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EuroTrash Thursday!

With his time trial performance Chris Froome has laid out his stall for this year’s Tour de France win, but it’s a long way to Paris yet and the last week is brutal. We have the results, video and quotes from the Tour, plus lots of other news and videos to get you through the weekend. It’s a Tour EuroTrash Thursday, baby!

TOP STORY: McQuaid Changes Mind on Pantani!
Last week UCI president Pat McQuaid announced that 1998 Tour de France winner Marco Pantani would be stripped of his victory if it was found that his sample taken before the start of the race shows a trace of EPO. McQuaid had angered Pantani’s parents as his proposal goes against UCI rules. First it would be after the 8 year statute of limitations and that the proper procedure were not fulfilled at the time of the tests in 2004.

In a Press Release: McQuaid concedes that the tests were not carried out according to the proper standards and that the riders had not given consent and that their anonymity had not been respected. He also stated that “I sincerely hope that these words may have provided some clarification and solace and that we may preserve the wonderful image and memories we have of Marco Pantani.” He confirms that no action will be taken against the dead rider by saying: “If by any chance the name Marco Pantani does come up during the activities of the Senate of the French Republic, there would not be, according to our information, any grounds for any steps to be taken.”

The 44 samples of the 60 taken just before the start of the 1998 Tour will be announced by the French Senate after the finish of the Tour de France. It will be interesting to see if all the riders of the Festina team will show positive for EPO, if not that would throw up some interesting questions.

This is a very nice tribute to Pantani; “In Everlasting Memory of MARCO PANTANI” by Francesco Magna, one wonders if we will ever see similar tributes to Lance Armstrong?

San Diego’s Ken Hanson Takes $15,000 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix
Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg Wins Third Straight B.C. Superweek Event

Press Release: With the historic whistle chime of the famous Gastown steam clock playing Westminster Quarters every 15 minutes setting the scene, San Diego’s Ken Hanson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) took top spot in the 40th anniversary of the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix Wednesday night.

A huge crowd created a buzz that continued to build as the men did 50-laps of a 1.2-kilometer circuit in downtown Vancouver, racing over the same cobblestones as cycling greats Lance Armstrong, Alex Stieda and Canadian Olympians like Brian Walton.

Backed by a five-year, $1-million commitment from tech company Global Relay, the historic Gastown Grand Prix returned last year after a four year hiatus.

The win is Hanson’s second of B.C. Superweek after claiming the Brenco Criterium on Saturday and he’s quick to credit his teammates for the $15,000 cheque he gets to take home.

“It really was an Optum team effort the whole day, we kept it controlled and we wanted it to be a sprint,” Hanson said. “We had a lot of confidence that Eric and I could have a really good finish and I’m just really happy to finish for the team, the guys were amazing for us.”

“We were a little disorganized at the top of the course, but then Ryan Anderson did a really good job of getting us organized and back up to speed,” continued Hanson. “Eric (Young) decided to take the front just before the second-to-last corner and just keep the pace really high and that allowed for me to get a really good sprint for the finish.”

With a five podium appearances thus far through five races during B.C. Superweek, Hanson wouldn’t speculate on his Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies chances in Thursday’s Giro di Burnaby.

“We’re not greedy about it, we’re just happy that we got a win and along with second place too,” Hanson added. “We’re happy to defend Gastown and win it again, it’s a great race.”

In second place, Eric Young, also of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, was just a split second behind Hanson in the final sprint to the finish line. He noted that they had a distinct game plan heading into the final few laps.

“We were just planning for me to go out on the last corner, but felt the surge coming on the back stretch so I went a little bit earlier and just soft pedalled it through the last straightaway and then onto the last corner just put my head down and gave it everything I had,” Young said. “I knew Ken was right there and no one is going to beat him to the line, so I gave it everything I could to give him the best chance out of that corner and I was able to get second, which is really the icing on the cake for us.”

One of the underlying stories of this year’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is that of Zach Bell, the 2013 Canadian Elite Men’s National Road Race champion and former Canadian Olympian. The 30-year-old broke away from the field with just about a quarter of the 50 lap, 60 kilometre race to go and when it looked like Bell might come away with the win, he was caught by Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, which had six riders in the race.

“We knew we didn’t want to catch Zach too early and Christian (Meier) was up there earlier as well,” Young explained. “If you catch them too early and kind of blow some of your guys, then you’re left a little stranded, so we knew we had to just feather it, and that’s exactly what we did. Once we caught Zach, then it was about managing the rest of the field and keeping everyone in check for the last lap.”

As for Bell, he chased down ORICA-GreenEDGE rider Christian Meier to open a commanding lead on the pack.

“I saw him go and I was keeping an eye on the board,” an exhausted Bell said. “It looked like the Optum guys were a little bit under pressure and it was worth the gamble. The one mistake I did make was that I thought it was seven to go when I went, but it was actually something like twelve.”

“Hats off to the Optum guys, I’ve ridden with that team before,” Bell added. “I have all the respect in the world for those guys, they are the greatest guys and it’s awesome to see them take home another one.”

Germany’s Florenz Knauer was third for the second straight B.C. Superweek event after finishing in the same spot during Tuesday’s UBC Grand Prix. Knauer made the overseas trip to race with Team Baier Lanshut, which as a team, now has three podiums as part of B.C. Superweek.

With a 300 metre sprint to the finish line, Winnipeg’s Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) almost made it look easy, winning the 30 lap, 36 kilometre Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix women’s race by just over three bike lengths ahead of Gillian Carleton of Victoria (Specialized-lululemon) and Nashville, Tennessee’s Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis for MS).

“It was definitely a very aggressive race, Team NOW and Novartis for MS has eight riders here and they definitely used their full strength,” said a beaming Kirchmann after crossing the finish line. “Luckily I have an amazing team behind me and they covered attack after attack.”

Kirchmann’s Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies was down a lead out rider with three laps to go, which caused some anxious moments, but they were able to persevere for her to get the win and claim the $8,000 top prize, which is the largest for a women’s criterium in North America.

“I was a little bit worried because one of our lead out rider’s derailleur kind of exploded, but then another teammate was able to string it out with two to go,” Kirchmann explained. “I just sort of drifted wheels for the last lap and was able to put in a good sprint at the end.”

“I have to give a huge thanks to my teammates Denise (Ramsden), Grace (Alexander), and Amber (Gaffney),” Kirchmann added. “When you have a domestique helping out, it means that when other teams start talking, they can cover those attacks so I can sit out of the way and do the least amount of work possible, so they make the sprinters job a lot easier.”

The win is Kirchmann’s third straight victory after winning the UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday and the Delta Road Race on Sunday.

“We’ve had such an amazing time so far at BC Superweek,” Kirchmann expressed. “I really
want to say a huge thanks to all the volunteers, all the sponsors, all the fans, it’s just been incredible.”

Gillian Carleton, who won a bronze medal for Canada in the team pursuit with Tara Whitten and Jasmin Glaesser at the 2012 Summer Olympics, was coming off a disappointing UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday when she pushed it with half a lap to go and fell into the hay bales, but the Victoria native redeemed herself with a solid race and second place finish at the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.

“I kind of stayed near the back for most of the race because I hurt my hand pretty bad last night and didn’t want to push it too much,” Carleton said. “Leah just had such a great lead that when I saw her go around that last corner with so much speed, I couldn’t match it.”

The 24-year-old is in her first road season as professional rider was thrilled to make the podium in her home province after celebrating her first UCI victory in May, taking the win in Stage 5 of the inaugural Tour Languedoc Roussillon in the south of France.

“It’s always a pleasure racing here in B.C. and the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is probably one of my favourite events,” Carlton said smiling. “There are so many crowds here, I can’t thank everyone enough.”

The podium at B.C. Superweek is becoming familiar real estate to Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis for MS) as well. After a first place finish in Saturday’s Brenco Criterium and a third place finish in Sunday’s White Spot | Delta Road Race, Farina was third in the sprint at the Gastown Grand Prix.

“Our team’s goal was to keep this thing fast and furious, knowing that we don’t have a pure
sprinter, but we have a couple girls who can jump,” said Farina. “Our goal was to just be on the offensive all night – make Optum Kelly Benefit Strategies work and make Vanderkitten work.”

“At the end we got super fast, Maura Kinsella attacked with one to go to make it really fast and that allowed me to sit on Leah, but she’s a very quick sprinter and all I did was just go for it,” Farina continued. “Gillian has a fantastic jump, and we just got beat by two fabulous racers.”

BC Superweek continues with the Giro di Burnaby (July 11) and the Tour de White Rock (races
on July 12, 13, 14).

Grasstown GP Men Pro, 1,2 Result:
1. Hanson Ken (US) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in 1:17:47.60
2. Young Eric (US) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
3. Knauer Florenz (Ger) Team Baier Landshut
4. Anderson Ryan (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
5. Nankervis Tommy (Aus) BISSELL Pro Cycling Team
6. Aleman Demis (Arg) Jamis Hagens Berman
7. Smith Dion (Nzl) Predator Carbon Repair
8. O’Reilly Cody (US) Predator Carbon Repair
9. Dahl Kristofer (Can) Team H&R Block
10. Veal Ed (Can) RealDeal / Gears p/b Fieldgate.

Grasstown GP Women Pro, 1, 2, 3 Result:
1. Kirchmann Leah (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in 52:40.40
2. Carleton Gillian (Can) Specialized-lululemon
3. Farina Robin (US) NOW and Novartis for MS
4. Schemmer Jana (Ger) RSV Unna
5. Lehmann Jenny (Can) Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes
6. Hanson Lauretta (Aus)
7. Anderson Elle (US) Vanderkitten
8. Guloien Leah (Can) Colavita Fine Cooking
9. Gorry Devon (US) NOW and Novartis for MS
10. Gilgen Jamie (Can) Infinit Canada / Cyclepower.

Tour de France 2013
The action on Stage 10 was kicked off by local boy Julien Simon (Sojasun) as soon as the flag dropped; he was joined by Jerome Cousin (Europcar), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Luis Mate (Cofidis) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM). They managed to stay out in front until the last 6 kilometres where they were they were swept up and the sprinters got themselves ready for the dash to the line. The GC rider’s teams rode on the front due to the tricky winds in the area before the sprint trains took over. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step wanted to run things, but Lotto Belisol and Argos-Shimano had other ideas. Lotto won the battle and brought André Greipel to the front at just the right moment, but Marcel Kittel had the edge to come over him on the line. Mark Cavendish bumped against Tom Doumilon as he drifted back from leading Kittel out, Doumilon hit the ground and Cavendish lost his chance of a win. Peter Sagan was 4th, but didn’t have his Cannondale riders on the front to help him. All the top men finished safely and ready for Wednesday’s time trial.

Race Quotes:
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) finished on the podium despite making contact with Kittel’s leadout man, Tom Veelers, while trying to go left. Veelers crashed as a result of the contact. “For the sprint we ran out of guys and Gert went early with just under a kilometre to go,” Cavendish said. “It would have been too far if I had tried to go with him. I tried to get on another train, and just got beat. We could have done things a little bit differently, but that’s bike racing.”

“The road was bearing left, 150 meters to go the road bears left,” Cavendish said of the contact made with Veelers. “I went to come round Veelers as he dropped the wheel, but he moved right. Unfortunately we touched elbows and with the difference of speed, he crashed. I do not believe there is fault on either side, but I hope he is ok.”

“About Kittel…he is good,” Cavendish said of the stage winner. “I think it’s disrespectful to make it out as a big loss for us when he wins. He’s an incredible bike rider. His team rode really well. It would have been nice to win today but he’s an incredible sprinter and deserves the credit.”

Tour de France 2013 stage-10

Movistar’s Jonathan Castroviejo: “Three days ago I crashed along with Nairo and suffered a hard blow on my chest against a banner. I thought it wasn’t serious, but day by day, I’m suffering more and more, so we think there’s a break in one of my ribs. We didn’t undergo any X-ray yet because I stand the suffering well on the bike, but should the injury continue to disturb me, I’ll do some checks to know exactly what I have and be more calm. When you’re riding close to the limit the pain is softer, mainly because the legs hurt more. These nervous stages on rough roads are even harder than those with mountains.

“Apart from that, I’m happy because I feel in good form and progressing well. Tomorrow’s stage is marked down into my TdF goals since the very start, but the tail wind that’s likely to happen might benefit heavier riders. I hope to perform well, something like the TT I made in the Dauphiné. I’d like to be top five, but we have to wait and see how the wind blows, because it might become decisive depending on the start times. The number-one favourite is Tony Martin. You could argue Froome is also a favourite due to his form level, but such a flat TT, with tail winds, is ideal for Martin.

“What I’m noticing the most into my first Tour is the nervousness into the bunch, especially in the opening few days – it was pure madness. Now, it seems like the mountains are taking their toll, and I hope we are less and less riders fighting for position at front in the remainder of the race! (Laughs)-”

Lampre-Merida’s sprinter Roberto Ferrari: “I’m disappointed I could not battle for a good result until the end of the sprint, but I think it’s a success I could escape hitting Veelers when I suddenly saw him on the ground just ahead of my bike,” Roberto Ferrari said at the end of the stage to Saint Malo. “This kind of sprint suites me well, since I’m skilful in exploiting the work by the leading trains of other teams and pedalling in winding roads,” Ferrari commented. “So, I asked my team mates to bring me to the lead positions and they did it in the perfect way, then it was my turn to set me on the best opponent’s wheel. I was trying to protect myself from the wind and then to start my action, when Veelers crashed, so I had to give up my ambitions.”

The Saxo-Tinkoff team came to the front in the last 10 kilometres: “We knew that the wind could be a factor on today’s stage and when we went to the front in the finale, it was primarily to support Alberto and to make sure he wasn’t caught behind. And the boys did a fantastic job. Constantly, they were around him and they guided him all the way to the finish line. On tomorrow’s flat time trial, our main objective is to limit the losses, as we know that Froome is a bigger specialist than Alberto in this discipline. However, I’m seeing a still stronger Alberto and I hope he’ll peak his shape next week,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

Tour de France Stage 10 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:53:25
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5. William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Kévin Reza (Fra) Europcar
9. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 10:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 41:52:43
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:25
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 1:44
4. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 1:50
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:51
6. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 2:02
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 2:28
9. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 2:31
10. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 2:45.

Stage 10 finalé:

The Stage 11 time trial was, as expected, won by Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Tony Martin who had recovered from his terrible crash on stage 1. Chris Froome (Sky) looked to be winning the 33 kilometre time trial as he was ahead of Martin at all the split times, but in the last eleven windy kilometres the Kenyan born rider lost his speed to finish just 12 seconds slower than the World time trial champion. The important results for the overall showed that Chris Froome had gained time on everyone: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 2 minutes, Bauke Mollema (Belkin) 1:51, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) 2:03, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) 3:17, Cadel Evans (BMC) 2:18 and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) 3:24. Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin) lost his 4th place to Contador as he dropped to 6th as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) dropped one place and Dan Martin went from his well deserved 8th after his stage win to 13th.

Probably the most unfortunate rider in the TT was Mark Cavendish who had a cup of urine thrown over him during the race against the clock. You can only guess that it must have been due to the previous days sprint debacle where the Manxman and Tom Veelers bumped and the Argos-Shimano rider crashed.

Mont-Saint-Michel - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - c
9th Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) at 1:45.

Race Quotes:
Stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “The goal was always to continue the Tour de France because it’s a big honour for me to be here,” Martin said. “When the doctors gave me the OK to stay in the Tour de France I always kept the focus on today’s stage. I knew I wouldn’t be 100 percent for the team time trial, but I knew I had a good chance to recover for today. I had all the support from the team staff to get me in the best condition that is possible after the crash. They did a fantastic job and can say the crash didn’t affect my performance today.”

“The recon this morning was very useful and I went very fast for the entire course,” Martin said. “I knew that the final kilometres were really windy so I saved some energy for the final. I made the right choice considering how the race went. My times stayed the best all the way until Froome in yellow as the last rider on course. It was super disappointing when I saw his intermediates — the first one I was a second behind and the second, two seconds behind. I thought ‘man, if I get beat now by one or two seconds, just put the bike away and go home’. But, he lost some seconds in the final. For sure the stage suited me more than Froome, but in the climbs you can see he has incredible power. Still, it doesn’t matter if you win by one second or one minute. Now I’m really happy with this victory and really motivated for the next days. I’m also really happy for the team as I think it gives us a lot of morale with a second stage win. In this way, we can continue with confidence.”

Second overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I’m supper happy. I think it was a good day as well for myself as for the team. We’ve got over of the most important days for us in this race, though it’s obvious that all mountains still ahead are serious and we have to give our best. Leaving Froome aside – all of us know he’s a step above the rest – I did quite the same times of the other main favourites, or even better. TT’s are suffering, suffering and suffering, even more when you have such a fast parcours – I made almost 52 kph average, and that proves it was a day for heavier guys, bigger specialists than I am, but I’m in good form and morale and things turned out well. It’s true that I didn’t have the best feelings at the start of the time trial. I might have been too still after warming up and that cost me losing a bit of time getting the nerves on. Still, the time references were good from the very start, and that made me more confident to give 100%. It’s my best-ever performance on flat TT’s in the Tour, completely sure.”

“As I stated, Froome is one step above the rest, and though I’m always looking towards the top, I’m also paying attention at the other rivals – Mollema was the only one to put time on me, just seven seconds, which are nothing in 33km. I was faster than all the other guys: Alberto, Purito… I think that’s good. Now it’s time for three flat stages before the next mountains, but those won’t be easy at all. All days are hard at the Tour; that legend of easy days in France is false. There’s a 218km stage ahead tomorrow and we’ll have to stay attentive, protecting ourselves against the wind, staying away from crashes. The team has been superb so far – I always say it, but it’s crucial to have such great support beside me, and I must thank you all of them once again for that.”

Saxo-Tinkoff team captain, Alberto Contador comments: “It was a time trial where I saw that Froome is at a level above the rest of the pack, ‘chapeau’ to him. However, not being in the best condition, I think I have done a good time trial comparing to other GC riders. It surely wasn’t the perfect course for me so I’m happy about my own performance. I hope that the last week in the Alps will be better for me. From now on, we take the race day by day. Every day I’m feeling a little better and that’s always encouraging. I’m still in contention for sure. There are some tricky stages coming up. Cycling is one of these sports where a lot of unsuspected things can happen and if you have one bad day you can lose everything. We will do what we can to get as close to the win as possible and we’re also here as creators”, said Contador.

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team climbed up two spots to 14th in the overall standings following Wednesday’s individual time trial, Evans finished 21st in the 33-kilometer race, 2:30 off the winning time of world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and 2:18 behind Chris Froome (Sky), who increased his overall lead to 3:25 with 10 stages to go. “My time wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything particularly special,” Evans said. “Looking toward Paris and the end of the race, it would have been ideal to take back more time on some of the rivals ahead of me, but I didn’t have it in the legs today to do better. From here, I hope to improve myself for the next set of mountains and the next time trial and keep moving ahead on the GC (general classification).” Evans said he will try to rest up and stay safe on the next two flat stages. “There’s always things that can go wrong, which, of course, we always want to avoid,” he said. “Hopefully, we can recover and rest up a bit because Saturday, the Lyon stage is not going to be easy and, on Sunday, Mount Ventoux is going to be the next really big shake up of the GC contenders.”

Belkin’s Bauke Mollema picked up seven seconds on Alejandro Valverde in the time trial and his team mate Laurens ten Dam rode a very good time trial, but slid two places in the GC and will start tomorrow in sixth.

Laurens ten Dam: “I did better than the Dutch time trial champion. I think that says everything about my performance. It’s really starting to look good now. I’m sixth in the GC and we only have to climb from now on. It will be hard to make up for the time I lost to Contador, but in the Pyrenees I’ve showed I can drop him. I just need to be focussed until we reach Paris.”

Bauke Mollema: “I am extremely satisfied with how it went today. On a flat parcours like this I really did not expect to finish as high as I did. It’s very cool to have ridden faster than Contador for example. There really were not any TT specialists in the top ten of the GC, but my form is at a very nice level and I think that showed again today.”

Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez was 3:29 down on Tony Martin: “Obviously races against the clock are not suitable to my characteristics, even if I had good feelings today. I expected a slower ITT when I made the reconnaissance in April: instead today, thanks also to the tailwind, we all kept a faster than expected pace. I think I was fast too, if we consider I’ve almost kept a 50 km/h average speed. It’s obvious in this moment Froome is stronger than anyone else: he’s great both in the mountains and in races against the clock. But the competition is still very long and hard for everybody, as I’ve already said before. I hope to be in my best shape during the last week, in order to try something in the Alps.”

Tour de France Stage 11 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 36:29
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 1:01
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 1:21
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:31
6. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:35
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:37
8. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 1:43
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 1:45
10. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar at 1:52.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 11:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 42:29:24
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 3:25
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 3:37
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 3:54
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 3:57
6. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 04:10
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 4:44
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 5:18
9. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 5:37
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5:39.

Stage 11 TT:

Frank Schleck to Astana?
After the termination of his contract with RadioShack Leopard Trek and his imminent return to racing it is rumoured that he has been offered a contract to ride for Astana. He would be with the team to the end of the year, with the possibility of a contract for 2014. If this is true he would ride alongside Giro d’Italia winner; Vincenzo Nibali in the Vuelta a España. There is one problem; the Astana team is member of MPCC and part of their rules are that teams may not contract a rider who has been given more than a 6 month suspension until after 2 years of the ban. Astana only have 29 contracted riders so does have space for Frank.

For its part; the Astana team dismiss the reports as “imagination” and that the team intends to stay a part of the MPCC and so could not sign Frank Schleck. The RadioShack Leopard team, which will be Trek next year, is not a member of MPCC and so could re-sign Frank for 2014 after current team owner Flavio Becca leaves the present team set up.

Renshaw to go Back to Cavendish?
Another strong rumour is that Mark Renshaw will be jumping the Belkin ship to rejoin Mark Cavendish to help in his sprint train at Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. A Twitter was quickly deleted along the lines of “can I have my old job back” to OPQS DS Brian Holm which fanned the rumour fire. A better lead-out man for Cavendish probably couldn’t be found as they racked up a fair amount of win when they rode together at HTC.

Euskaltel-Euskadi in Trouble?
According to Biciciclismo the Euskaltel-Euskadi team is “at risk of disappearing at the end of this season if a large International sponsor does not appear in the next 45 days.” Team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano had spoken of a problem but it was confirmed by the main sponsor; Basque phone company Euskaltel. The sponsor confirmed it cannot sustain the team’s budget and needs to find a first or second sponsor. The team is for sale with a WorldTour licence until 2016, but the UCI money guarantees have to be filed by August for the next year and time is running out. The team costs around €9 million and Euskaltel contribute €3.5 million and had to pay the €3.5 that should have come from the Basque institutions which can no longer afford. The most important riders on the team have contracts in place, Igor Anton, Ion Izaguirre and Mikel Landa through 2014, and Samuel Sanchez and Mikel Nieve until the end of 2015. The team started in 1994 is the tale of two decades about to die?

Gilbert Extends Contract With BMC Racing Team
Press Release: World road champion Philippe Gilbert has extended his contract with the BMC Racing Team, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Tuesday.

Aiming For Another World Title
“We are pleased to announce that Philippe has extended his contract through the 2016 season,” Ochowicz said. “After the Tour de France, he will focus on the one day ProTour races and his defense of his world championship title. Our future years together offer many opportunities to capture victories in his favorite races.” Gilbert, who has a pair of runner-up finishes among 14 top 10 placings this season, said he still has several goals in mind. “Most important are the classics,” he said. “I have a really strong team for this, so I will focus in the future on them. I think the one-day races are my specialty.” Gilbert said he hopes to become the first repeat winner of the world road title since Paolo Bettini in 2006 and 2007. “For sure it’s a big goal,” he said. “I’m already starting to think about this. My ambition is to finish this Tour with good condition and then go to the Vuelta and come better again.”

Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014?
Oleg Tinkov has said that he wants more involvement in the Saxo-Tinkoff team and the next move could be that the Tinkoff bank would be the first named sponsor as opposed to the present Saxo-Tinkoff. The Russian bank owner has also stated that he wants more involvement in the signing of riders, but would not be buying the teams WorldTour licence from manager Bjarne Riis at this moment. Statements will be made at the end of the Tour de France in Paris.

Another Armstrong Court Case
In the Travis County Court, Judge Darlene Byrne denied a request by Armstrong’s attorneys to dismiss a $3 million law suit from Acceptance Insurance Holdings. The case concerns the money’s paid to Armstrong for his bonuses for his wins in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tour de France. The argument is based on the statute of limitations which expired in 2011; the insurance company argued that the case began when Armstrong publicly admitted his doping. The case possibly opens Armstrong to further lawsuits.

100 Year’s of the Tour
Here is a great new piece of work from The Hand Made Cyclist.com. They have created a interactive website that will feature 100 stories from 100 years of the tour, presented to look like book covers.

Part 1 is now live and they will be adding new stories in time for each rest day. You can see it here: www.thehandmadecyclist.com/tour.

Peter “The Tourminator” Sagan
How did it all happen, where did he come from and how good is he? All questions answered in the video “The Rise of Peter Sagan” from xbilliejeanx3. Great stuff:

Orica-GreenEdge: Rock & Roll!
If you missed this on Monday here is another chance. Watch out for Eddy Merckx and Philippe Gilbert making an appearance.

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be in there too.


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