TOP STORY: Tour de France 2014: Leeds Set for Grand Départ
The 198 riders selected by the 22 teams have made their way to Yorkshire for the Grand Départ of the 101st Tour de France as they are expected to ride from the University of Leeds to Leeds Arena to be introduced to the public tonight (Thursday). Defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky and 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish from Omega Pharma – Quick-Step are expected to be warmly welcomed by the crowd.
Many riders have chosen the route of stage 1 or part of it for their first training ride, especially the sprinters who have set their sight on the first finishing line in Harrogate where a bunch gallop is highly expected on Saturday afternoon. André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) was thrilled to discover a phone booth dressed in green while most of the area is already painted in yellow, including some trains. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) made an appointment with some fans who took him to the exact location where he envisages to repeat the first winning sprint he conducted one year ago in Bastia, Corsica, on his way to conquer the first yellow jersey up for grab. A similar scenario is highly likely this time around.
Amaury Sport Organisation director of cycling Christian Prudhomme also witnessed the new colors of Leeds, the main one being yellow. He was a guest of honour in a city council meeting. “It was touching to see how much the Tour de France can unite people who are used to be political adversaries and to fight all year long”, the Frenchman commented. “They posthumously paid a tribute to [former female cycling champion] Beryl Burton who was born in Leeds. The ‘Freedom of the City of Leeds’ honour was assigned to Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela! I came out of the session full of emotions.”
Tour boss Christian Prudhomme and a little Yorkshire
Prudhomme went on to officially open the media centre where journalists from all around the world have already started to gather. Later he attended a bike race before “the” bike race: the Otley Cycle Races. That was a springboard in 2005 for Cavendish to become a Tour champion. In Harrogate, Froome begun his series of meetings with the press while his arch-rival Alberto Contador rode once again on the cobblestones of stage 5 in north of France and flew to Bradford with his team-mates in the private jet of his team owner Oleg Tinkov on Wednesday.
The Tinkoff private jet
All Tour de France actors are on their toes for “the greatest of the Grands Départs”, as expected by Gary Verity, director of “Welcome to Yorkshire”.
Tour de France News:
Cannondale Tour ’14 Team
Peter Sagan will lead the Cannondale team in his attempt to win the points competition for the third time in a row. Marco Marcato and Alessandro De Marchi will be allowed to go for stage wins on the more mountainous stages, but basically the team is there at the disposal of Sagan. Elia Viviani was the team’s sprinter in the Giro d’Italia and could go for the sprints if Sagan is unavailable, but Viviani’s main job will be to look after the Slovakian champion in the bunch gallops.
Cannondale Tour Team:
Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Alessandro De Marchi, Edward King, Kristijan Koren, Matthias Krizek, Marco Marcato, Jean-Marc Marino, Fabio Sabatini and Elia Viviani.
Will we see more Forest Gump?
Astana Tour team to Back Nibali
The newly knighted Italian road champion, Vincenzo Nibali, has the Astana big guns to help him win this year’s Tour de France, although they will have their work cut out for them considering the competition. Michele Scarponi, Jakob Fuglsang and Tanel Kangert are all top riders for the GC in their own right. Scarponi won the Giro d’Italia in 2011 after Alberto Contador was stripped of the victory. Fuglsang was 7th in last year’s Tour and Kangert finished in the top 15 overall in the Giro and Vuelta last year. The others in the team are all hard workers who can also infiltrate breaks for possible stage wins.
Astana Tour Team:
Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi, Jakob Fuglsang, Lieuwe Westra, Tanel Kangert, Alessandro Vanotti, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Maxim Iglinskiy.
Bretagne-Séché Environnement Tour Line-up
Romain Feillu will start his fifth Tour de France in Yorkshire on Saturday alongside his brother Brice. Romain is in the team for the sprints and Brice for stage wins and a high place on the overall. The others in the team will be looking to take any opportunity they can in the long breaks.
Bretagne-Séché Environnement Tour Roster:
Armindo Fonseca, Florian Vachon, Anthony Delaplace, Arnaud Gérard Jean-Marc Bideau, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Florian Guillou and Benedict Jarrier.
Cofidis Team for the Tour
The Cofidis team will be hoping for some success in the Tour de France as they have not had much to shout about this season so far. The team leaders for the overall are Rein Taaramäe and Dani Navarro, Nicolas Edet will be looking to emulate his Vuelta ’13 GPM win. The team is a mix of experience and youth, the team’s man for the sprints will be Adrien Petit.
Cofidis Tour Team:
Rein Taaramäe, Daniel Navarro, Luis Angel Mate, Rudy Molard, Nicolas Edet, Julien Simon, Egoitz Garcia, Adrien Petit and Cyril Lemoine.
Cofidis on the Roubaix cobbles:
Belkin Team fro the Tour
Belkin TEAM line-up Tour de France 2014:
Lars Boom, Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Steven Kruijswijk, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, Bram Tankink, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors Tour de France 2014:
Louis Delahaije, Frans Maassen, Nico Verhoeven and Merijn Zeeman.
ORICA-GreenEDGE Announce Tour de France Roster
ORICA-GreenEDGE has announced its nine rider squad for the 2014 Tour de France. More than half the squad make their Tour debut with five first timers. The remaining four were part of the successful team that scored two stage wins and a four day stint in the yellow jersey last year.
“This year we are going to the Tour without a sprinter for the flat stages and will be targeting numerous stages,” said Sport Director Matt White. “The goal for the team is to walk away with a stage win.”
The nine riders who will line up in Leeds are: Jens Keukeleire, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Albasini, Michael Matthews, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Simon Yates and Svein Tuft.
“I am very happy with the roster we have assembled,” said White. “It’s a good mix of youth and experience.”
Simon Gerrans scored ORICA-GreenEDGE’s first Tour de France stage win last year when he won stage three from a reduced bunch sprint. The following day he moved in to the yellow jersey when ORICA-GreenEDGE won the team time trial. He has scored four victories already this season including a national road title, a stage at the Tour Down Under, his third Tour Down Under overall victory and his second monument at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Gerrans has a stage win at each of the Grand Tours and will be looking to add another win here.
“He is our team leader,” explained White. “Over the last couple of years Gerrans has won some of the biggest races on the calendar. He’s won Milan-Sanremo, Liège and a stage of the Tour de France. We know we can count on Simon to deliever results when the stakes are high.”
Michael Matthews made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España last year and came away with two stage wins. He added a third Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d’Italia last May where he spent six days in the pink jersey. Matthews now lines up for his third straight Grand Tour and his first Tour de France where he will look to increase his Grand Tour stage win tally.
“Michael is coming in to the Tour with a very good build up and some of the biggest results of his career in the month of May,” said White. “His goal in his first Tour de France is to win a stage and will have multiple opportunities to attempt that. The green jersey is not an objective. The objective is to win a stage of the Tour de France in his first start.”
Debutant Mat Hayman will serve as the road captain. The Australian played an integral role in ORICA-GreenEDGE’s spring classics campaign, providing crucial leadership and guidance to the young team.
“He now takes the record off Svein Tuft as the oldest debutant,” said White. “He might not have done the Tour de France, but he has done nearly every single race on the calendar. It’s his first Tour de France, but he is more than ready. He is a very good tactician, a calming influence and a strong leader.”
Svein Tuft made his Tour de France debut last year where he proved integral to the team’s victory on the stage four team time trial that put Simon Gerrans in the yellow jersey. In recognition of his selfless work for the team, Tuft was the first rider to cross the line on the opening stage team time trial at the Giro d’Italia last May where he pulled on the coveted pink jersey for one day before passing it off to Matthews. Tuft was an obvious inclusion in the team’s Tour squad. His selection is in large part due to his versatility.
“Svein is one of the lynchpins in the team,” said White. “He’s a very positive influence on our young guys. With Svein and Hayman, we’ve got great leadership. We have a very young team with some old heads to guide them.”
Simon Clarke rode his first Tour de France last year and repeatedly went on the attack when the road rose. In his first Grand Tour, the 2012 Vuelta a España, Clarke won a mountain stage from a breakaway and the mountains classification. Earlier in the season, Clarke snagged his first stage race victory at the Herald Sun Tour. Expect Clarke to go stage hunting during his three weekes in Great Britain and France.
“Clarkey is a guy we turn to for multiple reasons,” said White. “He is quite versatile on various terrain, and he’s a great team player. In the key stages, he will play a support role, but he will get plenty of opportunities for himself as well.”
Michael Albasini is one of two riders in the team’s 2014 squad who appeared in the team’s first two Tours. The Swiss all-rounder has three wins in 2014, all coming at the Tour de Romandie. After a mid season break, he picked up a podium finish at the Tour de Suisse and second in the road race at the Swiss Championships.
“Alba is a race winner,” said White. “He came so close last year to winning a stage. He’s a guy we can rely on to work for the team or take chances for himself. Alba’s going in with some great form that we know he will put to good use.”
Time trial specialist Luke Durbridge makes his Tour de France debut. The reigning Oceania Road Champion wore the white jersey of best young rider on stage two of the Giro and looks to gain experience in what will be his third Grand Tour.
“Durbo’s original plan was always to do the Tour de France,” said White. “Some may have seen his broken collarbone as a big obstacle but he has worked very hard since his crash in the Giro to be ready. The way he worked during his recovery shows his dedication and professionalism.”
After two breakthrough stage wins at Vuelta a Burgos last year, Jens Keukeleire has been a consistent finisher for the team this season. He recently posted a top five finish on stage six of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Keukeleire shines in the spring classics, and his first Tour will serve as a further step in his development.
“Jens has been developing well,” said White. “He has shown his versatility in the Giro over the past couple of years. He is certainly ready for the Tour de France. He is a guy we are very comfortable with in breakaways on medium mountain stages and the flat.”
Simon Yates has excelled in his first year as a professional. The Briton will line up for his first Grand Tour on home soil when it starts in Leeds. A broken collarbone at the Tour of Turkey saw his season interrupted. In his return to racing at Tour de Slovenie, Yates finished seventh overall and collected the best young rider jersey.
“Simon has certainly achieved a lot more than we would have imagined up to this point,” said White. “It wasn’t the plan to bring him into the roster for the Tour de Franc, but for what we want to achieve as a team, he’s a great fit. It is no secret that we are targeting the intermediate mountain stages, and Simon has shown in his results throughout the year that he is more than capable of great results. ”
“Simon’s inclusion begs the question of Adam’s exclusion,” White noted. “Simon’s broken collarbone in the Tour of Turkey has been a blessing in disguise. One of the reasons Adam is not going is because he has been racing and on very good condition since January. It wouldn’t be a wise decision for us to send Adam. With Simon’s forced break due to injury, he’s fresh and ready to race.”
White expects his Tour de France nine to be competitive in what he considers a highly challenging Tour de France.
“This is the toughest first week of the Tour de France in the modern era,” said White. “The second stage in Sheffield is really like a mini Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Then to top that off, the second stage back in France is like a mini Paris-Roubaix. It’s certainly got it all”.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for the Tour de France:
Jens Keukeleire, Luke Durbridge, Mathew Hayman, Michael Albasini, Michael Matthews, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Simon Yates, Svein Tuft.
Contador on the Cobbles
Alberto Contador and the Tinkoff-Saxo Team reconnoitred the cobbled stage before travelling to England on Wednesday in Oleg Tinkov’s private jet. The nine riders of Tinkoff-Saxo Team checked out the fifth stage of the Tour de France, which includes nine sectors of cobbles; Alberto Contador, Nicolas Roche, Michael Rogers, Rafal Majka, Sergio Paulinho, Daniele Bennati, Jesus Hernandez, Matteo Tosatto and Michael Morkov, under the supervision of Bjarne Riis, took advantage of a sunny day with a pleasant temperature for the last workout before flying to Leeds. “We’ve done a good training session and sensations over the cobbles have been very good, as well as the equipment performance, thanks to the Specialized ‘Roubaix’ and 40 mm ‘Roval’ wheels, equipped with special tubulars for this terrain”, said Alberto Contador.
The PEZ 2014 Tour de France Fantasy League
Its Tour time again and you can have your own team fighting it out. Go to Velogames, log in, pick your riders, choose your jersey and then join the Ciclismo PEZ Fantasy League with league No. 27110155. No prizes, but you will probably have the pleasure of beating me! Good luck.
Presentation of the Tour de France 2014
In this video the top riders have a chat and a laugh about last and this years Tour de France:
2015 Yorkshire Race Official Launch
3 days before the Tour de France Grand Départ, the legacy is already underway …
Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) supported by British Cycling have submitted an application to the UCI for a new, world class professional cycle race in Yorkshire.
If approved by the world’s governing body, the provisionally titled ”Tour of Yorkshire” will be a three-day race and its inaugural edition will run from 1 – 3 May 2015.
Based on the strong collaboration that has been built up between Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO for the Grand Départ and working in partnership with British Cycling, the race will be a 2.1 UCI Europe Tour event, guaranteeing the participation of some of the world’s leading cyclists and providing a fitting legacy to this year’s Tour de France visit in “God’s own County”. Indeed, the organisers are strongly committed to create what shall become “a breathtaking new race in a region made for cycling”.
Beyond the discovery of the entire Yorkshire County, certainly beyond the routes of the Tour de France Grand Départ, and an impactful promotion through international TV coverage, a strong focus will be put on not only sustaining, but further increasing the already outstanding enthusiasm for cycling in the UK. All three entities are therefore committed to creating a sustainable event which will also help grow the sport of cycling both in Yorkshire and nationally.
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France added: “Alongside the public interest for cycling, highlighted by the Grand Départ, Yorkshire boasts beautiful breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season’s major events. It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire. In particular, this three-day stage race will offer television viewers worldwide the opportunity to continue discovering the splendid landscapes of this English region, a journey started by the Tour de France, whose Grand Départ this year will remain its founding act.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “When we bid to host the Tour de France we did so in the knowledge that this would be the start of a long relationship with ASO. So I am delighted to be able to announce this exciting new race for Yorkshire. Our county is a new cycling heartland of Europe and we look forward to welcoming back some of the world’s best riders in Yorkshire in less than 12 months’ time.”
Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycle Sport said: “We will await the decision of the UCI but I am confident that ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire will create a world-class event attractive to the best teams in cycling. What is more, all three organisations are committed to ensuring the race delivers lasting benefits to cycling by engaging more fans for our great sport and by encouraging more people to get active by getting on their bikes. What is common to all our events work is a determination that they inspire participation in the sport and support the network of volunteers upon whom cycling is reliant at every level.”
Daryl Impey Positive
The South African Orica-GreenEDGE rider; Daryl Impey has tested positive for Probenecid after the South African National time trial championships on February the 6th this year. The team has removed Impey from the team rider list after both his A and B sample were found to contain the medication. Impey was not on the team list for this year’s French race, but he was the first South African to wear the yellow jersey last year. In a statement the Orica-GreenEDGE team said that it: “Would like to underline that it respects Daryl Impey’s right to prove his full innocence and will not comment any further until the process has run its due course and final conclusion has been made.” Impey said on his personal website: “I had no knowledge of Probenecid nor have I ever taken the substance knowingly in any manner. I am committed to drug-free sport and fully intend to take all steps necessary to clear myself of any suspicion. I remain confident that I will be vindicated and proved innocent of any wrongdoing.”
Those of you with a long memory will know that this is not the first time Probenecid has been connected to cycling and doping. In 1988, the year Pedro Delgado won the Tour de France; Probenecid was found in his system. Lucky for Delgado the drug was not on the UCI list of banned substances until later in the year, but was already banned by the International Olympic Committee. At the time it caused a big scandal, but Delgado’s win stood. 14 years later; Stefano Garzelli was thrown out of the Giro d’Italia when he was found positive for Probenecid in Liege. At the time it was believed that the Mapie boss, Giorgio Squinzi, pulled out of professional cycling sponsorship
Probenecid is a diuretic, but was widely used in boxing, weightlifting and athletics as a masking agent for steroids. When Garzelli was found positive in 2002 the Mapie doctor, Claudio Pecci spoke about Probenecid: “We know it can eliminate anabolics.”
The use of steroids during training is well know, that is why there are out of competition testing and if you were worried about a test you might keep a masking agent in your medicine cabinet.
Impey says he has no knowledge of the drug and how it got into his system, but he’s going to have a hard time proving it.
Impey talking about drug taking a year ago:
Two Cases of Doping Innocence
During this year’s Paris-Roubaix a fan picked up a vial of white pills that had fallen out of a riders pocket in a crash. The British fan sent the pills to UK Anti-Doping for analysis and reported it to the UCI after he announced it via Twitter. The pills were analyzed in a Swiss anti-doping laboratory and were found to contain ibuprofen (pain killer) caffeine (stimulant) and quinine (leg cramp preventative) and theophylline (a natural asthma treatment), all fairly innocent. None of the substances are on the WADA list of prohibited products.
The second case is not quite so simple: At the Mantova doping case hearing it has been alleged that what was seized by the Italian police in 2009 from the chemist Guido Nigrelli was not doping products. Professor of forensic toxicology, Dr. Donata Favretto, stated on Tuesday that the drugs were not for doping. The list included: Tachipirina, which is an analgesic that can be bought in any chemist, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Voltaren, the corticoid flumetasone, Cardirene which prevents thrombosis and laxatives. The case has affected many Lampre riders and team personnel including: Mauro Santambrogio, Alessandro Ballan, Damiano Cunego and Marzio Bruseghin, plus Lampre team manager Giuseppe Saronni, in total a group of twenty-eight people. If this is correct it has wrongly affected many riders and team staff.
Team Sky Tour Fever Film 3: Fields of Vision
Nathan Greenwood is a major player among the Worth Valley Young Farmers and can’t believe Team Sky are passing through his hometown of Stanbury in the Tour de France!
Under the guidance of Andrew Wood, he and the other young farmers have created 14 large art installations along the route of stage two.
We join Nathan and Andrew as they try to complete a depiction of a bike which has been morphed to read ‘Time’ in Arabic. This 160 x 80 metre piece will become the largest Arabic calligraphy in UK, if not Europe!
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