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Tour de France tactics dish up bittersweet day for BMC
July 06, 2015 (14:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Stage 2 of the Tour de France from Utrecht to Zelande was a bittersweet day for BMC Racing, with Tejay van Garderen gaining time on a number of his rivals but overnight race leader Rohan Dennis slipping out of the yellow jersey. Van Garderen and the bulk of his team were present and accounted for when the peloton split in the crosswinds, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) both lost 1:28 by the time they crossed the line behind stage winner Andre Greipel. Dennis was unable to make the front group and BMC were caught in two minds as to whether they should press on or wait for Dennis, ultimately deciding that the pursuit of van Garderens GC ambitions were paramount. Like I said in my press conference, no news is good news so we werent looking to gain time. We just werent looking to lose time. At the time we were just focusing on the wheels in front of us and we werent really paying attention to who was behind, van Garderen said of the moment the race split.ADVERTISEMENT We just wanted to stay safe and at the front. It just so happened that a lot of leaders were caught out. Alberto Contador and Chris Froome both made the lead group, along with van Garderen and a volley of Etixx-QuickStep riders. Quintana was the first to concede ground, followed by Nibali. BMC eventually contributed to the pacesetting at the front of the race although Alberto Contador was later critical of the American team, claiming they could have put more effort into distancing two key men in Nibali and Quintana. At the end of the day, van Garderen stood in eighth place overall, four seconds ahead of Froome, 16 seconds ahead of Contador, 1:25 ahead of Nibali and 1:45 in front of Quintana. Its good news for us," van Garderen said. "But it was a tough call to make out there with our yellow jersey behind and for a while we were thinking not to work so he could catch up but then all the other GC guys would catch up. It was a tough call out there. As for Dennis, he understandably walked into the BMC team bus, leaving his yellow painted race bike to cut a disconsolate figure outside. Van Garderen was quick to praise his Australian teammate and added that the squad would rally around their time trial winner. Hes professional and he understands," van Garderen said. "He knows what the stakes are. Im sure that he will be disappointed, but no one can take the result from yesterday away from him. Im sure hes still going to have fond memories and well console him tonight. it was a tough call as we had all our guys there. All we were missing was Rohan. For a while we werent riding but then gap moved out and we realised that we could put a lot of time into the GC guys. At the end it was the right call. I feel bad for Rohan and wish he was in that move with us. Mondays stage finishes on the Mur and will see the climbers and classics specialists feature. Its another day that could be decided by the weather and the tight roads as the race dips into Belgium. Despite his strong position in GC, van Garderen, rather wisely, isnt getting ahead of himself. A lot can happen," he said. "Seconds turn to minutes in the mountains so you can never be too high or too low. Today was a good day for us on GC but you have to just stay calm and stay focused for the next day." You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: 'I take my hat off to my teammates,' says Contador
July 06, 2015 (14:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
There were plenty of handshakes and hugs at the Tinkoff-Saxo bus after team leader Alberto Contador managed to gain a significant amount of time on several of his rivals in an incident-packed stage to Zelande. After a sluggish performance in the stage 1 time trial, Contador rebounded with a tactically astute performance that saw him gain 1:28 on Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and Thibaut Pinot. It was an incredible day, Contador said. "There were moments when we had to push ourselves right to the limit. But its been a great day for us because weve ended up gaining some very useful time on some of our biggest rivals." The two-time Tour winner thanked his teammates for their efforts after the peloton split as heavy rain and gusting winds hit the field with almost 60km remaining. I take my hat off to them," he said. "On days like this you can gain more of an advantage than in the mountains."ADVERTISEMENT However, Contador was critical of the lack of support from Sky and BMC in the front group. I did talk to [Chris] Froome and [Tejay] van Garderen about this. You have to take full advantage of these situations. Although their teams did provide many relays, it wasnt until very late on in the stage. Tinkoff director Sean Yates was a happy man too. We knew that this would potentially be a hard day, especially for the GC contenders," Yates said. "We had the manpower to keep Alberto out of trouble, keep him to the front and contribute to building the time gap to the other favourites. We did have some bad luck when Matteo Tosatto and then Peter Sagan punctured. Luckily, Peter got back on and he very nearly made it a perfect day for us in the sprint. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Froome hails 'huge advantage' over Nibali and Quintana after crosswinds
July 06, 2015 (14:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Stage 2 of the Tour de France from Utrecht to Zelande could not have panned out much better for Chris Froome (Team Sky), with the former winner putting time into every single one of his main pre-race rivals during a gripping and tense battle through Dutch crosswinds. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) conceded four seconds after a late split but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) " both victims in the crosswinds " lost 1:28 to the British rider on a day in which their overall aspirations took a damaging blow. Podium contender Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) also lost a handful of seconds to Froome, and what's more, Team Sky succeeded thanks to the work of others, with Etixx-QuickStep, BMC Racing and Tinkoff-Saxo the main protagonists in splitting the bunch. After today's pulsating action, Froome sits 10th overall, 48 seconds down on new race leader Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). Van Garderen may be in 8th at 44 seconds, but Contador is now 12 seconds down on Froome, while Nibali is at 2:09 and Quintana at 2:27.ADVERTISEMENT "This is a huge advantage for us now, sitting in this position after one flat day out on the road, that's fantastic. But this is a three-week race and as we've seen, things do change on a daily basis. We're ahead today, but who knows what's in store for us for the rest of the week?" Froome told the media after his warm-down. "I'm really thankful to my teammates for keeping me in front all day, especially when it really mattered when that split happened." The pre-stage predictions of bad weather were proved right with driving rain and a blustery wind whipping in from the North Sea. The conditions created havoc, with Tinkoff the first team to attempt a split with just over 103km of racing remaining. That was just a warning and after the peloton regrouped and the heavens opened, Etixx-QuickStep split the bunch with an acceleration that had Quintana and his Movistar team in disarray. Nibali was the next to fold, losing ground on the lead group after Adam Hansen crashed near him. "We were hoping that the storm was going to hold off after the finish," Froome said. "But that wasn't to be today, and I'm just glad it worked out the way it did and I had the support from my teammates when I really needed it. And being in the final split with Geraint and Yogi [ed. Stannard], they did a great job keeping me up there." "One second Nibali was right next to me, I couldn't believe he was distanced. That's the nature of the racing here in Holland." Nibali and his teammates rallied and initially had the group of Froome, Contador, and van Garderen at 51 seconds, but despite the conditions easing in the final 25km the damage had already been done. Nibali's group merged with Quintana's and they eventually trailed in 1:28 behind stage winner Andre Greipel, and with Froome in 7th place. Contador finished in a group with van Garderen at four seconds. "Two days down now and I couldn't have hoped for much more at this stage," Froome added. "It was only a good few kilometers after the split happened that we actually found out that it was a smaller group and so many of the GC guys had been distanced already. It was chaos out there for a few minutes with the storms, the winds. It was a nasty old stage." You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Froome and Contador back in control on Tour (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands (Reuters) - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 28 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and Frances Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind on a stage that went along the North Sea. More...
Cycling-Froome and Contador back in control on Tour (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(adds quotes, details) * Greipel wins second stage * Cancellara takes yellow jersey By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 28 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and France's Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind on a stage that went along the North Sea. More...
Cycling-Contador and Froome in control after hectic stage 2 (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details) By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 27 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and France's Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind. More...
Cycling-Froome and Contador back in control on Tour (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (18:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(adds quotes, details) * Greipel wins second stage * Cancellara takes yellow jersey By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 28 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and France's Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind on a stage that went along the North Sea. More...
Contador and Froome in control after hectic stage 2 (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (18:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands (Reuters) " - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 27 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and Frances Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind. More...
Cycling-Contador and Froome in control after hectic stage 2 (Reuters)
July 05, 2015 (18:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details) By Julien Pretot ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - - One year after crashing out of the race, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador were back in control of the Tour de France, hurting their main rivals in a hectic second stage won by German Andre Greipel on Sunday. Crosswinds and crashes caused several splits as the peloton made its way through heavy rain on a 166-kilometre ride from Utrecht, with Froome and Contador ending up in a small leading group that also included American Tejay van Garderen as they finished one minute 27 seconds ahead of the main pack. In that pack was defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Colombian Nairo Quintana and France's Thibaut Pinot, who could only limit the damage after being trapped behind. More...
Nibali plays down Quintana comments ahead of Tour de France
July 04, 2015 (10:46) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
In the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by defending Tour de France champions, the effect of any stray words so often seems to be amplified. When Astana's Vincenzo Nibali rhetorically enquired of Nairo Quintanas whereabouts during an exchange with journalists last month, he hardly anticipated that his words would become headline news 48 hours before the Grand Dpart. Such is the hyper-reality of life after the maillot jaune. As in 2013, Quintana took a lengthy break from racing ahead of the Tour, preferring to spend almost two months training at altitude at home in Colombia between the Tour de Romandie and the Route du Sud. Concerns have been raised in the past about the frequency of out-of-competition blood tests in Colombia, but speaking on Friday afternoon, Quintana said that he had been tested on at least five occasions in his home country in the past year. During his final pre-Tour press conference just beforehand, Nibali had been at pains to douse the flames of any potential controversy, looking to avoid any diplomatic incident with one of the other heads of state at this race when he responded on two occasions to questions from Colombian reporters on the matter.ADVERTISEMENT Im sorry if Quintana was angry or offended. My intention was not to speak badly of Colombia, which is a wonderful country with a lot of great riders who are riding very strongly, Nibali said. Its just that there was no news of Quintana and we were all asking ourselves about where he was, but not in a malicious way. We knew that Alberto was training in Livigno and where all the other contenders were and so on, I just meant lets see where Quintana is'," Nibali was later asked if he felt that all of principal Tour contenders had faced testing of the same rigour in the months leading up to the race. I dont know if were all controlled as much as one another. I can only speak for myself. Im tested a lot by WADA and the UCI and I can only say that they do great work, he said. Even before this nascent controversy, Nibalis year had not been bereft of incident due to the apparent sword of Damocles that hung over his Astana teams WorldTour licence for much of the spring. The positive doping controls of Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy last year, as well as a trio of cases on the Astana Continental team, triggered an audit from the University of Lausanne and eventually prompted the UCI to request its Licence Commission to revoke Astanas top flight status. They finally found in Astanas favour in April. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Quintana: Nibali and Contador are the favourites for the Tour de France
July 04, 2015 (10:46) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Just moments after Vincenzo Nibali left the Tour de France's press centre having picked Nairo Quintana as his favourite to win the yellow jersey, the Colombian arrived and immediately pronounced the Italian as his favourite for the title alongside Alberto Contador. "Everyone has their favourite, and all of the riders likely to be in contention for the yellow jersey are very strong. But when you look at things seriously I think you would have to pick out Nibali and Contador as the biggest favourites," said the Colombian. Sitting alongside Movistar's co-leader, Alejandro Valverde, Quintana admitted the Tour route offers him plenty of reason for optimism. "I've prepared well and like the parcours a lot. I'm well prepared to get through the tests that lie in wait in the opening week. Beyond that, this is a course that's very favourable to me," he said.ADVERTISEMENT It didn't take long for the issue of Nibali's questioning of Quintana's whereabouts during last month's Critrium du Dauphin to come up. "I think what he said was misinterpreted and didn't put across what he meant. I was training in Colombia, which is my home country and where my family lives," Quintana asserted. "I've had at least five doping controls in Colombia over the past year," he then explained. Having skipped over that hurdle, he moved on to answer the question of the hierarchy at Movistar. He described Valverde as his idol when he joined the team in 2012 and his great friend. "When he was the leader I was always there to help him, and we always rode well together. I hope it will turn out to be a great race for both of us," he said. Valverde immediately underlined the point that Quintana had made rather more delicately. "The Tour route really favours him. He's the strongest climber in the race. I will do everything possible to help him with the objective of winning the Tour," said the Spanish veteran. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Nibali, Teklehaimanot bookend time trial start list
July 04, 2015 (10:46) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
After two years of starting with a road stage, the Tour de France has reverted to tradition and starts with the riders going off against the clock. Stage 1, at 13.8 kilometres, is long enough to be considered a time trial rather than a prologue and happens to be the fourth-longest time trial ever to start the Tour. Three of the 'big four' general classification favourites will have the advantage of knowing the others time as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) sets out at 15:00 local time " over two hours ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Chris Froome (Team Sky). Nibali, as last years overall winner, is the final rider to roll off the start ramp at 17:17 and will be out on the road with Contador (17:13) and Froome (17:14). At 13.8 kilometres, the course is long test for the prologue specialists, but short for the out-and-out time triallists.Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) falls into the latter camp and goes off 165th at 16:44, while Fabian Cancellara (Trek), who has five opening-day Tour chrono victories to his name, follows at 17:03.ADVERTISEMENT The man everyone is tipping for victory is Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). The Dutch rider is in fine form having won both time trials at the recent Tour de Suisse and will be off the ramp at 16:25. Eritrean time trial champion Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) is the man who will kick things off at 14:00. There are one-minute intervals throughout and you can see the full list and timings below. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Utrecht welcomes 2015 Tour de France contenders
July 03, 2015 (13:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Twenty-two teams and 198 riders were presented at the 2015 Tour de France in the start city of Utrecht in the Netherlands on Thursday in summery weather, which pleased the Spaniards but wilted the cool-weather fans. The unusually warm weather will heat up even more for the opening stage on Saturday, where temperatures will be near record-highs, topping out at 95F/35C. The team presentation was a part of an outdoor festival where fans of the sport flocked to see their favourite riders and teams, along with live bands playing at the Lepelenburg Park. Teams prepared for the presentation earlier in the afternoon at the Railway Museum before embarking on individual team boat rides along the Oudegracht canal through the centre of Utrecht, which took them to the park where they were presented to the public.ADVERTISEMENT Each team arrived one boat at a time and the riders were handed their bikes to ride through the crowd toward the staging area. Alberto Contador, a favourite to win the overall title and take the Giro-Tour double, lined up on stage with his Tinkoff-Saxo team. I am here and I will try, Contador said about his chances of winning both Grand Tours in one year. I know that it is very difficult and I have worked very, very hard in the last six months. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Contador: I felt better at the 2014 Tour de France start
July 03, 2015 (13:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) already has seven Grand Tours in his palmares, but even with his extensive experience, the Spanish stage race specialist says that for him this year's Tour de France will be a voyage in the dark. By bidding to become the first rider since 1998 to win a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double, Contador has argued that, at 32, he is moving into uncharted waters. "What worries me the most, because it is totally new, is how my body will recover from those efforts," Contador said in a packed press conference on Thursday. "The Tour route, in terms of its mountains, is the hardest of all the Tours I've done and in the first nine days, there are six stages which are going to be really tough. So staying consistent will be the key.ADVERTISEMENT "If had to decide between the feelings I had before last year's Tour " - when Contador said he had best sensations ever prior to a Grand Tour - "and this year I'd choose last year. [Last year] I had prepared for the Tour very well and last year I was not so worried about fatigue and how I would recover. "I have more doubts than last year. My objective is to win the Tour but I am aware that it is very difficult." Contador's only personal reference point for this double would be in 2011, when he won the Giro d'Italia and finished fifth in the Tour de France despite several crashes and challenging injuries. However, on other occasions Contador has said that he only rode that summer's Tour de France under pressure from his team, and he was not therefore fully prepared to do it. This time, ever since last winter, the goal has been to take both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Contador has the crucial edge: Yates (Reuters)
July 03, 2015 (03:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - Sean Yates knows a thing or two about leading a rider to the Tour de France title and the Briton feels his protege Alberto Contador has the required experience to prevail in a demanding race this year. Yates, who guided Bradley Wiggins to his Tour triumph in 2012, left the sport that year but he is now Contador's sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo. The Englishman believes Contador has what the other big favorite do not have -- experience he can take confidence from. More...
Cycling-Contador has the crucial edge - Yates (Reuters)
July 03, 2015 (03:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot UTRECHT, Netherlands, July 2 (Reuters) - Sean Yates knows a thing or two about leading a rider to the Tour de France title and the Briton feels his protege Alberto Contador has the required experience to prevail in a demanding race this year. Yates, who guided Bradley Wiggins to his Tour triumph in 2012, left the sport that year but he is now Contador's sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo. The Englishman believes Contador has what the other big favourite do not have -- experience he can take confidence from. More...
Contador has the crucial edge: Yates (Reuters)
July 02, 2015 (19:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - Sean Yates knows a thing or two about leading a rider to the Tour de France title and the Briton feels his protege Alberto Contador has the required experience to prevail in a demanding race this year. Yates, who guided Bradley Wiggins to his Tour triumph in 2012, left the sport that year but he is now Contador's sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo. The Englishman believes Contador has what the other big favorite do not have -- experience he can take confidence from. More...
Cycling-Contador has the crucial edge - Yates (Reuters)
July 02, 2015 (19:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot UTRECHT, Netherlands, July 2 (Reuters) - Sean Yates knows a thing or two about leading a rider to the Tour de France title and the Briton feels his protege Alberto Contador has the required experience to prevail in a demanding race this year. Yates, who guided Bradley Wiggins to his Tour triumph in 2012, left the sport that year but he is now Contador's sports director at Tinkoff-Saxo. The Englishman believes Contador has what the other big favourite do not have -- experience he can take confidence from. More...
Contador has yellow on his mind as he eyes 3rd Tour title (The Associated Press)
July 02, 2015 (18:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Tour de France contender Alberto Contador's serious-looking face cracked into a beaming smile during a lighthearted moment at his pre-race news conference on Thursday, when he was joined by an unexpected guest. Yellow will be all Contador has on his mind from this Saturday onward as he tries to win back the famed jersey he won twice before, in 2007 and 2009. Following a suspension, Contador looked well set for a podium finish at the 2013 Tour, only to slump late on in the race and finish fourth. More...
Giro/Tour double career-changing: Contador (Reuters)
July 02, 2015 (18:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - The Giro/Tour de France double would be a career-changing achievement, Alberto Contador said on Thursday as he embarks on a the world's greatest cycling race less than two months after winning in Italy. The Spaniard, who has won seven grand tours since his maiden Tour title in 2007, is one of four pre-race favorites along with Britain's Chris Froome, Italian defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and Colombian Nairo Quintana. The last rider to win the Giro and the Tour in the same season was the late Marco Pantani in 1998. More...

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