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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Date published:
July 10, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Van den Broeck: We have not seen real mountains in the Tour

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol Team) holds 9th place overall after the time trial.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 9:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto-Belisol leader to attack in the coming stages

    Jurgen Van den Broeck only slipped a single place - from eight to ninth - in the Tour de France general classification at the end of stage nine's time trial. However, it is the increased deficit to current race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) that should be most concerning for the 29-year-old. The Belgian climber began the stage 2:11 behind and ended the day 5:20 from the British race leader.

    Van den Broeck was consistent in his test against the clock, losing approximately one minute at each time check, including the final one at the finish line in Besançon. It wasn’t his greatest performance but his 26th-place time wasn’t too far off the majority of the general classification contenders – barring Wiggins and second-placed Chris Froome (Sky).

    The Belgian is now looking forward to a rest day before the proper climbing stages begin. Stage ten from Mâcon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine will be the first big test for the climbers as the route passes three categorised climbs, including the 1,501m Col du Grand Colombier. This brutal mountain will see the dwindled peloton race up the 17.4km climb with an average of 7.1 percent and pinches of 17 percent.

    “We have not seen any real mountains and from what I have seen, there are some who can crack. Once you crack in the mountains and you can tumble all the way down. Just ask Evans,” he told nieuwsblad.be in reference in Cadel Evans’ failed 2009 Tour campaign.

    Van den Broeck knows he can put the race under pressure like he did on stage eight – with the help of his teammate Jelle...

  • Bronzini heads Italian Olympic women's road team

    World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara)
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 10:27 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Baccaile to act as a plan B for the Azzuri

    Reigning world champion Giorgia Bronzini will lead the Italian women's road cycling team to the London Olympic Games.

    Technical director Edoardo Salvoldi has named Tatiana Guderzo, Noemi Cantele and Monia Baccaile in support of Bronzini in the road race on July 29. Former world championship silver medallist Cantele and Guderzo will also both race the time trial on August 2.

    Elisa Longo Borghini and Rossella Ratto are listed as reserves. Salvoldi said that the pair can expect to play a significant role in the world championships later in the year.

    "The reserves are two young ladies who have worked very hard this year and shown remarkable growth," he said.

    "I have decided to bet on two fast athletes like Giorgia Bronzini, who is well known and feared by her adversaries and for this she can expect to be targeted, and Monia Baccaile, also fast but who can also be a valid alternative," explained Salvoldi.

    The Italian men's team was named earlier this month with Sacha Modolo, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini, Marco Pinotti and Matteo Trentin selected for the Azzuri.

     

  • Sky won’t defend third place at Tour de France

    Chris Froome leads Bradley Wiggins in the first mountain finish of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 11:16 BST
    By:
    Pete Cossins

    “We’re here to win with a British rider” Sutton affirms

    As well as conjecture about what would happen in the first major time trial, the Tour de France press room has been abuzz with discussion of how Team Sky will deal with the challenge that Bradley Wiggins could face from within his team from Chris Froome. Will we see a re-run of the Vuelta, many eagerly wonder? Last September, Wiggins went into that race as Sky’s leader, but finished a step below his teammate on the podium.

     

    Speak to anyone within the Sky set-up, however, and there’s no question of this situation arising. The British team is riding the Tour win the sole aim of winning the title in Paris. If they finish with two men on the podium so much the better, but the priority is to have one man on the top step rather than two in second and third as they did at the Vuelta.

     

    Speaking in the moments after Wiggins’ victory in the Besançon time trial, Sky’s head coach underlined the team’s sole objective. “You can forget any kind of talk about trying to defend third place,” he said, immediately squashing any suggestion of an internecine battle between Wiggins and Froome.

     

    “We’re here to win the Tour. We set out on this journey with a mission to win the Tour with a British rider. We’ve got one lying first and one lying third at the moment, and winning is still the ultimate goal. We won’t be holding back and trying to get X amount of people on the podium. We’re here to win the Tour. For now it’s all hands on deck for Brad. Froomey’s more than capable of winning this Tour if something happens to Brad,...

  • Tony Martin quits the Tour de France

    Reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished in 12th place.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 12:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    World time trial champ to heal hand injury in view of Olympics

    Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep has confirmed the expected abandonment of world time trial champion Tony Martin. The German will leave the Tour de France on Tuesday's rest day in Mâcon, due to a fracture of the scaphoid bone of his hand sustained on stage one. Martin held onto the race until stage nine's time trial on Monday, where he finished an honourable 12th despite the pain and a rear wheel puncture in the first kilometres.

    "It's difficult for me to step out of the Tour and leave my teammates here to keep on fighting," Martin said. "But it's the right thing to do now, and I know that even the guys will understand. I will go home and I will try to recover as much as I can. I don't want things to get even worse going into the mountains. I cannot imagine sitting in the back of the peloton suffering every day a little bit more as I did during this week. I really tried, but now it's time to think about my complete recovery.

    "I have still three weeks before the Olympics. I know that it won't be easy, but I will do all my best to be in good shape for the Olympics," the 27-year-old added, confirming that he is still focused on the London Olympics time trial as he had announced earlier in the season.

    Team doctor Helge Riepenhof supported the German's decision. "From a medical point of view, it is now time to give the scaphoid fracture a chance to heal. We also have to avoid further issues to his body because of being limited in his movement while wearing a brace. This is the only possible decision to be able to perform at the London Olympics without damaging structures such as the lower back or knees," he assessed.
     

  • IG Pro Cycling Index: Wiggins and Sagan leapfrog Evans

    Points classification leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 13:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Early results from the Tour de France mean significant changes

    Peter Sagan is the rider who has won the most stages so far in the Tour de France. In his debut in the race he has won three out of the nine stages so far. His consistent finishing has also seen him take the green jersey. In the IG Markets Pro Cycling Index he a climbed one spot to fifth place and is just 15 points adrift of Bradley Wiggins in 4th spot.

    Wiggins is in the yellow jersey at the first rest day after claiming his maiden Tour de France stage victory in the stage nine time trial. His results so far have not only seen him take the yellow jersey but also move up in the Index. Both Sagan and Wiggins have moved up the Index at the expense of Cadel Evans. Evans has so far ridden strongly in the race but has failed to match his performance from 2011 where he had already one a stage at this point in the race. This time last year he was only two seconds off the yellow jersey. This year he is one minute and 53 seconds behind Wiggins.

    Andre Greipel and Fabian Cancellara have both had an excellent Tour de France so far. Greipel powered to sprints wins on stages four and five. He has jumped up to 13th in the Index from 21st place. The German has won an impressive 15 races so far in 2012. Cancellara powered to the win on the opening prologue in Liege. This was the fourth time he has won the prologue at the Tour de France and it was his eighth Tour de France stage win. He has returned to the top ten for the first time since the end of April this year.

    Looking down the top 200 of the Index you can tell which riders have had a strong start to the Tour de France by comparing their current rank against their previous rank. Rising from 45th to...

  • Kelly: Wiggins is mentally fragile

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) remains in yellow for another day.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 14:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Irishman doubts Sky leader's ability to handle pressure

    After only ten days of racing, Bradley Wiggins has held all of his promises and taken a firm grip on the yellow jersey of the Tour de France. The Brit has proven highly superior to his rivals in the time trial, and largely competitive in the mountains. While many observers therefore seem to think that the overall victory is already sealed, others reckon that Wiggins may still crack, keeping in mind the total length and challenges of the race, as well as other possible incidents that could make the Brit lose his focus and temper.

    "I think Wiggins can win this Tour, if everything happens without a hitch or setback," confirmed former multiple green jersey winner Sean Kelly to L'Equipe on Monday evening. But the Irishman, who is working for British Eurosport at the race, also had his doubts concerning Wiggins' psychological strengths.

    "Bradley has always been fragile," he added. "A puncture or another upsetting incident can make him lose his head. Last year, Evans experienced some mechanical problems behind Contador, in the stage to L'Alpe-d'Huez, and if it had been Wiggins, he would have panicked. But to win the Tour, you have to know how to stay calm, overcome adversity, whatever it may be - and that, I'm not sure he's able to do."

    Kelly's assessment comes just two days after Wiggins lost his temper at a press conference, when a journalist confronted him with a comparison of his strong Sky team to the former American US Postal squad under Lance Armstrong, not omitting the doping-related doubts that have recently been fuelled. Wiggins reacted with anger and insults.

    "A journalist dared to compare the strategies of team Sky with...

  • Argos-Shimano extends contracts with five riders

    Mathieu Sprick (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    July 10, 2012, 16:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team members rewarded for successful 2012 with new deals

    After an eventful season so far, which has seen a change of co-sponsor and multiple victories by standout riders Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, Argos-Shimano has revealed that they have agreed to contract extensions with five of their riders. It's some welcome news of continuity after Alexandre Geniez announced his intention to leave the team last month after being left out of their Tour de France squad.

    French duo Matthieu Sprick and Yann Huguet have signed deals until the end of the 2013 season, while Tom Dumoulin, Roy Curvers (both Dutch) and Bert de Backer (Belgium) have agreed to contracts that will run until the end of 2014.

    "I've noticed that I’ve been able to develop myself very well in this team," Sprick said. "I enjoy the innovative way of working and I look forward to the future. I want to discover how much I can still progress together with this team."

    The team has enjoyed mixed fortunes at the 2012 Tour de France so far, for which they were one of four wildcard invitations. Kittel, their number one sprinter, was considered to be a contender for some of the early stages but was forced to withdraw early on in stage five with stomach problems after performing sluggishly since the start. His mantle as lead sprinter on the team was taken by Tom Veelers, who produced excellent rides on stage 2 (4th) and stage 4 (3rd), illustrating the Professional Continental team's strength in depth.

  • Cofidis hotel raided, Di Grégorio arrested at Tour de France

    Rémy Di Gregorio (Cofidis) wins the final stage of the Vuelta Asturias.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 1:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Updated: Team suspend accused rider

    On the Tour de France first rest day, police officers and gendarmes of the French Central Office against Environmental Damage and Public Health (OCLAESP) have raided a hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse, where French team Cofidis were staying. They have taken Rémy Di Grégorio into custody, at the demand of a Marseille investigating judge who is currently working on a doping-related case.

    Cofidis issued a statement explaining that they "have very little information about the facts of the case," but that ethically the team was left with little choice.

    "Remy di Grégorio is therefore immediately suspended, provisionally, while we await more ample information on the case.

    "If the suspicions are confirmed, he will be sacked on the spot - in accordance with the stipulations in his contract and in line with the ethical policy of the team."

    Cofidis explained that they believed it to be an "isolated case"

    According to L'Equipe, judge Annaïck Le Goff spoke of a "doping presumption". The 26-year-old is currently being heard in Marseille, where two other persons have also been arrested in relation with the case. The judge has been working on the affair since last year, when Di Grégorio still rode for Kazakh team Astana. The French climber is a Marseille native who rode with amateur team VC La Pomme Marseille from 1999-2004, before entering the pro ranks with FDJ.

    Astana team management released a statement in response to Di Grégorio’s arrest, saying that "it is inappropriate for us to make any comment," in regards to their former employee.