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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 10, 2010

Date published:
May 10, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Sastre rues loss of early Giro seconds

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) signs-on for his day at work
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 4:39 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Spaniard still has options for Italian race

    Former Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre was amongst the riders that came off second best after the Giro d’Italia’s crash marred second stage. The Cervelo Test Team rider lost 37 seconds in the closing kilometres after being caught up in a crash.

    "It's too bad, because I was always in a good position, trying to avoid being involved in all the crashes throughout the day, but in the final, with seven kilometres to go, there was a crash at the front of the peloton in which I was involved,” said Sastre. “It was a very fast stage with a lot of intersections, curves and traffic islands, with a ton of dangerous sections where you always had to be at the front.

    "The team was 100 percent with me, we were able to regain contact with the second group that included [Bradley] Wiggins, and limit the losses to not lose options for this Giro," he added.

    Sastre’s misfortunes summarized the team’s day on the road, with Gabriel Rasch, Ted King, Marcel Wyss and Daniel Lloyd all caught in tangles throughout the day. Cervelo sport director Alex Sans Vegas said he’d never seen so many crashes in dry conditions.

    “The team did great work throughout the stage to keep Carlos at the front, but that’s where the crash happened. It was a shame because it wasn’t our fault, it was just bad luck,” said Sans Vega. “The roads were very dangerous, with a lot of traffic islands, barriers and narrow roads. It was the worse place to crash because the peloton was setting up the sprint and there was not enough time to regain contact.”

    Lloyd summed up the impact of sprint stages for maglia rosa contenders well. “These are very important for the GC riders. They’re so dangerous. You cannot gain much, but here’s always the chance they can lose minutes,” Lloyd said. “These next two stages in Holland are very stressful. A lot can happen. It will be a two long...

  • Young ProTour team promises to liven up Giro

    Footon-Servetto continues to chase.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 7:13 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    All-round attacking the only option for Footon-Servetto

    At the start of stage two of this year's Giro d'Italia, there was a relaxed atmosphere surrounding the Footon-Servetto team. The reason? "I can promise that we'll attack every day of this race," explained directeur sportif Josean Matxin Fernandez.

    The plan didn't exactly work out as none of the Footon-Servetto riders made the early break of Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF), Paul Voss (Milram) and Rick Flens (Rabobank) but the intention remains the same for the three weeks of racing.

    "We have a team of attackers who make the race organisers happy; we aren't here to block the race or to stay quiet," added Matxin, which is ironic, given that Footon-Servetto still struggles at times to receive race invitations despite its ProTour status. "From the 22 teams of the Giro, only five or six can be sure of a [stage] win. All the others have to take the initiative."

    The Footon-Servetto team has won two races this year, both in January (a stage of the Tour de San Luis courtesy of Rafael Valls and a stage at the Santos Tour Down Under by Manuel Cardoso), but has been rebuilt with new riders. "It's our philosophy to work with young riders - we have the youngest team of the Pro Tour, we have a young team here at the Giro," continued Matxin.

    The nine-man line up boasts an average age of 25.3 with the oldest 30-year-old Giampaolo Cheula and the youngest being 20-year-old Austrian Matthias Brändle.

    Brändle is the Austrian time trial national champion. He finished a valuable 21st place in the Giro's opening time trial, his debut Grand Tour stage. "We don't have a top time trialist but we have Brändle who is very promising in that area," said Matxin.

    "We don't have a top sprinter but we have Michele Merlo who is pretty fast. We don't have a top climber but we have Eros Capecchi who's got talent for climbing. We've got a bit of everything in our group of young guys."

    Footon-Servetto also...

  • Fuglsang keeps his options open

    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) after the stage
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 9:02 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Saxo Bank rider talking to other teams as Riis searches for sponsor

    Jakob Fuglsang has added fresh doubt to his Saxo Bank future after confirming to Cyclingnews that he has spoken to a number of teams ahead of the 2011 season.

    Fuglsang is at the end of his contract with Bjarne Riis' team with the team manager still searching for a new sponsor to replace Saxo Bank in 2011. The Danish prodigy has confirmed that while staying with Riis is an option he is in under no illusions that there are a number of other teams willing to sign him.

    "I'm already looking. I'm talking to teams and I need to make up my mind. I don't think the Tour is going to make any difference on a contract for the coming years so I'd rather sign today, and if not today then tomorrow. I would like to have it done by the middle of June, at least before the Tour," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews.

    Despite publicly opening himself to offers, Fuglsang is willing to give Riis some time, adding that staying with the squad would still be an option.

    "The ideal situation would be for Bjarne to find a team but right now there isn't one. I'm happy here and if they go on I don't see why I would leave, but on the other hand there are other options.

    "From what I heard from Bjarne it's looking good and he'll have something in a few weeks. I don't know how it's going lately but when we were in Belgium for the Classics I had a chat with him and he said it was looking good so hopefully he will come up with something soon. I have to consider other options though."

    Fuglsang wasn't willing to discuss which teams have made offers for his services but did admit that he'd only talked to existing teams, damping speculation that the Schleck brothers have approached him for next season or that the rumours surrounding their possible plans to form a new squad have developed. "I've talked to some teams already and there are others that have shown interest but we've not talked yet. The teams I've talked to are all existing teams.

  • Clear targets for Moncoutié

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) took the mountains classification in the 2009 Vuelta.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 10:05 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cofidis aims at Giro mountains jersey and stage win

    With Cofidis out of the ProTour this year, team manager Eric Boyer had to use all of his persuasion skills to convince Giro d'Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan to invite his outfit to the race. When the decision was made public in March, Boyer was relieved and happy to be able to continue to plan, with the team's leading climber David Moncoutié hoping to win the 'Maglia Verde', the overall mountains classification.

    "We are very motivated to obtain results in this Giro," Boyer told Cyclingnews. "I had to push a bit for us to be allowed into the event, so we are clearly here to live up to our objectives, with David Moncoutié hoping to win a stage and become best climber. If he could also finish within the top ten or top 15 of the race, we'd appreciate it."

    Having won the mountains classification twice in the Vuelta a Espana, the French climber will race the Giro for the very first time, but Boyer is certain that this would not be a disadvantage. "There are some climbers who had great results in the Giro these last few years who are not in the race today, because of some 'problems' they've encountered," he said, satisfied that the Biological Passport was bearing fruit. "David has all his chances against those who are in the race this year - to the contrary, I think it's his rivals that should be afraid of him rather than the other way round."

    Moncoutié has not raced a lot this spring, but Boyer insisted that he didn't have to in order to be competitive. "He is in great condition, even if he hasn't shown it yet. We know where he stands in terms of training, and we are used to this situation. What he was able to show us has been very re-assuring."

    With the 34-year-old out to challenge the high peaks of the Giro and certainly wanting to defend his title at the Vuelta later this year, the chance of seeing the climber in the Tour de France in July are becoming slimmer.

    "Of course, he will not race...

  • Giro d'Italia flights on schedule

    The Eyjafjallajökull volcano has caused travel chaos in Europe, and with the Amstel start list
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 14:34 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Air transfer to Italy goes ahead despite volcano activity

    The ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull will not disrupt the transfer of the Giro d'Italia peloton from the Netherlands to Italy. Race director Angelo Zomegnan confirmed at the start of stage 3 in Amsterdam that everything should go according to the plan today despite the closure of several European airports this weekend.

    Riders are scheduled to head by bus from the stage finish in Middleburg to the Belgian airport of Oostende (approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes), and then fly to the Levaldigi airport of Cuneo.

    Two charters flights are scheduled to shuttle 346 people including 197 riders, one plane leaving at 8.30pm, the second at 9pm.

    As Italian airports were closed on Sunday due to the dangers posed by the ash cloud, the Giro d'Italia organisers were busy at work on alternative plans which would have consisted of a bus convoy to Luxemburg where the riders would have slept before driving for nine hours during the rest day on Tuesday. "I'm fine with it as long as it's the same for everyone," pink jersey Cadel Evans said on Sunday evening when there were still uncertainties over the possibilities of flying.

    "Before coming to Amsterdam, I didn't like the idea that we would have to fly after three days of racing, but now I'm relieved that we don't have to do this trip on the road," French rider Thomas Voeckler told Cyclingnews on the start line in Amsterdam.

    It's actually a lucky timing for the riders. The weather forecast in Italy shows a threat of ashes to be blown away again on Tuesday. Had the transfer been organised during the rest day and not after stage 3, it might have become a problem to make it on time for Wednesday's team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo.

    Once Zomegnan confirmed to the team managers that the flights would go forward as scheduled, most of the team busses made their way towards Italy as it was initially planned.

  • Vande Velde abandons Giro

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Slipstream)
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 15:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Updated: Broken collarbone in stage 3 crash

    American Christian Vande Velde has abandoned the Giro d'Italia after falling victim to a crash on the third stage in the Netherlands.

    The Garmin-Transitions rider came to grief with about 35km to go on the 224km stage from Amsterdam to Middelburg. Team director Matt White confirmed from the race they suspect Vande Velde has a broken collarbone.

    The crash was Vande Velde's second of the race. He fell on stage two, but only suffered a gash to his leg from a chainring.

    It is the second year in a row that Vande Velde has crashed out of the Giro d'Italia in the first week. Last year he suffered much more severe injuries, with several fractured vertebrae and broken ribs.

    Vande Velde arrived at the finish in Middelburg in a race ambulance and was then taken to the showers, where the rest of the riders were getting ready for the flight to Italy. He sat in the back seat of a team car as the team doctor and staff arranged for him to visit a specialist in Gent, Belgium, so he can quickly undergo an operation if needed.

    "Tyler Farrar knows a good guy in Gent. A lot of broken collarbones take place in Belgium, so I'll go over there," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews.

    "I knew straight away it was broken. I could feel it moving around. It's quite displaced right now. I need to get it sorted. I know it's broken but I have to see how bad it is and see a specialist."

    Vande Velde crashed after 105km of racing, along with Marzio Bruseghin and Arnold Jeannesson of Caisse d'Epargne. They got back and finished the stage. Just like last year, Vande Velde's Giro was over far too early.

    "It's exactly the same day," Vande Velde revealed.

    "It was just nervous out there. The guys slam on the brakes and I went into the back wheel of somebody. That's about it."

    "I'm not going to lie. It's really hard to take right now. Especially before the team time trial. I was really motivated and really wanted to...

  • Vinokourov pretty in pink at first Giro

    Astana works for Alexander Vinokourov during stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia. Their efforts paid off as Vino gained the overall race lead.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 17:26 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana leader takes the pink jersey from Evans

    On just his third ever day in the Giro d’Italia, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has taken the leader's jersey from Cadel Evans (BMC). The Kazakh rode into the pink jersey after Evans was caught up behind a crash along the seafront with fifteen kilometres to go.

    “It was very dangerous, we were riding on small roads,” Vinokourov said atthe finish line. “I managed to ride in the front and stay out of trouble in the first group. It was part of our plan to be active in the echelons. I’ve finished the job but the team has done excellent work.”

    Astana was well represented in the front group of 29 riders with Paolo Tiralongo and Andreï Grivko in support of Vinokourov while Evans was left alone and forced to chase in order to limit the damages.

    “I was riding the last ten kilometres without thinking of taking the pink jersey,” Vino said. “I had seen that Andre Greipel was up there, so I was convinced that he’d win the stage and take the pink jersey with the time bonus. But he didn’t win, so the jersey is mine. To get it is wonderful. I received it without looking for it, really. This is my first participation to the Giro d’Italia and I already have the jersey.”

    When he left his home in Monaco to reach Amsterdam for the Giro, his twin sons Nikolaï and Alexandr who are eight years old, asked him to bring a pink jersey back as a gift. But there is more than a sentimental reason for the Kazakh to be happy in leading the race.

    “This gives me so much satisfaction”, he added. “It’ll give us the privilege to start in last position for the team time trial. This is perfect. We’ll have more information about our adversaries. I don’t want to make any plan further than Wednesday. After the team time trial, we’ll see where we are on GC.”

  • Weylandt responds to criticisms with stage win at Giro d'Italia

    Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) was delighted with his stage 3 Giro d'Italia victory.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2010, 17:39 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Belgian lets his legs do the talking

    Wouter Weylandt may have been an unexpected stage winner of the Giro in Middleburg, but victory was what he planned to respond to the criticisms of his employer.

    Last month, Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefévère said he was not worried about the future but mentioned that 15 of his riders "should be worried because they're ending their contract this year". Weylandt was one of them. He felt concerned about his boss' comments which suggested that he wasn't winning much for the money he is getting paid.

    Since 2008, when he came of age with a stage win at the Vuelta a España, Weylandt has won only stage 3 of the Three Days of West Flanders and Le Samyn last year.

    "I'm very happy to win here today," the Belgian said after the finish of stage 3 in the Netherlands. "This confirms my performance at the Vuelta two years ago.

    "This was an ideal stage for me because of the wind," said the 25 year-old from Gent. "I love that kind of racing."

    "Every stage with a similar scenario, I ride in the front. The team was telling us to stay calm, but I wanted to be up the front to avoid the crashes. At the start of the sprint, I was in a too small gear, and I felt great when I put a bigger gear on. I knew by then that it would be hard for anyone to beat me."

    After the finish, German Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) and Weylandt got in an argument. An angry Greipel had some words with the Belgian.

    "It was pretty harsh," Weylandt said afterwards. "I had the feeling towards the end of the stage that Greipel wasn't going very well. I thought he had combined something with [stage 2 runner-up Matt] Goss, and I anticipated it. Goss changed his direction. I followed him because I suspected Greipel would leave a gap to let his leadout man go. That's how I touched Greipel's wheel, but it was just a normal move."

    At the time of Weylandt's stage win, Lefévère was in a technical meeting in Meise at...