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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Date published:
July 22, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • La Course by Tour de France an equalizer for women

    Emma Pooley (Lotto Belisol Ladies) wins the final stage
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 15:48 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Founders will reap the rewards of their work

    It has been 18 years since women racers have shared in the prestige that the name Tour de France brings to cycling — in 1998 the stage race called Tour de France Feminin was stripped of its title by the ASO — but on July 27, 2014, that all will change when La Course by Tour de France lines up the best female racers in the world to race a criterium on the Champs-Élysées, albeit many hours before the arrival of the professional men.

    It's a baby step, a toe in the water for founders Kathryn Bertine, Emma Pooley, and Marianne Vos, who will all be on the start line, reaping the rewards of their hard work in making the race happen.

    Cyclingnews spoke with Bertine, a former professional triathlete and journalist turned road racer, who will line up with the Wiggle-Honda team on Sunday, about the inception of the race.

    The motivation to make this race happen was not new - many women have gotten into the sport and found themselves reeling by how little they got in comparison with their male counterparts, but Bertine had a plan and became the catalyst to see it through.

    "When I started racing at the elite level in 2008, I was blown away by the lack of parity between men's and women's cycling and I wanted to do something about it," Bertine said. "As a journalist, I had just finished a two-year cycling series on ESPN, and on a personal level, I was trying to go pro. In 2009, I formulated a business plan as to why a women's event at the Tour de France would not only be a smart idea in terms of societal gains, but also financially lucrative."

    Not one to be...

  • Van Garderen suffers bad day as Tour de France hits the Pyrenees

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) chased hard, but could not catch Jean-Christophe Peraud
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 18:46 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    BMC teammates rally around their leader

    After crossing the finish line in Luchon, Tejay van Garderen made a beeline for the BMC team bus, his podium chances in this year’s Tour de France all but over.

    He rode in silence, only the clicking of his freewheeling bike puncturing the stillness before a number of his teammates circled around to offer a blend of encouragement and sympathy.

    The most heartfelt words came from Amaël Moinard, who with an arm around the American’s shoulder, reminded him that this was just the first day in the Pyrenees and that legs, on occasion, can take their time to rediscover zip and verve after a rest day. It was a telling moment of the team’s belief and respect for their wounded leader who was nothing but honest at the finish.

    "Movistar just made an insane tempo and it was just too hard," van Garderen said at the finish as television cameras searched for every angle and every raw emotion as he struggled to summarise the day’s outcome.

    Just an hour beforehand, van Garderen found himself riding in the yellow jersey group as they raced their way up the slopes of the Port de Balès. Astana and Movistar looked in control but despite riders slipping back at an alarming rate the American remained in contention.

    That all changed with five kilometres remaining. Out of teammates, and more importantly out of energy, van Garderen slipped to the back of group. One hairpin later and he had cracked.

    By the time he crossed the line in Luchon he had conceded close to three and half minutes to the majority of his closest rivals. He may have only dropped one place - to sixth in GC - but he now is almost three minutes down on Romain Bardet and has Leopold...

  • Pinot’s plan comes together on the Port de Balès

    New best young rider Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 19:19 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman moves up to third overall at Tour de France

    As the yellow jersey group hurtled down the Port de Balès and into Bagnères-de-Luchon, Thibaut Pinot's older brother Julien, a coach at FDJ.fr, made his way carefully through the finish area carrying a home trainer.

    Throughout this Tour de France, Pinot's post-race interviews have taken place as he warms down outside his team bus, but with five kilometres of stage 16 remaining, it was already clear that there would be a change to the usual ritual.

    Pinot was by then almost two minutes up on Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and destined to face podium ceremonies and television interviews as the new wearer of the white jersey, a by-product of his elevation to third in the overall standings.

    On crossing the line, plan B was duly enacted. Pinot dutifully spent five minutes pedalling in a quiet spot beside the mixed zone, before clambering atop the podium to receive bouquet, the plaudits and the maillot blanc.

    "It was a good operation today," Pinot admitted as he made his way through the mixed zone shortly afterwards. "I had very good legs and I was very happy I managed to distance some of my rivals on such a tough climb. I think I had my best legs of the Tour so far, and I took advantage of that."

    Indeed, FDJ's diligent planning was not restricted to the warm-down; their tactics were sound throughout the Tour's longest stage. When Pinot launched two forceful accelerations four kilometres from the top of the Port de Balès, he had teammate Arnold Jeannesson for company in the select group that formed, while Bardet and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) were already engaged in damage limitation exercises behind.

    "I did and I didn't know what was happening...

  • Van Garderen still has a chance in Tour de France says Stetina

    Peter Stetina (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 19:21 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American suffers "rest day blues"

    Peter Stetina believes that his BMC team leader Tejay van Garderen can bounce back after suffering a poor day in the Pyrenees at the Tour France.

    Van Garderen came into the 16th stage from Carcassonne - Bagnères-de-Luchon in fifth place overall after the second rest day in and although he dropped only one place to sixth in GC he saw his podium dashed. The American now sits 9:25 down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) but more crucially is 4:26 down on third placed rider Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

    Van Garderen lost all his time on the slopes of the Port de Balès and despite his BMC teammates pacing him on the final slopes, and the long descent to the finish, van Garderen finds himself under threat from Leopold König Team (Netapp-Endura) seven seconds further down in the overall.

    "I think he can bounce back. Tejay is really tough mentally and it’s going to take more than one day to knock him down," Stetina told Cyclingnews after warming down on the rollers.

    Van Garderen made his way through the swarm of gathering press and television cameras as Stetina watched on before recounting the events of the final climb.

    "It was pretty relaxed until we got to the Port de Balès and then all hell broke loose," he said

    "I came off with maybe 20 to 25 guys left in the field but I was making tempo just in case. Then by the time the team car came up to me they told me that Tejay was in a bit of trouble so I made a big effort to get up to him and pace him over the top. Then luckily Moinard and Peter Velits caught up at the crest of the mountain. They knew the descent and had ridden reconnaissance over it. I didn’t so I was losing my...

  • Bad day for Bardet as Frenchman drops out of the Tour's top three

    Romain Bardet (AG2R)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 19:45 BST
    By:
    Ellis Bacon

    Péraud could be Ag2r's best chance at an overall podium in Paris

    It was a bad first day in the Pyrenees for Ag2r-La Mondiale's Romain Bardet, who lost both his podium position and the white jersey as the Tour de France's best young rider on Tuesday.

    Bardet was unable to follow his rivals on the final climb of the Port de Balès, and it cost him dear. The Frenchman finished stage 16 1:50 minutes down on the yellow-jersey group, which included race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Bardet's main rival in the young-rider classification, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who took over both Bardet's third position overall and his white jersey.

    The yellow-jersey group also featured Bardet's teammate, Jean-Christophe Péraud, who has now leapfrogged his younger teammate, and sits in fourth place overall, 1:02 minutes behind Pinot.

    Ag2r manager Vincent Lavenu was a picture of calm as he addressed a sweaty media scrum next to the team bus in Bagnères-de-Luchon after the tough stage, which was won by Australia's Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo).

    "Clearly, Romain didn't have a great day," said Lavenu. "Pinot attacked, and Romain wasn't able to follow. He's lost the white jersey, but that's how it is: tomorrow's another day, and perhaps Pinot, or others, won't go so well. Jean-Christophe had a great day, but it wasn't such a good one for Romain. Each day, there's a new surprise, but that's just how things go at the Tour de France.

    "Pinot is a fantastic rider, so his attack today wasn't a surprise to us," he continued. "He also attacked in the Alps, but today he was stronger, and that's just how it is. You win some, you lose some, but you have to be able to accept defeat.

    "But Romain has already shown...

  • Gerrans pulls out of Tour de France

    The torn jersey of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 20:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian champion still hurting from stage 1 crash

    The Orica-GreenEdge team will be down to six riders on stage 17 of the Tour de France as the Australian champion Simon Gerrans packs his bags in Bagnères-de-Luchon on Tuesday.

    The team sent Simon Yates home on the rest day, and lost Mat Hayman on stage 10.

    Gerrans, who in the 2013 Tour de France wore the maillot jaune of overall race leader following the team time trial, has been suffering since the crash in the opening stage of this year's race in Harrogate, where he collided with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep).

    The 34-year-old will now head home to recover and ramp up for the goals of the second half of the season. 

    "Obviously it’s disappointing not to complete the Tour de France and make it to Paris," Gerrans said. "But with the injuries I have from stage one I think the best decision is actually to stop now and completely recover.

    "I know I haven’t been 100 per cent right since my crash but I was hoping to improve throughout the race. That hasn't really been the case so I have been putting on a brave face and doing what I can each day."

    The winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège decided that racing through the Pyrenees into Paris was not the best way to recover, and his team agreed.

    "Obviously everyone is aware that Simon injured himself quite badly on stage one," team director Matt White said.

    "He has done very well to get this far in the Tour and give it his all on numerous days for the team to try and get some results, but he is clearly not at 100 per cent.

    "The only way he is going to regain his full fitness, his full health, is to go home...

  • Tour de France: Nibali confident in Astana in face of Movistar attacks

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in the maillot jaune after stage 16
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 20:38 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian's grip tightens on maillot jaune

    Another day, another mountain range and still no moments of undue distress for Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at this Tour de France. After going on the offensive in the Vosges and the Alps, the Sicilian was happy to maintain a controlling brief on the race's first stage in the Pyrenees, but still came away with an ever tighter grip on the maillot jaune.

    Nibali's lead over Alejandro Valverde is unchanged – the Spaniard remains 4:37 down in second place – but a combination of Movistar's forcing and Thibaut Pinot's accelerations on the Port de Balès has seen a pair of other rivals fade further from the picture.

    Romain Bardet lost 1:50 to Nibali and slipped to 5th overall, but more significant was Tejay van Garderen's concession of 3:36. The American was perhaps the only man in the upper reaches of the classification who might better Nibali in Saturday's final time trial, but now he is some 9:25 off the pace.

    "Today seemed like it would be a calm stage but in the finale it exploded," Nibali said afterwards. "The stage was very long and my team worked a lot for the first 70km. There was a lot of wind, too, and there were a lot of riders trying to get in the break, so we had to shut down a lot of moves."

    Nibali pointed to his Astana teammates' early work – and, indeed, their work throughout his two-week tenure in yellow – as a contributing factor to their absence from his side on the final climb of Port de Balès, but insisted that he was not unduly concerned. Jakob Fuglsang's crash in the Alps has limited his contribution since, and Tanel Kangert was Nibali's last man on the road to...

  • Rogers delivers Tour de France stage win

    Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) victorious on stage 16 to Luchon
    Article published:
    July 22, 2014, 20:40 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Australian moulds himself into breakaway specialist

    In professional cycling, adaptability can go a long way and it is a characteristic that Michael Rogers has in spades. From promising neo-pro with Mapei through to a string of roles including time trial specialist, team leader in Grand Tours, week-long success story, to his current guise as a stage hunter — Rogers has done it all.

    And during stage 16 in Luchon, as the battle for the overall contenders waged behind him, Rogers picked apart the tactical weakness in Europcar’s numerical superiority, pedal-by-pedal stroke, to seal his first-ever stage win in the Tour de France.

    Having formed part of the main break that built up a solid 12 minutes over the main field, Rogers survived a number of attacks on the Port de Balès to form part of a select trio that included Europcar's Thomas Voeckler and Lampre-Merida's Jose Serpa. On the breakneck descent, Rogers combined his tactical acumen and skill to slip clear and hold on for the win.

    "I knew the finish from several years ago," he said during his post-stage press conference.

    "I think it was 2010 and Voeckler won the stage, so I knew he was really motivated. I said to myself on the descent that I was going to take risks. I was desperate for the win and understood the opportunity that was in front of me. Europcar made some errors and I was able to pick up on them very quickly. Was it easy? Absolutely not. There's no gifts at the Tour and if you win a stage it's because you were the best."

    Rogers has enjoyed a complete turn around in fortune over the last nine months. At the end of the 2013 traces of Clenbuterol showed up in his body after a stint of racing in Asia. He eventually cleared...