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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 8, 2012

Date published:
July 08, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Brailsford: It’s a great day for our team

    Bradley Wiggins hugs teammate Chris Froome after their successful stage 7 in the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 0:55 BST
    Peter Cossins

    "Strength in numbers" tactic pays off for Wiggins and Sky

    As he waited for his riders to come back down from the summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles, Dave Brailsford had a few minutes to reflect on his Team Sky’s success. Admitting he felt very proud of his squad, Brailsford also stressed that there is still a long way to go in the Tour and that a lot can still happen.

    Asked initially about Sky’s tactic of having a group of riders driving hard on the final climb, Brailsford said that "strength in numbers" is fundamental to the team’s tactical approach. "Our guys have been riding like that for most of the season. It was a good effort to make sure Brad lost no time.

    "Strength in numbers is something we’ve talked about in my short experience in this race and we’ve come prepared for that. That was the intention and that was what the team delivered," he said.

    He admitted the team had been concerned about how Richie Porte would perform after he crashed three times in Friday’s sixth stage, and was delighted with the way the Australian bounced back. "You’re never quite sure how someone is going to recover. But Richie was very good. Then Chris Froome took it on. At the Vuelta last year everyone was thinking, ‘Where’s this guy come from?’ I think he showed today that he can back it up and I think today he showed that he’s one of the best climbers in the peloton right now," Brailsford said.

    He also paid tribute to world champion Mark Cavendish’s contribution during the stage. "It’s been a tough week for Mark Cavendish and I think he deserves a special mention and some real credit," said Brailsford. "He’s the world champion, he’s won a lot of stages here, and it hasn’t quite gone his way....

  • Tour shorts: Ice cream, Sagan's city bike bell, abandoning the Tour

    The GP de Denain 2012 podium: Alex Rasmussen, JJ Haedo and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 2:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Gesink admits the general classification is "shattered"

    Ice cream reward for third place

    If you lose a bet, you have to pay up. And the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet now has to provide Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank sprinter J.J. Haedo with a chocolate ice cream cone.

    The newspaper had bet with Haedo that he would not finish in the top three in a stage of this year's Tour de France. The Argentinian then finished third in Thursday's fifth stage.

    When they asked him when he wanted his reward, Haedo suggested, “Maybe we should wait a few days and just talk to Bjarne (Riis, ed.) about it. He's the man in charge. But everyone will be fine. Maybe chocolate will be good.” SW

    Sagan's bell against crashes

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) not only displays interesting victory salutes. The current wearer of the green jersey also relies on quite traditional bike components in order to prevent him from crashing. After having his chances annihilated by a fall in the finale of Thursday's stage five, the Slovakian asked his mechanic to mount a bell on his handlebar - indeed, an ordinary, black city bike bell. Let's hope it will get him upright through today's stage from Epernay to Metz. HK

    Another day, another victim of stage six’s crash

    Anthony Delaplace (Saur - Sojasun) suffered a fractured wrist in stage six when nearly half the peloton were involved in a high-speed fall with less than 30km remaining. Unlike many of the fallen, who couldn’t get back up from their injuries, Delaplace was able to finish the stage and start the following day. His injuries however, proved too much and after just an hour of racing he...

  • RadioShack-Nissan fighting without a leader

    A perturbed Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) after being invovled in a large crash at 25km to go in stage 6.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 3:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Domestiques outshine Schleck and Klöden

    Now that Fabian Cancellara’s week in the maillot jaune is over, it was up to the general classification ‘leaders’ of the RadioShack-Nissan team to take the helm. However, Fränk Schleck excused himself of the sole leadership role before even arriving at the Tour and cemented this position following a dismal opening prologue and losing considerable time on stage six. Thankfully Cancellara’s resolve over the past week has lifted the performance of the team which had, up until the Tour, failed to deliver to deliver significant results.

    Stage seven didn't go to plan for the RadioShack-Nissan team. As expected Cancellara lost contact with the Sky-lead group on the final climb but it was the performance of the team's key riders that was disappointing. Schleck waited for Andreas Klöden when the two were dropped on the final climb but Schleck could not coax the German into holding his pace. The Luxembourger then continued at his own tempo but couldn’t catch his two teammates Haimar Zubeldia and Maxime Monfort who were clearly riding much stronger than the trailing duo. Klöden ended the day 2:19 back on the winner and nearly a minute behind Schleck while Zubeldia and Monfort finished inside the top-ten.

    "I had bad legs and have no real explanation for it, I had felt it in the early part of the stage," said Klöden on his team website.

    With Sunday’s stage set to test the peloton over seven categorised climbs it will be interesting to see who falls back to the team car for refreshments. Zubeldia and Monfort are sitting in sixth (0:59) and...

  • Aspen Snowmass becomes Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge

    With team director Nicola Cranmer looking on, Kristin Armstrong discusses her victory in the Snowmass Circuit Race. Armstrong assumes the overall race lead following the second stage.
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 4:23 BST
    Pat Malach

    New sponsor, larger purse for women's Colorado race

    The Aspen Snowmass Pro Challenge will return for a second year this August with a new title sponsor and a new name but with dates that will once again have the women sharing Colorado's roads with the men's USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

    The newly renamed Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge will run Aug. 20-22, with the final downtown criterium taking place just before the pro men arrive in Aspen for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge stage 4 finish. Other changes for the 2012 event include a considerably larger prize purse, a switch from a points-based omnium to a traditional stage race based on overall time and a move up to National Race Calendar status.

    Race organizer and two-time U.S. elite national road champion Jessica van Garderen said the move to NRC status should help bring in more teams and get the word out about the race.

    "There are only three of us putting on this race," she said. "So being an NRC race really helped us with advertising, just being on the calendar."

    Van Garderen joined fellow Aspen residents Jan Koorn and Justin Todd last year in putting together an event that would showcase women's cycling while the world's attention was turned toward Colorado and the UCI 2.HC men's race that runs Aug. 20-26. Exergy-Twenty12's Kristin Armstrong won the three-stage event last year as part of her comeback aimed at this year's London Olympics, which will take place just weeks before the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge.

    "She won the race last year and I know she really enjoyed it," van Garderen said of Armstrong's possible participation this year. "We would just be thrilled to have her back."

    Although rosters haven't been finalized, Armstrong's Exergy-Twenty12 team has committed to sending a full squad of eight riders to Aspen this year, van Garderen said, along with TIBCO-to the Top and the Now & Novartis for MS team of Anne Samplonius, winner...

  • Nicolas Roche: Finding his Tour legs again

    AG2R-LaMondiale's Nicolas Roche
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 6:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Irishman looking to improve on past performances

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) enjoyed a break-out year in 2010 when he finished 15th in the Tour de France and backed-up with a 7th-place overall at that year’s Vuelta a España. Unfortunately for Roche his next season didn’t go quite as he hoped. Despite a late season stage victory at the inaugural Tour of Beijing, his season did not build upon the success of 2010 and so it was time to rethink his approach coming into 2012.

    This season would again place the Tour at the top of the objectives list. An improvement from 2010 would be the only measure and with his contract up for renewal at the end of the year, he wanted to prove his worth before deciding on his options.

    Roche’s early season results were minimal, picking up a single top-ten stage finish and 20th-overall at Paris-Nice before continuing onto the Volta a Catalunya where he rode the weather-stricken stage three before withdrawing on stage five to Manresa.

    Leading up to the start of the Tour de France in Liège, Roche rode the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse where he finished 20th and 10th respectively. These were promising signs from the AG2R la Mondiale rider who has shown his grand tour potential in the past.

    After the first proper test at this year’s Tour Roche is looking good. He wasn’t able to follow the best to the top of La Planche des Belles Filles but he minimised the damage to 1:06, coming in...

  • Klöden on the defensive with RadioShack Twitter offensive

    Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 10:11 BST
    Cycling News

    German rider lashes out at team PRs after stage 7 disappointment

    Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan) suffered a difficult finish to yesterday's seventh stage at the 2012 Tour de France in La Planche des Belles Filles, losing ground in the overall general classification and ending the day 2:19 behind the new race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).

    The veteran German rider was theoretically suited to the gruelling finale up this year's first category one climb but struggled, along with teammate Frank Schleck, to stay with the leaders as the stage reached its brutal conclusion.

    In the aftermath of the race RadioShack-Nissan, reeling from the double disappointment of seeing their two main GC hopes fall further behind and the loss of Fabian Cancellara's yellow jersey, issued a press release that quoted Klöden as saying that his legs had felt weak throughout the whole day. Klöden immediately used his personal Twitter account to accuse his team of sending out "bullshit".

    "Disappointed about the result today... felt good before the last climb. But after 1km in the last climb I was in big trouble. I fought to the finish," he said.

    "One thing, I don't know what bullshit they write in the RSNT press release, but I had good legs today, only in the last 4km I was somehow blocked.

    "It annoys me when I read things must just not [sic] right. And then I say it also... and some provocations by some, I just laugh."

  • Hoogerland trying to put dangers to the back of his mind

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 11:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Poels injuries and multiple crashes bring back bad Tour memories

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) suffered bad injuries at last year's Tour de France when he crashed into a barbed wire fence on stage nine and he has been reminded once again of the danger faced by professional road racers already this year by the numerous crashes that have already taken place during the Tour's first week.

    The Dutch rider has seen his teammate and compatriot Wout Poels end up in intensive care with numerous injuries, including a ruptured spleen and heavily bruised lungs, after he was involved in the mass pile-up towards the end of Friday's sixth stage. For Hoogerland it is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of those at the top of his profession.

    "We are very vulnerable as cyclists," Hoogerland said in De Telegraaf. "The only thing protecting us is a helmet. We ride harder than a moped and have only a thin outfit to protect us. It's bizarre really, although there is no other option.

    "It is dangerous. Look at Wout Poels. Hopefully he won't suffer any permanent damage."

    Regarding the crash on stage six, Hoogerland said: "I am afraid anyway, so it hasn't made me any more afraid. You can see what happened to Wouter Weylandt [who died following a crash at the 2011 Giro d'Italia - ed] though you shouldn't think too much about that. Sometimes you hear footballers whining when they get a push - and then you hear about cyclists getting a punctured lung. We were laughing about that this morning," he said.

    Hoogerland also stated that his progress at the Tour so far has been hampered by a troublesome knee, but that he will fight on regardless: "The knee problem I have is quite troublesome. But I will continue to ride, although it is...

  • Wynants still in hospital but on the mend

    Maarten Wynants (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2012, 12:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Raboank rider recovering from stage 6 crash at Tour de France

    After crashing early on at what has rapidly become known as an infamous stage six at the 2012 Tour de France, Rabobank's Maarten Wynants has revealed that he is on the mend but won't be released from his French hospital bed for at least another four days.

    Wynant had already crashed  - breaking two ribs and puncturing his left lung - well before the huge pile up 25km from the finish in Metz on Friday afternoon. Amazingly he rode on until the finish.

    "I still have five days in the hospital," he told Sporza on Saturday.

    "This is far from ideal but I'm glad the situation is under control. I was shocked when I heard that my left lung was only about half the capacity of my right one. I had noticed that something was wrong, but it's the Tour. You can't just step off, even though you get hardly any air.

    "The pain is now gone. Yesterday the air between my lungs was removed. That was the cause of the pressure."

    Wynant could not hide his disappointment at having to abandon the race and was also pessimistic about recovering in time to instead take on two potential late-summer targets, the Vuelta a Espana and the Eneco Tour.

    "I'm sure I'll have four weeks on the sideline, but I have already looked at the calendar," he said. "It is difficult for me to make the Vuelta or the Eneco Tour. I hope everything recovers quickly, so I can ride again as soon as possible. It is a bad feeling to be out of action mid-season."