Tour de France shorts: Team Sky motorhome still providing marginal gains

Team Sky motorhome still providing marginal gains

The much-discussed motorhome of Team Sky remains a factor in the endless quest for marginal gains with the British team. Director sportif Servais Knaven explained to Cyclingnews that the team is now using it for meetings and when possible to provide riders with the comfort of a single room.

Team Sky presented the motorhome at the Giro d’Italia, where Richie Porte made use of the vehicle. Porte didn’t quite benefit to the maximum from the motorhome as he left a crash-marred Giro one week before it ended.

Chris Froome was supposed to make use of the motorhome at the Tour de France, but shortly before the start of the race, the UCI stepped in. The governing body made clear that riders are expected to make use of the hotels that are provided by the race organiser in a stage race. Rule 2.2.010 was introduced in 2005 and slightly modified on June 19. The UCI claims it enforces this rule to reaffirm the absolute fairness between all riders.

Team Sky director sportif Servais Knaven confirmed to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 7 in Livarot that his riders were staying in the hotel rooms provided by the race organizer.

“And that’s just what they are doing nowadays,” Knaven said. “It wasn’t a new rule. The UCI wanted to make clear that the rules were there.”

Team Sky is still making the best of its motorhome at this Tour de France, however, although it’s unclear whether there are one or two vehicles in use. The team appears to be using them for meetings, as breakfast and dining room and as dorms for their staff, freeing up space that allows some riders to have their own rooms.

“We’re doing all kinds of stuff with it,” Knaven said. “It depends on the situation. We’ve got the space now and sometimes it’s interesting to make use of it. If there are hotel rooms available and riders are on their own in a room, then it’s used in that way. It depends on the situation.”

Team Sky rider Nicholas Roche usually shares a room with Peter Kennaugh or Wout Poels during the races, but after the finish of stage 7 in Fougères the Irish rider told Cyclingnews he’s had a room to himself.

“I have a single room. It’s nice to have your own rhythm and space. If you’re tired early one day then you can switch off the light. If you want to watch a movie, or the same in the morning if you wake up early you don’t have to wake up everyone as well. It allows you to live at your own rhythm.” (Brecht Decaluwé)

Richie Porte debuted the Team Sky motorhome at the Giro d'Italia in May. 

Contador and Gesink without a scratch after pre-race crash

Before the official start of Tour de France stage 7 in tiny start town of Livarot, Normandy, a minor crash was the most important feature of a relatively calm day in the peloton. Race favourite Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was one of the victims, and so were three riders of the LottoNL-Jumbo team, including their GC rider Robert Gesink. The latter said Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) probably caused the crash by making an unexpected manoeuvre.

“The race was still neutralized so it isn’t an actual crash in the Tour de France,” Gesink told Cyclingnews. “Devolder made a weird move and the two guys in front of me, Paul Martens and Jos van Emden crashed. I crashed into them. Contador? I didn’t see or feel him.”

Contador was probably riding just behind the LottoNL-Jumbo riders.

"Actually, we were just talking about the crashes of the previous days when it happened,” Contador said after finishing the stage at the massive medieval castle of Fougères, Brittany. "I could not avoid to fall myself.”

Gesink, Contador and the others had no trouble to get back on their bikes. Only Paul Martens visited the race doctor, who treated some bruises on his left wrist and elbow.

After the race, Contador said it was "the most relaxing day so far," and Gesink agreed.

“It was a very calm day," the LottoNL-Jumbo leader said. "I did wonder why they weren’t able to draw a stage of 160 kilometres. Then we would be rid of it. For the viewers at home it’s not much fun either, I think. It’s a good day. There was time to chat around. The sun was nice. It’s unbelievable there’s a day like this in the first week of the Tour." (Brecht Decaluwé)

Robert Gesink was one of the riders caught up in a minor crash during the neutral start of stage 7.

No surgery required to repair Dumoulin's shoulder

Giant-Alpecin reported Friday that Tom Dumoulin, who abandoned the Tour de France after going down in the massive stage 3 crash, will not require surgery to repair his injured shoulder.

“Tom had a shoulder luxation,” said team doctor Anko Boelens. “The luxation caused a substantial impression fracture of the humeral head (this is called a Hill-Sachs lesion). The lesion also involved the greater tubercle." In common terms, Dumoulin dislocated his shoulder and damaged the end of the upper arm bone with the impact. This is different from a separated shoulder, which involves the ligaments in the shoulder.

“An MRI showed no other intra-articular damage,” Boelens said. “Because of the involvement of the greater tubercle, recovery will take more time than with a regular shoulder luxation. We expect full recovery in six weeks.”

Team coach Rudi Kemna said he is hoping for a quick and complete recovery for Dumoulin.

“Tom’s return to competition will depend on his progress, and we have to take it step-by-step and monitor what is realistic,” Kemma said.

Dumoulin finished fourth in the opening time trial in Utrecht and was eighth the following day during stage 2 from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans. he crashed out of the race while wearing the white jersey of the Tour's best young rider.

Both Tony Martin (left) and Tom Dumoulin are now out of the 2015 Tour de France.

Sprinter's stage 'tranquillo' for van Garderen

After days of chaos, the overall contenders were happy to take a back seat to the sprinters' teams on stage 7, but BMC's Tejay van Garderen expects the race will go back to being hectic on Saturday.

"It wasn’t so bad, but if you crash on a narrow road it can completely block it so that’s why you saw all the GC teams up there at the front," the American said when asked about Friday's stage. "Today was a bit calmer. In the last 50k or so on some of those narrow roads we started feeling a bit of the nerves but compared to some of the other days today was more tranquillo."

Saturday's stage ends on the Mûr-de-Bretagne, a steep climb that could drive some small wedges into the GC standings. "I think we did this stage back in 2011 and it was pretty hectic all day, so I expect tomorrow to be more of what we’ve seen earlier in the week.

"We have a big focus on the team time trial, and Greg [Van Avermaet] is going to have a good shot tomorrow. Other than that, we just want to keep hold the position we’re holding now."

Tejay van Garderen rides in the bunch during stage 7.

No major changes to the GC standings

All of the overall contenders stayed together, but while Chris Froome moved up one spot into the overall lead after Tony Martin dropped out of the race, Tejay van Garderen remains third overall after being leapfrogged by Peter Sagan. The rest of the contenders were bumped up one position on GC.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamStandings
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky26:40:51
3Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:13
6Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:34
7Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:36
10Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:07
11Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing0:01:32
12Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:38
13Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:39
15Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:51
16Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:01:56
17Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha0:02:00
18Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:07
19Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:02:39
20Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:54
29Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr0:06:18
38Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:10:02

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