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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 20, 2013

Date published:
May 20, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Cavendish survives in the snow at the Giro d'Italia

    Mark Cavendish climbs the Jafferau with the help of Omega Pharma - Quck-Step teammates
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 5:14 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Sprinter angry with race commissaires after suffering on the Jafferau climb

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) reached the mountain finish of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia above Bardonecchia escorted his loyal Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates. He was cold and tired after suffering in the terrible conditions but was fired up and angry after being forced to ride the final climb with his wheel touching his brake.

    Cavendish apparently vented his anger as he climbed to the finish and then gave the race commissaires a piece of his mind.

    "I can't remember feeling like that on a bike, I really, don't. I was completely empty," Cavendish confided to Cyclingnews after getting warm in the hotel to the top of the climb were each team had a room available for the riders to shower.

    "It was a very difficult day. I had a couple of mechanicals and two commissaires stop whenever I have a problem. It was early on, near the feed zone but thing like that take their toll."

    "Then when I was on the climb, with about five kilometres to go, I felt my wheel touching my brake. I couldn't stop at that point because the commissaires wouldn't have let me get back on. At that point I completely exploded."

    Loyal teammates

    Cavendish always praises his teammates for the work they do to help him in the sprints and was grateful for their loyal escort on the cold and on the climb. All the riders were tired after working so much on Friday's 254km stage but six teammates stayed with Cavendish.

    "The guys waited for and then rode me up to the top. I'm incredibly lucky to have a team like that," Cavendish said.

    "It's days like this are more important than perhaps even the sprint stages. They were incredible."

    Taking each day at is comes

    Despite finishing 22:31 down on stage winner Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and...

  • König is King of the mountains stage in Tour of California

    Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) celebrates his win on the seventh stage of the Amgen Tour of California to Mt Diablo
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 10:51 BST
    Cycling News

    NetApp rider claims win near sponsor headquarters

    The Queen Stage of the Tour of California turned into the King Stage, as Leopold König (Team NetApp-Endura) claimed his first win of the season. It was the team's first win in two participations at the US race.

    König won the seventh stage not far from the headquarters of main sponsor NetApp, after 147 kilometers atop Mount Diablo.

    “I felt so strong today and only had the picture in my head crossing the finish line first,” König said in the team's press release. “With this goal in mind I attacked and went step by step, faster and faster.

    “Fighting my way up I remembered an advertisement I just saw here which stated: the only limit that exists is the one in your head. I stopped thinking and just went for the victory.”

    The team first sent Spanish climber David de la Cruz in the day's break group, and he was one of the final two to survive to partway up the final climb. When he was finally caught with only three km to go, König immediately attacked. Riding together to the final kilometer with Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Habens Berman), the Czech attacked again with 500 meters to go and took the win.

    “This was an extraordinary performance of the whole team today. As unhappy I was a couple days ago, the more happy I am now. If we put on a teamwork just like today we can ride with the big teams and even win,” said sport director Alex Sans Vega. “All guys implemented our strategy from this morning one-to-one. We completely focused on the stage win and concentrated everyone’s effort on this goal. We are very happy about the victory.”

  • Blanco looking for Plan B at Giro d'Italia

    Robert Gesink (Blanco)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 13:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Gesink out of contention after freezing stage

    It is back to the drawing board for Team Blanco at the Giro d''Italia, as captain Robert Gesink fell victim to the bad weather conditions on Saturday and fell out of the top 10. The team admitted that his loss of time was “a hard blow”.

     "A podium is now out of reach. We will begin with a 'plan B' come and make our best to do something to make this Giro,” sport director Jan Boven told the ANP news agency. “That will be tough because we had full confidence in our plans and did not think of other scenarios.”

    On Saturday's 14th stage, which was run in heavy rain, occasional snowfall and cold temperatures, Gesink lost over four minutes before finally arriving at the finish atop the Jafferau. The slender Dutchman later tweeted, “Got so cold I couldn't move my legs anymore at the last climb.”

    “In the run-up to the last climb he had problems with the cold, but because of the fast pace he could not change clothes," said Boven. He could barely make it up the final climb. “Then it was mainly trying to keep the damage limited. The guys had been waiting for him and protected him, but Robert could barely follow. "

    Gesink fell from fourth place overall at 2:12 down, to 11th place and 6:40.

  • Nibali resists the call of history on the Galibier

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 19:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian defends maglia rosa at Pantani monument

    The scene was set for a legendary impresa but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) settled for a controlling brief and an implacable defence of his overall lead on the Col du Galibier on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia.

    The risk of an avalanche atop the mighty pass meant that the finish line was brought forward four kilometres to Marco Pantani memorial, situated at the precise spot where he launched his winning attack at the Tour de France in 1998, and the morning’s newspapers had latched onto the symbolism of the occasion with gusto.

    “Today he has an appointment that he cannot miss: for himself, for Italian cycling and for his manager Giuseppe Martinelli,” trumpeted Gazzetta dello Sport, recalling that the Astana manager had been Pantani’s directeur sportif during his halcyon days but overlooking, perhaps, that those were ultimately years of fatal excess.

    The vacuum left by Pantani’s death is a considerable one, and there seems to be a campaign of sorts in Italy to try and nudge the Shark towards the kind of rarefied atmosphere once occupied by the late Pirate. But Nibali is a different style of rider and, so we are told, cycling is a changing sport.

    On the Galibier on Sunday, Nibali set Italian hearts aflutter with one, short acceleration two kilometres from home, but his eye was on his steady march towards final overall victory rather than making one giant leap into the history books. The Sicilian finished the stage in 7th, alongside Cadel Evans (BMC) and Rigoberto Uran (Sky), maintaining an overall lead of 1:26.

    “For me it was a good day. We monitored things,” Nibali said. “I tried an acceleration, but since nothing happened, I preferred to control the general classification. Cadel Evans is very close, so I had to control him and Rigoberto...

  • Evans retains high expectations at Giro d’Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) marks Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 20:52 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian follows Nibali on the Galibier

    Inspired, perhaps, by a return to the mountain that formed the keystone of his 2011 Tour de France triumph, Cadel Evans (BMC) broke even with his fellow general classification contenders on the Col de Galibier on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia to remain second overall.

    Evans had conceded ground on the Saturday’s summit at Jafferau and saw his deficit to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) extended to 1:26, but in the finale on the Galibier, he was able to resist the Sicilian’s forcing and finished the stage just behind him in 8th place.

    “It was very cold again today but at least it wasn’t as cold as yesterday and there wasn’t any snow at the bottom of the Galibier,” Evans said afterwards, as he awaited doping control. “It went quite well and I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the best riders here. I defended myself well and I rode very well so I’m still confident about my Giro and the week to come. “

    As the Giro heads into its second rest day in Valloire on Monday, Evans is still within touching distance of Nibali, and although the maglia rosa has shown few signs of weakness thus far, Evans noted that the effects of the extreme conditions thus far could make themselves felt in the coming week. The climb to Sestriere was cut from Saturday’s stage due to the snow, while stage 15 ultimately finished four kilometres shy of the summit of the Galibier, at the Marco Pantani monument.

    “The weather conditions are changing quicker than we can change our clothes so it’s difficult to be prepared,” Evans said, warning that “the third week of the Giro comes after two weeks that were probably harder than expected.”

    Evans started the Giro ranked among the...

  • Visconti back to his best a year after quitting the Giro

    Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 22:00 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian wins on the Galibier with an inspired performance

    After crossing the finish line, just a few metres from the Marco Pantani memorial and the spot where Pantani attacked during the 1998 Tour de France, Giovanni Visconti threw up his arms in celebration and threw off the problems that have affected him for the last 18 months.

    The Sicilian-born rider quit last year's Giro d'Italia on stage 15 after a panic attack that went on to affect him for months.

    He served a three-month ban for working with Dr Michele Ferrari during the winter and struggled with his demons and to rediscover the form and confidence that helped him become the three-time Italian national champion.

    "I hope that this marks the start of a new career start for me," an emotional Visconti said in the stage winner's press conference.

    I thought a thousand different things on the climb. In the final kilometres, you perhaps saw me crying, but for the last three kilometres I was crying inside. I knew I was going to win and I thought of the coincidence of finishing near Marco’s memorial.

    "I was born on the same day as Marco (January 13), perhaps he gave me a hand today. I thought of him and asked him for the strength to make it to the finish."

    The real Visconti

    Visconti has always been considered one of the most talented riders of his generation, along with fellow Sicilian and current Giro d'Italia race leader Vincenzo Nibali, who also moved to Tuscany to compete as an Under 23 rider. For several years they were fierce rivals, their homes, their teams and their loyal tifosi separated by the hill that divides Quarrata from Montecatini Terme in the centre of Tuscany's cycling heartland.

    Visconti was Italian under 23 national champion in 2003 and confirmed his promise by winning the Italian national title for the first time in 2007. Other tricolore...

  • Sagan extends Tour of California record

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins the final stage of the Tour of California.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2013, 23:50 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Stage win nets fourth green jersey for Cannondale rider

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) extended his Tour of California stage win record to 10 with a sprint victory in Santa Rosa, and in doing so secured his fourth-consecutive points classification victory in the race. The Slovakian champion showed his competitors a clean set of wheels on the breakneck dash to the line at the end of two quick, technical downtown circuits that capped off the 129.9km stage.

    "I'm really happy to have won today," Sagan said. "Thank you to all of my teammates who did very good work from the start of the stage."

    Cannondale showed a strong presence at the front of the peloton as they entered the circuits, having absorbed the three-man break that led for most of the stage, but then took a back seat to Garmin Sharp, who was working for stage 4 winner Tyler Farrar. Had Farrar won, he would have taken the green jersey, but Sagan was ushered to the front at just the right moment before the final turn.

    "After the team helped me get to the front, and after the last left turn I was on the front and started my sprint and won, and I'm very happy," Sagan said. "I'd like to dedicate this win to one of the Cannondale friends," he said, referring to an 11-year-old boy, Alex Shepherd from Oregon, who is also a bike racer and a friend of the Cannondale team and is battling a brain tumor.

    One rider who has been instrumental in the Sagan's success at the Tour of California over the past three years was American Ted King, who worked to bring back the three-rider breakaway on a short, fast stage.

    "It's always nice to end on a high note," King said. "It was a short but super-hard stage today. The three guys got a pretty significant gap. We were rotating straight away, and we were rotating quickly and the gap was going up. That just meant we...

  • Hard yards pay off for van Garderen with California victory

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) takes home the overall prize.
    Article published:
    May 20, 2013, 1:16 BST
    Pat Malach

    American believes he can be a contender for the Tour de France

    Even before Tejay van Garderen (BMC) casually cruised his bike into a hotel ballroom for the final press conference of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, it was obvious the 24-year-old overall winner had learned to relax and enjoy the moment. Success can do that for a person.

    "It's a big relief to finally get my first stage race victory," he said. "I've been close on a number of occasions, and I was starting to get worried I didn't have what it took to win one. Now I've proven I can, it's a big relief, and I can go into every race a little less stressed. Sometimes if you loosen your grip it will come naturally."

    Van Garderen's last win in a UCI stage race came in 2009 when he was riding for Rabobank's Continental-ranked development team. He's come close many times since, running second at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in 2010, the Volta ao Algarve in 2011 and the USA Pro Challenge last year, but he hasn't been able to get onto the top step of the podium until this week.

    Taking that step has been years in the making for the rider from Bozeman, Montana, said team General manager Jim Ochowicz

    "This being his first major stage race victory is an accomplishment," Ochowicz said. "We're proud of him. He learned to manage the team in a high-profile race for a week. That's a big accomplishment for him."

    Van Garderen said patience and learning to manage a team throughout the week were the keys to his victory, like when he had to tell former World Champions and Tour de France veterans like Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert that he needed their support at the front of the race.

    "That can give you nerves - a 24-year-old telling guys who have been in the sport for a...