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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 1, 2014

Date published:
June 01, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Hesjedal impresses at the Giro d'Italia but may not ride the Tour de France

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 0:10 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp rider proud of his fight back after team time trial crash

    Ryder Hesjedal is set to finish the Giro d'Italia in ninth place overall after a remarkable fight back during the three weeks of racing. However Cyclingnews understands that his huge effort and Garmin-Sharp's multiple leadership options could mean the Canadian will target the Vuelta a Espana rather than the Tour de France later this summer.

    Hesjedal was down in 165th place after the team was decimated by a crash in the opening team time trial in Belfast three weeks ago, and he lost more than three minutes to Cadel Evans (BMC) and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharm-QuickStep). Yet he never gave up, went on the attack and fought to pull back time, including on the stage over the Stelvio when he was a close second to Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in Val Martello.

    He struggled in the Cima Grappa mountain time trial and on the steep slopes of the Zoncolan but will ride proudly into Trieste in ninth overall on Sunday.

    "I think I learned a lot about myself in this year's race," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews, looking back at his race.

    "I don’t know how many guys who have won a Grand Tour have had a situation like I had on the first day, but then fought back into the top ten. It was not only the time lost but also having important teammates injured and a lot of badness all at once, on the first day of a long, hard event. I'm proud of the four guys that are still here. We're fighting on and I think we can be proud of what we've done."

    Hesjedal admitted he has been driven to prove wrong the people who wrote off his and Garmin-Sharp's chances after losing Dan Martin and Koldo Fernandez on the opening day.

    "I don’t know why people were so negative at the started and said that our Giro was over on day one," he said.

    "I think we showed otherwise. It's like really? Have you ever done a bike race?"

    ...
  • Froome: I wanted to give my version of events

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) waving to the crowd
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 10:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Defending champion hints Wiggins' Tour de France place is not certain

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) continued the build-up to his Tour de France defence with a recon of the opening two stages in Yorkshire. The British rider made the trip to Northern England with his teammates Richie Porte, David Lopez and Mikel Nieve.

    The trio are almost certain to form part of the eight-man team that will support Froome in July, but the exact make-up of that team remains a contentious issue. “That’s going to come down to what is best for the team, who is going to do the best role, the dynamics of the team and everything around that,” Froome told the BBC.

    The recent serialisation of Froome’s autobiography in the Times has re-ignited the topic of the rivalry between Froome and his teammate Bradley Wiggins. The pair have been due to ride together at a number of races this season, but injuries and plan changes mean that they haven’t ridden together since the World Championships last September.

    Wiggins missed last year’s race and has been very vocal about his desire to make it into this year’s squad. The 34-year-old has been on fine form this season, winning the overall classification at the Tour of California. Froome was reluctant to discuss whether Wiggins’ form would send him into the race as a joint leader.

    “I think talking about plan b that’s a decision the team needs to come to, but Bradley has been talking about playing a support role and not a plan b as such,” said Froome. “I think Richie Porte has really stepped up his condition, which is good at the moment. He’s certainly got...

  • Urán happy with second place at the Giro d'Italia

    Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) after the Monte Zoncolan
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 13:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian calls it a historic moment for the team

    Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) rode side-by-side with his compatriot Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to the top of the Zoncolan to seal his second place on the podium. It was a fitting end to a race that saw Colombia put themselves back on the map of Grand Tour riding.

    Quintana became the first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia and only the second to win a grand tour. However, Urán’s second place made it equally as historic, as the first Colombian 1-2 in a grand tour. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider was happy to equal his best performance of last year.

    “I am really happy with this 2nd place. I think OPQS as a team had a great Giro, and I’m satisfied with my spot on the podium,” said Urán after the stage finish on the Monte Zoncolan. “This is historic. It’s the first Grand Tour podium in the history of the team.

    “I hope it is just the first of many podiums. We will see what can happen and we will fight for it. But tonight, it is time to celebrate what we did at this Giro with the team and then we will enjoy the final stage.”

    As the race headed into the final decisive day there was little chance of improvement for Urán, however that didn’t stop the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team from commanding things in the finale. Urán was the only rider to have any teammates with him at the steepest part of the climb, with Wout Poels setting the pace. They were soon joined by Pieter Serry, who had been in the day’s break. The Colombian praised the efforts of his teammates.

    “The whole team had another great performance. The boys fought for me. We sent Serry ahead so we could have someone in front of me in the final climb,” explained Urán. “Wout made a good rhythm....

  • Simon ends long drought in GP Plumelec-Morbihan

    The GP Plumelec-Morbihan podium: Luis Maté, Julien Simon and Armindo Fonseca
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 14:30 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Cofidis uphill sprinter takes the lead of the French Cup

    Frenchman Julien Simon put an end to a one half year drought as he won the GP Plumelec in a formidable one-two for Cofidis with the "Andalucian lynx," aka Luis Maté from Spain, closing in second position. The local team Bretagne-Séché Environnement completed the podium with Armindo Fonseca third.

    "First and second, that doesn't often happen in a career, so it has a special savor," said Simon, who hasn't won a race since he moved from the now defunct Sojasun team to Cofidis. "It's truly a team win as we were all seven Cofidis riders together in line in the last kilometer. The eighth one was Yoann Bagot who had been in the breakaway earlier."

    Bagot was one of the ten men who rode away early, accompanied by Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (FDJ.fr), Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Vegard Stake Laengen (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Julien Duval and Rudy Kowalski (Roubaix Lille Métropole), Yoann Paillot (La Pomme-Marseille 13), Gediminas Kaupas (CC Differdange) and Olivier Chevallier (Wallonie-Bruxelles). BigMat-Auber 93 being the only French team missing at the front, they were busy keeping the gap under two minutes until FDJ.fr finished the business prior to Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) testing his legs with a strong acceleration with one lap (7.5km) to go.

    French cup leader Bryan Coquard (Europcar) struggled at that point. "He wasn't going very well and I wasn't either," Voeckler told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. "But it's better for him not to be at the peak of his form on May 31st and start his first Tour de France in July with 100 per cent of his capacities. Anyway, Cofidis deserves the win today. They were really well organized all together in the finale."

    The GP Plumelec is a legendary uphill finish that has already hosted the French championship three times – with Roland Berland and Bernard Thévenet winning in the 70s as well as...

  • Gallery: Nairo Quintana's Giro d'Italia pink Canyon Ultimate CF SLX

    Nairo Quintana' and his pink Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 16:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian winner celebrates in style

    In recent years it has become customary to outfit a Grand Tour champion's bike with accents to match the leader's jersey, but Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana's Movistar team took the color coordination to a whole new level with his Canyon Ultimate CF SLX.

    The dark pink frame set is built up with Campagnolo Super Record EPS, and the Italian manufacturer even supplied matching shift lever hoods and bar tape to boot. The wheels are not left out of the action, thanks to Continental's Competition Pro LTDs made with pink side walls.

    The man himself has been done up from head to toe in matching Catlike helmet, Adidas glasses, of course the maglia rosa with matching shorts (made by Endura), and pink and white Diadora shoes. Even the bottle cages and the bidons have pink.

    Our only question is why Power2Max wasn't able to get the man a matching power meter and computer mount.

    Click here for the full gallery.

  • Mixed feelings for Rolland after missing out on Giro d’Italia podium

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) at the start of stage 20
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 16:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Fourth place for Frenchman after aggressive showing

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) finally laid down arms atop the Zoncolan on Saturday, wheeling to a halt just past the finish line and carefully removing his helmet, radio earpiece and nasal strip before handing them to his soigneur.

    After three weeks of steadily moving up the general classification of his debut Giro d’Italia, Rolland’s offensive had finally stalled on the Monte Grappa time trial on stage 19, when Fabio Aru’s startling display saw him retreat from third to fourth place overall.

    On the Zoncolan, the Kaiser of Friuli, Rolland gamely battled to try and outflank Aru, but he ultimately conceded four more seconds to the young Sardinian, and finishes the Giro one place shy of the podium. Rolland would doubtless have settled for that when he lined up for his debut Giro three weeks ago, but after three weeks on the front, he confessed to mixed feelings as his race drew to a close.

    "I had extraordinary legs but I’m coming away without a stage win and just short of the podium, so it’s both a satisfaction and a disappointment at the same time," Rolland told reporters on Saturday.

    "Still, I can’t reproach myself for anything. Again today I tried to get things moving from a long way out but I knew that with these gradients it would be difficult to make a big difference or move up to third or second on the overall standings."

    The Frenchman set out on his Giro endeavour at a distinct disadvantage. In the Belfast team time trial, only Garmin-Sharp – whose effort was compromised by a four-man crash – posted a worse time than Europcar, and Rolland left Ireland already over two minutes off the maglia rosa.

    From there until the Monte Grappa time trial, however, Rolland’s Giro was one of...

  • Gallery: Giro d'Italia final stage gets underway in Gemona

    Nairo Quintana and Movistar boss Eusebio Unzue
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 16:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Procession on stage 21 for Quintana

    After taking a beating over the past three weeks, the peloton of the Giro d'Italia - 156 men strong - set off from Gemona toward the final sprint in Trieste with the pink-clad Nairo Quintana and his Movistar team leading the way.

    It was a time to celebrate survival, and to reflect on the long journey from the rainy, crash-sullied opening stages in Belfast to the nosebleed altitudes of the final week. From the rain in Ireland to the snow of the Stelvio, they end in sunshine on the last day.

    Quintana is set to make history as the first Colombian winner of the race, while the young riders who fill the other jersey classifications - Fabio Aru (Astana) as (second) best young rider, Julian Arredondo (Trek) as top climber, and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) - all of them under 26 years of age - together signal a changing of the guard.

    Enjoy this gallery from the start of stage 21.

  • Mezgec lands a first Giro d'Italia win for Slovenia

    Luka Mezgec (Giant Shimano)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2014, 18:46 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Giant-Shimano lead out rider wins the last stage in Trieste

    Luka Mezgec fought his way through three hard weeks of racing before finally winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia and becoming the first Slovenian to win a stage just a few kilometres from the border of his home country.

    Mezgec switched from mountain biking to road racing in 2010 and began to work on his sprinting speed in 2012. He is better known as a lead-out rider for Giant-Shimano, and helped Marcel Kittel win stage 2 in Belfast and stage 3 in Dublin. But he finally had his day of glory in Trieste.

    "It was a long way from Belfast to Trieste and it has been really hard Giro, but I'm really happy. To start like we did and to end with a win is really amazing," he said in the stage winner's press conference overlooking the finish line.

    "I put a lot pressure on myself to win here and I knew there were a lot of my fans here because we're pretty close to Slovenia. I'm really pleased to win. It's great to win so close to home."

    Mezgec won with a late surge to the line along the barriers as his rivals went down the centre of the road.

    "It was really hectic sprint in last 500 metres," he explained. "I went into the last corner at 750 metres to go and thought I had a good chance but then I became blocked in and thought my sprint was over. Luckily I found a line on the right and took it. I just hoped it wouldn't close. I can say I was lucky to find that spot and have good legs."

    "I had a bad luck on the stage to Bari. My chain broke with 300 metres to go. The win was there on a plate but I was hit by bad luck. Fortunately the stars were on my side today."

    In Kittel's and Degenkolb's...