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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 10, 2013

Date published:
May 10, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Bouhanni mixes it up in Giro d'Italia sprints

    The color-coordinated French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 22:15 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Small mistake results in fourth place for FDJ rider in stage 6

    In lavishing praise upon Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team for slowing the pace at the front of the peloton after Bradley Wiggins was caught behind a crash in the finale of stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia, Sky manager Dave Brailsford also implicitly pointed the finger at FDJ and Katusha, who were controlling affairs at the head of the peloton.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews after the finish in Margherita di Savoia, however, FDJ directeur sportif Frédéric Guesdon rejected the idea that his team had done anything in contravention of fair play.

    "Our aim was just to stay in front on the finishing circuit, we weren't riding, we just wanted to stay out of the trouble," Guesdon told Cyclingnews. "We were just controlling the race, we weren't riding full on and our aim certainly wasn't to drop Wiggins given that we don't have a man for general classification. We were only there for the sprint."

    Katusha directeur sportif Valerio Piva explained his team's presence on the front of the peloton in similar terms, pointing out that they were simply ensuring that maglia rosa Luca Paolini stayed out of trouble. "Paolini told me that they'd stay there on the front but not pull. That's normal, that's fair play," Piva said.

    As Guesdon noted, "It all ended well," with Wiggins and his Sky cohort soon latching back onto the main peloton, and the stage was quickly set for the anticipated bunch finish on the Adriatic coast.

    FDJ's man for the sprint was French champion Nacer Bouhanni, who arrived at the Giro with a burgeoning reputation and lofty ambitions after a...

  • First teams announced for 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

    The main bunch works its way up the Alpine Loop climb
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 23:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Five ProTeams, two Pro Continental and three Continental teams confirmed

    The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today announced the first 10 teams which have received invitations for the UCI 2.1-ranked stage race taking place August 6-11. Five UCI ProTeams are among the first to confirm their attendance including: RadioShack Leopard, Garmin-Sharp, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge. UCI Pro Continental teams include MTN-Qhubeka and Champion System Pro Cycling Team while the three UCI Continental squads consist of Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and Bissell Cycling.

    "It's very impressive to have such a strong, world-class field of professional cycling teams making Utah part of their race schedule each year," said Steve Miller, chief operating officer of Miller Sports Properties which organizes the Tour of Utah. "Cycling fans should be excited to see a solid group of top-rated pro teams from around the globe, including tremendous new teams from Brazil, South Africa and Australia. We expect to complete the invitation process in the coming weeks with some of the top domestic teams, so the competition this year should be the best yet."

    The 2012 Tour of Utah was won by Johann Tschopp and his BMC Racing Team will return seeking another overall victory. Three of the confirmed teams will be making their inaugural appearance in Utah including Australia's Orica-GreenEdge, South Africa-based Team MTN-Qhubeka (racing for the first time in the US) and Brazil's Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos, leader of the UCI America Tour.

    For the first time in the nine-year history of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the race will span almost the entire length of the state from the red rock country near world-famous Bryce Canyon National Park in the south to the renowned ski resorts of...

  • Howard's Giro over after sustaining broken collarbone in crash

    The Orica GreenEdge squad roll it in after a tough opening stage in Naples
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 23:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wind, nerves and crashes leave Orica GreenEdge man-down

    It was another nervous and crash-marred day at the Giro d'Italia with Orica GreenEdge involved in a number of incidents which occurred in the final hour of Stage 6 from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia. Leigh Howard was the worst-off from the Australian team after crashing shortly after the bunch hit the first of the two 16km finishing circuits. Howard went over bars, landed on his left shoulder but managed to finish the stage in 169th position, 37-seconds behind stage winner Marck Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).

    After the stage Howard was immediately taken to hospital for further diagnosis while his teammates Luke Durbridge, who is making his grand tour debut at the Giro, Christian Meier, Svein Tuft and Brett Lancaster were all nursing wounds after falling during the stage. Durbridge and Meier got tangled-up in the same fall as Howard with Lancaster and Tuft - celebrating his birthday - were involved in a crash that occurred shortly after the day's escapee-duo Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Cam Wurf (Cannondale) were swept up.

    "I went straight over my handlebars," explained Howard on his team site at the finish. "There wasn't anything I could to do to stop myself. I landed on my left shoulder, and I'm going to get x-rays now."

    "It was a really nervous day today because of the wind, we always try to be cautious," added sports director Neil Stephens. "We noticed that Leigh seemed to be having difficulty holding his bars. Our team doctor is here at the finish, and he located the x-ray ambulance that the Giro organisation has here at the finish. Leigh is...

  • Di Luca stays in the picture

    Danilo Di Luca after the finish
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 5:54 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Controversial rider lingers in Giro d'Italia peloton

    For some, Danilo Di Luca is not so much Italian cycling's Teflon man as an irretrievably tarnished pan that somehow survives being binned with every annual spring clean.

    Di Luca's rap sheet is an eye-watering one - from his implication in the Oil for Drugs in 2004 to his positive test for CERA at the 2009 Giro d'Italia, by way of the infamous "pipì degli angeli" scandal of the 2007 Giro - but year after year, one team or another passes the veteran Italian fit for service.

    This year, it is the turn of the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia squad, who signed Di Luca just 10 days before the start of the Giro and, it appears, against the express wishes of manager Luca Scinto. The reason for his arrival is to be found in the bubbles that have added a touch of kitsch to Vini Fantini's already lurid kit at this Giro - Di Luca brings long-term backer Acqua & Sapone with him as a sub-sponsor.

    The move had been mooted all winter, but Di Luca spent the early season on the sidelines waiting for the green light on the deal. "I had an agreement with Fantini since November so I didn't have any doubts even when it dragged on a little bit. I was always certain that I was going to ride with this team," Di Luca told Cyclingnews in Mola di Bari.

    Remarkably, after seven months away from racing, the 37-year-old Di Luca returned to the fray without skipping a beat and recorded a brace of top-10 placings at the GP Larciano and the Giro della Toscana on consecutive days the week before the Giro began.

    "I trained well all winter and in any case, my principal objective was always going to be the Giro d'Italia, so all through the early season my training was based around being ready for the Giro," Di Luca said by way of explanation.

    Di Luca has continued in the same vein at the Giro itself and the...

  • Cancellara returns to racing at Tour of Belgium

    Fabian Cancellara cruised to victory in Flanders
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 8:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Leopard rider ends racing break after Classics

    Fabian Cancellara will return to racing at the Tour of Belgium. The RadioShack-Leopard rider has had a racing break after his successful Spring Classics campaign. 

    “I am happy to be able to ride the Tour of Belgium again, after I couldn't for a few editions,” he told HLN.be.

    Earlier this spring the Swiss rider won the E3, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He has not raced since April 7.

    He finds this year's Tour of Belgium course “very balanced and challenging, only a very complete ride will win this edition. For me, I have to wait and see what my condition is like after the weeks of rest, to see what is possible. But in any case we come to the start with a strong and ambitious team.”

    Amongst others, he will be supported by Belgian teammates Ben Hermanns, Stijn Devolder, Jan Bakelants and Maxime Monfort. He will face another Belgian at the race, Tom Boonen, who is returning from injuries he suffered in the Tour of Flanders.

  • Viviani accepts fate against Cavendish

    Elia Viviani (Cannondale) was one of the favourites for victory on the flat roads of stage 6
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 10:22 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian consistently close at Giro d’Italia

    No sprinter is in the business of celebrating second place finishes, but Elia Viviani (Cannondale) had to accept his fate with grace when he was beaten by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) the end of stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia in Margherita di Savoia.

    Like on the opening stage in Naples, Viviani used his track racer’s acumen to good effect and positioned himself well in the finishing straight by nipping onto Murilo Fischer’s (FDJ) wheel. But just like last weekend, there was little Viviani could do against Cavendish and he had to settle for another second place finish at this Giro.

    After crossing the line, Viviani was whisked off – along with Cavendish – to the makeshift television studio by the finish that is the site of the daily “Processo alla tappa” programme, which analyses the day’s action and – on occasion – stokes up polemica.

    There was little argument about the final reckoning of stage 6, however, and by the time Cyclingnews managed to catch up with Viviani by telephone, the sprinter was already in a team car headed north towards Cannondale’s hotel further up the Adriatic coast at Vasto and viewing his afternoon in a positive light.

    “We were hoping to be able to anticipate him in the sprint but Omega Pharma did a great lead-out for Cavendish,” Viviani said. “[Gert] Steegmans was perfect today and then in the end, it was a great sprint from the best sprinter in the world. There really was very little to be done against Cavendish, so I’ll take this second place against him in a positive way. It’s always annoying to lose out, and like the first stage, I didn’t do much wrong but he...

  • Urán aiming to take the pink jersey in Pescara

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky)
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 13:39 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Team Sky rider on his personal ambitions at the Giro d'Italia

    Rigoberto Urán has denied reports that Team Sky are not united behind Bradley Wiggins in his bid to become the first British winner of the Giro d’Italia, but has also confirmed that if circumstances permit, he would not turn his nose up at a top five finish overall.

    On top of that, the Colombian says that he will be battling to take the lead on stage seven’s trek through the Abruzzo mountains, which he calls “a semi-Classic” in terms of difficulty.

    “I’m doing well, I’m in good shape and I want the pink jersey,” Urán, seventh and best young rider in the 2012 Giro d'Italia, told Colombian station Radio Caracol before blaming the media for all the rumours of internal dissent in the team.

    “They say we’re not united, but that’s just the press talking. Both Sergio [Henao] and I came here to do a job for Bradley Wiggins. We will be focusing on the third week, which is where there’s the bulk of the high mountain stages.”

    As for his own chances, Uran said “We’ll take it on the day by day. This isn’t like the Tour which you can control much more easily. If there’s not too much work, the top five is possible.”

    He refused to comment in detail on rumours that he will be quitting Team Sky at the end of 2013.

    “This year my contract ends,” he told Radio Caracol, “we’re still talking and nothing’s yet set out in a contract. There are possibilities of other teams. But we’ll wait until the Giro is over before deciding.”

    Rather than do a Wiggins Giro-Tour double, Uran revelaed he will be doing the Vuelta, with a view to building up for the World’s, a route which suits him well. Urán traditionally has...

  • Intxausti ready to defend third place overall in Giro

    Benat Intxausti helped his Movistar captain Alejandro Valverde in the stage 17 finale crossed the finish line in 7th place.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 14:21 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Movistar rider targeted Giro since winter

    Spain’s Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) is written off as an outsider for the Giro d'Italia GC at best, yet the reality is that he is lying third overall after a week of extremely tough racing - and, with the considerable caveat that he usually has one very bad day on a Grand Tour, could yet rise higher if he manages to avoid that.

    Intxausti benefited from Movistar’s very strong team time trial, where they ran second to Sky, but as he tells Cyclingnews before the stage seven start, he has been targetting the Giro since last November.

    “I didn’t do so badly last time round, and since last winter I’ve had the objective of doing the Giro as part of the season plan,” the Basque said. “I’ve come here with 18 days racing, like in 2012, and above all feeling very motivated.”

    “The team time trial was the first big objective, we’d been doing them well since the start of the year, even if Sky was stronger. We’re doing all right.”

    “I was up there on the important moments, and my worst part came when I had a puncture yesterday with ten kilometres to go. That was pretty hairy, just when it was all going down and there was a cross-wind, but the team reacted well and I got back on all right.”

    Looking at stage seven, an area which Intxausti knows well from the Tirreno-Adriatico, he said, “It’s a very complicated day, you’ll have to stay very alert and  make sure you get through ok.”

    As for tomorrow’s time trial, Intxausti says “I haven’t seen the route yet, and it will depend a lot on how it looks and then we’ll get a clearer idea of how things...