Kenyan-born Briton Chris Froome hit out at Barloworld teammate Moises Duenas here on Saturday after the Spaniard's positive doping control at the Tour de France.
Duenas's positive test for the banned blood booster EPO (erythrpoietin) on stage 4 has been one of three on the race, but is the first to force a drastic decision on the part of a team sponsor.
On Saturday Barloworld, which made its debut on the Tour last year when Robbie Hunter won his first stage and Colombian Mauricio Soler won the King of the Mountains jersey, said it was quitting the sport.
Cadel Evans has been poring over cycling's history books as he prepares to put his yellow jersey on the line during three crucial days of climbing at the Tour de France.
But the 31-year-old Aussie has not ruled out trying to forge alliances, if needed, in a bid to counter some of his big rivals for the race's main prize.
Evans finished the 14th stage here Saturday suffering, like most of the peloton, from the searing temperatures as the race headed slowly upwards to the foot of the Alps.
"I'm kind of surprised to hold the jersey this far, to be honest," said Evans.
Spaniard Oscar Freire should now have a better idea of whether he can keep the Tour de France green
jersey, after some in-race consultation with sprint rival Mark Cavendish.
Cavendish, the winner of four sprint stages so far, was conspicuous by his absence on Saturday as Freire claimed his first win of this year's race from yet another bunch sprint at the end of the 194km 14th stage.
Weather Hot and sunny, strong westerly winds (tailwinds for the peloton) up to 45kph. Air temperature at the start was 86 degrees, while the road temperature during the stage reached 107.
Stage winner Spaniard Oscar Freire (Rabobank) took his fourth career Tour stage win and the first of this Tour, ahead of Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) and Erik Zabel (Milram). With 10km remaining Jose Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne) was the last man reeled in out of a four-man breakaway that spent 143km off the front
CAV EXIT LIKELY: Mark Cavendish’s dream Tour de France is likely over as it’s expected that the British sprinter won’t take the start for Sunday’s opening salvo into the Alps.
Cavendish won four sprint stages, but struggled to maintain the pace over a fourth-category climb with 9.5km to go to the line in Dignes-les-Bains. He popped off the back of the peloton and rolled across the line 108th at 3:27 back.
Garmin-Chipotle sport director Matt White has had a front-row seat to the team’s surprisingly good opening two weeks of the Tour de France.
Team captain Christian Vande Velde enters Saturday’s opening shot of the showdown in the Alps poised in third place overall. The team has been flying under the radar, but that’s bound to change if Vande Velde’s consistency continues through the Alps.
We caught up with Matt White ahead of Friday’s start to talk tactics looking ahead to the decisive climbing stages in the Alps. Here are excerpts from the interview:
A HOT one here in France-land today, and fast from start to finish. A flurry of attacks in the first few minutes eventually created a group of 21. With a slight wind at our backs the first hour rolled 53Ks under the tires.
The group was just a bit too big however and eventually a concerted chase from behind brought us back. Four took off out of the group for the long haul, the rest of us got to go back, fetch some bottles and settle in for the day.
Points competition leader Oscar Freire won Saturday's 14th stage of the 2008 Tour de France, a mostly flat 195km route from Nimes to Digne les Bains.
Overall race leader Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) finished in the lead group on the stage to retain his 1-second advantage over Frank Schleck as the race approaches several difficult mountain stages.