Tuesday 16 January 2018

Cavendish 'happy' for old foe

MARK CAVENDISH and Andre Greipel used to trade insults, but yesterday they both kept it reasonably civil when the German Greipel beat his former nemesis for the first time.

Weather forecasters were predicting storms and 60mph winds in the Carmaux region, but they never arrived, and nor did the expected war of words between two of the sport's most bitter rivals.

"I kicked with 250 yards to go and Greipel just came past and beat me. I am happy for him," said Cavendish after losing by a foot to his former team-mate after an exhilarating run-in.

Cavendish could afford to be magnanimous after clawing back 35 points on Belgium's Philippe Gilbert in the fight for the green jersey.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler retained the race leader's yellow jersey, while there was long applause at the finish for the Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland and Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha, who both came through unscathed, finishing over five minutes down on Greipel, despite the injuries they received last Sunday after being hit by a French TV car.

Meanwhile, Russian Alexandr Kolobnev could be faced with a fine in excess of €2m from his own team if he is found guilty of taking the performance-enhancing drug and masking agent hydrochlorothiazide.

Kolobnev, the reigning Olympic bronze medallist and twice a runner-up in the World Championships, tested positive on the fifth stage last week and is anxiously awaiting the result of his 'B' sample later this week.

If that proves positive as well, his Russian team, Katusha, have confirmed they will sack Kolobnev and they could also fine him five times the value of his contract.

The controversial clause -- in many ways a commendable attempt to discourage doping -- is common among the Katusha team riders, but has worried many, given the significant number of positive tests that are disputed -- such as the current case of Alberto Contador. Kolobnev insists he does not know how his urine test came back positive.

Irish Independent

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