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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Date published:
May 30, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Team NetApp satisfied with Giro d'Italia debut

    IMG_4569 - Luka Medgec of Sava happy for today stage win
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 11:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German team had eight top ten stage finishes, more than hoped for

    Team NetApp was more than pleased with its performance in the Giro d'Italia, the first grand tour for the Professional Continental team. It ended up with two stage second places, and a total of eight top ten finishes. The team was also active in breakaway groups.

    “The team far exceeded the team management’s expectations. Our goal was to come in among the top ten in at least one stage. And now we have stood on the podium twice,” said team manager Ralph Denk on the team's website.

    “The teamwork could not have been better and each individual rider had his own taste of success. As a ProContinental Team, the Giro d’Italia posed a huge challenge for us athletically and logistically, which our riders and employees mastered with flying colors.”

    The team had hoped for overall ranking possibilities from Leopold König, but the Czech climber was unable to start the race due to back problems. Without him in the line-up, “we therefore concentrated on individual stages. The team was out in front and attacked so often so that we were able to hold our own against the big teams. The two second places for Bartosz Huzarski and Jan Barta in the 10th and 14th stages were the well-earned reward for the team.”

    Two NetApp riders had to abandon along the way. Reto Hollenstein left with a broken collarbone from a crash in the13th stage, and Timon Seubert left with fever during the penultimate stage. “So we reached Milan with seven riders. It was the first three-week stage race for most, and I am very proud that they fought so hard through the final very difficult mountain...

  • Riis hoped for more from Saxo Bank's Giro d'Italia

    The Saxo Bank team
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 12:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank without captain for the Tour de France?

    The Giro d'Italia was a learning experience for Team Saxo Bank, team principal Bjarne Riis said and the Danish team “struggled” through the three-week race, he admitted.

    “I had obviously hoped for more than we got,” he wrote in his column in the Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “But we struggled with what we had.

    “When in the coming days I evaluate the events in detail, I must also be realistic in terms of what we went into the Giro with. We knew it would be difficult to bring home good results,” he said, while pointing out the team gained experience from the race.

    He praised Manuele Boaro, who finished fourth in the opening time trial, and sprinter Juan Jose Haedo. The Argentinian, who abandoned after the 13th stage, brought in the team's highest finish when he was second on the second stage.

    “At the Giro, JJ was able to practice even more to to gain the maximum benefit from the sprinter train, as his teammates bring him into an optimal position in the sprint. And we have further views on how JJ should improve. He should first improve his top speed.”

    A high finishing speed is “is something you can train, and although there is relatively little time before the Tour, JJ may well manage to increase it. We have made a specific plan for the whole of his training, and now he has started with a serious preparation in training and will then run a few races before the Tour. So I am counting on the fact that he will be there with even more speed in his legs.”

    The riders are not the only ones working hard to...

  • Soler back in Europe for further examinations and enjoying Giro d'Italia

    Soler's injuries could have killed him but he is flying home at last today
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 14:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian not bitter about sport-caused injuries

    Mauricio Soler has returned to Europe, and made a point of visiting the Hospital Sankt Gallen, where he lay in the intensive care unit for 20 days after a crash in the Tour de Suisse. The Colombian is continuing his rehabilitation in Pamplona, Spain, and cheered on his former teammates and countrymen in the Giro d'Italia.

    Soler fractured his skull after colliding with a spectator in the sixth stage of the 2011 Tour de Suisse. He was placed in an induced coma, and in July was moved to a hospital in Pamplona, before returning home to Colombia in December. Soler had to return to Spain for further examinations, and whilst here, wanted to visit the Swiss hospital.

    “He doesn't remember anything from what happened there, but he felt it was something he needed to do," his wife Patricia said on the Movistar website. "It was really emotional and special. Mauricio had only known of the doctors and staff from some pictures, but felt like those voices weren't unconnected to him, but something familiar."

    The medical staff was pleased with his recovery, she said. “Mauricio has still many steps to improve ahead, but it's amazing to remember how he was, 11 months ago. Travelling back there was an indescribable experience, being the place where he had to learn to speak and walk again... There, a part from his life was left.”

    Soler has only thing on his mind when it is time to leave therapy, his wife said. When the appointment is done, “even though we still have to do the daily shopping or anything else, he says to me we can do it later, because he has to see the Giro d'Italia on TV. He is enjoying really much seeing his teammates...

  • Andy Schleck presented with 2010 Tour de France yellow jersey

    Andy Schleck, right, is presented with the yellow jersey from the 2010 Tour de France. On stage with Schleck are (l-r) five-time Tour champion Bernard Hinault, Luxembourg's sports minister Romain Schneider and Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 15:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger receives belated reward in hometown

    Andy Schleck was presented with the yellow jersey of winner of the 2010 Tour de France at a ceremony in his hometown of Mondorf, Luxembourg on Tuesday. Schleck had finished second behind Alberto Contador, but was awarded the race after the Spaniard was stripped of his title following a positive test for clenbuterol.

    News of Contador’s positive test was first made public in September 2010, but the lengthy legal process was only resolved in February of this year, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport disqualifying him from the race and handing him a two-year suspension.

    Second in the Tour in 2009 and 2011, Schleck is still waiting to win a stage race on the road, and he admitted that he did not feel like the victor of the 2010 Tour.

    “It’s nice to accept this jersey, but for me it doesn’t change anything – it’s not like a win. It’s not the same sensation as climbing on the podium,” Schleck said, according to AFP.

    Schleck received the jersey from Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme in front of an audience of 150 invited guests, including RadioShack-Nissan manager Johan Bruyneel. 

    “I can only hope that this jersey will lead to others. And I think there will be others,” Prudhomme said.

    It was the second time in Prudhomme’s tenure that such a ceremony was required. In October 2007, Oscar Pereiro was presented with the maillot jaune of the previous year’s Tour, which had been stripped from Floyd Landis after he returned a positive test for synthetic testosterone.

    Schleck is currently preparing for an assault at the 2012 Tour de France, and Prudhomme insisted that the Luxembourger could aspire to overall victory...

  • Race organizers promise Exergy Tour will be back

    Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon) dropping down to Idaho City
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 17:32 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Overall winner Stevens inspired by Idaho's support

    By all accounts, the inaugural Exergy Tour last week in Idaho exceeded the already high standard set by its predecessor, the Women's Challenge that ran through Boise from 1984 to 2002. Race spokesperson Heather Hill was confident the UCI 2.1 event will return again next year.

    "In every conversation I have had with the team at Exergy Development Group, with James Carkulis, the CEO, his vision is absolutely the Exergy Tour will be back next year," Hill said after the race ended Monday. "The vision is to make the Exergy Tour the fourth major in North America, and it would be the only women's race in that line up. So that's the vision from here forward, and I hope that we can carry that through."

    The race organizers had just six and a half months to put the inaugural event together, and Hill said she was excited by the prospect and possibilities of having an entire year to organize and plan the event for a 2013 return. Overall winner Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), a veteran of some of the biggest women's races in the world, including her win at this year's Fleche-Wallone, said the Idaho tour was the best stage race she had ever taken part in.

    "My teammates like Clara [Hughes] and Ina [Teutenberg] and Trixi [Worrack] have spoken so highly of their time in Boise and Idaho for the Women's Challenge that was here," Stevens said. "So I know we all came into it with pretty great hopes, but it exceeded all of our expectations."

    Hughes, who took third overall this year and won the most aggressive jersey for her performance in the final stage, agreed with her younger teammate, adding that she was excited to see so many local residents enthusiastic about the race.

    "If this is only the start of the Exergy Tour, I can't...

  • Alison Powers new leader of women's National Racing Calendar

    Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis) had a good ride for seventh.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2012, 20:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Exergy Tour shuffles standings

    After finishing fifth overall at the inaugural Exergy Tour, Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) is the new leader of USA Cycling's women's National Racing Calendar (NRC) standings with 516 points, 63 more than Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon). Neben finished second overall in Idaho to jump from 10th place in the previous standings into second place.

    Carmen Small (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) remains in third place, 12 points behind Neben and 50 points ahead of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate Jade Wilcoxson, who slid from the top spot into fourth place. Moving into fifth place after winning the Exergy Tour is Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), six points behind Wilcoxson and six points ahead of Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO-To the Top).

    Stevens topped the Exergy Tour's general classification by 50 seconds despite not winning any of the four stages nor the prologue. Stevens finished second in the second and fourth stages after placing fifth in the prologue. She also claimed the Queen of the Mountains classification.

    In the NRC women's team standings, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies now owns a 507-point cushion over the new second-place team, Team TIBCO-To the Top, which bumped Exergy Twenty12 down to third place. Exergy Twenty12 trails second place by 32 points, but holds a 44-point edge on NOW and Novartis for MS. Remaining in fifth place is FCS-Rouse p/b Mr. Restore, 398 points out of fourth place and 160 points ahead of sixth-place Primal-MapMyRider Women's Racing.

    The NRC men's standings are unchanged as there was no an event on the calendar for men. The men return to action for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 13-17, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

    Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) remains the leader of the NRC men's standings while his Competitive Cyclist Racing...

  • Tour of Britain returns to Scotland in 2012

    The 2012 Tour of Britain route
    Article published:
    May 30, 2012, 4:16 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    September event key lead up to world championships

    Race organisers have announced that the UCI 2.1 Tour of Britain will once again take in Scotland with this year's third stage being raced between Jedburgh and Dumfries.

    Taking place on 11 September, the stage will undoubtedly be one of the most spectacular of the eight-stage event as the route takes in some of Scotland's most picturesque scenery. After leaving Jedburgh the riders will head west, through Hawick, and the Craik Forest to St Mary's Loch. From Moffat the stage heads via Johnstonebridge and Lochmaben, before entering Dumfries for three laps of a short 13km finishing circuit, which will give spectators extra chances to catch a glimpse of the action.

    Re-launched in 2004 after a five year absence from the calendar, The Tour of Britain is now the UK's biggest professional cycle race and the country's largest free-to-watch sporting event.

    Mark Cavendish took the spoils in Dumfries in 2011; the first of two stages the Manxman would win en-route his world title in Copenhagen. The 2012 event concludes a week before the Road World Championships in the Netherlands.

    Commenting on the announcement, Team Raleigh – GAC's Evan Oliphant said; "It's great to have The Tour of Britain back in Scotland again it's always special to race on home roads in such a prestigious event. Finishing in Dumfries also adds a special touch as I have family who live there."

    Cycling enthusiasts will also be given a unique opportunity to follow in the wheel-prints of the professionals as the mass-participation Tour Ride returns for 2012. Taking place on 26 August, cyclists have the option of a shorter 93km Challenge Ride or the full 140km Pro Ride, which includes the closing circuit in Dumfries, and roads used in previous Tour of Britain stages.

    To find out more and to sign-up for The Tour Ride, head to

  • Bruyneel wanted to "motivate" Frank Schleck

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan)
    Article published:
    May 30, 2012, 5:37 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan performing "below expectations"

    RadioShack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel was on hand in Luxembourg yesterday as Andy Schleck was presented with his 2010 Tour de France yellow jersey however the tension in the camp refused to go away.

    The mood follows Bruyneel's public questioning of Fränk Schleck and whether his shoulder injury was sufficient to warrant the 32-year-old's withdrawal from the Giro d'Italia on stage 15. Bruyneel told nieuwsblad.be that while it was not something that he "addressed personally" with the elder Schleck, he wanted the team to be on their toes.

    "That is my role as team leader," Bruyneel explained. "Perhaps it is strange that I air my displeasure through the media, but I hope I both Frank and the other riders are motivated to do better in future. I know that riders are not machines, but sometimes you need to focus their energies through the season. I hope this happens. We are performing below expectations. I hope that from the Tour of Luxembourg I see results. "

    Meantime, Fränk was keen to avoid another war of words saying that he would prefer to concentrate on the celebrations for his brother the day before the start of the Tour of Luxembourg.

    "I do not want to start controversy," he said. "I had and still have pain in my shoulder. I know what I feel. I do not have much confidence for the Tour of Luxembourg. But I'm confident that I will be part of the Tour team. "

    His last statement may be at odds with Bruyneel however, who pressed that it is the...