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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 12, 2011

Date published:
May 12, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Kruijswijk takes position as best young rider at the Giro

    Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank).
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 1:25 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Rabobank gets a second leader’s jersey as Slagter’s is forced to abandon

    Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia was marred by an accident involving Tom Slagter with 25km to go. The Dutch neo-pro was conscious when taken to hospital where he is reported to have been diagnosed with a broken jaw - but fortunately -  no other serious injuries. Rabobank thus had mixed feelings at the time of celebrating Peter Weening’s stage win and taking of the maglia rosa. Morale was further boosted though when it transpired that the team had also taken the maglia bianca with Steven Kruijswijk.

    "It’s a nice feeling to get the white jersey", Kruijswijk told Cyclingnews after the podium ceremony in Orvieto. "I didn’t expect it at all. In fact I went to the team bus and didn’t even think that I might have become the best young rider. I haven’t even looked at the best young rider’s classification so far in the Giro."

    "Whatever classification jersey it is, to wear one in a Grand Tour is something special", said the 24 year old who was the fourth best young rider at the Giro last year (behind Richie Porte, Robert Kiserlovski and his team-mate Bauke Mollema).

    In his neo-pro year, he completed his first Grand Tour in eighteenth position, giving the world a strong indication that Rabobank has more Dutch GC riders to come up after Robert Gesink.

    "After my first experience at the Giro, I wanted to come back", Kruijswijk said, "especially because Rabobank gave me the freedom to ride my own race. It’s a bit too early in my career to go for the Tour de France. Now I’ll try to stay as long as possible in this position and not lose twenty minutes during the first week like I did last year."

    Kruijswijk is currently eighth in the general classification, just ahead of Alberto Contador.

  • Roe treating 2011 as a learning experience

    Dr Max Testa with Tim Roe at the BMC training camp in Denia, Spain.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 1:52 BST
    Alex Hinds

    Aussie talent 'surprised' by the level of racing in the World Tour

    For Tim Roe, the last six months have been a whirlwind - but have helped the Aussie put things in perspective. After becoming a member of American team BMC in the offseason, Roe faced up to the realities of the pro racing scene in Europe. It’s hard - and a massive step up. Speaking to Cyclingnews, Roe was frank about just how different riding for BMC is.

    "At Trentino, Catalunya and Pais Vasco - I was really surprised at just how hard the racing is at this level." Roe said.

    "It’s been a wakeup call as to how just hard these races are. When you look at or whatever and see the results you get no idea how difficult it really is."

    "Hopefully [the Amgen Tour of] California won’t be as hard, but I’m treating all these races as stepping stones."

    But while it has a been a bit of a shock, Roe feels the support of his BMC team as well as friends and teammates Taylor Phinney, with whom he raced with in 2010 at Livestrong, as well as compatriot Cadel Evans. The pair have made the transition a lot easier.

    "The last three months, racing with a pro team it’s just so much nicer; you’ve got team buses, hotels. They make it a lot easier. It’s much more like a job which means you can be in the best shape you can. Everything you want and everything you need they’re there to help and provide - So that’s really good. You genuinely feel like they’re there to look after you."

    Asked about his goals for the year, Roe explained that he’d had to revise some of his aspirations after...

  • Kohler takes green jersey consolation

    Martin Kohler (BMC) on his long break
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 4:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss rider had prior experience on the gravel

    Martin Kohler (BMC) was the early aggressor on stage five of the Giro d'Italia, and while his bold bid over the unmade roads of Umbria did not result in stage victory, it did secure the Swiss rider a day in the green jersey of best climber.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews in Orvieto after receiving his jersey on the podium, Kohler explained that he had the stage earmarked beforehand after a strong performance on similar roads at March's Strade Bianche.

    "I have some good memories of Strade Bianche because in March I was in the breakaway of that race, and actually I like these roads," Kohler said. "Before the Giro I was looking forward to this stage quite a bit."

    Kohler launched his attack early in the stage, and his solo effort would last until the final ten kilometres, when he was caught and then passed by Pieter Weening (Rabobank) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) on the final run-in to the line. He said afterwards that he had not intended to spend almost the entire stage off the front alone.

    "It's always hard to get in the breakaway and I was trying in the beginning but I didn't expect to be alone," he said. "It was a really, really hard day and I lost a lot of energy. In the beginning I went hard until I had a gap. After that I slowed down in the hope that somebody would come up to me, but nobody wanted to, so I went alone."

    While he would ultimately have to settle for 50th place on the final haul up to the citadel of Orvieto, Kohler had the considerable...

  • Snow predicted to fall on Amgen Tour of California start in Tahoe

    Hopefully snowplows will not be necessary when the Amgen Tour of California peloton climbs Mt. Baldy.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 5:33 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Race organizers have contingency plans in place

    Foul winter weather is predicted to arrive in the high-altitude Sierra Mountains around Lake Tahoe this weekend and could affect the start of the Amgen Tour of California on May 15. AEG Sports, organizers of the eight-day race, have announced that they have come up with alternate plans just in case the weather causes stage one - and potentially even stage two -  route restrictions.

    "We're working carefully with all relevant public safety and weather forecast entities," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.

    "We have developed a number of contingency plans, and when the Sunday weather forecast becomes clearer we will, in consultation with the teams, public safety organizations, and commissares, make a decision which will represent the best and safest course of action."

    The current conditions around Lake Tahoe are in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and sunny. However, temperatures are expected to drop significantly and the snow is predicted to roll in as early as Saturday, May 14. The weather could even worsen into Sunday’s race start where temperatures are expected to hover around the mid-30s Fahrenheit with a 70 percent chance of snow.

    The 2011 Amgen Tour of California will kick off in South Lake Tahoe with the peloton scheduled to race clockwise around the scenic blue lake for one and half laps before finishing in the city of North Lake Tahoe for a stage total of 191km. Stage two will also begin in North Lake Tahoe and take the riders on a lengthy 214km route concluding in Sacramento.

  • Wilson and Millar call to limit danger on gravel stages

    Michele Scarponi (Androni-Giocattoli) found himself in no-mans-land as he rode across the Strada bianche
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 7:57 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Garmin-Cervélo captains in talks with Giro organisers

    The morning after stage 5 of the Giro D'Italia, the stage that included 19.3km of strade bianche, riders were still in shock because of the danger they had felt. Garmin-Cervélo's experienced captains Matthew Wilson, Brett Lancaster and David Millar talked to Cyclingnews about the future of Grand Tour routes at breakfast in their hotel in Orvieto.

    "To ride on gravelled roads uphill is fine, flat is fine," commented Australia’s Wilson.

    "But there was some hairpin turns in a steep downhill and a long descent for about ten minutes. I saw two crashes; I thought I should have seen more. What people don’t see on TV is the guys chasing to get back on. How many cars are there behind the riders? More than fifty! I’ve had cars passing me on the dirt, stones flying and hitting me."

    Wilson, Millar and Lancaster, all in their thirties, have experienced enough of cycling and the classics in northern Europe to be complaining about tricky routes lightly.

    "There’s a big difference between riding on the strade bianche for a one-day race and in the middle of a Grand Tour," Wilson said.

    "If you don’t know how to ride on these roads, you don’t do the strade bianche race in March, you may not finish. But some riders come here for GC and are not prepared for these roads."

    "At the strade bianche in March, there’s a bunch of about 100 riders, not 200 like at the Giro," echoed Lancaster.

    "Races have to be attractive and spectacular to catch the audience but race organisers have to find a balance," Millar said.  "I...

  • Slagter out of Giro d'Italia with facial injuries

    Tom-Jelte Slagter (CT Rabobank) celebrates his title victory on the podium.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 8:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider crashed after getting water bottle

    Tom-Jelte Slagter (Rabobank) suffered a broken right eye socket (orbit) and a concussion when he crashed heavily in Wednesday's fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia with approximately 15 kilometres to go.

    The 21-year-old Dutchman is being treated for the wounds to his face in the hospital. CAT scans have shown no brain damage, and he was expected to remain in hospital at least overnight, the team announced.

    Although he lay motionless at first, he did not lose consciousness and was visibly moving after a few moments. Medical help, including Rabobank doctor Gert Weilink, were immediately on the scene.

    The incident occurred when Slagter received a bottle of water from a Euskaltel-Euskadi soigneur standing on the side of the road, and he apparently crashed while trying to put the bottle in to his bottle cage and return to the group he was with, according to a joint statement by Rabobank and Euskaltel-Euskadi.


  • Mount Etna erupts three days prior to Giro d'Italia stage

    Mount Etna last hosted the Giro d'Italia in 1989.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 10:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Zomegnan says Sunday's stage not endangered

    One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna, erupted on Wednesday night. From 2am to 6am, the eruptive activity of the volcano sharply increased as a pit crater opened on the eastern side of the southeastern crater, followed by rumbles and lava fountains.

    As volcanic ashes fell over Catania and the villages surrounding the volcano, the Catania airport was closed down at dawn, but may open again during the course of Thursday as the volcano is apparently settling.

    The peloton of the Giro d'Italia is due to arrive on Mount Etna on Sunday afternoon, with a summit finish scheduled for stage nine.

    "Sunday's stage is not at risk. The stretch in question is only that of the last four miles on Etna,” said Giro director Angelo Zomegnan in a statement. “But on-site teams are already working to clear the road. We are calm.”

  • Breschel returns to racing in Tour of Belgium

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank) chats with race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 11:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider finally over knee problems

    Matti Breschel is set for a return to racing after two knee surgeries had kept him out of racing for almost the entire season. The Rabobank rider is training again and will ride the Tour of Belgium later this month.

    The Dane underwent knee surgery last fall which he knew would most likely keep him out of the Spring Classics. He opened his season at the Tour of Algarve, but had to withdraw due to knee pains. At first it was thought the problem was not so serious, but he then underwent a second, minor operation.

    Breschel has been able to train again for the last two-and-a-half weeks. “I have just returned from a training camp with the team and it went fine,” he told He admitted though, that he still needs to “get a lot of kilometers in my legs. I have a lot I need to catch up on.”

    Meanwhile, the team has prepared his comeback schedule. “We have a programme with the Tour of Belgium and the Tour de Suisse after that, and then of course the Danish championships.”

    Breschel is still hoping to be able to ride the Tour de France in July. “Now we must see if I'm getting ready for the Tour de France. I'm still in the picture, but there is of course much competition for places."

    Even when he comes back, he knows it will be a while before he wins anything. "I've been out for a long time, and the shape will come...