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Cycling-Sky woes continue with Thomas crash (Reuters)
July 20, 2015 (18:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
GAP, France, July 20 (Reuters) - Briton Geraint Thomas, one of race leader Chris Froome's key Team Sky lieutenants, crashed badly during the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Monday. Thomas collided with another rider during a descent and was thrown into a ditch 7.5km from the finish but was eventually able to remount. Earlier on Monday Sky's British road race champion Peter Kennaugh withdrew from the race. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar) More...
Sky's British champion Kennaugh withdraws from Tour de France (Reuters)
July 20, 2015 (16:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
The British road race champion Peter Kennaugh has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de France, Team Sky said on Monday. "We can confirm that Pete Kennaugh has sadly been forced to abandon," the team tweeted during the 16th stage, from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap, adding, "we'll have more details in our race report following stage 16". The withdrawal, understood to be because of illness, is the latest blow for Team Sky, some of whose riders, including race leader Chris Froome, have been attacked verbally and physically on the road following speculation about doping. More...
Cycling-Sky's British champion Kennaugh withdraws from Tour de France (Reuters)
July 20, 2015 (16:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
The British road race champion Peter Kennaugh has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de France, Team Sky said on Monday. "We can confirm that Pete Kennaugh has sadly been forced to abandon," the team tweeted during the 16th stage, from Bourg-de-Peage to Gap, adding, "we'll have more details in our race report following stage 16". The withdrawal, understood to be because of illness, is the latest blow for Team Sky, some of whose riders, including race leader Chris Froome, have been attacked verbally and physically on the road following speculation about doping. More...
Tour de France: Hesjedal shows promising signs in stage 15
July 20, 2015 (14:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) came to the fore Sunday, as part of a nine-man breakaway during stage 15 of the Tour de France. The tough day was a positive sign of his improving form, despite its late arrival. Hesjedal gave chase to Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) who jumped the group as a last ditch effort before they were swallowed by a driving peloton. The day ended in a bunch sprint with Andr Greipel (Lotto Soudal) once again the victor. [The stage] was pretty straight forward, Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. It was a classic, all in, hard day. Deep down I knew it was really likely to be a sprint but its the Tour and you still got to give it a go. The Canadian lost significant time in the first week to battle for a high place finish as he had hoped, but with a history of gaining strength in the final week of a grand tour he remains hopeful.ADVERTISEMENT Its fun to be up there, Hesjedal added. A big day to get up there and race bikes, it felt good. Like many teams at the Tour, Cannondale-Garmin is looking for stage wins and breakaways following their earlier misfortunes. Once it was clear Andrew Talansky would not see his form from a year ago, Dan Martin took his turn, finishing second and earning most aggressive rider for stage 11 before falling ill with a minor cold this week. Hesjedal says the team will continue to push forward rather than looking back on missed opportunities. For me, its always been the idea to be realistic to come in with the form. I mean the race is just so hard; weve just been focused on the day at hand. We dont really have time to kind of say whats been lucky or unlucky. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Team Sky to release Froome data (Reuters)
July 20, 2015 (13:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot BOURG DE PEAGE, France (Reuters) - Team Sky are planning to release part of yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome's data as they seek to end doping suspicions surrounding the Tour de France leader. Froome attracted some negative headlines when he destroyed his rivals in the first mountain stage of the Tour last Tuesday and Briton had urine thrown at him by an abusive spectator on Saturday as the atmosphere on the roadside turned sour. Seeking to protect Froome from the prospect of a similar incident, two police officers were guarding the Team Sky bus ahead of Monday's 16th stage. More...
Cycling-Team Sky to release Froome data (Reuters)
July 20, 2015 (13:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot BOURG DE PEAGE, France, July 20 (Reuters) - Team Sky are planning to release part of yellow jersey wearer Chris Froome's data as they seek to end doping suspicions surrounding the Tour de France leader. Froome attracted some negative headlines when he destroyed his rivals in the first mountain stage of the Tour last Tuesday and Briton had urine thrown at him by an abusive spectator on Saturday as the atmosphere on the roadside turned sour. Seeking to protect Froome from the prospect of a similar incident, two police officers were guarding the Team Sky bus ahead of Monday's 16th stage. More...
Tour de France: Hesjedal shows positive signs in stage 15
July 20, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) came to the fore Sunday, as part of a nine-man breakaway during stage 15 of the Tour de France. The tough day was a positive sign of his improving form, despite its late arrival. Hesjedal gave chase to Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) who jumped the group as a last ditch effort before they were swallowed by a driving peloton. The day ended in a bunch sprint with Andr Greipel (Lotto Soudal) once again the victor. [The stage] was pretty straight forward, Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. It was a classic, all in, hard day. Deep down I knew it was really likely to be a sprint but its the Tour and you still got to give it a go. The Canadian lost significant time in the first week to battle for a high place finish as he had hoped, but with a history of gaining strength in the final week of a grand tour he remains hopeful.ADVERTISEMENT Its fun to be up there, Hesjedal added. A big day to get up there and race bikes, it felt good. Like many teams at the Tour, Cannondale-Garmin is looking for stage wins and breakaways following their earlier misfortunes. Once it was clear Andrew Talansky would not see his form from a year ago, Dan Martin took his turn, finishing second and earning most aggressive rider for stage 11 before falling ill with a minor cold this week. Hesjedal says the team will continue to push forward rather than looking back on missed opportunities. For me, its always been the idea to be realistic to come in with the form. I mean the race is just so hard; weve just been focused on the day at hand. We dont really have time to kind of say whats been lucky or unlucky. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tensions remain for Froome at Tour de France
July 20, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
A day after Chris Froome reported that he had been doused with urine by a spectator, six gendarmes were deployed to keep vigil outside the Team Sky bus ahead of stage 15 of the Tour de France in Mende. The pervading atmosphere of distrust at this Tour in microcosm. Froomes day passed without incident, as he faced no attacks from the roadside or from his overall rivals, but there would be further tension at the end of the stage in Valence, as he faced the Tours press corps, 24 hours after employing a flexible brand of logic to blame them for the urine-throwing incident. As has become his habit on this Tour, Froome again delivered an unprompted initial statement immediately on taking his seat, taking care to describe the roadside support as fantastic. Once the floor was opened to questions, however, it was put to Froome that the presence of policemen outside his bus brought back memories of the security detail assigned to Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team.ADVERTISEMENT Its not for me to say what security is needed, Froome said. Its the race organisation that puts on the events. Its their responsibility to keep the riders safe. Im obviously not involved in coordinating where police stand and all that. Im sure you can ask the question to the race organisation. If you look at any big sporting event " tennis, football, any big event " there are police all over those events, especially if fans start getting more involved in the event than they should do. So I dont think its unusual that there are police around when we are warming up or leaving the buses. On Saturday, Froome had demurred when challenged to specify the journalists whose reporting had supposedly incited a " we can only presume " otherwise reasonable man to throw urine at him as he rode past. On Sunday, a reporter revisited the topic, pointing out that he could not recall journalists writing that supporters should throw urine at riders. You didnt see any reports about suspicious performances in this years Tour de France yet? Froome asked in return. Yes, I did. But thats not the same as booing or throwing urine, the reporter replied. If people are led to believe that these performances are not legitimate, thats whats going to lead them to start booing and punching and spitting and throwing urine at riders. Thats my point, Froome said.Change Froome has been firm in rejecting allegations of wrongdoing, both in 2013 and this year, and he is unfortunate, perhaps, that the market on brazen denials was cornered by Lance Armstrong and US Postal a decade ago, meaning that protestations of innocence are inevitably met with scepticism. Times have changed, everyone knows that, Froome claimed. This isnt the Wild West that it was 10 or 15 years ago. Of course there are riders who take risks in this day and age but they are the minority. It was the other way around 10 years ago. There is no reason in this day and age for that level of suspicion to continue. There is absolutely no reason. The Sky man rejected the idea that he might have been tempted to abandon the race in the manner of Gino Bartali after he was threatened on Col dAspin the 1950 Tour, though Froome later described the actions of some spectators this past week as outrageous pointing to other incidents involving Richie Porte and Luke Rowe. I dont know what else I can do other than to speak up about it and tell people to make up their own minds about our performances rather than listening, particularly, to ex-riders who were part of this generation that only knew one way of cycling, Froome said, hinting that his ire was aimed at least in part at France Tlvisions analysts Laurent Jalabert and Cedric Vasseur, though " once again " he declined to specify precisely what reporting he deemed to be irresponsible. As I said yesterday, it was particular individuals. Im not saying the media in this general. There has been some fantastic coverage of the actual racing on this race. But as I said yesterday there are particular individuals who have very large audiences, especially on television commentary for example. And those individuals are ruining it for a lot of other people. Froomes wife, Michelle, of course, had been more forthright in apportioning blame for the lukewarm reception to his dominance of this Tour. In a brief return to Twitter on Saturday afternoon, she wrote: @JalabertLaurent @cedvasseur @lequipe @festinaboy @scienceofsport I hope you're paying attention. Ignorant, irresponsible fools. The account was hastily deleted and in the mixed zone on Sunday afternoon, Froome denied all knowledge of the tweets. No, I didnt, Froome claimed when asked if he had seen them. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Quintana still focussed on taking yellow jersey
July 20, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Going into the Tour de France, it was expected that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) would be able to blow the race apart with his stinging attacks in the mountains. He was the only one to get anywhere close to Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the opening day in the Pyrenees but the first signs of what he could do didn't come until the final day in the high mountains. En route to Mende on Saturday, Quintana showed again hints of the rider we hoped that we would see this July. The Colombian was ultimately unable to shake Froome again, but he would crack all of his other rivals and move himself into second place overall. Froome would put a second into Quintana on the line and nudge out the distance to the top spot but, despite seeing the yellow jersey edge further away, Quintana is not yet ready to give up on taking it back to Colombia. "I'm really happy with having climbed onto second. We knew that patience would bring this place to us, but our real goal, the one we're focused on, is taking place number one, said Quintana. We have worked hard with the team through all these days, we found a chance to gain time today and we're staying confident and determined to try some attacks when the big mountains are back, maybe still being able to go after that yellow dream.ADVERTISEMENT Quintanas teammate Alejandro Valverde was also on a good day in Mende, as he closed in on a podium position. Valverde was initially put in trouble by Quintanas attack, although the 35-year-old says it was a conscious decision to drop back in order not to pull their rivals back to Quintana. Valverde eventually caught Alberto Contador - his nearest rival in the GC - and despite apparent protestations from Tinkoff-Saxo riders not to attack him, Valverde did just that and increased his advantage over the former Tour de France winner to 21 seconds. This is a competition, Alberto needs to understand that, Valverde said following the stage, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. I and my team are working to win the Tour with Quintana, but if I make the podium it would be incredible. He later said in a press release from his team: When I reached him, Contador asked me for some turns and I told him I couldn't take them, because Nairo was ahead. This is racing: he's doing his job, mine is to take care of Nairo, and he was the one who had to push. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour director hits out at reporting as Sky guarded by police (Reuters)
July 19, 2015 (16:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot MENDE, France (Reuters) - Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme blamed the media for aggression aimed at yellow jersey holder Chris Froome as the Briton's Team Sky were protected by police before the start of Sunday's 15th stage. Froome had urine thrown at him by a spectator on Saturday, four days after his Sky team mate Richie Porte was punched during the first mountain stage of the three-week race. Froome said "irresponsible" reporting caused the incidents, a view shared by Prudhomme. More...
Cycling-Tour director hits out at reporting as Sky guarded by police (Reuters)
July 19, 2015 (15:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
By Julien Pretot MENDE, France, July 19 (Reuters) - Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme blamed the media for aggression aimed at yellow jersey holder Chris Froome as the Briton's Team Sky were protected by police before the start of Sunday's 15th stage. Froome had urine thrown at him by a spectator on Saturday, four days after his Sky team mate Richie Porte was punched during the first mountain stage of the three-week race. Froome said "irresponsible" reporting caused the incidents, a view shared by Prudhomme. More...
Contador improving after moving into 5th place at Tour de France
July 19, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Despite losing time to Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Movistar duo Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana on the final climb of stage 14, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) argues that his condition is steadily improving " to the point where making attacks is no longer out of the question. When Quintana first went clear, Contador opted to stick close to Froome on the ascent to Mende " where he has twice won in Paris-Nice, in 2007 and 2010 " although he was finally dropped by the Briton on the upper-half of the climb. Caught by Valverde near the summit, the Madrileo was unable to follow when the Movistar rider powered away, rolling across the line with 19 seconds lost to Froome, 18 to Quintana and 15 to Valverde.ADVERTISEMENT On the plus side for Contador, he has gained enough time on Geraint Thomas (Sky) to move into fifth overall, and has recouped some of his losses on Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) as well. All in all, after his stinging defeat in the Pyrenees, he believes that represents a gain. Froome finally proved too much for me, Contador said, I tried to hold on but it just wasnt possible. So Ive lost some time, but the important thing is Im feeling stronger, different to how I was earlier in the race. I can stand on the pedals and even think about attacking now. Ive lost time, but theres still a long way to go to Paris, and I can still turn in some good rides. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Haas continues Cannondale-Garmins aggressive second week at the Tour de France
July 18, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Cannondale-Garmin entered the Tour de France with the triumvirate of Ryder Hesjedal, Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky to target the general classification. A jour sans on the first summit finish of the Tour ended any final aspirations the team had of a top-five overall, and the emphasis has now squarely turned to attacking the pack. After Martins valiant efforts on stage 11, Nathan Haas took it upon himself to infiltrate the already formed breakaway with Pierre-Luc Prichon (Bretagne-Sch Environnement) to continue the teams aggressive stance. Haas spent the majority of the first rest day in bed recovering from the diarrhea that had him suffering through the first week. The Tour debutant, however, with three Grand Tours under his belt, found the strength in almost 40-degree temperatures during stage 13 into Rodez, to attack his breakaway companions and strike out on his own. It went just as he had planned at the Muret departure several hours earlier.ADVERTISEMENT I put my head down and went hard. It's not always something you can plan on doing, it's something you have to decide on the road, Haas said. I had a mission this morning, I was going to be in the breakaway. A rider like myself in a Grand Tour doesnt actually get too many opportunities to go for the win so today I put the art of war into play and tried to be away from the guys who are faster then me in the finish. Unfortunately, they were faster than me in the end but it was fun trying. After Cannondale-Garmins disastrous day to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, director Charley Wegelius told Cyclingnews that the team would need to implement a new strategy for the remaining stages of the race. After Martins combative ride to Cauterets. Haas efforts reiterated that the team is going to be an aggressive fore to Paris. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Froome expects attacks on the road to Mende
July 18, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
After three tough days in the Pyrenees, Chris Froome (Team Sky) and the other podium contenders would have had the long haul from Murat to Rodez earmarked as a transitional stage, but at the modern Tour de France, it seems, such luxuries no longer exist. The day began promisingly enough in that regard, when an early break featuring rgional de l'tape Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) sallied clear amid soaring temperatures, but as the puncheurs teams laboured to peg them back in the finale, the yellow jersey and his rivals were compelled to assume their habitual positions at the front. Froome was present and correct when the peloton fragmented on the sharp final rise to the finish on the Cte Saint-Pierre, and he went on to place sixth on the stage, seven seconds down on winner Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), and at the head of a small group that included Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).ADVERTISEMENT What started as easier day turned into a mad dash to line as the peloton panicked when it hadnt caught the break, Froome said. It definitely ended being a selective day, a hard day, and there were tired legs given the last three stages weve done. Everyone was hoping for an easy day but it didnt happen. The Tour reached the fringe of the Massif Central by days end. The roads in this region are both undulating and notoriously heavy, though the greatest obstacle of all turned out to be the extreme heat. The canicule sweeping across France exacted a toll on the peloton. In sepia-tinted eras, they might have stopped to cool themselves in the Agout river en route, but the television age offers no such respite. The heat was a big factor, it was 40 degrees, Froome said. We were sending guys back to the car to get drinks every 10 to 15 minutes and even that wasnt enough. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Chris Froome's yellow Pinarello Dogma F8
July 18, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Chris Froomes (Team Sky) Pinarello Dogma F8 got a new yellow paint scheme to match his yellow jersey. The leader of the Tour de France has had yellow stripes added to his seat tube, top tube, forks and seat stays. His nickname 'Froomey' has been emblazoned on the top tube also with a rhino appearing on the side of the headtube " a nod towards his childhood in Kenya. It was rumoured that Froome would get to ride the bike during stage 12 but it was deemed too risky to change bikes before one of the most crucial stages of the entire race. The F8 was launched ahead of last years Tour de France and is the favoured bike of the team. For the F8, Pinarello have developed a truncated aerofoil tube in Torayca T1100 1k carbon. The tube profiles are dubbed FlatBack and are one of a number of aerodynamic enhancements around the frame, such as integrated seat post clamp, internal cable routing and even the position of the bottles on the bike (the seat-tube has three bottle holder fixings giving riders two mounting options, the lower one being more aero).ADVERTISEMENT However, great care was taken to protect the ride characteristics of the bike " a specific request from the team apparently, and this 560mm frame matches the precise geometry of Froomes previous 65.1. The fork is a radically different from most road frames. It was lifted largely unchanged from the Bolide time trial bike and curves out in the legs to minimise air turbulence. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Thomas announces climbing prowess on Plateau de Beille
July 17, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The stage 12 summit to Plateau de Beille witnessed the arrival of Geraint Thomas replacing Richie Porte as Chris Froomes right-hand man in the mountains. Along with Porte, who has confirmed he is leaving Team Sky next year to pursue his own general classification ambitions, Thomas calmly reeled in attacks by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the final third of the 15km hors catgorie climb to ensure Froome remained in the races malliot jaune. Thomas' efforts were met with praise by Froome, who singled out the 28-year-old as a challenger for the top-five overall and possibly a podium in Paris.ADVERTISEMENT I was very fortunate to have Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas all the way to finish with me there, Froome said of his teammates' composure in dealing with attacks from the best climbers in the world. Obviously Geraints done a fantastic job up until now, hes right up there on GC. I think the other GC contenders are going to have to look after him now as well. I think he could potentially be up there on the podium, potentially top-five," Froome sake. "Anything is possible. Throughout Thomas career, the Welshman has been a consistent and successful performer at the classics before turning his attention to stage racing and grand tours. For Thomas to blossom as a cyclist and fully fulfil his talents, calls have been made that he focus on stage racing or the classics, forgetting that some of the greats of the sport, such as Merckx and Hinault, successfully combined the two. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: van Garderen leaves Pyrenees with podium position intact
July 17, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
After another difficult day in the Pyrenees during stage 12 of the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) remains firmly entrenched in the second spot overall, 2:52 behind race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and 17 seconds ahead of Movistars Nairo Quintana. Van Garderen survived a barrage of attacks from Quintana, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) over the final kilometres to the finish at Plateau de Beilleto to maintain his runner-up spot. The 26-year-old American, who was isolated on the final legs of the climb after teammate Samuel Sanchez lost the pace, showed his growing experience by waiting for Froomes team to keep matters under control.ADVERTISEMENT I knew Sky had a really strong team and they were going to kind of neutralise all the dangerous guys, so when they were jumping I just sat behind Sky to make sure that they could pull them back, a seemingly cool and confident van Garderen said as he sat in a team car following the stage. Hopefully those guys keep doing that so they can waste a few of their bullets, and then in the third week they might pay the price. While Team Katushas Joaquim Rodriguez, who started the day more than 20 minutes off Froomes time, was up the road soloing away for the stage win, team Skys Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas shepherded Froome toward the finish, with van Garderen tucked neatly in their slipstream. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Froome hits back at doubts and innuendo
July 17, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Chris Froome hit back today at doubts and innuendo about his dominant performance in this years Tour de France, insisting that both he and Team Sky ride clean. A French journalist referred to comments and questions from the former riders Laurent Jalabert and Cdric Vasseur who now commentate for different French television channels during the Tour de France, They apparently expressed doubts about the legitimacy of Froomes high-cadence attacks. Jalabert raced for ONCE during the EPO-fuelled nineties and then with Bjarne Riis at CSC. Jalabert was named and shamed by a French senate report into doping in the 1998 Tour de France which tested urine samples for EPO, but he has always vaguely denied doping and kept is job commentating on national French television.ADVERTISEMENT Its quite rich coming from Jajabert and Vasseur, to be commenting on my racing in such a way, Froome said during the press conference after he comfortably defended his race lead atop Plateau de Beille. Its really disappointing, really disappointing. Those guys are people who the fans look up to and here they are casting doubts on current cycling, clean riders and clean teams. In my opinion, thats not correct. On Thursday several French newspapers also questioned Froomes performances in the mountains and especially the way he blew the peloton apart on the first mountain finish to La Pierre-Saint-Martin on Tuesday to take charge of the Tour de France. LEquipe published a long article titled: Froome, les raisons pour la malaise " the reasons for the bad feelings. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Stage 12 preview
July 17, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The riders of the Tour de France will face their toughest challenge yet in the high mountains of the Pyrenees on stage 12. Departing from Lannemezan, the 195 km stage will be one to fear for the sprinters, and one to attack for the climbers. The GC contenders looking to dethrone Chris Froome (Team Sky) will need to strike today, to see if the last two days have left him and his team vulnerable. Team Sky has ridden a near perfect race since the grand dparte last week. Chris Froome dominated the first mountain top finish ascending La Pierre- Saint-Martin and stamping his name on the yellow jersey. It seems the heat got the better of his competitors, as they were content to give yesterday to the breakaway, while unable to do much to answer Froomes attack the day before. The furious five GC contenders have been reduced once more to the fab four but this time with Tejay van Garderen who sits in second overall. Vincenzo Nibali lost time after yet another catastrophic day on stage 11. The Italian and his team had increased the pace, leading the yellow jersey group up the Col du Tourmalet, only to fall apart ascending the final climb before the finish. The defending Tour champion now sits nearly eight minutes down on GC, far outside overall contention.ADVERTISEMENT Facing the hardest day of the race so far, few will be able to hide on the looming mountains. The legs will warm up with the opening second-category climb, the Col de Portet-dAspet that has an average gradient of 9.7%. It is also marked as the second steepest climb of the Tour. Former Olympic Champion, Fabio Casartelli, lost his life during the 15th stage of the 1995 Tour on this descent. Riders however, will have little time to reflect passing his memorial, as they recover the best they can before heading uphill once more. Continuing the jagged profile, next on the menu for the day are two first-category climbs. The heat being a factor in the previous days, it is set to reach the mid-30s once again. Both Contador and Quintana cited difficulty breathing with the combination of humidity. They will need all the oxygen available to them as they ascend to the finish climbing 15.8 km with up to 10% at times. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Cycling-Sky face further scrutiny over staff member (Reuters)
July 16, 2015 (21:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds Froome quotes) By Julien Pretot LANNEMEZAN, France, July 16 (Reuters) - Team Sky were facing increased scrutiny at the Tour de France on Thursday after it emerged that one of their staff members has previously worked with the disgraced American rider Lance Armstrong. Team Sky have a zero tolerance anti-doping policy, meaning that all staff members must sign a statement saying they have never been involved in doping activities. The British outfit, however, brought Belgian Peter Verbeken onboard as a 'soigneur' (carer) in 2012 and 2013 and he is now manager at their Belgian service headquarters. More...

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