TechPowered By

More tech

Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 25, 2009

Date published:
July 25, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Amets Txurruka and Alan Pérez eliminated on stage 19

    Amets Txurruka (Euskatel-Euskadi) finished 4:11 behind Haussler
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 10:15 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Euskaltel duo suffer in vain on road to Aubenas

    Euskaltel-Euskadi riders Amets Txurruka and Alan Pérez were eliminated from the Tour de France after finishing outside the timecut on stage 19 from Bourgoin Jallieu to Aubenas.

    According to Eustaltel-Euskadi, Pérez had developed tendonitis in his right knee several days earlier, while Txurruka was suffering from injuries after a crash on stage 17 to Le Grand Bornand.

    The two riders lost contact with the peloton early in stage 19, eventually finishing 30:58 behind the day's winner, Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC).

    "I am sad not being able to finish the Tour," said Txurruka on the team's website. "I have had a very bad day, with much pain. I could not stand up and I have suffered from the beginning. I was dropped after just six kilometres. It upsets me not to arrive in Paris."

    Txurruka, who won the overall combativity prize in the 2007 Tour de France, had been active in this year's race, finishing second on stage 13 into Colmar that was won by Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam).

    Pérez, 27, had been making his Tour de France debut this year. This year's race was the third participation for Txurruka, 26.

  • Category 2 not enough to stop Mark Cavendish's fifth

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) on the podium for his victory in stage 19.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 11:34 BST
    Daniel Benson and Richard Tyler

    Tony Martin and Mark Renshaw describe Cavendish's win in Aubenas

    Mark Cavendish took his fifth stage win of this year's Tour de France in Aubenas on Friday after overcoming the second category Col de l'Escrinet, 16 kilometres from the finish of stage 19.

    The stage win demonstrated Cavendish's increasing ability to remain in contention on courses that would previously have seen him dropped prior to the finish. One group not surprised by his success were his Columbia-HTC teammates, who once again were rewarded for their unwavering faith in their sprint leader.

    Columbia-HTC provided another inch-perfect set up for Cavendish, capturing world champion, Alessandro Ballan just before the flame rouge. Former white jersey wearer, Tony Martin, provided the final lead out for his captain.

    "We had to pull really hard at the front with just a few us there," said Martin. "I was the last one in the final kilometre so it was my job to be there until three hundred meters. I was going fast, but not too fast so that Cav could sprint from there. He’s the fastest and it’s a big success for the team."

    "I enjoy it when the peloton isn’t too big as it’s less stressful," he added.

    Rabobank, who have had an underwhelming Tour de France thus far, were working hard to set up the stage for their sprinter, Oscar Freire, who has proven himself capable of surviving intermediate climbs in the past.

    "We always expect Cav to win if it comes down to a sprint," said Mark Renshaw. "He’s proved by far that he’s the best sprinter in the race but that was an extremely tough stage. Rabobank were riding a hard tempo on the climb. It was a great victory for him."

    "I had a bad day and wasn’t on the top of my game but I knew that Cav was going good when I saw him at the bottom of the climb. It looked like he was floating."

    Renshaw also expressed his opinion on the race jury's decision to relegate Cavendish for irregular sprinting on the stage in to...

  • Bordry floats possibility that new products could be in use

    Pierre Bordry
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 11:35 BST
    Shane Stokes

    AFLD President also comments on on role of biological passport

    With the Tour de France set to reach its conclusion this weekend, the President of the French anti-doping agency (AFLD), Pierre Bordry, has said that he is "neither reassured nor worried" about this year’s race.

    Appearing to reserve judgement, the Frenchman said that he believes there are new products which might be being used in the peloton. "The UCI has agreed to keep the samples in order to perform a retroactive analysis," he told Le Figaro.

    Bordry had earlier given an interview to the French paper in which he elaborated on his most recent suggestion that new doping products may be being used in the peloton. “Bernhard Kohl recently explained in L’Equipe that there are unfortunately still numerous riders who dope and who have adapted to the controls,” he stated.

    "Information suggests that there will be new products in the Tour, new methods [of doping]. We know that from various sources, from the national authorities of neighbouring countries and also from those [riders] who are not happy to be alongside those who have doped. There will be new products that are actually older products that certain people think are no longer being tested for. Blood transfusions remain for us a difficult issue, autologous transfusions are hard to analyse for. But it is obvious that it will be possible to do that fairly soon."

    He declined to name the substances in question.

    In the same interview Bordry also commented on the UCI’s biological passport programme. He stated that while sees the biological passport as a valuable tool in the anti-doping process, he feels that its greatest use is in targeting. He doesn’t believe it’s the perfect solution that it has at times been held up to be. "The blood passport is a beautiful idea, in theory. I see that it is more suitable for targeting than for sanctions, it is not the ultimate solution. You can’t find everything in blood."


  • Schleck concedes defeat to Contador after Ventoux

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Alberto Contador (Astana) ride together
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 18:35 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Praise from best young rider for Lance Armstrong's performance

    Andy Schleck conceded defeat to Alberto Contador in the Tour de France after the pair finished together at the summit of Mont Ventoux on Saturday. Schleck is second overall, 4:11 behind Contador with only a flat, procession-like stage to Paris remaining. However Schleck added that the consolation of finishing second, his highest finish in the Tour, and matching his performance from the 2007 Giro d’Italia, was pleasing nonetheless.

    "I tried everything today. I’ve said before that I didn’t want to get to Paris and say I haven’t tried everything to win the race. I went on the limit today and hurt some guys in my group," he said at the finish.

    Schleck’s Saxo Bank team had a set a furious pace at the bottom of the climb, shelling most of the peloton, including last year’s winner and runner up, Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto). The group of favourites were reduced to just a handful of riders when Andy’s brother Fränk attacked. Once caught, Andy took his chance and made a series of surges, dropping everyone bar Contador (Astana) at one point.

    "There were some objectives today. Firstly, to defend my second place and then maybe to move Frank onto the podium, like he was before the timetrial. Unfortunately we didn’t succeed with that second objective but that’s not a disappointment."

    The favourites regrouped before the finish but were unable to catch stage winner Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) and Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC), with Andy Schleck taking third and Contador fourth, 38 seconds behind the winner.

    "We said this morning that everything that comes from here on in is a bonus. We’ve had a fantastic Tour and if someone had told me in Monaco that I would be standing here in second overall on the Ventoux I’d have bitten their hand off."

    Schleck was full of praise for Lance Armstrong, who returned to professional...

  • Schleck gives Ventoux fight, but misses Tour podium

    Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) crosses the line.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 18:43 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Stage win and fifth overall for older Schleck

    Luxembourg's Fränk Schleck failed to make the final Tour de France podium after the race's last decisive day on Mont Ventoux on Saturday. He attacked his rivals at the base of the climb and succeeded in moving from sixth to fifth overall.

    "We tried everything. We were attacking like bananas at the bottom of the climb," said Schleck. "Constant attacks were the only thing we could do to drop guys like Lance Armstrong or Bradley Wiggins, time trialists who can keep a steady rhythm."

    Schleck started the day in sixth overall. He was 38 seconds behind third place Armstrong (Astana), 23 seconds from Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) and 21 seconds from Andreas Klöden (Astana). His brother and Saxo Bank teammate, Andy, was second overall by 4:11 behind Alberto Contador (Astana).

    Saxo Bank led up to the base of the 22.1-kilometre climb to put Fränk in an attacking position and protect Andy. Fränk started the attacks with 13 kilometres remaining, but Armstrong immediately responded.

    Andy continued the attacks, with about seven separate attempts to drop the duo's rivals.

    "We dropped (Andreas) Klöden (Astana) and we dropped Wiggins, but I missed fourth by two seconds. To be fourth would have hurt even more than being fifth, though," said Fränk.

    Juan Manuel Gárate (Rabobank) won the stage from an break. He beat his companion in the break, Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC) and collected 38 seconds on the classification favourites. Andy Schleck, Contador, Armstrong and Fränk Schleck finished third through sixth.

    Fränk gained 20 seconds on Wiggins and 59 seconds on Klöden. He had had enough to pass Klöden for fifth, but the classification's top four stayed the same: Contador, Andy Schleck, Armstrong and Wiggins.

    Last year Fränk Schleck finished fifth and his brother 11th overall. This year it was fifth and second. Fränk also won a stage and Andy...

  • Juan Manuel Garate saves Tour de France for Rabobank

    Stage winner Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 19:47 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Glory on Mont Ventoux for former Spanish champion

    Juan Manuel Garate saved Rabobank blushes at this year's Tour de France with a stage winning performance on the summit of Mont Ventoux. Garate jumped clear of breakaway companion Tony Martin in the final two hundred meters, in the process becoming the first Spaniard to win on the mountain in the Tour’s history.

    It was a surprise win in many ways, not just for the fact that many had tipped either Alberto Contador or Andy Schleck for the stage but because Rabobank have endured one of their worst Tours since they entered the sport in 1996.

    The Dutch squad began the race in Monaco on July 4 with Giro d’Italia champion Denis Menchov, last year’s points winner Oscar Friere and rising start Robert Gesink, who was tipped for a top ten placing. However Gesink crashed out on stage five with a broken wrist, while Oscar Freire has been almost invisible in the sprints and Denis Menchov has sustained multiple crashes, falling twice on one stage, and languishes in 51st place, 1:16:28 down on race leader Contador.

    "We started in Monaco with okay performances in the time trial," Garate said at the finish of today’s stage. "But in the team time trial we lost a lot of time and Denis crashed a lot." In fact the team lost 2:21, leaving Menchov sitting in 72nd overall before the race had even hit the mountains.

    "Until now it has not been a very good Tour for us. Rabobank is a big team and we have to win one stage in the Tour."

    Garate had formed part of a 16 man escape group just three kilometres into the stage and attacked on the climb of Ventoux, bringing with him Tony Martin and Christophe Riblon. The Frenchman was dropped with Garate and Martin working together until the finish. Garate attacked as the duo reached the Tom Simpson memorial and despite being caught subsequently by Martin, he jumped again to take the biggest win of his career.

    "I don’t think I could win today when the group went clear of the...

  • Nibali set for seventh spot in this year's Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 20:13 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian holds firm under constant attacks on Mont Ventoux

    Vincenzo Nibali, 24, showed himself to be a stage racer of the future in Saturday's Tour de France stage 20, up Mont Ventoux. He remained with the favourites to protect his seventh overall and achieve his pre-race goal of a top ten finish.

    "It was a really difficult stage," Nibali (Liquigas) told Cyclingnews. "I thought it might be like this, anything could have happened, but in the end the classification men always stayed together."

    Nibali remained with race leader Alberto Contador (Astana) throughout the day, similar to his ride in the last Alpine stages a few days ago. Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck attacked in an effort to distance Contador, but the Spaniard always came back to his wheel, as did Nibali.

    "I was in oxygen debt in the last kilometre and a half but I held tough. I tried to gain time on Andreas Klöden and Bradley Wiggins when they were dropped."

    He gained five seconds on Wiggins and 0:44 on Klöden, but was short of the time needed to move up in the overall rankings.

    "I had tried an attack when Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador went forward. I was hoping for something then, but it all came back together. Everyone was pulling behind because they had interests in protecting their classification position."

    Nibali remained in seventh overall, 7:35 behind Contador, but achieved his goal of a top ten overall in the Tour de France. Andy Schleck, Lance Armstrong, Wiggins, Fränk Schleck and Klöden were second through sixth.

    "I went strong through all the stages and also in the time trial Thursday. Contador was strongest, but I was with the others by only a small amount of time, 20 to 30 seconds. It was a very positive tour because I kept consistent."

    The 2009 Tour de France ends tomorrow in Paris. Stage 21 is a flat stage that isn't expected to provide any re-ordering in the general classification.

    Nibali finished 18th overall in his debut Tour...

  • Armstrong claims Tour podium after three-year absence

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) rode strongly.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2009, 20:18 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Remains with rivals on Ventoux, protects third overall

    American Lance Armstrong appears to have ended his return to the Tour de France with a third overall. He remained with the race favourites on Saturday's stage to Mont Ventoux, despite numerous attacks from his rivals.

    "I can't complain," said Armstrong after the stage. "For an old fart coming in here and getting on the podium, [it's] not so bad."

    Armstrong started the Tour de France's last decisive day third behind Astana teammate Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank). Behind him were rivals Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream), at 35 seconds, and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank), at 38 seconds.

    The penultimate day of the Tour de France ended with the Mont Ventoux climb. The climb rises 1588 metres in 21.1 kilometres, and high winds often hit the final kilometres after the trees disappear. Today, there were headwinds that were 40km/h at times.

    "It was not as windy as advertised. It feels windy here at the top, but it was a little less than we thought on the way up. I mean, I can't complain. It was kind of simple: follow Wiggins and follow Fränk Schleck, and I had the legs to do that."

    Fränk Schleck and his brother Andy attacked multiple times up the climb. Fränk started with an attack at 13 kilometres remaining, but Armstrong responded immediately. Andy Schleck attacked about seven times, but Armstrong remained with his immediate rivals.

    He finished the day fifth at 41 seconds behind winner Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) and kept together with Wiggins and Klöden. Spaniard Contador finished fourth and protected his overall lead, 4:11 ahead of Andy Schleck.

    Mont Ventoux is one of cycling's famous climbs due to its difficulties and famous battles. Armstrong has never won on the climb, but enjoyed the day nonetheless.

    "I have never seen so many people on the Ventoux. It seemed like half of America showed up and all of France. It was so packed, and when you...