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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Date published:
July 09, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France Shorts: Poppies in remembrance

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep honours the war dead with a poppy
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 11:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Klier and the cobbles, Germans celebrate, Kittel's near disaster

    In Flanders Fields

    "In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow

    Between the crosses, row on row"

    That is the start of memorable poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae, in commemoration of the World War I dead in Flanders. The red poppy blossom has since become the symbol of remembrance of the War dead. Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep will today honour those who fell by wearing a poppy blossom emblem on their jersey.

    Tony Martin movingly described today why it is important that "we never forget such atrocities."

    "On tomorrow's stage our team will honor the memory of the many who died 100 years ago in the first World War. We will wear a replica of a poppy bloom, the official emblem of the 100 year memorial, on our sleeves," he wrote on his website.

    "For our team, which is based in Flanders, this is an especially important statement. Countless people died in this region which we will ride through tomorrow. I find it important, that we never forget such atrocities and that we keep their memory alive."

    "The cobblestone paths were used as channels of supply in the War, that it is the relationship. And Paris-Roubaix is called the Hell of the North, because the region was so destroyed in the first World War and so many people lost their lives."

    Klier and present danger on the cobbles

    Former classics expert Andreas Klier is a key component of Garmin-Sharp's plans for stage five with the route taking in several key cobbled sectors from Paris-Roubaix. The German, a DS on the team since his retirement, led the squad through a recent recon camp.

    "We were there for two or three days so I hope we've done enough. The parcours isn't too different from Paris-Roubaix but I think today's stage is probably harder than the stage we had...

  • Two cobbled sectors removed from stage 5 of Tour de France due to weather conditions

    Tinkoff-Saxo previews the stage 5 cobbles a few days before the start of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 12:08 BST
    Barry Ryan & Daniel Benson

    Rain sees alteration of route

    Two sectors of cobblestones have been removed from the route of stage 5 of the Tour de France due to heavy rainfall in northern France. The race jury communicated its decision to the teams association AIGCP on Wednesday morning, before the start of the stage from Ypres to Arenberg.

    Sector 7, the 1,000-metre stretch of cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle, and sector 5, the 1,400 metres from Orchies to Beuvry-la-Forêt, have been removed from the course. The race jury deemed that they had been rendered too dangerous by the conditions.

    “The race jury called me and they asked me to inform the teams that sectors five and seven would be removed from the route due to weather. If there are other changes then that’s up to the jury. Safety is one of the most important things for us so it’s a good call,” AIGCP managing director Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews.

    As of noon local time, the other seven stretches of cobbles on the parcours were set to be tackled as originally planned, starting with the Carrefour de l’Arbre with 69 kilometres remaining.

    The removal of the two sectors reduces the total amount of cobbles on the stage from 15.4 kilometres to 13 kilometres.

    The stage to Arenberg brings the Tour peloton through terrain covered by Paris-Roubaix for the first time since 2010. On the corresponding stage four years ago, Fränk Schleck was forced out of the race with a broken collarbone, while a number of other pre-race favourites suffered setbacks in their bids for overall honours.

    Sky manager Dave Brailsford welcomed the decision to remove the two most treacherous sectors of cobbles. "I think it’s a wise decision and the safety of the riders has to be put first," Brailsford told reporters in Ypres. "It’s a wise decision given the weather. Proportionally it will make it safer and it’s the same for everyone."

    The slight reduction in the amount...

  • Andy Schleck has surgery on injured knee

    Andy Schleck (Trek)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 14:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Trek rider with multiple injuries

    Andy Schleck underwent surgery on his injured knee Wednesday morning after the damage was found to be worse than originally thought. The Trek Factory Racing rider crashed near the end of the third stage of the Tour de France, and was able to finish the stage, although obviously in pain.

    Tuesday morning it was announced that the knee injury was severe enough to cause him to abandon the race. The team announced that Schleck would travel to Basel, Switzerland, for further examinations to determine whether surgery would be needed.

    It was indeed necessary, and on Wednesday morning, Trek tweeted that Schleck had suffered "rupture of both the collateral and cruciate ligaments of the knee plus a tear in the meniscus and a lot of bone bruises."

    "Besides the ligaments and the meniscus, we can also confirm that the cartilage behind the knee cap is damaged, which is the worst and most painful part of Andy’s injury," team doctor Andreas Gösele said after surgery on the Trek website. "The surgeons have removed a part of the meniscus and have arthroscopically shaved the damaged cartilage. In terms of rehab he cannot put load on his knee for at least two weeks, so crutches will be necessary."

    "I'm feeling pretty bad, to understate it," Schleck said. "I'm gutted. My knee looks like there's been an explosion inside. I'll be on crutches for at least two week and from there on we will see. I cannot ask for a detailed time line right now, and that is hard to deal with.

    "There's nothing else I can do. Acceptance is the first step of my rehab and I'm working on that now. There's lots of work to be done before I’ll be back, but I'm...

  • Another early crash for Froome at the Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) after his fall
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 14:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Briton falls before first cobbled section but rejoins peloton

    Chris Froome’s travails continued in the opening kilometres of stage 5 of the Tour de France, as he crashed for the second time in as many days. The Sky rider hit the ground in a crash after 35 kilometres on roads made greasy by persistent rain.

    Froome remounted after a quick bike change but trailed the peloton by a minute before he was paced back up to the main field by three of his Sky teammates.

    The Briton appeared to fall on his right side, but in spite of some small tears to his kit, he did not seem to have sustained any significant injuries in the crash. He had fallen on his left side on stage 4 and picked up a wrist injury in the process.

    Rain is general over northern France on Wednesday, and two of the projected nine sectors of cobbles on the route of stage 5 were removed by the race jury shortly before the stage began.

    The treacherous conditions in the opening kilometres also saw two of the riders in the day's early break - Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) - fall, as well as Janier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp). They  were all able to remount and continue in the race.

  • Froome abandons the Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Sky) before abandoning on stage 5
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 15:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Briton crashes twice before cobbles on stage 5

    Chris Froome (Sky) has abandoned the Tour de France after suffering two crashes on stage 5 to Arenberg. The Briton fell after 35 kilometres without any consequences but he was forced to abandon with what appeared to be a wrist injury after a second crash just before the first sector of cobbles.

    "Devastated to have to withdraw from this years TDF," Froome wrote on Twitter. "Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible.

    "Thanks to the team & support staff for trying to get me through today. Wishing Richie Porte and Team Sky the best for the rest of Tour!"

    The stage was affected by heavy rainfall, which saw the race jury take the decision to cut two of the planned nine sectors of cobbles from the parcours, and the conditions contributed to a number of crashes during the frenetic first 90 kilometres of racing.

    Froome’s first crash was at Ledegem, just 35 kilometres after the start in Ypres, but he was immediately back on his bike and was paced to the peloton by a gaggle of his Sky teammates.

    In the ten kilometres before the first stretch of cobblestones at Gruson, Froome was marshalled towards the front end of the peloton by his teammates, although Vasil Kiryienka went down in a crash on a rain-slicked roundabout.

    Shortly afterwards, with 68 kilometres remaining, Froome himself fell again. His second crash of the day – and his third of the Tour after a spill in the opening kilometres on stage 4 – spelt the end of his race.

    Froome climbed gingerly to his feet but was doubled over with pain from what appeared to be a wrist injury. A Sky team car screeched to a halt behind him and a mechanic took Froome’s spare back down from the roof rack in the hope that the defending champion would be able to continue.

    After a pause, Froome turned and climbed into the back seat of the team car, which brought him towards the finish in Arenberg, his Tour...

  • Nibali's bike handling skills prove decisive on Tour de France cobbles

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 18:23 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian sorry to see Froome crash out

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) grew up watching old video tapes of Francesco Moser race to three consecutive victories at Paris-Roubaix and he seemed as comfortable as his fellow Italian as he glided over the very same cobbles to extend his lead in the Tour de France on stage five.

    "I'm a lot lighter that Moser but I'm not bad," Nibali shivering in the mixed zone after pulling on a clean yellow jersey.

    "I learnt how to ride well when I was a boy and rode around on a mountain bike. [Jakob] Fuglsang was a world mountain bike champion and he was amazing today. [Lieuwe] Westra was amazing too. It was great he went in the break because he was up there to help me. It was a very hard stage. I'm just happy that it went well for us. It was terrible out there. It was incredibly stressful from start to finish. There were a lot of crashes too."

    Nibali had never raced on the cobbles of northern France before Wednesday’s stage but his well-known bike handling skills and those of teammates Jakob Fuglsang and Lieuwe Westra proved to be decisive on an historic day at the Tour de France. Nibali finished third, just 19 seconds behind winner Lars Boom and so took close to two minutes on all his overall rivals.

    He now leads Fuglsang by two seconds, with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) third at 44 seconds. Chris Froome (Team Sky) is no longer a rival after crashing out, while Contador is at 2:37.

    "I didn't think I would distance Contador so much today. But I'll keep my feet on the ground. I want to remain tranquillo," he said.

    When Chris Froome crashed early in the stage, Nibali slowed the peloton in an act of slow play. Froome crashed a second time and then climbed off....

  • Gallery: Riders relieved to get through cobbled Tour de France stage

    Vincenzo Nibali leads Alexander Porsev and Peter Sagan
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 18:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Tweets from the peloton

    The rain, wind and cobblestones of the fifth Tour de France stage from Ypres to Arenberg were a disastrous mix, but it turned out to be the petrol-slick roads rather than the pavé that proved the most dangerous. 

    Although the stage was riddled with crashes, the only abandon of the stage came from defending champion Chris Froome. The Sky rider dropped out after having two more crashes, having already started the day with an injured wrist.

    While some voices decried the inhumanity of including such a difficult stage in the Tour de France, they were in the minority. Most riders took to Twitter to express relief at having survived the day.

    Stage winner Lars Boom, who yesterday tweeted a photo of the puddles pooling on the pave with the comment "I have a big smile", was amongst those taking to the social media network to express his joy at having won the stage. "Epic stage! Dream comes through!!! Yessss," he wrote. And later added, "Sooooo awesome to win this Tour de France stage. I really enjoyed the rain on the cobbles today. So happy."

    Alberto Contador, who lost time, dropping to 2:37 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali, said, "Today was a surviving day, I lost time with very big riders at GC, but I'm still alive and without crashes. The @letour start now!"

    Other reactions:

    Laurens ten Dam (Belkin): "On a sudden moment I was even enjoying myself. Till someone did crash right in front of me. Couldn't avoid him. [Steven Kruijswijk] saved my race!"

    Stef Clement (Belkin): "After a day in the saddle like this, there is only one thing that makes all good; hearing the name of your TEAM...

  • Sky go to plan B after Froome abandons Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Sky) during stage 5
    Article published:
    July 09, 2014, 18:44 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Froome may ride Vuelta

    Chris Froome's departure from this year's Tour de France does not mean that the wheels have fallen off the Sky wagon says team manager Dave Brailsford. Despite losing their team leader so early in the race, he believes that the remaining riders can re-focus and still target the general classification.

    "On a day like today, there are always going to be some winners and losers. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and that's sport," Brailsford told the media who had swarmed the team bus. "Part of sport is being able to refocus. We know that in sport the goal posts will move and life's not fair. You just have to get on with it, deal with it and move on. There's not point in dwelling with emotion, you've just got to move in sport and that's what we'll do."

    The defending champion crashed twice during the 155.5km stage from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. The first left him with only some minor cuts and abrasions. He fell on his right side during the second and looked to be holding his wrist as if he'd injured it. He was also caught up in a crash during the fourth stage, injuring his left wrist. He was given the all clear to race, but there is speculation that he began the day with a broken wrist.

    Froome later admitted in a tweet that the injury had contributed to his two crashes. "Devastated to have to withdraw from this year's TDF. Injured wrist and tough conditions made controlling my bike near to impossible."

    Froome will now have to reassess his season, and Brailsford confirmed that the team may send him to the Vuelta a España, where he will face the Movistar pairing of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, plus Joaquim Rodríguez. They did the same with Bradley Wiggins in 2010, when he broke his collarbone early on and he went...