Meyer and Bobridge suffer at the Giro due to crashes and lack of racing
World track champions Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge are suffering at the Giro d’Italia but know that the three-week stage race is part of a long learning process and a fundamental beginning to their careers on the road. The two Garmin-Transition riders are already more than an hour and half down on Alexandre Vinokourov after ten stages but they enjoyed team-mate Tyler Farrar’s win in Bitonto.
“This gives you a very good feeling but I wasn’t feeling well during the whole stage”, Meyer told Cyclingnews on the finishing line in the south of Italy.
Meyer crashed the day before and hurt his left shoulder pretty badly but pulling out is not on his agenda. “I’ve done thirteen stages of the Giro last year, hopefully I’ll see Verona (the final stage) this year,” the Australian time trial champion said.
In February, Meyer came third overall at the Tour of Oman, after which he switched to the track and collected three medals at the world championships in Denmark: team pursuit, points race and Madison with Leigh Howard. All at the age of only 21. The western Australian started the Giro d’Italia with only two road races in his legs in April: the Brabantse Pijl and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“The Giro is a big part of a learning process for both of them,” explained Garmin-Transitions directeur sportif Matt White. “Jack had never done a road race over 200 kilometres before. We brought them to the Giro for the team time trial and there’s no better place for them to learn their job than the Giro.”
Bobridge is not going to complete the three weeks of racing. He has probably two more days to go until he pulls out. “Jesus, this race is very hard!” the 20 year old from Gawler in South Australia said in Avellino at the start of stage 10. “It’s a lot different than other ProTour races. It’s very different...
Charly Wegelius rode for 206 kilometres off the front at the Giro d'Italia today with Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale). The trio were caught prior to the final sprint in Bitonto but the British rider of Omega Pharma-Lotto was at the front with a specific motivation in mind.
"I wanted to do something for Aldo Sassi," Wegelius told Cyclingnews. "Everyone knows he's having a hard time and I did what I could to put a smile on his face."
The famous Italian coach of Cadel Evans, Ivan Basso, Michael Rogers and several other pros, including Wegelius, is currently under treatment for a brain tumor.
"I was hoping for a bigger group to be created," Wegelius said. "The start of the stage was quite hard, so I was expecting more riders to come across. Being only three, it was always gonna be tough."
Another source of disappoint for the British rider was the reaction of the peloton who only allowed them a maximum advantage of 4.50. "In a breakaway, you're not in charge of your destiny," he said. "But it was worth trying."
Wegelius added that he was inspired by seeing his close friend and teammate Matt Lloyd win stage 6 in Marina di Carrara. "Jérôme Pineau's win the day before was also encouraging for breaking away," he said. "Now in this Giro I'd like to see Matt keep the mountain jersey as long as possible."
Wegelius did his part to help out Lloyd's tenure in the green jersey by taking maximum points at the only categorised climb of the day.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) didn’t succeed in moving closer to the race lead as he’d hoped on the Amgen Tour of California’s third stage. The event’s best young rider will refocus his ambitions toward capturing a stage win and is promised full team support from his directeur sportif Mario Scirea.
“Sagan is very young and we are very happy with his performances so far,” Scirea told Cyclingnews. “We believe that he can win here. The team will continue to work for him to win a stage. We are not on vacation here.”
The Liquigas-Doimo squad lost its original go-to overall contender for the Tour, Vincenzo Nibali, after he was rescheduled to compete in the Giro d’Italia. Sagan, 20, is a proven winner having captured early season stage victories in Paris-Nice and Tour de Romandie.
Liquigas hoped Sagan would win stage three after placing second on California’s second stage and moving into the same place on general classification. “We really hope to win a stage today and that would have moved Peter into the overall,” Scirea said. “The stages coming up are going to be very hard. And riders like Levi Leipheimer are very strong. The time trial is also much too long for Sagan. From now on, we would really like to win a stage and we are going to take this stage race day by day.
“This stage was well suited to a rider like Levi and he showed that last year,” he added. “He was very strong today. But with five kilometres to go on the climb Sagan had his two team-mates Brian Vanborg and Francesco Bellotti to work for him in the small peloton.”
Three-time defending champion Levi Leiphiemer (RadioShack) used the day’s decisive climb over Bonny Doon Road to create a three-ride break that also included Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and eventual stage winner Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions).
For the second consecutive stage, UnitedHealthcare's Rory Sutherland was the best placed rider of the non-ProTour teams at the Amgen Tour of California.
Following his fourth place yesterday, Sutherland sprinted into Santa Cruz behind Liquigas' Peter Sagan to claim fifth on the stage. He now sits eighth overall, with teammate and stage one breakaway rider Marc De Maar in fifth behind overall leader David Zabriskie.
Sutherland placed his bid for victory on the climb of Bonny Doon Road, the final mountain of the stage with 25km remaining. He pushed the pace of a select group with four-time champion Levi Leipheimer, Garmin-Transition's Zabriskie, fellow Australian Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia), and Leipheimer's Radioshack teammate Lance Armstrong.
While he kept the pace of the group for the first half of the climb, it wasn't long before Sutherland himself was dispatched by the intense tempo of Leipheimer.
"It was close enough, but I'd like to have been with the three that went away. They got a little time on me, but there is a lot of racing to go," Sutherland said.
"I think it went pretty well. I just missed reaching Levi - he attacked but didn't catch us off guard - it doesn't mean I could have made it, but I went after those three. I had Lance and Horner with me, so if I wasn't able to get on myself, I wasn't going to get on," he added.
Sutherland isn't quite satisfied with the title of best non-ProTour rider in the tour, however. "It's not a competition I'm going for," he said. "The interesting thing about a race like this is normally the domestic teams are working against each other, but here we're helping each other out.
"Phil [Zajicek - Fly V Australia], Chris Jones [Team Type 1] and I all let each other slide in and try to stick together to beat ProTour riders."
In the coming stages he said his team would look for opportunties to gain some time here and there, but he expects the race to come down...
Cervelo TestTeam will refocus its goals at the Amgen Tour of California on achieving another stage victory, after Brett Lancaster lost the race leader’s jersey. The Australian was never expected to lead California in the first place, but after his stage win on the event’s second day gave him the leader’s jersey Cervelo vowed to do all it could to defend it on Stage 3.
Cervelo fought valiantly throughout the stage, putting its riders on the front to reel in the breakaway when it could have simply left the task to overall favourites Radioshack. Its rider Heinrich Haussler also rode offensively in the chase group, attempting to break the stronghold of Radioshack and Garmin-Transitions – both of which had a rider in the leading group of three. Despite the showing Lancaster wasn’t able to stay in the race, instead conceding nearly nine minutes to the leaders.
“I gave it my best shot and the team tried for me, we knew we had far to go but I’m satisfied,” said Lancaster. “We got the jersey, the stage win and the bonus. We’ll try and get another stage win this week. Tomorrow we’ll take it easier, the legs are a bit tired and then we’ll hit it again later in the week.”
Cervelo sport director Jean Paul van Poppel highlighted that the team wanted to respect the jersey it held, regardless of whether it had the strength to retain it. “I remember the climb from last year and I guess that’s one of the reasons Leipheimer topped the general classification last year. So we know it was a super hard climb,” said Van Poppel. “So first of all we were respectful of the jersey in our riding.
“Secondly, we had Heinrich in good shape with good legs so in the back of our minds we thought we could go for another stage win so that’s why we didn’t want the five men breakaway group to go too far,” he added. “It was all perfect - we...
Video with Will Routley at the Amgen Tour of California
Stage three of the Amgen Tour of California will be remembered for Dave Zabriskie's (Garmin-Transitions) win ahead ahead of Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack). But it was also a successful day for Jelly Belly's Wil Routley, who helped form the day's break, attacked again, and claimed the stage's most aggressive rider award. Routley trains on Californian roads during the winter and in this exclusive video he recaps the day's action from the head of the race.
Jelly Belly's Wil Routley on winning the most aggressive rider award
Cyclingnews' Amgen Tour of California video is brought to you by Specialized
Rogers in top condition, US squad hopes for better luck
HTC-Columbia is confident that Michael Rogers can win the overall title at the Amgen Tour of California after he placed second in stage three on Tuesday. Rogers rode away from the peloton on the day's decisive final climb over Bonny Doon Road with eventual stage winner Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) and three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), who placed third.
Zabriskie's stage three win also lifted him into the overall lead, four seconds ahead of Rogers and an additional six seconds to Leipheimer. "Dave doesn't look any stronger than Levi or myself," Rogers said. "He just got the jump on the tight finish today. The race is far from over yet."
Rogers arrived at Amgen's eight-stage race with hopes of improving on his third place performance last year. He displayed top form in winning the early season Ruta del Sol and most recently placed fourth at the Tour de Romandie.
"We know Michael Rogers can win and we saw that at the early races before we started here," said the squad's directeur sportif Brian Holm. "Michael is really skinny, he's been on a strict diet and has been training really hard. This race was one of the targets, like the Ruta del Sol, and he wants to win here. He was very close to winning Romandie two weeks ago so he is riding very well. He has a good chance to win here."
RadioShack is the odds-on favourite to produce the overall winner in California and finished the rainy jaunt from Davis to Santa Rosa on Tuesday with five riders in the front group. Likewise, Garmin-Transitions finished with four riders up front. A total 26 men made it to the finish line in the lead bunch after the damaging climbs and slick descents in the last quarter of stage two took their toll on the peloton.
"I think judging by how RadioShack went yesterday, they have a good set up here, based on having five riders in...
Bissell targeting strong performance in Los Angeles ITT
Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) made a lengthy bid for a hometown win at the Amgen Tour of California’s stage three finish in Santa Cruz on Tuesday. The local pro muscled over the day’s three climbs with a five-man break only to get caught at the base of the decisive final ascent up Bonny Doon Road.
"This was huge, it is my brother Ben and my hometown and we ride these roads every day," Jacques-Maynes told Cyclingnews. "It was so big to have the biggest race in the country ride down our local roads. We definitely have local knowledge. The cycling community in Santa Cruz is so huge and fitting that a hotbed of cycling gets a stage finish. The crowds were amazing."
The strong-man used his knowledge of the course to sneak away from the peloton 50km into the 182km stage. His four companions included Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Davide Frattini (Team Type 1), Eric Boily (SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy) and Will Routely (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda).
Jacques-Maynes did is fair share of work to get over the first three King of the Mountain climbs located on Tunitas Creek Road, CA 84 and Pescadero Road, saving enough energy in hopes of making it over the fourth and final climb over Bonny Doon Road.
Last year, Jacques-Maynes had been eager to win the equivalent stage into Santa Cruz, however, he crashed into a parked car on the flat section before Bonny Doon Road and was taken away in an ambulance. He had similar bad luck in Monday's rainy stage two when he crashed on the slick descent off to Trinity Road and rolled down the side of a cliff.
"We were just off the back of the front group over the crest of the last climb on Trinity yesterday," Jacques-Maynes said. "We were trying to chase down a wet road and that was a big mistake for sure. I just went over the edge about 10 or 15 feet, not too bad. I grabbed my bike and hauled in back up. The seat was gone and I broke my bike so I had to wait for a new...