Having finished fourth last year, Ag2r's Jean-Christophe Péraud abandoned the French national time trial championship Thursday, citing heat and his need to recover as factors. The Frenchman had quit after receiving the first time check. "Like everyone else, I did not feel good," he explained. "Obviously, this is not what I expected but now I hope that the form is coming quickly."
Péraud has had a frustrating couple of weeks leading up to the Tour de France, having been chosen once again to Ag2r’'s nine-man squad. The 38-year-old finished second last year in Paris, but following his performance Thursday and also in the Critérium du Dauphiné, will most likely be supporting Romain Bardet, their GC contender.
Péraud, the 2009 national champion against the clock, defended his Critérium International title in March but has failed to finish inside the top-15 on GC at any other stage race this season.
"He was hoping to do much better but there’s nothing to worry about," AG2R-La Mondiale’s team manager Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews.
Alexis Gougeard was the best finisher on the day for the team, 32 seconds down in Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling).
It was a better story for Ag2r in Canada as Hugo Houle won his first national time trial title. The 24-year-old recently completed his first grand tour at the Giro d'Italia, finishing in 133th place having started the season at the Tour de San Luis where he finished in third place on the stage 5 time trial.
Keisse's track career in doubt
A road race incident just 500 metres from his house is likely to have ended the track career of Iljo Keisse. The Etixx-Quick Step rider has won numerous six day track events the latest of which was the Six Days of Rotterdam with Niki Terpstra. The incident took place on June 10 in Heusden as a motorist was reported by witnesses to have deliberately hit Keisse. Het Nieuwsblad have reported the driver had previously appeared before the court on counts of fraud, weapons display and deliberate assault and battery.
Etixx-Quick Step doctor Yvan Van Mol explained to Sporza that the affects of the accident were not immediately noticeable.
"Immediately after the incident Iljo was relatively unaffected, but a few hours later he had pain in his shoulder. We therefore carried out additional investigations. It showed a dislocated shoulder," Van Mol said.
Van Mol and a doctor from the Ghent University Hospital have both said the range of motion needed for the slinging motion in such track events as the madison could no longer be possible for Keisse.
An independent examination of the shoulder will be undertaken to discover whether Keisse’s shoulder injury will have permanent ramifications upon his track racing.
The case against the driver has been postponed until September 10.
Battle set for Spanish national championships
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde has opted out of defending his Spanish time trial title, instead focusing on the road race Sunday where he finished as runner up last year. Valverde will be a co-leader at the Tour de France alongside Nairo Quintana for Movistar with the stage 1, 13.8km time trial the only individual test against the clock at the grand tour.
Following his win today at the Bakú games, Astana's Luis Leon Sanchez is one of the favourites battling it out in the time trial Friday, against Movistar's Jonathan Castroviejo. Sanchez has won the title on four occasions while Castroviejo was the 2013 champion. A fifth victory would see Sánchez become the outright most successful rider ahead of Iván Gutiérrez who also has four wins.
Click here to see the full start list and start times for the 45.5km test against the clock to take place in Caceres.