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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 7, 2012

Date published:
May 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Giro d'Italia is Bobridge's only pre-Olympics road race

    Jack Bobridge (Orica - GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 16:05 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Orica-GreenEdge returns to racing after a break

    Former track rivals Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Jack Bobridge (Orica-GreenEdge) had opposite starts to the Giro d'Italia. The Australian Bobridge finished the stage 1 time trial in 114th position, exactly one minute behind the American Phinney. With his record-setting pursuit background, Bobridge seemed like a candidate for a strong performance on the 8.7km course in Herning, Denmark, but the South Australian had downplayed expectations prior to the race.

    "Yesterday's time trial was never going to be a goal for Jack," said Orica-GreenEdge's Directeur Sportif Matt White to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2 on Sunday in Herning.

    By his side was the team's founder Gerry Ryan, who is over the moon after recently sealing a deal with the mining company Orica. "I didn't expect to find a title sponsor so quickly," said Ryan, who will also attend the Tour of California to witness Robbie McEwen's farewell to pro racing.

    Bobridge's poor performance was a result of his racing program or rather, the lack of a recent racing program. In fact, the super talent from Gawler was nervous on the start line of stage 2 because he hadn't raced in a peloton since the Herald Sun Tour in October of 2011.

    "That wasn't the plan, but the crash at the Australian time trial nationals changed it," said White. Bobridge had crashed after one kilometer of racing against the clock in Ballarat and he was forced to sit out the subsequent Santos Tour Down Under. The young rider returned to racing on the track with the world championship in Melbourne, where his compatriot and teammate Michael Hepburn took the title for individual pursuit.

    Bobridge's main goal for 2012 is the team pursuit at...

  • Nibali to leave Liquigas-Cannondale, team announces

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) faded on the final approach to Ans.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 17:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian has not accepted team's offer for 2013

    Vincenzo Nibali will be with a new team next year, as Liquigas-Cannondale said he will not ride for them. The Italian team offered him a large contract, but has not received a response, and says that this means he will not return.

    “Our offer was made (1.8 million Euros per year), we gave the boy time to properly evaluate our proposal, but we have not received any response,” team manager Roberto Amadio told  “For us the matter is closed.”

    The team is sorry to let the 2010 Vuelta a Espana winner leave, “but we can not do otherwise. Our proposal was made, and we can't do more. Depriving ourselves of Vincenzo  is not easy: we have always believed in him and we consider him a true product of Liquigas-Cannondale.

    “But it is also true that there are several proposals and we really offered him as much money as we can.”

    Amadio doesn't think it will be awkward having Nibali at the Tour de France, even though he will be leaving the team. “We are all professionals: we and him. There are not problems now and there will be none.”

    The 27-year-old Italian, who has been with Liquigas since 2006, is rumoured to have offers on the table of up to 2.5 million Euros per year from both Astana and BMC.

  • Video: Phinney relieved after late crash on day two at the Giro d'Italia

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) survived a dropped chain in the closing stages to retain the overall lead after stage two
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 20:07 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    American holds on to pink jersey

    The dream run that race leader Taylor Phinney (BMC) was hoping for with the pink jersey on his back almost turned into a nightmare when he crashed with eight kilometers to go in stage 2 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. He lost significant time as he struggled to get his chain back on, but his teammate Danilo Wyss eventually dragged him back to the peloton in time for the bunch sprint, which enabled him to hang on to the overall lead.

    “I was in the first 10 positions in the peloton”, the 21-year-old American said. “There were three or four riders right in front of me and I don’t know what happened. Someone hit the brakes in front, and I lost my balance. I was the only guy to go down.

    "That’s cycling - things happen in a second. I was back on my bike right away but my chain was down. The effort to get it back on was taxing, so I was happy to get back to the front. When I saw the finishing line with Alessandro Ballan and Danilo Wyss, I was relieved.”

    Phinney is experiencing the magic of leading a Grand Tour for the first time. Now it has finally sunk in.

    “It took me a bit of time to fall asleep after the time trial," he said on the start line in Herning this morning. “At breakfast, I finally realized what happened. For me, the pink jersey of the Giro d’Italia is just as big as the yellow jersey of the Tour de France."

    At the finish he said, “I enjoyed the first 20km when it was relaxed, but for the rest of the stage, I was on edge. A lot of people told me, ‘enjoy your time in pink’, but it was nervous and stressful."

    "I just wanted to stay at the front, to stay up right. I was more nervous than I’d usually be. I think I’ll be...

  • Cavendish claims earliest win ever in Giro

    A delighted Cavendish takes the applause after winning stage two of the 2012 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 21:10 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Briton hits ground running with victory in first road stage

    Given that Sunday's win in the Giro d'Italia was his 31st in a Grand Tour for Mark Cavendish (Sky), you might well consider it business as usual. But as the Manxman pointed out, in one way at least it was not: he had never won so early in the Giro. This year, Cavendish took the first available bunch sprint opportunity during stage 2.

    "I've won five races this year, but I don't think I've ever won so early in the Giro," Cavendish said afterwards.

    "I'm with a new team for the Grand Tours, and to start off by winning the first sprint stage is really special. [But] I've got good form, I've been training hard."

    Cavendish's earliest prior win in the Giro was way back in 2008, when he took stage 4. For the reigning world champion to get that first victory notched up so early on was therefore a major morale boost, particularly as he is racing for the first time for Team Sky in a Grand Tour.

    In a sprint with distinct echoes of his victory at Copenhagen in the world championship last year, Cavendish once more finished ahead of Australian Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), the only rider who came close to beating him, on a similarly long, draggy uphill sprint . This time, though, Cavendish was able to raise his arms in victory with the rainbow bands of world champion on his chest, also a first for the Manxman in one of cycling's big three stage races.

    After taking a single bite of cake which Taylor Phinney (BMC), sitting next to him in the press conference, had received from the TV broadcasters of the Giro, RAI, Cavendish analysed the fact that it has been more than a month since he did a full-on sprint.

  • Ochowicz excited by Phinney's Giro d'Italia performance

    Jim Ochowicz
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 22:13 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    BMC Racing president remembers US teams at Italian Grand Tour

    The president of BMC Racing Team, Jim Ochowicz, is enjoying some successful days at the Giro d'Italia with his rider Taylor Phinney. It has been 27 years since Ochowicz brought his first American team 7/Eleven to the Italian Grand Tour. That was one year before Phinney's father Davis became the first rider from the US to win a stage at the Grande Boucle.

    "I'm happy that I can still bring a US team to race in Europe," Ochowicz told Cyclingnews in Herning after Phinney successfully defended his first pink jersey in stage 2. "It means we've had an impact on the sport and US cyclists have played a big role in the past 25 years." Andy Hampsten was the first American to wear the pink jersey and win the Giro d'Italia in 1988.

    "It was exciting to ride the Giro in 1985," said Ochowicz. "We knew nothing about cycling at this level, and no one knew who we were. The organizer loved having us racing because as a US team, we were unique, and yet, we won two stages! Any of the 22 teams here at the 2012 Giro d'Italia would be happy with two stages wins." Ron Kiefel won stage 15 from L'Aquila to Perugia, followed by Hampsten's victory in the 58km stage 20 from Saint-Vincent to Valnontey di Cogne in the Valle d'Aosta.

    "It led us to win the Giro with Hampsten in 1988," said the Milwaukee-born cycling entrepreneur. "That's how the Giro has been big for American cycling. It's been the stepping stone for us, like this year's Giro is the stepping stone for Taylor's career right now." At the age of 21, Phinney is the youngest leader of the Italian race since the late Laurent Fignon in 1982.

    "I probably met Taylor for the first time when he was six months old," Ochowicz said. "My first...

  • Goss "happy" finishing second to Cavendish at Giro

    Mark Cavendish wins the sprint ahead of Goss and Soupe
    Article published:
    May 07, 2012, 1:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge confident of going one better

    The top two places on the podium on Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia was a repeat of the result from the 2011 World Championships, with Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) finishing second to Mark Cavendish (Sky) but the Australian walked away encouraged.

    Sunday's result followed Goss' four second placings at the Presidential Tour of Turkey which concluded last week. Goss is still chasing his maiden individual victory of the season.

    "I'm happy with the result," said Goss in a team statement. "This is the first time our train rode together. We haven't all been at the same race yet this year. It's a good start, and I definitely see areas where we can improve. When we consider second as our starting place, it gives me confidence that we will get a win in the next week or two."

    Brett Lancaster did another stellar job for the team, following his effort to finish in 7th place on Stage 1. Lancaster was extremely active over the final 50km of the race at the head of the bunch along with Team Sky.

    "It was a fairly easy stage," said Sports Director Matt White. "People raced quite cautiously. The coast was windy, and a lot of climbers here are scared of losing time ahead of the mountains."

    "While the racing may have been easy, it was a high stress day," added Goss. "The first road stage of any Grand Tour always is. It makes for a nervous bunch, and it can sometimes be difficult for a team to stay together."

    Lancaster was joined by Tomas Vaitkus and Daryl Impey within the final 10km with Jens Keukeleire making his way back to the bunch after a minor crash.

    The sprint trains came to fore...

  • Sutherland fires up for California with Gila victory

    Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) goes into stage three holding the leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    May 07, 2012, 3:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Tamayo credits team effort from UnitedHealthcare

    Australia's Rory Sutherland capped an outstanding week of racing in the desert southwest for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, taking the overall win at the 26th Annual SRAM Tour of the Gila. Sutherland started off the Tour of the Gila with a victory in Stage 1 and he and his teammates never relinquished the lead. Earning multiple podiums and top 10 finishes throughout the grueling race Team UnitedHealthcare protected the leader's jersey from beginning to end. Competitive Cyclist's Chad Beyer and Bontrager-Livestrong's Joe Dombrowski rounded out the top three in the General Classification, finishing second and third, respectively.

    Sutherland talked about his win in New Mexico, stating, "This was not easy, it was tough. The boys did a great job getting us to this point and sometimes you have to put it on your shoulders and bring it home. When your teammates ride so hard for you, you don't have a choice. You have to pay them back for what they've done and show them how much their effort means. We are heading in the direction we want and are seeing the hard work of the past few months start to pay off."

    Sutherland added, "The other teams were great, especially Competitive Cyclist and Bontrager-Livestrong. Simply a tremendous effort from everyone racing here at SRAM Tour of the Gila."

    General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, "The SRAM Tour of the Gila is a great stage race and its good for us to get a stage race win on US soil. It's important for our title sponsor, UnitedHealthcare, and for all of our sponsors. Winning the overall at Gila and watching the boys race up the Gila monster reassured us that the team has done all the right things this spring."

    Tamayo continued, "Today the team did...

  • 2012 Giro d'Italia to commemorate anniversary of Weylandt’s death

    Wouter Weylandt smiles for the cameras
    Article published:
    May 07, 2012, 5:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Tribute planned for Stage 3

    The Giro d’Italia will hold a minute’s silence at the start of stage three of the race Monday in Horsens to commemorate the death of Wouter Weylandt on the descent of the Passo del Bocco climb in stage three of the 2011 Giro.

    The Giro organisers noted that it was also on stage three of the race, in 2010, when Weylandt won  in  Middelburg, Holland.

    “The third stage of the race, from Horsens to Horsens, will be dedicated to him,” the communique said, “there will be a minute’s silence at the start, followed by the playing of Weylandt’s favourite song, Sex on Fire by the Kings of Leon.”

    Invited by the organsiation, Weylandt’s family will be present at the ceremony. As the squad themselves proposed, riders from the RadioShack-Nissan team - formed by a fusion from the Leopard-Trek squad, Weylandt’s team, and RadioShack - will be present at the front of the bunch.

    Asked this morning about the upcoming anniversary, Tyler Farrar, Weylandt’s close friend said: “Last year it was the third stage where Wouter passed away but two years ago was the third stage which he won and I’ll try to dwell more on those memories than the bad ones.”

    As for the decision by the organisation not to use the 108 race number in the 2012 Giro - which Weylandt was wearing last year - Farrar said “that’s really nice. It’s something special and I know his family and friends really appreciate it.”