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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 28, 2010

Date published:
May 28, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Fernandez in hospital after Bayern crash

    Koldo Fernandez won stage 7 in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 12:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel rider under observation after head injury

    Koldo Fernandez of Euskaltel Euskadi spend the night in hospital after crashing in the finale of the second stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt, in Germany.

    There was a mass crash with 200 metres to go, in the midst of the mass sprint. Fernandez suffered cuts and concussion and was taken to hospital.

    Such a head injury requires the patient to remain 24 hours in hospital for observation, the team said on its website.

    In Thursday's stage, Fernandez' teammate Ruben Perez Moreno lost the overall lead to HTC-Columbia's young Australian Leigh Howard, on bonus seconds. The sprint was won by Robert Wagner of Skil-Shimano, with Howard finishing second.

    Fernandez, 28, most recently finished second in the Tour de Picardie. He has been with the Basque team since 2004.

  • On the start line: Giro d'Italia stage 19

    The Kuota bikes await the Ag2r-La Mondiale riders
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 14:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders worried about snow on the Gavia on Saturday

    The sun was shining at the start today's stage in Brescia but the atmosphere was tense as the riders gathered for the first of the two decisive mountain stages.

    Today's 195km started in Brescia and ends in Aprica after the climbs of the Trivigno and the legendary Passo del Mortirolo.

    A total of 148 riders started the stage. Not surprisingly, sprinters Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) - winner in Brescia yesterday, Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions) and Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) did not start.

    The time for talking was almost over but riders like Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) were still grilled about what could happen. Can and he and Cadel Evans (BMC) gain enough time on David Arroyo for one of them to take the pink jersey? Will they go on to fight for the overall victory in Sunday's 15km time trial around Verona. Can Basso drop Evans? Or can the world champion pull back 42 seconds on Basso and set up overall victory?

    Other riders like Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) were more worried about the weather forecast for Saturday's stage and wanted to know if the Giro will go over the Passo di Gavia.

    The Gavia has now been opened to traffic but a final decision about if the race will go over the legendary climb will only be decided on Saturday morning. The road is clear after snow ploughs cut through the walls of snow but race organisers are worried about possible snow showers and freezing temperatures.

    In 1988 race director Vincenzo Torriani did not think twice about sending the Giro peloton over the Gavia, knowing the stage would go down in history. Current race director Angelo Zomegnan loves to shake up the race and test the riders whenever he can just as much as Torriani, so we should not be surprised if he tries to create another legendary Giro stage over the Gavia.

    Before then there is today's the climb of the Mortirolo and the twisting back road in the final kilometres to...

  • Giro set to climb the Gavia on Saturday

    Passo di Gavia is an important part of the Giro d'Italia's history.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 18:51 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Alternatives routes have been made in case of problems

    The director of the Giro d'Italia, Angelo Zomegnan, has announced that Saturday's final mountain stage is set to include the Passo di Gavia, but revealed that contingency plans for alternative routes have been prepared.

    A final decision will be taken on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., two hours before the start of the stage.

    The weather is forecast to get worse in the mountains around Bormio and Aprica in the next 24 hours but the Gavia has been opened thanks to snow ploughs cutting a path through huge banks of snow.

    The climb that decided the 1988 Giro d'Italia is set to remain the highest mountain in this year's race at 2618 metres.

    "There has been a lot of rumours about the Gavia and what we're going to do and if it's Gavia yes, Gavia no. It's time to put an end to all the talk," Zomegnan said.

    "The biggest problem is actually the Forcola di Livigno climb and not the Gavia because there has been two landslides on the Forcola in the last few days. However, at 2 p.m. today, the local authorities gave us permission to cover all the planned route for tomorrow.

    "But in case the weather gets worse and for the safety of the race caravan, we've got a plan b that includes a plan b1, b2, b3: We could have a stage without the Forcola and with the Gavia, with the Forcola and without the Gavia or without both of them. The plan b also includes the Mortirolo from the other side used today plus the climb of Trivigno and Santa Cristina, so that the stage still includes 4200 metres of climbing.

    "The alternative maps will be ready very soon of all three alternatives and the same maps will be sent to the team with the results, so that they can arrange the feed zones, etc. for the riders. The final decision on which route we will use will be taken together with the local police by race director Mauro Vegni tomorrow morning at about 10:30 before the stage starts."

  • Basso in pink with help of Scarponi

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) celebrates taking over the Giro d'Italia lead.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 19:33 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Operacion Puerto riders decide Giro stage

    Ivan Basso is back in the pink jersey, four years after winning the 2006 Giro.

    He took the lead with the help of a united Liquigas-Doimo team but also thanks to the alliance with another rider from Operacion Puerto, Michele Scarponi who won the stage. Basso served a two-year suspension due to his ties to Operacion Puerto but never admitted to have doped despite confessing to blood bags in Madrid that were his.

    “Birillo” and “Zapatero” – their respective code names for their relationship with Dr Fuentes formed a three-man move with Vincenzo Nibali and held off the challenge from Cadel Evans and David Arroyo.

    In 2006, Basso won the stage to Aprica but he already held the pink jersey and dominated that year's Giro. That year he won the overall classification with a 9:18 advantage over runner up José Enrique Guttierez from Phonak, who would also get caught in Operacion Puerto, and 11:59 over Gilberto Simoni and 18.16 over Damiano Cunego.

    “The 2006 Giro d’Italia was a nice part in my career and later there was a nasty part”, Basso said during a post race press conference in Aprica. “The beauty is how I got up again and everything that happened since the day I put myself on my bike again.”

    “More than the stage that finished here in 2006, I prefer to think about tomorrow’s stage. It’s a super hard stage coming up before Sunday’s time trial. My position is now significantly better than this morning. The most important thing for me is the serenity and the tranquillity I need for the last two days of the Giro.”

    Basso made the assault to the pink jersey on the Mortirolo but lost a lot of time compared to David Arroyo in the downhill. But he doesn’t fear the descent of the Gavia. “It won’t prevent me from sleeping tonight”, he said.

    “Clearly I could have gone downhill with the aim of taking...

  • Evans admits Giro podium may be out of reach

    Cadel Evans (BMC) tries to limit the damage on the Mortirolo.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 19:43 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    World champion hints at some mid-Giro problems

    A visit from his wife Chiara after the stage to Aprica helped Cadel Evans get over the immediate disappointment of losing more than three minutes to Ivan Basso but he admitted to Cyclingnews that he now has little chance of finishing on the podium.

    Evans also revealed that his Giro has been affected by some problems mid-race but refused to go into details.

    "We'll see what happens tomorrow but realistically, I've got little hope of getting back on the podium but we'll see," he told Cyclingnews.

    Evans was dropped on the second half of the Mortirolo and Basso, Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi gradually opened a gap on the
    steepest section of the climb. Evans tried to hold on as long as possible and fought all the way to the top of the Mortirolo but was passed by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

    He caught them on the descent and was in turn caught and passed by  David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne). On the final steady climb to Aprica, the five came together and began to chase Basso, Nibali and Scarponi but it was not a well-organised chase and they lost almost two minutes in the final ten kilometres.

    Evans finished sixth in Aprica. He kept the red points jersey but that was little consolation as he slipped to fifth overall, 4:00 behind Basso and 1:30 from third placed Vincenzo Nibali.

    "It was pretty tough day," Evans said.

    "Like they've done all week, Liquigas was really strong and can ride a really high rhythm on the climb. There's five of them and there's one of me and the rest of us are all left as the best of each of our team. They've got the strength in the numbers and also the strength of their leader."

    Evans admitted that Basso has improved in the second half of the Giro, while he has faded.

    "Ivan has been consistent and a little bit better than me in the second half of the...

  • Vinokourov explains lack of cooperation with Arroyo

    The maglia rosa group tries to minimize the time gap to the lead trio of Basso, Nibali and Scarponi.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 20:57 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana captain hopes to close out Giro with a stage win

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) lost 2:20 in the final twenty kilometres of stage 19 to the leading trio of Ivan Basso, Vincenzo Nibali (both Liquigas-Doimo) and Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli). The Kazakhstani didn't agree with the tactics suggested by Arroyo, the wearer of the pink jersey, and the Spaniard was eventually left to do most of the chasing by himself.

    On the Mortirolo, Vinokourov looked strong when he dropped his companions Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam), John Gadret (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) while Arroyo was already further back. But Basso, Nibali and Scarponi were already ahead and out of reach.

    "For a little while I didn't feel good in the climb," Vinokourov said at his hotel after stage 19. "It was too difficult for me to follow these three riders when the hill was very steep. With the physique I have, I couldn't stay with them. I preferred to keep some strength for later."

    On the downhill, Vinokourov experienced the surprise of being caught by Arroyo. "I didn't want to take too many risks in the descent but apparently Arroyo made a different choice," the Kazakhstani said. "Once he reached me, he wanted to wait for Sastre and Evans. He counted on their help to catch the trio in the front. But it wasn't my choice. I thought that him and me were able to bridge the gap of 40 seconds. I wanted to win the stage." In Vinokourov's opinion, waiting for Evans, Sastre and Gadret wasn't an option so he decided to not cooperate with Arroyo later on.

    Despite having a five to three advantage once Vinokourov and Arroyo were caught by their three pursuers, the quintet were unable to reduce the gap to Basso, Nibali and Scarponi.

    "In my group there were some riders with no motivation to fight," Arroyo said.

    "There wasn't the necessary understanding or strength in our group to reduce the differences," Sastre said. "Gadret didn't collaborate much...

  • Scarponi keeps podium in sight

    Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 21:33 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Prospect of full Italian podium still alive

    After helping Ivan Basso to dethrone David Arroyo from the lead at the Giro d’Italia, stage winner Michele Scarponi is now gunning for a place on the podium. Should it come off he could join Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, in what would be a fully Italian top three.

    Scarponi, Basso and Nibali combined forces in the last 40 kilometres of stage 19 to Aprica after dropping off all the foreign GC contenders on the Mortirolo, including Arroyo.

    “I managed to keep up when Basso forced it on the Mortirolo, although I’ve suffered a lot from 5 to 3 kilometres from the summit," Scarponi said in a post race press conference.

    “We had a common interest for the stage win and GC. As soon as he had started thinking of getting the pink jersey, I started thinking of winning the stage. I’m extremely happy. I’ve won a very hard stage.”

    Team manager Gianni Savio stated that the, “romantic cycling” he promoted in the past was no longer realistic. He would have loved to see Scarponi fighting like Don Quichotte against the duo of Liquigas-Doimo but it would have been the wrong decision. “We had no choice but to ride for our common interests”, said the manager of Androni-Diquigiovanni.

    While his team has always targeted stages rather than GC, they approached the 2010 Giro d’Italia with a different goal. “Since the beginning of the Giro, I had it in mind to finish on the podium”, Scarponi said. “Now I’m 4th, I’ve never been so close to my goal but I’m still not there yet. I’m close to the third place but very far at the same time.”

    19 seconds separate Scarponi from Nibali, who is supposedly better against the clock. Savio suggested that the goal might be to gain two minutes over Arroyo instead of 19 seconds over Nibali during the penultimate stage.

    “It’s going to be difficult for anyone to take the pink...

  • Team Sky's Chris Froome expelled from Giro

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) awaits the start of stage 11 in Lucera.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 21:57 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Updated: Nine other riders disciplined in stage 19

    Team Sky's Chris Froome was expelled from the Giro d'Italia on Friday night for taking a tow from a motorbike, a communiqué issued by race officials said. Froome was also fined 200 Swiss Francs.

    Froome had been suffering with a knee problem and was spotted hanging onto a police motorbike by a race commissaire.

    Midway through the 19th stage, Froome had realized he wouldn't be able to make it to the finish. "I just felt shattered and the knee really wouldn't go any further," said Froome according to his Team Sky's website, "As a result I ended up quite far behind the team and I was even behind the gruppetto, so I then tried to ride up to the feed zone to call it a day.

    "In order to get up there, I held onto a police motorbike, and I think the commissaire thought I was still racing so he wanted me to get off the bike and officially pull out of the race as opposed to just riding up there to the feed zone."

    A total of ten riders were disciplined during the stage.

    Alexandre Vinokourov and his Astana directeur sportif Alexandre Shefer were punished for illegal feeding from a team car in the final eight kilometres of the stage to Aprica. Race rules do not allow feeding from team cars in the final 20km of each stage.

    Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Marco Frapporti (Colnago-CSF Inox), Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia), Robert Forster (Milram) and Luke Roberts (Milram) were all docked 10 seconds and fined 50 Swiss Francs for pushing against a car. Peter Weening (Rabobank) was docked 20 seconds and fined 50 Swiss francs for sheltering behind a team vehicle. Rabobank directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven was also punished.

    A total of 144 riders are expected to line-up for Saturday's stage from Bormio to Ponte di Legno-Tonale. Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions), Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Andre Greipel...