Contador Bows Out Of Vuelta

Alberto Contador of UCI Pro Team Saxo-Tinkoff reconfirmed he will not defend his Vuelta a España crown, but hopes to race the world championships later this season.
Speaking to the Spanish daily MARCA, Contador said defending his Vuelta victory of 2012 was never in his plans.

“The Vuelta was never on my calendar and that’s the main reason I am not going to defend my victory of last year,” Contador told MARCA.

“Also, Saxo-Tinkoff has a strong block of riders who have been subject to me all season and who can do well individually. Majka, [Nicolas] Roche, and [Roman] Kreuziger, if they decide to race, can do well and fight for the podium.”

Contador had already told journalists at the end of the Tour de France, where he finished fourth overall, that he was not going to the Vuelta. Team boss Bjarne Riis, however, suggested the decision had not been finalized.

Contador’s comments in Saturday’s edition of MARCA, taken ahead of a gran fondo in Italy, are the latest confirmation that he will not be in Galicia on August 24 when the Vuelta starts.

Instead, Contador said he would focus on a series of one-day races, including GP de Plouay in France, followed by the Canadian World Tour events at Quebec and Montreal, and end with Milano-Torino and the Giro di Lombardia. He also expressed interest in racing the world championships in Florence.

Contador also outlined his frustration about his performance during the Tour, suggesting that he posted his best numbers in pre-Tour tests, but could not deliver during the race.
Contador said hat cycling is not a matter of math so there is no way to exactly predict what the body does at some times. He also said that before starting the tour, many tests were done.

Cavendish Triumphs In The Sixth Stage

After performing rather well in the first five stages of the Tour of Denmark, Mark Cavendish (Team Omega Pharma- Quick Step) won the final and the sixth stage of the tour. This victory actually marked his 16th triumph in the 2013 cycling season which includes his 2 stage wins at the Tour de France this year. Bryan Coquard (Team Europcar) came second and Tyler Ferrar (Team Garmin-Sharp) came third in the final stage at the Tour of Denmark which ended in Frederiksberg.

Cavendish had tweeted before beginning the race that this is his last race because he is planning to take a break for a month and is waiting eagerly to spend some quality time with his family and fiancé. He really wanted to win this race in Frederiksberg as he has won three races earlier in Frederiksberg.

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Petacchi to join Omega Pharma QuickStep

Mark Cavendish has quite a powerful weapon in his lead-out train after cyclist Alessandro Petacchi joined Omega Pharma QuickStep cycling team where he would stay till the end of 2014. The 6 time Tour stage champ, who has also snatched the green jersey in the year 2010, emerges of retirement to be a part of the team and would make his debut at the Kortrijk criterium on 8th August, before riding 7 stage Eneco Tour from 12th August to 18th August.

AleJet is one of most decorated sprinters in cycling. They have amassed 48 Grand Tour stage victories, and wins in Paris Tours and Milan San Remo. Mark Cavendish and Alessandro Petacchi are also members of an exclusive club of 5 cycle riders who have got the points classifications in all the 3 Grand Tours, with Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Laurent Jalabert and Eddy Merckx.

However, Alessandro has become a part of Omega Pharma QuickStep cycling team not to add to his palmares, but to give more firepower to Mark Cavendish’s lead-out train that has faltered sometimes since the Manx Missile’s move from the Sky team.

Alessandro told that he joined this team to take on a very different role, to be a team player, mainly when it comes to sprints. The primary objective is to be useful to the cycling team when required and to put his experience to the service of younger riders.

Alessandro started the year with Lampre Merida but drew back in April and the thirty nine year was immediately connected to a move to Omega Pharma QuickStep team, who had looked to bolster Mark’s lead-out train for Giro d’Italia as well as Tour de France.

Clouds of Injuries Looming

More and more clouds of injuries are looming over the Tour de France which is slated to start in the last week of June. The bad weather conditions due to rain and snow at Giro d’italia has played an instrumental role in making many riders sick and injured. The latest rider to join the camp of injured is Alessandro Vanotti of the Astana team. He is also one of the prime team mates of Nibali. Vanotti is suffering from a broken collarbone while getting off the bike. Another rider who pulled out of the competition with the same problem is Enrico Battaglin. He was the winner of stage four and look really promising at the rest of the stages in Giro before he suffered from the injury.

British rider David Millar of team Garmin Sharp also withdrew from the tour with a chest infection. Giro d’italia was really important for Millar as he needs to prove himself this year. He was involved in the scandal of doping as well but the two year ban on him was removed because he gave evidence against legendary Lance Amstrong. Gret Steegman who was the lead man for Mark Cavendish also dropped out of the tour. The cold and dangerous weather conditions prevented him from even making it to the start line on Saturday.

Apart from them, the initial stages of the Giro saw the defending champion Ryder Hesjedal withdraw due to a worsening physical health condition. He is recovering from a virus attack and hoping to be 100% fit ahead of the Tour de France. He was grief stricken as he had built himself up for the Giro and now when he had to pull out, it was really difficult. Sir Bradley Wiggins also had to retire hurt from the competition in a dramatic way where his Sky team mates helped him to finish the short stage. He is suffering from illness and vows to get back on the road before the French tour.

The Tour de France

The hundredth Tour de France begins in Corsica on 29 June and each of its 21 stages will be on French soil.

The big betting question mark is hanging over last year’s winner, the highly esteemed Sir Bradley Wiggins. Life has not been too kind to him of late. He was not even placed in the Challenge Majorca; he failed in the Tour of Oman, and finished in fifth place in the Giro Del Trentino and Tour of Catalonia. The final insult was that he had to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia due to illness. Certainly it is not looking good for him, but he retains a bullish attitude to the Tour de France and he is convinced that he will recover in time to prepare for it.

Some bookmakers are offering odds as long as 16/1 on him, which are longer odds than some bookmakers are offering on any of the top ten in the standings. If you are a betting person, then odds like that should spark at least a little enthusiasm; they are very good adds and almost certainly represent excellent value.

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