First Edition Cycling News, June 14, 2009
Edited by Peter Hymas
Moncoutié has the polka dot jersey in mind
By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-François-Longchamp, France
After taking his second stage win at the Dauphiné with an interval of 10 years between the two successes, David Moncoutié has set his sights on the Tour de France. As he hasn't been affected by any major crash this year, the 34-year-old Frenchman who is known for not being agile on his bike looks in better shape than one year ago prior to the Grande Boucle.
Moncoutié will start the Tour de France for the ninth time but he has no intention to ride for general classification as he did in 2002 when he finished 13th, his best place overall. "I've looked at the course and I have an idea on what to do for getting a stage win," he said. "But I also have a plan to ride for the polka dot jersey. I'm prepared to ride the Tour on the offensive."
Moncoutié won the mountains classification at the 2008 Vuelta a España which planted the seed in his mind about possibly duplicating his performance at this year's Tour de France.
The fight for the polka dot jersey is wide open this year. For sure, someone new will take this popular jersey to Paris. None of the winners who have filled up the record books since Richard Virenque retired at the end of 2004 will take part in the Tour de France this year: Michael Rasmussen (2005-2006) and Bernhard Kohl (2008) are banned while Juan Mauricio Soler (2007) belongs to the Barloworld team that didn't get an invite this time around, probably - but not officially - because of Moises Dueñas' positive case last year.
Fuglsang confirms exceptional climbing skills
By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-François-Longchamp, France
After his strong showing on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux, Danish rookie Jakob Fuglsang confirmed on the Col de la Madeleine that he's a climber in the making. His Saxo Bank team believed in his ability to catch all the breakaway riders on stage seven's finishing climb. Team Saxo Bank took over the chase from race leader Alejandro Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team in the valley preceding the mountain finish and put Fuglsang in a perfect position for the stage win in Saint-François-Longchamp.
"At the bottom of the last climb, I felt really really good," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews at the finish line. "On my first attack, only three riders followed me: Evans, Contador and Valverde. So I went again. In the last 500 meters I blew but I was not scared of blowing up. Others have the Tour de France in mind, not me.
"Maybe I'm not strong enough," said the Dane who had the ambition to make the top five overall at the Dauphiné. With one stage to go, he's in 6th, which is the same position he got last month at the Tour of Catalunya. There will be more to see of Fuglsang in a near future but not at the Tour de France this year as he is in his first year as a road rider.
The 24-year-old who came from mountain biking might start his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España at the end of August. After his convincing Dauphiné, he'll use the Tour of Slovenia as a preparation for the national championships where he'll challenge his teammate Lars Bak for the time trial title.
Lloyd puts his hand up for first Tour de France start
By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-François-Longchamp, France
At half way into the Col de la Madeleine that was the setting of the Dauphiné's stage seven finale, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) was the only one of the three favourites to have a teammate leading him up while Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne )and Alberto Contador (Astana) were left alone. Evans' teammate was Matthew Lloyd who was fantastic on the crucial finishing climb as Evans was yet to receive help from Jurgen Van den Broeck who was still up the road in the early-race breakaway in order to be able to work as a domestique on the last climb.
"Lloyd and Van den Broeck have done more than expected," said Evans whose Silence-Lotto team looks better than ever in the lead up to the Tour de France. While Van den Broeck's presence has secured his place on Silence-Lotto's Tour team, his first Tour appearance, Lloyd's selection is still in doubt. However, his ride to Saint-François-Longchamp might also earn him a start on the prestigious harbour of Port Hercules in Monaco on July 4.
"I'm a climber and I'm on this team for specific reasons," said Lloyd at the finish line. The strength of the former Australian champion has been questioned following his dramatic crash during the Amstel Gold Race. Lloyd fractured his sacrum and suffered six broken vertebrae but resumed riding 12 days later. "I've worked so much to get back, I saw a physio every day," Lloyd told Cyclingnews at the finish line in Saint-François-Longchamp. "If anyone had any question of me being able to ride the Tour de France, today's stage is my answer.
"People said that I may not be ready for the Tour de France but I am," Lloyd continued. "The Dauphiné is my first race since the injury but I've raced alone in training. I was training the whole early season for the Giro d'Italia and I couldn't do it after the crash. I came here fresh. I love this team, this is a sensational team. I love working for Cadel. I am on the list for riding the Tour but the list is long.
"What's needed for the Tour? Riders that are fresh and can climb? Here I am."
Petacchi frustrates Farrar again
Alessandro Petacchi has picked up where he left off at the Giro d’Italia, winning the first road stage of the Delta Tour Zeeland in the Dutch town of Goes, on Saturday. The LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini rider outsprinted overall race leader Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream), while Bobbie Tracksel (Vacansoleil) took third.
Petacchi’s victory in the 181 km stage was his eleventh individual win of the season and moved the Italian up into second place on the overall classification, six seconds behind Farrar.
It was a case of déjà vu for Farrar, who, on stage three of last month's Giro was also beaten to the line by Petacchi. There was, however, some consolation for the in form Farrar as he retained the overall leader's jersey. The American had picked up the leader's jersey after victory in Friday’s prologue.
The Garmin-Slipstream sprinter, who also holds the race's points classification, will hope to defend his overall lead in the Tour's final stage which finishes in the coastal town of Terneuzen on Sunday.
BMC Racing: "Our best day ever in a ProTour race"
Mathias Frank of BMC Racing joined the 27-man break which went early in the Dauphiné Libéré's queen stage on Saturday and ended up alone at the front until being absorbed 10 kilometres from the finish at Saint-François-Longchamp.
"After losing so much time on Ventoux, I knew that I could concentrate on getting into the breaks during the final stages," Frank said. "I was sure I could work my way into something promising."
The team's Directeur Sportif John Lelangue was impressed with Frank's performance on Saturday.
"It was a really big day for us," said Lelangue. "In the beginning there were a lot of attacks and we had someone always going with them which was the plan. Mathias was jumping into nearly every break, and finally found the good one that went away after about 20 kilometers. The break started with 20 or more riders, and had about 2 minutes on the peloton going over the Galibier."
Steadily shedding riders up the Croix de Fer, the breakaway began to look like it might be able to succeed until the finish. "Just before reaching the top of the Croix de Fer, Mathias attacked and was joined by Nocentini on the descent," Lelangue said. "But Nocentini was not in very good shape so he was no help at all and Mathias attacked him again in the 1st kilometer of the final climb.
"Mathias was riding so well and gained 30 seconds or more on the other breakaway members," Lelangue continued. "With 6 kilometres to go he was finally caught by the big guns like Moncoutié, Evans and Valverde, but to have had Mathias leading a race like this so close to the finish was a really good moment for our young team."
In addition to Frank's ride at the front, teammate Thomas Frei moved into 16th place overall after finishing 12th on the stage to Saint-François-Longchamp.
Cervélo TestTeam announces Tour pre-selections
On Friday the Swiss registered Cervélo TestTeam announced its pre-selection of 12 riders for next month's Tour de France. The team has indicated the final nine-man selection will support last year's Tour winner, Carlos Sastre, in the battle for overall honours. At the same time the team will target stage wins through sprinters Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler.
The nine-man tour squad will be selected from the following riders: Inigo Cuesta, Xavier Florencio, Simon Gerrans, Volodymir Gustov, Heinrich Haussler, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Brett Lancaster, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Gabriel Rasch, Hayden Roulston and Carlos Sastre.
Cervélo TestTeam has already had a strong season with 14 victories, including four stage wins at last month's Giro d'Italia. The team is currently leading the International Cycling Union's (UCI) team rankings.
"We have had a dream start to our inaugural season," said Cervélo TestTeam's managing director, Thomas Campana. "We are looking forward to our first Tour de France. Carlos knows he has the entire team's support to help him reach his goals. We would also like to win a couple of other stages on the way to Paris and with our top sprinter Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler anything is possible."
The Queen acknowledges two members of British cycling
Senior British cycling administrators, Peter King and Tony Yorke, have been acknowledged for their contribution to the development of British cycling in the Queen's Birthday Honours, announced on Saturday. King, a former CEO of British Cycling, has been appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) while Yorke, the former National Manager of the British Paralympic Team, has been made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).
Currently serving as British Cycling's executive director, Peter King served as British Cycling's CEO for 12 years before standing down from the position at the end of 2008. During his tenure as CEO he oversaw the ongoing development of British cycling. The strength of the organisation was underscored by the British cycling team's dominance at last year's Olympic games, where it claimed eight gold medals.
Tony Yorke has been actively involved with British Cycling since 1979 and is credited with helping to introduce Paralympic cycling into the auspices of the International Cycling Union (UCI). In Beijing last year, the British Paralympic cycling team took a record breaking 17 gold and three silver medals.
Describing the royal honour as a humbling experience Peter King was quick to acknowledge others involved in British Cycling. "At British Cycling I was fortunate to build a terrific team of loyal, dedicated and professional staff. I had constant support of successive committed and knowledgeable Board members, led by the hardest working President [Brian Cookson] in British sport," said King. "I was also able to call on the energy and enthusiasm of thousands of volunteer officials and club coaches all over the country, all of whom have contributed to the re-incarnation of the sport of cycling in the UK. To all of these wonderful people I dedicate this honour," he said.
The appointments of King and Yorke follow the investiture of members of the British Olympic squad who received royal honours in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Winner of three gold medals in Beijing, Sir Chris Hoy was knighted by Prince Charles, while Bradley Wiggins and British Team Director David Brailsford were appointed CBE. Compatriots Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny were made MBE.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2009)