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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Date published:
May 31, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Downing recalls his battle to finish the Giro d'Italia

    Russell Downing (Sky)
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 16:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky rider proud to finish his first grand tour

    Russell Downing (Team Sky) overcame illness, crashes and one of the hardest Giro d'Italia routes for years to finish the first grand tour of his career.

    The Yorkshire man told Cyclingnews about his highs and lows of the corsa rosa; how he helped young teammate Davide Appollonio in the sprints; tried hard to win the stage to San Pellegrino Terme, crashed 20 metres into the trees but got back on his bike and survived the final mountain stage so he could ride into Milan and finish the Giro.

    He was battered and bruised but proud of his achievement.

  • Giro plays wrong anthem for champion Contador

    Giro champion Alberto Contador and runner-up Michele Scarponi on the final podium.
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 17:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Race official issue formal apology

    The Spanish Sports Council has lodged a formal complaint with the Giro d'Italia after the wrong version of the national anthem was played leaving a stunned Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) standing on the podium and Spanish fans surrounding the Duomo in Milan.

    At the conclusion of this year's Giro on Sunday, it was the old version of the Spanish anthem known as La Marcha Granadera, which was heard which includes the lyrics "Long live Spain! Raise your arms, sons of the Spanish people, who are rising again." The nation's right-wing dictator Francisco Franco's approved lyrics were ditched in 1978 and the anthem now known as La Marcha Real has since been played without lyrics.

    Contador clinched his second Giro d'Italia victory with his third place in final time trial, giving the Saxo Bank rider a 6:10 gap over nearest rival Michele Scarponi in the general classification.

    Giro d'Italia officials have since issued a formal apology, saying it was an "error unacceptable to the champion, with the Government and representatives of the Spanish State present and all Spanish citizens."

    It is not the first time Contador has been left embarrassed on a Grand Tour podium. When he won the 2009 Tour de France, race organisers played the Danish national anthem during his victory celebrations.


  • Evans says Contador is beatable at the Tour de France

    Overall winner Cadel Evans
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 17:14 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian former world champion won’t join GreenEDGE

    Cadel Evans (BMC) attended the presentation of the European training centre of the Australian Institute of Sport that will also be the administrative headquarters of the GreenEDGE team on Monday. At the event he confirmed that he will not join the new Australian team next year.

    He’s busy gearing up for the Tour de France and he will be back in action at the Dauphiné, starting on Sunday with a prologue in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

    “Since the Tour de Romandie [the second World Tour stage race he won this year after Tirreno-Adriatico, ed.], I’ve been doing my normal training towards the Tour de France”, Evans told Cyclingnews in Gavirate, in the north of Italy.

    “The Dauphiné will be an interesting race for me to see where I stand. I’ll go with no big expectations and I’ll take it as a test. It will be a test for the riders who haven’t done the Giro as well.”

    Having raced the Giro before and worn pink twice (in 2002 and 2010), the Australian didn’t miss much of the racing at this year's race.

    “[Alberto] Contador was at a level on his own”, Evans said. “It’s been a race with lowlights unfortunately but it was a nice one to watch from the couch. My favourite stage was the second last one, won by [Vassil] Kiryienka.”

    Contador’s domination didn’t break Evans’s morale, as he still believes the overall victory at the Tour de France remains a possibility for him at the age of 34. “I think he’s beatable at the Tour de France”, the captain of BMC said. “Everyone is human.”

    Evans acknowledged that he has already seen some of the stages of the Tour de France and the time trial of...

  • Knaven says team spirit lead to Bayern victories for Team Sky

    Geraint Thomas is the new leader of the Bayern Rundfahrt making it a double celebration for Team Sky on stage four.
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 20:06 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    DS encouraged by Boasson Hagen's strong performance

    Directeur Sportif Servais Knaven has a simple explanation for Team Sky's domination of the Tour of Bavaria, saying that “everyone wants to ride for each other.” He praised not only overall winner Geraint Thomas but also stage winners Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    The team won two of the five stages, podiumed in every stage, and wore the leader's jersey for a majority of the stages. In the end, they took the overall win with Thomas, the sprinter's jersey with Boasson Hagen and the team title.

    "We just had a really strong team and it was really important that we play different cards,” Knaven told Cyclingnews.

    Bradley Wiggins was the captain and team leader coming into the race, and the team started its control of things during the first stage. “We wanted to do a good race, and went with a really strong team. We already started controlling the race on the first stage. With the time trial on Saturday we knew we had a good chance for the GC, and the most important thing was to protect Bradley.”

    However, it was not Wiggins but Thomas who was in the race-decisive break on the third stage. "After that, he was our man.”

    "The most important thing is that everyone wants to ride for each other, so that when the moment was there, everyone was riding for 'G',” Knaven said. “Everyone helps each other when necessary. When we make a plan, everyone sticks to it.

    The team suffered under the handicap of losing two riders on the second stage to illness....

  • Video: Selander talks about his highs and lows of his Giro d'Italia

    Bjorn Selander (RadioShack) wears the white jersey of best young rider.
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 21:07 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Young American learns a lot during his first Grand Tour

    Bjorn Selander (RadioShack) was one of the many young riders to finish the Giro d'Italia in Milan.

    It has been a steep learning curve for the young American but he revealed to Cyclingnews that he still had some strength in his legs for the final time trial to Milan. He finished 37th, 2:04 behind stage winner David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) and completed the Giro d'Italia in 129th place overall, 3:50:13 behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

    Selander tells Cyclingnews of the highs and lows of his Giro d'Italia and how he learnt how to handle 21 days of racing and complete a Grand Tour.

  • BMC reactivates Ballan, Santambrogio

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 21:44 BST
    Cycling News

    No official notice give to team in Mantova doping investigation

    The BMC Racing Team announced today that it has lifted the suspension of Italians Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio, who had been on inactive status since May 2.

    The two were named as being subjects in a doping investigation taking place in Mantova, Italy, which has been ongoing since last year and dates back to the time both riders were on the Lampre team.

    The Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported last month a list of 32 people being targeted by the case, and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor was reportedly studying the evidence.

    Earlier this month it published a transcript of a conversation from 2009 alleged to have taken place between Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and Ballan in which they discuss doping, and the team responded by placing the two riders on suspension.

    However, weeks have passed without the team being notified of the conversation by any anti-doping authorities.

    "To date, the BMC Racing Team has never been notified by any authorities regarding these alleged actions and conversations," BMC Racing Team President and General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "We support all anti-doping policies and initiatives and, within the team, we are confident that since the two joined the BMC Racing Team in 2010 no doping issues have arisen."

    The team said that both riders are cooperating fully and should any authority present the team...

  • Garzelli to race through 2012 after success in Giro d'Italia

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) won the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    May 30, 2011, 22:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian veteran revels in mountains jersey

    Stefano Garzelli won the Giro d'Italia in 2000 but eleven years later he proved he is still competitive against riders far younger by winning the green climber's jersey for a second consecutive year.

    Despite being close to his 38th birthday, Garzelli is ready to race on through 2012 and confirmed he will stay with the Acqua & Sapone team.

    "My motto is that if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well. I think I did everything right to peak for the Giro d'Italia and I intend to do the same thing all over again next year. I've got a contract with Acqua & Sapone and I'm happy to be with them and help young riders like Carlos Betancourt, who finished fourth in Sestriere."

    Garzelli secured his mountains jersey by targeting the long stage from Conegliano to Gardeccia that included five major climbs and a huge haul of climber's points. On that stage he added to points garnered earlier, bringing his points total past 60. Even Alberto Contador's dominance in the mountain could not stop Garzelli pulling on the final green jersey in Milan.

    He finished with a total of 67 points with Contador second with 58 and Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) third with 43 points.

    "It's hugely satisfying to win the green jersey. I knew I couldn't compete for the maglia rosa this year, the course was just too tough for me, so I targeted stage victories and the mountains classification," Garzelli explained.

    "I didn't win a stage but I went close on the day to Gardeccia, when I was on the attack all day and then finished second. I was gutted not to win but I was proud of how I rode on such a big mountain stage. I actually think the maglia verde is more prestigious than a stage victory because it puts my name in the history books of the Giro yet again. And having won it in this very hard Giro is even more satisfying."

  • Matt Lloyd ready to come back to racing

    Matt Lloyd with Pat Lane at the Australia's European Training Centre in Gavirate, Italy
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 0:37 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Deal with a team to be sealed very soon

    Matt Lloyd, the king of the mountains of last year's Giro d'Italia whose contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto was terminated in April, is ready for a come back anytime soon, he told Cyclingnews. Lloyd was at the presentation of the European Training Centre of the Australian Institute of Sport that will also be the administrative headquarters of the GreenEdge team in Gavirate, Italy.

    "I've been in talks with a couple of teams about when I should come back," Lloyd said. "Fortunately, there are is evidence that it should be happening relatively quickly. I've undergone testing in Germany and different places. I've done research and work with hundreds of people to find out what was wrong. Mainly I was unbalanced in biomechanical and biochemicals after the big operation I had following my crash in Melbourne last year. I needed a shoulder reconstruction. There was some spine damaging everything attached to it but it's all fixed now."

    About shortening his contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto, the team he joined in 2007, Lloyd said: "From a team perspective, if they feel that you are not able to perform, they have to let you go. The Giro was coming up and I wasn't 100 per cent ready. It's been a hard road. Fortunately, I got a good support from the Australian Sport Commission. I've had a solid group of people to make it normal again. My progresses are far beyond anything I expected."

    Since he became a self-designated "unemployed cyclist," the climber from Melbourne has followed "a normal pre-season program".
    "I've just gone to the mountains with my family as they came over for 15 days," Lloyd said. "We've spent six days on the Mont Blanc, up around 4000 metres, hiking with sticks on the snow, which has been good for my body and my mind."

    "I haven't signed a contract yet but it should be...