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Tour de France Cycling News for July 22, 2007

Date published:
July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Stage 13 Post Race quotes

    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé and John Trevorrow in Albi

    By Brecht Decaluwé and John Trevorrow in Albi Astana general manager, Marc Biver Happy after strong...

    By Brecht Decaluwé and John Trevorrow in Albi

    Astana general manager, Marc Biver

    Happy after strong performances from his three GC contenders, Biver talked about the time trials of Rasmussen and 'Klödi': "He [Rasmussen] worked a lot in the winter. For us, it was all about trying to recover as much time as possible. Klöden and 'Vino' had about the same time at the first intermediate point but Andreas' crash changed things. It was strange he crashed there because we knew many riders had crashed there. So before the corner, we warned Andreas but he went down anyway." Biver was light-hearted about the incident afterward. "I think we must be happy."

    Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)

    Kashechkin crashed during his time trial, but still managed to deliver an exceptionally strong fourth place time at the finish line in Albi. The Kazakh lieutenant of Alexandre Vinokourov put his crash into perspective when he talked with the French national radio: "That's life, I just tried to go as fast as I could, and then such things can happen. I'm happy with my performance and I'm motivated [for the second part of the Tour]," Kashechkin said. Suggesting there are more strong performances from Astana to come and warning that bad luck could ruin the chances of any GC contender, Kashechkin said, "Everyday something can happen so we shouldn't be ahead of events."

    Cadel Evans (Predictor Lotto)

    Laughing in response to a question about whether Michael Rasmussen had told a fib when he had said he hadn't been working on his time trialing. "Ah, I don't know about that."

    Simon Gerrans (AG2r Prévoyance)

    "I had three goals going into today's time trial. They were, in no particular order, make the time limit, stay upright, and [do] not Drown!! Happy to report all goals were achieved."

    Chris Horner (Predictor Lotto) to reporters

    Regarding today, Horner said, "The descent was very slippery...

  • Contador continues with consistency

    Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Albi

    By Gregor Brown in Albi The weather in Southern France tends to shift about and Alberto Contador...

    By Gregor Brown in Albi

    The weather in Southern France tends to shift about and Alberto Contador knows this more than anyone else does. The Spaniard went out Saturday morning with teammate Levi Leipheimer in the Discovery Channel team car to preview the 54 kilometres that make up the 94th Tour de France's first time trial in Albi, the city famous for its red bricks. By 17:30 in the afternoon the sun was breaking through on Avenue Albert Thomas where he finished his day after one hour, eight minutes and 52 seconds, enough to move into third overall.

    The duo returned from its early morning sortie as rain started to pound down on the first riders starting their time trial run. "The course is for time trial specialists," the 24 year-old Spaniard noted in studious tone to Cyclingnews. "I think the last riders [will have] a lot of rain, the time trial will be very dangerous and it will be very important not to have a crash.

    "It is better to go slower today to be cautious, and then tomorrow I will be back," Kid Contador continued before the stage.

    He maintains the maillot blanc of best young rider with 4'28" over Gerdemann. Moreover, if it was "cautious" today then he has a good chance of changing his blanc for jaune after of Sunday's 197-kilometre romp over the hors catégorie climbs of Port de Pailhères and Plateau de Beille.

    After the time trial stage east of Albi, in the Tarn department, Contador moved himself 2'31" back on race leader Rasmussen and 1'31" back on Evans. "Today is an important step up," he confirmed of his time trial ride. "I have done a good time trial. The gaps are more important than I expected but I am not happy with the third spot on GC, I want more.

    "The mountain is my ally, but I am afraid of the last week. I don't know...

  • Cancellara's crashes out of contention

    World Champion Fabian Cancellara
    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Albi Fabian Cancellara went into the red zone during his time trial in Albi....

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    Fabian Cancellara went into the red zone during his time trial in Albi. The Swiss time trialing machine realized he would have to take risks to beat the top time of British Olympic pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins, who rode an excellent race on a dryer course earlier in the day.

    Cancellara made an impression as he passed green jersey Tom Boonen. "After 8km, he already shot passed me. He was going forward pretty well," Boonen smiled. "I did think it was a risky in these rainy conditions. It was extremely slippery, and eventually he did go down. I was sliding away as well on a couple of occasions, and I went through the corners like an old lady," Boonen said on Sporza.

    At the first intermediate point, Cancellara was already 29" down on Wiggins. About halfway, Cancellara had made a few errors on the fast corners and downhill roads towards the village of Ambialet. He was lucky to stay on his bike and even slipped a couple of times when hitting the corners at high speeds. However, luck ran out after a short tunnel at about 25km into the race. There was a sharp left turn where the time trial world champion went down.

    The former yellow jersey wearer had to recover for a few seconds but after receiving minor treatment, Cancellara continued pushing on. At the second intermediate section (km 35.6), the Swiss was 2'06" down on Wiggins and from then on, he didn't push any further. At the finish line, Cancellara clocked a 107th best time, a disappointment for the Swiss, who seems to be out of contention of the overall classification.

    "To be honest he probably wouldn't have won anyway, because Vinokourov was simply too fast. But Fabian had to take some risks to win, because it began to rain just before he had to start. But such is life," said CSC director sportif Kim Andersen according to the team's website, team-csc.com.

    "I'm satisfied with the times from both Jens Voigt,...

  • Evans calls time trial "very good"

    Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    By John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé in Albi "It was good, it was very good," said Cadel Evans...

    By John Trevorrow and Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    "It was good, it was very good," said Cadel Evans (Predictor Lotto) about his stage 13 time trial. "It went according to plan, it was a good course for me. I knew when I first started out when I was getting times from my team-mate Leif Hoste, and I was faster than him in the first 10km, well that was a good sign, and I just kept going from there."

    Evans remarked on the trecherous conditions that dashed GC hopes of star time trials like Fabian Cancellera (CSC). "Every corner I went into, I went at half the speed I wanted to and every corner I came out, I thought I was just about to lose it. It was really, really slippery on a couple of corners, and I understand a couple of people crashed. Every corner I went into ... I was very, very conservative."

    Evans said he had expected to gain some time and never presumed he had Vino beaten so early in the Tour. "I was happy to make time up on [Andreas] Kloden. I was a little surprised at Vino's ride, but not for one moment had I written him off for this tour. I was also a bit surprised by [Michael] Rasmussen (Rabobank). He had a really good ride."

    Still biding his time on any attempt to take over the yellow jersey, Evans said, "I just wanted to do a good time trial today, and for me to be second on this course, and at this time of the tour … well I was first of the GC riders. That to me is a good sign. The best is yet to come I think."

    Looking ahead to the coming days in the mountains, Evans said, "The Alps weren't easy but the Pyrenees are really - well let's just say there's going to be some real good racing over the next three days." He admits the mountains will suit him, but said it "depends on how your going, how your recovering in the third week. Everything changes now... . The way things are with Astana and Discovery both having two riders in the classification, well that's going to make things a bit tricky, but we...

  • Phoenix from the ashes: Return of the 'Vino'

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Albi After an afternoon that was spoiled with rain showers, the skies opened...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Albi

    After an afternoon that was spoiled with rain showers, the skies opened up when the GC-favourites unleashed their forces near the beautiful city of Albi. Pre-Tour favourite Alexandre Vinokourov was one of the first to head out, and despite the fact that he still was riding on partly wet, roads he confirmed that the Astana move of stage 11 was the first sign of the Kazakh resurrection. The labourer from Petropavl plotted his way through the hilly and turning roads near Albi and at the finish he shattered the time of Bradley Wiggins, blowing the Britain's hope for an unexpected stage win.

    In the shadow of St-Cecilia's cathedral in Albi la Rouge, as the city is often referred to, 'Vino' the Turquoise granted the media a few words on his time trial. "I'm happy with my performance, this is my revenge for Briançon," 'Vino' referred to the stage where he lost three minutes on his main GC-rivals. "I want to thank everybody who supported me to make it through the Alps. Now that I found my legs again, I want to attack in the Pyrénées; we have a couple of days left to do something," Vinokourov predicted firework for the upcoming stages.

    When asked if the patron had returned to the peloton Vinokourov agreed. "Many people had already written me off already." Then the sober Kazakh general got back on his machine and rode to the team bus, guided by his faithful team-mates.

    About an hour later, a dismayed Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was the last to cross the finish line; the Spanish rider was the favourite to take over the yellow jersey from Michael Rasmussen in the time trial but he found out that his TT-abilities are still not good enough to battle for the yellow jersey in Paris. On the other hand, there was Rasmussen, floating on his yellow cloud. The Dane rode the time trial of his life, keeping a minute of his overall lead against Cadel Evans (Predictor...

  • Rasmussen stuns field to hold on

    Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 22, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes, with additional reporting by Gregor Brown

    By Shane Stokes, with additional reporting by Gregor Brown If one image summed up Michael...

    Chicken shows he's no turkey in Albi TT

    By Shane Stokes, with additional reporting by Gregor Brown

    If one image summed up Michael Rasmussen's superb time trial ride on stage 13 of the Tour de France, it was the moment when he thundered past his three-minute man Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in the closing minutes of the test.

    Prior to the 54 kilometre TT most were expecting the Danish competitor to be the one to crack. This was, after all, the same rider who had a disastrous ride in the penultimate day St. Etienne test in 2005. He punctured once, crashed twice and changed bikes three times as he had what was then a near-total meltdown, losing 7'47" to stage winner Lance Armstrong and dropping from third to seventh overall.

    When Rasmussen told the media this week that he had done no work to improve his time trials, it appeared to further confirm that his yellow jersey was as good as toast.

    Things turned out rather differently. The Rabobank rider was completely inspired by the maillot jaune, losing 2'40" by the second time check, 35.6 km from the start, but then only conceding 15 more seconds over the final 18.4 kilometres. He finished an impressive eleventh on the stage, 2'55" behind a dominant Vino, but in conceding just 1'41" to Evans he remained a minute clear in the general classification.

    "Obviously the yellow jersey is a big motivating factor," a smiling Rasmussen said after the podium presentation. "Starting last today was a huge motivation. I went out and did the entire TT this morning with Eric Breukink behind me in the car and Erik Dekker beside me on the bike.

    "They were then guiding me through the day and telling me how to get all the way to the finish line without blowing myself up. I also had more favourable conditions to ride in then many of my competitors. The roads had were drying up significantly at the end of the day compared to earlier on."

    Valverde...