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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 3, 2013

Date published:
May 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta announce wildcard selection for 2013 race

    Team NetApp riders are introduced prior to the start.
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 11:59 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    NetApp-Endura racing alongside Cofidis and Caja Rural

    The Vuelta a España, the last Grand Tour to announce its wildcard selection for 2013, has named Cofidis, Caja Rural and NetApp-Endura as taking part alongside the 19 WorldTour teams that are automatically selected. As was the case of the Tour de France, the Vuelta opted to reduce the number of their wildcards from the usual four to three after Katusha’s late admission to the WorldTour.

    Cofidis is perhaps the least surprising selection of the three. They have long had strong connections with the Vuelta, both thanks to multiple Vuelta King of the Mountains winner and long-time Cofidis rider David Moncoutie and as a sponsor of the race itself. They have also already been selected as a wildcard for this year’s Tour de France.

    Caja Rural, already selected for the Vuelta last year, are Spain’s only ProContinental squad and were the ‘home side’ when the race kicked off in the company’s home town of Pamplona last year. They then took an impressive stage win with Seville-born climber Antonio Piedra at the Lagos de Covadonga, one of the race’s best-known ascents and home to some of the last wolves in Europe.

    This year Amets Txurruka, the popular Basque rider signed from Euskaltel-Euskadi, kept Caja Rural’s name to the fore with gutsy long-distance breakaways in the Vuelta al País Vasco, and Francesco Lasca, their top sprinter, won the Vuelta a la Rioja as well as the points jersey in the Vuelta a Castilla y León.

    NetApp-Endura, one of the sport’s youngest teams, are newcomers to the Vuelta. Although they failed to make it into the Tour de France this summer despite being on the short-list of possible teams, they did race in the Giro d’Italia last year, and will be keen to raise the bar in cycling’s third Grand Tour.

  • UCI provisionally suspend Marlon Pérez

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 13:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Two samples return traces of GW1516

    The UCI has announced that Colombian rider Marlon Alirio Perez Arango has been provisionally suspended after he returned analytical findings of metabolite GW1516 sulfone – Metabolic Modulator and sibutramine in urine samples collected from him during tests at the Vuelta a Costa Rica on 19 and 26 December, 2012.

    The UCI were made aware of the tests by WADA accredited laboratories in Montreal and Köln.

    Perez now has the right to ask for a B sample to be analysed but his suspension will carry through until a hearing panel is convened by the Colombian Cycling Federation which will determine whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

    Last month Valery Kaikov (Rusvelo) failed a similar test and was dismissed from his team.


  • Italy expects as Nibali steps up to the plate

    Vincenzo Nibali arrives at the Castel dell'Ovo for the pre-Giro press conference
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 14:09 BST
    Barry Ryan and Stephen Farrand

    Sicilian optimistic about Saltara time trial

    Bradley Wiggins’ time trialling prowess looms large over this year’s Giro d’Italia. Just like Miguel Indurain in 1992, the reigning Tour de France champion arrives in Italy expected by many to flex his muscle in the first long time trial and carry pink all the way to the finish.

    And, as in 1992, the man who finished third in the previous year’s Tour is charged with leading the home challenge. For Claudio Chiappucci, read Vincenzo Nibali.

    Chiappucci fell some way short of beating Indurain on that occasion, reaching Milan over five minutes down in second place, but Nibali is bullish about his chances of upsetting the odds twenty-one years later. Buoyed by a pugnacious victory at the Giro del Trentino last week and backed by a strong Astana team, Nibali is hopeful of taking the second grand tour victory of his career after the 2010 Vuelta a España.

    While most anticipate that Nibali will enter the mountains on the back foot after the 55 kilometre time trial in from Gabicce Mare to Saltara next weekend, the Sicilian pointed out that the rolling, technical course means that the pure time triallists’ gains ought to be limited.

    “The Saltara time trial is a very difficult time trial because it’s on a very nervous course,” Nibali told Cyclingnews. “It’s not a straightforward time trial where you go as hard and fast as you can. There could be a bit of levelling out and riders who aren’t specialists could defend themselves a bit."

    Nibali was unwilling to put a number on what would constitute a successful damage limitation exercise in the Marche next week. While he acknowledged Wiggins’ form, he stressed that the Saltara course is very different to the Besancon time...

  • Sánchez targeting Giro stage win initially

    Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 15:20 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Euskaltel leader says he’s in good shape and the podium is “not impossible”

    Euskaltel team leader Samuel Sánchez will go into the Giro d’Italia with the specific aim of a stage win, but believes that a podium finish is “not impossible”. Speaking at a press conference at Euskaltel’s HQ in the Basque Country, the Spanish veteran said, “Two places on the podium are almost assured, those of Nibali and Wiggins. But there’s another one up for grabs but it’s going to cost a lot to take it.”

    The 35-year-old has had a comparatively quiet start to the season, his best finish coming on the fifth stage of the Tour of the Basque Country, when he placed second behind Sky’s Richie Porte. But he is quietly confident of his prospects. “I’m going into the Giro as I want to and the real and easiest goal is to win a stage, which would be nice having already won stages in the Tour and the Vuelta, but I will also be keeping an eye on the GC.

    “The stages that most suit my characteristics are those that will decide the race and if I perform well on them I will be well placed overall,” he said.

    Sánchez said as many as 10 riders are capable of finishing on the podium, and described the possibility of him being one of the three who makes it as “an achievable goal”. Backing this up, he pointed out he has twice finished on the Vuelta podium and also taken “fourth in the Tour”. The official Tour records from that 2010 Tour list him as third following the disqualification of winner Alberto Contador.

    He picked out Sky’s Bradley Wiggins as the favourite “because of the 55km time trial”, but added that the Giro is “a very unpredictable race”. He described the race as being complicated from the very first day, saying the route as a whole “and especially stages 19...

  • Official Giro d’Italia 2013 guide available on your iPad NOW!

    The 2013 Giro d'Italia Guide
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 16:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Get the official Giro d’Italia program with full stage guide on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch!

    Kick off the Giro d’Italia with The Official Giro d’Italia Guide, containing everything you need to follow the cycling calendar’s toughest race.

    Available via the Procycling or Cycling Plus apps on Apple Newsstand. Both apps are FREE to download and once your inside the official Giro d’Italia guide is available for just £3.99 / $5.99 / €5.49.

    The Official 2013 Giro d’Italia Souvenir Pack includes:

    • A century of iconic Giro moments
    • Will Bradley Wiggins repeat his success of the Tour de France?
    • The challenges for Ryder Hesjedal, Vincenzo Nibali and Samuel Sanchez; are they ready for the big win?
    • A unique insight into how and where the race will be won, from Cannondale boss Stefano Zanatta
    • A roll of honour for all winners of the Giri and more besides
    • A brief look at the races within the race – there’s more than the maglia rosa!

    And, it comes from the makers of Procycling magazine, Cycling Plus magazine and the Official Tour De France Guide, so you know it’s going to be top quality stuff!

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  • Gallery: Giro d'Italia teams introduced in Naples

    Ryder Hesjedal introduced by Alessia Ventura and Michele Acquarone
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 17:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Piazza del Plebiscito hosts presentation ceremony

    The stunning Piazza del Plebiscito in the heart of Naples played host to today's Giro d'Italia team presentations, one day prior to the 130km opening stage in southern Italy.

    Under brilliant blue skies, each of the 23 squads contesting the first Grand Tour of the year rode onto the stage flying the flag of their team's host country, with Italian wild card invite Vini Fantini-Selle Italia the first in line.

    The introductions of the Giro's stars and domestiques continued for 90 minutes, concluding with the arrival of Garmin-Sharp and defending Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal, resplendent in the maglia rosa. The 32-year-old Garmin-Sharp rider made history last year as the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour and this year he's looking to become the first rider since Miguel Indurain (1992-1993) to win back to back Giros.

    Click here to view all the pageantry from the Giro d'Italia team presentations.

  • Scarponi looks for consistency at Giro d'Italia

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - Merida)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 19:04 BST
    Barry Ryan & Alasdair Fotheringham

    Italian looking to limit losses ahead of mountains

    Michele Scarponi spent the off-season serving a suspension for admitting his links to Dr. Michele Ferrari and spent the early weeks of the season waiting anxiously for Lampre-Merida to welcome him back into the fold. They eventually did so, but only after downsizing Scarponi's contract with the caveat that any further revelations from the Padova investigation would end their rapport.

    Yet even so, Scarponi lines up in Naples as Lampre's leader at the Giro d'Italia with an entire team devoted to supporting him. There were mixed messages, too, about Scarponi's form from his final outings before the Giro, and this was in keeping with the tenor of a campaign that has seen some sharp spikes in his performance levels. After struggling through the Giro del Trentino, Scarponi was reanimated by Liège-Bastogne-Liège two days later where he finished 5th.

    "I came to Trentino straight after period of training at altitude, so that meant that I struggled a bit in the mountains there, but by Liège the following Sunday I was already going better," Scarponi said. "I did a good race there and I got the answers I wanted, so I think I'm coming in to the Giro in good shape."

    Following his fluctuations through the spring, however, Scarponi aims to be a model of consistency during the Giro. While the Saltara time trial and the troika of Dolomite stages in the finale dominate all analysis of the Giro's route, Scarponi pointed out that the dearth of outright sprint stages means that the overall contenders must be vigilant throughout.

    "The key to it all is consistency in my case – neither too many highs nor too many lows," Scarponi said. "You've got to remember...

  • Giro tech: Astana's Specialized Tarmac SL4 bikes get built

    An Astana Specialized Tarmac SL4 - midway through being built by the Astana mechanic
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Jeff Jones

    Mechanic puts finishing touches to team's machines

    Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will start the 2013 Giro d'Italia as one of the top favourites, hoping to challenge Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC) for overall honours.

    A day before the race kicks off with a 130km road stage starting and finishing in Naples, we spotted Nibali's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 along with the other Astana team bikes being built up by their mechanic.

    The mechanic was particularly concerned with the height of the Campagnolo Super Record shifters (some riders were on mechanical, others EPS), using a tape measure to check the distance between the bottom of the lever and the fork dropout. Nibali and his teammates will be spending a lot of time on their bikes over the next three weeks and it's important that they're comfortable.

    In addition to the Super Record groupset, the team are using Specialized S-Works carbon cranks, Look KeO Blade pedals, FSA K-Force New Ergo handlebars, FSA OS-99 carbon/alloy stem, FSA K-Force SB25 seatpost, a Selle Italia SLR saddle and Tacx bottles and cages.

    Nibali and the team will be running Corima wheels: a Carbon Aero+ MCC rear and Carbon Viva S front. This wheelset was the same used by Alexandre Vinokourov to win the Olympic road race last year.