My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Engoulvent takes Tour de France Lanterne Rouge

Category: Cycling

Every year after the Tour de France, there is a lot of talk about the winner and podium riders. A little less is heard about the riders who have helped the top riders. But the rider who finishes last earn the Lanterne Rouge, the "prize" of the rider who finishes last and on Sunday, Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) became the first Frenchman to earn the Lanterne Rouge in the Tour de France since Jimmy Casper in 2004.

It is the first Lanterne Rouge for Engoulvent, but it was kind of a close race with Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis), who finished just 32 seconds faster than the Frenchman in Paris,

“We must admit that the results are average,” Engoulvent said about his team's result “It took me a while to find my real level. I missed getting the result I am still waiting on in the Tour. At the team level, it was unfortunate - Jérôme [Coppel] fell ill and this just destroyed our strategy.

“The profile of the course did not offer a lot of stages for riders of my style, except perhaps in Pau. And that day, I had a puncture at the wrong time and I did more than forty kilometres behind the cars. When you look at the stage winners, it is clear that there was not much available for the ‘baroudeurs.’”

Can Nibali win London 2012 Olympics?

Category: Cycling, Olympic Games

Vincenzo NibaliVincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) believes he may have a chance to win the London 2012 Olympics road race this Saturday, as he says the course can prove more selective than expected.

There has long been talked about a bunch and the Italian has brought fast men, Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox), to the race, but Nibali wants to try to win an Olympic gold medal.

“It’s not a given that it will end in a sprint,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve come out of the Tour in great condition and I’m aiming to do a great race. I’m not giving up on my personal ambitions before we start, but if instead the race stays together until the final lap, then I’ll put myself at the disposal of the quickest azzurri. Let’s say that at that point, I’d give what I hope to receive at the Worlds in Valkenburg on a much more selective course.”

Mark Cavendish (Sky) is the favourite to take Olympic gold, but Nibali also believe that some of the riders who show up with no teammates can do win too, like Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

“If there’s a sprint, Cavendish will certainly be the number one favourite but Sagan could cause him a lot of problems,” Nibali said. “In any case, I’m not so convinced that it will finish in a sprint. Traditional logic goes out the window at the Olympics. The peloton isn’t as congested and the national teams have a maximum of five riders in the race.”

When the Olympic Games are over, Nibali will probably announce that he has signed with Astana for the 2013 season. “There are still some details missing but that should be the case,” he said.”

Vansummeren fractured vertebra in Tour crash

Category: Cycling

Johan VansummerenJohan Vansummeren completed the Tour de France, but later it has been revealed that he suffered from a cracked vertebra while doing so.

Many of the Garmin-Sharp team riders crashed on the stage to Metz on July 6. Ryder Hesjedal, Christian Vande Velde and Daniel Martin eventually finished more than 13 minutes after stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), and Vansummeren finished a further three minutes behind.

Vansummeren was taken to hospital for an injured shoulder, but show that the rider has suffered worse than the team thought. The vertebra was broken.

"I have to maintain condition and I've also finished the Tour despite the injury," Vansummeren told nieuwsblad.be.

"A little longer gritting my teeth will not hurt. The next thing on my agenda is the Vuelta a Espana. Bit by bit I must now recover from my injury and hope to be there when the Vuelta begins with the team time trial in Pamplona on 18 August."