PAU, France (Reuters) – Chris Froome is fresher, better prepared and stronger than he was when he won the Tour de France in 2013.
The Briton enters the mountainous part of this year’s race with the overall leader’s yellow jersey on his back after avoiding the pitfalls of a treacherous first week.
PAU, France (Reuters) – Former Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso withdrew from the Tour de France on Monday after revealing he has testicular cancer. “We discover this two hours ago, I have to stop,” the 37-year-old Italian told a news conference on the first rest day of this year’s Tour.
“I crashed in the fifth stage and I felt pain in my left testicle and I went for checks,” said Basso, who was addressing the media ahead of his Tinkoff-Saxo team leader Alberto Contador.
PLUMELEC, France (Reuters) – Tejay van Garderen emerged as a credible Tour de France contender after a treacherous first week, yet the American refused to get carried away ahead of two grueling weeks in the mountains.
Van Garderen is second overall and trails overall leader Chris Froome by 12 seconds after his BMC Racing team beat the Briton’s Sky team by one second in the ninth stage, a 28-km time trial on Sunday.
PLUMELEC, France (Reuters) – Chris Froome stayed firmly on track for the Tour de France title when he retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after the ninth stage, a 28-kilometre team time trial won by the slimmest of margins by BMC Racing on Sunday.
Heading into Monday’s rest day, Froome has the edge over his main rivals, who were hoping to take advantage of the Briton’s supposed weaknesses in the tricky opening block of racing.
MUR DE BRETAGNE, France (Reuters) – Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, who was banking on the opening block of racing to make his mark on this year’s Tour de France, instead showed another sign of weakness on Saturday.
The Italian, who lost ground in the second stage after being trapped in a split of the peloton, finished 10 seconds behind the big guns on stage eight as they all finished together.
MUR DE BRETAGNE, France (Reuters) – Alexis Vuillermoz earned France its first victory on this year’s Tour de France, his final kick proving too hot to handle for the big guns in the eighth stage on Saturday.
The AG2r-La Mondiale rider attacked twice in the final climb, a brutal two-km ascent at an average gradient of 6.9 percent, and countered overall leader Chris Froome less than one-km from the line.
RENNES, France (Reuters) – After a treacherous week of racing on the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen is still flying under the radar but the American is definitely in the mix.
Having avoided the pitfalls that befell other riders in the nervous early stages, Van Garderen is third overall, 13 seconds behind Britain’s yellow jersey holder Chris Froome of Team Sky.
FOUGERES, France (Reuters) – Italian Luca Paolini has been provisionally suspended after the Katusha rider failed a dope test for cocaine on the Tour de France, his team and the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Friday.
“In accordance with UCI anti-doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair,” the UCI said in a statement.
LIVAROT, France (Reuters) – The man who founded the first African team to race in the Tour de France said on Friday that racist abuse suffered by one of his riders in Austria this week could not deflect from its success in establishing Africa’s place in world cycling.
MTN-Qhubeka team founder Douglas Ryder said Eritrean Natnael Berhane was upset at being called a “nigger” by Belarussian Branislau Samoilau as they raced alongside each other in the Tour of Austria on Wednesday, but had rejected suggestions he be disqualified.
FOUGERES, France (Reuters) – Team Sky’s confidence was soaring on Friday after Chris Froome, chasing a second Tour de France title, had survived a treacherous first week of racing.
The British rider, thought to be vulnerable on the flat, windswept and sometimes cobbled roads of the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France, is the overall leader and his best may still be to come.