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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 10, 2011

Date published:
July 10, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France rider galleries

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) broke even with Alberto Contador at Super-Besse.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 7:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews documents a highlights reel of some of the world's best

    Sometimes a moment can only best be captured on film. With so many different stories to tell, Cyclingnews has returned this year with our Tour de France rider galleries.

    Remember the pave section from last year's race; Roberto Bettini captured a surreal cycling moment in northern France as Fabian Cancellara led Tour favourite Andy Schleck on a dusty summer day. Perhaps the sight of Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd's raw emotion after conquering one of the most difficult days of last years Tour is stronger in your memory.

    If you weren't caught by the flat stages then perhaps the battle between Contador and Schleck in last year's race was more intriguing - and that incident - or perhaps it was Mark Cavendish's final day win in Paris. Whatever it was there will be plenty more stories to unfold in the coming weeks of the 2011 edition of the Grand Boucle.

    We willl be updating and adding to the galleries of a number of GC contenders including Andy and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek), Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Sungard), Cadel Evans (BMC), and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale); all rounders like Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek), as well as sprinting legend Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad).

    Rider Galleries

    Andy Schleck

    Frank...

  • Gaining time in Pyrenees is not an obsession for Contador

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) looks for the shelter of the team bus.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 10:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard says Alps might be decisive

    After a tentative move on the climb to Super-Besse on Saturday failed to yield any dividends, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) has said that he is content to wait for the Tour de France’s high mountains to make inroads into his 1:42 deficit on the yellow jersey.

    The Spaniard also added that he is “not obsessed” with regaining time as quickly as possible when the race enters the Pyrenees on Thursday, pointing out that there is still a gruelling final week in the Alps to come.

    “It’s going to be complicated to take time before the mountains, and then you never know whether it’s better to go in Pyrenees or the Alps,” Contador said. “We shouldn’t obsess about closing the gap in the Pyrenees because the Alps come in the last week and could make an even bigger difference.”

    Contador explained that he will decide on his policy of attack according to the circumstances of the race.

    “You have to see when the right time is and then profit from it,” he said. “These first nine stages will have an influence on the remainder of the race, in the mountains.”

    At Super-Besse on Saturday, Contador had been expected to test Andy Schleck after the Luxembourger had struggled on the punchy climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne earlier in the week. However, Contador explained that in spite of his “good sensations,” the final climb was not exacting enough to separate the contenders.

    “It was just a power climb, it was more for people who can ride well on the flat than for the pure climbers, so I’m happy with how it went,” Contador said. “I really couldn’t have done better.”

    After a tough opening to...

  • Basso: sensations in first week of Tour count for nothing

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 12:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian says mountains will provide true test

    After a wind-buffeted and crash-strewn opening week of the Tour de France, Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is lying in 13th place overall, 1:03 off the yellow jersey of Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo).

    Although pleased to have survived this far with his podium ambitions still intact, Basso admitted that it is impossible to truly assess his form and that of the other contenders until the race reaches the Pyrenees on Thursday.

    “I think that the sensations up to now don’t count for much because we haven’t really had very many climbs, just a lot of stress,” Basso said at Super-Besse after stage 8. “Sunday is another very difficult stage and I think there might still be bad weather, so I’ll have to ride like I have been doing in the last few days, at the front of the peloton. Then next week, the heat and the climbs will make the difference.”

    Basso managed to stay with Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) on the final climb to Super-Besse, but although pleased with his performance, the Italian acknowledged that such a short ascent was not a true indication of how the Tour will pan out over the course of three weeks.

    “It was another good day for me,” Basso said. “But it was only 800 metres of climbing, so it doesn’t mean an awful lot. We haven’t seen anything yet, save that all of the overall contenders are close to one another.”

    Unsurprisingly, Basso picked out Cadel Evans as the most impressive of his rivals on the climb and said that BMC’s efforts on the front of the race were a sign of their confidence in their leader. “Cadel Evans has shown himself to be...

  • Crashes and injuries mar Tour de France stage 9

    Alexandre Vinokourov is assisted by Astana staff and teammates following a serious crash which would force the Kazakh rider to abandon the Tour.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 17:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UPDATED: Vinokourov fractures head of right femur

    Stage 9 of the Tour de France was struck by a number of horrific accidents, with Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov being the most seriously injured, while a bizarre moment in the day's winning breakaway saw a car hit Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and knock Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) flying onto a barbed wire fence.

    Vinokourov was only one of many who went down in a crash 102km into the stage while descending the Pas de Peyrol. He and teammate Dmitriy Fofonov swerved to avoid an Omega Pharma-Lotto rider who had crashed on a turn, and as a result both Astana riders went off the road and down into a wooded ravine.

    "The road was a bit wet when we arrived at a very tight left turn," said Fofonov. "Ahead of us some riders took a wrong trajectory, Thor Hushovd unclipped his foot from the pedal, a rider from Lotto just ahead of us wanted to cut a little to the left, whereas with Alexandre we took the turn wide. The Lotto rider slipped and started to take us with him and we found ourselves faced with a concrete column. We braked to avoid it and were forced to drop into the ravine."

    While Fofonov jumped to his feet relatively unscathed, Vinokourov had hit a tree and broke the head of his right femur.

    "I saw the ambulance arrive at the top next to the road and called for help," said Fofonov. "[Astana teammates] Remy Di Gregorio and Andriy Grivko came down and helped Alexandre up to the road. At this point, we realized that Alexandre could not continue."

    "I never expected such a dramatic end to the Tour de France," said Vinokourov. "This is a terrible disappointment to me, I am so sad tonight, but it could have been much worse. The injury will stop me for...

  • Karpets and Contador diplomatic on stage 9 crash

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) nears the stage nine finish.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 18:49 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    Russian and Spaniard agree that accident caused by tangling bikes

    Katusha rider Vladimir Karpets on Sunday seemed to admit that he had forced Alberto Contador off the road on stage 9 of the Tour de France to Saint-Flour – only to later maintain that the clash had been an accident.

    Before climbing onto the Katusha team-bus beyond the finish-line in Saint-Flour, Karpets was asked whether he had caused Contador’s crash 84km into the 208km stage. The Russian told ITV reporter Matt Rendell, "Yes, yes. He hit my wrist".

    While Karpets gathered his thoughts, his directeur sportif Dimitri Konyshev claimed that he hadn’t seen the accident and had not broached the subject with his rider. "These things happen, though," Konyshev told Cyclingnews. "If you bump into Karpets, you’re going to bounce off!"

    A few minutes later, Karpets emerged to tell journalists that Contador’s fall had been "an accident" caused by the Spaniard’s handlebars tangling with Karpets’ saddle. Contador verified that version of events, explaining, "I got my handlebar tangled up with his seat. I got knocked off balance and crashed. It was an accident."

    Despite a hard landing on his right hip and knee, Contador finished the stage comfortably in twelfth place and now lies 16th on general classification, four minutes seven seconds down on new yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

     

  • Hoogerland happy to be alive after crash in stage 9

    Johnny Hoogerland extracts himself from a barbed wire fence following a frightening crash caused by a French television car.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 20:37 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Dutchman hopes to recover and defend polka dot jersey

    While overtaking the leading five-man break only 36km from the finish line of stage nine at the Tour de France, a media car from 'Euro Media' hit Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky), causing the Spaniard to crash heavily. Breakaway companion Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), riding behind Flecha in the paceline, collided with the fallen Spaniard and was spectacularly launched onto a barbed wire fence along the right-hand side of the road.

    Both riders were able to remount and finish the stage, albeit in considerable pain. Hoogerland suffered deep lacerations to his legs and arrived in Saint-Flour sporting bandages applied by a Tour doctor.

    Before the accident, Hoogerland had crested four of the first six categorised climbs in first place and scored points on the other two as well. After finishing the stage the Dutchman received the polka dot jersey as new leader of the Tour's mountains classification. Hoogerland, along with Flecha, also received the prize for most combative rider from the race jury.

    After receiving his polka dot jersey, Hoogerland became overcome with emotion of what happened to him that day. Race director Jean-François Pescheux apologized in name of organizer Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) and said it was a scandalous thing that happened.

    Following the podium ceremony and prior to being transported to the hospital for further medical care, the Dutchman spoke with the media. "I've got a few awful cuts but I think that will get better soon," Hoogerland said. "It's very emotional. You're up the road in the Tour de France, you take the climber's jersey and...

  • Video: Roche looking forward to the Pyrenees

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) kept pace with the main contenders.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 21:42 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Irishman has avoided bad crashes in Tour's first nine days

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) is one of only a handful of top ten contenders to not fall foul of crashes and bad luck in this year's Tour de France and heads into the first rest day in 13th place, 3:45 down on race leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). The 27-year-old Irishman, who came into the race with suspect form after a hard fall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, told Cyclingnews that he is already looking forward to the Pyrenees, where he will look to push into the top ten.

    "It was tough day today, first time I've been going up climbs since the Dauphiné and the day I crashed there so it's been a while. First test, I suffered a lot out there today but globally satisfied to be able to hang in there with the top guys even though I lost a few seconds in the last straight," he said at the finish.

    Stage 9 of the Tour de France was marred with a number of crashes, resulting in Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Dave Zabriskie and Alexandre Vinokourov all crashing out of the race with broken bones.

    "I saw the carnage – I was about 20 guys behind so when I got by they weren't yet picking up bikes yet, I was just trying to get around. Narrowing, very slippery and I think when they braked they just went up.

    "I've been lucky. I was probably the first one to crash and hopefully it won't happen again.

    "I've been saying every day that until there was a selection crashes would keep happening, but no, until the riders take it a bit more cautiously in the descents they'll keep happening. Everybody's fighting to be in the front and there's not enough room so at some stage it's bound to happen."

  • Feillu urges calm after Hoogerland crash

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) gets the flowers.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2011, 22:54 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    Frenchman says that motorbikes and cars essential in Tour de France

    The Frenchman Romain Feillu on Sunday warned against knee-jerk reactions to his Vacansoleil-DCM teammate Johnny Hoogerland's collision with a France Télévision car during stage 9 of the Tour de France.

    Feillu urged those calling for dramatic action after the vehicle wiped out Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Flecha 36km from the finish line in Saint-Flour to remember that "motorbikes and cars are also essential in bike races".

    A Getty Images motorbike was excluded from the Tour on stage 5 for tangling with the Danish rider Nicki Sörensen (Saxo Bank Sungard). Tonight, the incident which may have cost Flecha or Hoogerland a stage victory has thrust the role of vehicles following the Tour into the spotlight once again.

    "I didn't know about Johnny's accident until I got to the finish because I was in the gruppetto and no one told us," Feillu said. "I don't know, though, it's too easy to say that motorbikes and cars shouldn't be in the race," he continued. "The Garde républicaine police motorbikes open up the roads for us and they do a brilliant job. They're artists, the absolute best at what they do. True, maybe there are a few too many other types of cars and motorbikes driven by people who aren't very experienced...I don't know, maybe there should be some kind of deviation system set up, or designated overtaking points. Today's roads were certainly very narrow for overtaking."

    Feillu admitted finally that his Tour, like Hoogerland's, took a turn for the worse today with some early symptoms of tendinitis. "I didn't have a particularly good day," the Frenchman admitted. "I could feel a spot of...