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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 8, 2014

Date published:
May 08, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Cadel Evans: I don’t know if I’ll race the Tour de France again

    Cadel Evans (BMC) defended his pink jersey through the final stage.
    Article published:
    May 07, 2014, 20:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Irish Giro stages an unknown quantity for BMC leader

    When Cadel Evans lined up for the Giro d’Italia twelve months ago, it was with the Tour de France at the back of his mind, but this time around the Australian has eyes only for the corsa rosa following the definition of stage racing roles at his BMC team during the off-season.

    Under Allan Peiper’s stewardship, Tejay van Garderen has been designated as the outright team leader for July, while Evans' season has been built around the Giro. Speaking at the pre-race press conference in Belfast on Wednesday, Evans acknowledged that he will not necessarily ride the Tour again before the end of his career.

    "For me on a personal level, the Giro was the first grand tour that I did back in 2002 and now on a professional level, the team wants me to do the Giro and not the Tour, so obviously here I am at the Giro," Evans said, adding: "But on a personal level, that’s fine for me. I'm lucky that things came together in at least one of my Tours. I don’t know if I’ll race the Tour again but regardless of whether I do or not, I leave it reasonably satisfied and now I'm putting my energy into the Giro."

    Evans' 2011 Tour victory was prefigured by an impressive early-season sequence that saw him land overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie. While his current campaign has not quite matched those heights – he abandoned Tirreno through illness, for instance – it has still been his most consistent spring since that career year.

    In particular, Evans will be buoyed by his overall victory at the Giro del Trentino two weeks ago, where a puncheur's stage win at Roncone was followed by a resolute defence of the pink jersey on Monte Bondone on the final day. “As a build-up to the Giro, the results have been a confirmation of the work I’ve done. We’re...

  • Quintana aiming to continue Colombia's success story at Giro d'Italia

    Dayer Quintana (Movistar)
    Article published:
    May 07, 2014, 21:00 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Second in 2013 Tour, can Quintana take Colombia's first Giro?

    Last year in the Giro, Colombian riders provided much of the entertainment and drama (of the right sort), with Rigoberto Urán taking second overall - the country's first ever podium finish in the race - whilst the best young rider overall went to compatriot Carlos Alberto Betancur. Colombians Sergio Henao and Darwin Atapuma also secured top 20 finishes overall.

    Fast forward 12 months, and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has moved ahead of Urán to claim the mantel of Colombia's top GC rider after his spectacular Tour de France, where he netted, in one fell swoop, an Alpine stage win, second overall, the King of the Mountains title and the Best Young Rider's classification.

    For a rider making his debut in the Tour, it was a hugely impressive series of results, but rather than return to France in July, Movistar have opted to send their Colombian to the Giro. As a result, Quintana, sporting a new haircut atop of his usual smiling face, found himself in Belfast on Wednesday, sitting alongside Rigoberto Urán as a top favourite for the 2014 Giro d'Italia at the race's opening press conference.

    Asked to reflect on Colombia's crop of top results in recent years - which represents a comeback of major proportions - and the fact that they were fielding not one, but two favourites for the Giro, Quintana confirmed that "for Colombia this is something that is very important".

    "It's perhaps the first time in history we have two Colombians with the status of favourite before a Grand Tour, and that doesn't happen every day. I'm sure that people back home are pleased about that."

    Quintana was cautious about his chances, saying "I think everybody on this [table of top contenders] is at more or less the same level. However, I'm...

  • Dan Martin: My Giro d’Italia result depends on how good the others are

    Stage fovourite Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) doesn't want to give up
    Article published:
    May 07, 2014, 21:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman taking GC battle day by day

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is never one to make sweeping statements on the eve of a Grand Tour. Instead, the Irishman prefers to focus on the steady accumulation of brush-strokes that gradually form the bigger picture, and the mantra as he faces into the Giro d’Italia, is as familiar as it is pragmatic.

    “I think it’s the same as last year at the Tour: it’s 21 one-day races, because you can’t win it in one day but you can lose the race on any day,” Martin told Cyclingnews in Belfast on Wednesday. “For me, it’s always better to be concentrated every day. Obviously I’m not going to win the sprint stages but every day is a new day and you have to stay focused. And the easiest way to do that is not to look too far ahead.”

    Martin could be forgiven if he had his fill of one-day racing following his ill fortune in the finale of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Not only did his crash in the finishing straight of La Doyenne dash his hopes of a second successive win, it also threatened to impact on his preparation for the Giro.

    “That crash in Liège was a bit heavier than it looked. I was pretty banged up and I think you’ll see at the team presentation that I’ve got some war wounds from that still,” he said. “It wasn’t ideal preparation. I haven’t been able to train much this week but I think that will come in handy in the last week. I’m definitely going into the race fresher. As far as a GC result, it’s up in the air. I’m just going to do my best and it depends on how good the other guys’ best is.”

    There may yet be a silver lining to the enforced reduction to Martin’s training load in the ten days that separated his Ardennes campaign from his arrival in Belfast for...

  • Giro d'Italia video: Top 5 sprinters to watch

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) wins his third Scheldeprijs
    Article published:
    May 07, 2014, 22:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Can anyone beat Marcel Kittel?

    The Giro d’Italia isn't just about the general classification. There will a strong field of sprinters come the race start in Belfast.

    Opportunities to sprint are few and far between, with summit finishes dominating proceedings. In fact there are a total of eight possible sprint finishes, with five of them coming in the first 10 days.

    Last year, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the red points jersey after winning a total of five stages. With points being awarded on mountain stages, as well as flat ones, it has become increasingly rare that a sprinter wins that competition.

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) is no doubt the outstanding favourite to take every flat finish. He certainly has the dominance to follow Cavendish at take the jersey, but he’ll have to stick it though the arduous final week if he has any hope of doing so. Another jersey that the German has a chance of wearing is the maglia rosa. Bonus seconds at the finishes give him a slim chance of taking it in the first week, but that depends on how much time Giant-Shimano lose in the team time trial.

    The Giro d'Italia is notoriously unpredictable and it would be foolish to believe that Kittel has this wrapped up. When it comes to the more technical sprint finishes, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) has shown that he is more than capable of beating the best in the world.

    The battle is most certainly on and here are Cyclingnews' top five sprinters to watch at the Giro d’Italia.

    You can subscribe to the Cylingnews YouTube channel here, and you can find out more about our five top overall...

  • Matthew Lloyd happy with first American race

    Matthew Lloyd (Jelly Belly-Maxxis)
    Article published:
    May 07, 2014, 23:24 BST
    Pat Malach

    Australian looking forward to Tour of California

    Matthew Lloyd's first race with the Jelly Belly-Maxxis team last week at the UCI 2.2 Tour of the Gila in New Mexico got off to a rough start. The 30-year-old Australian was caught up in the massive crash on the first day and eventually finished 42nd overall, more than half an hour down on general classification winner Carter Jones (Optum Pro Cycling).

    Lloyd lost more than 15 minutes after the stage 1 melee - an 80-rider pileup that occurred on a fast downhill stretch as riders approached the final ascent to the ghost town of Mogollen. But the diminutive climber, who won a stage and the mountains jersey of the 2010 Giro d'Italia, said racing in New Mexico's high desert actually provided a proper start for his season.

    "It's been interesting racing," he told Cyclingnews last week before the Gila's final stage. "A few crashes here and there, but you're always going to get that in a mixed field. But I think with the altitude and the characteristics of the race - always up and down - it's been some nice training and a good way to get over some jet lag before next week."

    Lloyd said he was feeling "pretty good" at the US race after a prolonged opportunity to live and train at home.

    "I sort of maintained a lot of the endurance training in Australia and kept all the fast-paced lactic acid work for this week," he said. "So the circuit racing and the shorter climbs are obviously better for that, and hopefully a couple days rest and coming into next week will be fine."

    Lloyd finished just behind the bunch sprint at the end of the stage 2 Inner Loop Road Race at the New Mexican tour, and he lost another five minutes in the 26km time trial. Lloyd hung on through the difficult stage 4 critérium in downtown Silver City, but he surrendered another 13:19 to the leaders during the final Gila...

  • Gallery: Favorite riders presented at the Giro d'Italia

    The overall favourites pose with the Giro trophy
    Article published:
    May 08, 2014, 0:30 BST
    Cycling News

    GC hopefuls ready to start racing

    On the eve of the 97th Giro d'Italia which begins in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday, the favourites for the maglia rosa were all present at Wednesday's pre-race press conference held at the Belfast City Hall.

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Cadel Evans (BMC), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Nico Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) attended one press conference while the sprinters of this year's Giro, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Dan Martin (

  • Stetina to lead BMC in California

    Peter Stetina (BMC) goes on the attack on the final climb of stage 2 in Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    May 08, 2014, 3:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Folsom time trial key to overall victory

    For the first time since 2010, Peter Stetina returns to the Tour of California and the 26-year-old does so as the leader of BMC Racing Team.

    Last year BMC's Tejay van Garderen won the overall but with his focus on the Tour de France this year, Stetina has taken his teammates place as the protected rider for the race.

    "I have never actually been in a protected role like this, so this will be a new opportunity that I have been chomping at the bit for and one that I am excited for," Stetina said. "Stepping into a leadership role is a completely different responsibility. There is an added pressure. I hope I can thrive under it and I am excited to take it head-on."

    The eight-day race begins on Sunday in Sacramento with a pair of mountain-top finishes at Mount Diablo State Park (Stage 3) and Mountain High (Stage 6)sure to decide the overall winner of the 2014 event.  A 20.1km time trial around Folsom will test the GC men and it is the race against the clock that Stetina is wary of.

    "I think the time trial is extremely important. Mount Diablo is not very steep until the very final. So I think there are going to be bigger time gaps for the time trial than on Diablo.

    "And then Mountain High is a hard climb. You definitely have to have a good time trial to contend for the overall," said Stetina who joined the team having spent several season with Garmin.

    Joining Stetina for the race is reigning Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd, who has won...

  • Trek Domane Disc 4.0 and 6.9 announced

    Trek has added two disc brake-equipped variants of its outstanding Domane endurance bike. The top-end Domane Disc 6.9 shown here costs US$7,899 / £6,000 and weighs just 7.52kg/16.58lb
    Article published:
    May 08, 2014, 7:00 BST
    James Huang

    Disc brakes and thru-axles plus even more tire clearance

    Trek have announced the release of two new Domane endurance bikes, both with the same fantastic bump-eating ride of the original series but now with disc brakes and thru-axles at both ends. The changes will of course add a little bit of weight but also superb all-weather capabilities plus additional tire clearance, too.

    The top-end Domane Disc 6.9 (US$7,899 / £6,000 / AU$9,499) uses Trek's upper-end 600-series OCLV carbon fiber blend, an integrated no-cut seatmast, and a premium parts blend that includes a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic transmission, Shimano R785 STI Dual Control levers and hydraulic disc brake calipers, a carbon fiber Bontrager bar and saddle, and Bontrager's brand-new Affinity TLR Disc alloy clincher wheelset.

    The far less expensive Domane Disc 4.0 (US$2,099 / £1,600 / AU$n/a) subs in Trek's 400-series carbon fiber formula and a standard telescoping seatpost (which adds weight and firms up the ride quality). Of course, the parts spec is more budget friendly as well with a Shimano Sora 9-speed transmission and STI Dual Control levers, TRP HY/RD mechanical-to-hydraulic disc brake calipers, alloy Bontrager cockpit components, and a more basic Bontrager wheelset.

    We don't expect many (if any) buyers will do so but if so inclined, both the 142x12mm rear and 100x15mm thru-axle dropouts on both bikes are convertible for use with standard quick-release disc wheels. The fork tips can also be swapped from left to right so that users can decide for themselves on what side of the bike they'd prefer the lever to reside.

    With the switch to disc brakes – and the resultant omission of the brake bridge on the seat stays – the frames will now have room for even bigger tires than on the standard Domane, too. Both bikes will come stock with 25mm-wide rubber but...