L'Equipe's seven reasons, les Francais savent rouler!, Mangeas to call it quits
L'Equipe's seven reasons to be hopeful
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has a significant overall lead of 3:25 in the Tour de France after the time trial. It is a comfortable cushion but for some people are convinced that this Tour de France is far from over.
L'Equipe has found seven reasons why Froome's rivals could be hopeful.
1. Froome didn’t finish off the time trial strongly 2. The hardest part of this year's Tour is still to come 3. Contador will be exceptional in the third week 4. Froome is already at the peak of his form 5. Team Sky is showing signs of weakness 6. Quintana is ready to attack in the Alps 7. A coalition could be formed to beat Froome
More pseudo science
Team Sky manager David Brailsford has dismissed the debate about power data, performance and suspicion of doping as pseudo science. However Chris Froome's superb performance in the Mont-Saint-Michel time trial has sparked a new tide of analysis, debate and conjecture.
Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Claudio Ghisalberti has calculated that Froome produced 18% more power than main overall rivals Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde.
Gazzetta calculated that Martin produced 480 watts during his TT, pushing a huge gear of 58x11. Froome weighs nine kilogrammes less than Martin but Gazzetta calculates he produced an average of 470 watts during his ride. Valverde and Contador were much slower and produced lower power outputs, reportedly around 385 watts.
Oui, les Francais savent rouler!
"Yes, the French know how to time trial" screamed the patriotic headline in L'Equipe after Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jeremy Roy (FDJ.fr) finished seventh and eighth respectively in the time trial.
According to L'Equipe that was the best result by French riders since 2000 when Christophe Moreau and Laurent Jalabert finished...
Wednesday’s time trial ought to have been a low-key outing for Cavendish but the Manxman was catapulted back into the headlines when a spectator doused him with urine as he rode past.
In Fougères on Thursday morning, race director Christian Prudhomme made a visit to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step bus to show organiser ASO’s solidarity with Cavendish in the wake of an incident anathema to the spirit of the Tour. When Cavendish himself emerged to speak to the press, he was keen to draw a line under the affair.
“It’s not a nice thing to happen but in cycling you get so close to the spectators,” Cavendish said. “I enjoy that really because there was an incredible amount of British support there and Manx flags. I didn’t know there were that many people on the island. It’s ok, we had an incredible night last night after we had three people in the top ten so in the end it was a nice stage.”
The previous day, Cavendish had been at the centre of controversy in Saint-Malo, when his brush with stage winner Marcel Kittel’s lead-out man Tom Veelers Argos-Shimano caused the Dutchman to crash in the finishing straight.
“I spoke with Tom the other day on the phone and we’ll get back to bike racing today,” Cavendish said. “He’s got an incredible sprinter in Marcel Kittel and it’s going to be a big battle today.”
Asked if the incidents of the previous 48 hours had added fire to his belly, Cavendish pointed out that motivation is never lacking at the Tour. After winning multiple stages in each of the past five Tours, Cavendish will expect to adding to his current tally of...
Hesjedal’s career trajectory has intertwined and grown along with that of Slipstream. From plucky North American underdogs, as a unit they have established themselves as established faces in the European peloton. Their success culminated in a Giro d’Italia crown in 2012 and although Hesjedal has not matched up to that result in the twelve months since he has remained an integral part of the team.
Little wonder then that the Canadian re-signed with team for the future as he looks likely to see his career out with the squad.
In this exclusive video with Cyclingnews Hesjedal talks about his time with Garmin, the development he and his team have achieved and his provisional racing calendar for the remainder of 2013.
Lotto Belisol teammates share insight into hobbies off the bike
With arguably one of the strongest lead outs at this year's Tour de FranceLotto Belisol teammates Greg Henderson and André Greipel know each other pretty well. Enjoying a bit of down time between stages Henderson shares a few unknown characteristics about his sprint captain Greipel.
Having spent the past 18 months together the sprint duo have formed a winning combination with Henderson the final man in the train before the ‘Gorilla' Greipel kicks for the line.
"He is a very good captain in the team. He doesn't express himself with his mouth, he expresses himself with his legs and lets his results do the talking," said Henderson on the Tour's first rest day.
"Greg is not my friend anymore," said Greipel jokingly. "He hurt me so much the other day. Normally he is meant to do 300m work in the wind but yesterday he did 150. It was not so nice to stay on his wheel," he added in regard to the team's first win into Montpellier before adding "he is one of the most consistent rider's in the bunch, you can always trust him."
In this exclusive video with Cyclingnews Henderson and Greipel explain what makes them so successful together while also telling us a little bit about their hobbies off the bike. Hear what else they have to say in the video below including some hidden musical talents that Greipel keeps confined to the safety of the hotel.
Despite a substantial but not insurmountable buffer in general classification, Geraint Thomas still expects his team leader Chris Froome to face a barrage of attacks in the Alps at the Tour de France. The Sky leader holds a 3:25 lead over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with Bauke Mollema (Belkin) at 3:37 and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 3:45 in arrears.
"Other teams will attack, there's no doubt but we're super-motivated having seen how Chris rode yesterday," Thomas told Cyclingnews prior to stage 12, pointing to Froome's display in the time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel.
Although Sky leads the race this has not quite been the procession it appears to have been on paper. On a blisteringly difficult stage to Bagnères-de-Bigorre the thin blue line was almost breached after a succession of attacks. Richie Porte and Peter Kennaugh cracked, while Vasil Kiryienka fell by the wayside for good. Only Froome survived at the head of the race.
"With Richie, I think it was a freak day, a bad day and he proved yesterday that he has got the legs," said Thomas.
"So I think when he's riding well, Peter stays on his bike, then for sure those two will be there straight away. All of a sudden the dynamic changes and hopefully I'll be there too. We're just looking forward to the challenge and we'll fight hard and be there for Chris."
Since his race-threatening crash in the opening week Thomas has sparingly used his energies in a bid to recover for the mountains.
"I feel like the pain has died down and after a few easy days I'm just looking forward to next week and the crunch days for us," he...
Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen crashed out of stage 12 of the Tour de France with a broken right scapula, the team has confirmed to Cyclingnews. The Norwegian was involved in a pile up inside the final three kilometers of the stage, and although he managed to cross the finish line x-rays confirmed the injury.
"After the crash Edvald was taken to a local medical centre for x-rays which revealed he had a fracture of his right scapula (shoulder blade)," Sky team doctor Alan Farrell said. "Fortunately this doesn’t require surgery but Edvald will return home to Norway for further investigation and treatment and we look forward to seeing him racing again sometime over the summer."
The loss of Boasson Hagen leaves Team Sky with just seven riders in the race, with Chris Froome currently leading with a 3:25 margin over his nearest rival Alejanrdo Valverde (Team Movistar).
Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said, "It’s never nice to lose a rider of Edvald’s ability, but ultimately we’re still confident that with the riders we’ve got left we can pull together and see the race through.
"The plan doesn't change and we will do everything we can to support Chris [Froome]."
For five long years, bunch sprints at the Tour de France have obeyed one fundamental law. He may lose the occasional sprint due to a missed lead-out or a congested finale, but since 2008, the tacit understanding in the sprint jungle has been that Mark Cavendish is simply faster than everyone else.
On stage 12, however, that belief was publicly called into question by Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), who overhauled Cavendish in the final 100 metres to claim his third stage victory of the race in a tight bunch finish.
Cavendish was put out of the running by a crash when Kittel claimed his first win in Corsica, and had too much ground to make up when the sprint began in Saint-Malo two days ago, but in Tours on Thursday, he was simply beaten for speed by the German.
A vast arsenal of television cameras and dictaphones was assembled outside the Omega Pharma-QuickStep bus after the stage, and Cavendish has long since realised that his defeats are more notable than his victories. When he emerged to speak to the press, he was pragmatic in his assessment of the day's stage and admitted that there were no mitigating circumstances in his defeat to Kittel.
"I was just beaten today, yeah, that was it," Cavendish said. "We gave everything we could. The team did everything really perfect. We talked about the last stage but I think they were just spot on today. It was a duel between my team and Argos, but, yeah eventually he was just faster than me, simple as. You can sit and analyse it but if someone's just simply faster, there's nothing you can do."
Sprinting's Big Four of Cavendish, Kittel, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) have all claimed at least one stage at this Tour, but Kittel has been the star performer to...
Yellow jersey says figures are not humanly possible
Chris Froome's performances in the Tour de France's first mountaintop finish and first time trial have left him with a sizeable buffer of 3:25 at the head of the overall standings but they have also triggered a litany of estimates of his power output from a variety of external analysts.
In an article for Le Monde earlier this week, for instance, former Festina trainer Antoine Vayer estimated that Froome produced an average power output of 446 watts on the final climb to Ax 3 Domaines on Saturday, but the yellow jersey dismissed the figures when they were put to him during his press conference after stage 12 to Tours.
"I don't think it's humanly possible to average 440 watts for a whole stage so that's out of the question. That's far, far from what I think is possible," said Froome.
Froome did not, however, divulge what his own power-meter had actually read after his stage victory at Ax 3 Domaines on Saturday, in keeping with Team Sky's policy on the matter. Manager Dave Brailsford has dismissed estimates such as Vayer's as pseudo-science and says that he will not publish his riders' power data because "interpreting it is not as simple as it seems."
Interpreting Froome's improvement against the watch in recent years is no simple matter either. Prior to the 2011 Tour de Suisse, Froome had never finished in the top 10 in a time trial in a WorldTour event, yet a little over two years later, the 28-year-old put two minutes into his overall rivals in a 33-kilometre time trial at the Tour de France.
Twenty-four hours on from his efforts at Mont-Saint-Michel, Froome was keen to put his display in perspective and said that he does not expect...