Nibali shows his dominance again on stage 18

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has closed out the high mountain stages in the 2014 Tour de France with another commanding performance on stage 18, claiming his fourth stage victory of the race.

TDFR 2014 - stage -18

The Sicilian attacked on the stage-ending climb to the Hautacam ski resort and put considerable time into all his rivals while, further down the road, a battle was being waged for overall podium positions.

The day’s main escape featured 20 riders and when that group hit the slopes of the first hors categorie climb of the day, the Col du Tourmalet, it quickly started to disintegrate. Mikel Nieve (Sky) and Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) escaped from the lead group and led over the top of the 17km climb.

Their lead was gradually eroded by the work of Astana in the peloton and when the pair hit the final climb to Hautacam, Nieve set off alone. Kadri and the rest of the breakaway were swept up on the final climb as Nibali followed an attack by Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) then rode clear on his own.

He went on to catch Nieve with 8.1km to go before powering away to yet another dominant victory. He now leads the Tour by more than seven minutes with three stages remaining.

Stage 18: Pau > Hautacam - Stage Result

Thursday 24th July 2014

1. it
NIBALI Vincenzo
Astana Pro Team
04:04:17
2. fr
PINOT Thibaut
FDJ.fr
1:10
3. pl
MAJKA Rafał
Tinkoff-Saxo
1:12

Trek Racing rejects rumours of bio passport case against Andy Schleck

by Shane Stokes

The Trek Factory Racing Team has responded to rumours circulating in the French media and on Twitter about a biological passport case against its rider Andy Schleck, saying that such reports are completely unfounded.

Trek Factory Racing press conference TdFr 2014

“We don’t take it seriously. We haven’t heard anything, had no indications from the UCI, so we are not worried,” a team spokesman told CyclingTips. “The team finds it absolutely ridiculous…that is how we feel about it. We are not worried at all. These rumours are unfair to Andy and we don’t take them seriously.”

Both Andy and his brother Frank are in the final year of their current contract. Media reports in recent days suggested that while Fränk might be retained, Andy would likely not be offered a new contract.

The Trek Factory Racing spokesman confirmed that at this point in time, the older of the two brothers was more likely to be retained. However he said that no final decision had been made about Andy Schleck.

“The team is talking [to Fränk Schleck], but there is no deal at this point. He has been performing quite well so the team is definitely interested in talking. Fränk is more a priority than Andy at this point to see if we can find a deal. However that doesn’t mean that Andy is definitely out or something. We are willing to wait for that.”

Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips.

Van Garderen back to strong form in Tour, impresses on final mountain stage

A taste of what might have been. Tejay van Garderen showed he is one of the strongest riders in this year’s Tour and hinted at what could have been a podium place in Paris with an impressive performance on the final mountain stage of this year’s race.

“It went well. It was really hard from the beginning. A break got away and Astana obviously wanted the stage so they pulled straight away,” the satisfied American said just after crossing the line.

“It was kind of a lumpy day. Over the Tourmalet the pace was hard. Then I just had it in my mind that, ‘this is the last mountain before the end of the Tour, so if you’re going to do something, you have to do it today.’”

Tejay

The podium looks unlikely, but van Garderen said that he believes he can take time out of at least one of those ahead.

“Whether or not I can gain enough time to move ahead, that remains to be seen,” he said. “But it is a long time trial, it suits me and I am going to give it 100 percent.”

Read the full story on CyclingTips here.

Sagan: I have two opportunities left, I still want a stage win

Peter Sagan has placed in the top five ten times during this year’s Tour de France, but has still yet to win a stage. He leads the Points Competition for the green jersey by 150 points and is certain to win the green jersey in Paris. But he still has two more sprint stages left where he could pick up that elusive stage win.

Sagan said at the end of today’s stage 18, “Starting tomorrow, I have two stages left to ride as a sprinter. I don’t have the stage win I want yet. I hope for the best. Up to now, there have been other stages adapted to my characteristics and yet I didn’t win. I realise that every year, the race is different at the Tour de France. Some things go well, others don’t.”

Contador ‘doesn’t want to be at the Vuelta just to be there’

Echoing Alberto Contador’s Twitter announcement Wednesday that he was renouncing his planned participation in the Vuelta a España, his spokesman Jacinto Vidarte has expanded upon the reasons why the Spaniard has decided not to take part.

“The injury is not really good,” he told CyclingTips. “The most important [factor] is that he doesn’t know how much time he will need to recover properly and, especially, to start riding the bike again. He has no time to take the start in a good condition, to fight for the victory.”

Contador

Vidarte is aware that Contador is one of the top names in the sport, but also recognises that it may not be in the rider’s interest to take part if he can’t perform. “He doesn’t want to be at the Vuelta just to be there,” he said.

He tried to remain optimistic. Contador said, “Doctors have told me it will be almost impossible to be in the Tour of Spain, but we’ll see how the leg evolves… Doctors have put things very black, but I will work hard in the coming weeks and we’ll see how far I can get.”

Read the full story on CyclingTips.

Bradley Wiggins on the challenges of post-Tour de France fame

Bradley Wiggins has told BBC Scotland that he’s struggled with the pressures of being a Tour de France winner and that there have been times we wishes he’d never won the Tour.

Tour de France  2012 stage - 12

“It was nice people saying ‘it changed my life’ and hearing things like ‘the Wiggo effect’; that was a positive,” Wiggins told BBC Scotland’s David McDaid ahead of the Commonwealth Games. “From a personal point of view, there’s been times I wish I’d never done all that,” he continued.

“I left for the Tour de France that year relatively unknown in the general public’s eyes. When I came back, for a week or so I felt like the most famous man in the country. It’s quite hard that level of fame, when you just want to do normal stuff with the children, things like that. That was hard but I think you learn to deal with it.

“You can plan physically to try to win the Tour but I could never plan for what was going to happen after it. It just went mad for a bit. Looking back now you don’t fully appreciate it at the time, you just try to take it in your stride… and drinking and stuff to try to ease your way through it.
Click here to read more at road.cc.

Amy Gillett Foundation and Cycling Australia launch inaugural Amy’s Otway Classic

As the world celebrates international Women’s Cycling Week, The Amy Gillett Foundation and Cycling Australia have launched the inaugural Amy’s Otway Classic, the sixth event on the Subaru National Road Series calendar.

The event, run in conjunction with the Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo, makes its first appearance on the national calendar with riders set to tackle 110 kilometres from Lorne to Benwerrin, including a section along a fully closed Great Ocean Road on Sunday September 14 this year.

In its fourth year, Amy’s Gran Fondo is held in memory of Australian cycling team member Amy Gillett, who tragically lost her life while training in Germany in 2005 when hit by a car.

Elite women will begin their race one hour before the mass start of Amy’s Gran Fondo in Lorne, with riders travelling along the picturesque Great Ocean Road before a testing 10km Queen of the Mountain climb at Skenes Creek before concluding with another tough 10km climb to the finish line at Benwerrin.

Click here to read more at the Cycling Australia website. Text via Cycling Australia press release.

Cav in the team car

After crashing out of the Tour de France on stage 1, Mark Cavendish is back at the race supporting his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates. Here’s a video from the team showing Cav in the OPQS team car, giving advice to his teammates, doing interviews, and hanging on for dear life. Compelling viewing.

The EPO Epidemic: tales from mixed martial arts

This isn’t cycling-related, so feel free to skip past, but we thought it was interesting watching how the sport of mixed martial arts is reacting to a slew of positive tests for EPO in recent times. Worth a look if you’re interested in how doping is perceived in sports beyond cycling.

The Win Tunnel: how much does your hairstyle affect aerodynamics?

In celebration of Women’s Cycling Week, the team at Specialized has headed back to the wind tunnel for another round of aerodynamics testing, this time on women’s hairstyles. Check out the results in the video below:

Didi the Devil

If you’ve ever wondered about the backstory behind the phenomenon that is Didi Senft (a.k.a. Didi the devil), look no further:

The Tour De France Explained in Animation

For all of you who have been stuck trying to explain you obsession over the past three weeks to your mates or family, just send them this:

The Rocacorba Recap

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

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