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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 25, 2014

Date published:
May 25, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • A year on from Giro d'Italia crash, Battaglin takes his revenge at Oropa

    Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF) on the podium enjoys his win
    Article published:
    May 24, 2014, 21:15 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Second win in as many days for Bardiani-CSF

    The summit finish at Oropa was the first of a weekend doubleheader recalling two of the late Marco Pantani's victories but for Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia marked a more recent and personal anniversary.

    On the equivalent stage 12 months ago - also, incidentally, a mountain leg in Piedmont, to Bardonecchia - Battaglin crashed after 25 kilometres and was forced out of the Giro, spending almost a week in hospital after suffering broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the incident.

    One year on, Battaglin's day ended with a bouquet atop the podium after he pulled off an improbable victory at Oropa, his second stage win at the Giro after his finisseur's triumph at Serra San Bruno in 2013. "That fall last year gave me a lot of determination," Battaglin said afterwards. "It was this very day of the Giro last year, in fact. I fell then and today I've won, so it's a kind of revenge."

    Touted as a coming force in the one-day Classics since his amateur days at Zalf-Fior - "I think I'm best suited to the Ardennes but my dream race is Milan-San Remo," he explained - Battaglin could hardly have expected to triumph on the first Alpine stage of the Giro. Indeed, he wasn't even designated by Bardiani-CSF manager Roberto Reverberi to enter the day's early break, a 21-man move that ghosted clear in the first kilometre.

    "I attacked at the start, not quite as a joke, but as if to say, ‘let's go,'" Battaglin said. "I wasn't the man told to go in the break, that should have been Edoardo Zardini, but I had a go. I've been climbing well recently and it worked out."

    Handed their day passes from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team of maglia rosa Rigoberto Uran, the escapees hit Biella at the foot of the final climb to Oropa with a...

  • Rolland weighs up two objectives at Giro d'Italia

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
    Article published:
    May 24, 2014, 22:27 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Attacking showing moves Frenchman into top 10 overall

    Pierre Rolland has attacked the Giro d'Italia's mountain stages to date with all the insouciance of a man who decided to line up almost on whim, but as the race enters its endgame in the high mountains, the Europcar rider is beginning to take serious strides in the general classification.

    "It's simple. I did Tirreno-Adriatico and I liked it a lot, so I took a look at the parcours of the Giro and I said to myself, ‘that's the race for me,'" Rolland told Cyclingnews in Agliè at the start of stage 14, when asked about his decision to make his Giro debut this year. "There are 10 summit finishes with an uphill time trial and another tough time trial, and, besides, I didn't just want to be a rider who only does the Tour de France every year."

    A long-range attack on the road to Montecopiolo went unrewarded last weekend but, not to be deterred, Rolland was again on the offensive on Saturday's stage. With almost 50 kilometres remaining, the Frenchman jumped clear of the pink jersey group on the climb to Bielmonte, with teammate Bjorn Thurau for company.

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) bridged across later to provide a welcome reinforcement to the Rolland group, and while their alliance was not enough to reel in the early escapees on the final climb to Oropa, the pair did gain almost 40 seconds on maglia rosa Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

    "I had really good legs, and I decided that I'd try something a bit crazy again, but luck was on my side," Rolland said at the summit, after changing into a long-sleeve jersey and a skull cap for the ride back down the climb to his team bus."

    "I gained a bit of time today. I had the luck to have a teammate in the break in front [Perrig Quemeneur] and Bjorn Thurau did great work...

  • Quintana happy to be to his best at Giro d'Italia

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) out of the saddle and on the attack
    Article published:
    May 24, 2014, 22:53 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Movistar leader gains time and morale after attacking on climb to Oropa

    Nairo Quintana gulped in huge mouthfuls of air after crossing the finish line in Oropa at the end of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia, but there were also signs of a satisfaction on his face after he finally put his health problems behind him and distanced race leader Rigoberto Uran.

    "I ended the day much happier than in the last few days; I'm feeling better at last," the Colombian climber said after getting changed in a Movistar van parked near the finish.

    "I had better legs today and that's a good sign for what's to come. Ever since I crashed I've had some bad days, especially suffering with the flu that gave me problems for several days. Fortunately, everything seems to be back on track, and today's stage gives me confidence and reassures me for the remainder of the race."

    Quintana did not hesitate to follow Domenico Pozzovivo when he jumped away from Uran, Cadel Evans and the remainder of the overall contenders three kilometres from the finish, on the steepest part of the climb to Oropa. He did not share the work with the Italian but then jumped him in sight of the line. He gain 25 seconds on Uran and made it clear he was back to best on the climbs.

    His comeback has begun and he will try to regain his 3:04 deficit in the remaining four mountain finishes and the Monte Grappa mountain time trial.

    "The 25 seconds to Urán are not a lot compared to what I'm still trailing him by, but they're useful and show me that we can gain time in the mountains," Quintana said.

    "Tomorrow's difficulty is at the end and we will keep the same plan as today, trying to stay close to the favourites and see what we can do. There's still a long way to go in this...

  • Pozzovivo gains time but vents his anger at Quintana at Giro d'Italia

    Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) leads Nairo Quintana to Oropa
    Article published:
    May 24, 2014, 23:45 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian attacks Uran but accuses the Colombian of not helping him

    Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) went on the attack on the climb to Oropa and then also vented his anger after stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia.

    The Italian gained time on his overall rivals and exposed Rigoberto Uran's limits, but was that was not enough to quell his anger with Nairo Quintana, who went on the attack with him in the final three kilometres of the climb but refused to help gain time on their rivals.

    "He said he was at his limit but he clearly wasn't by the way he jumped me in sight of the line," Pozzovivo said angrily of Quintana, as he wrapped a towel around his neck after crossing the finish line.

    "I wanted to try something and Quintana came up to me but he wouldn't pull through. The idea of the attack was to gain time but the pink jersey but we won’t do that if play games."

    Pozzovivo gained 21 seconds on Uran and 17 seconds on Evans. He is fourth overall, at 2:11 but is convinced he is the best climber in this year's Giro d'Italia, that he can pull back further time and challenge for overall victory.

    "I lost a little speed in the finale, but it was a good try. I took back a little time. But we cannot let these opportunities go by without trying," he said, buoyed by his performance.

    "Uran perhaps paid for his huge effort in the time trial but I think I showed I'm the strongest on the climbs now. I think we all saw that. It's a good sign, and I'll try again tomorrow (Sunday) too!"

  • Tour de France 2015 second stage will start in Utrecht and visit North Sea coast

    The 2015 Tour de France Grand Depart
    Article published:
    May 25, 2014, 0:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Zeeland to wecome its first Tour stage; Antwerp the start for stage 3

    The second stage of the 2015 Tour de France will run from Utrecht to the Neeltje Jans in Zeeland, Netherlands, giving that province its first ever Tour stage finish. The latter part of the stage will down the North Sea coast, with its strong winds.

    The Neeltje Jans is an artificial island which was made to help with the construction of the Oosterschelde dam, a storm surge barrier on the Dutch coast designed to protect the country from North Sea flooding.

    The North Sea coast is totally flat, but provides its own difficulties. As the Zeeland provincial government said in a statement on, “Here, the Tour de France will see no Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux, but possibly 'the Dutch mountain': the infamous Zeeland wind. The Tour de France, you will not win it in Zealand, but you can lose it here.”

    The Tour 2015 will open with an individual time trial in Utrecht on July 4. The next stage will go through Rotterdam to the coast. Stage 3 will start in Antwerp, Belgium, which the Tour last visited in 2001. The start in Rotterdam was announced last November. Further details will be released at the official announcement in October.  

  • Jarlinson Pantano comes close to Giro d'Italia stage win

    The sprint to decide stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 25, 2014, 2:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Colombia looking to animate the race in the mountains

    In the final moments of the Giro d'Italia's stage 14, it appeared that Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) and Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) would duel for win only for Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF) to trump them both and take a memorable win. After the stage, Pantano was in tears having been part of a breakaway that lasted for the best part of 150km only to come up just short.

    "I had a great chance, [I was] really close to winning a Giro stage. I feel sad now, but aware it was a great result for Team Colombia and me personally," said Pantano after he finished third on the stage, fading in the final meters once Battaglin had made his move.

    While Pantano was agonising over what might have been, Team Colombia’s manager Claudio Corti was proud of how the 25-year-old had ridden.

    "We've just to applaud Pantano with no regrets. Giro climbs inspire our riders and I strongly believe we'll be in the spotlight again, hopefully there is a good day for Fabio Duarte to come as well," Corti said.

    The first of the Giro's high mountain stages was full of fireworks with several races going on within the race as the large breakaway — which contained 21-riders — tired to last to the line. Back in the peloton, the GC men were starting to make their moves and displayed no interest in making the catch of the leaders on the road, letting the likes of Pantano to chase a stage win.

    On the third climb of the day as the racing was heating up, Colombian national champion 

  • Albert Timmer gets his chance to shine at the Giro d'Italia

    Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) is shattered
    Article published:
    May 25, 2014, 4:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Giant-Shimano domestique active in breakaway

    Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia was a tale of the almost before Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF) clawed his way past the survivors of the long breakaway to claim line honours.

    Giant-Shimano started the 2014 Giro with a bang as Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory on stage 2 and stage 3 before contracting a fever on the transfer to Italy and withdrew from the race and since then, the team has been looking for opportunities in breakaways and came close with Albert Timmer.

    Timmer was one of the 21 riders present in the breakaway and when the group started to splinter as the attacks came thick and fast, Timmer found himself with BMC's Manuel Quinziato on the descent to the foot of the final climb to Oropa as the leaders on the road.

    A mechanical on the early ramps left Quinzato stranded and Timmer out on his own. He kept his lead until he was inside the final three kilometres, where Dario Cataldo and Jarlinson Pantano joined him, then breezed away from him.

    "I surprised myself a bit today," said Albert after descending back down to the team bus. "The final was really hard today and I was riding at my max but it was an all or nothing move so I just stayed focused on keeping my rhythm.

    "Leading up that climb with all the fans on the road gave me goosebumps and it was a strange feeling. It was close but in the end a bit too much. I'm still happy with...

  • Mollema gets first win of 2014 at Tour of Norway

    Bauke Mollema (Belkin) celebrates a big win
    Article published:
    May 25, 2014, 7:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Team effort and agressive riding delivers Dutchman to victory

    Bauke Mollema notched his first win of the year and Belkin's 10th on the fourth stage of the Tour of Norway. The 27-year-old made it two wins in two days for Belkin having seen Sep Vanmarcke win the sprint for stage 3 at the 2.HC race.

    With riders rewarded for attacking racing, Mollema had broken free from the peloton and lead the race into the final corner with two riders on his wheel. Mollema accelerated to claim the win and move to within six seconds of race leader Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare) while his chasers picked themselves up having crashed at a crucial point.

    "Fantastic," said Mollema. "'I'm very happy to win here. The Tour of Norway is a very nice race."

    It was on the final corner of the 195km stage that Mollema's two breakaway companions hit the deck and quickly remounted with Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) crossing the line in second place, three seconds later while Lars Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) was third.

    "This was planned," Mollema told Cyclingnews at the finish. "It's a pity that I'm not leading but there's one more stage. Looking back, we shouldn't have slowed down before the uphill finish as we watched each other a little bit. But that's cycling."

    In the final 60km of the queen stage, the peloton tackled the Kinnshaugen climb twice and it was during the first ascent that Belkin raised the pace to drop the riders with...