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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Date published:
July 20, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Traksel, Mol to leave Vacansoleil

    Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil) triumphs at the end of an epic Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 8:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team unable to come to terms

    Bobbie Traksel and Wouter Mol will both leave Vacansoleil at the end of the season. The team said in a statement that it would like to keep the two riders but was unable to agree terms.

    The two Dutch riders have the same manager. According to the team, Traksel could not agree on pay, and Mol disputed the length of the contract.

    “The team appreciates the performance and commitment of both riders but it can not currently agree on the interpretation of the possible contracts in the future,” it said.

    Both riders moved to the Dutch Professional Continental team from the Continental team P3Transfer-Batavus in 2009.

    Traksel, 28, won Kuurne-Brüssel-Kuurne this year, and finished third in both the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and Nokere Koerse.

    Mol, 28, won the overall title in the Tour of Qatar. He took over the leader's jersey with a second place finish on the second stage after a successful escape, and held it to the end.

    Vacansoleil has announced that it will apply for ProTour status for 2011.

  • Roche furious at Gadret for not helping with tyre

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 9:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Teammate attacked after refusing to stop and help team leader

    Nicolas Roche is furious with AG2R teammate John Gadret. The Frenchman not only refused to stop and give team leader Roche a wheel during Monday's stage, but went on to attack.

    “If John Gadret is found dead in his hotel room in the morning, I will probably be the primary suspect,” Roche wrote in his blog for the Irish Independent. The two have been teammates for two years, and have only a working relationship. “But after today's stage, as he sat beside me on the team bus I had great difficulty in not putting his head through the nearest window."

    Roche said that he was riding comfortably in the same group with Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador on the Port de Bales climb, and knew that if he stayed with the favourites, he could improve his 14th overall ranking. Even the top ten was possible, and after all, he had Gadret in the group for support. “Or so I thought.”

    With 6km to go to the top, and just as the pace picked up, Roche's front tyre flatted. He pulled over and asked Gadret for his wheel. “This is a perfectly normal request if the team car is not around. To save time, a team-mate will often give his team leader a wheel or even his bike if necessary."

    “I couldn't believe what happened next. He just shook his head and said 'Non'. At first I thought he was joking, but soon realised he wasn't when he kept riding past me.”

    Even though team manager Vincent Lavanu “shouted into Gadret's earpiece to wait, I took my wheel out and waited for a new one. All the time the group -- including Gadret -- was riding up the mountain, away from me. “

    Eventually Roche got a new wheel from the neutral service car, but it took a long time and was not put on properly.

    “All I could think of was getting to the finish as quickly as possible. Rage alone though, wasn't going to get me back up to the front of the race. Unbelievably, Gadret had attacked Schleck...

  • Katusha push Rodriguez for top-five

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 9:50 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé


    The Katusha team captured a stage win with Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver earlier in the Tour de France at Mende and the Spaniard is also in the mix for a good result in the general classification. However, the Spaniard aside, the team haven’t had a successful Tour, with Robbie McEwen, suffering from illness and crashes. Directeur sportif Sergio Parsani explained to the media about the team’s remaining goals for the final week.

    “We have Rodriguez who's well ranked in the general classification [currently eighth at 5'45” from Contador]. It would be good to place him in the top-five. We already won a stage. Now we have to wait and see. There are three very difficult mountain stages left. I expect the GC riders to take things in hand during those stages.

    “Afterwards there's the stage to Bordeaux for the sprinters. McEwen was unlucky with his crash early on in the Tour. He's keen on doing a couple more sprints in the Tour. There are two chances left: in Bordeaux and Paris. We will try,” Parsani told Cyclingnews.

    When describing his team leader, Parsani acknowledged the weaknesses of Rodriguez on the longer climbs, knowing that his specialty are the intermediate steep climbs, like those featuring during the Ardennes classics in April. “He's a good climber, especially on difficult 'côtes' [the shorter climbs in the Tour de France] that include steep parts. The climbs in the Pyrenees are long and he's better in the climbs that are only steep for three to four kilometres long.”

    When asked whether the 31-year-old Rodriguez had a chance of grabbing that fifth place with his capabilities, Parsani said the Tour de France is different. “We started with two leaders: Karpets and Rodriguez for the general classification. It was too bad to see Karpets abandon when he was confronted with a broken hand, forcing him to pull out on the rest day.

    “So we're putting all our hope...

  • Petacchi under investigation in Italy

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) holds the green jersey and will want to keep it all the way to Paris
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 10:06 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Lampre sprinter informed of inquiry before start of Tour de France

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) has been issued with formal notification that he is under investigation as part of a widespread inquiry into doping practices being carried out in Italy by Padova-based prosecutor Benedetto Roberti. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the current wearer of the green jersey was issued with the notification that he has been placed under investigation for “the use of forbidden substances and practices” before the start of this year’s Tour de France.

    Petacchi is accused of having used PFC (Perfluorocarbon) and human serum albumin. PFC can be used to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood without raising haematocrit level. Its use in the peloton was first rumoured in 1997 as an alternative to EPO, when the UCI introduced “health checks” preventing riders with haematocrit levels in excess of 50% from competing. PFC is as yet undetectable. Human albumin, on the other hand, can be used to reduce haematocrit level.

    Petacchi’s home was searched in April as part of the Mantova-based doping investigation that placed a particular emphasis on his Lampre team and no illegal substances were found at that time.

    Since then, the home of Petacchi’s teammate Lorenzo Bernucci and those of 22 clients of Brescia-based doctor Filippo Manelli, as well as rooms at June’s GiroBio have been searched as part of this new investigation, and La Gazzetta suggests that testimony citing Petacchi may have emerged from this branch of the inquiry.

    Petacchi previously tested positive for salbutamol in 2007, missing the 2007 and 2008 Tours de France as a consequence.

    In any case, the fact that Petacchi was served with these papers before the start of the Tour de France may have implications for his further participation in the race. As La Gazzetta points out, a rider who is under investigation is not automatically excluded from racing but the...

  • Landis to start Cascade Cycling Classic

    Floyd Landis tries to break away in the final kilometres
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 13:07 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    ABC's Nightline to shadow the controversial cyclist

    Organizers of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic confirmed Floyd Landis will participate in the six-stage race set to take place from July 20-25 in Bend, Oregon. The American television network ABC's program Nightline agreed to highlight the controversial cyclist, bringing the event nation-wide publicity.

    "I got word yesterday that he was interested in coming and that he was trying to put together a little composite team," said the race's Executive Director Chuck Kenlan.. "That fell through because he couldn't come up with enough money to get the other guys up here so he will be flying solo. I'm not sure what jersey he is going to wear. When I spoke with him today he didn't say anything about that."

    It will be a rare public appearance from Landis who in May admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout most of his professional cycling career, including his 2006 Tour de France victory. He was stripped of that title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone and vehemently denied doping for the last four years.

    Aside from his own confession, Landis also implicated his previous teams and teammates of doping, including his former US Postal teammate Lance Armstrong and manager Johan Bruyneel.

    Because that team was supported by a government agency, Landis' revelations have sparked a criminal investigation headed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) special agent Jeff Novitzky. According to Kenlan, it is not clear how ABC News Nightline will use its coverage of Landis' participation at the 30th annual Cascade Cycling Classic.

    "Part of the deal was ABC News coming to do a Nightline program because they wanted to do a story on Floyd," Kenlan said. "I don't think they will be here all week but I'm not sure. I got a call from ABC News today and they were really vague on what the angle of their story was going to be, but you can only guess."

    "It could be a double edged sword...

  • On the startline in Bagnères-de-Luchon

    Today the yellow jersey has the Astana logo on it
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 13:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Photos from stage 16 of the Tour de France

    Day three in the Pyrenees, with a brutally hard stage taking in the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque. At the start, all the talk was still of yesterday’s action - not just the Schleck, Contador 'chaingate' episode but also the antics going on in the AG2R team. Shouting matches on the bus, riders wanting to kill each other, it could only be the Tour de France.

    Anyway, today’s route pays homage to one of the greatest exploits in Tour history. In 1969, on a stage that crossed the same four passes as today's, race leader Eddy Merckx launched a solo attack at the foot of the Aubisque and rode away to the finish in Mourenx, just west of Pau, arriving almost eight minutes clear of his rivals.

    It would be astounding to see anyone attempt to copy the Belgian's incredible ride, especially given the long run-in to the finish.
    For now, enjoy these images from the start.

  • Armstrong rides to sixth in Pau

    Sandy Casar (FDJ) and Lance Armstrong in the break on stage 16.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 18:21 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Radioshack leader makes break in final Tour

    Lance Armstrong got mobbed by the media at the end of the stage to Pau. Not as the stage winner or the race leader like he had so many times but for what will probably go down in history as his last ever major attack in the mountains.

    Armstrong was tired and nervous after finishing sixth and shouted at the media to holdback and give him room as he arrived at the RadioShack team bus. Like everyone, he had raced hard in the heat and humidity for 200km. He was disappointed not to have won one final stage in his final Tour de France.

    Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) proved to be the fastest in the sprint in Pau. Armstrong tried his hardest, following wheels and then fighting for the slipstream of Fédrigo and Cunego but then he hit out too early and faded before the sprint really began. He eased up in the final hundred metres and finished sixth, one place behind teammate Chris Horner.

    There was no perfect swan song, no gifts from the other riders. Armstrong's palmares is set to show he won the Tour de France seven times and won a total of 25 stages (including three team time trials).

    "It was a tough day. I paid for it at the end," he admitted.

    "I warmed up a little bit before the race and it went right at kilometre zero. 200km at the front took it out of me. I had a no sprint at the end. But I tried."

    He admitted he had been thinking about making an attack on this stage in the Pyrenees, knowing that the overall contenders would not let a break go away because of the long flat roads between the final climb and the finish in Pau.

    "I had this day kind of dog-eared in the book but it was harder than I expected," he admitted. "I guess I felt better as the race went on. It was tough day for all the peloton. It was hard."

    "It's been a while since I sprinted. We knew that Fédrigo was the fastest and then Cunego. We tried to catch his wheel. There were some questions...

  • Contador and Schleck make up on French TV

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 20, 2010, 18:35 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Contador apologies for his attack, Schleck tells fans to stop jeering Spaniard

    The first stop for any rider coming down from the Tour de France podium is in front of the microphone brandished by French television presenter Gérard Holtz. During his post-stage interviews in Pau, the effervescent Holtz received a bonus when race leader Alberto Contador and second-placed Andy Schleck reached his position at almost the same time.

    This allowed the Spaniard to state publicly his apology for events on the Port de Balès, when Schleck’s mechanical mishap resulted in Contador taking the race lead from the irate Luxembourger, who is, coincidentally, one of his close friends.

    Holtz had just started his interview with Contador, by asking him for his thoughts on a stage that started fiercely for the yellow jersey group and ended up rather tamely for them…

    Alberto Contador: It was certainly a hard stage. Right from the second kilometre of the stage there were only 14 riders in the peloton.

    Gérard Holtz: There were whistles on the podium. Did it shock you to hear that?

    AC: No, I can respect why…

    GH: Hang on, sorry for interrupting you, but we’ve got another guest here. Andy, can you sit down? Alberto?

    AC: We are very good friends and we can’t let that friendship be ruined by what has happened.

    GH: Andy, what do you think when you hear Alberto say that?

    Andy Schleck: We did speak to each other today. What we all saw yesterday was not something that you want to see in a race, but sometimes things like that do happen. Alberto said to me that it was simply something that’s part of racing. I told him that it’s all fine now. The Tour de France is going to be won by the rider with the best legs, and there is certainly going to be a great battle between the two of us the day after tomorrow.