Neo-pro surprises at home, Bonnet bows out on the Cipressa
Oscar Freire may have taken the headlines at Milan-San Remo, but Colnago-CSF Inox’s Sacha Modolo created plenty of his own when he claimed fourth place in the bunch sprint that decided La Primavera.
For a rider just weeks into his first pro season, it was a phenomenal result, especially as the 22-year-old Italian had to launch his sprint from well back. Such was his finishing speed that he only narrowly failed to take third place from former San Remo winner Alessandro Petacchi.
Modolo’s first taste of a major Classic was not without its difficulties. He was held up by a crash in the Turchino tunnel and had to be paced back to the front group by his Colnago-CSF teammates. Coming into the finish, he realised that Freire’s was the wheel to be on, but was eased out of position on the run-in to the finish by Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.
“I lost Freire’s wheel on the last corner to Boonen and Petacchi, and fell back in the line. That meant that I started my sprint in 11th position from 300 metres out,” Modolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I was passing everyone. I managed to get past [Daniele] Bennati right on the line and I’m convinced I could have got ahead of Petacchi if I’d been better placed. Only Boonen and Freire were too strong for me.”
Colnago-CSF Inox team director Roberto Reverberi was delighted with his young rider’s performance. Reverberi admitted he had expected Modolo to finish in the top five in spite of his inexperience at this level.
“Modolo is very fast. Last year he won GP Liberazione in a sprint. He is a sprinter who holds well on the climbs such as the Cipressa and the Poggio. He’s a rider in Freire’s mould. He’s got a great future ahead of him,” Reverberi said of Modolo, who won 26 races as an amateur.
Caisse d'Epargne top team, Spain highest-ranked nation
Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez remains atop the UCI's World Rankings after the year's first monument, Milan-San Remo, and the stage races Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.
The Caisse d'Epargne rider, who took second overall in the Tour Down Under and third overall at Paris-Nice, sits 39 points ahead of German André Greipel, who won the Tour Down Under. Cadel Evans (BMC) is a further three points adrift after sixth in the TDU and third overall in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Oscar Freire's win in Milan-San Remo boosted Spain's lead in the overall country rankings, while Caisse d'Epargne maintained the teams classification lead over the Astana squad of Paris-Nice winner Alberto Contador.
The UCI's World Rankings combine the ProTour races with events of the Historic classification for a total of 26 races over the course of the season. Series leader Sanchez is currently competing in the next stop, the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in his home country.
The 2010 edition of Milan-San Remo seemed rather ordinary if one just looks at the results: Oscar Freire won his third title ahead of heavy favourite Tom Boonen and former champion Alessandro Petacchi. But when a race covers nearly 300km and seven hours of racing, there is plenty which goes on behind the scenes which doesn't get captured in the results.
Fortunately, our Italian photographers Roberto Bettini and Fotoreporter Sirotti were in the race for most of the day and caught some of the ups and downs of the event along the way.
We hope you enjoy this gallery of some of our favourite photos from this year's Milan-San Remo.
Stefano Garzelli slays himself for teammate Luca Paolini. Photo: Sirotti
The scenery is unparalleled. Photo: Bettini
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) makes a trip back to the team car. Conserving effort in the first 250km is critical. Photo: Sirotti
Eddy Ratti (Carmiooro NGC) leads the early breakaway. Photo: Bettini
Team Sky at the back of the long, single file peloton. Photo: Sirotti
Sid Taberlay decided to return to road racing in the hope it would benefit his mountain biking later in the year, and the Australian has done so with remarkable success. Taberlay finished the weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race in second position overall, thanks in part to his third place on the opening time trial.
“I’ve been missing racing on the road and had a desire to mix it up,” Taberlay told shoair.wordpress.com. “My best mountain bike results have always been when I’ve been racing the road and I’ve felt the last couple of years I didn’t really have the horsepower on the mountain bike.
“I needed to find a way to get that back, it actually became a very easy process,” he added.
Taberlay contested the Redlands Bicycle Classic in 2005 for Cal Giant/Specialized, where he won the King of the Mountains jersey. With an existing relationship and proven success for the team, Taberlay called the squad's manager to ask for a ride at San Dimas. That the road outfit and his Sho-Air /Specialized mountain bike squad have similar sponsors only made an arrangement easier to settle on.
“There was a time that I was more a roadie than a mountain biker, it’s actually how I got good at mountain biking,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got thrown on a road bike, and got the roadie fitness that I became good on the MTB.
“I haven’t done a serious road race since 2007, but racing is just like learning to ride a bike - once you know how to do it, it’s easy,” added Taberlay. “This weekend actually brought back memories with so many Australians in the peloton and what can I say, it was a bit of an Aussie domination.”
The San Dimas Stage Race was a test of form ahead of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar opening event, this weekend’s Redlands Bicycle Classic. That backdrop makes Taberlay’s...
Results, anti-doping record, nationality the key factors
The director of the Giro d'Italia Angelo Zomegnan has explained how he selected the 22 teams that will take part in this year's Giro d'Italia, listing team's results, anti-doping track record and nationality as the three key factors.
Speaking to Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport, Zomegnan made it clear Riccardo Riccò and any other rider who has recently completed a ban for doping will not immediately be welcome at the Giro d'Italia.
Some observers were surprised to see Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis amongst the 22 teams and not Italian squads ISD-Neri and Carmiooro-NGC. However, the two French outfits are part of a group of 16-teams that struck a three-year deal with RCS Sport in 2008. Euskaltel-Euskadi and Francaise des Jeux were also part of the agreement, but opted not to ride the Giro.
Zomegnan justified his team selections in eight answers:
What principals did you follow to select the teams for the Giro d'Italia?
"The qualities of the team, the path of their results, by that I mean how clean they are, and then geopolitics: 13 countries are represented."
What anti-doping measure will there be?
"It will be the most controlled Giro ever. We'll involve the labs in Lausanne, Cologne, Rome and Chatenay-Malabry. The team managers will indicate 15 riders from which they'll select the nine starters. These will get special attention."
Why no Riccardo Riccò?
"Until a certain amount of time has past to reassure us that we're not at risk anymore, certain riders won't ride the Giro. That means Riccò but also (Emanuele Sella).
How long will that be?
A sufficient period so that they can show there are no suspicions about them and for them to prove they're still riders. This happened to [Alexandre] Vinokourov and [Ivan] Basso....
Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil remain hopeful of Tour de France spot
While 2010 Giro d'Italia will start in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam on May 8, neither of the nation's two Professional Continental squads, Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil, will be there, after they missed out on an invitation to the Italian race.
The two Dutch outfits, both of whom had requested an invitation to the Giro, responded to their exclusion with a measure of diplomacy on Tuesday, as they look ahead to the Tour de France, which will also begin in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam on July 3. However, both remain aware that they will face an uphill battle to secure an invitation to cycling's biggest event.
Skil-Shimano team manager Iwan Spekenbrink told Dutch daily De Telegraaf that he believes the biggest obstacle to his team's second Tour appearance is the host of new teams that have entered the peloton.
"The peloton this year is very large," he said. "We all realize that the opportunity to participate in the Tour is limited by the arrival of new teams such as Sky, BMC Racing Team and RadioShack."
With a Rotterdam-based prologue a potentially enormous boon for the team's Dutch backers, Skil-Shimano will face increased pressure to secure results prior to Tour de France organiser Amaury Sports Organisation's final 22-team selection for the French Grand Tour. The squad has only secured one victory so far this season, with Robert Wagner winning the second stage of the 3-Days of West Flanders earlier this month.
In contrast to their rivals, Vacansoleil have topped the podium on five occasions this year, including Bobbie Tracksel's victory at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and Wouter Mol's overall success at the Tour of Qatar. Although disappointed, Vacansoleil's general manager Daan Luijkx was quick to look ahead.
"If we'd been invited to the Giro then we'd have certainly put a strong team forward," Luijkx told De Telegraaf. "It's unfortunate for Dutch cycling and Amsterdam.
Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) pulled out of the Volta a Catalunya before today's second stage, compounding his already troubled start to the 2010 season.
Schleck finished 131st, 27 seconds slower than stage winner Paul Voss (Milram) in the opening time trial at the Volta a Catalunya, but failed to start the 182.6km second stage from Salt to Banyoles.
"Unfortunately, Andy [Schleck] had a rough night with stomach pains and we chose to keep him from racing," said Kim Andersen, Saxo Bank directeur sportif. "He will be back on the bike tomorrow."
"I am very disappointed to have to withdraw from the Vuelta Catalunya," said Schleck via Twitter. "I was having gastro-intestinal problems since before Milan-San Remo. I realize that I can't change the current situation, but am still optimistic for the future races. I am confident for my main goals this year!"
Schleck hurt his knee after being hit by a car in training in December. He was able to keep training during the winter but revealed he had seen several specialists for treatment. He then felt a slight pain in his knee in January and was forced to delay the start to his 2010 season. He had planned to kick-off his season at the Trofeo Mallorca in early February but instead headed home to Luxembourg for treatment. He also missed the Ruta del Sol and eventually made his season debut at the Giro del Friuli on March 3.
He seemed back on track when he rode the Strade Bianche race and comfortably finished Tirreno-Adriatico. He also started Milan-San Remo last Saturday. He did not finish the 298km Classic but headed to Spain to get in some extra racing as he build-up for the Ardennes Classics in the second half of April.
After pulling out of Catalunya, Schleck will only have the Vuelta a Pais Vasco as final training for the hilly Classics. With Amstel Gold Race just three and a half weeks away, time is running out for him to find the kind of form that allowed him to win last year's...