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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 30, 2010

Date published:
May 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Is Kiserlovski Liquigas’s next big thing?

    Robert Kiserlovski (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 18:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Croatian is second best young rider in Giro d’Italia

    Richie Porte isn’t the only rookie occupying the top 10 of the Giro d’Italia in his first attempt at a Grand Tour. Croatian Robert Kiserlovski hasn’t been able to challenge the Australian for the white jersey of best young rider because he got sick before the final week, and he has had to put himself at the service of maglia rosa Ivan Basso. However, Kiserlovski still sits ninth overall heading into the final stage.

    “For four days I’ve had an upset stomach because of a virus," Kiserlovski told Cyclingnews prior to the start of stage 20 in Bormio.

    “Unfortunately, during these four days, we had to climb the Monte Grappa, the Zoncolan and Plan de Corones. I felt a bit better during the uphill time trial. But I have to work on my time trialing. That’s something I’ll focus on soon.”

    Nevertheless, the 23-year-old from Rijeka, who still lives in his country, remains one of the revelations of the Giro d’Italia after winning the Giro dell’Appennino in late April.

    “I’m very happy," he said. “This is my first Grand Tour. I didn’t have a lot of experience. For the future, it’s cool.”

    Kiserlovski is one of the most impressive riders of his generation. The Liquigas-Doimo team has brought along plenty of young stars with Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani, Daniel Oss and Davide Cimolai. The Croatian transferred from Fuji-Servetto, a team he joined after the fall of Amica Chips one year ago.

    “This young guy is a Croatian miracle," said his good friend Matija Kvasina, who has been Croatia’s best cyclist in recent years.

    “Cycling is getting very popular in Croatia during this Giro," Kiserlovski said. “I got a lot of press. I’m like a hero. I’m introduced as the first Croatian in the top 10 of a Grand Tour. But I want more. I want to finish in the top three of one of the three...

  • Basso delays Giro celebrations until after the Verona TT

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 19:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian extends lead on Arroyo but stays prudent

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) extended his lead in the Giro d'Italia from 51 seconds to 1:15 but was as prudent and pragmatic as ever, refusing to admit that he secured overall victory before Sunday's final time trial stage.

    Basso and his Liquigas-Doimo teammates again controlled the peloton for most of the stage from Bormio to the Passo Tonale and then Basso had the strength to go after Michele Scarponi (Androni) as he tried to chase Cadel Evans (BMC) on the climb to the finish at the summit of the Passo Tonale.

    Basso could almost seen the finish line in Verona from the podium on the 1883 metre high pass but refused to say he had won the Giro d'Italia.

    "I'm happy. It was a good day and I earned a few seconds on Arroyo, but I'm not going to relax yet, anything can still happen," Basso said in the post-race press conference.

    "I've got a good lead but I'm always cautious and don’t want to tempt fate. I'll prepare for the final time trial as if I'm on the same time or 1 sec down overall. I want to have the right focus till the end of he Giro. Then we'll celebrate."

    Basso finished third on the 179km stage, 25 seconds behind Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and nine seconds behind Cadel Evans (BMC). He took the eight-second time bonus from Scarponi, which meant his teammate Vincenzo Nibali held not to third place overall by a single second ahead of Scarponi.

    "It was a very, very difficult day. It was perhaps great to watch but our rivals tried to blow the gruppo apart," he said.

    "Vino went with Sastre on the very first climb. Fortunately we did as (directeur sportif) Stefano Zanatta told us to do. We stayed united as long as possible and didn’t panic. It was risky to let Vino go but I had a lot of trust in my teammates. Yet again they all worked hard, especially Alessandro Vanotti, who was a on a great day and did the work of three men."

    Basso also had special praise...

  • Tschopp in tears after grabbing Giro stage win

    Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) on the podium as stage winner
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 20:50 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Swiss climber celebrates meaningful victory

    Johann Tschopp claimed an emotional, solo stage win at the Passo del Tonale in the 2010 Giro d'Italia after experiencing a difficult start to his career despite his talent as a pure climber. His victory was the first stage win for a Swiss cyclist at the corsa rosa since Alex Zülle in 1998.

    His first words after holding off the attack of Cadel Evans (BMC) were typical of someone who isn't very used to crossing a finishing line first. "This is extraordinary. I feel like I'm dreaming. I'm really happy. I'm on another planet," he said.

    An hour later, he was still so overcome that he had difficulty speaking. In a hypoglycemic state, he struggled to answer questions in the press conference. After eating some sugar, he tried again to find some words to express his feelings.

    "I'm full of emotion," the 27-year-old from Sierre in the Valais region managed to say. "This is enormous. I don't know if I'm in the middle of a dream, but apparently I've won today. I'm thinking of my family. I think of my son Hugo, who was born six months ago. This is the acheivement of my life as a cyclist. I'm in tears."

    Tschopp is not used to winning. His only previous success was a stage at the Tropicale Amissa-Bongo in Gabon at the beginning of last year. Three weeks later, he finished fifth at Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, where he missed winning the queen stage in 2008 because he had a flat tyre while climbing up to Fraser Hill. The Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider has often been unlucky in his attempts to break away.

    "I crashed yesterday as well," he said. "My hip was hurting, and I thought I wouldn't be able to start today but the doctor helped me fix the problem and I felt good."

    He went over the Gavia with Gilberto Simoni, who is taking part in his last race, but he didn't let the Italian veteran crest the top of the highest summit of the Giro d'Italia (the so called Cima Coppi) in first. "A race is a race," said Tschopp....

  • Porte secures white jersey and likely top-eight finish

    It looks likely that Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) will defend his best young rider classification lead through to Verona.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 21:16 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian sensation reveals he almost pulled out with pink jersey

    Saxo Bank's Richie Porte successfully defended his best young rider jersey during the last two mountain stages of the Giro d'Italia. Therefore, he'll ride the final time trial of Verona with the white jersey.

    After the finish of the Giro d'Italia's penultimate day at the Passo del Tonale, the Tasmanian went on stage to receive his white jersey as well as the pink kisses of the race hostesses for the 20th consecutive day of racing. Porte assumed the rank of best young rider at the prologue in Amsterdam and has never relinquished the top position.

    He also wore the pink overall leader's jersey for three days after being part of a large breakaway on stage 11 en route to L'Aquila, but he revealed to Cyclingnews that he had been close to not starting the following stage.

    When he showed up to Città Sant'Angelo at the start of stage 12, he hadn't slept at all that night. "I had diarrhea and a bit of everything," said the man who was up sick all night. "My health was pretty bad, and I didn't really enjoy being in pink because I was suffering badly during those days, but my team decided to keep it quiet so as not to let our adversaries know about my sickness and weakness."

    Porte had a hard time again as the race went up to Livigno during stage 20 on Saturday. "I was dead," he said. "I was finished. It was hard to fight up that hill, but my whole team dragged me back, and I was ok later."

    A couple of days ago, the white jersey was Porte's only obsession, but Saxo Bank directeur sportif Kim Andersen convinced him to ride for GC since he was in second going into the final mountain stages. With the mountains done, he is sixth with only a six-second advantage over Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who could overtake him in the final stage's time trial.

    But Porte is a good time trialist, too. He won the race against the clock at the Tour of Romandie, and he should finish ahead of Carlos Sastre tomorrow. The...

  • Simoni makes one final attack in the mountains

    Gilberto Simoni gave his fans one last performance
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 21:36 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian veteran enjoys his swansong

    Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Farnese Vini) will be given a special lifetime achievement award on the final Giro d'Italia podium on Sunday but had hoped for one last swansong in the mountains on Saturday.

    The 38-year-old veteran Italian climber had struggled through the Giro, yet he found his form just in time for the last stage over the Gavia to Passo Tonale. He got in the right break and his chances looked good, but then the emotions of his final day of glory in the mountains got the better of him.

    He lost the sprint for the Cima Coppi prize at the summit of the Gavia to Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and was eventually caught by the peloton, while Tschopp went on to win the stage.

    Simoni went on to finish 32nd, 6:50 behind Tschopp. It was not the way he hoped to bow out, but his long experience in the saddle has made him philosophical about life and cycling.

    "That hurt," he said as the media at the finish line mobbed him for one last time.

    "It's never easy going in the long break of the day. I got in the right break twice but it was hard all day and there was hardly time to eat. I made some mistakes that made it even harder. On the Gavia I was focused on winning the Cima Coppi prize, I thought it would be a nice way of bowing out but I gave it everything and still didn't win.

    "Perhaps if I'd played more of a bluffing game, I might have had something left for the finish but never mind. That's bike racing."

    Time to bow out

    Simoni will pin on a race number for the last time for Sunday's time trial around Verona. He may ride some post-Giro criteriums though he is happy to end his career now.

    "I'm just glad the Giro is over. I've had enough now," he said.

    "I've known it was time to retire for awhile. It's been on my mind for the last two years. I knew this Giro was my last race. I've been a professional for 17 years, and it really is time to quit.

    "I honestly...

  • Arroyo takes no risks, but keeps second place

    David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne) finishes in fifth.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 22:23 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spanish downhill specialist happy with likely Giro podium finish

    Former pink jersey wearer David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) didn't try to regain the race's lead from Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) during the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia on the Gavia. Aware of his skills, many observers had imagined the damage Arroyo could have caused on the downhill of the trickiest descent of the race.

    The day before, Arroyo had made up two minutes on the downhill of the Mortirolo, making up what he had lost on the uphill. Yet on Saturday, after crossing the Gavia's summit behind Basso, the Spaniard, who continued to ride a pink bike despite no longer wearing pin, only followed the Italian leader.

    "It was a dangerous descent on which it wasn't worth the riders risking their lives," said Caisse d'Epargne's Directeur Sportif Neil Stephens. "It was still a long way up to the Tonale. Had the finish been situated at the bottom of the Gavia, taking risks would have been considered. But with the strong team that Basso had, it was useless to try anything against him today."

    "It was a very taxing stage but a very easy one tactically as well," said the Australian Stephens. "To be in second place the day before the final time trial is way ahead of what we dreamed when we started the Giro."

    Arroyo had no regrest for having waited for Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) and Cadel Evans (BMC) between the Mortirolo and Aprica instead of riding with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who ended up not helping him anyway after the Spaniard didn't follow his tactical suggestion.

    Arroyo, who is from Toledo, sits 1:15 behind Basso on the GC before the final stage - 15km individual time trial in Verona. He also has a 1:41 lead over Vincenzo Nibali and 1:42 over Michele Scarponi. It means he can realistically hope to his second place overall and accompany the Italian heroes on the stage in the antique arena on Sunday.

  • Evans fights back with late attack

    Cadel Evans (BMC) put in a strong atttack at the end to make up some seconds on his rivals
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 22:39 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    World champion gets close to stage victory

    Cadel Evans (BMC) is not satisfied with fifth place overall in the Giro d'Italia after some problems mid-race took the edge off his form. Yet he showed his pride and fighting character by trying to win the final mountain stage with a gutsy attack on the climb to the finish at Passo Tonale.

    In a clever attack, Evans secured his place overall and sealed victory in the points competition. His aggression has also earned him the special Trofeo Bonacossa, named after the founder of the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that organises the Giro d'Italia.

    Evans jumped away five kilometres from the finish and just failed to catch Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom). In the final kilometre, he could see the Swiss rider ahead of him but crossed the line 15 second behind him.

    "I perhaps left it a little bit late. I was there and almost caught him because I could see him with just 300 metres to go," Evans said after pulling on the red points jersey over his rainbow jersey yet again.

    "It was a complicated situation because there were Vinokourov and Sastre in the break, then there were people going for the stage victory, and I also had to think about the points jersey because Vinokourov could have got it, and there was the overall classification too."

    "I had to wait for the end because the longer you wait, the more you've got left in your legs for one last effort. Of course if you wait too long, you don’t have enough to time to pull it off. I tried to calculate things perfectly and it almost came off."

    A final shot at third place

    Evans is 3:47 behind Basso but is now only 50 seconds behind Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and 51 seconds behind Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) in third place.

    It will be difficult for Evans to overtake them both and secure a place on the final Giro podium, but he promised to fight all the way to the end of the Giro d'Italia, even in the final 15km of...

  • Wiggins looking to end Giro on a high

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 30, 2010, 11:18 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader on track for the Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is hoping to end the Giro d'Italia as he started it, with a victory in the 15km time trial stage around Verona this afternoon. But whatever happens, he will head home satisfied with his performance over the three weeks of the Giro, knowing that he is on track to be at his very best for the Tour de France.

    Wiggins won the opening time trial in Amsterdam and is the big favourite to be the fastest around the hills north of Verona and into the Roman arena, where Francesco Moser snatched the pink jersey from Laurent Fignon in 1984.

    Last year Wiggins targeted the final time trial of the Giro in Rome but was penalised by a rain shower that eventual winner Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo TestTeam) was lucky to avoid.

    "My goal for the Giro was to win the opening time trial and then test myself in the mountain stages and hopefully have a go at the final time trial. Whatever happens in the time trial, win or lose, I'll be happy,' Wiggins told Cyclingnews.

    "I'll have a good go in the time trial. I've tried to do as little as possible in the last couple of days thinking about the time trial but final time trials are always strange. It's going to be about who is the least tired. The GC guys will be going for it too but I'll give it a good shot."

    Wiggins will end the Giro in around 40th place more than an hour and 30 minutes down on Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo). He had hoped to do better and could have tried to do better but knows he has to save himself for the Tour de France if he wants to ride consistently well in July.

    "There's a tinge of disappointment that I was high up on GC but then slipped back. It's quite difficult to pull yourself out of it when you're high up like that but I had to do it," he said.

    "It was a harder Giro than last year. And in hindsight, when you realistically look at how hard the last week was, it would have been difficult to fight for top...