Endurance: Chris Froome

Ulissi has Italy's support after failed test

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
1:11
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Diego UlissiBryn Lennon-Velo/Getty ImagesDiego Ulissi's stage wins at the Giro d'Italia came before his failed doping test.
MILAN (VN) -- Italy’s head cycling coach Davide Cassani spoke in support of Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) after news Wednesday that Ulissi tested positive for asthma drug Salbutamol during the Giro d’Italia.

“I am concerned that people understand one thing, that Salbutamol doesn’t make you go stronger, it’s an accepted product,” Cassani told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper Thursday.

“Cyclists know that if you take five puffs then you won’t go any faster. You need to understand that this isn’t doping, that it doesn’t better your performance and is not a masking agent.”

Lampre announced its Giro star exceeded the accepted limit of Salbutamol in his urine in an anti-doping control after Stage 11 of the Giro last month. The 24-year-old from Tuscany had already won the fifth and eighth stages, and he placed second in the time trial in Barolo the day after the failed test. He abandoned the race after Stage 17 while on antibiotics to fight a sore throat and temperature.

Ulissi was using an inhaler with Salbutamol spray for bronchospasm and, according to Lampre, took two puffs ahead of Stage 11. He was also given paracetamol by the race doctor after a mid-stage crash. The team reported that his urine showed 1900 nanograms per milliliter of Salbutamol, nearly double the accepted limit of 1000ng/ml.

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Froome, Wiggins apart before Tour

June, 4, 2014
Jun 4
5:09
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Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome JOEL SAGET/AFP/GettyImagesChris Froome, right, has had a contentious relationship with Bradley Wiggins since 2012.
LONDON (AFP) -- Team Sky said star riders Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have been selected in separate Tour de France warm-up races this month.

Wiggins became the Tour’s first British winner in 2012 and was succeeded a year later by Froome, who will lead Team Sky in the 101st Tour, which begins in Leeds on July 5.

With the Tour just over a month away, Froome will defend his title in the Critérium du Dauphiné, a prestigious Tour warm-up Wiggins won in 2011 and 2012, from June 8-15. Wiggins will be at at the Tour of Switzerland from June 14 to 22.

Froome is joined by Richie Porte, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio in the eight-man Dauphine squad, with all seven likely to accompany him at the Tour, leaving space for one more rider.

“Both the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de Suisse are WorldTour events and we are looking to perform in both races,” Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford said. ”Bradley heads to Switzerland with a strong team after a great win in California and we've got the right group for the Dauphine, especially considering the nature of the course.”

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Mark CavendishBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesMark Cavendish wasn't shy in celebrating his win in Stage 5 last week. (Enough with the Brits, already!)
Random thoughts after the first rest day of the Tour de France while hoping that I’m never behind the Orica-Greenedge team bus heading into a tunnel ...

Sigh. Maybe It’s Time For 7-Eleven To Sponsor A Team Again: The Tour’s individual stage winners, in order, have been Germany’s Marcel Kittel, Belgium’s Jan Bakelants, Australia’s Simon Gerrans, England’s Mark Cavendish, Germany’s Andre Greipel, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, Britain’s Chris Froome (who was born in Kenya and grew up in Africa), Ireland’s Dan Martin and Kittel again. The yellow jersey has been worn by Kittel, Bakelants, Gerrans, South Africa’s Daryl Impey and Froome. That’s a pretty impressive United Nations of riders, representing eight countries (and two from Africa), if you count Kenya for Froome.

Two countries conspicuously absent? The United States and France.

A French rider, of course, hasn’t won the Tour since 1985, though France did win five stages last year and Thomas Voeckler was in yellow for 10 stages in 2011. American riders, however, have won only one stage in the past six Tours (sprinter Tyler Farrar, Stage 3 in 2011) and haven’t had anyone in yellow since Floyd Landis in 2006 -- a jersey he was quickly stripped of because of doping. Technically, the last American in yellow was Greg LeMond in 1991.

The U.S. won’t have anyone in yellow this year either, though Andrew Talansky, the current top American in the standings (25th and 11:15 behind Froome), could wear white as the top young rider.

Meanwhile, Christian Vande Velde crashed out and Ted King was eliminated by falling seven seconds outside the limit in the team time trial. Tejay van Garderen, perhaps the most promising American rider heading into the Tour, suffered from the heat in a terrible Stage 8 and is 50th, 35 minutes behind. Tom Danielson and Brent Bookwalter are the only other Americans still in the race.

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Froome happy to avoid yellow as gap opens

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
4:59
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Chris FroomeBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesChris Froome is satisfied with Team Sky's performance through four stages at the Tour de France.
NICE, France -- Tour de France favorite Chris Froome (Sky) and the man tipped to be his closest challenger, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), both declared themselves satisfied with their performances in Tuesday’s fourth-stage team time trial around Nice.

The flat, 25-kilometer race around the city was won by the Orica-GreenEdge team, allowing stage 3 winner Simon Gerrans to seize the yellow jersey.

Sky was third-quickest on the day, leaving Froome just three seconds off the pace in the general classification as the Tour begins to move along the Mediterranean coast towards the Pyrénées.

Meanwhile, Contador and his Saxo team lie a further six seconds back.

"The main objective of today was to come through without having lost any time on the big contenders, but we've actually come through it having gained a bit of time. So that's a fantastic thing," said Froome.

It looked at one point as though Sky might sneak ahead of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team of Mark Cavendish before both were outdone by Orica, but the Kenya-born Froome insisted he was happy at not being in the yellow jersey for the moment.

"If we had taken yellow it would have been by just a few seconds and it would have meant that we would have to be on the front for the next few days, possibly spending quite a lot of energy to defend only a few seconds," he said. "So I think in a way it's a good thing we didn’t end up in the yellow jersey."

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Froome eager to fill Wiggins' void in France

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
10:06
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Wiggins-Froome Bernard Prevost/Presse Sports/US PresswireChris Froome, right, is settling into the Team Sky captain's chair vacated by Bradley Wiggins.
PORTO VECCHIO -- Chris Froome stood in front of a phalanx of photographers and TV cameras Thursday a little bit in awe of all the fuss.

"Good thing I am not camera shy," Froome later joked.

Froome was sitting in the hot seat, the exact same place where Sir Bradley Wiggins sat one year ago, just weeks before becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France.

The Kenyan-born Froome inherits the weight of expectation that comes with being the pre-ordained favorite from Wiggins, who is not even back to defend his yellow jersey.

With it comes the pressure, expectations, and stress as the Tour favorite, but Froome seems to be taking it all in stride.

"There's not much you can do to be ready for this type of hype," Froome said. "It's very different to the other races on our calendar. This is a bit of a surprise to see all this."

Unlike Wiggins, who gritted his teeth under the media pressure that came with Tour success, Froome seems unfazed by the crush of cameras and nosy questions

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Bradley WigginsAP Photo/Laurent ReboursAt 33, Bradley Wiggins says his days riding in cycling's most famous race could be finished for good.
Defending Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky), sidelined from this year's race because of an injury, may not try to win the race again, he indicated in comments published on Friday.

"For me it was always about winning the Tour," Wiggins was quoted as saying on the website for The Guardian.

"I've done that. If I'm honest, I don't think I'm prepared to make those sacrifices again that I made last year, with my family and so on. I've achieved what I've achieved. I'm incredibly happy with that."

Wiggins, who was Britain's first-ever winner of the famous race, followed up with a gold medal in the Olympic time trial and played a starring role by ringing a bell to signal the start of the Games' opening ceremony.

He also won the BBC's prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to cycling, but he has endured mixed fortunes on the bike since then.

First he was involved in a training ride crash with a car near his home in northwest England, and then he had to pull out of last month’s Giro d'Italia -- which he was hoping to win -- because of an illness.

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Christopher FroomeFabrice Coffrini/Getty ImagesChris Froome looks to better his runner-up finish in the 2012 Tour de France when he leads Team Sky.
MANCHESTER, England -- Bradley Wiggins' chances of retaining his Tour de France title receded on Monday when teammate Chris Froome was chosen Team Sky's leader for cycling's biggest race.

Team principal Dave Brailsford ended months of speculation by saying the British-based team would stick to the plan to go with Froome.

"As always, the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based," Brailsford said. "However it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader."

Wiggins, the Olympic time-trial champion, left Team Sky in an awkward position last week when he said he was hoping to pull off a rare Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double this year. That statement came despite Froome lined up as the team's No. 1 at the Tour after finishing runner-up in 2012.

Froome reacted the same day by saying he had been "reassured by the management ... that I have their full backing" as Team Sky's leader for the Tour.

Froome is widely considered a better climber and has powered to overall victories at the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie this season.

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MILAN -- Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has confirmed he will make the Giro d'Italia his main priority this year and support Sky teammate Chris Froome at the Tour.

Wiggins
Wiggins
Wiggins tells race organizer Gazzetta dello Sport that the Giro "is my new challenge, my inspiration, the new fire burning inside me. I think winning it, for certain aspects, will be more difficult than winning the Tour."

Wiggins also won the time trial at last year's London Olympics, and the Giro route should favor Wiggins' ability at racing against the clock.

Beginning in Naples on May 4 and ending in Brescia on May 26, the Giro features three time trials for a total of 57 miles.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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