More laughs at Liquigas
Before clashing swords in the Pyrenees, Vincenzo Nibali and Bradley Wiggins crossed paths on Mount Teide earlier in the season, as both their Liquigas-Cannondale and Sky teams have a penchant for lengthy collective training camps on the volcano in Tenerife.
Nibali famously came close to signing for Sky in the winter of 2009, but he told Gazzetta dello Sport that he didn't regret his decision to stay put, reckoning that Liquigas riders simply have more fun.
"From the outside it seems to me like a bit of a "cold" team where maybe they communicate via email instead of by phone," said Nibali of Sky. "Even when we came across them on Mount Teide, their tables were a lot more silent than ours." (BR)
Hot, hot heat!
Stage 16 was tough-going but for a measure of just how tough, look no further than Sky's Mark Cavendish.
"Today's stage can be put into perspective by the fact that by the end I didn't care that I was just puking over myself. Hills+Heat=Suffering," he said following the stage on Twitter.
In response, David Millar reported from the Garmin-Sharp bus:
"@MarkCavendish We could've been puking on each other and we wouldn't have cared. DZ puked all the way home in the bus. It's just wrong." (JA)
Out, then in again
Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis) crossed the finish line on Stage 16 in Bagnères-de-Luchon four seconds outside the time cut and he believed his Tour de France was over.
The Belgian, riding the Tour for the very first time at age 24, had suffered like much of the peloton in the heat.
"In the descent of the Col de Peyresourde I lost at least 20 seconds, because a motorcyclist of the French police did a wrong move and I therefore rode into the wrong street," Ghyselinck explained to nieuwsblad.be.
An official however, told him it was ok and he would be able to resume on Thursday.
"I did not have a good day today," he admitted. "It was too hot for me. I had to go very deep and do not know if I will be sufficiently recovered for tomorrow." (JA)
Barbed wire strikes again
Katusha's Vladimir Gusev suffered a painful end to his Tour de France, with the Russian fracturing his collarbone.
Gusev and Romain Zingle (Cofidis) crashed just over 60 kilometres into the 16th Stage, the pair tangled in a barbed wire fence.
It was the second time Gusev had taken a hit to his right shoulder and spent Wednesday night in hospital in Toulouse.
Earlier in this year's Tour, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) somersaulted into a barbed wire fence when he was run off the road in a mass crash. In 2011, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) was infamously thrown into a barbed wire fence suffering extensive cuts when a media vehicle ran into him. (JA)
Scary moment for Horner
The sight of a lone bike lying on a steep slope with its rider somewhere behind the bushes resulted in a few fearful moments for RadioShack-Nissan's Chris Horner. He eventually was helped back up to the road by a medical officer but looked slightly unsteady on his feet - bringing back memories of his 2011 crash which left him concussed and ultimately brought an end to his Tour.
"I had switched out my bike and made it back to the group on the first climb," the American explained following Wednesday's stage. "The guy in front of me sat up on the uphill and his bike started drifting back to me. He went right and I went left. That’s when I hit the edge of one of those concrete curbs and went down 12 feet and had to crawl back up. There was a lot of debris there to land on before I came to a tree that stopped me. Better the tree than continuing on down the slope. So I was able to crawl out on my hands and knees with some help. Dusted myself off, got a new bike and ready to go again."
Thank God it was on the uphill, not the downhill," he continued.
"I didn’t have the legs to go with Nibali today. I was just in survival mode. It was the hardest day so far; a day of pain."
Horner remains in 13th overall. (JA)
Tour honours Mandela in Pau
Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday was marked in the French town of Pau yesterday at the start of stage 16 of the Tour de France. Local schoolchildren paid tribute to the former South African President and anti-apartheid icon by unfurling a banner reading 'Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela' near the startline of the 197km mountain stage to Bagnères-de-Luchon. (MR)
Tour de France bad for the health, say Australian doctors
Australian cycling fans are following their heroes Cadel Evans and Matthew Goss in large numbers back home, but their dedication to Evans' fading bid to retain the title and Goss' equally stiff-looking task of winning green is having an adverse effect on their health, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA). Around half a million Australians are tuning in every night - from 10pm to 1:30am on the country's populous east coast - leaving them bleary eyed at work the next day. Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the AMA, said that "the majority of us should not [survive on five or six hours sleep per night]...your concentration levels are really, really important." (MR)