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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 15, 2010

Date published:
May 15, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Rogers focused on Amgen Tour of California overall title

    Michael Rogers (HTC - Columbia) up and ready to get on the road.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 23:25 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    HTC-Columbia team completes pre-race camp in Santa Rosa

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) is relying on his prime early season form to win the fifth edition of the Amgen Tour of California set to start on Sunday, May 16 in Nevada City. The 30-year-old Australian is looking to shake up the overall classification early at stage two's hilly finish into Santa Rosa.

    "I think if everything goes well, I have a really good chance to win the overall," said Rogers, who placed third in last year's event. "There are some really good guys here as well. The course is tough enough that the best rider will win. It is a balanced race and every day is really quite hard. There won't be many sprint stages at all, really.

    "It would be a huge result to win here this year," he said. "I was third last year and that was a really good result for me, especially for an English speaking rider it's a big race. It's no Tour de France but there isn't one guy on the start line who doesn't want to win. It would be a huge result and is important for me."

    HTC-Columbia arrived to the start of the Amgen Tour fresh off a training camp from May 8-12 in Santa Rosa, California. The camp was traditionally held in Solvang and Santa Barbara, but bringing the team north allowed the riders to catch a glimpse of some of the early stages. The eight-man team includes Rogers along with Mark Cavendish, Lars Ytting Bak, Bernhard Eisel, Tony Martin, Mark Renshaw, Bert Grabsch and Tejay Van Garderen.

    "It's an important race so we've come in a little bit early," Rogers said. "It's been nice and the training is a little bit better. We've done almost a week of training and really went over stage two. It is hard, really hard, and I think it's one of the decisive stages for the general classification."

    Rogers is coming off a successful early season with victory at the Vuelta a Andalucia in Spain, his first overall title since 2003. He also placed second in the Critérium International, sixth in Tirreno-Adriatico and finished fourth at...

  • Costa misses Picardie after training accident

    Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Caisse d'Epargne) waves to the crowd as he signs in
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 10:15 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Caisse d'Epargne victim of hit-and-run driver

    Rui Costa (Caisse d'Epargne) has had to miss the Tour de Picardie after being hit by a car on his final training ride before leaving for France earlier this week. The Portuguese rider was not injured, but has been advised to rest for a few days.

    While training, “a car knocked me down and fled. It didn't even stop to check on me,” he told "I had to go to hospital and fortunately it appears that I have no serious injury, but it was recommended that I have a few days of rest, so I could not take the flight and will not ride Picardie. "

    The 23-year-old was to have been his team's captain at the French stage race. Last week, he finished second overall in the 4 Days of Dunkirk.

  • Pozzato predicts chaos on the Giro's dirt roads

    Filippo Pozzato (Team Katusha) mixed things up in the sprint
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 10:17 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian champion looking to win in Montalcino

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) said in his recent Cyclingnews blog that he is targeting Saturday's stage to Montalcino and predicts the long dirt road section near the finish could cause some problems for some of the overall contenders at the Giro d'Italia.

    The Italian national champion is one of the few classics specialists at this year's Giro and also has lots of experience or racing on similar dirt roads that are used in the Strade Bianche event. Pozzato finished fourth in this year's race and has always been in the thick of the action on the dirt, thanks to cyclo-cross skills he learnt as a schoolboy.

    "I'm feeling good. I tried to do some today and hoped to drag the bunch up to the break by sending riders up the road but it didn’t work," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It was a pity because it was a chance to win but I'm going to give it a go on the dirt roads, too. I cut my knee near the end of the stage to Utrecht but it's not a problem and I feel good."

    "I've asked some people about the dirt sections and they've told me it's not exactly like the dirt roads in the Strade Bianche race," he continued. "The gravel section in the finale is longer, something like 12km, with about 4km on a climb.

    "That will mean it's dangerous for the overall contenders, especially if it rains, and so they'll want to stay out of trouble and stay near the front. That in turn will make it a lot harder for everyone and mean a break might not stay away."

    Pozzato predicts that the dirt roads could change the overall standings of the stage. He suggested that riders like Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) could struggle.

    "Whoever hasn't got much experience of riding on the dirt roads will be in for a shock," he predicted.

    "Riding on the dirt roads is not as hard as riding on the cobbles but it's not easy. If it splits and someone is left behind in a chase group, they'll lose a lot of time.

  • Successful back surgery for Castano

    Spanish team Xacobeo Galicia
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 10:47 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Xacobeo-Galicia rider likely out for season

    Xacobeo-Galicia's Carlos Castano underwent surgery for a herniated disc on Thursday afternoon, putting an early end to his 2010 season.

    The 31-year-old had not raced since February, due to pain in his sciatic nerve caused by the disk problem. On Friday he told the Europa Press news agency: “This morning I passed the medical and sensitivity tests, and the good news is that my sciatic nerve does not hurt, which is a good sign.”

    Castano said the doctors have told him to wait two to three months before he starts pedalling again, “so it will not be easy to compete again this season. The important thing is that all the pain will finally disappear and I can prepare thoroughly for next year.”

  • Sevilla signs with Colombian team

    Oscar Sevilla with the President of the Mexican Cycling Federation.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 12:00 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard inks one-year deal with Pinturas Bler-Nectar de Cundinamarca

    Oscar Sevilla has signed to ride with the Colombian team Pinturas Bler-Nectar de Cundinamarca for the remainder of the 2010 season, according to the Columbian newspaper El Tiempo.

    The Spaniard, who now lives in Colombia, had ridden for Rock Racing in 2008 and 2009, but left the team this year after it failed to gain an ProTour or Professional Continental licence for the 2010 season.

    Riding as an elite without contract, Sevilla, 33, last month won the Tour of Mexico. He also won the Clasica a Anapoima this year.

    At the team, he will ride with Freddy Gonzalez, who twice won the mountain jersey at the Giro d'Italia, Fabio Montenegro, Wilson Marents and John Freddy Garcia.

    Sevilla turned pro in 1998 with Kelme and joined Phonak in 2004. He rode for T-Mobile in 2005 and 2006, but was suspended and ultimately fired by the German team for his alleged involvement in Operacion Puerto. Sevilla then rode one season for Relax-Gam before joining Rock Racing.

  • Peloton bracing itself for Strade bianche

    Riders on le strade bianche
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 12:55 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Stage seven could be significant for overall contenders

    While the gaps between the overall contenders of the Giro d'Italia may be quite significant after six stages despite the race not passing any mountains yet, stage seven could possibly open those gaps even further.

    And while this year's Tour de France features pavés in stage three, Saturday's stage seven in the Giro d'Italia includes two sections of the dirt roads known as 'Strade bianche' (white roads) as the race heads through the iconic Tuscany region.

    The first 'white road' is tackled after the town of Murlo is 5.5km long, coming 195km into the stage. The second one leads up to Poggio Civitella. It's 14km long including six kilometres uphill. Once the riders will finish with this section, there will be only five kilometres remaining until the end of the stage in Montalcino, a small town famous for its Sangiovese wine (Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino).

    "Most importantly, it comes after 200 kilometres," said David Millar, who doesn't include himself in the list of the overall contenders of this Giro d'Italia despite laying in seventh position after one week of racing.

    Cadel Evans is one of the very few general classification contenders who knows these roads. "I've seen a couple of them," he told Cyclingnews at the start of stage six in Fidenza Village. "I rode the Strade bianche to get a bit of a feel for them. I was a bit sick that day so I couldn't really be in the front and see how it was. It's a pretty solid stage. It could be a good re-shuffle of the GC."

    Alexandre Vinokourov's has a different view: "I don't think it's possible to win the Giro d'Italia on such a stage," said Astana's captain. "I might try and win the stage though. This is not my speciality and I haven't ridden the Strade bianche before. It's Maxim Iglinsky's race (the winner of this year's event). He told me the roads are like in Kazakhstan."

    That may not count for much however, as the second gravelled road used for stage seven isn't...

  • Armstrong hoping form comes in California

    Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) fields questions from the press.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 13:00 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Amgen Tour to test progress towards Tour de France

    The Amgen Tour of California is just over a day away, and a few million fans will be lining the roads of the course to catch a glimpse of their hero Lance Armstrong, perhaps hoping he'll be wearing the iconic yellow jersey of race leader. Yet if you listen to the man himself, Armstrong would be the first to say that he is in California to work to deliver his Radioshack teammate Levi Leipheimer to his fourth win in his home race.

    At the pre-race press conference in Sacramento, Armstrong was uncharacteristically gloomy about the state of his form and honest about his self-doubts, but said he is still hopeful he can score his eighth Tour de France title come July.

    "No doubt, I still believe I can win the Tour. Everybody might think that's crazy, but I will do everything I can to get to the start line in the best shape, race heads up in the first week and then see how it goes in the mountains," Armstrong said.

    While he could be excused for a slow start to the season last year when he came back from his three-and-a-half-year hiatus, his performances prior to the Tour de France were somewhat promising: attacks in the Tour Down Under tested his legs, solid performances in the Tour of California in February last year showed he was on track. Even a broken collarbone did not prevent him from returning Stateside and winning his first race since 2005.

    This year he hasn't had the collarbone surgery to interrupt his training, but indicated he'd had "health or physical problems" which have cropped up periodically and pushed him off track. He hasn't been bad, but has not had the kind of confidence-building showings that help bouy a rider through the intense training prior to a Grand Tour. Armstrong said he hopes the Amgen Tour will turn this around.

    "We've had some glimpses and maybe some false starts, but it has not been as easy or smooth - not that last year was easy or smooth - but this year has been fairly tough. I don't think we're...

  • Bruseghin abandons Giro

    Marzio Bruseghin suffered the same embarrassment as Ted King did on stage 2.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2010, 13:17 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Crashes put paid to Caisse d'Epargne captain's race

    Marzio Bruseghin (Caisse d'Epargne) abandoned the Giro d'Italia on Saturday due to injuries resulting from a spate of crashes at the race.

    The Italian experienced a torrid first week at the Giro, crashing in the opening days of the race and injuring his knee, ribs and hip.

    The 35 year-old came into the race as captain of the Caisse d'Epargne squad and had high hopes of emulating his third place finish overall from 2008.

    Prior to his withdrawal from this year's race, he had been sitting in 167th position on the general classification, 26:18 down on maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Liqugas-Doimo).

    On Friday, he lost almost 15 minutes to the major favourites on stage six into Marina di Carrara.

    David Arroyo is currently Caisse d'Epargne's best placed rider at the 2010 Giro. The Spaniard sits 25th overall, 3:43 behind Nibali.