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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Date published:
July 08, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France: Froome crashes on stage 4

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) after his fall
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 14:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky leader hits the deck early

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) has crashed on stage 4 of the Tour de France from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille. The defending race champion fell just four kilometres into the stage and appeared to suffer just superficial damage on his left hand side.

    Coming into the stage Froome sat two seconds down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

    This is the second crash for Froome in the last few weeks after he also fell in the Dauphine, again on his left side.

    Follow complete live coverage from the stage, right here.
     

  • Kwiatkowski building confidence at Tour de France

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 14:37 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Everything is right on track says Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider

    Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is growing with confidence after a strong opening weekend at the Tour de France. The Polish rider is among the 20 riders who sit two seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

    Kwiatkowski had a tough build-up to the Tour de France, after abandoning the Critérium du Dauphiné. The poor form had a mental impact on the rider who won Strade Bianchi and the Volta ao Algarve earlier this year.

    "I didn’t really have confidence before the Tour because after such a good part of the season, I was trying to build up my condition again," Kwiatkowski told Cyclingnews as he sat on the steps of the team bus at the end of stage three - where he helped to deliver teammate Mark Renshaw to third place behind Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan.

    Kwiatkowski put in a strong performance on the Tour’s second stage to Sheffield. The tough course was compared to both Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where the 24-year-old took two third places. He managed a repeat performance in Sheffield with another third place. It showed flashes of his spring form and bodes well for later in the race.

    "I was not sure about my condition again, but I proved at the national time trial championships and yesterday that I was in good shape. It’s just beginning, it’s good to have some confidence but there are a lot of stages to go."

    With the team’s leader, sprinter Mark Cavendish, out with a separated shoulder and torn ligaments, Omega Pharma-QuickStep has had to re-think their strategy. On stage three they threw their resources behind...

  • Tour de France tech: Rui Costa's Merida Reacto KOM

    The Prologo CPC material consists of tiny silicone tubes
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 15:30 BST
    By:
    Robin Wilmott / Future Publishing

    World champion rides one of only three in existence

    This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

    World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) is racing the 2014 Tour de France on a Merida Reacto KOM, of which there are only three in existence.

    Designer Jurgen Falke told BikeRadar that Merida's aim with the new bike was to create something that retained all of the aero benefits of the Merida Reacto, but also met the UCI’s 6.8kg / 15lb minimum weight limit for bikes. Despite earlier statements that the bike’s aero and dynamic efficiency more than made up for its slightly heavier than average frame, Merida claims that Costa's complete Reacto KOM frame set is about 165g lighter than his previous Merida Reacto.

    Falke outlined how some of the weight savings on the new frame were made. The use of different carbon in new layups trimmed 70g from the frame, he said, and another 30g from the fork. The aerodynamic and shock-reducing S-Post seatpost has been constructed in one piece, rather than the previous two, cutting 50g more, and Merida used light aluminium headset cups weighing just 15g.

    Falke claimed that the complete new bike is a whopping 500g lighter than Costa's previous Reacto Evo, which we weighted back in February at 7.43kg / 16.38lb, so if, as claimed, the KOM hits the magic 6.8kg / 15lb mark, there has certainly been an intensive diet.

    The Reacto KOM retains the truncated airfoil tube shaping of the Reacto, which Merida calls Fastback, and the direct-mount rear brake that is tucked under the chainstays.

    Production and availability information is limited at the moment, but don't expect to see one in your local dealer until 2015.

    Costa debuted this bike at the 2014 Tour de Suisse, which he won for...

  • Cancellara: The cobbles are going to be carnage

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek) launched a late attack
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 16:09 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Classics champ given 100% freedom to target victory

    Fabian Cancellara has told Cyclingnews he thinks the nine sectors of pavé during the finale of stage 5 at the Tour de France on Wednesday could cause carnage in the peloton, especially if it rains during the stage as forecast.

    Cancellara confirmed he will have 100 per cent freedom to target the stage victory, rather than the responsibility to protect and work for Trek Factory Racing team leader's Fränk Schleck and Haimar Zubeldia.

    "The cobbles are going to be carnage. I hope not, but we've got to be ready for it," Cancellara told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview.

    "I hope nobody crashes and loses a chance of winning the Tour de France because of what happens on the pavé. But it's racing. Roubaix is Roubaix. We all know what it’s like."

    "I've already been asked if I'll ask for the stage to be neutralised if it rains but this is different. I know that it’s not a nice stage for Froome, Contador, Nibali and even our GC riders. But my reply is: so why not take out the climbs to make it easier for us? That never happens, so it's only right we race on the cobbles. It’s a risk for everyone, including me, but we've got to live with it and calculate the risks involved."

    King of the cobbles

    Cancellara has won Paris-Roubaix three times. Apart from 2012, when he fractured his collarbone in a crash at the Tour of Flanders, he has finished in the top three in both races every season since 2010.

    Nicknamed Spartacus, Cancellara uses his power and experience to dominate the cobbles and defeat his rivals. He is expected to be close to the front of the peloton when the riders hit the first sector of...

  • Kittel: Winning at the Tour de France is never easy

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) hardly got a hair out of place in the hectic sprint
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 18:38 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Giant-Shimano man takes win number three in Lille

    Marcel Kittel gasped for his breath and fought back the pain after winning his third stage in just four days of racing at the Tour de France, insisting that winning sprints is never easy despite his dominance.

    The Giant-Shimano rider lost his loyal lead-out train lead out in the final kilometre of the first stage on French soil but jumped on Alexander Kristoff's wheel and then accelerated past the Norwegian to win by half a bike length. It was his seventh Tour stage victory after winning four stages in 2013.

    "Before the race, I said my goal was to win one stage, and I said it was unique to be able to wear the yellow jersey and win four stages last year. So winning three stages and wearing yellow again is pretty special again," Kittel said.

    Kittel is making his rivals look slow and making sprinting look easy. Neither is true.

    "It's never easy to win at the Tour de France and today was really, really hard. We worked for this one," Kittel insisted.

    "It was a short stage but it was fast, with cross winds and a constantly high speed, especially in the last 20 kilometres. It wasn't easy to stay together but we had our plan. I was alone with 800 metres and so had I look after myself but luckily it worked. But it could have been different. I was on the wheel of Kristoff to get some slipstream in the finishing straight and when he went early, I knew I had time to pass him. It was only when I hit the line that I knew I'd won."

    Kittel said he hoped to watch the World Cup semi-final between Germany and Brazil on Tuesday evening but warned he is unlikely to win a fourth stage at the Tour de France on Wednesday, when the riders tackle the feared pavé on the roads of northern France.

    "That's going to be a very difficult...

  • Cuts and bruises for Froome after Tour de France crash

    Chris Froome's injuries on full display
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 19:13 BST
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    X-ray shows no broken bones for defending champion

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) gave the thumbs up as he left the medical centre after crashing on stage four of the Tour de France. Doctors said that there was no break visible on the x-ray, but a further examination would be needed to confirm that diagnosis.

    There were worrying moments for the defending champion, and his team, as he hit the tarmac only four kilometres into the day. The incident happened towards the left of the group, when a rider was forced to swerve and caught the front of Froome's wheel. He jumped up pretty quickly, but could be seen shaking his wrist throughout the remainder of the stage. Belkin leader Bauke Mollema was also involved in the crash.

    Froome went to the medical centre, after being patched up by the team's own medical staff. Race doctors said that he had suffered road rash on his left knee and hip, a contusion on his left wrist and a small wound on his right hand. Froome had a small bandage on his wrist, but didn't look like he was in too much discomfort as he made his way back to the team car.

    Teammate Geraint Thomas was further up in the middle of the peloton, but heard his leader come crashing to the ground. "We just heard a clattering and stuff. You just kind of think I hope that none of our boys are in it and then you hear on the radio that it's Chris and it's worse case scenario really," Thomas said at the finish. "He was wearing the summer skin suit as well and it rips pretty easily, so it might look worse than it is. Hopefully it does.

    "We’re just disappointed, we got through three of the rough days in the UK and the people and narrow roads, and we did that really well. We had that silly little crash after about 4km, it's...

  • Talansky and van Garderen ready to face the Tour de France cobbles

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) can hardly believe he's won the race
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 19:42 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Americans reveal their hopes and fears for the big day on the pavé

    American Tour de France contenders Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) warmed down and recovered on the rollers after Tuesday's fourth stage to Lille but like much of the peloton, their thoughts were already fixed on Wednesday's fifth stage from Ypres to Porte du Hainault close to the Arenberg Forest.

    The 155.5km stage, and especially the nine sectors of cobblestones in the final 68km of the stage, are expected to scatter the peloton across the fields of northern France and perhaps see some overall Tour contenders lose vital seconds if not minutes.

    Talansky and van Garderen will race the stage with different mindsets and different objectives, as reflects their different characters. 'Pitbull' Talansky told Cyclingnews that he and Garmin-Sharp are ready to bite, while van Garderen and BMC will be more guarded and defensive, aiming to avoid losing time.

    "Fear? No!" Talansky replied bluntly but honestly when Cyclingnews asked if he was afraid of what could happen on the cobbles.

    "If you look at a race and you're afraid of it, then you're going to have serious problems. We look at the stage as an opportunity to do something, to even possibly gain time on the other GC guys. We saw today that we've got a team that is built for the cobbles and we want to take advantage of that."

    Van Garderen, on the other hand, is focused on staying out of trouble, not on causing some trouble to his rivals.

    Greg Van Avermaert will have the freedom to ride for himself at BMC, with the rest of the team will...

  • Tour de France: Lotto Belisol loses Henderson to crash

    Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) won stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Toer
    Article published:
    July 08, 2014, 20:36 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Greipel loses lead-out man on stage 4

    Four stages in the Tour de France and the Lotto-Belisol team is licking its wounds. Their dedicated sprinter André Greipel isn't performing as expected and three riders hit the deck on Tuesday, with Greg Henderson being forced to pull out of the race.

    Team doctor Jan Mathieu confirmed that Henderson would require stitches to his knee: "Greg Henderson has a deep cut of twelve centimeters on his right knee," Mathieu said. "During a first check-up in the medical cabinet after the finish, the wound was stitched. Tonight Greg will go to the hospital of Herentals where he will undergo minor surgery by doctor Toon Claes. The knee will be drained to avoid the wound gets infected."

    Bad news aside, the team general classification rider Jurgen Van Den Broeck is going well and riding in the same time as the other overall contenders. Team director Marc Wauters acknowledged that his team was not in great spirits so far when he was asked how they were.

    "Not so well, of course. If you have a top sprinter in the team and you haven't got a victory then it's painful. Then again, we still have Jurgen Van Den Broeck who's well positioned in the general classification. He's another important rider in our team. He's still going strong," Wauters told NOS.

    The Lotto-Belisol team is often riding in front of the peloton to bring the breakaway back but Wauters didn't worry about that. "It's good to ride in front since Van Den broeck can ride in front too that way," Wauters explained.

    Yet, while riding in front in stage four, three Lotto-Belisol riders crashed on a roundabout at about thirty kilometres from the finish in Lille, in the north of France. Henderson came out worse and quickly indicated that his right knee was in a very bad condition. The man from...