Alexander Kristoff wins stage 15 of the Tour de France as breakaway agonisingly close

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has taken his second stage victory in the 2014 Tour de France, outsprinting his rivals on a wet finish into Nimes. The day’s breakaway of Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Martin Elmiger (IAM) was caught heartbreakingly close of the finish line, with an exhausted Bauer overtaken less than 50m before the line.

TDFR 2014 - stage -15

Bauer and Elmiger broke clear of the peloton in the first kilometre of the 222km stage and were able to build an advantage of more than seven minutes in just 30km. Their lead peaked at 8:50 before the teams of the sprinters and race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) started to increase the tempo.

The gap was gradually whittled down as the riders rode through heavy rain on the approach to Nimes and the stage looked set for a regulation sprint finish. But as the final 10km ticked away, the gap to the two leaders wasn’t doing the same. With 3km to go it looked as if the sprinters teams might have made a mess of things, but Elmiger was finally caught with about 100m to go and Jack Bauer, in a last-ditch effort, was only overhauled with 50m to the finish.

The New Zealander was physically and emotionally shattered as he crossed the line in 10th, with Alexander Kristoff taking the sprint victory from Heinrich Haussler (IAM) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished comfortably in the main field and will wear the yellow jersey for a 13th day when the Tour continues after tomorrow’s rest day.

Stage 15: Tallard > Nîmes - Stage Result

Sunday 20th July 2014

1. no
KRISTOFF Alexander
Team Katusha
04:56:43
2. au
HAUSSLER Heinrich
IAM Cycling
-
3. sk
SAGAN Peter
Cannondale
-

Click here to read a full stage report from stage 15. In case you missed them over the weekend, here are the stage reports from Friday’s stage 13, and Saturday’s stage 14.

Evie Stevens wins women’s Thüringen Rundfahrt

Specialized-Lululemon’s Evie Stevens has won the week-long women’s Thüringen Rundfahrt off the back of a stage victory on stage 4 of the race.


Stage 4 featured a 10km climb that peaked roughly 15km from the finish, and when former Wall Street banker reached the finish in Saalfeld, only Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) accompanied her. Armitstead herself won stage 1 of the race from a three-rider escape group, and went on to finish second overall, 42 second behind Stevens, and win the QOM competition.

Steven’s teammate Lisa Brennauer won both the prologue and the stage 3 ITT. She led the race through to stage 4 and eventually finished third, 1:31 behind her Specialized-Lululemon.

Evie Stevens was one of several riders who competed in both the Giro Rosa and Thüringen Rundfahrt. With Thüringen starting the day after the Giro finished, the riders had an impressive 17 straight days of racing.


Stage 6: Zeulenroda > Zeulenroda - Stage Result

Sunday 20th July 2014

1. de
GEBHARDT Elke
Bigla Cycling Team
00:00:00
2. gb
ARMITSTEAD Elizabeth
Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team
-

Ilya Davidenok wins the Tour of Qinghai Lake

Ilya Davidenok (Astana Continental) has taken the overall victory in the 2014 Tour of Qinghai Lake, after moving into the overall lead on stage 5 of the 13 stage race and holding off his challengers until the end.

Qinghai

Davidenok finished third on the hilly fifth stage, moving into the overall lead in front of the winner of that stage, Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme Marseille), by 30 seconds. Consistent riding from the Kazakh and his Astana team saw Davidenok maintain his lead through to stage 10 when he managed to take a sprint victory and increase his overall lead over Vaubourzeix to 39 seconds.

The winning margin in end was 42 seconds, with stage 3 and points classification winner Mykhaylo Kononenko (Kolss) moving into second ahead of Vaubourzeix.

Final Classification: > - Stage Result

Saturday 19th July 2014

1. kz
DAVIDENOK Ilya
Continental Team Astana
51:39:58
2. ua
KONONENKO Mykhaylo
Kolss Cycling Team
0:42
3. fr
VAUBOURZEIX Thomas
Team La Pomme Marseille 13
0:43

Bauer misses out on making Tour de France history by metres

Agonisingly close. With 50 metres to go Jack Bauer was on the verge of something he had mentally rehearsed since a very young age; five metres later, that possibility was shattered, and he went from being the day’s winner to the day’s hard luck story.

TDFR 2014 - stage -15

“It’s just bitter, bitter disappointment,” said Bauer to a scrum of TV, radio and written press reporters at the Garmin team bus in Nîmes. “It was a childhood dream to win a stage of the Tour de France.

“For a person like myself, a domestique, I am normally working for others. So it is my first chance to actually be up the road and with the change in the wind and the weather in the last 100 kilometres, we really realised, myself and Martin, were in with a chance for the win.”

Read the full story here on CyclingTips.

Andy and Frank Schleck’s future uncertain at Trek

We’ve already reported that Trek Racing is searching for new riders to contend the General Classification of stage races and Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf is reporting that Belkin GC rider Bauke Mollema is headed there for 2015.

The Schleck Bros. at the start Amstel Gold Race 2014

To add to this, CyclingWeekly has an interesting article on the Schlecks’ future with perspectives from Johnny Schleck, the father of Andy and Fränk:

“It’s so difficult now with WorldTour points,” Johny Schleck told CyclingWeekly. “It’s not so good. Andy hasn’t raced, Fränk has had one problem after another.

“I don’t think they’ll go to a second division team. If they had to do that, then I think that it’d be better that they stop. It’d be too long a road back to a first division team if they did that.”

Johny Schleck also said that both brothers want to continue through the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Andy perhaps longer. Trek may try to keep Fränk instead of both brothers but that could be a problem as they have said before that they would never race on separate teams.

Read more at CyclingWeekly.

Richie Porte’s illness leaves Tour finish in doubt

Richie Porte (Sky) has gone from being the stand-in leader of Team Sky with ambitions of overall victory to a rider that’s assessing his participation in the Tour de France on a day-by-day basis.

TDFR 2014 - stage -14

Porte has reportedly been suffering from a chest infection which contributed to significant time losses in the Alps over the past few days.

“At the moment my aim is to finish the race, but the doctor wants me to take it day by day. Obviously, there is no point in absolutely killing myself to make it Paris,” Porte told Fairfax Media on Saturday.

Porte reportedly got ill after the cobbled fifth stage of the race and his been on antibiotics. The remedy appeared to work, but Porte began feeling sick again in recent days. He reportedly sought medical attention from the race doctor during both stages in the Alps, complaining of nausea.

Porte has begun a second run of antibiotics in the hope of recovering before Tuesday’s first stage in the Pyrenees.

Click here to read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.

Orica-GreenEdge still searching for a stage win at this year’s Tour

by Shane Stokes

Orica-GreenEdge manager Shayne Bannan has said that there are three prime opportunities for the team to chase a long-awaited stage win in this year’s Tour, outlining what he said were the best chances.

Gerrans2

“I think the most suited days for us now are Sunday’s stage, Tuesday’s stage and Friday’s stage,” Bannan told CyclingTips. “They are the most logical stages for us. We will try to be aggressive and try to go in the other breaks on other stages. But, being realistic, Sunday’s stage and Tuesday’s stage.”

The team notched up two stage wins in the opening four days of last year’s Tour, with Simon Gerrans taking yellow when he sprinted to victory on stage three and then Orica-GreenEdge winning the team time trial. This time round things have been more difficult.

“There have been three things; Daryl [Impey] not being here, Michael Matthews injuring himself in the days leading up [to the Tour] and then Simon [Gerrans] having that fall on the first stage,” said Bannan. “For us, being realistic, the first week is going to be critical. And in particular, having Simon try and get a good placing. He was in a good position to do that until he fell.

“After last year and after the Giro this year, it would be nice to get something out of the Tour, for sure,” he said.

Click here to read more at CyclingTips.

Yates withdrawn from Tour de France after successful debut

He’s ridden above his 21 years thus far in the race, and was involved in several breakaways including Saturday’s alpine stage to Risoul, but Simon Yates’ goal of reaching Paris will have to wait another year.

Directeur sportif Matt White said that he ranked the young rider’s performance ‘ten out of ten’ on the scale.

“For a 21-year-old neo-pro, he contributed every day, everything he could do.

“Making one break in the Tour de France is an achievement but to make a couple and the way he has gone about the whole Tour de France experience is a great sign for the future.

“Yes, it would be nice for him to finish the Tour, but it was a group decision that enough is enough and we have a lot of goals for him in the second half of the season.”

Read the full story here on CyclingTips.

Contador speaks about his Tour de France crash

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) has spoken to the media at length for the first time since his Tour-ending crash last week, in an interview for Spanish TV station Teledeportes.

TDFR 2014 - stage -8

“It’s not easy, the leg is limiting me a lot,” Contador said. “The inflammation has been developing and gone down a little, but I’m still in a lot of pain. I need to give it three weeks, because the wound could open again and the delay could be a lot longer. I will have three weeks without my bike, too much.”

Contador said he felt hurt by suggestions he crashed twice rather than once and that he’d taken unecessary risks on the descent he ultimately crashed on.

“I’m a racer that knows what I’m doing and that is important to me. You have to be aware and try to avoid all risks, try to avoid any problems. For that reason it makes it even more annoying to have had a fall like that when you’re careful.”

After his crash Contador had harboured hopes of making it to the finish of the stage, but eventually realised that wasn’t going to happen.

“I thought only about finishing the stage with grupetto but I saw that what I had was very serious and could not continue,” explained Contador. “I had excruciating pain and could not continue pushing the pedals. After five seconds without pedalling, I could not move my leg back because I was cooling so quickly. With a lot of sadness I told my teammates that I could not continue.

“The miles in the car to the medic truck was a very bad time because you have many emotional changes: you start thinking about everything you have worked for, everything you’ve fought for… You see everything is going perfect, the legs respond very well and in a second all goes away. This is cycling.”

Despite initial suggestions he wouldn’t be ready in time, Contador has no doubts that he will be at the Vuelta a Espana in September.

“There is no question as to if I will do the Vuelta a España, the question is if I can be in form. I love to compete, I want to compete and I want to enjoy this race in my country and to be there. I have to see if I can be at a good level, but it is not easy,” said Contador. “I am really motivated for the future, I just hope that the recuperation goes well and if I can’t be there this year then I will prepare just as well or better for next year’s Tour.”

Click here to read more.

Mark Cavendish back training after Tour de France crash

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is reportedly back on his bike, doing three hours a day on his home trainer just weeks after crashing on the opening stage of the Tour de France.

TDFR 2014 - tage 2

The Manxman, who separated his shoulder and ruptured ligaments in the crash, told Het Nieuwsblad that he hope to stay in shape ahead of his return.

“I don’t want to start again from scratch,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “I do three daily one-hour sessions and watch an episode of the tv series ‘Game of Thrones’. I have already finished the first season and have three more to go.”

Cavendish had reportedly planned to watch the London stage of the Tour live with friends “but I walked out. I couldn’t stand it. I put so much effort into the Tour. When I see the OPQS guys work … I miss it so much. I need the Tour.”

Click here to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.

Andriy Grivko’s message of peace

Andriy Grivko, the only Ukrainian rider on this year’s Tour de France, and he says his presence is essential to convey a message of peace back to his homeland. The Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 incident on Thursday further highlighted the issues that currently face Ukrainians.

Andriy_Grivko

The 30-year-old, a native of the Crimea, is helping Vincenzo Nibali win the Tour de Franceand he hopes his presence at the front of the peloton can have a positive effect back in the Ukraine.

“It’s difficult to concentrate on the bike when you know that your family is there,” Grivko told L’Equipe newspaper on Sunday.

“My parents and my sister live in Simferopol, in Crimea. For some months, all my thoughts have been there. Our freedom and our security are in danger.

“I feel a bit alone to tell the truth but it’s important that I’m here on the Tour to carry a message of peace. Above and beyond my work for Vincenzo I see my presence on the Tour as a mission.

“It’s hard to concentrate on cycling when you know your family is still over there,” he said. “I’ve tried to speak to them regularly since the start of the Tour.”

Read more at CyclingWeekly.

The Dutch cyclist who was supposed to be on both doomed Malaysia Airlines flights

It’s been heartbreaking watching the news from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 unfold, not to mention MH370 which still, four months on, remains unaccounted for. In following the coverage we came across the story of a Dutch cyclist, Maarten de Jonge, who was supposed to fly on not one but both of the two doomed flights, but changed his mind at the last minute both times.

Here’s a tweet from de Jonge which translates to: “Airliner crashes in Ukraine. Had I left today, then …”


De Jonge wrote on his website:

“How happy I am for myself and my family that I was on this flight did not take the last moment, my story is ultimately nothing compared to the misery … Attention should be paid to the victims and survivors. Wishing everyone affected by this disaster a lot of strength.”

Here at CyclingTips we’d like to offer our condolences to the friends and loved ones of anyone affected by these two tragedies.

Click here to read more at ITV.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips:

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