Tuesday, July 31, 2007
By - Christian Vande Velde
CSC Professional Cycling Team
Oh my lord, the morning after the Tour is the best breakfast in the world.
It's better than Christmas, as Stuey says. I spoke with the man a few times over the course of the last two days as he coached me to make it through the last night. He is the teacher after all.
Last night I hurt myself as I always do with friends and foes and now I am crawling my way back to Gerona on my knees. CSC had the usual party, which was fun but then disco, went above and beyond by renting the roof of the Crillon. Awesome. I won't go into details but I had a good time. Thanks Alberto.
I did miss my girls last night and I can't wait to see them in a few hours. After the finish yesterday I was so tired that all I wanted to do was crawl into a cave and sleep. Of course, that didn't happen.
Actually, I managed to get a lot accomplished yesterday, mainly officially announcing my transfer to Slipstream. I was really apprehensive about talking to my team about it and the media, but now I feel 100 pounds lighter and I am really excited for the next two years. I realized that half of my fear was actually telling everyone yesterday. Now, after getting that weight off my shoulders, I can see a bit more clearly for my future in cycling. Slipstream will be a great team and a nice change of pace for me as I take on new responsibilities and titles. We have a huge talent pool of young American riders and I am more than happy to offer them some insight along the way, using my trial-and-error handbook on life in Europe as a guide.
The second half of the season still must be raced and we have many more days of pasta to go. But every day of pasta means that I am one day closer to that beer and burger at the Flambeau Lodge in Wisconsin.
Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who lives in the 40,000 people city of Pinto, 20 kilometres south of Madrid, arrived on Monday afternoon in the Spanish capital. He was received by the President of the Comunidad de Madrid, Espernza Aguirre, who thanked the Pinto-born Contador to his great sport feat reached "in the name of all the Spanish people". Aguirre emphasized "his [Contador's] dedication and his personal values".
Contador dedicated words of gratefulness to those who gathered in the central plaza of the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, and at the same time he recognized the importance of his triumph. "Now I am realizing the effects of the Tour of France win and the desire to enjoy it and to celebrate it", the Discovery Channel leader said. "People were thankful to me for the spectacle [in France] and they have animated me to give [even] more. They have also want to make me train harder in order to obtain more successes", the Spaniard commented.
Contador has joined the select club of Spanish cyclists who have won the Tour de France. The first one was Federico Martín Bahamontes in 1959, followed by Luis Ocaña in 1973 and Pedro Delgado in 1988. And the last Spanish winner, Miguel Induráin, was the first one to win the Tour five consecutive times, reigning from 1991 to 1995. Last year's winner is still not officially decided, so another Spaniard, Óscar Pereiro, still has a chance. He finished tenth this year.
"I am proud that people admire me", Contador commented. He did not forget Òscar Pereiro, who, after the potential disqualification for doping of American Floyd Landis, could become the winner of edition 2006. "He is a great champion and they would have to give the Tour to him", Contador added. After the great effort done for winning the Tour, Contador will not dispute the Vuelta a España. "This year I will not do many more competitions and next year the high-priority objective will be the Tour of France," he admitted.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Madridiario.es reports Alberto Contador is Spain’s new idol. On Sunday, the young cyclist could become the fifth Spaniard to win the Tour de France.
Contadormania has already been unleashed in Pinto, his native town. All the citizens will be on tenterhooks as their home town boy gambles for the leadership in Saturday’s decisive time trial. They hope for his triumphal procession through the streets of Paris on Sunday.
On Sunday, Pinto’s city council will install a giant screen in the Prince of Asturias Pavilion. Townspeople will then unite to follow the last stage of the Tour de France and the fate of Alberto Contador, who hopes to be crowned victor in the 94th edition of the race. The giant screen will show images of Contador’s previous victories, then connect with Spanish TV for the live broadcast.
The doors of the Prince of Asturias Pavilion will open at 12:30 p.m. “By taking this step, the people of Pinto want to show the world their support for their champion, and make it easy for everyone in town to enjoy the live global celebration of this young athlete,” say municipal sources.
The city has provided a banner with the motto “Pinto for Alberto Contador - Thanks, Champion” which is now flying from the city hall. In addition, the people of Pinto have distributed yellow t-shirts proclaiming the name Contador.
Pinto’s mayor Miriam Rabaneda and other city officials will attend Sunday’s final stage on the Champs-Elysees. Their mission is to convey to Alberto the support and gratitude of thousands of Pinteños for the excitement they’ve experienced, thanks to his performance in the Tour. The rest of the city council will join citizens in front of the city hall to watch the race on the giant screen.
The council has also decided to charter buses to the airport on Monday, July 30, to greet Alberto as he returns to Spain, allowing Pinteños to give him the brilliant reception that he deserves. The entourage at the airport will be the first of a series of events designed to honor their neighbor, Alberto Contador, the famous man of the moment.
All over Pinto and the surrounding region, Contadormania has awakened.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Alberto Contador has conquered the 94th Tour de France with a race-saving time trial ride from Cognac to Angoulême. The 24 year-old Spaniard finished 2'18" behind stage winner, Levi Leipheimer, and fought hard to hold off a superb effort by Aussie Cadel Evans to maintain his maillot jaune. The American of Discovery Channel nearly stole the show by covering the 55.5-kilometre parcours in Western France with a time of one hour, two minutes and 44 seconds. Predictor-Lotto's Evans finished 51 seconds behind Leipheimer and will remain in second overall 23 seconds behind 'Kid Contador.'
Friday, July 27, 2007
American Chris Horner is one of the men who have been supporting Cadel Evans during this Tour de France. In the mountains he was supposed to be the last rider to stay with the Australian team leader from the Belgian Predictor team. At the finish line of stage 17 Cyclingnews caught up with the likeable American and asked him how he had enjoyed his day on French roads. "In the beginning - the first 80km - it was unbelievable," Horner reacted amazed. "It was up and down all day long but mainly during the first 80km it was really hard with the teams chasing the breakaway.
When the Caisse d'Epargne team finally came off the front everybody in the peloton was just cheering," Horner laughed. Horner is known to be a rider who loves the sport more than anybody else. In the winter when other riders are enjoying their time off the bike Horner competes in cyclo-cross races. We asked him if he was still happy to be in the Tour de France after the doping stories that have bothered the French stage race. "Absolutely, I love it. I wouldn't want to do anything else or be anywhere else in the world," Horner reacted convincingly. "It's real life. It's got it's ups and downs like everything. You just have to make sure that you enjoy the parts that are up," Horner explained.
The American wasn't surprised by the doping revelations that hit the peloton and explained it was nothing but a normal thing. "It's been around since the beginning of times and I mean not only since cycling times. It's people," Horner said, "not just in sport but everywhere. You just have to deal with it and get through the bad moments. The fans still appreciate what we do out there, the numbers are there - look at London - the crowds are huge, it's a beautiful sport."
After the departure of yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen - who seemed to be cruising to the overall win - the time trial in Cognac will decide on the eventual winner. Currently Alberto Contador is leading the GC with an advantage of 1'53" on Evans while Contador's team-mate Levi Leipheimer is 2'49" down. Chris Horner believed that Evans could become the first Australian winner of the Tour de France. "The podium shouldn't be a problem although there are still so many thing that can go wrong.
"Anything can happen out there: the right break goes up the road with the wrong guy in it and there's too many numbers so you can't pull it back, worse is if he crashes or has a flat tyre at a bad moment," Horner warned that the race was only over in Paris. "But the podium looks incredibly realistic and the jersey looks... I give even odds on it. I you have to give odds then you might give Contador a little bonus but not enough to bet your house on it."
Paolo Bettini isn't riding the Tour de France, but neither is he sitting home idly. This week he checked out the course for the upcoming World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, and is preparing to return to racing this weekend in the Tour de Wallonie.
The little Italian was in Stuttgart with the Italian national team manager Franco Ballerini and a few others from the national squad. "It is a good route, quick and complicated during the initial phase. The central part seems to be quite easy with some flat sections," he said on the Quick.Step Innergetic website, qsi-cycling.com.
"On the other hand the final is difficult and I'm sure it will be spectacular. The final 3 kilometres are all up-hill. At about 600 metres from the finish line the climb levels out slightly to then continue with a constant three-percent gradient. It will be a stimulating final where we'll need to have our eyes wide open, checking and controlling the race [and] choosing the right moment to make our move. The road surface is good and wide, it will be important to have good team work in order to keep any attacks at bay if a selection hasn't already taken place."
" Overall the race route is worthy of the World Championships," he concluded. "There are a lot of corners but none of them are dangerous and the roads are excellent. This is just the type of route I was expecting".
In the meantime, he will be returning to racing in the Tour de Wallonie this weekend, his first race since the national championships in June. "The Tour de Wallonie is a perfect race for me to return to racing, after a period without competing. It is a very popular race with Belgian fans and I'll be more than happy to take part in the race wearing my World Champion jersey. This will be the second time that I participate in the race. In 2002 I won the general classifications ahead of Popovych. I think a result like that this year will be difficult, though, but I want to use this race to see exactly what condition I'm in ready for the forthcoming events".
His schedule includes the Clasica de San Sebastian, the Deutschland Tour and the Vuelta a España.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Well I arrived safely in France at the Triathlon New Zealand base camp after some 30hrs of traveling. I will be here for the next 9 weeks as I train for the Hawaii Ironman world Championships in October, this will be the first time I have not done my build up in Australia. The training is just fantastic here with some of the best cycling in the world right on your door step and some great trail running as well. I had the luxury of seeing one of the toughest stages in this years Tour de France, stage 14 a 197km ride through the Pyrenees mountains, and with the tour going so close to our village we had no excuses to go and watch!
We decided to go and watch from the 1st mountain top of the day, what a tough climb, we rode from the base camp to the top of Col de Pailhere's which topped of at 2001m (17km climb but more like 30km when you take in the initial ascent just to get to the start) the Col de Pailhere's is an uncategorized climb, meaning outside of what they determine being hard, we had a some of the guys drive to a village called Quillian (about 45km from the mountain) and we stopped there and picked up our back packs and then rode to the top. My bag had about 6-7kg of food and clothes as it wasn't a warm day at all. Half way up my back was killing me due to carrying all the extra weight, we eventually made it to the top after about and hour of solid climbing, this mountain had no give in it at all and when we saw the riders come through they were in a world of pain (and they still had another climb to go!)
After taking 4:50hr to get to the top (from our base camp) we nearly made the rest of the trip home in 2:20hr!!! We didn't make it all the way home as we hopped in one of the cars to take us home other wise it would have been a 7:30hr ride!!! That just shows you how much climbing we did, we also had a very strong tail wind all the way home!!!
I'll let you know how my training is going in the next few weeks and give you another update.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Crystal Phend,
Training for the marathon puts runners at risk for malignant melanoma and other skin cancers, according to researchers here.
Counsel patients interested in marathon running that this study recommends reducing ultraviolet exposure during long-distance running by doing it with low-sun exposure, and by wearing adequate clothing, and regularly using water-resistant sunscreen.
A study of 210 runners recruited from a local marathon, compared with 210 matched controls recruited from a skin cancer screening campaign, showed significantly more atypical moles (47.1% versus 31.4%, P=0.001) and numerous "liver spots" (30.5% versus 20.0%, P=0.01) indicating a greater risk for malignant melanoma.
The runners had significantly more signs of non-melanoma skin cancer compared with age- and sex-matched controls, reported Christina M. Ambros-Rudolph, M.D., Medical University of Graz, and colleagues, in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.
Dr. Ambros-Rudolph and colleagues referred almost twice as many marathon runners as controls (24 versus 14) to local dermatologists for surgical treatment of skin lesions suggestive of non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and actinic keratoses.
The referral rate was highest among runners who trained most (19.4% more than 70 km/week, 12.9% 40 to 70 km/week, and 6.4% less than 40 km/week).
Along with the control participants, the runners (median age 37, range 19 to 71) completed a comprehensive questionnaire on risk factors for the development of melanoma including personal and family history of skin cancer, changes in skin lesions, hair color, eye color, number of freckles, sun sensitivity, and number of sunburns with and without blisters. All participants also had a total body skin examination by a dermatologist.
Most marathon runners in the study ran less than 40 km per week (37.1%) or 40 to 70 km per week (48.1%), risk factors were particularly pronounced among runners who trained most. They reported:
Among runners who trained less than 40 km per week, 41.0% had at least one atypical mole and 29.5% had numerous liver spots.
Among athletes who ran 40 to 70 km per week, 50.5% had at least one atypical mole and 27.7% had numerous solar lentigines.
Among runners who trained more than 70 km per week, 51.6% had at least one atypical melanocytic nevus and 41.9% had numerous moles.
This was despite higher sun sensitivity in the control group as reflected by more individuals with blue, green, or gray eye color and Fitzpatrick skin type I or II. The control group also more frequently had at least 50 common moles (22.4% versus 13.8%, P=0.03).
Neither group had any skin lesions suggestive of malignant melanoma diagnosed on clinical examination.
The runners reported typically wearing running shorts (96.7%) and short sleeve (87.6%) or sleeveless (11.0%) shirts, leaving most of their skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation for long periods. Only 56.2% reported regular use of sunscreen during exercising while 41.9% reported occasional use and 1.9% reported none.
In addition to UV radiation from sunlight, marathon runners may also experience repeated immunosuppression from excessive endurance exercise that favors development of skin cancer, the researchers theorized.
"Although regular low-impact exercise is well established to improve one's health," they wrote, "overtraining, high-intensity training, and excessive exercise, such as cumulative training for a marathon, the marathon itself, and, in particular, an ultramarathon, may lead to suppressed immune function."
The researchers, enthusiastic runners themselves, said the study was stimulated by the observation of eight ultramarathon runners (seven men and one woman; median age, 50 years; age range, 35-56; mean weekly training intensity, 120 km) with malignant melanoma over the past decade.
They suggested that clinicians counsel patients interested in marathon running to "reduce UV exposure during exercising by choosing training and competition schedules with low sun exposure, wearing adequate clothing, and regularly using water-resistant sunscreens."
“I only want one thing”
Alberto Contador lit up the final climb of the Peyresourde Monday, attacking Michael Rasmussen’s yellow jersey again and again. With the very first attack, Rasmussen alone was able to regain his wheel, as all of the other contenders slid backward. Contador was far from finished, however. The “Chicken” might have wondered if the sky was falling as Alberto’s attacks rained down on him, once, twice, five times in all. "I attacked Rasmussen to try to challenge him," said Contador. "I saw that he was a little worse than yesterday, but he was able to follow me.” Each time, Rasmussen clawed himself back to Alberto’s wheel, but clearly with ever-increasing difficulty.
The final attack before the summit might well have gained a lasting gap, if Alberto hadn’t been forced to slow by a traffic jam of support cars. At the top, he was joined by teammate George Hincapie, part of the day’s original breakaway. With Hincapie’s well-timed help, Contador and Rasmussen raced down the final descent. They gained nearly a minute on all other contenders, including third place Cadel Evans, one of the day’s goals. “Today I’ve gained more time on Evans, which is very good for consolidating second place overall, looking toward the last time trial,” Contador said.
On the small climb just before the finish line, he attacked for the sixth time. Again, Rasmussen pulled himself slowly back. The Dane then sat on Contador’s wheel in the final stretch, but Alberto had the finishing strength to stay in front crossing the line.
Alberto was quite satisfied with how he felt during the stage. “The legs have been very good. It’s a pity I couldn’t leave Rasmussen, but we’ve put on a nice spectacle, and there have been some moments when I’ve had him on the ropes. This gives me a lot of confidence for the last mountain stage”.
And Contador’s plan for that stage? “On Wednesday, I’m going to play for it all. Second place doesn't matter. I’m going to risk all to win. If I end up in sixth, it doesn't matter. I only want one thing: when I finish this Tour, I want to go home knowing that I’ve done everything possible to win.”
Stage 15 10th 5.31
Young rider 2nd 1.06
GC 2nd 2.23
Young rider 1st 69.54.37 (Closest rival is Soler at 12.37 )
Monday, July 23, 2007
In a riveting repeat of last year's Ironman world championship 70.3, Australian Craig Alexander and Canadian Samantha McGlone took down top fields at Vineman Ironman 70.3 July 22, setting new course records and defeating such full-iron luminaries as Luke Bell and Michellie Jones. The race was auspicious for both athletes, who intend to make Kona debuts this October at the Ironman world championship.
The point-to-point race through California's Sonoma County began with a 1.2-mile swim through Russian River off Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, which Aussie Pete Jacobs was the first to clamber up onto in a day's-best time of 24:14. He was followed 30 seconds later by fellow Aussie Bell and 50 seconds afterward by a large pack of 10 that included Alexander, American Chris Lieto and Aussie Matt Clarke.
After a speedy transition near the scenic, wood-rung beach, the men blasted out on the bike for a 56-mile tour of the four different wine regions of the Sonoma valley. Cycling star Lieto quickly assumed the lead, and by the halfway point, the three-time Ironman champion had a one minute lead on his nearest pursuer, TJ Tollakson of Des Moines, Iowa, who was nearly two minutes ahead of Alexander, Bell and American Brian Lavelle. Lieto held his lead all the way into transition after a smoking bike split of 2:04:46, 3:35 ahead of Tollakson and 8:45 up on Alexander and Bell.
But as soon as the out-and-back 13.1-mile run started from Windsor High School, Lieto began to feel the effects of his solo bike mission, while Alexander and Bell took to whittling away at Tollakson's second-place position like a bad piece of wood. As Lieto fell to an eventual fourth-place finish, Alexander and Bell took over, making up an almost nine-minute deficit after T2 to take the lead. By the line, after a 1:09:34 half-marathon split, it was Alexander with the win and an impressive new course record of 3:50:49. Bell followed 11 seconds later in 3:51:01, a time that would have also eclipsed the previous course record had hi fellow countryman not nailed the honor. Tollakson rounded out the podium in a time of 3:53:02.
In the women's race, 2000 Olympic silver medalist Jones led all the women out of the water in a time of 25:20, one minute ahead of American duathlon-star Dede Griesbauer and 2:15 ahead of McGlone. Jones held her lead on the bike as the pretty course twisted up through the Russian River grape-growing region, but by Mile 28, McGlone had managed to wheel up within 45 seconds of the dominant blonde. Griesbauer and Aussie Melissa Ashton rode together more than a minute back of McGlone.
After a 2:26:35 bike split, Jones dismounted in transition at Windsor High School with her lead still intact, although McGlone, with a 2:24:59 bike, kept the same spitting-distance margin of 45 seconds to the winner's crown. Once on two feet, however, Jones begin to fade while McGlone charged triumphantly, mustering up an amazing 1:21:42 half-marathon that gave her the win and a new course record in 4:16:36. McGlone's jaw-dropping run, four minutes faster than the second-best split of the day, put her almost five minutes ahead of Jones, who ran in 4:21:29 for second place. Ashton was third in 4:24:12.
Vineman Ironman 70.3
1.2mi S/56mi B/13.1mi R
Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:50:49
Luke Bell (AUS) 3:51:01
TJ Tollakson (USA) 3:53:02
Chris Lieto (USA) 3:53:53
Paul Amey (GBR) 3:54:55
Samantha McGlone (CAN) 4:16:35
Michellie Jones (AUS) 4:21:29
Melissa Ashton (AUS) 4:24:12
Alexis Waddel (USA) 4:26:24
Dede Griesbauer (USA) 4:27:00
Alberto Contador snatched the stage win today, in a magnificent ride on the first day of high drama in the Pyrenees. In a thrilling sprint, he bested race leader Michael Rasmussen in Stage 14 of the Tour de France.
Now seated 2nd in the GC, Contador gained time on all his rivals today. He’s perched just 2.23 behind the Dane.
“Winning a stage of the Tour before the eyes of the whole world, on a weekend, in front of my fans and my family, who’ve supported me, it’s everything to me. For me, it’s as if the Tour was over, regardless of what the end result turns out to be. I would feel the same even if tomorrow I had a bad day.”
A long journey of labor and suffering has brought Alberto to this victory. “When I had brain surgery, they advised me to consider forgetting about the bicycle. But thanks to God, everything turned out well, and I could return to the highest level.”
“Today the team worked perfectly. It’s been a pleasure to work with them, and I only hope we find a new sponsor so that we can keep working together.”
Alberto was unhappy with Rasmussen’s attitude. “I was disappointed. He attacked me in the last two kilometers and showed that he doesn’t keep his word,” he said about the current maillot jaune.
Contador admitted that he wouldn’t object to finishing on the final podium in Paris, but added, “Now I’m just thinking about going back to the hotel, falling into bed, and thinking about the race tomorrow. For me, this result is good enough.”
Today, Contador revealed his unique qualities once again: strength made of a blend of steel and elastic, exceptional courage, focus, and intelligence. In conquering the summit of Plateau de Beille, he joins company with only two other Tour de France competitors: Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong.
Stage 14 1st 5.25.48
Young rider 1st 5.25.48
Points 20 Plateau de Beille
Mountains 40 Plateau de Beille
GC 2nd 2.23
Young rider 1st 64.14.38 (Closest rival is Soler at 9.08)
Sunday, July 22, 2007
By Rebecca Roozen
July 22, 2007 -- It was deja vu of last year for Aussies Greg Bennett and Emma Snowsill as they took golds again on a beautiful and unseasonably comfortable New York City summer morning. The professional field kicked off the seventh annual event at 5:50 a.m. with a quick tidal river swim in the Hudson. Aussie Craig Walton, who has been sidelined for a couple years because of chronic fatigue syndrome, was back in business as he lead the men's field out of the water. American Hunter Kemper followed, with Bennett close behind.
"The first 5K of bike was flat and I was trailing Walton," says Bennett, who won last week's Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, Minn., "but I took advantage of the hills and downhills later on in the bike." Bennett says he felt like he won it with his swim and bike today. Kemper says the bike is where he lost it.
"I didn't have a good bike today; I just couldn't find a good rhythm," Kemper says. "I knew I could get second, and that was the best placing I felt I could get. It's hard to come to a race like this, race against these kind of guys when I'm not racing 100 percent. I have to be happy with this result."
For Bennett's mate Walton, it was good to be back out there competing after a two-year layoff. "Ultimately, it was just good to race," Walton says. "I want to get back to my normal self."
"I was glad to see Craig have a good race," Bennett says. "I'd like to see him win one, he's had a couple of tough years."
Snowsill runs to victory
Like the men's race, there was a trio that battled it out for two hours for the women. It was American Rebeccah Wassner who was first to dry land, with Snowsill and Dibens close behind. Snowsill made up some ground on her way to transition and lead Wassner out on the bike. But it was Great Britain's Julie Dibens that powered ahead on the bike and kept Snowsill about a minute back a mile into the run.
"The bike course is deceivingly hard with a lot of wide open spaces and undulating winds," says Snowsill. "It's a solid run though, and I really had to put my head down and push it to get ahead of Julie. She was really motoring along out there, and it took a lot for me to catch her."
"I knew it was always between Emma and me and the other top competitors," says Dibens. "And I knew I needed at least a few minutes lead if I was going to take her [Snowsill], but she caught me about mile two or three of the run."
It was Dibens first time competing at the New York City Triathlon, and she said she really enjoyed the run even though Snowsill got ahead of her. "Running through Central Park is pretty awesome," Dibens says.
Snowsill agrees, saying she always enjoys this course and New York. "It's a really well organized course, even with all the traffic," she says. "Everything was cleared away in time. I felt safe the whole time. I can't expect all of Columbus Avenue to clear away. It was very special to come back to New York to do it again today."
The Nautica New York City Triathlon is part of the five-race Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series, also including the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, Minn., the Accenture Chicago Triathlon, the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon and the inaugural Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon in Dallas.
The race will be shown on local New York station WNBC Channel 4 on various days starting Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m. Check local listings or nyctri.com for more information.
1. Greg Bennett (AUS) 1:47:37
2. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:48:41
3. Craig Walton (AUS) 1:49:05
1. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:00:23
2. Julie Dibens (GBR) 2:02:14
3. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 2:03:21
She just won herself $7,000 for her efforts.
Turning pro was a good move for the former Kona age group champ!
BELINDA GRANGER (#5) won in 9:40:20
TYLER STEWART (#24) at 9:47:38
ERIKA CSOMOR (#9) at 9:53:44
KAREN HOLLOWAY (#22) at 10:03:13
LINSEY CORBIN (#14) at 10:04:19
CHARLOTTE PAUL (#21) at 10:09:11
DANIELLE SULLIVAN (#23) at 10:09:51
“It’s been a pretty good day, but the third week of the Tour remains”
At the end of the Albi time trial today, Alberto Contador found himself in third place in the GC, with only Rasmussen and Evans in front of him. “If you take a close look, it’s been a pretty good day in regards to the other important riders. Only Rasmussen surprised me with the great time trial he did.”
Contador had confidence in his chances before the start. “I knew that if I had a good day I could be in this situation, because my goal was to lose no more than 1:30 on the best of the GC, and I met that goal. On the other hand, there were others that lost a lot of time. I was surprised by Valverde, who was good in the Dauphiné TT, and also by Sastre.”
Contador didn’t feel handicapped by the rain, but still chose to play it safe. “I knew I couldn’t take risks, and I got through it. In spite of that, I had two scary moments. But I chose to lose a few seconds rather than risk falling down. I didn’t like the rain because of the risk, but physically it was almost good for me. Today I was concentrating really well, and the rain never worried me.”
Alberto’s forecast for the Pyrenees? “I want to continue just as I’ve done so far. Today I’ve gotten through an important and positive stage for me, but the third week remains, and the very difficult Pyrenees. I hope that tomorrow I don’t pay the bill for today’s efforts, and can be with the best in the last climb.”
As of now, he’ll gauge his efforts against the performances of Cadel Evans and Andreas Klöden. “They’re the most imposing of the favorites, although now others will attack from the far flanks, like Astana and others. But for me, those two are the wheels to monitor. Rasmussen is very strong, too, but I think if I gain a little on him, it’s possible to take him in the last time trial.”
Saturday, July 21, 2007
“I don’t expect to lose much time on the top riders in the GC.”
That was Alberto’s wish on the eve of the all-important time trial at Albi. Discovery Channel’s highest-placed rider arrives Saturday in fine fettle, once again staying free of trouble in today’s sprint finish.
“Today got off to a very fast start until the 65-kilometer mark. It was very windy, and it got quite difficult. Then we had a dangerous descent of the Category 2 climb, but it worked out fine, and we got to the sprint without any mishaps.”
Tomorrow Alberto will view the parcours in the morning, “but only to look at it. I don’t think we’ll test any of it on bikes. It’s a bit of a mystery what the outcome will be for me. But in any case, I’d rather the time trial was now than in the first week. I don’t expect to lose much time on the top riders in the GC.”
Alberto takes heart because of his current ranking, and is optimistic. “Before taking the start in London, I didn’t think about this. I was only thinking about doing a good Tour. If someone had said to me it was going to be like this, I’d have voted for it. It’s true that I’ve lost some seconds because of that puncture, but in spite of everything I was not expecting to be so high in the GC.”
Stage 12 43rd s.t. Boonen
Young rider 10th s.t.
GC 5th 3:08
Young rider 1st, 57:40.18
Friday, July 20, 2007
Alberto hung with the favorites in today's race into Marseille. Both Mother Nature and the peloton put on the heat as high temperatures, wind, and power riding at rapid tempos defined the day.
South African Robbie Hunter took the sprint win. In doing so, he became the first citizen of Africa to win a stage at the Tour de France.
Contador clocked in with Hunter's time. He looks fantastic in the white young rider jersey!
Stage 11 29th s.t.
Young rider 8th s.t.
GC 5th 3:08
Young rider 1st
Alberto had a few reflections on Stage 9 over the Galibier.
"We pushed really hard today. Popovych, my teammate worked very hard for me. In the end the group caught up, but all in all it was a good day for us"
In reference to the stiff headwind and the puncture that handicapped him on the slopes, he said "The conditions weren't ideal. I managed to save time instead of gaining time and obviously there's still a long way to go."
Contador has never voiced any aspirations for the maillot jaune this year, but still, people will ask. "I don't want to think about the maillot jaune, because I don't want to be disappointed...I just want to focus on the white jersey, because I came here to get experience. It's a shame I haven't been able to beat the favorites, but there's still a week left."
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Chris Lieto with Dr. Max Testa and Matt Dixon after his blood lactate test.
Dr. Massimo (Max) Testa has a rare combination of qualities: he is both a Physician and Exercise Physiologist, and he is also one of the most approachable people you will ever meet. During the past 25 years, when he began his own sports performance lab in Lake Como, Italy, he has been at the forefront of exercise science and medicine. He has trained and cared for some of the best professional and amateur athletes in every major sport, currently including Levi Leipheimer. Max has spoken to professional groups on sports training throughout the world, and authored countless articles and research papers. As team doctor for the 7-11, Motorola, and Mapei professional cycling teams during the course of more than 15 Tours de France and Giro d’Italias, his experiences are unprecedented.
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Today’s stage ended uneventfully for Alberto Contador. Contador and the other GC leaders used the flat stage to get back to normal after the drama of the Alps.
“Today we were okay, even though the tempo at the start was violent, and the road was bad. Everybody wanted to get into the breakaway, so it was difficult. We rode very fast until kilometer 70, but later things calmed down, because the best rider in the breakaway was at 24 minutes,” Contador commented.
At the end of the day the pace changed again. “The last climb was aggressive, but not a problem. It’s been a boring stage, like all long stages,” he said.
Although it was dull, the stage wasn’t restful. “With the high temperatures we’ve had, the road in bad shape and so many kilometers, it’s impossible to talk about recovery, but we’ve certainly been more comfortable than in the last few days.”
Tomorrow is another one just like the other one, a transitional stage leading up to the time trial at Albi on Saturday.
Alberto’s results today:
Stage 10 42nd 10:36
Young rider 10th 9:35
GC 5th 3:08
Young rider 1st
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
"My attack was worth it, because big favorites lost several minutes today”
Alberto Contador earned the white jersey for best young rider today. He conquered the Galibier and took 5th place in the GC, a hefty reward for his spectacular attack 5 km from the summit.
He said the strategy of the day was foreseen in part. “It’s true that we were looking for a stage win with Gusev, Hincapie, or Popovych, but I was a little surprised that nobody moved on the Galibier. I expected to see Moreau and Mayo try it, and when that didn’t happen, I decided to attack with 5 km left. We ran into a headwind in the last 40 km, so it didn’t work out, but we put on a good show.”
Certainly, Contador would have preferred that “we weren’t caught by the leader’s group, but I’m convinced we profited by our maneuver. You never know what can happen in the Tour. Those that lost time today could force me to lose it later.”
Contador knew that his efforts were worthwhile. “Today there have been big favorites who lost several minutes in the GC, like Schleck, Kashechkin, Vinokourov, and Menchov. Also, I wanted to give it a go. Besides, among all of us, we have to try to create some excitement.”
The Alps are history now in the Tour 2007, so Contador is starting to think about what will happen in the Pyrenees. “The first thing is to see what’s left of the GC after the time trial, and who takes yellow, because if the new leader is Evans, for example, the race will change. Anyway, it’s certain that the Pyrenees will be action-packed, and every day different.”
About the race favorites, Alberto said that “now the group is more closed, with people who are separated by gaps. We will all meet again in the Pyrenees, which will be a different story from the Alps.”
Alberto’s results today:
Stage 9 4th 0:40
Young rider 2nd 0:40
GC 5th 3:08
Young rider 1st
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I’ll take back part of what I said yesterday – Alberto Contador might yet win this Tour de France! The Spanish rider from Team Discovery Channel almost turned the Tour on its head this afternoon in a cleverly planned, brilliantly-executed series of moves that had race leader Michael Rasmussen struggling to stay in control. Only Johan Bruyneel could concoct such superb tactics and (almost) get away with it, but in the end it is his riders that must take great credit for racing the way they did. Right from the point when Popovych escaped on the Col d’Iseran, Discovery were on the rampage – and there was little anyone else could do about it. Gusev joined Popovych after the Iseran to force Rabobank to chase hard, tiring out all their riders except for Rasmussen. And when Contador launched his dynamic series of moves on the Galibier, it looked as if the Yellow Jersey was heading Discovery’s way…
Ironically, in hindsight, Contador went too hard – his compatriot Valverde was unable to get across to him, meaning another Caisse d’Epargne rider, Ivan Gutierrez, used his pursuiting skills to chase Contador and Popovych down on the 35-kilometre descent before the finish. Had Valverde managed to get away with Contador on the Galibier, I think we’d now be drinking a few glasses of champagne in Gap – and looking at a potential Tour victory for Discovery Channel. Certainly, Rasmussen should have lost his lead today, for it was only thanks to Gutierrez that the Discovery move failed, well that and the nasty headwind that sapped Contador and Popovych’s strength. But instead of being disappointed, Contador and his mates can now see further possibilities in the Pyrenees, where two summit finishes should play well into Discovery’s hands. Today had a feel of Paris-Nice about it – remember it took three stages and three attacks before Contador won that race. I bet the little guy cannot wait to get to next Sunday, and launch another attack or two!
Contador was philosophical about today’s stage. “The best thing is that I’ve been able to do well in the mountains. There were only seven ahead of me, and I was feeling good. The puncture was bad luck, because I think the final kilometers were better for me,” Contador summed it up.
“In the end, I tried to lose as little time as possible. But I can already say that I’ve done a good first week in the Tour and only hope that I don’t choke in the third week, because it’s always a risk.”
If he hadn’t flatted, he says, “I’m sure I would have arrived with the group. What I don’t know is if I could have caught Mayo.”
For Alberto, the strongest men in the race are the ones that stayed ahead of him, but he observes “it’s a sure thing that the ones who are two minutes behind can still catch up. You can’t discount Klöden or Vinokourov, because they have great skills and a very strong team. If they can catch an escape, they can take the leadership.”
About the Galibier stage – the day after the rest day - Contador said, “I think it’s likely that a breakaway will happen, because I don’t know when they’ll lift the tempo since it’s 40 km from the summit to the finish line. Of course, the start will be very aggressive and some people will probably pay for the rest day.”
Stage 8 8th 3:31
Young rider 1st 4:53:11
GC 8th 3:10
Young rider 2nd 2:27
Monday, July 16, 2007
Team CSC has joined the wristband bandwagon this year, but it sports an interesting slogan that isn't raising money for a charity or some do-good organization.
Instead, the letters across the black plastic wristband underscore the team's philosophy in this year's Tour: "Harden the Fuck Up."
"Stuart (O'Grady) brought them for the team in London and asked everyone to wear them," said Team CSC rider Frank Schleck. "If it's tough, we look at the wristband and we do what it says. When it gets hard, you harden up. So far it's worked pretty good."
S 1.5 k/ B 40 k/ R 10k
1. Greg Bennett (Aus) 1:48:46.3 * course record - $60,000 plus $60,000 series bonus
2. Bruno Pais (Por) 1:49:09 - $25,000
3. Craig Alexander (Aus) 1:49:21 - $15,000
4. Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs CO) 1:49:47 - $7,000
5. Rasmus Henning (Den) 1:49:57 - $6,000
6. David Thompson (Long Lake MN) 1:50:10 $5,000
7. Bevan Docherty (Nzl) 1:51:20 - $4,000
8. Stephen Hackett (Aus) 1:51:51 - $3,000
9. TJ Tollakson (Des Moines IA) 1:53:28 - $2,000
10. Filip Ospaly (Cze) 1:54:22 - $1,000
11. Matt Reed (Colorado Springs CO) - 1:56:24
12. Leon Griffin (Aus) - 1:57:03
13. Greg Remaly (Oakland CA) - 1:57:25
1. Vanessa Fernandes (Por) 2:00:27 - $60,000
2. Emma Snowsill (Aus) 2:01:06 - $25,000
3. Julie Dibens (Gbr) 2:02:10 - $15,000
4. Becky Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 2:03:43 - $7,000
5. Pip Taylor (Aus) 2:04:03 - $6,000
6. Laura Bennett (Boulder CO) 2:05:02 - $5,000
7. Mirinda Carfrae (Aus) 2:05:20 - $4,000
8. Samantha McGlone (Can) 2:06:04 - $3,000
9. Rina Hill (Aus) 2:06:22 - $2,000
10. Margaret Shapiro (Herndon VA) 2:06:22 - $1,000
11. Emily Finanger (Boulder CO) 2:11:31
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Well my break is over and I am now back in Boulder with my family. It is wonderful to have the entire family here in boulder with me. We arrived from California yesterday and settled into our condo. I will start training tomorrow lightly after 20 days of rest and relaxation. We just spent 3 days at Disneyland which was wonderful. I have to thank my friend Jason Alexander and his whole Team at The Grand Californian Resort and Spa at Disneyland. They were awesome and we had the best time. The hotel was just amazing and to see the joy on the face of my girls was priceless. It was the best time and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thanks Jason for everything mate. We cannot thank you enough. We will see you in Malibu mate.
On Wednesday night I went to the ESPY awards with Scott and my sponsors Under Armour. These were awesome and it was a full red carpet show with all the movie stars and sports stars hanging out. I had a great time. It was amazing to see so many incredible athletes in the one place. People like Ashley Judd, Samuel L Jackson, Michael phelps, Shaq, Lebron James, Patton Manning, Serena Williams and the list is just too long to even continue. Basically every big sport star from Tennis to Football was in the room and it was unreal. It was awesome and we had a great time. Under Armour are the sponsors of the night and for the last few years I have wanted to get up to the awards but have always been home in Australia.This year my shcedule worked great and we went. We were front row and I sat just down from Ashley Judd which was a buzz. I am a big fan of Ashley. After the awards we went to the Wednesday night fights and the ESPY afterparty which was cool. It was a late night but a great time on the town with cool people.
The following morning I packed the family up and we flew into Boulder, which is where we are now. It is great to be settles and not to be living out of a suitcase. I am really looking forward to training again. I am pleased with my race in Roth Germany this year. I felt amazing on the bike and run and just great all day. It was a long build up for this race and I was focused on going fast. I had a heavy training block through some of my early season races like St Croix and St Anthonys, but then as I dropped the workloads my body really came around and I felt amazing. I knew I was going well and was confident of a good result. The time in Boulder was also great as the altitude really gave me an extra gear which will be awesome come Hawaii. Anyway it is now time to plan for Hawaii and get everything sorted.
I am going to raise money for Breast Cancer this year in my Hawaii campaign in memory of my mother Theresa who lost her battle with the disease in 1999. I miss my mum so much and having a family now and not having my mum around to see it all is heartbreaking to me. I just want to do something positive and this is a disease and cause that is very close to my heart. We are putting together our fundraising plans now and will keep you all posted. Please help out if you can even in the smallest way.
Safe training everyone, Macca
“Tomorrow the battle continues, and each rider will have to show his cards”
Contador finished Stage 7 in the front pack with the favorites. None of the big names challenged for the win today, possibly saving energy for tomorrow’s much harder stage.
“There’s been less to this stage than expected, but maybe it was just that people were being sensible. Besides, when both the stage win and the maillot were taken in a breakaway, it shaped the battle behind.”
“If the stage win and the maillot had been in play among the favorites, it would have been different. But it’s not the same thing when you already know that everything has been settled up ahead,” explained Contador.
“Tomorrow will be a more demanding stage, with three big hills and more than fifteen kilometers straight up. Because it will finish on the summit, there will be more of a fight, and each rider will have to show his cards.”
Among the teams that shared the effort today, Contador was surprised by the presence of Lampre. “Of all those working, they’re the only ones I didn’t expect. It’s logical that Rabobank pulled its share, having Menchov, Rasmussen, and Dekker. And Caisse d’Epargne: I expected an attack at the end, but they chose to keep quiet.”
Contador also explained why CSC was not in the cooperating group. “Sastre is more of a long distance rider, he prefers stages like tomorrow. So today was a bit too soon for them.”
He was very satisfied with Discovery Channel, his own team. “Levi Leipheimer feels really good, and on the whole, with Gusev, Popovych, and me we’ve put four people out ahead. I think we’re riding well and we’ll see what happens soon.”
Stage 7 18th 3:38
Young rider 3rd 3:38
GC 11th 4:01
Young rider 5th 4:01
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Linus Gerdemann of T-Mobile dominated the finale of stage seven to Le Grand-Bornard. The 24 year-old German attacked with 10 kilometres to go up the fan-packed Colombière pass and was able to hold his advantage on the descent to win the race and take the race leader's Maillot Jaune. Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Prodir) finished the 197.5-kilometre stage second and third at 42" and 1'42".
The GC favourites, including Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Christophe Moreau (Ag2r Prévoyance), Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) and even a bandaged Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), finished 3'38" back. The rider from Münster will start stage eight to Tignes with 1'24" over Spaniard Landaluze.
The stage ended today with Contador happy again to have missed out on crashes. “I’ve avoided falling and finished well, like the rest of the team, so we’re satisfied. Besides, Benjamin Noval could start, and was able to cross the finish line. I hope he gets well and can stay in the race.”
The race reaches the mountains tomorrow, where Contador shines. “Tomorrow the race starts in earnest”, said Alberto. “We have to see how the stage looks and how Leipheimer feels, because the team will work for him. We’ll see how the favorites do, because in the mountains, nobody can hide. The truth will out.”
He admitted that while he hadn’t spent much time around Vinokourov or Klöden during the stage, it was obvious they were suffering. “Maybe I’m wrong, but they didn’t look well,” he said, referring to the injuries they sustained yesterday.
About the Alps, Contador said he believes that he has arrived at a good point in his form. “It’s possible to lose a big part of the Tour roster here, especially the ones that aren’t well when they reach this point. I think the Alps will be less decisive than in other years, but maybe now everything has changed because of the crashes that have plagued some riders. To predict how the favorites will do, you can shake a tree and see what falls out.”
Friday, July 13, 2007
The Alps are looming in this year’s Tour. The boys arrive in the mountains for Stages 7, 8, and 9, Saturday, July 14 through Tuesday, July 17.
Here they’ll be put to their first stringent climbing test. The Pyrenees stages will follow, beginning on Sunday, July 22, even more brutal than the Alps.
Johan Bruyneel dispatched four Discovery Channel riders to train in the mountains prior to the Dauphiné Libéré last month. Contador, Leipheimer, Gusev, and Martinez got a good taste of what’s to come on the slopes of the Tour de France.
Contador answered a few questions for the press.
What have you learned from scouting out the mountains in the Tour de France? The first thing is that the Pyrenees will be much more difficult than the Alps. The second is that the stage at Tignes will be very demanding, because it has long climbs and is about 4,600 meters of ups and downs. It will be one of the key stages, because it’s also the second highest mountain stage and each rider’s form will be evident.
Are there other stages to consider? Yes, certainly. The stage at Briançon, with the Galibier, will also be hard, but not as hard as the one at Tignes. Soon after, in the Pyrenees, there are a couple of mountain top finishes, especially the one at Plateau de Beille, that will be very complicated because it occurs after the time trial at Albi and will be influenced by how well I’ve recovered. Also the Peyresourde and particularly the Aubisque following the Marie-Blanque near the end. That stage is sure to shake up the general classification.
Do you like the route? Yes, I like it quite well. The stage at Tignes will be very hard, although I believe it will be raced conservatively, thinking ahead to the last week. I think it’s good for me that the first time trial is after the Alps, because a climber is under less pressure, and the queen stage, 220 km long ending in l’Aubisque, will take place after a rest day.
Finally, the second time trial is at the end, when it matters more to ride hard than to be a specialist. Yes, absolutely, I like this route.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Glad to say that day by day things are getting better.
My head injury seems to be coming along and no complications other than some swelling in the face.
Shoulder is still not very mobile but getting easier to get out of bed.
I've been keeping up with the race and in contact with Robbie to see how the team has been fairing with out me. Before I left I told Robbie I had a feeling Gert would step up to the plate for him on the 4th stage. And he did with perfection. It took a lot of coaching from Robbie, but it sounds like he was able to control Gert's power.
Little History with Gert is that they guy is very powerful and fast(very fast), but sometimes hard to control his power to use it at the right time. He is young and sometimes lacks the confidence and experience of when to make the right move. And in the tour with all the crowds it very hard to talk and keep in communication so your almost on auto pilot.
So Robbie tells me that he told Gert he needed to jump with 400 meters from the finish and get him to under 200 meters just around the bend. Gert did it almost to perfection and jumped with 420 meters, dropping Robbie off exactly in position where he felt he could drive it all the way to the line.
It was also cool to see Robbie dedicate the victory to me as I couldn't be there for him. He knew how much it meant to me and how hard it was for me not to be there. He also knew exactly what happened in the crash so he was amazed to see me walking after such a thing.
We also talked about the 5th stage and what happened. Sounds like Gert lost a little concentration on where exactly the finish was an thought he saw 200 meters to go when it really was 600 meters. You could see that with 300 meters to go he was out of steam and Robbie had no choice but the wait and see if he could jump on another wheel as they came by.
I think that also caught the others by surprise and they came by maybe a bit slower than normal making it easy to sling shot from further back like Friere did. If Gert would have timed his efforts correctly it would have been impossible for any one to come from that far back. But when Robbie had not choice but to allow the speed to drop it was just what happens. Just like the stage Casper won, he came off my wheel from behind to sling past Bonnen and Robbie as the slowed.
This is Gert's first Tour and is still getting the hang of it. I have a feeling he will be able to put things together at least one more time for Robbie. 2 stage wins is not so bad I told Robbie and he said with a small laugh, "yeah your right".
I told Robbie that it killed me not being there to really get things down right, but the pain was also killing me too so there was no way I could be there now.
Still plenty of stages for Robbie and I will keep a close eye on things.
While Italian heartthrob Filippo Pozzato earned a hard-fought sprint win in stage 5 of the Tour de France, Thursday's big news developed at the back of the pack, where pre-race favorite Alexandre Vinokourov lost 1:20 to his fellow GC contenders after crashing hard with 24km to go in the testing 182.2km run from Chablis to Autun.
The Astana team leader ripped a gaping hole in the right side of his bib shorts. His elbow, hip and knee were all badly scraped and bloody. The trauma didn't end there, though, as Vino' had to call on all but two of his teammates to aid in a furious chase back to the bunch, which was moving fast in pursuit of final two members of the day's prominent breakaway. By the end of the stage Vinokourov was on his own, save for a dozen or so dropped riders latched onto his wheel.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Crédit Agricole's big Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd thundered away to take the bunch sprint on stage four in Joigny, beating Barloworld's Robert Hunter and Oscar Freire for the win. A day long five man break led from the 31.5 kilometre mark, but the sprinters' teams timed the catch perfectly, bringing them back with 7 kilometres to go. Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel - Euskadi), Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), and Christian Knees (Milram) gained a maximum of four minutes, but were not given as much ground as the stage three escape.
T-Mobile, Quickstep, Liquigas and Gerolsteiner all tried to gain control of the run-in to the sprint, but it would be Crédit Agricole's New Zealand champion Julian Dean who would finally deliver his man Hushovd to the line at the perfect moment. Points leader Tom Boonen shook his head in frustration at being denied another day.
One of Team CSC's major profiles - the 35-year old German Jens Voigt - has had his contract extended for another two years.
”I belong with Team CSC and I'm extremely happy we've agreed on extending our contract. I want to spend the remaining part of my career her at Team CSC and luckily I've still got lots of time left. This team means a lot to me both professionally and personally. I fell that I'm among my best friends, when I'm at work - and who could ask for more really. I feel a great responsibility for the new young talents and at the same time I'm still highly motivated to make some great results of my own. Even though the cycling sport is going thru some rough times at the moment I'm still one hundred percent motivated, and I feel that with our Anti-Doping Program we're helping to pave the way for a healthy and safe future. I'd very much like to be a part of that and I'd also like to maintain some sort of relationship with the team, when I eventually decide to park my bike in the garage,” says Jens Voigt.
”Jens is not only one of the biggest stars in this sport, he's also vital to our team in so many ways. He's the most attacking rider in the peloton and there's no doubt that he is totally invaluable to us. There is only one Jens Voigt and it's a great pleasure to have him on our team. His approach to riding a bike and his attitude to both his work and colleagues is utterly unique. He's not afraid to lead the way and his personality is definitely a big inspiration to the new riders,” says Kim Andersen.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Race Report, Stage 1
London - Canterbury, 203 km
Alberto Contador achieved his goal of completing a peaceful ride today, crossing the line in the bunch with the winner’s time. Not all riders were so lucky. A crash near the end shook up part of the peloton, including at least one of the Discovery boys.
“It’s a shame that the stage finished with Benjamin Noval’s fall, but I hope it was nothing”, began Contador, in comments about the first stage of the Tour 2007. “There’s been an impressive number of fans along the road. I don’t know how many, but it’s surely more than a million people. I think it’s been a complete success bringing the Tour to England, but you can tell the majority don’t know about cycling, because they don’t know any of the riders’ names.”
Contador reported that he felt “very well in this stage, no problems. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve got more experience, but I haven’t had as many feelings of danger or tension as I had in the first Tour that I did.”
“Benjamin had been looking after me all day and was doing exceptional work. But at the very moment he dropped behind to help another teammate, he took a massive spill.”
Contador finished 44th. A tenacious ride by new KOM David Millar, who moved to 3rd on the GC, bumped Contador to 16th overall, still 35” off first place.
Race leader Fabian Cancellara jumped clear of the peloton in the final kilometre of today's 236.5 run from Belgium to Compiègne, France. The 26 year-old Swiss, winner of the Prologue in London, blasted past the day's four-man escape (Willems, Augé, Ladagnous and Vogondy) in his Maillot Jaune after the race competed its final turn onto the streets that start the Classic Paris-Roubaix.
CSC's Cancellara held off the oncoming sprint led by Erik Zabel (Milram) over Danilo Napolitano (Lampre-Fondital), Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Robert Hunter (Barloworld). He retained his race lead and even added to it with the bonus seconds gained on the line.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Gert Steegmans worked with team captain Tom Boonen to take the sprint finish in front of their countrymen in Gent, Belgium. Steven De Jongh led Steegmans and then Boonen to the line but it was the former who was allowed to take the win, the 26 year-old's first win in the Tour de France.
A crashed marred the final kilometres, holding up many sprinters and Maillot Jaune Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC). The Swiss still holds the race lead but will need to be checked for possible injuries.
"There was no one coming and when there is a chance like that he should be able take it," said Boonen of Steegmans after the finish. "He has done a lot for me in the past."
Stage 2 Results: Dunkirk To Ghent
1 Gert Steegmans (Bel) QuickStep
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep
3 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas
4 Robbie Hunter (SA) Barloworld
5 Roman Feilliu (Fra) Agritubel
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
8 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9 Oscar Friere (Spa) Rabobank
10 Sebastien Chavenel (Fra) Cofidis all same time
Overall Classification After Stage 2
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) CSC
2 Andreas Kloeden (Ger) Astana + 13”
3 David Millar (GB) Saunier Duval + 21”
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel + 23”
5 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Cofidis + 23”
6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel + 25”
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d’Epargne + 26”
8 Thor Hushovd (Nor ) Credit Agricole + 29”
9 Alexandre Vinolourov (Kaz) Astana + 30”
10 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank + 31”
Ivan Basso was visited by anti-doping inspectors Wednesday, July 4, for a surprise 'out of competition' control. The 29 year-old Italian, suspended June 15 for two years, was visited at his home in Cassano Magnago for a control ordered by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on the behalf of UCI and WADA.
"Ivan is out training," said his wife Micaela according to La Gazzetta dello Sport's Luigi Perna. Basso has not raced since March 30, the last day of the Castilla y Leon, but he continues to train even though he can't return to racing until 2009 (October 24, 2008 the disqualification expires - ed.) due to his suspension by the Italian cycling federation (FCI) for involvement with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. CONI's investigation resulted in Basso admitting to being linked to Operación Puerto via the 'Birillo' code name.
Basso still retains his racing license with the FCI authorized by the UCI and, as such, is subjected to surprised controls. To not be controlled Basso would have to write a letter of "resignation" for his license to be annulled. However, Basso continues to complete the required UCI forms for his daily whereabouts and he has decided to continue to be subjected to quarterly blood checks at UCI-accredited laboratories even though he is not required to do this since he is not engaged as a rider.
"In my career I have never used doping products or resorted to blood transfusions," Basso claimed at the time of his admission. He was said to have only extracted blood to Fuentes but never had it transfused. "It was a weak moment, but I am aware that attempting to dope is the same as doping. I will serve my sentence and return to the work I love."
Sunday, July 8, 2007
1. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Predictor-Lotto
2. Thor Hushovd (N), Crédit Agricole
3. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Innergetic
4. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis
5. Romain Feillu (F), Agritubel
6. Robert Förster (G), Gerolsteiner
7. Marcus Burghardt (G), T-Mobile
8. Oscar Freire Gomez (Sp), Rabobank
9. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir
10. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu), Discovery Channel
Defending champion Rebecca Preston might not have claimed the overall win here today, but she was more-than-happy with her third place finish, especially as it comes two weeks after she successfully defended her Ironman Switzerland title.
Both she and coach Bret Sutton told us today that she isn't in as good shape as she was a year ago, which makes the successful day even more satisfying.
“I just went in today with the goal of having a really hard training day,” she said after the race. “Anything, like third, was a bonus.”
Preston found herself in a very different position than a year ago, when she was well clear of the rest of the women off the bike.
“It was a tough battle,” she said. “I think I had a really good swim, which I’m happy about. I was going hard on the bike, and it felt like my legs were exploding. I thought it was ‘cause I was tired, but then I looked at my brakes and they were rubbing on my wheel.”
Now the Australian will take a well-earned break before heading to Ironman Korea (her TBB team is based in Asia) and then gearing up for the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, 7.9km in 8:50
2. Andréas Klöden (G), Astana, at 0:13
3. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, at 0:23
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Cofidis, same time
5. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Discovery Channel, at 0:25
6. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Caisse D'Epargne, at 0:26
7. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kz), Astana, at 0:30
8. Thomas Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:31
9. Manuel Quinziato (I), Liquigas, at 0:32
10. Benoît Vaugrenard (F), Francaise Des Jeux, s.t.
Friday, July 6, 2007
A flat, fast course through the heart of London town, beginning in Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, past Queen Elizabeth in her majestic Buckingham Palace, then back to the finish through Hyde Park. The prologue continues past the Serpentine and its stately swans, back across Green Park and the slight rise of Constitution Hill to finish on the Mall in front of St. James Palace. Le Tour's Prologue will be a battle royale between World TT Champ Cancellara (CSC), English Olympic pursuit champ Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) and flying Scotsman David Millar (Saunier Duval) to wear the first Maillot Jaune of the 2007 Tour de France.
By: Kim Hassold
Any cycling enthusiast can tell you that July is the month of arguably the world’s best-known cycling road race, a three-week-long event covering a circuit of most areas around France and sometimes neighboring countries. Le Tour de France will take place from July 7 to July 29 and will feature one of our own local favorites, George Hincapie.
Maybe less recognized, yet surely no less intriguing is the woman who will be watching the event with a special interest, George’s wife of three years and a recent convert to our southern way of life, Melanie.
We spent some time getting to know her and found that she feels fortunate to be living in Greenville with George and their young daughter, Julia.
With her charming French accent and beautiful looks, we think you’ll agree we’re the lucky ones… the Upstate is a better place because Melanie Hincapie came along for the ride.
A chance meeting between the two was the start of a wonderful match and, according to Melanie, it all happened in the course of a working day.
“I actually met George at the Tour de France. He was riding for U.S. Postal and I was a presenting model.
“In Paris, we gave medals to all of the riders on the best team for that day, so I gave the medal to George, and the next day he wrote me a note saying he wanted to get to know me.”
Not that doing so would be easy, since at the time, she spoke almost exclusively her native French and he spoke very little of that language.
“We did a lot of our ‘talking’ via text messaging. I would get out a dictionary to try to see what he was saying,” laughs Melanie.
“I was speaking a little of English, and some Spanish, but not much. George’s parents are from Colombia so they raised him speaking Spanish. With my little bit of English and Spanish, and his little bit of French, we made it work.”
As for Julia, she speaks French with her mother, English with her father, and Spanish with her grandparents.
Moving to another country sounds like an exciting adventure, but it is not without some trials in the adjustment period. Melanie says that one of her favorite stories involves the family dog and the well-meaning offer of a new friend to walk the pet while the Hincapies settled in.
“I didn’t understand why this stranger was taking my dog and kept saying ‘No!’ until George finally helped me understand that she was only trying to help. The language barrier is much less for me now but, at first, I misunderstood a lot.”
So what is it like to be the wife of a professional athlete, and how does a spouse deal with watching someone she loves compete at such an intense level?
“The great thing about being married to an athlete is that we get to see the world and travel a lot. My child is growing up with different cultures and languages, so it’s a positive for her. We also have friends all over the world. On the other hand, George and I do spend a lot of time apart, and we have no routine in our lives. It can be hard to plan things because George’s schedule changes all of the time.”
Melanie says she worries a lot when her husband races, but much more when she is not there and watches him race on television.
“I don’t go to all races, but I do go to some. It’s always stressful to watch him race, I just want him to be safe and do well, because I know how hard he works for that. My family is also very proud and supportive of George. The Tour de France is three long, hard weeks. My family doesn’t miss one stage on TV — watching every single day.”
Being so far away from family most of the year is hard for the Hincapies, but Melanie says that Greenville has become her “home away from home” now.
“It’s another tough thing about being married to a professional athlete that I am so far away from my family. It’s very hard for them to only see me twice a year, and much more for me. I am a French woman, who loves her country, but I feel America, Greenville, is home now. I consider myself lucky to be part of both countries.”
The Hincapies frequently enjoy our downtown life, a pastime they both enjoy.
“We love to eat downtown, especially High Cotton and Soby’s, along with a lot of other restaurants. Falls Park is so pretty and relaxing with the waterfalls. Everyone in Greenville has welcomed us as part of the city and they are very supportive of George. The city even had a parade for him in 2005 to celebrate his stage win in the Tour de France when we came back from Europe.”
With George Hincapie planning to develop Pla d’Adet, a performance training village in the Upstate in the near future, we are bound to see more of the Hincapie family around here. According to Melanie, it’s a place she would recommend to anyone.
“Greenville is a beautiful place with wonderful people. It’s a great place to raise a family, the parks are beautiful and the weather is always nice.”
On the eve of the start of the Tour in London the last two teams that have signed the UCI's rider agreement were Italian outfit Quickstep and Danish team CSC. Jens Voigt confirmed yesterday that he and his teammates would sign the document just before the start.
The German talked to sport1.de about the upcoming Tour de France. He reacted to accusations of compatriot Jörg Jaksche, made in the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, by saying that "Jaksche sold an interview for money." He wasn't going to name anybody, but nonetheless mentioned Vinokourov and Voigt. "Maybe he did that because we don't have a great relationships," Voigt suggested.
Voigt often shares a room with American Bobby Julich when they race together. "Bobby, who unfortunately won't be at the Tour this year, called me and told me I shouldn't let it get to me. He knows I am an emotional person."
He also credits Bjarne Riis for starting the strong anti-doping program at CSC. "With Rasmus Damsgaard he got one of his biggest critics on board. And we release all our data."
Voigt said that the book he just wrote ("One has to fight") is not about the fight against doping but simply describing his life as a cyclist, "from the youth to today."
Asked about the podium in Paris the German picks "Vinokourov, Klöden and Sastre, but not necessarily in this order."
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Well Quelle Challenge Roth is over for another year and I am finally back in the USA taking some downtime. I had a great time this year in Germany. I was very much excited about the event and despite being a little apprehensive about the change in my training program for the race, it ended up going very well.
I wanted to really have a solid crack at the World Record and was quietly confident that I could get it if the day went well and conditions were great. My training up to the event was flawless and my focus on speed and staying fresh so as not to hamper any of my Hawaii preparation left me in good spirits and mentally and physically very fresh.
The races in the lead up to Roth were perfect and I knew I was running and riding very well. My swim had been exceptional and deep down inside I really thought it would be possible to break the world record.
To go sub 8 you have to have a great day. To go sub 7:55 you have to have an exceptional day. I woke up race morning and felt great and my race went really well. Thomas Hellriegal was really strong for the first half of the race and kept the pace very solid through the hills and along the country field roads on the bike section. I was really strong for the rest of the race and in the 2nd 90km of the bike I really put the hammer down and only Thomas could follow which was great. I rode with a 55cm Chainring this year and the new Specialized bike was a rocket. I just kept looking for more gears and felt really strong all through the hills and along the flat sections late in the bike. I think this is where the damage was done and how the time was so fast. The last 40km of the bike was lightning fast. I dont think I have ever riden a bike as hard as I did for the last 40km of this bike course. We managed to break the field and I was really happy with my 4:16 bike split. Thomas actually told me after the race that he believed this was the best he has ever ridden a bike and despite the fact that he had ridden a 4:14:47 in 1997 when the world record was set, today’s ride was much harder as the wind was very strong on the 2nd lap of the bike. I must admit I got off the bike and my legs were a little weary. I really wanted to push the bike hard, as being in Germany they are so into hard biking and I really wanted to make a point to show that if I wanted to I can ride a bike as good if not better than anyone racing today on the Ironman circuit. It was as much for my own satisfaction as it was to send a message to a few people. I think the ride in Roth was great for me and I got off the bike very happy with my efforts and more so very happy with what Thomas had said about how tough the bike was and how fast we were riding.
On the run I knew I just had to get my rhythm and the record was a possibility. I had to run a 2:42 marathon which I know I can do. I have run a 2:40 marathon off the bike so I just believed it was possible. With about 4 miles to go I really started struggling and I knew the record would be missed. I was happy to walk the last 500 meters and enjoy the moment, and to cross the line with the 3rd fastest time of all time was great. I was very happy with my days efforts and very happy with where I am in my season so far. I have had a great season up to this point and am really focusing now on Hawaii success.
My family arrived in USA on July 2nd and we have been relaxing in San Diego. I am heading up to Santa Barbara to have a look around on July 6 before taking my entire family to Disneyland for three days. On Wednesday night, July 11 we have the ESPY’s Sports award on in Los Angeles which will be a great night. I am really looking forward to going this year. It is the ESPN sports awards night and is a great Red Carpet affair and all the worlds’ big sports stars go. It is a great chance to meet some of your sporting idols and I really enjoy the night. This year my wife and I are both going so we have organized a babysitter for our children and will enjoy the evening. We fly out to Boulder for the summer on the next day so training begins after this.
So that’s about all that has happened since Roth. I am doing nothing at all. I watched the Frankfurt Ironman and it was great to see Timo Bracht do so well. He is a solid athlete and I guy I have raced numerous times in Roth. He is a real talent and to see him step up from last years 2nd place was awesome. I would really like to see him do well in Hawaii as he is a lovely guy with great family values. He has a young family and to juggle racing and family is tough and I respect that a lot. Hawaii is just around the corner and soon all this will be forgotten and it will be Kona time. I am really excited about this years event. I am just eager to get back into training and begin the preparation for the race. The altitude training is just awesome and carrying that into Kona is something I am really interested in seeing. I look forward to it.
Anyway I better end it there. My youngest daughter Sienna has just woken up and I have to go and grab her..
Safe training everyone,
In connection with the debate, which has taken place over the last few days, Bjarne Riis would like to make the following comment:
”First of all I would like to say that I strongly object to the accusations made in the interview with Jörg Jaksche by the German magazine, Der Spiegel.
I have not had any knowledge of, nor have I encouraged the use of illegal substances by Team CSC riders. I trust our doctors one hundred percent and my riders and staff can confirm that we have always taken an uncompromising stand in relation to doping. My conscience is clean, but if Jörg Jaksche has another view on the matter, he needs to present documentation in proof of his allegations.
I am upset by the fact that my team, my staff, my riders and especially our sponsors are confronted by these allegations on a daily basis, and I am also upset that I have become the target of such accusations following my public confession. I came forward in order to wipe the slate clean not to claim the responsibility for other people's mistakes. They alone have that responsibility.
It bothers me a great deal that the ground breaking and sincere work Team CSC is doing to fight doping has to be compromised by speculations such as these. The project does not deserve that, because I know we are fighting harder than anyone else to try and rid the sport of doping and my riders and our sponsors deserve credit for that.
There has not been a moment's peace from the press since I came forward. Of course I appreciate the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on these matters, but I have no wish for my team – which has nothing to do with my mistakes – to become a target on false grounds. My riders work hard to fulfill our mutual ambitions and like always they are very focused ahead of Tour de France.
At the moment I am surrounded by so much turbulence and I do not wish for this to have a negative effect on the focus or in any way influence the atmosphere surrounding the team during such an important race as the Tour de France.
For the next three weeks the riders and Team CSC have the right to concentrate fully on Tour de France, and the debate regarding me and the allegations made against me will have to be taken elsewhere. With that in mind I have chosen not to participate in this year's edition of the Tour.
It has been a very difficult decision, but it is mine alone and is not made because of pressure from the outside, nor does it in any way reflect on whether there is any truth to the allegations, which there is not.
I know that I have a very competent and extremely motivated team for this race and I am confident that my sports directors will do a brilliant job,” says Bjarne Riis.