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Third Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 24, 2011

Date published:
July 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • 2011 Tour de France the cleanest in recent years?

    Contador marks Rolland in the finale of the Alpe d'Huez climb
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 12:16 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Anti-doping experts believe in credible figures

    At the end of this year's Tour de France, many observers and anti-doping experts have drawn positive conclusions about the race's credibility. The statistics with regard to the decisive mountain stages indicate less explosive performances than in previous years, while riders have appeared to cross the finish line in more obvious states of fatigue than in the recent past.

    Frédéric Grappe, doctor in biomechanics and long-time trainer of the FDJ team, was confident that this year's Tour has been one of the cleanest yet. "We have seen real cycling, the cycling we should always see," he told Le Journal du Dimanche.

    "Cadel Evans' performances are the best way to measure this. He's been stable for the past eight years. He doesn't do any better than in previous years. It's the Schlecks and Contador who are slower. This Tour has been one of the slowest on the climbs since 2004," commented Grappe, who is usually known for his scepticism with regard to doping.

    On stage 19 to l’Alpe d'Huez, where the individual times of each rider were officially clocked, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez recorded the best time with 41:45 minutes. But this is only the 24th best time in history. The day's winner Pierre Rolland (Europcar) climbed the mountain in 42:22 - yet in 2006, it took Fränk Schleck 40:46 minutes to get to the top en route to victory, while Floyd Landis and Andreas Klöden were clocked at 38:34 the same day.

    Of course, one should always take into account the conditions of the day, the stage length prior to the climb and many other factors that can come into play. Still, the head doctor of the French cycling federation Armand Mégret, was convinced that this year's Tour has been cleaner just from watching the TV...

  • 2014 Tour de France could start in Qatar

    Garmin-Cervelo aim to lead Haussler to the line but it wasn't to be
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 14:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Tour and the Giro could visit l'Alpe d'Huez in 2012

    The Tour de France could start in Qatar in 2014 after celebrating the centenary edition of the race with a first-ever start in Corsica.

    According to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, the Arabian country is interested in hosting the Tour de France Grand Départ after recently buying the Paris Saint Germain football team and the television rights to the French football championships.

    ASO has played a key role in organising the Tour of Qatar since 2002 and this year the riders flew from Grenoble to Paris for the final stage with Qatar Airways. The seven-hour flight and the extreme heat in July would be problematic but Qatar is set to host the 2022 football world cup in the summer. To overcome the 40°C summer temperatures, the stages could be held late in the evening, which would also coincide with important afternoon television viewing times in Europe.

    ASO is reported to have received interest to host a Grand Départ from Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, Scotland and Yorkshire.

    Any international candidates would have to wait until at least 2014 because the 2012 Tour de France will start in Liège, Belgium, while Corsica is set to host the hundredth edition of the Tour de France in 2013. The Mediterranean island is the only French department not to have hosted a Tour start.

    A return to l'Alpe d'Huez in 2012?

    The 2012 Tour de France will start with a 6.1km prologue time trial on Saturday June 30. If the tradition of alternating directions of the race is followed, the race will head into the Alps and then the Pyrenees.

    Stage finishes are rumoured for La Toussuire and Albertville to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the...

  • Europcar to strengthen squad after success at the Tour de France

    Jean-Rene Bernaudeau can't imagine the Tour de France without his team
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 15:00 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    But no change to team philosophy according to Bernaudeau

    French outfit Europcar has had a very successful Tour de France this year, with Thomas Voeckler wearing the yellow jersey for ten days and finishing a very respectable fourth in Paris. Team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau was proud of what his riders had achieved together, and while he did regret that Voeckler lost a possible podium placing on the stage to l’Alpe d'Huez, he is now looking ahead to strengthen his squad for future glory.

    "Looking back, I can say that we were in it for the win," Bernaudeau told L'Équipe on the penultimate day of the Tour de France in Grenoble. "But our story at this Tour is beautiful, so we're not going to complain."

    Under pressure from an early attack by Alberto Contador, Voeckler spent too much time chasing the leaders alone on the Galibier on stage 19. "He did those ten kilometres that he shouldn't have done on his own," Bernaudeau admitted. "He should have stopped [and waited for the chase group which was only one minute behind him - ed.] But Thomas got angry and that's the moment when everything turned around. We could have started the time trial with 15 seconds advantage... I've never seen him like that, so disappointed."

    But the positive outcome on the Champs-Élysées still outweighs the negatives, and Bernaudeau was quick to turn the page, thinking about the future of his squad. The team's sponsor Europcar would like to see the outfit grow internationally, with a possible return to the WorldTour. But Benaudeau insisted that he will maintain the team's philosophy in the process and not hire additional riders with the sole objective of obtaining a ProTeam licence.

    Bernaudeau denied that his objective...

  • Video: Nygaard admits Evans was strongest in Tour de France

    Brian Nygaard found it too warm to wear his scarf
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 15:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Leopard Trek take second and third at Tour de France

    Saturday’s decisive Grenoble time trial ended in disappointment for Andy Schleck but his Leopard Trek manager Brian Nygaard was fulsome in his praise for Cadel Evans (BMC), who is set to win the Tour de France on Sunday.

    “The strongest guy won today and that’s the nice thing about cycling, especially the Tour,” Nygaard admitted afterwards. “The strongest guy wins at the end. Today and this year it was Evans.”

    Schleck had a 57-second lead over Evans coming into the Grenoble time trial, but the Australian scorched around the course to take second place on the stage and easily dispossess Schleck of the yellow jersey.

    “If Evans had done his normal time trial and Andy had done his normal time trial, it was within reach,” Nygaard said. “Today Evans was absolutely in a class of his own and I have a lot of respect for the way he’s been riding in the past few weeks, he’s done a perfect race.”

    While the much-touted Leopard Trek team failed to land Tour de France victory, Andy Schleck is joined by his older brother Fränk on the podium in Paris, while Nygaard also took consolation from Andy Schleck’s stage victory atop the Galibier on Thursday, which he desribed as “one of the most beautiful moments in cycling.”

  • Video: Matt White and Neil Stephens celebrate Cadel Evans' Tour de France success

    Shayne Bannan and Neil Stephens are proud to part of this project.
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 19:50 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Aussie directeur sportif talk about the effects on Australian cycling

    Cadel Evan's success in the Tour de France is a huge boost for cycling in Australia and comes just a few months before the debut of the GreenEdge team, the first ever world class Australian professional team.

    It is a great moment for Australian cycling and few understand what it all means better than former riders and now directeurs sportifs Matt White and Neil Stephens.

    White is the Professional Road Coordinator for Cycling Australia, while Stephens is the technical director of the new GreenEdge professional team that will make its debut in the peloton in 2012.

    Cyclingnews sat them down to talk about the impact the first ever Australian Tour de France victory during the train ride to Paris.

    Both were full of praise for Evans even if he will not become part of the GreenEdge team in 2012. Like every Australian in Paris, they were planning to celebrate their first ever Tour de France yellow jersey winner long into the night.

  • Roy gets most aggressive rider award

    Jérémy Roy (FDJ) lost the stage but took the polka-dot jersey
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 20:45 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    FDJ rider honoured for relentless attacks

    Jèrèmy Roy may have been very disappointed for not having scored a stage victory in this year's Tour de France despite getting into six different attacks throughout the race, but the FDJ rider has been honoured as the most aggressive rider on the podium in Paris on Sunday.

    An official jury voted in favour of the Frenchman, who spent more than 700 kilometres in front this year. "I'm proud and happy to get this prize," Roy tweeted when the news came out. "It suits me well."

    Earlier on Saturday, Cyclingnews caught up with the Frenchman who said he was very happy with his Tour even without knowing of the honour. "I did a lot of breakways, including two beautiful days in the Pyrenees which I hadn't expected at all. I wore the polka dot jersey for a day, which was absolutely fabulous. I hadn't even dreamed about something like that. The support of the public and the media was incredible - I will always keep this as a great memory," he said.

    Roy had been on the escape since day one to the Mont des Alouettes, then repeated in stage four to Mur-de-Bretagne, stage five to Cap Frèhel, stage 13 to Lourdes where he finished third, stage 14 to Plateau de Beille and then again in stage 16 to Gap, where he finished seventh.

    The 28-year-old still had "a little bit of regret" about the lost opportunity in Lourdes, where he got caught by Thor Hushovd (Garmin) and David...

  • Video: Cavendish talks about winning the Tour de France green jersey

    The new points format worked out well for green jersey Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad)
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 21:08 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Manxman takes his fifth win on the Champs Elysees

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) is a winner and proved emphatically on the Champs Elysees on Sunday by winning the final sprint of the Tour de France.

    Cavendish crossed the line proudly holding on to his green jersey, making sure everyone understood who is he fastest and most consistent sprinter in the Tour de France.

    He has overcome accusation of holding onto team cars and fought to stay in the race in the Alps. In this Cyclingnews video he talks about what it means to win the green jersey and hoe he intends to celebrate.

  • Horner to start USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) lost over twelve minutes in a crash.
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 21:42 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American remembers nothing from Tour de France crash

    RadioShack's Chris Horner was forced to watch the last two weeks of the Tour de France from the sidelines after he suffered a concussion as the result of a crash during the seventh stage. The American is now focused on making a swift recover and will turn his attention to the upcoming UCI 2.1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge held from August 22-28 in Colorado.

    "This was the last week that I could take off the bike and still get some form back for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado," Horner told Cyclingnews. "I'm not sure what kind of fitness I will have for that race. I spent a couple of days at the hospital in France after the crash, a day and half in Paris before flying home because the doctors didn't want me to fly right away. I'm going to take my time now and try and recover fully."

    Horner was next scheduled to compete in the Clasica San Sebastian and the Tour of Utah but was forced to pull out of both events in order to allow proper healing time for his concussion and a subsequent tendon tear in his ankle that surfaced two weeks ago. He is currently wearing a soft cast to support his ankle to help speed up the recovery process before getting back on his bike.

    "I couldn't afford to hit my head again," Horner said. "You can't have a double concussion. The team doctor has been great and supportive. He said with the severity of the concussion that I had, I can't afford to have two or three of those."

    "I took four or five days off the bike when I got back from France and I started riding a little bit but my leg was hurting and it wasn't healing," he said. "I realized that I needed more time off to let my leg heal better and they put a boot cast on it just so I...