talansky enthusiastically talked his press officer...

  • Quintana overjoyed with first Tour de France stage win

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has emerged as the revelation of the 2013 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 21:35 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Colombian looking for overall victory in 2014

    Nairo Quintana was reduced to tears of joy during his post race press conference, after taking his first Tour de France stage win atop of Annecy-Semnoz.

    The Colombian had already put his name into the wider consciousness with some more-than-impressive performances over the last weeks, and by launching daring attacks on the steepest of gradients. Learning his lessons from earlier on in the Tour, when he went too early and ran out of steam before the finish, this time he went closer to the line. His late move left his fellow riders without enough time to react to the explosive attack. In the short climb to the finish he was able to put 18 seconds into Joaquim Rodríguez, and do what he's been promising to do for most of the race.

    "I wasn't so sure that it would happen like this, contrary to my team and director," Quintana told the waiting journalists. "It's true that they helped me so much, especially psychologically. I'm only 23 and never imagined for a second that I could be here today. I've had huge support from the team until the very end."

    Quintana started the Tour de France with protected status within the team, and as a super domestique for teammate Alejandro Valverde, a rare occurrence for someone riding his first Tour de France. When things went wrong for Valverde, the Colombian was ready to step into his shoes and assume the role of team leader. "When Eusebio Unzue said to me that I'll be the leader of the team, I obviously said yes to him," the Movistar rider said.

    "I was happy to accept and said that I'm really, but if some day my legs fail because the Tour is such a fast race and the stages are long then I might have to apologise. He said just...

  • Froome: Tour de France has been "an amazing journey"

    A thumbs up from a happy Chris Froome (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 22:05 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Maillot jaune overwhelmed with enormity in final kilometers

    On Sunday, as night falls in Paris and the crowds gather on the Champs Elysees for the final curtain call of the 100th Tour de France, Chris Froome will cross the line and claim overall victory.

    Of course Froome must navigate the final 135.5 kilometres safely from Versailles, but baring accident he will assume the customary position on the top step of the podium.

    In his winner's press conference, located two kilometres from the summit at Annecy-Semnoz, the relief and raw emotion were clear on Froome's face.

    "To sum it up, for me, what this represents, the journey I've taken to get here from where I've started, riding on a little mountain bike on dirt roads back in Kenya to be right here in yellow, in the Tour de France, the biggest event on our calendar, it's difficult for me to put into words," he said, the fragmented alliance of words perhaps an indication that a Tour title had not quite sunk in yet.

    "This really has been an amazing journey for me," he replied with after his second question.

    "The race has been a fight every single day, cross-winds, rain, mountains, good days, bad days, the team has come under pressure on different days."

    It seems like an eternity has passed since his slip on the opening stage, but since then he has blanketed this year's race with his own personal dominance. Alberto Contador briefly threatened, while Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez found themselves racing for second and third for most of the race. The much vaunted ‘Spanish alliance' of course never materialised and Froome's could even let his two main rivals dance away on the final climb of the race, such was his advantage.

    At times, on the rare occasions...