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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 11, 2012

Date published:
May 11, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Ullrich: Doubt, depression and physical problems after doping case

    A satisfied Jan Ullrich speaks to the press after his Tour de Suisse win
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 9:11 BST
    Cycling News

    1997 Tour de France winner admits he “made mistakes”

    Jan Ullrich has taken another step back into public life, after years of “doubt, depression and physical problems.” The retired rider is currently serving a two-year ban stemming from his invovlement in the Operacion Puerto blood-doping scheme. Ullrich, 38, will write a weekly column for EurosportYahoo.

    “There is no denying, that various doping cases have damaged cycling in the past years. I too have made mistakes,” he wrote in his maiden blog. “But after years of doubt, depression and physical problems, I have made peace with my personal case.

    “That is my way, even if everyone won't understand it. But I ask you to respect it.   leave it up to every single user to decide whether I have earned a second chance here.”

    Cycling remains immensely important to him. “Even if I don't plan to return to pro cycling, cycling will be still be my great love all my life.”

    Ullrich, who won the Tour de France in 1997, retired in February 2007.  He was treated for burn-out syndrome in 2010.  Last year he became active in helping to promote Gran Fondo races.

  • RCS Sport launches international Granfondo series

    The Giro mascot
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 9:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia organisers confirm two US races

    RCS Sport will again have a major presence in the world of Granfondo rides by organising two events in the USA in 2012, called Granfondo Giro d’Italia.

    The two events are set to be held in Los Angeles-Pasadena on July 22 and in Miami-Coral Gables on November 11, with thousands of riders expected at both events.

    These events mark the start of a long-term international project that will see RCS Sport increase its presence in a series of countries with the goal of promoting the Giro d’Italia to cycling fans around the world. Each event will last two days with special events and an Expo. The Granfondo Giro d’Italia events will help promote all that is special about Italian culture and lifestyle, with support from the Italian Trade Commision and the Italian consolates in Los Angeles and Miami.

    In 2013 a stage of the Giro d’Italia will also become a Granfondo and be the highpoint of the Granfondo Giro d’Italia Series.

    Entries for the 2012 events in Los Angeles and Miami are open now at The Granfondo Giro d’Italia portal, containing full details of the events, will be visible from May 27 - the last day of the 2012 Giro d’Italia.

  • New co-sponsor for Saxo Bank

    Team Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 11:03 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Spanish timeshare company Anfi says it will boost its backing

    Spanish timeshare group Anfi is set to become the co-sponsor of Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank team later this year. In an interview with Danish business daily Borsen, Anfi CEO José Luis Trujillo said the goal of his company is to have a more visible presence in Scandinavia, and particularly in Denmark. Consequently, Anfi is set to boost the small deal it already has with the team.

    “We have a strategic goal to become more visible in Scandinavia, not least Denmark, as we’d like more Scandinavian timeshare clients,” Trujillo told Borsen. “Anfi already has a four-year contract with Bjarne Riis, and we will boost that after the Vuelta a España. We will become the co-title sponsor and appear on the jersey. I imagine the name of the team will be Saxo Bank-Anfi.”

    Contacted by Borsen, Riis Cycling CEO Trey Greenwood did not rule out the possibility of Anfi having a more prominent role within the team. “I cannot confirm that Anfi will appear on the jersey, as we haven’t closed any deals yet in terms of our title sponsorship in 2013. But we are talking with several interested parties and it is no secret that we’ve been very excited about our partnership with Anfi since they came on board,” said Greenwood.

    Greenwood added that he hopes that the long-standing deal the team has with Saxo Bank will continue to run. “The partnership with Saxo Bank has in many ways been outstanding since its inception in 2008, and the history of our partnership has shown that we have been able to renew the agreement a few times and with good reason. The value of the sponsorship has increased substantially over time, and I think that both we and Saxo Bank agree that the partnership has benefited both of us. That’s a good starting point for the future.”

    According to...

  • Farrar predicting eventful sixth stage at 2012 Giro d'Italia

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 12:31 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    American sprinter says he had an "off-day" yesterday

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) says he is expecting a difficult day’s racing as stage six of the 2012 Giro d'Italia delves deep into the Apennines, with the infamously steep Montelupone climb - 53 kilometres from the finish - the potential flashpoint.

    “They don’t go up the toughest side but it’s still the Montelupone, there is no easy side to the Montelupone,” Farrar told Cyclingnews at the start of stage six. “I think it’s going to be game on from there on the stage.”

    “From there, you have the Montegranaro (33kms to go) and the [unclassified climb of the] Santa Lucia [23 kilometres to go]. It’s a very hard stage today.”

    Garmin-Barracuda are running a double strategy with Ryder Hesjedal for the overall long-term and with Ramunas Narvardauskas in pink.

    “Hopefully he’ll have the legs today, but it’s quite a hard stage. We’re in a luxury position, because we have Ryder there for the pink too. But we want to keep Ramunas in the lead for as long as we possibly can.”

    Farrar was dropped on the final climb of yesterday’s stage to Fano, losing all chance of taking the pink jersey.

    “It was a stage I was going for, but I just had an off-day. I got a bit surprised on the climbs, but that isn’t really an excuse.”

    Asked if the team time trial and going all out there for Garmin’s victory could have had an effect, Farrar said “I don’t think so. The team time trial’s not easy, but everybody had to do it. Hopefully I’ll have better legs today.”

    Overall, the American says, “I haven’t had a bad start to the Giro, just...

  • Geox to return to cycling?

    The Liquigas - Cannondale team
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 13:34 BST
    Pete Cossins

    Italian shoe company linked to a deal with Liquigas

    There are growing reports that Italian shoemaking giant Geox is set to make a surprise return to the sport as one of the main sponsors of the Liquigas team. The reports suggest that Liquigas is unable to continue with its current level of backing of the squad that features Vincenzo Nibali, Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso among its star names, and that Geox is set to step in with extra financing.

    The move would be a surprise one following Geox’s decision late last year to withdraw its backing from the team managed by Mauro Gianetti and Joxean Fernández Matxín, stating that cycling did not fall within their business strategy. That decision came in the weeks after the team had won the Vuelta a España title thanks to Juan José Cobo and was made so late in the season that several riders and much of the team’s staff were left high and dry.

    The reports of Geox’s possible return to cycling have understandably produced a good degree of interest in Spain, home to the outfit the Italian company backed last year. Contacted by Marca, former Geox team director Matxín said he had no real information on the reports, adding: “If what is being suggested does turn out to be correct, I would like them to clarify their situation and tell us what is really happening.”

    The Basque team director pointed out that cycling is a good way for a company to raise its profile, estimating that “Geox received 18 million euros [worth of coverage] during the first 12 days of the last Vuelta a España”. Geox has subsequently focused its sponsorship on Formula 1, providing substantial backing to the Red Bull team of world champion...

  • Giro d'Italia leader Navardauskas praises team

    Giro leader Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 13:51 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Garmin-Barracuda rider reflects on trouble-free day in pink

    Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) might have been bluffing, but after cramming his 1 metre 90 frame behind a desk in the school where the Giro d'Italia's post-stage five press conference was held, the Lithuanian implied that his duties on Wednesday evening as race leader had been a lot more stressful than riding 200 kilometres in the middle of a 190-strong peloton the next day.

    “Usually after a stage you take a shower and get to the hotel, but yesterday it was just the opposite,” Navardauskas said about what he called a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience of leading a Giro. “With all that media stuff, interviews and so on, I didn’t get to bed until midnight.”

    “But the big effort today [Thursday] was not for me, it was for the team. I was always surprised at how hard they could work, they did a big job.”

    Although several top women cyclists in the past decade or so have been Lithuanian, male riders have not shone for a while in the tiny Baltic state, which has a population of just three million people.

    “I don’t know how much attention the press has being paying to this back there, I haven’t had time to look online, but I have had a lot of texts from my friends,” Navardauskas - the first ever Lithuanian to lead a Giro d’Italia - said.

    “Everybody knows about it, I’m sure. But even now, I can’t say I’m the number one rider from there.” For one thing, as he pointed out, there have been many successful women cyclists from his country, who have also won or led important races.

    The focus then switched to tomorrow’s stage and how long he thinks he can lead the Giro as it heads into the hills. And as a second year-pro, his lack of experience may begin...

  • Leipheimer remains tight-lipped about Amgen Tour of California start

    Levi Leipheimer talks about The Levi Effect, a new documentary film.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 14:50 BST
    Pat Malach

    Will make decision to race on Friday

    Levi Leipheimer remained tight-lipped Thursday about whether he would be on the start line Sunday when the Amgen Tour of California rolls out of Santa Rosa for stage 1, saying he would make the announcement during Friday's official pre-race press conference.

    The three-time winner was hit by a car while training on April 1 and suffered a fractured fibula. Leipheimer was training in Spain for Vuelta al Pais Vasco when the collision occurred. Doctors first thought he had suffered only a muscle contusion, but x-rays found the fracture, and he returned home to Santa Rosa. He did not require surgery, but his recovery has been slower than expected.

    Leipheimer hosted a mixer in Santa Rosa Thursday night to promote a new documentary about his life, his racing and his contributions to the cycling community in Sonoma County, where he has lived since 1996. The movie will be released for free on the internet after debuting in Santa Rosa on the eve of his gran fondo in September. "The Levi Effect", a production from BikeMonkey, details Leipheimer's story as he left behind the mountains of Butte, Montana for the life of a professional cyclist.

    The 38-year-old Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider has won the Amgen Tour of California three times, from 2007 to 2009, finished third in 2010 and second last year to then-teammate Chris Horner. He has the most stage wins of any rider, with six.

  • Video: Kristoff on Giro d'Italia sprints and Rodriguez ambitions

    Norwegian road champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2012, 17:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Katusha rider speaks exclusively to Cyclingnews

    Team Katusha were special guests at 'Casa Gazzetta', the stand of the famous Italian daily sports newspaper, at the start of stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia in Urbino. The town hosted the start of the 1988 Giro, the race that is remembered for the snowy stage of the Gavia. Marzio Bruseghin also won a time trial of the corsa rosa in 2008 in Urbino.

    One of the riders on Team Katusha this year is Norwegian national champion Alexander Kristoff, who made the top ten in stage 5 at Fano. He explained to Cyclingnews in a video interview how difficult it is to sprint against Mark Cavendish. He also took the opportunity to talk up the chances of his team captain Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez, who is tenth on GC even before the race has hit its first mountain.