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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 14, 2013

Date published:
July 14, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Impey, Lancaster on the team dynamic within Orica GreenEdge

    Daryl Impey (Orica GreenEdge) in the yellow jersey at the start of stage 7
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 6:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Tour leader says there's an important emphasis on fun

    Not only do riders have to suffer through three weeks of a grand tour, but also three weeks of each other.

    In this video, two of Orica GreenEdge's strongmen Brett Lancaster and Daryl Impey who spent two of the team's four days in the maillot jaune this Tour de France, takes Cyclingnews through some of the quirks within the squad's dynamic.

    "Generally we get on really well and I think the most important part of this team is that we have a lot of fun," says Impey.

    Lancaster, currently riding his sixth Tour, also reveals that a team debrief occurs each day as a way of giving everyone the opportunity to get any niggles off their chests.

    "So we don't go back to the room and bitch about each other," he explains.

    Watch more on the video below. 

     

  • Contador: The Mont Ventoux is a special mountain

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 7:09 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Spaniard not expecting alliances in Tour de France stage

    With the Tour de France set to enter the Alps on Sunday, Alberto Contador expects a tactical battle on climb of Mont Ventoux.

    The legendary climb comes at the end of a 242.5 stage from Givors and should see a shake out in the race for the yellow jersey.

    Contador, a two time Tour de France champion, currently sits in third overall, 2:45 behind race leader Chris Froome. However, with five riders between second place and fifth separated by less than 35 seconds, the race could boil down to a tactical war of attrition, with Contador and Bauke Mollema each joined by a teammate each inside the top five overall.

    Danger man Nairo Quintana sits over five minutes down in GC but could also play a significant part.

    "Tomorrow will be a hard stage because the number of kilometers, and because the Mont Ventoux is a special mountain," Contador said at the end of stage 14 to Lyon, which saw Omega Pharma-Quick-Step pick up its fourth stage win of the race.

    Contador and the Tour last raced up the Ventoux in 2009 towards the end of that year's race. By that stage the Spaniard was in control and only had to mark his closet rivals to secure his second Tour win.

    This time around he may choose to be more aggressive but legs depending, he may also need to limit his losses if Froome is still in the shape he demonstrated in the Pyrenees.

    "I would divide the climb into two parts," Contador said. "The first is about percentage and gradient, and is covered with vegetation, but the second is windy, and there's usually a headwind. I guess in tomorrow's stage there will be a break until the start of the climb and many movements in the race, by Movistar, for example, from the beginning. Will have to see how the legs go and what tactics are employed by...

  • Video: Cavendish reflects on his 25th Tour win and the beauty of the race

    An ecstatic Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) after winning stage 13 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 7:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Exclusive interview following stage 13

    After his second stage win of the race to Saint-Amand-Montrond Cyclingnews sat down with Mark Cavendish for an exclusive chat at his Omega Pharma-Quick-Step hotel.

    While his teammates and support staff toasted their victory Cavendish talked about his stage win, and how he wanted to repay his squad after missing out on the stage to Tours.

    Cavendish has been a prolific winner in the Tour de France and has claimed a colossal 25 stage wins in total.

    The next week will see the British national champion tackle the Alps but with the bright lights of Paris as motivation he'll be the favourite to pick up another final-day Tour de France stage win.

    In this exclusive video interview with Cyclingnews' Laura Fletcher, Cavendish also discusses what makes the perfect lead out and the thoughts of André Darrigade, who tipped him as the best sprinter of all time.

     

    WilliamHillSports3   Bet on the Tour de France with William Hill and get a...

  • Voeckler looks ahead to Mont Ventoux

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 10:49 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    France still searching for first stage winner of 2013 Tour

    Even when Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) lies hidden in the lower reaches of the general classification of the Tour de France, he remains one of the central characters of the French summer.

    In every ville départ, Voeckler's is the name that raises the decibel levels to such an extent that even speaker Daniel Mangèas' breathless patter is drowned out. The maillot jaune apart, he is perhaps the most easily identifiable character in the great spectacle, his high white socks and hitched-up shorts forming part of a costume topped off by the tricolour trim on his jersey.

    At every finish line, the Europcar team bus is besieged by a fresh army of autograph hunters and Voeckler will always find time to run a marker across a postcard or a cardboard hand, if proffered. Voeckler being Voeckler, he will usually find time to address the swarm of cameras and microphones that gather there daily, too.

    In truth, Voeckler has so far done little to merit such close media attention at this year's Tour and his declarations, for the most part, have been concerned with his squad's ongoing quest to find a sponsor for next season.

    All the Tour is a stage, however, and nobody understands the importance of dramatic timing quite like Voeckler. With France still searching for a stage win, Sunday's Bastille Day stage to Mont Ventoux seems an opportune moment for a man with Voeckler's sense of theatre to make his grand entry.

    "Obviously it's July 14 and we still haven't had a French stage win, so that adds to it," Voeckler said in Lyon on Saturday evening. "It's going to be a very hard stage not just because you've got the Ventoux but because it comes at the end of 240 kilometres of racing."

    Voeckler impressed in winning the Route du Sud and a stage of...

  • Tour de France shorts: New Ventoux record?

    The top of the Mont Ventoux is exposed, often windy and barren
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 11:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tweets, Rojas and more

    A new record time on Mont Ventoux?

    The performance of Chris Froome and his overall rivals will be closely scrutinized today with people calculating their VAM, power output and performance.

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford and others have dismissed the use of the calculation to suggest or imply if a rider may be doping, but the time the riders take to conquer Mont Ventoux will surely spark debate.

    For the record, Lance Armstrong set the fastest time of 48:33 for the final 15km of Mont Ventoux in 2002. Alberto Contador set the second fastest time of 48:57 in 2009, while Marco Pantani and Armstrong stopped the clock in 48:59. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and doubts about those fast times remain.

    The final 15km includes 1368m of elevation at an average gradient of 8.7%. The often strong winds are also a major factor in the racing and in the times set on Mont Ventoux.

    Tweeting about Ventoux

    Most of the riders were not really looking forward to today's closing climbs, and tweeted their feelings about it. Especially the sprinters showed a certain lack of enthusiasm.

    Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma-QuickStep: “Bastille Day means big French motivation. Mont Ventoux means big climber motivation. All these things mean a grim day for sprinters.”

    Gert Steegmans, Omega Pharma-QuickStep: “Maybe we should make a echelon in the crosswinds before the Ventoux :-) could give some good television #tdf #OPQS”

    Greg Henderson, Lotto Belisol: “How do you say "give me a push mate" in French?”

    Peter Kennaugh, Sky: “Big big day tomoro, let's hope the first 2 hrs are a little easier than today but who know it is the tour after all..”

    Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano): “Big day ahead, 242km + finish on top of Mt.Ventoux. Looking...

  • Rui Costa most popular Tour de France rider

    Rui Costa (Movistar) prior to the start of stage 9
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 15:00 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Movistar rider leading fan mail statistics

    Rui Costa rides for Movistar, a telephone company, but it looks like a fair chunk of his fans are equally willing to use other forms of communication other than giving him a call. Docapost, the company who run the Tour de France post office have revealed that this year Rui Costa, the Portuguese rider and double Tour de Suisse winner who is currently getting the most fan mail sent to riders on the Tour, succeeding Thomas Voeckler in 2012.

    "The second most popular is Valverde, with Voeckler in third and Alberto Contador in fourth," Sylvain Fourre, from Docapost, told Cyclingnews.

    "Europcar were the most popular team last year, with Movistar easily the most popular in 2013 - with Rui Costa and Valverde, who's also getting lots of letters, giving them a big boost."

    Anything, from breakaways to crashes, can send riders' popularity soaring, according to Fourre. "When Johnny Hoogerland had that really bad crash a few years ago [in 2011], he suddenly got loads of letters, maybe 100 or 150. He had had no letters before and moved up to fifth or sixth by the end of the race. When Chavanel won a couple of stages, [in 2010] he got a lot of letters. If we had a French stage winner, or who got into a big break, you can be sure he will get a lot. Same goes for people who are unlucky. Leaders, too, of any classification, are certain to get a number of letters."

    The sending of fan mail to riders during the Tour dates is nothing new. In 1962, journalists from El Mundo Deportivo reported when Federico Martin Bahamontes won at Superbagneres, they came down to the hotel lobby the next day where he and the Spaniard's Margnat squad were staying to find it "overflowing with telegrams of congratulations."

    It is getting a little late now...

  • Quintana last man standing in face of Froome's Ventoux attack

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 18:26 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Colombian wants Tour de France podium place in Paris

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the last man standing on Mont Ventoux on stage 15 of the Tour de France, but although he largely succeeded in taming the worst excesses of the Giant of Provence, he was ultimately unable to hold the wheel of yellow jersey Chris Froome (Sky) in the final two kilometres.

    The Colombian attacked with over 14 kilometres of climbing still to go and fiercely resisted Froome's forcing when he made the junction near Chalet Reynard, six kilometres from the summit.

    Quintana finally had to yield when Froome kicked again near the Tom Simpson memorial, but although he reached the summit 29 seconds down in second place, he was still almost a minute clear of the first of the chasers who had been left scattered across the mountainside by the race leader's searing attack.

    "I had the impression that I was going to win the stage, but in the end I didn't have the strength," Quintana said afterwards. "I gave it everything I had, but this was a difficult climb and we had raced at a fast pace all day even before we ever got to Mont Ventoux."

    In spite of that high speed through the opening 220 kilometres of racing, and in spite of the intensity of Sky's forcing at the foot of the climb, Quintana showed few inhibitions once the road began to rear upwards.

    Raphael Geminiani's famous 1955 warning to Ferdi Kubler, that "Mont Ventoux is no ordinary col: you can't tell it what to do," is one that generations of riders have diligently heeded ever since, but the young Quintana eschewed conventional wisdom when he danced clear of the yellow jersey group over 14 kilometres from the top, on the steep road through the forest.

    Quickly settling into a comfortably seated style that brought back memories of illustrious...

  • Froome in a league of his own on Mont Ventoux

    Chris Froome puts the rev meter into red on Mont Ventoux
    Article published:
    July 14, 2013, 19:14 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Sky captain pads lead in Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) delivered an unstoppable performance at the Tour de France on Sunday with a climbing display that helped him extend his overall lead in the race to over four minutes on stage 15 to Mont Ventoux.

    Froome came into the stage with a 2:45 buffer over his nearest rival. However he and his Sky team had looked vulnerable in the lead up to the Alps after Alberto Contador and Saxo Bank had taken the fight to Sky on the road to Saint-Amand-Montrond.

    Any talk of Froome or Sky’s demise was rapidly quashed with Froome able to reassert and ram home his domination on the Mont Ventoux. It was a performance just as crushing as the one Eddy Merckx delivered on the climb in 1970 with Sky's black and blue train leaving its rivals scattered over the mountain.

    "I really didn't see myself winning this stage today. I thought I’d have to surrender the stage to Quintana in the final. My main objective was to get more of a buffer on the GC. But I didn't see myself winning that stage today – I really cant believe it," Froome said at the finish.

    Sky set the early tempo at the base of the climb, taking over from Movistar. As the early break crumbled up ahead the British team used their ritual pattern of uphill pace setting to good effect, stringing out their rivals who were already looking to limit their losses.

    Quintana broke clear, while Sky’s Peter Kennaugh moved to the front of a heavily reduced field. Richie Porte, recovered from the battering he took in the second stage of the Pyrenees, soon took over and at one point only Alberto Contador and Froome could follow the pace.

    "Quintana had obviously attacked quite far out and he had a decent advantage. Climbing as well as he does we didn't want to...