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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Date published:
July 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Frei given lifetime ban from Swiss national teams

    Thomas Frei (BMC Racing)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 8:27 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Swiss cycling federation says no Worlds or Olympics if he returns to racing

    Thomas Frei will never ride for a Swiss national team again. The national federation, Swiss Cycling, made that decision after the former BMC rider was suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO.

    “Because of this, Thomas Frei is excluded from the Swiss Cycling national team for his entire life. If Frei returns to professional cycling, he would not be nominated by Swiss Cycling for any international competitions like World championships and Olympic games,” the federation said in a statement issued Tuesday.

    The Federation “represents a clear anti-doping stance and fights for doping-free cycling,” it said. “In relation to doping violations, the Swiss cycling federation follows a strict line without any tolerance.”

    Frei tested positive for EPO at an out-of-competition test in March, and was suspended for two years last month. The former BMC rider confessed to having given himself a micro-dose of EPO the evening before the test and revealed that he had been doping since the summer of 2008.

  • Reactions from the Tour's Stage 3

    Winner, winner: Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) might have been held back a day earlier, but there was no stopping the Norwegian champion as cruised to stage victory.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Overall hopefuls consider their position after the cobbles

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) – 3rd on stage, 3rd overall @ 39 seconds: "Just to get through it as a GC rider – and get through it without losing any time – was all that I wanted. They weren't going to let me go anywhere. I'm not quite built for the cobbles. With the wind and everything, there wasn't any chance for any big heroics. Twenty seconds isn't going to mean much after the Pyrenees, but a little bit is better than nothing."

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) – 8th on stage, 14th overall @ 1:49: "It was carnage but we knew it was going to be carnage, we've known for seven months it would be carnage - and it was carnage. We ended up on the right side of [the crashes] this time and we're back in business. This is the Tour and we're only on day three, there's a long way to go, but it was a good day today. Now we'll focus on tomorrow."

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) – 54th on stage, 48th overall @ 3:19: "I was up in front the whole time until the penultimate stretch where a rider fell in front of me in one of the few bends and I just couldn't dodge him. I had pretty bad luck as both my wheels broke, but luckily my teammate Brett Lancaster was with me and leant me his wheels so that I could get back into it. In that stretch a large group that had been riding behind caught up with me and I reached the finish line with them, losing as little time as possible."

    Linus Gerdemann (Team Milram) – 98th on stage, 79th overall @4:33: "Two crashes with tyre damage threw me back three kilometres before the finish. Up until then I could stay up with the others and was doing well. Looking back at the results of the stage, I had the chance to improve myself in the general rankings. That is irritating."

    Roger Kluge (Team Milram) – 140th on stage, 173rd overall @ 23:00: "I had hoped to be in a group in order to avoid all the...

  • Rolland unlucky on the cobblestones

    Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bougyues Telecom)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:40 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French rider coming of age in second Tour

    Pierre Rolland was a very active member of the seven-man breakaway that took flight after eight kilometres of stage three but a flat tyre in the penultimate pavé section detracted from his initiative during the day. The classy Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders says there's more to come, however.

    "I wanted to arrive on the cobblestones with a significant advantage to avoid the crashes", he told Cyclingnews after the finish. "To enter the breakaway was the plan this morning and it was successful but the flat tyre ruined my efforts and I'm disappointed about that.

    "If we don't try, we have no chance to succeed, so at least I've tried. I was away with good buffalos, as we say. In the front group, only Stéphane Augé and myself were under 1.90 metres tall!"

    Rolland is a key rider for the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team. Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has predicted a top 10 overall for him at the Tour de France this year. Due to his flat tyre he finished stage three in the group of Tony Martin and Michael Rogers and lost 2.25 which means he's currently 75th on GC at 3:53.

    He remains hopeful, however. "If I'm in a front group of the Tour de France, it means I'm in good shape", said Rolland. "Tomorrow is a shorter stage. I hope to recover well after riding flat out for 213 kilometres today."

    Last year Rolland finished 22nd overall in his Tour de France debut and says that this year, "I have more experience and I'm more sure of myself. I'm at the maximum of my possibilities. My career plan is respected. I'm improving. I don't have the same experience of a Grand Tour as Thomas [Voeckler] or Pierrick [Fedrigo] but I've learnt a lot last year about dealing with three weeks of racing.

    "I think there will be many opportunities to do something great in this Tour de France," he added. "I might go again for breakaways or try and get the polka jersey or something. I'll see day by day what I can do but I'm...

  • Botero announces his retirement

    Santiago Botero is in great shape and proved that with a win.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:44 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Former King of the Mountains hangs up his wheels

    Santiago Botero has announced his retirement from professional cycling at a press conference in Medellin. The Colombian had been riding for the Orgullo Paisa team in his home country since last season.

    “I think I’ve reached the end of a cycle. I’m about to turn 38 and I’m not able to give as much of myself on the bike as I used to be,” Botero said. “When you start to have doubts or lack of conviction is time to depart and be honest with the team and fans.”

    Botero suffered a bout of dengue fever last year, and cited the effects of this health problem as one of the main reasons behind his decision.

    “After having suffered with dengue fever, I began preparing for the Tour of Colombia in October but already that required a huge effort,” Botero explained. Although he continued to race this season, he was already pondering his future.

    “I’ve decided not to battle with my health anymore and to retire now with the gold medal from the South American Games in Medellin.” Botero won the time-trial event at the games held in his hometown in March.

    In his career in Europe, Botero competed for Kelme, T-Mobile and Phonak. He also rode for the Rock Racing outfit in 2008.

    Botero was King of the Mountains at the 2000 Tour de France, winning the stage into Briancon. His best season came in 2002, when he finished 4th at the Tour and won two stages, including a surprise victory over Lance Armstrong in the first long time-trial of the race. He ended the season with the rainbow jersey at the World Championships Time-Trial at Zolder.

    Thereafter, Botero’s career was blighted by inconsistency and controversy. He had already twice tested positive for excessive quantities of testosterone in 1999 and 2002, and in 2006, he was prevented from starting the Tour de France as a result of his implication in Operacion Puerto. In 2008, the UCI requested that Colombia...

  • Garmin’s Farrar hanging in with broken wrist at Tour

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Transitions) finished a grueling cobbled stage despite having a broken bone in his wrist.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 9:45 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    American sprinter surviving; may be able to sprint in second week

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) started stage three with a broken wrist and several other injuries, notably to his knee, which he sustained in crashing on the slippery roads of the Belgian Ardennes on Monday. The American would have had good reason to call it quits, but decided to continue the race in the hope of better days.

    On Tuesday, Farrar made it through stage three of the race from Wanze to Arenberg over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, finishing 6:28 minutes adrift of stage winner and fellow sprinter Thor Hushovd (Cervélo), and he was a happy man as he crossed the line.

    "Certainly wasn't fun today for me," he told Cyclingnews. "But I survived, and it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was able to ride. But it definitely hurt all day."

    While riding his own race, Farrar had a thought about his chances had he not been injured. "It was a pity as this was a stage that I thought I could try and win a week ago. And now I was just trying to finish it,” he said. “Once we hit the cobblestones I just sat up and tried to ride my own line and stay out of the way of those who were really racing."

    With three probable sprint finishes coming up over the next few days at the Tour, starting with today's stage to Reims, the American will have to step back from the action a little longer because of the extent of his injuries. "I still don't know if I'll be able to sprint yet. I barely survived [Tuesday],” he said. "I'm taking it one day at the time. I hope to be able to sprint again by the second week of racing. I think I'll need a few more days to let the swelling go down and everything, before being competitive again."

  • Fränk Schleck talks about his crash on the cobbles

    Frank Schleck tried to bury the pain – both physical and emotional – as he’s helped into the race’s medical transporter and taken to hospital.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 11:07 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    “Now Andy has to do it for me now”

    As the Tour de France heads towards Reims today and the riders try to recover from the cobbles and the crashes, Fränk Schleck is already in Luxembourg and undergoing surgery on his fractured collarbone.

    Schleck crashed just as the race exploded on the third section of pave during Tuesday’s stage to Arenberg. He landed heavily on his shoulder and fractured his collarbone in three places.

    His brother Andy raced on to take time from his key overall rivals and teammate Fabian Cancellara retook the yellow jersey but Fränk's Tour de France ended instantly and he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

    Before traveling back to Luxembourg last night for surgery, he recorded a video interview with his Saxo Bank team. He was wearing a sling to hold his collarbone together and was understandably despondent.

    "Let's put it this way, I've seen better days," he said.

    "I think we've all seen that the team was the strongest team by far and all the boys did an amazing job yesterday (Monday) and all waited for us. Again today (Tuesday), it was great to everyone committed to help and support us trying to win the Tour de France."

    "(After what happened on Monday) we told them we owed them a lot and that we're going to do everything we can to win this Tour de France. Today (Tues) we had perfecting position, a perfect job from everybody and the team stuck together. Then it happened. I was going on the pave and was in fourth position but a guy from Highroad crashed in front and just took me down. But that's sport. Now I've got a broken collarbone that is broken three times and I'm heading back to Luxembourg to get surgery and see how long it takes (to recover)."

    Schleck said he immediately knew he had broken his collarbone. He also knew it meant the end of his chance of winning the Tour de France.

    "I've never broken anything before. I've had some crashes but this was just so much pain. I knew it was broken...

  • Fignon at the Tour de France despite battling cancer

    Laurent Fignon earlier this year.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 12:28 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Double Tour winner continues to commentate for French television

    Two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon first revealed in June 2009 that he had been diagnosed with intestinal tract cancer. One year on, he is still fighting the disease but has refused to give up his role as a TV and radio commentator at this year’s Tour de France.

    His voice has changed slightly but his insight and understanding of the racing are as perceptive as ever.

    “A tumour compresses the nerves that make my right vocal fold work”, he explained to the Le Parisien newspaper. “I can only use the left vocal fold. That’s why I speak this way. It’s not going to improve by the end of the Tour but I hope the tumour will be reduced and I’ll get my voice back one day.”

    Fignon commented on the prologue time trial in Rotterdam but wasn’t at the Tour de France on Sunday. There were rumours that he had been unable to continue commentating. But they were unfounded and he took part in the evening talk show on the Europe 1 radio show from his home in Paris. He returned to the race in Arenberg on Tuesday and commented on the action from the finish line, while Laurent Jalabert was on a motorbike in the peloton.

    “That’s the deal with my employer: when I’m too tired and I can’t commentate, Jalabert comes to the studio at the finish line to take my spot,” Fignon said. “I’ll be back in the Alps, I’m going home for three days and I’ll be at the Tour again for all the Pyrenean stages. I try to avoid travelling by car. It makes me tired.”

    Fignon started chemotherapy during last year’s Tour de France. In January his doctors realised the treatment wasn’t working as well as hoped and so Lance Armstrong helped organise an appointment in the USA with an oncologist after the two visited French president Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysées palace. Armstrong and Fignon have been close ever since Fignon...

  • Tour de France rider galleries

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) leads Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 19, 2010, 11:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Into the final week: Evans, Contador, Schleck, Armstrong, Hushovd, Cavendish and Petacchi

    Week three of the Tour de France and the drama rises. It's not just about the tense duel for the yellow jersey or the no holds barred scramble for green, a thousand different sub-plots make up the multi-layered narrative of this great race.

    Every rider at the Tour has a different story to tell and each of the images in these galleries paints a tale of its own. We'll continue to update each rider's gallery throughout the race and add a few more to the list as we get nearer to Paris, where the 2010 Tour de France champion will be crowned.

    Click on the links below to view each rider's gallery:

    Lance Armstrong (Radioshack)

    Alberto Contador (Astana)

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team)

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team)

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini)