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EuroTrash Monday!

It may be a rest day in the Tour de France but the EuroTrash never rests! Grab a drink, sit back and relax as we wind our way through all the latest results and happenings of the pro peloton from the last few, action packed days. It’s EuroTrash time!

Cadel On Top!
Cadel Evans has once again taken the leader’s jersey halfway through a GrandTour but the big question is, can he keep it? He has now led every GrandTour at the halfway point but has never once been able to take the leader’s jeresy to its final destination – could this time be the exception? Whatever the case he certainly has been worth his salary at BMC this year as without him they wouldn’t even be in the race and instead here they are leading the world’s biggest bike race. Keep it tuned to Pez later day for a full rest day wrapup and roadside report from Gord on the ground in the French Alps for all the latest.

The big news from yesterday’s stage of course was Lance’s demise and the subsequent inheritance of the RadioShack team leader title by Levi Leipheimer. Levi is currently well placed at just 2m14s from Evans and could be a dark horse bet for the podium. With more action happening at the back of the peloton as favourites were dropped than at the front yesterday, here’s a look at the current top 15 on GC and those who could still realistically challenge for the title:

Stage 8 General Classification
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 37:57:09
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:20
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:01:01
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma 0:01:03
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:01:10
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Transitions 0:01:11
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:01:45
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:14
9 Samuel Sбnchez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:02:15
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia 0:02:31
11 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:02:37
12 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 0:02:40
13 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:02:41
14 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky 0:02:45
15 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0:03:05

HTC-Columbia Prepare Hard Before Stages
Good to see the guys at HTC Columbia preparing hard before Stage 4 in a great photo from Mark Renshaw’s twitter. You would think that perhaps less than 2 hours before a stage start the team might be having a team talk, discussing tactics etc but no – everyone’s in their own world with their cell phone texting or twittering!

This Tour really seems to have gone twitter crazy in fact with most top favourites having their own twitter account that they are updating several times a day. Of course all theese twitterings mean even more ‘inside’ info for the public and journalists alike with us journalists regularly quoting from the various interesting twitterings – often with bad spelling and all!

Andreп Kashechkin Confirmed At Lampre
Unwanted by ex-best mate, Alexandre Vinokourov at Astana, Andreп Kascheckin has finally found a team willing to take him – Lampre. Kascheckin has brought with him a personal sponsor in the form of AMPO, a basque company which will basically pay his wages meaning that Lampre have picked up a possible GC hope for this year’s Vuelta without dipping into their own wallet!

What’s a Basque company doing as a personal sponsor of a Kazakh rider? Well AMPO just happens to have interests in Kazakhstan petroleum……..case closed!

Milram Down But Not Out
One team in the Tour de France who are truly desperate for results is the milk team of Germany’s Milram. With the sponsor Milram stopping sponsorship at the end of 2010 the Tour de France is the last possibility for the manager of the team, Gerry van Gerwen to impress possible new sponsors.

Milram have announced that they are open to the idea of being a smaller sponsor for the team if Van Gerwen could find another title sponsor but unfortunately that search has been in vain for the moment. Van Gerwen is even hoping that Milram could possibly change their mind and agree to continue to sponsor the team with a last ditch meeting to be held in the coming days between Van Gerwen and Milram and an announcement expected on the 2nd rest day in Pau.

Also losing their sponsor at the end of the year are Caisse d’Epargne and their manager, Josй Miguel Echavarri has not been able to find a replacement either. At this stage the famous Spanish team that has been known under various names throughout the years, Banesto, Reynolds, Illes Balears etc and has been in the peloton since 1980 looks like it will be coming to an end. Management have been complaining that cycling is seen in a bad light in Spain due to doping problems (Alejandro Valverde anyone??) and that this has complicated the search for sponsors. Echavarri hasn’t given up hope yet but admits that if he doesn’t find a sponsor soon then his riders and staff will start signing for other teams.

Cheque’s In The Post?
Still on teams that are searching for the miracle sponsor to arrive – perhaps Bbox’s Jean-Renй Bernaudeau has found that miracle – in his letterbox! Okay, not quite ‘in’ his letterbox but the sponsor is closely related – it’s ‘La Poste’, the French Postal Service. Reports from France are stating that Bernaudeau has in fact signed a contract with La Poste but nothing has been confirmed to the press neither via Bernaudeau himself nor from La Poste. Hopefully the news is true as it would be sad to see a great French team like Bernaudeau’s dissapear from the peloton after many great years in the top game under various names, Bbox, Bonjour, Brioches La Boulangere etc

Americans On Top In Italy
The American ladies had a great race in the Giro d’Italia Femminile this last week winning the overall title with Mara Abbott and topping off a successful tour with their sprinter Shelley Evans taking the final stage. The last stage was held on the racing circuit of the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix and it was a tight affair strictly controlled by the Americans and the other sprinter’s teams with Evans capping off the stage with a quality sprint victory.

Overall just a superb tour for the Americans and their riding was a testament to good tactics, strong legs and great teamwork – always a winning recipe!

Final General CLasiifcation:
1. Mara Abbott (USA) United States National Team
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) HTC-Columbia 2’05”
3. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Team Valdarno @ 3’05”
4. Claudia Hдusler (Ger) Cervйlo TestTeam @ 5’26”
5. Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervйlo TestTeam @ 7’29”

Young riders jersey: Marianne Vos (Ned) Netherlands National Team
Points jersey: Marianne Vos (Ned) Netherlands National Team
Mountains jersey: Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervйlo TestTeam
Best Italian jersey: Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Team Valdarno

McEwen Sees Red
Imagine you’re sprinting at 60kph after a tough Tour de France stage you cross the line in 4th place then BAM, you’re on the ground after somebody stepped into your path sending you hurling through the air to unceremoniously land on your back on the hot, hard asphalt.

Well this is exactly what happened to Robbie McEwen after Friday’s stage and he had the following to say via twitter on the incident,

Un-f-believable. Got taken out at 60km/h by a podium chaperone 75m after finish. He literally jumped in front & ran into me. Nothing broken.

My back is so sore. I want him identified and expelled. Just too ridiculous for words what he did. I hope I can ride tmoro. I mean WTF.

McEwen went one step further speaking to the press later stating that the actions by this particular gentlemen could cost Robbie 1.5million Euros!!!! Always one to think with his wallet, Robbie knows the value of a green jersey win in the Tour de France.

Talking to Australian Newspaper, ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, Robbie stated,

”I am still very close in the green jersey competition [third on 105 points]. Now I’ve got another injury to deal with and that can effectively ruin my chances.
It could cost me hundreds of thousands of euros what he just did. A crash in the race is a racing incident. That’s part of the game. A crash like [Friday’s] has nothing to do with racing. He shouldn’t have done what the did. Basically, if he ruins my Tour … then he is responsible. That’s costing me money.

Winning a green jersey, that’s worth hundreds of thousands of euros. You go now and win the green jersey, that’s worth a $1.5 million contract.”

Injured Cobra Strikes Back In Austria
Riccardo Ricco may not be popular, but he sure rode well in the Tour of Austria this last week and a half to secure a quality win to add to his tainted past palmares. It was in the mountains of course where ‘The Cobra’ damaged the rest of the field winning the two most important stages of the race and building a seemingly unsurmountable lead. That huge lead almost wasn’t enough though as during the time trial on Stage 7 Ricco crashed into a parked motorcycle, breaking his nose and severly cutting his knee. Ricco was able to remount and finish the stage with luckily for him still enough time up his sleeve over his main rivals – the CarmioOro NGC duo of Emmanuelle Sella and Sergio Pardilla.

With only one flat ‘sprint’ stage remaining, Ricco was stitched and bandaged up and in obvious pain but he was able to finish the stage won by Graeme Brown safely in the peloton and in the same time as his rivals.

Stage Results Since Thursday:
Stage 5: Nick Nuyens (Rabobank) took a great win on a tough ‘classics’ like day.
Stage 6: Andre Greipel (HTC Columbia) won his 2nd stage of the race with another great sprint.
Stage 7: Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) rode a superb time trial to take the victory a mere 11s ahead of HTC Columbia’s Patrick Gretsch.
Stage 8: Graeme Brown continued the amazing race for Rabobank with yet another stage win for the team and the first win of the year for him after many, many 2nd places this year. The man he relegated to 2nd place? A certain green jersey winning Andre Greipel.

Final General Classification:
1 RICCO, Riccardo CERAMICA FLAMINIA 3:35:30
2 PARDILLA, Sergio Carmiooro – NGC 00.00.38
3 SELLA, Emanuele Carmiooro – NGC 00.01.49
4 MACHADO, Tiago RadioShack 00.02.31
5 OVECHKIN, Artem Team Katusha 00.02.34
6 GUSEV, Vladimir Team Katusha 00.03.48
7 DENIFL, Stefan Cervelo TestTeam 00.04.17
8 POSSONI, Morris Team Sky 00.04.28
9 HERMANNS, Ben RadioShack 00.05.04
10 WEENING, Pieter Rabobank 00.05.07

He Won Our Tour But We Don’t Like Him
Often enough in the peloton we hear stories that certain riders are not liked by their peers but it’s not often that a rider actually comes out in the press stating their feelings, but that’s exactly what Stefan Denifl (Cervйlo) has done in Austria.

Speaking about the GC ‘stars’ in the Tour of Austria, convicted dopers Riccardo Ricco and Emanuele Sella, Denifl stated,

“I don’t understand why they were invited. Cycling has a bad image in Austria and then there’s that. Ricco wins and the media jokes. Even in their own country they weren’t invited.”

“I speak on behalf of most of the Austrian cyclists because none of them have the opportunity or the courage to say this publicly.”

Quickstep Signs Young Talent
Just as the contract announcement season starts rolling into gear, Quickstep have announced this weekend that they have signed 20year old Belgian U/23 time trial champion, Julien Vermote to a 2 year contract. Most announcements of new riders or contract extensions are traditionally made during the 1st or 2nd rest day at the Tour de France, but Quickstep got in early with this announcement with Vermote ticking all the boxes as far as Quickstep is concerned, he’s young, full of talent and most importantly he’s Belgian!

Also announced from Quickstep was the 1 year extension in contract of their Italian, Dario Cataldo. Cataldo rode an amazing Giro for the team this year being in countless breakaways throughout the race and performing well overall. The 25 year old is a strong attacker, solid climber and also a good time triallist finishing 2nd in the recent Italian Time Trial Championships.

Look for more contract announcements to come from other teams soon with of course all the big signings to be detailed in EuroTrash Mondays and Thursdays. If the rumour mill is correct the Swiss BMC team of current yellow jeresey holder, Cadel Evans have seemingly offered at least 10 different climbers a contract……..we’ll wait for confirmations before naming names though as the rumour mill isn’t always known for its accuracy during Tour time!

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