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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 1, 2012

Date published:
July 01, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Mixed fortunes for Omega Pharma-QuickStep in prologue

    French time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) goes all out on the streets of Liege.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 2:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Chavanel surprises with third as Martin suffers mechanical

    World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) set the fastest time at the first time check during Saturday's Tour de France prologue in Liège only to fall victim to a mechanical.

    Much had been expected of the dual between the German and eventual winner, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) in the build up to the 6.4km race against the clock, but it was the time of Martin's teammate Sylvain Chavanel which restored some pride for the high-flying Belgian squad.

    Martin looked to be on course for the yellow jersey when a flat tire saw him dramatically back off the pace.

    "I had a flat tire after the first split time," Martin said. "I could feel that I was slipping away on the last roundabout and thought 'OK, maybe it's just a little bit slippery,' but then I realized I had a flat in the back and had to change the bike. I think it was a quick change, but it kills the morale and the rhythm. I'm really disappointed.

    "I still have a good time, and I think would have a made a really good time without the flat tire," he continued. "I wanted to fight for the yellow. I'm disappointed, but I thought 'just keep on fighting, the long time trials are coming.' I can tell I have very good condition and now I have to fight now for the next time trial."

    Despite the misfortune, Martin still posted a time that would fall 23 seconds off the winning pace of Cancellara.

    French chrono champion Chavanel, celebrating his 33rd birthday, was 113th rider out of the start gate in Liege with over an hour to wait to see if his time of 0:07:20 would stand up to the traditional time trial powerhouses.

    "I did a great race," Chavanel said. "I wanted to...

  • Video: Brett Lancaster blasts into prologue top 10

    Brett Lancaster (Orica-GreenEdge) cracked the top-10 with a 6th place prologue finish.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 4:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Standout performance for Orica-GreenEdge in Tour de France debut

    Brett Lancaster delivered a spectacular result for Orica-GreenEdge in the prologue in their Tour de France debut on Saturday, the Australian posting a time of 7:23, 11 seconds down on winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).

    The effort earned Lancaster 6th place but the performance was not as easy as it may have appeared after the 32-year-old crashed during the warm-up lap.

    Lancaster has been known to perform well in prologues, winning the opener at the 2005 Giro d'Italia in Reggio Calabria.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews following his ride in Liege, the Spanish-based rider from Shepparton in Victoria said he had taken it easy on the 6.4km courses many corners.

    "[My] legs honestly didn't feel strong but I think in some of the better prologues you do, you feel like that," he explained.


  • Nuyens happy with Tour de France prologue

    Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 10:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider still has Paris-Nice crash in his head

    Nick Nuyens was proud of his 20th place finish in Saturday's Tour de France prologue, noting he had worked on his time trialling. But he still has in his head the crash early this season in which he broke his hip, the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider said.

    The Belgian covered the 6.4km course through Liege in 7:33, only twenty seconds slower than winner Fabian Cancellara. “If I had taken more risks, then I would have had an even better time,” he told the Belga news agency.

    “I didn't go all out in the corners. I would have ridden five seconds faster, but in a prologue it comes down to such small matters.”

    He crashed on the opening time trial of Paris-Nice the beginning of March, and was later found to have a fracture in his right hip. He missed the Spring Classics and didn't return to racing until the Four Days of Dunkirk last month.

    But it wasn't until the recent Tour de Suisse that he felt back in shape again. “What I felt during the Tour de Suisse, I still feel. I'm ready for the Tour. I trained a lot with the time trial bike, which has now borne fruit.”

    The events of this spring remain with him, though. “The crash in Paris-Nice is still in my head. I have a hellish period behind me and had almost a half year rehabilitation and work to get back into condition. That does something to a man.”

  • RadioShack-Nissan aims to defend yellow with stage win

    Fabian Cancellara resplendent in yellow
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 13:03 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    American team eying team classification without yellow helmets

    Despite a tumultuous build-up to the 2012 Tour de France, the RadioShack-Nissan team managed to respond to all the criticism with a stunning performance from their time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss rider won the 6.4km long prologue in Liège, Belgium, and he has the honour of wearing the yellow jersey during the first stage, a loop from Liège to neighbouring town Seraing.

    A man who wasn’t present in Liège to celebrate the victory was team manager Johan Bruyneel. The Belgian opted to stay away from the Tour de France to allow the team to focus on the race itself instead of on the USADA doping allegations. “I heard from Johan on the phone yesterday. He is really happy. He said that it wasn’t a secret that he’ll miss the Tour. Will he come back on his decision? For now he’s not thinking about that,” Dirk Demol said. “If there was a phone call from Lance? No.”

    After grabbing the yellow jersey with Cancellara, the team might opt to tactically give it away during the first stage on Sunday, or they might opt to make the team work and try to keep Cancellara in yellow. In the past Bruyneel's teams often decided not to defend yellow in order not to jeopardize the team’s general classification ambitions with Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.

    “We’re starting today with the intention to defend the jersey; we’re not giving it away,” Demol said. “It’s a stage made for Sagan. He didn’t hide his ambitions to get the green jersey and he can do a good job...

  • Tour shorts: Specialized, Pinarello and Sky, Acquarone makes his picks

    The Pinarello Dogma K of Team Sky, prepped for Scheldeprijs and soon headed to the start of Paris-Roubaix.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 13:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Plus: Rolland, Monfort and Porte

    Specialized dogmatic over Pinarello's Allez with Sky

    Pinarello and Sky announced their extended contract last week put an end to speculation linking the British team with Specialized. However at the start of stage 1 of the Tour Specialized confirmed that talks between the two parties had taken place but that they also 'talk to other teams.'

    "We look at all the team and balance our needs on where we want to put our efforts. All I can say is that we talked to everyone and that we have close ties with riders on that team and management on that team and we like to keep our options open," a Specialized spokesperson told Cyclingnews.

    "They had a deal with Pinarello and they chose to keep going with that deal."

    Asked how far talks between Sky and Specialized advanced, the spokesperson added: "I'm not close enough to make a comment on that but Cav and Bernie we really love and there are riders we have relationships with. There were talks but we talk to a lot of teams. We have our hands full and we're completely happy with the teams that we have." DB

    Acquarone's Tour picks

    Each stage depart is littered with the great and good of cycling, whether it's former stage professionals, local celebrities or team VIPs. This morning Giro boss Michele Acquarone was in Liege for the start of stage 1.

    "Everything is incredible and ASO are doing such good work, and I'm so impressed. I've learnt so much but it would take me five hours to explain everything. I've written so many things down but it's been good for networking here. Chapeau!" he told Cyclingews.

    The conversation quickly turned to racing and as well as sharing his hopes that a number of top level riders would take part in next year's Giro [Evans and Contador among them] he picked his Tour de France favourites.

    "I have two...

  • Valverde looking to get back on track

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) looks down the road ahead in Liege
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 13:59 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Movistar boss Unzue is hoping his team leader will shine in Seraing

    Alejandro Valverde was one of the big losers in Saturday’s Liège prologue of the Tour de France, but his Movistar Team boss Eusebio Unzue expects his team leader will bounce back with a strong performance on the opening road stage into Seraing.

    “Alejandro didn’t do a good prologue, that’s obvious,” Unzue told Cyclingnews at the stage one start in central Liège. “But at the same time he was only six or seven seconds below what would have been considered a normal result. So you have to put things into context and give them the importance they deserve.”

    Unzue said that Valverde wasn’t too disappointed after the prologue, in which he finished 116th and lost 28 seconds on Tour favourite Bradley Wiggins. “Yesterday was a setback but without any great importance in the bigger scheme of things. From today onwards, he will be on terrain that suits him and it’s a first opportunity for him to get himself involved in the action.

    “Today he will be hoping to take advantage of the opportunity that this first uphill finish gives him, just as Gilbert, Simon, Sagan and even Evans will. There’s going to be quite a few riders who fancy their chances today. We will be working to make sure that he’s got the chance to take advantage of this opportunity. He will have Imanol [Erviti] and [José Joaquín] Rojas with him trying to make sure that he’s in the right position.”

    Valverde’s compatriot Samuel Sánchez was another of the big losers in the prologue, finishing 40 seconds down on...

  • Boasson Hagen was aiming at Tour de France best young rider jersey in prologue

    Edvald Boasson Hagen started his 2012 Tour strongly with a 5th place prologue time trial finish.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 15:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider looking to make up for it in first stage

    Edvald Boasson Hagen didn't think he would win the Tour de France prologue, but thought that his time of 7:24 would be enough to place him on the podium and bring him the white jersey for best young rider. But it wasn't enough and the Sky rider placed only fifth overall and second in the young rider competition.

    Boasson Hagen took the lead with his ride, but was soon topped by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). His dream of the white jersey disappeared when Tejay van Garderen (BMC) came in one second faster than him.

    “I am very pleased. It was a bit sour when the white jersey went up in smoke there at the end, but it was a good start,” Boasson Hagen told

    With no time bonuses in this year's race, he didn't think he would be able to overtake Van Garderen at the finish in Seraing in Sunday's first stage. “If he falls off and there are no crashes, it may be a possibility.”

    The finale in Seraing is expected to be too difficult for the “classic” sprinters, but just right for riders such as Boasson Hagen, Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan. Team principal Dave Brailsford said that the team will ride for the young Norwegian if he is there at the end.

    “Edvald has shown that he has a fantastic finish, and especially when the final is hard. There are no hard edges here, and then there is no reason why Edvald should not be there.”

    Boasson Hagen said only, “I think I can get the chance and I will grab it.”

    Wrong number

    Both Boasson Hagen and teammate Christopher Froome rode the race under a “handicap”, which they didn't discover until afterwards – they wore each other's starting numbers.

  • X-rays for Luis León Sánchez after stage 1 crash

    2009 Paris-Nice champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 01, 2012, 17:38 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Spaniard injures left wrist in fall

    Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) was taken to hospital for x-rays after a crash on stage 1 of the 2012 Tour de France. The Spaniard, and winner of last year's stage to Saint-Flour, crashed roughly 20 kilometres from Sunday's finish in Seraing. He finished the stage but lost 4:05 to winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas).

    Clutching his left wrist as he limped into a team car headed to Maastricht hospital, a team spokesperson confirmed that Sánchez had finished the stage but complained of pain.

    "He came back to the peloton after the crash but was then dropped. He's going straight to hospital now. We don't know if anything is broken but we just want some x-rays taken so that we can be sure that it's nothing serious."

    Sánchez, who had been one of the favourites for victory on the opening stage, won the Spanish time trial championships last week and extended his contract with Rabobank on the eve of the Tour.