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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, May 9, 2010

Date published:
May 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Fourth placed Vinokourov happy with Giro debut

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 08, 2010, 19:38 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Vino kicks off Giro with strong performance

    Among the favourites for the overall classification of the Giro d’Italia, only Cadel Evans finished ahead of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). The Kazakh finished three seconds down on Evans and was happy with his debut in the Italian race.

    “It was a pretty fast time trial”, he told Cyclingnews. “It’s unfortunate that I didn’t manage to use a more supple gear. In the last kilometre, it became quite difficult to hold the handlebars. But I’m happy with the result. It’s alright.”

    When he returned to racing last year after a two years ban, Vinokourov won three races: the time trial of the Tour de l’Ain, the Asian championship for time trial and the Chrono des Nations which is also a race against the.

    “But I’m not a specialist for the prologues”, the Kazakh said. “This is a very special effort. It’s a bit short for me. But I’ve given everything I had. I got confirmation after Liège-Bastogne-Liège that my condition is good for the Giro. This result will help for my confidence in the next three weeks.”

    Vinokourov was in a good mood as he realized he received a positive welcome in the Netherlands. “The public was very warm-hearted,” he said.

    Another reason for Vino to be satisfied was the performance of his team-mates of the Astana team. Ukrainian champion Andreï Grivko who scored an early best time for a while was 14th only seven seconds behind his team captain.

    With Enrico Gasparotto in 20th position, Alexandr Dyachenko in 26th, and with young gun Roman Kireyev in 43rd, Astana looks pretty good before the team time trial, the stage in which Vinokourov might take some advantage over Evans on GC.

  • Arashiro makes Giro d'Italia debut

    Yukiya Arashiro (BBox Bouygues Telecom) made his Giro d'Italia debut.
    Article published:
    May 08, 2010, 20:21 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Hopes to become first Japanese rider to finish both the Tour and Giro

    Yukiya Arashiro wants to keep his compatriots awake around midnight every day until the end of May, tuned in live on Japan's J-Sport channel, as he is eager to shine at the Giro d'Italia. The BBox Bouygues Telecom professional has become a famous sportsman in Japan after he and compatriot Fumiyuki Beppu last year became the first Japanese riders to complete the Tour de France.

    "The Tour de France was a fantastic experience for me but I feel the same kind of excitement at the start of the Giro d'Italia," the rider from Okinawa told Cyclingnews in Amsterdam. "I love the Grands Tours. They are the most impressive cycling events. It's good for my head and my reputation."

    Arashiro was satisfied with his ride in the prologue in Amsterdam. He completed the course in 108th position, 45 seconds down on stage winner Bradley Wiggins. "I rode ten seconds slower than I hoped but I'm happy, my condition is good," said Arashiro who got a taste of Italian cycling with Milan-San Remo, the Giro del Trentino and the Giro dell'Appenino prior to making his debut at the corsa rosa.

    He's the fourth Japanese rider to line up at the Giro d'Italia. Masatoshi Ichikawa paved the way when he finished 50th overall with his Belgian Hitachi team in 1990. Daisuke Imanaka started the race with Polti in 1995 but abandoned during stage 14. The latest participant was Hidenori Nodera with Colpack in 2002. He finished 139th overall. Arashiro can't aim at being the first Japanese rider to complete the three weeks Italian race as he did in France last year, but he can still make history in three week's time.

    "I hope I'll be the first Japanese to have completed both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia three weeks from now," he said. This is not his only goal, though. In his second year with Bbox Bouygues Telecom, he's now completely aware of the teamwork it requires. "If [Paris-Nice's stage 2 winner] William Bonnet has good legs, I'll help him to be well...

  • Wiggins savours pink jersey moment

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) zips up on the podium
    Article published:
    May 08, 2010, 20:39 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Briton reveals his love for the maglia rosa

    Bradley Wiggins took a long swig from the huge bottle of champagne he was given after winning the opening time trial at the Giro d'Italia in Amsterdam and clearly savoured the moment.

    He had ridden a great time trial, constantly fighting the risk of crashing on the wet and technical corners, and was very proud to have pulled on the maglia rosa, describing it as one of the iconic symbols of cycling.

    "It kind of sounds corny, but I'm such a fan of the Giro and always have been since I was a kid. I know a lot about the history of cycling. To wear the pink jersey in the Giro is special. It's such an iconic jersey," he said.

    "I grew up watching videos of the Giro, seeing [Maurizio] Fondriest and [Gianni] Bugno wearing it. I realise what I have on my shoulders. And that's quite special in itself because it will hang on my wall for the rest of my life. It means a lot to me. To be able to enjoy that moment tomorrow, whether it’s for a day, two days, or however long, it's very special. To take it in such style in Amsterdam, is probably even more special."

    A successful future for British cycling

    Exactly 12 months ago, Mark Cavendish pulled on the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia after HTC-Columbia won the opening team time trial. English speaking cycling and especially British cycling is growing rapidly and Wiggins believes his pink jersey will lead to even more success.

    "I think a lot of us have grown up together and the success has bred success. I saw what Mark achieved in 2008 and I was inspired by that and decided I wanted to do something on the road," he said.

    "Last year me and Mark did great at the Tour de France and that's inspired the next generation, the guys who came though the track programme, people like Ian Stannard, Steve Cummings Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas have seen what we've achieved and they know we've done it with 100 per cent hard work and have the belief and...

  • Bookwalter and Evans shine for BMC

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) crosses the finish line
    Article published:
    May 08, 2010, 20:42 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    American a surprise second, Evans a close third

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) won the Giro d'Italia's opening time trial and pulled on the maglia rosa in Amsterdam but world champion Cadel Evans and his BMC team were also celebrating a successful day.

    The USA's Brent Bookwalter was a surprise second, just two seconds behind Wiggins, and Evans finished third, also at two seconds, a few hundredths of a second slower than his teammate. The Australian was the best of the true overall contenders, gaining three seconds on Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) but a much more significant 21 seconds on Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and 23 seconds on Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam).

    "That's not a bad start," Evan said immediately after his ride.

    "My form was pretty good in the Ardennes classics but I hope to get even better towards the end of the race. We'll see. This is the first test.

    "I rode quite conservatively in the corners because I didn't expect to be fighting for the win. Maybe if I had taken some risks, I might have cut a half a second off here or there. I'm really happy for Brent. It's a really good start for him and a great introduction into his first Grand Tour."

    Bookwalter had the fastest time for almost two hours and had to sit and wait as the other riders tried to beat him. Only when Wiggins stopped the clock in 10:18, two seconds faster than his time of 10:20, could he finally ride back to the BMC bus. However he will back in the spotlight on Monday because with Wiggins in pink, he will wear the red points jersey.

    "It's really a pleasant surprise," he said. "It was a fairly technical, short, violent effort, which I think suits me well. In the United States, I've always been pretty good in the five to 15 km distance. I'm not super tested at that distance over here but I was motivated to do a good time for the team GC and also to do a good time so Cadel could get good time checks."

  • Porte earns white jersey in Grand Tour debut

    Australia's Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) leads the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    May 08, 2010, 23:27 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian fastest over time trial's second half

    Richie Porte (Team Saxo Bank) confirmed during the Giro d'Italia's opening stage that he's a great time triallist in the making as the 25-year-old Australian finished in sixth place, five seconds behind winner Bradley Wiggins. In addition to a top ten finish in the first stage of his Grand Tour debut, Porte will wear the white jersey of the best young rider during stage 2 from Amsterdam to Utrecht.

    The biggest surprise came from the split times. Porte only clocked the 26th fastest time after 4.1 kilometres but was the fastest from km 4.1 until the end at km 8.4. In the second half Porte rode three seconds faster than his compatriot Cadel Evans and four seconds faster than race winner Bradley Wiggins.

    "I don't know why there is such a difference," said Porte. "I was a bit nervous at the start. It might be because of my crash last week. Or maybe I rode too conservative. I guess I have to bang my head against the wall."

    Although Porte knew he was time trialing well this season, having won the 23.4km race against the clock at the Tour of Romandie last week, to ride a prologue was something different. "I'm not a prologue rider like Brad McGee was," he said of his current coach at Saxo Bank. "But now I really know that I can be up there with the big guys in any kind of time trial."

    Tomorrow, Porte will start stage 2 wearing the white jersey of best young rider on his shoulders. "This is incredible," he said. "It's a big dream I guess."

    Porte suspects that the two Dutch riders who are second and third on the best young rider classification, Rabobank's Jos van Emden and Tom Stamsnijder, will be motivated to race on home soil and will contest the bonus sprints to gain precious seconds back on the white jersey holder.

    "I'm ready for a good fight," Porte said.

  • Anti-doping expert lends Li support in doping case

    Li Fuyu (RadioShack) in action at Amstel Gold.
    Article published:
    May 09, 2010, 10:53 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Chinese rider claims he never knowingly took Clenbuterol

    RadioShack's Fuyu Li has received the support of Dutch anti-doping expert Douwe de Boer as he attempts to clear his name of a positive doping control for asthma medication, Clenbuterol.

    Li was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union and his team on April 22, after he was found positive for Clenbuterol in a control conducted at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen on March 23.

    De Boer, a biochemist from the University Hospital Maastricht and former director of the WADA-approved laboratory in Lisbon, Portugal, said the levels of the drug detected in Li's sample are below those that would be expected in the case of intentional injestion.

    "Laboratories must be able to find 1.00 ng/mL, while a normal threshold value is considered to be 2.00 ng/mL. The value of 0.05-0.10 ng/mL that was found in Fuyu Li's body points clearly in the direction of a contamination. On top of that, such a low dose would not help his performance in any way," said De Boer, in a statement issued by Li this week.

    Li faces disciplinary action from the Chinese cycling federation. The 31 year-old has asserted that he never knowingly took the medication, which is banned in and out of competition due to its off-label uses as a weight-loss drug and anabolic agent.

    "I have no idea how the Clenbuterol came into my body. All I know is that I have never taken doping in my entire career. My role at team RadioShack was one of a humble helper, nothing more," he said.

    "I am 31 years old and I know I could not move up to a leading role in the team, I was just extremely honoured to be selected for this team and tried to do my job right. I have won the China Games a couple of times, which makes me a famous sportsman in China. I have a lot to lose in China and nothing to prove any more in my country. There was no incentive for me to do something crazy like doping and I did not do that. Not now, not at any other moment in my career."

    De Boer added...

  • Greipel hopes to take pink jersey in Utrecht sprint

    Germany's André Greipel (HTC - Columbia) gives it his all in the Giro's opening time trial.
    Article published:
    May 09, 2010, 11:02 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    HTC-Columbia sprinter within striking distance of Giro lead after good time trial

    Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) had a difficult start to the Giro d'Italia after being struck by a stomach virus before the race. But thanks to finishing just 18 seconds behind stage one winner Bradley Wiggins, the German sprinter is now within reach of the pink jersey.

    Time bonuses of 20, 12 and eight seconds are awarded to the first three riders on road race stages in the Giro d'Italia, and on Sunday there are also six, four and two second bonuses to be awarded at an intermediate sprint in Houten after 154.7 kilometres. If he can win the stage, Greipel is almost certain to take the pink jersey from Wiggins.

    Wiggins' Team Sky teammate Greg Henderson stands the best chance of denying the German. Henderson put up the best time of the sprinters in the 8.4 kilometre time trial on Saturday, finishing fifth, just five seconds slower than Wiggins. If he can win the intermediate sprint or finish at least in the top three on the stage, he, and not Greipel, would pull on the maglia rosa in Utrecht.

    Greipel is hopeful his strong and highly experienced HTC-Columbia teammates can help him to the stage two win.

    "Wiggins is a world track champion. He's a deserved winner. I was a little bit sick in the last two days but I'm better now and so I'm looking forward to the next few days,' said Greipel after finishing the time trial on Saturday.

    "We'll see what happens on Sunday's stage. It's not sure there will be a bunch sprint because it can be really windy in the Netherlands and there are a lot of corners. It will be a really tough race and it will be really nervous."

    "I'm feeling better but I'm not back to my best yet. Stomach problems are not the best thing for cyclists. I couldn't train on Friday, so I'm happy with my ride in the time trial."

    Greipel will face some of the fastest sprinters in the world in the sprints at the Giro, but has...

  • British women leave hospital after Belgian crash

    A jacket for British rider Lucy Martin after the race.
    Article published:
    May 09, 2010, 12:08 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Mayo stable after surgery in Oudenaarde

    Three of the four British women hospitalized after being hit by a car while training in Belgium were discharged from a hospital in Oudenaarde on Saturday, as British Cycling reported that all five riders involved in the incident were making satisfactory progress in their recovery.

    Hannah Mayo underwent surgery on Friday to have pins inserted in her broken left leg. X-rays confirmed the 19-year-old did not suffer a fracture of her right leg, as had been previously reported. Mayo's right arm and wrist were also broken in the accident.

    She has been joined by her parents in Belgium, who have reported that she is in good spirits and was expected to be able to leave her hospital bed on Saturday afternoon. She is expected to remain at the hospital for a further week.

    Emma Trott, 20, and Sarah Reynolds, 18, have been released from the hospital. Trott is recovering from a broken collarbone and a black eye, while Reynolds injured her hand and cut her chin in the accident. Katie Colclough, 20, suffered a concussion in the crash and left the hospital on Saturday after being held for observation.

    The fifth woman injured in the crash, Lucy Martin, suffered a cracked vertebra and is resting at the British Academy House under the supervision of the British team's medical staff.