BAGNERES DE LUCHON France (Reuters) – Frenchman Romain Bardet and American Tejay van Garderen’s Tour de France podium hopes suffered a major blow on Tuesday when they lost considerable ground in the 16th stage won by Australian Michael Rogers.
Rogers gave his Tinkoff-Saxo team their second stage win this year by powering away from a breakaway group in the 237.5-km mountain trek from Carcassonne.
CARCASSONNE France (Reuters) – Thibaut Pinot has played down an all-French rivalry with fellow youngster Romain Bardet by saying his compatriot is not his biggest threat for a rare home podium finish on the Tour de France.
Pinot, who is fourth just behind third-placed Bardet, believes Spain’s second-placed Alejandro Valverde, American Tejay van Garderen in fifth and France’s Jean-Christophe Peraud have greater time-trial prowess and are thus his main rivals.
CARCASSONNE France (Reuters) – On the first rest day of the Tour de France, Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford wondered why Vincenzo Nibali was being let off the hook over cycling’s doping problem after last year’s champion Chris Froome was grilled multiple times on the matter.
Froome answered dozens of doping-related questions as media urged him to prove his credibility in 2013 but until Sunday, the day before the second rest day, Nibali had faced no more than three questions on the subject despite comfortably leading the general classification.
NIMES France (Reuters) – It all ended in tears for Garmin-Sharp domestique Jack Bauer after his chance of realizing a boyhood dream and winning a Tour de France stage was snatched away from him in the final 50 meters after a 222km breakaway.
With team leader Andrew Talansky injured and gone, the Garmin-Sharp domestiques have been given a free ride on the Tour and Bauer almost made the most of the opportunity on Sunday’s 15th stage.
NIMES (Reuters) – Norway’s Alexander Kristoff claimed his second Tour de France victory when he won a bunch sprint to take Sunday’s 15th stage after the peloton reined in the day’s breakaway in the final straight.
New Zealand’s Jack Bauer, who broke clear with Swiss Martin Elminger, was caught by the chasing pack less than 100 metres from the line.
RISOUL France (Reuters) – Vincenzo Nibali strengthened his stranglehold on the Tour de France when he gained further ground over his rivals in the second Alpine stage won by Poland’s Rafal Majka on Saturday.
Astana rider Nibali finished the 14th stage, a 177-km mountain trek from Grenoble, in second place but beat Alejandro Valverde by one minute as the battle for second overall looks set to go to the wire.
CHAMROUSSE France (Reuters) – Early in the final ascent, Thibaut Pinot narrowed his eyes and circled around the yellow jersey group, as if weighing up the form of his rivals.
Then he upped the pace, demonstrating he would be a force to be reckoned with in the stage – and later, too, after showing guts and class on the bike in the first Alpine stage of the Tour de France.
CHAMROUSSE France (Reuters) – After winning the last two editions of the Tour de France, Team Sky’s last hopes of a hat-trick melted on the first Alpine stage when Richie Porte cracked in the heat on Friday.
The Australian rider, promoted to team leader after Britain’s Chris Froome crashed out in the first week, gradually moved down the yellow jersey group before losing contact.
CHAMROUSSE France (Reuters) – Vincenzo Nibali put the hammer down on the Tour de France when the Italian snatched a solo win in the 13th stage in a mountaintop finish as Australian Richie Porte blew up in the heat on Friday.
Astana rider Nibali went on his own in the long climb to Chamrousse to open a 3:37 gap over Spain’s Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.
ST ETIENNE France (Reuters) – Being too strong, and both feared and respected for it, can be a weakness on the Tour de France, Slovakian prodigy Peter Sagan has discovered.
He has managed eight top five finishes, including four second places, but after 12 stages he has yet to cross the finishing line first — thanks, he says, to his rivals’ defensive tactics.