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Tour de France shorts: No stripes allowed, Noval injured in TTT

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Reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) en route to victory in the German TT championship

Reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) en route to victory in the German TT championship (Image credit: Mario Stiehl)
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Benjamin Noval (Saxo Bank Sungard)

Benjamin Noval (Saxo Bank Sungard) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Robert Gesink (Belkin)

Robert Gesink (Belkin) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

No stripes allowed

World time trial champion Tony Martin has been fined 1621 Euros for having the world champion rainbow stripes on his bike yesterday. According to the UCI, they are allowed for individual time trials but not for team time trials.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere was naturally not happy. “World champion Tony Martin Individual & team time trial # opqs this is scandalous. Good job # UCI destroy your own sport! # fine # tdf” he tweeted.

Too close for comfort

While it's true that cycling offers fans unrivalled access to their heroes, some get a little close for comfort, with Benjamin Noval (Saxo-Tinkoff) left injured following an incident during Tuesday's team time trial in Nice.

Noval's left hand collided with a spectator shortly after the first time check, resulting in a torn tendon in his index finger.

"The pain will have an affect on Noval's abilities in the race and surgery might be needed after Tour de France," said a team statement.

Noval is expected to start on Wednesday.

Team time trial one for BMC to forget

BMC finished a disappointing ninth in the Nice TTT, 26 seconds behind the winning time of Orica GreenEdge.

Philippe Gilbert blamed some of his performance on his handlebars which inexplicably dropped mid-race.

"I missed a turn and the whole team disordered," he explained of the incident's aftermath to "I rode in third position and had to take over. I was completely surprised. Afterwards I almost had no strength. I gave it the full effort, but there was no return by the changed position. "

The result saw the team's GC hope Cadel Evans drop from ninth to 28th overall after he lost 25 seconds.

"Obviously we came here with high expectations and with the overall general classification in mind, so losing seconds was not our objective, but as it turned out, we didn't perform as we needed to and conceded a lot of time over such a short distance," explained the Australian in his blog. "Now, it puts us on the back foot, only by a small margin but a margin none the less. Fortunately, there are a lot of kilometres left to race, so we will put this bad day behind us and look ahead to those."

What you didn't know about Robert Gesink

It was a 'relieved' Robert Gesink (Team Belkin) that finished the team time trial in Nice on Tuesday. Belkin crossed the finish line in 14th place for the stage.

"I am always nervous for team time trials," Gesink told De Telegraaf. "I need to go to the toilet ten times."