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
Rabobank reportedly courts Breschel, chasing Sanchez
While teams can’t confirm their new signings for 2011 just yet, the rider transfer market is in full swing with reports Rabobank has signed Matti Breschel for next season. Dutch paper De Telegraaf reported the Saxo Bank rider will move to the squad to bolster its Spring Classics lineup.
The paper has also linked Caisse d’Epargne’s Luis León Sánchez to the Dutch squad. It claims the Spaniard has a two year deal on the table from Rabobank while Team Radioshack is also chasing the rider to strengthen its general classification ranks, but is only offering a one year deal.
In other transfer news Rabobank’s continental squad will lose a rider in Martijn Keizer next season. Keizer has been officially announced as a member of the Vacansoleil Professional Continental squad for 2011.
The 22-year-old finished inside the top 10 at the Under 23 Liege-Bastonge-Liege this year and also claimed a top five overall finish at Olympia’s Tour. Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijkx said the team always keeps its eye on young Dutch talents.
“He is a real strong rider who fits the team,” said Luijkx. “We are always looking for young and talented Dutch riders and wish to find a balance for Martijn to grow and to perform at the pros. Keizer is ready to become pro. It is good for the Dutch sport of cycling to have several Dutch teams for the talented riders.”
Denies knowing where the money went
Johan Bruyneel has confirmed that one of his past teams sold bikes, but said it was after Discovery Channel had ended its sponsorship in 2007, and that he had “no idea” where the money had gone.
Floyd Landis had claimed recently that the US Postal team sold bikes to help fund the team's doping programme. He said that some 60 bikes were not accounted for, and that they had been sold for cash.
"What Floyd is saying is that 60 bikes were missing," Bruyneel said to the AP. "I have absolutely no idea where he got that from."
Bruyneel acknowledged that "At the end of the Discovery Channel's sponsorship, I think there were bikes sold on eBay. It was done by the team.
He said the bikes were team property and that Trek Bicycle Corp. knew some were given away "for the purpose of maintaining relationships" with the other team sponsors.
Trek has allegedly been subpoenaed to provide documents to a grand jury investigation looking into Landis' claims of doping. The US-based bike producer denied any knowledge of the actions as charged by Landis.
"Trek has no knowledge of the sale of any team bikes to purchase drugs," Trek said in a statement issued earlier this month. . "We did not, and never would, condone such activity. Trek does not support doping in cycling and has included in all of its sponsorship contracts the right to terminate any athlete who violates the doping rules."
Rider apologises for any unintended insult
Serbian Ivan Stevic (Partizan SRBIJAN) has been removed from the Tour of Qinghai Lake for his middle-finger salute at the finish of stage four at Qinghai Lake. An emotional Stevic raised his finger in a gesture directed at his team’s mechanic who had previously joked with him about his form.
He has also been hit in the pocket with a fine of 1,000 Swiss Francs as well as losing his prize money from the stage win. Runner-up on the stage, Ukraine rider Yuriy Metlushenko (Amore & Vita-Conad), was elevated to the win.
“I don’t know why he did this,” said Chief Commissaire Jean Francois Camoin. “Sometimes you don’t know what is going on in the mind of some people.”
“Everywhere in the world you have to show respect,” he added. “This finger was for whom, i don’t mind for whom, but you can’t do this”.
Partizan SRBIJAN team manager Dusan Banovic was disappointed with the outcome. ”We are not happy definitely, you know, but it happened,” he said. “We apologised to everyone here and we feel bad.”
“I think the most important thing is that he didn’t show that (finger) to anyone, it was just some anger that he let out because for three years he hasn’t won anything”, explained Banovic.
“We will pay everything but also contact the UCI,” added the despondent team manager.
Stevic was extremely apologetic for his actions. “I just really wanted to apologise not only to the Chinese people but to all of the riders,” he said. “Those are the emotions, those are the moments, and they come out.”
“It wasn’t because of the race or the people around me or the riders”, he explained. “The last thing i wanted to do was offend the organisation or the Chinese people, i didn’t think it like that way.”
“I am an emotional...
Manager Van Gerwen still hopes to continue
Team Milram does not have a sponsor for the 2011 season, but team manager Gerry van Gerwen has said he is not giving up hope. The Dutchman apparently still has two inquiries from potential sponsors, but admits that nothing will be settled until September.
Milram had been sponsored by Nordmilch AG since 2006, but the dairy product company announced in October 2009 that it would stop its sponsorship at the end of this season.
Van Gerwen, 57, said at a press conference, Wednesday, that he would apply to the International Cycling Union for the team's licence by the August 15 deadline. He must submit his team roster by October 1. If he does not have a sponsor by that time, he said, he will continue to look for a sponsor for the 2012 season.
It is questionable as to what roster he might present. His riders have been told that they are free to look for new teams. So far, Linus Gerdemann has been linked to the new Luxembourg team and Gerald Ciolek is said to be in talks with HTC-Columbia.
Only last week van Gerwen said that three potential new sponsors had expressed interest in the team, with one said to be a European bike manufacturer. The Süddeutsche Zeitung today reported that the company was the Belgian company Ridley, but that it has decided to go with another team.
In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Nordmilch noted that its sponsorship “was tied to clear marketing goals from the beginning and defined to attract attention to Milram. These goals have been reached.” The company thanked the management and riders for the “successful cooperation.”
Milram was founded in 2006 with an Italian licence, with its top stars being sprinters Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. The team's suffered a series of doping-relate crises in 2007. The most long-reaching one was when team manager and ProTour licence holder Gianluigi Stanga was accused by Jörg Jaksche of organised doping...
Photo gallery from the second rest day
The Tour de France is only four stages away from crowning its victor for 2010, but before the riders could turn a pedal in anger, they had their second day of "rest" in Pau.
Race leader Alberto Contador did not hold the normal rest day press conference, but was spotted heading out of town for a ride with his team and a number of enthusiastic fans.
His main opponent Andy Schleck was also followed out of town by some amateur riders, but quickly burned them off his wheel, setting pace behind the Saxo Bank team car.
For RadioShack's Lance Armstrong, it was a time to catch up with his ever-growing family: his three children from his first wife as well as his one-year-old son with his current partner Anna Hansen, who is also carrying the couple's second child.
Enjoy this photo gallery from the rest day in Pau.
Sastre and Hushovd are hoping to make an impact in Tour's closing days
Cervélo team leaders Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd are both optimistic about their their prospects going into the final four stages of the Tour de France. The pair were prominent on the pre-rest day stage to Pau. Sastre tried to attack to get across to the lead group, but when that attempt was foiled the Spaniard then helped his Norwegian teammate to stay in the yellow jersey group over the Tourmalet and Aubisque. That resulted in Hushovd contesting and winning the bunch sprint for 10th place that gave him the points he needed to regain the green jersey from Alessandro Petacchi.
Sastre admitted that the mountain stage to the summit of the Tourmalet offers him his final chance of Tour glory. "The first eight days of the race were very complicated for me, breaking two wheels in a crash on the cobbles in which I also fractured a rib. But over the last few days I've been riding much better, enjoying it more, and things have been going much more how I like them to.
"All I've been lacking in recent days is a bit of luck. I made an attempt for the stage win at Ax-3 Domaines and it didn't work out, I tried again yesterday and it was the same result. But I've got one final opportunity and if I've got the legs I will certainly be going for it again," said the 2008 Tour winner, who is lying 15th overall.
"I've always been an attack-minded rider, and I feel like I've got the form back to take advantage of that, but the stage looks particularly tough. Looking beyond that to the time trial, the roads for that are good and if the wind is behind the riders the gaps between the main contenders will be minimal. Consequently, I think the Tourmalet stage is crucial in the Tour de France. I will be up there, but quite where exactly I don't know," Sastre explained.
"I've only finished on the Tourmalet the once, when Ivan Basso won the stage at La Mongie and I was 5th or 6th. It's a mythical climb. I've felt much happier and stronger for the...
Rabobank's Tour road captain calls it quits after 15 years
Koos Moerenhout of Rabobank announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the season. "I will turn 37 years old in November. I'm still enjoying myself and it's still good, but at some point you have to stop," he said.
Moerenhout made the announcement Wednesday in Pau on the Tour de France's second rest day. He is the team's road captain at the race, which is his seventh Tour.
He turned pro with Rabobank in 1996, and rode for Domo-Farm Frites from 2000 to 2002, Lotto-Domo from 2003 to 2005, and Phonak in 2006. He returned to Rabobank in 2007.
Moerenhout was Dutch national road champion in 2007 and 2009. He has a number of wins in his career, with the most recent being the individual time trial in the 2009 Tour of Austria.
Saxo Bank will go on the attack on final climb
Just 24 hours before their Tour de France showdown on the slopes of the Tourmalet, Alberto Contador opted to avoid the media and enjoy a low key rest day in Pau. However his big rival Andy Schleck was happy to be in the spotlight and held court in front of a hundred journalists.
Schleck sat next to Saxo Bank team manager and owner Bjarne Riis. Their partnership will soon end when the Schleck brothers move to their own Luxembourg-based team. However they both still want to try and win the Tour de France.
Schleck is only 25 and so will win the best young rider's jersey even if he fails to take the yellow jersey. Yet he is mature for age and seems able to handle the pressure and expectations on his young shoulders.
He knows he has to go on the offensive if he is to have any chance of victory in the Tour, and is not afraid to say it.
"The Tour is ending and I'm running out of time. I can't wait until he has a bad day. There's only one chance left and that's tomorrow. I've got to try everything," he said to the media gathered at his feet.
"I know I need to be in yellow for the start of time trial to have a chance of winning the Tour. If I have the jersey I'll be really motivated in the final time trial. I don't know if 30 seconds or a minute would be enough. I'd prefer to have two minutes. I was really bad in the Rotterdam time trial but now things are different after three weeks of racing. I think I can do something."
All on the Tourmalet
Bjarne Riis made it clear that Saxo Bank's strategy is all built around Schleck attacking Contador on the slopes of the Tourmalet and hopefully gaining enough time to win the Tour. Schleck totally agreed.
"There's only one way (to win) and that's on the climb of the Tourmalet. If you go before you won't succeed," he said.
"I've always said that the guy who has yellow tomorrow, will have it in Paris. I still believe that. Tomorrow is definitely...