Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
Three riders on debut for French wildcard
The French team has built its squad around the pair while also putting "a strong emphasis on youth" with Canadian David Veilleux and Frenchmen Kevin Reza and Jerome Cousin all making their debut.
"They have all reached maturity having made regular progression within the team," said directeur sportif Sebastien Joly. "We're keen to help them continue to progress by testing them with a three-week stage race of this calibre. Besides, they're not exactly novices – each one of them has already taken part in big races."
Team Europcar, UCI Professional Continental, received one of three wildcards for the Tour de France, along with Cofidis and Sojasun.
Voeckler, 2012's mountains classification winner, will be given free reign while Rolland the team's general classification leader took out the Alpe d'Huez stage in 2011 before winning the young rider classification. Last year Rolland finished eighth overall and this year he is targeting a top-five performance. He was cleared to return to racing last week after he had been requested to hand back his licence for eight days after he recorded abnormally low levels of cortisol in a test carried out in conjunction with the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) on the final weekend of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Thirty-four year-old Voeckler this month won the sixth stage to Grenoble at the Critérium du Dauphiné and more recently won the Route du Sud.
Shepherding Voeckler and Rolland will be...
Former world number 1 admits his reputation is tarnished
Tuesday's edition of L'Equipe gave more details on the retroactive detection of EPO in the samples of Laurent Jalabert during the 1998 Tour de France.
"Traces of synthetic EPO have been found in his urine collected on July 22, 1998 at the end of stage 11 from Luchon to Plateau de Beille (won by Marco Pantani)," wrote journalist Damien Ressiot, who immediately linked this information to the revelations he published on August 23, 2005 about Lance Armstrong's positives for EPO during the 1999 Tour de France. Both tests were conducted for research after EPO became detectable in 2001 and can't be considered as positive doping control stricto sensu.
Samples from the 1998 Tour de France were analyzed again in 2004. Most of them turned out to be positive for EPO. The French Senate anti-doping commission, which questioned 84 people since March 14, compared those results with the official records to come up with the names of the riders. Their final report is due to be made public on July 18.
According to L'Equipe, Jalabert's sample reached 94.8% of basic isoform while the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were 85% at the time. "His positivity is unquestionable," wrote Ressiot.
On May 15 of this year, Jalabert testified under oath in front of the commission. He can't be found guilty of perjury as he admitted to having been treated by the doctors of the teams he rode for. "I can't firmly say that I've never taken anything illegal," he said, suggesting that he might have been unknowingly doped. He was warned by the Senators that they had in their possession the official records of the 1998 Tour de France, but the former world number 1 didn't expect such news to emerge.
"I'm surprised," Jalabert told France...
Banned Italian says 48 riders were on a list
Riccò was in conversation with the account of Italian cycling magazine Cycling Pro in response to a report made by L’Equipe that Laurent Jalabert allegedly returned a positive test for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France.
The controversial Italian said via his twitter account:
"Also four riders came out as positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour when in fact 48 were on the list…"
Riccò, Stefan Schumacher, Leonardo Piepoli and Bernhard Kohl all returned positive tests for CERA at the 2008 Tour.
Riccò's career ended when he was rushed to hospital in February 2011 after apparently transfusing his own blood, which he had kept in his fridge at home. Doctors saved his life, reportedly saying they "pulled him back from the brink of death."
Riccò has always denied he transfused his own blood, claiming his problems were caused by taking iron supplements, but he was banned by the Italian Olympic Committee's Anti-doping Tribunal in 2012. He was given a 12-year ban because it was his second doping offence. In 2008, he tested positive for the banned blood booster CERA after winning two stages at the Tour de France. He was arrested by French police during the race and given a 20-month ban.
He made a comeback in 2010 with the Flaminia team and then joined Vacansoleil in August of that year. He was sacked by the team in February 2011, a few days after being rushed to hospital.
Targetting stage win, Antón and Nieve for general classification
Euskaltel-Euskadi will line up at this year's Tour de France with the primary aim of a stage win over the three-week race and will field two riders capable of riding high into the overall classification. Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve, who both lay claim to Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España stage wins have the potential to finish inside the top-ten and without having to play support to Samuel Sánchez, they will have the freedom to fly when the race hits the mountains.
Antón and Nieve have been named for dual leadership with both having finished inside the top-ten at the Giro and Vuelta in the past. Antón will make his return to the Tour after three-year break while Nieve is set to make his French debut this weekend on the island of Corsica. The remaining roster has been filled with a "motivated" bunch who will seek opportunities throughout the 3,479km.
"Our objective is for a stage win. We will arrive with a very competitive team with Anton and Nieve as our dedicated climbers - with wins in the Vuelta and Giro. The Tour is unlike any other race riders will do in their careers. It will be complicated but I hope they have a chance to shine. The rest of the group is very motivated and they know they will have their opportunity," said team manager Igor González de Galdeano before calling for a minute's silence in the wake of the death of soigneur Rufino Murguía's who was unable to overcome injuries sustained in a bus crash en route to the Spanish Road Championships.
With the Tour de France offering the greatest exposure of any race in the season...
Colombian content to learn before taking leadership at Movistar
A frequent finisher amongst the world's best riders in 2013, topped by overall victory at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco may have shot second-year professional Nairo Quintana into the spotlight but the young Colombian is not letting his stellar run of results get the better of him ahead of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.
Quintana will line up for his debut Tour this weekend on the island of Corsica and despite the encouragement from his family and followers back home, who believe he can win, the 23-year-old and Movistar team management insist that he is there to learn from the experience of riders like team leader Alejandro Valverde.
Expecting the results to flow at the year's biggest race is a big ask for the rider who started and finished his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España last year, where he finished a respectable 36th overall while riding in support of Valverde who claimed the second step on the podium.
"My goal is to one day play the role of leader at the Tour de France, but I have to first mature and learn under the guidance of Eusebio [Unzué] and I'll try to do that this year. I know I need more maturity to one day compete for the Tour podium," said Quintana.
Quintana's calm approach to his development is a sentiment that has been passed down through the ranks at the Movistar squad, with team manager Unzué unwilling to place the burden of leadership onto his rider.
"We have to be cautious about Nairo. I think he created such big expectations due to his impressive results, but I don't think he's prepared for us to put on his shoulders such a massive responsibility like fighting for the Tour overall," said Unzué.
There may be...
Niemiec and Ferrari also in the line-up
Damiano Cunego will lead Lampre-Merida at the Tour de France, while there is also a berth in the team for Przemyslaw Niemiec, who makes his debut in the race at the age of 33 after impressing en route to 6th place overall at the Giro d’Italia last month.
Cunego returns to the Tour after a one-year absence and will be hoping to repeat his performance of 2011, when he finished in 6th place after climbing in the leading group for much of the race. A stage win at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in March aside, Cunego has had a low-key start to the season thus far, although he showed flashes of form towards the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
While Cunego and Niemiec will lead the line in the mountains, aided by José Serpa, Adriano Malori will take aim at the race’s two individual time trials. Malori’s fine win in May’s Bayern-Rundfahrt was founded on victory in the time trial, and he finished 3rd at the Italian championships in the discipline on Sunday.
In the absence of the retired Alessandro Petacchi, sprinter Roberto Ferrari is called into action for his second Grand Tour of the season. The Italian is without a win since joining Lampre during the off-season and he struggled to make an impact in the bunch finishes at the Giro.
Lampre’s Tour line-up also includes Matteo Bono as well as Tour debutants Elia Favilli, Manuele Mori and Davide Cimolai.
Lampre’s directeurs sportifs at the Tour will be Bruno Vicino and Orlando Maini. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani were originally slated to be at the helm in France but will not now be at the Tour due to their involvement in a hearing...
Dutch court finds in favour of team
Michael Rasmussen has lost his appeal against Rabobank for wrongful dismissal during the 2007 Tour de France. The Dane was removed from the race and fired from the team while wearing the yellow jersey after it emerged that he had lied about his whereabouts to drug testers in the build-up to the Tour.
Rasmussen took legal action against Rabobank while serving a two-year suspension for his whereabouts violations. In 2008, a court in Utrecht found that there had not been sufficient grounds for dismissal and Rasmussen was awarded €665,000 in damages.
Both parties subsequently appealed the Utrecht finding, with Ramussen seeking to obtain as much as €5.6 million in compensation from Rabobank for lost earnings. The Dane claimed that the team had been aware of his false whereabouts before the Tour and long before it took action against him during the final week.
However, the appeal court in Arnhem found in favour of Rabobank on Tuesday morning and has ordered Rasmussen to repay a sizeable part of the €665,000 that were paid out to him in the first instance.
“It is disappointing to say the least,” Rasmussen’s lawyer Andrú Brantjes told De Telegraaf. “I have been talking all morning with Michael, he is completely broken. We did not expect this. It is incredible and incomprehensible.”
In January of this year, Rasmussen confessed to doping from 1998 to 2010, a twelve-year spell which included his time at Rabobank and CSC. The Dane said he used EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, insulin, DHEA, IGF-1, cortisone and underwent blood transfusions.
However, according to
Frenchman revealed to have tested positive at 1998 Tour According to an article in printed in L’Équipe on Tuesday, retrospective analysis of Jalabert’s urine sample from stage 11 to Plateau de Beille showed that it was consistent with EPO use. The analysis was carried out anonymously by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in 2004 but it is understood that Jalabert’s name was recently matched to the sample by a French Senate Commission, which is holding an inquiry into the fight against doping. “In order to be able to prepare a calm defence when the time comes, I have decided of my own volition to stop my work as a consultant with different media,” Jalabert told AFP on Tuesday. “I am the subject of revelations that were brought to my attention by way of the press and without any legal element. I don’t want these events to spoil the celebrations for the 100th Tour de France or damage the image of my partners.” Jalabert was due to cover the Tour as a pundit for France Télévisions, a role he has held since 2011, and with RTL Radio, to whom he has contributed since 2003. Jalabert, who retired from racing in 2002, had also served as coach to the French...
Frenchman revealed to have tested positive at 1998 Tour
According to an article in printed in L’Équipe on Tuesday, retrospective analysis of Jalabert’s urine sample from stage 11 to Plateau de Beille showed that it was consistent with EPO use. The analysis was carried out anonymously by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in 2004 but it is understood that Jalabert’s name was recently matched to the sample by a French Senate Commission, which is holding an inquiry into the fight against doping.
“In order to be able to prepare a calm defence when the time comes, I have decided of my own volition to stop my work as a consultant with different media,” Jalabert told AFP on Tuesday.
“I am the subject of revelations that were brought to my attention by way of the press and without any legal element. I don’t want these events to spoil the celebrations for the 100th Tour de France or damage the image of my partners.”
Jalabert was due to cover the Tour as a pundit for France Télévisions, a role he has held since 2011, and with RTL Radio, to whom he has contributed since 2003. Jalabert, who retired from racing in 2002, had also served as coach to the French...