Farrar stays in Tour Down Under
Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data) was among the riders to come down in a crash with 20 kilometres remaining on stage 3 of the Tour Down Under, and though he quickly remounted, he realised five kilometres later that his rear derailleur was broken.
With his team car back up the road and with the climb of Corkscew Hill still to come, Farrar risked being forced out of the race altogether only for the intercession of a roadside spectator, who handed the American his bike to allow him to finish the stage. Farrar recounted the experience afterwards on the Peloton Brief website.
“There were two fans on the side of the road, and they came to my rescue,” Farrar wrote. “They asked me what size I was and was quickly offered a bike from one of them! I didn’t ride the same pedals he rides so we couldn’t swap over so he gave me his shoes as well. (Luckily we have similar sized feet.) He went to the end of the race in the sag wagon for me. In 14 years as a professional this was the first time I’ve ever had this experience.”
In accepting that assistance, of course, Farrar risked outright disqualification from the Tour Down Under, but in a communique shortly after the finish, the commissaires said that they had opted not to enforce the rule.
“This ruling respects the spirit of the sport and considers the rather exceptional circumstances in which this occurred,” the statement read. “In normal circumstances accepting outside assistance such as Farrar did today would result in his disqualification from the race.”
Farrar, meanwhile, was profuse in his thanks to his guardian angel on the roadside, and noted: “He’s gonna love his new Strava record on Corkscrew now. Thanks man!”
Bonnet to return at Challenge Mallorca
William Bonnet (FDJ) is set to return to racing at the Challenge Mallorca at the end of January, marking his first appearance since he fractured two vertebrae in the mass crash that marred stage 3 of last year’s Tour de France.
The Frenchman spent two months in a neck corset following surgery and didn’t return to training on the road for almost another three months. During his convalescence, Bonnet signed a contract extension into 2016 with FDJ.
Speaking at the FDJ team presentation in Paris on Thursday, manager Marc Madiot said that Bonnet was slated to return to action before the end of the month.
“His life was in danger. He’s become a rider again,” Madiot said, according to L’Équipe. “If everything goes well he’ll be pinning on a dossard again soon. It should be at the Challenge Mallorca.”
Henao on the offensive at Tour Down Under
Sergio Henao (Sky) illuminated stage 3 of the Tour Down Under with a searing attack on Corkscrew Road in the company of Michael Woods (Cannondale), and the Colombian remains a threat for final overall victory ahead of the major rendezvous on Willunga Hill on Saturday.
Henao led Woods over the summit of Corkscrew Road with 10 seconds in hand on an elite group of chasers, and they were pegged back on the descent. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) took stage honours and the overall lead in the ensuring 10-man sprint, while Henao came home in 7th place and now lies 5th overall, 15 seconds down.
"We had Sergio up there first over the climb, and we know that the next hard stage finishes on the top of a climb. So from that sense it's really positive. He looked really good on Corkscrew, and Willunga on Saturday is also a climb he knows well now,” Sky directeur sportif Kurt Asle Arvesen told the team website.
"Hopefully he'll be able to recover from that effort now and we'll give him our full support on the queen stage. The team did a brilliant job today to bring the boys onto the climb in a good position. Swifty [Ben Swift], Luke [Rowe] and Ian [Stannard] did a superb job there.”
Gazprom-RusVelo and ONE Pro Cycling invited to Tour de Pologne
The organisers of the Tour de Pologne have announced two additional wildcard invitations to this year’s race, with Gazprom-RusVelo – just this week confirmed as a Giro d’Italia wildcard – and British outfit ONE Pro Cycling set to line out at the race, which takes place from July 12-18.
“The invitation to the Tour de Pologne came right after the one for the Giro d’Italia, so it’s another nice score for our team,” Gazprom-RusVelo general manager Renat Khamidulin said. “There are two goals: on one end we will try to do our best to honour the race to its fullest; meanwhile, for some of our riders this will be an important test in preparation for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
ONE Pro Cycling, whose roster this year includes 2011 Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss, will participate in the race for the first time. “This will be one of the major focal points of our season and we’re already looking forward to it,” said head sports director Matt Winston
As in 2012, the Tour de Pologne has been brought forward to July from its usual August slot due to the Olympic Games. Five other wildcard teams have already been invited: CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Verva ActiveJet, Bardiani CSF, Team Novo Nordisk and Reprezentacja Polski.