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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Date published:
July 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Cadel Evans accepts the end of GC campaign

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 13:13 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Australian to race Vuelta in preparation for Worlds

    Cadel Evans suffered one of his worst days at the Tour de France, losing almost three minutes to the overall leaders on stage 16 from Martigny to Bourg Saint Maurice and realistically waving goodbye to his hopes at a third podium finish in a row.

    "I'm disappointed for myself, but also of the team. They hoped to do well and so did I," said Evans on the Silence-Lotto web site. "I felt things hadn't been going well for the past few days. I hoped that it would go better. I could not do anything as Schleck attacked."

    Evans was unable to respond when Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck launched his attack on the Col du Petit St Bernard. Evans finished 3:55 down on stage winner, Mikel Astarloza (Euskatel-Euskadi), and 2:56 behind a group containing the overall leaders.

    Following the stage 16 result, Evans, who has finished second overall in the past two editions of the Tour, slipped from 14th place to 17th overall.

    "I'm not sick, I need to talk to my coach and doctor about this failure. In the mean time, I cannot excuse myself to the team," said Evans.

    The Australian has already begun to establish new objectives. He told De Telegraaf before the start of the stage 16 that he will start the Vuelta a España in August.

    He will start the Spanish Grand Tour with a view to building form for September's world championships in Switzerland. Evans lives in the central European country during the season.

    "I know the world championships course," he said. "It is more difficult than last year's in Varese. The Vuelta is the best preparation for the world championships."

  • Di Luca positive for CERA in Giro

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 14:33 BST
    Daniel Simms

    (Updated) UCI provisionally suspends Italian after two positives

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced Wednesday that it has suspended Italian Danilo Di Luca for two positive tests for the EPO derivative CERA.

    The LPR-Brakes rider's doping control samples showed evidence of the banned blood booster on two occasions - on May 20 and 28th during the 2009 Giro d'Italia.

    Di Luca finished second overall in the Giro to Russian Denis Menchov of Rabobank.

    "These adverse findings were a direct result of a targeted test programme conducted on Mr Di Luca using information from his biological passport’s blood profile, previous test results and his race schedule," the UCI press release stated.

    "This is further proof that the system works and we are determined to get rid of the cheats," UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes.

    Di Luca's first positive test came on stage 11 of the Giro the day before the decisive Cinque Terre time trial. The second positive came on stage 18, the day before the final mountain stage to Mount Vesuvius.

    On July 13 Di Luca and UCI president Pat McQuaid openly denied the rider was under investigation for his biological passport results after a Spanish newspaper reported as much.

    It is the second time that Di Luca has come under suspicion of doping. He served a three-month suspension for involvement in the Italian "Oil for Drugs" investigation. He was suspended for working with a doctor who had been banned by the Italian federation.

    It is still unclear as to whether or not Di Luca would face a possible lifetime ban for a second doping offence. "I’m not sure of the regulations on this but I don’t think it would count as a second offence. But that is for the legal people to determine," said McQuaid.

    CERA, a more stable version of recominant erythropoeitin, was developed as a therapeutic agent to help anemic patients maintain a more table blood count...

  • Ben Jacques-Maynes kicks off Cascade with yellow

    Chris Baldwin (OUCH-Maxxis) figured in to the break right from the start.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 17:43 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Strong Bissell squad expected to thrive in Oregon

    Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) took the early lead of the Cascade Classic six-stage race after a solo victory in the opening stage on Tuesday.The California native is hoping that a new set of tactics will bring his squad an overall title after Sunday’s finale in Bend, Oregon.

    "I hope we are able to have a good time trial here," Jacques-Maynes said. "But we aren’t fully depending on the time trial anymore because that has bitten us in the ass the last couple of weekends. We want to come out here to race aggressive and have a good one."

    Jacques-Maynes took a strong early lead in the overall by virtue of a 10-second margin over a chase group being combined with the time bonuses allocated at the finish line. He heads into stage two with a 14-second advantage over Jeff Louder (BMC) and a 16 second cushion to Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing).

    Jacques-Maynes teammate, Tom Zirbel, leads the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series after an impressive string of time trial victories. However, the overall title has eluded the specialist, who placed second in the Nature Valley Grand Prix and third in the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic. The Bissell squad will no doubt leave a lasting impression at the stage 3 time trial, with Zirbel's presence bound to play a big factor.

    The Bissell squad racing this week includes Jacques-Maynes and Zirbel along with New Zealand national time trial Champion Jeremy Vennell, Paul Mach, Omer Kemp, Kirk O’Bee, Morgan Schmitt and Burke Swindlehurst.

    For images of stage one of the Cascade Cycling Classic click here


  • Milram sponsor confirms for 2010

    Team Milram in the 39km team time trial.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 19:06 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Velits brothers leave for Columbia

    Team Milram will continue in the peloton in 2010. Sponsor Nordmilch AG has confirmed that it will continue to back the team through next season.

    “Our engagement will be carried out through 2010, as contractually agreed,” Claus P. Fischer, Marketing Director, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Earlier this month Fischer had indicated that the firm was pleased with its investment, but that it would review the matter after the Tour de France.

    The team's performance in the Tour de France was enough to convince the dairy company to stay with the sport. Although the German team has not won a stage, it has brought in a number of top ten finishes; the best being Johannes Fröhlinger's third place finish in the seventh stage. The German squad has also been involved in many escape groups.

    “It is very good and really pleasing, “ said Team manager Gerry van Gerwen in response to Nordmilch AG's announcement.

    Van Gerwen now hopes to reach an agreement through 2011. He is slightly handicapped by the fact that he can now only offer riders one-year contracts. A situation that has already cost him two riders: twin brothers Martin and Peter Velits. “Unfortunately, they are going to Columbia. The main reason being that I can't offer them two years.”

  • Kenny van Hummel forced to abandon the Tour de France

    Kenny Van Hummel
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 19:10 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Luck runs out for Dutchman after crashing out on stage 17

    A bit of romanticism left the Tour de France on Wednesday when Kenny van Hummel, the race’s lanterne rouge, was forced to abandon after crashing out of the race.

    The Skil-Shimano rider, who was sitting 3:35:54 behind the yellow jersey at the start of the stage, was dropped just four kilometres into today’s 169.5 kilometre test from Bourg Saint Maurice to Le Grand Bornand. He was forced to ride alone and crashed on the decent of the day's second category 1 climb, the Col des Saises. The 26-year-old was taken to hospital with a badly cut knee.

    At the finish van Hummel’s director sportif Rudi Kemna said he was sad to see his sprinter miss out on his dream of racing on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. "It’s the end of a big adventure," Kemna said. "We tried to hold him the race but today it was really hard. It was like D-Day for us today with it being such a brutal stage."

    Van Hummel had previously admitted to taking risks on the race’s descents in order to keep within the time limit but with today’s rain-soaked roads, he was playing a dangerous game. "I saw Menchov crash on a downhill and told the car following Kenny to be careful because it was really slippery. When he went down and we saw that his knee was open we knew that his race was over."

    Van Hummel though will go down as one of the most iconic and likeable riders in this year’s race, often surviving stages by the skin of his teeth and riding hundreds of kilometres on his own. "I was thinking four days ago that it was his last day. He's a real fighter but he’s not a climber. He had no power left."

    Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux) will start tomorrow’s stage as the new lanterne rouge. The Belarusian is 3:26:01 down on race leader Alberto Contador.

    For images of stage 17 click...

  • Schleck brothers in top three after Tour's Le Grand-Bornand stage

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) leads his brother Fränk and Alberto Contador up the Col de la Colombière.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 19:32 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Andy second, Fränk third after escape with Contador

    Andy Schleck and his brother Fränk moved up the Tour de France classification in dramatic fashion on Wednesday. The two Luxembourgers attacked to escape with race leader Alberto Contador on the Col de Romme. Fränk won the stage and moved to third overall, Andy second overall.

    "Bjarne Riis came up with a plan this morning," said Andy. "Fränk had no personal goals and he was there to help me."

    The 17th stage of the Tour de France contained five categorised climbs in 169.5 kilometres. The race came alive on the penultimate climb, the Col de Romme, as Andy accelerated with six kilometres to climb and then again at five.

    His surges forced a group to go clear with brother Fränk and team Astana's Contador and Andreas Klöden while distancing rivals Lance Armstrong (Astana), Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas).

    The four remained together for the start of the final climb, the Colombière. Contador, instead of the Schlecks, attacked at 1700 metres to the top. His attack distanced teammate Klöden and allowed the new trio to gain over a minute to their chasers at the top and over two minutes at the finish 15 kilometres later.

    "When Alberto attacks it is better to take your time at first," said Andy. "We came back step by step to him and preferred to stay on his wheel. It was a good situation for all of us because on a climb like Colombière you just can't drop Contador."

    Contador leads the general classification by 2:26 to Andy and 3:25 to Fränk. Nibali and Armstrong lost 2:18 on the stage, Klöden 2:27 and Wiggins 3:07.

    The race ends Sunday in Paris, but there are two critical days before: a 40.5-kilometre time trial tomorrow in Annecy and Saturday's stage to Mont Ventoux. Klöden, Armstrong and Wiggins can make up time on the Schlecks in the time trial, but the Ventoux climb will settle the final classification.


  • Sastre's Tour defence slips away on the Romme

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 19:32 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Cervélo captain rolls the dice on Tour's stage 17

    Carlos Sastre’s Tour defence is all but over after he lost seven minutes to race leader Alberto Contador on Wednesday’s mountain stage from Bourg St Maurice to Le Grand Bornand. Sastre had started the stage in ninth place, 3:52 down on Contador, but now sits thirteenth, 11:39 down.

    Sastre’s afternoon had started with a promising attack at the base of the category 1 Col de Romme, the day’s penultimate climb. He briefly held a small gap, forcing Saxo Bank to chase as much of the peloton were put into difficulty. However Sastre was quickly caught and had no reaction to Andy Schleck’s brutal attack shortly thereafter.

    "I knew it was the only opportunity I had to bust up the race and turn it to my favour. It wasn't meant to be and the others were stronger than me," Sastre said at the finish. "It's a Tour completely different from what I expected. Considering how things are, I have to congratulate Alberto [Contador] for what he's doing.

    Sastre had stunned sections of the media during the Tour’s second rest day, saying the press hadn’t paid him due respect as the defending champion, and spending too much time focussing on Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.

    "I was always been calm and collected. I said what I wanted to say, because I believe the press is treating this sport badly. The media doesn't give cycling the importance that it deserves. It's not only me, but for a lot of riders who came to this Tour to make a good race and we've been completely forgotten. It's not jealousy, because we're all making sacrifices in cycling. Only one can win at the Tour," he said.

    As for the final stages before Paris, Sastre will look to bounce back and claim a win on Mont Ventoux, the final climb of this year’s Tour de France. "I'd love to win, but there are a lot of riders who want to win, too. I am a rider who likes to fight. I will do what I can do. For the Tour, I always give my all."

  • Silence-Lotto DS defends Evans' Tour performance

    Marc Sergeant.
    Article published:
    July 22, 2009, 20:03 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Marc Sergeant expects Cadel Evans to bounce back

    After another poor day in the mountains for Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto director sportif Marc Sergeant has defended his rider at the finish in Le Grand Bornand. Evans was dropped several times by the peloton and finished in the gruppeto, almost half an hour down on stage winner Frank Schleck. He now sits in 17th overall.

    "If you come to the Tour to achieve something and you’re so far behind then of course you’ll be disappointed," Sergeant told Cyclingnews.

    "Today he could have gained time but he was dropped several times. I can’t give you an explanation. I think he had a preparation like he wished, so I don’t see any mistakes."

    Evans’ Tour preparation was thrown into confusion earlier in the year when it was announced he would ride the Giro d’Italia. The rider then denied that this was true. "In the winter we proposed for him to do the Giro as a different approach to the Tour. He was quite nervous, so when I met him in Europe I let him make his decision. He decided to do the same preparation as other years and that’s all I have to say about it."

    However, Sargeant remained resolute that Evans could bounce back from his Tour de France setback and perform well in the future. "Everybody is already burying Evans but I still think he can have a great result next year."

    Teammate and friend Matthew Lloyd gave a more personal insight into Evans' Tour. "Who knows if it’s mental or physical fatigue? Maybe it’s a transitional period or maybe the Tour has come at a time when he’s not in sync. From my point of view that’s quite normal for a person to have ups and downs. To try and explain that and give reason to it is difficult, especially with the type of guy Cadel is. He doesn’t give too much away so it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s going on," Lloyd said.

    When asked if the harmony in the team was a factor Lloyd denied there was a...