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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for July 13, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Pre-stage 11 quotes

By Brecht Decaluwé and Hedwig Kröner in Tarbes

Cadel Evans (Davitamon)

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

"Almost everything is going to happen for GC today," commented Evans before the start in Tarbes.

You're not going to wait for the Alps? "Depends what the other guys do. Today is one of the biggest days of the Tour... I feel okay. We'll see when we get on the climbs, when it starts to really get hard. That's when you know whether you're really going strong."

Chris Horner (Davitamon)

"There’s gonna be someone who will try it on the last climb. T-Mobile probably will set a hard pace to take the jersey back. I’d be surprised if, for instance, Landis takes the jersey back. The winner will be a good rider, but not a rider who’s a favourite to win the Tour de France. It will be someone who’s a bit down on GC. Another option might be that Discovery or T-Mobile set a blistering pace at the last climb. Landis doesn’t have a very strong team behind him. For that reason, I don’t think they will want to take it, knowing that Alpe d’Huez and other hard stages are still to follow."

Marc Sergeant (Davitamon)

"We will see some more animation than yesterday, Those were the warm up fights, without much damage. Today, the decision will be postponed for a while but on the last climb we will see who’s good, better and best. The race will be decided at the back, not in front. In my opinion, this Tour de France will be won through elimination."

Dirk Demol (Discovery Channel)

"Today, it will be clearer who’s good. As for yesterday, it’s again a beautiful stage with four tough climbs featuring before the final climb. Nevertheless, towards the last climb there’s a long valley where you can lose lots of energy, so the race will only be decided on the final climb. We will not be attacking, on for example the Tourmalet. Although, if we see that a rival is suffering, then you never know but normally we will wait.

"My pick: our best rider today might be Azevedo, as he’s our best climber. I saw that Klöden was going well, and Landis will probably close as well."

Mikel Astarloza (AG2R)

You're not that badly placed on GC either? "That's true, but for today I have another job. We will try defend the jersey, and afterwards I have to be in a good position to help Christophe Moreau. We hope that he will make it to the podium this year."

Ludwig defends tactics

By Hedwig Kröner in Tarbes

T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig has defended his team's tactics yesterday, which saw T-Mobile lose the yellow jersey to AG2R, but still ride on the front all day. "Yes, but did we defend the jersey? No," he told Cyclingnews in Tarbes before the start of stage 11.

At the end of the stage, the gap between the peloton and Cyril Dessel was 7'23. "I think it is small enough," said Ludwig. "We tried to make the other teams to ride, too, but they decided not to. So we just limited the time difference. And we did try to have somebody in the break - the group that left was the first one where we unfortunately weren't represented."

No legs for Mayo

Iban Mayo was one of the surprises in the first mountain stage of the Tour, finishing 153rd at 24'24 - a long way from his Dauphiné Libéré form that saw him in a stage in the Alps last month. The Basque, riding near home turf in the Pyrenees, didn't have an explanation. "I suffered a bit with a sore throat," he was quoted by Sportwereld as saying. "The fault of the aircon in the hotel. But that can't be called an excuse. In the beginning of the stage, I felt good, but when it went uphill I couldn't go. Why? No idea. The only thing left in this Tour is to hope for a recovery in the Alps. so that I can at least do something there."

Close Encounters of the Unpleasant Kind

All you want to do is get an escape group and pick up a few mountain points, and what happens? Not what you expect - at least that's the way it worked out for Fabian Wegmann Wednesday. "I had finally managed to pick up a 15 to 20 second lead with some other riders when suddenly there are Basque protesters in the street. I thought I wasn't seeing right. They held me fast, literally, there was no way to get through. Unbelievable! And the police didn't do anything. Suddenly the field was there and flew right by. That doesn't particularly help your morale," writes the Gerolsteiner rider on his homepage, www.fabianwegmann.de.

Jens Voigt's encounter was on Tuesday, and fortunately didn't end up as bad as it could have been. As he describes it on www.sport1.de, "In the middle of the stage, a wave went through the field. Everybody moved with it, like a swarm of fish. I was all the way on the outside and was happy, that nothing happened. But then it went BANG and I made a big jump forwards! When I turned around to look, I saw that a photographer's motorcycle had rammed me. They hadn't paid attention! Fortunately, I didn't crash. But the best part was, they just drove on past me without a word and didn't even excuse themselves. I notice who it was, but when I got to the finish line, the driver was no longer there."

He tracked the driver down on Wednesday, though. "I found the motorcycle driver before the start today! I told him, 'Hey, buddy, you drove into me yesterday! You could at least have excused yourself or made some kind of gesture.' He answered, 'yeah, you're right.'"

Moto crash in stage 10

A Dutch-piloted race motorbike crashed out of the Tour's 10th stage between Cambo-les-Bains and Pau, according to ANP. The accident happened on the descent of the Col de Soudet, when driver Bram Hengeveld and NOS reported Gio Lippens slipped out on a corner. Lippens suffered abrasions to his arm and leg, while Hengeveld had to be taken to hospital for a deeper wound in his toe. Lippens was able to work on Thursday from a car, but will be back on a moto on Friday, driven by Guido van Calster.

3 Molinos Resort for July and August

By Antonio J. Salmerón

According to El Faro de Murcia, the 3 Molinos Resort team says it will continue its sponsorship until the end of the season - just as Kaiku will do - despite rumours to the contrary. The team has announced its line ups for the races in July and August, with Santos González and Mikel Artetxe leading Molinos Resort in Villafranca de Ordizia, on July 25. They will accompanied by the youngest 3 Molinos Resort rider, Jose Antonio Bańos, in addition to Isidro Cerrato, Domínguez, Rafael Casero, Jesus Buendía and Pedro Castillo. The Otxoa Memorial will be the next appointment for 3 Molinos Resort, on July 30.

3 Molinos Resort will take part in the Tour of Portuguese in August, between the 5th and the 15th. From the 6th to the 10th, the squad will participate in the Vuelta a Burgos and in the Spanish classic Subida a Urkiola, on August 13. The Tour of Britain is also on the program, and that race takes place between August 29 and September 3.

"Our presence in all these races has as its main objective to continue to add triumphs in this year in which we debut in the professional continental category," the team stated.

Dario Cioni leads Liquigas in China

31-year-old Dario Cioni will captain the Liquigas team in the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China, from July 15 to 23. Cioni will be together with Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto, Francesco Failli, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi and Marco Righetto. Team manager: Dario Mariuzzo.

Papa Niermann

Grischa Niermann of Rabobank was just as happy to skip the Tour de France this year, because he was waiting for something to happen at home. It finally happened Wednesday morning at 10.28 - son Luca was born. He weighs 3540 grams and is 53 cm long. Mom, baby, Dad, and older brother Finn are all doing well and are delighted.

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