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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Date published:
July 19, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Boonen back to racing in Poland

    Tom Boonen dropped out of the race after suffering a concussion on stage 6
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 10:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian recovered from Tour de France concussion

    Quickstep has announced that Tom Boonen will make a return to racing at the end of the month, at the Tour de Pologne. The Belgian was forced to abandon the Tour de France on stage 7, following a crash on stage 5 which left him with a concussion.

    Boonen was back on his bike training over the weekend and received the all-clear from the team's medical staff.

    "I'm happy I can get back to training and I'm relieved that the fall didn't have any major repercussions," he said. "The withdrawal from the Tour forced us to re-examine our schedule for the rest of the season. The team and I, we've decided I will make my comeback in the Tour de Pologne on Sunday, July 31st."

    The race was where Boonen made his professional debut as a 'stagiaire' for US Postal back in 2000.

    "I have a lot of good memories about that race," he recalled. "It was the first time ever I rode more than 200 kilometres. I didn't ride the last 2 stages because I was tired as never in my life. I was only 19-years-old. It will be nice to come back there."

    Following the Tour de Pologne, Boonen will then move on to the Olympic test event, the London-Surrey Cycle Classic on August 14.

    "I'll be wearing the National jersey when I ride the race," continues Boonen. "The Federation is granting me a great opportunity to race on an Olympic circuit. I'm very pleased, I'm sure it will be an important test event."

    Boonen's focus will then shift to the final Grand Tour event of 2011, the Vuelta a Espana.

  • Vaughters calls for sharing TV revenue

    Garmin manager Jonathan Vaughters
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 12:02 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Extra income could help stablize teams

    Jonathan Vaughters has called for race organisers to share television revenue with professional cycling teams in a bid to improve the stability of teams. The comments come on the back of ASO’s – organisers of the Tour de France - stance to keep revenue from television streams and as Highroad’s Bob Stapleton struggles to find a lead sponsor for next year.

    “Cycling is one of a few professional sports where the athletes aren’t part of the revenue sharing of television rights. The business model for teams has got to change in order for the sport to change and become successful in the long term and that means the teams becoming partners with the race organiser and not necessarily just their minions,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    In contrast the English Premier Leauge shares its television revenue with clubs. In May, The Guardian confirmed that at least £37 million would secured for the league’s bottom club, while higher earners would receive over £20 million more. It’s estimated that the league generates around £1.2billion over three years.

    Bloomberg reported that the Tour is broadcast in more than 180 countries, and receives about 60 per cent of its income from TV rights.

    “They’re not going to give up their television rights or share with us, they have no interest in a revenue sharing model but at the end of the day if the sport wants to be successful that’s what needs to happen,” Vaughters said.

    “The greater question is why is their survival completely dependent on a decision of finding a sponsor? Why is the business model of cycling so ridiculous that no matter how successful a team is or its great history, it’s dependent on a sponsorship. If the sport wants to improve across the board it has to change and...

  • Tour de France news shorts

    Cadel Evans (BMC) enjoyed an uneventful stage.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 13:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Backlash, holidays, re-upping and tweets

    Gonzalez de Galdeano warns of Contador backlash

    Cyclingnews caught up with Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano ahead of the final week of the Tour, and the Basque warned that the Schleck brothers might well live to regret not putting serious time into Alberto Contador when he appeared to struggle in the Pyrenees.

    "I think Contador is the strongest," Gonzalez de Galdeano said in Montpellier. "They say that he is not very strong but he is still 6th in the general. I think now that if I was Leopard, I would be very worried. I think he's stronger now."

    Although Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez impressed in the Pyrenees, Gonzalez de Galdeano downplayed talk of a repeat performance in the Alps, and insisted that a podium finish will be the summit of his rider's ambition in this Tour. "I think now we will aim for the podium, but we know that with Cadel Evans, Schleck and Contador it will be difficult."

    Evans, your country needs you!

    Should Cadel Evans be on top of the podium in Paris, it could well result in a reward for his compatriots back home.

    Federal Member for Chifley Ed Husic told Cyclingnews that he will "push for a national holiday" if Evans is successful.

    The suggestion brings back memories of former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke who on national television following Australia’s 1983 America’s Cup victory said: "Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum."

    Given the final stage of this year's Tour rolls into the early hours of Monday morning, we think Husic's pitch may be a success.

    Either you have it or you don't

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has said that the hypotheticals being calculated by various race directors and journalists are overcomplicating what is a pretty simple thing.

    "It’ll come down to whoever has the legs. It’s not brain surgery," Basso...

  • Van den Broeck, Vanendert to new Lotto team

    Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) celebrates his first professional win
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 14:29 BST
    Cycling News

    More big names could join them

    The new team to be sponsored by the Belgian national lottery is starting to take shape. Jurgen Van den Broeck will be with the team, as will Tour de France stage winner Jelle Vanendert, who will be joined by his younger brother Dennis. And more big names from the current Omega Pharma-Lotto team may be on the list as well.

    "Many may make the move, especially since the group gets along so well together," Marc Frederix, marketing director of the National Lottery, told Sprinter and Tour stage winner Andre Greipel, for example “certainly fits into the collective."

    However, it seems unlikely that this year's top rider, Philippe Gilbert, will come over to the new team. Frederix regrets that, “Like the rest of Belgium right? Of course, I prefer Belgian talent riding in a Belgian team. And preferably in ours. But when Philippe gets an offer from an absolute top team, then we should respect that. He has done a great job for us. In addition, financially it is not always possible for us to compete with international top teams. "

    The Nationale Loterij is concentrating on Belgian talent, and that is the reason for its breakup with Omega Pharma. “Our visions were different.”

    One of the young Belgian talents getting a chance with the team will be Dennis Vanendert, the 23-year-old brother of Jelle Vanendert, who on Saturday won the Pyrenean stage atop the Plateau de Beille. "Last month I signed a professional contract with Lotto, thanks to Jelle putting in a good word for me. A dream is fulfilled," said the younger brother.

    Van den Broeck, one of the victims of the mass crash on stage nine, was planned as...

  • Tour de France technician found dead near finish line in Gap

    The 2011 Tour de France map
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 15:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Patrick Guay, uncle of Quick Step's Pineau, dead at 59

    Tragedy visited the Tour de France on Tuesday, as a subcontractor working for the race was found dead in Gap.  Patrick Guay, the uncle of Quick Step's Jerome Pineau, was 59 years old.

    Race organisers ASO released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying that Guay “was found dead next to his camping car close to the finish line in Gap early this morning.

    “An investigation has been launched by the relevant authorities to determine the circumstances of his death.”

    Guay was working his 27th Tour and was a pro rider in the 1970s.

    The statement said, "The Tour de France would like to extend their sincere condolences to Jerome, to his family and to the colleagues of Patrick," according to the AFP news agency. 

  • Voeckler's Tour de France lead boosts TV audiences

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) conceded time to Evans, Contador and Sanchez, but remains in the yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 17:35 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Video: Frenchman loses time but keeps yellow jersey

    Bad weather and Frenchman in yellow jersey are two important factors that have boosted audiences on France Television since the start of the Tour de France. People are reported to prefer watching television than going to the beach this July. The popularity of Thomas Voeckler has also attracted more fans to their couch in the afternoons, while French beaches have been affected by rain most of the time this month.

    For its first two weeks, the Tour de France has enjoyed its best audiences since 2005 with an average of 3.9 millions viewers and 37% of shares. France 2 reached 46.9% of shares on Bastille Day, and the scores have kept increasing after that: 48% for stage 13 and 49.1% for stage 14. A peak has been reached at 7.7 millions and 60% for the finale of the Plateau de Beille.

    The first day in the Alps has given an indication on how successful the Tour de France can be in the next few days, as spectacle went on with Alberto Contador attacking and creating some significant gaps in Gap.

    "I'm not used to being exposed to an attack by Contador," Voeckler explained after the finish. "I didn't expect it, but I presume that not many people expected that today. We thought he would wait for the big climbs. I was on his wheel when he attacked, I reacted. Maybe I should have let the favourites do the effort to close the gap."

    Voeckler wasn't able to follow Contador, Cadel Evans and Samuel Sanchez when they attacked over the top of the Col de Manse, but limited his losses with a strong performance on the tricky descent to Gap.

    "I'm disappointed because I've lost time on three riders but I have no regret because I have showed my limits on a terrain that suited me. This wasn't a good climb for me and I won't lie: I had good legs today. I won't...

  • Norway shines in Tour de France with Hushovd and Boasson Hagen

    Thor Hushovd is ecstatic about his stage win in Gap.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 18:01 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Second stage win for world champion

    Thor Hushovd took a remarkable 10th Tour de France career stage victory in Gap and a fourth for his Garmin-Cervelo team this year, but the win was even bigger for his home country of Norway, as he and compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen battled for the line. The only two Norwegians in the race, and the two biggest cycling stars in their country, have never before gone head-to-head in such a manner.

    "This was incredibly big for Norwegian cycling," said Atle Kvålsvoll, who is currently Hushovd's coach and was instrumental in developing cycling in his country after his career with the French Z team, notably at the service of Greg LeMond for winning the 1990 Tour de France. "It is an historical moment that we might never see again."

    Hushovd called the finale of stage 16 "a Norwegian championship," but even at the National race, such a scenario hasn't happened before. Boasson Hagen, 24, is much younger than Hushovd, 33, and he didn't contest this year's Norwegian championship due to a virus. The race was won by Hushovd last year and Alexander Kristoff of BMC this year.

    In addition to today's performance, both Hushovd and Boasson Hagen had won a stage before reaching the Alps. "To say the truth, I expected to win stage 6 to Lisieux where Edvald was the winner and I didn't expect to win stage 13 in the Pyrenees," Hushovd noted. "I've done two breakaways and I've had 100% of success. The whole luck is on my side during this Tour de France after having the yellow jersey for seven days."

    Boasson Hagen felt that he could have beaten Hushovd in...

  • Thomas renews with Sky for three years

    Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in the best young rider's white jersey
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 19:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Welshman earns new contract with strong Tour de France

    Team Sky announced today that it has signed Welshman Geraint Thomas for another three years. The news comes not even a full day after Thomas himself told Cyclingnews that he was entertaining offers from other teams.

    Thomas has become a hot commodity this season after posting strong results in the early season, including an overall victory in the Bayern-Rundfahrt.

    He has since worn the best young rider's jersey during the opening week of the Tour de France and has been active at the front of the race helping teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen in the sprints and being awarded most combative rider on stage 12, earning praise from his directeur sportif, Sean Yates.

    "You can say anything to him and he carries it out to perfection, he can do it all," Yates said. "He's always got the legs and we've seen it time and again this year - he's worth five men really and it's great news. He's fantastic to work with and this gives everyone another lift."

    Thomas himself was happy to get the stability of a three-year deal.

    "It's great news to be able to commit my future to Team Sky," Thomas said in a press release. "The team have shown their potential over the last 18 months and I am delighted to have been a part of that success. The management have shown real faith in me as a rider and I feel like I'm improving all the time."

    Team Principal Dave Brailsford held Thomas up as an example of what the team set out to accomplish. "We have been determined from the start to build and develop a team around the very best homegrown talent like Geraint.

    "The last two weeks at the Tour de France have underlined...