Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Controversy looms for 101st Tour de France

By
From page B3 | July 02, 2014 |

PARIS — Tour de France defending champion Chris Froome is feeling the pressure ahead of Saturday’s start to the 2014 race.

This 101st Tour might seem to favor Team Sky and Froome, but he will have a lot on his mind during the three-week race which starts in Leeds, in the northern English county of Yorkshire.

The Kenyan-born Brit is dealing with a perception among some fans that he had a hand in Sky’s decision to bench his popular compatriot and teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour.

He also was caught up in a recent doping firestorm. Froome, who insists he has never used banned drugs, said in an interview that he cried privately over scrutiny of his use of a medication for a chest infection during a recent race, even though it was permitted because he had a doctor’s note.

That incident showed the sport is still hounded by doping suspicions after a succession of scandals over the past generation — highlighted by the drug use and cheating by Lance Armstrong and others in his era.

Froome also faces the little matter of two-time Tour champ Alberto Contador, who last won in 2009. The 31-year-old Spaniard has been in strong form and has made winning this Tour a top priority.

Cycling’s doping shadows will also be cast upon Contador, who lost his 2010 title in a doping case. His Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Roman Kreuziger, who finished fifth last year — right behind Contador — was dropped by the team because of anomalies in his biological passport in 2011 and 2012, when the Czech rider was with the Kazakh team Astana. Kreuziger has denied any wrongdoing.

On the way to winning the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland in early May, Froome benefited from a “therapeutic use exemption” — a doctor’s note — allowing him to use corticosteroid prednisolone against a chest infection. The UCI, cycling’s governing body, and the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed that Froome had followed the rules. But critics alleged he hadn’t, and the UCI said last week that it’s reviewing its TUE procedures.

To many cycling fans, last year’s Tour was a bit underwhelming — despite the revelation of Froome. He stamped his leadership on the race in stage 8, in a show of uncompromising dominance.

The 2014 Tour may be more of a challenge. In its 21 stages, over 3,664 kilometers (2,277 miles) in England, France, Belgium and Spain, only one time trial awaits.

That harms the prospects of reigning three-time world time-trial champion Tony Martin of Germany, but also puts a brake on Froome, who gained more than two minutes total on Contador over last year’s individual time trials.

The only time-trial in the 2014 race will come in the penultimate stage: a 54-kilometer (33.6-mile) trial from Bergerac to Perigueux. The last time the race had just one time trial stage was 1953.

Director Christian Prudhomme and other Tour organizers also chose a clockwise run around France along the battlefields of World War I to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

It will then go into the smaller but quick-succession climbs of the eastern Vosges mountains. After this, riders go into the Alps, along the flats of Provence, and then into some Pyrenees mountain punishment in the third week.

Strong climbers like Astana leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde of Movistar are likely to be longer-distance contenders for the title against Froome and Contador.

Five mountaintop finishes await, including Stage 10 on the Plateau de Belles Filles (the “Beautiful Girls” plateau), where Froome got his first Tour stage win in 2012. A bone-rattling run on cobblestones is ahead in Stage 5.

There will be a strong crop of U.S. riders includes Andrew Talansky, who beat Froome and Contador at the Criterium du Dauphine in June, and Tejay van Garderen, the best young rider in the 2012 Tour.

And a sprinter showdown may loom. Rising star Marcel Kittel of Germany largely swiped the limelight by winning four sprint stages, while Britain’s Mark Cavendish — among the greatest sprinters ever — last year won two.

This year, in a first, some of the world’s best women riders will be present at the Tour finish on Paris’ Champs-Elysees on July 27, as organizers host a one-day women’s race there hours before the men roll in.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 10 Comments

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
 
Design of Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier OK’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

 
Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

 
Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics