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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 24, 2010

Date published:
May 24, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Turpin tips Basso as Giro favourite

    Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 18:23 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Last breakaway survivor impressed by Italian’s exploit on Zoncolan

    Ludovic Turpin, who won stage 5 to Briançon after climbing the Izoard in the Dauphiné in 2006 was the last rider from the morning breakaway to be caught by the leaders on the Zoncolan. He was particularly impressed with Ivan Basso, who passed him with 5.7 kilometres to go.

    “It was a nice breakaway and I don’t regret being it it," the Ag2r-La Mondiale rider said. “I would have needed six or seven minutes lead at the bottom of the climb to make it the same way I did it at the Dauphiné but we only had three minutes. It was definitely not enough on a climb like the Zoncolan. It’s so steep that you can’t increase your speed by even 1km/h. In all my career, I’ve never seen such a hard climb.”

    “It’s been a great day of cycling though”, added the Frenchman who turned pro with Ag2 ten years ago. “Even in the middle of the bunch, we realised that we are part of a very nice race. Everything is yet to be decided with one week to go. However, Basso has demonstrated today that he’s the best climber in this race. I suppose the next stage will suit him as well. The hill climb time trial is on a course pretty similar to this one.”

    Being a well respected domestique himself, Turpin, 35, is also full of praise for what David Arroyo is doing at the Giro d’Italia. “He still has three and half minutes lead over Basso. It’s significant”, the Frenchman said. “Usually he finished around tenth at the Giro but I see him making the top 3 this time around.”


  • Scarponi keeps podium place alive

    Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) couldn't follow Basso or Evans
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 19:58 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Third on Zoncolan and rises to eighth overall

    Michele Scarponi has moved up to 8th overall, 6:34 down on David Arroyo after claiming a valuable third place at the top of the Monte Zoncolan behind Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans. Scarponi finshed 1:30 down on Basso.

    “It’s been a very hard day”, the Andoni-Diquigiovanni leaders said as he got off the bike. “I didn’t manage to follow Ivan (Basso) with 7km to go. I got dropped off a little bit. Then I rode to the top as best as I could.”

    “He overcame the hard time he had at some stage into the climb”, said Gianni Savio, who added: “He could have lost much more, hadn’t he gone for his own rhythm.”

    In the team meeting, all the riders except José Serpa were instructed to remain alongside Scarponi as long as they could. “We wanted to have a point of reference and we recommended it would be either Jackson Rodriguez or Carlos Ochoa who are our best climbers besides Serpa and Scarponi”, Savio said.

    “Rodriguez made the six-man breakaway, which was good. We thought he could have helped Scarponi in the Zoncolan but there wasn’t much to do anymore when he got caught. But we also had the stage win in mind. That could have happened only if Liquigas didn’t chase so early and had left a 20 minutes gap before the race hit the climbs.”

    Savio had set the podium as a goal for Scarponi at the beginning of the Giro. “We stick to that objective”, said the team manager. “But there are three spots on the podium. We’re not saying the top spot isn’t reachable.”


  • Basso crowns his come back with victory on the Zoncolan

    Ivan Basso on his way to victory
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 20:23 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian insists he's learnt his lesson after doping ban

    Ivan Basso didn’t want to dedicate his Zoncolan stage win to just one person but after his family, perhaps his coach Aldo Sassi deserved it the most and was probably the happiest person to see Basso and Cadel Evans coming first and second of the most spectacular stage of the Giro d’Italia.

    Sassi, who is battling a brain tumor, made it clear before the Giro d'Italia that he believes either Basso or Evans can win the Giro and win it cleanly.

    "Cycling has improved a lot. Things have really cleaned up. If either Ivan or Cadel win the Giro, we'll have the proof that you can win without doping. I totally trust them and I'm certain they wouldn't do anything to hurt me…." He said in a moving interview with Gazzetta dello Sport a few days before the start of the Giro.

    "They're like two sons for me and I can't chose between them. Cadel is the strongest athlete I've ever coached. Ivan is the one with more determination."

    After his victory, Basso insisted that he had no more secrets. "Everything is online on my website, anyone can check my blood values, my training sessions and the hills I’ve climbed. All the details of what I’m doing are there," he said.

    "Since I’ve decided to come back to racing, I’ve rigorously followed what is my team’s strict way of thinking but first of all which is my way of thinking. I chose this way of cycling even before I joined Liquigas.”

    Basso was suspended for doping from May 2007 until October 2008 after finally admitting he was a client of Dr Fuentes and part of Operacion Puerto. He made his comeback with Liquigas at the 2008 Japan Cup race in October.
    Last year he finished fifth at the Giro d'Italia and fourth at the Vuelta Espana but never seemed to find the form that allowed him to dominate the 2006 Giro d'Italia. On the Zoncolan, he showed he was back to his best.

    “I have always thought I could experience the...

  • Haussler caught drink driving

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 20:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Cervelo rider in accident and questioned

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) was involved in a car accident on Saturday night. There were no injuries reported but the rider was questioned by police and tests concluded that his blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

    The accident occurred as Haussler made his way home after a party in Freiburg on Saturday night.

    “I want to apologize to my teammates and the entire Cervélo TestTeam and in particular to our fans and partners,” said the 26-year-old Haussler. “I was extremely disappointed about my early return from the Tour of California because of my knee problems and needed a diversion. That said, there is no excuse for my behaviour. It was irresponsible and unprofessional and I deeply regret my actions.”

    Haussler had been racing at the Amgen Tour of California this past week, but returned home Thursday to have his knee checked at the Crossklinik in Basel as a precaution, after two crashes during that race.

    He has already endured a difficult season and missed the Spring Classics due to a knee injury. It is unclear as yet whether this latest episode will affect his chances of riding in the Tour de France.


  • Spanish maglia rosa impressed by Ivan Basso

    David Arroyo stays in pink with tomorrow's rest day ahead
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 21:57 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Arroyo survives on the Zoncolan

    David Arroyo kept the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia after the climb to the summit of the Zoncolan but realised it will be hard for him to hold off Ivan Basso and the other big names as they gained large chunks of time on him during the climb.

    “I did the Zoncolan in the 2007 Giro d’Italia and I had bad memories of it but this time it went much better”, Arroyo claimed.

    “This is harder than the Anglirù in Spain where you have some breathing space every 500 metres. Up here it goes steep for six kilometres with nowhere to recover.”

    In the crucial part of the climb, Arroyo told his teammate Arnold Jeannesson that he didn’t want anymore help. “He was climbing at a rhythm that didn’t suit me”, Arroyo explained about the young French climber from Caisse d’Epargne. “He was changing gear sometimes while I wanted a steady pace.”

    Arroyo admitted he was impressed by “an extraordinary Ivan Basso”.

    “The Liquigas team started the stage very strongly and now I’m not very confident about keeping the maglia rosa till the end of the race after what we’ve seen today. Basso is very strong. But we’ll try to keep him and his team under control. All I can say is that we’ll fight until the very end of the Giro.”

    With a 3:33 lead over Basso, Arroyo should be able to keep the pink jersey for at least another four days. “I don’t know the Plan de Corones but I’ll go and see it tomorrow to figure out how to do my best there”, he said.

    However after that he faces two mountain stages in the Dolomites and the final time trial in Verona. Meaning there is time for Basso and other riders to pull back time and for him to lose the Giro d'Italia. The suspense will probably last right to the very end of the Giro.

  • On the start line in California

    Thumbs up from cycling fan and rider Patrick Dempsey
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 22:09 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Images from the start of the final stage in Thousand Oaks

    After seven hard days of racing, the Amgen Tour of California began its final stage on Sunday. However instead of a deserved procession or flat criterium stage, the riders were faced with a testing course containing Mulholland Highway climb, which takes the peloton up 1,000 feet.

    The course starts in The Oaks shopping mall and was full of fans waiting to see the stars come off the team buses one last time.

    With just a handful of seconds separating the main challengers there was still everything to play for. Check out these images from the start line.

  • Hesjedal gets confirmation in California

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) bested his four breakaway companions to win the Amgen Tour of California's final stage.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2010, 11:15 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Garmin-Transition rider claims final Amgen Tour stage

    It's been a stellar season so far for Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, one that only got better when he scored a stage win on the final day of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday.

    The Garmin-Transitions rider has made a steady progression on the world's stage since joining the team in 2008, taking his first ProTour win at last year's Vuelta a España before his strong showing this spring.

    After a sixth place overall in the Volta a Catalunya, Hesjedal made his first Classics podium with second place at the Amstel Gold Race - a result which earned him the respect and attention of the European media.

    Speaking before the start of the Tour of California, he expressed satisfaction with his season so far, never predicting he would be the one to win the final stage.

    "It's not so much the good results [that are satisfying], but the consistency and picking up where I left off last season in the Vuelta," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews in Sacramento. "It was always a goal to get better, so to be able to have a good first part of the season is a confirmation."

    The 29-year-old said after his Amstel podium that there was a time when he couldn't understand how riders could contest races of the length of the Classics, but after his recent results in Europe, he pointed out that each success is a stepping stone in the sport.

    "In cycling you have to work hard and long, you don't get to the top right away. That's what makes it special. I've devoted my whole professional life to this sport, and to see that labour coming through and to define it with results is especially rewarding.

    "Sometimes the [next rung on the ladder] seems really far away - there are always hurdles, and some obstacles are bigger than others. I've been through lots of those - when I decided to leave mountain biking, I jumped right into road. It was pretty daunting starting with Discovery Channel [in 2005] at top events without enough time to get the...

  • Reaction from Monte Zoncolan

    Ivan Basso on his way to victory
    Article published:
    May 24, 2010, 13:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro contenders talk after difficult 15th stage

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) - second on stage, fifth overall @ 4:43:

    "Basso took me by surprise. He was the best of all of us today. He maintained his rhythm and I kept mine - and his was a bit faster. We'll see what happens in the next few days."

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - sixth on stage, fourth overall @ 4:21:

    "It was a very important day for me; a day that I was wary of as although it wasn't a day in which I could have won the Giro, I could have lost my chances after the problems that have affected me throughout this race.

    "It was a really tough and fast stage. The passes were short but steep and the Liquigas team kept up a hard pace. Basso took advantage of the opportunity that his team gave him thanks to his great physical shape at the moment, winning the stage and creeping forward in the general classification.

    "Today once again we saw a very strong Liquigas. Yesterday it was Nibali winning, today it was Basso. They're the strongest right now in the race and will be a big rival.

    "The rest day tomorrow couldn't come at a better moment. The first 15 days of this Giro have been crazy, with surprises every day. Anything can happen in the final week. This Giro isn’t over yet."

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) - stage winner, third overall @ 3:33:

    "It's a victory that means a lot to me: a reward for all the sacrifices, training and all the difficulties I have encountered on my way over the last four years. Today's win is a very strong signal to my adversaries and my teammates, too.

    "My team was fantastic today: 150 [kilometres] at the front of the bunch without saving any energy to save themselves, and the first to congratulate me was just Vincenzo Nibali, yesterday's winner at Asolo; I consider him the future of Italian cycling in relation to stage races."

    Linus Gerdemann (Team Milram) - 26th on stage, ninth...