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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 25, 2012

Date published:
May 25, 2012, 20:00
  • Cavendish "angry" at defeat in Giro D'Italia stage 18

    How did that happen? Cavendish (in red) can't believe he has been beaten
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 09:47
    Cycling News

    Sky man overshadowed by Guardini in sprint finish

    A dramatic finish to stage 18 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia produced a moment that has become all too rare in the sport of road cycling over the last few years - a defeat for Mark Cavendish in bunched sprint to the line when he has been set up perfectly by his team. The Team Sky rider was beaten into second place and denied a fourth stage win in the race by an astonishing display from Farnese Vini-Selle Italia's Andrea Guardini.

    The 22-year-old Italian produced a devastating burst of speed in the closing stages, sweeping round the outside and taking Cavendish by complete surprise. The British world champion grimaced and punched his handlebars as he crossed the line in second place despite enjoying more help from his teammates than Guardini was afforded and despite having a clearer run.

    "I wasn't angry with him [Guardini], I just don't like losing to anyone," Cavendish, who leads the overall points classification, said afterwards.

    "He had more energy than me and was simply the fastest rider out there today. In the middle section of the sprint I lost some of my strength. If I hadn't been knocked over by Roberto Ferrari at the end of stage three I'd be in a better position than I am and now I need to fight to hang on to the [red] jersey."

    A few hours later after the dust he wrote on his Twitter account: "Pretty angry to be beaten when my team set me up like today. I was lazy and left the sprint 50 metres too late. Andrea Guardini was fast!"

  • Armstrong breaks collarbone at Exergy Tour

    Kristin Armstrong (Exergy) just before her crash
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 10:36
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion facing Olympic fitness race

    Team Exergy Twenty 12's Kristin Armstrong is out of the Exergy Tour after breaking her collarbone during the prologue on Thursday evening. The 38-year-old Olympic time trial champion came off her bike and suffered a nasty fall at the race's U-turn in Boise, Idaho, which is her hometown. She picked herself up and got back on her bike to complete the stage but was clearly in pain as she clutched her shoulder.

    The American was immediately ushered into the on-site medical centre where she received pain killers and underwent an examination by doctors. They deemed the injury serious enough to warrant an X-ray at a local hospital, where it was revealed that she had broken her collarbone.

    Armstrong's husband, Joe Savola, confirmed the news to the press and stated that he expected his wife to be back training on a bike within days. Armstrong faces a race in time to be fit for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which start at the end of July. She had been expected to be selected to defend her title there for the US team.

  • Lefevere chasing Contador deal

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) gets in one last race before his CAS verdict is announced.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 12:05
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep boss speaks out on rumours

    Suggestions in the Belgian press yesterday indicated that Alberto Contador is being targeted for a move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep when his ban runs out in August, and these have been backed up by comments today from team manager Patrick Lefevere.

    The 57-year-old Belgian appears determined to snatch the Spanish rider from Saxo Bank, who remain favourites to tie Contador down to a deal. Saxo Bank annuled their contract with Contador in February after CAS handed him a ban for testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Contador has hinted at a return to his former team at numerous points in the last few weeks. This hasn't put Lefevere off the chase for arguably cycling's biggest star, though he admits that the possibility of securing his signature still looks remote.

    "I'm always interested in a free rider with great potential," Lefevere told the Gazet Van Antwerpen. "I stated this to Contador's management and have been trying to pin a date for an interview. We are no strangers to each other. I am trying to get an interview in June but I expect no result."

    When pressed about how Contador could potentially be accomodated into his budget and his squad, which has enjoyed tremendous success so far this season, Lefevere stated that they would find a way to fit him in.

    "The money does not grow on our backs, but as a champion we would make additional funds available for Contador," he said. "And also for those few riders who he likes to be with him. We also have a few guys who know what climbing is. Plus after this season there will be places free, because two of my riders are out of contract."

  • Video: Peiper on the secrets of Hesjedal's success at the Giro d'Italia

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 13:56
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Barracuda rider well placed for glory ahead of stage 19

    Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal lies in second place in the overall GC after 18 stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia and is just 30 seconds behind the pink jersey holder Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). The Canadian's superb form and set-your-watch consistency has been one of the big talking points of the race so far and has surprised all but his most ardent fans and those in his inner circle.

    One of those in that inner circle is his team's director of competition, Allan Peiper. Cyclingnews caught up with Peiper on the start line ahead of the crucial nineteenth stage and asked him what the secret was behind Hesjedal's brilliant showing here so far.

    Peiper cited the fact that Hesjedal had to be convinced to "buy into the idea" of gearing his season to the Giro and that the Canadian was initially nervous about it but has grown in confidence as the race has progressed. He also said that Sunday's time trial will suit him more than his GC rivals and revealed the time gaps he thinks Hesjedal has to keep in mind ahead of that final stage.

  • Broken collarbone for Vos

    Dutch Champion, Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) on the Kemmelberg
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 15:00
    Cycling News

    Rabobank star still finished second in Valkenburg Classic

    Marianne Vos has suffered an apparent broken collarbone in a crash at the Parkhotel Valkenburg Classic today. The Rabobank captain was taken down on the descent of the Fromberg by a race motorcycle with 63km remaining in the 95km race, according to

    At the time of the crash, the world's number one rider had been in a two-rider breakaway together with Sharon Laws (AA since the 15km mark. She was able to rejoin Laws after a long chase, and the pair stayed ahead of a chase with Vos's teammates Annamiek van Vleuten and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Emma Pooley (AA Van Vleuten left her companions behind and bridged to the leaders with 3km remaining.

    The course, which mirrors the one used in the 2012 UCI road world championships, included the ascent of the Cauberg in the finale. Laws attempted to attack on the climb, but was easily marked by Vos.

    Van Vleuten claimed the victory while Vos finished second ahead of Laws.

    One day before Vos's courageous ride, Kristin Armstrong also suffered a collarbone break in the prologue of the Exergy Tour and finished the race in 13th place.

  • Rodriguez and Basso accept their defeat at Giro d'Italia

    Hesjedal and Scarponi broke clear and dropped Rodriguez and Basso
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 17:06
    Jean-François Quénet

    It's in the hand of the Canadian, maglia rosa wearer said

    Giro d'Italia leader Joaquim Rodriguez and race favorite Ivan Basso have made the same comment at the end of stage 19: "We were supposed to drop Ryder Hesjedal but it's been the opposite."

    Rodriguez added: "Hesjedal gave us a lesson. He has surprised me, really. I was on his wheel when he attacked and I preferred to follow the more regular rhythm of [Domenico] Pozzovivo. That was hard enough. It's going to be difficult to beat Hesjedal for the overall win. Now the Giro is in his hands. If he doesn't make any mistake tomorrow, he'll be the winner."

    "Hesjedal has shown he is the strongest," Basso echoed. "When someone is the strongest, we only have to congratulate him. When I understood my limits for today, I went at my own rhythm. [Michele] Scarponi's three attacks have put me in difficulty. I haven't managed to make the difference that I wanted. As I couldn't do what I planned this morning, it shows the merit of my adversaries."

    Basso is now fourth at 1:45. Seventeen seconds are obviously not enough of a margin for "Purito" over Hesjedal prior to the closing time trial in Milan on Sunday. Saturday's stage features the Mortirolo prior to the final ascent to the Stelvio at 2757 metres of altitude. "I still have the pink jersey," Rodriguez reminded. "I'm still up there, so are Scarponi and Basso who haven't lost all chance to win the Giro. Anything can happen on the Stelvio. That final climb will make a difference. It's going to be difficult to recover some time over Hesjedal but the Mortirolo has put some big champions into troubles before. [Miguel] Indurain was one of them."

    In 1994, Indurain didn't manage to follow Marco Pantani who was a new climber in the game. After winning the Giro in 1992 and 1993, the Spaniard lost the corsa rosa to Evgeni Berzin. At the age of 15, Rodriguez was a big fan of his compatriot. He knows how the Mortirolo can change the face of a Giro d'Italia.

    Giro d'Italia
  • Bruyneel: Only Cancellara is assured of Tour de France spot

    Johan Bruyneel will attempt to work the oracle with Andy Schleck in 2012.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 17:45
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan boss takes aim at the Schlecks again

    RadioShack-Nissan team principal Johan Bruyneel has used his regular Telesport column to slam what he sees as his team's poor overall form in 2012 and warned his star riders that complacency won't be tolerated ahead of the Tour de France in a month's time. And despite insisting earlier this week that he understood Frank Schleck's reasons for withdrawing from the Giro d'Italia last weekend, Bruyneel couldn't resist having another veiled dig at the man from Luxembourg.

    "It is unacceptable," Bruyneel said of his team's overall progress this season. "Results this season have been very, very thin and with only two wins my team scores far below expectations. Only in the first months of the season, when I had Fabian Cancellara, did I see a good team.

    "Frank and Andy Schleck have so far not lived up to the status of leaders. I was very disappointed last week that Frank left the Giro d'Italia. Hindsight is that his injury was more serious than at first sight appeared. Yet in recent years I have seen many more great riders seem more dead than alive and still pick themselves up and absolutely have to have the will to continue. I sometimes miss that a bit.

    "There is Fabian Cancellara, and after him nobody is sure of a place in the squad for the Tour de France. Both Schleck brothers know that. They have no license. So far I still have no vision of my Tour cycling team with both Schleck brothers in it."

  • Rathe quietly impressive for Garmin-Barracuda

    Jacob Rathe and Dan Martin
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 18:25
    Pat Malach

    21-year-old in first season at WorldTour level

    Amid the dusty hustle and bustle in the team parking lot immediately following the 2012 Amgen Tour of California's closing sprint through downtown Los Angeles, Jacob Rathe, Garmin-Barracuda's barely 21-year-old neo-pro, was alternately speaking with media and signing autographs for fans who had ventured over from the more high-volume podium mayhem.

    After Rathe signed and returned a variety of newly minted memories thrust at him by nervous young hands, one grateful father approached and said, "Thanks, Dave."

    The generally quiet and polite rider from Portland, Oregon, chuckled subtly and replied, "Oh, I'm not Dave," as if it mattered to the starry eyed kids toting large blue bags stuffed with swag from the race expo at L.A. Live near the Staples Center.

    Such is the life for a new pro who spends his days rather anonymously learning the ropes and working for his more accomplished – and obviously better known – teammates. But sometimes even the little guys get some attention from people who actually know who they are.

    Garmin's Tom Danielson went out of his way Sunday during the closing press conference to praise the two young teammates he said did a lot of heavy lifting to put himself and Dave Zabriskie on the overall podium.

    "The young team had to support three guys, and they did a phenomenal job – rode above themselves," Danielson said. "I think you guys can definitely take note of all the young guys for the future. Guys like Alex Howes and Jacob Rathe, you know, all of them are phenomenal. We owe this opportunity to put two on the podium to those guys."

    Howes, the 24-year-old also riding his first year on a UCI ProTeam, made headlines already this year when the team set him loose to infiltrate breakaways at Amstel Gold and Brabantse Pijl, where he put in gutsy rides that screamed of his potential. But Rathe has so far ridden under the radar during his first season on cycling's center stage, stamping out tempo on the front for miles and carrying water in a traditional domestique role.

    Team manager Jonathan Vaughters, who graded Rathe's progress and contribution to the team so far as "excellent," said his youngest employee is putting in the hard work on the front and inside the peloton to learn his new trade.

    "He's been great at that," Vaughters said before the final stage in California. "I mean I hate to have to do it to him everyday, but he's been a very, very valuable teammate in this race. That's just part of professional cycling, and there will be races where he doesn't have to do that, but this one, once you get the race lead you have to work for it. It's that simple."

    Rathe's longtime coach and mentor, Oliver "Butch" Martin, himself a two-time Olympian and member of the U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame, is very optimistic about his protege's future in the sport.

    "I think Jacob's the real deal," Martin said. "He's calm, he's a quick learner, he doesn't get too ruffled about things. He's always shown that to me anyway."

    Martin, who was the first national road coach for the fledgling United States Cycling Federation and also coached Classics and Grand Tour rider Steve Bauer through the late '80s and early '90s, teamed up with Rathe when the rider was just 16 years old and has been guiding him ever since. As a top junior, Rathe rode with Martin's Hammer Nutrition/CMG Racing program before moving on to Jelly Belly in 2010 when he was 19 and then to Slipstream's Chipotle Development Team in 2011.

    "This is really what he wants to do, and he's with a great team," said Martin, who also helped Rathe negotiate his current two-year deal with Garmin. "They've got financial backing for the next three or four years, and they're willing to take their time with him, which is really important. But he has all the qualities, there's no doubt about that. The temperament, it's all there. And he's got that big desire, which is the motor, so to speak."

    Rathe got the WorldTour teams' attention with big international wins while riding for Chipotle last year. Chipotle director Chann McRae said Rathe's performance throughout the season made the decision to move him to the next level an easy one.

    "He won at the Rutas de Americas, a UCI race that's really tough," McRae said. "It's in the springtime, they were killing it, and he comes out and wins a stage. Then he goes to (U23) Paris-Roubaix with the national team; he's in the breakaway; he's one of the best guys on the pavé; you can tell he's super strong just by the way he goes over the pavé. It's like wow! And then he goes to (Tour of) Portugal, which is traditionally one of the hardest 2.1 races on the calendar, and he backs it up again and takes a stage win. He just secured the deal right there."

    He was also part of the 1-2 finish for Chipotle at the 2011 U23 National Championships in Georgia, teaming up with eventual winner Rob Squire in a two-man breakaway from a decimated field. Rathe, who rooms with Howes at an apartment in Girona, Spain, made his 2012 debut at the Tour of Qatar, where he finished the first stage sandwiched between Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert.

    Since then he's raced a number of winter/spring events, mostly in Belgium and northern France. Rathe got the call up from the team for Kurne-Brussells-Kurne and Ghent-Wevelgem, and he also earned starts at E3 Harelbeke, Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, which he says is his favorite race.

    "The atmosphere of that race is different than any other race I've done," Rathe said. "The people, the fans there, were just the most enthusiastic fans I've ever seen. It's a very special race just because of the course, you know those climbs are famous. It's a brutally hard race, and there are very few days of racing in the year that have the same number of spectators and the same energy level. Even compared to Roubaix, it's very different."

    Rathe's experience at some of the bigger WorldTour races during his first year in the Pro Team peloton has opened his eyes to a new level and provided a glimpse of what makes the great riders so good.

    "The best way to describe it is that they're kind of relaxed," he said. "They're never really panicking. They seem to be able to get through the stressful moments without really being stressed. I guess that's just experience. It's probably true of professionals in general. Sometimes there's definitely stress. In some races there's always stress."

    It's a stress that the young rider will need to learn to deal with in a similar fashion if he wants to fulfill his own potential and someday be the rider other teammates make sacrifices for. But for now, he's still learning the "tricks of the trade" and continuing to adjust to his new role in the big leagues.

    "The biggest difference is that I'm much more active in races," he said. "I have to ride the front. I'm one of the people making it fast, whereas last year it was, in races like Portugal or Langkawi, we were just along for the ride. There was really no responsibility – so harder races and more activity. A lot of it is just that teamwork is a much bigger part of it at this level."

    And at this level the team he rides for sees a future for him in the Classics, as long as he continues to learn, grow and work hard on the bike. Vaughters was guarded about Rathe's future in the sport, but at just over 20 years old, the rider has time to make that leap.

    "He's got a number of years before he'll be able to start performing on that level," Vaughters said. "He was really good in Flanders this year, really good in E3 and Wevelgem, so little by little I'm sure he'll learn the tricks of the trade. Obviously, you're not going to win those races at 20 years old."

    But McRae, Rathe's former director at Chipotle, seems to think his former rider has all the pieces to make it happen.

    "Jacob doesn't talk much, but he gets the job done, and that's why we respect him so much," McRae said. "He performs. He's just humble and he does the job. He works hard over the winter and all season. He trains his butt off and then he comes out and does what needs to be done."