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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Date published:
October 24, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Alpe d'Huez Mayor wants Armstrong’s name removed from climb

    Lance Armstrong takes a drink after catching and passing Ivan Basso on the climb of Alpe d'Huez
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 7:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Bends of famous mountain should not include American says Noyrey

    The Mayor of l'Alpe d'Huez in Isère, Jean-Yves Noyrey, is calling for Lance Armstrong's name to be removed from the signs that pay tribute to the winners at the famous climb. Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles following USADA's investigation into doping at the US Postal team, with the UCI confirming a lifetime ban and removal of the Tour wins earlier this week.

    The name of a rider who has won on top of the climb is featured at each of the 21 bends. Armstrong has his name on two bends, having won in 2001 and again in an individual time trial in 2004, and Noyrey is reportedly asking the local council in charge of the matter to have "Lance Armstrong" removed from the mountain.

    "I want to withdraw his name and leave it blank, I will propose to the council," said Noyrey to Le Dauphine.

    Due to the number of winners (27) outstripping the 21 bends, there's numerous instances where a rider shares the sign with another. Armstrong is placed on bend 21 below the name of Fausto Coppi, who won in 1952, with the American's second victory shared with the winner of 1977, Hennie Kuiper on bend 19.

    "The fact that Lance Armstrong is stripped of all his titles brings us to the question. But opinions are divided within the council."

    "Some think it is not because he was stripped of his title as winner of the Tour that we should withdraw the victory of the stage."


  • 2013 Tour de France route presented in Paris

    The route of the 2013 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 11:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Double ascent of Alpe d'Huez in final week

    The route of the 2013 Tour de France was presented in Paris on Wednesday and the 100th edition of La Grande Boucle is set to be a balanced affair, with two individual time trials offset by four mountain top finishes and a testing final week in the Alps.

    While rumours of a final stage to l’Alpe d’Huez proved wide of the mark, the Alpine climb does feature in a novel way in the 2013 Tour, with the peloton set to scale it twice during stage 18. That other enduring summit finish of Tour lore, Mont Ventoux, also features on the route, while there is a tough foray into the Pyrenees at the end of the opening week.

    There is novelty, too, in the final stage of the race as the peloton will reach the Champs-Elysees as night falls, with the stage finish in Paris set for 9:45. For the first time, the peloton will go all the way to the top of the Champs-Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe as part of the finishing circuit, as Paris showcases itself as the City of Lights.

    Once again, there are two individual time trials, but they are significantly shorter than in 2012, at just 32 and 33km in length, respectively. Although an opening week team time trial in Nice pushes the quota of racing against the clock up to 90km in total, three consecutive mountain stages follow the final time trial in Chorges, tipping the balance back towards the climbers in the closing days of the Tour.

    As had been previously announced, the Tour gets underway in Corsica on June 29 with three rolling road stages, before hugging the Mediterranean coast in week one on its return to mainland France, with the Nice TTT and road stages to Marseille and Montpellier.

    A tough weekend in the Pyrenees follows, and it features a summit finish at Ax-3 Domaines and a stage over the Portet d’Aspet, Menté,...

  • Tour de France 2013: An Alpine ITT for climbing specialists

    Christian Prudhomme and Thierry Gouvenou inspecting the road of the Montée de Réallon
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 11:30 BST
    Jean-François Quénet/

    Cyclingnews exclusive: On the route with Christian Prudhomme

    Cyclingnews has been able to accompany Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme a few days ago on his recce of the Alpine stages of the 100th edition. Stage 17 from Embrun to Chorges is definitely worth a visit for the protagonists - and the fans as well due to the beauty of the landscape. It's a 32km individual time trial that will feature two grueling climbs of six kilometers each. Former mountain bikers will love it.

    The winner of the ITT of the 2012 Vuelta a España Fredrik Kessiakoff who was a runner up to Thomas Voeckler in the fight for the polka dot jersey at this year's Tour de France already looks like a valuable candidate for the win on Wednesday, July 17.

    "For the first time in the history of the Tour de France, there'll be three mountain stages after the last time trial", Prudhomme revealed.

    "We've chosen carefully the location of the three time trials for the beauty of the scenery."

    Stage 17 also features exceptional scenery with a wonderful view over the Serre-Ponçon lake near Gap in the Hautes-Alpes province. However, riders won't cross the causeway at Savines-le-lac. They'll start from Embrun that hosted two starts in 2008: stage 15 to Prato Nevoso won by Simon Gerrans and stage 17 to l'Alpe d'Huez won by Carlos Sastre.

    The route remains on the north side of the lake using part of the "Route des Puys", a famous 46.4km ride marked out for recreational cyclists. The very beginning of the stage is a grueling climb called Montée de Réallon station but instead of completing the 11km to the ski resort, the riders will turn left after 6km in direction to Savines-le-lac.

    "The gradient is 6.9% but it's very irregular", noted technical director Thierry Gouvenou. In fact, it's a climb suited to climbers who can change their rhythm multiple times on the same ascent. Spanish climbers like Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador might love the effort too.


  • Tour 2013: Climbing Alpe d'Huez, twice in a day

    Col de Sarenne is at the altitude of 1999 metres while L'Alpe d'Huez culminates at 1850m
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 11:45 BST
    Jean-François Quénet/

    Third category Col de Sarenne to allow double up

    L'Alpe d'Huez has been climbed twice in the same Tour de France previously but that was on two consecutive days in 1979 with Joaquim Agostinho winning the 17th stage followed the next day by Joop Zoetemelk. In 2010 for the centennial of the Pyrénées's inclusion in the Tour, the Tourmalet was also on the menu two days in a row. But for the first time in the history of the world's biggest race, spectators will be able to enjoy watching the show on a gruelling climb twice on the same day, July 18, next year.

    Stage 18 will present a 168 kilometre route from Gap to L'Alpe d'Huez, starting from the gun with the Col de Manse (6.6km at 6.2%) where Alberto Contador attacked and dropped Andy Schleck in 2011 (on the opposing side), the Col d'Ornon (5.1km at 6.7%), L'Alpe d'Huez (12.3km at 8.4%), including a very steep section in the village - rather than the usual curve to the left under a bridge to reach the finishing line - to go in direction to the Col de Sarenne (3km at 7.8%) and the final ascent to L'Alpe d'Huez.

    "This place is perfect for the Tour de France to make history," director Christian Prudhomme told Cyclingnews during a visit in the ski resort of the Isère province. "It's been the first mountain top finish and the first place where a TV camera was onboard a motorbike to film the race."

    All that happened in 1952. Fausto Coppi was the first ever winner at L'Alpe d'Huez when the Tour de France was not yet used to organising stage finishes in a cul-de-sac. It took a long time (24 years) until the race went back up but since 1976, the 21 hairpin bends have marked the history of the race on a regular basis. It'll be the 28th stage finish at L'Alpe d'Huez - only two years after Pierre Rolland came of age. Prudhomme, who was a TV commentator before, described the venue as "the most telegenic climb in France".

    "The idea of doing it twice came from the drawing of the 2011 Tour de France," he revealed. "It...

  • Tour de France 2013: Back to the 1998 nightmare

    Bjarne Riis and Jean-Marie Leblance in negotiations during the Tour's last visit to the Semnoz in 1998.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 12:56 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Semnoz to be the last climb of 2013 Tour de France

    Stage 20 of the 2013 Tour de France features the ascent to the Semnoz above Annecy, the magnificent lake that hosted the epic time trial won by Alberto Contador in the 2009 Tour de France. The 10.7km long climb – with an average gradient of 8.5% – is described as unprecedented by race organizers ASO. But the bunch has ridden over it once before.

    On July 30, 1998, the riders went on strike during stage 18 to protest against police searches in the wake of the Festina and TVM doping affairs. Laurent Jalabert and his ONCE team stopped after 32 kilometres, and they were soon followed by the other Spanish teams. The peloton en masse was about to put its feet on the ground as it started to climb the Semnoz. As a former winner, Bjarne Riis came out as a spokesman to talk to the then director Jean-Marie Leblanc, who instructed his driver to go slowly but not stop the car. The two came to a verbal agreement that the Tour wouldn’t stop there. The peloton continued but was blocked by a hostile crowd at the top. No king of the mountains prize was allocated atop the Semnoz – famed as “the lungs of Annecy” – and the stage to Aix-les-Bains was neutralized.

    Over the past fourteen years, most of the venues damaged by the incidents of the 1998 Tour de France have been compensated by another visit. It was not only fair to return to the Semnoz as well, but it was also a great opportunity to invent a new kind of stage. Fans will be able to attend the start in Annecy and the final climb while the riders will do a loop via the Mont Revard and the Gorges du Chéran before coming back to Annecy for the final climb.

    As a short stage of only 125 kilometres in length, it is believed that team tactics will play a major role on the day. The Semnoz is a truly hard climb with no place in...

  • Rabobank likely to get UCI WorldTour licence for 2013

    Garate drops back to his Rabobank team car
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 13:54 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI will ask for an exception for Dutch team

    The Rabobank team, which will run under a new name next year, will most likely get a WorldTour licence despite the loss of its sponsor, the UCI has said. The team's licence expires at the end of this season, and it has applied for  the usual four-year extension.

    "We will ask the license commission to make an exception," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told "That means that the team can get a one year license, instead of the four-year license as was requested by the team."

    It must, however, still meet the financial requirements, including the bank guarantee. “A licence can be granted based on that guarantee of the budget for the next year,” Carpani said.

    Last week Rabobank announced that it was ending its title sponsorship of the men's pro team as of the end of 2012. The team management has said the team will continue and will search for a new sponsor. The bank will honour its financial commitments to the team for the year, and the team may appear in “white jerseys” until a new sponsor is found. 

  • Evans picks l'Alpe d'Huez as the special stage of the 2013 Tour

    Cadel Evans (BMC) working hard on the climb.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 14:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    2011 Tour winner says he can see and feel how cycling has changed

    Cadel Evans was forced to relive his suffering at this year's Tour de France during the presentation of the 2013 route in Paris but confirmed he will be back for the centenary edition of the race.

    The Australian 2011 Tour de France winner sat at the front near Bradley Wiggins and teammate Philippe Gilbert but did not flinch as the highlights video of this year's showed him cracking in the mountains and losing any chance of victory. He eventually finished seventh overall, 15:49 behind winner Bradley Wiggins.

    Evans watched the route presentation carefully and seemed happy to see a tough but balanced route that will end with a mountain top finish to Annecy-Semnoz just 24 hours before the last stage in Paris.

    After posing for photographs on stage, the BMC Racing Team leader picked out the double ascent of L'Alpe d'Huez as the stage he would study carefully before race day.

    "The finish to l'Alpe d'Huez is going to be interesting," he told the media scrum behind the stage.

    "I've never ridden up the backside (of the Col de Sarenne), so I might have to go and look at that in training. It's really something to ride in the front group of the Tour de France on the l'Alpe d'Huez and to go up there twice means it's going to be a very special day."

    The BMC Racing Team told Cyclingnews that ASO wants riders to avoid talking about doping at the presentation but Evans faced some tough questions on the subject just like every rider at the presentation. Evans was asked about the huge media coverage of the Armstrong case, especially in Australia. Like many of his fellow riders, he insisted that the problem was part of cycling's past, not its present.

  • Froome ready to lead Team Sky at the Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome watch the 2013 Tour de France presentation
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 15:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Briton wants an early decision on designated leadership

    Chris Froome has called on Team Sky to make a rapid decision on if he will lead the British team in the 2013 Tour de France.

    Following the unveiling of the 2013 route in Paris, this year Bradley Wiggins moved quickly to say that he would prefer to target the Giro d'Italia in 2013 and perhaps support Chris Froome in the centenary edition of the Tour de France.

    Froome stayed more on message when speaking to the media in Paris but after his impressive second place in 2012 but wasn't afraid to throw his hat in the ring for the role of designated team leader for Le Tour.

    "I don't know. You're going to have to ask Dave Brailsford that," Froome told the media scrum in Paris when asked.

    "It's something I'd like to do but as a team we have to decide what the best tactic will be for that. All I can say, is that if I was to target the Tour a 100% next year, then I'd do everything I could to be on the top step in Paris."

    Team Sky held its first winter get together last week in London but with the team focused on its zero tolerance policy against doping, little has been revealed about their big objectives for 2013.

    Froome would like to know soon, so he can plan his winter training and 2013 race calendar.

    "It's something we're going to have to decide fairly soon," Froome said.

    "I think we should decide over the winter what we are going to target, so we can start training accordingly and start entering the right races and the right programmes."

    "I'd love to go to a Grand Tour like the Tour, with the team completely behind me, and with me in absolute race fitness. But we've got to go away and decide if that really is the best option for the Tour and plan from there."

    Froome liked the tough route he saw...