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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 14, 2010

Date published:
May 14, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Kroon not happy with his liquid diet

    Karsten Kroon (BMC) suffered facial injuries in a crash.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 16:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC rider still recovering from facial surgery

    Karsten Kroon has been on a liquid diet since his facial surgery late last month, and it does not make him happy.

    The BMC rider crashed in the Flèche Wallonne and suffered fractures to his nose and cheekbone. The 34-year-old Dutchman underwent successful surgery where repairs were made with titanium plates.

    "Recently I made a sandwich with sweet and sour sauce in the blender: it was not edible," Kroon wrote on his website.

    "Yesterday we had some chicken sandwiches. After a few alcoholic drinks I had forgotten what I had in my hand," Kroon said. "The water was running in my mouth when I realized it would not work out. Into the blender with it.

    "A chicken sandwich in the blender is not easy. It goes into pieces and then blends only a little at a time. By the time I got it into my mouth, it was already cold!"

  • Nibali gets ready for testing weekend in pink

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo), clad in pink, hangs out in the peloton.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 18:54 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian to defend Giro lead on dirt roads and climb to Terminillo

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) enjoyed a relatively calm day in the maglia rosa today, but knows that Saturday's stage on the dirt roads of Tuscany to Montalcino and then Sunday's mountain finish at the summit of Terminillo near Rome will be the first real indication of if he can be a true overall contender in the Giro.

    Nibali still leads teammate Ivan Basso by 13 seconds, with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) fourth at 33 seconds. They are perhaps the only two riders who could take the pink jersey from him this weekend. If Nibali ends the weekend in pink, he could surely keep it until the big mountain stages begin in the final week of the Giro.

    Nibali's face lit up when he pulled on the pink jersey in Marina di Carrara and heard the cheers of some of the members of his fan club. They will be along the route on Saturday, too, because the stage cuts across Tuscany, not far from his second home in Mastromarco, where he raced as an amateur and still lives.

    "It was supposed to be a 'tranquillo' day but it's wasn't because the stage was difficult with all the climbing and the testing descents. The team worked well and we set our own pace, so it wasn't a hard day but it wasn't an easy day either," Nibali said in the press conference, gaining confidence with every day he wears the pink jersey.

    "Nothing happens by chance and I think I deserve to be in pink. We've ridden perfectly so far. The longer we keep the jersey, the better it is. If Ivan gets it the next couple of days that's great and I'd be happy. I shouldn't even have ridden the Giro, so I'm happy with however long I keep the jersey."

    The real test of Nibali's form and race lead will begin on Saturday on the dirt roads south of Siena and continue on Sunday on the 16.1km climb to Terminillo.

    "We'll see what happens tomorrow but of course I won't be the first to attack. Liquigas will ride defensively," he said, calling the bluff of his rivals.

    ...
  • Farrar pulls on Giro points jersey

    Garmin-Transitions' Tyler Farrar is the Giro's top sprinter.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 19:20 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Transitions sprinter takes vital points in intermediate sprint

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) pulled on the bright red points jersey at the Giro d'Italia on Friday thanks to picking up four precious points at the only intermediate sprint of the stage.

    Thursday's stage winner Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) had the jersey but Farrar was equal on points and he timed his effort perfectly to win the dash to the line in Aulla.

    He was dropped on the final climb of the stage to Marina di Carrara and finished 11:30 behind Matt Lloyd but that didn't matter. He was called to the podium to pull on the jersey and collect the flowers and kisses from the podium girls.

    "We looked at the profile of the stage and we knew that there wasn't much chance of me making it to the finish. It's more important for us that we got the points jersey, so we really targeted the intermediate sprint and try and get the red jersey. It worked out. It's really important for the team to have it," he told Cyclingnews before heading to the Garmin team bus.

    "I tried to stay in the bunch on the climb but it was too much for me and so I came in with a group. But it's not a big deal."

    Farrar has a total of 43 points, with Graeme Brown (Rabobank) second with 40 points and Pineau is third with 39 points.

    All the sprinters will be out of the points at the next two stage finishes in Montalcino and Terminillo, so Farrar now hopes to keep the jersey for several days.

    "The next two stages aren't for the sprinters but we'll see if I can do well in the sprints in Cavi De' Tirreni and beyond that. I can hopefully pick up some more points. It's a good objective to have."

  • Lloyd takes first pro win in Europe

    Giro d'Italia stage 6 winner Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma Lotto) on the podium.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 20:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian says cycling is about emotion, not numbers

    The Giro d'Italia organisation played AC/DC while Matt Lloyd appeared on stage to get his prize as the winner of stage 6 in Marina di Carrara.

    Half an hour later, the 26-year-old Australian was still emotional about winning when he spoke to the press. "In cycling, everyone says it's about progression," said Lloyd. "This is progression. We hear about data, analysis...I never looked at it that way. For me, a race is just made of emotions. The numbers can vindicate whatever they do, but not the emotion of being on the podium. If you win, it makes it special. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you don't win."

    Since he joined Predictor-Lotto in 2007, Lloyd only had the 2008 Australian national championship under his belt as a professional. Today's Giro d'Italia victory is his first pro win in Europe.

    Last year Lloyd had a very bad crash at the Amstel Gold Race. He suffered a fractured sacrum and six broken vertebrae but he resumed riding 12 days later and completed the Tour de France (46th overall) and the Vuelta a España (50th overall) at the service of compatriot Cadel Evans, who sometimes called him "my little brother" when they were teammates.

    Evans' departure to BMC might have provided an opportunity for Lloyd to pursue his own interests in stage six of the Giro d'Italia, but the climber from Melbourne doesn't see it that way. "I don't think in any way that Cadel would not have let me go," Lloyd said. "It's a group mentality. A team is a distribution of resources free of mind. With Cadel, you can win races. His departure had no impact on today's stage for me. Like at the national championship I won, he was the first person to congratulate me. It means a lot."

    Lloyd described the Giro d'Italia as "destruction". "The beauty of this race is that even if you're one and half hours behind at the end of the first week, you can still be in top five at the end," he said with a laugh. "To ride for GC wasn't for me this year but...

  • Tiralongo out of the Giro

    Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre - N.G.C) on the attack.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 20:09 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Vinokourov will miss an important teammate in the mountains

    Astana's Paolo Tiralongo had to pull out of the Giro d'Italia after crashing during stage 6. The Italian rider stayed on the ground for a few minutes following his crash and was transported to the nearest hospital in Pontremoli. He bruised his right shoulder, knee and wrist and seemed to be shocked after his crash although radiography indicated that no bones were broken.

    Tiralongo rejoined his team at its hotel in Forte dei Marmi but he will not be able to continue racing. His absence will be felt by his teammate Alexandre Vinokourov, one of the favourites for the Giro.

    "It's always leaves an impression to see a rider on the ground," Astana's directeur sportif Laurenzo Lapage said. "It's a shame because Tiralongo was well placed, in 10th position overall. He was among the best climbers in the Giro and the one who has the capacity to follow Vino in the mountains."

    Tiralongo was supposed to be Vinokourov's right-hand man during the Giro. At the age of 32, the Italian pro is an experienced rider in the Grand Tours. He finished 15th in the 2006 Giro d'Italia and eighth in the Vuelta a Espana last year, but he spent the past four years at the service of Damiano Cunego.

    It was Alberto Contador who requested Astana recruit Tiralongo after hearing that he was keen to move on after some friction at Lampre.

    "We're still confident and the team will adapt," said Lapage regarding the two weeks still to come at the Giro d'Italia.

    Tiralongo should be back in action for the Tour de France alongside Contador.

  • Cavendish seeks gold in Amgen Tour of California opener

    Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) is building form for a run at the green jersey in the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 20:45 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    HTC-Columbia sprinter building form for Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) is the odds-on sprint favorite at the Amgen Tour of California and he is expecting to kick off the eight-stage race in the golden leader's jersey following the opening act, a 168km road race from Nevada City to Sacramento on Sunday, May 16. The Manxman is using the stateside event to prepare for bigger goals down the line, to win the green jersey at the Tour de France in July.

    "The first stage will be a bunch sprint which is nice because it could put us in the leader's jersey right at the start," Cavendish told Cyclingnews. "It would be nice to start with the leader's jersey but I don't think I could defend it on the second day. It's hard, we did the parcours yesterday and it is pretty brutal actually. It looks like I won't be able to hold onto that."

    HTC-Columbia recently completed an eight-day training camp in Santa Rosa, California in preparation for the Amgen Tour. The race holds a particular importance for the squad, a US-registered team with headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California. The eight-man team will include Cavendish along with last year's third place finisher Michael Rogers, Lars Ytting Bak, Bernhard Eisel, Tony Martin, Mark Renshaw, Bert Grabsch and Tejay Van Garderen.

    "This is an American team, American sponsor and the biggest race in America so it makes sense," Cavendish said. "Our team brought the biggest riders here. We've got a great team with me for the sprints, Mick Rogers for the GC, Tony Martin and Grabsch for the time trial. We've covered pretty much all the stages and hopefully we win the GC.

    "Overall it's a hard week and it will be nice to maybe get it off to a good start," Cavendish said. "It is absolutely a harder race than in the past. Everyone is going to be on good form because it's in May. It will make for hard racing, especially on this course."

    Giving up pink for gold

    The Amgen Tour's previous four editions were held in...

  • Hondo laughs off Giro sprint error

    Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) thinks he's won
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 21:21 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Petacchi not so happy due to bronchitis

    Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) made the classic mistake of thinking he had won the sprint in Marina di Carrara, throwing his arms up in a victory salute before realising he had only won the sprint for third place behind Matt Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Rubens Bertogliati (Androni Giocattoli).

    Fortunately he was able to see the funny side of it.

    "I thought I'd won but I got it wrong. It was my mistake. But hey, I'm not the first rider to ever do that," he told Cyclingnews with a laugh.

    "We went on the front on the descent and we were riding hard. I saw that we caught some riders and I thought we'd caught them all. I felt good and didn't know what to do because Petacchi had gone off the front on the descent but then was dropped on the last climb. We looked for him but he didn't come back, so I went for it. I thought I won it...but it was only for third place."

    Petacchi struggling with bronchitis

    Petacchi finished 95th on the stage, 4:11 behind Lloyd and almost three minutes behind Hondo. The stage finished just a few kilometres from his home but the late climbs meant it was always going to be difficult for the veteran Italian sprinter to win the stage. He tried to get a gap on the descent of the Spolverina so he could ride the last climb, the Bedizzano, at his own pace but his plan didn't work.

    Petacchi has been struggling with bronchitis and was not in a good mood after missing out on another chance of victory in this year's Giro.

    "I had good legs and wanted to try and win it but it didn't happen," he said. "I went off the front to try and do the climb at my own pace and perhaps stay with the bunch but they never let me go.

    "I'm suffering a lot with this bronchitis. I can't shake it off. I've taken antibiotics and I just hope I can get better for the other sprints, otherwise this Giro is going to be uphill all the way."

  • No regrets this time for Bertogliati

    Breakaway mates Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Rubens Bertogliati (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    May 14, 2010, 22:43 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Giro d'Italia stage six runner-up puts in plenty of attacks

    For Rubens Bertogliati, it was a total different feeling to lose stage 6 in the Giro d'Italia this year than it was to lose stage 14 last year. On Friday, he was dropped on the final climb by eventual winner Matt Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) but still managed to cross the line in second position before being caught by the first part of the bunch.

    "I'm not disappointed," he told Cyclingnews after the finish. "Maybe last year I lost because I had made a mistake, but this time my adversary was just too strong for me. He attacked four times and I resisted, but the fifth time, there was nothing more I could do."

    The Androni-Diquigiovanni team was obviously motivated as it put riders in all the early breaks. Australian Cameron Wurf was the most active up front. Bertogliati tried a few times, too, until he found a way to escape with Lloyd after 45 kilometres.

    "I did a lot of attacks and Lloyd did only one," Bertogliati said. "That might have been an advantage for him at the end. He was fresher. He deserves all the congratulations. We never saved our energy along the way. I expected a climb at the end but not such a hard one."

    Bertogliati also said his Androni-Diquigiovanni squad was determined to make up for its disastrous team time trial. "We rode well in the first part, but we experienced such bad weather that we lost everything at half way. It was hailing on our helmets. It was awful."

    Don't be surprised to see the team on the attack again - even as it holds out hope for a good final general classification position for Michele Scarponi.