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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Date published:
July 06, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Thomas and Swift talk Tour de France

    Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in the best young rider's white jersey
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 11:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    The latest video blog from the Team Sky rider

    Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is recording a video blog during the Tour de France, sharing his thoughts and emotions after stages of the race in his unique irreverent style.

    Thomas often catches up with his Team Sky teammates and in this latest video he talks to fellow Briton Ben Swift.

    The video was recorded after stage three Redon and so the two discuss the hair-raising sprint and their hopes for future sprint finishes in this year’s Tour. The two also talk team time trials, with Thomas quizzing Swift on his TTT experience. Thomas’ long hair and white jersey also get thrown into the conversation.

    Both riders haver personal websites: www.geraintthomas.com and www.benswiftcycling.com.

  • Astarloza ready to return after end of doping suspension

    Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) on the podium after his stage win.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 11:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Expected to re-sign with Euskaltel-Euskadi

    Mikel Astarloza has finished his two-year doping ban and has insisted he will return to the peloton, possibly as soon as the end of this month. The Spaniard has continued to train during his ban, and claims that both his head and legs are ready to go.

    The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider won the 16th stage of the 2009 Tour de France, attacking out of a breakaway group on the mountain stage. Then 10 days later the UCI announced that an out-of competition doping control on June 26 had returned positive for EPO. He was suspended and subsequently sacked by his team, and eventually given a two-year suspension.

    Astarloza had consistently maintained his innocence, and the team last year indicated its willingness to re-sign him.

    Now, according to Marca.com, Astarloza is said to be returning to the team this season, perhaps even riding the Tour of Poland, which starts on July 31.

    “Nothing is confirmed yet. I won't discuss it until the matter is finished. Neither I nor the team has any news,” he told the Spanish newspaper.

    When or if he does return, Astarloza will be ready. “My legs are fine. I have trained a lot for two years, trying to do my best,” he said.

  • Startline gallery: Tour de France stage 5

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has had a storming Tour so far
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 15:03 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Crosswinds could cause havoc as peloton reaches the coast

    All the talk at the start of stage 5 of the Tour de France centred around the likely crosswinds that could play havoc with the peloton. The bunch are set to race from the sleepy town of Carhaix and up towards one of France’s most beautiful coastal landscapes at Cap Frehel.

    Predictions were of a strong tailwind before crosswinds from the west within the final 80 kilometres. However at the start the atmosphere was probably the most relaxed it’s been so far in the Tour with the race now in full swing after four pulsating days of racing.

    HTC-Highroad will be looking to grab their first stage win of the race after missing out in the team time trial and on stage 3. Brian Holm confirmed that while the crosswinds could play a part the team were 100 percent dedicated to delivering Cavendish to his first stage win since the Champs Elysees last year.
     

  • Australian rider Carly Hibberd killed in Italy

    Carly Hibberd claimed the women's national road series title this year, while David Pell, who wasn't there on the night, took the men's series.
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 15:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Fanini rider hit by a car near Como

    Australian rider Carly Hibberd has died after being hit by car during training in Northern Italy.

    Italian police have confirmed that the accident happened at 10:45 on a road between Appiano Gentile and Lurato Caccivio, north of Milan.

    According to local media reports, Carly was training with Colombian rider Diego Tamayo when she was hit by a car. Tamayo was not hurt. Emergency services reached Carly quickly thanks to a helicopter, but she died at the scene of the accident.

    The 26 year-old from Brisbane rode for the Michela Fanini Record Rox team in 2010 but joined the Cassina Rizzardi A Style team that is based near Como this year.

    Italian police are investigating the accident.

    The tragic news shocked the riders competing at the Giro Donne and race organisers cancelled the podium celebrations at the end of the stage.

    Cyclingnews sends our condolences to Carly’s family and friends.

  • Video: Van Garderen all behind Cavendish and Martin

    Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) chases with Hincapie and Busche in tow
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 16:50 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American not making the white jersey a priority

    Four stages into his first Tour de France and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) has settled into his role as super domestique for Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin.

    The 22-year-old American has been tipped as a potential Grand Tour rider for the future but in his first Tour he has been tasked with pulling on the front of the bunch for Cavendish while also shepherding Martin through the hills and later in the race, the mountains.

    Having completed his first Grand Tour last year at the Vuelta a Espana last year, Van Garderen talks about the differences between that experience and the Tour.

    The American also sits just one second behind Geraint Thomas (Sky) in the battle for the white jersey and he discusses how his priorities still lie with the team’s ambitions despite being so close to what would be a major achievement in his first Tour.
     

  • Saiz reflects on the super-talented Rojas brothers

    Stage winner Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Movistar Team) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 18:18 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Former ONCE boss gave both riders their first taste of pro racing

    It's now 16 years since Mariano Rojas lit up the 1995 Tour de France with a series of startling performances that led to many designating him as "the next Miguel Indurain". A Tour debutant at just 21, the young Spaniard looked destined to finish in the top 10 until a crash on the descent off the Col du Tourmalet put him out of the race with Paris just days away. Watching him perform back at home in Spain was his younger brother José Joaquín, then just 10 years old, but currently battling for the 2011 Tour's points competition.

    Sadly, less than a year after his startling debut, Mariano Rojas died in a car accident when travelling to the Spanish road championships.

    Both Rojas brothers made their professional debuts in teams led by Manolo Saiz: Mariano with ONCE in 1994 and José Joaquín with Liberty Seguros in 2006, and Saiz has provided his analysis of the brothers in El Diario Vasco.

    "I signed Mariano after seeing him race in the Circuito Montañés," Saiz recalled, revealing that he was impressed by the way the young Spaniard was not deterred from making an attack even into a strong headwind. Saiz invited Rojas back to his home and signed him on the spot to an ONCE team that contained big names such as Laurent Jalabert, Alex Zülle, Erik Breukink and Johan Bruyneel.

    "Mariano was very different as a cyclist to José Joaquín. He was very tall, with a smooth pedalling style. He was very good. In his first year as a professional he really surprised us in Majorca and the Ruta del Sol. He produced some impressive performances," Saiz recalled.

    Saiz revealed that Rojas made such an impression on his far more experienced teammates that they came to ONCE team boss and asked him to select the youngster for his Tour debut in 1995. "The...

  • Tour de France crash report: Boonen, Contador, Gesink bloodied

    Janez Brajkovic needed medical treatment after his crash
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 19:01 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews

    Breton roads claim Brajkovic and Velasco

    The Tour de France passed four stages without serious incidents but the peloton's luck ran out on the narrow, windy roads of Brittany from Carhaix to Cap Frehel on stage 5, causing a number of riders, including the top GC contenders to crash.

    The most serious incident involved Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack), the latter of which sustained a gruesome head injury. His team confirmed that he has a broken left collarbone and concussion.

    According to his Rabobank team, Gesink was "involuntarily acquainted with the asphalt". His team doctor Dion Van Bommel confirmed the Dutch rider had sustained "abrasions over almost his entire body" and had to have stitches in his elbow and right hand, although fortunately he escaped more serious injury. Other Rabobank crash victims during the very nervous day of racing included Carlos Barredo, Juan Manuel Garate and Maarten Tjallingii.

    Contador said in a press release that he crashed twice - once without incident before the intermediate sprint, and then again in the fall with Gesink. "I hit the right side from my shoulder to knee, but nothing serious," he said, showing the holes in his jersey in a Twitter photo.

    The most shocking crash was that of Saxo Bank's Danish champion Nicki Sørensen, who was clipped by a photo motorcycle.

    "I was riding safely in the side of the road and then a motor bike knocked me off the bike. He was actually going so close that my bike was drawn after his motor bike for 200 meters and I landed heavily on the ground. Luckily, I'm ok and am able to ride again tomorrow," said Sørensen.

    The most prolonged drama from today's crashes was the painful chase of the peloton by Quickstep's Tom Boonen, who went...

  • "One of my best Tour wins" says Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) on the podium
    Article published:
    July 06, 2011, 20:04 BST
    By:
    Daniel Friebe

    HTC-Highroad pocket rocket on sparky form on road and off it

    Anyone who thought Mark Cavendish wasn't the man or rider he used to be would have quickly revised that opinion after the Manxman's post-race press conference following his Tour de France stage victory in Cap-Fréhel on Wednesday night.

    Sharp, incisive, and ever ready with a blistering comeback, if Cavendish was back to his best on the bike, the same applied in the press-room.

    "Get your facts right," he told one reporter who had misheard José Joaquin Rojas accuse Alessandro Petacchi of punching then insulting him on French TV.  "Rojas said Petacchi," Cavendish snapped. "Before you go trying to start shit, get your story right."

    There was more feistiness, humour and also the self-deprecation which is another Cavendish trademark. Asked to elaborate on an earlier remark that "my problems are in my head", the HTC-Highroad star stifled a giggle. "If I start talking about that, we'll never get out of here tonight," he grinned.

    His analysis of what was his sixteenth Tour de France stage win in his fifth Grande Boucle was, as ever, detailed and clinical.

    "This is up there with my stage win in Aubenas in 2009 as one of my best, but it was all the more difficult because we didn't anticipate it being so hard," Cavendish explained. "The finish was really hard. The climb with three kilometres to go was steep and I had to go massively into the red.

    "I was just so lucky I had the guys keeping me fresh – five or six guys keeping me protected and out of the wind all day," he continued, adding more evidence to his argument that the race jury hasn't applied the rules regarding legal sprinting equally. Cavendish was relegated on stage 3's intermediate sprint a...