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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 31, 2014

Date published:
May 31, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Aru celebrates moving into third place overall at the Giro d'Italia

    Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) moved into third overall
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 18:25 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Young Sardinian becomes a new Italian hero after Cimas Grappa time trial

    Fabio Aru (Astana) missed out on the stage victory at the summit of Cima Grappa but the 23-year-old Italian celebrated after the stage, knowing his impressive ride in the 26.8km cronoscalata had almost certainly secured him a place on the final podium in Trieste on Sunday.

    Italian cycling has been in agony in recent months, with only Vincenzo Nibali showing signs of being able to compete against the best in the world in stage races. Now Aru is the tifosi's new hero and the heir to Nibali's crown.

    Aru finished seventeen seconds slower than Nairo Quintana (Movistar) but his excellent performance distanced podium rivals Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).

    Aru is now third overall behind Quintana, with Uran only 41 seconds ahead of him. Rolland slipped to fourth, 1:38 down on the young Sardinian.

    "It was a huge effort, I was right at my limits for an hour. I'm tired now but obviously very happy," he said after waving to the Sardinian fans who had also climbed Cima Grappa to cheer him on.

    I never thought I'd be on the podium at the Giro d'Italia. I've worked hard all winter and made a lot of sacrifices and so it's paid off. But doing so well is new to me. It's been great to do so well in front of my fans, family and girlfriend from Sardinia. That gave me some extra strength and motivation on the climb today."

    Too early to celebrate

    The Italian media was ready to celebrate Aru's third place overall and even built up hopes that he could try to move past Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan on Saturday. Aru reminded them that the Giro d'Italia ends in Trieste on Sunday, not today.

    "I'm young but I've learned that stage races aren’t over until you cross the line on the final day, so you've always got to be careful," he...

  • Hesjedal left angry and disappointed after suffering in the Cima Grappa mountain time trial

    Ryder Hesjedal consolodated his top 10 position
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 19:08 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp rider slips back to ninth overall at the Giro d'Italia

    Ryder Hesjedal looked for somewhere and some way to vent his anger and disappointment after crossing the finish line of the mountain time trial at Cima Grappa.

    The Garmin-Sharp rider had a difficult day on the long climb into the clouds, was forced to change bikes mid-climb and slipped from seventh to ninth, losing any chance of a top five finish.

    Hesjedal eventually tried to shake off his anger and disappointment on the turbo trainer set up just past the finish line but pedalling only seemed to remove the pain and lactic acid in his legs and not his emotions.

    "I suppose it's not the best course for a big guy like me. Then I had the mechanical and so I had to change bikes," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It's hard to go up against the pure climbers but I think I've done well to hold my own against them today and in the Giro."

    While most of the overall contenders opted to start on a time trial bike and then change to a light-weight road bike after 10km, Hesjedal started on his road bike and used bar extensions to tuck as low as possible in an aero position on the early flat roads out of Bassano del Grappa.

    Teams said using a time trial bike gave a 20-second time gain but Hesjedal opted for comfort.

    "Unfortunately, I had to do bike change anyways," he said laconically.

    "I don't know how much that cost me in time but it affected my rhythm. Everyone makes their own choices when it comes to equipment. I didn’t want to change, I wanted to be comfortable and not worry about changing the bike. The effort lasted an hour and so it's about your legs, not really the bike."

    Despite suffering on the 18km of the climb, Hesjedal was still able to savour the moment as the huge crowds that cheered him up to...

  • Uran resigned to his fate at Giro d’Italia

    Brian Cookson on the podium with Rigoberto Uran at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 19:40 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Difficult to make a difference on the Zoncolan, admits Colombian

    There was an air of quiet resignation about Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) following the time trial to Cima Grappa, a stage that seemed to confirm that a repeat of last year’s second place finish will be the summit of his ambition at this Giro d’Italia.

    Following his emphatic victory in the Barolo time trial last week, stage 19 was billed as Uran’s last chance to claw back time on his fellow countryman Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Instead, the demanding 26-kilometre test merely confirmed the impressions of the Giro’s final act – Uran was lacking the vim of a week ago, while Quintana seemed a man transfigured.

    Uran finished the stage in third place, 1:26 minutes down on Quintana and while he retains his second place on general classification, he is now some 3:07 off the maglia rosa, and the precocious Fabio Aru (Astana) has closed to within 41 seconds.

    “It went quite well. You always expect a bit more but I’m relatively happy,” Uran said in the mixed zone afterwards, a towel wrapped around his neck and the bill of his cap turned upwards.

    When Uran began with a flourish, scorching through the first time check with the best time, 16 seconds up on Quintana, it briefly looked as though he was about to haul his way back into contention in dramatic circumstances. Once the road began to climb, however, and Uran swapped his low-profile bike for his regular machine, his progress stalled.

    By the second time check, after 12 kilometres of the seemingly unending climb above Bassano del Grappa, there had been a swing of almost a minute, as Uran now trailed Quintana by 36 seconds. The...

  • Quintana: Giro d’Italia is a confirmation of what I can do

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was pushed all the way by Fabio Aru
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 20:03 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Colombian stretches lead with mountain time trial victory

    As low cloud rolled in over the summit of Monte Grappa on Friday afternoon, it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the mountain began, but there is no longer any sfumatura to the overall picture at the Giro d’Italia following Nairo Quintana’s victory in the stage 19 time trial.

    Just over a week ago, Quintana floundered in the time trial through the wine country of the Langhe, but on a pure mountain test as stiff as the region’s famous digestivo, the Colombian took flight to stretch his overall lead out to 3:07 over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

    At Barolo, stricken by illness and still hindered by his crash in the opening week, Quintana had seemed a shadow of the man who had so troubled Chris Froome in the mountains at last year’s Tour de France. After turning the race on its head on the tappone to Val Martello, however, the final week of the Giro has turned into something of a coronation.

    “The Tour allowed me to show the world who Nairo Quintana is and this Giro has been the confirmation of that,” Quintana afterwards, bundled up in a Movistar puffy jacket. “The world now knows that I can fight for grand tours. Before I was unknown and now I have confirmed what I can do.”

    On the eve of the time trial, Quintana led Uran by 1:41 – more or less what he had gained on that contentious descent of the Stelvio on Tuesday – but he had demurred when asked if he felt that he needed to put more time into his fellow countryman so as to remove any sort of an asterisk from his triumph. Instead, it seems that clocking the best time up the fearsome 19-kilometre climb was simply a point of pride.

    “I didn’t want to say it before but this stage is my speciality and I couldn’t let it go by without winning it, especially as my family came here from Colombia to watch me today and that gave me an extra gear,” said Quintana, who announced...

  • Video: Giro d'Italia stage 20 preview

    Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 20
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 22:52 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    The steep slopes of the Zoncolan to decide the Giro d'Italia podium

    With Nairo Quintana (Movistar) strengthening his grip on the maglia rosa after winning the Cima Grappa time trial in the Giro d'Italia, Saturday's final mountain stage on the steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan will host final showdown for the fight for the other places on the podium alongside the Colombian.

    As expected, the 26.8km time trial shook out the top ten of the general classification far more than any of the road race stages. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) did enough in the time trial to hold onto his second place but must be worried that talented young Italian Fabio Aru (Astana) will try to move past him on the climb to the finish at Monte Zoncolan, the last climb and the last decisive stage of this year's Giro d'Italia.

    Uran is 3:07 down on his compatriot Quintana but Aru is now only 41 behind the Colombian. Aru may be scared of risking his third place to target second overall but has a comfortable margin to play with. His impressive time trial has left him 1:38 ahead of Pierre Rolland (Europcar), with Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) a further 50 seconds back. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) slumped to sixth, 3:11 behind Uran after being hit by stomach problems.

    Aru seems on fire and has the strength and motivation to go on the attack. The Zoncolan could be perfect for him to put Uran on the ropes and take back time. It is considered one of the hardest climbs in Europe and comes after the riders have climbed the steep Passo del Pura (11.3km at 7.7%) and the easier but longer Sella Razzo (15.9km at 5.2%) during the 167km stage.

    This year the riders climb from Ovaro, rather than the easier Priola or Sutrio sides, marking the fifth time the Zoncolan has been conquered by the Giro d'Italia riders. Gilberto Simoni was the first ever winner in 2003 and won again in 2007, while Ivan Basso also went on to...

  • Gallery: The Monte Zoncolan in photos

    The then world champion Cadel Evans was dropped by Ivan Basso in 2010
    Article published:
    May 30, 2014, 23:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    2014 Giro d'Italia reaches its final test

    After three weeks of racing the 2014 Giro d'Italia reaches its final major test on stage 20 with a ragged and weary peloton taking on the mammoth task of the Monte Zoncolan.

    It’s one of the most revered and feared climbs in cycling but a relative new-comer on the professional circuit having made it’s Giro d’Italia debut in 2003. That year Gilberto Simoni romped away from a group of riders containing Francesco Casagrande, Stefano Garzelli, Yaroslav Popovych, Julio Perez Cuapio, and the late Marco Pantani.

    When the climb was included in the corsa rosa four years later, Simoni was at it again, this time winning ahead of his then teammate Leonardo Piepoli and a young up-and-coming Andy Schleck.

    The climb was left out until 2010 when Ivan Basso soared clear on his way to claiming the stage and eventually the overall title, with the climb used a year later as Igor Anton skipped clear of a group containing Alberto Contador.

    More than one route to the top of the climb has been used in the past, and it returns for Saturday’s crucial stage. Movistar's Nairo Quintana will be looking to seal his overall win with another stage, while Fabio Aru (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) – who incidentally was 17th on the climb in 2007 – will all be in contention.

    Before then, enjoy this gallery of race photos, as well as our stage preview.

     Click...

  • Majka rues bad day in Giro d'Italia time trial

    Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) holds onto white
    Article published:
    May 31, 2014, 10:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Polish rider still suffering with stomach problems

    Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) saw his podium chances edge further away as he slipped to seventh in the general classification after the Cima Grappa time trial. The Polish rider put in a solid performance, finishing seventh on the day, but it wasn’t enough to match the huge performance from fellow podium contender Fabio Aru (Astana) - who stormed to second place. Majka lost more than three minutes to the Sardinian, and dropped 1:31 to Pierre Rolland (Europcar).

    The Tinkoff-Saxo rider was pragmatic, but disappointed about his performance in the mountain time trial. “It was not my best day. I recognise, objectively, that it was a good stage, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to fight with the best. I feel like I was affected by the stomach problems, which certainly weren’t helping me in the time trial,” Majka said after the stage.

    Majka has had an excellent Giro d’Italia up until this point. His one hiccup was the crash at Montecassino, however, he avoided losing too much time after taking a teammate’s bike, and set himself up to move into third place a couple of days later. He has been suffering with the stomach problems for a few days, but has managed to keep himself in contention for the podium. Majka started the time trial only two seconds off the third step of the rostrum, equal on time with Aru.

    Saturday’s summit finish of the Monte Zoncolan is the last chance for the general classification riders to improve their position in the standings, before they ride into Trieste on Sunday. Stage 20 includes category one climb...

  • Dehaes misses time cut at Giro d'Italia time trial

    Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) takes his first win in almost five years
    Article published:
    May 31, 2014, 12:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto-Belisol vents his frustration at the organisers on twitter

    Kenny Dehaes will not be allowed to finish the Giro d'Italia, or the “Giro de merda,” as he called it. The Lotto Belisol rider suffered two chain failures in Friday's mountain time trial, and finished 21:20 slower than stage winner Nairo Quintana. The gap was more than the allowed percentage and the Belgian was removed from the race for being over the time limit.

    Dehaes broke his chain with 5 km to go, and again with 1 km to go. He did not have a following team car, and received no support from a neutral service vehicle. A bystander helped him repair the chain the first time, and a team staff member pushed him on the second occasion.

    “Thx ‪@giroditalia! You've treated me like an animal on Gavia and Stelvio and now after 2 mechanicals I need to go home! Grande Giro di merda,” he tweeted angrily.

    His teammate and roommate Tosh Van der Sande was equally upset, tweeting, “Really ? You kidding me ? No respect for the riders... First make sure you can put a bike in every car ! We don't have 8 cars here...” He later tweeted, “We can ride in the snow... But if you have a mechanical problem they put you out... Grande giro."

    Adam Hansen tweeted, "Jo ‪@giroditalia you can't take out ‪@Kennydehaes because his chain snapped twice and you failed to provide neutral support for him! ‪#unfair!!”

    Van der Sande closed the evening out by posting a photo of his hotel room, saying, “Roomie missing :-( ! ‪#keepKennyinthegiro"