VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:27:19 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Video: Greg LeMond’s thoughts on Tour de France, stage 19 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/video/video-greg-lemonds-thoughts-tour-de-france-stage-19_338463 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/video/video-greg-lemonds-thoughts-tour-de-france-stage-19_338463#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:09:09 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338463

Greg LeMond's thoughts on stage 19 of the 2014 of the Tour de France.

LeMond talks about how the sprinters have to fight through many difficult days for a shot at glory on the Champs-Élysées

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Greg LeMond's thoughts on stage 19 of the 2014 of the Tour de France.

LeMond talks about how the sprinters have to fight through many difficult days for a shot at glory on the Champs-Élysées

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On Wiggins, Sky management remains hopeful http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/wiggins-sky-management-remains-hopeful_338450 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/wiggins-sky-management-remains-hopeful_338450#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:44:15 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338450

Bradley Wiggins is ready to return to the track, planning to contest the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His English pursuit team took the silver medal at the 2012 Commonwealth Games. Photo: AFP PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS

Brailsford remained hopeful the team could hold onto its Tour winner, offering to help Wiggins on the boards and into the Olympics in Rio

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Bradley Wiggins is ready to return to the track, planning to contest the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His English pursuit team took the silver medal at the 2012 Commonwealth Games. Photo: AFP PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS

MAUZAC, France (VN) — A day after Bradley Wiggins said he likely wouldn’t ride any more grand tours in favor of the track, and commented on the harsh nature of the road, the team is still hopeful to retain its British star. Wiggins’ contract with Sky is up at the end of 2014.

He won the 2012 Tour de France, but his relationship with the team hasn’t been smooth — or at least that’s been the perception — since a falling-out with Chris Froome in that Tour, when Froome rode off the front in the Alps. Wiggins was a notable omission from this year’s Tour roster and was not included in 2013 either.

“I’ve kind of done the road now. I’ve bled it dry,” Wiggins said to the BBC. “The road is quite cut-throat. The track feels more like a family and a closer-knit group of people.”

Wiggins has said he favors a return to the track full-time, where he’s already been incredibly successful. He’s won six Olympic medals on the track, three of them golden.

Dave Brailsford, Sky’s principal, remained hopeful the team could hold onto its Tour winner, even offering to help Wiggins on the boards and into the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We’re talking to Bradley and his management team. Ideally we’d like to find a solution to support him through to Rio,” Brailsford said Friday morning at the team bus. “And exactly what that would look like — I don’t think it would be a normal, straightforward road contract. I think it would be a bit more creative in terms of what would help him get where he needs to be for Rio.”

Asked if he thought Wiggins could get to the level required to win another grand tour, Brailsford said, simply, “Who knows.”

“I think that’s down to him, really. Physically he has, I’m sure. But it’s hard work to get ready for a grand tour,” Brailsford said. “If you’re focused on trying to develop team pursuit-specific ability, maybe you go more towards prologues, time trials … If he can make the sacrifices of going to altitude, the weight control, all the other things that you need to do in order to ride a grand tour, I think that only he can answer that.”

Sky management has not selected a team for the Vuelta a España yet, Brailsford said. There were initial reports that both Froome and Wiggins could ride in the Vuelta, Froome looking to atone for crashing out at this Tour and Wiggins to prepare for a run at the UCI world time trial championships later this season.

Sky has demonstrated its ability to help foster track riders alongside its stable of road cyclists. “Certainly I think he’s made it quite clear himself that he’d like to finish in Rio. And if you want to get to the level required … Then you’re going to have to focus on it. Like Geraint [Thomas] and Pete Kennaugh did in London.”

Thomas and Kennaugh both rode last year’s Tour for Sky. Wiggins recently took a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in the team pursuit; his English team lost to Australia.

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The Week in Tech: Skratch and Fizik support charities, new Silca and Richey gear http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/bikes-and-tech/week-tech-scratch-fizik-support-charities-new-silca-richey-gear_338421 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/bikes-and-tech/week-tech-scratch-fizik-support-charities-new-silca-richey-gear_338421#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:31:15 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338421

The new Ritchey WCS Bullmoose is intended to be extremely strong with its carbon triangle stem design.

Skratch and Fizik auction products for charity, Silca offers a new pump attachment, and Richey brings back the Bullmoose

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The new Ritchey WCS Bullmoose is intended to be extremely strong with its carbon triangle stem design.

Fizik and UnitedHealthcare cycling are auctioning off limited edition saddles like this one to benefit the UHC Children's Foundation.

Fizik and UnitedHealthcare cycling are auctioning off limited edition saddles like this one to benefit the UHC Children’s Foundation.

This Skratch Labs jersey is now up for auction, with all proceeds going to Timmy Duggan's Just Go Harder Foundation.

This Skratch Labs jersey is now up for auction, with all proceeds going to Timmy Duggan’s Just Go Harder Foundation.

Skratch Rescue mix is sold in individual packets to aid in rehydrating you after workouts.

Skratch Rescue mix is sold in individual packets to aid in rehydrating you after workouts.

Skratch launches Rescue mix, supports charity

In the heat of summer, Skratch Labs has announced its Rescue hydration mix. The new mix is designed to be used at any time you are feeling dehydrated. It is only sold in single-serve packets that sell for $1.95 each.

Each packet packs a huge helping of sodium — over twice as much as Skratch’s Exercise mix and over five times the amount of potassium. During exercise, Skratch Rescue’s 3:1 sodium-to-potassium ratio would be too much potassium, so Skratch recommends that you continue using Exercise mix during activities, with its 6:1 sodium-to-potassium ratio.

Skratch also has a couple of charity auctions on The Pro’s Closet. An autographed Skratch jersey touts over twenty signatures from pro men who competed in the Tour of California. Also on auction, an 18” tall Skratch Labs special Kid Robot Munny doll with signatures from some of the top women who competed in the women’s Tour of California. All proceeds from the jersey benefit the Just Go Harder foundation, and proceeds from the Kid Robot doll benefit the Women’s Cycling Association.

Bid on Skratch Fundraisers >>
Read more on Skratch Rescue >>

Limited-edition Fizik saddles auctioned to benefit UHC Children’s Foundation

UnitedHealthcare pro cycling team and saddle sponsor Fizik are teaming up to raise money for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation. Starting Sunday, July 27, auctions on eight limited-edition saddles will go live on UnitedHealthcare’s team website.

The saddles are all different spins on team UHC’s blue and white colors, but with some specialty leathers that make these saddles unique.

All proceeds from the auctions will benefit the non-profit UHC Children’s Foundation. The foundation gives grants to children whose medical conditions are not fully covered by parents’ insurance plans.

Read More >>

New Silca Hiro locking presta chuck

Silca pumps has had a crazy year. Until last year, Silca had been owned by the same family since its inception in 1917. Then, the brand was sold to Josh Poertner, formerly of Zipp.

Now, Silca is developing several new products, including this locking chuck, the Hiro. The Hiro, which is made in the USA, is designed to be controlled by one hand with its side-mounted locking lever. It’s designed to work easily with disc wheels, though I look forward to using it on my Craftsman electric inflator this cyclocross season.

The Hiro chuck sports a 25-year warranty and has a replaceable gasket, which is already for sale by Silca. With a price tag of $110, the Hiro is probably more expensive than most peoples’ pumps, but it’s likely to outlast them.

Read More >>

Ritchey relaunches the Bullmoose bar

If you search the phrase “Ritchey Bullmoose,” you’ll get a lot of photos of one-piece mountain bike bars and stems from more than 30 years ago. Back in the day, Ritchey’s Bullmoose cockpit was standard equipment on many brands in the mountain bike world. The one-piece design meant no slipping bars.

Now, Ritchey is reintroducing the Bullmoose, but in a carbon WCS version. It will retail for $300 and be available in five variations, a 70mm stem with 720mm bars, an 80mm with 730mm bars, and 90mm, 100mm, and 110mm all with 740mm-wide bars.

The Bullmoose is expected to be available later this year.

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Poll: What was the funniest moment of the 2014 Tour de France? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/road/poll-pick-funniest-tour-moment_338326 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/road/poll-pick-funniest-tour-moment_338326#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:10:51 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338326

This year's Tour has seen plenty of dramatic moments, but along the way, there has been a bit of comedy on the road

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• Stage 7: Luca Paolini checks his Twitter feed
• Stage 12: André Greipel gives Sylvain Chavanel an earful
• Stage 14: Arnaud Demare’s emergency nature break
• Stage 16: Michael Rogers wags finger at Thomas Voeckler
• Stage 18: Vincenzo Nibali’s cellphone shoulder swipe

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Gallery: Tour de France, stage 19 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-tour-de-france-stage-19_338392 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-tour-de-france-stage-19_338392#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:50:50 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338392

The peloton endures another rainy day, and Garmin-Sharp gets the stage win that has eluded them until now

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Reviewed: Tony Martin’s new ‘fastest ever’ Specialized Turbo Cotton clinchers http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/exclusive-review-tony-martins-new-specialized-turbo-cotton-clinchers_338196 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/exclusive-review-tony-martins-new-specialized-turbo-cotton-clinchers_338196#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:55:16 +0000 Lennard Zinn http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338196

Specialized says its Turbo Cotton clincher is the fastest tire in the world. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

Lennard Zinn says he's "never ridden a nicer clincher" than Specialized's new Turbo Cotton

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Specialized says its Turbo Cotton clincher is the fastest tire in the world. Photo: Caley Fretz | VeloNews.com

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) will ride a new clincher tire from Specialized in Saturday’s 54km individual time trial at the Tour de France.

Martin and his sponsor, Specialized, experimented with clinchers in time trials in 2012, forgoing traditional tubular tires in search of decreased rolling resistance, but quickly returned to tubulars after a string of unfortunately timed flats. Testing has shown that a thin, flexible clincher can decrease rolling resistance relative to even the fastest tubular tire, but the small gains were not worth the increased flat risk.

The new Turbo Cotton has won over the German time trial specialist once again. Martin rode the tires in the Tour de Suisse, flat free, and will ride them again on Saturday. VeloNews received an early set of the tires, which will be available to consumers this fall, and has been testing them on the roads around Boulder, Colorado since early June.

Lennard Zinn’s review of the Turbo Cotton tires

This fast-rolling 25mm tire is Tony Martin’s time trial weapon, and Guido Trentin and Martin won stages 7 and 9 of the 2014 Tour de France on the tubular version with the same slick center tread. On road stages, Omega Pharma-Quick Step is on the Turbo Allround2 tubular, and Mark Cavendish raced all last year on TT version, sporting the same slick center tread.

After riding these for a couple of weeks, I can say that I’ve never ridden a nicer clincher. Cornering is fantastic, road feel is great, and when it’s wet, grip is exceptional — closely approaching that of a top-end cotton tubular.

The Turbo Cotton is made by Lion Tire (a subsidiary of Vittoria) in Thailand with that company’s 320tpi Polycotton casing fabric and Specialized’s proprietary puncture breaker material and Gripton tread compound. The tread design is borrowed from the time trial tubulars Specialized provides its top pros.

The slick center tread makes a difference, according to Specialized, albeit a small one. Specialized claims to have measured the difference in rolling resistance on a drum at 0.2 Watts at 30kph over its tread with dimples in the tread center.

The dual-compound Gripton tread strip has new rubber formulations for the center and shoulder; the new polymer for the slick center strip is claimed to provide an additional ~15 percent reduction in rolling resistance.

An open tubular is built with the same unvulcanized, filament-wound casing and hand-glued tread as a premium racing tubular, but instead of being stitched closed around an inner tube to make it a tubular, Kevlar beads are laid on it before the casing edges are folded over, thus making it a clincher. It is more supple than a standard (vulcanized) clincher, because the individual threads are thinner, and they are not stiffened by being heated in a mold (vulcanized) to harden the rubber and stick all of the tire parts together into a single unit. Instead, when the thin treads are wrapped tightly around a drum, liquid latex is brushed over them to stick them together yet still allow them to move individually to conform to tiny bumps in the road surface. The tread strip is vulcanized individually (to give it durability) and glued onto the casing by hand, while it is inflated on a rim.

On an Ultegra rim, the Turbo Cotton tires I rode measured 24.8mm wide.

Suggested retail price: $80
Weight: 231g
The scoop: Supple and light 320tpi open tubular clincher with a slick center tread with small shoulder sipes
Pros: Great grip, smooth rolling, and low weight
Cons: Price. Durability?

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‘Have faith’ that Nibali is a clean Tour champion, says Astana http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/faith-nibali-clean-tour-champion-says-astana_338369 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/faith-nibali-clean-tour-champion-says-astana_338369#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:23:33 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338369

Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov, who served a doping suspension as a rider, has been very pleased with Vincenzo Nibali's performance at this year's Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Astana team management said the cycling world needs to keep its faith in Vincenzo Nibali's yellow jersey ride, despite the sport's past

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Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov, who served a doping suspension as a rider, has been very pleased with Vincenzo Nibali's performance at this year's Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

BERGERAC, France (VN) — Astana team management said that the cycling community needs to keep its faith in Vincenzo Nibali’s yellow jersey ride in the Tour de France despite the sport’s past problems.

“Can you have faith in it? Yeah, and more,” team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli told VeloNews. “I’m sure, 100 percent. I don’t think anyone should put doubt on Vincenzo’s win.”

Nibali leads the Tour de France by 7:10 over rival Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) with two days to race, Saturday’s 54km time trial to Perigueux, and Sunday’s stage into Paris.

The 29-year-old Italian from Sicily took the lead on stage 2 and successfully defended it since while rivals like Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) crashed and abandoned. Along the way, he also responded to questions about doping, and swatted away rumors of an association with controversial trainer Michele Ferrari.

On Thursday, Nibali said that his domination in the 2014 Tour de France is easily explainable and is different from when confessed doper, Lance Armstrong, took his wins.

“Lance’s time seems very different to mine,” Nibali said. “I won the Vuelta a España, placed third in the Giro, second another time, won the Giro, placed second in the Vuelta… I’ve always raced the classics well, attacked, even when I was sick.

“We came here with a strong team and we prepared for this Tour thoroughly. What’s happened, has happened, and there’s great clarity on my part. I have a seven-minute advantage, but I didn’t do it in one day. I took small time each day – 20 seconds here, 40 seconds there – different than the others who sometime they gained a lot, but paid for it on another day.”

Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper wrote an article in August 2009 that quoted sports director Ivano Fanini claiming that Nibali worked with Ferrari. Nibali filed a lawsuit, but dropped the case in 2011 when Fanini agreed to pay a settlement to charity.

Over recent years, however, cycling continued to be bombarded by individual doping cases and larger scandals. Nibali won his 2010 Vuelta against Spain’s Ezequiel Mosquera, who was later disqualified for doping, and his 2013 Giro d’Italia title under an EPO doping storm caused by rivals Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio.

His own house at times has not been in order. Astana joined the sport to support home cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov when Liberty Seguros left due to Operación Puerto. Tests showing blood doping forced Vinokourov out of 2007 Tour de France and brought a suspension.

Astana also offered Armstrong refuge when he returned to cycling along with banned manager Johann Bruyneel in 2010.

“The Astana team is completely new, a young team with young riders,” Nibali said, “completely different than before.”

Martinelli explained that Nibali is “another story” and not connected to any scandals.

“You can ask the questions, but you’re talking about the past, not Vincenzo Nibali,” Martinelli continued.

“If you know the story of cycling, you know that doping had it’s part, but at this point, in my opinion, if you ask Vincenzo questions about it, it should be about the past, not about the present or future. It’s doesn’t have anything to do with him.”

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Preview: Tour de France, stage 20 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/preview-tour-de-france-stage-20_338372 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/preview-tour-de-france-stage-20_338372#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:20:35 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338372

Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France.

The stage is set for a showdown to determine who will stand on the second and third steps of the final Tour podium

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Stage 20 of the 2014 Tour de France.

The stage is set for a showdown to determine who will stand on the second and third steps of the final Tour podium

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Gallery: USA Pro Challenge, the first three years http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-usa-pro-challenge-first-3-years_338244 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-usa-pro-challenge-first-3-years_338244#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:58:56 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338244

After only three years, the USA Pro Challenge has become a significant event on North America's pro cycling calendar

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American Shelley Olds a favorite for Tour de France’s La Course race http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/american-shelly-olds-favorite-new-la-course-race_338071 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/american-shelly-olds-favorite-new-la-course-race_338071#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:57:28 +0000 Ted Burns http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338071

American Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) is a favorite for the technical, flat parcours the women's peloton will face at La Course on the Champs-Élysées Sunday. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | CBG Photography

La Course by Le Tour is ideally suited for Shelley Olds, who is currently the top-ranked American rider in the world

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American Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) is a favorite for the technical, flat parcours the women's peloton will face at La Course on the Champs-Élysées Sunday. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | CBG Photography

The best cyclists in the world will converge on Paris this Sunday — this year, both men and women race on the Champs-Élysées. The Tour de France will debut a new women’s event, La Course, in conjunction with the final stage of the Tour.

Flat, technical, and 89km long, La Course is ideally suited for Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini) who is currently the top-ranked American rider in the world. Olds is ninth in the UCI standings, and while she has a string of victories and top finishes this season, she’s lacking a high-profile win that would make her a household name.

La Course is tailor-made for the former U.S. criterium champion. Olds is one of the world’s top sprinters, but the marquee race will attract the fastest finishers in the world, including Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano), Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), and world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv).

Vos, one of the key figures in bringing La Course to fruition, looks especially strong after a dominating performance at the Giro Rosa where she won four stages and the GC.

“I think [Vos] is definitely beatable. I have beaten her before, so I know it’s possible, ” said Olds about taking on the boss of the women’s peloton in a sprint. “It’s great to have people as amazing as Marianne Vos, or Giorgia Bronzini, that are difficult to beat, but you know that there is one small possibility you can beat them if you do everything right. “

Olds grew up in Groton, a small and idyllic Massachusetts town near the New Hampshire border. While always athletic, Olds developed her trademark toughness and determination while trying to keep up with her older brother. Later, as captain of her college soccer team, Olds’ desire to lead became more evident.

“She could take over a game, whether it was a 0-0 game, or if we were down a goal, if she felt like it was her place or opportunity to get things done on the field,” said her former coach at Roanoke College, Phil Benne.

Olympic dreams

After college, Olds moved to California, found cycling, and started pursuing her dream of going to the Olympics with Nicola Cranmer’s fledgling Proman squad. Olds found success on the track, but encountered her first major setback when the UCI removed the points race from the Olympic program.

Always looking for a way forward, Olds transitioned to a European team, and switched to a full-time road schedule four years ago. Since then, she and has made a life for herself in L’Estartit, Spain, with her fiancé, MTN-Qhubeka director, Manel Lacambra.

Olds looked like she was close to her lifelong ambition when she was named to the long team for the London Olympics. A crash in the first World Cup of the 2012 season broke her hand, sidelining her for five weeks during a critical period of spring racing. It was a devastating blow that threw Olds into weeks of anxiety and unexplained nightmares. In one of her first races back, Olds won the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup, but shifting qualification criteria meant a spot on the Olympic team was not assured.

Olds was ultimately selected for the U.S team, and looked on track to win a medal when she made the winning break in the road race with Vos and Armitstead. Olds suffered a heartbreaking puncture, fell out of the lead group and finished fourth.

But she doesn’t dwell on the loss.

“It can be so sad for me to think, ‘I was in the winning move, I could have won a medal, but I didn’t because I flatted, and now I have nothing,’” said Olds. “I was there [in the winning move], and that is what I will remember.“

A new beginning

Olds rode for Team TIBCO in 2013, and then picked up a contract with the Italian-based Ale Cipollini for 2014. Since starting with Ale Cipollini, Olds has racked up a number of early season victories including the Winston Salem Cycling Classic, the GP Comune di Cornaredo, and two stages of the Vuelta Ciclista Femenina a Costa Rica.

The new team dynamic has been ideal for Olds. “It’s a sprinters’ team, pretty much,” said Olds. “It helps that we have two other riders on the team that are good sprinters themselves. Having them look out for me, it’s like having three people with the same mind working together in the race.”

Olds enjoys the pressure and responsibility of being the go-to rider. “I handle chaos well,” said Olds. “When it starts to be a little stressful, or you have to be fighting for position, I can stay focused. I want to be there, I want to win, and I want to keep fighting even if I’m suffering.“

American rider Lauren Hall (Optum Kelly Benefits) won Gent-Wevelgem in March, and is a dark horse contender to win La Course. Hall is also a sprinter and has a good read on Olds’ capabilities.

“Shelley is so crafty, and she’s been racing against the best in the world for quite some time now, so you can always count on her to be in the top-five for sure,” Hall told VeloNews. “She has longevity in her sprint, meaning she can keep going faster and faster for probably 400m. She can also position herself and tuck in well. I think a good bit of that comes from her track background.”

Committed to European racing

Despite her success the last several years, Olds feels that riding full-time in Europe has put her at a disadvantage with USA Cycling. Olds pointed to a recent training camp several national team members attended to preview the world championships course in Spain — one that she was not included in — as an example of how she is overlooked.

“I feel like I’m doing my part in Europe,” Olds says. “I moved myself over here and made my way. I’m proud to be an American, it’s an honor to represent my country, and I’d like to be able to do that whenever possible, and I feel like it’s just not that easy.”

USA Cycling has been operating a women’s program out of Europe since 2002. VP of Athletics, Jim Miller worked with Olds earlier in her career, and is quick to note her talent and mental toughness. Miller does not feel that USAC has any issues maintaining relationships with athletes overseas.

“We maintain good working relationships with all the trade team athletes and try to fill in the gaps where the trade teams may not support an athlete,” Miller wrote to VeloNews. “That may include sport science, training programs, race program supplementation, training camps to housing, or logistical support. This is typically case-specific, but we do want the trade team athletes to still view us as a resource.”

La Course was not originally on Olds’ schedule, but will likely become a bigger focus of her program should it continue to grow in the coming years. “I’ve been watching the Tour the last two weeks, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the race I’ve been watching,” said Olds. “I know that all of the women in the peloton want to make our event exciting to watch. There are a lot of people that want to win on this big of a stage, so that will make for very fast, very hard racing.”

Editor’s note: Universal Sports will broadcast La Course live on television and online, starting at 7:30 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 27.

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Results: Tour de France, stage 19 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/results-tour-de-france-stage-19_338355 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/tour-de-france/results-tour-de-france-stage-19_338355#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:32:38 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338355

Ramunas Navardauskas won the rain-soaked stage 19 at the Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Results from the 208.5km stage from Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac

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Ramunas Navardauskas won the rain-soaked stage 19 at the Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

  • 1. Ramunas NAVARDAUSKAS, Garmin-Sharp, in 4:43:41
  • 2. John DEGENKOLB, Giant-Shimano, at :07
  • 3. Alexander KRISTOFF, Katusha, at :07
  • 4. Mark RENSHAW, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 5. Daniele BENNATI, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :07
  • 6. Alessandro PETACCHI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 7. Samuel DUMOULIN, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :07
  • 8. Julien SIMON, Cofidis, at :07
  • 9. Sep VANMARCKE, Belkin, at :07
  • 10. Jurgen ROELANDTS, Lotto-Belisol, at :07
  • 11. Romain FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at :07
  • 12. Matteo TRENTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 13. Jan BAKELANTS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 14. Michael MORKOV, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :07
  • 15. Marco MARCATO, Cannondale, at :07
  • 16. Giovanni VISCONTI, Movistar, at :07
  • 17. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, Movistar, at :07
  • 18. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ.fr, at :07
  • 19. Arnold JEANNESSON, FDJ.fr, at :07
  • 20. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, Movistar, at :07
  • 21. Niki TERPSTRA, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 22. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ.fr, at :07
  • 23. Cyril LEMOINE, Cofidis, at :07
  • 24. Vincenzo NIBALI, Astana, at :07
  • 25. Tanel KANGERT, Astana, at :07
  • 26. Rudy MOLARD, Cofidis, at :07
  • 27. Daniel OSS, BMC Racing, at :07
  • 28. Geraint THOMAS, Sky, at :07
  • 29. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, Belkin, at :07
  • 30. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC Racing, at :07
  • 31. Peter VELITS, BMC Racing, at :07
  • 32. Pierre ROLLAND, Europcar, at :07
  • 33. Yury TROFIMOV, Katusha, at :07
  • 34. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, Sky, at :07
  • 35. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, Lotto-Belisol, at :07
  • 36. Luca PAOLINI, Katusha, at :07
  • 37. Jakob FUGLSANG, Astana, at :07
  • 38. Christopher HORNER, Lampre-Merida, at :07
  • 39. Christian MEIER, Orica-GreenEdge, at 1:06
  • 40. Grégory RAST, Trek Factory Racing, at :07
  • 41. Michael SCHÄR, BMC Racing, at :07
  • 42. Adam HANSEN, Lotto-Belisol, at :07
  • 43. André GREIPEL, Lotto-Belisol, at :07
  • 44. Michael ALBASINI, Orica-GreenEdge, at :07
  • 45. Kristijan DURASEK, Lampre-Merida, at :07
  • 46. Tony GALLOPIN, Lotto-Belisol, at :07
  • 47. Jean-Christophe PERAUD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :07
  • 48. Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Trek Factory Racing, at :07
  • 49. Bauke MOLLEMA, Belkin, at :07
  • 50. Luis Angel MATE MARDONES, Cofidis, at 1:06
  • 51. Nicolas ROCHE, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :07
  • 52. John GADRET, Movistar, at :07
  • 53. Michael ROGERS, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :07
  • 54. Davide CIMOLAI, Lampre-Merida, at :07
  • 55. Jens VOIGT, Trek Factory Racing, at 3:10
  • 56. Frank SCHLECK, Trek Factory Racing, at :07
  • 57. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM Cycling, at 3:10
  • 58. Alexandre PICHOT, Europcar, at 1:06
  • 59. Bryan COQUARD, Europcar, at :07
  • 60. Tom DUMOULIN, Giant-Shimano, at 1:06
  • 61. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM Cycling, at 1:06
  • 62. Matteo TOSATTO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1:06
  • 63. Armindo FONSECA, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 3:10
  • 64. Marcel WYSS, IAM Cycling, at 3:10
  • 65. Andriy GRIVKO, Astana, at 3:10
  • 66. Alessandro VANOTTI, Astana, at 3:10
  • 67. Anthony DELAPLACE, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 3:10
  • 68. Tony MARTIN, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 3:10
  • 69. Mickael DELAGE, FDJ.fr, at 3:10
  • 70. Jean-Marc BIDEAU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 3:10
  • 71. Yukiya ARASHIRO, Europcar, at 3:10
  • 72. Michal GOLAS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :07
  • 73. Mikael CHEREL, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 3:10
  • 74. Benjamin KING, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:10
  • 75. Johan VAN SUMMEREN, Garmin-Sharp, at 3:10
  • 76. Laurens TEN DAM, Belkin, at :07
  • 77. Bram TANKINK, Belkin, at :07
  • 78. Christophe RIBLON, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:06
  • 79. Ben GASTAUER, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :07
  • 80. Romain BARDET, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :07
  • 81. Matteo MONTAGUTI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :07
  • 82. Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU, Trek Factory Racing, at :07
  • 83. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC Racing, at :07
  • 84. Jens KEUKELEIRE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 1:06
  • 85. Bartosz HUZARSKI, NetApp-Endura, at 3:47
  • 86. Leopold KONIG, NetApp-Endura, at :07
  • 87. Brice FEILLU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 1:06
  • 88. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, Garmin-Sharp, at 4:20
  • 89. Albert TIMMER, Giant-Shimano, at 4:34
  • 90. Alessandro DE MARCHI, Cannondale, at 4:38
  • 91. Maciej BODNAR, Cannondale, at 4:38
  • 92. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, at :07
  • 93. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, Movistar, at :07
  • 94. Perrig QUEMENEUR, Europcar, at 5:12
  • 95. Cyril GAUTIER, Europcar, at 5:12
  • 96. Dmitriy GRUZDEV, Astana, at 5:12
  • 97. Gatis SMUKULIS, Katusha, at 5:12
  • 98. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC Racing, at 5:12
  • 99. Thomas LEEZER, Belkin, at 5:12
  • 100. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 5:12
  • 101. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ.fr, at 5:12
  • 102. Amaël MOINARD, BMC Racing, at 5:12
  • 103. Florian GUILLOU, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 5:12
  • 104. Rein TAARAMAE, Cofidis, at 5:12
  • 105. Thomas VOECKLER, Europcar, at 5:16
  • 106. Sebastian LANGEVELD, Garmin-Sharp, at 5:16
  • 107. Alex HOWES, Garmin-Sharp, at 5:16
  • 108. Simon CLARKE, Orica-GreenEdge, at :07
  • 109. José Joao PIMENTA COSTA MENDES, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 110. Jan BARTA, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 111. William BONNET, FDJ.fr, at 5:58
  • 112. Jérémy ROY, FDJ.fr, at 5:58
  • 113. Lars BOOM, Belkin, at 5:58
  • 114. Peter STETINA, BMC Racing, at 5:58
  • 115. Kévin REZA, Europcar, at 5:58
  • 116. Rafal MAJKA, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 5:58
  • 117. Maxim IGLINSKY, Astana, at 5:58
  • 118. Lieuwe WESTRA, Astana, at 5:58
  • 119. Yohann GENE, Europcar, at 5:58
  • 120. Tiago MACHADO, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 121. Richie PORTE, Sky, at 5:58
  • 122. Ruben PLAZA MOLINA, Movistar, at 5:58
  • 123. Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Movistar, at 5:58
  • 124. Roy CURVERS, Giant-Shimano, at 5:58
  • 125. David LOPEZ GARCIA, Sky, at 5:58
  • 126. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Katusha, at 5:58
  • 127. Jean Marc MARINO, Cannondale, at 5:58
  • 128. Sébastien MINARD, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 5:58
  • 129. Martin ELMIGER, IAM Cycling, at 5:58
  • 130. Paul VOSS, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 131. Zakkari DEMPSTER, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 132. Matthew BUSCHE, Trek Factory Racing, at 5:58
  • 133. Andreas SCHILLINGER, NetApp-Endura, at 5:58
  • 134. Jose Rodolfo SERPA PEREZ, Lampre-Merida, at 5:58
  • 135. Benoit JARRIER, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 5:58
  • 136. Michele SCARPONI, Astana, at 5:58
  • 137. Maarten WYNANTS, Belkin, at 5:58
  • 138. Imanol ERVITI, Movistar, at 5:58
  • 139. Danny PATE, Sky, at 5:58
  • 140. Tom VEELERS, Giant-Shimano, at 5:58
  • 141. Marcel KITTEL, Giant-Shimano, at 5:58
  • 142. Vasil KIRYIENKA, Sky, at 5:58
  • 143. Florian VACHON, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 6:08
  • 144. Fabio SABATINI, Cannondale, at 7:57
  • 145. Kristijan KOREN, Cannondale, at 7:57
  • 146. Adrien PETIT, Cofidis, at 7:57
  • 147. Lars Ytting BAK, Lotto-Belisol, at 7:57
  • 148. Koen DE KORT, Giant-Shimano, at 7:57
  • 149. Elia VIVIANI, Cannondale, at 7:57
  • 150. Roger KLUGE, IAM Cycling, at 7:57
  • 151. Luke DURBRIDGE, Orica-GreenEdge, at 7:57
  • 152. Vladimir ISAICHEV, Katusha, at 7:57
  • 153. Nicolas EDET, Cofidis, at 7:57
  • 154. Bernhard EISEL, Sky, at 7:57
  • 155. Marcel SIEBERG, Lotto-Belisol, at 7:57
  • 156. Svein TUFT, Orica-GreenEdge, at 7:57
  • 157. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at 7:57
  • 158. Nelson Filipe SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Lampre-Merida, at 7:57
  • 159. Biel KADRI, Ag2r La Mondiale, at 7:57
  • 160. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM Cycling, at 7:57
  • 161. Arnaud DEMARE, FDJ.fr, at 8:03
  • 162. Arnaud GERARD, Bretagne-Seche Environnement, at 8:52
  • 163. Jack BAUER, Garmin-Sharp, at :07
  • 164. Cheng JI, Giant-Shimano, at 12:41

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Three riders, but only two seats left at the Tour podium banquet http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/two-seats-left-tour-podium-banquet_338296 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/two-seats-left-tour-podium-banquet_338296#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:26:07 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338296

Valverde (left), Peraud (center), and Pinot (right) enter Saturday's 54km stage 20 time trial separated by only 15 seconds. Photo by Tim De Waele.

Three men are separated by 15 seconds heading into Saturday's time trial, but there will only be room for two on the podium in Paris

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Valverde (left), Peraud (center), and Pinot (right) enter Saturday's 54km stage 20 time trial separated by only 15 seconds. Photo by Tim De Waele.

There’s a “situation” for the Tour de France podium that awaits in Paris. It’s as if someone has invited too many people to a dinner party, and that awkward moment is coming when there will not be enough seats for everyone.

There’s only room for two riders behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and with three men lining up Saturday separated by 15 seconds of glory, someone is going to leave this Tour very disappointed.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) do not represent a direct threat to Nibali, but they are divided by just 15 seconds heading into Saturday’s 54km race of truth.

Two will reach the Tour podium for the first time in their careers, while a third will be handed a fourth-place finish that almost no one will remember — except for how they missed what was a chance of a lifetime.

Who will be the odd man out? It’s hard to read exactly how the 54km time trial will play out between the three podium protagonists. None are considered strong time trialists, at least when compared to a specialist like Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), but the only comparison that matters Saturday will be against each other.

Two will reach the podium — likely for the first and last time for Peraud and Valverde, who are both well into their 30s — and one will be left with fourth place, and the nagging doubt about what they could have done differently.

The rolling TT course features four significant climbs, followed by descents. It’s far from a straightforward test solely of power; bike handling will play a factor. The weather forecast calls for rain in the morning, with sunshine in the afternoon.

With finishing times expected to be well over one hour, time gaps should be definitive.

“The final time trial course fits Valverde well,” said Movistar sport director José Luis Arrieta. “At the end of the Tour, it’s about freshness and who has the legs. It’s going to be close.”

However Thursday’s final climbing stage across the Pyrénées was the last chance to settle matters before Saturday’s TT, and Pinot and Peraud both did themselves favors by distancing Valverde, who dropped from second to fourth.

The time differences might be negligible, but the psychological factor could prove decisive. Valverde has been struggling against the surprisingly strong French, and could wobble once again.

For Valverde, 34, the stakes couldn’t be higher. One of Spain’s most prolific winners, Valverde can win across all terrain, from the mountains to spring classics to sprints, but his Achilles’ heel has always been time trialing, at least in his quest to win a grand tour. He finally won one, with the 2009 Vuelta a España, but he was caught up in the Operación Puerto blood-doping scandal, and handed down a two-year ban right in the peak of his career.

With teammate Nairo Quintana set to return to the Tour next year following his dramatic Giro d’Italia victory in May, this could well be Valverde’s last shot at the Tour podium.

On Thursday, Valverde was sounding pragmatic about what will happen Saturday.

“It’s all in play, we’ll see what happens,” Valverde said. “Everything depends on the form that day. I hope to have good legs Saturday. If I do, then anything is possible. I am not far back, and with the small differences, it’s still wide open. It’s going to be exciting, that’s for sure.”

All three podium contenders have rarely time trialed against each other in the same race, and even if they did, comparing performances isn’t always the best gauge for predicting future outcomes.

All three recently locked horns at the Vuelta al País Vasco, on a very hilly, 26km course in Spain’s Basque Country, when Peraud took 27 seconds out of Valverde. Peraud ending up finishing third overall, and if Peraud could take one second per kilometer on Valverde, he would assure himself France’s first podium since Richard Virenque was second in 1997. Pinot was 10th at the Vuelta al País Vasco time trial.

Valverde is Spain’s reigning national time trial champion, a hint that he’s improved against the clock, but that was against a thin field of Spanish climbers; Alberto Contador did not participate.

Pinot, meanwhile, has steadily improved his time trialing, finishing ninth in TTs at both the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse, promising results against fairly deep fields this year.

“It’s nice to be second [overall], but what counts is being on the podium Sunday in Paris,” Pinot said Thursday. “I’d hate to ruin all the work we’ve done, and finish off the podium.”

Pinot, however, admits he’s in a complicated situation. For experience and abilities against the clock, both Valverde and Peraud will have an edge.

“There’s only 15 seconds dividing us, and I am the lesser rouleur of the three of us. I will need to have a great day to fend off Peraud, who is a very good rouleur. And Valverde, who is the Spanish national time trial champion, he’s not bad, either,” Pinot continued. “I’ve improved, I’ve been top 10 in time trials in stage races this year, something that shows I’ve progressed, but I have no references for a time trial longer than 50km. It’s a question of maturity and experience.”

FDJ manager Marc Madiot was sounding confident, saying, “Pinot will do a good time trial.”

Speaking to reporters from L’Equipe, Madiot pointed out that in 2012, in a similarly long time trial at the end of the Tour, Pinot was 1:07 ahead of Peraud, and 3:06 faster than Valverde. Of course, the stakes and circumstances will be dramatically different Saturday.

And then there is Peraud, who has an opportunity of a lifetime of reaching the podium. A mountain-bike silver medalist in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Peraud’s best Tour performance was ninth in 2011. Since then, he’s struggled with injuries, crashes — including a horrible fall last year when he crashed in the final time trial on his already cracked left collarbone — and otherwise underwhelming performances.

At 37, he wasn’t expecting to be fighting for the GC, so much so he didn’t even bother previewing the stages in the Pyrénées. The exit of such favorites as pre-race favorites Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), coupled with his surprisingly solid climbing legs, Peraud finds himself on the cusp of history.

“We are euphoric, but we are keeping it on the inside, waiting for Paris,” Ag2r sport director Julien Jurdie told L’Equipe. “We are optimistic about Jean-Christophe’s chances. He’s the best time trialist of the three, and he has a strong character.”

Peraud was being cautious, especially after suffering up Hautacam on Thursday, where he said, “I nearly lost everything.”

“I inspected the [TT] route by car, I like it,” Peraud said. “I believe I can reach the podium, perhaps even second place, but if I have legs like I did on Hautacam, it’s hard to say.”

Everyone agrees it will be the riders with the freshest legs who will prevail Saturday. The course is far from easy. Far from being a flat, pure power course, it covers rolling terrain, with four un-rated climbs, features that will tip the favor toward whoever simply has the most fuel left in the tank.

Pinot will have an advantage by starting second-to-last, giving him time references to his two direct rivals. Valverde and Peraud will be driven, knowing that this is very likely their last chance to reach the Tour podium. Pinot already has a lock on the best young rider’s jersey, and looked strongest through the Pyrénées.

In a Tour without time bonuses, all three arrive virtually tied after three weeks of racing, meaning that every second will truly count Saturday. Perhaps the fairest thing to happen would one of the three simply gets blown away, making it obvious who deserves to stand on the final podium. Cycling is rarely that impartial. There’s also a very real possibility that one could crash, given the tight time margins and high stakes on the line.

Historic French podium

The possibility of two French riders on the final podium has historical significance. The last time that happened was in 1984, when Laurent Fignon won his second and last Tour, with Bernard Hinault finishing second, and Greg Lemond third.

With Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) hoping to hang on to fifth — Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) lurks at 2:07 back — opens another possibility for the resurgent French.

Since World War II, three French riders have finished in the top-5 at the Tour only four times, in 1954, 1959, 1964, and 1965.

The peloton has internationalized dramatically since those days, but three riders in the top-5, with possibly two on the final podium, reveals just how far French cycling has come.

“Everything that is happening is good for French cycling,” Jurdie told L’Equipe. “We came here thinking of a top-10, and now the podium is within reach. It gives everyone a warm feeling.”

 

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Navardauskas grabs stage 19 victory at Tour de France http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/navardauskas-grabs-stage-19-victory-at-tour-de-france_338336 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/navardauskas-grabs-stage-19-victory-at-tour-de-france_338336#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:09:09 +0000 Jason Devaney http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338336

Ramunas Navardauskas won the rain-soaked stage 19 at the Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With riders at the front for almost the entire day, Garmin capped stage 19 at the Tour with a victory by Ramunas Navardauskas

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Ramunas Navardauskas won the rain-soaked stage 19 at the Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) won the 19th stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

Navardauskas attacked the peloton on the final climb, a Cat. 4, and then time trialed his way to the finish by himself for the final 13 kilometers of the stage.

A crash in the peloton with around 3km remaining took out several riders, including Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who was expected to contend for the stage win.

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), who became his team’s sprinter to contend at the finish when Marcel Kittel fell off the back of the peloton on the final climb, took second at 7 seconds behind Navardauskas. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) placed third with the same time.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains in the overall lead entering the race’s final two days, holding a 7:10 lead over Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and a 7:23 advantage over Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

The 26-year-old Navardauskas won a stage at the Giro d’Italia last year but became the first Lithuanian to win a stage at the Tour on Friday.

“In all the last kilometers when I had a gap of 25 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, I didn’t know what was happening back there,” he said. “I was thinking that maybe the sprinters’ teams would chase me down. When five guys are working shoulder to shoulder [at the front of the peloton] it’s almost amazing to keep 20 seconds in front. I’ve no idea what happened, I just went as fast as I can, I kept my speed up and hoped that what happened to Jack wouldn’t happen to me. It was really sad to see that after he had been going for 200km to be caught in the last 10 meters. Until the last 10 meters I was afraid to turn back. I went as fast as I can so at the end I couldn’t say that I could have done better. I went with all my power and at the end I had nothing left in my legs.”

The 208.5-kilometer route from Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour to Bergerac was plagued by rainy weather for most of the day, leaving rain-slicked roads that may have played a role in the crash late in the stage.

Garmin at the front

Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin) got himself in a five-man breakaway not long after the stage began. With 32km left and the peloton riding about 1:30 behind the escapees, Slagter decided to make a run for it.

He broke away from the front group and began his solo effort at the front of the race. Ten kilometers later, the four other breakaway riders — Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling), Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne), and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) — were swallowed up by the main pack.

With the lumpy stage profile that featured small hills throughout much of the route, Slagter continued to ride off the front. Slagter’s teammate Alex Howes attacked the peloton on a short downhill section ahead of the final climb, the 1.3km ascent of Côte de Monbazillac that averaged 7.6 percent.

Howes’ effort was short-lived, but another Garmin rider — Navardauskas — attacked the peloton on the Monbazillac. He caught Slagter just as the pair crested the climb and then broke free, starting what amounted to a 13km individual time trial.

Navardauskas kept the peloton at bay thanks to the quick downhill along with some turns and traffic circles at the base of the descent that slowed down the main field.

With 5km to go, Navardauskas — who won his Lithuania’s time trial championship in 2012 and 2014 — held a 22-second lead.

Back in the peloton, meanwhile, Cannondale pulled off the front after working to position Sagan for the stage win and made way for Tinkoff-Saxo. But with the pack steamrolling down the road to the finish line, a few riders slid out on a right-hand bend with 3km to go.

Several others, including Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r), hit the deck. Television cameras caught Sagan standing up on the road after the crash, seemingly waiting for a new bike.

“I don’t know why I’ve crashed,” said Sagan, admitting he was at fault. “I was in a good position … for crashing. I believe it’s because of the wet road. I couldn’t stop anymore. I was the first to crash. I’m not hurt. I just felt I fell on old injuries. But there’s nothing bad. I hope to make it to Paris, with the green jersey, which was my goal at this Tour de France.”

The Lithuanian winner said that a late attack had always been his team’s plan. “It was a plan from the beginning, and the whole team worked for this, and you could see before the climb the whole team was organized at the front of the peloton. Jack Bauer covered some moves and Sebastian Langeveld, all the team was around me and supported me as much as they could. I attacked up the climb, I caught Tom who gave me this pull and then I gave all my power and time trialled to the end.”

The Tour continues Saturday with stage 20, a 54km time trial from Bergerac to Périgueux.


EN – Summary – Stage 19 (Maubourguet Pays du… by tourdefrance

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Malaysian cyclist warned over ‘Save Gaza’ gloves at Commonwealth Games http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/malaysian-cyclist-warned-over-save-gaza-gloves-at-commonwealth-games_338311 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/malaysian-cyclist-warned-over-save-gaza-gloves-at-commonwealth-games_338311#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:18:00 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338311

Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang won the first men's sprint round of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He was reprimanded for wearing gloves that read "Save Gaza." Photo: AFP PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS

Azizulhasni Awang insists he was not trying to make a political statement

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Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang won the first men's sprint round of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He was reprimanded for wearing gloves that read "Save Gaza." Photo: AFP PHOTO | ADRIAN DENNIS

GLASGOW, Scotland (AFP) — A Malaysian cyclist was warned Friday that he risked being thrown out of the Commonwealth Games if he repeated wearing gloves bearing the message “Save Gaza.”

Azizulhasni Awang could have been ejected from the 2014 Glasgow Games after wearing the gloves in competition on Thursday.

Instead the 26-year-old, nicknamed the “Pocket Rocket,” who was set to take part in the individual sprint quarterfinals on Friday, was given a reprimand and was warned not to wear them again.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) seeks to avoid its competitions being used for political means.

The multi-sport event, held every four years, is nicknamed the “Friendly Games.”

Though Awang insists his message was “humanitarian” rather than politically-charged, he issued an apology.

“The actions were investigated and we spoke with the Malaysian team management and it’s a matter for the management to address,” said CGF chief executive Mike Hooper.

“It’s inappropriate for any form of protest in a Games venue; we respect everyone’s right to protest outwith.

“He has had a strong reprimand from his team management and he has apologized. In apologizing profusely he now knows any repetition will see a removal of his accreditation.”

On his Facebook fan page, which has more than 200,000 followers, Awang wrote: “I feel sorry to the people who misinterpret my message. There’s no such thing with political protest.

“It’s from the bottom of my heart to express humanitarian. Since when expressing humanitarian considered as political?

“Anyway, I apologize to those who think I’m doing wrong.

“I got a warning and still can race today but without my ‘SaveGaza’ glove.

“Thanks everyone for your support and really appreciate it.

“We all stand as a human.”

Israeli fire on Friday pushed the Palestinian death toll in Gaza to above 800, as Washington pressed Israel and Hamas to agree a weeklong humanitarian ceasefire and thrash out a durable truce.

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Wiggins calls road racing ‘cutthroat’ compared to track http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/wiggins-calls-road-racing-cutthroat-compared-to-track_338300 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/wiggins-calls-road-racing-cutthroat-compared-to-track_338300#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:59:35 +0000 Alistair Watson http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338300

Bradley Wiggins said he will focus more on track cycling leading up to the 2016 Olympics. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Wiggins says his main priority will be winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in track cycling

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Bradley Wiggins said he will focus more on track cycling leading up to the 2016 Olympics. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

GLASGOW, Scotland (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins has set his sights on claiming gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 after losing out to Australia in the final of the men’s team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.

The Australian quartet of Jack Bobridge, Luke Davison, Alex Edmondson, and Glenn O’Shea set a new Commonwealth record on their way to beating England to add the title to the world championship they claimed in Colombia in February.

Wiggins, making his return to track cycling for the first time since 2008, couldn’t inspire his teammates of Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant, and Steven Burke to victory as the 34-year-old collected the fourth silver medal of his Commonwealth Games career.

The four-time Olympic champion Wiggins only made the decision to compete in the Games four weeks ago after being dropped by Sky for this year’s Tour de France.

And the 2012 Tour de France winner says he will focus on the track as he aims to claim a fifth Olympic gold in Rio.

“I’ve kind of done the road now. I’ve bled it dry,” he told the BBC. “The road is quite cutthroat. The track feels more like a family and a closer-knit group of people.”

He added: “That will probably be it for the grand tours. I can’t imagine doing that now.

“The priority will have to be the track and the training towards that. I may need to change my body composition, maybe getting a bit heavier or stronger to deal with the event. We will use the road to complement it but the priority will be the track.”

Wiggins believes that a track gold in Rio is possible despite another silver in Glasgow.

“I think we’re disappointed but in hindsight we will look back on this and think this was the start of things for us,” Wiggins said of Great Britain’s defeat to Australia.

“Over the next two years Rio is the goal and we’re going to work back from that target.

“It takes four people to be on a par and we’ve all had such different preparations this year. I think there’s a lot of positives to take from it but we’ve definitely got some work to do.

“Catching the Australians is not going to be easy, we’ve got our work cut out because they set the standard once again. But we’ve been in that position before and it’s not a bad position to be in.

“Two years is definitely enough time to get to that standard. I mean we put in two world class rides there with just four weeks together to prepare for it.

“I certainly answered the questions whether I can still do it or not but I still think there is a lot more room for improvement. It’s going to take a lot more dedication to the track ahead of Rio.”

Australia dominated from the start and finished five seconds ahead of the English in a time of three minutes 54.851seconds.

“We knew we were well ahead going into the final laps and we just put our heads down and started chasing them,” Edmondson said.

“We were probably a little bit quicker than we thought we would be.”

The New Zealand quartet of Shane Archibald, Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett, and Marc Ryan pipped Canada to the bronze.

Australian track legend Anna Meares won the first gold of the day as she retained her title in the women’s 500m time trial with a new Commonwealth record.

The 30-year-old took 0.3 seconds off her own previous record of 33.758, set in New Dehli four years ago, to cross the line in 33.435.

Compatriot Stephanie Morton claimed silver ahead of England’s Jess Varnish.

Another Games record was set by New Zealand trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster, and Eddie Dawkins as they collected gold in the team sprint final ahead of England’s Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, and Kian Emadi.

Australia claimed bronze ahead of Malaysia.

England’s Sophie Thornhill claimed gold in the women’s para-sport sprint tandem with pilot Helen Scott ahead of Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn and pilot Louise Haston who won the host nation’s first medal of the Games.

Australia’s Brandie O’Connor and Breanna Hargrave picked up the bronze.

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Reviewed: Bontrager Classique shoes, the latest in laces http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/reviewed-bontrager-classique-shoes-latest-laces_338213 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/reviewed-bontrager-classique-shoes-latest-laces_338213#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:57:34 +0000 Logan VonBokel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338213

The Bontrager Classique road shoes ooze classic style. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com

Bontrager’s latest borrow their silhouette from classic cycling shoes, laces and all

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The Bontrager Classique road shoes ooze classic style. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com

Shoes, this year, are stepping back in time.

Bontrager’s latest borrow their silhouette from classic cycling shoes, laces and all. The new Classique model was first leaked by Orica-GreenEdge’s Christian Meier on Instagram, and will be available to consumers in September.

The Classiques come on the heels of Giro’s popular Empire line, which was launched just over two years ago as a spin on cycling footwear not seen in over two decades. The Empires have soccer cleat design cues and a classic lace-up closure, a design inspired by Taylor Phinney that was never intended to be the commercial success it has become.

Laces have been an unequivocal hit. Though decades of Velcro and buckles meant many were initially opposed — laces can pose a serious problem for people who fiddle with their shoes during a race or ride — the design has proved comfortable and incredibly light. Of course, anyone riding for more than a few decades already knows this — laces offer more contact points, and a better custom-tuned fit, than any Velcro-and-strap system can. Since the launch, Giro has released two additional versions of the Empire, the ACC and then the SLX, each lighter and stiffer than the one that came before.

Modern Classique

The Bontrager Classiques have laces, just like the Empires, but the similarities end there. The overall fit and finish of the Classiques are completely different from Giro’s shoes.

The Classique’s uppers are a synthetic material that Bontrager calls Premium Clarino, a material shared by the new XXX Road shoes. Premium Clarino is intended to function as synthetic kangaroo leather, known for its suppleness and ability to conform to the foot. This characteristic is not lost in the transition to synthetic. At first, the Classique’s toe box was squeezing against my outside toe, but by the end of the first ride, the upper had conformed around my foot and there was no discomfort at all.

Tom Keufler, Bontrager’s shoe product manager, said the Clarino material’s “stretch is nice and even, unlike true kangaroo leather, which loses shape over time. Clarino is engineered to be a superior version of kangaroo leather.”

The uppers breathe quite well, with a large mesh section on top of the toe box, and plenty of venting in the sole. The Empire ACC shoes have little ventilation, though the new SLX version appears to fix that particular problem.

Like the Empire line, the Classique has seven holes for laces. However, the upper lace holes will be too high for some feet (including mine). Laced all the way up, the shoes added pressure to the front of the ankle. Instead, using six holes and wrapping the laces around the bottom of the sole, for added support, solves the problem. If the laces are wrapped around the foot, be careful not to make them too tight; it’s easy to cut off circulation to the end of the foot.

The rope laces on the Classiques are a bit of a disappointment. Their aesthetics are spot on, but they don’t hold as well as flat laces would. Once tied, we had no issues with the knot coming untied, but the process of tightening them is more tedious as the laces continually slip back through their eyelets. They simply don’t hold as well as the Empires’ stock laces, or aftermarket laces we’ve used. We’ll be ordering a couple pairs of narrow, flat laces from Laced Up.

The snap closure on the tongue is excellent, and another point for the Classique’s classic styling. It also helps position the tongue when lacing up the shoes.

My size 42 Classiques, which will carry an MSRP of $270, weighed 223 grams. That puts the Classiques within spitting distance of size 42.5 Giro Empire ACCs, which weigh 227 grams and retail for $275. The new Empire SLX will weigh a claimed 175 grams.

On the road, the Classiques offer a stiff pedaling platform. The Classique sole is the same mold as the new Bontrager XXX Road shoes, but is made of a carbon-fiberglass composite, rather than the XXX Road’s full carbon sole. Bontrager has a stiffness rating system that ranks the XXX Road as its stiffest sole with a rating of 14, while the Classiques have a rating of 12 — the same as Bontrager’s RXL shoe.

The heel cup uses an anti-slip material, similar to the Shimano XC90 mountain shoes. A good amount of padding in the heel cup gives the Classique a comfortable, finished feel. Just be sure to give the uppers a couple hours to break in.

The new Giro SLX shoes are touted to be stiffer than the current ACC model, but with a price tag of $350, even if they are as stiff as the Classiques, they are still quite a bit more expensive.

The Classiques will hit stores this September. They will be sold with a limited edition shoe bag that’s worthy of the Classique name. Bontrager intends to build a more complete line of Classique clothing in the coming year.

Suggested retail price: $270
Pros: Breathable upper, stiff sole, nicely conform to one’s foot after break-in period
Cons: Off the shelf, the volume may be too low for some, but it will fit better after a ride or two. Laces don’t hold tightly when lacing up.
Available: September
Sizes: 40-47 in half sizes, no 40.5 or 46.5 options.

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Video: Greg LeMond’s thoughts on Tour de France, stage 18 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/video/video-greg-lemonds-thoughts-tour-de-france-stage-18_338207 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/video/video-greg-lemonds-thoughts-tour-de-france-stage-18_338207#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:50:36 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338207

Greg LeMond reflects on stage 18 of the 2014 Tour de France.

LeMond considers how the Tour would have looked if Contador and Froome had survived to battle Nibali in the mountains

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Greg LeMond reflects on stage 18 of the 2014 Tour de France.

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of EuroSport. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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Final two Tour GC spots separated by 15 seconds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/final-two-gc-spots-separated-15-seconds_338155 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/final-two-gc-spots-separated-15-seconds_338155#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:26:41 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338155

While Vincenzo Nibali has a comfortable place at the top of the Tour podium, three contenders, including Romain Bardet and Alejandro Valverde will battle for a spot on the final podium in Saturday's time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Barring splits in the peloton or crashes Friday, three riders will duke it out for the two remaining places of honor in Saturday's TT

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While Vincenzo Nibali has a comfortable place at the top of the Tour podium, three contenders, including Romain Bardet and Alejandro Valverde will battle for a spot on the final podium in Saturday's time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

PAU, France (VN) — Some have complained that the race for the yellow jersey has been boring, especially with the regal dominance of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but no one can suggest that the Tour de France isn’t exciting.

Not only has every day produced quality racing and quality winners, but there is a tight battle for the final podium — in fact, it hasn’t been this close in years.

On stage 18, Nibali stamped his absolute authority on the Tour, riding away from a fractured peloton to win his fourth stage to secure what, barring disaster, will be Italy’s first Tour win since Marco Pantani in 1998.

Behind him, three riders are separated by just 15 seconds in a nail-biting fight to secure the remaining two places on the podium.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who’s been hot and cold throughout the climbing stages across the Alps and Pyrénées, had another uneven day, slipping from second to fourth, now 7:25 back.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) followed a resurgent Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), and climbed into the “virtual” podium spots in second and third, with just three days of racing left.

Pinot is now 7:10 behind the imperious Nibali, and Peraud slotted into third at 7:23 back.

Barring splits in the peloton or crashes Friday, the three will duke it out for the two remaining places of honor in Saturday’s 54km time trial from Bergerac to Périgueux.

“I was on my limits today,” admitted Valverde at the line, after allowing the French pair to bounce ahead of him on GC. “I’m very, very tired, but everything depends on the form on the day. If I have good legs, I can take second place back.”

With the French savoring the prospect of their first podium finisher since Richard Virenque in 1997, Thursday’s crushing climb on the Hautacam served up the tantalizing possibility of having two French riders on the final podium. That hasn’t happened since 1984, when Laurent Fignon won his second Tour, and Bernard Hinault was second.

As Valverde said, whoever can recover best from three brutal stages across the Pyrénées will have the best shot to earn a podium spot.

As it stacks up now, 37-year-old Peraud, a former French national time trial champion and Olympic mountain bike silver medalist, stands the best chance to assure France a spot on the podium.

“I think we’re all in the same boat, all within [15] seconds. It’s going to be close for the podium,” Peraud said. “It was a huge effort today. I really suffered. I could have lost everything, to be honest.”

Thursday’s final climbing stage of 2014′s wild Tour route provided the podium protagonists their last chance to bolster their hopes for one of the prestigious places on the final podium.

Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), the plucky 23-year-old, sacrificed his chances for the second day in a row, and helped pace the clearly struggling Peraud in the final grinding push to the Hautacam summit. Bardet, who has sparkled on the steepest climbs throughout this Tour, settled into fifth, at 9:27 back, and will likely lose considerable time in the final time trial, and could even see van Garderen, 2:07 behind the young Frenchman in sixth, nudge ahead of him.

Van Garderen will surely regret his bad day Tuesday, when he lost more than four minutes to his podium rivals. The 25-year-old Coloradan bounced back with a vengeance Thursday, setting a driving pace behind the attacking Nibali to force the selection. He was hoping to drop either Pinot or Peraud to revive his outsider podium hopes, but the Frenchmen held tough.

“I just had in my mind that this is the last mountain stage before the end of the Tour, so if you’re going to do something, you have to do it today,” van Garderen said. “When I was setting a pretty hard tempo, I would look back, and Pinot always looked pretty easy on my wheel.”

Despite his brave efforts, the podium now looks out of reach for van Garderen. A strong final time trial could move him ahead of Bardet into fifth, equaling his career-best finish in 2012.

Pinot, meanwhile, proved yet again his steady consistency in the mountains. With the help of van Garderen, he was able to shake Valverde, but he couldn’t drop the stubborn Peraud. His compatriot looked on the verge of cracking, but Pinot couldn’t finish him off, and will enter the final time trial with a much smaller advantage — just 15 seconds — than he would have hoped, previously estimating he would need around a minute before the TT to have serious hopes of reaching the podium.

“I’m pretty happy about (second overall). But it’s only 15 seconds so it’s pretty close,” Pinot said. “The time trial is not going to be easy, but I will fight as hard as I can to get them. 15 seconds is a very small advantage.”

All three enter the 2014 Tour’s lone time trial essentially tied, with just 15 seconds separating Pinot and Valverde. It’s going to be a heart-breaker for one of three riders who falls short to finish fourth. And it could come down to a matter of seconds.

None of the three are pure time trial specialists, though Peraud is perhaps the best technically of the trio against the clock.

Valverde is the most prolific winner of the three, with more than 50 professional wins to Peraud’s three, and Pinot’s six, but he’s been terribly inconsistent in the Tour, never really imposing his will, except Tuesday, when Movistar ganged up on a struggling van Garderen to all but eliminate the American’s podium chances.

Pinot, meanwhile, seems to have momentum on his side, though that hardly matters in a time trial. He’s been consistent across the Tour, and has improved his descending skills to make him a legitimate podium threat throughout this Tour.

But as the name suggests, the race of truth will reveal who is the strongest of the three at the end of what’s been an excruciating Tour for the peloton.

A final time trial is often more about legs and will than time trial technique or ability, so it’s hard to tell who will come up with the winning ride Saturday.

Heartache and ecstasy could be separated by mere seconds.

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Gallery: Tour de France, stage 18 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-tour-de-france-stage-18_338158 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/gallery/gallery-tour-de-france-stage-18_338158#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:49:08 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338158

Atop the mammoth Hautacam climb, Nibali shows the Tour who's boss, and the battle for second and third heats up

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Sky stands behind all-for-Froome Tour approach http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/sky-stands-behind-froome-tour-approach_338141 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/07/news/sky-stands-behind-froome-tour-approach_338141#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:47:32 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=338141

Vasil Kiryienka's stage 17 breakaway was one of Sky's valiant — albiet fruitless — attempts to salvage a stage win in the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Despite losing its captain, its plan B, and so far, going winless, David Brailsford said that supporting one man is the way to win

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Vasil Kiryienka's stage 17 breakaway was one of Sky's valiant — albiet fruitless — attempts to salvage a stage win in the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ARGELÈS-GAZOST, France (VN) — Team Sky stands behind its decision to bring a team solely supporting Chris Froome to the Tour de France. Despite losing its captain, its plan B, and so far, going winless, general manager David Brailsford said that supporting only one man is the way to win.

“Not many people can win this race,” Brailsford said. “If you got one of the guys that you think can win then my thinking is, let’s go and try to win it and do everything we can to try to win it. If that doesn’t work, then it’s pretty unlikely that anything else will work, so you go all for plan A if you want to win.”

For the last two years, Brailsford left home 2012 winner Brad Wiggins in favor of Froome. In 2013, Wiggins had a knee problem after the Giro d’Italia and was unable to race. This year, he won the Tour of California overall and the British time trial title but wasn’t given a place with the men in black for the Tour.

Instead, Sky built a team around Froome. The Kenyan-born Brit did not race Tirreno-Adriatico due to a back problem and crashed in the Critérium du Dauphiné, losing his lead days later. But he won the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie. Early season problems aside, he and Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) looked the strongest on paper, and Brailsford gave Froome the green light to race as captain.

“We won this race twice, and we’d like to win it for the third time,” continued Brailsford on Thursday at the start in Pau. “If you want to do something other than winning, you can change the team, change the nature of the riders in your team.”

Sky came to the Tour in 2012 with a multi-pronged team and a lofty goal of winning the green and yellow jersey. It came close, just missing the green but taking the yellow and six stage wins. Brailsford said that the goal put the team “under a lot of pressure” and said that he believed it was not “sustainable.”

“You then think about the likelihood of winning, if you feel you can, then you then take away the elements, the safety net, and try maximize your chances of winning,” Brailsford said of 2013 and 2014.

“Any day of the week, if you gave me the choice of coming here with a rider who can win the Tour de France, the biggest race, or slightly jeopardizing that a bit because you were scared of not winning and you just wanted to salvage something out of the race — I’d always go for the win.”

The overall win slipped out of Sky’s grip when Froome crashed three times in just over 24 hours. The third fall, before the pavé began in stage 5 to Arenberg, forced him out with fractured bones in his left wrist and right hand.

The team shifted leadership to Richie Porte, who sat second overall, but saw that plan B fly out the window when the Australian, complaining later of a chest infection, was left behind in the mountains. Since, the team has fought for stage wins and — though it came close with Geraint Thomas, Vasil Kiryienka, and Mikel Nieve in escapes — it failed.

Brailsford stood by Sky’s all-for-Froome plan with only three days left in the 2014 Tour. “Put me in the same place before the Tour, with the same info,” he said. “I’d make the same decision.”

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