KAZAKHSTAN?S FOFONOV SPOILS TOUR DE FRANCE CELEBRATIONS

The celebrations at the end of the Tour de France and the hopes that the race could end on a clean note were dashed just minutes after the finish in Paris when it was revealed that Kazakhstan?s Dmitriy Fofonov of the Credit Agricole team had tested positive for the banned stimulant heptaminol.

According to the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), 31 year-old Fofonov tested positive for the vasodilator after stage 18 to Saint-Etienne on Thursday. Fofonov finished the Tour de France 19th overall and often tried to get in breakaways. He won a stage in the Dauphine Libere in June.

Fofonov was immediately fired by Credit Agricole.

?He said he bought something on the internet and that he did not tell the team?s doctor. It is a serious offence, he is obviously fired from the team,? Credit Agricole team manager Roger Legeay said.

STEEGMANS SAVES BELGIAN PRIDE

Gert Steegmans saved Belgian pride and Quick Step?s name by winning the final stage in Paris.

Quick Step had a difficult Tour, losing Tom Boonen before the race because of his positive for cocaine and then team leader Stijn Devolder flopped as an overall contender.

?The Tour is long and hard and fortunately we got some reward right at the very end. Everybody worked hard and it?s finally paid off,? Steegmans said with relief.

?It might look like we didn?t have a good Tour but we didn?t think it was too bad and at the team meeting last night we were all thanked for our efforts during the Tour.”

“Unfortunately Tom wasn’t here this year, that put a lot of pressure on me and Stijn to get a stage win. The pressure lasted a long time, too long, but the team were always there for me.”

?We all saved ourselves for the finale and then let it rip. With 100 metres to go I knew I?d won and just managed to hang on to it. I?m just delighted that I finally won a stage. Winning anywhere is great but this one (on the Champs Elysees) is special. It?s a dream come true.?

MR CSC AND THE MAGIC NUMBER

Carlos Sastre’s full name is Carlos Sastre Cardil – initials CSC.

Sastre also won the Tour de France wearing number 11. According to statistics, he is fifth rider to win wearing 11. For the record, the others are: Van Impe (1976), Zoetemelk (1980), Hinault (1985) and Roche (1987).

BERNHARD KOHL: THE SURPRISE KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

The 2008 Tour de France was a race of surprises and equality with the time gaps between the top three riders the second lowest ever in the 105 year history of the Tour de France.

The biggest surprise was Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) winning the king of the mountains competition and finishing third overall behind Sastre and Evans. The Austrian had quietly targeted a top ten overall but never imagined he could finish just 1-13 from the yellow jersey.

?I wanted to be close to the top ten but to be third on the podium and with the polka dot jersey is more than I could ever have hoped for,? he said after pulling on the final polka-dot climber?s jersey in Paris.

?Before the time trial I?d hoped to stay in the top five but I was worried about Menchov and Evans and even Christian Vande Velde because they?re all great time trial specialists.?

?I just gave it everything right from the start of the time trial and I got a boost when I heard the intermediate times. I was able to push myself and give it and just hoped on to hang on to third place.?

VANSEVENANT WINS SOMETHING FOR SILENCE-LOTTO

Cadel Evans and his Silence-Lotto team missed out on overall victory in the Tour de France but the Belgian team did not come away empty handed.

They may have started the Tour with higher ambitions but domestique Wim Vansevenant brought home a prize by winning the lantern rouge, the symbolic prize given to the last rider in the overall classification.

The 36 year-old Belgian finished in 145th place, a massive 3 hours 55 minutes and 45 seconds behind Carlos Sastre.

?I?m not ashamed to win the lantern rouge, I?m happy every time I make it to Paris and if I?m last that’s okay with me. I?ve been last for three consecutive years now and it?s quite an honour,? Vansevenant said, hoping to gain some extra start money in the post-Tour de France criteriums.



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 20: Sastre sets up overall Tour victory
Stage 19: Chavanel wins, time trial showdown looms
Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav
Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead
Stage 16: Dessel wins
Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps
Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Schlecks’ father’s car searched
Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]
Schleck promises to attack main rivals
Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]
Rest day news round-up [July 21]
Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”
Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour
Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]
Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today
Cavendish pulls out of the Tour
Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 20
Stage 19
Stage 18
Stage 17
Stage 15
Stage 14
Stage 13
Stage 12
Stage 11
Stage 11
Stage 10
Stage nine
Stage eight
Stage seven
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five
Life at the Tour part four
Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
Teams and riders>>
About the Tour>>