Demare takes stage 2 in Eneco tour

French rider Arnaud Demare won the second stage of the Eneco Tour on Tuesday in a sprint finish in Vorst, on the outskirts of the Belgian capital Brussels.

Demare, a former world junior champion riding for the FDJ team, edged ahead of world road race champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and American Tyler Farrar at the end of the 176.9km stage from Ardooie.

Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour 2013

The trio were part of a group of 11 riders, including Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi, credited with the same time of 4hr 3min 34sec, who crossed the line five seconds ahead of the main pack.

Demare took the overall leader’s jersey from Australia’s Mark Renshaw, who suffered a puncture in the final kilometre and is now 3sec behind Demare in the general standings, with Gilbert a further second adrift.

Wednesday’s third stage takes place entirely within the Netherlands, covering the 187.3km from Oosterhout to Brouwersdam.

See here for full results and video of stage 2 Eneco Tour.

Dowsett knocked out of Eneco Tour

Alex Dowsett (Movistar), winner of the Giro d’Italia time trial, crashed yesterday and was forced out of the Eneco Tour.

His team said that the Brit took the impact with both hands (some reports are stating his thumbs were broken). Although he was able to re-enter the peloton, the pain became too much. Dowsett had been aiming at the 13-kilometre time trial on Friday.

Alex Dowsett crashes out during stage 2 of the Eneco tour

Alex Dowsett crashes out during stage 2 of the Eneco tour

Froome welcomes Wiggins’ help for 2014 Tour de France

Chris Froome says that he and Sky team-mate Brad Wiggins are able to work together for the 2014 Tour de France title.

“I don’t see any reason why not,” Froome said in Sky’s video release.

Tour de France  2012 stage - 17

“We’re both professionals and we’ve both won the Tour de France now. There are a lot of races on our calendar but I don’t see why not.”

See the video interview with Chris Froome here.

Nibali back in Giro form for Vuelta

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), just days before the Vuelta a España kicks off, says that he has returned to the form that won him the Giro d’Italia in May.

Giro D'Italia 2013 stage-18

“I’m not a robot, I don’t have an S on my chest for Superman, you can’t be at the front of every race,” he told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport regarding his average showing in the Tour of Poland.

“Heading for the Vuelta a España, the Vuelta a Burgos was an important pass and I worked well there.”

Nibali placed third overall in Burgos last week. After winning the Giro d’Italia, he is aiming to do the same in the Spanish Grand Tour starting on Saturday. He won the race in 2010 and last year, placed third in the Tour de France.

Kittel undergoes lie detector test to prove he is clean

Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), winner of four stages in the Tour de France this year, underwent a lie detector test for German magazine, Sport Bild to prove he does not dope.

German polygraph expert, Holger Leutz, who usually concerns himself with criminal cases, agreed to test Kittel for the magazine. He began with easy questions and moved on to serious business.

Marcel Kittel takes his fourth win on the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees.

Marcel Kittel takes his fourth win on the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees.

“Have you ever doped?” Kittel responded, “No – I won four stages at the Tour de France and arrived in Paris – clean.”

Leutz reported that Kittel never flinched under hard questioning. From his study, Leutz said that Kittel is “telling the truth.”

Kittel was not required to perform the test but said, “I have nothing to hide, so I decided to take the test. I stand for clean sport, and the test proves it.”

Read more here.

Saxo-Tinkoff heard by CAS

Sports high court, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear a case by team Saxo-Tinkoff regarding WorldTour points on August 19. The Danish team appealed the UCI, cycling’s governing body, and its rule banning a team to count riders’ points until two years after their doping ban ends.

Team owner, Bjarne Riis hired Alberto Contador immediately before tests proved he doped in the 2010 Tour de France. Contador served a back-dated two-year ban and returned to racing last year.

“It is an incomprehensible rule,” Riis said. “Imagine that Lionel Messi is suspended and that his goals no longer count for FC Barcelona when he returns.”

Read more here.

Bontrager pro cycling development team searching for a sponsor

Bontrager Pro Cycling manager Axel Merckx tweeted today that the team may be in jeopardy if they don’t find a sponsor before the end of August:

The Bontrager team began as Trek-Livestrong in 2009, in tandem with Armstrong’s comeback, and has developed the careers of riders such as Taylor Phinney, Alex Dowsett, Joe Dombrowski and Lawson Craddock and is one of the USA’s only true development programs. Lance Armstrong had been helping fund the team since 2009 (through Capital Sports and Entertainment (CSE) management group) but after his USADA sanctions it was questionable whether or not he could have any connection with cycling at all (including part ownership of a team). Read more about the relationship of Armstrong and Bontrager on Velonews.

It’s unclear where the shortfall of sponsorship lays, but we’ll keep you posted.

Bardet snatches L’Ain title

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) took the Tour de L’Ain in the final stage overnight in France from Tour Down Under winner, Tom Jelte Slagter (Belkin).

Slagter held the leader’s jersey but lost ground on the final climb of the race, the Grand Colombier. France’s Bardet, 22 years old and in his second year as a professional, won his first race.

Read more here.

Belkin renews Tour helper, Tom Leezer

Team Belkin, despite rumoured to be losing bike sponsor Giant next season, is securing the future of its riders. Overnight, it announced that Dutchman Tom Leezer renewed his contact for two more years.

“This year, I completed my first Tour de France and I’m looking to become a familiar face in the Tour squad,” Leezer said in a press statement. “The ultimate dream is to pull the sprint for Theo [Bos] in Paris. Another goal is improving myself in the classics.”

Tom Leezer on his way to a solo win on stage 6 of the Tour of Lankawi.

Tom Leezer on his way to a solo win on stage 6 of the Tour of Lankawi.

Tour of the Great South Coast starts today

Tour of the Great South Coast kicks off today (Wednesday, Aug. 14) in Mount Gambier with 143 starters contesting the five day tour which consists of nine stages (580kms) through Victoria’s south-west region.

Anthony Giacoppo wins the Koroit crit in last year's tour. Photo Mark Gunter

Anthony Giacoppo wins the Koroit crit in last year’s tour. Photo Mark Gunter

You can follow the race on the official event page here.

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