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Third Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Date published:
July 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Riis near collapse after a spring full of bad news

    Bjarne Riis has attracted a new sponsor to his squad.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 14:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Contador's suspension, licence problem and search for sponsors nearly too much

    Bjarne Riis struggled with depression and was on the verge of a collapse this spring. The combination of losing Alberto Contador to a doping-related suspension, the potential loss of his WorldTour licence for Team Saxo Bank and the need to find new sponsors was nearly too much for him, he has said.

    “I was totally down and close to a complete collapse,” he said last week in an interview with the Danish broadcaster TV2 last week, together with his wife Anne Dorthe Tanderup.

    “I spent the whole day lying in my bed with drawn curtains, because it was impossible to grasp,” he said. “I could not see an end to it. If they take our license, the entire life's work I've done ... it falls apart.”

    He informed the other members of his management team. “He told us at a meeting: I need you to take a little over,” sports director Philippe Mauduit told the Ritzau news agency. The riders were not told as “they should only focus on the sport".

    “My job is to make sure that the boys are physically and mentally on top, and that they don't hear too many things around them. I will make a bubble around them.”

    Riis hid it well, Mauduit said. “He can tell you better than I how depressed he was, but I do not think that anyone outside could see it. I am almost certain that he had not told us sports directors that we would not have known it.”

    Riis recovered and has retained his licence and re-signed Contador to ride for the team after his ban ends. In addition he announced

  • Nibali, Pinotti on Italian team for 2012 London Olympics

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 17:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Pozzato left out of the squad

    Paolo Bettini has made his selections for the 2012 London Olympics and the Italians will be sending a mixed group of veterans and young riders. Sacha Modolo, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini,  Marco Pinotti and Matteo Trentin will represent the Azzuri at the Games.

    Filipo Pozzato was not selected. He was a leading candiate for the team until the Italian Olympic Committee's recent recommendation that he be banned for a year for his contact with Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    Modolo, 25, may be the surprise captain on the team. The Colnago-CSF Inox rider finished second in the test event on the London course last year. Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), has shown his usual good form this year, winning Tirenno-Adriatico and finishing second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    Paolini will ride in his second Olympics. He is a valued member of the national team, as he has ridden the world championships for Italy eight times. Trentin is the youngest of the group, at 22 years old. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider is a first year pro and making his first appearance on the national team.

    Pinotti, the oldest on the team at 36, not only brings valuable experience to the road race but will also be the nation's representative in the time trial. He is a five-time national time trial champion.

    Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) is the reserve for the team. He has already been named to the Italian track team, where he will ride the Omniun.

    “I chose these guys because I believe they may be the right mix for this type of competition, both in terms of technical features and team spirit,” Bettini said. “All have demonstrated commitment, devotion and dedication to...

  • RadioShack-Nissan plans working well at Tour de France

    Racer leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 18:03 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Voigt says team is confident for coming days after great start

    While a number of teams suffered through crashes and time splits on stage 3 to Boulogne-sur-Mer, RadioShack-Nissan broke the trend and enjoyed a successful stage in the Tour de France. Fabian Cancellara retained his overall lead while Frank Schleck and Andreas Kloden remained upright and with the leaders. The team have made no secret of their intention to keep yellow for as long as possible and their domestique Jens Voigt believes that their grip on the Tour could last well into the second week.

    When asked how long RadioShack could keep the jersey he told Cyclingnews: "That's easy. How many more days until Paris? That's how long we want to keep it. Just kidding. Well, realistically we expect sprinters days now, there's no more hilly top finishes like we had on the first stage or like we had today. As I said, we expect classic sprinter stages and so we expect help from the sprinters' teams. We really think we can keep it without killing ourselves until the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles and then, in the ideal scenario, Frank Schleck takes over, Fabian then takes it back in the time trial and then we're just smoking. Remember my words."

    Voigt's optimism aside, RadioShack will be aware that the last few days have signified their most successful stint of 2012. A year of public infighting between riders and Johan Bruyneel, as well as a string of meagre results have been replaced or at least covered up by a run of positive headlines.

    The main beneficiaries have undoubtedly been Cancellara and Schleck, and the latter explained to Cyclingnews that while his team had worked on the front for long spells of a difficult stage it had helped keep their aspirations intact.


  • BMC has mixed fortunes in Tour de France stage 3

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 19:20 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Gilbert unable to contest , Evans stays out of trouble

    The BMC Racing team had mixed fortunes on the third stage of the Tour de France, with Philippe Gilbert caught up in a crash and unable to contest a finish in Boulogne-sur-Mer which was perfectly suited to his qualities. Meanwhile, team leader Cadel Evans also missed the opportunity to go for the stage win, but he avoided the late-race carnage and finished with the main group, one second behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    "The first goal was staying out of trouble and then have a go at the finish," Evans said. "[The team] brought me into a perfect position into the last few kilometres but in the last kilometre it slowed up again. We pushed around and started a bit far back. Against Sagan there wasn't much anyone could do," Evans said.

    With four climbs in the last 16km, including the 700m-long climb to the finish, the stage was perfectly suited for Ardennes Classics specialist Gilbert. However, the narrow roads in the Nord-Pas de Calais region made for nervous racing, and he was caught up in one of the several crashes.

    Gilbert eventually crossed the line nearly eight minutes after double stage winner Sagan. The Belgian cycling star now seems destined to convert into a domestique for Cadel Evans, the defending champion in this Tour de France. The latter showed compassion for his teammate, for several reasons.

    "We're always worried to lose teammates. We need all the cylinders to make it to Paris. For him [Gilbert] of course it was probably one of his last opportunities to have a go for himself today," Evans said. "The most important thing is that we're staying healthy and our GC is pretty...

  • Video: Hesjedal only Garmin-Sharp rider left in Tour de France hunt

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) before the start.
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 20:04 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Separated shoulder for Danielson on bad luck stage to Boulogne-sur-Mer

    Garmin-Sharp revived memories of one of its most painful Tour de France stages on stage 3 from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer with a number of its riders crashing and losing time. In 2010 on the road to Spa, the team was decimated by series of crashes that saw almost their entire squad lose time and its GC leader leave the race in an ambulance.

    On Tuesday’s undulating stage, the outcome was only slightly better, but Tom Danielson, a top 10 finisher in 2011, was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a separated shoulder, while Daniel Martin, Christian Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar all suffered and lost time. Only Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal was able to stay with the leaders.

    It means that last year’s winners of the teams classification must reassess its objectives in this year’s Tour. On the one hand the duties are far simpler with the team now completely committed to Ryder Hesjedal’s GC bid. Tom Danielson may not start stage 4 and even if he does, his injury, coupled with the nine minutes he lost on the road means that the team’s plan B for general classification has evaporated.

    Daniel Martin still remains a threat for stage wins in the mountains. The Irish Tour debutant remained upright on today’s tricky parcours and despite losing time in the overall he will be keen to see the race enter more testing terrain in the second week.

  • Video: Sagan wants to take green jersey to Paris

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) wins stage 3 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 20:36 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Slovak explains that his victory celebration was motivated by Forrest Gump

    Peter Sagan's stunning entrance onto the biggest stage in cycling continued when he won his second Tour de France stage in three days this afternoon in Boulogne. But the 22-year-old Slovak sensation says that he's far from finished with this race yet. Having established a clear lead in the points competition, Sagan aims to take the green jersey all the way to Paris.

    "I was aware that today's stage could help me with regard to the green jersey because I knew that the sprinters were unlikely to be involved at the finish. So this victory has given me confidence and the green jersey is now a clear objective for me. My hope is that I can now carry the green jersey all the way to Paris," said Sagan.

    Having got a bit of buffeting and a good lesson from the sport's top sprinters, Sagan said he is still determined to mix it in the bunch sprints, perhaps as soon as tomorrow when the Tour heads in Rouen. "I'll keep taking part in the bunch sprints because they can help my green jersey ambitions," he said. "On yesterday's stage I could have done with a teammate to set me up for the sprint. I think that as the race progresses the sprinters will start to get tired and that could also help me in the bunch sprints."

    Sagan also revealed that his "running" celebration at the finish in Boulogne had been inspired by Forrest Gump. "It came about after asking one of my teammates what kind celebration I should do if I won today. He told me to copy Forrest Gump because they told him to run and that's what he did. And he said the team tells me to win and I win," he said with a bit of giggle.

    "I always like to put on a bit of a show for the fans who have come out to watch. When I was younger and watched sport on the TV I used to like seeing moments like that. I used to...

  • Siutsou's abandon forces rethink for Sky

    Kanstantsin Siutsou
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 21:10 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Sean Yates says that Belarussian's role will be shared

    Team Sky suffered its first major setback at this year's Tour de France when Kanstantsin Siutsou abandoned the race after crashing 140km into the stage to Boulogne-sur-Mer. The Belarussian was taken to hospital in Boulogne, where an x-ray revealed he had a fracture in the tibia bone of his left leg. Team director Sean Yates described losing Siutsou as "a major blow because he's an integral part of the team".

    "There was a massive pile-up and he was at the bottom of it," said Yates. "It's been a stressful day. Every day at the Tour is stressful, but days like this, when you've got loads of crashes and you've got to stop and change bikes, are particularly bad."

    Yates said that the seven riders now left to support Bradley Wiggins' challenge for the yellow jersey will have to share Siutsou's duties between them. "We've got a lot of strong guys, and we'll just have to deal with it. It won't impact on the tactics because the tactic is simply to win the race and that means Bradley has to be up there with the best and ride fantastic time trials. It will just impact on the workload of the other seven members of the team."

    Asked whether that will mean Mark Cavendish taking on some of those duties, Yates said, "Yes, that does mean we will see Mark getting bottles and so on. I'm sure he won't be allergic to that. He's always a great teammate."

    Team boss Dave Brailsford gave some more detail about Siutsou's precise role within the team. "He's a versatile rider, a very strong rider, he's one of the key workers in the team, he does a lot of work getting bottles...

  • Tjallingii, Rojas out after crash-filled Tour de France stage

    A crash during stage 3
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 22:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Injury report: Danielson, Caruso, Urtasun hurt

    Narrow roads and a still-nervous peloton led to several large-scale crashes on stage 3 of the Tour de France from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-mer. Abandoning on the course were Team Sky's Kanstantsin Siutsou and José Joaquín Rojas of Movistar. The Belarussian broke his tibia, while Movistar confirmed Rojas fractured his left collarbone. Garmin-Sharp's Tom Danielson separated a shoulder and is uncertain for the start of stage 4.

    While Rabobank's Maarten Tjallingii soldiered on for 40 kilometers after being involved in a crash, finishing the stage 10:37 behind winner Peter Sagan, it was later revealed that the Dutch rider had fractured his left hip. "This is one of the most disappointing moments in my life. Broke my hip," he wrote on Twitter.

    Another Dutch rider hit the deck: Argos-Shimano's Koen de Kort finished 7:29 down after his fall. "At about 30 kilometers from the end there was a crash at the front of the peloton. I was in 20th position, but apparently that was still too far behind. I fell and injured my thumb. It hurts quite a lot, but luckily it’s not broken.

    "It’s a pity, because I was ready for it. This finish suited me well. I was really looking forward to today’s stage. But well, what can you do about it. That’s also the Tour."

    De Kort's teammate Marcel Kittel is still recovering from gastroenteritis. He struggled in more than 27 minutes after the winner. "Marcel is not thinking about the upcoming sprint stages," team doctor Edwin Achterberg said. "His recovery is the most important thing at the moment. Today he felt pretty good in the beginning, but when the hilly part started he experienced some difficulties and had to let go. His intestines are not yet restored, which...