Tour de France: Page 444

Tour de France race news, results, commentary, and photos. The 106th edition of the Tour de France is one of cycling’s three grand tours.

Cunego injuries force him to drop out of Tour

After battling his way through the 18th stage of the Tour de France Thursday, despite sustaining potentially serious injuries in a crash, Lampre's Damiano Cunego has pulled out of the race, according to team sources. "It's a miracle I finished this stage," said the Lampre rider, who came over the finish line with blood dripping from a wound under his chin and injuries to his chest and thorax.

Duenas denies ‘knowingly’ doping, blames team doctor

Spanish cyclist Moises Duenas, who was kicked out of the Tour de France after failing a drugs test, on Thursday denied knowingly taking any banned substance during the race. Duenas was charged last week in France with "use and possession of plants and poisonous substances,” and dropped by his British-registered team Barloworld. He risks a two-year jail term and a 3750-euro fine.

Tough Tour, but worth it, says O’Grady

Stuart O'Grady finally came through one of his "toughest" Tour de France campaigns as the peloton headed out of the Alps and steadily towards Paris on Thursday. However, the Australian admitted he almost never made it as far as the second mountain range of this year's race after finding out he was carrying a virus three days into the race, "I didn't know it at the time but I was a bit crook. It turned out it was pretty serious," O'Grady told AFP. "When the results came through it was actually a relief."

Roche: No marker in new EPO drug

Swiss pharmaceutical giant F. Hoffman-La Roche issued a statement Thursday disputing a recent claim by World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey that it had inserted a “marker” in its new anti-anemia drug Micera. The drug has been the focus of recent attention after Ricardo Riccò, Saunier Duval’s top GC hope at the Tour de France, tested positive for the drug following the stage 4 time trial at Cholet.

Burghardt wins St. Etienne

After spending almost all of the day on the attack, Team Columbia’s Marcus Burghardt won the 18th stage of the Tour de France, beating Quick Step’s Carlos Barredo in a final kilometer chess match that bore more resemblance to a match-sprint on the velodrome than the end of a 196.5 mile road race. The two joined forces early in the day and cooperated until the final ten kilometers. At that point the two could afford to risk the benefits of cooperation as they enjoyed a healthy 4:50 lead over a group of three chasers and nearly 10 minutes on the peloton.

Inside the Tour, with John Wilcockson – Sastre has ridden the perfect Tour — so far

From virtually every aspect, Carlos Sastre has ridden a perfect Tour de France. As soon as the route for this year’s Tour was announced last October, he said that the race would be decided in the final week, and probably at L’Alpe d’Huez. That’s why he focused his whole season on being at his very best right now, using races as training all season long, and trying to remain anonymous through the first two weeks of the race itself.

Who won: Sastre or Evans?

CSC-Saxo Bank’s Carlos Sastre took both the stage win atop L’Alpe d’Huez and the race lead following Wednesday’s massive 210km queen stage of this year’s Tour — but who was the day’s biggest winner? Following this Tour’s final mountain stage, one minute and 34 seconds separate stage 17 winner Carlos Sastre and pre-race favorite Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto with just four stages remaining. Of greatest interest, of course, is Saturday’s rolling 53km time trial, where the final classification will certainly be determined.