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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Date published:
July 12, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Thomas enjoys the Tour de France rest day

    Geraint Thomas and Sky had to get used to life without Bradley Wiggins on stage 8.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Team sky riders look back on their first week of racing

    Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has published another video blog from the Tour de France, revealing how he spent the first rest day of this year’s race.

    The 25 year-old Welshman is sharing a room with Edvald Boasson Hagen and the two also discussed their first week at the Tour, recalling Boasson Hagen’s stage win in Lisieux on stage six, Thomas’ week in the best young rider white jersey and the loss of team leader Bradley Wiggins in a crash.

    Thomas said that Team Sky rode for two hours in the morning of the rest day "to keep the engine turning over" and then after a press conference, the riders enjoyed a long massage to help them recover and had some physio treatment.

    Thomas predicted that Tuesday’s stage to Carmaux would be an aggressive day in the saddle as riders look for a stage victory.

    Video courtesy of

  • Porte predicts exciting racing all the way to Paris

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 14:40 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian talks about Evans and Contador

    Heading into the second week of racing, Richie Porte (Saxo Bank-SunGard) has echoed Alberto Contador's sentiments regarding Tour de France tactics, telling Cyclingnews that the Schleck brothers must ride aggressively if either of them is to win the race.

    The Schlecks both currently sit a minute and half ahead of Porte's team leader but lie a handful of seconds behind Cadel Evans (BMC). With the 42.5km Grenoble time trial on the penultimate stage, the brothers will have to gain significant time on Evans, a stronger rider against the clock, in the mountains.

    "The Schlecks have to get rid of Cadel but it's going to be exciting all the way to Paris. There are some really hard stages. We did recon of the Alps and Pyrenees and the Luz-Ardiden stage is really scare and it's going to be every man for himself," Porte told Cyclingnews.

    While the Tour has been plagued by numerous crashes, both Leopard and Saxo Bank have avoided problems and done a minimal amount of work on the front of the bunch so far, with BMC, Garmin and now Europcar bossing the racing. The Schlecks, who won't sleep easy despite their buffer over Contador, have questioned the Spaniard's nerves while pushing a line that he must attack in the mountains.

    BMC race tactics

    The fact that BMC did so much work during the opening stages in a bid to propel Evans into yellow has not gone unnoticed. One rider from a rival team told Cyclingnews that Evans and BMC needed to 'just chill out and stay off the front' while the Australian's rest day press conference was dotted with questions over his team's tactics.

    "I guess Cadel wanted the jersey and they went out there and raced for it. He's a smart guy and BMC are a smart team. They know what they have to do and Cadel is incredibly strong. He's peaked three...

  • Toona tightens men's and women's NRC standings

    Frank Pipp jumped into third place of the men's National Racing Calendar standings after a strong performance at the Tour de 'Toona
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 16:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Pipp moves to third while Bissell overtakes UHC

    With nine events remaining on USA cycling’s NRC, the overall rankings have become tighter than ever. The biggest mover was Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) who jumped from seventh to third place after a solid ride in the Tour de Toona.

    Pipp finished sixth in the race but due to the non-participation of current NRC leader, Francisco Mancebo, the American was able to claw back much of the’s advantage. Jacobe Keough (UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling) currently lying in second also closed on Mancebo after continuing his successful 2011 season with third place in the Glencoe Grand Prix at the end of June.

    Mancebo’s team didn’t race the Tour de Toona and thus it unsurprising to see the Spaniards overall lead being diminished. Mancebo had a stellar start to the season, and has said publicly that he is aiming for some of the stage races in the second half of the American summer.

    Bissell Pro Cycling assumed the lead in the men's team standings and now holds a 57-point edge on UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling. The two teams have been exchanging the lead all season and with plenty of races left, it’s still unclear which team will take top honours in 2011.

    Women’s Standings

    The women’s NRC standings are also closer than ever. Amber Neben's (HTC Highroad Women) lead over Janel Holcomb (Colavita-Forno d'Asolo) has been reduced to a slender 54 points. Holcomb took top honours in the Tour de Toona to shave Neben’s margin by 108 points at the top. Canadian Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO to the Top)...

  • Klöden surviving in Tour de France

    Andreas Kloden (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 18:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    RadioShack's sole GC contender bruised, Horner headed home

    Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) battled through stage 10 of the Tour de France but his team manager Johan Bruyneel remains tentative as to whether the German can still challenge for the podium.

    Klöden crashed on stage 9 and was taken to hospital with suspected broken bones. He was cleared to race later that night but was diagnosed with a hematoma and severe muscle tension in his back. Able to ride on yesterday's rest day he made the tough call to continue in the race although he told journalists at today's start in Aurillac that he'd been unable to put pressure on the pedals during his rest day ride.

    "The start was okay but there was a crash again and we had three guys in there, but half the peloton crashed. Andreas got through the day but that's far from saying he felt great. He's definitely not recovered and he had some trouble on the last climb," Bruyneel told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    RadioShack came into the Tour with a formidable line up of experienced riders, however they lost Janez Brajkovic early in the race after a crash. Chris Horner followed a few days later – out with concussion and a broken nose – while Levi Leipheimer crashed and lost time. It left Klöden as the team's only GC threat until stage nine and the German still lies in a relatively strong position on, 2:43 down but within striking distance of his main rivals for Paris.

    Despite today's encouraging battle of survival Bruyneel remained cautious.

    "It's better than two days ago and I hope he's better tomorrow, but I don't know if he's going to be with the lead guys on the first stage in the Pyrenees. If you're hurt in then your back...

  • Greipel not looking for revenge after sprint success

    Stage winner André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on the podium.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 19:12 BST
    Barry Ryan

    German reveals his true emotions after first Tour de France victory

    The thunderous cry of relief as Andre Greipel crossed the line was such that it reverberated even above the tumult of a bunch finish, but the German had carefully put a lid back on his emotions by the time he spoke with reporters after his maiden Tour de France stage win in Carmaux.

    After four fractious seasons of playing Salieri to Mark Cavendish's Mozart at the Highroad team, there could surely have been no sweeter victory for Greipel than to outgun his former stable-mate for the very first time in a sprint shoot-out on the biggest stage of all.

    Yet when asked if his triumph had been an exercise in revenge after those years of uneasy coexistence, Greipel seemed in little mood to fan the flames of that bitter rivalry. The release of years of disappointment and frustration in his cry as he crossed the line had already said all that needed to be said.

    "It was always hard for the sport directors to make a decision to take me or Cavendish to this race, he is one of the greatest sprinters on earth," Greipel said diplomatically, his features scarcely breaking into a smile.

    Frustrated by life in Cavendish's shadow, Greipel left for Omega Pharma-Lotto at the end of 2010, and the 28-year-old explained that the opportunity to make a belated Tour de France debut was the biggest attraction in making the move.

    "I'm not getting younger and that's why I made the decision to change," Greipel said. "I'm really happy to have found a team that supports me in this way. I'm really happy that they gave me this opportunity to take part in the race and to win this stage."

    Reflections on Chateauroux

    Greipel's first head-to-head battle with Cavendish at the Tour was in Chateauroux on Friday. On that occasion, the German had to...

  • Cavendish gracious after defeat by Greipel

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was the centre of attention at the finish.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 19:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Manx sprinter praises his teammates and admits his mistakes

    Mark Cavendish clashed with Andre Greipel several times during their time as teammates, but he was gracious in defeat after the German beat him in the sprint in Carmaux.

    Despite losing the sprint, Cavendish praised his current HTC-Highroad teammates after they helped him stay in contact on the final climb of the stage. Cavendish needed time to calm down and reflect on the sprint but then admitted he made a mistake by starting his sprint early, giving Greipel a super fast lead out.

    "I’m disappointed. I feel I made a mistake but Greipel beat me, so there's no excuse I can say about that,” he said holding court on the steps of his team bus soon after the finish.

    "I went early but it wasn't too early on this type of finish. But I didn't commit enough. I kicked with 170 meters to go but Greipel came fast and beat me. I'm happy for him. He's come here to the Tour de France and won.”

    Chasing all day

    The HTC-Highroad team helped Europcar chase the breakaway for most of the 158km stage and then also used up other horsepower on the final climb. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) blew the peloton apart with his attacks on the climb but HTC-Highroad rode intelligently. Tony Martin jumped across to the break to disrupt the attack and Cavendish explained how the team judged its effort on the climb and high-speed downhill pursuit.

    “We were there, you know,” he said. “I had Bernie (Eisel) to keep the pace which was perfect on the climb. The peloton was fragmented but Bernie took me to 1200m from the top and then I used the other guys I passed to get back on.”

    “It was uncomfortable but I was never really about to get dropped. We had Tony Martin in the break, so we...

  • Hoogerland embodies courage in Tour de France

    Johnny Hoogerland kept the polka dot jersey.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 20:01 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Vacansoleil rider happy to keep polka dots

    Acclaimed on the podium with the sort of fervor usually afforded only to home riders, Johnny Hoogerland’s battle against injury has made him the darling of supporters on the roadside at the Tour de France, but the Dutchman said that he is focused on survival rather being a star.

    Hoogerland was thrown out of the winning break and into a barbed-wire fence on stage 9, after a French television car struck Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky). He received 33 stitches to his wounds, and after attempting to convalesce during the rest day, Hoogerland rode Tuesday’s stage with gauze covering severe cuts on both of his legs.

    In spite of his injuries, the gritty Hoogerland arrived in Carmaux in 111th place at 5:59, and successfully defended his lead in the king of the mountains classification. Tears welling in his eyes, Hoogerland was cheered generously as he was helped into the polka dot jersey.

    Walking gingerly through the mixed zone afterwards, it was put to Hoogerland that he was now a star of this Tour de France, but the Dutchman rejected the notion out of hand.

    "It is you who say it, I don’t feel like a star," a tired Hoogerland said. "I’m just very happy that I’m still in the jersey and still in the race. That was my goal for today – surviving."

    Hoogerland explained that he is now living his Tour day by day, and admitted that he is not sure of how well he will be able to recuperate in time for the Pyrenean stages, which begin on Thursday.

    "I’ll look tonight at how my wounds are and then tomorrow again and I’ll try and survive," he said. "Then on the stage to Luz...

  • Gilbert puts panache first in Tour de France

    Philippe Gilbert happy for his Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Andre Greipel
    Article published:
    July 12, 2011, 20:44 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Green jersey leader made the race hard to favour Greipel

    Philippe Gilbert has again made a spectacle in the Tour de France, showing his class in the finale of stage 10 to Carmaux. After he instructed the few teammates he has left to accelerate on the last climb, he followed an attack by Tony Gallopin of Cofidis, and gave everything to make this breakaway a success during the last ten kilometres.

    Gilbert was the last man caught, but his action paved the way for Andre Greipel's victory at the expense of arch-rival Mark Cavendish. Gilbert kept the green jersey but lost 28 points to runner up José Joaquin Rojas.

    "Our tactic was to make the race hard at the end of the stage," Gilbert told Cyclingnews in Carmaux. "We wanted Cavendish to be dropped in the last hill. Greipel told us that he knew he would pass it with no problem.

    "It was a short climb and we rode really fast. I found confidence in this action, so I attacked to make Cavendish's team to work. I even tried to win solo but it didn't happen. I didn't attack the other four guys who were with me," he said of race leader Thomas Voeckler, Gallopin, Quickstep's Dries Devenyns and HTC's Tony Martin. "They just didn't accompany me. I couldn't resist to the bunch but it's all good at the end because we get the stage win for Omega Pharma-Lotto, according to the plan."

    The Belgian champion maintained that the green jersey isn't his priority compared to getting another stage win after the first one at the Mont des Alouettes in Vendée. "I haven't changed my attitude for the green jersey," he said. "I take it day by day. I don't snub the points' classification at all. At the hot spot sprint, I just follow the move to score some points. If it brings me the green jersey at the end, I'll be happy with it, but I've...