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.
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