Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) suffered a crash while training on Mount Etna on Tuesday morning, but the Italian’s participation in the Tour de France is not in doubt.
Basso fell and hit his face and right shoulder against the road. Accompanied by directeur sportif Paolo Slongo, he was taken immediately for treatment in Liguaglossa, where he received 15 stitches to his right cheek and his right eyebrow, on the supeciliary arch.
The accident came after Basso caught his rear wheel in a drain cover while taking a corner.
“I got a real fright because the impact was violent and, above all, in a delicate place like the face,” Basso said. “Fortunately I was given attention very quickly and the x-ray ruled out the worst. I could have done without this incident but certainly it will not stop my preparation for the Tour. I will get back on course again gradually in the coming days.”
Basso is set to remain training on Etna until May 28, as he prepares for the Criterium du Dauphiné, his last major test before the Tour de France.
Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) expects two opportunities for the sprinters on the second week of the Giro d’Italia. The Australian also outlined how the finales of Giro stages are often more technically demanding than at the Tour de France.
“We’ve definitely earmarked today [as a bunch sprint],” Renshaw told Cyclingnews ahead of Tuesday’s stage to Teramo. “Tomorrow I think will be too difficult for a bunch sprint and the last day into Ravenna will be our last chance for a sprint finish.”
Chances for the fast men were few and far between in the opening week of the Giro. The opening road stage to Parma the sole mass finish contested by a full complement on sprinters, as Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) bested Renshaw’s teammate Mark Cavendish.
“We were unlucky not to win the first stage with Cav,” Renshaw said. “He had good legs but he just made maybe an error and Petacchi got the better of him.”
Saturday’s stage to Tropea was one of the few days that seemed to present the possibility of a bunch finish in the opening week, but Alberto Contador’s attack in the closing kilometres underlined the difference between finishes at the Giro and the Tour de France.
“They’re a lot more difficult than a Tour de France stage finish,” Renshaw explained. “In the Tour we have a whole team dedicated to leading out the finish. Here we’ve got a few less riders. The parcours are always very difficult. Zomegnan always wants a spectacle, so he throws in tight turns, little hills.”
UCI President expresses anger, defends UCI's use of biological passport
Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), today published an "open letter to all riders and team members" in response to French newspaper L'Equipe's disclosure of a confidential "index of suspicion" list regarding riders taking part in the 2010 Tour de France.
McQuaid confirmed that the UCI is opening a judicial inquiry to investigate the source of the leak as well as supporting the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent investigation of the release of the document.
McQuaid also expressed his anger at the publication of the document, but defended its creation.
"I make no apologies for the fact that UCI will continue to take every measure possible to protect clean athletes," said McQuaid. "Our objective, shared by many of you, is a doping free cycling, one where the values of ethics and fair play are cherished.
"Our objective has never been to create lists of suspects, but rather to provide ourselves with the most effective tool possible to optimise our resources - which are not unlimited - as well as to ensure the effectiveness of our approach. The battle against doping has, for a long time, been a priority for the UCI, even to the extent that it could sometimes be considered to be over-emphasised in our sport.
The complete text of McQuaid's letter follows:
I write to you following last week's regrettable disclosure of confidential information in the French daily newspaper l'Equipe, under the title "UCI's secret list".
I am fully aware of the anger and strong reactions that the publication has generated, and I can tell you that I was angry as well.
I can confirm that the International Cycling Union is taking steps in order to open a judicial enquiry into the source of this leak, without further delay.
Cavendish was a dominant winner in the stage 10 sprint in Teramo, seeing off Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) in the final 150 metres to take his first stage win of a Giro with relatively restricted opportunities for the sprinters. His win was all the more impressive for his improvisation in the final two kilometres, as he abandoned his usual HTC-Highroad lead-out to take advantage of Alessandro Petacchi's train.
The winner's press conference, however, was dominated by the fall-out from allegations that Cavendish had held on to passing cars on Sunday's stage to Etna as he battled to stay inside the time limit. Ironically, the accuser-in-chief was Ventoso, and Cavendish was keen to refute the Spaniard's claims.
"I challenge Ventoso to spend one day in the back group with me," Cavendish said. "He will see then that if I stop to piss, if I stop to change my wheel, if I crash - I have commissaire with me every time, I have a television camera with me every time, I have a f***ing ice cream truck with me the whole time."
Never a man shy of giving as good as he gets, be it in the finishing straight or in his exchanges with the press, Cavendish levelled a few veiled accusations of his own at Ventoso for good measure.
"I could easily make some accusations against Ventoso for cheating if wanted to, but I'm not going to," Cavendish said enigmatically.
Cavendish is no stranger to controversy, of course, and there was more than a flicker of irritation in his expression when one brave soul...
Italian disappointed to have gifted stage to Cavendish
Coming under the red kite, Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) was looking set to seal his status as the top sprinter in the Giro d'Italia. Tucked snugly in Danilo Hondo's slipstream and with the HTC-Highroad train seemingly derailed, the man from La Spezia must have fancied his chances during stage 10 as the peloton bowled down the finishing straight.
In opening his sprint with 250 metres to go, however, Petacchi did little more than offer the perfect lead-out to a grateful Mark Cavendish, who cruised past to take his first stage win of this Giro.
After the finish, Petacchi was a picture of regret as he spoke to reporters in the shadow of the podium, the bleakness of his expression spectacularly at odds with the colourful bouquet of flowers he had just been awarded as leader of the points competition.
"I made a mistake, I went too early," Petacchi said dolefully. "Having Cavendish on my wheel and going so early on a finish like that, at 250 metres to go, I just gave him the victory."
Petacchi ultimately faded to finish third behind Cavendish and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar). Although he had insisted that his sprint form was in doubt before the Giro began, the fruits of Petacchi's April training camp at Etna has been apparent throughout the race, particularly on the slopes of the volcano itself on Sunday.
"I'm sorry because my teammates worked very hard, and they really wanted me to win here," Petacchi said quietly, praising the efforts of Alessandro Spezialetti in particular. "It was a nice stage too - fast, although maybe there was a bit too much of a headwind."
UnitedHealthcare's GC man talks about first climbing stage
The Amgen Tour of California will put the sprinters into the background for a day and focus instead on the climbing specialists who will battle for the stage victory atop Sierra Road and the riders for the general classification hoping to take time on their rivals.
UnitedHealthcare's Rory Sutherland is one rider who will be under pressure to perform on the two sizeable climbs: first to Mount Hamilton - the first significant climb of the race and a true test for the legs - and second to first summit finish in the history of the race on Sierra Road.
"It's been a strange race: yesterday was an interesting feeling in the group, I think everyone is a bit out of whack with not being prepared properly due to being in the snow. It was good to get some racing done and open the legs up."
Tomorrow's climbing stage, he said, is all for the GC men. "It's the moment to see where everyone's at. Everybody's worried about it of course. You come into the bottom and if you have good legs on a climb like that then you're good, but if you don't you can lose a lot of time."
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