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EuroTrash Rest Day Wrap!

It’s the second rest day at the Tour de France, but no time to ease up at EuroTrash with all the Tour news to catch up with. We have all the rider quotes, results and video as usual. Tony Martin and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke are in other cycling news and a Backstage Pass from Orica-GreenEDGE.

TOP STORY: Nothing Changes in Yorkshire
You would have thought that the general public in the England would have taken note of the popularity of cycling after the unbelievable turn out of fans on the roads of Yorkshire and as an extension of that; be more aware of cyclist on the road. It appears not.

It was with sadness that we learnt that 1950’s Tour de France rider Brian Robinson was involved in an accident while cycling on his home Yorkshire roads. The 83 year old spent the night in hospital with multiple bruises, lacerations and a suspected broken collar bone. Robinson was the first British rider to finish the Tour de France, in 1955, and then three years later the first British Tour stage winner.

So having all those millions of spectators at the road-side doesn’t seem to have changed the attitude of the British driver towards cyclists, a good chance missed by the sound of it. Everyone at PEZ wishes Brian has a fast recovery as he a true gentleman and a grand champion.

The Yorkshire start of the Tour de France:

TdF_headerTour de France 2014
Alexander Kristoff won the gallop in Saint-Etienne as green jersey wearer Peter Sagan lamented one more loss at the end of Stage 12.

Dutch champion Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp) kicked off the break and was joined by Gregory Rast (Trek), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), David De La Cruz (NetApp-Endura) and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). They got a maximum lead of 4.50 at Fleurie after 43 kilometres. Giant-Shimano’s Chinese rider – and lanterne rouge – Ji Cheng, the “breakaway killer” led the peloton.

De La Cruz heavily crashed in a curve in Le Bois-d’Oingt and was forced to quit the Tour with a broken collarbone. Langeveld went down as well but managed to get back on. At half way into the race, Europcar came to the front of the bunch to help Giant-Shimano. The time gap was reduced to 2.15 with 50km to go. The long climb of the Col des Brosses saw Vachon and Rast were dropped and Clarke soloed off, while Perrig Quémeneur and Cyril Gautier (Europcar) went clear of the peloton.

After the last climb on the route, Quémeneur and Gautier reinforced Clarke at the front with 20km to go. 5 kilometres out; Gautier and Clarke were reeled in and Cannondale took control for Peter Sagan to win a bunch sprint, but Alexander Kristoff, the only Norwegian in the race, dominated the sprint from far out. The 27 year old from Stavanger put an end to three years of a Norwegian draught at the Tour since Edvald Boasson Hagen won stage 17 to Pinerolo in 2011.

Stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): It’s a great feeling. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was a child. I’ve had some second places this year and also last year, but to finally achieve a first is fantastic. My teammate Luca did a great job keeping me in the front and then at the end I also had Porsev but we lost each other in the last corners so I was sitting on (Matteo) Trentin for the last 500 meters. I was waiting and waiting but then I saw (John) Degenkolb go and knew I had to go also. I was so happy when I saw no one could pass me. We will have some champagne tonight but tomorrow is a hard stage so we won’t have too much of a party. The team was really fantastic today. The stage was hard with all these climbs and the team did an incredible job to protect me during the race, especially in the final climb, where the pace was very high. I want to thank all the team, who supported me and trusted in me. Yesterday was the day I took it easy. I had this stage in my mind, so I decided not to push yesterday and to save my legs. I knew today’s stage could suit me and maybe this strategy helped me. Today I was fresh. I felt the power in my legs and I had not one bad moment during the stage.”

BMC’s Tejay van Garderen finished 39th and in the same time as the stage winner. His move up the overall standings occurred as previous fifth place rider and Stage 11 winner Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) lost more than five minutes on the day: “It was a hard day, just with the winding and twisty roads – up and down all day,” van Garderen said. “But it was fairly relaxed out there. I like how I am feeling and I like where I am sitting. So I just need to keep doing my thing.” Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) kept the overall lead, 3:56 ahead of van Garderen.

OPQS’S Matteo Trentin was relegated after initially placing 6th for impeding the sprint of John Degenkolb: “I’m really sorry for what happened with John,” Trentin said. “It was a mistake, but not intentional. I was focused on Kwiatkowski in front of me, and then swung on the left side to launch my sprint and didn’t look behind me. I didn’t realize I made a move that affected the sprint of John until I watched the images once we arrived at the hotel. Again, I apologize for what happened in today’s sprint. I’m sorry also for the team because they did a great job and Kwiato delivered me perfectly.”

Tour de France Stage 12 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:32:11
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
6. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
8. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 12:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 51:31:34
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 2:23
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 2:47
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:01
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 3:47
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 3:56
7. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:57
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 4:08
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 4:18
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 4:31.

Stage 12:

EN – Summary – Stage 12 (Bourg-en-Bresse… por tourdefrance

Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali arrived solo in Chamrousse at the end of Stage 13 to claim his third stage win on a day of suffering for Richie Porte, replaced in second place overall by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and joined on the podium by Romain Bardet.

After the first attack of the day failed another group went away after 11 kilometres, comprising of: Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), Kristjan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) and Daniel Oss (BMC), but Bauer got dropped and Dumoulin punctured. Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) and Brice Feillu (Bretagne) were the first two riders to come across in the ascent of the Col de la Croix de Montvieux (summit at 24km). Rudy Molard (Cofidis) and Jan Bakelants (OPQS) also made it on the downhill to form a front group of nine riders.

Visconti, De Marchi, Jan Bakelants, Kadri, Durasek, Oss, Molard, Huzarski and Feillu got a maximum lead of 4.55 after 75kilometres. The composition of the breakaway was fine for race leader Vincenzo Nibali but King of the Mountains Joaquim Rodriguez put his men at work. Katusha dragged the peloton and reduced the time to 1:10 at the bottom of the ascent to the Col de Palaquit. Uphill, Kadri and Bakelants were prompt to attack but De Marchi came across and rode them off 12 km before the top with another 57 km to cover to the finish in Chamrousse. As Katusha stopped pulling, the peloton passed the top of Palaquit with a deficit of 2:45. On the downhill, Nibali’s lieutenant Jakob Fuglsang crashed heavily on the descent.

15 kilometres before the finish at Chamrousse, De Marchi was overtaken by the yellow jersey group of: Mikel Nieve & Richie Porte (Sky), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Rafal Majka & Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Vincenzo Nibali & Tanel Kangert (Astana), Bauke Mollema & Laurens ten Dam (Belkin), Jean-Christophe Péraud & Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Moniale), Rui Costa & Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) Tejay van Garderen & Peter Stetina (BMC), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Fränck Schleck and Haimar Zubeldia (Trek), Leo König (NetApp-Endura). With 10km to go, Majka and König rode away. Several accelerations by Pinot and an attack by Valverde created a chasing quartet: Nibali-Valverde-Pinot-Ten Dam, while Porte was into trouble. Nibali attacked with 7 km to go and rejoined Majka and König. He dropped them off 3.3 km before the finishing line and continued solo to claim a valuable victory, his first in the Alps at the Tour de France. Best young rider Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) moved into the top 3.

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished in second place only beaten by Vincenzo Nibali: “I’m satisfied but I will definitely try to win the stage to Risoul tomorrow if possible. I’m at the Tour and I’ve done the Giro, so naturally I’m a bit tired. But I’m glad that I came in second just after Nibali on a 20-kilometer climb. That’s not so bad. I will try to be aggressive tomorrow like I was today. Rogers and Roche are strong on the climbs so we have different cards to play. The first climb tomorrow will definitely be hard as well so that could be a good spot to attack if the right moment comes.”

3rd on the stage and 9th overall Leopold Konig (Netapp-Endura): “The first true summit finish – there was no place to hide today,” said König. “In any case I wanted to ride on attack, but in the end I started the attack a bit sooner than I had meant to. I felt really good in the situation, so I tried it. The others didn’t follow right away and I quickly had a small gap. Then I knew I just had to give it everything I had up until the end. Of course I would have liked to have won the stage,” König continued, “but competing against Nibali is difficult. That’s why I’m absolutely happy with the result.”

2nd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a really demanding stage and the heat made it even harder. Katusha decided not to let the break go far and the whole stage was super fast. We attacked in the finale and could distance some of our rivals for the overall, but unfortunately, the man in front got a bit further. I had good legs and put my team-mates to pick up the pace from the foot of the climb. I might have been too ambitious with that attack from so far from the finish, but I had to try. The pace was getting slower, there was no real leader taking charge of it and I decided to move. I couldn’t let this stage go without trying. I’m satisfied, because those good legs lasted until the finished, and even though Nibali proved to be ahead of the rest, we made everything we could and we’re now in second overall, leaving such a dangerous rival as Porte behind, which is important for our ambitions – the GC podium, as I stated from the beginning of the race. We’ll keep fighting and attacking, because anyone can have a bad day. As I said in previous stages, there’s road to gain time and also to lose ground, so we’ll keep re-planning our strategy, day by day. Tomorrow’s stage is going to be super hard: all the climbs, in day fourteen… it will get stiff. I hope to keep these sensations I’ve had up to date.”

Tejay van Garderen lost contact with the leading group on the climb to finish 1:23 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali: “I had confidence coming in, but dealing with the heat is a different element and sometimes I struggle with it,” van Garderen said. “So I am happy to have had a good ride. It was a climb that suited to me, so I just tried to stay in my rhythm and I am happy to have moved up.” Van Garderen is 5:19 behind Nibali in 5th overall.

7th overall Bauke Mollema (Belkin): “It was not very good, but it was not very bad either,” Mollema said after he placed 13th. “That’s more often the case with me. I couldn’t follow Nibali, Valverde, Pinot, van Garderen and some other riders on the final climb, but I handled Van Den Broeck pretty well. Laurens rode ahead of me, so it wasn’t really up to me to lead the chase. The heat formed a huge challenge. It was extremely hot. During the last kilometres it seemed as if my legs were on fire. I’ve never experienced that before. It looks like that this is about my place, even if you never know what’s going to happen. Doing a good overall isn’t necessarily about being the best rider in the race. It’s also very important to avoid a bad day that the others might suffer, like Porte today. That was a surprise to me.”

8th overall Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol): “Compared to the stages in the Vosges there’s definitely progress. I followed until the last seven kilometers, than our group fell apart. A strong Pinot and Valverde took off. Nibali is obviously the strongest of all. Afterwards also Bardet and Van Garderen attacked. I could maintain myself and because Porte lost time I gained one place. Strange things can happen the next stages. We already had the stages in England, the cobblestone stage, the Vosges and now the heat. Much can happen. The gap with the third place is just over two minutes. The French riders Bardet and Pinot have made a strong impression.”

OPQS’s Michal Kwiatkowski: “I had a lot of support from the guys entering the second-to-last climb. Even if I didn’t have the best legs on the second-to-last climb they protected me well, and it helped me a lot mentally. I lost contact a few times but Golas always took me back. I was trying to find my limits somewhere and find my own rhythm at that point. I felt much better on the last climb taking my own tempo. Golas brought me to the middle of the climb and then I went on my own. I passed a few guys and while losing four minutes is disappointing, in the end I did everything I could do. It’s another experience of battling at the Tour de France. I look forward to the next stages and will do my best and keep learning as a young guy in my second Grand Tour.”

2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida): “The final climb, because of the heat and of the pace, was very demanding. I was feeling good, but not so good to be able to battle for a top result, so I preferred to support Rui, setting a rhythm that could be good for both. I think we succeeded in reaching the finish with a short gap.”

Jakob Fuglsang (Tinkoff-Saxo) crashed heavily on the first descent of the day: “I just kept thinking that if I could stop sliding it would be okay – because the more you slide, the more it is going to hurt.”

Tour de France Stage 13 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 5:12:29
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:10
3. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:11
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:50
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:53
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:23
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 1:36
9. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:09
10. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 13:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 56:44:03
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 3:37
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:24
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 4:40
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 5:19
6. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:06
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 6:17
8. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 6:27
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 8:36
10. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 9:18.

Stage 13:

EN – Summary – Stage 13 (Saint-Étienne… por tourdefrance

Second on stage 13 in Chamrousse, Tour de France rookie Rafal Majka went on the attack again and stayed away from a long lasting escape to claim his first stage victory on Stage 14 in Risoul while Vincenzo Nibali comfortably retained the yellow jersey as he crossed the finishing line in second place 24 seconds behind the Polish up and coming climber.

Joaquim Rodriguez made his intentions clear from the gun. He rode flat out until a breakaway group of 17 leaders was formed after 16 kilometres: Mikel Nieve & Geraint Thomas (Sky), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Rafal Majka & Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo), Peter Sagan & Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin), Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale), Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano), José Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Nicolas Edet & Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) and Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE).

The maximum time gap of 5:05 was reached after 79 kilometres. There wasn’t any attack up to the Col de Lautaret where Rodriguez scored ten points in his quest of the polka dot jersey. He added another 25 points at the Col d’Izoard and collected the €5000 prime for the Souvenir Henri Desgrange awarded at the highest summit of the Tour de France in memory of the founder of the Tour de France. With 75km to go, NetApp-Endura looked worried about the presence of Thomas and Nieve at the front as the two Sky riders potentially threatened Leo König’s top ten position on GC. They chased hard as they took over from Astana at the head of the peloton. The yellow jersey group was only 1:30 behind the remaining 11 leaders before the last hill of the day.

AG2R-La Mondiale put the hammer down to reduce the gap to one minute at the bottom of the final ascent to Risoul. De Marchi rode away from the front group at the beginning of the climb. He was eventually overtaken by Rafal Majka who went solo with 9km to go. Nibali accelerated with 4km to go. Peraud followed him. They crossed the line in that order behind Majka who found glory at the Tour at the age of 24 after having finished 6th overall at the Giro d’Italia. Young riders did well as French duelists Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet regained 34 seconds in the last three kilometers over Alejandro Valverde who remains in second place overall, for now, at the exit of the Alps.

Stage winner Rafal Majka dedicated his win to his teammates: “This win is for my teammates and for Alberto, because I know how hard it has been for us all. But today we showed that we weren’t going to give up. I think that we’ve been very active during the last four stages and it all paid off today. I like the Alps and especially when there are several climbs in the same stage. The long hard stages suits me well and I showed that I had enough power left in the tank to keep the GC guys behind me. I’ve been on training camp here at Risoul so I know the climb and how to adjust to the incline.” The young Polish rider added: “I came to help Alberto and now suddenly I’ve won the first Tour de France stage of my life. It’s really big but also totally unexpected. My sport directors told me to take it slow during the first week to stay fresh for the mountains and today it proved to be a good idea.”

Second overall Alejandro Valverde lost time on stage 14: “It’s true that I’m still in 2nd place, but it was hard today. In a swerve with 3k or 3.5k to go, Pinot accidentally touched my gear with his front wheel. It didn’t work well, it was jumping from one ring to another and I had to climb on a big gear, I was super stuck. It wasn’t an especially bad day for me, but not good either – still, we got over it with not much damage. Nibali is clearly the strongest, but all the rest of us are very close to each other. I took some time yesterday and they did the same with me today: that’s cycling. We must carry on – there’s still a lot left and we’re still here.”

BMC’s Tejay van Garderen’s attacks in the final four kilometres of the 177 km race helped distance second-placed Alejandro Valverde, who lost 30 seconds to van Garderen and a minute to race leader Vincenzo Nibali. Van Garderen finished 54 seconds after solo stage winner Rafal Majka while conceding 30 seconds to Nibali and four seconds each to third-placed Romain Bardet and fourth-placed Thibault Pinot: “We were just trying to attack so we weren’t towing guys along,” van Garderen said. “It looked like Valverde kind of blew himself up a bit and it ended up being me and Pinot kind of trading pulls.” Van Garderen said despite his gradual climb up the overall standings following crashes where he lost time on Stages 5 and 7, he is still not feeling 100 percent. “After the rest day I came down with a little bit of bronchitis,” he said. “And the crashes – I think that kind of took away a little bit of my top end. After the rest day and into the Pyrenees, I should bounce back a bit.”

Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin) was eighth in stage 14 behind winner Majka to climb into ninth overall at 10:01 down: “You have to ride for what you are worth,” Ten Dam said. “I did not know where Bauke was. He told me he was strong just before the climb, so one minute after me is not bad. The last two days were good for me. I am now in the top-10, and the Pyrenees are coming. I hope I can keep the form. Last year, the last couple of days were too much for me. I hope it’s different this year.”

Belkin captain; Bauke Mollema was 16th on the stage, to retain seventh place overall, at 8:33 behind race leader Nibali. Mollema admitted he wasn’t at his best on the final, gruelling climb: “About four kilometres from the top, I had to let them go, and I continued on my own tempo. It’s disappointing. I am still seventh, but it’s not good for the GC. My legs were not good enough, and I could not follow. I have the feeling that I am not as strong as yesterday. My position for a mountaintop finish this Tour de France is not how I would have wanted it.”

Giant-Shimano suffered its first loss in the Tour de France. Dries Devenyns had to abandon after crashing on the 14th stage. His injuries are being cared for in hospital in Gap, France. Devenyns was riding in the group around Marcel Kittel, when he crashed on the descent of the Izoard, being thrown into a wall: “On the Izoard descent, there was a little rock on the road in a curve. I couldn’t see it, and hit it with my front wheel which made me crash,” Devenyns said.

He was taken immediately to hospital in Gap for further examinations, said team physician Nando Liem. “Dries suffered a brain concussion, for which he will have to stay in hospital for observation. He also has a minor collapsed lung, and will receive conservative treatment for both that and a fracture of the right shoulder blade – at this point surgery is not indicated for either problem. Dries also has an AC joint luxation, a dislocation of the joint between the collarbone and the shoulder blade,” Liem said.

Tour de France Stage 14 Result:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo in 5:08:27
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:24
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:26
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:50
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:54
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 1:01
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 1:07
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 1:20
10. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:24.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 14:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 61:52:54
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 4:37
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:50
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 5:06
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 5:49
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:08
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 8:33
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 9:32
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 10:01
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 10:48.

Stage 14:

EN – Summary – Stage 14 (Grenoble > Risoul) por tourdefrance

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claimed his second stage win in Nîmes after the peloton caught the two courageous breakaway riders in a thrilling finalé. The Norwegian triumphed in Stage 15, but the outcome was cruel for Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) who escaped from the start of the 222 kilometre long stage and got caught in the last 50 metres!

Martin Elmiger was the first attacker of the day, right from the flag; Jack Bauer joined him quickly at the front. The duo took a maximum advantage of 8.50 after 26 kilometres as three teams took control of the peloton: Giant-Shimano, Lotto Belisol and Katusha, representing sprint winners Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Alexander Kristoff respectively. They maintained a deficit of approximately six minutes until Omega Pharma – Quick-Step put the hammer down with 70 kilometres to go through a big storm

AG2R-La Mondiale and BMC also tried to create echelons. None of them succeeded. At the intermediate sprint of La Galina, with 46.5km to go, the peloton was at 1:30. Rain and wind led the GC contenders to ride safely to avoid potential accidents. It wasn’t clear whether or not the peloton would catch Bauer and Elmiger as the chase wasn’t perfectly organized, so the likes of Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin and Jan Bakelants rode away from the peloton. In the end the peloton swept past Elmiger and then Bauer for Alexander Kristoff to take his second French stage win of 2014. Jack Bauer was in tears at the finish as the sprinters passed him with 25 metres to go. Vincenzo Nibali retained the yellow jersey with no worries.

Stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “It was close, really close. The break was strong and at the end it was difficult to bring them back. Luckily we caught them on the line and I’m really happy. This is more than I could expect in this Tour de France. The team was great. In the middle of the race Simon worked in front to control the break and in the final Gatis pulled the group hard. Then Luca took over to help me get the best position,” said a joyful Alexander Kristoff. “The break was super today. During the stage I was sure we would catch them but in the last kilometers I was really unsure about it. Those guys did a great race, big respect for them. When we entered the final km I saw the break was still very far and I realized we would catch them with only 200 meters to go. All the best sprinters – Greipel, Sagan and Kittel – were still in front and it was a hard sprint. I had a good position and I gave my best to win. Maybe I had more energy than others after mountains. I did not feel well during the stage because I was tired from the mountains, but I decided to fight until the end. This is a perfect race so far for me and I’m glad to bring one more victory to my team Katusha. They support me and trust in me.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin): “We expected more wind in the finale, with 10km to go, the field was open, but the wind was gone. Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants helped me a lot and kept me at the front. That saves energy. We were expecting echelons, but it’s a pity there was not enough wind [to split the peloton],” said Mollema, who remains seventh overall going into Monday’s rest day. “Now I will focus on the final week. Yesterday was a disappointment, but I am still seventh, and we have two men in the top 10 on GC.”

Belkin’s Laurens Ten Dam finished safely in the bunch to defend his ninth place in the overall standings, 10:01 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali: “After two heavy mountain stages, the legs feel tired. That’s not strange after two weeks of racing at the Tour de France,” Ten Dam said. “The first 60km today were quiet, and I was thinking that the past two days were tough, and I needed to stay focused. It was a nervous ride. I am glad we made it through the stage OK.”

BMC rode at the front to protect Tejay van Garderen when wind and rain battered the peloton. With six stages to go, he is fifth overall, 5:49 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali, but only 72 seconds from second place. “It was looking like today was going to be a sprinter’s day, but the wind and the rain made it a day when you had to be mentally switched on,” van Garderen said. “I am glad the rest day is tomorrow. I just want to mentally recover – do a little face time with the family. Today was no mental recovery. So it’s all about taking advantage of tomorrow.”

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has now worn the leader’s yellow jersey for 12 of the 15 days of racing; including three stage wins: “Paolo Slongo is my trainer, Michele Pallini takes care of my legs – Nobody knows me better than them, and I have been with them for years – I’m proud to be Italian and I’m proud to be among such great champions. With Astana Pro Team and the riders around me here at the Tour de France we have prepared for this race all season, and it is because of them and the whole organization that we have the yellow jersey on the second rest day.”

Tour de France Stage 15 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:56:43
2. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
9. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 15:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 66:49:37
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 4:37
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale 4:50
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 5:06
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 5:49
6. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale 6:08
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin 8:33
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 9:32
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 10:01
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 10:48.

Stage 15:

EN – Summary – Stage 15 (Tallard > Nîmes) por tourdefrance

header-sky2 Year Ban for Tiernan-Locke
The now ex-Sky rider; Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been banned from competition for a two year period by the UK Anti-Doping Panel and been confirmed by the UCI for Athlete Biological Passport violations. He has also lost his 2012 Tour of Britain victory and his 19th place in the World Championships of the same year, plus 2nd overall in the Vuelta a Murcia, 3rd overall in the UCI EuropeTour and 6th overall in the Vuelta a León. At the time of the violations, Tiernan-Locke was racing for the Endura team and had been a revelation in shorter stage races winning the overall in the Tour of Alsace with two stages, the points and mountains classifications, the Tour Méditerranéen, with two stages and the points and the overall in the Tour du Haut Var, one stage and the points classification. At the time of the violations he had been training with the Sky team at their hotel in the Canaries as he was confirmed to be with the team in 2013. In a press release, Sky team boss; David Brailsford said: “Jonathan’s contract has been terminated today.” Adding: “Whilst there have been no doubts about his time with us, his doping violation, from readings taken before he joined this team, means there’s no place for him in Team Sky.

header_OPQS_PRTony Martin to stay with OPQS?
According to an interview in Het Nieuwsblad with the World time trial champions agent, Tony Martin is about to extend his contract with the Belgian Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team for a further two years. As well as his World individual time trial success, he has also helped the OPQS team to two World team time trial titles and been one of the team’s strongest riders in other events. Apparently it’s just a case of signatures to finalise the deal.

Tony Martin 2010 – 2013:

header-oricageOrica-GreenEDGE Fans on Stage 14
Lots of Australian fans in this Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass video. Sports director Julian Dean gives you all the action from the team car with plenty of interaction before the start with OGE riders and fans.

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