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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 7, 2010

Date published:
May 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Wiggins targets early success at the Giro d'Italia

    Bradle Wiggins (Sky) awaits the start of stage five.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 11:52 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Corsa Rosa is key dress rehearsal for the Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins will use the Giro d'Italia as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France but he is targeting the opening time trial in Amsterdam, wants to wear the maglia rosa and hopes Team Sky can show their combined strength by winning the team time trial next Wednesday.

    Wiggins first discovered he could be an overall contender in Grand Tours at the 2009 Giro d'Italia. He was able to climb with the overall contenders in the Dolomites but then gave up hopes of strong overall performance to save himself for the Tour de France.

    He went on to finish fourth in the Tour, becoming the revelation of the race. He is hoping to follow a similarly successful plan this season as Grand Tour leader at Team Sky.

    "I'd love to have a crack at the GC at the Giro and I may end up in a position where it will be difficult to come out. But I also don’t want to get too carried away and be at my best for the Giro and then be tired at the Tour. The last week is brutal and you could finish your season if you chase something too hard," he said.

    "My goal is to win a stage, wear the pink jersey for a few days and go shoulder to shoulder with the overall contenders in the big mountains. But there will come a point, where I'll shut it off. If I'm in pink or close to pink I won't do that out of  respect for the race but there will be a stage when I pull myself out of the GC because I don't want to keep chasing something that will damage me for July. I'm not at the weight I was last July for the Tour de France. I'm still a kilo over and that makes a lot of a difference during a three-week race. We've done that purposely."

    Dress rehearsal

    Wiggins' final build-up for the Giro has been exactly the same as it will be for the Tour de France. He is perhaps the favourite for the Amsterdam time trial on Saturday and would love to pull on the pink jersey.

    "The first week is like a mini dress rehearsal for the Tour de...

  • New sponsor for Cervélo TestTeam

    The new Cervélo TestTeam jersey with sponsor Tata Consultancy Services.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 13:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tata Consultancy Services new technology partner

    The Cervélo TestTeam has announced that Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has become the official consulting and IT technology partner of the team. In addition to the partnership, TCS, a leading international IT services, business solution and outsourcing firm, will provide in-kind support in the form of technology services to the squad.

    "We are immensely pleased to have Tata Consultancy Services as our official consulting and IT technology partner. As a global leader in IT, TCS has improved the business performance of some of the leading companies in the world. We are looking to draw upon this same expertise to improve the performance of our cycling team," said Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo.

    "This is the first company from India that decided to join cycling. It makes the sport even more global than it is already today." said Vroomen. "Since we created this team, we have always been open to a new partner.

    "The addition of this new sponsor will not change our team budget much. It will help our riders and give them access to new technologies but we won't buy three big names because we have a new sponsor. We're happy with the captains we have now," Vroomen told Cyclingnews in reference to Sastre, Hushovd and Haussler.

    TCS will put together a specialized team to work with Cervélo TestTeam to identify how technology can be better used to optimize the performance of the team. "This relationship with Tata Consultancy Services brings us one step closer to our dream of creating a 'Houston Control' environment in the cycling world. This will help our riders become better and better, ensuring a steady improvement in performance. We are also excited to work with TCS to promote the sport of cycling in India," stated Joop Alberda, General Manager of Cervélo TestTeam.

    TCS is already well known in the sports world, as it supports the Formula 1 racing team Ferrari, Ducati and several major...

  • Tour of Missouri in doubt

    The St Louis finish.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 13:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lack of funding could doom US race for this year

    The Tour of Missouri is facing the loss of $1 million in public funding, which could lead to cancellation of this year's race. It is currently scheduled to be run August 31 to September 6.

    Race organisers thought the money from the state tourism commission was assured, but that doesn't seem to be the case. According to stltoday.com, Marci Bennett, head of the commission, said that the money would more likely go elsewhere. “We love the race, but at this critical time, we can't put our eggs in one basket.”

    The race is organised by Medalist Sports, which takes care of the teams and sponsors and deals with the governing bodies of cycling. It has set a deadline of May 7 to know whether the state will provide the funding, and if it does not have a definite positive answer then, it will withdraw from the event.

    David Zabriskie of Team Garmin won the overall title in 2009, and Christian Vande Velde of the same team in 2008. George Hincapie won the first edition of the race in 2007 for Discovery Channel.

  • Freire out of Giro

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) before the start
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 15:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sinusitis forces Rabobank sprinter to miss race

    Oscar Freire of Rabobank will be unable to ride the Giro d'Italia due to sinusitis. The three-time World champion and three-time Milano-San Remo winner will be replaced by first-year pro Steven Kruijswijk.

    Freire has suffered from respiratory problems for several weeks, and has undergone multiple medical examinations this week. The decision was finally made Thursday morning to hold him out of the Giro, which opens on Saturday in Amsterdam.

    It is the second major loss for the team this week. It was earlier announced that road captain Koos Moerenhout would not be able to participate, as he is still recovering from a respiratory illness.

    Directeur Sportif Nico Verhoeven said that “A good Oscar in your team is almost the guarantee of at least one stage win, and Koos Moerenhout's presence would have been of great importance for this young team.”

    Verhoeven added that there was no possibility of either rider participating. For Freire, “it would be very difficult for him to get through the first day without dragging. There is little chance that he would even make it to Italy.” It was not worth risking having to ride one man down after only three days.

    The sprinter's role will now fall to Australian Graeme Brown. “The loss of a great man for the flat stages opens perspectives for other riders,” Verhoeven noted. “The opportunities Graeme will have will be less than those for Oscar. But in the flat stages we now must make a virtue of necessity.”

  • Vinokourov seeks overall victory at the Giro

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) attends a press conference prior to making his Giro d'Italia debut.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 18:42 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Kazakhstani to make Italian Grand Tour debut

    Alexandre Vinokourov will start the Giro d'Italia on Saturday with the aim of winning the overall classification but he admits he has no experience at the Italian Grand Tour and didn't reconnoitre the tricky mountain stages that include the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, the Mortirolo and the Gavia climbs among others.

    "This race is unknown to me," Vinokourov said in Amsterdam, site of the Giro's prologue on Saturday. "I've got good legs but I want to take the race day after day without any pressure."

    The 36-year-old Astana rider's Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory has already taken a lot of pressure off of him. Although he's been jeered by some spectators and given harsh questions by reporters in Belgium, Vinokourov's comeback has proved successful. As he was paired to perfection with teammate Alberto Contador in the Ardennes, Vinokourov has paved the way for his role as a super domestique at the service of the defending Tour de France champion in July. "It has always been the plan that I'd work for Alberto at the Tour and for myself at the Giro," he said.

    As Giro d'Italia promoter Angelo Zomegnan welcomed his return, it gave Vinokourov an incentive to give the world's second biggest stage race a try for the first time but there's debate in Italy whether his comeback after suspension is legitimate while Riccardo Riccò remains sidelined by organising company RCS.

    "Riccò has showed at the Giro del Trentino that he also had good legs," Vino said about his runner-up in Trentino. "He has paid [for his doping offense] and he could be here but it's a decision by the organiser, and also with [the advice of] the UCI I think. Had he been here, it would have increased the level of the competition but I can't do anything about that."

    Vinokourov knows that the climbs in northern Italy are steeper than the ones he is used to at the...

  • Van Gerwen says sponsor search looks promising

    Gerry van Gerwen is cautiously optimistic
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 19:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gerdemann, Wegmann express support for team

    Gerry van Gerwen is confident that his team will still be a part of the peloton again in 2011 with a name other than Team Milram. At a pre-Giro d'Italia press conference Thursday, he indicated that he was in serious discussion with a potential new sponsor.

    “I'm not giving a status report. But we are having discussions with a well-known new sponsor,” Van Gerwen said, according to the dpa news agency. ”It deals with a long-term contract of at least two years."

    He hopes to have a definite announcement no later than the second rest day of the Tour de France.

    Milram is currently sponsored by Nordmilch AG, which announced it would end its sponsorship this year after four seasons. Despite the uncertainty, the team's star riders have expressed the desire to remain with the German outift.

    “I would like to continue working together with Gerry and I am confident that it will work out,” said Linus Gerdemann. “I didn't come back to a German team just to transfer again.” Gerdemann broke his contract with the US-based Team Columbia in October, 2008 in order to join Milram.

    All of the team's riders' contracts expire this year. “Of course I am listening around, and I have also had some concrete offers, but of course it would be best if somehow Milram could continue,” said two time German national champion Fabian Wegmann, who on May 1 won the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt.

  • Basso behind schedule in Giro prep

    Ivan Basso refused to comment further on his teammate Franco Pellizotti's situation.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2010, 20:06 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian hopeful will fight for a podium placing

    Ivan Basso may be the only Italian with a reasonable shot at winning the Giro d'Italia, but the Liquigas-Doimo captain is diverting the pressure from himself by claiming his form is behind schedule.  

    After his teammate Franco Pellizotti was found by the UCI to be in violation of the biological passport parameters, Basso now finds himself along with Pellizotti's replacement Vincenzo Nibali as the team's co-captain.

    "Nibali is a young rider with great talent," Basso said. "He rode an excellent Tour de France last year [placing 7th overall - ed]. He's got class. He can also do a good Giro." Nibali's late inclusion on the Liquigas line up for the Giro might give Italian fans something to cheer for.

    Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport asked six fomer Grand Tour champions to attend the pre-race press conference at the headquarters near the Olympic stadium of Amsterdam: Gilberto Simoni (Giro 2001 and 2003), Alexandre Vinokourov (Vuelta 2006), Ivan Basso (Giro 2006), Carlos Sastre (Tour 2008), Damiano Cunego (Giro 2004) and Stefano Garzelli (Giro 2000) met alongside world champion Cadel Evans who has been awarded the back number 1 in the absence of defending champion Denis Menchov.

    As Simoni, Cunego and Garzelli have ruled out their ambitions for GC, Basso remains the only Italian among the race favourites, with last year's runner-up Danilo Di Luca, 2008 climbing sensations Riccardo Ricco and Emanuele Sella and Pellizotti absent for various doping-related issues. Basso declined to comment on his teammate's situation.

    "I won't say anything more about him than what has been said at the press conference earlier this week," Basso said, although he repeated that he's been giving "full transparency and credibility" to the cycling community since he returned to racing in October, 2008 after an 18-month suspension.

    Basso made clear that his goal is the same as he expressed going into last year's race. "I come to the Giro...

  • Meyer looking forward to ‘whole hog’ at Giro

    Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions) leads the early break.
    Article published:
    May 07, 2010, 5:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian wants to reach Italian tour’s finish

    Garmin-Transitions’ Cameron Meyer is hoping to finish the Giro d’Italia for the first time when he lines up for the Grand Tour’s start in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, this weekend. The Australian rider made his Giro debut in 2009, completing 13 stages before withdrawing from the race.

    “I am looking forward to three weeks of pain but one hell of an experience,” Meyer wrote on his website cameronandtravismeyer.com.au. “It is not my first Grand Tour, as I did complete 13 stages of the Giro last year, but this time I’m in for the whole hog.

    “I can’t say my last weeks’ preparation has gone all to plan,” said Meyer. “A stomach bug hit me last week and I became a couch potato for three days not touching the bike. I started to get better over the weekend only to be hit with a head cold this week. Not a good run of luck.”

    The Giro’s fourth stage is expected to be an important occasion not only for Meyer but also his Garmin-Transitions squad. The West Australian will start the stage in green and gold as the current Australian Time Trial Champion, and hopes to play an important role in his team’s ambitions in the team time trial.

    “I think the first couple of stages could be a big shock to the system but I am thankful I have a chance to have a hit out and ride myself into the tour, with the fourth stage probably having the most importance on it for our team in this year’s tour,” he said. “We will go in as one of the favourites and hopefully can go one better than last year and win the stage and also have a chance of putting one of our riders into the maglia rosa.”

    In order to complete his first Grand Tour Meyer will need to survive the 3418.1 kilometres between Amsterdam and Verona. This year’s course includes some of the Giro’s toughest stages, including the 12.9 kilometre individual...