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Tour de France news shorts

By:
Jane Aubrey
Published:
July 13, 2011, 8:12 BST,
Updated:
July 13, 2011, 9:28 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Race:
Tour de France
Brent Bookwalter (BMC) cruising along on the climb.

Brent Bookwalter (BMC) cruising along on the climb.

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BMC in "good position", Voigt vs the Twitterverse, Di Grégorio's breakaway, Rojas fights on, Quickstep's wounded

Keeping Evans out of trouble

One man very happy to be back in the saddle on Tuesday was BMC Racing's Brent Bookwalter. The American will be an important ally for Cadel Evans as the Tour heads into the mountains but it was touch and go for the 27-year-old on stage 9 when he came down in the crash on the descent of the Pas de Peyrol and hit his head.

"My legs felt decent considering the first week we've had," he said. "My body still feels kind of beat up from the crash the other day. It was nice to come back with a slightly shorter stage, although it was a fast one.

"There were also nicer roads today, which was very welcome after being on so many goat paths for the first nine days."

Evans has been one of the very few lucky ones in terms of incidents, and Bookwalter noted the Australian's good fortune.

"The main selections or time gaps thus far have been from crashes and technical conditions," he said. "There are a lot of really brutal stages coming which are sure to shake up the GC and really only one more day until those start... So far, we are still in a good position going into those days."

Jens in the Twitterverse

He's never been short of interesting things to say, so it was only natural that Jens Voigt would join the peloton already on Twitter. Amazingly, the German still needed to have his arm twisted.

"You know, there's nothing more convincing than a cool barrel of a gun on your head," Voigt said of the campaign by his Leopard Trek teammates to get him to open a Twitter account.

"What can I say? Of course I had to agree. No, no, in all seriousness, I decided to give it a try. Stuey [O'Grady] was already tweeting for many days that the team would get me on here. He would say "Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow." Finally on the rest day, we said we'd do it.

Since then, the response has been nothing short of a phenomenon, with over 31,000 followers.

"It's a great chance to have direct contact with your fans, but it can also turn into a very sharp sword to do some harm if it is used as an aggressive weapon. I see great possibility here but with it comes great responsibility."

What makes a successful breakaway?

Rémy Di Grégorio did his best to boost the spirits of an Astana team stinging from the loss of leader Alexandre Vinokourov on stage 9, taking his chances in the breakaway on Tuesday's 10th stage to Carmaux.

The Frenchman spent much of the day in the break, along with Arthur Vichot (FDJ), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Julien El Fares (Cofidis), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun)which at one point got out to three minutes before gradually being reeled in on the ascent of the Côte de Mirandol Bourgnounac.

Di Grégorio was disappointed the break wasn't able to succeed - "We thought it would go till the finish, after the rest day, some riders are often tired, so it is likely to remain unchallenged," he said.

The Astana man believed that the difference between the break succeeding and not, came down to the riders involved.

"I think we were missing a few riders in the break, if there had been a rider from Lampre or HTC, we'd have been away until the finish."

Rojas back in battle for green

Seemingly missing in action due to a virus on stage 9, having missed out on any points in the day's intermediate sprint and on the verge of abandoning the Tour, Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas was back in the thick of the action on stage 10.

The new Spanish road champion finished in third place for the stage behind winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) while at the intermediate sprint, claimed seven points for being the third rider over the line, again behind Cavendish, when the peloton went through. The results gave Rojas a tally of 28 points for the day and 209 in total in the battle for the green jersey, which is being led by Philippe Gilbert on 226, the Belgian managing just nine points for the stage.

"It was a super important day for me, especially to gain some morale, because after nearly seeing the end two days ago, I felt really worried about having to leave the race," Rojas revealed.

The 26-year-old used Monday's rest day to do just that, and didn't train at all.

"I took many points back on the fight for green, but the most worrying thing was confidence," Rojas said following stage 10. "There's still a two-week race for the green jersey, and we have to stay fighting day by day."

Quickstep's walking wounded

Despite the best efforts of Dries Devenyns who did his best to go with Philippe Gilbert's attack on the Côte de Mirandol Bourgnounac, the news for Quickstep does not seem to get any better, having already lost the services of Tom Boonen.

Jérôme Pineau was one of several riders involved in a crash that occurred about 10 kilometres after the start of stage 10.

"I couldn't do anything to avoid the fall," he said. "It's never fun to wipe out, but luckily the consequences weren't too serious. I just have some scrapes on my left side and knee, but they shouldn't be a problem."

French national road champion Sylvain Chavanel, who crashed on stage 5, is still not firing on all cylinders.

"Today I finished in the first group," he said. "It was hard for me, but the rest day surely helped me a lot. At the moment I still don't have the energy I need to attack, but I'm hoping that in the next days I won't have any more troubles and maybe I can try to needle my way ahead of the group."

Meantime, it's been revealed that sprinter Gerald Ciolek "is suffering from a pimple that makes it uncomfortable for him to stay on his saddle," while Gert Steegmans is still experiencing pain in his left wrist.


 

 

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