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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Date published:
May 28, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Evans distanced on Giro d'Italia stage to Val Martello

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2014, 22:21 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    BMC captain calls "ridiculous" stage a day of survival

    After a series of minor setbacks in the second week, Cadel EvansGiro d’Italia hopes suffered a more damaging blow when the race resumed after the rest day with a snowbound tappone to Val Martello.

    Although the Australian remains in the hunt for a podium place – indeed, he remains in third place on general classification – he slipped further away from the overall lead, which is now in the possession of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

    Evans was part of a maglia rosa group that was distanced by Quintana on the descent of the Stelvio after many of the riders were led to believe that the race had been temporarily neutralised, and he finished the stage in 10th place, 4:48 down on the Colombian.

    On the final haul to Val Martello, however, Evans was also dropped by the rest of his direct rivals in the general classification. With a shade over six kilometres to go, just as Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) looked to breathe urgency into the chase, Evans slid out the back of the chasing group with the worst of his labours still lying on the mountainside above him.

    The final 1,800 metres before the summit contained no fewer than eight hairpin bends, and that serpent-like coil proved a particular ordeal for Evans. He conceded 1:16 to Wilco Kelderman (Belkin), 1:08 to Fabio Aru (Astana), 40 seconds to Majka and 37 seconds to Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

    "In the final, I started cramping," Evans said. "I was limping on one leg all the way home. It is a pity because normally I am reasonably good in these extreme conditions."

    Snow and frigid temperatures meant that the route of the stage was not fully confirmed until 8.30am on Tuesday morning, and Evans struggled to come to terms with the conditions on the day’s first climb, the Gavia. "The first climb, I was over-dressed and on...

  • Rolland oblivious to neutralisation confusion on Stelvio

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) climbing at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman moves up to 4th at Giro d'Italia

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) entered the Giro d'Italia without any lofty billing, but with each passing mountain stage, the Frenchman seems to command an increasingly prominent role.

    After entertaining – and impressive – cameos at Montecopiolo, Oropa and Montecampione, the Frenchman managed to tear up the script completely on stage 16 over the Gavia and Stelvio to Val Martello, helping to lead the potentially race-deciding break off the front in somewhat controversial circumstances.

    The plot twist came on the long descent on the Stelvio, where low cloud and softly falling snow restricted visibility near the top and prompted an unusual instruction to be relayed over race radio – riders in the pink jersey group were ordered not to overtake the motorbikes assigned to guide them into the early hairpin bends.

    Many in the group seemed to interpret the message as a temporary neutralisation of the stage. Rolland, however, did not. Along with teammate Romain Sicard, Nairo Quintana, Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Matteo Rabottini (Neri Sottoli), he opened out a lead of a minute on maglia rosa Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the descent.

    The polemics had already begun even before Quintana won the stage and moved into the overall lead. When Rolland reached the summit in third place, 1:13 later, he was quick to rule himself out as the villain of the...

  • 160 riders battle through the snow and cold at the Giro d'Italia

    The Giro d'Italia headed through wintry weather on the high passes of the Gavia and Stelvio
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 0:55 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Eisel calls for teams to protect the riders

    Amazingly, 160 riders managed to reach the finish of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia to Val Martello, surviving in the cold rain and snow and reaching the finish within the time limit for the 136km stage.

    Michele Scarponi (Astana), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ.fr), Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp), Daniele Colli and Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli), Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) failed to finish but all the other riders survived and will be on the start for Wednesday's 17th stage to Vittorio Veneto.

    While Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the stage and took the race leader's pink jersey, for most of the peloton it was a battle of survival and of celebration when they made it to the finish. Each one had made it through their own personal battle.

    Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) who was the first to the summit of the Stelvio and so won the prestigious Cima Coppi prize, was later passed and finished 17th,10:53 behind Quintana. The first gruppetto finished at 31:35, another came in at 39:33, with the final group getting a huge cheer despite finishing 44:07. Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF) was the last to finish but incredibly nobody failed to make the time cut.

    Every rider was cheered and applauded as they reached the finish. They all deserved their place in a warm team car or the warm tents provided by race organizers so they could get changed before the evacuation down the climb to their hotel.

    After the stage, riders were quick to share their suffering via Twitter.

    Cadel Evans (BMC) wrote: "Today's racing was so nuts I can't quite believe it myself… and I was there!"

    Teammate Brent Bookwalter wrote: "Searching for words.. Frozen, Pain, frustration, thankful, fear, anger, insane, perplexed… I hope those watching enjoyed."

    Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp)...

  • Kelderman shows promise on Giro d'Italia stage to Val Martello

    Wilco Kelderman (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) on the attack
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 2:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belkin rider fourth on stage but slips a place on GC

    The 16th stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia was one of the few days of racing that could accurately be described as epic, and Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman showed his mettle on a difficult day.

    Although he slipped one place on the general classification behind third place finisher Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Kelderman took fourth on the stage and pulled to within 45 seconds of a podium place overall.

    "The final climb suited me really well, and after a number of attacks by others, I felt that I was one of the strongest in our group. I accelerated and distanced the rest easily. Then I just kept going until the line."

    Kelderman, 23, distanced the likes of deposed race leader Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and former maglia rosa Cadel Evans (BMC) on a day where the peloton was severely tested by snow, rain and temperatures near freezing on the high mountain passes of the Gavia and Stelvio.

    "It was a very special day," said Kelderman. "I'm happy you don't often experience days like this. The climb of the Gavia was not too bad, but during the descent, it started too snow very heavily. It was terribly cold and my hands felt like lumps. It was dangerous, as well, because I could no longer see through my glasses."

    The race was impacted by a

  • Urán loses maglia rosa after confusion in the snow

    Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) said goodbye to pink today
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian still flighting for pink

    In the snow and rain of the Giro d'Italia's 16th stage, the only sign of Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) on the ascents of the Gavia and the Stelvio was the pink handlebar tape on the maglia rosa's bike.

    By the end of the stage, the leaders' pink jersey was easy to spot with cameras focused on Urán — who had removed his black rain jacket — as he tried to minimise the damage done by countryman and rival, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who was dancing away on the pedals to a memorable stage win and into pink.

    Urán finished the stage 4:11 minutes down on Quintana, losing his race lead and falling to second place overall. His deficient to Quintana stands at 1:41 minutes.

    While there remains conjecture over whether the descent of the Stelvio was neutralised or not, Urán explained that the weather still played a major part in how the stage was raced.

    "I think in normal circumstances the story of the race probably could have been different," Urán said. "Now I am 1:41 minutes down from Quintana in the overall classification. But the Giro is not finished yet. We will keep going, we will try to take back the maglia rosa. We are not done fighting for pink."

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step's director sportif Davide Bramati kept his riders up-to-date with the latest from race radio telling them to watch out for any possible attacks.

    "On the Stelvio I heard from Davide Bramati that...

  • Video: Hepburn and McCarthy on riding in the grupetto

    Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 5:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian duo in survival mode

    For two young Australians at the Giro d'Italia, the third mountainous week of the Italian grand tour is all about the survival in the grupetto. 

    This is the first three-week race for Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) who have both enjoyed teammates winning stages but are now focused on making it to Trieste on June 1 and completing their maiden corsa rosa.

    Hepburn's Giro got off to the best possible start with Orica-GreenEdge winning the team time trial and giving Svein Tuft a pink jersey for his 37th birthday. Teammate Michael Matthews then spent six days in pink and won stage six while Pieter Weening went and won stage 9 for good measure.

    It hasn't been all easy sailing for the Australian team since though with just three GreenEdge riders left in the Giro — Tuft and Ivan Santamorita are keeping Hepburn company on the bus.

    For McCarthy, it has also been a successful first giri with Rafal Majka spending the majority of the race in the maglia bianco and Michael Rogers solo stage 11 win.

    McCarthy and Hepburn sat down in Cyclingnews to talk about the...

  • Cataldo provides Giro highlight for Team Sky with Cima Coppi prize

    Dario Cataldo presented with the 2014 Cima Coppi award
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 7:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sebastian Henao impressing Dario Ciono with eighth place

    Dario Cataldo produced a Giro d'Italia highlight for Team Sky on stage 16 as he claimed the Cima Coppi prize for being the first rider over the 2758m high Stelvio. The 29-year-old came close to victory on stage 14, narrowly losing a sprint against Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), but proved he was over the disappointment by bouncing back to win the prize for the first rider over the highest peak in this years Giro.

    Cataldo had made his way into a 10-man lead group early in the stage but counter-attacked when the catch was being made and soloed to the top of the Stelvio. With miscommunication over the descent being neutralised, Cataldo powered down the Stelvio and had built a lead of 1:35 minutes over the chasers when he started the climb to the finish at Val Martello.

    The eight-riders in hot pursuit of Cataldo soon splintered when Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked and then caught the Team Sky rider with 17km left to race.

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) bridged across to the leading duo while Sebastian Henao then took up the reigns for Sky to finish eight on the stage and confirm that Colombia is a hot bed for young exciting climbing talent. Cataldo rolled over the line in 17th place.

    Sports Director Dario Cioni was full of praise for the rides by Cataldo and Henao in the treacherous conditions.

    "Our guys got stuck into...

  • Giro d'Italia race radio message causes confusion on the Stelvio

    Happy days as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) gives his best Fonzie impression
    Article published:
    May 28, 2014, 10:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Transcript of the message delivered to the teams

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) should have been able to revel in his maglia rosa worthy performance on the Giro d’Italia’s Queen stage. Instead, a dark cloud sits over the day, after confusion over whether the race was neutralised.

    The Colombian claimed, along with fellow escapee Pierre Rolland (Europcar), that he was unaware of any neutralisation. However, many riders seemed to be under the impression that there would be no attacks on the descent of the Stelvio. Some even stopped completely, at the top, to put on more clothing.

    As the peloton headed up the Stelvio, the highest point in the entire race, race radio issued the following message to the teams in Italian, French and English.

    “Attention: A communication to directeur sportives. The management of the organisation have planned to put ahead of the head of the riders, depending on the situation, of course, after the top, to place in front of various groups an organisation moto with a red flag. All to avoid having attacks on the descent and after this to ensure that the riders remain in their positions and to prevent taking big risks and, for all, to remain in this position until the security agents lower the red flag.”

    The word neutralise was never used in the communication and it was clear from the first rider over the top, Dario Cataldo, that there was no attempt to neutralise the descent. However ,many riders and teams, including that of race leader Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), understood it to mean that the race would be neutralised on the 25-kilometre ride to the bottom.

    This belief was likely compounded by a Tweet on...