Tools and tricks of the pro mechanics
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Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
Alzate in prime form after Speedweek victories
Team Exergy will line up for the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday as underdogs against the best teams in the world, but the Continental squad's director Tad Hamilton is confident his riders are capable of reaching their goal of scoring one big result.
"One big result is what we need," Hamilton told Cyclingnews. "It'd be nice to chase the general classification around all week, but really if we can win a stage or put a sprinter's jersey on for a couple days that's the sort of thing we have to try to do."
Coming off an exceptional week of results at the USA Crits Speedweek series, Carlos Alzate will be one of the fastest sprinters in the pack. In the seven Speedweek races, Alzate won two, was second in a trio of races and never finished outside the top 10. Those results netted him the overall series, but how will hour-long criterium racing translate to five hour stages?
"I was concerned about that," said Hamilton, adding that Alzate relied upon the advice of veteran Fred Rodriguez, a three-time US Pro national champion for his pre-Tour preparation. "Freddie told Carlos to do 90 minutes to two hours of riding every morning [before the criteriums]. It's hard to predict how he will come out of it. I think the first day or two might be tough, but I think he'll transition in."
The 29-year-old Colombian is a former Pan American champion in the individual and team pursuit but also has almost a decade of international experience under his belt and showed he can handle the longer distances with a 10th place finish in the Philadelphia International Championship last year.
While this year's Tour of California offers up few opportunities for the sprinters, Hamilton...
Armstrong aims to repeat in Bakersfield
For the second year in a row AEG and SRAM will present the Amgen Tour of California Women's Time Trial, concurrent with the pro men's stage. This year's event will take place on the same course on which the pro men will compete in Bakersfield, California on Thursday May 17. Kristin Armstrong, last year's winner in Solvang, will head a ten-rider start list.
"It's an honor to be one of ten athletes selected to compete in the Amgen Tour of California Women's Time Trial Race," said Armstrong, who is fresh off of a dominating victory in the SRAM Tour of the Gila. "I'd like to thank AEG for their efforts and hard work on this event. Getting this race included in the Amgen Tour of California is such a wonderful opportunity to showcase women's cycling, and to be able to do it on a stage where the whole world will be watching is fantastic."
The invitational women's event features a $10,000 prize list for the 18.4 mile course. The women will start at 11:10AM (PDT), while the men's stage beings at 1:00PM.
"AEG has the reputation of being staunch advocates and supporters of women's cycling and once again including the women's time trial as part of the Amgen Tour of California is further evidence of our commitment," said Kristin Bachochin, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of AEG Sports.
"The dedication and spirit of the incredible athletes from around the world who will compete in Bakersfield in the 2012 Amgen Tour of California Women's Time Trial Race should not only be commended but looked upon as examples for young women today embarking on athletic careers."
In addition to Armstrong, the start list features notable time trialists such as Emilia Fahlin, a three-time Swedish time trial champion, former Australian champion...
Cavendish, Phinney up, Millar, Nibali down
After his win in stage 2, Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) has moved up to 6th place. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), second on GC last year, has targeted the Tour de France this year. It means he’ll drop down the rankings over the coming weeks as he misses out on defending his points from last year.
The new Giro leader, Taylor Phinney (BMC), has made perhaps the biggest impression on the rankings, as well as the race action. His win in the opening time trial and defence of the maglia rosa until the rest day has seen him move from 169th to 104th in the Index.
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda) join Nibali as the other big fallers. Petacchi is targeting the Tour and Millar is recovering from a broken collar bone. Both riders were in strong form last year, Petacchi wining a stage and Millar wearing the pink jersey.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12 month rolling ranking system designed answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” We teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. We source results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by our expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans and put into four tiers in three different categories.
The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: Races are tiered depending on history,...
Team time trial performance hints at improvement to come
The start of the 2012 Giro d’Italia in Denmark hasn’t satisfied the Lampre-ISD team of the defending champion Michele Scarponi, who was awarded the 2011 title after the suspended Alberto Contador's name was scratched from the record book. In stage one, Scarponi only finished 135th, 1:06 behind individual time trial winner Taylor Phinney, while the team’s co-leader Damiano Cunego came in 124th position at 1:03.
“We were not happy at all with how things went in Denmark”, directeur sportif Roberto Damiani told Cyclingnews in Verona. “But we have divided the Giro into three parts. The team time trial is the last day of our first chapter and we hope to perform in the last week.”
The team time trial put a smile back on the face of the management. Team manager Giuseppe Saronni looked particularly worried before his squad started in Verona in the presence of his long-time sponsors, the Lampre company. The former world champion and Giro d’Italia winner refused to answer questions from Cyclingnews. At the end of the race, Damiani was relieved as Lampre-ISD clocked the twelfth best time, a highly respectable 34 seconds down on winners Garmin-Barracuda.
“Our performance was very good”, Damiani commented. “If only we had ridden twelve seconds faster, we’d have made the top 3. In the first part of the course, we’ve asked Petropolli, Bono, Spezialetti and Righi to give everything they had. On the hill, Scarponi set the pace. Then [Italian time trial champion Adriano] Malori brought the team at a very high speed towards the finish. We can now eye at the second part of our Giro.”
“It feels good to ride the team time...
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Every week we’ll be brining you the latest news, movers and shakers from the all-important rankings, as well as the most crucial race-related IG Index news. Belgium's BMC rider Philippe Gilbert currently lies at the top of the standings ahead of compatriot Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), with Spain's Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) in third.
The Index is a 12-month rolling ranking system designed to answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” Utilising the experts at Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system, the system is based on an entirely new formula and sources results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by an expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans, and put into four tiers in three different categories.
The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: races are tiered depending on history, importance and calibre of field rather than UCI Class. So winning the Tour of Beijing will not give you the same points as winning Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné.
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Former Giro director produces definitive data guide
A book launch for Giro d’Italia: Fight for Pink, what is arguably the definitive data and historical guide to cycling’s second biggest stage race, was held on Wednesday at the Giro d’Italia press room in Verona.
Giro d’Italia: Fight For Pink is written, in English and Italian, by former race director Carmine Castellano, who ran the race for 14 years from 1992 to 2005, and it contains everything from the first time an Australian or Norwegian took part in the race to the history of the pink jersey itself.
Although Castellano has based his work on well-known data books on the Vuelta a España and Tour de France, this one goes one better on them in some areas - such as the section on the first ever rider from each nation to win a stage. (For Great Britain, for example it was Vin Denson in 1966 at Campobasso, whilst Knut Knudsen was the first Norwegian in 1975 at Fiorano.) There is also a special section on all the wins taken a tavolino - by commissaires’ arbitration - and another on all the cancelled stages, and even one on how many kilometres the Giro has raced in total - up to 2011, 333,950 kilometres. In short, all the minor details and footnotes have been included.
“It’s a labour of love, because there is no other book out there which contains so many statistics,” Castellano told Cyclingnews.
“It’s not that I’m a big fan of statistics, but I’m fascinated by the data that a major Tour can produce, just like the Tour has all of [Jacques] Augendre’s books, then there’s the Guida Estadistica in the Vuelta a España.
“I had a lot of information and material from my time as a director in any case, and when my friends at La Gazzetta dello Sport found out what was happening they rang up and offered their support, too.”
Rider must prove his form first, team says
Vancansoleil-DCM's Stijn Devolder is preparing for an assault on the 2012 Tour de France, despite his team management stating that he is far from certain to feature in their squad. Devolder, who is a dual winner of the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Flanders, will have to prove his form over the next few weeks to secure a berth on the start line.
"He will first have to prove his form," sporting director Hilaire Van Der Schueren told Het Laatste Nieuws. "In the Tour of Belgium and the [Criterium du] Dauphine he will get ample opportunity to do so."
With the likes of Wout Poels, Ron Ruijgh, Johnny Hoogerland Liewe Westra, Marco Marcato and Romain Feillu looking certainties to make the team, Devolder will be battling it out for one of the three remaining spots. The 32-year-old Belgian, whose contract with the team expires at the end of the season, expressed his surprise at Van Der Schueren's comments. He also missed out on selection last year.
"I did assume that I would be at the Tour," he said. "Does this indicate a lack of confidence? Maybe so. But I've seen worse things. I need to get noticed now. If that provides selection, then great."
Rodríguez ahead of pre-race favourites except Hesjedal
Katusha's sports director Valerio Piva says he is "cautiously optimistic" about Joaquim Rodriguez's Giro d'Italia chances after the Russian squad's unexpectedly strong showing in Wednesday's stage 4 team time trial.
Rodríguez is now 10th overall, and with the notable exception of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), who is in the fifth spot the Spaniard the best-placed of all the favourites - given these were the four stages Rodriguez said pre-Herning that he feared the most, that's some achievement.
Rodríguez already shone brighter than expected in the opening short time trial in Denmark, where he finished in the top 50 despite his reputation as a poor performer against the clock. But now Katusha's second place in Verona has been another big piece of the jigsaw to fall in place the right way for the Russian squad.
"We did a splendid team time trial, although knowing we had some good rouleurs in our team like [Mikhail] Ignatyev and [Alexandre] Kuschynski, and a new, very aerodynamic time trial bike, I wasn't as pessimistic as some people in our team beforehand. I was expecting fifth or sixth at best," said sports director Valerio Piva to Cyclingnews.
"But we had some weaker links in the time trial chain, too, so we could never have anticipated coming as close as five seconds to a team like Garmin-Barracuda."
"Ok, the mountains are still a long way away, but we've come through the first leg of the race very...