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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Date published:
May 18, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Basso left needing 15 stitches after crash in training

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) at the start
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 15:42 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Tour de France ride not in doubt

    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.

  • Video: Mark Renshaw on leading out Giro d’Italia sprints

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) has a very specific job in Italy.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 17:47 BST
    Barry Ryan

    More technical finishes increase pressure

    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.”

  • McQuaid writes open letter in response to publication of "index of suspicion"

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 20:01 BST
    Cycling News

    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.

    Furthermore, the UCI...

  • Cavendish resumes normal service at Giro d'Italia

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) raises his arms to celebrate
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 21:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sprint victory and polemics in Teramo

    There was a mixture of sprint success and post-race polemica for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) on Tuesday as normal service was resumed for the Manxman at the Giro d'Italia.

    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...

  • Petacchi went too early at end of Giro d'Italia stage 10

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) after a third place finish
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 23:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    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."

  • An unlucky day in the Giro d'Italia for Vandewalle

    Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) put in a great effort
    Article published:
    May 18, 2011, 1:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian licking his wounds after crash at the end of stage 10

    Kristoff Vandewalle (Quickstep) had an unpleasant finish to stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia. With just 25 kilometres, to go the Quickstep rider got a branch caught in his front wheel and crashed.

    "A branch - perhaps it was on the road after the passage of the main peloton - got stuck in my front wheel - and blocked it,” explained the young Belgian rider.

    “I didn't have any time to react, and in a flash I was on the ground. I hit my face really hard on the asphalt."

    Vandewalle was able to finish the race but needed eight stitches to close up wounds on his face.

    "I have also a few scrapes on my arms and hands and I also chipped my incisor tooth" he said. "It was quite a scare, but fortunately it's nothing too serious."

    Serious or not the Belgian will now have to deal with his injuries as well as the difficult parcours of the second and third weeks of the Giro.

    Vandewalle, currently sits in 114th position, 53:16 on GC and will line up tomorrow for the 11th stage, a hilly 142km ride from Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo.

  • Video: Amgen Tour stage 4 crunch time for Sutherland

    Rory Sutherland never backed off on the steep climb.
    Article published:
    May 18, 2011, 2:16 BST
    Laura Weislo

    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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  • Team Sky prepares for an Appollonio future

    Appojet talked with cyclingnews at the end of stage ten.
    Article published:
    May 18, 2011, 3:21 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    'AppoJet' inspired by Cavendish on home soil

    The dream of Team Sky management to attract Mark Cavendish remains alive but they do have contingency plans in place. Up-and-coming Italian fast man Davide Appollonio adds another layer to Sky’s already overflowing sprint ranks. Appollonio, a native of the Molise region, finished fifth in stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia and his result is impressive for someone riding their first Giro d'Italia.

    "To have four places in the top ten of my first Giro isn’t bad at all", he told Cyclingnews after stage 10.

    "Today I managed to take Cavendish’s wheel but I need more experience to compete against him really", Appollonio said. "I hesitated for a little while and Ventoso took my place. But I was happy thinking that it’s good to be regularly in the top positions of the sprints."

    'AppoJet' - a nickname he got in reference to "AleJet" Petacchi in the U17 category - is from the generation of Andrea Guardini (both born in 1989). While the Giro was considered too hard for Guardini, Team Sky opted to give Appollonio his first start at a Grand Tour.

    Sporting Director Nicholas Portal described Appollonio’s hunger for racing as a really positive thing to see from a youngster.

    "The good thing with Davide is that he’s never happy with himself", Portal said.

    "He always seems disappointed because of not winning but we tell him, ‘hey, look who is ahead of you, you have time.’ We also remind him of his age. He’s only 21! He’s got everything to become a great rider. He has a good mentality and he’s humble. His spirit will take him high in cycling."

    Portal sees Appollonio as a challenger for the best...