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From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
New brand Kemo cracks into the Tour with Bretagne
The BMC Teammachine of the American GC hopeful
Hyper-aggressive position for the sprint lead-out
Alberto Contador shows of the new Tinkoff Saxo kit
UCI and AFLD announce anti-doping collaboration
Bugno's style counsel
There were few more stylish riders than Gianni Bugno and his elegance is still such that he can wear jeans to the black tie Giro d’Italia route presentation each October without getting turned away. No surprise, then, that when asked to run the rule over newly-crowned Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali's Tour de France chances, Bugno's thoughts soon turned to sartorial matters.
"I'm anxious to see him in the tricolour jersey. I only hope that Astana prepare a 'true' tricolour jersey for him, where you see the green, white and red clearly," Bugno told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Otherwise, the significance of the symbol is lost and at that point you might as well just put a sticker on the front instead. No, a classic jersey is best. And besides, our flag is beautiful."
Bugno’s concerns are not without foundation. Astana are understood to be keen to have the blue and yellow of Kazakhstan visible on Nibali's kit at the biggest race of the year. The solution should be unveiled at tonight’s Tour presentation. Let’s just hope it’s a bit smarter than the garish pink "Shark of the Strait" t-shirts that manager Alexandre Vinokourov handed staff members before the final stage of last year's Giro d’Italia.
Wisdom behind Tinkoff-Saxo's late unveiling of Tour kit
Staying with fashion matters, Tinkoff-Saxo have altered their colours for the Tour. The design of the kit remains unchanged but Alberto Contador and company will sport a decidedly more luminous hue of yellow on their kit for the month of July, while the Tinkoff name on the sleeve is now written in Cyrillic lettering.
This is not, we hasten to add, a protest at the fluorescent Neri-Sottoli’s absence from the Tour, but rather to ensure that their kit doesn’t clash with the yellow jersey itself. It’s nothing new, of course, and over the years, teams who wear yellow throughout the season have altered their colours for the Tour, out of deference to the famous garment.
KAS, for instance, swapped their normal jersey for a striking blue with yellow sleeves ensemble in the 1970s and 80s. ONCE’s ‘yellow peril’ became a pink one in the early 1990s, and team’s sheen of invincibility dropped a notch or three when they opted for black and then grey jerseys later in the decade.
Mercatone Uno, meanwhile, wore various shades of blue in the 1990s, as well as a celeste and yellow melange (a nod to sub-sponsor Bianchi) when Marco Pantani won in 1998. After opting for shocking pink in 2000, Mercatone Uno vowed to make a commercial success of their effort for 2001, which was to be a yellow and blue jersey, with a French tricolour motif on the front.
Sadly, Mercatone Uno put the cart before the horse by selling replicas of their Tour jersey before actually securing their wildcard invitation to the race. Inevitably, Jean-Marie Leblanc said “non” to Pantani’s squad, and the never-to-be-used jersey was consigned to becoming a collectors’ item on Ebay.
Onboard cameras to make Tour de France debut
ASO have announced a number of innovations in the live television coverage of this year’s Tour de France. New on-screen graphics will keep viewers informed of the current gradient of climbs on the big mountain stages, as well as current speed and wind direction, while riders’ positions will be tracked by satellite throughout.
The stand-out development, however, is in the images themselves. For the first time, the Tour will feature onboard cameras. Each day, four riders from two different teams will carry an ultra-light camera, which will be used to film key moments of the race. The footage will be published on letour.fr after each stage and made available to television broadcasters.
During the recent Tour de Suisse, inCycle put together a stunning video using onboard cameras, and the results speak for themselves.
Martinelli Junior set for second stagiaire stint with Team Sky
Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli will spend July helping Vincenzo Nibali crack the Sky code and deny Chris Froome the yellow jersey, but from August 1, his son Davide will line up with the rival team as a stagiaire.
Martinelli Junior, who turned 21 last month, previously spent the final weeks of the 2012 season as a stagiaire with Sky, lining up at the Vuelta a Burgos and Tour of Denmark with the team.
Currently with Team Colpack, Davide Martinelli recently captured the Italian under-23 time trial championship to add to the junior title he won in 2011. His agent Giuseppe Acquadro told Tuttobici that he is hopeful the youngster can do enough to earn a professional contract for 2015.
UCI and AFLD to collaborate on anti-doping controls at Tour
The French anti-doping agency AFLD and the UCI (by way of its anti-doping arm, the CADF) have announced a cooperation agreement to collaborate on anti-doping controls during the Tour de France and other major events on French roads.
In a statement issued on Thursday morning, the UCI said the AFLD has already carried out pre-Tour out-of-competition tests based on location data provided by the CADF, while during the race, the CADF and AFLD will decide together on which riders to target for testing.
It has also been agreed that “some” samples will be kept – "possibly for years" – in order to allow re-testing as and when new detection methods are ratified.
"I am particularly delighted by this agreement between the UCI and the CADF and AFLD on the Tour de France," UCI president Brian Cookson said. "This partnership demonstrates that all anti-doping organisations can join forces to ensure the reputation of cycling during one of the major events of its calendar and even of the international sporting one."