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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 2, 2014

Date published:
June 02, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Giro d'Italia: Uran and Aru admit that Quintana deserves his victory

    The final podium of the 2014 Giro d'Italia: Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana and Fabio Aru
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 20:21 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Aru becomes the new hero of the Italian tifosi

    Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru shared the final Giro d'Italia podium in Trieste with Nairo Quintana and sportingly admitted that the Movistar rider would have won the race without the time gained the descent of the Stelvio.

    The two had their own reasons to celebrate rather repeat the polemics of the stage in the snow. Aru's third place overall has crowned him as Italy's next great climber and Giro d'Italia rider.

    Uran's second place confirmed his consistency after finishing second behind Vincenzo Nibali in 2013. He is perhaps Colombia's nearly man and has been quickly surpassed by Quintana, but he seems happy to be the bridesmaid in Grand Tours.

    "Quintana deserved to win the Giro. He was very strong on the climbs and we can only congratulate him," Aru said.

    "I agree. He deserved to win," Uran said. "I've always said that whoever wins deserved to win, with or without the climbs. The same thing would have happened, there's nothing more to say about it."

    While Quintana struggled to provide one last urine sample in anti-doping control, Uran and especially Aru took centre stage at the post-race press conference.

    Uran faced a single question about the Stelvio but was eloquent with his answer.

    "It was a special day for sure. We were just lacking a bit of information," he said reminding everyone about the confusion caused by race radio.

    The new hero of the Italian tifosi

    Aru is the new hero of the Italian tifosi after his attack in the climbs, his stage victory at Montecampione and his huge effort to finish a close second behind Quintana in the Cima Grappa time trial.

    The Italian media has already suggested he is a possible rival for teammate and fellow Italian Vincenzo Nibali. Aru was quick to play down...

  • Quintana: Giro d'Italia victory a dream come true

    The confetti turned gold on the final stage for Nairo Quintana
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 21:11 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    "I don't know how to express my happiness" says Quintana

    Nairo Quintana began his winner's press conference with a few words in Italian – "Buonasera a tutti," he smiled – but Sunday’s finale to the Giro d'Italia was a resolutely Colombian affair

    An hour or so earlier, when Quintana stood atop the podium alongside fellow countryman Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), the strains of their national anthem were drowned out by the voices of the legions of Colombian fans gathered in Trieste's Piazza Unità d'Italia for the occasion.

    Quintana's parents, wife and infant daughter were also in Trieste on Sunday to join in the festivities, while the large contingent of Colombian media meant that there was a palpably different tone to his final press conference. Rather than continue to dissect the polemica that followed his attack on the descent of the Stelvio, the focus was on what Quintana's victory represented to his home country.

    "It's a great happiness and I don't know how to express it," Quintana said of his Giro win. "I feel great things and it's wonderful to celebrate with so many Colombians and with my family."

    In his short professional career, Quintana has already chalked up some notable firsts for his country, not least when he finished on the podium of the Tour de France last year, but he is also following in the wheel tracks of a proud tradition. By winning the Giro, Quintana has become the first Colombian to win a Grand Tour since Luis Herrera claimed the Vuelta a España in 1987, three years before he was born.

    "I've dreamt about winning a Grand Tour for a long time but everybody dreams about that," he said. "But let's say that the dream felt much closer and much more real after I finished second in the Tour last year."

    Quintana's journey from the...

  • Giro d'Italia: Quitting never an option for Hepburn, Tuft

    Orica GreenEdge found someone big enough to wear all the numbers of their DNF's
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 21:38 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Orica-GreenEdge's success of first week turned into survival for last two men standing

    In the first week of the Giro d’Italia, their team briefings were delivered with military precision. By the final days, a glance was enough, as Michael Hepburn and Svein Tuft – Orica-GreenEdge’s last men standing – made their made to Trieste.

    The Australian squad’s race was garlanded with early success – a week with the pink jersey and three stage victories – and then beset by ill fortune, as crashes and illness forced seven of the men who won the opening team time trial in Belfast out of the race.

    "We didn’t really have any briefings this week, it was just all about survival and trying to get through each day in as good a shape as possible," Hepburn told Cyclingnews in Gemona ahead of the final stage. "We certainly didn’t expect to arrive in the last week with just two guys, the two guys who were maybe the worst climbers in this Giro squad."

    Teammates sharing a bus for the three weeks of a Grand Tour can rub along uneasily at the best of times. For the last four days of the Giro, following Ivan Santaromita’s withdrawal, Hepburn and Tuft had just one another for company on transfers and at the dinner table.

    "It’s lucky Svein and I get along really well otherwise it would be a different story," Hepburn joked. "Svein and I can see the lighter side of all the situations. We’ve been doing it for each other as well, the last few days we’ve battled in the mountains. I wasn’t going to pull out because I owe it to him and vice-versa."

    In those final days in the high mountains, Tuft and Hepburn more often than not found themselves side by side out on the road, too, among the haunted faces of the gruppetto. "There were days when I was struggling and Svein was there...

  • Evans reflects on his Giro d'Italia and his future

    Cadel Evans (BMC) keeping warm
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 22:20 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Australian avoids making rash decisions after finishing eighth overall

    Cadel Evans headed home to Switzerland from the Giro d'Italia with mixed emotions after finishing eighth overall. He has now finished in the top ten eleven times at a Grand Tour and completed sixteen three-week races.

    He won the 2011 Tour de France and was considered a real contender in this year's race. However, the fight for places in the top ten of the 'classifica generale' was a like a game of snakes and ladders. Evans climbed to the top spot on stage eight to Montecopiolo and stayed in the pink jersey until the stage 12 time trial to Barolo. But the time he lost against the clock was his first slip up. Despite a dogged fight, he slipped further behind on the mountain finish to the Rifugio Panarotta and lost further time in the Cima Grappa time trial.

    Evans is 37 and this year's Giro d'Italia could possibly be his last ever Grand Tour in his final season as a professional. His contract with BMC Racing expires this season and although it is likely he will stay with Andy Rihs's team rather going to Orica-GreenEdge or elsewhere, the end of the Giro d'Italia marks a crossroads in his career.

    BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz has suggested that Evans will ride the Tour de Suisse later in June. But he is not part of BMC's plan for the Tour de France, with Tejay van Garderen named as team leader.

    Wisely, Evans knows the end of a Grand Tour, with the pain of racing and the disappointment of defeat still burning in his legs and mind, is no place for rash decision or declarations.

    "My patience and tolerance are not at their greatest right now. They are not at their optimal levels, so let’s not think about that please. I'm just thinking of today and getting home to my son tomorrow," Evans told the English-speaking media at the Giro d'Italia on the...

  • Colombia celebrates Quintana's first Grand Tour victory

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with the trophy for Giro d'Italia champion
    Article published:
    June 02, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Patriotic Colombian fans take over the Giro d'Italia

    As Nairo Quintana tightened his grip on the race leader's pink jersey during the final week of the Giro d'Italia, the number of Colombian cycling fans at the race grew every day, turning his victory into a daily celebration of Colombian cycling.

    By the time the Giro d'Italia ended in Trieste on Sunday, the yellow, blue and red Colombian flags were everywhere, creating a special atmosphere as the national colours of Colombia mixed with Giro d'Italia pink.

    The crowd sang the Colombian national along with Quintana on the final podium as he tenderly held his baby daughter Marian in his arms.

    Quintana is the first ever Colombian to win the Giro, and his victory marks a major point in the history of Colombian cycling. Colombian riders have dominated this year's Corsa Rosa. Rigoberto Uran finished second overall and celebrated on the final podium with compatriot Quintana. Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) won the blue climber's jersey plus the stage to the Rifugio Panarotta. Uran won the Barolo time trial, while Quintana won best young rider's white jersey, and stages in Val Martello and the Cima Grappa time trial.

    The whole of Colombia followed the Giro d'Italia at home, with people in near his home town of Combita in the Boyaca region watching on a special huge screen.

    Quintana becomes El Condor

    The Colombia team riders are known as the "escarabajos" –the beetles, but Gazzetta dello Sport has named Quintana as "El Condor" describing his Giro d'Italia as "un volo verso la vittoria"- a flight to victory.

    "Quintana's success has even overshadowed the national football team that is preparing for the World Cup," radio journalist Hector Urrego of Radio Cadena Nacional told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Urrego sat in the media mixed...

  • Bouhanni celebrates winning the Giro's points classification

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2014, 5:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman took no risks in the final sprint to secure the red jersey

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) may have missed out on winning his fourth Giro d'Italia stage but the calculating 23-year-old decided against contesting the stage 21 sprint at maximum speed to ensure he claimed the maglia rosso. The Frenchman could have lost the jersey had he crashed but rolling over the line in fourth place secured his win on 291 points, 26 ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing).

    "In the sprint, I did not take any risks," Bouhanni said. "I was afraid of crashing. I came to the Giro to try to win a stage. In the first week I did not think about the red jersey but it became an objective as the race went on.

    "I wore it for two weeks and I got a taste for it. I did not know how I would handle the hard final week in the mountains, but I did everything with my teammates to keep the red jersey and take it to Trieste. To finish my first Giro with three stage wins and the jersey is exceptional."

    With Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) absent from the race's Italian stages due to a fever, Bouhanni was the man to beat in the sprints and celebrated the last of his three stage wins in the points jersey.

    The last FDJ rider to win a grand tour points jersey was Australian Baden Cook in the 2003 Tour de France and for team manager Marc Madiot, the successes of the 97th Giro is more reward for the French team.

    "It's nice for everyone," Madiot said. "Nacer did some beautiful sprints, led out by Sébastien Chavanel, Murilo Fischer and others. This jersey and the stage wins these are the...

  • Maximum effort by Trek Factory Racing at the Giro d'Italia reaps rewards

    Julian Arredondo (Trek) won the mountains classication
    Article published:
    June 02, 2014, 6:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Personal and team highlights at first grand tour of 2014

    Despite bringing an inexperienced and young team to the 2013 Giro d'ItaliaTrek Factory Racing finished the three-week race with all nine of its riders in Trieste and numerous visits to the podium.

    In his first grand tour, Julian Arredondo won a stage and the mountains classification while Giacomo Nizzolo finished second on four occasions and Robert Kišerlovski capped off the Giro with 10th place overall.

    While Nizzolo was desperately close to a maiden grand tour win, it would be the Colombian Arredondo who would break through and claim a first stage win for the team. Having made appearances in several breakaways, on Stage 18 Arredondo was a main instigator in forcing a break as he looked to secure his overall lead in the mountains classification and duly did so as he soloed to a maiden grand tour win.

    "I am super happy to win a stage and the blue jersey, but it was not only this," Arredondo said. "As a team we were so united in such a great way and we finished the race with all nine of us. It’s special that we could all experience the whole race all together to the very end — that makes me happy, too. It is very promising for the future.

    "For me I made a dream come true. I did what I really, really wanted and what I worked hard for. I was aiming for this from the beginning of the season. Now that I have reached this, I can make new goals. I can say that there are nice things coming up for me and for the team."

    While Arredondo was focusing on the maglia azzurra, Kišerlovski as the team's...

  • Gougeard to tackle the Dauphiné after second pro win

    Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r) celebrates his second win of 2014
    Article published:
    June 02, 2014, 10:10 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Tour de l'Avenir prologue winner impresses at 21

    AG2R-La Mondiale rider Alexis Gougeard, 21, made an impact when he won the Boucles de l'Aulne, which was the eleventh leg of the French cup. His victory in the Breton village of Châteaulin was his second pro win after he claimed the Classic Loire-Atlantique in March.

    "Recovery has always been one of my biggest qualities," he said after his win. "In the future I’d like to be a Grand Tour rider but it would be too early to start a three-week race this year."

    His debut in the WorldTour is around the corner as he'll take part in the Critérium du Dauphiné next week (June 8-15).

    "We're giving him a learning experience on that occasion," AG2R-La Mondiale team manager Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews.

    "I still have a lot to learn,”confirmed the rider from Rouen in Normandy on the finishing line of the Boucles de l'Aulne.

    "I was honored when I got the news during the Tour de Picardie. The Dauphiné is one of the biggest races in the calendar. I'll try to break away at least once, otherwise I’ll work for the team."

    On Sunday in Lyon, he’ll be able to test himself in a 10-km long time trial against Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. At the end of last year, Gougeard was the winner of the prologue of the Tour de l'Avenir, a race he led for three days after beating the likes of Denmark's Lasse Hansen and Simon Yates from Great Britain. As a junior, he was French time trial champion two years in a row and came second in the European championship.

    "As an amateur, I could prepare for time trials but as a pro, I become strong through the racing," Gougeard...