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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 29, 2011

Date published:
May 29, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Kiryienka paid tribute to Xavier Tondo

    Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar Team) dedicates his win to Xavier Tondo
    Article published:
    May 28, 2011, 22:57 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Movistar Belarusian solos to team's second Giro stage win

    Movistar rider Vasili Kiryienka put in a strong performance on the legendary gravelled roads of the Colle delle Finestre climb to shed his breakaway companions and solo to victory in the final mountain stage of Giro d'Italia. It was an emotional win for the 29-year-old Belarusian following the death of his teammate Xavier Tondo in a domestic accident in Granada last week.

    Kiryienka crossed the finishing line pointing his fingers to the sky after putting his glasses on to cover his tears.

    "I dedicate this victory to Xavi," Kiryienka said. "He was a good teammate and he was well integrated into our team. I knew him well during our Belgian campaign in Liège. He was a good guy. He loved this life, he loved cycling, he loved suffering and winning.

    "The best way to pay tribute to him was to win a stage like this for him. I'm happy that I managed to do it. I'm glad we stayed at the race while another part of our team has been close to his family during this difficult time. We've done what he would have liked us to do."

    The Belarusian rider acknowledged that he had the intention to ride the Giro for GC after finishing second (to Fränk Schleck) at the Criterium International, tenth at both the Vuelta a Murcia and at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (where he also earned a stage win).

    "But I went into crisis on the Passo Giau on stage 15 and I needed time to recover," he said. "Today I felt good from the start and I've done what pleases my team."

    Kiryienka had some nice words also for Oleg Tinkoff, the Russian sponsor who launched a Pro Continental team under his own name in 2007. "He opened the road for me,"...

  • Gadret versus Rodriguez: duel of non-time triallists

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) attacked even though he is not at his best.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 0:40 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman and Spaniard in contention for top five

    In the finale of stage 20 to Sestriere, two riders went on the attack because they had it in mind to gain some time over their adversaries, as they were well aware that they can only lose some during the final time trial. John Gadret accelerated to catch up with Joaquim Rodriguez who had attacked from the pink jersey group with ten kilometres remaining before reaching the ski resort that hosted the 2006 winter Olympics.

    Rodriguez came home in third position as Vassil Kiryienka and José Rujano were unreachable. Gadret closed the stage in fifth 1.04 after the Spaniard from Katusha, who moved up from eighth to fifth overall as he passed Kanstantsin Sivtsov, Mikel Nieve and Roman Kreuziger. The Frenchman's action helped him to strengthen his fourth place on GC just slightly. He has 1.38 advantage over Rodriguez, 2.34 over Rujano, 2.49 over Kreuziger and 3.02 over Denis Menchov - who was Gadret's biggest threat until he lost 55 seconds on him on stage 19.

    "Today I've attacked for losing the least time possible from Rodriguez," Gadret explained. "I had no hope of a top three finish, I'm realistic about that. I was only defending my fourth place. Time trial on flat roads is my weak point. Rodriguez and I are pretty much the same. I hope he won't gain that time on me in the time trial."

    Gadret and Rodriguez are usually close to the bottom of the ranking in flat time trials. While the Frenchman seems to have enough of a margin to keep his fourth place, the Spaniard needs to complete the 26km course from Rho to the piazza Duomo in Milan with a deficit inferior to 1.11 from Kreuziger, who can reasonably target the top 5 overall. Menchov also remains in contention for the top 5 with 1.24 to close on Rodriguez. The Russian is only 13...

  • Yorkshire bids for 2016 Tour de France Grand Départ

    The peloton rides through the British countryside on stage one
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 2:17 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Tourism chief promises "best international" stages yet

    England's largest county, Yorkshire, is reportedly in "advanced talks" to host the 2016 Tour de France Grand Départ.

    Speaking with the Yorkshire Post, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity confirmed the bid.

    "Those in-depth discussions are ongoing but I can reveal Yorkshire's bid has been positively received by the organisation committee at this stage," he said.

    "Yorkshire is a world-class destination experienced at successfully hosting world-class events and we believe it will provide the perfect backdrop to the world's greatest cycle race, producing the best international Grand Départ the Tour de France has seen yet."

    England last hosted the Tour in 2007 when London was the site of an 8 kilometre prologue, while stage 1 saw a dramatic win by Australia's Robbie McEwen over 208 kilometres between the capital and Canterbury. Over two million people are estimated to have lined the roads to witness the racing first-hand.

    Previously, the Tour also visited Dover, Brighton and Portsmouth in 1994 while 20 years earlier it began in Plymouth.

    Should this latest bid be successful, the race would visit the Yorkshire Dales, York, the North York Moors to the coastal resort of Scarborough before heading south to Hull and then Sheffield. Tour de France organisers will visit Yorkshire next month to see the proposed route.

    Leeds City Council's Keith Wakefield, said that hosting the Tour was an exciting opportunity.

    "This is one of the most famous sporting events in the world and Leeds would be incredibly proud to host the Grand Départ," he said.

    "As one of the UK's most famous sporting cities I know our businesses...

  • Scarponi and Nibali to fight all the way to Milan for second place

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) lost time to Michele Scarponi (Lampre)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 5:50 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italians within a minute overall before final time trial

    The fight between Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) for second place overall in the Giro d'Italia behind Alberto Contador will go down to the wire and be decided in Sunday's final time trial in Milan.

    Nibali snatched 13 seconds on the finish in Macugnaga on Friday but Scarponi dug deep on the final climb to Sestriere and took back 18 seconds.

    Scarponi now has a 56 second advantage on Nibali but knows that the Sicilian is a far better time trialist and perhaps slightly fresher after three weeks of intense racing.

    At the finish in Macugnaga Scarponi reacted angrily and brushed off the media but he was happier, if very tired, in Sestriere after gaining some precious seconds.

    "I get angry really quickly but I calm down really quickly too. Today I'm not either, I'm just totally empty and cooked," he said, struggling to breathe and wipe the sweat from his eyes.

    "It was really, really hard. The stage was very hard and it was a huge effort. I really suffered on the Colle delle Finestre because the Liquigas-Cannondale team set a really high tempo. In the finale me and Vincenzo attacked each other but I came out on top today. Yesterday he struck a blow but today I gave it him back."

    "It would have been better to end with a road stage and a sprint finish for me but it's a time trial, so we'll see what happens. I won't give up without a fight," Scarponi warned.

    Nibali: The Giro ends in Milan

    Nibali refused to talk immediately after finish...

  • Inside Saxo Bank: Contador wanted three mountain stage wins

    Saxo Bak SunGard directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit at the 2011 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 7:43 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit explains how the Danish team works

    People wondered how Alberto Contador and his clan could work with Bjarne Riis at Saxo Bank-SunGard. The Giro d'Italia has proven a perfect symbiosis between the two personalities, as directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit explained to Cyclingnews after stage 20 in Sestriere.

    "This morning before the start, he [Contador] told us that he wanted to win the stage," Mauduit recalled. "It was the third time he said so at a team meeting after the stages going to finish at the Etna and the Zoncolan. But Vassil Kiryienka had such an impressive ride that Alberto forgot about winning today. Of course he was also determined to win the uphill time trial to Nevegal."

    The Frenchman described the daily meetings conducted by team manager Bjarne Riis. "They are so clear and well prepared that most of the times, there's nothing to add," Mauduit said. "Bjarne is anything but a dictator. He asks us [the other staff members] and the riders to give their comment. During this Giro, the riders intervened about five times. Contador doesn't say much but he wants to make sure the tactic is clear for everybody. Sometimes, he'd ask, in English: Why this? Please explain."

    When Contador decided to leave Astana and join Saxo Bank-SunGard, he asked for a few riders and staff members to come along but he didn't bring any directeurs sportif. "I chose this team for the experience and the competence of Riis and I was sure that he would pick the right technicians for the key positions and it's the case," Contador told Cyclingnews. "I'm happy with the people I'm working with this year. It makes me serene."

    At the beginning of August, most of the staff of the Danish team was to...

  • Gilbert enjoys day on favoured terrain at Tour of Belgium

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has won stage 4 and extends his overall GC lead.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 10:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian praises Omega Pharma-Lotto team

    Another sharp hilltop finish and another victory for Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on stage three of the Tour of Belgium. As at Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Gilbert simply had too much for his breakaway companions on the haul to the line.

    “It seems that they’re becoming my speciality, these races with short, steep hills,” Gilbert joked to La Dernière Heure after Saturday’s stage, which he explained had been his sole objective for the Tour of Belgium.

    “I already held the black jersey since yesterday, but in fact I had only marked today’s stage in red in my road book,” he said. “The leader’s jersey wasn’t an objective in itself, but now that I have it, I’m not going to complain.”

    Gilbert moved into the overall lead on Friday and reinforced his advantage by overpowering Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet) on the Mur de Frankendelle in Eupen. Gilbert had already been the instigator of that winning move 30km from the finish.

    “I started to accelerate when we reached some tailwind sections, that’s how our lead group formed,” he explained. Although riding close to home roads in Wallonia and on terrain well-suited to his characteristics, Gilbert explained that he was not familiar with the finale in Eupen.

    “The local circuit at the end was a surprise to me,” he noted. “I don’t come to train here very often. I gave everything in the last kilometre and nobody came back up to me.”


  • Indurain calls for resolution in Contador case

    Evgeni Berzin and Miguel Indurain
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 11:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Laments status of "half-sanctioned" rider

    Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain has called for a resolution to the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol case, saying that the delay of the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing is good neither for Contador nor for cycling.

    “It goes against Alberto himself and cycling in general,” Indurain said, quoted in Marca. “Such a delay is hard to understand.”

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol at last year’s Tour de France, but was cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation in February. The UCI and WADA both appealed that decision to CAS but the hearing, initially scheduled for June 6, has now been postponed.

    Although the possibility of sanction looms over his every pedal stroke, Contador has been free to compete since February. On Sunday, he is set to wear the pink jersey into Milan in the Giro d’Italia’s final time trial, while the delay in the CAS hearing leaves the door open to him to start the Tour de France.

    Ten months on from the disputed test, Indurain believes that the uncertainty over Contador’s status needs to be put to rest one way or another.

    “It’s not clear about the rule [on the traces of Clenbuterol in Contador’s sample – ed], making it very difficult to apply,” Indurain said. “But of course a decision like this can’t be delayed so much, because Alberto is half-sanctioned and is still awaiting a final decision. And it’s been a year of this.”

    Indurain himself tested positive for Salbutamol at the 1994 Tour de l’Oise, but was not sanctioned after both the UCI and IOC accepted his defence that the traces of the substance came about from his use of an inhaler.

  • Exclusive video: Contador talks about winning the Giro d'Italia

    Alberto Contador with his special saddle.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2011, 13:51 BST
    Stephen Farrand and Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard gives rare interview in English

    Alberto Contador has reiterated that his consistency and concentration was the key factor in securing victory at the Giro d'Italia, the sixth grand tour victory of his career.

    Contador rarely speaks in English because he claims he does not want to be misunderstood. However he agreed to speak briefly to Cyclingnews on the final day of the Giro d'Italia.

    Contador has spoken about his Clenbuterol doping case from the 2010 Tour de France and the hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport several times during the Giro d'Italia but preferred to avoid the subject while speaking in English because he felt he would be unable to express himself fully.

    During the interview he talked how he won the Giro d'Italia and how he is not interested in the number of Grand Tours he may go on to win during his career.

    Despite reports in Gazzetta dello Sport that he wants a Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double, Contador and his entourage refused to confirm that he will definitely ride the Tour de France in July. A final decision will be taken after he has returned to Spain.

    Before riding the final time trial to Milan, Contador also autographed a special pink Prologo saddle that will be auctioned to raise funds for the victims of the Japan earthquake.