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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 22, 2010

Date published:
May 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Karpets gains two and half minutes

    Vladimir Karpets (Katushsa) at the finish
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 19:02 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Russian rider goes on the attack as overall contenders hesitate

    Some kind of attack has changed the general classification of the Giro d’Italia every day this year and on Friday it was Vladimir Karpets’ turn to make the unexpected move with 65 kilometres to go into stage 13. There was a breakaway of 17 riders seven minutes ahead but the big Russian Katusha rider went on a solo attack to the surprise of many riders.

    “Everybody said they would attack but nobody else did”, said Katusha’s directeur sportif Serge Parsani.

    Stage 13 could have been important for the overall classification as the race used two of the climbs of the famous Gran Fondo ‘Nove Colli’ Europe’s most popular sportif ride due to take place around Cesenatico on Sunday.

    Karpets refused to talk to reporters even after he had taken his shower inside the Katusha team bus. When he walked in, he looked seriously furious. “He was tired”, said Parsani. In a press release from his team, Karpets said: “I felt good today and I broke away on the first climb. I had not planned it, I followed my sensation. I took 2.24, it was good but now I still miss ten minutes. If my shape is good, I hope to do well in the next stages”.

    The tactics of Katusha was questioned in Cesenatico. Rubens Bertogliati who was in the breakaway talked about the behaviour of the two riders from the Russian team who were in the front group: Sergeï Klimov and Joan Horrach. “For most of the time we were away, all the riders took their turns”, Bertogliati told Cyclingnews. “But at some stage, the two Katusha guys didn’t pull anymore and they said they were waiting for Karpets who was on his way across to us. But why haven’t they stopped and really waited for him to help gain time over the bunch?”

    Parsani answered that question: “When Karpets only had one minute advantage over the bunch, I didn’t feel like asking Klimov and Horrach to...

  • Belletti enjoys hometown glory at Giro

    Lucky for one: Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF Inox) wins stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 20:05 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian pushes through injury to win in Pantani heartland

    In spite of injuries suffered earlier in the race, Giro d'Italia debutant Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF) claimed victory on stage 13, just five kilometres from hometown. He admitted he had felt exceptional emotion as he passed in front of Marco Pantani’s old house at the 3km-to-go mark and prepared for the fantastic jump that allowed him to surprise Greg Henderson in the last 300 metres in Cesenatico.

    Finally there is some Italian romance in a Giro d’Italia so far dominated by foreigners. A rider from the smallest team with little international fame beat out a top sprinter from one of cycling's biggest outfits. The New Zealander from Team Sky received an impromptu lead-out from Australia’s Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), but could do little when Belletti launched his race-winning move.

    "When the HTC-Columbia rider [Craig Lewis] attacked in the last kilometre, I was only concerned about Henderson," Belletti explained. "I jumped off his wheel but I didn’t believe in winning. This was only a dream."

    Lewis wasn’t too disappointed about the missed opportunity. "My only chance of winning was to try something like this," the rider from South Carolina told Cyclingnews after the stage. "I woke up this morning and thought this might be a good day for me to breakaway. The bad conditions we’ve had so far have made everyone tired but I still feel good."

    The same couldn't be said for Belletti, who accompanied the American in the stage 13 escape group of 17 riders. "I have had tendon problems at my both knees since we experienced low temperatures over the Terminillo," he said. "In the stage to L’Aquila, I crashed with 60km-to-go, that’s why I finished in the last group. It hurt my hip again – the reason I'd had to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico. This is my first Giro. I’ve continued racing in the past two days because I wanted to arrive here. I was far from thinking I could...

  • Millar quits Giro due to illness

    Garmin-Slipstream's David Millar and Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel ride together.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 20:06 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    More riders expected to pull out before the mountains

    David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) pulled out of the Giro d’Italia at the feed zone during Friday’s 13th stage to Cesenatico. He was the most notable of the five riders who quit the race, leaving 164 of the original 198 starters let in the race.

    “When he woke up this morning, he had lost his voice”, Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews. “He’s got a throat problem. He started the stage to see if he would perhaps improve but he only got worse, so he abandoned the race.”

    Millar was third overall after the epic stage on the Strade Bianche dirt roads on the seventh day and showed some great form until he got sick. As soon as he’ll be healthy again, he’ll prepare for the Dauphiné Libere. This year the French ProTour race features a 50km individual time trial and an uphill finish in L’Alpe d’Huez. Millar hopes to take on Alberto Contador and go for overall victory.

    Millar’s Garmin-Transitions teammate Jack Bobridge was also a non starter in Porto Recanati on Friday morning. The young track rider had impressed the day before as he rode in front of the bunch, working to set up Tyler Farrar for the expected bunch sprint. However 13 days of racing were the limit for the Australian, who had never ridden a Grand Tour or competed in a race longer than 200 kilometres.

    “If he recovers well from this race, he might be able to target a result soon”, Marie said about the neo-pro who has lost two kilos during the Giro and obviously still has huge margins of improvement.

    Bobridge was last in the overall classification when he quit the Giro. However there could be other riders ready to withdraw from the race in the next 24 hours. Saturday’s stage 14 features the Monte Grappa climb, a fortified mountain that is known for the tragic battle of November and December 1917 during World War I, when 40000 soldiers lost their...

  • On the startline in California

    Waiting at the start
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 20:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Startline pictures from stage six of the Amgen Tour

    It’s time for the Queen stage of this year’s Amgen Tour of California. The 213.7 kilometre slog from Pasadena to Big Bear Lake holds over 10,000 feet of climbing will likely see the sprinters form a gruppetto not far from the start as the contenders for the overall wage war on the first ascent out of Pasedena.

    At the start this morning there was an air of anticipation and excitement with the GC contenders waiting to show their mettle in one of the race's most crucial stages.

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) starts the stage in the lead but will have to be wary of both Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), who sit second and third overall.

    Before the riders reach the Big Bear slopes they’ll have to contend with six KOMs and two sprints en route to the mountain-top finish. The stage is net uphill, starting at a little over 3,000 feet and finishing at near 7,000 feet. And don't forget, racers already have five days of competition in their legs.

  • Team RadioShack reveal further emails from Landis

    Floyd Landis (Bahati Foundation) had a strong ride today.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2010, 20:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Digital trail reveals details of behind the scene talks

    Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack counsel has published a long series of emails between Floyd Landis, the Amgen Tour of California race director Andrew Messick, Landis’ close friend, sponsor and physician Brent W. Kay. Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling and Steven Hess were copied into many of the emails.

    The emails appear on the Team RadioShack website below a statement reiterating the denials made by the seven-time Tour de France winner following Landis’ allegations.

    Several emails are directed to Lance Armstrong but there no replies or correspondence from the Texan, Johnson or Hess included in the published emails.

    Many of the emails concern attempts by Landis and Brent W. Kay to secure a place for the OUCH-Bahati Foundation team in this year’s Tour of California. Messick explains his reasons why the team was not invited. Others refer to threats Landis claims to have received.
    The email correspondence ends with an email from Landis inviting Messick; Lance Armstrong and Dr. Brent Kay to a meeting with USADA on May 12.

    Neither Floyd Landis or Lance Armstrong were immediately available to comment on the emails.

    The email trail published on the Team RadioShack website:

    -----Original Message-----

    From: Andrew Messick

    Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:13 PM

    To: Floyd Landis

    Cc: Brent Kay; S. Johnson; Steven Hess

    Subject: Re: Opportunities


    You have misunderstood our position. We are partners with usada and have a strong anti-doping program for our race that enhances the uci's efforts in this area. We are committed to doing everything in our power to have a clean race. If you have something to say about doping in cycling, tell usada. They have been empowered to investigate possible doping...

  • O’Grady planning Suisse return

    Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) rides in the peloton.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 0:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Clean break allows swift return

    Australia’s Stuart O’Grady expects a broken collarbone for the Amgen Tour of California to only have a minor impact on his season plans. The Saxo Bank rider believes the injury, sustained when the rider was caught in a mass pile-up that included Lance Armstrong and Heinrich Haussler, was a clean break which should allow a speedy return.

    “We were going at high speed and suddenly a rider crashed in front me and although I nearly made it around him, I fell down on my shoulder,” said O’Grady. “I knew immediately that something was broken.

    “Luckily, it was a clean break which means I will be back on the home trainer within a week and I will be participating in the Tour de Suisse,” he said.

    The Tour de Suisse starts on June 12 in Switzerland. If the Paris-Roubaix winner is able to make it back as quickly as expected, it should mean the injury has little impact on his inclusion in his squad’s Tour de France roster.

  • Big Bear fails to grizzle California’s overall race

    Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie looked happy ahead of an important stage.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 3:54 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Bonus seconds could make the difference by Sunday

    It was expected one of the general classification contenders could land a knockout blow on the Amgen’s Tour of California stage to Big Bear Lake, but instead a headwind kept the race for overall honours tight. That the race wasn’t blown apart could mean the bonus seconds at stage’s end will make a huge difference come Sunday’s concluding stage.

    Garmin-Transitions had a busy day trying to setup the race for its man Dave Zabriskie, with riders in the breaks and peloton working hard to shutout Radioshack’s attacks. Tom Danielson believes teammate Zabriskie is in a strong position ahead of the penultimate stage.

    “Zabriskie is the best time trialist in the race and we really wanted to go head-to-head with RadioShack today, but keep Dave as conservative as possible,” he explained. “The team rode a phenomenal race today. Everyone from Matt Wilson in the breakaway to Tom Peterson doing a great job pulling to young Pete Stetina making that move at the end.

    “Ryder and I covered Horner and Janez in the end to make sure if there was a move we were with it,” added Danielson. “We tried to be a little bit aggressive but not too aggressive and it was a great finish for us.”

    Danielson admitted that Radioshack’s tactics made it a brutal day on the bike, with the more than 200 kilometre stage featuring over 7,000ft of climbing. He believes Johan Bruyneel’s team was trying to compensate for what he described as a weakness against Garmin in the time trial.

    “RadioShack did that same thing they've been doing, they light it up and then sit up,” he said. “They seemed really aggressive and they got aggressive at the top of the climb.

    “They were probably the most nervous of the teams because maybe on paper Levi is not time trialing as well as Zabriskie,” he said. “Levi has won this time trial the last three editions, not...

  • Hincapie most courageous over Big Bear

    George Hincapie (BMC) gets some gentle kisses after donning the most aggressive rider jersey.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 7:16 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Day-long break gets US champ the award

    United States of America Road Champion George Hincapie (BMC Racing) earned himself the Break Away from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey for driving a lengthy breakaway on the queen stage seven at the Amgen Tour of California. Hincapie attacked his six-breakaway companions several times before they were caught on the final ascent up to Big Bear Lake.

    “The course was probably the hardest stage of the Tour of California up until now,” Hincapie said. “I saw early on that from kilometre zero that there were some strong guys trying to get away. Unfortunately two guys were not working too much because they had team obligations, which is totally understandable but on a course like this you really needed every one giving full gas. It was relentless with the wind all day and it felt like slow torture out there, very difficult.”

    Hincapie and his breakaway companions rode off the front 16-kilometres into the day’s 217-kilometre road race. His company included Jason McCartney (Team RadioShack), Jakob Fuglsang (Team Saxo Bank) Matthew Wilson (Garmin-Transitions), Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank), Thomas Rabou (Team Type 1) and Stef Clement (Rabobank Cycling Team).

    Not only did the breakaway face a daunting 200-kilometre trek to Big Bear Lake, it mustered the strength and courage to fight through the gusting winds and 14,000 feet of climbing.

    “The wind was coming from all different directions today with head winds, cross winds, tail winds,” Hincapie said. “It just made the other elements even harder on a difficult course. Andy Schleck put a really hard pace on the second to last climb so I saw the some people were kind of struggling, as was I, but I decided to test out the group a bit and then take it easy up the next climb. Eventually they caught back but I definitely felt like I was the strongest guy in the group but unfortunately we didn’t make it.

    Hincapie was proud to accept the...