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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 14, 2011

Date published:
July 14, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Grivko says that Astana will keep fighting in the name of Vinokourov

    Andriy Grivko (Astana) at the head of the break.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 3:29 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet/Cyclingnews.com

    Ukrainian believes that his GC deciding break of 2006 could be repeated

    Andriy Grivko (Astana) showed his motivation in the six-man breakaway that preceded the bunch sprint in Lavaur, but his dream of winning stage 11 faded close to the finish. The front group included Mickaël Delage (FDJ), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Lars Boom (Rabobank), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) worked well together but ultimately succumbed to the chase of a sprint-hungry peloton.

    The Ukrainian’s first words were for his team captain Alexandre Vinokourov who is recovering from a femur and hip operation at the hospital La Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.

    "Since Vino’s crash, we’ve changed our objectives," Grivko told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. "Our goal is now to win a stage. The only way to get it is to make a breakaway like today’s. I was feeling well and that was a good breakaway with riders of a great quality. It’s a pity we didn’t succeed because we had a nice advantage and the work in the group was very good. Unfortunately, with ten kilometres to go, the direction of the wind radically changed from tail to head."

    Grivko was in his second year pro when he rode the Tour de France - his second one too! - in 2006. He played a major role that remained unnoticed: he was the fifth man of the breakaway that also included Oscar Pereiro, Jens Voigt, Sylvain Chavanel and Manuel Quinziato on stage 13 to Montélimar and made the Spaniard from Caisse d’Epargne an eventual surprise overall winner.

    "I believe such a coup can happen again," said Grivko who is now 28 and a much more mature rider,...

  • PureBlack racing pondering ProTeam status in 2015

    New Zealand's Pure Black Racing pushes the pace.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 5:10 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    New Zealand team's focused on Cascade and Utah

    After winning its first overall title at the Tour de Toona last week, UCI Continental Pure Black Racing is turning its attention to the NRC Cascade Cycling Classic held from July 19-24 in Bend, Oregon as a building block for its debut at the UCI Tour of Utah held from August 9-14 around Salt Lake City, Utah.

    "Tour de Toona and the Cascade Cycling Classic were always a part of our build up for the Tour of Utah," Team owner Carl Williams told Cyclingnews.

    "Toona was important for us to follow up on what we accomplished earlier this season. After Cascade we will go to the Tour of Utah, which is a huge opportunity for our team and we are honoured to be invited. It will be a great opportunity for some of our guys to lead the team at a race like that."

    ProTeam aspirations

    Pure Black Racing grew from William’s New Zealand-based amateur team Bici Vida. After nearly two years of success, the team was renamed and acquired UCI-Continental status this season. William is on a five-year plan to acquire a ProTeam license by 2015.

    "I wanted to build a platform that would essentially take a New Zealand team to the Tour de France, which is the goal in the end," Williams said. "We want to build the team slowly and more incrementally than some of the other teams that decide they wanted to be ProTour right away. We want to take our time because cycling is new at the professional level in New Zealand and we need to build its infrastructure."

    Williams chose to base his team in the US and focus on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) for its first season with Continental license. Next year, he plans to renew a Continental license with the UCI and continue building the team by adding more riders and a focusing on the NRC along with UCI events in Asia and Europe.

    A New Zealand team...

  • Rabobank director looks for Contador to attack on Luz Ardiden

    Luis Leon Sanchez cheered up the battered Rabobank team with a stage win
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 6:32 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Gesink, Sanchez to contend first Tour de France summit finish

    Rabobank director Erik Breukink believes that tomorrow’s stage from Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden will be the first major test for the riders battling for the yellow jersey and told Cyclingnews that if Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) does not attack then he will have missed a key opportunity to take time on his rivals.

    The Spaniard lost time to his most dangerous rivals in this year’s opening stages and sits over 1:30 behind Cadel Evans and Andy and Frank Schleck.

    "I think on the first mountains' days everyone will be curious to see who is strong, but Luz Ardiden will be a big finale because a guy like Contador, when he’s good, he will not hesitate because he needs the time. Then we’ll see what the differences are between the top riders. Tomorrow’s the first big test for these riders and how they’re climbing. It’s one of the days that will decide the Tour de France," Breukink told Cyclingnews.

    "When a guy like Contador is feeling strong he has to gain time day-by-day, so if he doesn’t start tomorrow it’s a missed chance. If he doesn’t attack it’s a sign that he might not be that good."

    Rabobank meanwhile heads into the Pyrenees in a precocious position with Luis Leon Sanchez in second spot on GC and Robert Gesink ahead of Contador by a matter of seconds. Sanchez has finished in the top ten in the Tour before and could conceivably slip into yellow by this time tomorrow.

    Gesink’s stock has fallen since the start of the Tour after an early crash, and even though he leads the young riders classification...

  • Rico Rogers returns to Gippsland with more confidence in 2011

    Stage seven winner Rico Rogers (Giant Kenda Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 7:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealander coming off stellar season and aiming for big things in Victoria

    Former downhill mountain biker Rico Rogers will return to the 2011 Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland with mixed emotions. In the 2010 edition of the race the New Zealander hit the bitumen in the opening criterium and was battered and bleeding. But after finishing he went on to win the afternoon’s stage – his first victory in professional road racing.

    "While last year’s Tour of Gippsland was painfully grim for me because of my injuries, I had a good time there because it marked the start of my new career," Rogers said. "I got noticed and I realized that I could sprint with the best of them and hold my own in the mountains."

    Rogers’ performance in Gippsland were enough for him to be offered a contract with the continental Giant Kenda Team and the 33-year-old has never looked back. His results in 2011 so far have been impressive, with his biggest win coming just last week on the Tour of Qinghai Lake’s 8th stage to Lanzhou.

    The New Zealander has improved significantly from last year and many pundits are tipping him to win this year’s Tour of Gippsland after making the podium of last year’s race.

    "Why not?," he said. "I am a sprinter and always back myself, and I reckon I can stay with the best of them in the mountains. "I’ve changed my racing style a bit since my mountain bike days. I had big dramas [at the start]. I always thought I could go faster than I could. I was a little bit young and crazy."

    The Tour of Gippsland starts on Wednesday 27th of July.

  • Tour de France news shorts

    Patrick Lefevre with a fresh haircut
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 8:26 BST
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    Contador recovered and ready for Pyrenees, Evans says the Tour starts today, Quickstep and Leopard to merge?, Sanchez to form Spanish coalition with Contador

    Contador feeling and good and ready for Pyrenees

    Defending champion Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Sungard) has played down the need to attack on today's first Pyrenees stage to Luz Ardiden, despite sitting over four minutes down in the overall standings. The Spaniard has fond memories of the climb, but wants to see how his knee is on the climbs before he tries to make a move.

    "My knee is responding well and I am very happy [with how it has recovered], but keep in mind that today I have not climbed the Tourmalet [the penultimate climb tomorrow before Luz Ardiden]. I have to see how it responds, and on that basis, I will make a decision [about whether to attack] after the last descent."

    Contador also affirmed that if he wasn't feeling up to it, he saw no issue in waiting till the Alps.

    I think my time maybe a little later," he explained in regard to his form returning slowly after his May Giro d'Italia win. "For me the Pyrenees and Alps have the same importance - both are 50 percent of the Tour - so there is no rush."

    Evans: "The real Tour starts tomorrow"

    Cadel Evans (BMC) will take on his first real test of this year's Tour de France on Thursday as the race hits the high mountains for the first time. The Australian has looked impressive so far, and his BMC team surprised many with a strong ride in the stage two team time trial around Les Essarts. Speaking at the end of another wet and wild stage the Australian was looking forward to testing his legs on Luz Ardiden.

    "For us the real Tour starts tomorrow," the Australian said.

    "It's 211 kilometers long and it's pretty hard," Evans continued....

  • Tiralongo: Contador is not serene

    Tiralongo gets a little payback from Alberto Contador for his service in 2010
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 9:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former domestique feels Saxo Bank leader not at his best in Tour de France

    As the Tour de France entering the mountains,  Paolo Tiralongo has told L'Equipe that he feels his former Astana team leader Alberto Contador is not in great psychological condition in the race. Tiralongo, whose only professional victory is a stage at this year's Giro d'Italia that was gifted to him by Contador, also said that he remained faithful to the Spaniard and would help him in the mountains if needed.

    "Alberto is not serene," the Italian said when asked about Contador. But the 33-year-old Italian was quick to add that the reason for this was not the Tour champion's physical form but having to cope with public rejection following his alleged doping offence.

    "In Puy du Fou [at the team presentation prior to the Tour start], they whistled him, and deep down inside - even if he doesn't admit it - he suffers a lot from being publicly accused of something that he hasn't committed," Tiralongo said.

    Since the Grand Départ, the 2010 Tour de France winner has lost close to two minutes to his big rivals due to crashes and bad positioning in the peloton and has complaining about a painful knee. Tiralongo was adamant both could have been caused because of a very tiring Giro d'Italia, which the Saxo Bank rider won in May.

    "It's true, he's crashed a bit too often. Because of bad luck? Distraction? At the Mont des Alouettes [stage one], he should have raced a bit more near the front. Maybe he's also paying for the Giro now, which was one of the hardest in its history," Tiralongo pointed out.

    "Some people think he might abandon the race... He will if he's not at a hundred percent, because he's not the type to get dropped on the...

  • Green jersey not lost for Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Philippe Gilbert kisses his Belgian champion's jersey goodbye after taking the first maillot jaune.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 10:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sergeant counts on mountains to take lead back from Cavendish

    Even though Philippe Gilbert lost his green jersey to Mark Cavendish in Wednesday's stage 11 bunch sprint, Omega Pharma-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant is hopeful that the Belgian can take the sprint classification lead back as the race moves into the mountains. Gilbert, after having worked for the team's sprinter André Greipel in yesterday's finale, had few words to say to the media after the stage but did not seem too bothered.

    "Cav wins, Greipel gets second and Cav takes the green. What a shame for Greipel. But tomorrow there will be mountains," was all the Belgian told Het Nieuwsblad at the team bus in Lavaur.

    Sergeant, too, was philosophical at the loss and explained the team's strategy in the stage finale. "Philippe lost the green jersey but that had to be expected in such a stage finish," he said. "It was a typical bunch sprint, not one for Phil. Moreover, when it started raining buckets in the last ten kilometres to the line, he let us know that he thought it was too dangerous to mix in the sprint. We put everything on Greipel."

    The team now counts on Cavendish's relative weakness facing the Tour's most challenging stages in the Pyrenees to take the points classification lead back. "This is only an intermediate result," Sergeant added. "Cavendish has 20 points over Gilbert, and Rojas has four. The jersey is not lost altogether. In the mountains, Philippe can score more points. He's not disappointed and can take the green jersey back anytime. We will see from day to day."

  • FDJ: Kings of the intermediate sprint

    Sandy Casar (FDJ) had to content himself with 3rd place.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2011, 11:32 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet/Cyclingnews.com

    Madiot disappointed that more breaks haven't succeeded in first week

    The new rule of only one 'hot spot' sprint rather than three highlights the strong presence of French team FDJ in the breakaways of the first half of the Tour de France. The squad directed by Marc Madiot has had a rider in almost every breakaway. Only one of them was in a winning move but Sandy Casar came third behind Luis Leon Sanchez and Thomas Voeckler on stage 9. Despite that the four-leaf-clover team has dominated the hot spot sprint competition.

    Jérémy Roy was the winner in Avrillé on stage 1 - and second to Johnny Hoogerland on stage 4. He paved the way for Mickaël Delage to also be first in St-Hilaire-de-Chaléons on stage 2, in Buzançais on stage 7 and in Gaillac on stage 11. Anthony Roux took the sprint in Vassy on stage 6, so did Casar in Neuvéglise on stage 9 and rookie Arthur Vichot in Maurs on stage 10. It makes seven wins out of ten, as one of eleven stages was a team time trial.

    "I didn’t count them but they are our stage wins at 1500 euros each," Madiot reacted to Cyclingnews with the hint of a laugh. Intermediate sprints don’t only award points but also earn a handy 1500 euros in prize money for every winner. With seven wins they've earned themselves a cool 10,500 euros so far in the race - of course a stage win by itself is 8000, but it's not nothing.

    "We are not particularly looking for these sprints," Madiot said. "We don’t plan such moves but our riders have been really keen to go for breakaways. They’re very motivated, so we let...