- Article published:
- May 8, 2011, 18:09
- Jean-François Quénet
Frenchman deplores mental block in time trials
Mikaël Chérel’s move from FDJ to Ag2r-La Mondiale hasn’t made the French rider a time triallist but he was devastated after his poor performance at the inaugural team time trial of the Giro in Turin. He finished 3.17 behind his team-mates who scored the sixteenth best time out of 23.
“I don’t understand why I’m blocked at 50km/h when it comes to racing against the clock”, Chérel said while talking to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2 in Alba.
“In the normal stages, I don’t have this problem.”
In his first year as a junior, one week prior to becoming the French national road champion, he was a strong enough time triallist to come third at the international Ronde des Vallées, only beaten by Belgians Kristof Van de Walle and Dominique Cornu.
Chérel showed his true value as a professional bike rider when he came close to winning stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie last week but he was intimidated by Alexandre Vinokourov who closed the door on him at the finish. The young Frenchman protested as he crossed the line in second position.
“I was disappointed but not for a long time”, he said. “Second is the best place I could hope for against Vinokourov. A real sprinter would have passed him. I felt I was faster than him because I had a lot of energy left but he used his experience to bend on his bike at the right time. When I watched the video replay, I admitted he didn’t do anything bad enough to be disqualified. But it was also obvious that the barricades weren’t straight and it falsified the sprint.”
Chérel acknowledged that he’s been asked by the management of Ag2r-La Mondiale to be in good shape for all the World Tour race he’s scheduled for at the service of his captains. He rode in support of Jean-Christophe Péraud at the Volta al Pais Vasco and came fifth in stage 3.
As he’s got a particular passion for Italian cycling since his young years as a cyclist, the 25 year old from Normandy is delighted to ride the Giro. His current condition allows him to target his first win as a pro rider. “I’ve identified seven stages in which I’ll try to be proactive”, he said. “Other than that, we have John Gadret to ride here for GC. The steep climbs of the second part of the Giro suit him really.”
- Article published:
- May 8, 2011, 18:50
- Barry Ryan
Manxman felt he would have been punished for similar move
Although his second place finish was enough to assume the overall lead, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) could scarcely hide his frustration in the moments directly after crossing the finish line on stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia.
A remonstrative Cavendish was visibly enraged by what he felt was stage winner Alessandro Petacchi’s (Lampre-ISD) deviation from his line in the sprint, and race organiser Angelo Zomegnan made sure that he was on hand to commiserate with the Manxman on Parma’s Stradone Martiri della Libertà.
By the time Cavendish descended from the podium in the maglia rosa, however, he was an oasis of calm. Before answering any questions at his post-stage press, he delivered a soliloquy explaining his emotions in the immediate aftermath of the finish.
“I think everybody knows the mentality of a sprinter, it’s win or nothing,” Cavendish said. “And even a rider who isn’t a sprinter, let alone normal people, can’t imagine the adrenaline that goes through being in a bunch sprint.”
Cavendish patiently paused between sentences as he waited for his words to be translated into Italian, and he detailed why he was so aggravated by the events in the finishing straight.
“Today in the sprint I felt that Alessandro moved from his line,” he said. “This was because with the experience he has, he’s a great rider and a great champion, and he jumped before me.
“In my eyes, he turned left and he used tactics to block me, but in my life this has been sprinting. The tactics used in sprinting as well as the power used in sprinting is what sprinting is about.”
Cavendish went on to explain that his anger at the finish was directed not at Petacchi but at the race commissaires, claiming that if he sprinted in the same manner as the Italian, he would have been disqualified.
“In the past every time I moved one centimetre from my line I was disqualified but this isn’t Alessandro’s fault,” Cavendish maintained. “This is the fault of the organisers or the commissaires or whoever is in charge at the time. For me I felt hard done by because for the same movement I would be disqualified.”
In spite of his disappointment at missing out on the stage win, however, Cavendish said that appealing the race result never entered into his thinking.
“When I had time to calm down and think logically about the situation, when the adrenaline has stopped flowing, I learned that it’s not fair for me to make a complaint about Alessandro because of my frustration with other people,” he said, before apologising for his remonstrations after the finish. “I want to say sorry if I caused some problems with the jury and Alessandro. In the heat of the moment it’s not fair to take my frustration with the prejudice against me out on Alessandro.”
Defending the jersey
Although Cavendish failed to take the stage win in Parma, he was able to console himself with the overall lead after grabbing the necessary time bonus to move clear of teammate Marco Pinotti. In spite of the furore in the finishing straight, Cavendish expressed his happiness at wearing the maglia rosa once again.
“It hasn’t been overshadowed because to wear the pink jersey in any year is a incredible emotion, but to wear it in a special year for Italy is even more beautiful, especially after the hard work the guys did all day,” he said.
Cavendish paid tribute to his HTC-Highroad squad, who took responsibility for controlling affairs at the head of the peloton for the bulk of the Giro’s longest stage.
“They rode like motorbikes yesterday and they rode like even bigger motorbikes today,” he smiled. “For most of the stage we were controlling solo. We had help from Garmin at the end, and to be able to keep the maglia rosa in the team is absolutely beautiful.”
Given the torturous nature of this year’s Giro route, Cavendish is well aware that he faces a stiff challenge to hold on to his overall lead for long, but he was cautiously optimistic that the next two stages might also prove to his liking.
“Tomorrow is a possible bunch sprint, and even the next day is a possible bunch sprint,” he said, glancing at a map of the route over his shoulder in the press centre.
“I hope to keep it another couple of days but if I don’t, I don’t. They’re not very easy finishes.”
- Article published:
- May 8, 2011, 19:32
- Jean-François Quénet
Italian sprinter’s career revived at 37
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) believed that he scored the 180th win of a career he started with Scrigno – the team now called Colnago-CSF – with today's Giro stage win . “I’ve also won those race that have been taken away from me later on, so I count them," the Italian sprinter said after taking stage 2 in the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
13 of his wins were erased from the record books after he tested positive for salbutamol after stage 11 in the 2007 Giro d’Italia. This was a very controversial affair. Under current WADA regulations, as the limitation of acceptable quantity of salbutamol is no longer in place, Petacchi wouldn’t have tested positive.
However, it has meant two stops in his career, coming after his knee fracture at the 2004 Giro d’Italia.
“For different reasons, I haven’t done a real full season in the past eight years, that’s why I’m still fresh and motivated at the age of 37," Petacchi told Cyclingnews last week at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. He also revealed that he wants to race for another two years.
“I’ve never lost motivation," he added.
“At 37, I’m able to do sacrifices that I didn’t when I was 25 or 27," he said after winning in Parma.
“I was always told that I should do altitude training camps like I’ve done recently on the Etna with Michele Scarponi, but I didn’t see the point of doing so since I was winning ten or twelve stages at Grand Tours yearly. But with the recent training, I’ve been able to win a stage with 2,300 metres of change in altitude at the Tour of Turkey on a very hard day with rain and stuff. There I realised that I’ve really gained something. I’m probably someone who reacts well in altitude. I’ve also lost a lot of weight.”
History recalls that Petacchi was the king of the mountains at the 1999 Tour de Langkawi and that classification included the gruelling climb to Genting Highlands. The first of his 180 wins also occurred in Malaysia one year earlier and it wasn’t a bunch sprint. He won from a group of four escapees on stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi in Mersing.
“Coming to the Giro, I was afraid to have lost some speed because of the mountain training," he added. “But I haven’t lost any muscle power.” His acceleration at 225 metres to go into stage 2 in Parma confirmed his thoughts.
- Article published:
- May 8, 2011, 21:15
- Cycling News
Former rider De Angeli accuses Androni Giocattoli team manager
Androni Giocattoli team manager Gianni Savio has admitted he is implicated in a doping investigation but has denied any wrong doing and refuted accusations by former rider Luca De Angeli
De Angeli rode for Savio’s team in 2005 but tested positive for EPO and was suspended for two years. He then suffered personal problems but decided to speak out two years ago and accused Savio of dealing doping products when giving evidence to the anti-doping investigators at the Italian Olympic Committee. This sparked the police investigation.
Savio dismissed De Angeli’s accusations as a vendetta.
“It’s a vendetta because I didn’t give in to his requests for money for the presumed damages that doping caused him. He went to the anti-doping investigators showing them syringes and phials that he’d kept for six years. But I’m ready to do anything to prove otherwise, including a DNA test,” Savio was reported as saying on the Tuttobiciweb website.
“I don’t even know what an ampoule of EPO looks like and I’ve no need to deal doping products. There’s no way I’d deliver a mobile fridge with that stuff inside.”
The news of the investigation first emerged as the Giro d'Italia began in Savio’s city of Turin. Several riders were forced to miss the Giro after being caught up in the Mantova doping investigation but Savio insisted the accusations were totally unfounded. He has the backing of his sponsors and is determined to carry on in the Giro.
“They’re crazy accusations by two very dubious people. I’ve spoke to the director of the Giro Angelo Zomegnan and I’ll give him copies of the documents so that he can understand how clear my position is.”
De Angeli responded to Savio’s defence in a letter to Tuttobiciweb and said further claims would emerge during the Giro.
“I was in a tunnel for far too long but its time for me to come out and I hope other riders who have so far kept quiet, will do the same thing,” De Angeli said.
“I’m amazed that people are talking about a clean Giro and that Zomegnan hasn’t taken action even because we are talk about facts, not just rumours. The documents show that Savio is involved in a criminal investigation.”
“Savio likes to be called ‘il Principe’ but he shouldn’t try to play the victim by talking about my private life. My lawyer will reply to what he’s said. He’d be better off looking at himself in the mirror. This Giro will be an uphill battle for him because soon my version will be backed up by another rider who has also found the courage to come out. The trial documents will say the last word and then even money or friendships won’t be able to bury the whole thing.”
- Article published:
- May 8, 2011, 21:51
- James Huang
Clever interchangeable bits allow users to tweak the shape to fit their riding position
The long awaited Giro Selector aero helmet, the successor to the Advantage, was launched at the Giro d'Italia on Saturday. Its key features include a built in visor and a removable back section to fit different rider positions.
Aerodynamic helmet performance can vary wildly depending on how well its shape blends with a rider's position but Giro's new Selector incorporates a clever interchangeable lower section that supposedly manages to offer consistently low drag to a much wider range of users – from impossibly flat-back time trial specialists like Fabian Cancellara and Dave Zabriskie to amateur triathletes who tend to sit much more upright.
Giro will include two sets of lower 'caps' with each Selector, one measuring 45mm tall and the other a more modest 10mm. The goal is each case is the same: to close the gap between the bottom of the helmet and the top of the rider's back so as to keep airflow as smooth as possible.
Giro has also integrated a form-fitted visor up front to further maintain that aerodynamic shape. Upper vents should help minimize fogging and Giro says they're also aligned with the helmet's internal channeling to encourage good airflow across the rider's head. A grey-tinted lens will come standard but a clear lens is available separately and, of course, the shield can be detached altogether if preferences (or rider sponsorship contracts) dictate the use of different eyewear instead.
A third key aerodynamic feature is the fully enclosed tail, which wind tunnel testing has consistently shown to be faster through the air than an open one (in fact, some pro teams used to use duct tape to craft their own covers just a few years ago). That cover precludes the use of a conventional retention system, though, so instead Giro has included its new Roc Loc TT with the Selector.
Roc Loc TT uses a leaf spring design that automatically puts a preset amount of tension on the back of the rider's head – sort of like Specialized's old Brain Trust system but flipped upside down. According to Giro, this setup not only maintains a quality fit without having to fiddle with dials or levers but is also faster to put on – a key distinction for triathletes trying to cut down their transition times. The base of the Roc Loc TT can be snapped into one of three fore-aft positions for a total size range of 6cm (Giro's typical range per shell size is 4cm).
Other features include fixed-position slimline webbing similar to Giro's Prolight model, the company's latest Thermoformed SL Roll Cage internal reinforcement structure, removable EVA foam side pads for customizable width, and antibacterial X-Static upper pads. Giro will offer the new Selector in four colors – matte/gloss black, red/black, blue/black, and white/silver – each in two size options.
Weight is approximately 385g for the S/M size and 418g for the M/L. Retail price is set at US$275/£239.99 and scheduled availability is early June.
This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
- Article published:
- May 9, 2011, 00:07
- Barry Ryan
Frustrating 7th place for American sprinter
While the mad blood is flowing during these hot days of the Giro d'Italia's opening bunch skirmishes, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) displayed admirable calm after a frustrating finale to stage two in Parma.
Farrar appeared to be well-marshalled by his teammates at the front as the race entered the final kilometre, but a moment of confusion on the final turn with 600 metres to go saw his train overtaken by stage winner Alessandro Petacchi's Lampre-ISD lead-out. Boxed in and forced to pick his way through the bodies, Farrar had to settle for 7th place.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on the steps of the Garmin-Cervélo bus after the dust had settled on the melodrama of disputed finish, a disappointed Farrar was cool-headed in his assessment of his own day and refused to place the blame on his teammates.
"We hit the front when we wanted to, we just fell down a little bit in the last five or six hundred metres and the other teams just went over the top of us," Farrar said. "I think it was just a bit of mistiming. It wasn't the easiest day in the end as it was very warm and I think everybody was just lacking a bit of punch in the end. We were out there for six hours."
With sprint finishes at a premium in this mountainous Giro, however, Farrar is well aware that Sunday's stage constituted something of a missed occasion.
"I came here with the objective of winning a stage and this was one of the four opportunities," he said. "I didn't get this one, but there are still three more, so hopefully I'll get one of them.
"It's frustrating today, but there are still more opportunities. I think there will be three more for sure, then a couple of others, like tomorrow's stage, where it could be a sprint but it also could break up as there's a climb right before the end."
While Farrar was left empty-handed, the sprint finish headlines were dominated by the duel between Petacchi and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), with the Manxman claiming that Petacchi impeded him in the final 200 metres by veering from his line. Farrar had a box seat view of the sprint, and he felt that there was little justification of Cavendish's initial post-race complaints.
"I saw Petacchi sprint a dead straight line, so I guess he was pissed that Petacchi won," he said matter-of-factly.
- Article published:
- May 9, 2011, 02:00
- Jean-François Quénet
Finnish champion on the right track after Omega Pharma-Lotto’s great Giro start
Omega Pharma-Lotto, the first team to have ridden the inaugural team time trial of the Giro d’Italia in Turin, kept the best time until HTC-Highroad crossed the line. The Belgian squad finished fourth, something nobody really expected. Finnish champion Jussi Veikkanen wants to take advantage of the good start for delivering results in his fourth Giro d’Italia.
“We also didn’t expect to finish that high on the results sheet”, Veikkanen admitted to Cyclingnews prior to the start of stage 2 in Alba. “Our staff said that it would be nice to match the team’s performance of last year.”
Since he turned pro in 2005, the Scandinavian was racing for Française des Jeux but the team he joined recently was seventh at the team time trial of the Giro from Savigliano to Cuneo last year, preceding teams like Garmin-Transitions and Saxo Bank that are more known for being specialised in TTT than the Belgian team still remembered for its fiasco at the 2009 Tour de France.
“Except from Sebastian Lang, we came to the Giro with riders who aren’t specialists of time trial, so it looked like a difficult challenge to come seventh again”, Veikkanen commented. “But we’ve worked very nicely on this event. Lang and our directeur sportif Michael Eleijzen who was still a rider in the team last year set the orders for the turns. We had our first specific day of training on Thursday, we went through the technique quite well, and we did the same on Friday but a bit faster. Everyone was up for it. We did the recon quite fast on Saturday morning despite the railway crossing and the slippery corners and we had a great race after that. We could have done 20 more kilometres at the same speed!”
Being the first team in action, Omega Pharma-Lotto stayed on top of the classification for one hour. As Veikkanen was their first man to have crossed the line, he was the virtual pink jersey and was therefore kept the officials of the Giro near the anti-doping caravan until HTC-Highroad bettered their time. “I watched big teams like Saxo Bank coming and the officials kept telling me that I had to stay”, the Finn remembered.
“To be honest, yes, I’ve dreamt of taking the pink jersey”, he continued. “I’ve had so much time to think about why I was there that it touched my mind. It would have been such an honour!”
The dream is over now and Veikkanen is back at doing his normal job as a team player. “We have Adam Blythe who is quite fast for the bunch sprints, and Klas Lodewyck is third at the best young rider competition, so we’d like to help him get some time bonus for the white jersey. As for myself, I’m not going to fight for pink. I’ll aim at making the breaks at the end of the first week.
“This is my fourth Giro”, Veikkanen added. “In 2007, we had a terrible experience with the weather and the whole bunch stopped in a tunnel to change clothes. Coming from Finland, I should have been used to the cold but this remains my worst memory of the Giro. Every time I made to Milan, I went home with the fabulous feeling that I had achieved something by finishing this race. This time around, I’d like to go with a stage win in my bag.”
- Article published:
- May 9, 2011, 02:58
- Daniel Simms
Expert panel returns for weekly dose of your questions
Cyclingnews will be welcoming back the Fitness Q&A weekly feature after a brief hiatus in April. If you're not familiar with the Fitness Q&A, the Fitness section gives readers a chance to get feedback and advice on a diverse range of topics; from bike set-up and injury rehabilitation to nutrition, medical conditions and refining your own training regime.
If you have a question for the panel please send it in to email@example.com, and one of the panel members will try and get back to you. A selection of responses will be published each week (as we've done in the past). Even if your response is not published pannelists may get back to you in any case. We can only publish a few responses every week, and our panellists can only answer so many queries so don't fret if we don't get to your question in any one week!
The Fitness Q&A section can be found in the features section of the website, but an archive of past respones can also be found under the fitness tag of the website in the top right hand corner of our page.
The Cyclingnews team.