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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 27, 2013

Date published:
May 27, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Emotional Nibali hails Giro d’Italia victory

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is a worthy winner of the 2013 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 26, 2013, 20:40 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian takes Trofeo Senza Fine in Brescia

    For three weeks, ‘tranquillo’ had been the byword for Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the Giro d’Italia, but the ice broke as he waited to mount the podium in Brescia’s Piazza della Loggia after the final stage.

    Clinical on the bike and measured in his declarations since the race began in Naples, Nibali finally abandoned himself to the magnitude of his achievement. “It’s really stupendous, unimaginable,” he said, with tears welling in his eyes. “It’s very emotional. It’s going to take a few days for me to realise what I’ve done.”

    RAI television delighted in replaying images of Nibali blinking away the tears as he sang the Italian national anthem atop the podium and when the Giro winner arrived for his post-race press conference an hour later, he was asked if he now felt himself the leader of a new era in Italian cycling.

    “Yes, but there are a lot of other young riders coming up with a strong set of ethics too, and we can feel proud about that,” said Nibali.

    Since Marco Pantani’s death in 2004, a nation has turned its lonely eyes to a litany of riders in search of a replacement, but the spectre of doping has continued to cast a pall over Italian cycling in the past decade, an era that saw such unsavoury Giro protagonists as Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca (a repeat offender at this Giro) and Riccardo Riccò. The subtext did not need to be explained when Nibali was asked if the Italian public had warmed to him because he was “different to the others.”

    “I’ve always been myself, and I’ve looked to better myself as a rider and a man over the years too,” Nibali said diplomatically. “But maybe what you’re saying could also have an influence.”

    Nibali was joined on the...

  • Vande Velde: "I prefer to lead by example than speak out"

    Christian Vande velde (Garmin-Sharp) shows the strain of his second place finish.
    Article published:
    May 26, 2013, 21:47 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp captain talks about doping after completing the Giro d'Italia

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) has some good and bad memories of the Giro d'Italia but he ended the 20th Grand Tour of his career and almost certainly his last ever Giro, with a smile on his face.

    The American suffered through this year's race but he is finally serene after the details of his doping confession have come out and he has served his six-month ban. His affidavit revealed the details of his doping helped bring down Lance Armstrong and end the omerta about life at the US Postal Service team.

    Vande Velde, like teammates Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie, revealed how he used EPO, testosterone and human growth hormone and gave damning evidence on the doping and bulling tactics of Armstrong team manager Johan Bruyneel and Dr. Michele Ferrari. USADA has given Armstrong a lifetime ban after he refused to cooperate with their investigation, while the disciplinary process of Bruyneel and Ferrari are still to reach a final verdict.

    The Garmin-Sharp team has tried to protect the riders from probing questions, refusing several interview requests from Cyclingnews during the spring. However Vande Velde was happy to speak about the Giro d'Italia, his past problems, about Danilo Di Luca's EPO positive and doping problem that remain in professional cycling.

    "I'm pleased to finish this Giro. You're always happy when you finish a Grand Tour, especially one like this one, given the circumstances. It's good to get it behind me and move on to the next one," he told Cyclingnews.

    "Performance wise this has been one of my worst Grand Tours. I've never...

  • Circuits could be decisive for inaugural US Pro women's race

    Now & Novartis for MS on the attack
    Article published:
    May 26, 2013, 22:26 BST
    Pat Malach

    Now & Novartis director predicts climb to be less selective

    The US professional road race championship is buckling up for a wild ride when the inaugural women's event takes off Monday morning in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Equal prize money with the men and a heightened profile should help light up the Memorial Day battle for the stars-and-stripes jersey.

    "For the women, we don't have a big tour, there aren't a lot of big races," said NOW and Novartis for MS team director and general manager Kurt Stockton. "So the national championships are definitely a bigger goal for a lot of the teams – I think it's the case even more so than the men, and the numbers in the time trial reflect that."

    The first women's US professional road race held in conjunction with the men will be fought over a 101.5km course comprised of three opening laps on an urban 8.2km circuit that will be followed by two trips around a longer 26.1km circuit featuring the 3.2km Lookout Mountain climb that ascends 230m each lap. The race ends with three more laps of the smaller urban circuit in Chattanooga.

    Stockton said the course is more difficult than the initial version announced earlier this year, but one less lap of the large loop means the overall route will be much less selective.

    "It was going to be challenging, and with these changes it's definitely more," Stockton said. "But then they cut a lap out, so you've got a 63-mile race with five miles of climbing and 58 miles of everything else."

    The NOW director said he believes the circuits that will be used for the start and the finish could be as decisive as the two trips up Lookout Mountain.

    "It's a tough finishing circuit because it's not really flat anywhere and there are a lot of turns – kind of criterium style with open turns and different pavement. All sorts of stuff," Stockton said. "So that will play in as a factor equally as much as the climb if...

  • Evans the leader for the Tour de France, says Ochowicz

    BMC's Jim Ochowicz and Cadel Evans before the start
    Article published:
    May 26, 2013, 23:01 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Van Garderen to ride in supporting role

    Leadership contests are destined to fill column inches in the build-up to the Tour de France, but BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz has confirmed that his team will enter the race with a fixed hierarchy - Cadel Evans as leader and Tejay van Garderen as his chief lieutenant.

    Van Garderen finished in front of his leader at last year's Tour (the American was 5th, two places ahead of Evans) and impressed in winning the Tour of California last week. Simultaneously, however, Evans was riding his way to a podium finish at the Giro d'Italia and Ochowicz said that the Australian was always going to be handed the reins in July.

    "Cadel goes in as captain, we've never said anything other than that and Tejay accepts that and has made similar comments," BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz told Cyclingnews in Riese Pio X on the final day of the Giro. "We're not confused about what we're going to be doing at the Tour and we take it one day at a time once we get to the start."

    Although Ochowicz hailed Evans' third place finish at the Giro as exceeding expectations, he dismissed any notion that he had needed to produce that kind of result in order to guarantee his position in the BMC hierarchy at the Tour ahead of van Garderen. "No, it was only preparation to get the legs in the right cycle," Ochowicz said.

    For his part, Van Garderen pointed out earlier in the season that riding himself into a high position overall while working for Evans - as he ultimately did last year - was not a contradiction in terms.

    "It's a long race," Ochowicz said. "The start in Corsica is...

  • Acquarone remains upbeat after the toil of the 2013 Giro d'Italia

    Michele Acquarone.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2013, 0:44 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    RCS Sport confirm that the 2014 Giro will return to the high mountains

    Michele Acquarone worked hard to put a positive spin on this year’s Giro d'Italia, preferring to talk about how the race and riders have overcome the adversities of the weather and testing race route, rather than talk about the impact of Danilo di Luca's positive anti-doping test for EPO.

    Speaking to the media in Brescia alongside race director Mauro Vegni and other management from the Italian race organising company, Acquarone hinted that RCS Sport would not take legal action against Di Luca and argued that even making an easier race route is not the way to fight doping.

    "We started two weeks ago in the sun and we finished here in the sun in Brescia. In between almost everything has happened: we've had sun, fog, we've cancelled a stage, we've had big-name and minor name retirements but the most important thing is that we've made it Brescia, entertaining millions of people at home and around the world via TV and media," Acquarone said.

    "Regarding the Di Luca case, this is the last time I want to talk about him. The idea that someone can think about cheating is crazy. The Giro has been wonderful and it has been a success. There's been two retirements for cheating (Sylvain Georges of Ag2r-La Mondiale and Di Luca). We're not interested in them from now on. They're not a problem anymore. When an idiot does something stupid. If we keep talking about it, it becomes irrelevant. If we keep talking we're giving them attention they don’t deserve.

    "I'm more sorry that Wiggins, Hesjedal and Gesink had to retire. They started the Giro thinking they could win but faced a very tough race."

    Acquarone repeated what he said on Friday, insisting that race organisers can do little to stop riders from doping.

  • Haussler returns to the winner's circle

    Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) happy on the podium having won the final stage of Bayern Rundfahrt
    Article published:
    May 27, 2013, 2:18 BST
    Cycling News

    First victory since 2011 for IAM Australian

    Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) claimed his first win since 2011 in the final stage of Bayern Rundfahrt on Sunday, besting Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in Nürnberg.

    Bayern Rundfahrt marked Haussler's return to racing since the cobbled classics where the 29-year-old continually threatened to reach the podium, with fourth place in Gent-Wevelgem the closest he could get, followed by sixth at the Tour of Flanders and 11th at Paris-Roubaix.

    On Friday's third stage of the German race, Haussler finished third behind Gerald Ciolek (MTN Qhubeka) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) saying that: "There are only victories that count," before finally getting the result he desired.

    "This time I'm happy," the Australian admitted. "I managed to impose my top speed at the end of a hard day. This bodes well as I return to competition and I set the Tour de Suisse as a goal."

    It was Haussler's first win since the Tour of Beijing in 2011 when riding under the Garmin - Cervélo banner.

    The final day of Bayern Rundfahrt proved to be one of celebration for the Swiss ProContinental outfit with two riders, Marcel Wyss and Martin Elmiger finishing inside the top-10 overall, Stefan Denifl won the mountains classification while also finishing ahead of Sky to take out the team classification.


  • Urán happy second place in the Giro d'Italia

    Article published:
    May 27, 2013, 4:31 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    From understudy to runner-up

    Team Sky came to the Giro d'Italia with the goal of winning the pink jersey with Bradley Wiggins but had to be satisfied with two stage victories, second place overall and the team prize in Brescia.

    The wheels came off Wiggins' chances early in the Giro d'Italia when he crashed in the rain on the testing descent to Pescara on stage 7. He never recovered, under-performed in the time trial and eventually headed home before stage 13 after being hit by a worsening cold and chest infection.

    Rigoberto Urán had been designated as Wiggins' understudy and he stepped up to fill the Briton's big shoes, confirming his own ability to challenge for hard-fought Grand Tours. Unfortunately for Team Sky the tough and aggressive Colombian will likely ride in Omega Pharma-Quick-Step in 2014.

    Urán rarely shows his true emotions but was happy to climb onto the final podium in Brescia, his first adopted home when he turned professional in Europe with the Tenax team at just 19.

    "We're really happy with what we've achieved. I think second place is very important for me and for Team Sky," he said after the team filled the podium and came away with several tins of tuna from the team prize sponsor.

    "I came into the Giro in good form, ready to work but on form. After what happened to Brad things changed but the team put their faith in me and helped me. I think we...

  • Sánchez returns from team suspension with win in Belgium

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2013, 7:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard repays Blanco with victory in first race of 2013

    Included in the team's roster for the Tour of Belgium after sitting-out the first part of the year on 'non-active' status, Luis Leon Sánchez wasted no time in returning to his usual winning ways by taking a stunning solo victory on the final day on racing. The five-day race marked Sánchez's first competitive outing since being suspended by his Blanco team for his apparent links to Eufemiano Fuentes.

    Sánchez reported filed an appeal to the UCI insisting that his suspension from racing was impeding his right to work. The team told Cyclingnews in late February that the team was investigating one of their star riders "very thoroughly" after media reports linked the former Spanish road and TT champion with the Fuentes codename 'Huerto'. The team is yet to disclose the findings of its investigation, only with a release stating "Luis Léon Sanchez will race the Baloise Belgium Tour".

    Sánchez's return to Belgium was a near perfect start to the season for the 29-year-old, who eventually finished second-overall to Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) by 36-seconds.

    "I'm very happy", Sánchez said on his team site. "It was a tough stage, and not only because of the parcours. The wet and cold weather didn't help either. I knew I had to attack to win. In a sprint, I wouldn't be able to defeat men like Francesco Gavazzi and Philippe Gilbert. This victory is very...