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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 17, 2014

Date published:
July 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Costa suffering with bronchitis at Tour de France

    Rui Costa may be the world champion, but Kabuto does not have an aero helmet for him
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 11:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    World Champion loses more time to rivals on stage 11

    Rui Costa’s Tour de France ambitions have been dealt a blow, as the world champion has been diagnosed with acute bronchitis. The Lampre-Merida rider struggled with his breathing during yesterday’s stage to Oyonnax and lost 1:32 on the other general classification contenders.

    "Obviously, I am not satisfied with my performance,” Costa said after stage 11. “I was suffering from the beginning. At first I thought it was due to heat and rest day yesterday, but after being visited by the team doctor, I was diagnosed with acute bronchitis.”

    Costa has lost time on the last two stages. He was unable to follow the main contenders on Planche des Belles Filles after his chain jumped and came in just over a minute down. He began stage 11 sitting just inside the top 10, but the breathing problems made it difficult for him to follow the favourites once again. He was dropped in the latter kilometres of the stage. Costa has now slipped to 14th in the general classification.

    “From yesterday I have felt shortness of breath, and today I had the same problem,” explained Costa. “It may be because of the temperature difference between the early days and today. We have had a few days of very cold rain and today the temperature reached 30 degrees. I am already being medicated and hopefully have better days… It was definitely not a good day.”

    It has not been an easy Tour de France for the Lampre-Merida rider. In addition to mechanicals and health problems, Costa has also fallen foul of the many crashes during the opening week of the race, injuring his leg. Fortunately for the Portuguese rider, his leg is no longer troubling him.

    “I...

  • Brian Robinson hit by car during training

    The peloton at the 1959 Tour de France, where Brian Robinson powered to victory in stage 20
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 13:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    British cycling legend in hospital

    Former Tour de France rider, Brian Robinson has been hit by a car on a training ride in his native Yorkshire. The 83-year-old former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer, crashed and suspectedly broke his collarbone, his son-in-law Martyn Bolt told the BBC.

    "He was descending a road in Thornhill Lees, Yorkshire, when the collision happened. He has suffered multiple bruises and lacerations and what looks like a broken collar bone," Bolt said. "We don't know how long he will be in hospital for, but we are hoping he will be back on his bike before too long."

    Robinson was the first British rider to finish the Tour de France, doing so in 1955. Three years later he won the seventh stage in the race from Saint-Brieuc to Brest. Robinson was the first to win a stage in the race. In 1959 he repeated that performance by winning the 20th stage from Annecy to Chalon-sur-Saône. In 1961 he was the first British rider to win the overall classification in the Criterium du Dauphiné.

    The Yorkshire born rider was an ambassador for the Tour de France start this year in Leeds. Bolt hopes that, despite his father-in-law's age of 83, he'll be back on the bike soon after he spent the night in hospital. "He likes to go out twice a week to keep fit and spend time with his friend. Inactivity is not something that sits well with him." 

     

  • Tour de France shorts: The new generation of French riders

    Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) wins stage 11 of the 2014 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 15:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rolland no longer obsessed with La Grande Boucle

    Tour no longer Rolland's raison d'être
     
    Pierre Rolland's fine Giro d'Italia debut appears to have opened the Frenchman's eyes to life outside of the Tour de France. Currently sitting 16th overall, he explained that he has not had time to recover sufficiently from his fine fourth-place finish in Italy. The Europcar man has ruled out the prospect of repeating the Giro-Tour double in 2015 and admits that he may even forgo La Grande Boucle altogether next season.
     
    "Right now, I'd say that I won't do the Giro and Tour in 2015. I'll do the Tour and the Vuelta or maybe even the Giro and the Vuelta," Rolland told L'Équipe. "And if the latter is the case, then why not build a big team around Bryan Coquard for the 2015 Tour? I'm not making an obsession of the Tour anymore."
     
    It would be understandable if Rolland's mind was not entirely on the task in hand at this Tour, given that is wife is eight months pregnant. Indeed, the imminent arrival of his first child was the reason Rolland opted to ride the Giro rather than the Vuelta this year.
     
    For now, however, he remains in the Tour, albeit caught in no-man’s land between aiming for the GC and trying to land a stage win. "I don't see myself saying 'sit up and go for stages,' but at the same time, I'm not interested in finishing 15th," Rolland said.
     
    Pinot's parachute jump
     
    Thibaut Pinot's very public crisis of confidence at last year's Tour left many questioning whether he had the mindset to capitalise on his undoubted talents, but FDJ.fr's resident sports...

  • Costa getting the most Tour de France fan mail - again

    World champion Rui Costa slipped out of the top-ten today
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 15:26 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    World Champion most popular for second year running

    For the second year running, Rui Costa is the most popular rider when it comes to fan mail sent direct to the Tour de France, Docapost, who run the Tour's internal Post Office, have confirmed to Cyclingnews.

    Since the Tour began the Lampre-Merida leader has received 53 letters or e-cards to date, considerably more than Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who like in 2013, is in second place. TIago Machado (NetApp-Endura) is lying third with 36 messages, whilst Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), despite leaving the race, is in fourth - as he was in the Tour's ‘fan mail ranking' and the overall classification, curiously enough, last year - with 25. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) is in fifth with 24.

    Some of the letters to the World Champion could be of the ‘get-well-soon' variety, given Costa has been suffering from bronchitis and lost time yesterday (Wednesday), and French TV said mid-stage that he was struggling a little today (Thursday), too.

    "So far we've received nearly 300 letters for riders," Grégory Saccomani, Docapost's press officer on the race, told Cyclingnews. "That's pretty much the same as last year."

    In 2013's final classification, of around 600 letters Rui Costa received a total of 285 messages, well ahead of Voeckler - the most popular rider in 2012 - with 38, whilst Valverde got 36. "He was amazed to have got so many messages, he actually rang up our director in Paris to check it wasn't some kind of prank, he didn't believe it." Saccomani recalls.

    "So far it's the same tendency as last year, Rui Costa in the lead, Valverde always in the top three, whilst Machado" - riding his first ever Tour - "is a new addition, of course."

    "Contador, I guess, will drop out of the top...

  • Tour de France tech: Pro mechanics' tools

    Tinkoff-Saxo is sponsored by SRAM, but keeps FSA rings on hand, too
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 15:33 BST
    By:
    Ben Delaney

    Custom jigs for cleat placement and bike set-up, favourite tools and more

    At the Tour de France, team mechanics' roles require a few skills: logistics, presentation and, yes, wrenching quickly and competently on scores of bikes.

    As with tactics for a race, each team cooks up its own strategy for dealing with the seemingly endless array of moving parts. Most teams mix a blend of old school and new school techniques, from storing rider measurements and parts inventories on digital spreadsheets to applying tubular glue by hand.

    Some of the most interesting tools are those custom-made for particular jobs, such as the jig Orica-GreenEdge uses for replicating cleat positioning on multiple pairs of shoes for a given rider. If you have ever been frustrated by getting a new pair of shoes and struggling to get the cleats just right, then you can sympathize with a pro rider not wanting to deal with this scenario mid-race.

    Even relatively straightforward tasks like measuring saddle height have dedicated tools. While most amateur riders — and even some pros — will settle for a tape measure, pro mechanics need something more exacting, so metal rods that anchor at the bottom bracket and clamp down atop the saddle are used.

    You might be content to measure saddle height with a tape measure. Tinkoff-Saxo's Rune Kristensen is not

    BikeSettings.com makes a few frame jigs that are popular with pro mechanics for measuring X and Y axis points on a bike.

    At BMC, mechanic Ian Sherburne uses digital angle gauges, among other tools, to dial in riders' exact preferences, and ensure that the spare second and third bikes match the primary bikes in every...

  • Tiernan-Locke banned for two years

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 16:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Updated: Team Sky terminates contract

    Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been banned for two years over irregular biological passport values dating back to 2012. Team Sky has terminated the rider's contract with immediate effect.

    Team Sky today terminated Tiernan-Locke's contract with immediate effect. “Jonathan’s contract has been terminated today," team principal David Brailsford said in a press release.

    “Whilst there have been no doubts about his time with us, his doping violation - from readings taken before he joined this team - means there’s no place for him in Team Sky.

    “We’ve a well-known stance on anti-doping and our action is the inevitable outcome of a violation."

    The news first broke after the UCI updated its anti-doping violations list today, adding the British rider's name without fanfare. The governing body later issued a brief press release confirming the ban.

    "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms receipt of the United Kingdom National Anti-Doping Panel’s decision on the Jonathan Tiernan-Locke case. A 2-year ban was imposed on the rider as a result of his anti-doping rule violation based on his Athlete Biological Passport. He is declared ineligible until December 31, 2015 and disqualified from the 2012 Tour of Britain and the 2012 UCI Road World Championships, competitions during which abnormalities were clearly identified. The UCI recognises the work of UKAD in providing the rider with a fair and independent hearing. At this stage, with the relevant appeal windows open, the UCI will not make any further comment on the case."

    Tiernan-Locke loses his overall victory in the 2012 Tour of Britain and a 19th place in the 2012 UCI Road World Championships.

    Tiernan-Locke fought the...

  • AG2R La Mondiale set for best Tour de France yet

    Romain Bardet in white
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 18:44 BST
    By:
    Ellis Bacon

    Lavenu happy with team's early performance

    The French continue to fire on all cylinders at this year's Tour de France. Lotto-Belisol's Tony Gallopin's stage win in Oyonnax on Tuesday was the nation's second, adding to AG2R La Mondiale rider Blel Kadri's victory on stage eight.

    In the general classification, meanwhile, the French are also placed highly, with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and AG2R pair Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud all chasing podium spots.

    And AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu says his riders still have a lot more to give. Kadri's stage win would already have made for a successful Tour. However, with two AG2R riders in the top 10, and fourth-placed Bardet sitting pretty in the white jersey as best young rider, the team with the brown shorts could be heading for their most successful Tour yet.

    Lavenu agrees that Bardet and Peraud are in dazzling form, but dismisses any idea that trying to manage two riders' hopes of finishing in the top 10 is difficult to manage. On the contrary.

    “It's actually quite reassuring to have two riders up there, as anything can happen, as we've already seen with both Chris Froome and Alberto Contador crashing out,” Lavenu told Cyclingnews. “And there's no problem at all about leadership. In fact, I think it's actually good for both Romain and Jean-Christophe's confidence, having a team-mate next to them up at the front.”

    Outside the team bus, Bardet, in the white jersey, certainly exudes a confidence that the French have arguably been missing in recent years. Or perhaps even since 1985 – the year of France's last victory in their home race, thanks to five-time winner Bernard Hinault.

    Asked whether the white jersey or a high...

  • Kristoff celebrates first Tour de France stage victory

    Alexander Kristoff celebrates on stage 12
    Article published:
    July 17, 2014, 18:56 BST
    By:
    Ellis Bacon

    "I've finally done it!" declares Katusha rider

    Norway's Alexander Kristoff finally took the win he's been waiting for on Thursday: a stage of the Tour de France.

    The Katusha sprinter arrived at the finish of stage 12 in Saint-Étienne as part of a reduced bunch of 60 riders, whittled down over a hilly 185.5 kilometres between Bourg-en-Bresse and the capital of the Loire département.

    Kristoff's biggest win to date had come at the 2014 Milan San-Remo in March, where he beat Trek's Fabian Cancellara and Team Sky's Ben Swift to take the Italian one-day Classic.

    In Saint Etienne on Thursday, it was Peter Sagan and Arnaud Démare who were left disappointed thanks to Kristoff's fast finish, while his many fans back home in Norway were left elated.

    "I hope they have a big party," Kristoff grinned, "and that the whole country celebrates. I know how big the Tour is for people in Norway. This is the race that everyone knows, and I've always dreamed about winning a Tour stage, so it feels great to have finally won here."

    Kristoff revealed that he'd specifically targeted the Saint Etienne stage, and used an old Tour trick to ensure that he came to the start in Bourg-en-Bresse feeling as refreshed as possible in the hope of achieving his goal.

    "Yesterday [Wednesday's 11th stage] I took it easy with a view to being good today, so maybe that was the key to my success. I'd tried to save my legs on the hills, which meant that I felt pretty good on the climbs today, and was never really on the limit," Kristoff explained. "But coming towards the finish, anything can happen – you can easily get boxed in – so I was a little bit nervous.

    "A lot of teams wanted to be at the front, so we were a little squeezed, and I lost Luca [Paolini] and then...