Tour De France News Round-Up

Kittel Tummy Troubles
German sprinter Marcel Kittel has has his Tour de France debut spoiled by a bad stomach. Instead of going head to head with World Champion Mark Cavendish and Andre’ Greipel in Tournai on Stage 2, he was 196th, rolling in with two teammates 6’33” behind winner Cavendish. His Argos-Shimano team management believes the 22 year old fast man has a viral infection and will be able to continue after some treatment and food that can be easily digested. Kittel will take it day-by-day and hope to recover for the Tour’s next sprinters stages.

Tough Break for Tony Martin
After his bad luck in the Tour’s prologue TT where a puncture math ave cost him the Maillot Jaune, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) had another tough break when he crashed with Garmin-Sharp’s Robbie Hunter Sunday and cracked the scaphoid bone in his left hand. OP-QS team doctor Helge Riepenhof, who came over from HTC is keeping close tabs on Martin’s condition, as the powerful German World Time Trial Championis wearing a special plastic cast that let him ride his bike. In a team communique, Martin said “The first objective is to try and arrive to the next time trial on next Monday. I know it won’t be easy, it will be painful, but I really want to try. The Tour de France is really important for me and I don’t want to give up without trying.”

Bike Doping

Although the tempest in a teapot around Fabian Cancellara’s alleged use of a motor imbedded in his bike in the 2010 Paris-Roubaix has died down, the UCI technical enforcement cops remain ever vigilant. Instead of using a full bike scanner, the UCI now has surprise checks where they drop a tiny POV video camera down the seat tube to see if there are any unauthorized motors installed.

Tour Doping Tests
For 2012, the French anti-doping agency will collaborate with the UCI to perform drug testing at the Tour De France. Besides the post-race checks, each day the anti-doping team will visit team hotels for random tests. Besides the usual banned substances, the checks will look for plasticizers, insulin, synthetic ACTH (via higher levels of cortisol) and AICAR, or AICA ribonucleotide amino acid, commercially called Acadesine). This substance was allegedly first used by riders in the 2009 Tour de France and will be tested for this year. AICAR was first used in the 1980’s increases the metabolic activity by changing the composition of muscle.

New German Team Rumors
Rumors are swirling about a new German WorldTour team, perhaps to be called Alpecin-Trek. With
Radio Shack-Nissan imploding, the Schleck brothers will reportedly go to the new outfit, to be run by their favorite sport director Kim Andersen and former Saeco pro J”rg Ludewig, who has the relationship with the German firm, a shampoo producer that had Jan Ullrich as spokesperson and the slogan “Doping For Your Hair”. US bike maker Trek will reportedly become second sponsor. Other riders of interest are German riders Linus Gerdemann and Jens Voigt and Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang. But reliable sources in Germany tell RBA that the deal is unlikely as although cycling is booming in Germany, pro cycling is still unpopular there and the Tour de France and other races are barely shown in national TV.
 
Pinarello & Team Sky Re-Up
Fausto Pinarello told RBA he was was delighted to re-sign Team Sky through 2014. Pinarello was in a tough sponsorship struggle for Sky with Specialized, but won out for an estimate $2.5 million / year  (plus bicycles) package. ‘Team Sky are really happy to have Pinarello as a partner and look forward to building upon what is already a really strong working relationship,” said Carsten Jeppesen, Team Sky’s head of operations. Team Sky currently rides Pinarello Dogma 2 road bike and Graal TT bike, equipped with Shimano Di2 components. Ag2r-La Mondiale will likely change sponsors from Kuota to Focus for 2013, as Kuota will probably surrender their bike sponsorship position to  the German brand.

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