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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 30, 2012

Date published:
June 30, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Porte: Working for Wiggins makes up for Olympic snub

    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 0:30 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Tasmanian ready to sacrifice himself for Tour favourite

    Had it been any other year Richie Porte would have been shattered to miss an Olympic Games, but not this time.

    "It would have been nice to go but I've got at least two more Olympic years," he told Cyclingnews. I'd love to have gone to London. Certainly when I talk to Whitey [Professional Men's Road Coordinator Matt White], he's got probably the toughest job in cycling so no stress.

    "I'm ready for a good Tour de France. If I had of missed out on the Tour I would have been much more disappointed put it that way."

    Such is the talent stock available for the Australian national team, Porte suggests that no one could guarantee a start in the five-man Olympic line-up. And this hasn't been the year where the Team Sky rider was overly keen on surprises. His schedule of six races, alongside team leader Bradley Wiggins, have each formed the careful pathway in the bid for the 32-year-old to become Britain's first-ever winner of the Tour de France.

    Compare that to 2011, where Porte as a teammate to Alberto Contador unexpectedly found himself riding the Giro d'Italia in a bid for extra kilometres in the legs and improved morale, and it's clear that he appreciates being a key element of Sky's blueprint for Wiggins. In a word, it's been clinical. Or even Wiggins-like.

    "Brad doesn't really say that much but at the same time, he doesn't really waste his words," Porte explained. "He says what he means. He's a different style of rider [compared to Contador]. I guess he's more of a time trialler. You look at the team that's been set up around him and it's mainly time triallers, isn't it?"

    Sky Race Coach Bobby Julich and Head...

  • Cadel Evans: Being defending champion makes things easier

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 3:46 BST
    Peter Cossins

    "Winning one Tour was great, winning would be even better," says Australian

    Looking relaxed and sounding confident as he made his final appearance in front of the press prior to the start of the Tour de France, Cadel Evans said that being the defending champion will benefit his cause over the next three weeks. "Being defending champion does make it a little bit easier. You don't have the question of doubt about whether you can win the Tour or not. We know that we can do it," said the BMC team leader.

    Evans added: "Winning one Tour was great so I'm guessing that winning two would be even better. I've always tried to do the best that I can in every race that I've ridden. I am still able to win the Tour and we're doing everything that we possibly can to be the best we can at the Tour. So my motivation is still there every day. It's not waning and I think it comes from the near-misses and close calls that I've had over the last few years. Maybe I can cancel out being second twice by finishing first twice. That would be a good average."

    He said his confidence has been boosted by the strength of the team he has around him, several of whom helped him to his first Tour success last year.

    "I feel ready and I think that everyone here feels ready and that's particularly important… I'm very pleased with the guys we have. We had a very good team last year and I think that this year we'll be even stronger in the mountains thanks especially to Tejay [Van Garderen]. We have a good group of guys who can perform at the highest level, but who are also relaxed and ready and motivated."

    Evans described Saturday's prologue as "a stage that isn't too suited to me", but also explained that he has spent more time working on his time trialling because of the likely importance of those tests during the Tour. "I have been concentrating a little...

  • Confident Greipel says he'll be benefitted by a strong lead out

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on a training ride with his teammates.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 5:14 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    German sprinter eying a stage win and Olympic road race

    Last year the often postponed Tour de France debut from Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) didn't deliver the quick stage victory the team hoped for. Eventually they had to wait until stage 10 before the German grabbed the victory in a direct duel with arch rival Mark Cavendish in Carmeaux, and Greipel became one of the few riders to have won a stage in every Grand Tour.

    This time around the German strongman once again hopes to win at least one stage.

    "I want to win a stage and if it comes early then why not a second. My first goal is on Monday," Greipel referred to stage 2, which leads from Visé to Tournai.

    Last Wednesday Greipel checked out the final kilometres of this stage. It will be the first possibility for the pure sprinters to shine and the German rider doesn't want to take anything for granted. Each day team director Mario Aerts will drive ahead of the publicity caravan to scout the course. He'll inform the Lotto Belisol crew in the race about changing weather conditions, new obstacles and the like which all might have an influence on the Belgian team's performance.

    When asked about how many times he figured there would be a bunch sprint Greipel said he didn't know. Maybe it wasn't the whole truth but his answer showed that this year Greipel is approaching the race differently.

    "Last year I was really nervous. Who isn't in his first Tour de France," Greipel said. There is speculation that sprinters like Cavendish and Greipel might leave the race before the end to focus on the Olympic road race but Greipel stipulated that he wasn't planning to do so.

    "I haven't been here too often in the past so now that I'm here I want to make the best of it. Also in the...

  • BikeNZ – PureBlack's Michael Torckler hospitalised after hit and run in Santa Rosa

    Michael Torkler (BikeNZ - PureBlack), winner of the 2012 Tour of Borneo
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 6:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Updated: Multiple facial injuries for Tour of Borneo winner

    Tour of Borneo winner Michael Torckler (BikeNZ – PureBlack) was the victim of a hit and run while training in Santa Rosa, USA. According to Torckler's team local police are talking with a passenger from the car and the driver who fled the scene of the accident.

    Cam Whiting of CyclingiQ reports that having spoken to Torckler's father Brohn was admitted to hospital at 2:45pm local time. Torckler, 25, was initially listed as being in a critical condition but his condition has improved and he remains in intensive care.

    "Michael suffered 'massive facial injuries' including multiple fractures to eye sockets & skull, but rest of body was almost unscathed," Whiting said.

    CAT scans have revealed the cyclist remarkably did not suffer any brain damage.

    The New Zealander has enjoyed an impressive year of racing in Asia, winning the general classification at the Tour of Borneo having led from start to finish, and he also posted an eighth overall at Jelajah Malaysia. In 2010, he took out the Tour of Wellington, his name joining the likes of Julian Dean and Hayden Roulston.

    "The best news today is his life is no longer in danger but he has suffered multiple fractures to his head, which will require surgery in the days ahead," said PureBlack Racing Business Director, Greg Cross in a statement. "Michael is a hugely talented cyclist and New Zealander and our thoughts and prayers are with Michael and his family."




  • Cancellara hopes to repeat history in Liège

    Fabian Cancellara in Liege in 2004
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 6:34 BST
    Cycling News

    2004 prologue victory a cherished memory

    Eight years ago, a 22-year-old Fassa Bortolo rider blasted his way to the third fastest Tour prologue time ever to beat then five time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong by two seconds and win the opening time trial in Liège. It was of course, Fabian Cancellara and today will be looking to repeat his own piece of history.

    "I still cherish the memory, especially when it allowed me to wear the yellow jersey," the RadioShack-Nissan rider admitted. "Hopefully I can do the same on Saturday. I'm not saying I'm going to win, but I will be giving it my absolute maximum."

    Cancellara will be the penultimate rider out of the start gate today in Liège, with only defending Tour champion Cadel Evans (BMC) to follow. It will be a very different experience to what he faced in 2004, when 46 riders were still to cross the finish line when he completed the 6.1 kilometre course – names like Armstrong, Ullrich, Hamilton, McGee, Peschel and Moreau.

    Today's 6.4 km race against the clock, is short and technical with five roundabouts to contend with, two of which will be negotiated twice. It favours a stronger rider, like Cancellara, but also the new guard – Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) who broke the Swiss rider's run of two world championship wins in a row late last year in Copenhagen.

    Martin remained optimistic when asked about his prospects of wearing the first yellow jersey of the 2012 Tour.

    "A lot of guys think that I can win the prologue and maybe get into the yellow jersey," the German said. "But I am a realist, and I think I can make a good result. Maybe top five,...

  • Video: Cavendish hasn't lost speed, says coach

    Mark Cavendish (Sky)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 7:54 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Sky's Rod Ellingworth issues warning to rival sprinters

    Mark Cavendish's coach, Rod Ellingworth, said on Friday that the world champion will be "as fast as ever" at the Tour de France, contrary to Cavendish's hints that he may have sacrificed some speed in his bid for Olympic gold.

    Cavendish was beaten three times in sprints en route to overall victory in the ZLM Tour a fortnight ago. This prompted some to speculate that he will struggle against German speedsters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel, both of whom defeated him in Holland.

    Cavendish said at a press event earlier this week that he was in his "best form for a couple of years". He also, though, cautioned that he has "lost some power" - the price of some intense training in the hills of Tuscany after the Giro d'Italia.

    Ellingworth on Friday refuted that suggestion. "He's not lost any speed. The only way we can measure that is in terms of watts - and we can see from the numbers that he's there or thereabouts," the Team Sky coach said.

    "After the Giro, he did a 10-day block of intense training in Italy, and we knew he'd be tired at the ZLM Tour," Ellingworth went on. "We knew he perhaps wouldn't be at his best in the sprints there. But since then he's rested and I expect him to be back to normal in the sprints at the Tour."

    Talk of Cavendish's significant weight-loss - a near physical metamorphosis - has been either greatly exaggerated or misunderstood, according to Ellingworth. He said on Friday that Cavendish currently weighs 69 kilograms, just as he did at the start of the 2009 race in which he won six stages. "The only difference is that he's a tiny bit leaner, but that's maybe just age and getting better at managing his eating."

    Cavendish's finishing kick may be intact, but no one questions that he will receive less support from...

  • Bos extends with Rabobank

    Race winner, Theo Bos (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 10:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Fourth rider to re-sign with Dutch team

    Theo Bos is the latest Rabobank rider to extend his contract with the team for two years. The Dutch rider said that he is looking forward to continuing to develop as a sprinter and working with Mark Renshaw.

    Bos is a former track rider who first joined the Rabobank Continental team in 2009. After a year with Cervelo, he joined the Rabobank WorldTour team in 2011.  Last year he had five wins and so far this year has three, including two stage wins at the Presidential Tour of Turkey.

    Bos crashed on the finale of the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, and abandoned the race after the 16th stage. He was later diagnosed with a fractured L3 vertebrae in his lower spine.

    "With the arrival of Mark Renshaw, sprinting has become more important to the Rabobank team,” he said on the team's website. “The cooperation between riders and the people around them has improved.”

    He was especially impressed by the opportunities at the team to continue his development. “For me, this team is the best option for me to develop as a sprinter. My goal is to get a broader base as a cyclist and to use that in my sprint chances.”

    Surgery at the end of last season delayed Bos' preparations for this year, team manager Erik Breukink said. “But in theTour of Turkey, he showed not only that he has the sharpness of a sprinter, but also that the Renshaw-Bos duo works well together.

    “We are in the process of helping him to a higher level as a sprinter. The next step is for Theo to win in a race at the very highest level.”

    Rabobank has already announced contract extensions with Luis Leon Sanchez, Bram Tankink, and Maarten...

  • Tour shorts: Gerrans identifies target stages, hope for RadioShack-Nissan's GC

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2012, 10:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Plus: Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank go gourmet and Sky extend Pinarello deal

    Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans identifies target stages

    One of the peloton's wiliest riders, Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans has identified target stages at this year's Tour de France but stopped short of naming them.

    Speaking at the team's pre-race press conference, the Milan-San Remo champion said he anticipated assisting Matt Goss's green jersey campaign until the GC settled down and the baroudeurs rose to prominence.

    "I'll be doing what I can to help the sprinters out in the first part of the race," said the 30-year-old, "but I think myself and [team-mate] Michael Albasini's days will come once the GC settles down a bit and like there's a bit more opportunistic riding."

    Gerrans's Tour highlight came on stage 15 in 2008 when he spent a day in the breakaway and then outsprinted two companions to take victory in a cross-border stage into Prato Nevoso, Italy.

    Gerrans added that the team had reconnoitred several stages finishes.

    "There's a good bunch of guys in this team who are more than capable of winning a stage at the Tour de France but will continue helping Matt with sprint stages while he chasing the green jersey."

    Asked which stages he was targeting, Gerrans said: "Most people will be able to work out which are the medium mountain stages and those which suit the objectives of the team."

    Therefore likely stages for Gerrans to shine include the jagged road between Belfort and Porrentruy – another cross-border foray, this time into Switzerland – on stage 8, and stage 14 between Limoux and Foix in the foothills of the Pyrenees. SD

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank go gourmet

    Bjarne Riis says that