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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Date published:
May 25, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Basso: Corones TT will differ from Zoncolan test

    Ivan Basso on his way to victory
    Article published:
    May 24, 2010, 18:41 BST
    By:
    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...

  • Plan de Corones TT: start times ready

    Jose Rujano finds the only flat section of Plan de Corones: the final eight metres.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 9:13 BST
    By:
    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:

    First group

    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...

  • Garmin-Transition's Fischer tested twice on rest day

    Murilo Fischer (Garmin - Transitions) before the start.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 11:16 BST
    By:
    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!".

  • Weylandt out of hospital and training again

    Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) was delighted with his stage 3 Giro d'Italia victory.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 11:30 BST
    By:
    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.

  • Schenk: UCI needs more transparency

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    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 15:13 BST
    By:
    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...

  • McQuaid acknowledges accepting Armstrong donation a mistake

    UCI president Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 15:23 BST
    By:
    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,...

  • Evans pleased to gain time on Basso and Arroyo

    Points classification leader Cadel Evans (BMC) put time into all his GC rivals with a 2nd place finish.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 18:39 BST
    By:
    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."

  • 36-year-old Garzelli remains a winner

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) powers to a stage victory on the Plan de Corones.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2010, 18:44 BST
    By:
    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....