Sylvain Chavanel, with a powerful performance at the 2012 Tour de France Prologue, finished 3rd (+07") at the 6.4km stage on Saturday to Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky ProCycling).
"I did a great race," Chavanel said. "I wanted to make a good performance. From the beginning of the season I'm doing good in the time trials. I knew that the specialists could have beat me, but I'm super happy in any case. I have no regrets. I really did my best to honour my brand new French champion jersey. It's a third place in a prologue of the tour against the best time trialists of the world. I'm disappointed for the flat tire of Tony. Today he was really strong and he could have fought with Cancellara until the end. The Tour is just getting started. I have time to try to attack and do something good. Today is my birthday and even without a victory, we are going to celebrate!"
World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin was well on his way to a great performance, tying Chavanel for 1st at the time he passed the intermediate checkpoint with a time of 3'35". However, a mechanical forced Martin to change bikes. Despite the mechanical, Martin finished just 23" back.
"I had a flat tire after the first split time," Martin said. "I could feel that I was slipping away on the last roundabout and thought 'OK, maybe it's just a little bit slippery,' but then I realized I had a flat in the back and had to change the bike. I think it was a quick change, but it kills the morale and the rhythm. I'm really disappointed. I still have a good time, and I think would have a made a really good time without the flat tire. I wanted to fight for the Yellow. I'm disappointed, but I thought 'just keep on fighting, the long time trials are coming.' I can tell I have very good condition and now I have to fight now for the next time trial."
Martin is determined to support his teammates, and come back strong in the next days.
"Now my goal is to keep the morale, stay in front, show the strengths of me and the whole team, and try again in the long time trial," Martin said.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for the Tour of Austria, which takes place from July 1st to July 8th.
"I see a really open race," Sports Director Tom Steels said. "There will be a lot of opportunity for our guys because we won't take the start with a defined leader. Our guys will try to go into the breakaways. On the mountain stages, we can also count on Vermote, Vandewalle and Pauwels. I'm also waiting for good signals from the time trial on Saturday. We have a good team for this discipline, so I'm expecting something good for our guys."
For more information about the Tour of Austria and our complete line-up please click on the button 'more information'.more information
The following are quotes from Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders who spoke at the Tour de France press conference on Thursday afternoon.
The team is strong. We have a few riders able to do a great performance in the time trial. With Levi, we have a guy who can stands in the general classification. I'm pretty confident about our Tour de France. My personal objective is to shine on the tour. Doing a good prologue and then try to win a stage. I would like to create the surprise. You know I like the competition and I like to find good situations to be a protagonist. Even in this Tour i will try to do it. I have good memories of my last time in Belgium during the Tour. I won a stage and I took the yellow jersey. It's a good feeling to be here again, two years later, to try again to do a great race.
Already in California, my condition was better than expected, and in Switzerland I was better than I expected. So hopefully I can continue that trend. I think in Switzerland I didn't expect to be as good as I was. In fact, I felt pretty good on the climbs, so I am hoping for the best. But I take it day by day, and sometimes kilometer by kilometer. Because it's going to be a long few weeks. A lot will happen. There will be crashes, there will be drama. I'll just take it day by day and try to relax as much as possible.
For someone like myself, who is maybe a dark horse, it's better to maybe wait, wait, and play off of the others. For sure their teams will have a lot more responsibility, but that's part of it. It's a give and take.
Anything can happen, and the race itself is more difficult than anyone can tender. We're not battling each other so much one-to-one — sometimes you are — but you really have to battle the race the elements, and all the factors that come with racing across France for three weeks.
The race puts all of us under pressure equally. The one who wins is the one who stood up to that pressure the best.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team Chemistry
Now you see the Classics team is still there, but now we have a much more diverse, I guess bigger team than before. It's fun to be part of it. For example we've seen the rebirth of Tom Boonen, which I think has to do with all the changes that have happened. He's very motivated, you can tell he's very happy and it has translated to one of the best seasons for anybody. It's been fun to be a part of — the team has supported me, and I think everyone at this table has got tremendous support from the team.
A lot of guys think that I can win the prologue and maybe get into the yellow jersey. But I am a realist, and I think I can make a good result. Maybe top five, maybe I can win. I think for the prologue, it's normally some of the stronger, explosive riders. I am in good condition, but I give myself more of a chance in the long time trials.
I will not look at the general for the entire Tour. My goal is to stay in the same time as the favorites through the first long time trial, with a good time trial I would like to try for the yellow jersey. I don't think my condition is so good where I can stay the whole time at the front of the GC. I have time in the future to think about GC. Now, it is time to focus on the time trial and try to get out the best experience possible from this Tour.
According to the UCI WorldTour website, the Tour de France can "significantly impact" the UCI WorldTour rankings.
The winner of the yellow jersey will garner 200 points, with the 2nd and 3rd place riders garnering 150 and 120 points, respectively. The next 17 riders will also receive lesser points.
The winner of each stage gets 20 points, with 10, 6, 4, and 2 to the rest of the top five.
Furthermore, the accumulation of points from the best riders of each team will be the team ranking.
Wednesday ... only 3 days left till the start of the Tour de France. You can feel the Tour coming, day after day. Yesterday I relaxed a little with my friends and family before leaving. A nice lunch with friends and ... I also tried to play with my kids a little. But it seems like they prefer the company of their own friends. They are 9 and 5, so I understand them. Who at that age would want to listen to adults' stories?
Well, the moment you leave home for the Tour is always a little stressful. You would like to stay with your family a little longer and have time to enjoy life. But then you get to the airport and get on a plane, and sadness gives way to excitement. After all, this is our job and our passion. You know you are off to THE place to be in the month of July. All you have to do is switch your mind in to Tour mode for 3 weeks.
Here in Denmark we've already been talking about the Tour for quite a while, and about cycling in general. I bought the papers in the airport, just to kill some time. My friend Rijs has found a new sponsor. That's great for him and for cycling in Denmark.
As far as we're concerned, we are well prepared for this Tour. Fitte and Brama have done a great job with logistics and organization, and I think we're ready for a good Tour. It's too bad about Stijn, who will have to drop out of the race due to injury.
I know how it feels. In 1994 the same thing happened to me. I was already in Lille for the departure but Dr. Gerard Porte (yes the one from the Tour, le docteur du Tour!) Didn't allow me to leave for a problem similar to Stijn's. Ah, I've never really forgiven him all these years. It would have been my eighth Tour and I surely would have won a stage! How can I ever know for sure? Simply because nobody can say otherwise! Maybe I would have even won two, even Dr. Porte knew that. Perhaps that's why he didn't let me go!
But sometimes, cycling can be brutal. One door closes on Stijn, another one opens for Martin. I'm sure he's going to do well in his first Tour.
Well, this Tour takes off from Liege. It will be special for those of us on the team with Flemish roots. In Belgium it's a little like riding at home. I've lived there before during my professional career and boy, did I get in to some trouble! And I learned Flemish. Yes, I can speak it, why, do you doubt that? I'm sure I speak it better than Gilbert.
You know, from tonight things are going to get serious for three weeks! First of all, Brama, Fitte and I will be talking to the staff and riders. The first thing I'm going to say to them? Learn how to forgive and forget the bad times in a hurry. Sometimes in the race, or after the race in stressful situations, you can say the wrong thing. We're all human, aren't we?
What's important is to relate the things we say and put them in the context of a stressful competition like the Tour. I know they'll understand that. The Tour is not only hard mentally but also physically. That's why it's important to get a good night's sleep. Does that seem silly? Believe me, it isn't. Good sleep is at the root of every success.
This is coming from someone who — Thanks to Doctor Porte — has never won in the Tour! But I've always got plenty of sleep, whether in the seven Tours as a rider or the seven as Director. As Director I've won 30 stages in the Tour. What can you say to that? That it was all the riders? Well, they know darn well that they could never have done it without me. Everyone knows that, even Doctor Porte!
Wishing everyone a good Tour and until next time....Brian Holm(s)more information