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Third Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Date published:
July 05, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Soler out of coma, may be moved to Spain

    Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar Team) wins stage 2 at the Tour de Suisse
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 15:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Still has only moments of lucidity

    Mauricio Soler is no longer in a coma, and preparations are being made to move him out of the intensive care unit in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and into a hospital in Pamplona, Spain. However, the Colombian still has only “moments of lucidity”.

    Soler crashed in the sixth stage of the Tour de Suisse and was placed in an induced coma due to severe head injuries and lung trauma. He has been joined by his wife Patricia and her brother.

    “His status is getting better very slowly, but he keeps taking small steps,” Movistar team doctor Alfredo Zúñiga said on the team's website. “He's not in a coma any more but is kept under high drowsiness. He spends most of the time asleep, but when he has moments of lucidity, he obeys easy orders.”

    The extent of possible brain damage is still unknown. Examinations don't reveal any injury ”at the peripheral or medullar levels, but this something we can't rule out at the moment,” the doctor said.

    "The lung problems are completely under control and he doesn't need artificial respiration, he breathes by himself. The rest of his injuries are also going through a positive progress. It's going to be a long, slow process yet, so some weeks can go by with no major news."

  • Tour de France sickbay: Possible tendonitis for Kern

    Christophe Kern (Europcar) wins stage 5 in the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 15:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Dauphiné stage winner plagued by knee pain

    On Monday's Tour de France stage three, Christophe Kern struggled to keep up with the bunch despite the day's flat profile. The Europcar rider, recent stage winner at the Critérium du Dauphiné, was suffering from knee pain and now has to undergo examinations. The French time trial champion fears a tendonitis might put a premature end to his Tour de France.

    "After the team time trial, my knee hurt, and on Monday it got worse, I suffered more and more as the stage evolved," Kern told French television. "In the finale, when it got fast, it was too hard for me to keep wheels because of the pain. We'll see with our osteopath and our doctor.

    "I get the impression that it's the beginning of a tendonitis. No good news at the start of the Tour. I hope I'm wrong because if I'm not, then it will be very hard to continue."

    Kern finished sixth overall at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné and hoped to do well at the Tour, feeling in very good form.

  • Van de Walle first to abandon Tour de France

    Jurgen Van de Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gest a push after a wheel change.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 18:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Lotto rider suffering from stage 1 crash

    The Omega Pharma-Lotto team of stage 1 winner Philippe Gilbert is down one man as Jurgen Van de Walle became the first rider to abandon the 2011 Tour de France.

    The Belgian crashed on the first stage of the Tour when he overlapped wheels with Garmin-Cervélo's Ramunas Navardauskas. He soldiered on through the team time trial, but was dropped by his teammates and struggled in nearly 12 minutes behind. He finished stage 3 at the back of the peloton, and finally called it quits 20km into the stage today.

    The team's doctor Jan Mathieu said that Van de Walle has a sprain to his left adductor, the muscle on the inner thigh, and despite getting intensive physiotherapy, the injury has gotten worse.

    Van de Walle will travel back to Belgium for further examinations to check for a muscle tear.

  • Evans masters Mûr de Bretagne

    Cadel Evans (BMC) was pleased with his day's work.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 18:54 BST
    Daniel Benson

    First Tour de France sprint win for Australian

    Cadel Evans (BMC) burst through to win the stage to Mûr de Bretagne and cement his position as genuine contender for the Tour de France win. It was the Australian's second Tour stage win after he was retrospectively awarded the time trial stage 13 in the 2007 race.

    "I don't know if I'm the master of the uphill finish, but today it was a difficult one with the wind and everything," Evans said.

    "The first goal was to race without any problems and if all went well try for a result in the stage. In the end, I'm very, very surprised.

    "For me personally, our objectives are always the same, all around GC and that's going to be done in the last ten days, anything in the first week is always a bonus, for me and the team – I mean, it's a good indication for me and my competitors – but GC is always the goal here."

    Evans skipped this year's Giro d'Italia – a race he had targeted in 2010 – in order to focus primarily on this year's Tour, and his lighter race schedule has paid off in spades with victories in the Tour de Romandie and Tirreno – Adriatico.

    "A lot of people make comparisons with last year and me doing the Giro and the Tour, but this is my sixth or seventh Tour – riding the Giro last year was about being in BMC and our Tour place not being guaranteed until about three months before. This year, we've had a better planned, better programmed build up to the Tour. Knowing in advance – I think that's really helped and it's showing," he said.

    But perhaps one of the biggest factors is Evans's new success has been the environment at BMC, where he has flourished since moving from Lotto at the end of...

  • Gesink content despite loss of time

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) has been flawless so far.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 19:39 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Breukink issues echelon warning for stage 5

    Several contenders for the podium in Paris lost time during the fourth stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday afternoon. Among them was Robert Gesink (Rabobank) who carries the hopes of Dutch cycling fans, and he now trails race leader Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) by twenty seconds.

    Speaking after the finish, the 25-year-old Dutchman admitted that he wasn't surprised by his concession of eight seconds on the short, steep climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne.

    “I was delivered perfectly near the front of the group and Bauke [Mollema] even kept working a little for me on the climb,” Gesink said. “Nevertheless, the first riders rode a tempo that was a bit too high for me. I'm not the only rider in that situation. It's too short, too explosive and too based on power for me.

    “Eight seconds is not the end of the world so I'm confident. I'm not super-satisfied but I'm pleased with the small loss of time.”

    Gesink added that the circumstances of the stage weren't in his favour, although he pointed out that it wasn't an excuse for his performance on the day.

    “It was a spicy day with all those small roads and the foul weather,” he said. “It was one of those days for which you're a little bit more nervous. At first there was full gas racing but once the breakaway group went up the road the pace dropped and it ended up being a slow stage. I hate those days and you don’t get any better as a result of it. But it's not an excuse because it's the same for everybody.”

    Gesink’s Rabobank directeur sportif Erik Breukink was even more content than his rider at the finish, and explained that Rabobank had enjoyed a solid start to the race. Breukink didn’t believe...

  • Martin satisfied with Tour de France standing

    Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 20:25 BST
    Daniel Benson

    German confident of form after Mur de Bretagne

    Despite a finish that did not suit his riding characteristics Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) declared himself happy after stage 4 of the Tour de France from Lorient to Mûr de Bretagne.

    The German powerhouse finished 8 seconds behind stage winner Cadel Evans (BMC) and several key GC rivals, but came over the line in a group containing Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek), Chris Horner (RadioShack) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank). After four days of racing he sits 13 seconds off the yellow jersey but in the running for a possible top ten placing in Paris.

    "I was feeling good but it wasn't the type of final that suited me because it was short and really steep. I finished with a good time, though, so I'm happy to be in with the likes of Andy Schleck," the winner of Paris-Nice told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    "I prefer the longer climbs where I can ride at my tempo. I think that my form is good so I'll just wait for the harder climbs in the mountains."

    HTC-Highroad's director Rolf Aldag echoed his compatriot's words at the finish but pointed out that Martin must keep to his own rhythm and not react to the accelerations of some of the climbers if he is to challenge for the top ten.

    Aldag's career as a professional rider spanned two decades and he likened Martin's strategy to the five time Tour winner Miguel Indurain, a rider he crossed swords with on many occasions during the 1990s when the German rode as a domestique.

    "He has to stay with the guys for as long as he can. He's not very explosive so there was no pressure on him to go for yellow today. It would have been better if there hadn't been a break at the finish but we can certainly live with the outcome from the stage," Aldag told Cyclingnews.

    "He's got...

  • Proud Hushovd pulls off performance of the day

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) kept a firm grasp on the yellow jersey with a fine finish on the Mur de Bretagne.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 21:15 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    World champion stays in yellow on Mur-de-Bretagne

    On a day when it was expected that the yellow jersey would slip from the shoulders of fast man Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) to a climber like Cadel Evans (BMC), it was the world champion who pulled off the performance of the day at the Tour de France. Where many climbers and riders with general classification ambitions got dropped and lost time on the climb to the finish at Mûr-de-Bretagne, the strong Norwegian showed real grit to finish as part of a highly-rated group of nine riders who finished in the same time as the stage winner Evans.

    Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank-Sungard team manager Bjarne Riis applauded the performance from the so-called sprinter. “The big surprise is Thor Hushovd, that was a fantastic job from him,” Riis told Cyclingnews. “He did the performance of the day, not Alberto. I expected Alberto to be up there but not Thor.”

    Hushovd was understandably proud as he looked back at his performance. “I went really deep to stay with these climbers,” he said. “It is my best performance so far in this Tour. I'm a proud man in yellow. I'm very proud on what I achieved. It wasn't a stage for me but I was very motivated. I played the tactics well and hid myself all the time.”

    Hushovd explained that his initial aim on the stage was to maintain his hold on the yellow jersey, in spite of his slender one-second lead over Cadel Evans.

    “My goal today was to keep the jersey but I knew it would be difficult,” Hushovd explained. “When I saw...

  • Feillu says Cavendish is arrogant like Ricco

    Romain Feillu has flown the flag for Vacansoleil-DCM this season.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2011, 22:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman has little respect for Manxman

    Romain Feillu, the outspoken sprinter of Vacansoleil-DCM, reckons Mark Cavendish is the fastest rider at the Tour de France. "He's perhaps the strongest [sprinter] because he has the advantage to have a very strong team for the lead-out" he told Le Parisien/Aujourd'hui en France. "He's got a brilliant burst of speed, a lot of power and a great aerodynamic position."

    Feillu says, however, that Cavendish's main drawback is his attitude toward his rivals. "He's got a big Achilles heel: his arrogance toward everybody." The Frenchman explained to another newspaper, Ouest-France: "He likes saying he's the best. He behaves a bit like Ricco. About doping I'm sure he's different. But in his attitude he's a bit like a wrestler, he wants the others to be impressed. He wages a psychological war."

    According to Feillu, Cavendish's attitude could backfire against him at the Tour de France. "Quite a few sprinters could combine against him," he told Le Parisien. "For my part, even if he is a great sprinter he's not always respected me. If I can close him off in a sprint, I won't hesitate."

    A winner of eight races this season, Feillu, aged 27,  wore the yellow jersey one day at the 2008 Tour de France thanks to a breakaway. He tells Ouest-France that he's more comfortable with rivals such as Thor Hushovd or Alessandro Petacchi. "They have a more peaceful attitude [than Cavendish]. You'll never hear them saying they are the best. I feel more similar to Thor Hushovd, firstly because of our favoured route profiles, I mean false flat, and then in term of discretion."