TechPowered By

More tech

First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 24, 2012

Date published:
May 24, 2012, 17:00
  • Rodriguez pays tribute to Tondo with Giro stage victory

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) beats his rivals to the line, dedicating his win to Xavier Tondo
    Article published:
    May 23, 2012, 18:13
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Giro leader overcome with emotion on anniversary of Tondo's death

    Just after crossing the line in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Joaquim Rodriguez hugged Ivan Basso and told him in a few words why he felt obliged to win stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, even though no time bonuses were at stake at the finish. Exactly one year ago on this day, May 23, was the tragic death of Movistar rider Xavier Tondo while he was training in Sierra Nevada with his teammate Benat Intxausti, who is currently sixth on GC at the Giro d'Italia.

    "I wanted to win today because it's a special day," said Rodriguez. "Xavi was a great friend of mine. I've known him since we were kids."

    Tondo was only seven months older than Purito and they rode together as youngsters in Catalunya. Their respective home towns of Valls and Parets-del-Vallès are one hundred kilometres apart.

    The Movistar riders showed up at the start of stage 17 in Falzes with a medal to pay tribute to their companion who joined their team in 2011 after finishing sixth overall in the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, during which he told Cyclingnews that it had always been his dream to ride for the same team that once was Miguel Indurain's. Tondo's memory was already mentioned twice in the post-stages comments since the beginning of the Giro by stage winners Francisco Ventoso and Andrey Amador, both of Movistar.

    "It's not that I think of him today, one year after his death, I'll keep thinking of him all of my life," Rodriguez said at the press conference in Cortina d'Ampezzo when asked to describe Tondo's personality as he was quite unknown in Italy despite having held third place on GC at the 2010 Giro d'Italia until the final week. "I don't like to talk about him," Rodriguez added. "I also dislike hearing some people talking about him as if they knew him but they actually didn't. He's in my heart, that's all. I don't want to talk about him, thanks."

    As he pronounced those words, Rodriguez's eyes turned red. He was not able to listen to the next question and he stood up and left the room in tears. After regaining his composure, Rodriguez returned to the press conference but the reporters thanked him and let him go without asking further questions.

  • Italian Giro d'Italia contenders impressed by Hesjedal

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 23, 2012, 20:00
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Basso, Scarponi and Pozzovivo believe the Canadian is in the best position

    Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, the first mountainous foray in the Dolomites, but the main beneficiary of the stage's outcome is Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda). The three Italian general classification contenders echoed "Purito" who concluded clearly: "Hesjedal is the hot favorite now. With the current time gaps, it's impossible for me, for [Ivan] Basso or [Michele] Scarponi to beat him after the time trial."

    "Today in the climbs, Hesjedal is the rider who impressed me the most," said Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox). "Unfortunately, there was no way to get rid of him."

    The Italian climbers were hoping that the lanky Canadian wouldn't be able to follow on the Passo Giau, but their racing tactics actually suited Hesjedal to perfection. Like in the previous hard stages, Basso got his teammates to increase the rhythm in order to prevent attacks. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) was the victim of the day rather than Hesjedal, a former wearer of the pink jersey in this Giro, who is only 30 seconds down on Rodriguez. The Garmin-Barracuda rider is considered the best time triallist of all GC contenders ahead of the closing 30km race against the clock in Milan on Sunday.

    "Have you seen how easily he came across to me when I accelerated?," Basso said. "Today's confirmation is Hesjedal's favorable position for winning the Giro. This stage has given some signals ahead of two harder stages to come on Friday and Saturday. The overall classification has moved a little bit but not as I wanted because of Hesjedal."

    Basso was expecting Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) to team up with him towards the top of Passo Giau. The Liquigas-Cannondale captain imagined an Italian duo to escape and play a man-to-man sprint in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Instead, six riders contested the stage victory after the descent to the finish line.

    "Scarponi is a generous guy," Basso said. "Had he contributed to my actions, we would have created a bigger difference but if he hasn't done it, it means that he just couldn't do it."

    Scarponi, however, was cramping and had to use his descending skills to regain contact with the leaders in the approach to the finish. "I'm sorry," he said. "I knew the final downhill pretty well. I could have invented something. In those difficult moments, I just managed to save myself.

    "I got dehydrated. I drank a lot, though, but probably not as much as I should have. Hesjedal is respected and feared. We've failed to putt him in difficulty. These hard stages are difficult for everyone but now that Hesjedal has showed that he can overcome them, he's in a perfect position: the time trial favors him."

  • Team TIBCO suffers equipment theft on eve of Exergy Tour

    Team Tibco attacking late in the race
    Article published:
    May 23, 2012, 22:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Road bikes, time trial bikes and wheels stolen from trailer in Boise

    On the eve of the Exergy Tour, the biggest women's international stage race in the U.S., Team TIBCO's trailer was broken into and 14 of the team's Specialized bicycles were stolen.

    The trailer was parked in the parking lot of the Exergy Tour race hotel parking lot in Boise, Idaho. Thieves stole six Specialized Shiv time trial bikes and eight Specialized Amira road bikes.

    "These bikes are top-of-the-line race bikes, built with top-of-the-line SRAM Red components," said team founder and director Linda Jackson. "The time trial bikes specifically are very unique and should be easily identifiable. In addition, all these bikes were painstakingly built and fitted to each rider and having this custom equipment back for the U.S. National Championships next month is also critical for every team member."

    The thieves also made off with a number of Reynolds wheelsets, including Element disc time trial wheels and special RZR 46s and 92s.

    "These wheels are also very unique and are not readily available," Jackson said. "The theft is a huge blow to the team. On the performance side, our riders now have to compete in the most important stage race in the country without their time trial equipment and their custom-built road bikes.

    "George's Cycles in Boise Idaho has generously offered a $500 reward for information leading to the safe return of the bikes, we thank them for that," Jackson added. "We will match them and make the reward $1,000." Exergy has also added a $1,000 reward for information.

    Boise Police are urging anyone who has information to call Crime Stoppers at 343-2677 or go the website www.343cops.com.

  • Team Tibco bikes recovered ahead of Exergy Tour

    Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO-To The Top)
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 09:55
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Police act fast on tip-off from local resident

    Team Tibco to the Top got off to a rough start before the 2012 Exergy Tour in Boise, Idaho, when thieves made off with the squad's supply of race machines from a trailer in the hotel parking lot early Wednesday morning. But by Wednesday afternoon Boise police announced that all of the bikes had been recovered following a citizen tip.

    The UCI 2.1 race starts Thursday evening with a 3.2km opening prologue time trial in downtown that partially runs along the edge of the Boise State University campus.

    The team trailer was parked at the Holiday Inn Express when the theft occurred. Police originally recovered six of the team's racing bikes locked together to a bike rack near BSU after officers received a citizen tip just before noon. A search of the immediate area resulted in the recovery of the remaining seven bikes. All 13 of the stolen bikes have now been recovered from three locations on the BSU campus.

    “We want to thank the citizen who took the time to call police and help us recover these bikes as quickly as they did,” said Boise Deputy Police Chief Pete Ritter. “This type of cooperation between police and the citizens we serve is exactly the type of partnership that helps make Boise the great place to live that it is.”

    Detectives said the bikes appear to be undamaged as far as they can tell, and they are working to process the bikes for evidence as quickly as possible to return them to the riders. Detectives continue to investigate the theft as they work to determine who may be responsible. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter praised the citizen tipster and the police, saying the high-profile theft “would not stand” in his town.

    Team Tibco to the Top leader Megan Guarnier said she and her teammates tried not to fret about the situation on the eve of the biggest women's race in the country. “But the management definitely had their hands full. There was only so much as a rider we could do,” she said. “So we were just trying to look forward and problem solve.”

    Guarnier said every rider on the team had a bike to ride in the event that the stolen ones didn't show up, whether or not is was the “optimal” machine. But now the riders can turn their full attention to the race, which ends Monday, May 28, after the prologue and four stages.
     

  • Cancellara satisfied with return to racing in Bayern Rundfahrt

    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 10:50
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider out nearly two months with shattered collarbone

    Fabian Cancellara has finally returned to racing, more than seven weeks after suffering a quadruple fracture of the right collarbone. The RadioShack-Nissan rider said that he was “satisfied” with his performance in the Bayern Rundfahrt, where he finished at the rear of the 125-rider strong group with the same time as winner Alessandro Petacchi.

    On April 1, the four-time World time trial champion crashed over a bidon in the Tour of Flanders. His return to racing took longer than expected.

    “I feel normal now. I expected that some time would need to go by, maybe two or three days of racing before I would feel ok, but in general I’m good,” Cancellara said on the team's website. “The climb was really hard but I’m happy to be back in the environment of a race and cycling in general.

    “For sure I suffered because of so many weeks without the intensity of racing. And I know small things will affect me for a while, but this is normal as I get back into the rhythm of racing. I’m satisfied.”

  • Omega Pharma-QuickStep still interested in signing Contador

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 13:01
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian team has no worries about UCI WorldTour points

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep financier Zdenek Bakal still dreams of adding Alberto Contador to his team when the Spaniard returns from a doping-related suspension in August. According to all indications, Contador is most likely to return to Saxo Bank and Bjarne Riis, but that hasn't stopped other teams from inquiring.

    At least six other teams have expressed interest in signing Contador, according to the Belgian Nieuwsblad newspaper.

    One problem that Riis and Contador may face would be the points necessary for retaining the Saxo Bank WorldTour licence. According to the UCI, points gained by riders returning from doping suspensions will not count towards the WorldTour for two seasons. So far this season Saxo Bank is at the bottom of the points list, with only 32 points.

    At the other end of the rankings is none other than Omega Pharma-QuickStep, with 547 points. So while Saxo Bank may have to scramble to sign new riders to bring in points and thus “cover” for Contador, the Belgian team would have no such problems.

    In addition, Omega Pharma-QuickStep uses the same bike manufacturer, Specialized, as Contador.

  • Wegelius: Giro suits Hesjedal more than the Tour

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 13:22
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Garmin-Barracuda DS believes Basso remains the main threat

    Recently retired as a pro cyclist, Charly Wegelius was in the Garmin-Barracuda team car following and advising via radio Ryder Hesjedal over the climbs on the way to Cortina d'Ampezzo, "the pearl of the Dolomites". Late at night, he admitted to Cyclingnews that his protégé is the main beneficiary of stage 17.

    "For several numbers of reasons, [Ivan] Basso tried to keep the race constant," Wegelius said. "Ivan is a big diesel, plus going downhill is a slight weak point of his. His tactic is perfect for Ryder who has a huge endurance. He's suited to the Giro more than the Tour where it's more of a slogging match like boxing. How the race has developed so far suits Ryder. He has proven his consistency. We have faith in him."

    Garmin-Barracuda didn't come to the Giro d'Italia with the open intention to contest the overall victory. "It was all based around the first 10 or 12 days," Wegelius said. The US ProTeam team had initial ambitions for Alex Rasmussen in the prologue [he came third], for the team time trial [they won it] and for the sprints with Tyler Farrar [who came third on stage 3 but did not finish stage 6]. Wegelius used another expression from boxing to highlight Hesjedal's situation as a runner-up only thirty seconds down on Rodriguez: "The team is fighting above their weight."

    "We don't feel any pressure about winning the Giro," Wegelius said. "Ryder's calm is remarkable. Peter Stetina is doing very well on his side. With his experience, Christian Vande Velde is a point of reference for Ryder and Peter. They're incredibly calm all of them."

    As he knows the Giro pretty well after being based in Italy for 12 years, Wegelius suspected the storm to be hidden behind the calm. No real attack has been launched yet as an assault to the overall classification. "Maybe some massive fireworks will explode in the next two days," he said prior to the mountain top finishes of Alpe di Pampeago on Friday and the Stelvio on Saturday. "Either they [the favorites] are waiting or they don't have the legs. After watching the sprint for the stage win in Cortina d'Ampezzo, I think Basso has the legs for winning the Giro again. I couldn't beat many riders in a sprint but Basso was one of the very few that I'd beat but he sprinted so well that this is a sign of good form. "Purito" is on the same level as Basso but the final individual time trial is against him."

    On the other hand, Hesjedal is the best time triallist of them all. "They have to come and get us," Wegelius said. "But we don't want to plan anything. We take the race kilometer by kilometer. We do the Giro as if it finishes on Saturday at the top of the Stelvio. We don't want to calculate the virtual margin that Ryder has before the time trial. Laurent Fignon was supposed to win the 1989 Tour de France, wasn't he? And the 1984 Giro d'Italia… We'll draw a line on Saturday evening."

    Garmin-Barracuda tries to ignore the ideal position Hesjedal is in to make the best of it.

  • Tim Wellens moves up to Lotto Belisol from U23s

    The Lotto Belisol Team
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 15:24
    By:
    Cycling News

    21-year-old will be seventh neo-pro on Belgian team

    Tim Wellens will move up to the WorldTour Lotto Belisol team from their U-23 team. The 21-year-old will thus officially turn pro on July 1, and has signed a two and a half year contract.

    He will bring climbing help to the Belgian team. "Tim is a climber and has won an Alp Classic as a junior. In the past years he was able to improve his climbing skills in foreign tours like the Tour of Aosta and the Tour of the Savoie,” said U-23 team leader Kurt Van de Wouwer.

    “At the start of the season it was clear I would make the transfer to the pros,” Wellens said. “I was able to train for six months with the youngsters, but I'm sure it's not too early; a couple of people of my age are already pros. The next year-and-a-half will be ideal to learn. I'm curious about what the difference in level will be. Some say it's ok, others find it a big step.

    “With my 65 kg and 1.81m height I've always been the climbing type. My time trial has always been a weakness, but I've been working hard on it. I'm really impatient, but I don't have personal ambition for the next months. The Tour of Poland will be a tough start in which I will able to test my climbing skills."

    Wellens will be the seventh neo-pro on the team, and “Giving chances to youngsters is not new for us, said general manager Bill Olivier. “Just like with Tosh Van der Sande and Brian Bulgaç this is the result of the good work and co-operation with Lotto Belisol U23. In this way the young riders get the chance to evolve in the shadow of the experienced riders.

    “When we look at the evolution in the last couple of months of Tosh Van der Sande for example and the way Brian Bulgaç is riding the Giro, we can say this way of management is more than justified."