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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 2, 2013

Date published:
May 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Vacansoleil leaves Rujano off Giro d'Italia roster

    Jose Rujano (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    May 01, 2013, 20:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Team not taking risks with rider under investigation

    The Dutch squad Vacansoleil-DCM will head to the Giro d'Italia this weekend with its main climbing specialist and overall contender, Jose Rujano, left behind.

    The Venezuelan was reportedly named as part of a large investigation in Italy called "Operazione Amateur" into trafficking of doping products, but he denied any involvement, stating that he was not even residing in Europe during the years covered by the case.

    Team manager Daan Luijkx made the decision today to leave Rujano off the Giro roster to be safe. "We did our own investigation and confronted the rider last Monday with some facts in Amsterdam. Again we concluded that no harmful facts such as suspicious blood values that can be raised against the rider.

    "Furthermore, the products linked to Rujano are not on the anti-doping prohibited list. Based on the rules, the rider from Venezuela is allowed to start but we don't want to take any risk. In the meanwhile we kept close contact with the Italian authorities. We don't want to bring into discredit the organisers, the rider, the team nor the sport by taking a rider which is in the middle of an investigation."

    Luijkx also asked for a speedy end to the investigation. "We have confidence in Rujano and expect the Italian justice to confirm quickly that there won't be any measures taken towards Rujano following the investigation. In the meanwhile we agreed with the rider to focus on races in June and July."

    Vacansoleil is in the last year of its sponsorship contract and is expected to decide whether to continue to support the team in the near future.

  • UCI World Cycling Tour hits New York

    The Ridge Hill Putnam Cycling Classic
    Article published:
    May 01, 2013, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Next event take place Sunday

    The UCI World Cycling Tour hits US shores this weekend with the latest event – the Ridge Hill Putnam Cycling Classic – taking place on Sunday. It marks the 5th event of the season with amateur riders given an opportunity to qualify for the World Championships that take place in Trentino, Italy, later this year.

    “We have thirteen qualifying events spread all over the world across different continents. If there’s road race then the first 25 per cent over the line per age category will qualify for the world championships. If there’s a time trial then the first 50 per cent qualify,” said UCI World CyclingTour coordinator Erwin Vervecken.

    This weekend’s Putman event is held over two distances with a 126.5 kilometers and 62.7 kilometers courses and 1956 meters and 917 meters climbing respectively in each.

    The beautiful and challenging racecourse begins and ends in historic Cold Spring, New York, located on the Hudson River, directly across from the United States Military Academy (West Point).

    After Finals in Belgium (2011) and South Africa (2012), the 2013 UWCT Final will be the most challenging yet, starting in downtown Trento and finishing with the 20km climb to the top of Monte Bondone, which towers 1654 meters above the Italian town.

    To get there, riders will have to qualify at one of 14 qualifier events held throughout the world.


  • 2013 Giro d'Italia shorts: The old, the young, the Italians and the foreigners

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) charges ahead during Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    May 01, 2013, 22:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Sprinters get their chance to wear pink on the first day

    Sprinters to fight for the first pink jersey in Naples

    The Giro d'Italia will begin with a road race stage for the first time in 10 years, with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) the favourite to win the fast finish on the Naples seafront.

    The last time the Giro d'Italia began with a road stage was in Lecce in 2003, with Alessandro Petacchi beating Mario Cipollini in the sprint. Petacchi went on to win six stages.

    Cipollini is the last rider to win in Naples, taking stage 8 of the 1996 Giro in the city.

    This year's opening stage is over 130km with the riders facing four laps of a longer hilly loop before eight laps of a flat and fast 8km seafront circuit.

    A multi-national 207-rider gruppo

    With Katusha secure an extra UCI WorldTour place this year and RCS Sport inviting four wild card teams, the Giro d'Italia will be made up of 23 teams of nine riders for a total of 207 riders.

    Riders from 54 nations will be at the start in Naples on Saturday, with Ji Cheng (Argos-Shimano) the first ever Chinese rider to tackle the Giro d'Italia, and Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi) the first Greek rider.

    The young and the old

    The Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox team has again named an all-Italian line-up for the Giro d'Italia. The team is also the youngest for average age, with three neo-pro riders meaning the average of the team is just 24.3 years.

    Sprinter Sacha Modolo will lead the team, with Stefano Pirazzi, Enrico Battaglin, Nicola Boem, Francesco Manuel Bongiorno, Marco Canola, Sonny Colbrelli, Stefano Locatelli and Edoardo Zardini in the squad.

    Italy's Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) will be the oldest rider in this...

  • Mount Warning to weed out the weak at Battle on the Border

    Will Walker leads the break with 30km to go.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 0:01 BST
    Alex Malone

    National Road Series field receive early test on punishing climb

    The final ascent of Stage 1 at this year's Battle on the Border, the second round of the Subaru National Road Series may not decide the winner of the overall classification but it designed to expose those riders who may not have their best climbing legs on the opening day of the four-day, five-stage race.

    Mount Warning, a shield volcano that has been inactive for the past 23 million years is the final test for the 139-rider field and with an average gradient of 9 percent and two tough sections in excess of 20 percent; it's a day for the climbers with GC ambitions to shine.

    According to race director Mike Crawley, there's a handful of riders who will scuttle up the 4.4km climb without too much trouble and if the best climbers are in a late breakaway, they are likely not to be seen again until the race reaches the finish line.

    "I think there is a number of riders here who have the capability to climb the entire space without too much hassle," Crawley told Cyclingnews. "Certainly they are going to be quite worn by the time they get to the top but if it's a small break and the climbers are in the break then they will win the day."

    The bunch will do a near 180 degreee turn onto the narrow road that leads up the climb nearing the end of the 111km stage and dropping the team's designated climber on or toward the front is imperative. There are a two smaller creek-crossing bridges to negotiate on the lower slopes and if the team's best hope for a result is not positioned in the first few wheels, it will be a tough ask for them to stay with those hunting for stage glory.

    "My view is that it will be a team race," said Crawley. "The team will take their climber(s) over the hills and through the course and then they will need to be front and centre of the race because once you get to Mount Warning, if you are not on the front I don't think you'll be able...

  • Unconcerned by Romandie performance, Gesink confident for Giro

    A product of the Rabobank Development Team, Robert Gesink is one of Blanco’s top GC riders for 2013.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 2:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco target general classification's top-five

    As the search goes on for a sponsor to fill the void left by Rabobank, Team Blanco heads into the Giro d'Italia this weekend with GC hope Robert Gesink down on form but still confident of a strong performance.

    Gesink, who last year rode and won the overall at the Tour of California in the build up to the Tour de France, is coming off a 54th placing at the Tour of Romandie.

    "I would have liked to have built up a bit more confidence in Romandie, but I know from myself that I will usually have a few dips in the week after hypoxic training - the real benefit hits me about a week after - so I am not at all concerned," the Dutchman explained. "As a team, we rode very well in Romandie and dotted the i's. I am very satisfied with that.

    "In the run-up to the Giro, I've done everything possible to perform well and I am confident that the goals we have formulated are attainable," he concluded with Blanco aiming for a top-five on GC.

    Joining Gesink in support will be debutant Wilco Kelderman who was fifth overall at Romandie as well as Steven Kruijswijk who was next best for the team in 21st. Kelderman said he was looking forward to his first grand tour.

    "The training camp in Tenerife did me a lot of good," he said. "I lost a bit of weight but picked up some uphill strength. In Romandie, I was fit the entire week and could climb with the best of them. That gives me a lot of confidence headed into the Giro where I intend to work hard for Robert."

    Should Blanco's GC objectives not go to plan, the team has a back-up in Paul Martens, Maarten Wynants and Maarten Tjallingii who will focus on individual stages.

    "If it does not run contrary to what we want to accomplish in the classification, we may be able to do something with Paul in some of the more challenging sprint finales," explained Team...

  • Preview the Giro d'Italia stages via video

    The Giro d'Italia peloton in Pola
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 4:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Details posted for each stage of the first Grand Tour of 2013

    The first Grand Tour of season will kick off in Italy on Saturday, May 4 in Naples with a stage suited to the sprinters. The Giro d'Italia will continue for the next three weeks throughout Italy and will end on Sunday, May 26 in Brescia. In total, racers will cover 3405km throughout Italy.

    Want to find out more about each stage?  Cyclingnews has posted video previews for each of the 19 stages as well as maps and profiles.  To find out more about the details of each stage, click on the links below or visit our Giro d'Italia page.

    2013 Giro d'Italia
    Saturday, May 4: Stage 1 - Naples, 130km
    Sunday, May 5 2013: Stage 2 - Ischia - Forio (TTT), 17.4km
    Monday, May 6 2013: Stage 3 - Sorrento - Marina di Ascea, 222km
    Tuesday, May 7 2013: Stage 4 - Policastro - Serra San Bruno, 246km
    Wednesday, May 8 2013: Stage 5 - Cosenza - Matera, 203km
    Thursday, May 9 2013: Stage 6 - Mola di Bari - Margherita di Savoia, 169km
    Friday, May 10 2013: Stage 7 - San Salvo - Pescara, 177km
    Saturday, May 11 2013: Stage 8 - Gabicce Mare - Saltara (ITT), 54.8km
    Sunday, May 12 2013: Stage 9 - Sansepolcro - Firenze, 170km
    Monday, May 13 2013: Rest day
    Tuesday, May 14 2013:

  • Basso out of the Giro d'Italia

    Ivan Basso (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 7:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Cannondale leader suffering with a cyst

    Team Cannondale has confirmed that two-time winner Ivan Basso (Cannondale) will not be on the start line in Naples on Saturday for the Giro d'Italia. Speculation surrounding the 35-year-old's presence in the race was circulating Wednesday night.

    Basso is suffering from a cyst in an undisclosed location. His place in the Giro will be taken by teammate Damiano Caruso. The cyst was discovered on Wednesday and the team frantically attempted the cure the problem with antibiotics.

    "It happened out of the blue. I had a bit of a temperature on Saturday and hen it got worse on Sunday. Yesterday we spent all day in hospital trying to treat it but there was nothing we could do to ensure I could start the Giro d'Italia," Basso told Sky Italia.

    "I was ready to do well and I was convinced I could have done well. The Giro is the race I love more than any other. But I'm sure I'll be back next year and I'll be even stronger."

    "My moral has been shattered but I'll bounce back. I'll resolve the problem and get ready for the Tour de France and the Vuelta. I've been through some tough moments as an athlete and I'll get through this one too."

    The 35-year-old Italian won the Giro in 2006 and 2010 but has struggled for form in the last twelve months. He finished 5th in last year's Giro d'Italia and 25th in the Tour de France after suffering with illness. This year his best result was 4th overall in the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali.

     "This morning, upon waking, after a further evaluation of the lesion it was clear that there was no chance of Ivan pedalling during the next
    days. Dr. Corsetti, in agreement with the athlete, and with the team, decided that it was best not to start the race," the team said in a press release. Basso will return home on Thursday.

  • Prudhomme: It's not for me to guarantee a clean Tour de France

    Christophe Prudhomme shows the 2013 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 9:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Says cycling has moved on from Armstrong

    Christian Prudhomme said that cycling is no longer "the little ugly duckling" insisting that the sport has moved on following the Lance Armstrong affair.

    The Tour de France boss was speaking in Sydney, Australia to promote the 100th edition of the grand tour.

    "That's the past," Prudhomme told AAP of the man who rode to seven Tour de France titles before being stripped of them last year in the wake of the United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation. "He [Armstrong] wasn't there last year, he wasn't there the year before.

    "We can't keep an image in the media from the past in what's happening now. Cycling is not a perfect world, but it's changed."

    Earlier this week, the UCI confirmed that it will work in partnership with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) for the rest of the season, improving the quality of testing and intelligence before this year's Tour de France.

    The two bodies have been at odds in recent years and especially in recent months regarding the quality of testing and the access to the data from the UCI's Biological Passport programme. The AFLD refused to work with the UCI this spring, citing the Federation's "serious mistakes" made in the past and the effects of the Lance Armstrong affair.

    The UCI announced that CADF (the UCI's Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) and AFLD will now combine resources and expertise to organise and provide anti-doping tests, for the Critérium du Dauphiné in June and the Tour de France in July.

    Prudhomme, clearly pleased with the anti-doping effort being made by his...