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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 10, 2014

Date published:
May 10, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Giro d'Italia shorts: Weather, the new riders, and remembering Weylandt

    A tribute to Wouter Weylandt at the final stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 18:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Team time trial numbers and a Giro of renewal

    Riders worried about rain and wind during weekend road stages

    Riders have been keeping an eye on the skies above Belfast as the Giro d'Italia kicks off, worried that they could be racing in the rain for all three of the opening stages.

    Forecasts for the team time trial expect dry conditions but rain is expected to arrive overnight, with sun and showers for most of Saturday.

    Similar conditions are forecast for Sunday, with chilly temperatures of between 9-13C. Westerly winds could also cause problems for the riders and make the two road stages around the northern coast and to Dublin an early test for the overall contenders.

    Team Time Trial number crunch

    Gazetta dello Sport has revealed some interesting number concerning the team time trial.

    The first ever 'crono squadre' was held in 1937, with a 60km test between Viareggio and Marina di Massa on the Tuscan coast. The stage was won by Gino Bartali's Legnano team at an average speed of 43.902km/h.

    The record average speed for the team time trial at the Giro d'Italia was set by the CSC team in 2006.

    Bjarne Riis' team covered the flat 38km between Piacenza and Cremona at an average of 56.860km/h.

    In 2013 the team time trial was held on stage 2 on the island of Ischia, near Naples. Team Sky won the rolling 17.4km test, with Salvatore Puccio crossing the line first and so he pulled on the pink leader's jersey.

    Remembering Wouter Weylandt

    The Giro d'Italia is a hive of activity before the racing begins but may riders in Belfast and the race organisers took time to remember Wouter Weylant, the Belgian rider who tragically died in a crash on May 9 during stage three of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

    His 108 race number was officially retired by RCS Sport as a sign of...

  • Daniel Martin crashes out of Giro d'Italia team time trial

    Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp)
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Disaster for Garmin-Sharp in Belfast

    The Giro d'Italia's opening team time trial in Belfast turned into a disaster for home-country favorite Daniel Martin and his Garmin-Sharp team, when nearing the finish of the 21.7km test, one rider crashed sending himself and three others to the ground. Martin was one of those who fell, and sat on the ground for a long time holding his right shoulder.

    Also crashing were Nathan Haas and Andre Cardoso who suffered contusions and abrasions and will be evaluated by team medical staff. Koldo Fernandez was another rider brought down in the crash and went on to finish the stage but he was transported to a local hospital where doctors confirmed a broken clavicle. 

    Martin was one of the team's general classification hopefuls, together with Ryder Hesjedal. The Canadian continued on with four others to the finish.

    Martin's Giro d'Italia is most likely over, and Garmin-Sharp lost valuable time because of the incident, finishing dead last more than three minutes behind.

    Garmin announced after the stage that Martin was transported to the Victoria Hospital to undergo x-ray examination due to a suspected fracture to his right collarbone.

    The x-rays confirmed a displaced fracture of the right collarbone, which possibly requires surgical treatment. Martin also sustained abrasions to his right elbow and knee.

  • Hesjedal calls Martin's Giro d'Italia crash a nightmare

    A heavily bearded Ryder Hesjedal on La Redoute
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 21:53 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Giro 2012 winner recounts Garmin-Sharp crash

    Shortly after crossing the finishing line and with their Giro d’Italia all but in tatters almost before it had begun, Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal recounted to Cyclingnews what he called "basically a nightmare", as the stage one crash that poleaxed half their team left the Garmin-Sharp co-leader Dan Martin out of the race.

    "Obviously there was a crash, and there was only four of us that stayed ahead," Hesjedal, winner of the Giro in 2012, told Cyclingnews.

    "It was right before a corner and you hear something had happened, we were already through the corner, looked back and there was nobody there."

    "Obviously it was pretty scary because you don’t know what the hell’s going on."

    With only four Garmin-Sharp riders left as a unit, four on the ground after the crash and a fifth needed to complete the course for their team time trial, Hesjedal and the rest waited until teammate Fabian Wegmann, who had been dropped early on, caught up with them. They then continued.

    "I don't know what happened, it was basically a nightmare, so I'm just sitting there and then I just kept going," Hesjedal said. Although he was unaffected by the crash, but after such a disastrous opening stage for his squad, Hesjedal said "I don't know if you could call that lucky."

    The squad finished 22nd and dead last, 3 minutes and 26 seconds down on winners Orica GreenEdge.

  • Roche satisfied with Giro d’Italia TTT

    Tinkoff-Saxo finishes up
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 22:34 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Tinkoff-Saxo claim fourth in opening stage

    Nicolas Roche and his Tinkoff-Saxo squad were visibly satisfied with their performance in the Giro d'Italia's opening team time trial on Friday, with the squad finishing a solid fourth on the stage, just 23 seconds behind winners Orica-GreenEdge.

    Like the Australians, Tinkoff-Saxo had had one of the earliest starts of the day - they were third team down the starting ramp at the Titanic Quarter - and, again like Orica-GreenEdge, as team after team crossed the finish line in front of Belfast City Hall, their time remained throughout the evening as one of the best. The result is that on a stage where greater than expected time differences were lost by some favourites, Roche and Tinkoff-Saxo GC contender Rafal Majka have come through one of the trickiest early stages with their overall options more than intact.

    Like many of the other favourites, Roche correctly used Orica-GreenEdge's time as a reference point well before the team time trial was over, telling reporters before the race had completely finished, “I think we've done a good time.”

    "Orica are probably the strongest team today and it was always going to be hard to beat them."

    "But this morning I was saying that if we were within 30 seconds of the winning team, we'd be doing well. I can't see another team putting another 10 or 20 seconds into them - at least I hope not."

    As Roche pointed out, Tinkoff-Saxo have several young riders in their Giro line-up, including "three who were doing their first team time trial and they gave it everything. They rode brilliantly."

    "We had no specialists on the team, either, apart from Mick [Rogers - who finished with the main Tinkoff-Saxo group of riders on his second day’s racing in 2014 - Ed.], although I think it's one of my strong points, too."

    Underlining the...

  • Tuft celebrates 37th birthday in Giro d'Italia lead

    Svein Tuft on the podium
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 23:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Maglia rosa a present from Orica-GreenEdge

    The tattoo on Svein Tuft’s right forearm reads, "We will never be here again," a constant reminder, he says, to appreciate the here and now, and surely no moment in the Canadian’s career has been as precious taking the pink jersey on the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia.

    The Orica-GreenEdge team were the overwhelming pre-race favourites, and before they set off, directeur sportif Matt White decreed that Tuft would lead his companions across the finish line in front of Belfast’s City Hall. Tuft turned 37 on Friday, but the honour was not so much a birthday gift as a nod of appreciation for his important role in GreenEdge’s team time trialling progress over the past two and a half seasons.

    "It’s a dream come true for a guy like me. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m really thankful to my team for that gift," Tuft said afterwards. "I think it was really a gift. Team time trialling is something I focus on and take a lot of pride in. I think it’s something they gave to me over the last few years of real dedication to that event and it’s really a gift."

    Tuft was part of the Orica-GreenEdge squad that won the team time trial at last year’s Tour de France, and their line-up in Belfast arguably boasted an even stronger arsenal of talent in the discipline, with so many graduates of the Australian team pursuit programme in their ranks.

    "We came in with big expectations. Our team is designed around the team time trial with Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Cameron Meyer, Brett Lancaster – the list goes on, all those guys from the team pursuit in Australia," said Tuft.

    Orica-GreenEdge were the third team to...

  • Katusha suffer in opening team time trial

    Overall favourite Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) with his special bike
    Article published:
    May 09, 2014, 23:25 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Rodriguez squad finishes 19th in bad day for Spaniard

    History repeated itself for Katusha in the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday - and not in a way they would have liked.

    Just like in 2011's opening team time trial in Turin when they finished 20th after some mechanical problems played havoc with their ride, Katusha turned in a below-expectations performance at Belfast, with the rain that intermittently fell throughout the afternoon pouring down like the proverbial cats and dogs when the Russian squad were on the course - and arguably badly affecting their performance.

    Nineteenth on the stage at 1:33 on Orica GreenEDGE, team leader Joaquim Rodriguez is now 1:28 behind Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 1:26 down on Cadel Evans (BMC) and 38 seconds behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

    "It was really tough, really difficult and I'm very tired," Rodriguez told Spanish sports daily AS before thanking each of his teammates personally then riding away through the rain.

    On the team's website, Katusha sports director José Azevedo pinpointed the weather as one factor that had not helped his squad to perform at their best.

    "This wasn't what we expected, we lost a lot of time to Cadel Evans and Rigoberto Uran," he said.

    "Just one minute before our start time it started to rain. If you look at both Movistar and Lotto-Belisol that started near us, they also didn't do a good time. I think many teams raced with wet roads but a few raced with the roads completely dry. In the technical parts, this made all the difference."

    Azevedo continued: "We also had to wait for Gusev when he crashed coming into a corner, so we lost some more seconds there. Now this is the time we have to work with but the entire race is still in front of us. We have one goal and...

  • Evans starts Giro d'Italia up on other contenders

    Cadel Evans was easy to spot in his red helmet
    Article published:
    May 10, 2014, 0:50 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC gains time on Quintana, Rodriguez

    The BMC Racing Team may not have done enough to win the opening team time trial of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, but their third place finish, just seven seconds off the time of Orica-GreenEdge, puts leader Cadel Evans in a strong position in the overall classification.

    BMC was just two seconds slower than Rigoberto Uran's Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, but put time into other main contenders. Evans put 1:26 into Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez, 46 seconds into Nairo Quintana of Movistar (46 seconds) and 31 seconds into Michele Scarponi (Astana).

    "For the general classification, I think our result is quite promising," Evans said. "We have already made some time gains to some of the favorites and that is really favorable for the overall.

    "We can look at it in two ways, we have a lot of mountains to go and so it might not mean that much. But, after only 20km of racing to have these time gaps has put us in the right direction. it's a nice boost for the guys. I'm really happy with how they rode."

    BMC had to overcome some bad luck along the way to their result, including the pre-race crash of American Brent Bookwalter. They also had to endure wet roads, while Orica-GreenEdge beat the rain and rode on a mostly dry surface.

    "I think we had the legs to do more. But in these conditions, we were a little bit unlucky with Brent Bookwalter's crash and Ben Hermans's puncture. It took a little bit of power away from us. But I think we rode well to get the results that we got. Compliments to the guys for that."

    The race continues in Ireland for two more stages, and Evans said he and the...

  • Garmin-Sharp's Giro team time trial catastrophe

    Garmin-Sharp came to grief in the Giro d'Italia TTT
    Article published:
    May 10, 2014, 0:50 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Martin and Fernandez out of race with broken collarbones

    After the bedraggled Garmin-Sharp team rolled to a halt at the end of the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, many of the fans on the roadside were oblivious to the fact that Dan Martin's race was already over.

    "Well done, Dan," one local shouted in the direction of Fabian Wegmann as he took off his helmet, mistaking the German's shock of blonde hair for Martin's. By that point, however, Martin was already on his way to hospital, having sustained a suspected broken collarbone after crashing just over quarter of an hour into his Giro.

    Martin's wheels appeared to slide from under him when he rode over a drain cover made greasy by the smattering of drizzle that had bathed the course earlier in the evening. His fall brought three other Garmin-Sharp riders down with him – Andre Cardoso, Nathan Haas and Koldo Fernandez – while the rest of the team sat up and waited to see if the Irishman would be able to remount.

    It quickly became apparent that Martin's Giro had come to a premature end as he sat motionless on the roadside, staring forlornly ahead as directeur sportif Charly Wegelius emerged from the car to assist him. However, Garmin were down to just eight riders at the time of the crash, and now had just four riders in formation rather than the required minimum of five.

    With Haas, Cardoso and Fernandez gingerly picking themselves off the tarmac and assessing their...