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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 23, 2010

Date published:
May 23, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Arroyo pulls on the maglia rosa

    David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne), the Giro's new leader, salutes the tifosi.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 20:56 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard rates Nibali as Giro favourite

    The climb of Monte Grappa was likely to shake-up the overall classification at the Giro d'Italia but few people expected that it would mean that David Arroyo from Caisse d’Epargne is the new maglia rosa of the race with seven stages left to race. It is the latest change in the overall lead in one of the most unpredictable Giro d'Italia for years.

    Arroyo is first Spanish wearer of the maglia rosa since Alberto Contador, took it, and won it, in 2008. The climber comes from Talavera de la Reina near Toledo, the home of famous Spanish climber Federico Bahamontes who won the 1959 Tour de France.

    "This jersey is a dream come true for me”, said Arroyo in the post-stage press conference. “My team has showed a great confidence in me and I have a lot of respect for what Nibali, Basso, Scarponi and Evans have done today on the Monte Grappa. I’m sure they will never give up their hope of winning overall. But now that I’m in pink, I’ll see day after day if I can keep it.”

    Arroyo admitted his advantage over Nibali is significant but does not know if it is enough.

    “It’s quite a big lead”, Arroyo said. “I didn’t come here with the intention to win the Giro d’Italia, so I don’t want to put this idea in my mind yet. We’ll do our best. I’m used to work for my captains at Caisse d’Epargne, Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez. Now I’ve seized the opportunity to become the leader. I suppose the coming stages will change the situation of the classification drastically but I’ll work a lot to defend the jersey, that’s for sure.”

    The Spaniard reckons Vincenzo Nibali is the big favourite for the overall victory, even though he young Italian is 6.51 behind him in the overall classification.

    “I know the Zoncolan we’ll climb tomorrow because I’ve done it in 2007, it’s a very hard...

  • Evans not happy after Monte Grappa

    Cadel Evans (BMC) leads the chase of Nibali
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 21:19 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Hopes for better on Sunday's Zoncolan finish

    Cadel Evans (BMC) confirmed he is one of the major contenders for the overall victory at the Giro d’Italia. Thanks to a strong ride on Monte Grappa, he managed to regain some of the time he lost to Carlos Sastre and new race leader David Arroyo but he still wasn’t satisfied with his ride, especially on the descent.

    Evans lost contact with Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi towards the top of the Monte Grappa but got back to Basso and Scarponi on the descent. However he described the way he rode downhill as “a disgrace”.

    “It hasn’t been a great day for me”, he told Cyclingnews, when he crossed the finishing line in Asolo. “I think I’ve suffered a bit. It was the first hot and humid day.”

    “The Liquigas team has demonstrated to be the strongest team of this Giro d’Italia,” he then said in Italian. "Nibali rode like a beast. He took a lot of risks. It was his day. I managed to stay with these guys up the climb without feeling at my best, so the outcome is pretty good. I’m happy with my progression on GC.”

    Evans moved up from 15th overall 11.10 down on the pink jersey at the start of the stage, to tenth, 7.26 behind new race leader Arroyo.

    After a difficult day, he hopes to feel more at his ease on the steeper slopes of the Zoncolan on Sunday.

    “I’ll only attack if I have good legs, otherwise I’d take the risk of blowing”, he warned. “But uphill finishes are definitely the places for me to regain the time lost.”

    The Australian has been a bit nervous in the past few days but seems more relax as the mountains arrive in the final week of the Giro d'Italia. The weaknesses of his BMC team will be less of a problem when it comes down to individual strength on the uphill finishes.

  • Leipheimer bumped off California’s time trial throne

    Unlike previous years, with one stage remaining, the Tour of California is not in the bag for Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack), who placed fourth today.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 4:01 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Three-time champion happy with the effort despite the loss

    Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) lost his first time trial in three years at the Amgen Tour of California’s penultimate seventh stage held in downtown Los Angeles. The defending champion placed fourth, 33 seconds off winner Tony Martin’s (HTC-Columbia) pace in a performance that caused him to further lose time toward the overall classification.

    Martin won the 33.6 km time trial in 41:41 minutes, good enough to beat his teammate and race leader Michael Rogers by 22 seconds and US National Time Trial Champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) by an additional five seconds. Leipheimer rode in with a fourth place time of 42:14 minutes.

    “I can be happy,” said Leipheimer. “When I come to the Tour of California, if I don’t win, I lose and that is a lot of expectations. I can be happy with this time trial.”

    This is the first year that Leipheimer has not worn the gold leader’s jersey during the Tour. This year the jersey has changed hands several times since starting on Mark Cavendish’s (HTC-Columbia) shoulders after stage one. Brett Lancaster (Cervelo Test Team) claimed it with his win on stage two before Zabriskie secured it on stage three and finally Rogers’ successful sprint for time bonuses bumped him into the lead on stage five.

    Rogers leads the race by nine seconds over Zabriskie, with Leipheimer 25 seconds in arrears with one stage remaining.

    “I’m not making excuses but I was hoping for a few percent more in the legs,” Leipheimer said. “Dave and Mick have just been a fraction better than me all week and they proved it today.”

    AEG Sports, organiser of the eight-day event, moved the time trial from its traditional hilly course in the Danish town of Solvang to a flat course held in downtown Los Angeles. The course is well-suited to a rider like Zabriskie, who was the odds-on favorite to win the stage.

    “I have no...

  • Burghardt out of California with possible elbow fracture

    German Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing Team) was looking to prove himself worthy of leadership for the big Classics races.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 5:01 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider hopes to return at Tour de Suisse

    The Amgen Tour of California has claimed another victim, as Marcus Burghardt of BMC Racing Team was forced to withdraw from the race due to crash. The German did not start Saturday's time trial in Los Angeles due to a suspected fracture in his right elbow.

    Burghardt and teammate Chris Butler crashed in the feed zone of Friday's sixth stage, with Burghardt injuring his elbow. "Already in the race, I felt that I couldn't bend it," Burghardt said. "I couldn't pull on the bars."

    However, he still managed to end the 217km queen stage and was then take to hospital. "It's possible he has a little fracture of the radius," said team doctor Max Testa. “We need to repeat the X-ray in a couple of days to see. But if it is a fracture, it is a small fracture – most likely in an area that doesn't require anything but rest."

    Burghardt was scheduled to fly to Salt Lake City on Saturday for additional examinations. "For sure, it's not the perfect moment to have a possible break because my form is going well," Burghardt said. "But I hope that I can race in two weeks at the GP Kanton Aargau in Gippingen and for sure at the Tour de Suisse."

  • Rogers fired up to win Amgen Tour of California

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) has every reason to smile, after moving one step closer to winning the Tour of California.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 5:03 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Race finale boasts decisive circuit climbs

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) added a few additional seconds of padding to his overall lead during the Amgen Tour of California’s stage seven time trial, held in downtown Los Angeles. Despite losing two riders to a stage six’s time cut, the three-time world time trial champion is confident that he can win the overall title on the eighth and final stage.

    “I just saw a bunch of roads in front of me, didn’t really see too much,” Rogers said. “It was a spectacular place for the time trial in one of the world’s city centre stages, in a beautiful race and it was certainly one that I will remember.”

    Roger’s teammate Tony Martin won the 33.6 km time trial in 41:41 minutes, beating Rogers by 22 seconds and USA Time Trial Champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) by an additional five seconds. Three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) rode in for fourth place, 33 seconds back.

    Rogers moved into the overall race lead on stage five and furthered his advantage by picking up time bonuses on the queen stage six atop Big Bear Lake. He heads into the final stage with a nine second lead on Zabriskie and 25 seconds to Leipheimer.

    The grand finale 134 km circuit race includes four laps of a 33 km course and a 1,000 feet climb up the Mulholland Highway located 10 kilometres from the finish line in Agoura Hills.

    “We haven’t seen the course and the majority of the riders in the race can only go by what is in the race booklet,” Rogers said. “We will send some of our management around the course to see it tonight. They will attack and they will attack hard, I am sure. The logical place to attack is on the climb and I would do the same if I was in that position. My job is to mark the top general classification guys and if they move I’ll move.

    “With regard to the tactics of the race, first and foremost is to protect the...

  • Quick Step shopping for sprinters

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere hopes to sign Alberto Contador for the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 8:00 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Manager Lefevere in the market at Amgen Tour of California

    The Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere is seeking to boost his team with another sprinter to add to the firepower already provided by star Tom Boonen, he revealed at the Amgen Tour of California. Lefevere was on hand at the time trial in Los Angeles on Saturday enjoying the sunny weather in spite of his team's lack of luck in the race.

    Boonen crashed on the first stage, hampering the team's chances of winning a bunch sprint, and then finally abandoned early on stage six. The loss of Boonen in this race and the fact that he has been responsible for four of only seven team victories this season only served to drive home the point that the squad needs another go-to man for the bunch kicks.

    "Tom Boonen doesn't want to sprint in every race, so [I am looking for] an Andre Greipel or somebody like that," Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    In addition to looking to improve the team's performance in flat races, Lefevere is also hoping to bolster the squad's Grand Tour contingent. While Lefevere was open about the fact that he was courting Tour de France champion Alberto Contador last year, he was uncertain about the situation of the Spaniard for the 2011 season.

    "Nobody knows exactly what the situation is with Contador. I will see. I think I will see him in the Dauphiné Libéré, and then there is time enough to tell. With someone who wants to win the Tour de France you actually don't speak to them before the Tour de France, but after," Lefevere said.

    "It will depend on the market and the budget. I cannot buy if I don't have [money]," he said. "It should be interesting. Otherwise I have a few young riders who are doing really very well in mountains like Dries Devenyns and Kevin Seeldraeyers and I think they have made a nice progression this year. I will see how far they come in the mountains in the Tour de France."

    The Belgian indicated the market place is in a unique situation right now because several big...

  • Riis: Schleck, Cancellara on target for Tour

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) happy to be racing in California.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 8:17 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    No expectations for Amgen Tour of California

    If Saxo Bank’s World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara and Luxembourg Road Champion Andy Schleck have failed to impress at the Amgen Tour of California this week, it is because the pair are using the eight-day event to prepare for the Tour de France. According to Bjarne Riis both talents are still on target for their July endeavors.

    “You can see by how we raced here that we are decent but we are not strong,” Riis told Cyclingnews. “Our next big objective is the Tour. We did not expect to win the race here but that is how it is.

    “Both Andy and Fabian are aiming for the Tour de France,” he reiterated. “They are both on good targets for the Tour de France and that is the way it has to be. I think this race was perfect training actually. The only thing about it was the travel and time zone but other than that it is perfect for us to be here.”

    The crowds went wild when Cancellara rolled off the start ramp sporting his world champion skin-suit at the stage seven 33.6 km time trial held in Los Angeles. His resume as a time trialist, not to mention his recent wins at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, made him one of the favorites to win the individual event. However he crossed the line with a time of 43:26 minutes, down in 16th place.

    “He went as hard as he could here today,” Riis said. “But we knew his form was not good enough to win today and it is not a big deal. He’s been taking some time off since the Classics. His next focus is the Tour, to do well in the prologue and to work for the team.”

    Schleck showed signs of struggling on the decisive Bonny Doon Road ascent during the stage three road race, where he could not hold on to the lead climbers’ pace. He did, however, land himself in the significant breakaway for nearly 200 km during the queen stage six that finished atop Big Bear Lake.

    “Andy wanted to try to...

  • Landis makes an appearance at the Amgen Tour of California

    Floyd Landis was helping out at the OUCH-Bahati Foundation VIP tent in California.
    Article published:
    May 23, 2010, 13:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Lemond forgives Landis

    Floyd Landis was in Los Angeles for the time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Saturday, making his first public appearance since he confessed to doping and accused many of his former teammates.

    Landis was a guest at the VIP tent paid for by sponsor and close friend Dr Brent Kay. He arrived late into the time trial and was protected by four security guards wearing bulletproof vests, who tried to block media taking photographs of Landis. He refused to speak to the media.

    According to the Associated Press, a member of the public shouted: "Floyd, you suck," but Landis seemed relaxed and relieved to have finally spoken out.

    He spent most of his time talking to guests in the OUCH tent and showed little interest in the race, although he did turn to watch some of the riders he had accused as they rode the final lap of the course. A few minutes after the time trial finished, Landis slipped out of the back of the OUCH VIP tent. He again refused to answer questions and was driven away.

    Some of the people Landis has accused of doping and used to be close friends were surprised to hear he was in Los Angeles.

    “He’s here, really?” Zabriskie told the New York Times after he finished third in the time trial. “Tell him I said hi. How’s he doing?”

    After finishing fourth in the time trial, Levi Leipheimer spoke about Landis' accusation for the first time to the Los Angeles Times. "This isn't new to us," he said. "We knew something was coming. To be honest, I'm not worried about it. And, no, I have nothing to say."

    Jim Ochowicz, the Team BMC Racing president told the New York Times, “Everybody’s free to do whatever they want; it’s a free country. I haven’t had contact with Floyd in a long time. I feel sorry for him.”

    Ochowicz refused to say if he had been contacted by anti-doping officials or FDA agents...