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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 22, 2011

Date published:
May 22, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Win exclusive Santini jerseys from the Giro d'Italia

    The newly-designed maglia rosa for the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 18:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Six signed final classification jerseys, plus four team jerseys

    Cyclingnews has teamed up with Santini to offer you the chance to win one of 10 jerseys from the Giro d'Italia. The individual prizes on offer are one of three signed maglia rosas, one signed green jersey, one signed red jersey and one signed white jersey. Each signature will come from the winner of the final jerseys at the end of the Giro.

    We also have one unsigned jersey from each of the following teams to give away: Katusha, Lampre-ISD, Androni Giocattoli and Vacansoleil-DCM.

    For the last twelve years Santini has been on the shoulders of the Giro d'Italia leaders and that is again the case in 2011 for the 13th year in a row. The Giro is the symbol for the passion that Italy has for cycling so every year they are proud to see their products on some of the finest athletes in the world winning on their home territory.

    Santini made a choice to design and produce all of its products exclusively in Italy and has done so since 1965. Today they produce over 2000 products a day and have a clear and defined mission: "To allow everyone who loves cycling to improve their performance without having to give up on comfort and style."

    For more information on Santini visit www.santinisms.it

    Entries for the Cyclingnews Santini jersey drawing will close at midnight, May 29, 2011. Enter today!

  • Anton delighted after mythical stage win at Giro d’Italia

    Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was a deserving winner on the Zoncolan.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 19:35 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Euskaltel-Euskadi man moves up to 3rd overall

    Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has reached his goal of winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia. Prior to tackling the mountains, he had told Cyclingnews that any stage was welcome. After struggling a bit on the Etna and the Grossglockner, he found his best form in time for the hardest part of the three-week race, the Monte Zoncolan.

    “This is a mythical climb that I had only seen on TV previously with the wins of some of the greatest riders like Gilberto Simoni and Ivan Basso,” Anton explained. “It was a risk to attack on that climb. This is absolutely the hardest climb for a bike race. At 5km to go, I suffered a lot and what I was doing at the front was a bit of a gamble. But I wasn’t racing against my rivals, it was a race with myself. I was trying to calculate the distance and the gap, but I managed to stay focused.”

    The Basque rider was reminded of some moments from the Tour de France when he entered the last two kilometres where the crowd had gathered. “People live the event as much as they can,” Anton acknowledged. “They were so close to me on that narrow corridor that I couldn’t hear anything. It was a calvary. The last few metres seemed to last an eternity.”

    “This is the most important win of my career,” Anton continued. It’s also his second comeback at the highest level of cycling after a bad injury. “I’ve got a few pieces of metal in my body,” he laughed. “Fortunately I’ve been treated well by the doctors. After my crash in 2008, I had doubts that I’d be able to come back. In 2009, I hadn’t muscularly recovered yet but 2010 was a good year for...

  • Nibali: Contador didn’t respect me

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) searches for signs of weakness from Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) but none were apparent.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 20:22 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    The Shark reveals he wouldn’t have attacked on Crostis descent

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) said that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) showed a lack of respect by waiting for him and then later attacking him during the final 500 metres of the gruelling climb up to the Zoncolan.

    “I wanted to win the stage,” Nibali said shortly after the finish. “Everyone does his own race. I have not lost my soul. I’ve asked Contador to take a turn. I wanted to see how he was really. But he never gave me a turn. He attacked. I really think it was a lack of respect from him when he waited for me and attacked again.”

    “Contador had everything in his favour today,” Nibali continued in a clear indication that the cancellation of the Monte Crostis by the commissaires was a decision that pleased the race leader more than the man currently in second place overall.

    “That’s why people have booed Contador today,” Nibali said. “The UCI didn’t allow the Crostis to be climbed, and it was a different stage. I don’t know what would have happened with the Crostis. For sure, we didn’t make the mistake [of requesting its cancellation]. For us, the riders, safety was assured but the cars of the directeurs sportifs couldn’t assist us. But I don’t think I would have attacked Contador by riding strongly in the downhill of the Crostis. I’m not sure if it would have been worth taking that kind of risk.”

    The climb of Tualis was a replacement for the Crostis but the race route was eventually diverted to avoid the village where the volunteers protested against the judges’ decision....

  • Contador happy to extend his lead on the Zoncolan

    Job done? Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard put more time into his rivals on the Zoncolan.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 21:21 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard claims he didn’t hear jeers from the crowd

    With rain lashing the riders at the finish of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia and lighting crackling in the sky, Alberto Contador had little desire to hang around at the top of the Zoncolan and was grateful for a ride in a race organisation helicopter to his hotel.

    Before disappearing he explained how he opted to defend and extend his overall race lead rather than try and win the stage. He now leads Nibali by 3:20, while stage winner Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) moved up to third at 3:21.

    “I feel very exhausted right now but it was incredible and very tough day," he said.

    "My strategy was to focus just on the overall classification: I started the climb following Scarponi and then I marked Nibali. Vincenzo was very strong and rode a great stage. I've a lot of respect for him and that's why I tried to earn some time on him. He won't be easy to distance in the rest of the race and so the seconds might be
    useful at the finish in Milan."

    Some parts of the crowd whistled and jeered at Contador as he neared the finish, perhaps seeing his Saxo Bank-SunGard team as the ringleader of the protests that led to the Crostis climb being cut from the stage.

    Enzo Cainero, who had done all the work to make the Crostis safe, pointed the finger at Contador but he cleverly avoided any polemic.

    "I'm really happy about the Italian public support me. Nibali is riding on his home roads and so it’s normal that everybody is cheering for him. The public was extraordinary with me," he said.

    "The stage would have been different with the Crostis. The best riders would have attacked and we'd have seen many more attacks."

    Riis happy but still cautious

    At...

  • Stetina impresses on the Zoncolan

    A bit of pre-race stretching from Peter Stetina (Garmin - Cervelo).
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 23:47 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Young American looking forward to the dirt roads of the Colle delle Finestre

    Peter Stetina was the first Garmin-Cervélo rider to finish stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia on the steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan, after being told to ride his own race by team leader Christophe Le Mevel.

    The Frenchman struggled on the Grossglockner on Friday and finished 19th at 4:00 at the finish on Monte Zoncolan. Stetina was 15th at 3:29 after carefully pacing his effort on the 11.9% gradient of the Zoncolan.

    "We were working for Christophe all day but I think he's suffering from that big effort he made earlier in the week (on stage 11 to Castelfidardo) when he tried to take the pink jersey," Stetina explained to Cyclingnews before climbing aboard the warm team bus ten kilometres down other side of the climb.

    "I was staying with him on the lower part of the Zoncolan but then he told me to go. I asked him if he was sure because I really wanted to pace him. But on something so steep, you can only go at your own speed.

    "I'm excited that I got a chance to ride for myself but I'm still here to help Christophe. I think he's going to recover in the final week."

    Stetina lives in Colorado and revealed that mountain bike riding helped know the importance of spinning a gear on the Zoncolan.

    "It was a thrill for me to ride on the Zoncolan. I actually enjoyed it," he said with youthful enthusiasm.

    "I ride dirt road on my mountain bikes all the time in Colorado and so I'm used to spinning a low gear. We had mountain bike gears on the bike today. I rode at my own pace, within myself. There's no pressure on me and so I didn't kill myself to go with the accelerations, and I just rode steady all the way...

  • Armstrong pleased with Solvang showing

    Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co) on the way to her win.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 2:32 BST
    By:
    Jen See

    American aiming at Olympics berth

    Peanut Butter & Co/Twenty12’s Kristin Armstrong won the International Women’s Time Trial Challenge in Solvang on Friday, and confirmed her return to the highest level of women’s cycling. Armstrong beat a field that included U.S. National Champion Evelyn Stevens of HTC-Highroad and World Champion Emma Pooley of Garmin-Cervélo. An Olympic gold medallist in Beijing and a two-time world champion, Armstrong left the sport after the 2009 season to have a baby. Now, eight months after the birth of her son, she is back.

    Though Armstrong has ridden several high-level races in the United States this season, Friday marked her first victory since her return. Armstrong rode 48 seconds faster than current World Champion Pooley, which is a significant gap over the relatively short 24.1 kilometer course. Pooley finished fifth. Another former world champion and US national champion Amber Neben finished 13 seconds behind Armstrong, while current US national champion Stevens rode 39 seconds slower. Armstrong made a commanding statement in the invitation-only event.

    “It hurt really bad but I always tell people that if you’re hurting so is everyone else, and you just have to keep digging through and don’t get discouraged,” Armstrong said. “I took my own advice today. I just kept on digging and digging and digging.” The up and down course suited her strengths which include not only strong legs, but also fearless bike handling.

    The Solvang course runs uphill for the first half then downhill to the finish over curving roads. “A lot of people said that the race was to the top of the climb, because you can’t gain time downhill, but with my strengths, I took every corner with 110 percent risk, took...

  • Efimkin almost rewarded for risk on Mt Baldy

    Alexander Efimkin (most aggressive rider)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 4:04 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Russian earns consolation of Most Courageous Rider award

    Aleksandr Efimkin (Team Type 1-Sanofi Aventis) did not achieve the overall ranking that he set out to at beginning of the Amgen Tour of California. However, his sixth place performance on the queen stage seven atop Mt Baldy, following an all day breakaway, was enough to secure the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey.

    "It was my hope to race well on this stage but obviously RadioShack has a lot of speed and they are really strong," Efimkin said to Cyclingnews. "It was good today. We tried and I was really close."

    Efimkin broke away from the peloton during the chaotic opening kilometres of stage seven. His companions included Ryder Hesjedal and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Cervelo), George Hincapie (BMC Racing), Rob Britton (Bissell), King of the Mountain leader Pat McCarty (SpiderTech p/b C10), Francesco Belloti (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Grischa Niermann (Rabobank).

    Efimkin was the last rider in the breakaway to get caught by Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) and his teammate and current race leader Chris Horner. When the catch did happen it was with less than three kilometres to the top of the decisive Mt Baldy, a more than 25-kilometre ascent.

    "I’m so impressed with Alex and the ride that he did today," said Team Type 1 Sanofi Aventis co-founder Phil Southerland. "He was upset about the first six days and how he placed overall but that’s bike racing."

    "Today he said that he wanted to be in the break and that he wanted to go for the win and that he was going to leave it all out on the road, and that’s what he did," he added. "I couldn’t be happier for the ride that he did. Sixth place on this stage and holding off the RadioShack train for as long as he did was impressive. He’s the man."

    Leipheimer won the race to the top of the...

  • Ten Dam satisfied with California performace after Baldy

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) put in a fine climb for third.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2011, 4:52 BST
    By:
    Jen See

    Third on queen stage ends solid week for Dutchman

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) came to this year’s Amgen Tour of California for the mountains. The Dutch climber set out to chase stage results in the race’s two mountain-top finishes. In this goal, he has largely succeeded.

    “I came here to try and do well in the two mountain stages. I was eighth on Sierra Rd. and third today, so I did well this week,” he commented to Cyclingnews after Saturday’s mountainous stage to the 6500 foot summit of Mount Baldy.

    Ten Dam also finished the day sixth in the general classification.

    “I think I did a good job and the team is happy,” he said. The Amgen Tour of California is an important race for the Dutch squad, whose Rabobank sponsor has extensive interests in California. In fact the Paso Robles stage finished nearly on the front doorstep of a Rabobank office.

    On the first uphill finish of the race in San Jose, Ten Dam finished 1:45 behind Chris Horner, who did a huge ride on the steep Sierra Rd climb, and just 30 seconds behind second-placed rider Andy Schleck. That result was a happy surprise after Ten Dam began the stage feeling less than perfect.

    “[In San Jose] I was suffering from the beginning. I felt not that good,” he said of the fast racing on Wednesday’s stage 4. But on the early slopes of Mount Hamilton, Ten Dam found his legs and rode up through the field to the front. “I found myself in the first twenty pretty easily and a lot of guys had stopped already, so I was thinking it was okay for me,” he said. The Rabobank rider reached the final climb in the front group and set for a high stage placing.

    Sierra Road rises relentlessly from the valley floor, and there is no space for recovery. Ten Dam said.

    “The last climb was just go hard from the...