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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 18, 2013

Date published:
May 18, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • In Wiggins' absence, Uran takes the reins at Sky

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky) gave Sky another win in this year's race
    Article published:
    May 17, 2013, 21:41 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Colombian looks ahead to the Alps

    After winning atop Altopiano del Montasio with Bradley Wiggins as a foil behind, Rigoberto Uran takes sole command of Sky's Giro d'Italia team as the race tackles a crucial doubleheader of stages in the Alps this weekend.

    Wiggins withdrew from the Giro ahead of stage 13, citing a chest infection, and Uran – who lies 3rd overall, 2:04 off the pink jersey of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) – assumes outright leadership in the Briton's absence.

    Speaking to reporters in Cherasco after the stage, Uran was upbeat about his prospects in the Alps. The race finishes at Bardonecchia on Saturday, but the Colombian pointed to the following day's summit finish atop the Galibier as the more difficult of the two – provided, of course, that the stage is not truncated by the weather conditions.

    "When I'm feeling very good, any kind of mountain stage is good for me, with long climbs or short, but the stage to the Galibier on Sunday is one where you could win or lose a lot of time," Uran said.

    Uran had few concerns, either, about the troika of tough stages in the Dolomites at the end of the Giro's third week – the mountain time trial to Polsa and the brace of tapponi to Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

    "If I'm good, I think I can go well everywhere," he said. "In the last week, the toughest stage is the stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It's a very tough stage because it's at the end of the Giro and it's already been a hard Giro up to now."

    Uran has over two minutes to make up on Nibali, however, and he acknowledged that there are few weaknesses in the Sicilian's armoury. "He's strong in the hot, the cold, in the flat and in descents, he doesn't have any problems," he said.

    A number of rider on Nibali's Astana team have been struck by illness at this Giro, however, whereas Sky – even in Wiggins' absence – boast a strong quota of climbers, as evidenced by the tempo they imposed on the lower...

  • Race tech: Planned bike swaps for California time trial

    Team NetApp had both their new Fuji Norcom Straight time trial machines and Altamira road bikes at the ready before the start of the stage.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2013, 22:45 BST
    James Huang

    Riders planning mid-stage bike swaps for tricky TT

    The Stage 6 time trial of this year's Tour of California is throwing riders for a loop with a rolling (and windy) profile for the first 30km of the course but then a nasty uphill kick for the final 3km. Several teams have planned to swap riders from aerodynamic TT bikes to lightweight road racing ones.

    Team officials were mixed on how beneficial such a strategy would be due to the lower bike weights with estimates ranging from 10-30 seconds saved. However, that doesn’t factor in the time required for the swap itself, nor the energy expenditure to reaccelerate back to racing speed.

    Moreover, racers and team mechanics aren't necessarily well versed in such a procedure, the US-style roof racks installed on the team cars aren’t as quick to use as compared to the custom setups used in Europe, and race rules don't allow the team car to jet ahead of the rider to prepare for a swap.

    Trek team liaison Jordan Roessingh told BikeRadarthat it's a tricky strategy for sure and that the Radioshack-Leopard-Trek team would likely experiment with riders who sit lower down on the GC to see how well it goes. Given the small reward – but very large risks – Roessingh doesn't expect the top GC riders to take the chance.

    That being said, Lars Boom (Blanco) has already proven that the strategy can work, having won a similar time trial at the Tour Méditerranéen back in February in exactly that fashion so don't be surprised to see more of this practice in the future.

  • Jacques-Maynes proud of Jamis-Hagens Berman's Tour of California effort

    Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) during the rollout.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2013, 23:50 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Acevedo out of the race lead, but still has chances

    The Jamis-Hagens Berman's Janier Acevedo might have lost the overall lead in the 2013 Tour of California, but with his stage win in Palm Springs, and three days in the leader's jersey he has given the Continental team morale, pride and opportunities for more big races ahead.

    Acevedo's teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes was disappointed to see him lose the jersey on the stage to Avila Beach, which was anticipated to be a sprint stage until RadioShack and BMC guttered the peloton in the crosswinds, shattering the bunch into many small groups.

    "I knew it was going to happen," Jacques-Maynes told Cyclingnews. "All you can do is hope to be in the right position when the hammer goes down. Most of the guys on the team were, but unfortunately Janier wasn't. So we had to go get him and leapfrog a couple of groups. That's bike racing. These [WorldTour] guys can lay down such horsepower. You know how things are going to go when an entire team comes over the top."

    With just over 50km to go, RadioShack, looking to move Matthew Busche up in the overall standings, came to the front en masse and was followed by BMC, whose leader Tejay van Garderen started the day 12-seconds off the race lead.

    "I think they anticipated each other. I watched it happen, and all we could do is hope that when things wash out it all comes out OK, but it didn't."

    The team's performance this week must certainly have caught the attention of the organisers of the Tour of Utah, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Tour of Alberta, the other three major North American races, and Jacques-Maynes hopes it helps their chances for more invitations.

    "Wearing yellow was a great honor. We've done it proud, and it was a great treat for Team Jamis-Hagens Berman to be on this stage, racing against...

  • Lancaster with sprint leadership after illness strikes down Goss

    Brett Lancaster (Orica- GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 1:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge lead-out man speeds to fourth in Cherasco

    With the team's number-one sprinter Matt Goss feeling under the weather after multiple days of torrential rain at the Giro d'Italia it has been left up to Orica GreenEdge lead-out man Brett Lancaster to step into the leader's role. The former Giro stage winner and wearer of the maglia rosa took his second top-ten finish in as many days when he sprinted to fourth on Stage 13 into Cherasco.

    It's an impressive result for Lancaster given he usually plays a support role in the sprints but has shown in the past that given the opportunity, he can battle with the best. The day's winner Mark Cavendish was pushed all the way to the line to take his 101st career win while Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) finished just ahead of the Australian Lancaster.

    According to assistant sports director Julian Dean, the team begun the day with a smaller glimmer of hope that Goss would be up to the task but everyone was given a free pass to try and get into a breakaway. Given the team's ability to ride the front with the likes of Australian road champion Luke Durbridge along with strongmen Jens Mouris and Christian Meier, none of the other sprint teams would allow an Orica GreenEdge rider up the road.

    Once a break eventually drifted into the distance, the Australian squad ensured it was never given too much time so that Goss, or in the eventual scenario Lancaster, could be given the best chance of a stage result.

    As the stage developed it became clear the former Milan-San Remo winner Goss would not be taking part in the finale and so the team rallied around Lancaster until the final kilometres.

    "We weren’t sure what to expect from Gossy, and if...

  • Zabriskie out of Tour of California with broken clavicle

    David Zabriskie (Garmin Sharp) back to business at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 2:58 BST
    Laura Weislo

    No US Pro Time Trial Championship defense for Garmin-Sharp rider

    Garmin-Sharp's David Zabriskie did not have a chance to show his time trialing prowess in stage 6 of the 2013 Tour of California, as the reigning US Pro Time Trial champion crashed in the warm-up in San Jose.

    The 34-year-old was taken to the hospital after the wreck and was confirmed to have a broken clavicle.

    Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that Zabriskie's break isn't not too serious but he will have surgery on Tuesday, and there is "no way" he will be able to compete in the US championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on May 25.

    Zabriskie is undefeated in the US Pro national championship time trial, having won the race six since the event was created for professionals. The only other rider to hold the US Pro time trial title was Taylor Phinney in 2010, but Zabriskie was not present in the race that year.


  • Mixed equipment choices for riders in San Jose TT

    Tejay Van Garderen's BMC TimeMachine TM01 time trial machine lies in wait before the start of the stage…
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 3:30 BST
    Pat Malach

    Tour of California tests GC rivals on steep uphill finish

    The San Jose time trial used for Stage 6 of the Tour of California led to a grab bag of equipment choices and strategies, with some riders opting to switch to a standard road bike before the last uphill pitch and others sticking with their time trial machines all the way to the top.

    The 31.6km course started out like a normal race against the clock for the first 29km then climbed up a 2.7km ascent with an average 10 percent grade. Windy conditions, varying terrain and the final hill-climb provided a significant test for the riders after five days of racing. The race against the clock caused just a few changes to the top end of the general classification, but those changes were significant.

    Stage winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC) increased his overall lead over Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) by 1:05. The Australian is now 1:47 behind the race leader. Orica-GreenEdge rider Cameron Meyer moved from sixth overall to third, 2:57 behind van Garderen. Mathias Frank (BMC) climbed from seventh to fourth, now sitting 3:21 in arrears. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman), who wore yellow through three stages before surrendering it to van Garderen on Thursday, dropped from third to fifth, 3:31 down. RadioShack-Leopard's Matthew Busche dropped from fourth overall to sixth, 3:33 behind the leader.

    The debate at the start of the day over whether it was more advantageous to use a time trial bike for the whole course or switch to a road bike for the final climb ultimately played just a small role in deciding the...

  • Snow to prevent peloton from racing to Col du Galibier summit?

    Stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia to the Col du Galibier
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 4:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia Stage 15 finish reportedly moved to Les Verneys

    The Stage 15 finish to the Col du Galibier at the Giro d'Italia looks to be in serious doubt, according to reports. The towering mountain that reaches an air-sapping height of 2,642m has been hammered with heavy snow fall and despite massive efforts from Giro race organisers to ensure there is a passage to the finish, it appears to be not enough to ensure rider safety.

    The stage route originally included a 149km trek from Cesana Torinese to the Col du Galibier and included passing over Mont Cenis shortly after leaving the start but that too will be reportedly cut from the agenda. The new start location will, according to, start from the base on the other side.

    "Due to weather conditions and a high risk of avalanches, the riders will not pass the Col du Mont Cenis, the stage will begin at the foot of the pass," read the report.

    The stage finish will be pushed closer down the Galibier mountain with the Col du Telegraphe still to be tackled and finally reaching the new arrival at Les Verneys, just above the town of Valloire. Race organisers remain hopeful the snowploughs can clear the way to the top but at this stage that too looks unlikely.

    "For the finish, it will be moved to a place called Les Verneys just above Valloire and will not enter through the tunnel up the Galibier."

    You can watch the original Stage 15 preview in the video below.


  • Lavenu: I'm worried about the team's future

    Sylvain Georges off the front
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 7:41 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Ag2r boss confirms team will miss Dauphiné if Georges' positive is confirmed

    Ag2r La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu has stated his team will not take part in next month's Critérium du Dauphiné if Sylvain Georges' positive test for Heptaminol is confirmed. Georges is awaiting results of the analysis of his B sample taken at the Giro d'Italia on May 10, having admitted taking a product called Ginkor Fort to improve circulation in his legs.

    Speaking to Le Dauphiné just before undertaking reconnaissance of the Tour de France time trial between Embrun and Chorges, Lavenu said, "If this new analysis is positive, in accordance with our commitments, we will not participate in the Critérium du Dauphiné."

    Ag2r is a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which rules that a team that has had two positives within 12 months must suspend itself from racing for eight days as of the start of the next WorldTour race. The news about Georges comes after Ag2r's Steve Houanard tested positive for EPO last fall.

    "I don't know what the consequences are but it is fair to say that I am worried about the future of the team," Lavenu admitted.

    Describing himself as "discouraged" and "going through a bad moment", Lavenu said of Georges: "I am sure he had no desire to cheat but he should have informed our doctor. It's an error, a negligent thing to do, which is costing us very, very dearly."

    In an open letter published on Wednesday, Georges said, "I took Ginkor Fort, which is freely available without prescription. Now it appears that that medicine contains a very small dose of the prohibited substance Heptaminol, which...