SILENCE ON THE STELVIO
Cadel Evans has gone all quiet as he focuses on his final build-up for the Tour de France.
According to his personal website, the Aussie Tour favourite has headed to the Stelvio in Italy for some isolated last minute altitude training with several team mates.
Cadel?s Italian wife Chiara joined Evans during the stay, even going out for a ride with him according to her diary section.
Silence-Lotto have finalised their starting nine for the Tour de France with Robbie McEwen blowing away any doubts about his place in the team with his impressive stage wins in the Tour of Switzerland.
The team will be built around Evans but will also help the McEwen in the sprints to ease the pressure on Evans? shoulders during the first half of the Tour.
The Silence-Lotto Tour line-up is: Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen, Dario Cioni, Yaroslav Popovych, Leif Hoste, Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Johan Van Summeren and Wim Van Sevenant.
PELOTON TWICE MISS CANCELLARA EXPRESS
Fabian Cancellara (CSC) won two stages in the Tour of Switzerland, including the last one near his home in Berne with what is now his trademark late attack.
The double world time trial champion has the speed and power to attack at 60km/h and surprisingly the bunch let him do it twice on stage seven and stage nine.
The first time he went with five kilometres to go. He was almost caught but some excellent team work by Bobby Julich caused a few seconds of hesitation in the bunch with two kilometres to go and Cancellara was able stay clear.
On Sunday Cancellara went with five hundred metres to go. Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) had gone a bit before him but Cancellara jumped after the Belgian and then passed him just before the line.
Cancellara had the nerve to claim he will not be at his very best for the start of the Tour de France as he hold something back for the Olympic time trial. However there can be no doubt that he will try to win another Tour stage with a late attack just as he did in Compiegne last year.
David Millar and other testers are hoping to take the yellow jersey after the stage four TT around Cholet, they might find that Cancellara will surprise them and take the jersey before then with another late attack.
REMEMBER THIS NAME: ROMAN KREUZIGER
The 22-year-old Liquigas rider from the Czech republic became the youngest ever winner of the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday, beating Andreas Kloden by 49 seconds.
The former junior road race world champion and silver medallist in the time trial in 2004, humiliated Kim Kirchen (High Road) in the mountain time trial on Saturday after riding a tactically smart race early on.
He finished 21st in the Vuelta last year and will be riding the Tour de France for the first time in July. He is playing down his hopes and ambitions but must be a great bet for the best young rider?s white jersey. This year?s Tour is wide open and so there is no reason why a rider like Kreuziger cannot emerge. He can climb as well as Schleck and Kirchen can also time trial better than Cadel Evans.
SCHLECK ABANDONS TOUR OF SWITZERLAND
Tour de France outsider Frank Schleck was forced to pull out of the final stage of the Tour of Switzerland. The CSC rider?s quitting the last big stage race before the Tour inevitably raising questions about what his condition will be like in two weeks.
Schleck had a spectacular crash in the Tour of Switzerland on the fifth stage – and four days later, he was still struggling with back and finger injuries.
?My form?s all right.? the 2006 Alpe D?Huez stage winner said after quitting. ?I?ll be seeing my chiropractor on Monday, and I hope I?ll be able to do the Luxembourg Nationals [the following Sunday] out of respect for the fans. But I don?t want to take any risks.?
DEKKER STRUGGLING AS WELL
Thomas Dekker also quit the Tour of Switzerland but his problems seem much worse than Schleck?s and the Dutchman has made strong hints he may even have to miss the Tour de France.
RASMUSSEN STILL AROUND
Ironically it seems that fallen Dutch idol Michael Rasmussen can?t keep away from the racing and would love to be riding this year?s Tour de France.
The 2007 Tour leader was spotted by L?Equipe newspaper at the World MTB Championships on Sunday, even though he told someone else he was spending the weekend in Mexico?.
Rasmussen told reporters that he was ?still training five hours a day.? The 1999 World MTB champion apparently claimed he was still in good enough shape to win the Tour de France in 2008, fortunately something that is unlikely to happen.
CUNEGO LEADS PROTOUR
Hold your breath, there has been a change on the individual standing in the ProTour.
Just in case you missed it, Damiano Cunego (Lampre) retook the lead in the troubled season-long competition thanks to fourth overall in the Tour of Switzerland.
Cunego lost the lead last Sunday because he didn?t ride the Dauphine Libere but got it back after Switzerland because his main rival Cadel Evans didn?t ride against him in the Swiss race.
Of course, Cunego won?t be wearing the ProTour special white leader?s jersey during the Tour de France because the French race is not part of the ProTour.
ASTANA LEAD PROTOUR
Astana made sure everyone remembered they won?t be going on holiday for a month in July by sending out a press release that they are still top of the team standings of the ProTour after the Tour of Switzerland.
That news will surely boost moral in the Kazakhstan team as they ride the Tour of Austria and the Tour de Wallonie, while every other major team is at the Tour de France.
Two more dates to add to your diary on the anti-doping front: apparently this week is the last that positive dope tests from the 2008 Tour of Italy can be made public. No news will literally be good news.
Also a verdict on ex-Lotto rider Bjarne Leukemans’ positive for testosterone will be finally made public by the Flemish Disciplinary Council [FDC] on Friday June 27th at 1 pm.
Leukemans was given a two-year sentence for his testosterone positive last September, but an appeal to a higher court saw his sentence suspended. It?s since gone back to the FDC, with different doctors and lawyers reviewing the evidence, for a final verdict.
However, Leukemans’ lawyers have not ruled out an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] should this new verdict not be to their liking.
In a packed week on the anti-doping front, we should also get to hear about the CAS?s final verdict on Floyd Landis and Iban Mayo?s cases.
SILENCE ON THE STELVIO