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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 5, 2014

Date published:
May 05, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Robert Kiserlovski to lead Trek at the Giro d'Italia

    Robert Kiserlovski (Trek)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 3:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Team aiming for a top-ten general classification placing and a stage win

    Trek Factory Racing have announced that its debut Grand Tour squad for the Giro d'Italia will support Croatian national champion Robert Kiserlovski in the quest for a good general classification placing while Giacomo Nizzolo is to chase victory on the flat stages suited for the sprinters.

    Adriano Baffi, who won six stages of the Giro d'Italia in his career, is head sport director for Trek at the 97th Giro and stated what the team goals are for the race which begins in Belfast with a team time trial on Friday.

    "The dream will be to place one in the first five in the GC," said Baffi, adding, "Well that is the dream, and we have to be optimistic and believe we can do this, but realistically what we are able to do is have a top-ten in the overall; top-ten is what we go for, top-five would be phenomenal.

    Kiserlovski's best overall placing in the seven grand tours he has previously ridden was tenth at the 2010 Giro d'Italia although will be backed by several strong climbers in the hope he can record a high GC placing. In Colombian Julian Arredondo and Austrian road race champion Riccardo Zoidl, the 27-year-old has two domestiques capable of elevating him to within the top-ten.

    "There may also be an opportunity in a few of the climbing stages for Julian or Riccardo. Also, we will keep in mind the team classification. So all in all, we want to win a stage, be in the top 10 overall, and be good in the team GC."

    Following the opening race against the clock, there are two flat stages that Baffi suggests will favour the team and an...

  • Orica-GreenEdge name Giro d'Italia team

    Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) celebrates a win
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 6:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Team time trial major objective for Australian oufit

    Orica-GreenEdge have announced a nine-man team for the 97th Giro d'italia with the main objective of winning the opening stage of the Italian grand tour having selected several riders who excel against the clock and are capable of claiming victory in  21.7km team time trial.

    The Australian WorldTour team will also chase stage wins, while for Michael Hepburn and Michael Matthews the race is all about developing as riders.

    "Our first objective in Italy is to win the team time trial," said Sport Director Matt White. "It will be all hands on deck for the TTT in Ireland. We want to take the maglia rosa and of course hold onto it for as long as possible."

    At last year's 100th Tour de France, GreenEdge won the team time trial and White is once again expecting that eight time Canadian national time trial champion Svein Tuft will be key to claiming the win.

    "In addition to playing a key role in the TTT, I also consider Svein one of our road captains," said White. "He's experienced, even-keeled and devoted to his teammates. He will be a huge asset to this group throughout the race."

    Brett Lancaster, who won the prologue of the 2005 Giro and wore the maglia rosa for one stage, lines up for his seventh Giro and will also be crucial in the team's quest for the first leaders jersey of the 2014 edition.  "Aside from his important role in the TTT, Brett will guide the lead-out train in the final kilometres of the sprint stages," said White. "Brett is very familiar with this role and knows exactly how to get the other guys in the right place as the...

  • Porte has a lot of work to do, says Sky

    Richie Porte (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 11:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian suffers fourth consecutive abandon at Tour de Romandie

    Richie Porte's season is currently headed in the opposite direction to his teammate Chris Froome. As Froome rode to his second consecutive Tour de Romandie victory, Porte was racking up a record of a different kind. The Sky rider's bad run of form continued in Romandie with his fourth consecutive race abandon during the race’s penultimate stage.

    Porte has been suffering the after effects of an illness that forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Since abandoning Tirreno, the Sky rider has also called it quits at the Volta a Catalunya, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Romandie.

    "This illness is affecting him in the long term, he is getting better, he is well trained, but it will be very important to identify what we need to do to put things in the right direction," team Sky’s head of performance Tim Kerrison told L'Équipe.

    Porte had a good start to the season with a stage win at the Tour Down Under and second place in the general classification at the Vuelta a Andalucía. He was set to lead Sky at the Giro d’Italia later this week, but the consecutive abandons at Tirreno and Catalunya lead team Sky to chose to remove Porte from the roster. The team now goes into the race, which starts this Friday, without any solid general classification hopes.

    The Australian’s new focus will be the Tour de France in July and supporting Chris Froome in his defense of his 2013 title. Sky knows that there is still plenty of room for improvement but, despite yet another...

  • Nibali frustrated with lack of form

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 12:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian not worried about Tour de France bid

    After finishing fifth overall at the Tour de Romandie, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is beginning to get frustrated with his lack of success in 2014. His best performance so far this season is third on stage four of the Tour of Oman, back in February.

    The Sicilian went on the attack during the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie, but cracked when Chris Froome (Sky) – who would later finish second – accelerated away from him. Nibali has been as aggressive as ever this year, attacking at every available opportunity, but nothing has paid off for him. The lack of results has left him pondering where he is going wrong this season.

    "For me it has certainly not been a happy start with several problems that have hindered me," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It’s not important for me to spend too much time thinking about what others are doing, but sorry I can’t do it. It is clear that this can not continue. When one thing does not go as you want it to, nothing goes right. I, we, must understand the reasons.”

    Nibali is currently building towards his biggest target for this season the Tour de France - which starts on July 5 - where he is expected to be Chris Froome's biggest rival for the yellow jersey. The Italian last rode the Tour de France in 2012, finishing third behind race winner Bradley Wiggins and Froome.

    At this point last year, Nibali had already taken the overall classification at Tirreno-Adriatico, a stage win and the general classification at the Giro del Trentino, and was in prime form...

  • Katusha name team for Giro d'Italia

    Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 13:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Team looking for GC victory with Rodríguez

    Katusha has announced the eight men that will support Joaquim Rodríguez in his tilt at the Giro d’Italia this May.

    Rodríguez is one of the favourites to take the title, alongside Movistar’s Nairo Quintana. In 2012, Rodríguez finished second to Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) by 16 seconds, after losing out in the time trial on the final day. Since then, the Katusha rider has come close to a number of grand tour victories but is still waiting for the moment when he can finally step onto the top of the rostrum.

    The nine summit finishes at this year’s Giro will suit his punchy style, however he will have to take on two individual and one team time trial, a discipline that has often been the factor in Rodríguez missing out on victory. The diminutive rider has improved his time trialling since the disaster he had at the 2010 Vuelta a España, and the mountain time trial will be to his liking, but he will have to improve yet again to avoid losing too much time against the clock.

    The Spaniard has had a bumpy road towards the first grand tour of the season. He won his home race the Volta a Catalunya at the end of March. However, he crashed out of Amstel Gold, bruising his ribs, before suffering a second crash at Flèche Wallonne. The pain from the chest injury then proved too much and he later went onto abandon Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He hasn’t raced since then and only time will tell if the disruptions have had an adverse effect on his form.

    With the Giro d’Italia...

  • Deignan excited about Giro d'Italia start in Belfast

    Phil Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) on the way up Wild Horse Mesa.
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 16:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Irish rider aiming for stage win

    Philip Deignan's return to the WorldTour couldn’t have come at a better time for the Irishman. Back from injury, Deignan is preparing himself to ride the Giro d'Italia with Team Sky, which starts in Belfast this Friday.

    This year’s Giro is Deignan's first Grand Tour since the 2011 edition of the race, where he finished 47th in the general classification. Deignan is from Letterkenny in Donegal, around 16 miles from the border with Northern Ireland. Sky goes into the race without a real contender for the general classification, after Richie Porte was pulled from the line-up at the beginning of April.

    Less than a week before the race begins at the Titanic centre in Belfast, the 30-year-old is looking forward to getting onto the start ramp. "It'll definitely be special for me being in Ireland for the Giro and I'm sure it’s going to be hectic, maybe we won’t be able to enjoy it too much at the time but looking back, when we're finished, there'll be a lot of good memories I'm sure," he told the Irish Examiner.

    "Obviously we won't be outright favourites now but Sebastián Henao and Pete Kennaugh can maybe do a top 10 and then we have guys like Ben Swift and Edvald Boasson Hagen who can go for stage wins as well."

    Deignan has had very little in the way of racing days this season. He got the year off to a good start with a solid performance at the Tour Down Under, but had to sit out racing for over a month after he broke his right collarbone days before the Ruta del Sol in February. It was the second time in five months that the Sky rider had suffered the injury, after he...

  • Movistar, Lampre-Merida name Giro d'Italia squads

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was second overall in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 17:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Quintana supported by experienced team

    The Movistar and Lampre-Merida teams named their squads for the upcoming Giro d'Italia today. Movistar has pulled together a team of riders solely dedicated to supporting overall contender Nairo Quintana.

    Quintana will be joined on the start line in Belfast on May 9 by Jonathan Castroviejo, Andrey Amador, José Herrada, Adriano Malori, Eros Capecchi, Gorka Izagirre, Igor Antón and Francisco Ventoso.

    "This year we're bringing a strong leader in Nairo, and the whole team has been selected to support him," team manager Eusebio Unzué said.

    "He will be surrounded by a group full of experienced teammates, in good form, committed and convinced about the goal we're setting on ourselves for this race. All of them, except for Castroviejo and Gorka, already know the Giro, and that's crucial. As in any Grand Tour, and even more so in Italy, where the topology makes every stage unpredictable, you can win or lose the race anywhere. The overall result will be decided in the final week, which is brutal. It will test the strength and freshness every leader maintains until that point, because those final days are super demanding."

    Unzué has confidence that Quintana can contend for the overall final podium, despite having no prior experience with the Giro d'Italia.

    "There might be some other contenders who are less strong, yet have a lot more experience than Nairo," he said "It might be possible, yes, but it's going to be really hard; that why I saw that, in principle, we have to aim for the podium."

    Unzué counts among the top challengers to be Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Cadel Evans (BMC), Michele Scarponi (Astana) as well as other...

  • Armitstead looking for success at Women's Tour

    Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2014, 18:41 BST
    Cycling News

    British rider positive about women's cycling

    Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) forms part of a strong field that is set to line-up at the inaugural Women’s Tour. World champions Ellen van Dijk and Marianne Vos and double Olympic track champion Laura Trott will join Armitstead when the race starts in Oundle, Northamptonshire on Wednesday.

    Armitstead has had a hugely impressive start to this season. She won the opening round of the World Cup at the Ronde van Drenthe and has not been off the podium in a round of the series since, with second places at the Tour of Flanders and Flèche Wallonne. She now holds a commanding 160-point lead in the competition.

    The British national champion hasn’t raced in the UK since taking the title and is hoping for a glorious return to British shores and a chance to show off her stripes. "It's difficult but I want to do well in my home race. All my family and friends are coming to support me,” Armitstead told the Guardian newspaper. "It really suits me or the team."

    The race is the equivalent of the men’s Tour of Britain and will be given the same television coverage and prize money as the men. The addition of this race to the women’s calendar came after the next that ASO would run a one-day race in tandem with the final stage of the Tour de France. There has also been talk that the Vuelta a España, also owned by ASO, would stage their own one-day women’s event. With all this in mind, Armitstead is happy that the women’s sport is moving in the right direction.

    "This is really significant for all of us... most women's races don't pay much at all,” she said. "I feel quite positive about women's cycling right now… I'm...