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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 16, 2014

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Tour de France Stage 11 News

So what does Tinkoff-Saxo do now that they have lost Alberto Contador, their GC man a real contender to win the Tour? Here's is the release I got from the team:

"Today is the first day without Alberto Contador at Tour de France. After stage 10 and on the rest day, the entire team was naturally affected by a sense of despair, sadness and sympathy for Alberto. But as the riders prepared for the start of stage 11 to Oyonnax, the focus on the team changed towards the remainder of Tour de France and the many stages ahead of us."

Outside the team bus, journalists and TV-crews gathered to ask the obvious question: what now? Tinkoff-Saxo’s experienced capitaine de route Michael Rogers was among the first to give an answer.

"It’s the first stage without Alberto, and the sadness is not just something we can leave at the rest day hotel. But we have a strong team and we’re all in a good condition. So we’ll be setting new goals and ambitions and shift our focus to taking home stage wins", said Michael Rogers.

The entire team was set to support Alberto Contador, but with his exit all the remaining seven riders could potentially aim at a stage win depending on the stage profile. Danish rider Michael Mørkøv reports himself ready for duty in the breakaways.

"Well, today is perhaps not the ideal day for me. I’m climbing really well right now but the Tour is full of natural climbers. I would have preferred to protect Alberto until Paris, but I will do my outmost to create results for the team", explains Michael Mørkøv and continues:

"There are definitely some stages that suit me. But the most important thing is that we have a strong setup on the team with experienced riders and a very solid foundation in our sporting management. Bjarne, Steven, Philippe and Fabrizio keep us focused and they have a plan for the next 11 stages", concludes Michael Mørkøv.

Peter Sagan was ninth today. About the stage he said this, "It's a pretty strange situation because also today we worked hard to take the victory but in the finale, even if I was in front and in the right position, the win didn't come. I would like to thank my teammates for the great work they did. I wanted to win also to make a present to my girlfriend Katarina, but I gave her only the flowers I received for the green jersey. About this, I'm happy for the advantage I have and the goal now is to defend until Paris".

"I don't think I had different options to play in the finale today. As usually happens, no one will work for a sprint if there's a small group and I'm part of it. Nothing to complain about, it's cycling. But of course for me it's always very difficult to win. I was in a good position but I can't catch all the riders that attack. I think I could have closed the gap to Gallopin, but then Rogers or Kwiatkowski could attack again. Now I hope to don't suffer from the cold I felt today and to have another chance tomorrow."

Rider Signings

Bauke Mollema, team leader for Belkin at the Tour, was reported by De Telegraaf to have agreed to ride for Trek Factory Racing next year. Mollema refused to confirm the story, saying "I have not signed anything. My contract expires and several teams are interested. And Trek is an interesting team. But I don’t have any statements now about my future. We have agreed that we focus on the Tour". Mollema's contract with Belkin is up at the end of this season and the team does not yet have a replcement sponsor for Belkin, which is pulling out at the end of the season.

Trek riders Andy and Frank Schleck have contracts that expire at the end of this season. Quo vadis Schlecks?

Bauke Mollema

Bauke Mollema on his way to starting stage 11. Photo ©Sirotti

Simon Gerrans has re-signed with Orica-GreenEdge. The 34-year old racer and winner of the 2012 Milano-San Remo will ride for the team through 2017.

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