July 30, 2007
Rabobank to investigate Rasmussen ouster; rider feels robbed
Rabobank says it will investigate the ouster of Michael Rasmussen from its Tour squad, but also committed to continuing its team sponsorship.
Rasmussen, for his part, told Danish television that he feels he was “robbed of the Tour de France victory.”
Rasmussen refused to provide evidence to corroborate his claim that he was in Mexico when RAI TV commentator Davide Cassani says he saw the rider training in the Dolomites, in Italy:
“Well, what I am saying is that now we have to see what the [legal] case brings and we will take it from there.”
And why would a team, with the biggest victory in cycling in its grasp, desert an innocent rider that they had vigorously defended through two weeks of questioning?
Rasmussen suggested that the pressure from Tour organizers finally wore down team director Theo de Rooy:
“There is no doubt that he has been under enormous pressure and he has been accused of many things during the Tour,” said Rasmussen. “At some point his façade cracked and he made this decision.”
Rasmussen also said that if there were a chance for him to ride in next year's Tour, he would take it.
July 27, 2007
Walsh: Contador "definitely cheating"
In a new interview with Macleans.ca, David Walsh, author of From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France and chief sportswriter for The Sunday Times, says he's been following the Tour, and isn't sad to see Vinokourov and Rasmussen shown the door.
DW: Why is it sad? They’re cheating. It’s sad that they cheat, but it’s good news when they get caught. What is sad is that the guy who’s wearing the yellow jersey now, Alberto Contador, is definitely cheating.
Walsh says he's sure that even the riders still in the race are cheating because they climbed the Col d'Aubisque “faster than Lance Armstrong ever went up it.”
Walsh, an outspoken critic of Armstrong, believes the teams that are trying to compete clean are “getting screwed, as they have been for the last 15 years.” He briefly discusses how riders get around positives by carefully scheduling drug use, transfusions, and hormones to minimize the chance of being caught.
Details how Contador was initially lumped into the Operación Puerto names, but eventually cleared because his name appeared only in non-doping contexts.
July 07, 2007
L'Equipe becomes "The Team" for London start
The French sports daily L'Equipe commemmorated the Tour's visit to London with a Saturday edition that featured two front pages -- one in English.
With Marion Bartoli in the women's Wimbledon final and Richard Gasquet facing off with Roger Federer later today, the eyes of the French sports world are in London today, and both covers featured the headline “God Save le Tour!”
Only the cover was in English, although interestingly, the paper's web page is surveying its readers today on whether they speak English, with 73 percent so far answering, “Oui.”
VeloNews has posted a photo of the two covers (scroll down to “Latest photos”).
July 06, 2007
2007 Tour nationalities breakdown
Great Britain makes a great leap forward in its Tour participation, as the Grand Depart host, shut out in 2005, brings 5 riders to the 2007 Tour. US participation continues to slip, from 9 in Armstrong's final year to 6 this year.
George Hincapie, Discovery Channel
Chris Horner, Predictor-Lotto
Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel
Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto
Christian Vande Velde, CSC
Dave Zabriskie, CSC
The Americans must have been two for a dollar, as three teams each have a pair of Yanks starting. This is down from eight in '06, as Landis awaits his hearing results and Bobby Julich was left home.
Cadel Evans, Predictor-Lotto
Simon Gerrans, AG2R
Brett Lancaster, Milram
Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto
Stuart O'Grady, CSC
Michael Rogers, T-Mobile
Australia brings 6 riders, one more than actually started last year, with legitimate yellow and green jersey candidates. Lancaster won the freak 1150-meter prologue of the 2005 Giro, and makes his debut in the Tour. All the others started last year's Tour, and Allan Davis was on the ill-fated Astana-Würth squad.
Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile
David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir
Geraint Thomas, Barloworld
Charlie Wegelius, Liquigas
Brad Wiggins, Cofidis
Thomas and Cavendish are two of the youngest riders in the race, while Wegelius makes his first Tour start after being a Giro fixture for years. Wiggins is primarily here for the Prologue, while Millar also has a chance in the Tour's longer time trials.
Julian Dean, Credit Agricole
Robbie Hunter, Barloworld
The former Phonak has to be glad Alessandro Petacchi will miss the Tour.
Spain leads the way among all countries, with 41 starters. France is close behind with 36. Riders from 25 different countries will start tomorrow in London.
Spain: 42 riders
France: 35 riders
Germany: 19 riders
Italy: 18 riders
Belgium: 13 riders
Netherlands: 7 riders
Russia: 6 riders
Switzerland: 5 riders
Kazakhstan: 4 riders
Austria: 3 riders
Colombia: 3 riders
Belarus: 2 riders
Luxembourg: 2 riders
Norway: 2 riders
Ukraine: 2 riders
Brazil: 1 rider
Denmark: 1 rider
Finland: 1 rider
Lithuania: 1 rider
Portugal: 1 rider
Slovenia: 1 rider
Sweden: 1 rider
Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Julian Dean, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)
Rider numbers, Prologue start times assigned
Rider numbers are out. As expected, Pereiro has the lowest number in the Tour, but at 11, since Tour organizers chose to skip the coveted number 1. Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne squad is number 11-19; followed by T-Mobile with Michael Rogers at 21; CSC with Sastre at 31; Predictor-Lotto with Evans at 41; Rabobank's Menchov at Phil Liggett's favorite, number 51; AG2R with Moreau at 61; Zubeldia leading Euskaltel-Euskadi in 71; Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer in 111; Tour favorite Alexandre Vinokourov wears 191 for Astana; and David Millar in 201 for Saunier Duval-Prodir.
Other Americans: George Hincapie wears 114; Dave Zabriskie 39; Christian Vande Velde 37; Chris Horner 44; and Fred Rodriguez 47.
Prologue start times for tomorrow are apparently available, but I can't find a complete listing yet; links welcome.
VeloNews notes that:
Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) is the first American out of the gate at 3:38 p.m. in 39th position.
Other Americans include:
61. Dave Zabriskie (CSC), 4 p.m.
102. Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto), 4:41 p.m.
103. Christian Vande Velde (CSC), 4:42 p.m.
158. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), 5:37 p.m.
179. Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), 5:58 p.m.
Those are London times, so that's 10:38 a.m. Eastern for Horner and 12:58 p.m. Eastern for Leipheimer. Looks like Versus will be live for all of them.
Zabriskie's early start time suggests he's not looking for a prologue victory to match his win in 2005, which put him in the yellow jersey. If he were, team management would let him start later, when he would have time splits from many of his competitors. CyclingNews.com said Zabriskie confirmed that he “only has one task at this year's Tour: to be a mountain domestique for Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre.”
Posted by Frank Steele on July 6, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
All riders clear medical controls
Clearly, we'll have a drug-free Tour de France, as every rider cleared their pre-race medical and dope checks.
Barring a last-minute catastrophe, like Matthew White's 2004 crash while warming up for the Prologue, all 189 riders named by their teams should take to the line tomorrow in London.
July 05, 2007
Riis, Stanga will skip Tour
After Tour director Christian Prudhomme said Riis was unwelcome at the Tour, the team's sponsors voiced their support for the 1996 Tour winner, but today Riis said he couldn't face the Tour right now:
“The recent times have been hard on me privately and I must now honestly admit that I do not have the power to face a three-week long and hectic Tour de France.”
It's Riis' honest admissions that got him here: He admitted back in May that he used EPO through much of his career, including when he won the 1996 Tour de France. In his interview with Der Spiegel, Jörg Jaksche, who rode with Riis at Telekom and for Riis at CSC for a season, said he doped with Riis' knowledge while racing for CSC.
Team Milram director Gianluigi Stanga, who was Jaksche's director at Polti in 1997, will also skip the Tour.
July 04, 2007
CONI recommends year ban for Petacchi, out of Tour
The Italian Olympic committee recommends a 1-year ban on super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, after Petacchi tested high for the asthma medication salbutamol in May.
Petacchi, who won 5 stages of this year's Giro d'Italia, holds a “therapeutic use exemption,” or TUE, for the otherwise banned substance. With a TUE, he is presumed innocent with salbutamol levels of up to 1,000 nanograms/millileter, but one test reported a level of 1,320 nanograms/millileter. Petacchi pled his case with an official of CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, on Monday.
Petacchi is the leader of the Milram Tour team, which is largely built around delivering him to the front of the pack with 200 meters to the finish line of the race's flat stages.
In light of the recommendation, Milram removed Petacchi from its provisional Tour roster, replacing him with Andrey Grivko of Ukraine.
July 02, 2007
Tour organizers to skip No. 1
Proving there's no symbolic gesture organizers will skip in their get-tough-on-doping attitude, the Tour will, for the first time in its history, not have a rider wearing the number “1”.
Defending champions are generally accorded the honor of wearing the lowest race number, with their teammates getting numbers 2 through 9, but Floyd Landis is out of cycling and fighting a doping ban.
ASO will merely skip the single digits, and will assign the numbers 11 through 19 to Oscar Pereiro and his Caisse d'Epargne teammates, and 21 through 29 to CSC. Pereiro was the runner-up at last year's Tour.
Barloworld rounds it out
I missed Barloworld's official announcement on Friday, when they expanded from 6 confirmed riders to 9. The team eliminated one of its preannounced 6, Fabrizio Guidi, then added Paolo Longo Borghini, Gianpaolo Cheula, Enrico Degano, and Kastantsin Borghini.
- Barloworld 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Felix Cardenas Ravalo (Colombia)
- Gianpaolo Cheula (Italy)
- Enrico Degano (Italy)
- Alexander Efimkin (Russia)
- Robert Hunter (South Africa)
- Paolo Longo Borghini (Italy)
- Kastantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
- Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Colombia)
- Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
Thomas, 22, would be the first Welsh Tour rider since 1968 (Colin Lewis).
That should finish the list of provisional rosters for this year's Tour.
Boonen leads Quick Step for Tour
Quick Step's final Tour roster is out. Their new Italian national champion, Giovanni Visconti, won't be in the Tour, nor will Paolo Bettini. Looks like a hard team that can help Tom Boonen take a shot at the overall green jersey.
- Quick Step 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Carlos Barredo (Spain)
- Tom Boonen (Belgium)
- Steven De Jongh (Netherlands)
- Juan Manuel Garate (Spain)
- Sebastien Rosseler (Belgium)
- Gert Steegmans (Belgium)
- Bram Tankink (Netherlands)
- Matteo Tossato (Italy)
- Cedric Vasseur (France)
Lampre finalizes Tour team
Claudio Corioni will complete the Lampre-Fondital Tour de France roster.
The team had pre-announced 8 riders, and today confirmed the entire squad.
- Lampre-Fondital 2007 Tour roster:
- Alessandro Ballan (Italy)
- Daniele Bennati (Italy)
- Paolo Bossoni (Italy)
- Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
- Claudio Corioni (Italy)
- Danilo Napolitano (Italy)
- Daniele Righi (Italy)
- Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia)
- Patxi Vila (Spain)
Valjavec took the Slovenian national championships yesterday.
Horner, Rodriguez both in: Predictor-Lotto finalized
Predictor-Lotto brings a lot of different tools to the Tour this year. Robbie McEwen is looking for a 4th green jersey, while Cadel Evans looks to improve on his overall 5th place from last year.
Predictor-Lotto also ties with Discovery Channel and CSC for the most Americans on a single team, with McEwen setup man Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner.
- Predictor-Lotto 2007 Tour de France roster
- Mario Aerts (Belgium)
- Dario Cioni (Italy)
- Cadel Evans (Australia)
- Chris Horner (USA)
- Leif Hoste (Belgium)
- Robbie McEwen (Australia)
- Fred Rodriguez (USA)
- Wim Vansevenant (Belgium)
- Johan Vansummeren (Belgium)
AG2R, Agritubel Tour squads confirmed
AG2R's Christophe Moreau hopes to continue his recent success with a high placing at the Tour. Moreau won the Dauphiné Libéré, and yesterday took the French national road title with a long solo attack that left one opponent to say “There was nothing to do against him.”
- AG2R 2007 Tour de France roster:
- José Luis Arrieta (Spain)
- Sylvain Calzati (France)
- Cyril Dessel (France)
- Martin Elmiger (Switzerland)
- John Gadret (France)
- Simon Gerrans (Australia)
- Stéphane Goubert (France)
- Christophe Moreau (France)
- Ludovic Turpin (France)
Meanwhile, wild card Agritubel will try to duplicate its success last year, when Juan Miguel Mercado took Stage 10 to Pau.
- Agritubel 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Freddy Bichot (France)
- Moise Dueñas (Spain)
- Romain Feillu (France)
- Eduardo Gonzalo (Spain)
- Cedric Herve (France)
- Nicolas Jalabert (France)
- Juan Miguel Mercado (Spain)
- Benoit Salmon (France)
- Nicolas Vogondy (France)
Graham Watson exhibiting in London
Graham Watson is the creator of many of the iconic images of the Tour during the last 25 years. His photography often transcends the competition of the Tour, bringing in the landscape and the surroundings that make the Tour such a great race.
With the Tour coming to his hometown, Watson has a showing in London, at the County Hall Gallery just 50 yards from the London Eye. The exhibit runs through July 9th, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closing at 5 on July 5th) and is FREE.
More than 200 of Watson's best Tour photos are on exhibit, with many available for purchase. If you plan on visiting London for the Prologue, don't miss this exhibit.
FdJeux, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole confirm Tour squads
The French squads are pinning down their final Tour rosters.
At Française des Jeux, Sebastien Joly and Bradley McGee are unavailable, leaving Sandy Casar the team's remote GC hope. Thomas Lovkvist may factor in the young riders' competition, as could Remy Gregorio, a heralded young Frenchman.
- Française des Jeux 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Sandy Casar (France)
- Sebastien Chavanel (France)
- Mickael Delage (France)
- Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
- Remy Di Gregorio (France)
- Lilian Jegou (France)
- Matthieu Ladagnous (France)
- Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden)
- Benoit Vaugrenard (France)
Four rookies: Chavanel, Delage, Di Gregorio, and Ladagnous.
At Bouyges Telecom, former world champion Laurent Brochard, the mullet-est man on two wheels, will miss the Tour.
Riding instead will be:
- Bouyges Telecom 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Stef Clement (Netherlands)
- Pierrick Fedrigo (France)
- Xavier Florencio (Spain)
- Anthony Geslin (France)
- Laurent Lefevre (France)
- Jerome Pineau (France)
- Matthieu Sprick (France)
- Johann Tschopp (Switzerland)
- Thomas Voeckler (France)
At Credit Agricole, Pietro Caucchioli can't start.
- Credit Agricole 2007 Tour de France roster:
- William Bonnet (France)
- Alexandre Botcharov (Russia)
- Anthony Charteau (France)
- Julian Dean (New Zealand)
- Dmitri Fofonov (Kazakhstan)
- Patrice Halgand (France)
- Sebastien Hinault
- Thor Hushovd (Norway)
- Christophe Le Mevel (France)
July 01, 2007
Gerolsteiner confirms Tour team
Saturday, Gerolsteiner confirmed their squad for the 2007 Tour.
- Gerolsteiner 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Robert Forster (Germany)
- Markus Fothen (Germany)
- Heinrich Haussler (Germany)
- Bernhard Kohl (Austria)
- Sven Krauss (Germany)
- Ronny Scholz (Germany)
- Stefan Schumacher (Germany)
- Fabian Wegmann (Germany)
- Peter Wrolich (Austria)
Their alternates are David Kopp and Volker Ordowski, both of Germany.
On Sunday, Wegmann went out and won the German national road championships, ahead of Patrik Sinkewitz, with Christian Knees winning the field sprint almost 30 seconds behind.
June 29, 2007
Cañada replaces Gomez Marchante for Saunier Duval
Saunier Duval's José Angel Gomez Marchante will miss the Tour, after recent stomach problems were diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. He'll undergo a colonoscopy and other tests on Wednesday. The team hopes he'll return to action before the Vuelta a España.
Meanwhile, David Cañada will make his 4th Tour start in his teammate's place. Cañada was 3rd at the Tour de Georgia in April.
Z's in! CSC announces Tour roster
- Team CSC 2007 Tour roster:
- Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)
- Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
- Inigo Cuesta (Spain)
- Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
- Carlos Sastre (Spain)
- Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg)
- Christian Vande Velde (USA)
- Jens Voigt
- David Zabriskie (USA)
Two of the peloton's best time triallists in Cancellara and Zabriskie and two possible GC threats in Sastre and Schleck.
Left off were veterans Bobby Julich, and Karsten Kroon.
Update: And I somehow left off Jens Voigt, leaving CSC with only 8 riders. Fixed.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Bobby Julich, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tour de YouTube
The Tour organization continues its cautious experiments in new media. The new Tour website (French, English, German, Spanish) adds a smattering of Flash for navigation, but otherwise, it's what we've all come to expect.
Over at YouTube, however, there's an official new Tour de France channel. There are 11 videos so far, mostly in French, but with a smattering of other languages. The Tour isn't giving up all control, however, as comments and embedded video both are disabled.
Rogers still suffering from April knee injury
T-Mobile captain Michael Rogers could miss the Tour, as a micro-fracture in his right knee continues to plague him. Rogers missed the last three stages at the Tour de Suisse, but says he's still 90 percent to start in London next Saturday.
“For this to happen now it's a kick in the teeth for everyone. We're just going to deal with it the best we can,” Rogers said.
“The team's been relatively stressed too because my whole year has been based around the Tour and for this to come up now isn't ideal.”
“It tests your nerves. I just get up in the morning to go for a ride and pray my knee will be fine.”
Rogers, a 3-time world time trial champion, finished 10th at last year's Tour.
After extensive Tour preparation, Rogers has cut back on his mileage, and said he'll likely need to ride back into top condition if he's able to start the Tour.
June 28, 2007
Tour TV prep
I want to take a moment here to once again, for the millionth time, express my gratitude to the Versus TV network for providing live coverage of most of the world's greatest bike race.
With the Tour a little more than a week away, let's run through the race's TV listings:
Canada: OLN lives on north of the border, entering their 7th year of coverage. Here's their full schedule. They'll also broadcast a show called “Lance's France: The Travellers Guide,” first airing this Sunday, July 1st at 8 pm ET/PT.
UK: Reader MJ Ray notes that itv, the official British broadcast partner, has yet to publish a Tour schedule, but he's got a rundown on his weblog based on what he could get from the tvtv listings service.
Australia: SBS broadcasts the Tour for the 17th consecutive year. They've got live coverage of every stage, a pre-Tour special called “Aussie Onslaught: 25 Years of le Tour” on July 5th, and Belleville Rendezvous immediately after.
SBS: Tour de France (I love the headline “Vino poised to make glorious Tour benefit.”)
But what if you're trapped at work during the live coverage? I took advantage of a recent super deal at Woot.com to grab a refurbished Slingbox — my boss has been raving about his for months.
The Slingbox is a smallish box that hooks to your video source -- the coaxial cable that brings TV into your house, or the box that decodes a signal and sends it to your TV, and also hooks up to the internet. Through some awesome magic, when you leave your house, software on your PC, Mac, Windows Mobile device, Symbian phone, or certain models of Treo can find your box, and stream the video and audio over the internet.
The setup works well, even on my pokey 1.2-megabit first-generation ADSL connection, and the picture quality improves with your home connection speed. There's a model with HD support as well as the normal NTSC model at right.
June 27, 2007
Discos fill out Tour dance card
- Discovery Channel 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Alberto Contador (Spain)
- Vladimir Gusev (Russia)
- George Hincapie (USA)
- Levi Leipheimer (USA)
- Egoi Martinez (Spain)
- Benjamin Noval (Spain)
- Sergio Paulinho (Portugal)
- Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine)
- Tomas Vaitkus (Lithuania)
Director Johan Bruyneel said he has three goals for the Tour: Leipheimer on the podium, a stage win for the team, and Contador in the Best Young Rider jersey in Paris.
Hincapie won Stage 15 of the 2005 Tour, and led the race for a day last year. Popovych took Stage 12 of last year's Tour, and was himself the Best Young Rider in 2005. Leipheimer was 6th overall in the 2005 Tour, and is coming off a win at this year's Tour of California and two stage wins at the Tour de Georgia.
Stijn Devolder, who had been racing very well, will watch the Tour from home, as will veterans José Luis Rubiera and Pavel Padrnos.
With some discussion of Devolder's non-selection.
Bruyneel tips Vinokourov, with nods to Cadel Evans, Vladimir Karpets, Denis Menchov, and Carlos Sastre.
He also admitted the doping craziness is impacting the team's search for a new sponsor.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alberto Contador, Egoi Martinez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Saunier Duval-Prodir announce Tour riders
Saunier Duval/Prodir is chasing stage wins at this year's Tour, as they've chosen an experienced squad with an eye on the mountains.
- Suanier Duval/Prodir 2007 Tour roster:
- Iker Camano (Spain)
- David Cañada (Spain) replaces Gomez Marchante
- Juan José Cobo (Spain)
- David de la Fuente (Spain)
- José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spain)
- Ruben Lobato (Spain)
- Iban Mayo (Spain)
- David Millar (Scotland, UK)
- Christophe Rinero (France)
- Francisco Ventoso (Spain)
Reserves are Angel Gomez and Jesus del Nero.
Mayo won Stage 8 up Alpe d'Huez in the 2003 Tour and Stage 19 of this year's Giro d'Italia. David de la Fuente was the most combative rider of last year's Tour, after long attacks on Stage 2 and Stage 11. Rinero took the King of the Mountains in the 1998 Tour.
Petacchi hearing will decide Tour fate
Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi, one of the sport's outstanding sprinters, faces a hearing to explain his high reading for salbutamol during the Giro d'Italia last month. The UCI notified Italian officials yesterday that Petacchi is officially “non-negative” after registering a salbutamol level of 1,320 nanograms/millileter after his Stage 11 Giro win in Pinerolo.
Salbutamol is a common asthma medication that can have stimulant and anabolic effects at high doses. Many endurance athletes, including Petacchi, have therapeutic use exemptions allowing them to use inhaled salbutamol to address exercise-induced asthma. The World Anti-Doping Agency tries to control salbutamol levels by setting a limit of 1000 nanograms/milliliter in rider urine samples. A higher level is an “adverse analytical finding,” which shifts the burden of proof onto the athlete, who must prove the finding resulted from use of a salbutamol inhaler.
Petacchi has asked for an immediate hearing before CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, so he may clear his name before the Tour. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport:
“Why would I have done something different from other times? I have the responsibility of the team on my shoulders, with the sponsors that are always speaking against doping.
“Yes, I may have done one spray more, but I have done nothing illegal. I do not want to lose the Tour.”
Petacchi has won 4 Tour stages in his career, all in 2003. He was dominant in this year's Giro, winning 5 stages. He has been left off the start list for this weekend's Italian national championship.
June 26, 2007
Unibet.com sues for Tour place
Unibet.com is filing suit against ASO, the organization that runs the Tour de France, over their exclusion from the race.
Unibet.com is a ProTour team, but seemingly in name only. They've been denied entry into all three Grand Tours, initially because of complaints by organizers that the ProTour had expanded too far, preventing GT organizers from inviting wild card teams.
ASO has a stronger basis for preventing Unibet.com from racing, because their title sponsor is an online bookmaker. French law that prohibits the advertisement of foreign gambling concerns in French events.
June 15, 2007
Danielson to miss 2007 TourVeloNews coverage of today's stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, there's a story:
Tom Danielson's illness will keep him out of the Tour de France this year.
“Tom is off the Tour team,” Discovery Channel boss Johan Bruyneel told VeloNews's Andrew Hood. “He’s sick. We’re trying to find out exactly what the problem is. He’s had stomach problems throughout the year at several key moments. It’s definitely a disappointment.”
Danielson, 29, won the 2005 Tour de Georgia, and led Discovery Channel at the 2006 Vuelta, where he won Stage 17, and was 6th overall. He was expected to make his first Tour start this season.
VeloNews follows up:
Bruyneel suggested Danielson would likely race the Vuelta a España, where he won a stage last year and twice finished in the top 10.
Depending on the speed of his recovery, he could also race the Tour of Austria (which he won last year) as well as the Tour of Quinghai Lake (which he won in 2002) in China, where the team will be going for the first time.
June 14, 2007
Rabobank announce Tour squad
CyclingPost.com reports that Rabobank has named its final Tour squad:
- Rabobank Tour squad:
- Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)
- Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
- Bram de Groot (Netherlands)
- Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain)
- Oscar Freire (Spain)
- Denis Menchov (Russia)
- Grischa Niermann (Germany)
- Michael Rasmussen (Denmark)
- Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
Menchov is the team's GC threat, and was best young rider of the Tour in 2003. Rasmussen won the king of the mountains competition in 2005 and 2006. Six Rabobank riders have won Tour stages: Boogerd, Flecha, Freire, Menchov, Rasmussen, and Weening.
Cunego won't race Tour
Defending white jersey winner Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital won't participate in this year's Tour de France.
On the team website, Cunego detailed his upcoming race schedule: The Tour of Swizerland next, then the Italian national championship and “rest for some weeks.”
Cunego, 25, won the Giro d'Italia in 2004, finished 5th this year, and was best young rider at the Tour last year.
June 13, 2007
Versus releases '07 US Tour schedule
Versus continues its tradition of heavy Tour de France coverage, with an average of 17 hours per day of Tour coverage. As in previous years, they'll join the race at 8:30 a.m. Eastern most days, with coverage as early as 6:30 a.m. Eastern for key mountain stages.
Looks like the same broadcast team, too: Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen doing live coverage; Bob Roll and Al ("Average American Sports Fan") Trautwig hosting the prime-time reruns; and Craig Hummer, Frankie Andreu, and Robbie Ventura providing color and features reporting.
It looks like Sunday coverage is improved -- I seem to remember that CBS had rights to Sunday stages, trumping Versus live coverage, and limiting them to evening reruns. This year, Versus will run the live coverage on Sunday mornings, skip the Sunday afternoon show that might conflict with CBS Sports, then rerun the footage during the prime-time show at 8 Eastern.
Preride the prologue with BBC Sport
The prologue of this year's Tour is a 7.9-kilometer (4.9 mile) circuit of central London. It will probably take the pros something like 10 minutes to complete the circuit.
But what if a reasonably fit cyclist tried to do the same course without benefit of road closings and barricades? Check out this video to see how the prologue route rides on a normal day:
BBC Sport is running a contest to guess how long it took “the most athletic person in the office” to ride the prologue course (in a T-Mobile jersey) during London rush hour.
Winner gets VIP tickets to the Skoda hospitality tent and a signed T-Mobile team jersey. A runner-up will win a second autographed jersey. E-mailed guesses must be received by midnight, London time, this Sunday, June 17th.
“I'd just like to point out here that I'm not actually a professional cyclist.”
June 12, 2007
T-Mobile pulls Tour advertising in Germany
T-Mobile has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Tour de France TV coverage in Germany.
The company is apparently trying to distance itself from admissions by former riders for its team (then called Telekom) that team members, including 1996 Tour winner Bjarne Riis, used EPO and other banned performance enhancers while racing for the squad.
T-Mobile has pledged to sponsor its team through 2010, the end of its current contract.
In case anyone misses the symbolism, the company has asked that the money be used to strengthen the German anti-doping agency instead.
Former T-Mobile star Jan Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, has never admitted to doping, but retired this year after being linked to Operación Puerto. He was turned down for an audience with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, where he apparently hoped “ ‘rehabilitate’ the reputation of Ullrich and recall his merits and performances.”
Danielson exits Dauphiné early
Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson exited the Dauphiné Libéré yesterday, complaining of stomach problems. Danielson was expected to make his first Tour de France start next month, but missed the Tour of Catalonia with a stomach virus and now will miss the Dauphiné's climbs.
Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler won Stage 1, and looks to be a lock for Gerolsteiner's Tour squad.
Also dropping out was former world champion Igor Astarloa of Team Milram, suffering from toxoplasmosis. VeloNews reports Astarloa requires two weeks of rest, and will not start the Tour.
June 06, 2007
Barloworld's core six announced
South Africa's Robbie Hunter will lead Barloworld in this year's Tour de France. The former Phonak sprinter will be joined by Italy's Fabrizio Guidi, Colombia's Felix Cardenas and Mauricio Soler, Alexander Efimkin of Russia, and 21-year-old Welshman Geraint Thomas.
Thomas was a track star, part of the four-man team that won gold in the 4k pursuit at this year's track world championships. He would become the first Welsh rider in the Tour since Colin Lewis in 1968.
Thomas may find himself with the least road experience of any rider in the 2007 Tour:
“I cannot imagine how big this is,” he sighed. “I was only 21 two weeks ago, and the average age of people in the Tour is 26 or 27.”
“But I will take this opportunity with both hands. I am not just going to sit back and take it easy. It will be unrealistic to go out and feel I can finish.”
“It’s 20 days racing and I have only done 10 back-to-back before.”
The team's final three will be chosen from 8 candidates a few days before the Tour begins.
T-Mobile Tour plans: Barry, Honchar out
Although he was named on T-Mobile's early-season projected Tour de France squad, Canadian Michael Barry will almost certainly miss the race after an early season case of pheumonia derailed his training.
Barry, 31, authored Inside the Postal Bus about his time with the US Postal team. He joined T-Mobile from Discovery Channel this season. Riding the Tour has been a goal of Barry's for several years, and he seems the most likely rider to eventually end Canada's TdF nonparticipation streak.
In more T-Mobile Tour news, the team's two Brits both have a shot at starting in London.
T-Mobile's team website has noted:
For Britain’s [Mark] Cavendish and [Roger] Hammond the prospect of riding a stage of the Tour de France in their home country could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and although the T-Mobile line-up for this year’s race has not yet been announced, they will both be out to impress over the coming weeks hoping to be included.
Cavendish has already had an impressive 2007, winning two stages at the 4 Days of Dunkirk and two more at the Tour of Catalonia, while Hammond was 2nd at Ghent-Wevelgem.
Also, Sergei Honchar, who dominated the time trials at last year's Tour, won't race the Tour after the team's new expanded medical program turned up some inconsistencies in Honchar's blood tests. The team says Honchar was within legal limits to race, but they have voluntarily withheld Honchar from racing while monitoring Honchar closely. Team manager Bob Stapleton told Eurosport the team will not re-sign Honchar for next season. “We will have another test done to decide whether he will be able to ride for us again. Apart from that, we do not expect him to be part of the team for the Tour de France.”
June 04, 2007
Giro champ Di Luca will skip Tour de France
After locking up his first Giro d'Italia victory yesterday, Danilo Di Luca announced he will skip the Tour de France and try to peak again for late season races, including the World Championships in Germany.
“I won the season-long ProTour in 2005 and now it's an objective again this year. This is my first Giro victory but I want to continue winning to make 2007 the best season of my career,” he said.
The plan looks to leave Liquigas without a GC contender for the Tour: Manuel Beltran is their rider with the highest Tour placing, when he was 13th back in 2003, riding for Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel. Triki also has 2 top 10s at the Vuelta, including last year, when he was 9th.
Look for Liquigas to instead seek out opportunistic breaks for Filippo Pozzato, Luca Paolini, Magnus Backstedt, and Franco Pellizotti, depending on who winds up on their Tour squad.
May 30, 2007
Astana, Agritubel, Barloworld get 2007 wildcards
Tour organizers announced this year's wildcard teams today, naming Agritubel, Astana, and Barloworld as the final three squads in the 2007 Tour. They join almost all of the ProTour squads, minus Unibet.com, to make a field of 189.
- AG2R (France)
- Agritubel (France)
- Astana (Switzerland)
- Barloworld (UK)
- Bouyges Telecom (France)
- Caisse d'Epargne (Spain)
- Cofidis (France)
- Credit Agricole (France)
- Team CSC (Denmark)
- Discovery Channel (USA)
- Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain)
- Française des Jeux (France)
- Gerolsteiner (Germany)
- Lampre-Fondital (Italy)
- Liquigas (Italy)
- Team Milram (Italy)
- Predictor-Lotto (Belgium)
- Quick Step-Innergetic (Belgium)
- Rabobank (Netherlands)
- Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spain)
- T-Mobile Team (Germany)
The full rundown:
Meanwhile, in the face of a German federal investigation into University of Freiburg doctors who reportedly supplied Telekom riders with EPO in the 1990s, Germany's two public TV networks, which share coverage of the race, have threatened to dump their contracts when they expire in 2008 unless they “are certain that doping has no chance at the Tour de France.” Although Bjarne Riis said last week his team supports his admission that he used EPO while winning the 1996 Tour, the race's organizers are less sanguine. Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP “it would be shocking to have [CSC director Bjarne] Riis included in the Tour de France” in any capacity, adding “It would be logical that Riis applies to himself the same treatment that he applied to Ivan Basso last year.” ASO President Patrice Clerc echoed the sentiment: “Why should it always be the riders who pay the price?”
May 27, 2007
McGee backs out of 2007 Tour
Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee will miss this year's Tour, as he did last year, because of ongoing back problems.
In a post to his website entitled "Time to face reality", McGee said he has given up on the “band-aid treatment of my sciatica,” and will “now go ahead with a surgeon's skills and hopefully put an end to the rollercoaster.”
McGee says an unsuccessful surgery would end his career, but that a successful procedure should have him back on his bike for late-season races in 2007.
McGee's condition dates back at least to 2004, when he fought through pain before abandoning during Stage 5.
In 2003, McGee won the prologue of the Centenary Tour, and wore the yellow and green jerseys as a result.
February 08, 2007
Landis wins delay of AFLD hearing
Landis faces a 2-year suspension from racing if he cannot explain a urine test that found an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, which Landis won. The AFLD will revisit the Landis case in late June, after the USADA hearing, which is now scheduled to begin May 14th.
It seems a small concession from Landis, who has no team contract and can't race until the USADA decision, but his statement specifically rules out any chance he will race in the 2007 Tour de France.
"He understood perfectly that if he didn't act today, we would start the procedure immediately," [AFLD president Pierre] Bordry said. "We will let Landis defend himself as he wishes before the USADA."
Includes a translation of the full AFLD statement.
January 15, 2007
British portion of 2007 Tour route detailed
If you're planning on checking out the Tour this year as it visits London and southeastern England, you can start planning the best locations for viewing. The course details for the prologue, around central London, and Stage 1 out to Canterbury, were published today.
May 15, 2006
Tour of Britain to pretest '07 Tour route
The concluding stage of this fall's Tour of Britain will include a 50-mile stage across London, including 20 laps of St James's Park in front of Buckingham Palace.
Beginning at Greenwich Park, the stage will follow part of the route for next year's Tour de France, and cross Tower Bridge.
It will also echo the proposed route of the road race for the 2012 Olympics over Hampstead Heath then through Regent's Park and Hyde Park on its way down to the final circuits.
The stage is scheduled for September 3rd as the sixth stage of the UCI 2.3-rated Tour of Britain.
March 17, 2006
London Tour organizers looking for course marshals
Bike For All reports 1200 people have already signed up to help with the Tour de France when it visits London and southeastern England in 2007. Organizers plan on using 2000 volunteers to man road crossings, manage crowds, and help out with spectator questions.
February 09, 2006
London Grand Depart details released
Details of the 2007 Tour de France “Grand Depart” from London were released today.
The Tour's opening ceremonies will be in Trafalgar Square July 6, 2007. The 8-kilometer prologue will start there, and take in Downing Street, Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park, finishing on The Mall near the palace.
Stage 1, a 200-km day for the sprinters, on July 7, will begin on The Mall, passes the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Tower of London, out through Greenwich and finishes at Canterbury.
Discussions are underway on how best to memorialize the 2nd anniversary of the London transit bombings, which were July 7, 2005.
"Having the Grand Depart on July 7 will broadcast to the world that terrorism does not win, it does not change a city, it does not shake our faith," Livingstone said. "There will be no better way of celebrating the unity of humanity than this great sporting event in this city on that day."
January 24, 2006
It's official: London start for 2007 Tour
London mayor Ken Livingstone announced today that the 2007 Tour will, as expected, start in London. It will mark the 3rd time the Tour has visited England, and the first ever visit to the capital.
One interesting aspect to London's bid is the city's attempt to link the Grand Depart to increased cycle transport. Said Livingstone:
"I want London to become a world-class cycling city and Transport for London has increased investment in cycling from £5.5 million in 2000 to £24 million this year."
The route is to be announced February 9.
January 11, 2006
London Tour start announcement likely within the month
Press conferences have been scheduled for January 24th in Paris and February 10th in London to make announcements on the British capital's Tour bid. Officials won't confirm that London has the nod, but there's no reason to hold a press conference in London to announce a Tour start in Rotterdam, Utrecht, or Lugano, the other candidates.
The Tour has visited England twice, most recently in 1994, but has never included London. The proposal, initially hatched in 2003 for the 2006 Tour, was for a 2007 Tour start, with a prologue around London landmarks, a Stage 1 from Greenwich to central London, and Stage 2 out to the coast, before a transfer across the Channel.
Any bad blood over the 2012 Olympics, awarded to London over Paris, has apparently been set aside.
November 15, 2004 | UK press reports 2007 Tour will come to London
July 5, 2004 | 2007 London Tour start moves forward
April 27, 2004 | London start in 2007?
September 12, 2003 | London bids for Tour stages