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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 12, 2013

Date published:
May 12, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Follow the Tour of California live on Cyclingnews

    The Liquigas-Cannondale bus had Peter Sagan's California bears crawling out the windows.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 22:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Live stage coverage every day

    Cyclingnews will be delivering live coverage of the entire 2013 Amgen Tour of California, starting on Sunday, May 12 with the opening stage in Escondido.

    You won't want to miss a moment of the action as the peloton tackles two mountainous routes in the first two stages. The first stage features Palomar Mountain and Cole Grade, which will form the first selection of the overall contenders, and then on the second day a very hot and difficult uphill finish in Palm Springs will drive a wedge into the gaps.

    Three unpredictable stages could favor the escape artists or sprinters, and then the overall contenders will face the San Jose time trial and its torturous uphill finale.

    Mt. Diablo caps off the seventh stage where the final overall winner will seal the victory before a short, fast stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa completes the week.

    Cyclingnews' live coverage will start at the following times:

    Stage 1: Escondido - Escondido, 11:15am
    Stage 2: Murrieta - Palm Springs, 10:20am
    Stage 3: Palmdale - Santa Clarita, 11:20am
    Stage 4: Santa Clarita - Santa Barbara, 12:35pm
    Stage 5: Santa Barbara - Avila Beach, 11:00am
    Stage 6: San Jose (ITT) - , 1:00pm
    Stage 7: Livermore - Mt. Diablo, 11:35am
    Stage 8: San Francisco - Santa Rosa, 8:15am

  • Hesjedal satisfied with Giro d'Italia time trial result

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) lost time to Wiggins and Nibali
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 0:53 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Defending champion now 2:05 behind race leader Nibali

    Ryder Hesjedal and Garmin-Sharp believe they will be able to build on his sixth place general classification position in the mountainous stages to come at the Giro d'Italia. The 32-year-old Canadian now lies 2:05 back on new maglia rosa holder Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but there are a lot of stages that will play in the defending Giro champion's favour yet to come.

    "We're going to see a very different kind of race from here on," Charly Wegelius, Garmin-Sharp's sports director, told Cyclingnews.

    Although 18th in the time trial might not appear to be a standout result as compared to this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège to the Giro last year against Joaquim Rodriguez and even back as far as his breakthrough summit victory at Velefique in the 2009 Vuelta a España, Hesjedal's strongest rides have almost always come on hilly and mountainous terrain.

    "It was a hard test, but I think I did all right. There are a lot of strong guys here, I think it's very tight at the top of the classification and I'm satisfied," Hesjedal - who had no mechanicals or other problems - said on Italian television.

    "He was very positive about it all, solid all the way through and technically he was excellent," Wegelius added to Cyclingnews. "There were no dips in his performance. Perhaps looking back he could have started a little bit quicker but that can be a huge mistake in a time trial as demanding as that. If I see how spent he was at the end I think he timed his effort right, it was a solid performance."

    Wegelius recognised that the time trial course as complicated and above all as long as...

  • Rogers returns to Tour of California

    Saxo - Tinkoff recruit, Australia's Michael Rogers
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 2:11 BST
    Laura Weislo

    First time back for 2010 champion

    The only former Tour of California winner in this year's race, Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), is back in the USA for the first time since he took home the overall title in Thousand Oaks in 2010, and he is looking to get some good results after an up and down two years spent with Team Sky.

    "I'm happy to be back: since I've won I haven't done the race. I was out with illness in 2011 and last year the team didn't do it. It's nice to be back, and it's nice to be in some sunny weather for sure. It's been a long winter," Rogers told Cyclingnews.

    "It's one of my favorite races of the year. I think the people really enjoy having the race here, and all the riders enjoy coming here. There's a bit of jet lag with the traveling and what not, but we got here a few days early and I'm starting to sleep properly again."

    Since his last trip to the States, Rogers has battled some insidious health issues: first with a relapse of the Epstein Barr virus, an illness with which he's struggled three times, and then from repeated bouts of tonsillitis that cropped up after the London Olympic Games. The latter issue led to the decision to undergo a rather risky adult tonsillectomy last October.

    As a result, his start to the season has been less than ideal, as complications from the surgery left him fighting back from anaemia. "I had a lot of complications and had a lot of blood loss from internal bleeding. But over the last few months I'm starting to get back to full health again. Over the last couple of years my health has been a real sore point for me, and it's starting to hopefully turn things around, physically. I feel like I am anyway."

    Rogers is hoping that having his tonsils removed might solve the problems he's had with the Epstein Barr virus, an illness he first fought in 2001, then again in 2008 and...

  • Garmin believes in Zabriskie for Tour of California

    Dave Zabriskie (Garmin) launches an attack before the first sprint
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 4:38 BST
    Laura Weislo

    American squad looking for aggressive race

    The Garmin Sharp team will hope to transform David Zabriskie's four second-placed finishes overall with its first ever victory in the Amgen Tour of California this week, and is standing behind the reigning time trial champion even if this year's course is a bit more difficult than previous years.

    "He's in great form again, and he trained very hard for the race," Van Bondt told Cyclingnews. "I think we have a very good chance for him to win this race. Then we have Tyler, who skipped the Giro this year and is focused on the Tour of California. Our objective is to win a minimum of one stage and then try to win the overall with Zabriskie.

    Last year Zabriskie's 34-second lead after the time trial was wiped out on the climb to Mt. Baldy, when Robert Gesink rode away to gain more than a minute on the American. But Garmin directeur Geert Van Bondt thinks that the climbs in this year's race suit Zabriskie a bit better.

    "Last year when he was second and we went up to Mt. Baldy, and that was not an easy climb, and he was still second in GC. We had a very good Gesink last year, and he's not here. So I think Zabriskie can be good on the Palm Springs stage as well."

    The stage 2 finish in Palm Springs ends atop the Tramway, a 3.7-mile ascent that is quite steep, but Van Bondt thinks its consistent grade will be better for Zabriskie than Baldy's steep ramps. "Zab has more problems when it gets steep, but this climb is very consistent. It's long, but it's 10% all the way up. I think the race maybe suits him better than last year."

    What Van Bondt doesn't want to see happen is for Garmin to miss an important breakaway and waste its precious resources having to chase down gaps. At the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last year, the team went on...

  • Gesink: I'm in good form

    Robert Gesink (Blanco)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 6:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Four riders in the top-20 for Blanco in Giro ITT

    The Giro d'Italia Stage 8 individual time trial proved to be a good day for the Blanco team, with four riders placing inside the top-20, led by Stef Clement in fifth place 32 seconds off the pace of Alex Dowsett (Movistar).

    Meantime, Robert Gesink moved into third overall with his effort, now 1:15 behind GC leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) as the Giro moves into a fascinating second week of racing. Young gun Wilco Kelderman was 35 seconds behind Gesink in 14th place while Juan Manuel Garate was 19th for the day.

    Sports director Jan Boven was not giving too much away, despite the results.

    "It was another good day", he said. "Every day is important in a Grand Tour but this one a little more so. In the time trial it is about minutes and seconds and then you simply have to be at your best and that we were today. We actually did better than we even hoped for. Today is a good close to the first week but we can't forget that there are two more weeks to go. We have to stay sharp. Our goals have been set for a three week tour."

    Clement was able to overcome a missed turn early on in the 54.8km chrono, when he had wanted to overtake another rider on the road. It contributed to him being unaware that his time was as good as it was.

    "From there on I was a bundle of nerves on the bike," the 30-year-old explained. "That also affected my descent. On top of that, it's not easy to stay balanced and spread your energy effectively over 55 kilometers. But I am well pleased with this fifth place result."

    Gesink, while pleased with his performance and his third place overall, will be taking nothing for granted.


  • Voigt and Jungels: RadioShack's Tour of California Odd Couple

    Jens Voigt (Radioshack Leopard) always has words of wisdom at the press conference.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 10:05 BST
    Pat Malach

    41-year-old German rooms with 20-year-old Luxembourger teammate

    Chris Horner's last-minute withdrawal from RadioShack Leopard's Amgen Tour of California roster may have helped create cycling's own version of the "Odd Couple", as 41-year-old Jens Voigt will now be rooming with 20-year-old neo pro Bob Jungels throughout the eight-day race.

    "Together we're 31," Voigt told Cyclingnews Friday after the opening press conference. "So that's a good age for a cyclist. It's funny how he sometimes reminds me of my son, because my son is turning 18 this year. [Jungels] is only like 2 ½ years older. He's actually closer to my son than to myself, so I want to believe it keeps me young."

    As far as Jungels is concerned, the two teammates may be separated by more than two decades, but Voigt's often-times playful attitude helps bring them together.

    "I feel pretty comfortable with him because he's over 40 years old, but in his head he's like 25," Jungels said. "So it's pretty cool. We talk a lot together, and if I have any questions he's always there answering everything you ask him, and that's just great to have someone with you who has so much experience. It's kind of relaxing. You feel comfortable and secure, and I think it helps you for the races also. You have no stress or no pressure, and he confirms that."

    Jungels comes to California for the first time after having already won his first pro race this year, the UCI 1.1 GP Nobili Rubinetterie in Italy. He also ran second during the time trial stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe in...

  • Giro d'Italia: Wiggins says Sky still has cards to play

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) comes over the line in second place
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 12:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Three inside top ten but Nibali in control

    Bradley Wiggins said he got the best out of himself in the second half of the stage 8 individual time trial at the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, but rued a puncture that may have cost him the stage victory.

    Wiggins finished second behind grand tour debutant Alex Dowsett in the individual test to Saltara, and moved into fourth overall. However the time trial marked a key area in which the Tour de France champion was expected to distance his GC rivals. He only managed to put 11 seconds into maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali, leaving him 1’16 behind the Astana leader. Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink all remained above Wiggins despite the Brit clawing back some of the time he’d lost after a stage 7 crash.

    At the finish in Saltara Wiggins once again declined to talk to the press but he later posted his thoughts on Team Sky’s website. “There are two weeks to go. The last week’s going to be very difficult and the time gaps are relatively small still. A minute and 16 to Nibali still with all the problems yesterday isn't that bad it’s all to play for. It’s not easy to defend a Grand Tour lead so it’s not a bad position to be in,” he said.

    "We’re still here and we’ve got three guys in the top 10 now. We’ve got a few cards to play.”

    Sergio Luis Henao lies in 7th with Rigoberto Uran in 10th but Wiggins' performances in the first weeks will mean he must go on the offensive in the mountains and take on Nibali on the Italian’s favoured terrain.

    “I think there was some initial disappointment because I wanted to win the stage. It’s been a challenging few days with the crash yesterday and then to come back up. It wasn’t an easy course. I’ve said all along that it wasn’t one of those ones where you could take...

  • Julich joins BMC as a consultant

    Bobby Julich
    Article published:
    May 12, 2013, 15:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Sky man links up with US team

    BMC has hired former professional Bobby Julich as a consultant on a short term contract. Julich was released from a similar role at Team Sky last season after confessing to doping during parts of his racing career. Sky has attempted to operate a zero tolerance policy towards doping and in the wake of the USADA investigation concerning US Postal, Julich chose to confess.

    On Sunday BMC announced that, “Bobby Julich has been hired to consult for the BMC Racing Team in the areas of training, individual coaching, equipment testing and overall performance strategies.”

    Julich will work closely with BMC’s Team Performance Manager Allan Peiper, with a view towards a permanent position a possibility.

    "We are excited to have Bobby join our performance team and look forward to working with him," said Jim Ochowicz, who was Julich's manager at Motorola in the 1990s.

    "I love the sport of cycling and feel I have a lot to offer," Julich said. "I'm really happy and excited the BMC Racing Team is giving me an opportunity to pass my experience along."