- Article published:
- May 24, 2010, 18:41
- Jean-François Quénet
Italian star counts on public for support at Giro
After his ride to a stage victory up the steep slopes of the Monte Zoncolan on Sunday, Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) stepped into the ranks of the top favorites who could win the overall at the Giro d'Italia with less than one week to go.
Basso's next opportunity to regain time over race leader David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) is Tuesday's uphill time trial up the Plan de Corones, where he'll be watched by thousands of Italian fans and a couple of VIPs too, including UCI president Pat McQuaid and Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who will be there to support his close friend Carlos Sastre.
"The Zoncolan stage has demonstrated that I have the characteristics of a long-distance racer," said Basso said in a press conference in the Dolomites. "But it's a totally different thing to ride a single hill alone in a time trial," he said referring to tomorrow's stage.
"We got to the Zoncolan after five and half hours of racing. My teammates had prepared me well for the end by pulling for 50km. I'm grateful to all of them, but I give special thanks for Tiziano Dall'Antonia and Maciej Bodnar, who did the first part of the work and still made it to the end of the stage and climbed the Zoncolan well."
Without naming any rider in particular, Basso said that "an effort of approximately 40 minutes suits some riders" more than himself. After checking out the climb again this morning, he was adamant that he remained "serene" - even after his performance up the Zoncolan elevated him to the more high pressure position as a favorite.
"But who knows?" he asked. "It's not impossible that Arroyo will win this Giro. It's not written anywhere that he won't be able to maintain the lead he's got." The Caisse d'Epargne rider has a 3:33 advantage over Basso with six stages to go, including two time trials and two big mountain stages.
Basso doesn't have very good memories of racing uphill time trials during his career prior to his ban in 2007. "I think I'll do better than (I did) up to L'Alpe d'Huez in the 2004 Tour de France," he said. "Well, I finished seventh, not last, but at the time, whoever had to start two minutes before Lance Armstrong had a good chance of getting caught, myself included."
The Liquigas-Doimo rider refused to plan his race beyond the uphill time trial of Plan de Corones. "Tomorrow evening, we'll have a clearer picture of the classification," he said. "I don't feel like predicting too much in advance."
"You've seen what happened in Montalcino (stage 7 with the gravel roads) and L'Aquila (stage 15 when Arroyo and Sastre broke away). Nobody could have predicted that. I can only say that our team will have the same attitude as during the recent weekend; we'll be united. That's what people want to see."
Basso is counting on home crowd support to bring him success in Verona on Sunday. "Many of you attend the sign-in ceremony every morning," he said to reporters. "So you realize how spectators have been nice to me. I can only be happy with that. Cycling enthusiasts have figured out for themselves what happened (referring to his doping ban - ed.)." Basso added a comment that spectators could look into his eyes, full of expression yesterday, and form their own opinions.
"There were many specators on my side. The beauty of cycling is that yesterday, after they cheered me like mad, they also cheered the other riders who came after me."
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 09:13
- Cycling News
Riders climb against the clock on Giro stage 16
Today will see one of the most spectacular stages of this year's Giro d'Italia, as the riders have to tackle the famous Plan de Corones climb in an individual time trial, one by one, with only the clock a witness to their performance.
The start times of stage 16 have been published by Giro organiser RCS Sport. The peloton has been divided into three groups, with the first rider of the first batch to leave the ramp at 10:30am local time. There will be 53 riders in the first batch, each getting underway one minute after the previous. The two later groups of 52 men respectively start at 12:50pm and 15:10pm. The last 15 riders will follow each other at a three-minute distance.
Cyclingnews will bring the event Live to you as of 12:40pm, just before the second batch of riders lines up.
The Plan de Corones is 12.9 kilometres long and averages 8.5 percent gradient, with many ramps reaching 20 percent and even 24 percent for some. The last 5 kilometres is a dirt road through the forest that lacks the usual tarmac used in road cycling.
The exact start times are:
10:30 Marco Frapporti (Colnago)
10:31 Marco Corti (Footon)
10:32 Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions)
10:33 Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago)
10:34 Gabriel Rasch (Cervélo)
10:35 Damien Gaudin (Bouygues)
10:36 Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha)
10:37 Rick Flens (Rabobank)
10:38 Frantisek Rabon (Team HTC-Columbia)
10:39 Dario Andriotto (Acqua e Sapone)
10:40 Christopher Sutton (Sky)
10:41 Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank)
10:42 Alessandro Spezialetti (Lampre)
10:43 Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
10:44 Marcel Sieberg (Team HTC-Columbia)
10:45 Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas)
10:46 Sven Tuft (Garmin-Transitions)
10:47 Michael Albasini (Team HTC-Columbia)
10:48 Anddy Engels (Rabobank)
10:49 Lucas Haedo (Saxo Bank)
10:50 Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions)
10:51 Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervélo)
10:52 Mathieu Claude (Bouygues)
10:53 Vicente Reynes (Team HTC-Columbia)
10:54 Luke Roberts (Milram)
10:55 Michael Schär (BMC)
10:56 Mauro Facci (Quick Step)
10:57 Olivier Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
10:58 Ermanno Capelli (Footon)
10:59 Edward King (Cervélo)
11:00 Alessandro Bertolini (Androni)
11:01 Julien Fouchard (Cofidis)
11:02 Yukiya Arashiro (Bouygues)
11:03 Nico Sijmens (Cofidis)
11:04 Pablo Lastras (Caisse d'Epargne)
11:05 Jos Van Emden (Rabobank)
11:06 Danilo Wyss (BMC)
11:07 Murilo Fischer (Garmin-Transitions)
11:08 Guillaume Le Floch (Bouygues)
11:09 Michiel Elijzien (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
11:10 Matthias Brandle (Footon)
11:11 Markus Fothen (Milram)
11:12 Francesco Reda
11:13 André Greipel (Team HTC-Columbia)
11:14 Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas)
11:15 Alan Marangoni (Colnago)
11:16 Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank)
11:17 Daniel Lloyd (Cervélo)
11:18 Marco Velo (Quick Step)
11:19 Marco Marzano (Lampre)
11:20 Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
11:21 Damien Monier (Cofidis)
11:22 Mathew Hayman (Rabobank)
12.50 Kalle Kriit (Cofidis)
12:51 Simone Stortoni (Colnago)
12:52 Sebastien Hinault (AG2R)
12:53 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Androni)
12:54 Christopher Froome (Sky)
12:55 Goraz Stangelj (Astana)
12:56 Danilo Hondo (Lampre)
12:57 Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis)
12:58 Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R)
12:59 David Loosli (Lampre)
13:00 Iñigo Cuesta (Cervélo)
13.01 Robert Forster (Milram)
13.02 Gilberto Simoni (Lampre)
13:03 Florian Stalder (BMC)
13:04 Roman Kireyev (Astana)
13:05 Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Liquigas)
13:06 Serguei Klimov (Katusha)
13:07 Craig Lewis (Team HTC-Columbia)
13:08 Cameron Wurf (Androni)
13:09 Anders Lund (Saxo Bank)
13:10 Federico Canuti (Colnago)
13:11 Matteo Bono (Lampre)
13:12 Luca Mazzanti (Katusha)
13:13 Remi Cusin (Cofidis)
13:14 Greg Henderson (Sky)
13:15 Leonardo Duque (Cofidis)
13:16 Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
13:17 Daniele Righi (Lampre)
13:18 Matthias Russ (Milram)
13:19 Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas)
13:20 William Bonnet (Bouygues)
13:21 Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas)
13:22 Xabier Zandio (Caisse d'Epargne)
13:23 Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
13:24 Volodymir Gustov (Cervélo)
13:25 David Moncoutie (Cofidis)
13:26 Alessandro Donati (Acqua e Sapone)
13:27 Alessandro Bisolti (Colnago)
13:28 Cayetano Sarmiento (Acqua e Sapone)
13:29 Sebastian Lang (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
13:30 Markus Eibegger (Footon)
13:31 Rubens Bertogliati (Androni)
13:32 Ludovic Turpin (AG2R)
13:33 Carlos Ochoa (Androni)
13:34 Arnold Jeannesson (Caisse d'Epargne)
13:35 Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank)
13:36 Francesco Failli (Acqua e Sapone)
13:37 Steven Cummings (Sky)
13:38 Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step)
13:39 Andriy Grivko (Astana)
13.40 Alberto Losada (Caisse d'Epargne)
13:41 Jackson Rodríguez (Androni)
15:10 Vasil Kiryienka (Caisse d'Epargne)
15:11 Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions)
15:12 Marcel Wyss (Cervélo)
15:13 Massimo Codol (Acqua e Sapone)
15:14 Andrei Amador (Caisse d'Epargne)
15:15 Michael Barry (Sky)
15:16 Josep Jufre (Astana)
15:17 Jerome Pineau (Quick Step)
15:18 Filippo Pozzato (Katusha)
15:19 Joan Horrach (Katusha)
15:20 Charles Wegelius (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
15:21 Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha)
15:22 Johann Tschopp (Bouygues)
15:23 Branislau Samoilau (Quick Step)
15:24 Yuri Trofimov (Bouygues)
15:25 Daniel Moreno (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
15:26 Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues)
15:27 Rigoberto Urán (Caisse d'Epargne)
15:28 Vladimir Miholjevic (Liquigas)
15.29 José Serpa (Androni)
15:30 Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank)
15:31 Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank)
15:32 Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
15:33 Evgeni Petrov (Katusha)
15:34 Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
15:35 Pieter Weening (Rabobank)
15:36 Hubert Dupont (AG2R)
15:37 Iban Mayoz (Footon)
15:38 Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone)
15:39 Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
15:40 Francis De Greef (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
15:41 Xavier Tondo (Cervélo)
15:42 Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas)
15:43 Dario Cioni (Sky)
15:44 John Gadret (AG2R)
15:45 Mauricio Ardila (Rabobank)
15:46 Alexander Efimkin (AG2R)
15:49 Dario Cataldo (Quick Step)
15:52 Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)
15:55 Vladimir Karpets (Katusha)
15:58 Marco Pinotti (Team HTC-Columbia)
16:01 Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
16:04 Robert Kiserlovski (Liquigas)
16:07 Linus Gerdemann (Milram)
16:10 Michele Scarponi (Acqua e Sapone)
16:13 Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)
16:16 Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
16:19 Cadel Evans (BMC)
16:22 Carlos Sastre (Cervélo)
16:25 Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
16:28 Richie Porte (Saxo Bank)
16:31 David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 11:16
- Cycling News
Brazilian complains of early wake-up and lack of respect
Murilo Fischer of Garmin-Transitions was looking forward to sleeping in on Monday and having a peaceful rest day after two weeks of hard racing at the Giro d'Italia. It wasn't to be, as he was visited not once, but twice by doping controllers.
Instead of a well-deserved rest, he was awakened for a doping control early. "Some idiots do not have the minimum of respect. Rest today after two weeks of the Giro d'Italia, at 8 am doping control,” he tweeted.
"They could not get here at 10-11 am and let us rest. But the story doesn't end here, another control from a different organisation at 9.
"In short, no rest and two doping tests in less than an hour. An exaggerated act and money thrown away. A major lack of respect!".
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 11:30
- Cycling News
Quick Step announces line-up for Tour of Belgium
Wouter Weylandt is out of hospital and back on the bike. Nevertheless, he is still recovering from the intestinal infection that weakened him, and will have to skip the Tour of Belgium this week.
After dropping out of the Giro d'Italia, the Quick Step rider returned home to Belgium and was hospitalised over the weekend for dehydration and further tests. On Monday he resumed training, but only for two hours.
"I'm still a little tired and weak from gastroenteritis,” Weylandt said in a team press release. “Together with the medical staff of the team we decided not to take part in the Tour of Belgium to recover 100 percent before getting back into competition.”
The Belgian ProTour team also announced its line-up for the Tour of Belgium, which starts on Wednesday: Kevin De Weert, Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Iljo Keisse, Thomas Kvist, Andrei Kunitski, Kevin Seeldraeyers and Kevin van Impe.
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 15:13
- Hedwig Kröner
Armstrong donation causes controversy
The donation that Lance Armstrong made to the UCI in 2005 has caused a stir. Following recent statements made by Floyd Landis, that the money was used to cover up a positive doping test result of the seven-time Tour de France winner, high-profile sports officials have declared that while they did not think this was true, the nature of such a donation should have been made clearer to the public.
Reports have suggested that Armstrong donated a substantial sum of money to the UCI at the end of his career in 2005. UCI president Pat McQuaid confirmed this last week, telling Irish radio Newstalk that the donation had been $100,000 and that this sum was almost entirely used to buy a Sysmex machine, a piece of equipment used to analyse blood.
IOC president Jacques Rogge supported Armstrong's and McQuaid's version that the donation was not made to cover up any positive anti-doping test. "To my knowledge it is not possible to hide a positive result," Rogge told ESPN. "The lab knows the code. WADA gets it also. Then it goes to the national and international federations. One person cannot decide: 'I can put this under the carpet.'"
Former president of the German cycling federation, Sylvia Schenk, echoed this opinion. Schenk held the position at the time of events and now chairs an international organisation fighting corruption, Transparency International.
"I do not think that a positive doping test can be easily covered up, especially in the case of such a famous rider like Armstrong," Schenk told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. "The tests are performed in accredited labs; it would be difficult to bury a positive result as there are too many people involved. But not only that: I also doubt that the UCI would do such a thing."
Still, Schenk criticised the way in which the donation was made and the subsequent confusion it has caused. "At the time, the UCI Management Committee was not officially instructed before the donation was made," she added. "Then, the amount of the sum changed several times, and to my knowledge there were no documents presented up to now. There should be a transaction receipt, a regular booking at the UCI and a purchase receipt of this Sysmex machine somewhere, all within a certain period of time.
"The UCI was always very proud of its accounts - why have these documents not been made public in these last five years? It is the UCI's own fault that rumours are spreading. The UCI urgently needs to become more transparent."
The German, who does not believe that the UCI would have to rely on a donation to buy any anti-doping equipment, strongly feels that "this kind of payment should not be made, or at least be treated with absolute transparency. There is always the danger of it looking like a deal, even if the donation is made without any kind of return service. In the interest of the UCI's credibility, this impression has to be prevented."
Schenk added that she was not aware of any other active pro cyclist having donated money to the UCI.
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 15:23
- Stephen Farrand
Claims letters show the UCI did not cover up a dope test
The President of the UCI Pat McQuaid has revealed that Lance Armstrong is the only rider ever to have made a donation to UCI and has admitted that in hindsight, the decision to accept $100,000 while the Texan was still racing was regrettable.
Speaking to the media for more than an hour at Plan des Corones before the finish of the Giro d'Italia time trial stage, McQuaid also revealed that he has asked the Canadian, Australian, Belgian and French national cycling federations to investigate the accusation made by Landis against Team Sky rider Michael Barry, Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Matt White, RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel and BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue.
McQuaid later confirmed to Cyclingnews that Landis, Lance Armstrong and all the other US riders accused by Landis have been placed under investigation by USA Cycling via USADA.
McQuaid presented a paper trail of letters from the Paris and Lausanne anti-doping labs, WADA and the Tour de Suisse organisers that he claims showed that Armstrong did not test positive for EPO in 2001 and so could never have attempted to bribe the UCI.
"The UCI take seriously the accusation that the UCI took a bribe to hide the positive test of Lance Armstrong in 2001," McQuaid said.
"We've contacted in recent days the labs involved for testing for EPO at that time. I have statement here from those labs that support what I am about to say. The letters will also soon be published on the UCI website in a sign of transparency.
"First the letter from the Paris lab, that is under the AFLD. They had three positives for EPO in the UCI account between 2001 and 2003. Two in 2001 and one in 2003. All the reports were sent to the UCI in 2001 and 2002 and 2003 were also sent CPLD and also sent to the International Olympic Committee. In relation to Lausanne, there were 18 positive tests for EPO for the UCI controlled by this lab between 2001 and 2003: six in 2001, four in 2002 and eight in 2003. All analysis were sent to IOC and Swiss Olympic.
I also have a letter from WADA that states from January 2004, every positive result for UCI also went to the WADA. I also have a report from the Tour de Suisse from 2001 which states that there was no doping case in 2001."
"All this information supports what the UCI has always stated: That there is no way that the UCI or it's former president Hein Verbruggen could have accepted a bribe. It's just not possible."
The $100,000 question
McQuaid faced several follow questions about the ethics of accepting a $100,000 donation from Lance Armstrong.
He refused comparisons with a football team perhaps making a donation to a match referee but embarrassingly admitted that despite promising the $100,000 in April of 2002, Armstrong only paid up in 2005 after the UCI sent him a reminder of payment.
"To the best of my knowledge, the UCI has not accepted other donations and I'd just like to clarify that there was only one donation from Lance Armstrong not two or three," McQuaid said.
"You have to consider that at the time, in 2002, no accusations against Lance Armstrong had been made. They've all came up since then. We accepted the donation to help develop the sport. We didn't think there's a conflict of interest. It's easy to say in hindsight what could or would have been done. You have to put yourself in the situation at the time."
"I think based on experience, based on hindsight and 20/20 vision, and based on the claims of a conflict of interest, the UCI would be very careful before accepting a donation from a rider in the future. Having said that the UCI is not a rich organisation and we have many demands from around the world for demands for support and material. We will listen to anyone who can help us."
A clean Giro d'Italia this year?
McQuaid tried to find some good news and praised Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans for their spectacular racing in this year's Giro.
He said he was convinced that most of the riders are now competing cleanly but was forced to make a damn admission that it might not have been the case just three of four years ago.
"The UCI is very, very happy with how the Giro has gone this year," he said.
"My understanding from blood testing done prior to Giro is that the results and are becoming more and more normal. As I sit here today if the UCI was going to open a procedure on a rider I would be aware of it, but I'm not aware of that now. I was pleased to see that battle on the Zoncolan between Basso and Evans. They are superb riders who are 100% clean and give a great image for our sport."
"I have never denied since becoming president that there has been a culture of doping in this sport. But I've also stated that there are cheats in every aspect of life and society."
"Cycling had changed dramatically in the last three or four years and the UCI Biological Passport ensures that riders who take EPO won't get away with it any more."
"The UCI's Mario Zorzoli showed me a graph from 2008 to 2009 indicating that a broad numbers of riders have more normal (blood) values than in previous years. I cannot guarantee, nobody can guarantee, that this race in is 100% clean or guarantee that any sport is 100% clean."
"We can only do the best we can but if you look at riders winning, there are young riders like Peter Sagan and Richie Porte, the young riders are coming through with a new philosophy. Everybody recognizes that a change has happened."
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 18:39
- Stephen Farrand
World champion predicts Giro is still wide open
Cadel Evans (BMC) was not crowned the king of Plan de Corones and had to be content to pull on the red points jersey instead of the pink jersey, but the world champion received a boost to his morale as he gained time on all his overall rivals.
Evans finished second, 42 seconds behind Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), but pulled back 1:34 on David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), 1:35 on Riche Porte (Saxo Bank) and perhaps more importantly he gained 28 seconds on Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo).
"That's not bad. It's not super but it’s not bad. I did what I could," he said after the stage as he waited to go on the podium and pull on the red jersey.
Evans was fastest at the first intermediate time check after 7.6km but then lost 54 seconds in the second section, finishing 42 seconds down on Garzelli at the very summit of the climb.
"I started pretty well, which is unusual for me, but then I faded a bit mid-way," Evans said. "I think I got better on the dirt roads and I gained time on my overall rivals. I used my power to get up the dirt section. I didn't have the legs on the Zoncolan but today I left everything out on the road. Now I want to analyze the results in detail to see exactly where we are now."
Evans will see that he is now fourth overall, 3:09 behind Arroyo, 42 seconds behind Basso and 33 seconds down on Porte.
"I'm slowly pulling back the time. Everybody is saying that Basso will win the Giro but first both he and me have got to pull back time on Arroyo. I think he did pretty well today and a bit better than we all expected.
"I think he's holding onto the jersey pretty well and will be a danger all the way to Verona. He might even win the Giro. We've got the stage to Peio Terme, Aprica, the Gavia, the Passo Tonale and the Verona time trial. I don't know if it's enough to make a difference. It's still a very open Giro."
- Article published:
- May 25, 2010, 18:44
- Jean-François Quénet
Italian veteran saved himself for uphill time trial
Ten years ago, Stefano Garzelli won the Giro d'Italia. On Tuesday, he added a seventh stage win with the time trial up Plan de Corones. His win came in the absence of two Italian specialists: Marzio Bruseghin, who pulled out of the Giro after crashing and Franco Pellizotti, who was denied a start due to irregularities in his biological passport.
"When I saw my time at the finish, one minute behind Pellizotti's two years ago, I thought I had done really well," said Garzelli. In 2008, Pellizotti won the exact same stage, which was also on day 16 of racing. He rode the 12.9km in 40:26 ahead of Emanuele Sella, who finished only six seconds back though later ended up being banned for doping.
Except for the headwind in the first two kilometres, the road and weather conditions were better today, and yet, with his time of 41:28, Garzelli would have been classified only seventh two years ago, behind Pellizotti, Sella, Gilberto Simoni, Alberto Contador and José Rujano.
Garzelli didn't compete in the Giro d'Italia two years ago because his team Acqua e Sapone didn't get an invitation. "I wanted to honour this edition of the Giro because we've been invited this time," said Garzelli. But Plan de Corones isn't where he had hoped for a stage win.
"I normally go well in time trials when they contain hills," he said. "I had a great ride in the Cinque Terre last year."
"I also usually go well the day after the rest day. I got my best result at the Tour de France with a third place at L'Alpe d'Huez in 2006, and I rode well last year at the Giro during the stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo. But I didn't expect to win today. This is one of my nicest victories."
The 36-year-old Italian reckoned that experience had helped him to ride well. "I had reference times, so I knew what to do on that climb. I took it easy when it wasn't steep, and I sprinted when it was hard. For the gravel road, I used the smallest possible gear: 34x29. Maybe the GC contenders started too strong on the Passo Furcia?"
Cadel Evans (BMC) had the best time at the 7.6km split (the Passo Furcia), with four seconds over Michele Scarponi and 12 seconds over Garzelli, but the latter dominated the Australian by 54 seconds from km 7.6 to km 12.9, which was the gravel section.
Garzelli admitted he lost a lot of time on purpose over the Monte Grappa and didn't pressure himself on the Zoncolan when he lost contact with the best riders that day. Saving himself on those days may have helped him to victory in stage 16.
His aim is to win another mountain stage before the end of the week. "I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep racing," he said. "I'll probably do 2011, and then we'll see."
"I'm still here! I'll enjoy this win and try to get one more before considering the future."