Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team primed for fifth straight appearance
Former Garmin-Slipstream rider Michael Friedman will lead his new Jelly Belly presented by Kenda team in its fifth consecutive Amgen Tour of California set to take place from May 16-23. The US-based UCI Continental team will rely on Friedman's ProTour expertise to bring them a highly sought after stage win.
"On paper the first and second stage and even the last stage look like they would be the best stages for me because they aren't that mountainous," Friedman told Cyclingnews. "That said, once the GC is set anyone who is not a threat might be able to go up the road. I'll be hunting for breakaways and stage wins all week."
Friedman will lead a team of eight riders that includes Jonathan Chodroff, William Dickenson, Brad Huff, Jeremy Powers, Kiel Reijnen, Will Routley and Bernard Van Ulden.
"Mike brings leadership, anyone who comes from a ProTour team is going to be experienced in positioning and telling the guys what to do," said the outfit's directeur sportif, Danny Van Haute. "His conditioning is very good and he will be the team leader. He is a good teacher.
"I had Mike eight years ago as a junior and now I have him back as a professional and he has blossomed into a really good rider," Van Haute said. "He has the opportunity to be a leader with us. With Garmin he was a super domestique and he changed his role and look what happened, he won the Tour of Korea. I'm expecting big things from him and the riders are thriving on his leadership on and off the bike."
The outfit returned stateside following a successful Tour de Korea last month where Friedman won the overall title at the ten-day stage race and Jelly Belly won the overall best team competition.
"California is quite a bit different than Korea was," Friedman said. "California is much more mountainous with multiple days that are going to be hard. It is no secret that the depth of the field is going to be more difficult than Korea was. That said,...
Australia’s Richie Porte entered his first Giro d’Italia this month with two simple goals: to learn and be of use to his team-mates. After three stages of the three-week long Grand Tour, Porte instead has found himself in second place on general classification and wearing the race’s white jersey, of best young rider.
His position behind Kazakh leader Alexandre Vinokourov has come thanks to a solid time trial on the first day, after which he’s managed to finish in the lead group on the following two road stages. It sounds easy enough, however the tricky conditions on those crash-riddled sprint stages has left overall contenders like Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) with some catching up to do – all thanks to being in the wrong place, and sometimes even the right place, at the wrong time.
“Obviously, the first three stages of the Giro have been hectic in every sense of the word,” Porte told team-saxobank.com. “First of all, it has been hectic because of all the crashes and accidents which have caused some of the overall favorites to suffer huge sit-backs.
“Luckily, I have a strong and loyal team around me to keep me out of trouble and I really appreciate their efforts in the front of the field,” he added. “Thanks to them, I have been on the podium every day to receive the white jersey – something I never would have dreamed possible in my first season as a professional.”
Porte’s position at his first Grand Tour since turning professional with Saxo Bank in January is the continuation of a dream run for the Tasmanian. Just days before the Giro commenced in Amsterdam, Porte claimed his first ProTour stage victory with a surprise win at the Tour of Romandie’s time trial.
His prowess in the time trial will come in handy later today when he faces the next hurdle in his Grand Tour debut: a team time...
Heinrich Haussler will resume his season at the Amgen Tour of California, after being repeatedly withdrawn from races due to injury. Haussler started the year aiming to better his second place at last year’s Milan-Sanremo, but instead he has struggled through the early months with a knee injury.
The Australian raised German is just one sprint card Cervelo TestTeam has to play at next week’s Tour of California. Yet despite the presence of Theo Bos, team sport director Jean-Paul van Poppel believes Haussler could get a chance to prove his injury woes are behind him.
“We are going to the Tour of California with the intention of winning a stage,” said Van Poppel. “With Theo Bos we have a rider for the bunch sprints, but Dominique Rollin could also be a factor, considering that he won a very tough and rainy stage two years ago. Heinrich Haussler will be back in the team after his injury. If his legs work well, I believe he could also do something there.”
Haussler’s knee trouble started after a crash at Volta ao Argave. He took to the start line at Paris-Nice, believing the issue had been addressed after his second place at Omloop Het Nieuwsbald, however he was forced to withdraw on the fourth stage.
It wrecked the riders plans for the Spring Classics, with Haussler pulled from the Professional Continental team’s Milan-Sanremo roster. He also missed the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
After its early rest day the Giro d'Italia resumes on Wednesday in Italy with the stage four team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo. The 33-kilometre stage could see yet another change in the general classification, with six riders within 10 seconds of Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov's overall lead.
Of those, Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) and David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) are closest to pink. Porte sits on the same cumulative time as Vinokourov, while Millar is only one second back. Both are time trial specialists, but will have to rely on their teammates if they are to turn their deficit into an advantage by day's end. However, Astana also have a strong squad and will be eager to retain possession of the maglia rosa.
The parcours covers a near-straight route from Savigliano to Cuneo, making it an out-and-out test of power. A gradual 200 metre rise over the length of the course will ensure there'll be little respite for the riders, but the length and non-technical nature of the course should create a relatively accurate comparison of the teams.
The Giro has returned home and Cyclingnews will present live coverage of all the action, with a full report, results and rider interviews after the stage.
Linus Gerdemann (Milram) is prepared to take unprecedented steps to achieve total anti-doping transparency at the Tour de France this year. The German rider said he is willing to publish test results of all his anti-doping controls conducted during the race, but has also offered to be placed under surveillance throughout the entire event.
The 27-year-old told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that he was willing to submit himself to the unique form of scrutiny in order to prove wrong those critics who say that doping is rampant in the peloton. Gerdemann said friends of his studying sport at university have been told by their professors that no cyclist can ride the Tour de France without doping.
“Now this kind of nonsense is being taught in the universities,” he said. “And my own friends have told me this, as if it were true.”
Gerdemann said he is willing to placed under surveillance for not only the Tour de France, but also a period prior to the race. As he visualises it, an independent person or persons would accompany him and observe his every action. He would be allowed to be alone in his hotel room, but only after the area had been searched and he himself had been subjected to a body search.
“Everything has to be 100 per cent watertight,” Gerdemann said. “Everything must be intensively planned with the anti-doping experts, so that there is a legitimate basis to counter these theories [which say riders must dope to ride the Tour]."
Gerdemann said the next step is to find an independent partner to finance the whole project – a research institute, sport school or even German television broadcasters suggested as potential backers.
Broken collarbone, head injuries for ISD-Neri rider
Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD-Neri) is reported to be in a stable condition after suffering a broken collarbone and head injuries in a training accident in Italy on Sunday. The Ukrainian is expected to remain in hospital for several days for observation.
Grabovskyy, 25, had completed a training ride and was making a short journey to visit a teammate in the town of San Baronto, Tuscany. He apparently lost control of his bike after hitting a pothole with his front wheel and crashed face-first into the pavement. It is not known whether he was wearing a helmet.
He not only lost consciousness but also was bleeding from one ear. Witnesses immediately called emergency help and he was transported by rescue helicopter to the Careggi Hospital in Florence, where he regained consciousness. He condition is not considered dangerous, but he will remain in hospital for observation.
Grabovskyy turned pro in 2007 with Quick Step and raced with the Belgian team for two years before joining ISD-Neri in 2009. In 2005, he won the under-23 World road title and the European individual time trial title. He has been unable to repeat that success as a pro, but has seen a return to form this year, winning the mountain classification in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Sky rider holding out hope of Tour de France berth
Six weeks after being ruled out of competition through injury Edvald Boasson Hagen remains on the sidelines, but still believes that he can be ready for the Tour de France in July.
The Team Sky rider last raced at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke on March 27, before an inflamed Achilles tendon forced him out of the remaining Spring Classics.
“It's not much better, but it's not worse,” Boasson Hagen told Norway's NTB news agency. However, he said that he is now pain-free, and has continued to gradually build pressure on the injured leg.
The 22-year-old has considered riding the Tour de Suisse, but is concerned he will not have the necessary condition to cope with the race's mountainous parcours. He's aware that if he cannot climb competitively in Switzerland, the same will apply to France.
“It is hardly the last time the Tour de France will be held, but [to miss the Tour] would obviously be incredibly bitter for me,” he said. “It would put the whole season in the dump after missing the Spring Classics too.”
Yet the Norwegian is holding out some hope of making his team's Tour de France roster. He plans to ride his national championships the end of June - where he will defend his time trial title - and believes a strong lead-up to that event can put him in a position for Tour selection.
"I have been able to build good form training on my own before and I can use the national championships as preparation for the Tour de France," he said.
Omega Pharma-Lotto mindful of publicity during Tour's Belgian stages
Philippe Gilbert's chances of starting in this year's Tour de France are 50-50, according to Omega Pharma-Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant. He said a final decision on whether Gilbert will race will be made by the rider himself.
"I estimate the probability at 50 per cent," said Sergeant in the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. With three stages of the Tour running through Belgium this year, “Publicity-wise, a Tour start is nothing to sneeze at.”
However, Sergeant is leaving the decision up to Gilbert. "His name is at least in the initial selection of 15 riders which we announced a while ago," he said. "He must decide if he wants the Tour in his programme.”
“Last year he proved himself to be of enormous commercial value,” Sergeant said. In October, Gilbert won the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia over a period of 10 days.
This season he has been equally successful, capping off a successful Spring Classics season with the victory in Amstel Gold Race and the lead in the International Cycling Union's world rankings.
“But the ball is in his court. Whether yes or no, there is something to be said either way,” Sergeant continued. “After his good early season, we want to give him a little rest in May. He will be back at the Tour of Belgium. We don't want to rush him into a decision.”