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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 17, 2013

Date published:
May 17, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Mannion in heated Twitter competition at Tour of California

    Gavin Mannion (Bontrager-Livestrong) gets a kiss from the podium girls
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 18:20 BST
    Pat Malach

    Bontrager rider extra-motivated to make breaks

    Cyclists take their motivation from many different places, sometimes they can even get a little boost from Twitter. That may have been the case for Bontrager rider Gavin Mannion's all-day adventure off the front Tuesday during stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California from Palmdale to Santa Clarita.

    The 21-year-old from Dedham, Massachusetts joined Champion System's Chad Beyer and WorldTour riders Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) in a high-profile-yet-ultimately-unsuccessful breakaway.

    Despite the move being caught and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) eventually sprinting to the win, Mannion also walked away a winner - in an ongoing battle with head soigneur Reed McCalvin over who could attract more followers on the social media platform.

    "It started a few months ago," McCalvin said of his lighthearted battle with Mannion. "We were talking, and I was making fun of the guys because I had more followers than they did. Gavin picked up on it, and so each race he's been like, 'Gaining on you. Got this many, Got this many now.'"

    While the team was driving to the start on Tuesday, Mannion checked in with McCalvin about his current status and found out he was only 10 followers away from his soigneur. Then McCalvin tempted fate.

    "So I said, 'Don't go getting in the break today to try and get more followers than me," McCalvin said. "And then of course he's in the all-day break with Lieuwe Westra and Andy Schleck. So he skyrocketed over me that night. But I'm going to get his little leprechaun ass back this week."

    The playful banter is a way for McCalvin, who has been with the development team since its inception, to keep things light for the young crew he helps oversee. And Mannion, who won the Best Young Rider jersey at the

  • Giro d'Italia: Cavendish hits lines for 100th time

    Stage 12 winner Mark Cavendish in the media scrum post-race.
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 18:43 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Manxman puts on a show

    Just as day follows night, the one hundredth win of Mark Cavendish’s career was followed by his one hundredth winner’s press conference. And just as his win on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia in Treviso was typical of the genre, so too was his meeting with the media afterwards.

    Although Giro press officer Matteo Cavazzuti warned that Cavendish’s conference would be a short one because of the lengthy transfer to Friday’s start in Busseto, the Manxman still found time to cram in just about all of his traditional themes in what almost amounted to a greatest hits compilation of press conferences past.

    The lavish praise for his teammates, a forensic description of the finishing straight, a moment of introspection and thinly-veiled barb at the gentlemen of the press (of this very parish, in fact) all featured in Cavendish’s brief cameo in Treviso’s Istituto Comprensivo Stefanini after the stage.

    “Normally it wouldn’t mean anything but the 100th win is quite special, it is quite a milestone,” Cavendish said of hitting his century, before segueing into a lengthy paean to his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates.

    “The guys took control on a quite horrid stage from beginning to end and they rode out of their skins. They went longer than what I thought was possible. Young Julian Vermote was pulling 5k at the end and Matteo Trentin normally goes at 800 metres but he had to go from 2k but the guys all day, they were incredible. Every single one of them did something special today and that makes the win even more special.”

    Next up was the de rigueur question about the final kilometre of the race, and every reporter in the room duly leaned forward as they strained to listen to Cavendish dictate the opening paragraphs of their race reports.


  • Wiggins out of overall contention at the Giro d'Italia

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was dropped from the maglia rosa group in the finale of stage 12
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 19:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Will decide on whether to continue on Friday morning

    Bradley Wiggins' hopes of overall success at the Giro d'Italia ended on the rain-soaked roads to Treviso during stage 12 on Thursday, but Team Sky refuted speculation that he might immediately quit the race, putting off any decision until Friday morning.

    Wiggins has been suffering with a cold and chest infection for several days and taking antibiotics. When the speed picked up in the final, flat part of the stage, he was unable to hold the wheel and lost contact.

    All his Team Sky teammates except overall contenders Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao waited for him and escorted home but he finished 3:17 behind fellow Brit Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who was elated to secure the 100th victory of his career.

    Wiggins' emotions were very different and he looked empty and ghost-like when he crossed the line. He didn't speak to the media before getting on the bus. Team manager Dave Brailsford came out in the rain to dampen any ideas that Wiggins would automatically quit the Giro d'Italia and he would home to recover and start thinking about the Tour de France.

    "He's knackered, to use a nice British term," he said despondently.

    "It was reported that it was a stomach illness but that wasn't the case. He's got a severe cold and a chest infection. He battled that yesterday but it got worse overnight. We always knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but it's not like Bradley Wiggins to lose a wheel on the flat."

    Several TV interviewers pushed to understand if Wiggins will continue in the Giro. Brailsford insisted it was too soon to make any decision.

    "He's fit enough to carry on but it's not about fitness, it's about sickness. They're two very different...

  • KOM battle hots up at Tour of California

    Nathan Brown (Bontrager) leads the break.
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Pat Malach

    Jones holding on with limited chances ahead

    Although temperatures during Wednesday's stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California cooled considerably from the previous days, the battle for the mountain classification was at full boil.

    Three of the top five contenders for the polka dot jersey made the day's six-rider breakaway; noticeably absent from the group was KOM leader Carter Jones (Bissell Pro Cycling), but his Continental-ranked team had the 24-year-old rider's back.

    Jones' teammates Chris Baldwin and Frank Pipp joined classification runner-up Jim Stemper (5-hour Energy/Kenda), fourth-placed KOM rider Marsh Cooper (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and fifth-placed Chad Beyer (Champion System) - along with Bontrager's Nate Brown - in a move that went down the road just a handful of kilometers into the race. Despite the dangerous move, Baldwin and Pipp were able gobble up more than half the points on offer and help Jones keep his polka dot top.

    "The only reason we were there was to protect that KOM jersey," Baldwin told Cyclingnews after the race. "We saw Stemper go, and honestly the idea was to bring Carter with me, but he was really ambitious at the beginning of the stage trying to go with every little jump, and he burned a lot of matches. But it was mission accomplished as far as trying to protect those points."

    The 134.6 km stage featured just two KOM spots, the category 4 climb outside of Santa Paula at 67.5 km and the category 3 climb of Casitas Pass, exactly 100 km into the race.

    Baldwin struck first, taking ultimate points in Santa Paula. Pipp, usually known for his turn of speed on the flats rather than his ability to fight gravity, grabbed third on the climb, leaving Stemper to collect a single point, while Cooper was second.

    On the ascent of Casitas Pass, Bontrager's Brown lit out to grab the six points available to the first rider across, while Baldwin...

  • Nibali and Astana enjoy a quiet day in the rain

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) adds another maglia rosa to his collection
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 21:45 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Martinelli: "Wiggins out of contention but Uran, Evans and Scarponi still dangerous"

    While Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) suffered in the rain and lost any chance of overall victory at the Giro d'Italia, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) enjoyed another trouble-free day in the race leader's pink jersey during stage 12 on Thursday.

    The Italian was able to perhaps sit back and smile during the long transfer across the north of Italy towards Busseto, knowing that he had survived another day in pink while perhaps his biggest rival was considering heading home rather than planning attack is the rapidly approaching Alpine stages.

    As race leader, Nibali is obliged to attend a post-race press conference after every stage. But with lots of kilometres to cover on the autostrada he let directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli do the talking.

    The subject on everybody's mind was Wiggins' bad day and the loss of the Tour de France winner as a major rival.

    "I think he's really ill. I could see it a bit in the way he gave up, he didn't fight to get back on like he did on the other days. I think that in this Giro he has had a few problems and they're still making themselves felt," Martinelli said outside the Astana team bus.

    "It changes a lot. I've always said up to now that Wiggins most dangerous rider and he was the one we feared the most because he’s a great champion. You don't win the Tour de France by chance, so certainly, him out of the 'classifica' gives us a bit of morale. Uran, Evans and Scarponi are still dangerous. Uran is a good leader for Sky and he's going very well at the moment and he’ll be an hard nut to crack. But I think that the most dangerous rider isn't there anymore."

    Martinelli refuted suggestions that the Astana team is not at its...

  • Video: Sciandri on Evans' Giro d'Italia chances

    Cadel Evans battles with Vincenzo Nibali
    Article published:
    May 16, 2013, 22:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian within touching distance of maglia rosa

    Over half way through the Giro d'Italia and BMC's Cadel Evans is riding high in second place on GC, 41 seconds in arrears to Italian favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). It's a position that not many would have predicted for the Australian rider after a difficult 2012 season that was plagued by illness and a loss of a form and slightly lacklustre start to 2013.

    However the 2011 Tour de France champion has hardly put a foot wrong in his year's Giro, and save for a mixed performance in the team time trial, would be within touching distance of the maglia rosa.

    In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews BMC sports director Max Sciandri talks about Evans' form, how he's getting stronger each day and the tactical advantage BMC could play with both Sky and Astana fighting for supremacy in this year's race.

    The weather, combined with the difficult route has seen Evans come to the fore in the individual time trial and first mountain tests and while more arduous stages lie ahead, Nibali surely knows that the BMC captain is a major threat.


  • Gaimon recovers after withdrawing from Tour of California

    Phil Gaimon (Bissell) launched a solo attack towards the end.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2013, 0:38 BST
    Pat Malach

    Bissell rider refocuses on season's next objectives

    After being pulled from Tuesday's stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California when he fell nearly half an hour behind the peloton, Bissell Pro Cycling's Phil Gaimon is back home in Atalanta hoping to recover from a stomach bug and reset his season for another block of racing.

    Gaimon finished with the main bunch during Sunday's opening stage in Escondido, and he was 15th on the tremendously difficult stage 2 that finished in 110-degree heat on the Tramway climb outside of Palm Springs. But as the race headed north the next day toward Santa Clarita, Gaimon's performance quickly headed south.

    "Every time the road went uphill, I was going backwards," he said while enroute to Atlanta on Wednesday. "We were going uphill, and I was in the back with the sprinters and that's peculiar. I didn't feel that bad, but clearly something was wrong. I can look at the guys I'm next to on the climbs and know that something ain't right."

    Gaimon may have fallen victim to the same bug that knocked Julian Kyer from the team roster before the race even started. Kyer flew in from Colorado for the race, but a high fever sent him packing, and Mike Torckler took over his spot. Gaimon said the difficulty of stage 2 may have worn his body down enough to give the bug a better foothold, and he just didn't have enough strength the next day.

    "It's one of those things that if I was working in an office, I would probably be able to go to work," he said. "I'd be pissed off and grumpy, and no one would like me that day, but I wouldn't have to call in sick. But the way my job is, that kind of thing doesn't work that way in bike racing. It takes it...

  • Gallery: Mark Cavendish and his 100 wins

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) wins the final stage of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    May 17, 2013, 1:48 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Is the Manx Missile the best of all time?

    It is not so much the quantity of Mark Cavendish's victories that impresses, but the quality of them, both in terms of when and how he claimed so many of them. Since he notched his first pro win at the Tour of Berlin when riding for Sparkasse in May 2005, Cavendish has a won a staggering 39 stages in Grand Tours. While this still leaves him a good distance behind Mario Cipollini's career total of 57, Cavendish's latest success at Treviso, the 100th of his pro career, came five days before his 28th birthday. If he continues winning at his current rate, he will equal the Grand Tour haul of the "The Lion King" towards the end of the 2015 season, when he will still only be 30.

    More than the numbers, though, it's the sprinting brilliance of Cavendish that stands out. For a long time he had an unjust reputation as a sprinter who could only win when he had a fully-committed lead-out train. This stemmed from the successes he enjoyed at Highroad, who were more than happy to put almost everything they had behind the Manxman. Yet, Cavendish has consistently shown he can prevail when he's got to find his own way.

    The best example of this is his victory in the 2011 Worlds. The great work his British teammates had done in keeping the race together seemed to have come to naught when Cavendish ended up 20 riders back swinging onto the final drag up to the line. Watching the coverage from the helicopter above, it's staggering to see how many riders Cavendish picks his way past. He knows which wheel to follow for an instant and which ones to avoid, like a human pinball whose target is a narrow gap most won't even see. Somehow, he ends up shooting out of the pack to lead out the sprint, his initial...