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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 13, 2011

Date published:
May 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Visconti's Giro d'Italia hampered by knee injury

    Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini - Neri Sottol) has physio tape on his knee due to an injury.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 22:47 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian champion "miraculously" still in the race

    Until stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia, Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) didn't mention that he had suffered a knee injury as he was hoping things would get better. During stage 6, the Italian champion managed to hang on and worked for his teammate Oscar Gatto.

    "For me, it's a miracle that he's still in the race," Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli's directeur sportif Luca Scinto said at the finish in Fiuggi.

    At the start of stage 6 in Orvieto, Visconti had physio tape around his knee and explained: "During the Amstel Gold Race, a water bottle exploded on my left knee and the pain keeps getting bigger and bigger. I'm worried."

    "It looked insignificant at the beginning and it turned into a strong pain," Scinto added. "Yesterday at the beginning of the stage it was very bad but painkillers helped him finish the race. He underwent therapy. We've got an osteopath coming from Tuscany to treat him. We've got the medical devices for that. We do all we can to save him and his Giro."

    The Pro Continental Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team got an invite for the Giro d'Italia even prior to the announcement of the wild cards because of the presence in their ranks of the Italian champion in the year the race celebrates the 150th anniversary of the unity of Italy.

    The team had high ambitions for the first two weeks of the race and the squad is mostly built around Visconti. But when they went to the front of the bunch riding behind breakaway riders Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) and Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) during the last hour of racing, it wasn't for Visconti, who had confirmed to his teammates that he...

  • UCI reacts to leaked Tour de France suspicious list

    UCI president Pat McQuaid speaks at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 23:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Governing body deplores L'Equipe leak

    The UCI has reacted angrily to doping tests that are set to appear in Friday's edition of L'Equipe. The tests are believed to have been taken at the start of last year's Tour de France. It is not known how the information was leaked to the French publication or the level of detail involved.

    "The UCI has been informed that the L'Equipe newspaper was going to publish in its edition on Friday a confidential document containing the riders' individual readings following tests carried out before the start of the 2010 Tour de France," said the UCI.

    "First of all, the UCI deplores that this document has come into the possession of outsiders as it is a single tool on which the anti-doping services organise their activity during the race.

    "This document was reserved for the UCI and independent experts of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Such a weakness in the confidentiality is very serious and the UCI will open an inquiry to discover the origin of the leak."

    Alberto Contador remains the only rider to have tested positive during last year's Tour de France. He tested positive for clenbuterol. The doping control in question was carried on July 21 during the second rest of the Tour in Pau, in the Pyrenees. His case is currently under appeal and will be decided upon by CAS.

  • Di Luca predicts large group to arrive at Montevergine

    Danilo Di Luca (Katusha) is riding his first Giro since his return from suspension.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 1:38 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian has fond memories of stages in 2001 and 2007

    Stage seven features the first serious uphill finish of the 2011 Giro d’Italia: the Montevergine di Mercogliano, a 17km long climb with an average gradient of 5% and the steepest part at 10%. It’ll be the fourth time in ten years that the summit is used in the race - Danilo Di Luca imposed himself twice (in 2001 and 2007) and Damiano Cunego once previously (in 2004 ahead of Bradley McGee and Franco Pellizotti).

    Returning to the Giro with Katusha after a suspension following a positive dope test in 2009, Di Luca told Cyclingnews at the start of stage six in Orvieto: "Montevergine isn’t where everything started for me because I won my first stage of the Giro in Peschici the year before, but for sure I have great memory of this uphill finish."

    In 2007, it was the first climb of the race after three opening days in Sardinia. Montevergine showcased a young climber in his first appearance at a Grand Tour: Andy Schleck. The Luxembourg revelation eventually finished second overall to Di Luca and was crowned best young rider. On that day in 2007 he came fourth behind Di Luca, Ricardo Ricco and Damiano Cunego. Had he believed more in his chances, he might have attacked earlier.

    "Schleck didn’t make any mistake", Di Luca remembered. "Montevergine is a climb where it’s impossible to make real differences. He wouldn’t have dropped us off that day." Di Luca won with an uphill lead out by Franco Pellizotti, both racing for Liquigas at the time.

    "Tomorrow, again, there won’t be any significant gap between the GC contenders", Di Luca predicted. "Thirty riders will be sprinting for the win at the top." Alberto Contador divided that number by two while...

  • Contador biding time in Giro d'Italia

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) will be watched tomorrow
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 2:08 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Former winner waiting for Zoncolan, Gardeccia

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) has downplayed rumours that he was ‘pissed off’ because Giro d’Italia organisers had used the gravelled roads of the strade bianche in the 2011 race. On the other hand, he insisted that the race already offers enough risk on a daily basis - without complicating it further.

    "Yesterday was a technical and difficult stage", the Spaniard said as he answered the questions of the diverse media at the Processo alla tappa following stage six on RAI television.

    "There was the risk of crashing and there were a lot of punctures but controversy is out of question. I respect this stage. There weren’t any major problems and we continue the Giro. This is a special race for me. I like it! I like it! I’ve kept found memories of my participation in 2008. When I see the replay of these images from three years, I realize that I was much younger, but I’m also much better prepared this time around."

    Contador and the Astana team were a last minute inclusion at the 2008 Giro d’Italia.

    "I’ve learned from my first experience that the Giro can be lost any day", the triple winner of the Tour de France added. "There isn’t any quiet day. There’s always someone keen to attack."

    Asked about his intention of riding three Grand Tours for the win the same year, he answered: "I’m not thinking about it for now. I only have the date of May 29th in my mind. That’s the end of the Giro. After six days in the race, I already feel tired, so I don’t even want to consider the [prospect of] three Grand Tours right now."

    "I don’t feel the whole burden of the race on my shoulder", he continued. "Everyone defends his...

  • Noè soaking up final Giro d'Italia at 42

     Andrea Noè (Farnese Vini-Neri) will ride his last race at the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Veteran Italian recalls fondest Giro memories

    At 42 years of age, Andrea Noè (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) is finally ready to hang up his wheels, and is determined to soak up the atmosphere of his 15th and final Giro d'Italia. The veteran Italian, who began his professional career all the way back in 1993, will retire from the sport when he crosses the line in Milan on May 29th.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews in Orvieto's Piazza Duomo on Thursday morning, Noè confessed that he had conflicting emotions on ending his relationship with the corsa rosa.

    "I've done 15 Giri, and I have a lot of different sensations when I think that in two weeks I won't be in the peloton anymore," Noè admitted. "So day by day, I'm experiencing different emotions, and at the same time, I'll be trying to show myself and not just stay in the peloton being anonymous."

    Noè has tasted glory at the Giro in his time. In 1998, he held off no less a figure than Marco Pantani to take a fine stage victory at San Marino in the colours of Asics and later held the overall lead for a day. 9 years later in 2007, he became the oldest man to wear the pink jersey, leading the Giro for two days at the already ripe old age of 38.

    "I wore the maglia rosa and I suppose wearing the jersey at the age of 38 was a unique experience," he said. "Still today I'm the oldest maglia rosa in the history of the race, but there are so many emotions and memories from the Giro that it's impossible to describe them all."

    Yet even at that stage, Noè's passion for the corsa rosa was not sated. After being left out of Liquigas' line-up for the 2009 race, the man born in 1969 continued racing into his fifth decade in the hope of riding one final Giro. The opportunity finally arrived with Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli this season.

    "I started...

  • Pirazzi rides for home cheer on the road to Fiuggi

    Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF Inox)
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 3:46 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian's late attack fruitless - but respected by tifosi

    'Tutti pazzi per Pirazzi' read the banners in Fiuggi. All crazy for Pirazzi. And on home roads on Thursday, Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF) was determined not to disappoint the partisan local crowd as he launched a speculative effort in the finale of stage six of the Giro d'Italia.

    With the three-man break of Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM) still dangling out in front and the peloton strung out behind, Pirazzi's move 20km from home may have made little tactical sense in the grand scheme of things, but the Giro is full of such side stories.

    Pirazzi's move fizzled out less than 10km later as he was swallowed up by the speeding peloton, and after a brief second attack, he crossed the line in 80th place behind stage winner Francisco Ventoso (Movistar). But while Pirazzi fell short of any tangible reward for his efforts, he was greeted like a conquering hero by the crowds on Fiuggi's Via 4 Giugno.

    "The important thing was to try," he told reporters afterwards, with his fan club gathered raucously behind him. "Today I gave everything and it wasn't easy because the sprinters' teams wanted to bring it all back together and that's what happened."

    Colnago-CSF has been aggressive thus far in this Giro, with Manuel Belletti's third place on stage two and Gianluca Brambilla's spell in the green jersey the highlights to...

  • Mike Mckay appointed CEO of GreenEdge

    Shayne Bannan posses in front of the Greenedge Cycling van.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 5:09 BST
    By:
    Sarah Connolly

    Olympian rower brings wealth of experience to Australian team

    The GreenEdge Cycling Team is moving fast, and following their announcements of partnerships with Santini and Scott Sports, have announced the appointment of the double Olympic gold medallist, Mike McKay, as their new CEO.

    McKay competed for Australia in four Olympic Games, from 1992 to 2004 as a rower, winning his two golds as captain of the Coxless Four team (the 'Oarsome Foursome') in ’92 and ’96, and gold and a bronze medals as part of the Eight in ’00 and ’04.

    GreenEdge is aiming to be the first Australian team to get UCI WorldTour status, and to ride in the 2012 Tour de France

    "One of our priorities is to ensure our riders have support beyond the bike to prepare for life after their racing careers", says Shayne Bannan, the GreenEdge General Manager, General Manager and former High Performance Director of Cycling Australia.

    'As someone to set an example for our riders I can't think of anyone better than Mike who won Olympic gold medals while completing a MBA. Beyond his business acumen that alone brings a lot to our team and its ethos."

    'He also knows cycling. We've actually had a lot of former rowers make the transition to cycling but Mike was one of the first rowers to use cycling as part of his training.

    "I'm looking forward to working with one of our Olympic icons as we aim to achieve something unique in Australian sport."

    McKay himself sees Australian national pride as a key part of the GreenEdge vision.

    "One of the greatest images in Australian sport is Australia II's victory in the America's Cup. Given what was required to get that boat across the finish line showed that we are world leaders in business, science, entertainment and sport. Taking an Australian team to the Tour de France,...

  • Tuft’s form for California in question after recent virus

    Canadian time trial champion Svein Tuft (Team Spidertech Powered By C10) stopped the clock for 4th place.
    Article published:
    May 13, 2011, 6:25 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Canadian time trial champ aiming for results in Solvang

    Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10) is unsure of his form heading into the Amgen Tour of California after a successful spring block of racing overseas ended with ill health. The Canadian National Time Trial Champion is however targeting a strong performance in the stage six 24km time trial held in Solvang on May 20.

    "Physically Svein had a great spring in Europe," said Josee Larocque of SpiderTech p/b C10. "He raced very consistently with fourth place at the Three Days of West Flanders time trial. He finished the spring campaign with a solid Tour of Turkey, but unfortunately retired from the last stage due to a fever. Svein has been working on getting his good health back ever since."

    Tuft is a six-time national time trial champion and is best known for securing a silver medal at the UCI World Time Trial Championships in 2008. Though the virus has impacted his Tour of California build-up, Tuft and the team are both positive that the Canadian can still ride well.

    "We are certain that Svein is motivated to race the Amgen Tour of California and we are convinced of his capability in this race," Larocque said.

    "However we cannot predict how good Svein will be due to his recent virus. We are optimistic, but we cannot be confident."

    Tuft has reviewed the challenging time trial course in the quaint Danish town of Solvang. He has had some success at the Amgen Tour of California in the past placing ninth in the opening prologue and twentieth in the individual time trial in 2009.

    "Svein has been setting his goals on that stage for sure," Larocque said.

    "However, as previously stated we are certainly cautious on how his form is since May 1. We know he has great preparation racing in Europe. It's only the recent health battle that worries us."

    SpiderTech p/b C10 has put...