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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 20, 2011

Date published:
May 20, 2011, 08:00
  • Video: Cavendish after second Giro d'Italia stage win

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was the first man across the line
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 19:44
    Cycling News

    Responds to Cipollini's 'fat' comment

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) gulped down a drink and then hugged his teammates after winning the sprint in Ravenna at the Giro d'Italia.

    The HTC-Highroad lead out train was vital in the tight corners of the final three kilometres in the centre of Ravenna and Cavendish avoided
    the crash by being at the front of the high-speed peloton. In the final kilometre Mark Renshaw give Cavendish a perfect lead out and
    then he finished it off perfectly.

    Cavendish spoke in Italian and then in English at the finish before heading to the podium to celebrate his second stage victory at this year's Giro.

    Later in the stage winner's press conference, Cavendish talked about how he needs a few days in a grand tours to find his form and how he will celebrate his birthday. He also responded to Mario Cipollini, who had recently called him fat in his daily column in Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Cavendish will head to his base in Tuscany but then travel to Britain on Friday to celebrate his 26th birthday on Saturday. In early June he
    head to France to study the first four stages of the Tour de France, before riding the Tour de Suisse.

    Use this on all articles. The player is narrow enough to fit next to the article gallery images box on the right.


  • Rodriguez hasn’t modified his ambitions at Giro d'Italia

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) edges Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to win the opening stage.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 20:30
    Jean-François Quénet

    “Purito” inspired by mountain assault

    After losing over two minutes to Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on Etna, Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha) bounced back as a protagonist with second place behind John Gadret in Castelfidardo on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia.

    “I’ve been close,” the Katusha rider told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 12. “But I really thought that my teammate Daniel Moreno who was away would stay up front for the stage win, so I didn’t focus on the possibility of a stage win for myself. In the morning, I was convinced that a breakaway would make it. I knew the finish, we did it at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2008. But I’ve made a mistake, I should have followed Gadret when he attacked. I had the legs for that.”

    Laying in 18th position, 3.22 down on his compatriot in pink, Rodriguez ruled out early conclusions that he wasn’t one of Contador’s most fearful challengers like at the start of the Giro in Turin.

    “I only had a bad day on the Etna”, the Catalan rider said.

    “But my ideas remain the same. It’s not like if I had lost ten minutes on the Etna. I’m still not far behind and I’m excited by the coming stages, starting from tomorrow’s on the Grossglockner.”

    Unlike Contador, Rodriguez didn’t go and reconnoitre the routes of the triple assault Grossglockner, Zoncolan and Gardeccia. “Maybe it’s better that I didn’t see them because Contador didn’t see the Etna and look at what he did!”, he said, with his legendary large smile. “I wouldn’t mind to exchange positions with him though…”


  • Garmin-Cervélo on the defensive in Amgen Tour of California

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Transitions) climbs the Côte de la Redoute.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 20:56
    Laura Weislo

    Team must fight Horner without Hushovd, who abandoned today

    Even with five riders within two minutes of the race lead, the Garmin-Cervélo team is on the defensive against the Amgen Tour of California leader Chris Horner (RadioShack). Horner won the first mountaintop finish in San Jose and now sits 1:15 ahead of three-time Tour champion and teammate Levi Leipheimer, while Garmin-Cervélo's Tom Danielson is next on the classification at 1:22.

    Christian Vande Velde sits at 1:29, Ryder Hesjedal at 1:36 - gaps that team manager Jonathan Vaughters isn't sure they can make up - and now must try to break the RadioShack stranglehold without world champion Thor Hushovd.

    The Norwegian abandoned the stage today, saying, "I haven't been feeling very well since I arrived, and today I just felt empty. I couldn't continue. I'm very disappointed to leave the team and the race. I would have liked to finish because the last day was a goal for me."

    Vaughters is now looking for an opportunity to try and use his team's strength in numbers to crack Horner, but admits it won't be easy.

    "It's tough, there aren't any medium mountain transitional stages that you need to go on the attack," Vaughters told Cyclingnews. "Saturday's stage is basically a mountain bike race on the road, and there's time trial and the last stage, neither of which give much opportunity.

    The team came into the race with the intention to work for last year's runner up, David Zabriskie, but he lost almost five minutes on Horner on Wednesday's stage.

    "Sometimes it doesn't always work out exactly as we planned. ... It's not always pre-programmed who's going to ride well" said Vaughters.

    Zabriskie admitted to Cyclingnews that it wasn't the best stage for him, but he didn't plan on trying to go on the attack to make up the lost time on the stage to Paso Robles. "I don't think anything is going to make it to the line today, but we can definitely make it a hard race, so that's probably what we'll do," Zabriskie said.

    Now Garmin-Cervélo has to try and break the race apart, and the clock is ticking down to just the time trial and the stage to Mt. Baldy on Saturday as the real opportunities to gain time.

    "We have five guys we can play cards with," said Vaughters. "Obviously Horner's the strongest guy in the race, so we have to see if we can tactically leverage it so that we make it difficult for him."

    "In a way the Mt. Baldy stage [could be an opportunity], but then again that's tricky. It's such a 'legs win' situation. We'll have to see. If the difference were just seconds, I would say we have a real strong possibility but 1:15? Maybe not."

    On Wednesday's stage, the team tried to set up Hesjedal for the stage win by sending world champion Thor Hushovd ahead in a breakaway, but Vaughters said that RadioShack caught onto their tactic right away. After all, it's a tactic RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel has used in the past at the Tour de France: send a guy up the road to be there for an attacker bridging from behind on the climb.

    "Had [RadioShack] ridden more of a tempo than a flat out chase, and the break had time at the top of Mt. Hamilton, Ryder would have connected with Thor, and Thor is one of the best descenders in the world. If he had taken Ryder into bottom of the climb with two minutes instead of the one minute he had, things would have been different."

    Look for the team to take a different tactic on Saturday.

  • Video: Appollonio praises Sky teammates after Giro d'Italia second place

    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 22:29
    Stephen Farrand

    Sprinter will race to Milan

    Davide Appollonio (Team Sky) finished second behind Mark Cavendish on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia.

    He has been consistent in the Giro d'Italia sprints thanks to some excellent support from his teammates.

    After today's stage he thanked them in this video interview with Cyclingnews and revealed how he just avoided the late crash. Unlike the other sprinters, he said he will ride on in the Giro and hopes to make it all the way to Milan, to finish his first ever grand tour.


  • Hamilton says he saw Armstrong use EPO

    Hamilton in the red colours of Team CSC
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 23:30
    Daniel Benson

    Former teammate to tell-all in 60 Minutes interview

    Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong has claimed that the seven time Tour de France winner used performance enhancing drugs, including EPO and testosterone during several of his Tour wins.

    Hamilton made the claims during an interview with the credible "60 Minutes" program that is planning to air this Sunday.

    Hamilton rode with Armstrong on the US Postal Service team from 1998 until 2001 and was a key part of Armstrong's winning Tour runs. He went on to to rival Armstrong with first CSC and then Phonak.

    He had previously been caught for a homologous blood doping in 2004 and then tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition doping control taken before the Tour of California in February 2009. He claimed he was taking the drug for anti-depression purposes, before accepting an eight-year ban on June 11, 2009.

    "[Armstrong] took what we all took...the majority of the peloton," Hamilton told "60 Minutes. There was EPO...testosterone...a blood transfusion," he said.

    "I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator...I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times."

    Armstrong has been dogged by doping allegation throughout his career but has strenuously denied them. Last year, another former teammate Floyd Landis, confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs during his time at US Postal and claimed that Armstrong had carried out similar practices. Landis also claimed that the sport's governing body had covered up a positive test for Armstrong in an edition of the Tour de Suisse. Something the UCI and Armstrong also denied.

    With the news of Hamilton's confession and allegations Cyclingnews contacted Landis who had this to say. "At the moment my only thought is that I wish the best for Tyler."

    Cyclingnews contacted Lance Armstrong's attorney who released this statement.

    "Tyler Hamilton just duped the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes and Scott Pelley all in one fell swoop. Hamilton is actively seeking to make money by writing a book, and now he has completely changed the story he has always told before so that he could get himself on 60 Minutes and increase his chances with publishers. But greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over twenty years of competition."

    Another former Armstrong teammate, also a witness in the federal investigation, is Frankie Andreu. He tells "60 minutes" he took banned substances because lesser riders he believed were doping passed him by. "Training alone wasn't doing it and I think that's how...many of the other riders during that era felt, I mean, you kind of didn't have a choice," said Andreu.

    The bedrock of Armstrong's denials over the years has been his claim to have never failed one of the hundreds of drug tests he has taken. Hamilton says Armstrong told him he did fail a test in 2001 given during the Tour de Suisse, an important event right before the Tour de France, thus backing up Landis's allegations.

    That allegation is under investigation by federal authorities.


  • Tyler Hamilton's letter of confession

    Tyler Hamilton
    Article published:
    May 19, 2011, 23:52
    Cycling News

    The complete text of letter sent to family and friends

    The following email was sent by Tyler Hamilton on May 20. It explains his reasons for confessing to taking performance enhancing drugs and his hopes for the future, for both himself and cycling. Earlier, news broke in which Hamilton claims to have seen former teammate Lance Armstrong also take performance enhancing drugs.


    Dear Everybody,

    I hope this finds you all doing well.

    First of all, sorry for sending this out as a group letter. If there was any way I could come visit each of you individually, I would. I hope we are together soon.

    There's no easy way to say this, so let me just say it plain: on Sunday night you'll see me on “60 Minutes” making a confession that's overdue. Long overdue.

    During my cycling career, I knowingly broke the rules. I used performance-enhancing drugs. I lied about it, over and over. Worst of all, I hurt people I care about. And while there are reasons for what I did -- reasons I hope you'll understand better after watching -- it doesn't excuse the fact that I did it all, and there's no way on earth to undo it.

    The question most people ask is, why now? There are two reasons. The first has to do with the federal investigation into cycling. Last summer, I received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. Until that moment I walked into the courtroom, I hadn't told a soul. My testimony went on for six hours. For me, it was like the Hoover dam breaking. I opened up; I told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And I felt a sense of relief I'd never felt before -- all the secrets, all the weight I'd been carrying around for years suddenly lifted. I saw that, for me personally, this was the way forward.

    The second reason has to do with the sport I love. In order to truly reform, cycling needs to change, and change drastically, starting from the top. Now that I'm working as a coach, I see young people entering the sport with hopes of making it to the top. I believe that no one coming into the sport should have to face the difficult choices I had to make. And before the sport can move forward, it has to face the truth.

    This hasn't been easy, not by a long shot. But I want to let you know that I'm doing well. The coaching business is more fun and fulfilling than I'd ever imagined, and Tanker and I are loving our Boulder life. I recently turned 40, and my friends threw the best 80's themed surprise party in the history of the world (hey, most of you were there!). Life is good.

    Again, I just want to say I'm sorry, and that I hope you can forgive me. What matters to me most are my family and friends. I'm deeply grateful for all your support and love through the years, and I'm looking forward to spending time with all of you again, hopefully soon. My Mom and Dad always told me that the truth would set me free. I never knew how right they were.


  • Landis speaks on Hamilton confession

    Floyd Landis in 2006 giving a press conference after testing positive in the Tour de France
    Article published:
    May 20, 2011, 02:22
    Daniel Benson

    Says today is not about feeling vindicated

    Floyd Landis has spoken about Tyler Hamilton's confession for doping and allegations made by the former Olympic champion surrounding Lance Armstrong. Hamilton's allegations come roughly a year since Landis rocked the world of cycling with his own confession over the use of drugs and the roles of several key figures within the sport, including Armstrong, the US Postal team and the UCI.

    Hamilton was speaking to "60 minutes" but also sent out an email to friends and family in which he explained his reasons for coming clean. Landis was sent the email, although not by Hamilton. Armstrong has strenuously denied all allegations.

    "His letter pretty much says it all," Landis told Cyclingnews.

    "I hope he finds what he's looking for and what he says in the letter. I wish him the best. He's a person that got caught in a bad situation and although it can be hard for people to understand from the outside, I hope they try. That's all you can ask for really."

    Asked if Hamilton's words had given him a sense of vindication, Landis denied that such emotions were at play, and instead focussed on the human aspect of Hamilton's confession and the future.

    "For me it's not about vindication or making a point or justifying what I did. I feel the same sentiment in Tyler's letter, or at least felt it a lot stronger a year ago. It's a complicated story," he told Cyclingnews.

    "What I do know of him is that he's a sincere guy and that he found himself in a dilemma, just like I did."

    "It's hard for me to know what the real fans' sentiment is. It's easy for me to see the negative comments about by myself so it's hard for me to know if people are that obsessed with the subject. If it was me I would like to know the truth, what the situation is and what really goes on."

    "I don't know what the solution is and it's unfortunate that this subject distracts from the race again but it's here and it's the facts."

    Armstrong was quick to deny Hamilton's claims, a similar move he played last year with Landis. In a statement released by his legal counsel he stated:

    "Tyler Hamilton just duped the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes and Scott Pelley all in one fell swoop. Hamilton is actively seeking to make money by writing a book, and now he has completely changed the story he has always told before so that he could get himself on 60 Minutes and increase his chances with publishers. But greed and a hunger for publicity cannot change the facts: Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete in the history of sports: He has passed nearly 500 tests over twenty years of competition."

    However Landis countered the last sentence, mentioning the as yet unproven allegations he made last year in which he stated that the UCI had covered up a positive doping control on behalf of Armstrong. "500 tests that come back negative is meaningless because the tests don't work. All the negative tests in the world don't hide the fact that there were positive tests that were covered up."

  • Laurent Didier, a Luxembourger helping Contador

    Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank-SunGard)
    Article published:
    May 20, 2011, 06:03
    Jean-François Quénet

    "It's my duty to be at the service of my team"

    While the team Leopard-Trek also called "Luxembourg Cycling Project" doesn't have any other rider from the grand duchy than the Schleck brothers, Alberto Contador can count on Laurent Didier to escort him at the Giro d'Italia. The son of Lucien Didier knows what is required to be a domestique as his father was doing the same job for Bernard Hinault 30 years ago.

    In his second pro season, Didier is also taking part in the Giro for the second time. Last year, he accompanied Richie Porte in the long-lasting breakaway of stage 11 to L'Aquila and was ninth on GC until stage 13. "We started the Giro with no captain but Richie became the one," the Luxembourger remembered on the start line of stage 12 in Castelfidardo. "He wore the pink jersey for three days and it already gave me a bit of the feeling of what has to be done for a race leader, so it's not exactly new to me this year with Alberto."

    "The hardest part of the job is the one people don't see on TV," he told Cyclingnews. "It's at the beginning of every stage when we have to control who goes in breakaways. That was a particularly complicated task yesterday on stage 12. But even the days before Alberto took the pink jersey, we had to be attentive at every attack and make sure that no one potentially dangerous on GC was in there. Every day, when our work is done, we're asked to take it easy and reach the finishing line with the concern of keeping as much energy as we can for the day after."

    "Contador is a great captain to have," Didier said. "He's very good at motivating the team to work for him. Talking about the team, it's not only the nine riders who are here competing in the Giro but the 25 members of the team for the whole season."

    As he was contracted with Saxo Bank-SunGard, Didier didn't follow the Schlecks at Leopard-Trek but stayed with Bjarne Riis. "His dedication to the team is formidable," noted sports director Philippe Mauduit. "He's composed and controlled, hardworking and intelligent. He's a rider who knows the road book by heart before the start of every stage. He's not explosive but long suffering. He improves day after day although we were a bit scared to line him up at the Giro after the two crashes he had."

    The 26-year-old who completed his university degree as an engineer in Aachen, Germany, before turning pro crashed at the Amstel Gold Race and opted for riding the Tour of Turkey – where he crashed again during stage 5 – instead of the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He still looks affected by injuries. "I've had five stitches and a lot of pain in my left hamstring," he said. "He told us that he still wanted to do Giro, we trust him and we don't regret it," Mauduit said.

    Being on a totally different race program, Didier has hardly met Fränk and Andy Schleck this year. "I live one hour away from them and even in Majorca, we missed each other," he said.

    "When I was there, they were at home and vice versa. It's my duty to do my job at the service of my team and Contador," said Didier.