Voeckler wins ‘with my guts’

Sports

Voeckler wins ‘with my guts’

Bradley Wiggins finished in the main pack Thursday to keep his yellow jersey, while the Tour de France’s best young rider Tejay van Garderen – currently the top American – finished 27th and is in 10th overall.
With a few kilometers to go, Thomas Voeckler blew off the breakaway group, beating runner-up Michele Scarponi of Italy by 3 seconds. “I really pulled this out with my guts,” Voeckler said.

BELLEGARDE-SUR-VALSERINE, France – Thomas Voeckler of France led a five-rider breakaway to win the 10th stage of the Tour de France as the race entered the Alps on Wednesday, while Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead.

The 120.9-mile ride from Macon-sur-Valserine marked a return to racing after Tuesday’s tumultuous rest day in which a Cofidis rider was suspended by his team after his arrest by police in a doping probe.

For the first time in the Tour, the peloton scaled the 10.9-mile Grand Colombier pass – classified as one of the hardest climbs in pro cycling in part for two tough patches with steep, 12-percent gradients.

Voeckler, the Europcar rider who wore the yellow jersey for 10 days last year, earned his third Tour stage victory in a decade-long career competing in cycling’s premier race.

With a few kilometers to go, Voeckler dusted off the breakaway group, beating runner-up Michele Scarponi of Italy by 3 seconds. Jens Voigt of Germany – at 40, the oldest rider this year – was third, another four seconds slower.

“I really pulled this out with my guts,” Voeckler said. “I only knew I’d won with about 5 meters left.”

Voeckler said he didn’t ride for about 10 of the 20 days immediately preceding the Tour start because of knee pain that still hasn’t fully dissipated.

At several points during the stage, Wiggins came under attack from some of his biggest rivals – but nearly all failed to make up any ground. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali tried to surge ahead in a big descent; Belgium’s Jurgen Van Den Broeck attempted to jump ahead on the day’s big climb; reigning champion Cadel Evans tried to shake Wiggins near the end – but to no avail.

“It was pretty straightforward (Wednesday),” said Wiggins, the Team Sky leader. “Fortunately the break went pretty early, and we didn’t have to go crazy (chasing it) ... it all sort of went to script (Wednesday), really.”

Doping cases past and present have cast a shadow over this Tour. Just days before the Tour, news emerged of an investigation by French state prosecutors into allegations of improper use of a controlled corticoid by Europcar in last year’s Tour – claims the team vigorously has denied.

Voeckler said the stage win “is really special because we had criticism before the Tour because it really hurt me.”

Some fans in Belgium at the start of the Tour on June 30 booed Europcar riders in the wake of the news.

“In a small way, my victory (Wednesday) was an answer to that,” Voeckler said.

Stage 10 came a day after the arrest of Cofidis rider Remy Di Gregorio of France at his team’s hotel as part of a doping probe in southern Marseille. The team provisionally has suspended him.

Wiggins finished the stage 3:16 behind Voeckler in 13th place, in a group including most of his rivals in the quest to win the yellow jersey when the Tour ends in Paris on July 22.

With Wiggins under a close escort by his Sky teammates, only Van Den Broeck was able to erase 32 seconds with a surge late in the stage. The Belgian trails Wiggins by 4:48 in eighth place. Overall, Wiggins leads Evans by 1:53.

Associated Press writers Greg Keller and Samuel Petrequin in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine contributed to this report.

Armstrong granted a 30-day extension

AUSTIN, Texas – The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday granted Lance Armstrong an extension of up to 30 days to contest drug charges while the seven-time Tour de France winner challenges the case in federal court.
The move erases the Saturday deadline for Armstrong to either send the case to arbitration or accept sanctions from USADA, which likely would include a lifetime ban from cycling and other sports along with stripping the Tour titles he won from 1999-2005.
Armstrong this week sued in U.S. District Court in Austin to block the case from moving forward, arguing that USADA’s arbitration process violates his constitutional rights and that the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction over the alleged doping violations.
Granted the extension, Armstrong attorney Tim Herman on Wednesday withdrew a request for a temporary restraining order while Judge Sam Sparks reviewed the complaint and a request for an injunction.
USADA accused Armstrong in June of performance-enhancing drug use throughout much of his career. Armstrong insists he is innocent and says he never failed a drug test.
Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, predicted Armstrong’s lawsuit will be dismissed.
“USADA believes this lawsuit, like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, is without merit and is confident the court will continue to uphold the established rules which are compliant with federal law and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee and all Olympic sports organizations,” Tygart said in a statement.
Johan Bruyneel, the manager on Armstrong’s winning teams, who also has been charged, is not covered by the 30-day extension, even though USADA had consolidated their cases, USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner said.
Bruyneel still faces a Saturday deadline to challenge the charges or be sanctioned, Skinner said. Bruyneel, who manages the Radioshack-Nissan-Trek team, skipped this year’s Tour de France because of the investigation.
Three former medical staff members and consultants on Armstrong’s winning teams received lifetime bans from sport from USADA on Tuesday.
Luis Garcia del Moral was a team doctor; Michele Ferrari was a consulting doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti (team trainer) worked for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel squads. All had been accused by USADA of participating in a vast doping conspiracy on those teams during part or all of Armstrong’s seven Tour victories.
There was no indication those three cooperated with the USADA investigation before receiving the maximum punishment.
Another team doctor, Pedro Celaya, also has been charged. A USADA statement announcing the penalties against Moral, Ferrari and Marti suggested Celaya chose to send his case to arbitration.

Related Story
Leipheimer will defend his USA title

Voeckler wins ‘with my guts’

CYC
Bradley Wiggins finished in the main pack Thursday to keep his yellow jersey, while the Tour de France’s best young rider Tejay van Garderen – currently the top American – finished 27th and is in 10th overall.
CYC
With a few kilometers to go, Thomas Voeckler blew off the breakaway group, beating runner-up Michele Scarponi of Italy by 3 seconds. “I really pulled this out with my guts,” Voeckler said.
Reader Comments
click here to add your event
Durango ~ Events
click here to add your event
Durango ~ Events