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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Date published:
July 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Stef Clement signs for another two years with Rabobank

    Stef Clement (Rabobank) powers ahead during the Dutch National Time Trial Championships
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 4:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Time trial specialist plays a pivotal role for his team leaders

    Stef Clement did not make the Tour de France line-up for his Rabobank team but his program has already included the Giro d’Italia this year. The 29-year-old grew up racing with the feeder to the ProTour squad and feels at home with the Dutch team he’s ridden with since 2009. Clement spent three years with Bouygues Telecom after graduating from the Rabobank development squad but is happy to have signed for another two years. His contract extension will see him remain with Rabobank through till 2014.

    "Here I’m riding with guys I grew up with. We know each other well, go through all kinds of things together, and I want to keep contributing my part. I believe we’re on the right track, and have full confidence in the future" said Clement.

    Clement’s role is one of support, looking after the general classification riders throughout tour stages and ensuring they can achieve the best result. His most recent win was at the Netherlands national championships in 2011 where he won the time trial title. Unfortunately for Clement, he could not repeat his win this year and had to settle for fourth behind title winner Lieuwe Westra (Vanconsoleil-DCM).

    Team director Erik Breukink understands the important role Clement plays and is confident in his ability to also try his luck against the clock.

    "Stef is an experienced force, and is an important help for the GC riders in the tour circuit. Wherever the possibility occurs, he can also try his specialty – the time trial. After a couple of years of uncertainty, during which his injuries played roles, Stef has again proven to be able to ride at a good level. He is very important for the team" said Breukink.
     

     

  • Torckler recovering well after hit-and-run

    Michael Torkler (BikeNZ - PureBlack), winner of the 2012 Tour of Borneo
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 5:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BikeNZ-PureBlack rider suffered over 20 fractures to his skull

    BikeNZ-PureBlack rider Michael Torckler is reported to be recovering well in hospital after he was the victim of a hit-and-run.

    Torckler was training in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County with members of the Bissel Pro Cycling team with whom he will ride for next season, in preparation for the Cascade Classic later this month. He was on a high-speed descent when he collided with an on-coming car.

    The alleged driver of the vehicle was later arrested.

    The Tour of Borneo winner suffered over 20 fractures to his skull and was initially listed as being in a critical condition but his condition improved before being moved to intensive care. CAT scans revealed the cyclist remarkably did not suffer any brain damage. The 26-year-old's face took the brunt of the impact with his helmet left largely intact.

    Torckler's parents flew from New Zealand to be with their injured son.

    "His recovery has been absolutely amazing," Mr Torckler told the Taranaki Daily News on Monday.

    "Even though he looks as if he's almost dead in his bed and his face is swollen and he looks as if he's been in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson, he's reasonably comfortable."

    Doctors were initially unsure of Torckler's prognosis but according to his father, he could be released in as soon as 10 days.

    "Even now they are saying Michael could stand up and walk out of here breathing strongly, then we will just look after him."

     

  • Greipel beaten by the better sprinter in Tournai

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on a training ride with his teammates.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 6:25 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Sprint loss over world champion doesn't change team sprint plans

    The first appointment for the pure sprinters in the Tour de France came during the second stage from Visé to Tournai, Belgium. The Lotto Belisol team for André Greipel turned out to be the dominant train over the final kilometres. Eventually Greg Henderson delivered Greipel perfectly into the final hectometres but the German fell half a wheel short of world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky). Right after crossing the line 'the gorilla' shouted out his frustration with a famous four-letter word. Little later Greipel congratulated Cavendish by giving him a tap on the shoulder.

    "I'm extremely disappointed," the German sprinter said. "The team delivered me perfectly. Cavendish was strong, so my congratulations to him. Too bad we had to do all the work," Greipel said in a first reaction right after crossing the finish line.

    A little later, while cooling down on the rollers, Greipel still seemed frustrated. "What can you say. Of course I'm disappointed but that's racing. We wanted to compete in every sprint and I think the guys did a great job. It didn't work out. I just can keep on trying," Greipel said.

    Winner Cavendish explained during the post-race press conference that he started his sprint a little bit too late, not having much left to beat Greipel. The latter from his side didn't feel he had to change much to the team's sprint tactics.

    "No, I just have to cross the finish line first, that's what I can do better. I had to go. It was a difficult sprint. It was a headwind and slightly uphill. It was the first bunch sprint and there's a couple of more to come. We want to reach our goal and win a stage."

    When asked about what he felt was positive about...

  • Tour shorts: Rojas wants luck, not green and Prudhomme on Evans

    Evans gave up 10 seconds on rival Bradley Wiggins
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 8:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Plus - Belgium chasing another Grand Depart, Van Hummel not amused by Tjallingii

    Rojas not going for green in 2012

    He finished second in the points classification to Mark Cavendish in 2011 but José Rojas (Movistar) is not bothered with chasing the maillot vert this time around.

    Rojas was one of the many who crashed on the Tour's first road stage to Seraing, and was one of the last riders to cross the finish line. Nursing a painful coccyx, Rojas eased his way into Monday's stage to Tournai, "getting into the sprint was going to be impossible," he described.

    The former Spanish national champion finished 11th in the bunch sprint on Stage 2, but his placement should not be mistaken for anything other than a chance to observe the other sprinters, he warns.

    "I made the front more to study my rivals than any other thing. I could see that Cavendish is not having the same help from the previous years and that makes things more equal, so others can find a good spot and bring a surprise," Rojas explained.

    "This year, I'll be focusing on helping Alejandro [Valverde], so that's why I have forgotten about contesting the green jersey. We'll try and profit from chances in the sprint finishes or rather calling for some breaks and trying to stay at front and win the sprint. Last year, the fact that I was competing for green made any breakaways impossible to stay away, so I hope to be luckier this year."

    He currently sits on 13 points in the classification, with leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) on 78.

    Limburg bids for 2018 Grand Depart

    The start of the Tour de France could be returning to Belgium sooner rather than later with the province of Limburg making a submission to the ASO for 2018, according to hln.be

    Retired former Lotto and Rabobank rider Marc Wauters is part of the lobby group....

  • Brailsford: Cavendish has shown he’s the world's best sprinter

    World champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) awaits the start of the 2012 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 9:43 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Eisel and Cancellara also full of praise for the Manxman

    There were smiles all around as Team Sky's riders made their way back to the team bus to go through their "warming down" routine in the wake of Mark Cavendish's stage victory in Tournai. Beaming team boss Dave Brailsford marvelled at his sprinter's superlative skill, saying that Cavendish had proved he was the world's best sprinter having triumphed against the odds.

    "The finish was a little bit less technical so that was a good thing. But credit to Mark. He's shown there why he's the best sprinter in the world," said Brailsford. "He popped up on Greipel's wheel and how he got there who knows? That's why we've got every confidence in him even though there's a lot of talk about him needing a leadout train.

    "Of course, if he has a leadout train then he can perform miraculously. However, even without it you shouldn't forget how he's got to where he is. He's brilliant at surfing that peloton and positioning himself. He knows the other riders and how to pick the right wheels and he seems to make more right split-second decisions than wrong ones. When he is in that position he doesn't usually lose. To have a British world champion in a British team winning the first sprint stage in that style, well we're just lucky to have him."

    Brailsford felt it was psychologically important for Cavendish to perform well in this first bunch sprint. "There was a lot of talk about young Kittel and Sagan, and about Greipel going particularly well, but I think he's answered them in the best possible way," he said.

    Bernie Eisel, who, together with Edvald Boasson Hagen, had been given the task of helping Cavendish in the closing kilometres, admitted he hadn't been surprised by the finale. "It...

  • Belgian province of Limburg to seek 2018 Tour de France start

    The Flemish and Belgian flags wave wildly for Tom Boonen.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 10:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Province inspired by success of this year's start in Liege

    Inspired by the success of the 2012 Tour de France start in Liege, the neighbouring Belgian province of Limburg has submitted an application to hold the start of the Tour in 2018. The province has already said that it would guarantee the necessary budget.

    “The start of the Tour brings such massive public interest that we, as a cycling-friendly province, must respond,” spokesmen Jean-Paul Peuskens and Walter Cremers told Het Belang van Limburg, according to the Belga news agency.

    The planners are already picking stage start and finishing towns, including Hasselt-Genk and Voeren. Former pro, and Tour yellow jersey holder, Marc Wauters, is providing technical assistance.

    All final applications will be reviewed by the ASO in November. “Our dossier must be there then,” Cremes said. “We already have the necessary commitments from Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters.”

    Wauters, who has been involved in the plans from the beginning, confirmed that there was serious contact between the province and the ASO, and also that the province would guarantee the required funds.

    Limburg is in the northeast corner of Belgium, just north of Liege.

  • Boonen won't use "heavy Vuelta" in lead up to world championships

    To the victor goes the spoils - Tom Boonen adds a fourth cobblestone trophy to his collection.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 12:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Shorter races better preparation, says Peeters

    Tom Boonen made it clear from early in the year, after dominating the spring classics that he dreamt of another rainbow jersey and also the prospect of adding an Olympic gold medal to his already extensive palmares. To do this he would skip the Giro d’Italia as he needed to rest at the end of a demanding spring campaign and he suggested the Tour de France would not be suitable for a rider like himself.

    Instead of riding the Tour he will start the Tour of Poland as part of his Olympic preparation. The seven-stage,1,234.7km race offers Boonen a greater build-up to one of his biggest objectives this season and finishes almost a week before the Tour. These additional six days may prove critical to Boonen’s chance at Olympic glory. The short time frame between the Tour and the Olympics has already been discussed at length and Boonen has opted for the safer option. He will no doubt arrive at the Olympics with the best condition possible to contest the finish.

    Once the hype of the Olympic Games has diminished most of the professional circuit will turn their attention to the final grand tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, and the world championships. However, Boonen will likely skip the Spanish three-week race in favour of a number of other tours.

    "Tom has put his mind to the world championships in Limburg, also the world championships team time trial, and a preparation using smaller and shorter races is better than using a difficult Vuelta," said team director Wilfried Peeters on nieuwsblad.be.

  • Cobo: Wiggins And Froome stronger than in last year’s Vuelta a Espana

    Jose Cobo
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 13:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vuelta 2011 winner says Sky riders in better shape than when he beat them last autumn

    2011 Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo says he believes Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome are in better shape than when he defeated both Britons in last year’s grand tour.

    In the Vuelta, Cobo (Movistar) shook off the two Sky riders on the agonisingly steep slopes of the Angliru last year to claim a surprise win ahead of Froome, who took second overall, with Wiggins in third. For Froome, the runner-up spot in the Vuelta represented a breakthrough in his grand tour racing - and his career – whilst for Wiggins, finishing on the Madrid podium, his best-ever grand tour overall result, confirmed he was back on track after crashing out and abandoning in the Tour de France.

    Now racing in the Tour de France for the third time as a support rider for Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde,  Cobo was witness to the British riders’ performances this year in the Tour of Romandie and the Dauphiné - both of which Wiggins won, with Froome fourth in the French race. And the 31-year-old Spaniard from Cantabria is impressed with what he’s seen.

    “I get the impression that Froome has come on a lot since last year but Wiggins even more,” Cobo said. “They’re way further ahead than they were in the Vuelta  and in the Dauphine I could see Wiggins was in a league of his own. His build-up for the Tour has been really impressive.”

    “If he keeps going at that level he’ll be difficult to beat. He’s like a robot, his upper body is so still  when he’s pedalling that it looks like he’s barely making an effort. Cadel Evans (BMC) and Danis Menchov will be up there, but Wiggins is definitely the big...