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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 6, 2012

Date published:
May 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Phinney takes first ever Grand Tour lead at 21

    First leader of the 2012 Giro d'Italia Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 05, 2012, 21:22 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First US Rider to lead Giro Since Vande Velde in 2008

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) is only 21 and in his second year as a pro, but the talented young American's road career took a huge leap forward today with victory in the opening short time trial that was stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia.

    Phinney's strong late spring form already hooked him a lead in the Giro del Trentino when BMC won the team time trial, but the 21-year-old's victory in the Giro, his first individual road success since the Eneco Tour prologue last August, is a breakthrough of huge proportions.

    Phinney's result is also a timely success for BMC, whose biggest previous victory this season had been the Criterium International with Cadel Evans. Whilst Evans is once again targetting the Tour de France, Phinney has already got his team going places in the Giro.

    Watched by his mother Connie Carpenter Phinney, herself a former World and Olympic road and track champion, from the side of the auditorium, Phinney explained in the winner's press conference in Herning that he hoped that his Giro success and lead - the first for an American since Christian Vande Velde was first across the line in the Giro's opening team time trial back in 2008 - would be just the start of more success.

    "We'll see what happens tomorrow, but tonight I'll sleep very happily," Phinney said.

    "This is incredibly special for me, I've been nervous for a couple of weeks coming into this race, but nervous in a good way. I knew I could do something really big here today."

    "It just came down to going out there and doing it."

    Local favourite Alex...

  • Navardauskas starts Giro d'Italia on a high note

    Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin Barracuda) set a fast time early during stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 05, 2012, 22:47 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Team time trial chances looking bright for Garmin-Barracuda

    For two hours and five minutes on Saturday, Ramunas Navardauskas led the Giro d'Italia until Saxo Bank's Manuele Boaro clocked a better time than the Lithuanian from Garmin-Barracuda in the opening individual time trial.

    "I didn't expect to be in the lead for such a long time", he said as he waited in a car parked nearby the finishing line on HP Hansensvej in Herning. "I'm proud of myself that I did so well."

    Navardauskas eventually finished sixth with the same time as Swedish time trial national champion Gustav Larsson. His return to form was noted when he finished 17th at the prologue of the Tour de Romandie, which marked his comeback after he broke a collarbone during stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico and had to sit out racing for one and a half months.

    "What I enjoy a lot at Garmin-Barracuda is that every rider is given a good program," Navardauskas told Cyclingnews. "My plan is again is to help me progress as an individual as well as contribute to the team's success. I'm still looking at what kind of rider I can become. To be a team player is my priority."

    The 24-year-old was identified by Jonathan Vaughters as a perfect asset for team time trials. "Last year, he realized what I can do at Tirreno-Adriatico," said Navardauskas, who was selected for the Tour de France even though he was a first year pro while riding for Garmin-Cervélo.

    "Winning the team time trial on my second day of racing at the Tour de France remains my best memory as a cyclist," the Lithuanian said. He was again part of the Garmin-Barracuda squad that won the team time trial at the Tour of Qatar this year, alongside Tyler Farrar, Jack Bauer and Robert Hunter, who are also competing...

  • Boaro upholds Saxo Bank's honour in 2012 Giro d'Italia opener

    Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 10:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Christensen crashes but plans to continue

    As the home team, Team Saxo Bank had hoped to win Saturday's first stage of the Giro d'Italia in team boss Bjarne Riis's hometown of Herning.  But in the end it was highly satisfied with the fourth place from Italian Manuele Boaro.

    The 24-year-old, in only his second year as a pro, covered the 8.7km course in 10:41, only 15 seconds slower than winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team).

    “It was just fantastic. It's very impressive that such a young rider can ride a tactically strong time trial,” Riis told “It was high class. I am glad that he lived up to it, we knew he could.

    “We would obviously like to have won, but we knew it would be difficult. Now he has proved he can ride the time trial.”

    “I dug really deep and I couldn't have gone any faster. Of course I wanted to win and I hope that Bjarne (Riis) is happy about my performance,” Boaro said. “The support from the crowd couldn't have been bigger and they gave me tail wind all the way to the finish line. Now the race has begun and I'm looking forward to all three weeks.”

    His teammate Mads Christensen wasn't so lucky. The Dane crashed early on in the time trial. He was perhaps overly motivated, and “in the first turn of 90 degrees, I was going at a pace that was slightly too high so I went to the ground. I was hurt but got up and after passing the finish line I went straight back to the team bus where I was examined by our doctor. I'm sore but I don't think the crash is going to have a significant impact on my performance in the race.

    “Now, I'm...

  • Degenkolb dominates sprints at Four Days of Dunkirk

    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 11:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano sprinter with back-to-back wins

    John Degenkolb brought in his first and second wins for his new team Argos-Shimano in quick succession and in an impressive fashion, winning the first two stages of the Four Days of Dunkirk. The German will continue to wear the leader's pink jersey going into Sunday's third stage.

    “What could be more beautiful than winning in the leader's jersey and rewarding the whole team for its hard work?” he wrote on his personal website on Saturday.

    “The win today felt really good – even more so than yesterday's. A huge load has fallen off my shoulders. Not just because I could confirm my performance, but also because of my teammates, who rode at the front the whole stage in eight degrees (Celsius) and rain.

    “It was really fun.”

    The day before, he won the mass sprint of the opening stage for his first season win, which he called “important for the morale. My Spring wasn't bad. I had top ten placings at big races. But there were no wins, and in the end, you are measured by your wins.”

  • Thomas and Sky happy with time trial performance

    Geraint Thomas (Sky)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 12:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Welshman takes runner-up spot in Giro d'Italia opening stage

    For a few minutes in Denmark yesterday it looked as if Team Sky's Geraint Thomas might walk away with the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa and clinch an opening individual time trial win for the second time in as many races. His super-quick time of 10:35 for the 8.7km course catapulted him to the head of the standings, only for him to see BMC's Taylor Phinney relegate him into second spot and deny him a repeat victory after his success at the Tour de Romandie late last month.

    Thomas, whose speedy form comes on the back of his record-breaking success at the 2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne in early April, set a sectional time of 5:14 for the first 4.5km, which survived for the rest of the day. But he was pinned back by Phinney's searing finish and had to settle for the number two position on the podium.

    "I think I measured it pretty well. I tried to carry my speed through the corners, one or two I could have gone a bit faster but losing by nine seconds I can't blame it on a couple of corners," he said after the finish.

    "Coming from the track, there's a temptation to try and sprint fast out of those corners but that would obviously take a lot out of me so it was all about judging it correctly which I think I did.

    "I definitely tried to keep a bit back for the last 3k and that headwind and then I emptied the tank all the way to the line. It didn't feel amazing but I was obviously going okay and am happy to have been up there. There are now another 20 stages to go and at the end of the day it's about the bigger picture - I'll be there in the sprints for Cav...

  • Pinotti: Phinney can become the next Fabian Cancellara

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 13:39 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    BMC teammate praises Phinney after Giro first-stage victory

    A deeply impressed Marco Pinotti says that he is convinced that BMC teammate, Giro d’Italia leader and fellow time trial star Taylor Phinney could become the successor of modern cycling’s greatest ever racer against the clock. “He has it in him to become the next Fabian Cancellara,” Pinotti told Cyclingnews at the Herning start of stage two of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

    “Just look at the distance he put between himself and the rest of the top riders yesterday. If you look at the times between second and fourth they  were all grouped together, but Taylor was in a class of his own. Cancellara maybe could have done better but Taylor can only improve.”

    Finishing eighth on the stage,  the four-time Italian time trial champion says his personal aim was to get “the provisional best time, but I was sure that Taylor would beat it.”

    “He’s been working towards this stage for a long time now, at least the last two months, and yesterday we saw what the result of that was.” For Pinotti - who started stage two of last year’s Giro in pink, like Phinney, after the now defunct HTC-Highroad squad netted the opening team time trial -  the single quality that he most admires in Phinney as a time triallist is “his power.”

    “He is heavier, he has more muscle, he has more ability to sprint out of the corners. He’s faster than me, and on flat tts, with someone so young who’s going to improve every year, he’s got it in him to become the next Cancellara.”

    As for how long Phinney can hold onto the lead, Pinotti says “it’d be nice to have it all the way to Italy....

  • Proud Vande Velde sees Phinney succeed him as US Giro leader

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 14:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Four years after Vande Velde leads Giro, another US rider heads GC

    When Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Barracuda) saw that Taylor Phinney (BMC) had won yesterday’s stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia,  he said he could not avoid a flicker of patriotic pride at seeing the 21-year-old become the next American after himself to wear the pink leader’s jersey.

    Vande Velde wore the leader’s jersey for a day back in 2008, when Slipstream-Chipotle won the opening team time trial before Franco Pellizotti took over the following stage. At the time, Vandevelde was the first American in pink in 20 years, since Andy Hampsten in 1988.

    This time round the gap between US leaders has been considerably smaller: as part of the Garmin-Barracuda squad at this year’s Giro, Vande Velde says “you always want a teammate to win, but at the same time I’m very proud of Taylor.”

    “The way he won it was pure class, there were no ifs or buts about it, he dominated it so much, that was impressive.”

    Asked how big Phinney could be for American cycling, Vande Velde joked “well he’s a pretty big kid! Seriously, though, he’s already been putting in some pretty big performances since he was at school. He’s been around a long time already, and this is the next [stage in his] confirmation, yet again.”

    “I don’t think he’s going to be a climber and he knows that. It’s typical of his intelligence that he knows what he can do really well, and he’s doing it. He knows that the prologue is what he can do and he targets the prologue. That [failing to look for realisable goals] is what a lot of people get hung up on,” - but Vande Velde, for one, feels that Phinney...

  • Alex Rasmussen satisfied with third place in 2012 Giro d'Italia first stage

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2012, 15:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Barracuda Dane say wind was “really, really hard”

    Alex Rasmussen gave his best effort to win the first stage time trial at the 2012 Giro d'Italia, but was happy to settle for third place, as the Italian race opened in his homeland of Denmark. The Garmin-Barracuda rider praised local fans for their “fantastic support”.

    “I can be happy with third place.  I'm glad, because I gave everything I could,” he told the Ritzau news agency. “There was nothing left. I simply had no more.

    “Of course I'm disappointed that it did not extend to pink, but I gave everything and there was nothing to do.”

    Rasmussen, who finished 13 seconds down on winner Taylor Phinney, praised the fans who lined the route. “I feel absolutely that I am at home. There was so much support. It was really cool.”

    He said that he purposely didn't go too fast at the start so that he would still have something left at the end, “but it wasn't enough. The wind was really, really hard at the finish.”