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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 23, 2011

Date published:
May 23, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Candelario, Pipp aiming to close out California with success in stage eight

    Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) makes it through the rainy day
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 6:43 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    US domestic riders aim to spoil the show for WorldTour teams

    Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) is aiming for a sprint win, or at least a podium placing, during the eighth and final stage of the Amgen Tour of California. The American is not alone, however, as a handful of top domestic sprinters look forward to a bunch sprint on the streets of Thousand Oaks.

    "The team will work for me on the last stage," Candelario told Cyclingnews.

    "Mike Friedman is dealing with an injury right now and not on the best form, unfortunately. The last stage has one category four climb and it’s steep but other than that it is rolling hills. I think after Baldy, there will be a few teams without stage victories and they will want to work hard to make that happen."

    Candelario surprised with a fourth place in the stage five sprint into Paso Robles. He freelanced his way through the field on the wheels of other more established sprinters to come up with a respectable result. He hopes to improve on that performance in stage eight.

    "I would be pretty stoked if I got on the podium here because I’m getting older year-by-year and there are fewer chances and shots at getting on these podiums," Candelario said. "It would be really big for the team because we don’t have a really big budget so it would be a huge deal. We have to be realistic - but I feel confident that I can get on the podium on Sunday."

    Candelario wil however face stiff competition from the other US fast men yet to be rewarded in the Californian sprints. Anibal Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home), Ken...

  • Katusha plan all-Russian team for Tour de France

    Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) could be to the fore in Scheldeprijs.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 10:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Pozzato to miss out on Grand Boucle

    The Katusha line-up for the Tour de France is set to be composed solely of Russian riders. With Joaquim Rodriguez focused on the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, and Filippo Pozzato seemingly irrevocably out of favour, the path was clear for team manager Andrei Tchmil to field a wholly Russian team.

    “For the first time in the history of Russian cycling, we will present a team at the Tour made up only of Russian riders,” Tchmil said, according to Biciciclismo. “Even the directeurs sportifs will be Russian.”

    The final nine riders for the Tour team will only be decided the week before the race begins at the Russian road race championships, but the riders in contention will have a chance to shine throughout June.

    “They are just preparing the Tour,” Tchmil said. “These riders will race the Tour of Luxembourg and then the Dauphiné before the national championships, when we’ll decide the nine to ride the Tour.”

    Vladimir Karpets will lead the team’s overall challenge, while it seems likely that a Tour debut will be given to the impressive young sprinter Denis Galimzyanov. Alexandr Kolobnev is another man expected to feature in the final nine.

    “I think it will be something to remember because Katusha wants us to be a block of riders made up just of Russian riders, which is very good for the sponsor and for the spectators,” Kolobnev said. “It will be special.”




  • Last chance for sprinters at Amgen Tour of California

    JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) leads out his team this morning.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 12:04 BST
    Jen See

    Haedo, Förster and Freire looking for elusive win

    The Amgen Tour of California concludes on Sunday with a circuit finish in Thousand Oaks. The mountains are over for this year, and the final day is for the sprinters. Team Sky won two stages with Ben Swift and Greg Henderson, while Liquigas-Cannondale took the third sprinters’ stage in Paso Robles with Peter Sagan. Sagan also currently leads the points classification. Several teams have missed out, and now just one chance remains for the sprinters.

    One rider who has missed out in this year’s sprints is Juan José Haedo of Saxo Bank. In the past, Haedo has found success at the Amgen Tour of California with five stage victories to his credit.

    This year, he has yet to stand on the highest step of the podium. “It’s been all right, some good days and some really hard days,” Haedo said before Saturday’s massive climbing stage. “I think today’s probably the toughest day of the whole week, especially for guys who are not climbers. We go straight up into the hills.”

    In the shortened opening stage from Nevada City to Sacramento, Haedo managed fifth on the fast, wet circuit. The sprint went better for him in Modesto, where he finished second behind a flying Greg Henderson of Team Sky. Henderson intended to lead out stage 1 winner Ben Swift, but Swift lost the wheel, and Henderson won for himself instead.

    Then, Haedo suffered badly on the long stage from Seaside to Paso Robles, and did not make the sprint. “I was having a rough day, and I just had to give up. In the last 5 kilometers, there was a crash and I wasn’t able to come...

  • Bookwalter refocused on US Champs and Tour after California

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC) cruising along on the climb.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 17:14 BST
    Cycling News

    American wants stars and stripes jersey

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) put in a consistent performance at the Amgen Tour of California after a broken collarbone set him back six weeks prior to the marquee stateside event. The American is now turning his attention to two big goals; winning a stars and stripes jersey at the USA Cycling Professional National Championships next weekend in South Carolina, and, more importantly, his preparations for the Tour de France in July.

    “I would like to win that jersey,” Bookwalter told Cyclingnews. “It’s been a dream of mine since the beginning of my career to be Captain America for one year. It’s a special race and largely depends on team dynamics. But I should have good form coming off of the Tour of California.”

    Bookwalter, alongside his teammate Steve Morabito, showed good form during the event’s two mountaintop finishes on Sierra Road and Mt Baldy this week. He started the queen stage seven in 14th position in the overall classification and slipped one position into 15th place following the decisive ascent to the top of Mt Baldy. Morabito climbed with the front group for as long as possible and moved into 9th place overall heading into the final stage.

    “I am semi-satisfied with how the Amgen Tour of California went, but you always want to strive for more,” Bookwalter said. “It was a little disappointing for us not to have someone consistently racing in the top ten or top five category of riders here. Originally this race was a big focus of mine and then breaking my collarbone side tracked that focus a little bit. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this race.”

    Bookwalter broke his collarbone during the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya in March. He was instructed...

  • Nibali goes on the offensive at the Giro

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) couldn't match Contador
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 19:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian tries a downhill attack in the Dolomites

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) lost more time to Alberto Contador at the end of the toughest mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia to Gardeccia but was proud of his performance in the heart of the Dolomites after attacking on the descent of Passo Giau and then fighting all the way to the finish of the 229km stage.

    Nibali opened a gap of 30 seconds on the technical descent, carving perfect lines through the many hairpins corners but then eased up at the start of the Passo Fedaia. Contador soon attacked to get rid of him on the long, steep sector of the Passo Fedaia but Nibali again used his demon descending kills to get back on. He even had the nerve to attack on the valley road before the climb up to finish at Gardeccia.

    He slipped to third behind Scarponi and is 5:11 behind Contador, but was proud to have put up a fight.

    "I attacked to try and do something on the biggest and most prestigious mountain stage of the Giro. I wasn't racing for second place but for first place," he said defiantly.

    "I attacked Contador to try and tire him but he had help from Lastras (Movistar) because I think Arroyo wanted to try and win the stage.

    "When I was caught I suffered on the Fedaia but I knew the descent was difficult and that I could get back on again. When I caught them at the bottom I think they were stunned because they rode hard to stop me getting back. They were disappointed to see me again but I dug deep on the climb to the finish and I'm proud I was still there."

    Nibali's attack was audacious but he explained that it was also calculated.

    "My consistency and endurance paid off. I honestly didn't have the legs I had yesterday but I tried to stay with Scarponi on the final climb," he said.

  • Contador: It was the hardest day of my career

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) rides through the storm.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 19:57 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard suffers at the Giro but extends his lead

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) shook his fist in a mix of celebration, satisfaction and determination after pulling on the pink jersey at the end of the marathon stage of the Giro d'Italia to Gardeccia.

    Yet again he gained time on all his rivals but admitted it had been the hardest day's racing of his career.

    "It was a hard day, really hard," Contador said, struggling to stay on his feet after getting off his bike. "I think it was the hardest stage of my career. We've suffered a lot in the last few days."

    Contador finished third on the stage, 1:51 behind Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) but gained 14 seconds on Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and a more significant 1:37 on Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    The Italian attacked on the descent of the Passo Giau but Contador again rode a cynical and calculating race, letting Nibali tire himself out with his brave but ultimately futile attack.

    "The Liquigas team rode a fast pace on the first climb and that created a big selection," Contador said. "Then the big break went away and so that made the race hard and fast all day. My team worked well, with their heads, but when we got to Giau, the real attacks started from my rivals. I didn’t let Nibali get away with Rodriguez and Arroyo because I knew they would be dangerous together. But when Nibali went I used my head didn't chase him. I knew there was a long way to go and that it wasn't dangerous.

    "I climbed the Fedaia very fast but that was more to control things and so stop other people attacking. Then on the Gardeccia I rode it like a time trial, thinking of the GC. I wanted to make as much time as possible.

    "People keep saying I've got the Giro sown up but I don’t...

  • Nieve doubles up for Euskaltel

    Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) can hardly believe he's won.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 20:12 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Basque had not won a Giro stage before the Zoncolan

    The Euskaltel-Euskadi team had never won a stage at the Giro d’Italia unti Igor Anton did so on the Zoncolan on Saturday, but the Basque outfit must have found a special taste for it as Mikel Nieve brought another epic victory to their camp at Gardeccia. This is the fifth participation for the riders in orange at the Giro after doing it from 2005 to 2009. Their best result prior to this year was a fourth place by David Lopez Garcia on stage 18 in 2006.

    Nieve, who will turn 27 on May 26, was already a winner at the Vuelta a España last year, as he claimed the queen stage to Cotobello, also at the end of a long breakaway. “So now, to win the queen stage of the Giro is a dream that I would have never thought to come true,” the rider from Navarra told reporters at the top of the Gardeccia. “I couldn’t imagine achieving it when I turned professional (with Orbea in 2008, one year before joining Euskaltel-Euskadi).”

    At the Vuelta, he got freedom after Anton’s retirement because of a crash when he had the red jersey of race leader. At the Giro, he was still prepared to do his duty for his captain, even after the triumph on the Zoncolan. “But at the morning meeting before this stage, Igor told me to break away,” Nieve revealed. “He said that I was able to win a stage as well, that’s what pushed me into trying.”

    Even though he knew how long and hard it was from Conegliano to Gardeccia, Nieve couldn’t imagine the calvary he was about to go through. “This is for sure the...

  • Betsy Andreu talks ahead of 60 Minutes show on Lance Armstrong

    Armstrong leads Hamilton in the 2003 Tour de France
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 23:13 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Hamilton, Hincapie and the Federal Investigation

    Tonight, an American television program, "60 Minutes", will broadcast an interview in which Tyler Hamilton, former teammate of Lance Armstrong, will confess to using performance enhancing drugs and to witnessing Armstrong do the same.

    In a clip on the CBS News website, Hamilton says that Armstrong used EPO to win his first Tour de France in 1999, and used it in the next two years to prepare for the Tour. Armstrong denies ever taking performance enhancing drugs.

    Betsy Andreu, the wife of US Postal team member Frankie Andreu, who was on Armstrong's winning Tour squad in 1999 and 2000, has long asserted that they heard Armstrong admit to having used performance-enhancing drugs while he was in a hospital to be treated for cancer in 1996. Armstrong also denies this.

    The Andreus have stood nearly alone against Armstrong for the years since they testified against him in the arbitration between SCA Promotions and Armstrong, recounting the infamous hospital conversation.

    Since then, Armstrong has called the Andreus liars and attempted to discredit them, Floyd Landis and anyone else who questioned his integrity. He's repeatedly denied doping and offered up his record as evidence, calling himself the world's most tested athlete.

    The Andreus have also lost close friends over the issue. "George [Hincapie] stood up for our wedding. But after everything happened with us, George wasn't allowed to talk to Frankie," Betsy Andreu told Cyclingnews. "When Frankie was on US Postal Lance and George were his closest friends on the team."

    The Associated Press has now reported that Hamilton's confession was corroborated by Hincapie...