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EuroTrash Dauphiné Monday!

It’s been a quiet week since the Giro finished, but the Tour is on the way and the form guide of the Critérium du Dauphiné has started with a win for Chris Froome. The Tinkoff-Saxo team with Matti Breschel dominated the Tour of Luxembourg, no Wiggins at the Tour and bad news for Cancellara and Hushovd. Plus we have all the other cycling news to go with your coffee.

TOP STORY: No Tour for Wiggins?
In an interview on BBC TV (not Sky TV, his team’s sponsor), Bradley Wiggins said that it was unlikely that he would be on the start line of this year’s Tour de France in Yorkshire on July the 5th. He also added: “I will probably have to leave Team Sky” supposedly to ever ride the Tour again. This has riled many a Wiggo fan to the point of petitions being signed, who they will send them to I’m not sure; Sky team manager David Brailsford seems quite entrenched in the ‘one leader’ game plan. Maybe they could send it to Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp, but then he isn’t known for his handling of industrial disputes, although he did help Margaret Thatcher and John Major. So with Wiggins being a Knight of the Realm it must be a job for the Queen?

The Sky team for this year’s Tour has been made around the Kenyan born Chris Froome to successfully defend his yellow jersey, and let’s face it Wiggins isn’t known as a team player. I can’t see him going back for bottles, like World champion Mark Cavendish had to do in 2012. The chances of there being discord in the Sky team with both Froome and Wiggins included is quite high. The team has kept them apart all season probably for this reason. Also this year’s Tour is not made for the time trialling of Wiggins in the same way the 2012 Tour was. Wiggins’ contract with the team runs out this year which could also encourage Sir Brad to play his own game, especially as he claims he has had to contract offer from Sky, the Tour could be his shop window for the future. Without Wiggins the Tour should be more interesting and with the proposed battle between Froome, Nibali and Contador there will be enough to keep us occupied!

Will Wiggo be watching the Tour in Yorkshire?
Paris Champs Elysees - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport

Critérium du Dauphiné 2014
2013 Tour de France winner; Chris Froome (Sky) showed his form in Sunday’s Stage 1 10.6 kilometre time trial in Lyon by beating Alberto Contador by 8 seconds with a time of 13:13. Contador was pushed close for second place by early leader Bob Jungels (Trek) by only 1 second. The other Tour favourite; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was faster than both Froome and Contador at the intermediate time check on the climb of the 800 meters, Cat 4, Montée de l’Observance with it’s average gradient of 5.5% after 4.6 kilometres, but by the finish the Italian lost 5 seconds on Contador and 13 to Froome to finish 8th. Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky was 4th in a time of 13:24.

Stage winner and overall leader Chris Froome (Sky): “I’m very, very happy with my performance today. I didn’t think I’d do so well in such a short and flat time trial. I’m definitely here to try and win the race overall. We’ll do everything we can but the most important is to wear the yellow jersey at the end of the race, not at the beginning.” He added: “The Dauphiné this year is really hard from stage 1 and stage 2. Looking at the results today, we expect a very big race in the mountains. I’m pretty much where I was last year if not a little bit better.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Philippe Maduit is content: “I think this is a good result. It’s not winning but Alberto is obviously well-prepared and now only needs a week of race speed to brush off his physical condition. I’m totally confident. Tomorrow, Sky have the responsibility of the pace-making while we can stay behind before the demanding finale.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) had a good start of the stage race with the seventeenth place at fifteen seconds of winner Froome with a time of 13:28: “Of course this pleases me a lot. A short opening time trial isn’t really my specialty but when I finish at only a handful of seconds of the specialists, than that’s a relief. I went full on the climb, was second at the top at the time at one second of leader Jungels, rode a good descent and tried to keep it up until the finish. I felt very well but you do have to wait for confirmation in the result. It’s of course only the first day of this Dauphiné, but it does offer perspective.”

Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 13:14
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:08
3. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek at 0:09
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:11
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
6. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:12
7. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 1:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 13:13
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:08
3. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek at 0:09
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:11
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
6. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:12
7. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling.

Stage 1:

Tour de Luxembourg 2014
On Wednesday Trek’s Danny van Poppel won the 2.55 kilometre prologue and in Thursday’s 172.6 kilometre Stage 1 he took 3rd place behind André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Michael Mørkøv (Tinkoff-Saxo) to hold the overall lead for another day. From the start there were many break away attempts and in the end Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia) and Giuseppe Fonzi (Neri-Sottoli) succeeded and were joined by Boris Dron of Wallonie-Bruxelles, but the peloton would only allow them 5 minutes advantage. Lotto Belisol and Trek worked hard to bring them back with 5 kilometres to go for Greg Henderson to lead-out Greipel for the win.

Saxo’s Michael Mørkøv finished second in the furious gallop: “The boys did a great stage and they worked beautifully together throughout the day. In the finale, Matti took a chance and jumped up the road but was caught about 1.5 kilometres to go. Meanwhile, Michael was supported and put on Greipel’s back wheel and finished second. It’s not a win but it’s a pretty cool result finishing second behind a guy like Greipel. We have an excellent team here and I expect more of these kind of results in the stages to come,” said Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 1 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:34:03
2. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Stölting
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
8. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
9. Kevin Feiereisen (Lux) Leopard Development
10. Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Team Differdange-Losch.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 1:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek in 4:37:57
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:08
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Leopard Development at 0:09
4. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:11
5. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:12
6. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis at 0:16
7. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:17
8. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:18
10. Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo at 0:19.

In the 157.4 kilometre long Stage 2 of the Tour de Luxembourg from Rosport to Schifflange was dominated by a breakaway consisting of Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Boris Dron (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia) and Ilnur Zakarin (Rusvelo).

In the field, Trek Factory Cycling wore the responsibility of reducing the lead but with 8 kilometres to go, the front group still had a gap of 40 seconds. But the escapees were swept up before entering the one kilometre long uphill finish. Tinkoff-Saxo and Lotto Belisol were the most dominant teams in the front of the pack trying to position their sprinters perfectly before the ramp to the finish line.

And in the uphill sprint, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel was merciless taking the stage win.

“The boys executed our plan to utter perfection. Trek took control of the pace-making in the first part of the stage as the leading team and we went to the front rolling under the ten kilometre kite to sweep up the escapees and put Michael (Mørkøv) and Matti in a favourable position. Matti showed what he’s capable of when he reaches peak shape and he was simply the strongest of all today. At the same time, Mørkøv finished 5th and is now 2nd overall. That means we’re also fighting the overall result so of course we’ll celebrate the stage win but there’s another day tomorrow and we have to fight to get the lead,” said DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

Jean-Pierre Drucker (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) is now the overall leader.

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 Result:
1. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo in 3:48:49
2. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) RusVelo
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting
5. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
6. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Diego Milan (Dom) Team Differdange-Losch at 0:04
8. Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
9. Edwig Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis
10. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 8:26:49
2. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:05
3. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:14
4. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:17
6. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:22
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 0:24
8. Sebastien Delfosse (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles at 0:25
9. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:27
10. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Stage 2 winner Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) with André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo team.

A 205 kilometre long hilly stretch was on the menu during Saturday’s Stage 3 of Tour de Luxembourg where Tinkoff-Saxo have been dominated the turn of events with Matti Breschel’s stage win yesterday while Michael Mørkøv was second overall before the start of today’s stage.

Tom Dernies (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Pit Schlechter (Leopard Development Team), Ivan Balykin (RusVelo) and Ruben Menendez (Differdingen-Losch) formed the long-lasting breakaway while Trek Factory controlled the pace of the pack.

Entering the first of three laps on the hilly circuit in Differdange, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Mørkøv launched a bold attack in order to gain seconds in the GC and was shadowed by Trek Factory’s Fränk Schleck who decided to counter-attack and created a small lead but was soon neutralized.

Thundering out on the final lap, Greg Henderson and Daniel Teklehaimanot worked up a comfortable lead to the minimized field of favourites and hitting the foot of the climb Col de l’Europe, Fränk Schleck launched another attack and bridged to the front duo.

With 6 kilometres remaining, the pack was once again complete. But on the final climb, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel was catapulted forward by teammates Ivan Rovny and Oliver Zaugg and they held the pace high making it to the finish line where the Dane once more demonstrated superb form.

DS, Fabrizio Guidi had a hard time describing how happy he was: “Tactically, this is one of my best experiences in my time as sports director. We stayed close to the front in the first part of the stage without spending energy and in the finale, we did a perfect job. It sounds simple to catapult a rider onwards but most times, your opponents will have a chance to stay on your wheel. However, Ivan and Oliver did it at just the right time and place and we had three riders in the front group consisting of five, which is remarkable. Ivan and Oliver kept the pace high and on the finish line, Matti is just scarily fast at the moment and he took the stage win fairly easily. Now, we’re in the lead of the race. And we want to pack the leader’s jersey in our luggage when we leave the race tomorrow afternoon,” said an immensely proud Fabrizio Guidi.

RusVelo DS Sergey Ivanov, no stranger to these roads as a rider, said: “The race went just as planned, I knew what to expect of this course, and it was easier for us to determine our line of actions in advance. It was an extremely hard day, not just for the ups and downs but also because of the 30-degrees heat – it turned out a problem for many of the guys to adapt to it after a number of days spent in rain and cold. It’s about mind over matter actually, and our riders are in the right frame of mind these days. Ivan Balykin did a great job in the breakaway; it’s a pity that there were just four of them and no more strong riders bridged over, otherwise the escape could last till the end, and Ivan would have a good chance with his sprinting skills. When the escapees were caught, another race began, and RusVelo showed itself as a closely-knit team with a leader who sniffs his chance well. Sergey Lagutin is no sprinter by trade and we shouldn’t underestimate his coming in third. Now we’ve got one more day left to try and break through to the final standings podium, five seconds is a realistic gap to close”.

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo in 5:27:10
2. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis
3. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo
4. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:18
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Diego Milan Jimenez (Dom) Team Differdange-Losch
10. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo in 13:54:02
2. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 0:15
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
5. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo at 0:20
6. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:29
7. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:37
8. Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles at 0:42
9. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek at 0:50
10. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:55.

Double stage winner Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the podium. Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo Team.

With two stage wins and a second place adding Matti Breschel’s overall lead before the Final Stage 4 of Tour de Luxembourg today, you can say that Tinkoff-Saxo have been dominating the race completely already.

Sunday’s 168 kilometre long fourth and final stage was an undulating one and a break of nine riders were up the road. But the field was complete entering the circuit in Luxembourg where five laps were due. But then, riders were constantly moving up the road in the quest for glory but André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) was making the most promising move as he soloed off in the distance and with 4 kilometres to go, he had a lead of 50 seconds to the chasing bunch. And the big German completed the mission and took the stage win but Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel finished second in the bunch sprint behind – in due time to take the overall win of the race as well as the points classification.

André Greipel: “This victory is something different than normal. It was the first time in my pro career that I won solo. We really wanted to have someone in the break today, because there was a chance it would make it in this last stage. Eventually Greg and I got in the front group of nine. One of the guys was only standing at 1’43” in the GC, so that was quite dangerous. Luckily we managed to drop him.”

Tactically it was a very good final:”First Greg attacked, so I could safe myself a little bit even as it was hard to stay with the group. I joined Greg in the penultimate lap and he worked for me till the foot of the climb that led towards the finish. Then I covered the last lap on my own. Tactically we rode a really good final together. I had cramps at the end so it wasn’t easy on that steep climb. I had to go really hard there. In the last lap I started the climb with about thirty seconds advantage and I could hold off the chasers. This is of course a special victory because I reached the finish solo, but for me this is also a step towards the Tour de France. I am confident and the condition is well.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi was all smiles after the stage: “I knew we had a good opportunity of making a pretty decent result here but the boys really performed beyond my expectations. Today, a break went away at first and we had four riders working all day in front of the peloton to bring them back and they succeeded beautifully. On the final circuit, Andy Schleck launched a promising attack with a few followers but we remained cool as Oliver Zaugg and Ivan Rovny brought them back again. We couldn’t do anything about Greipel who was sensationally fast today but Matti finished second on the line and we can now finally celebrate for a number of reasons. Matti’s back in superb form, the team supported him perfectly, Michael (Mørkøv) finished 3rd overall and the results say it all,” said a happy sport director. Tinkoff-Saxo won the team classification as well.

RusVelo DS Sergey Ivanov summed up the race: “To take fifth in a 2.HC race is a good line in every rider’s palmares; you shouldn’t forget about a neat sum of UCI points Sergey Lagutin collected in these five days. Sergey has a definite potential to aim higher. But what I also would like to focus on is the performance of RusVelo as a whole. The rode in a well-organized and confident way, and I see the result of their evolution as a stark contrast to what they looked like in the first Belgian races earlier this season. Their colleagues take them seriously now, and that’s an all-important thing you can’t put into points and figures.”

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:04:54
2. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:14
3. Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis
5. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting
6. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek
9. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Rusvelo
10. Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Tour de Luxembourg Final Overall:
1. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo in 17:59:04
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:19
3. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:20
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 0:21
5. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Rusvelo at 0:26
6. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:35
7. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:43
8. Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles at 0:48
9. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 0:56
10. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:01.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel. Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo Team.

Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports 2014
The Belkin’s Theo Bos added the Tour of Zeeland Seaport to his palmares on Saturday, finishing off early work by his teammates skillfully to win in Goes. Ramon Sinkeldam of Team Giant-Shimano was second.

A leading group of seven riders dominated most of the race. But when the breakaway extended their lead to two and half minutes, Belkin Sports Director Michael Elijzen commanded his troops in green and black to take the front, ultimately reeling in the breakaway with just 10 kilometres to go and making a bunch sprint inevitable.

“It was quite a fight at the beginning of the race. There were many breakaway attempts,” said a satisfied Bos after the finish. “When the seven finally doe away, we began controlling the race. We rode hard but steady, without any really high efforts; 170 kilometres of riding like that can be quite tiring.” Team Belkin did get some help in the final. Two other fast sprinters, Kenny van Hummel of Androni Giocattoli and Ramon Sinkeldam of Team Giant-Shimano, put their teams at the front, too. But Bos bested Sinkeldam in the last kilometre.

“Giant-Shimano tried to get over our train in the last kilometre. We saw that coming. I jumped right onto Sinkeldam’s wheel after Graeme Brown indicated it,” continues Theo Bos. “I do not know who picked up the sprint for Giant-Shimano, but it was too long and he lost power. Sinkeldam had to start his sprint too early and I was on his wheel, an ideal position. It was not hard to out sprint him in the end.”

Elijzen said he was delighted with the 12th victory of his team this year. “We mapped out the whole race,” he said. “We knew we had to let a small group go and then take control of the race. Marc Goos and Rick Flens spent 170km off the front of the peloton. In the end, the Belkin sprint train took over and positioned Theo perfectly in the sprint. It’s been a while since Theo has won. This is nice for him personally and, of course, for the team. This was a very good performance by the team today. ”

Bos’s win at the Tour of Zeeland Seaports was his sixth victory of the season, and the team’s 12th. “A victory is always important, no matter where you earn it. This is a tricky race. The team was a great help to me today, and we’ll try just to enjoy the victory now.”
Thanks to the Belkin Team for the race info.

Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 4:24:17
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Stuttgart
5. Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continentalteam
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Johim Ariesen (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam
8. Egidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Team3M
9. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
10. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela.

Theo Bos on the podium (Photo: Belkin).

Alberto Contador at the Criterium du Dauphiné
“I’ll be in good shape, but without an obsession to win.”

Alberto Contador arrived on Friday in Lyon to take part in the Criterium du Dauphiné, where he reconnoitred the route of the prologue time trial. In a press conference held in afternoon, the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo offered his point of view on his return to competition after his last race, the Tour of the Basque Country, a couple of months ago.

What have you done since your last race this year and how have you been preparing?
“After Basque Country I had a rest period because the season had been very intense and I really needed it. From there, I have been gradually increasing the training load and I had a training camp in on Teide (Canary Islands), at low intensity, with the intention to recover after the Dauphiné.”

What is your goal in the Dauphiné?
“Is a key race for me, thinking about the Tour de France, but like other years I have said, it’s a race to get ready. We have worked very hard and come with good condition, but without having intensity because the Tour will be played in the last week and this year also I’ll go to the Vuelta a España. I’ll be in good shape, but without the obsession to win.”

This winter you said that Froome would be the reference in the Tour. Do you think the same or has something changed?
“I think the same. Froome has been very strong in the Tour the last two years and is the number one favourite. I’ll be very motivated at the start line, then we’ll see what happens, but yes, Froome is the top seed.”

What will be a good result for you in Dauphiné?
“To see my performance, have a good physical recovery, and especially in the 10 days following the end of the race, check that the motor is going well.”

That means if Froome won the Dauphiné clearly that does not affect your confidence?
“Confidence is a subjective factor and everyone looks at it from their point of view. Everyone has to draw their conclusions. Obviously, if you want to have options in the Tour, you have to have a good level in Dauphiné, but another thing is to win or not. I would have even more questions if I win, because I’ve never done it and then I will start thinking how it would be in the Tour.”

This year Nibali has had not important results, does that mean something or do you think he will be at his level in the Tour?
“With a rider like Nibali you have to expect that he will be as usual. Now he has rested and has also been in the Teide. He has a good plan to get to the Tour and today he has to be considered like a favourite despite the victories he has achieved or not.”

This year has been the best start for your entire career?
“At first I didn’t valued it that way, but then I began to read it in some places and the truth is that it has been so from the point of view of efficiency, because I’ve been first or second in every race I’ve been and I’ve taken advantage of many of the opportunities I had, winning or finishing in the top 3. And also for the level of the races where I have been.

How can you explain this?
“It was a completely different winter from the last 2 or 3 years. My day has revolved around the bike completely, to optimize training and rest, being aware that it was a very challenging year. When results do not come, for me it’s a challenge and an extra motivation. I’m back to the traditional calendar, giving up some early races this year that did not allow me to train with calm, and these have been the keys.”

Was a surprise to know that Sky will not have Wiggins in the Tour?
“Neither yes nor no. Each team will have a race plan and find the best group of riders at all levels. Wiggins has shown great form, but that will also give them a chance in the Vuelta a España.”

What will be the best stage to test yourself during this week?
“The seventh one, because the climbs are like in the Tour de France, with 8% slope and long, which is what marks the Tour and where you see your physical form.”

Is there a key day in this Tour, how important will the cobbles stage be?
“I think this Tour will be super open and entertaining to watch it on TV, because most days have something. Stages in England will be tough and edgy, then will come the cobbles, the Vosges, with two demanding stages, and almost below the Alps and then Pyrenees with several stages, plus the time trial. The cobbles stage will be very important, but not so decisive, unless you have a fall and you break something.”
Thanks to Jacinto Vidarte.


Cancellara Crashes During Training
Trek’s time trial multi-champion Fabian Cancellara crashed during a recognisance of the Tour de Suisse 24.5 kilometre race against the clock. According to announcements from the man himself on Twitter he crashed at 55 kilometres an hour and lost a lot of skin, but nothing was broken. He wrote: “Ouch that hurt…! Crashed 55km/h on TT bike. Lost alot of skin but could have been much worst…!” Cancellara rode the 60 kilometres home after the crash.

Fabian can handle a bike though:

Hushovd to Leave BMC
Thor Hushovd has told Norwegian television channel TV2 that he will not be riding for the BMC team next year after being told via a phone call that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the year. He said: I’m used to teams wanting me and then suddenly they tell me they’re no longer interested in me. It’s clear that it’s a disappointment. At the same time, I realize that I haven’t delivered the goods for the team for three years now, so it’s not a surprise.” The 32 year old still wants to ride for two more years and that other teams are interested in him.

And the best bit of Hushovd action:

Too Much Gel at the Giro?
There has been a lot of talk about how much hair gel the Belgian riders on the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team have been using, but this video shows it’s not just the Belgians that are at it:


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