Tour de France shorts: Bikes checked for mechanical doping, flights, Cancellara's return`

Weening on GreenEdge chances, protest against wolves?

Bike Check

The riders aren’t the only ones subject to controls, their bikes are as well. On Saturday, the bikes from Jakob Fuglsang and Tanel Kangert (Astana), Daniele Bennati and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Damiano Caruso (BMC), were all subject to random bike controls. All bikes received the once-over before Sunday’s team time trial.

Fly away

Monday’s rest day will be celebrated in Pau, in southern France, nearly 700 km away from where the team time trial will be held on Sunday. The teams will be flown down in two separate flights.

The first plane leaves from Lorient at 17:15 Sunday afternoon, taking the teams from the earlier part of the TTT. The next flight goes an hour later, with the later-riding teams on board. The flights should only take about 50 minutes.

Cancellara to return in Eneco Tour?

Fabian Cancellara may be back to racing within a month, according to Trek team manager Luca Guercilena. The Swiss rider hopes to be at the start of the Eneco Tour, starting on August 10.

Cancellara fractured two vertebrae in his lower back in a mass crash during the Tour de France’s third stage.

There are actually only slim chances of him starting in Eneco, although it is possible, Guercilena told Nieuwsblad.be. “In case (he cannot start there), we will look for an alternative program,” leading up to using the Vuelta a Espana as final preparation for the World Championships in Richmond.

“In principle, Fabian will ride the World Championship team time trial and the road race, but not the individual time trial. Bronze or silver do not interest him.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) gets up after the crash

Weening thinks Orica-GreenEdge still has a chance in the Tour

Orica-GreenEdge has been decimated in the Tour de France, losing three riders to injury in the first three stages. Peter Weening is just about the only one who has not been injured in some way, and he is not ready to write off the team’s chances in the remaining stages, although not in Sunday’s team time trial.

“We came to the Tour de France with a team that was ready for battle,” he told ad.nl. But now they have lost Simon Gerrans, Michael Albasini and Daryl Impey, “three super riders that we desperately needed in the race against the clock.” That means “We have nothing to look for this time.”

But the Dutchman has not given up hope. “It does not feel like we are working on a survival trip. There are still plenty of opportunities. If one of us gets in a good escape group next week, he may just win. Then everything will look different.”

Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)

Farmers threaten to blockade Tour because of wolves

Wolves in southern France are attacking flocks of sheep, and the affected French farmers are threatening to block the Tour de France because of that. "We are not against wolves and we love the Tour," said the French farmer’s union FNSEA, but now "The situation is no longer tolerable," the Belga news agency reports.

The protest action is planned for stage 17 or 18, on July 22 or 23. There are about 300 wolves in France, where they are a protected species. However, some 8500 sheep were attacked last year alone.

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