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Third Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 7, 2013

Date published:
July 07, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Tour de France shorts: Cancellara doesn't miss the Tour

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) announced his new three-year deal with Trek today
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 17:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Ten Dam attacks withering Contador

    Cancellara doesn't miss the Tour

    The Tour de France has become “too big, too much stress”, Fabian Cancellara said. The RadioShack-Leopard rider is in the Tour of Austria this year, having decided to skip the Tour, which he says he doesn't miss.  

    “The Tour is a lot of stress. Everyone is walking around on their tiptoes, from the staff to the riders. Even the smallest detail must be in order. The Tour is so big, the Tour has become too large.”

    As to whether he will ever ride it again, “that depends on the Tour organisers,”  he said. “This year I I already have other goals, and there was no prologue. I don't miss the Tour. Because of the Tour you don't lead a better life, you don't become a better person. Only the last day, on the Champs Elysees, do you have time to enjoy with the team, girlfriend and family. Friday they come, they go shopping Saturday, and Sunday they see daddy. If you weigh all those things ....”

    Ten Dam attacks Contador, Mollema reaches new Tour heights

    Sensing he may be flailing Laurens ten Dam attacked Alberto Contador on the final ascent to Ax 3 Domaines to round out what was a solid showing for Team Belkin. Teammate Bauke Mollema finished slightly ahead of his compatriot to land the duo in fourth and fifth on the stage and on GC.

    "To have both of us in the GC shows that we are one of the big teams, with Sky and Movistar. Contador was behind us. It was surprising. Even Rodríguez would not ride with me, I just held my tempo. I saw Contador in trouble, and attacked him," said ten Dam on his

  • Contador buoyed by aggressive Tour de France stage

    Alberto Contador (Team Saxo - Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 17:33 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Spaniards crack Porte, isolate Froome in second mountain stage

    After a disappointing opening day in the Pyrenean mountains of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador and his Saxo Bank team rallied to give Chris Froome and Team Sky a bloodied nose on stage 9. There was no knock out punch, but the sparring from Contador and the Movistar had the race leader on the ropes, and saw his teammate Richie Porte hit the canvas and lose over ten minutes. Contador now sits 6th overall, 1’51 down on Froome.

    After Saturday’s tour de force from Sky, an aggressive reaction from their rivals was always on the cards as the peloton rolled out on stage 9 to Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Ahead lay five categorised climbs, and with no summit finish, a chance to dislodge the British team from the pattern of uphill decimation they unleashed at Ax 3 Domaines.

    The early aggression came from Garmin on the Portet d’Aspet, with Porte dropping out of contention. However, it was Movistar who took up the gauntlet on the Col de Peyresourde before the final assault on the Hourquette d’Anzican.

    Although only Nairo Quintana attacked – several times in fact – Contador was able to follow Froome as the British rider was forced to chase.

    In the end Contador finished with the main group of overall contenders with strong support from Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers.

    "Today was a very difficult day because we started very fast and the peloton broke into a number of different parts," Contador told Cyclingnews as he munched through a sandwich after showering at the finish.

    "However I’m happy because the team is very strong and I felt a lot better than yesterday, which was a very bad day for me."

    "Okay, at...

  • Porte: The peloton kicked our arses

    Richie Porte (Sky) dropped out of the Tour's general classification picture after losing nearly 18 minutes on stage 9
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 18:13 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky rider determined to bounce back after losing 18 minutes

    Richie Porte (Team Sky) admitted that stage nine of the Tour de France to Bagneres-de-Bigorre had been the worst day he'd had on a bike all season but took losing any chance of a Tour podium place on the chin despite finishing 17:59 down on stage winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp).

    Porte was on a high after his impressive performance on Saturday to Ax 3 Domaines. He could have avoided speaking to the press like so many riders often do on bad days but had the courage to get off the Team Sky bus and speak to the select group of journalists who had waited to hear his version of Team Sky's bad day in the Pyrenees.

    "Yesterday was my day and today was probably the worst day I've had on the bike all season. But there's still another two weeks to the Tour, so I'm looking forward to moving on," Porte said.

    "It was a bit of war today, everybody saw that it was an amazing stage. Full credit to Valverde. He attacked so early and it takes a fair set of swingers to do that."

    With Vasili Kiryienka finishing outside of the time limit and Chris Froome isolated in the front group, Team Sky suddenly seemed vulnerable. However Porte confirmed that there is no specific problem in the team such as a virus.

    "There's nothing going on. I think the peloton kicked our arses and that's all there is to it," he said with appreciable honesty.

    Porte confirmed that he decided to ease up and give up chasing the front group on the final climb, hence his big time loss.

    Before heading for the flight transfer north to Nantes, Porte insisted that he will bounce back from his bad day in the Pyrenees. He is confident that his climbing legs will return after the first rest day and the flat stages across central France next week.

    "It's a...

  • Quintana: We showed the world Sky also has weaknesses

    Best young rider Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 18:38 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand and Daniel Friebe

    Movistar isolate Froome and show their strength in numbers

    Nairo Quintana and his Movistar team failed to crack and pull back time on Chris Froome (Team Sky) on stage 9 of the Tour de France but as the riders travelled north to Nantes for the first rest day, the Spanish squad was buoyed by their ability to isolate Froome. Team Sky's aura of invincibility took a serious blow.

    Quintana made four aggressive attacks on the second half of the Hourquette d'Ancizan climb. Froome responded confidently to each one but the Colombian climber confirmed he is likely to be Team Sky's biggest antagonist in this year's Tour de France.

    Quintana moved up to seventh overall after the Pyrenees, 2:02 down on
    Froome. He is likely to lose at least a minute in the stage 11 time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel but could gain time in the high mountains such as Mont Ventoux and in the Alps.

    "It was a beautiful stage and quite a good result for us - we proved that we have an excellent squad, with all riders at a very strong level, ready to help myself as well as Rui and Alejandro," Quintana said.

    “We showed the world Sky also has weaknesses, but Froome is really strong and it's difficult to hurt him. Still we're taking some energy from him, making him work and suffer in view of the next stages."

    Quintana is just 23 years old and is the favourite to win the best young rider's white jersey competition. Early leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) is second at 1:23. The USA's Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) lost seven minutes on the second stage in the Pyrenees and so is fourth in the white jersey classification, at 7:33.

    "Getting through this week with the white jersey is quite good and I'm really happy to be wearing it," Quintana...

  • Froome expected attacks from Movistar in Pyrenean Tour de France stage

    Chris Froome (Sky) was without teammates for much of stage 9 but was able to remain with his GC rivals and retain the yellow jersey
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 19:20 BST
    By:
    Sam Dansie

    Race leader rues loss of Porte from contention

    Chris Froome (Sky) said he was prepared for more attacks from the Movistar riders who surrounded on the final climb of the Tour de France today. But the loss of his teammate Richie Porte as a danger man on the general classification leaves the British squad more tactically exposed, he admitted.

    In the stage 9 press conference after a tough day of intriguing racing over five Pyrenean climbs, Froome said, "I was definitely prepared for it on that final climb thinking ‘OK, this is where they are going to put me under pressure' and I was ready for it - I was quite within myself on that last climb."

    Despite the superior numbers of Movistar riders and the loss of Froome's key teammates Richie Porte and Peter Kennaugh as support riders – the Spanish squad failed to put an isolated Froome under enough pressure to erode his 1:25 advantage over Alejandro Valverde.

    The race's white jersey, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) probed Froome with four attacks on the final climb, the Hourquette d'Ancizan, but each time the yellow jersey answered back.

    "It's not easy to follow Quintana in the climbs," Froome reflected. "He's a light little Colombian who can fly up them, so to cover his attacks definitely wasn't easy. I was ready for more attacks but I'm quite glad there weren't."

    Froome's biggest blow today was losing the tactical advantage of having a teammate in second place on general classification. Porte lost touch with Froome's group before the second climb, and despite trying to chase back on he finished almost 18 minutes behind stage winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp).

    "It's always better to be able to have two cards to be able to play in that respect and having Richie in second place was huge boost for me knowing that he was...

  • Schleck gains confidence from Pyrenean showing

    Maillot jaune Chris Froome between two former Tour de France champions Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 20:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    RadioShack man finishes with GC contenders on stage 9

    He may not be back to his very best but Andy Schleck gave his most encouraging performance of the Tour de France so far with a solid ride on stage 9 to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, holding his own with the maillot jaune contenders before finishing 12th on the stage. He now sits in 14th overall, 4:00 down on race leader Chris Froome.

    "It was a hard day but in the end there were no changes in the GC but that's a little bit what we expected. Froome was alone out there but he managed pretty well on his own," Schleck told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    "I felt really good today and that was really good for my confidence. I was never close to not following the rest. That gives me good confidence for the Alps," he added.

    The day was marked by a series of aggressive moves with Garmin-Sharp and then Movistar unsettling and then dismantling the Sky team, who saw Richie Porte lose almost 18 minutes and all hopes of a podium finish. Movistar had a numerical advantage of six to one when they isolated Froome from his entire team but bar a number of attacks from Nairo Quintana, the race leader maintained his overall lead, even if his team's aura of invincibility was washed away.

    Whether Movistar will live to see Bagnères-de-Bigorre as a missed opportunity to exert more pressure on Froome remains to be seen. Michael Rogers told Cyclingnews that stiff headwind on the final climb curbed any attacking, while one team director told Cyclingnews that all the GC riders had run out of gas by the time they reached the final of five climbs.

    "Movistar rode well but at the end of the day they also rode for nothing," Schleck told Cyclingnews. "They rode hard all day long but I would have expected big attacks on the last climb but they didn't come. I won't say that what they...

  • Dan Martin eyes Tour de France GC after stage victory

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) won stage 9 into Bagnères-de-Bigorre
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 20:40 BST
    By:
    Sam Dansie

    Irishman 8th overall after Pyrenees

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) said he had never felt such pain as he crossed the line for his first Tour de France stage win today.

    And after letting victory sink in, the 26-year-old Irishman said consolidating his position on general classification could become a consideration, given the mountainous third week in the Alps.

    After the Garmin-Sharp rider coolly dispatched Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) in the two-man sprint, Martin praised the work of teammates such as David Millar, Ramunas Navardauskas and Jack Bauer who, he said, almost put themselves outside the time limit to get him into the break.

    "We're a bunch of friends in the team rather than teammates, and I think that shows how well we work together. We're always willing to give everything to help each other win and I think it's a special team for that."

    Martin now lies eighth on general classification, 2:28 down on Chris Froome (Sky).

    "We're there or thereabouts in the general classification and maybe we'll have to start thinking about that," he said.

    "First we have to get the rest day out of the way and the time trial and there are a lot of dangerous stages coming up in the next few days.

    "I think for now we're just going to enjoy the stage win. Obviously so far I've coped the best out of the team and we'll see how the Alps go.

    The Tour's tough final week could play in Martin's favour.

    "That third week looks pretty horrendous on paper but obviously the road is uphill so it suits me, but I think we'll see that the person who wins this race might be the person whose bad day is the least bad."

     

  • Brailsford: It looks we've got a race on our hands

    Tour de France leader Chris Froome (Sky) had no teammates with him for much of stage 9
    Article published:
    July 07, 2013, 21:20 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky looks to regroup after a difficult day in the Pyrenees

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford talked to the media at length after the Pyrenean stage to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, analyzing Team Sky's difficult day and trying to convince anyone who would listen to him to see Team Sky's glass as half full rather than half empty.

    Chris Froome still leads the Tour de France, looked strong and will no doubt extend his 1:25 lead on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the time trial stage on Wednesday. However that is where the good news ends for Team Sky.

    Vasili Kiryienka headed home instead of taking the Tour de France plane to Nantes after missing the time cut, Geraint Thomas is still suffering after fracturing his pelvis and the other domestiques no longer seem as unbeatable as they were in last year's triumphant race when Team Sky escorted Bradley Wiggins to victory.

    "Yesterday was one of our best days and today was one of toughest. But everyone who said the Tour was over will have to think twice tonight. But that's why this sport is brilliant, you never known what's around the corner," Brailsford said.

    "I think it's actually a good thing for the sport and for the race. People like suspense to last as long as possible. It might not be great for me but I can recognise a good thing. It looks we've got a race on our hands and so does everyone else. It's too early to call a winner of this race."

    Confident for the time trial

    Brailsford is confident that Froome can take more vital seconds in the 33km time trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel time trial.

    "If you'd given me the opportunity of going into the rest day with the advantage we've...