Category Archives: EN

Tour de France 2014

ST19 : Tour de France :: Maubourguet-Bergerac – 208km

“Defending the yellow jersey gives you some kind of extra motivation to work – never in my career have I felt this kind of desire to work so hard -”

Alessandro Vanotti after stage 19 at the Tour de France –  a long, rainy and ultimately very fast day at the tail end of three weeks on the bike -

Vanotti helped to defend Vincenzo Nibali’s 16th day in the leader’s yellow jersey, and with two days remaining looks forward to arriving in Paris to complete his 17th career grand tour -

The 2014 Tour de France has been a remarkable feat of accomplishment for Astana Pro Team – and began on paper in November of 2013 as team staff, personnel and riders all sat down at a week-long retreat in Italy to plan the coming season -

With the Tour de France as the team’s primary objective, the calendars for racing and training were set for 29 riders and nearly 50 staff – beginning in Spain in December and carrying through races on four continents in more than a dozen countries -

To arrive prepared at the Grand Depart in Leeds some three weeks ago, the nine riders on this squad had prepared for months, spending more than 90 days at various training camps, flying to South America to race in January, leaving behind their homes and families for weeks at a time to accomplish the goal -

Saturday’s individual time trial will be the final chance for riders in the General Classification to improve their standings -

With more than seven minutes advantage over second place, Nibali nonetheless will race aggressively and with great speed, having arrived at the final moment of a year’s planning in top shape, defended by his teammates every single day of the Tour de France -

Tour de France 2014

ST18 : Tour de France :: Pau-Hautacam – 145km

“I have a job to do every day – and it doesn’t matter if I finish 70th or 130th or last – my job is to work for my team and make sure the leader is number one -”

Dmitriy Gruzdev after stage 18 at the Tour de France – where team leader Vincenzo Nibali won his fourth stage of this year’s race -

Nibali added two more minutes to his lead in the overall classification, and now has more than seven minutes ahead of his nearest rival with three stages to the finish -

Gruzdev led his teammates up to the first difficult kilometers of Thursday’s first major mountain – the Tourmalet – and effectively eliminated dozens of riders from a peloton already exhausted after nearly three weeks of racing -

By the time the race reached Hautacam – where tens of thousands of fans lined the hot, humid mountainside to cheer the race - Gruzdev was already back in the gruppetto – among the riders no longer at the front, but still pedaling to finish ahead of the official time limit -

The current Asian Continental individual time trial champion finished the day more than half an hour behind Nibali – 104th on the day – and now sits in 133rd place overall – more than four hours down -

Nibali has been number one for 16 of 18 days in this year’s Tour de France -

2014 Tour de France - Stage 15

ST17 : Tour de France :: Saint Gaudens-Pla d’Adet – 124km

“I’ve been this tired before – but never this satisfied -”

“We have been working to protect Vincenzo’s lead since the beginning of the Tour – and when you are working for the leader it’s always satisfying, no matter how hard -”

Michele Scarponi after stage 17 at the Tour de France – where the Italian rider worked at the front of a shattered peloton to lead Vincenzo Nibali through nearly 60km of climbing on Wednesday -

Teammates Dmitriy Gruzdev, Andrei Grivko and Maxim Iglinskiy all chased early breakaway attempts early in the race – with Jakob Fuglsang finally joining a large group of escapees on the first of three first-category climbs, with an HC climb at the finish -

Nibali came to the bottom of the final climb with fresh legs and a safe margin of more than four and a half minutes to his nearest rival, safe behind Scarponi and Tanel Kangert -

With steady work and strong legs, by the end of stage 17 Nibali added nearly a minute to his overall lead in the Tour de France and will wear the leader’s yellow jersey for the 15th day when the race starts again on Thursday -

 

 

Tour de France 2014

ST16 : Tour de France :: Carcassonne-Bagnères de Luchon – 237km

“We have to be smart tomorrow – some guys are racing to keep their GC positions, some are trying to gain seconds before the time trial on Saturday -”

“It’s going to be like the last stage of the Dauphine this year – full gas from the start -”

Tanel Kangert after stage 16 at the Tour de France -

The Estonian rider paced teammate Vincenzo Nibali up the final climb of the first day in the Pyrenees, protecting the yellow jersey until only a handful of opponents remained -

Nibali holds on to his lead over second place by more than four and a half minutes – but every rider in the overall classification from third to 20th changed positions on Tuesday – a sure sign that a ferocious contest awaits the peloton on Wednesday’s Queen Stage of the Tour de France -

 

Tour de France 2014

ST15 : Tour de France :: Tallard-Nîmes – 222km

“Paolo Slongo is my trainer, Michele Pallini takes care of my legs – Nobody knows me better than them, and I have been with them for years – I’m proud to be Italian and I’m proud to be among such great champions -”

“With Astana Pro Team and the riders around me here at the Tour de France we have prepared for this race all season, and it is because of them and the whole organization that we have the yellow jersey on the second rest day -”

Vincenzo Nibali after stage 15 at the Tour de France – a long, mostly flat day down from the Alps into the stormy purple lavender fields of Provence -

The Italian national champion leads his nearest rival by four and a half minutes – less than one percent of the total time raced -

Nibali has now worn the leader’s yellow jersey for 12 of the 15 days of racing – to include three stage wins and a strong team finish over brutal cobblestones in the cold rain of northern France -

There is one week to go until the Tour de France reaches Paris – and these final days will be tougher and more challenging with each kilometer -

For each of those 15 days all of Astana Pro Team’s riders and staff have worked with professionalism, purpose and pride to keep Nibali heathy, upright, protected and absolutely prepared for the long days of racing and the extremely stressful conditions of travel, transport and television -

The race is not over – the top step of the final podium is one percent higher than everything else -

2014 Tour de France - Stage 13

ST14 : Tour de France :: Grenoble-Risoul – 177km

“When it started to rain on the descent I was afraid for a moment, but I know how to ride a bike -”

“Physically I am just destroyed – the tendons in my legs are as hard as rocks and my neck, my back and my arms all hurt – but I worked hard today and tomorrow is a flat stage – I should be fine next week -”

Jakob Fuglsang after stage 14 at the Tour de France – where the Danish rider led teammate Vincenzo Nibali in the mountains until the final climb of the day -

With more key help from teammates Tanel Kangert, Michele Scarponi and Andrei Grivko, Nibali held on to the leader’s yellow jersey and even increase the time advantage over his nearest rival to more than four and a half minutes -

Fuglsang suffered contusions, abrasions, pain and soreness all over his body after an accidental crash on a descent in Friday’s stage 13 when a water bottle accidentally rolled into his front wheel -

Team staff, including physiotherapists, the team doctor, the team osteopath, the team acupuncturist and the team chef all worked to help Fuglsang recover overnight and restore his health as much as possible, if not the wounds on his body, to get him ready for Saturday’s stage -

With teamwork Fuglsang was able to play his own part in defending Nibali’s overall lead in the General Classification -

Sunday’s stage is 222km long, but with no major climbs and the final 100k either downhill or mostly flat – a very good opportunity for Fuglsang to rest in the peloton and recover ahead of Monday’s scheduled rest day -

 

Tour de France 2014

ST13 : Tour de France :: Saint-Étienne-Chamrousse – 197km

“I just kept thinking that if I could stop sliding it would be okay – because the more you slide, the more it is going to hurt -”

Jakob Fuglsang after stage 13 at the Tour de France – where the Danish rider crashed heavily on the first descent of the day -

Teammate Vincenzo Nibali won Friday’s mountain stage on the first day in the Alps, quickly dropping his rivals on the final climb to Chamrousse -

The Italian National Champion increased his overall lead in the General Classification to more than three and a half minutes with eight stages remaining in the three-week race -

Fuglsang finished the race on his own, with bloodied bandages on his left arm, rips in his clothing and bruises on both hips -

The Danish World Mountain Bike Champion lost 30 minutes to the leaders and said his dream of a Top-10 finish is over -

Race organizers attended to Fuglsang’s wounds immediately after the crash, and team medical staff met him as soon as he crossed the finish line to begin a long night of treatment to get the rider ready for stage 14 -

Nibali’s victory is decisive and important, and the entire team worked all day to keep him protected and fresh for the final climb – but Fuglsang is his most important teammate in the final kilometers of mountain stages -

In the next two hard days of racing before Monday’s rest stage it will be Fuglsang’s strong will and determination that help to keep Vincenzo in yellow -

Fuglsang will start on Saturday, but in his own words he said that it will be a painful day after a painful night -

 

Tour de France 2014

ST11 : Tour de France :: Besançon-Oyonnax – 187km

“Just as the group was speeding up on the second-to-last-climb I touched wheels in the middle of the peloton with another rider – we both went down and I hit my left knee – no damage, but the group was gone -”

Michele Scarponi after stage 11 at the Tour de France – where teammate Vincenzo Nibali stayed ahead with Jakob Fuglsang to finish with the lead group behind stagewinner Tony Gallopin of France -

Scarponi was not injured, nor was his bike damaged – but the Italian rider said two crashes in two consecutive stages was enough -

Nibali holds on to his leader’s yellow jersey on a hot and fast return to racing after a much-needed rest day at the Tour de France -

Temperatures reached 32 degrees on Wednesday, and the first hour of the race flew by at an average speed of more than 50 kilometers an hour -

Astana Pro Team physiotherapist Umberto Inselvini was honored by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme before the start in Besançon for his 20th appearance in the race -

 

 

Tour de France 2014

ST10 : Tour de France :: Mulhouse-La Planche des Belles Filles – 161km

“I thought – shit! I’m gonna crash! and then I thought – shit! there’s a lady in the way! and then I yelled - ‘Hey lady!’ -”

Michele Scarponi after stage ten at the Tour de France, describing exactly how he crashed on Sunday – on a day when teammate Vincenzo Nibali won a mountain finish on France’s National holiday to take back the leader’s yellow jersey -

Scarponi, well-known for his sense of humor in the peloton, slid off a wet road at high speed before the last of seven classified climbs on Monday, just after a light rain -

On television the crash was dramatic and frightening as Scarponi tumbled over his handlebars into a small crown of spectators -

Altogether more dramatic was how the uninjured Scarponi picked himself up, grabbed his undamaged Specialized Tarmac and chased back to the leading group of riders to rejoin Nibali and lead him up the final climb  -

All day Astana Pro Team riders led the peloton, with Maxim Iglinskiy and Dmitriy Gruzdev working like steam engines to keep a dangerous breakaway in check -

When a final selection of elite riders formed in the last two climbs, Iglinskiy and Gruzdev gave way to Jakob Fuglsang and Scarponi, with Tanel Kangert in reserve, as Nibali rode peacefully to the last five kilometers and tens of thousands of cycling fans at the side of the densely forested mountain road -

Nibali attacked, his most serious opponents moved to follow, and at the finish line the Astana rider was all alone, victorious at the end of 10 straight days of racing -