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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 28, 2011

Date published:
May 28, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Riis defends Contador's right to ride the Tour de France

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2011, 16:58 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Saxo Bank manager looking forward to Contador against Andy Schleck

    Bjarne Riis has defended Alberto Contador's right to ride the Tour de France following a postponement of his Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing from June until later in the summer.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have appealed against the Spanish Cycling Federation's decision to clear Contador of doping after he tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport had set a hearing date of June 6-8 but and had promised to try and issue a verdict before the start of the Tour de France on July 2. However, all parties have now accepted the case requires further time and have yet to set a new date for the hearing.

    Riis said Contador has the right to take part in the Tour de France.

    "At the moment there's no reason why Alberto can't ride the Tour de France," he said while at the Giro d'Italia.

    "It's always been logical to me. He was declared innocent and he's been cleared to race. We've got to respect that right. Nobody talked about it (his right to race) before the Giro d'Italia or the other races he rode, so why is it problem now?"

    Respect for the judicial process

    Riis agreed that it would have been better for everyone involved, and for the wider good of the sport, if the case had been resolved before the Tour de France. But he called for people to respect the judicial process.

    "I think everybody, including Alberto, would have liked the whole thing to be sorted out before the Tour de France. But there's nothing we can do about it. It's a complicated case that needs time to resolve," Riis argued.

    "Things haven’t changed in...

  • Lewis and Pinotti crash out of the Giro d'Italia

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2011, 17:52 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    American fractures femur in high-speed crash

    Craig Lewis and Marco Pinotti crashed out of the Giro d'Italia during stage 19 after hitting a traffic sign in the middle of the road.

    According to HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Valerio Piva, Lewis has been diagnosed with a fractured femur, while Pinotti injured his knee and has a suspected fractured collarbone. Both riders were taken to the nearby hospital in Domodossola, not far from the stage finish in Macugnaga.

    About an hour after the stage finishes Pinotti sent a reassuring Twitter message: "At the hospital in Domodossola. Just spoken with @craiglewis85. Just want to say he is conscious and quite fine. We will be rooming together."

    The two riders hit the traffic sign while the peloton was racing at speed and in pouring rain some 45km from the finish. Italian television showed Lewis lying on the road after hitting the straw bail that protected the sign. The sign divided the road into two but it seems there was no marshal warning the riders of the danger.

    Lewis was treated by the race medical staff, led by Dr Giovanni Tredici.

    "We found three riders on the ground when we stopped. Two were from HTC-Highroad and one was from Androni Giocattoli," he told Italian television.

    "The Androni rider was okay and quickly got back up but the other two were taken to hospital because the seemed to have important injuries."

    Both Lewis and Pinotti were hoping to finish the Giro in Milan on Sunday. Pinotti finished second on the stage to San Pellegrino Terme on Thursday and was targeting the final time trial to Milan after being the first pink jersey wearer of this year’s race.

    Lewis played a key role in HTC-Highroad's success in the opening...

  • Tiralongo crowns a life as a domestique

    Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) was a popular winner.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2011, 18:52 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Sicilian blessed by Contador’s friendship for Giro stage win

    Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) has claimed the first win of his 12-season professional career at the end of stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, and it was certainly a well-deserved gift from Alberto Contador, who was his captain last year at Astana.

    “After a life as a domestique, I’ve finally reached my goal of winning a race,” were the 33-year-old Tiralongo’s first words after crossing the finishing line at Macugnaga. Once again with an Italian stage winner, emotion was in the air when the happy man mentioned his tifosi and his wife. “She sacrifices so much for me to live this life as a cyclist,” he repeated.

    Tiralongo remembered that he didn’t spend much time at home last year as he rode with Contador and Alexandre Vinokourov at Astana. He prepared for the Giro with the Kazakh rider and was forced to leave the race due to a nasty crash during stage 6 – won by Matt Lloyd. He was transported to the hospital of Pontremoli and received a phone call from Contador, who encouraged him to fight the pain he felt in his ribs and vertebrae. The Spaniard also gave him his schedule for two months: a training camp in the Pyrenees prior to racing the Dauphiné, followed by a training camp in the Alps, and then the Tour de France, of course, where he was one of the key players in Contador’s third overall victory.

    At the 2010 Dauphiné, he told Cyclingnews: “With the condition I had, I think I would have made the top 5 of the Giro.” Tiralongo was touted as a future Grand Tour rider earlier in his career. Indeed, when he didn’t race as a domestique, he came 15th in the 2006 Giro...

  • Video: Steven Kruijswijk chasing a place in the Giro top ten

    Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2011, 20:26 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Young Dutchman impresses again on the climb to Macugnaga

    Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) continues to impress at the Giro d'Italia, finishing sixth on the stage to Macugnaga and climbing to eleventh place in the general classification. He is only 2:36 behind Roman Kreuziger (Astana) in the best young rider competition and is perhaps the real young revelation of this year's Giro d'Italia.

    Immediately after the finish of the stage to Macugnaga, the 23 year-old Dutchman told Cyclingnews how he rode intelligently on the final climb and thought he had a chance of winning the stage.

    He is now aiming to finish in the top ten overall if he can produce another strong ride during Saturday's stage to Sestriere.

  • Contador repays Tiralongo with stage win

    Alberto Contador congratulates his friend Paolo Tiralongo
    Article published:
    May 27, 2011, 22:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Maglia rosa remembers work done by former teammate

    Alberto Contador said that he let Paolo Tiralongo win stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia to repay the Italian domestique for all the work he did for him during the 2010 Tour de France, when they both rode for the Astana team.

    Contador, now of Saxo Bank-SunGard, danced up the final part of the climb, passing several late attackers including Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) but then eased when he caught the Italian Tiralongo and let him cross the line first. He still finished a few seconds ahead of his overall rivals and collected a 12-second time bonus to extend his overall lead on Michele Scarponi to over five minutes.

    "I'm really happy that Tiralongo won because last year a lot of my wins where thanks to the work he did for me," Contador said.

    "He helped me win the Tour de France and I consider him a good friend because we always got on well. I didn’t chase down the other riders to help him win, I just accelerated on the climb because I felt good."

    Contador laughed off suggestions that he was the Father Christmas of the Giro d'Italia after giving away four possible stage victories to other riders. He also explained why he is no cannibal.

    "I think it's important to always follow what your heart and your body tells you," Contador said.

    "Tiralongo won thanks to his strength and hard work today. He's attacked several times during the Giro and tired to get in long breakaways. Today it finally worked out and I'm happy for him. I've got enough time overall and so there was no need for me to win the stage."

    Just two stages separate Contador from overall...

  • Feillu persuades Vacansoleil-DCM to send team to Britany

     Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) was a clear winner on the finishing straight.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2011, 0:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Coupe de France leader returns to scene of first win

    Although Vacansoleil-DCM are already engaged at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Belgium this weekend, sprinter Romain Feillu managed to persuade the Dutch outfit to send a team to the Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan and the Boucles de l’Aulne in Brittany as he defends his lead in the Coupe de France.

    “The team is based in the Netherlands and our calendar certainly won’t allow me to take part in all the rounds,” Feillu told Ouest France. “I’ll have to get a head start this weekend.

    “At the moment, there are the Tour of Belgium and Giro d’Italia, and also the Tour of Luxembourg, which starts on Wednesday. It wasn’t easy to put together a team to support me in the Coupe de France. I hope we won’t be making the trip for nothing.”

    Feillu was a recent winner of a stage at the Circuit de Lorraine and all told he has clocked up seven wins so far this season. He credits his spate of success to his improved focus in bunch finish.

    “I’m more concentrated on my sprints,” Feillu said. “I’m only thinking of winning and I’m making fewer and fewer mistakes.”

    While the centrepiece of Feillu’s summer will be the Tour de France, where he will bid to add a stage win to the yellow jersey he wore in 2008, this weekend’s races have historically been an important step in his preparation. His first professional victory came at the Boucles de l’Aulne in 2007, while his repeat win the following year opened the door to his Tour debut with Agritubel.

    “A first win at this level is of...

  • Eritrea to host the 2011 African Championships

    Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea) is an iconic champion everywhere in Africa.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2011, 1:56 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Teklehaymanot's country confirms its interest in cycling

    The 2011 African Continental Championships will take place in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, from 9 to 13 November, the UCI has told Cyclingnews. They were previously planned for the Ivory Coast but the international federation decided to postpone hosting the event in that country to another year. The Ivory Coast is still unstable despite the investiture of new president Alassane Ouattara on May 21, after six months of civil war.

    The UCI delegate to Africa, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl, also the director of the UCI Continental Centre in South Africa, will approve the new course next week in Eritrea, on the occasion of the national championships.

    The race will be particularly important for women riders as it will serve as qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

    It's the first time that Eritrea hosts the African Championships since the reform of cycling in 2005. This last minute application is mainly due to the success of its national riders, who dominated the African Championships last year in Rwanda.

    On that occasion, Daniel Teklehaimanot notably captured the gold medal in individual and team time trials, as well as the road race, and also won the Under-23 title in every competition. Currently stagiaire at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland and looking for a professional team, Teklehaimanot is an iconic athlete in his country.

    A new generation is emerging in his slipstream, including Natnael Berhane, a 21-year-old puncheur, winner of a stage at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo ahead of Quick Step's Jérôme Pineau.

    Because of its Italian colonial heritage, cycling remains the number one sport in Eritrea. Most of the riders show...

  • King devises new tactics for US Championships defense

    American road champion Ben King (RadioShack) at the front.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2011, 4:32 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    RadioShack field a three-man team

    RadioShack's Ben King is preparing his defense of the stars and stripes jersey at the USA Pro Cycling Championships held on Monday, May 30 in Greenville, South Carolina. The 22-year-old Virginia native will arrive to the event in top form having recently helped his teammate Chris Horner win the overall title at the Amgen Tour of California.

    "I think it was the perfect preparation and after this week I will rest and my form will be good," King said. "I would love to win the jersey again, I want to and that is my goal."

    The Pros will compete for a total of 185kms that includes open small circuits, followed by four large circuits over Paris Mountain, and concluding with additional small circuits. "I love the course in Greenville and this year I have better fitness than last year," King said. "Paris Mountain is decisive and selective and a breakaway will win the race again but it might be one that is more of a selection rather than just an early breakaway."

    Last year, King was involved in an early breakaway that included three other riders. He attacked his companions half way into the race and soloed to the finish line. He was the first Under 23 rider to have won the USA Pro Cycling Championships.

    "I don't think anyone will let me go again like last year," King said. "I think if I want to have a chance this year than I will have to change my tactics."

    King will be joined by teammates Matt Busche and