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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 16, 2011

Date published:
May 16, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Candelario and Friedman ahead of Tour of California

    Mike Friedman, new to Kelly Benefit Strategies - OptumHealth for 2011, warms up for his wind tunnel session.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 14:42 BST
    Cycling News

    All-American team gunning for stages

    Kelly Benefit Strategies - OptumHealth heads into the Amgen Tour of California with an all-American line up packed with stage winning potential. Michael Friedman, formerly of Garmin and Jelly Belly, is hoping to make an impression on the race through breakaways, and he is aware that he will suffer on the tough mountain stages.

    In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews Friedman and his teammate Alex Candelario talk about the week ahead, and how they are hoping for poor weather.

  • Amgen Tour of California delayed by snow

    A canine companion is a fan of the Amgen Tour of California.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 16:19 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Updated: Race to start at 1:15 p.m. PST

    Update: Stage 1 of the 2011 amgen tour of california to start at 1:15 p.m. PST

    "After monitoring weather conditions overnight and this morning, while consulting with public safety and race team officials, organizers of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California have announced that the current and projected weather conditions will allow Stage 1 of the race to start at 1:15 p.m. PT at the original start line in South Lake Tahoe. Race officials will continue to pay close attention and monitor the course and all other conditions. If at any time it is determined to be unsafe to continue, the race will be neutralized."


    Amgen Tour of Califonria race organizers announced this morning that they would shorten stage one from 191km to roughly 80km, with several hours delay, and the stage pushed back to 1:15 pm PDT in South Lake Tahoe. They made the decision based on the safety of the riders after overnight snowfall combined with freezing temperatures made for dangerous race conditions.

    AEG Sports President, Andrew Messick, told Cyclingnews that the morning wind chill was 10 degrees Fahrenheit and, “too cold for the guys to race”. He also noted that if at noon the conditions had not improved, the race would start on Monday in Squaw Valley, which was the original start of stage two.

    Today's revised route will have the peloton begin in South Lake Tahoe and race on the west side of Lake Tahoe, along the original course, for a total of 80km and it will finish at the Northstar at Tahoe Resort. The original course was to complete one and half laps for a total of 191km.

    Garmin-Cervelo's Jonathan Vaughters spoke with Cyclingnews in the morning, and predicted hard racing if the stage were to go forward.

    "I thought it...

  • Contador: the Giro has just started

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) in pink for the first time this Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 18:14 BST
    Barry Ryan

    New pink jersey downplays Etna dominance

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) may have seemed like he was from another planet on the slopes of Mount Etna on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia, but the new maglia rosa delivered his opinions on the day’s events in rather less celestial surroundings.

    He faced the media in an impromptu press conference held under a gazebo next to the finish line, with reporters huddled around a beaming Contador, wrapped up against the wind. After such an exhibition of dominance, the question on everyone’s mind was a simple one – is the Giro d’Italia already over?

    “No, the Giro has just started,” Contador insisted politely. “It’s really hard and anything could happen in this race.”

    With his prime challengers Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) 1:21 and 1:28 behind, respectively, the Spaniard is not yet out of sight, especially with such a demanding two weeks still to come.

    However, the ease with which he ripped clear of the group of favourites and the emphatic way in which he deposited Scarponi from his back wheel were proof that Contador is on song, even if his post-race comments were typically low-key.

    “I’m very happy as I showed I have good legs,” he said. “It was risky, but it went well.”

    The climb of Etna is by no means the most demanding of this Giro, with the opening half of the haul to the summit little more than a lengthy drag. As Lampre-ISD pulled the group of favourites up from the base of the volcano, Contador knew that he would have to bide his time before looking to snap the elastic.

    “I was keeping an eye on Scarponi,” Contador said. “I knew...

  • WADA opens investigation into the rider suspicion list leak

    Director General of the WADA, David Howman
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 19:04 BST
    Cycling News

    World Anti-Doping Agency offers support to UCI

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced it has opened an independent investigation into the source of the leak that led to an internal working document from the UCI being published in French newspaper L’Equipe last week.

    The so-called suspicion list, or index of suspicion, rated the 198 riders that started the 2010 Tour de France on a scale of ten to help better target riders for anti-doping testing during the race.

    The rankings were said to be based on a combination of the blood tests taken just before the start of the Tour de France and the blood values from the rider’s biological passport. However the UCI did not explain how the individual ranking for each rider were calculated.

    The publication of the list sparked uproar amongst the riders, with David Millar calling for some heads to roll at the UCI after the leak. Riders managed by the Belgian-based Celio Sport & Image company and others, are looking at the possibility of suing the UCI for defamation of character and damages.

    In a statement, WADA said it would offer its full support to the UCI as it also carries out its own investigation into the embarrassing leak.

    “WADA Director General David Howman informed his Executive Committee and Foundation Board at a meeting in Montreal that WADA would give its full support to the UCI, which will also have an investigation, to try and identify the source of the leak.” the WADA statement reads.

  • Nibali admits Contador is one step ahead at Giro

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 20:36 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Warm welcome in Sicily for local heroes

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) was smart to not try and follow Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) when the Spaniard attacked with seven kilometres to go to the top of Etna on stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia.

    Michele Scarponi tried to follow but paid the price for his effortsni. The “shark from the strait” rode like he did at last year’s Vuelta a Espana when Ezequiel Mosquera dropped him on the Bola del Mundo, but Contador isn’t Mosquera and Nibali didn’t come across this time around, following his own pace.

    “When Contador attacked, he was really strong”, Nibali said after the stage.

    “I kept my rhythm and I accelerated in the final kilometer when I realized that Scarponi was off the back. At least I wanted to gain some seconds on him (17) but Contador was significantly ahead. He was actually one step ahead of anybody else today.”

    This was a special stage for the Sicilian, as he grew up in Messina where the stage started. They cheered for Giovanni Visconti as well.

    The Farnese rider was part of a seven-man breakaway, wearing the Italian champion jersey in the Giro that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the unity of Italy. “It’s been a beautiful day”, Visconti said. “I’ve been touched by the encouragements of the crowds.”

    Sicilian fans knew that Visconti has been suffering from a knee injury. They brought a huge plate of canolli – the famous creamy Sicilian desert – to Nibali and Visconti who were the guest stars of the Processo alla tappa, the famous TV show that follows the stage broadcasting on RAI television. But the riders didn’t touch the sweets, as it didn’t fit with their diet, they both said.

  • Tour of California: stage 1 cancelled

    The opening stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California will be the most challenging first stage to date
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 21:26 BST
    Daniel Benson & Laura Weislo

    Poor conditions leave organisers no choice

    Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California was officially cancelled due to severe weather conditions at the start in South Lake Tahoe. The stage had already been pushed back by several hours due to heavy snow fall and driving winds as organisers fought to save the day's action.

    The stage had been shorted from 191km to roughly 80km, with several hours delay, and the stage pushed back to 1:15 pm PDT in South Lake Tahoe. Organisers made the decision based on the safety of the riders after overnight snowfall combined with freezing temperatures made for dangerous race conditions.

    “We were monitoring weather conditions up until the predicted 1:15 p.m. PT start time, and we just couldn’t safely put the riders out on the course with the current forecast,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “We appreciate the support of all the fans that came out to the start line in South Lake Tahoe, and we hope they understand and respect our decision, but when the safety of riders and fans is involved, there is no leeway. We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the start tomorrow in Squaw Valley.”

    As the race was being cancelled, three-time champion Levi Leipheimer addressed the crowd from the sign-in stage and said:

    “The riders discussed as a group and we just don’t feel comfortable riding knowing what can happen, especially in light of what happened last Monday. We still have a full week of racing ahead of us, so we want to make sure everyone is healthy. With the weather conditions the way they are, racing today is just not possible. On behalf of all the riders, we apologize and appreciate everyone’s support and understanding.”

    Lars Boom...

  • Kreuziger: It was impossible to match Contador on Etna

    Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana
    Article published:
    May 15, 2011, 23:37 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Astana man impressed by pink jersey’s strength

    Roman Kreuziger (Astana) continued his strong start to the Giro d'Italia with an intelligent performance on the slopes of Mount Etna, but he admitted after the stage that it would have been dangerous to follow Alberto Contador's explosive rhythm in the finale.

    The Czech fought toe-to-toe with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and moved into the white jersey of best young rider, but thought better of attempting to match Contador when he accelerated 6km from the line. Speaking to Cyclingnews before making his way down the volcano, Kreuziger marvelled at Contador's show of force.

    "It was impressive, I saw the size of the gear he was using when he went," Kreuziger said. "I turned around and I still had two teammates, and I didn't even try to go after him because I didn't feel I could."

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) managed to make it across to Contador's wheel, but he would soon crack under the strain of the Spaniard's relentless pace. Kreuziger believed that Scarponi's struggle was vindication of his decision to follow his own tempo.

    "I was worried that I would have destroyed myself and I wouldn't have made it to the top," he admitted. "But Scarponi went after him and we saw how he ended up."

    With Contador seemingly in a stratum all of his own up front, Kreuziger focused his attentions on the race within a race behind, and his toughest moment on Etna...

  • Mt Etna brings an end to McEwen and Brown's Giro d'Italia

    Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    May 16, 2011, 1:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian sprinters miss the time cut

    The two ascents of Mt Etna proved too much for veteran Australian sprinters, Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) who both finished outside the time cut.

    "Didn't finish on time (way out actually) on Mt.Etna stage," said McEwen via his Twitter feed. "Giro over for me. Haven't felt good at all. Home, recover & rebuild for June."

    The pair finished 59:35 down on the time by stage winner, Alberto Contador.

    HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish was sparred a similar fate, by a margin of just 30 seconds, 33 minutes ahead of the Australians. Cavendish was escorted to the finishline by teammates Alex Rasmussen and Mark Renshaw while Sacha Modolo (Colnago - CSF Inox), Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Russell Downing (Sky Procycling) and Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) were also in the group.

    "Well my legs exploded more violently than the f%&king volcano we were racing up today," said Cavendish via his Twitter feed. "Mount Etna. Twice. In 1 stage. Not nice."

    Renshaw wasn't impressed either claiming: "That wasn't cycling today, that was going to hell and back... twice."

    Two sprint stages remain for Cavendish following Monday's rest day – stage 10 and 12.