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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Date published:
May 29, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali to target the Tour de France in 2014

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 12:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia winner takes a break until the Tour of Poland

    Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed that he will not ride this year's Tour de France but will target the yellow jersey in 2014.

    Nibali finished third in last year's Tour de France behind Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome while riding for the Liquigas team. He joined Astana this year and opted to target the Giro d'Italia, triumphing in Brescia on Sunday after dominating the race and wearing the pink jersey for 13 days.

    Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov would have liked Nibali to ride the Tour de France this year but the Sicilian rider has pushed back against any pressure, preferring to ride the Vuelta a Espana and target the world road race championships in Florence.

    "In 2014 I'll target the Tour," Nibali confirmed to Gazzetta dello Sport while posing for photographs with his wife Rachele.

    "It's a race that made me well known even in far away places like Australia. It's a special race for me. In 2009, when I was seventh, I realised that I could become the rider I am today."

    Nibali will enjoy a holiday next week and is likely to take a break from racing until the end of July, beginning the second part of his season and preparation for the Vuelta at the Tour of Poland that starts in the Italian Dolomites on July 27.

    He could then ride the Vuelta a Burgos (August 7-11) before the Vuelta a Espana begins on August 24.

    Nibali is expected to lead the Italian team at the world championships and has already studied the hilly course around the Renaissance city. The Elite men's road race will be held on Sunday September 29.

  • 2013 Florence world championship course revealed

    Profile of the 2013 world championship road race finishing circuit in Florence
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 12:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Elite men's road race to remember Franco Ballerini

    For all our cycling UCI World Championship news, click here.

    The organisers of the 2013 world road race championships have unveiled the final routes for the time trial and road race events, confirming that the Elite men's race will remember the late Franco Ballerini by passing the cemetery where he is buried.

    Angelo Zomegnan, the head of the organising committee, revealed details of each of the race routes, confirming that the races would also pass in the shadow of the spectacular Florence Duomo and cover the testing climb up to Fiesole.

    "These will be a special, unique world championships, combining great racing with the unique beauty and history of Florence and Tuscany," Zomegnan said during the presentation. 

    "The Elite men's will pass the cemetery where Franco Ballerini is buried in Casalguidi. I think it's the right way to remember Franco. He was one of the people who inspired the successful bid to host the world championships in Tuscany."

    Zomegnan confirmed reports that the road races will be tough and selective. The Elite men covers a total distance of 272.5km, while the women's race will cover 130km.

    "The road race course is one of the hardest for many years and will provide some spectacular racing," he said.

    There are more than 3000m of climbing, as much as in a mountain stage at the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France. The total distance during the 11 circuits around Florence in the Elite men's race add up to 58.650km of climbing or 30% of the distance covered on the circuit.

    The road race championships will be held between September 22-29, with the team time trials for men and women opening the...

  • Niemiec to Tour de France after impressive Giro d'Italia

    Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre - Merida)
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 15:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Pole heads to first Grand Boucle in support of Cunego

    Just days after riding into Brescia with sixth place overall wrapped up at the Giro d’Italia, Przemyslaw Niemiec has announced he will ride his first Tour de France, at the ripe age of 33.

    Niemiec played a pivotal role at the Italian Grand Tour, nearly overhauling his Lampre-Merida team captain Michele Scarponi in the process and has stated he will now ride the Tour de France in support of Damiano Cunego. The Pole was Lampre-Merida’s best rider at the 2012 Vuelta a España, finishing 15th overall.

    Cunego has not been at his best taking since his seventh place in the 2011 Tour de France but still managed two finish Grand Tours in 2012, taking sixth at the Giro before under-performing at the Vuelta Espana.

    Cunego has taken on a heavy program of race days so far this year as he builds for the Tour. He showed promise in the early part of this year by winning a stage and finishing second overall at Coppi & Bartali race but failed to make an impact at the Ardennes Classics or at the Tour de Romandie and the recent Bayern-Rundfahrt. With Niemiec seemingly confidence-filled after his ride at the Giro, the Italian-Polish dynamic will be another interesting one to watch.

    "I've ridden the Olympics, the World Championships, the Giro and the Vuelta but now it’s time for the Tour," Niemiec told French newspaper Equipe.

    The standard schedule for Niemiec for the past couple of seasons has been circled around the Giro and Vuelta but with the Tour coming just weeks away, his ability to freshen-up and be fighting amongst the top contenders into the...

  • Jelly Belly back in the spotlight after Rodriguez pulls on stars and stripes

    Freddie Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) makes it his fourth national title win.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 17:35 BST
    Ted Burns

    Fast Freddie talks about his successful comeback

    Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team director Danny Van Haute has had successful tenure in the American peloton but in the last two years his squad had failed to secure an invitation to the Amgen Tour of California.

    He decided to turn to Fred "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez to help raise the profile of the team and is suddenly back in the spotlight, with the stars and stripes now set to mix with the bright colors of the Jelly Belly jersey for at least the rest of the season. Van Haute made a gamble by signing the veteran sprinter but it paid off faster than he expected.

    "We signed him two weeks ago," said Van Haute after Fast Freddie's win. "We've been talking since Redlands, maybe a little bit before that. It's a timely-timed thing and he signed for the year."

    Rodriguez knew he was likely to sign with the UCI Continental team towards the end of April and started tailoring his training plan accordingly.

    "I had good form because I've been helping out some young riders and racing a couple local races," Rodriguez said about his preparation to race professionally again.

    "Once it was solid I was going to be on the team I just worked on upping my base. I knew I didn't have time to focus on intensity, and as an endurance athlete you need a good base."

    Back from his hiatus

    Rodriguez was brought onto the burgeoning Team Exergy in 2011 to help raise their profile and make them competitive at larger events like the Tour of California. The team's bet on Rodriguez was rewarded with invites to the major US tours and a top-three stage finish at Tour of California in 2012. However, Exergy's tumultuous exit from cycling was difficult for many including Rodriguez.

    "It was disappointing," he said. "The sport has had a hard time the last couple of years and I always look at the...

  • Video: Preparing Giro d'Italia podium jerseys

    2013 Giro d'Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 18:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Same family has done the work for 21 years

    As if by magic, the Giro d'Italia podium presenters have the maglia rosa and other special jerseys with the winners' team logos ready to put on immediately after every stage. By magic? No, by Claudio Castellano, who took time out to explain the process to Cyclingnews.

    Printing the jerseys is a family affair. Castellano has done it for 11 years, and his father before him for 10 years. He has a supply of jerseys and of team logos. He is one of the first to be informed of who will be given each of the four special jerseys.

    The appropriate team logo is cut out and put on the jersey with the special press, taking only about 23 seconds.  The video shows Castellano preparing one of many pink jerseys for Vincenzo Nibali.

  • Abbott philosophical about mechanical in women's US professional road race

    Mara Abbott (Exergy-Twenty16) is passed by the chase group after a flat ruined her solo breakaway.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Ted Burns

    Flat then snapped rear derailleur ends championship hopes

    During the Women's US Professional National Championship Road Race, Mara Abbott (Exergy TWENTY16) was the only rider from the field to bridge a 1:30 gap to the leaders on the final ascent of Lookout Mountain. Now in the company of several fast finishers at the head of the race, Abbott knew her only opportunity for victory would be in attacking prior to the flat, windy finishing circuits in downtown Chattanooga following the descent off Lookout Mountain.

    Abbott soon took the race into her own hands and launched a solo attack with 37km to go as the lead group made its way back to begin the finishing circuits. Abbott built a lead of over 20 seconds before Jade Wilcoxson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) responded with her own attack on the first of three 8.2km finishing laps. Wilcoxson was mid-effort when she saw Abbott in trouble.

    "I thought she had flatted," said Wilcoxson. "I saw her bouncing before the corner, and then she went real slow through the corner, and then she stopped and Shimano neutral support was helping her, so I just flew right by."

    The mechanic attempting to fix Abbott's flat appeared to have issues while trying to put in a new wheel. In the midst of the wheel change Abbott's derailleur hanger snapped off, rendering her bike unridable, and requiring her to wait for a new bike from the team car which effectively eliminated her from the race.

    There was a virtual groan across the Twitter-sphere as viewers of the live Tour Tracker feed voiced their opinions. Many fans complained about the quality of the wheel change, while others speculated that the mechanic's job was more difficult since Abbott didn't unclip and dismount the bike.

    "I got a flat and then the derailleur broke, and I hit a pothole earlier. I don't know exactly what happened. We had a little bit of bike melt down," said...

  • Nibali moves to second on WorldTour rankings after Giro victory

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is crowned the 2013 Giro d'Italia winner
    Article published:
    May 28, 2013, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Colombia new nations leader, Sky remains top team

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) secured the most important victory of his career on Sunday, as the 28-year-old Italian triumphed in the Giro d’Italia ahead of Colombian Rigoberto Urán (Sky ProCycling) and Australian Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team). And in the WorldTour classification, Nibali has made huge gains as well.

    Only Classics star Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) remains ahead of Nibali in the WorldTour after the Italian’s Giro d’Italia win, in which he also took two stages. Now second overall in the rankings, Nibali’s second Grand Tour win after the 2010 Vuelta a España is not the only factor behind his improvement in the WorldTour standings. This year Nibali has also taken the overall victory in the Tirreno-Adriatico for a second year running, where he claimed 106 points. Now, after the Giro d’Italia, he has increased his total to 322 points, while Cancellara, who did not race the Italian Grand Tour, remains on top with 351.

    Apart from Nibali, who gained 18 places thanks to the Giro, the other new arrival in the top four of the WorldTour is Colombian Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale), winner of the Best Young Rider’s classification in the Giro and fifth overall. After placing well in the Vuelta al País Vasco and in the Ardennes Classics, Betancur is now fourth behind Cancellara, Nibali, and Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), trailing the Slovakian by 57 points and pushing Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) down to fifth place.

    The final new entry in the top-10 of the WorldTour is Michele Scarponi...

  • Nike cuts ties with Livestrong Foundation

    Lance Armstrong zips up his Livestrong jersey and is ready to go.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2013, 0:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Funding to continue into 2014

    Nike has announced that production of its Livestrong line will end this year, with the sports manufacturing giant also cutting ties with the Livestrong Foundation.

    Last October, Nike terminated its contract with Lance Armstrong because of the "seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade," but said that it would continue to support the charitable foundation.

    When announcing that the Livestrong line will discontinue following the release of products for the 2013 holiday season, Nike said it will honour the financial terms of its contract until it expires in 2014 while trumpeting the distribution of 87 million yellow wristbands highlighting the cause.

    "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer," said the Nike statement.

    Armstrong established the Livestrong Foundation in 1997 after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He resigned from the Board of Directors last fall, after the details of his doping usage had been made public and he had received a lifetime ban from cycling.

    In March, Livestrong president Andy Miller told the group's annual convention that it had been a "difficult year" but remained optimistic for the future and it was a message that continued in the wake of this latest news.

    "This news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the Foundation's future," read their statement.

    "We see things quite differently. We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position...