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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 23, 2013

Date published:
May 23, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Scarponi moves up to 4th at Giro d'Italia

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 14:10 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian attacks on final climb in stage 16

    After struggling in the cold of the Alps, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) emerged reanimated from the Giro d'Italia's second rest day and went on the offensive in the finale of stage 16 to Ivrea.

    In spite of a brace of stinging attacks on the final climb of Andrate, Scarponi was unable to peg back any time on the maglia rosa of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but he did have the consolation travails of moving up to 4th place overall after a floundering Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was distanced on its 13 percent slopes.

    "Look, the sun's come out and I felt a bit better today," Scarponi quipped to reporters on crossing the line.

    The stage was widely anticipated beforehand to be a transitional one, ripe for a successful early breakaway, but those with local knowledge speculated otherwise. And so it proved. An elite group formed under the impetus of Scarponi and his teammate Przemyslaw Niemic on the final climb, and it was ultimately Benat Intxausti (Movistar) who came away with the stage win.

    "[Lampre teammate] José Serpa knows the climb well and he told me that was very difficult," Scarponi said. "So I tried to make a move in the hope that they might give me a little bit of leeway or at the very least in the hope of distancing the group behind. That's what happened in the end, I had a bit of a go with Przemyslaw Niemic, who's working well with me, and Santambrogio was dropped."

    Scarponi made two fierce attacks on the way up the climb, but on each occasion, the maglia rosa of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was quick to respond, while Cadel Evans (BMC) and Rigoberto Uran (Sky) were also loathe to give him free rein.

    "It's not easy because the gap is big and I still feel tightly marked," Scarponi said. "But I did get a good response from my legs today so...

  • Dekker says Giro d'Italia difficult for many reasons

    Team Garmin rider Thomas Dekker
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 15:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Blames bad weather, loss of Hesjedal and own poor form

    The Giro d'Italia is really not going as Thomas Dekker had expected – bad weather and the loss of the team's captain join his own unsatisfactory form to frustrate the Garmin-Sharp rider. After the second rest day, he is now simply looking forward to finishing the race and tackling the second part of the season.

    "It's very difficult, also because of the weather. There is little more energy in my body,” he told Nusport, saying the whole peloton is suffering. 

    "Everyone is at the end of his tether. I wonder how many riders will finish in Brescia. Often it is like you are in the shower all day."

    Dekker blames his own form on the consequences of his doping confession earlier this year. "I got off to a false start to the season. I had a lot on my mind with all those doping confessions. Then your head is not always in training and competitions."

    That, combined with the spate of former Rabobank riders confessing this spring to doping, “have had an effect. It's not gone as I would have liked. It is therefore unfortunate that I can't really do my thing in the Giro.”

    The loss of defending Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal to illness left the team more or lest without a plan. “We came here with a purpose and that was Hesjedal. That's disappeared."

    Dekker will next ride the Criterium du Dauphine, but is not sure of the rest of the season. The Tour de France would be a “difficult task.” He is now going over the season planning with the team and knows that “results must now come.”

    The Dutch rider served a two-year ban for using EPO, and returned for half a season with the Chipotle Development team in 2011, before...

  • Nibali hoping to gain time on Evans in the Giro d'Italia time trial

    Vicenzo Nibali (Astana) stays cool
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 18:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana leader confident before final mountain stages

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is quietly confident of gaining time on his key rivals in the Giro d'Italia mountain time trial on Thursday and hopes the 20.6km test against the clock will finally see him win a stage in this year's race.

    The Sicilian has an excellent track record in cronoscalata, as mountain time trials are called in Italian. He saved his energy during Wednesday's long stage from Caravaggio to Vicenza, finishing 19th, 19 seconds behind winner Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).

    He again took advantage of a helicopter provided by the Astana team to hop over the hills to his hotel near the start in Mori, south of Trento.

    "It's difficult to make a prediction about how it will go, but it's better for me that Evans starts ahead of me, that allows me to know his time splits," Nibali said in the daily race leader's press conference.

    "I've not ridden many mountain time trials before in the Giro, but I've usually gone ok. I think I was second in Nevegal (2011) and fourth in Plan des Corones (2010). I'd like to win a stage, either tomorrow or in the mountains but it's never easy. I've been defending the pink jersey for a long time. Gaining time is the most important thing and if I can win too, then why not."

    Nibali forgot that he finished 18th in the 2008 mountain time trial to Plan des Corones. The record book also show that he is the official winner of the 2011 stage to Nevegal after stage winner Alberto Contador was disqualified following his positive test at the Tour de France.

    Deserved winner, whatever the weather

    Nibali leads Cadel Evans (BMC) by 1:26, with Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) third at 2:46 and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) fourth at 3:53.

    He said he would be happy if his lead was...

  • Visconti looks to turn the page at Giro d'Italia

    Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) on the podium
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Former Ferrari client wins second stage in Vicenza

    It was, Giovanni Visconti said, the first victory of his second career, but the Movistar rider still faced questions about his past when he met the press after stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia in Vicenza.

    If winning on the Col du Galibier on Sunday was simply a relief after a troubled spell that had seen Visconti struggle for form ever since he was beset by a panic attack during last year's Giro, he heralded his victory in the Veneto as something of a new start. "Today was my first win with the knowledge that I could do well again with the same grinta and desire I had before," he said.

    Before setting off on new beginnings, of course, one should address the past but – initially at least – Visconti was loathe to discuss the three-month suspension he served last winter after he confessed to being a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari. Michele Scarponi and Filippo Pozzato have also served suspensions for their links to Ferrari, who was last year handed a life ban by the US Anti-Doping Agency for his role in the doping programme at the US Postal Service team.

    "Why are you asking questions about the past? I think that when someone makes a mistake you close the page and you move on," Visconti said in response to a reporter who asked why he had frequented Ferrari when it was expressly forbidden by the Italian Cycling Federation.

    Mindful, perhaps that such an answer was far from reassuring, Visconti returned to the topic of his own volition before departing the conference, apologising for his initial answer. "Everybody in life makes mistakes. It was right that I paid and I've learned from it," he said. "I've learned to have...

  • Navardauskas mistakenly celebrates victory in Giro d'Italia stage 17

    Stage 11 winner Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) flies the Lithuania flag on the podium
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 20:52 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp rider unaware of Visconti off the front

    Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) produced a perfectly timed effort to win the Giro d'Italia stage 17 sprint in Vicenza, to discover a few seconds later that Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) had won alone, 19 seconds earlier.

    The lanky Lithuanian rider opted not to wear a race radio during the stage and so wasn't aware of Visconti's late move until his soigneur confirmed the news to him. The expression on his face turned from joy to disbelief, to disappointment and then to embarrassment.

    "I made the mistake of not taking a race radio today," he said.

    "I didn't know that Visconti was away up front, and so I tried to do my best. It was enough to win the sprint, and I honestly thought I'd won the stage."

    While most of the Giro d'Italia peloton is tired after a long, hard and weather challenged race, Navardauskas is still fresh and chasing success.

    He won stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia to Vajont and was in the breakaway of the day on stage 16, finishing fourth in Ivrea. He still had the strength to be part of the front group of 40 riders that formed on the climb before Vicenza and rode a perfect finale. His only problem was that Visconti was even stronger.

    "I was in a good position on the last climb, and so I tried to hold with the front group. Then I tried to stay at the front and see what happened. I knew the last corners, tried to be safe and sprint for victory. I won it, but not for first place. Still, second place is still good."

  • Cipollini turns up at the Giro d'Italia

    Mario Cipollini and Vincenzo Nibali
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 21:27 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Former world champion refuses to answer questions about working with Fuentes

    Mario Cipollini was at the start of stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia in Caravaggio, making a rare public appearance after being accused of working with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes by Gazzetta dello Sport.

    The Italian sports newspaper reported that Cipollini was identified by the code name of Maria in documents seized in Fuentes' Madrid laboratory.

    The records and detailed "treatment" calendars for his outstanding 2002 season reportedly revealed that Cipollini underwent a blood transfusion three days before Milan-San Remo and further transfusions before Gent-Wevelgem, the start of the Vuelta and a last one four days before he won the world title in Zolder.

    Cipollini denied the reports in Gazzetta dello Sport via press release from his lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone, saying they were "false and absurd accusations".

    The former world champion and sprinter was at the Giro d'Italia as a guest of the Vini Fantini team, who use his Cipollini bikes. He was happy to sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans but refused to respond to questions from Cyclingnews about the reports in Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian monthly magazine Cycling Pro also tried to speak to Cipollini and was similarly refused.

    Napoleone refused to confirm or deny if Cipollini had begun legal action against Gazzetta dello Sport, saying that they would communicate their plans when they saw fit.

  • Uran and Evans primed for mountain time trial

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 23:02 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Taking on Nibali in the cronoscalata

    With snow threatening the full running of the Giro d'Italia's two mighty tapponi to Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo later in the week, Thursday's stage 18 mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa has taken on an additional significance in the final reckoning.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) holds a lead of 1:26 over Cadel Evans (BMC) and 2:46 over Rigoberto Uran (Sky) entering the 20.6km test, which marks the beginning of the Giro's endgame. Though Nibali has appeared impregnable since taking hold of the maglia rosa at the end of week one, the mixed nature of Thursday's cronoscalata course makes it a difficult race to predict, and both Sky and BMC were bullish about their chances of challenging the Sicilian.

    The time trial divides roughly into three parts. After a kilometre of flat, the road pitches up to an average gradient of 6.6% over the following eight kilometres, as far as the intermediate time check at Brentonico. The course then plateaus for four kilometres before the gradient kicks up again to an average of 6.6% for the final six kilometres, with the steepest gradients of 10% coming just over four kilometres from the summit.

    By Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth's reckoning, it's a course that would have suited Bradley Wiggins, who abandoned the race with a chest infection last week, but he is confident that Rigoberto Uran will at least maintain contact with Nibali and Evans.

    "Rigo will just do the best job he can and not worry about others, and we feel quite confident he'll do a good ride. He's certainly going to hold his own," Ellingworth told Cyclingnews. "Nibali will go well on that because he can climb well, and he's time trialling well. Evans will be good too. They'll both do good rides on that course."

    Given Nibali's form in the mountains, the Sicilian...

  • Elliott hoping for decisive Stuart O'Grady stage in Adelaide Tour

    Nathan Elliot (Target-Trek), Dan Bonello (Parramatta), Darren Lapthorne (Drapac), Tom Kaesler (Euride) and Cam Bayly (search2retain-health) formed the major break of the day
    Article published:
    May 23, 2013, 0:25 BST
    Alex Malone

    Down Under surrounds next stop for Target-Trek all-rounder

    Consistently riding amongst the general classification contenders in the 2013 Subaru National Road Series is by no means an easy feat but Nathan Elliott has managed to string together a solid and enduring run of results since his first competitive outing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in early January. The Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour which begins on 24 May will be Elliott's next chance to push further up the NRS ladder.  

    The Sun Tour may have been a little too early for the Biomedicine graduate but he promptly went about showing himself at the New Zealand Cycle Classic when he took second on Stage 3 on the way to riding into 14th-overall at the end of the five-stage race.

    Come the first NRS race of the year Elliott was still firing, picking up 10th at the Woodside Tour de Perth before falling just shy of another top-ten at the Battle on the Border.

    The third and most recent round at the FKG Tour of Toowoomba resulted in a GC table flooded by riders from the Huon Salmon-Genesys squad after the team time trial and so Elliot ensured he put himself up the road in search of a stage result. Riding aggressively is a style the 22-year-old prefers and with the Adelaide Tour featuring a tough 158.4km road race, Elliott is hoping his endurance will keep him up the front in what is expected to be the most decisive stage.

    "With a shorter and faster team time trial the time gaps are going to be a bit smaller," Elliott told Cyclingnews. "My goal is the road race. I think in terms of GC the road race will the stage where the time gaps will be. The time trial and road race...