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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 23, 2014

Date published:
May 23, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Evans down but not out after Giro d'Italia time trial

    Maglia rosa Cadel Evans (BMC Racing)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 17:28 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    BMC rider ready to fight back despite Uran taking pink

    Cadel Evans (BMC) lost the pink jersey to Rigoberto Uran at the Giro d'Italia but he took the blow on the chin, praising the Colombian but insisting that the race was far from over.

    Evans finished a solid third in the hilly 41.9km time trial, close to the other overall contenders but he was 1:34 slower than Uran and so slipped to second overall, 37 seconds behind the Colombian.

    "Everything went well in this Giro until yesterday but I went a bit slow today," he admitted.

    "If we look at the time difference between the top two, three or four, the times are quite close but he (Uran) was in a class of his own today. We were all close but he started strong and went even faster. He was suited to the course and had a good day. I expected him to do well and I hoped to have gone better."

    "I started steady and increased my speed but the road was very slippery and so I went slow on the descent and on the second climb to stay safe. But then it was the same conditions for everyone."

    The overall classification has flipped with Uran now in pink and Evans in second. He will have to gain time somewhere between now and end of the Giro d'Italia in Trieste but on the plus side, his BMC team no longer has to control the race and protect the maglia rosa.

    "It's going to be interesting," Evans said when asked what will happen next in the race, as a weekend of mountain stages in the Alps loom.

    "I think we'll see a new team with the responsibility to control the race. There's still a lot of Giro yet to be raced and the results of Pozzovivo showed that he's still in the game too. Lets look to the future. This Giro is still very long."

  • Uran surprises himself with Giro d’Italia time trial win

    Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - QuickStep)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 19:21 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Colombian moves into overall lead with Barolo victory

    A strong showing in the discipline at the Tour de Romandie was an indication, but surely not even Rigoberto Uran could have imagined that he would claim a decisive win in the stage 12 time trial at the Giro d’Italia and divest Cadel Evans of the maglia rosa in the process.

    Indeed, the Colombian’s last victory against the watch dates all the way back to 2007, when he was awarded the win in the Euskal Bizikleta time trial, but only after heavy rainfall had prevented the final six riders from taking the start ramp. “I won a national time trial championship, too,” Uran pointed out with a laugh during his post-race press conference. “But that was as a junior.”

    There were no arguments about the margins in the demanding test from Barbaresco to Barolo on Thursday afternoon. Only one rider – the equally startling Diego Ulissi – could finish within a minute and a half of Uran over the 42.2 kilometre course, and few others will come away pleased from their afternoon, least of all his fellow two favourites for overall victory.

    Evans, the man expected to buttress his lead, conceded 1:34, while Nairo Quintana coughed up 2:41. In the general classification, Uran is now 37 seconds clear of Evans and Quintana lies in sixth, almost three and a half minutes down. The road to Trieste is a sinuous one, but Uran has a significant head start as the high mountains loom into view.

    “There’s still a long way to go and the real climbs have yet to come, but today was important,” said Uran, whose Omega Pharma-QuickStep team placed particular emphasis on preparing him for the test through the Langhe.

    “We worked a lot for this time trial. I came here twice already and I worked a lot with Specialized. I went to...

  • Pozzovivo stays optimistic despite Giro d'Italia time trial losses

    Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R - La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 20:48 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian climber looks to the mountains to regain time on Uran

    Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) tried to balance some cautious riding on the descents with a full-on effort on the climbs during the Barolo time trial at the Giro d'Italia.

    He started off fast, setting the fastest intermediate time after 12.6km, 15 second faster than Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). However, he lost a minute on the long descent and completed the stage 2:09 minutes behind Uran, who was the stage winner and new race leader. He also lost 30 seconds to Cadel Evans (BMC).

    Pozzovivo remains fourth overall but is now 2:32 down on Uran. He was clearly disappointed as he watched Uran blast home, win the stage and take the pink jersey but was convinced of his race strategy.

    "In theory, it was a time trial that suited me. I think I did a good ride. I didn’t take any risks on the descents and I think my time splits on the climbs were very good," he said.

    Despite losing time, Pozzovivo refused to throw in the towel. He is looking to the mountain stages this weekend and then next week in the Dolomites and the final mountain finish on the steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan.

    "Uran did a great ride but we're still up there. We'll fight it out for the Giro on the mountain stages," he predicted.

    "We head into the mountains on Saturday and hopefully the weather will be good. The forecasts aren't showing any rain, so that makes me optimistic."

     

  • Majka still on course for podium finish at Giro d’Italia

    Best young rider Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 21:19 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Pole takes fourth in Barolo time trial

    As the Giro d’Italia entered its second week, Michael Rogers predicted that his Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Rafal Majka might struggle in the time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo, but he revised that bleak prognosis on reconnoitering the course on Thursday morning.

    Pedalling through the Langhe in the company of Majka, Rogers realised that his young teammate had the capacity to shine on the demanding 42.2km course. Although stage winner Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was out of reach for all, Majka took fourth place on the stage and limited his losses to 1:39.

    "I rode this time trial with Michael Rogers this morning and when we were riding, he told me that it was a time trial for me. He said, ‘You need to go in fast,’" Majka said afterwards. "I’m really happy."

    Majka’s performance was enough to keep him in third place overall on a day that saw a number of general classification hopefuls flounder – Nairo Quintana conceded 2:41, for instance – and he now lies 1:52 behind Uran, one of only two riders within two minutes of the Colombian.

    "Uran is strong but we still have a long, long last week and we need to keep our heads," Majka said. "I want to finish this Giro in the first three."

    Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov has been a constant presence on the Giro, riding the course of many of the stages for himself, but Thursday saw the arrival of manager Bjarne Riis on the corsa rosa – a sign, perhaps, that Majka’s challenge is becoming ever more serious. Riis – who sold the team to Tinkov last winter amid a Danish investigation into his activities as a manager – was in the team car behind Majka on the road to...

  • Quintana: The problem was with my breathing, not with my legs

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 21:24 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Colombian struggles in Barolo time trial

    In vino veritas? Movistar's Nairo Quintana will certainly hope not, but the testing Giro d'Italia time trial through the vineyards of the Langhe suggested that the Colombian’s condition is not of the same vintage that carried him to second place overall at last year’s Tour de France.

    The state of Quintana's form has been something of an enigma since the very beginning of this Giro, not least due to the fact that he did not race for over five weeks beforehand, preferring instead to prepare alone at altitude in Colombia.

    A similar template served Quintana well last July, of course, but the early signals from the pre-race favourite's camp were not altogether encouraging. The buttock injury he sustained in the mass crash at Montecassino was certainly a pain, but word soon spread that a pollen allergy was of even greater concern.

    Although Quintana battled to 13th place in Thursday’s time trial, he conceded 2:41 minutes to his fellow countryman and new maglia rosa Rigoberto Uran, and he now trails the Omega Pharma-QuickStep man by 3:29 in the overall standings.

    "It was a long time trial and I tried to hang in there as best I could," Quintana said afterwards. "I wasn't as good as I had hoped. I had some problems with my breathing, not with my legs. I hope to recuperate in the coming days because the hardest days are still to come."

    The effects of Quintana's efforts on the rolling course were apparent as he slowed to halt afterwards and took a towel and a bidon from his soigneur. Bent over his handlebars, he coughed repeatedly as he was pushed up the hill towards his waiting team car, and he was still spluttering when he was persuaded to turn...

  • Brussels seeks Tour de France start in 2019 to honour Merckx

    Eddy Merckx at the start
    Article published:
    May 22, 2014, 22:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    "Grand Depart" exactly 50 years after "the Cannibal's" first Tour win

    Brussels is seeking the start of the 2019 Tour de France, to honour the 1969 Tour victory by Eddy Merckx, a native of the Belgian capital. An organizing committee has already broached the idea to the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which is apparently receptive to the plan.

    Merckx won his first Tour in 1969, at the age of 24, and went on to win the race four more times. 2019 would mark the 50th anniversary of his first win.

    "It would be a fantastic homage to Eddy Merckx," said Alain Courtois, the former Secretary-General of the Belgian Football Association — who is leading the project — to Nieuwsblad.be.

    Courtois and Merckx met last week in Paris with the ASO. Tour boss Christian Prudhomme "responded pleasantly surprised" and  "said immediately that the Tour absolutely would not let such a historical figure of Eddy Merckx go unnoticed. We're not going to skip Brussels."

    No decisions on the 2019 Tour will be made until 2017, Courtois noted. "If need be, we will accept a stage finish and a start the next day, but our preference is for the Grand Depart."

  • Ruth Corset's gap atop the NRS women's standings is closing

    Ruth Corset celebrates in the NRS Series leader jersey
    Article published:
    May 23, 2014, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Aaron S. Lee

    Former national road champion is hopeful but realistic about regaining series crown

    After an ultra-competitive Battle on the Border last weekend, the 2010 Australian national women's road champion and 2012 NRS Champion Ruth Corset (Holden Women's Cycling) still holds a narrow lead in the overall series standings, but the gap is closing.

    With 39 points, the recently turned 37-year-old (May 9) Queenslander retains the overall Subaru NRS lead by two points over Specialized Securitor's Lizzie Williams (37 points) in second while Battle on the Border tour winner Tessa Fabry (Jayco/Apollo/VIS) moves into third position with 35 points.

    Corset joined the Melbourne-based women's development team for the 2014 season after spending last year with Pensar-SPM and is aware of the slim margin, but says after a long career and busy schedule juggling family, work and cycling, it's all a matter of perspective.

    "It's tempting to finish the year on top now that I am in the lead," Corset told Cyclingnews. "I am only in the lead by two points but I am not going to stress about it. It would be nice to win it, but it is not all consuming like it would have been earlier in my life and career. I just have to balance family life, work and cycling."

    For the triathlete-turned-cyclist, the balancing act can be a struggle.

    "It is very hard," said Corset. "When I was racing overseas it was obviously a lot harder just being away. Now racing in Australia, I only have to be away for three or four days at a time which is a lot easier on the family, but when I am at home I work a lot as well."

    A typical day for Corset starts at 4am and does not end until late in the evening after a day of training, getting the kids to and from school, work as a massage therapist and getting the family fed.

    "I am always...

  • NetApp–Endura announces Tour de France long list

    Leopold Konig (Team NetApp-Endura)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team around captain König to be announced end of June

    Team NetApp-Endura is looking forward to the Tour de France and has announced its long list of riders for its Tour debut this summer, around team captain Leo König. All but two of the nominated riders already have grand tour experience.

    The German Professional Continental team has what it called "the most successful start in its team history," with two wins and eleven other podiums. "We're on a very good path," said team manger Ralph Denk. "During the Classics, the team showed that we have clearly improved in that area. At the stage races, we always gave top performances and we were contenders for good results.”  

    NetApp-Endura received a wildcard invitation to the race this year, having previously ridden the Vuelta a Espana in 2013 and the Giro d'Italia in 2012. At the Vuelta, König won the eighth stage — the first mountaintop finish — and finished ninth overall.  

    The team is aiming high at the race. "We're aiming for a stage win and a Top 15 position in the GC. Our goals are realistic and the entire team is already feeling self-confident because of that," Denk said.

    The 14 riders are Jan Barta, Cesare Benedetti, Sam Bennett, Iker Camano, David de la Cruz, Zak Dempster, Bartosz Huzarski, Leopold König, Tiago Machado, José Mendes, Andreas Schillinger, Daniel Schorn, Scott Thwaites, and Paul Voss.

    Bennet and Thwaites are the only two who have never before ridden a grand tour.