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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Date published:
June 18, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Bretagne-Séché confirm two more riders for Tour de France

    The GP La Marseillaise is Brice Feillu's home race
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 5:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Wilcard team selects Brice Feillu and Jean Marc Bideau

    Having previously announced five riders for its debut Tour de France appearance, Bretagne - Séché Environnement have added Brice Feillu and Jean Marc Bideau to its nine-man team for the French grand tour which starts on July 5 in Yorkshire.

    Bideau and Feillu join Eduardo Sepulveda, Armindo Fonseca, Florian Vachon, Anthony Delaplace and Arnaud Gerard in the team.

    Handed entry to the race as a wildcard team, the team French pro-Continental team will name the last two riders for the Tour on the evening of the French national championships on June 29.

    Prior to the championships, the majority of the Tour team will fine tune its preparation at the three day UCI 2.1 Route du Sud - la Dépêche du Midi from June 20-22.

    In his debut Tour in 2009, Brice Feillu won a stage which remains his only professional win and his signing was key to Bretagne-Séché's Tour de France wildcard. The selection of Feillu's brother, Romain, who has worn the yellow jersey, is yet to be decided.

    "I've waited since the beginning of the season to be named as a starter for the Tour," said Feillu who is looking to add a second stage win to his palmarès.

    "In July, it will not be that I have forgotten my temperament to attack for a stage victory, but initially I will focus on the general classification. I aim to place within the top-15 when we arrive in Paris but after one...

  • Rodriguez in uphill battle to find Tour de France fitness

    Joaquim Rodriguez in pain again after crashing out of the Giro.
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 10:04 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Katusha names Froome, Contador and Nibali as equal favourites to win

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) says he is slowly building his form for the Tour de France but he has revealed to Cyclingnews that “it’s taking me longer than I would like.”

    The 2013 Tour de France podium finisher says he hopes he can turn in strong performances in the mountain stages, particularly in the third week.

    It’s been a year of very mixed fortunes for Rodriguez. This spring he won a tough, snow-hit Volta a Catalunya for a second time in his career, beating Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar). But a bad crash in the Amstel Gold Race wrecked his Ardennes campaign. The Giro d'Italia went much worse and he was forced to abandon the Italian Grand Tour after suffering broken ribs, a broken finger. He retired from the Giro d'Italia after stage six.

    Rodriguez is set to make a return to a race he initially said he would avoid in 2014: the Tour de France. However unlike in 2013, the overall classification is not an objective.

    “I’ll be okay for the Tour," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews. "But whilst the injuries I got at the Giro are completely cured now, the healing process took a long time, my form is really uneven as a result and we’ll have to see how I get on when I get to
    the race.”

    “It’s not going to be straightforward, but my objectives remain the same: support the team leader, and a strong ride in the mountains. I’m going to be building towards the Vuelta, as well, because that is and was my main objective of the second half of the 2014 season. I want to be at 100%. With so many climbs on the route this year it should suit me well.”


  • Plugge’s sponsorship search already in motion

    Belkin team manager Richard Plugge and team leader Bauke Mollema
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 11:12 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Time the biggest factor for Belkin

    Team Belkin boss Richard Plugge has told Cyclingnews that he and his backroom staff have already started the search for a sponsor after it was announced on Tuesday that Belkin would end their title sponsorship at the end of the current season.

    Belkin came into the sport in June of 2013 and signed a two and a half year contract to sponsor what was then known as Team Blanco. However the Belkin contract stipulated that both the team and the sponsor could end their association at the end of 2014 and Belkin exercised that right less than a year after coming into the sport.

    “We found out last Wednesday and that was the first moment when I realised that it wasn’t going in the right direction,” Plugge told Cyclingnews.

    Plugge ranks the current team as a top eight squad in the world but would not confirm the sum needed to run the team into 2015. What he would confirm was that Belkin would meet their financial obligations until the end of this season, leaving Plugge with the possibitly – although not his favoured one – of cutting budgets for 2014 and running the team into 2015 on a smaller sum.

    “That’s possible but it depends on how I manage the finances. Belkin is not paying anything next year but things depend on my spending for this year. That option could be a possibility but it’s not something that we’d wish to do. It’s possible though. We would rather have a new sponsor though so we can move on for a couple of years.”

    Plugge is of course no stranger to sponsorship searches. He took over the reigns when Rabobank terminated their long association with the sport at the end of 2012. Plugge rebranded the squad as Team Blanco and retained the majority of the rider pool before Belkin stepped in. It was a successful period for the team during a stage of uncertainty in the sport as Plugge secured an international brand while Vacansoleil and Euskaltel...

  • Wiggins abandons the Tour de Suisse due to injury

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 11:27 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky rider heads home after crashing on stage four

    Team Sky has confirmed that Bradley Wiggins has abandoned the Tour de Suisse following his crash on stage four that left him with swelling on his right thigh and knee.

    Wiggins crashed into the barriers along with CCC Polsat's Jaroslaw Marycz at the end of the first of two final circuits in Ossingen and took several minutes to remount before completing the stage on his own. He finished 11:55 behind stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and had slipped to 99th place.

    Team Sky said Wiggins sustained grazing and bruising to his right leg and revealed he had been taking antibiotics for a mild chest infection. After reviewing his situation on Wednesday morning and confirming his crash injuries restricted his movements, it was decided that Wiggins would not start the flat 184km fifth from Ossingen to Büren A.D. Aare.

    Team Sky refused to clarify if the injuries and withdrawal would affect Wiggins' chances of riding the Tour de France, only saying he hopes to back on the bike in the next 24 hours with the aim of recovering for the British National Time Trial Championships in Monmouthshire on Thursday 26 June.

    Wiggins talked about his crash as he returned home from Switzerland.

    “Ironically, I was the last man in the peloton, trying to stay out of trouble when it happened. They all slammed on the brakes ahead of me but there was another rider riding full gas who rode straight into the back of me," he said.

    “I’ve got quite a lot of swelling on the left-hand side of my right knee. It’s one of those things, I’ve been pretty fortunate this year with crashes. I probably could have started today but it’s best to play it safe and come home now. I...

  • Movistar announces 13 rider long-list for Tour de France

    Alejandro Valverde looks disappointed with second place
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 13:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Valverde to lead Spanish team, Dowsett set for Le Tour debut

    The Movistar team has announced its long-list for this year's Tour de France, which will begin in just over two week’s time. Alejandro Valverde will lead the squad, as he did last season and be backed by a mix of climbers and rouleur riders.

    This will be Valverde’s seventh attempt to make the Tour de France podium. His best finish came in 2007, when he finished in fifth. Unlike the majority of his rivals, Valverde has chosen to ride the Route du Sud for his build-up to the Tour. The four-day French stage race in the Pyrenees starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday.

    Last year’s second place and mountains classification winner, Nairo Quintana is not on the list of 13 riders. The Colombian is resting up after his victory at the Giro d’Italia before he makes a bid for the Vuelta a España later in the year.

    Among the riders who have been named are Britain's Alex Dowsett, Spains' Beñat Intxausti and former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti. Dowsett made his Grand Tour debut with Movistar at last season’s Giro d’Italia, where he won the first individual time trial. He announced his intentions to ride his first Tour de France at the end of last season.

    Intxausti has been growing as a team leader in his own right, but will be at the Tour de France to support Valverde. Meanwhile, Visconti is continuing on the comeback trail, after he broke his leg at the start of this season. The Italian recently finished the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Movistar long-list for the Tour de France: Alex Dowsett, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Iván...

  • Riblon targets Tour de France stage to Sheffield

    Christophe Riblon (AG2R - La Mondiale) is victorious at the summit finish of Ax 3 Domaines
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 14:51 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Frenchman believes stage two winner could hold the yellow jersey for a week

    Ag2r-La Mondiale's Christophe Riblon is relishing the Tour de France's Grand Départ in Yorkshire, and particularly the second stage into Sheffield, which he believes offers him a stage-winning opportunity and the chance of a significant stint in the leader's yellow jersey.

    Riblon won the mountain stage to Ax 3 Domaines in the 2010 Tour de France and last year's stage that featured the first double ascent of L'Alpe d'Huez.

    Riblon is likely to have more freedom than expected at the Tour as a result of Carlos Betancur's enforced absence due to illness in Colombia. He's revealed that he really likes the look of stage two between York and Sheffield "as the hills come one after another, and the break could go all the way to the finish."

    He thinks that the day’s stage winner will also take the yellow jersey.

    "I think that if [Mark] Cavendish is in yellow after the first stage, Quick Step won't defend the jersey on the road to Sheffield. It’s too hard for him," Riblon told L'Équipe. "So whoever takes the yellow jersey that day could keep it as far as the Vosges if they can get over the cobbles [on stage 5] without any problem. I know that, even though I don't do Paris-Roubaix, that I don't have any issues with the cobbles."

    Although the 33-year-old Ag2r-La Mondiale rider admits he could have shot himself in the foot by revealing his plans, he adds that this year's Tour de France route offers him plenty more opportunities to add a third Tour stage to his palmarès. He is set to study the stages in the Vosges after finishing the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday, and also...

  • Women's Giro del Trentino survives as one-day race

    2013 Giro del Trentino champion Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon)
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 17:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Organisation fighting for future of event

    With just days to go before its scheduled start, the organizers of the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige Internazionale Femminile announced that the race will be held, but the former stage race has been reduced to a one-day event due to economic difficulties.

    Formerly an important stage races for women, the three day event served as a warm-up for the Giro Donne. It was won last year by American Evelyn Stevens. Past winners include Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke, Judith Arndt and Linda Villumsen. The major teams are still expected to be at the start this Saturday.

    The organisers fought hard to ensure the race for this year, and were supported by the town of Mezzolombardo, the Rotaliana Valley-Koeniigsberg community and a local business consortium, but they remain concerned about the future of the event.

    "I just hope it's a temporary thing," Race committee chair Juri Tiengo said of the stop-gap measure, and appealed for more attention to women's sports in general. "I don't think the local authorities do not care about the event, even if that seems the case this year. Our race is one of top ten in the world, and if we want to talk about equal opportunities, it deserves the same respect as a men's race."

    "Mezzolombardo has shown that by working in synergy you can do things," the technical race director Paolo Leonardi added. "The Province has ignored us this year. Perhaps it's because of the [economic] crisis, but that is hitting everyone. We want more clarity and we expect some answers."

    The now UCI 1.1-ranked race will take place on June 21, and will be 108km long, and have a 5000m long climb 20km from the finish.

    At the start there will be some of the highest international cycling female performers, including the multiple world champion Giorgia Bronzini, another former world Tatiana Guderzo, the Queen of the Giro del Trentino Fabiana Luperini (winner of 5 editions of the race), the winner of the 2012 Edition Linda Villumsen...

  • North American wrap: $25,000 purse for women in Gastown GP

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) can hardly believe he's won the race
    Article published:
    June 18, 2014, 17:51 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Weekly updates on teams, riders and races

    North American racers competing overseas have used events like the Critérium du Dauphiné and the on-going Tour de Suisse to prepare for the upcoming Tour de France in July, with much success. Check out a few of the other highlights from the peloton last week and a peek at what's to come at the NCC's Tour of America's Dairyland, and what the Gastown Grand Prix race organizers have in store for the women's criterium.

    Gastown Grand Prix offers women's richest criterium in North America

    Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix women's race, held on July 9 in Vancouver, British Colombia, has become the richest women's criterium in North America with $25,000 cash and thousands more available in crowd and sponsor primes. The women's distance will also be increased from 30 to 35 laps for a total of 42km.

    "We are very pleased to see the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix continue to recognize and support women's cycling," said Cycling Canada President John Tolkamp. "We commend the organizers for bringing parity to the prize list and I am personally looking forward to an even more exciting and stronger event in 2014!"

    The event is a part of BC Superweek that begins with the Tour de Delta from July 4-6, where Sunday's the White Spot-Delta road races are UCI 1.2 events for both men and women. The racing continues at the UBC Grand Prix on July 8, Gastown Grand Prix on July 9, Giro di Burnaby on July 10 and the Tour de White Rock on July 11-13, to conclude the series.

    Warbasse on the podium at Tour de Suisse

    American Larry Warbasse (BMC Racing) secured the third spot on the podium during the second stage at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday. He was one of three remaining survivors of a six-man break that had gone clear after 15 kilometers. He opened the three-up...