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Preview: Tour de France, stage 18

2 hours 3 min ago

Stage 18 of the 2014 Tour de France.

On the Tour's final mountain stage, the peloton tackles the Tourmalet and the Hautacam

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Racism at the Tour, or a misunderstanding?

2 hours 14 min ago

Kevin Reza rode in the breakaway on stage 16. After the race, there was confusion and controversy about whether or not Michael Albasini made racial slurs during the heat of the moment. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

SAINT-LARY, France (VN) — The language of the breakaway is subtle, words in elbow flicks and disappearing wheels. Talking doesn’t usually matter very much in bike racing.

But on Tuesday, words were some of the loudest elements of the day. After the stage ended in Bagnères-de-Luchon, a report emerged that indicated Switzerland’s Michael Albasini called Kévin Reza, the only black rider in the race and one of few in the sport, a “dirty negro,” according to Reza’s general manager at Europcar, Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Reza, he said, was upset after the stage, and that the comments were “unacceptable, inadmissible,” reported France’s Sud Ouest website. “I do not tolerate racism,” Bernaudeau said. “After doping it is the other scourge of the sport.”

Reza did not address the matter Wednesday morning with journalists. Bernaudeau said his rider was focusing on the race instead, and the general manager, a day after his passionate comments, wouldn’t speak to the matter.

“Before you ask a question, the case is closed. They met; they have had an explanation. Case is closed,” he told reporters. “I can’t stand racism. The case is closed. It was a strategic problem. Kevin had no authorization to pull in the breakaway, they talked and said things they shouldn’t. The case is totally closed.”

For his part, Albasini said it was a misunderstanding under hard physical circumstances. “I’m happy I could see him this morning to say my version, and I apologized for [the] misunderstanding, I hope that he understood that there wasn’t anything racist; I was just angry with the situations. We had a good discussion and a handshake, all the stories are now clear.”

Albasini said he was racing on the limit, working to drive a then five-man break that had some 45 seconds on the main field. He was frustrated with what he saw as Reza’s lack of work. “I wasn’t happy, and I was angry. I said to him some words that maybe I shouldn’t have, but none of them were racist.”

He also said, “[Reza] came up and asked what I said. I said it again, I didn’t choose nice words, but that’s how it is when you are on your limit, but there were definitely no racist comments. I told him, how it was nice to have one guy on your wheel when you are going full gas, so I don’t understand how it came out that I was saying something racist.”

Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) also cited the international flavor of the peloton as a reason for what he characterized as a misunderstanding.

“You know there are many languages spoken in the bunch, I don’t speak English perfectly, I speak a little bit of French, not perfectly, [Reza] doesn’t speak my languages. That can happen, a misunderstanding.”

The issue of racism is far less reported on than in larger sports, such as upper-echelon soccer, where the governing body itself routinely runs advertisements on the matter. That isn’t to say the issue doesn’t exist at all, however. In 2010, when Nairo Quintana won the Tour de l’Avenir, he recounted in an interview with Colombian media that French riders insulted him for being South American, and tried to knock him from the road.

Garmin-Sharp sport director Robbie Hunter came into the professional peloton 16 years ago. The bunch, Hunter said, was welcoming of a rider with talent, regardless of ethnicity.

“I can’t speak to what happened because I wasn’t there. What I can say is the peloton is a very tolerant place. There are always going to be some people who don’t like change. When I turned pro 16 years ago I was the first South African. But I mean, a person does their work and becomes good bike rider and all of the sudden no one remembers where you’re from or anything like that,” Hunter said. “It doesn’t make a difference. People who stand up and say the group itself intolerant, definitely not. Definitely not … The sport is about the athletes and nothing else.”

Some things will remain unknown. For example, what did Albasini say, exactly?

“I’m not going to repeat any bad words in the media because when you’re in sport going full gas, hard words are said, but there’s no sense to repeat it,” Albasini said.

Orica manager Shane Bannon said the team has a strict policy regarding racism, and also that he believed Albasini, as Bernaudeau said he believed in his rider.

“The team position of racism [is that it] isn’t tolerated. That’s the team’s position and we stand by that,” Bannon said. “We do believe what [Albasini] has presented to us. And we do believe that, but we also understand that there could have been some miscommunication and repeat that again that racial slurs and comments are not acceptable and are not about what we are as a team.”

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Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon’s AG2R Focus Izalco Max

3 hours 1 min ago

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  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Christophe Riblon (AG2R) hasn't found the form that netted him a stage win on Alpe d'Huez last year, but his teammates certainly have good legs. Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet sit fourth and fifth overall, and Bardet still has a shot at the white jersey. The team rides Focus' Izalco Max frame for all road stages. The bikes are built with Campagnolo components, mostly Super Record EPS electronic drivetrains, and Fulcum wheels. Fizik provides saddles, cockpit, and seatpost. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Riblon and the other team leaders have a primary race bike and three backups during the Tour. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Izalco Max is a climbing bike, focused on the all-important stiffness-to-weight ratio, rather than aerodynamics. The head tube is stout to improve front-end stiffness. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Super Record EPS front derailleur has a large, powerful motor. Shifting even under hard pedaling is not a problem. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Riblon rides with a Campagnolo SRM power meter. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Campagnolo Super Record EPS rear derailleur is a work of carbon fiber art. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Light and stiff doesn't have to mean uncomfortable. The thin fork legs on the Izalco Max provide a bit of compliance. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Izalco Max uses mostly traditional tube shapes, including this wide, round downtube. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Fizik stepped into components early in 2013. Most of the AG2R squad is riding its Cyrano R3 cockpit. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Super Record EPS shifters have carbon fiber lever blades and large, comfortable hoods Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Izalco Max frame weighs a claimed 750 grams. Combined with Focus' 295 gram fork, it's one of the lightest framesets on the market. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Elite provides cages and bottles for AG2R, and plenty of other teams as well. The company has to produce about 30,000 bottles per team each year. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The wide chainstays are squared off to further improve rear-end stiffness. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Look and Shimano pedals are the most commonly used in the pro ranks. These Look Keo Blade2 pedals are everywhere in France. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Even the spare bikes get a custom number hanger. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The rear end of the Izalco Max routes the EPS wires cleanly through the chainstay. Riblon rides with Campagnolo's 11-29 cassette in the mountains. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The Fulcum Racing Speed XLR wheels have carbon hub shells to decrease weight. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    Riblon rides a Fizik Antares saddle. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

  • View Larger Image.Pro Bike: Christophe Riblon's AG2R Focus Izalco Max

    The charge port for Riblon's Campagnolo EPS electronic drivetrain is hidden under the bottom bracket. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

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Results: 2014 Tour de France, stage 17

3 hours 40 min ago

Rafal Majka won his second stage of the Tour on stage 17 and secured his lead in the mountains classification. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • 1. Rafal MAJKA, Tinkoff-Saxo, in 3:35:23
  • 2. Giovanni VISCONTI, Movistar, at :29
  • 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, Astana, at :46
  • 4. Jean-Christophe PERAUD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :46
  • 5. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at :49
  • 6. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at :52
  • 7. Frank SCHLECK, Trek Factory Racing, at 1:12
  • 8. Bauke MOLLEMA, Belkin, at 1:12
  • 9. Nicolas ROCHE, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1:25
  • 10. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at 1:35
  • 11. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ.fr, at 1:40
  • 12. Romain BARDET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:40
  • 13. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at 1:40
  • 14. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at 1:50
  • 15. Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 1:50
  • 16. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at 2:01
  • 17. Kristijan DURASEK, Lampre-Merida, at 2:05
  • 18. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at 2:34
  • 19. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at 2:52
  • 20. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at 3:02
  • 21. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at 3:39
  • 22. John GADRET, Movistar, at 3:54
  • 23. Leopold KONIG, NetApp-Endura, at 3:54
  • 24. Ben GASTAUER, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 3:54
  • 25. Marcel WYSS, IAM Cycling, at 4:54
  • 26. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at 5:02
  • 27. Peter VELITS, BMC Racing, at 5:25
  • 28. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, Belkin, at 5:40
  • 29. Christopher HORNER, Lampre-Merida, at 5:40
  • 30. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at 5:40
  • 31. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at 5:54
  • 32. Brice FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 6:12
  • 33. Jan BAKELANTS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 6:36
  • 34. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM Cycling, at 7:38
  • 35. Richie PORTE, Sky, at 7:38
  • 36. Arnold JEANNESSON, FDJ.fr, at 8:06
  • 37. Cyril GAUTIER, Europcar, at 9:27
  • 38. Thomas VOECKLER, Europcar, at 9:27
  • 39. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at 14:07
  • 40. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at 14:17
  • 41. Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing, at 14:17
  • 42. Michael ROGERS, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 14:17
  • 43. Bram TANKINK, Belkin, at 14:17
  • 44. Peter STETINA, BMC Racing, at 14:17
  • 45. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM Cycling, at 14:17
  • 46. Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar, at 14:17
  • 47. Benjamin KING, Garmin-Sharp, at 14:17
  • 48. Jan BARTA, NetApp-Endura, at 14:17
  • 49. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at 14:17
  • 50. Nicolas EDET, Cofidis, at 14:17
  • 51. Michele SCARPONI, Astana, at 14:17
  • 52. Nelson Filipe SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Lampre-Merida, at 14:17
  • 53. Paul VOSS, NetApp-Endura, at 14:17
  • 54. Tiago MACHADO, NetApp-Endura, at 14:17
  • 55. Jérémy ROY, FDJ.fr, at 14:17
  • 56. Matthew BUSCHE, Trek Factory Racing, at 14:17
  • 57. Geraint THOMAS, Sky, at 14:17
  • 58. Rein TAARAMAE, Cofidis, at 14:17
  • 59. David LOPEZ GARCIA, Sky, at 14:17
  • 60. Yukiya ARASHIRO, Europcar, at 14:17
  • 61. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at 14:17
  • 62. Jose Joaquin ROJAS GIL, Movistar, at 16:08
  • 63. Rudy MOLARD, Cofidis, at 16:49
  • 64. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at 16:49
  • 65. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 16:49
  • 66. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ.fr, at 16:49
  • 67. Alexandre PICHOT, Europcar, at 16:49
  • 68. Anthony DELAPLACE, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 16:49
  • 69. Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU, Trek Factory Racing, at 16:49
  • 70. Tony GALLOPIN, Lotto-Belisol, at 16:49
  • 71. Florian GUILLOU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 16:49
  • 72. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, Movistar, at 16:49
  • 73. Tom DUMOULIN, Giant-Shimano, at 16:49
  • 74. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at 16:49
  • 75. Maxim IGLINSKY, Astana, at 17:00
  • 76. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at 17:06
  • 77. Matteo MONTAGUTI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 19:37
  • 78. Arnaud GERARD, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 19:37
  • 79. Christian MEIER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 19:37
  • 80. Biel KADRI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 19:37
  • 81. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC Racing, at 19:37
  • 82. Jakob FUGLSANG, Astana, at 22:26
  • 83. Dmitriy GRUZDEV, Astana, at 22:52
  • 84. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at 22:52
  • 85. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 23:32
  • 86. Jens VOIGT, Trek Factory Racing, at 23:32
  • 87. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at 23:32
  • 88. Bernhard EISEL, Sky, at 23:32
  • 89. Martin ELMIGER, IAM Cycling, at 23:32
  • 90. Jens KEUKELEIRE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 23:32
  • 91. Marco MARCATO, Cannondale, at 23:32
  • 92. Fabio SABATINI, Cannondale, at 23:32
  • 93. Sébastien MINARD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 23:32
  • 94. Florian VACHON, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 23:32
  • 95. Grégory RAST, Trek Factory Racing, at 23:32
  • 96. Lars BOOM, Belkin, at 23:32
  • 97. Roy CURVERS, Giant-Shimano, at 23:32
  • 98. Lars Ytting BAK, Lotto-Belisol, at 23:32
  • 99. Andreas SCHILLINGER, NetApp-Endura, at 23:32
  • 100. Michael ALBASINI, Orica-GreenEdge, at 23:32
  • 101. Luke DURBRIDGE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 23:32
  • 102. Michael MORKOV, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 23:32
  • 103. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at 23:32
  • 104. Maarten WYNANTS, Belkin, at 23:32
  • 105. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at 23:32
  • 106. Sep VANMARCKE, Belkin, at 23:32
  • 107. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 23:32
  • 108. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 23:32
  • 109. Thomas LEEZER, Belkin, at 23:32
  • 110. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM Cycling, at 23:32
  • 111. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at 23:32
  • 112. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at 23:32
  • 113. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 23:40
  • 114. Daniel OSS, BMC Racing, at 23:40
  • 115. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at 23:42
  • 116. Jean Marc MARINO, Cannondale, at 23:52
  • 117. Yohann GENE, Europcar, at 24:01
  • 118. Albert TIMMER, Giant-Shimano, at 24:14
  • 119. Bryan COQUARD, Europcar, at 24:14
  • 120. Jurgen ROELANDTS, Lotto-Belisol, at 24:51
  • 121. Roger KLUGE, IAM Cycling, at 24:51
  • 122. Zakkari DEMPSTER, NetApp-Endura, at 24:51
  • 123. Alessandro VANOTTI, Astana, at 25:33
  • 124. Ruben PLAZA MOLINA, Movistar, at 25:43
  • 125. Christophe RIBLON, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 25:43
  • 126. Michal GOLAS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 25:59
  • 127. Niki TERPSTRA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 25:59
  • 128. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 25:59
  • 129. José Joao PIMENTA COSTA MENDES, NetApp-Endura, at 25:59
  • 130. Danny PATE, Sky, at 25:59
  • 131. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at 26:16
  • 132. Ramunas NAVARDAUSKAS, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:50
  • 133. Davide CIMOLAI, Lampre-Merida, at 26:50
  • 134. Svein TUFT, Orica-GreenEdge, at 27:46
  • 135. André GREIPEL, Lotto-Belisol, at 27:46
  • 136. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, Garmin-Sharp, at 27:46
  • 137. Mickael DELAGE, FDJ.fr, at 27:46
  • 138. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at 27:46
  • 139. Armindo FONSECA, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 27:46
  • 140. Elia VIVIANI, Cannondale, at 27:46
  • 141. Benoit JARRIER, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 27:46
  • 142. Heinrich HAUSSLER, IAM Cycling, at 27:46
  • 143. Lieuwe WESTRA, Astana, at 27:46
  • 144. Vladimir ISAICHEV, Katusha, at 27:46
  • 145. Jack BAUER, Garmin-Sharp, at 27:46
  • 146. Matteo TRENTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 27:46
  • 147. Alessandro PETACCHI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 27:46
  • 148. Julien SIMON, Cofidis, at 27:46
  • 149. Jean-Marc BIDEAU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 27:46
  • 150. Arnaud DEMARE, FDJ.fr, at 27:46
  • 151. Gatis SMUKULIS, Katusha, at 27:46
  • 152. Mark RENSHAW, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 27:46
  • 153. Sebastian LANGEVELD, Garmin-Sharp, at 27:46
  • 154. Mikael CHEREL, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 27:46
  • 155. Alexander KRISTOFF, Katusha, at 27:46
  • 156. Luca PAOLINI, Katusha, at 27:46
  • 157. William BONNET, FDJ.fr, at 27:46
  • 158. Romain FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 27:46
  • 159. Cheng JI, Giant-Shimano, at 27:46
  • 160. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC Racing, at 27:46
  • 161. Samuel DUMOULIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 27:54
  • 162. Marcel SIEBERG, Lotto-Belisol, at 27:56
  • 163. Cyril LEMOINE, Cofidis, at 27:56
  • 164. Adrien PETIT, Cofidis, at 27:56
  • 165. Tom VEELERS, Giant-Shimano, at 28:55
  • 166. Marcel KITTEL, Giant-Shimano, at 28:56
  • DNF Simon SPILAK, Katusha
  • DNS Simon GERRANS, Orica-GreenEdge
  • DNS Reto HOLLENSTEIN, IAM Cycling

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Majka grabs stage 17 win at Tour de France

4 hours 46 min ago

Rafal Majka's stage 17 win gives Tinkoff-Saxo their third stage win in the last four days of the Tour. Majka also jumped ahead in the mountains classification with his aggressive ride to Pla d'Adet. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the 17th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday, his second triumph at the race.

The stage featured four leg-breaking climbs — three Cat. 1s before the hors categorie ascent of Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet at the finish.

Majka attacked from a chase group on the final climb, passed several riders, and eventually found himself at the front of the race. He rode the final 2.4km solo en route to victory.

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) finished second at 29 seconds back, while race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was third, 46 seconds behind Majka.

“This is a thank you for my team, working for me always, especially Nicolas [Roche], who was always working for me, riding really strong,” Majka said. “I passed everyone to win the stage, and now I have the KOM jersey. I’m really happy. [Team manager] Bjarne [Riis] told me to wait, don’t go with [Joaquim] Rodriguez, we need to win the stage, and if we win the stage, we’ll take the jersey.”

Tinkoff has now won three of the last four stages, with Michael Rogers taking Tuesday’s stage 16 and Majka winning Saturday’s stage 14. The team was dealt a blow last week when its leader Alberto Contador crashed out of the race.

Nibali has a 5:26 lead over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the GC standings, while Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) is 6:00 back in third. Two others — Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet, both of Ag2r-La Mondiale — are 8 seconds and 1:34 behind Pinot, respectively.

Final climb

At the base of the final ascent to the finish line, four riders were at the front of the race: Roche, Visconti, Pierre Rolland (Europcar), and Amael Moinard (BMC Racing). Visconti surged ahead on the lower slopes of the mountain, which caused some chaos in the small group as everyone tried to match Visconti’s effort.

Roche attacked and reeled Visconti back, and the group was all together once again shortly after the attack began.

But with 9km left, Visconti tried again and this time he was successful. Now riding off the front, the Italian began his solo trek up the mountain that nearly resulted in a stage win.

Meanwhile, in the chase group that was trying to catch Visconti and his three primary chasers, Majka broke away as he attempted to maintain his grip on the polka dot (mountains classification) jersey.

Majka seemed to be enjoying his chase of the leaders, repeatedly smiling at TV cameras as he passed them. At one point, he made a show of how steep the climb was by grabbing a large antenna mounted on the back of a TV motorbike and pushing off.

Majka dropped Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) with 7.5km left before reaching the three chasers riding behind Visconti half a kilometer later.

Now riding with a teammate in Roche, Majka took a break and rode on his wheel as he geared up for his final effort.

One kilometer after that, Majka decided it was time. He surged ahead of the group, riding at a high cadence as he tried to reach Visconti. He eventually caught him with 4.2km remaining, at which point the two began working together as they continued to climb.

With 3km of uphill still to go, Majka looked fresh as he pedaled in complete circles. Visconti, meanwhile, was mashing on his pedals as he felt the sting of the steep grade.

At the 2.4km to go mark, Majka attacked and immediately opened a gap, going so hard that it seemed like Visconti was merely spinning on a bike trainer.

Majka slowed a bit in the final kilometer but still finished with a comfortable buffer between himself and Visconti.

“I tried so hard today. I really was thinking I could win, but unfortunately, Majka was looking for a win,” Visconti said. “He just dug deeper and had more than me, but I’m happy. It’s OK to finish second. I’ve been struggling with some of the tougher stages of this Tour, and I thought for a second I might have a chance to win.”

GC battle

The contenders in the GC mostly rode together for much of the race in a pack several minutes behind the stage leaders.

On the descent after the third climb of the day, the Cat. 1 col de Val Louron-Azet, Romain Bardet (Ag2r) decided to jump ahead and try to improve on his position — he was fifth overall entering the stage.

Bardet flew down the descent and was just 1:35 behind the stage leaders at the base of the Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet finishing climb. His assault on the GC continued on the ascent, but when Peraud attacked the group with around 5.5km left, Nibali responded immediately. The pair caught Bardet shortly after, and Nibali then attacked with 5km left to race.

Nibali and Peraud quickly caught and passed Rodriguez, who was running out of steam, and continued to make their way up the mountain.

With Majka and Visconti having 3km left to climb, Nibali and Peraud were 1:30 behind. Bardet, Pinot, and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) were another 8 seconds back.

“Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day,” van Garderen said. “You can’t change that. You can only look ahead.” Asked if a podium finish is still a possibility, he said, “Anything is possible. If you would have asked me a couple days ago I would have said, it is really possible. Now, yes it is possible. But it will be hard.”

“It’s not been a good day for me,” said Pinot. “I felt a bit less good today and I had to limit the damage. I felt it right from the beginning that it wasn’t a good day. Perhaps I paid for my efforts from yesterday. I hope I’ll have better legs tomorrow. The Tourmalet and Hautacam are big mountains.”

Nibali and Peraud rode together the rest of the way to the finish line as Peraud earned the prize for the Most Aggressive Rider for the day.

“I’m very happy with my form, hanging onto Nibali in the third week,” said Peraud. “I had the good fortune of having him as a point of reference. He worked with me and I thank him for that.”

The race picks Thursday with the 145.5km stage 18 from Pau to Hautacam that features two hors categorie climbs.

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Gerrans pulls out of Tour de France in wake of stage 1 crash

7 hours 24 min ago

Simon Gerrans crashed near the finish line of stage 1. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

SAINT-LARY, France (AFP) — Australian champion Simon Gerrans did not start the 17th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider had been suffering since crashing on the first stage more than two weeks ago.

“Obviously it’s disappointing not to complete the Tour de France and make it to Paris,” said the winner of April’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

“But with the injuries I have from stage 1 I think the best decision is actually to stop now and completely recover.

“I know I haven’t been 100 percent right since my crash but I was hoping to improve throughout the race. That hasn’t really been the case so I have been putting on a brave face and doing what I can each day.”

Gerrans wore the Tour leader’s yellow jersey for two days last year after Orica won the stage 4 team time trial.

He had also won the third stage before that, but he has been unable to truly challenge for a stage win this time around.

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Contador says he won’t race the Vuelta

7 hours 37 min ago

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spanish rider Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who crashed out of the Tour de France last week, on Wednesday ruled out competing in next month’s Vuelta a Espana.

Contador quit the Tour, which he had been bidding to win for a third time, after suffering a fractured shinbone on the tough 10th stage.

“Bad day today. The healing of the wound is getting complicated… Goodbye to the Vuelta,” Contador wrote in Spanish and English on Twitter.

The 31-year-old crashed badly on a descent during the mountainous stage from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles.

He did not need surgery on his fractured tibia, and in a second Tweet he thanked doctors in Madrid’s Cemtro Clinic for their treatment.

Contador won the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012. This year’s race runs from August 23 to September 14.

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Video: Greg LeMond on the Tour de France, stage 16

July 22, 2014 - 5:45pm

Greg LeMond reflects on stage 16 of the Tour.

Editor’s Note: This video interview is courtesy of EuroSport. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Cervelo, Rotor partner with MTN-Qhubeka for 2015

July 22, 2014 - 3:13pm

MTN-Qhubeka has partnered with Cervelo and Rotor for 2015. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

The game of sponsor musical chairs continues. Cervelo and Rotor, both current sponsors of Garmin-Sharp, have signed a deal with South African-registered pro continental squad MTN-Qhubeka for 2015.

Trek, MTN-Qhubeka’s current bike sponsor, will focus on its own World Tour team in 2015.

Cervelo’s move to MTN-Qhubeka only fuels rumors swirling around the Tour de France that Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale will combine in 2015. Of course, there would be no room for a second bike brand in the event of a merger.

The partnership between Cervelo, Rotor, and the South African team will be led by Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen, who left the company shortly after it was bought by Pon Group in 2012, and will focus on taking the “fan experience and interaction to a whole new level,” according to a Cervelo statement.

Much of that interaction will be related to MTN-Qhubeka’s charitable mission. Qhubeka is an organization that provides bicycles in return for work done to improve communities or the environment, and for academic results. Cervelo will introduce team-replica bike models in 2015 and will donate a Qhubeka foundation bicycle for every replica bike sold.

“Cervelo is excited at the opportunity to support both the team and the Qhubeka Foundation,” said Cervelo managing director Robert Reijers. “Not just in terms of high-performance racing, but also because we truly believe that by providing cycling mobility, we can directly benefit people’s lives by increasing the distance they can travel, what they can carry, where they can go, and how fast they can get there.”

The team’s 2015 roster will be announced soon, and will continue to pull on both African, European, and North American talent, according to the statement from Cervelo. MTN-Qhubeka will tackle its first grand tour, the Vuelta a Espana, this fall.

“Cervelo has always been synonymous with the highest levels of racing performance, “said team Principal Douglas Ryder in a statement. “The new team will be competitive on the world stage, and Cervelo has already won everything from the world championships to cobbled classics like Paris-Roubaix and Grand Tours including the Tour de France.”

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Tour de France marks a low point for Team Sky

July 22, 2014 - 2:57pm

Vasil Kiryienka tried to salvage Sky's Tour de France on stage 16, but he was unable to remain with the breakaway to contest the win. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BAGNÈRES-DE-LUCHON, France (VN) — With only five days remaining in the 2014 Tour de France, Team Sky risks having one of its worst grand tours since it hit the road in 2010. This comes on the heels of a rather quiet Giro d’Italia in May. After winning the Tour with Bradley Wiggins in 2012, and Chris Froome in 2013, Team Sky is maintaining a cool exterior as the Tour races toward Paris.

“I don’t think it’s the same scenario as in 2010. In 2010, we weren’t at the races, we weren’t close,” Brailsford said. ”If Chris [Froome] was here, he’d win or be on the podium. If you lose a rider to a crash, that’s a separate scenario.”

Froome’s joys and suffering went hand in hand with Sky’s. He helped the team ride on top of the wave with several stage race wins — Tour of Oman, Critérium International, Tour de Romandie, and Critérium du Dauphiné — en route to the 2013 Tour de France win. It was rosy, literally, because Sky had won the team time trial stage and held the pink jersey as well for a day in the Giro d’Italia two months prior.

This year, Froome suffered back pain, withdrew from races and crashed in the Tour lead-up. He crashed three times in nearly 24 hours, once the race got rolling out of Leeds, and he abandoned on day five. He didn’t do so easily, he tried to persist, but the pain of broken bones in his wrist and hand were too much.

Richie Porte immediately became plan B but faded as soon as the race hit its Alpine stages. Later, he revealed that he was suffering from a chest infection.

The Giro went the same way that the Tour is going. Without a GC man to begin with, Sky raced for stages instead of the overall, coming away with two seconds and a third place.

Already two-thirds in, the team is far away from its heady days in 2012 and 2013 when Bradley Wiggins and Froome dominated. Instead of arranging seating for waiting journalists on the second rest day, it simply did not bother to schedule an official press conference.

It has been a long time since the team has been in such a spot. In its debut grand tour in 2010, Wiggins won the Giro’s opening time trial and wore the pink jersey on stage 2. The 2014 season has been its first hard patch since it got rolling to podium places and overall wins.

Brailsford, in fact, gathered the team staff and riders on the bus Monday evening for a pep talk ahead of the final phase of the Tour.

“We broke the list down. You can either point fingers at each other or … Everyone’s tired. It’s very very easy to start saying, ‘I think it’s your fault.’ Cracks start to appear. That’s not going to happen. We might not look great from the outside, but in here we are going to stick together,” Brailsford said.

“I told them, ‘We have 17 riders who wanted to ride this race and you all scrapped like hell to try and get selected. You got selected. I won’t entertain the idea that this is hard. Or there’s rain. I am not having that because there are other blokes who are disappointed not to be here and they would rip your arm off to be sitting in this bus.’”

It might not all be doom and gloom. Sky put Bernie Eisel and Vasil Kiryienka in stage 16′s main escape that produced eventual winner Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo). The team is showing its fighting spirit even if it lost Froome and saw Porte fade.

If it fails to win in the Tour, it still may look ahead to the Vuelta a España where Froome is tipped to lead the team, and Wiggins may return. With the grand tour season as it is so far, though, the pressure will be on the team in Spain to make amends and to revive the Sky of 2012 and 2013.

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Technical FAQ: 10/11-speed compatibility

July 22, 2014 - 2:16pm

Dear Lennard,
I was reading the comments in a recent column about a rider switching from 10- to 11-speed when his shifter broke. This leads me to the question. Which recent 10-speed road wheels are compatible with SRAM/Shimano 11-speed? I know that’s a large topic, but I was thinking primarily of popular, high-end carbon wheels like Zipp Firecrests, Mavic Ksyriums/Cosmics, Reynolds, and Bontrager.
— Glen

Dear Glen,
I don’t know if Mavic had a crystal ball years ago, but Mavic 9/10-speed wheels are 11-speed compatible. That’s because its Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehub bodies have for many years been wider that those of other hub manufacturers, and in order to put a 9/10-speed cassette on one, you were required to put a (supplied) spacer behind the cogs. This was amazing foresight or plain old dumb luck.

As far as I know, no other 10-speed Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehub bodies are 11-speed compatible without modification (as I did here).

However, all Campagnolo-compatible 9/10-speed freehub bodies also are compatible with Campagnolo 11-speed cassettes. And, as I’ve said before, there is 100 percent shifting compatibility between 11-speed cassettes. In other words, Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo 11-speed cassettes work just fine on each others’ drivetrains. So, one way to use an old 10-speed wheel with an 11-speed drivetrain is to install a Campagnolo freehub body and Campagnolo 11-speed cassette on it.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I was reading your Technical FAQ on drivetrain compatibility for 10- and 11-speed yesterday (sadly I consulted it after I started building my new bike). I had the same thoughts as Bruce about using an Ultegra RD-6800 derailleur with 10-speed shifters so that I could use a larger rear cog (for the old man and mountains reason).

Since I used various rear derailleurs in the past, I made the assumption that the RD-6800 would have the same cable pull ratio as the 5700 and 6700 derailleurs. But when I fitted the RD-6800, I found that, when using 10-speed shifters, it only shifted between 8.5 and 9 cogs instead of 10.

So it does look like Shimano have changed the cable pull ratio for the 11-speed rear derailleurs.
— Jeremy

Dear Jeremy,
Yes, that is correct. Shimano’s mechanical road 11-speed cable stroke is a road version of 10-speed Dynasys for mountain bikes (which has a longer cable pull per millimeter of derailleur movement than 9-speed MTB shifters).

One possible solution is to use a Shimano Ultegra RD-6700 long-cage GS version to get the range you want, or even an SS cage if you have a modern carbon frame with vertical dropouts with a Shimano XT 11-32 10-speed cassette and your 10-speed shifters. This is not a Shimano-approved setup, but it will work fine.

Note:
1. The GS cage is basically interchangeable between RD-6700 and RD-6800.

2. The 28T max rear cog capacity of all Shimano road rear derailleurs is based on horizontal, short Campy dropouts of the early 1980s.

3. The key to make it work is not adding chain links. Use the shortest possible big/big chain combination that doesn’t explode so that the small/small combination has no slack and the inner front chainring to the 32T rear combinations doesn’t interfere. Note there is also a 12-30 Ultegra cassette that easily works on modern bikes with the B-Tension screw turned all the way in.

4. Vertical-dropout carbon road bikes generally shift well with the XT 11-34 10-speed cassette, but you need to add two links, use the GS long cage, and reverse the B-Tension screw. This definitely is a case-by-case modification.
― Lennard

Dear Lennard,
I read through a lot of the articles on 11/10-speed compatibility, but I can’t find the answer to my question. I currently have SRAM Force 10-speed. I have 11-speed compatible wheels. I would like to upgrade but was wondering, do I have to upgrade the crankset and brakes? Can a six-piece upgrade kit (two shifters, F/R derailleurs, cassette, and chain) work just as well?
— Stephen

Dear Stephen,
Yes, that will work fine. You can also keep your 10-speed rear derailleur. The 10-speed front derailleur will also work, but the 11-speed version is a big improvement, and that’s not a hugely expensive part.
― Lennard

Feedback on road brakes FAQ:

Dear Lennard,
Just a thought on Matthew’s recent question on his 7800 levers. He mentioned that they were “packing.” I assumed he meant that they weren’t fully clicking into position. Rather than replacing the levers, he might try to pull the hoods off and soak them in degreaser (I like Park Tool’s Chainbrite) for a few days. After that, work a light lubricant into them (like Triflow or ProGold). I’ve been able to rescue dozens of older Shimano levers that way.
— Matthew

Regarding oval chainrings, and other gearing questions:

Dear Lennard
I’m surprised no one has sent you this article (PDF) yet. I’m a cyclist and a researcher, and while I use oval chainrings (Qrings), I’ve completely accepted that they’re mostly for comfort, not power output. Whether the small changes in power output result in physiological changes over a 40km, I think remains to be seen.

I would caution your readers to look at who’s funding these studies claiming “10 percent power increases” and the like.
— Amos

Regarding chamois irritation related to soaps:

Dear Lennard,
Following up on this past post about rashes from soap and wipes, I’ve used Dawn dish soap on my body with great effect. Much less drying and irritation, and it leaves behind the body’s natural oils. I got the idea from my uncle (we are both strength coaches and cyclists) who was experiencing negative effects of body wash, and thought to try Dawn since it is used for animal rescue (cleans foreign dirt, grime and oils, leaves natural body oil)
— Chris

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Preview: Tour de France, stage 17

July 22, 2014 - 1:08pm

Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

This may be the shortest stage of the race, apart from the time trial, but it’s not going to be easy

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Gallery: Tour de France, stage 16

July 22, 2014 - 12:59pm

After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Michael Rogers has changed his mindset, and it payed off with a victory on stage 16 of the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) leads the day's breakaway, ahead of Kevin Reza (Europcar). The stage's 21 instigators were quickly whittled down to 14 riders on the Port de Balès climb. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Europcar's Cyril Gautier attacked the climb, hoping to either solo to victory or set up his teammate Thomas Voeckler for a counter-attack. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Although Gautier gained a slight advantage over the lead group, stage 16 was not meant to be for team Europcar. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Stage 16 took the peloton on a 237.5km ride into the Pyrenees — sometimes literally so in this large mountain tunnel.Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Thomas Voeckler closely marked Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), but he could not respond when the Australian made the decisive move on the final descent. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Stage 16 was the Tour's first foray into the Pyrenees, and the weather gave riders a respite from the oppressive heat suffered in the Alps. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Michael Rogers has changed his mindset, and it payed off with a victory on stage 16 of the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Voeckler had to settle for second-best on the line in Bagneres-De-Luchon. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Alejandro Valverde sat back in the lead group as Jeremy Roy and Thibault Pinot took them across the finish line. His Movistar team shook up the GC on stage 16 with a fierce pace up the Port de Balés. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    GC hopefuls Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) were among those who lost time on the climbs of Tuesday's trying stage. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) bid adieu to the lead in the young rider competition on stage 16, but not without a valiant effort by his teammate Samuel Dumoulin. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Stage 16

    Despite BMC's efforts to salvage the stage, Tejay van Garderen lost a significant amount of time on GC, and faces an uphill battle to make the final podium in Paris. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Van Garderen’s podium hopes take dive in Movistar ambush

July 22, 2014 - 12:33pm

Despite BMC's efforts to salvage the stage, Tejay van Garderen lost a significant amount of time on GC, and faces an uphill battle to make the final podium in Paris. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BAGNERES de LUCHON, France (VN) — There was blood in the water on the Port de Balés climb. It wasn’t Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), nicknamed the “Shark,” stirring the choppy seas on the relentlessly steep escarpment in the Tour’s first Pyrénéan day. Instead, it was Movistar, who came blazing out of the final Tour de France rest day, ready to ravage the peloton.

Movistar pinned three riders on the front during the narrow, steep, unforgiving climb, and managed to isolate Nibali, leaving the yellow jersey exposed for the first time this Tour.

Yet it wasn’t Nibali who Movistar was targeting. Instead, it was riders behind Movistar captain Alejandro Valverde on GC, and one in particular: Tejay van Garderen.

The BMC Racing captain was a direct threat to Valverde’s shot at a career-first podium, and when van Garderen drifted to the back of the elite group of riders red-lining it in the GC selection, Movistar turned the screws even tighter. When the bleeding stopped at the finish line, the damage was done. Van Garderen’s podium hopes lay in tatters, and Valverde’s enjoyed a huge boost.

“Movistar just made an insane tempo,” van Garderen told journalists at the BMC bus. “It was just too hard.”

Valverde remained second at 4:37 to the ever-steady Nibali, but van Garderen plummeted to sixth, now 9:25 back of Nibali, and 4:48 to the Spanish veteran.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” van Garderen continued. “I had hopes for a podium, and now it looks like it’s taken a big hit.”

Cycling is a cruel sport. One team’s celebration invariably means another’s disappointment.

While there was a bit of doom and gloom around the BMC bus after the stage, there was a quiet sense of jubilation at Movistar.

Many of the riders’ families made the trek over the Pyrénées to watch the stage, and a loud gaggle of Spanish wives, children, and parents crowded around the bus.

“We have to be satisfied with how the stage went,” Valverde said. “Nibali is solid, but we were able to distance van Garderen, who was the most dangerous rider for the time trial [Saturday]. It makes things more comfortable for the podium.”

Just 24 hours before, van Garderen was quietly confident that he would have the legs to stay close to the pointy end of the GC. Movistar, however, was intent on making things difficult. The accelerations also gapped Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who dropped from third to fifth, now 6:40 back.

John Gadret, the French rider on Movistar, sought some shade in the front seat of a team van, waiting for the police escort to cross the border, to spend the night in Spain in nearby Vielha.

“The idea today was to eliminate some of the podium rivals. Nibali was strong once again,” Gadret told VeloNews. “Van Garderen was very dangerous for Alejandro. Now we are more secure to try to reach the podium in Paris.”

While the Spanish entourage was looking forward to a night in Spain before crossing back into France for Wednesday’s stage, BMC Racing was trying to figure out what happened.

“He certainly wasn’t the Tejay we’ve seen in the first two weeks of the Tour,” BMC Racing general manager Jim Ochowicz told reporters. “He just had a bad day. We didn’t expect that to happen. We hope he can come back tomorrow, and the others can lose time.”

The Pyrénées clearly have not treated van Garderen well. Last year, in the first major climbing stage of the 2013 Tour, van Garderen lost more than 12 minutes on the stage to Ax-3 Domaines.

Van Garderen’s podium hopes are further complicated by the presence of three French riders ahead of him on GC. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who has been consistent across the Tour, climbed to third at 5:06 back. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) climbed to fourth, at 6:08. Bardet is now fifth, at 6:40 back. All three are nearly three minutes ahead of van Garderen.

“I just didn’t have the legs. I felt a bit empty,” van Garderen explained. “I am really hoping I can bounce back tomorrow and recover the legs I had in the Alps. It’s not finished. There are still three hard GC days to come, so I’m hoping I can bounce back.”

Even with the penultimate-day time trial waiting Saturday, a solid time trialist like van Garderen cannot realistically hope to take that much time back against the likes of Valverde and Péraud.

As this Tour has shown, seemingly every rider has at least one bad day. Pinto and Péraud have been solid up until now. If van Garderen can bounce back, he will need to attack the French riders if he hopes to revive his podium ambitions.

Valverde, meanwhile, solidified his grip on a podium spot. Wednesday will reveal if Movistar is racing to win the Tour, or be content with a podium in Paris.

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Rogers makes it two for Tinkoff

July 22, 2014 - 11:05am

After a difficult start to the 2014 season, Michael Rogers has changed his mindset, and it payed off with a victory on stage 16 of the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BAGNÉRES-DE-LUCHON, France (VN) — No one was beating Michael Rogers today. On the descent into Bagnéres-de-Luchon he said as much. No, someone would have to rip this from his fingers. He was close now, so close.

“I knew Tommy Voeckler (Europcar) would be hard to beat. I tried a few times to drop him on the climb, but I couldn’t,” Rogers said at the finish. “I knew I had to outwit them in the final. Voeckler had a teammate behind, and he started playing that game, but I wouldn’t have it. I said, ‘Listen, don’t play with me, you’re not going to beat me today, there’s no way.’ On the descent, I thought, I’ve been in this position too many times to lose, I’m either going to crash or I’m going to win today.”

Rogers rolled the dice and attacked in a corner as the pace lulled. Now or never.

“This year I think I’ve changed mentally, and when it rains, it pours. I’ve changed upstairs. I’m more hungry, and opportunities seem clearer to me. I’m not scared of the outcome,” Rogers said. “I used to be afraid of failure, but once you believe, and you’re not scared of the outcome, things become clearer, and opportunities arise.”

All it took for Rogers to get this was 10 years and some 200 stages at the Tour de France. But it was easy to see as the Australian crossed the line with no one else in the frame, after a shark-toothed Pyrenean stage, that those Tours, those hours, were worth this exact moment. Emotion coursed through him as he pedaled in, a dream long-deferred finally realized for the three-time world time trial champion. He’d held on by nine seconds to beat Voeckler. Rogers rolled into the breakaway at kilometer 28 and never looked back.

It’s a story of redemption for both Rogers and his Tinkoff-Saxo squad. Earlier this season it didn’t seem Rogers would even be here in France or in Tinkoff yellow at all; he tested positive for clenbuterol at the Japan Cup last year, and was temporarily sidelined as the case played out. The UCI released a statement this spring, saying there was a high probability the substance came from eating contaminated meat, and Rogers was able to return to racing. He did so with a bang, winning two stages at the Giro d’Italia — including the fabled Zoncolan. On Tuesday, he added a Tour stage to his palmares.

As for Tinkoff, Rogers’ win is its second of the Tour, both coming after captain Alberto Contador had to abandon with a broken leg. Considering that, it’s been a remarkable Tour for Tinkoff. Rafal Majka now holds the mountains classification, and also won a mountain stage, up to Risoul.

“It was tough for those four or five days after Alberto left. There was no plan B for us. We made a new plan A,” Rogers said. “I realized that you have to be in it to win it … I realized if you try your best, the worst thing that can happen is that you lose. And if you lose, you tried your best.”

Rogers said he sees things clearer now after his time off the bike, and his results bear that out.

“It’s been a lesson in life for me. As I said previously. I just accepted the person who I was. I’d always dreamed of wining a grand tour. I tried for many years,” Rogers said. “All the sudden I realized, stop trying to live someone else’s life … Objectives are sometimes, how can you describe them? Very hard to understand. And sometimes you need a lesson in life to see the real silver lining.”

In this case, the silver lining is being here at all, in taking his own chances after Contador exited — and descending like he stole something off Port de Balès.

“I was desperate for that stage. I understood the opportunity I had in front of me,” Rogers said. “There’s no gifts when you win a stage. It’s because on that day you were the best.”

The post Rogers makes it two for Tinkoff appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Results: 2014 Tour de France, stage 16

July 22, 2014 - 10:19am

Michael Rogers' daring attack at the end of stage 16 earned him his first-ever Tour de France stage victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • 1. Michael ROGERS, Tinkoff-Saxo, in 6:07:10
  • 2. Thomas VOECKLER, Europcar, at :09
  • 3. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at :09
  • 4. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at :09
  • 5. Cyril GAUTIER, Europcar, at :09
  • 6. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC Racing, at :13
  • 7. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :36
  • 8. Matteo MONTAGUTI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :50
  • 9. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, Garmin-Sharp, at 2:11
  • 10. Tony GALLOPIN, Lotto-Belisol, at 2:11
  • 11. Jan BAKELANTS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 3:33
  • 12. Florian VACHON, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 3:45
  • 13. Anthony DELAPLACE, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 4:47
  • 14. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at 4:47
  • 15. Bernhard EISEL, Sky, at 8:14
  • 16. Jérémy ROY, FDJ.fr, at 8:32
  • 17. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ.fr, at 8:32
  • 18. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at 8:32
  • 19. Jean-Christophe PERAUD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 8:32
  • 20. Vincenzo NIBALI, Astana, at 8:32
  • 21. Leopold KONIG, NetApp-Endura, at 8:32
  • 22. Jens KEUKELEIRE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 8:35
  • 23. Roger KLUGE, IAM Cycling, at 9:07
  • 24. John GADRET, Movistar, at 9:12
  • 25. Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 9:12
  • 26. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at 9:43
  • 27. Arnold JEANNESSON, FDJ.fr, at 9:43
  • 28. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at 10:00
  • 29. Samuel DUMOULIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 10:22
  • 30. Romain BARDET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 10:22
  • 31. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at 10:53
  • 32. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at 11:32
  • 33. Bauke MOLLEMA, Belkin, at 11:32
  • 34. Frank SCHLECK, Trek Factory Racing, at 11:32
  • 35. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at 12:08
  • 36. Peter VELITS, BMC Racing, at 12:08
  • 37. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at 12:08
  • 38. Christopher HORNER, Lampre-Merida, at 12:08
  • 39. Geraint THOMAS, Sky, at 12:08
  • 40. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at 12:08
  • 41. Christophe RIBLON, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 12:08
  • 42. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at 12:08
  • 43. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at 12:08
  • 44. Ben GASTAUER, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 12:08
  • 45. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, Belkin, at 12:08
  • 46. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at 12:08
  • 47. Peter STETINA, BMC Racing, at 12:08
  • 48. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM Cycling, at 13:40
  • 49. Brice FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 14:20
  • 50. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM Cycling, at 14:20
  • 51. Michael ALBASINI, Orica-GreenEdge, at 14:37
  • 52. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, Movistar, at 14:52
  • 53. Yukiya ARASHIRO, Europcar, at 16:21
  • 54. Jan BARTA, NetApp-Endura, at 16:21
  • 55. Tom DUMOULIN, Giant-Shimano, at 16:21
  • 56. Florian GUILLOU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 16:21
  • 57. Richie PORTE, Sky, at 16:21
  • 58. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM Cycling, at 16:21
  • 59. Marcel WYSS, IAM Cycling, at 16:21
  • 60. Nicolas ROCHE, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 16:21
  • 61. Jose Joaquin ROJAS GIL, Movistar, at 20:17
  • 62. Giovanni VISCONTI, Movistar, at 20:17
  • 63. Jens VOIGT, Trek Factory Racing, at 20:17
  • 64. David LOPEZ GARCIA, Sky, at 20:17
  • 65. Bram TANKINK, Belkin, at 20:17
  • 66. Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU, Trek Factory Racing, at 20:17
  • 67. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at 20:17
  • 68. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at 20:17
  • 69. Gatis SMUKULIS, Katusha, at 20:17
  • 70. Lars Ytting BAK, Lotto-Belisol, at 20:17
  • 71. Michele SCARPONI, Astana, at 20:17
  • 72. Jakob FUGLSANG, Astana, at 20:17
  • 73. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at 20:17
  • 74. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at 20:44
  • 75. Sébastien MINARD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 20:44
  • 76. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at 20:44
  • 77. Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing, at 20:44
  • 78. Nelson Filipe SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Lampre-Merida, at 20:44
  • 79. Grégory RAST, Trek Factory Racing, at 20:44
  • 80. Tiago MACHADO, NetApp-Endura, at 20:44
  • 81. Kristijan DURASEK, Lampre-Merida, at 20:44
  • 82. Mikael CHEREL, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 20:44
  • 83. Alexandre PICHOT, Europcar, at 20:44
  • 84. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at 20:44
  • 85. José Joao PIMENTA COSTA MENDES, NetApp-Endura, at 20:44
  • 86. Benjamin KING, Garmin-Sharp, at 20:44
  • 87. Armindo FONSECA, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 20:44
  • 88. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at 20:44
  • 89. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 20:44
  • 90. Rein TAARAMAE, Cofidis, at 20:44
  • 91. Matthew BUSCHE, Trek Factory Racing, at 20:44
  • 92. Lieuwe WESTRA, Astana, at 20:44
  • 93. Rudy MOLARD, Cofidis, at 20:44
  • 94. Biel KADRI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 20:44
  • 95. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 23:52
  • 96. Daniel OSS, BMC Racing, at 23:52
  • 97. Mickael DELAGE, FDJ.fr, at 24:33
  • 98. William BONNET, FDJ.fr, at 24:33
  • 99. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC Racing, at 24:33
  • 100. Roy CURVERS, Giant-Shimano, at 24:33
  • 101. Lars BOOM, Belkin, at 24:33
  • 102. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at 24:33
  • 103. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ.fr, at 24:33
  • 104. Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar, at 24:33
  • 105. Maarten WYNANTS, Belkin, at 24:33
  • 106. Bryan COQUARD, Europcar, at 24:33
  • 107. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 24:33
  • 108. Paul VOSS, NetApp-Endura, at 24:33
  • 109. Rafal MAJKA, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 24:33
  • 110. Michal GOLAS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 24:33
  • 111. Albert TIMMER, Giant-Shimano, at 24:33
  • 112. Thomas LEEZER, Belkin, at 24:33
  • 113. Nicolas EDET, Cofidis, at 24:33
  • 114. Yohann GENE, Europcar, at 24:33
  • 115. Arnaud GERARD, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 24:33
  • 116. Cyril LEMOINE, Cofidis, at 24:33
  • 117. Simon GERRANS, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:47
  • 118. Jurgen ROELANDTS, Lotto-Belisol, at 26:47
  • 119. André GREIPEL, Lotto-Belisol, at 26:47
  • 120. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 26:47
  • 121. Christian MEIER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:47
  • 122. Marcel SIEBERG, Lotto-Belisol, at 26:47
  • 123. Martin ELMIGER, IAM Cycling, at 26:47
  • 124. Sep VANMARCKE, Belkin, at 26:47
  • 125. Romain FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 26:47
  • 126. Niki TERPSTRA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 26:47
  • 127. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 128. Alessandro PETACCHI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 26:47
  • 129. Heinrich HAUSSLER, IAM Cycling, at 26:47
  • 130. Fabio SABATINI, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 131. Luke DURBRIDGE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:47
  • 132. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:47
  • 133. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 134. Zakkari DEMPSTER, NetApp-Endura, at 26:47
  • 135. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at 26:47
  • 136. Benoit JARRIER, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 26:47
  • 137. Svein TUFT, Orica-GreenEdge, at 26:47
  • 138. Alexander KRISTOFF, Katusha, at 26:47
  • 139. Andreas SCHILLINGER, NetApp-Endura, at 26:47
  • 140. Marcel KITTEL, Giant-Shimano, at 26:47
  • 141. Tom VEELERS, Giant-Shimano, at 26:47
  • 142. Simon SPILAK, Katusha, at 26:47
  • 143. Elia VIVIANI, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 144. Ruben PLAZA MOLINA, Movistar, at 26:47
  • 145. Cheng JI, Giant-Shimano, at 26:47
  • 146. Maxim IGLINSKY, Astana, at 26:47
  • 147. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at 26:47
  • 148. Adrien PETIT, Cofidis, at 26:47
  • 149. Michael MORKOV, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 26:47
  • 150. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 26:47
  • 151. Marco MARCATO, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 152. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 153. Jean-Marc BIDEAU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 26:47
  • 154. Mark RENSHAW, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 26:47
  • 155. Matteo TRENTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 26:47
  • 156. Jean Marc MARINO, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 157. Jack BAUER, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:47
  • 158. Sebastian LANGEVELD, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:47
  • 159. Danny PATE, Sky, at 26:47
  • 160. Davide CIMOLAI, Lampre-Merida, at 26:47
  • 161. Reto HOLLENSTEIN, IAM Cycling, at 26:47
  • 162. Julien SIMON, Cofidis, at 26:47
  • 163. Arnaud DEMARE, FDJ.fr, at 26:47
  • 164. Ramunas NAVARDAUSKAS, Garmin-Sharp, at 26:47
  • 165. Vladimir ISAICHEV, Katusha, at 26:47
  • 166. Luca PAOLINI, Katusha, at 26:47
  • 167. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at 26:47
  • 168. Dmitriy GRUZDEV, Astana, at 27:59
  • 169. Alessandro VANOTTI, Astana, at 29:43
  • DNS Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA, Lampre-Merida
  • DNS Simon YATES, Orica-GreenEdge

The post Results: 2014 Tour de France, stage 16 appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Rogers attacks, then wins stage 16 at the Tour

July 22, 2014 - 9:08am

Michael Rogers' daring attack at the end of stage 16 earned him his first-ever Tour de France stage victory. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) won stage 16 at the Tour de France on Tuesday.

Rogers was in the lead group when he attacked 4.5 kilometers from the finish. He then time trialed his way to the line to capture the victory in the 237.5km stage from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) finished second and Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) took third.

With about 10km left, Rogers and Voeckler were joined at the front of the race by Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Kiryienka. The foursome, which was riding together earlier before it broke apart during the fast, 21km descent to the finish from the top of the Port de Balès, a hors category climb, was struggling to work efficiently together when Rogers decided to give it a go.

He immediately broke away from Gautier, with whom he was riding slightly ahead of the other two escapees, and put some real estate between the two. With the road still pointing downhill, Rogers was able to use gravity to help him plunge to the finish. He held a gap of less than 10 seconds as he passed under the flamme rouge, which proved to be enough.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) still leads the race by 4:37 over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), while Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), thanks to an aggressive effort on the Port de Balès climb, slid into third place at 5:06 behind Nibali.

The stage win was the first for the 34-year-old Rogers at the Tour. In May, he won two stages at the Giro d’Italia.

“It’s amazing. I knew once I got to the bottom of the last climb, the race really began for me,” Rogers said. “I knew Tommy Voeckler would be hard to beat. I tried a few times to drop him on the climb, but I couldn’t. I knew I had to outwit them in the final. Voeckler had a teammate behind, and he started playing that game, but I wouldn’t have it. I said, ‘listen, don’t play with me, you’re not going to beat me today, there’s no way.’ On the descent, I thought, I’ve been in this position too many times to lose, I’m either going to crash or I’m going to win today.”

The victory was also sweet for Rogers in the wake of his positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol last fall. After winning the Japan Cup in October, Rogers turned in the test and was suspended when the results were announced two months later.

Rogers maintained his innocence, saying he ingested the substance through tainted meat. The UCI eventually agreed with him and cleared him of wrongdoing in April.

“This year I think I’ve changed mentally, and when it rains, it pours,” Rogers said. “I’ve changed upstairs, I’m more hungry, and opportunities seem clearer to me. I’m not scared of the outcome. I used to be afraid of failure, but once you believe, and you’re not scared of the outcome, things become clearer, and opportunities arise.”

Two battles on the Port de Bales

At the base of the 11.7km climb of the Port de Balès, there were several groups on the road. The lead group consisted of 21 riders but immediately fractured as the road went up. It was quickly down to 14 and continued to break up from there. The Rogers group of four riders formed 5km from the summit.

Gautier tried to break free at one point, but he was quickly reeled in and eventually fell back. Near the top of the climb, with a group of three — Rogers, Voeckler, and Serpa — at the front of the race, Serpa was the first to go. Voeckler tried to follow but could not, and Serpa earned the KOM points.

Meanwhile, several minutes behind the leaders there was another battle brewing between the GC contenders. A group that included Nibali, Valverde, Pinot, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), and the other podium hopefuls — along with their helpers — was riding in a tight pack. But as the road continued to go up, the climb took its toll.

Van Garderen fell back about halfway up. When Pinot attacked 4km from the top, Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who began the day third overall, fell back as well. Nibali, Peraud, and Valverde matched Pinot’s effort and the group continued to move up the road.

“Movistar just made an insane tempo and it was just too hard,” van Garderen said. “I just kind of didn’t have the legs and felt a bit empty.”

Pinot soon grew tired, however, and raised his arm to call for help. What first appeared to be a request for assistance was actually a request for a teammate. Arnold Jeannesson, who was trailing the group, answered the call and bridged the gap. He jumped on the front of the small pack and upped the pace.

Jeannesson’s strong ride up the rest of the mountain helped Pinot regain some of the feeling in his legs, a fact that was clear when Pinot slingshotted past him near the summit. Nibali followed but couldn’t hold the wheel, and Pinot was able to crest the summit ahead of the group.

“I struck a blow. I had great legs and I had to take advantage of that,” said Pinot. “Bales is a very tough climb but tomorrow is another great stage and I hope to still have good legs. My aim is third place but I’ll have to wait until Saturday night to see where I am because there’s a 55km time trial [that day] and I need more time on Van Garderen and Peraud.”

Van Garderen lost valuable time on the day to finish 37th at 12:08 behind Rogers, and he is now sixth at 9:25 back in the GC. He began the day 5:49 back, but more importantly was a little more than a minute outside of the podium. Now he sits more than 4:00 off the podium.

“I am really hoping I can bounce [back] tomorrow and recover the legs I had in the Alps,” van Garderen said. “It is not finished. There are still three hard GC days to come, so I am hoping to bounce back.”

Downhill to the finish

With the stage leaders well ahead, the pack of GC riders started their descent to Bagnères-de-Luchon. Pinot sliced through the sweeping turns at top speed, with Nibali, a skilled descender, trailing not too far behind.

Jeannesson eventually caught up to Pinot and the twosome continued to grow. Several hairpin turns on the second half of the descent slowed everyone down and allowed Nibali and a few of the other guys who dropped back on the climb to latch back on.

Six of the riders from that group finished with the same time, while four others were within a minute.

The race picks up with Wednesday’s stage 17, which takes the riders 124.5km from Saint-Gaudens to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet.


EN – Summary – Stage 16 (Carcassonne > Bagnères… by tourdefrance

The post Rogers attacks, then wins stage 16 at the Tour appeared first on VeloNews.com.

The Cycling Podcast: Looking ahead to the Tour’s final stages

July 22, 2014 - 8:58am

listen to ‘The VeloNews Cycling Podcast 3’ on Audioboo

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Photo Essay: Tinkoff-Saxo enjoys the Tour’s second rest day

July 22, 2014 - 8:33am

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  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The Tinkoff-Saxo rest day started at the team hotel in Saint-Laurent-de-le-Cabrerisse where team staff tackled the large task of cleaning, fine-tuning, and restocking the arsenals of equipment. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Team soigneurs filled dozens of water bottles for the race days yet to come. The rest day provided a much-needed opportunity to get ahead on the daily duties. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    After breakfast, team mechanics began prepping the riders' bikes for the training ride. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Rafal Majka, winner of stage 14, readied himself for the day's easy training ride through the Provence countryside. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Nicolas Roche stopped by the truck before the training ride to discuss his cleat position with the team mechnanics. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    After the previous week's heartbreak with their GC contender Alberto Contador's withdrawal from the race due to injury, team directors and staff find a little levity during the rest day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Bjarne Riis took a few interviews with press at the team trucks before heading out for a training ride with the boys. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    No rest day is complete without lots of reporters angling for a chance to speak with the top riders before they head out on their ride. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Several television crews were on hand for filming during the rest day, covering Oleg Tinkov, a couple of VIPs, and the team's top riders. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The team had the roads almost entirely to themselves as they rode through the Provençcal countryside. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Some locals gave a hearty greeting to the Tinkoff-Saxo team as they rode through a small country village. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Oleg Tinkov continued his ongoing Russian television interviews during the ride. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Rafal Majka and Matteo Tossato rode on the front of the group as they passed through a quiet town on their training route. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The heavy storm clouds that the race saw on stage 15 made a quick reappearance, but the Tinkoff-Saxo team was lucky to avoid any rain during the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Back at the hotel, every aspect of the team gets recharged on the day off the race course. Mechanics washed all the team cars, as is customary each day. Race regulation requires that all vehicles in the race caravan be in immaculate condition. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The rest day can look a lot like the days leading up to the Grand Depart. Coolers are packed with cold bottles, the truck is reorganized, and bikes are cleaned and tuned. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    After so many cool wet days on the Tour, team mechanics took advantage of the warm sun to get tires glued. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Nicolas Roche was visited by loyal Irish fans who have been following him in the Tour. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    A Belgian cameraman for TV2 got some elevation on the training ride as he was blasted by the wind that swept across the Carcassone area during the rest day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The training ride on the rest day gave the riders a chance to relax, chat with Bjarne and Oleg, and stretch the legs without the pressures of a typical race day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    A team mechanic's work is never done — the bikes still need to be washed and prepped for racing after the rest day training ride. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Team chef Hannah Grant is no stranger to being filmed as the Tour brings frequent video crews to her "doorstep" at the Tinkoff-Saxo kitchen truck. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Inside the kitchen, an SBS Australian TV reporter got some cooking tips from team chef Hannah Grant. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    After filming, it was back to work making the riders' lunch and dinner as chef Hannah's assistant Rune prepared the vegetables. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Team chef Hannah Grant put the final touches on the lamb shoulder that was about to go in the oven for the riders' dinner. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Inside the kitchen truck, spring onions got a light drizzle of organic honey before being roasted for the night's dinner. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Hannah Grant took a pause while cooking as fans and VIPs stopped by the kitchen truck for a tour. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    The team scoreboard puts chef assistant Rune in the lead as he bet that Rafal Majka would win the first stage after teammate Alberto Contador was forced to leave the race following injuries. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    Michael Rogers lingered at the lunch table while the directors and managers told stories. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

  • View Larger Image.2014 Tour de France: Inside the Tinkoff-Saxo Rest Day

    A post-lunch repose on the sunny terrace gave Nicolas Roche and sponsor manager Gabriele Ubaldi a chance to relax before heading back to the race the next day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

The post Photo Essay: Tinkoff-Saxo enjoys the Tour’s second rest day appeared first on VeloNews.com.

Horner Q&A: Father time, the Tour, and the Vuelta defense

July 22, 2014 - 7:31am

Can Chris Horner repeat at the Vuelta? He likes his chances. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

BAGNÉRES-DE-LUCHON, France (VN) — With each falling star from the Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana has the potential to burn a little brighter, and with more drama.

Chris Froome (Sky) may ride. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) isn’t on in France, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will redouble his efforts. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is on the fence. Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida), however, is in — in a big way. At 42, he aims to repeat as champion, but the order is a tall one.

As usual, Horner is undaunted. VeloNews caught up with him before the start of stage 15 in Tallard.

VeloNews: It’s getting tougher to repeat. Wouldn’t you say?
Horner: I beat Nibali last year. He’s winning here this year. It is what it is. It’s always going to be harder when you add more competition, too. So that’s definitely the case.

Honestly, when I got hit in the tunnel a few months back, I thought if I broke my arms or legs that was the end of my career right there. So for sure you’re not making Spain. Froome, with a hand problem, small fracture, I’ve had that before. Been back on the bike right away but that doesn’t mean I had exactly what he has. It can definitely change things. But clearly, the competition could get better. Which is good — that’s what everybody wants. Which is what you want, you want to beat the best in the world. That’s why I’m at the Tour de France to begin with, so you can race against the best. But really last year to this year the only completion that you would really start to change is bringing Alberto and bringing Froome. Other than that we had Joaquim Rodriguez at his best, Valverde at his best, Nibali, OK, maybe he was a kilo heavy or something like that but he still did go on — all three of those guys went on to dominate the world championships, too, so you know they were on their best form.

Nibali, here I think we’re seeing maybe a slightly better version of him than what I raced against in Spain. Possibly. He looks like he’s a little bit lighter. That doesn’t always mean you’re better, but usually it’s a good sign.

VN: How are they different, the Tour and Vuelta?
CH: They’re completely different courses. They’re not the same. They’re absolutely different. The mountains are different. The first week wears you out in the Tour before you even get to the mountains, whereas in Spain you’ve already worn out those big, flat guys … the sprinters and all. You’ve already worn them out before they even get to a field sprint. They can’t do so much damage to me on the flat days like they did here in the Tour, so I arrive in the mountains fresher.

VN: You seem to like your chances?
CH: If I can recover outta here. Whatever the bronchitis thing that happened … if I can get outta here and recover, then I like my chances. I think it should be good. I’ll go back to the U.S. and I’ll be in the heat, finally, for the first time all year. Hopefully there’s no more car accidents in the dark tunnels and everything should be good.

Honestly, I have really good form here, I’m just sick. When you look at what I’ve done — and I’m still a little heavy and how soon it is since I left the ER, I’m very, very happy with my form. I just got sick. … The lungs just aren’t breathing 100 percent, which a few of us have it on the team. Who knows, maybe we picked up some cow s—t on the Paris-Roubaix stage.

VN: Say you win the Vuelta. Will you just call it a walk-off home run and retire right there?
CH: No no. I love — that stuff is hilarious. I hear it all the time. F—k that man. You might have another win left in you. I want to win again.

VN: But how about going out on top? There’s something to be said for that.
CH: [In the Alps] I was climbing with the Tour de de France in the front group. So where’s the top? And then is the top when you win the tour of Spain at 42 or when you win the tour of Spain when you’re 44?

VN: At some point your wife will make you stop.
CH: Yeah. That’s a possibility … sooner or later, father time gets ahold of everybody. I’m just kicking his ass the last six years or so.

VN: They say time waits for no man.
CH: He waited for me.

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