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Tour de France Cycling News, July 14, 2008

Date published:
July 14, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Stage video highlights and podcasts

    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre

    Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once...

    Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once again this year to bring you video highlights of every stage plus daily podcasts courtesy of Bikeradar.com and Procycling magazine.

    Our video comes directly from Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and will be online shortly after the finish of each stage. We've also got highlights from classic Tours of the past so click here to see the full archive.

    Check out the podcasts page in our Tour de France section for a full round-up of news and views from the Tour.

  • Barredo pushing on despite cold

    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre

    By Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre Spain's Carlos Barredo is not living up to his expectations...

    By Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre

    Spain's Carlos Barredo is not living up to his expectations in the 95th Tour de France due to a cold that has forced him to take antibiotics and "rest" days instead of helping Quick Step captain Stijn Devolder.

    "To arrive," said the 27 year-old from Asturias, Spain, to Cyclingnews of his goal in the Pyrénées. Barredo, winner of a stage in this year's Paris-Nice, believes that the cold could have come as a result of the first stormy days of the Grand Départ in Brittany.

    "I finished off with my, antibiotics yesterday [Saturday], but I was had no power in the stage. I could not follow the group when it was going 40 kilometres per hour on the flat."

    Barredo felt better Sunday morning at the start of stage nine in Toulouse's Place du Capitole. He hoped that he could get through the two mountain stages of Bagnères de Bigorre and Hautacam and then help Devolder throughout the rest of the Tour de France.

    "I will ride these two days at a relaxed pace and hope to feel better after the rest day. The team told me to take today and tomorrow calm, to arrive. If I use my force I will not arrive in Paris."

  • Sastre race ready for Hautacam

    Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) relaxed
    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre Spaniard Carlos Sastre is ready to face the Tour de France's...

    By Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre

    Spaniard Carlos Sastre is ready to face the Tour de France's second of five mountaintop finishes, Hautacam, for his first time in his career on Monday in stage ten.

    "It is a really hard stage. We will do high mountains like the Tourmalet and Hautacam, and those will make a difference," said Team CSC's Sastre to Cyclingnews 24 hours before the stage.

    The 1520-metre Hautacam comes at the end of a 156-kilometre day, preceded by two category three climbs and the Col du Tourmalet. Hautacam featured as a stage finish three times in the past, most recently won by Javier Otxoa in 2000.

    "I have never raced the Hautacam; I have only done it in training," Sastre said after stage nine. "It is a really hard mountain. The gradient stays the same all the way up – from eight to 10 percent – and you don't have any time to recover."

    Sastre is currently tenth overall at 1'34" from race leader Kim Kirchen. CSC-Saxo Bank will use the Hautacam to take advantage of its rivals with its three captains: Sastre, and Brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck. "It is really hard one," said Sastre.

  • Difficult day tells Valverde he's feeling well

    Alejandro Valverde gave it all he could
    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Bagnères de Bigorre

    Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde finished seventh at 1'17" off stage nine winner Riccardo Riccò...

    Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde finished seventh at 1'17" off stage nine winner Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Scott). He crossed the line in the same group as the other favorites.

    "This first high mountain stage in the Pyrenees has been a very long, very fast and very difficult one," said Valverde, "but it has been a good day, not only for myself, but also for the whole team Caisse d'Epargne, which did a great job during the entire day.

    "The stage gave me the opportunity to note that I am feeling good, and this is very important before the tomorrow's stage. It is supposed to be a very different day, and I imagine that the bunch will not be so tired when starting to climb the first hill. Let's hope that the weather will be as nice as today; otherwise the downhill of the Tourmalet could be more difficult than the climb."

    Valverde offered his congratulations to Riccó for his accomplishment. "He attacked in the most difficult part of the climb, and nobody was able to follow him. We chased on the downhill and later on the flat, but only a few riders from Lampre and Rabobank cooperated and that was not enough. Now we will have a good rest to be in very good condition tomorrow so that we can come out of the Pyrenees in the best possible way."

    Valverde was helped throughout the day, but especially while climbing Peyresourde and Aspin, by team-mate David Arroyo.

  • Evans survives crash

    Cadel Evans was bleeding
    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    John Trevorrow and Gregor Brown in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    By John Trevorrow and Gregor Brown in Bagnères-de-Bigorre Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) crossed the...

    By John Trevorrow and Gregor Brown in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) crossed the line at the end of stage nine of the Tour de France in Bagnes de Bigorre, dripping blood and with ripped apparel. His left shoulder hip and leg were obviously grazed, but the injuries did not appear too severe.

    Evans crashed over the top of a Euskaltel rider about 105 km into the 224 km stage. "I don't know what happened," Evans said immediately after the finish. He is being treated by his team and is expected to continue racing Monday.

    "Don't touch me on my left side," he yelled as the press scrum swarmed around for any snippet available. Evans was whisked straight into his personal minivan and gone before he could be interviewed. But before he left, he did pass his helmet to Australian journalist Rupert Guiness and said, "This is your interview."

    The helmet explained a lot. It was badly damaged and had received a severe impact on the left side. The front left corner of the helmet was completely crushed and there was little doubt that without the helmet Cadel would be out of the race and maybe even this world.

    Sports Director Roberto Damiani was quite relieved after the finish. "It was a very bad moment, but Cadel is a man of strong character so he will be ok. But what could have been a disaster, in the end was a good day."

    Crashing was just what had worried Evans and his team in the earlier stages of the Tour. "This was the fear that we had in the first stages, and now we are in the mountains and it happens, it is unpredictable," said Evans' team manager, Marc Sergeant, to Cyclingnews following the stage finish.

    "Apparently he touched the wheel of an Euskaltel rider," explained Sergeant. Evans' team-mate Christophe Brandt believed it was an object from a spectator. "He had some sort of bag in his front wheel and it blocked it," he said. "It...

  • Director sportifs analyze stage nine

    Euskaltel took control today
    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre The big guns established a sort of cease fire during the...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    The big guns established a sort of cease fire during the first mountains stage, number nine, in the Pyrenees. They raced knowing that tougher times will follow on Monday in stage 10, which will scale the 2,115 metres high Col du Tourmalet and then finish at the Hautacam ski resort after almost 16 kilometres of climbing at an average gradient of 6.8 percent.

    After analyzing the first mountain stage, Quick Step Director Sportif Dirk Demol predicted fireworks for Monday.

    "The race stayed [in stage nine Sunday] - as was to be expected - closed," said Demol. "Euskaltel was very active early on in the race, but then they missed out in the breakaway of three riders. Euskaltel took responsibility so that they would be able to fight for the stage win, and too bad for them, it didn't work out, but you don't know that beforehand"

    "It was good that at least Euskaltel started chasing. We're riding in the Pyrenees, and that's where that team is always trying its best. The team has a lot of fans here," Demol explained Euskaltel's hard-working tactics.

    About fifty riders finished in the first peloton after winner Riccardo Riccò. "It was predictable that a big group would stay together," said Demol. "Tomorrow it will be all split up. I didn't expect that Riccò would keep his lead - even though he jumped away unbelievably fast - since the last ten kilometres were really tough.

    "It's clear that the favourites were saving their energy. I expected more from teams like Euskaltel, CSC and possibly Caisse d'Epargne, who might have, for instance, sent a guy like José Ivan Gutierrez up the road," said Demol. "Clearly everybody fears tomorrow."

    Erik Breukink, Rabobank's Director Sportif, shared Demol's opinion. "You can't compare the combination Peyresourde and Aspin with the Tourmalet and Hautacam,"...

  • Riccò makes it look easy on Col d'Aspin

    Riccò went all out in the final kilometres
    Article published:
    July 14, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre After a series of accelerations with five kilometres to go...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Bagnères-de-Bigorre

    After a series of accelerations with five kilometres to go in stage nine on the first category climb Col d'Aspin, Saunier Duval's Riccardo Riccò managed to slide away from the peloton. Riccò, nicknamed the "Cobra from Formigine", was unstoppable and blasted past riders who had escaped earlier. He seemed to have little competition as he rode away to an eventual stage victory.

    Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) tried to hang with Riccò for a while, but eventually Riccò rode solo towards the top of the Col d'Aspin. One kilometre before the top, he passed Sebastian Lang who had been on the attack all day long. At the top of the climb, Riccò had about two minutes on the first part of the peloton and held on to more than a minute of that advantage as he reached the finish line.

    The 24 year-old Riccò talked to the press in Bagnères-de-Bigorre about his decisive move, his next goals and the rumours following him at the Tour de France.

    "I'm very happy, probably even more than after my first stage victory as this has been the first real mountain stage," said Riccò. "Everybody was looking at each other on the Aspin, and when I accelerated, I created a gap. The first part of the descent turned out to be rather technical and fast, so that was ok. Then it was a lot harder, and I had to use a lot of force to keep going; it was like a time trial."

    Before the Tour de France, Riccò was considered a favourite, but for more than a week the Italian has downplayed his general classification ambitions. "Others have prepared for the Tour from the beginning of the year. Although I won today and the other day, I still don't want to think about the general classification. I'll continue to look at it day by day.

    "Tomorrow might be a different scenario, and I hope that I can work...