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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 12, 2014

Date published:
May 12, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Irish stages a success for Evans and BMC

    Cadel Evans (BMC) at the start of stage 3
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 7:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian well placed as race heads to Italy

    Cadel Evans leaves behind Ireland after three stages of the Giro d'Italia ahead of all his maglia rosa rivals expect Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The opening team time trial in which BMC placed third has laid a solid platform for Evans who is looking to claim his first Giro win.

    Despite a split in the peloton on stage three, Evans is 14th on GC, 21 seconds behind countryman Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), but well placed in the context of securing a podium finish when the race finishes in Trieste on June 1. 

    "Overall, I am happy to get through Ireland without any big problems," Evans said. "We lost a couple seconds in the final in the past two days, which is a little bit unusual. But the way the finishes were, it made it a little bit difficult to be safe and be in front. But that's the way it goes."

    BMC president and general manager Jim Ochowicz rode in the team car during the three stages and was pleased by what he saw.

    "We had a good team time trial and Cadel is in a reasonably good position coming out of here time-wise, with the other general classification riders," Ochowicz said.

    "The other two stages here were really going to be sprinter stages and we knew that. It was about safety and coming out of here whole and we were able to do that. So we've met our goals in Ireland. Now we'll see how it goes in Italy."

    There were several crashes on the wet and windy stage, including the maglia rosa Matthews, but BMC's sole aim of protecting Evans from any misfortune was successful as

  • Wiggins means business in Tour of California

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) have a chat on the start line
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 10:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky leader on the attack in cross-winds

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) made his intentions clear at the Tour of California on stage one with an aggressive ride that helped split the peloton on the stage in Sacramento.

    Wiggins and his teammates worked together with the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team to split the field during a section of the stage battered by cross-winds. They initially succeeded with a lead group of 22 riders going clear and building up nearly a minute on the chasing peloton. The attack was eventually nullified with Wiggins finishing 30th on the stage, safely within the lead group as Mark Cavendish won a photo finish sprint ahead of Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb.

    In his pre-race press conference Wiggins, who is down to the same racing weight that saw him win the Tour de France in 2012, talked about his aspirations to challenge for the overall win in California. He is making his first appearance in the race since 2008, when he raced for High Road.

    “We’re really happy with how the day went. The whole team rode well and stuck together to look after Bradley,” Kurt-Asle Arvesen wrote on the Team Sky website.

    “We had some cross-winds at the start of the stage and then we had a lot more towards the end of the day. We had Bradley up there with Luke in the first group in the split. That was good to see and he’s clearly riding well. He also had good back-up from the team to put him in that position.

    “The move could have got a bit further if there had been more co-operation but the main thing was that we came through the stage without problems and now we’ll focus everything on the TT.”

    Wiggins will have the chance to fight for the stage win and an early race lead in Monday’s individual time trial, a 20.1 kilometre test in Folsom.
     

  • Bomb discovered in Dublin during Giro d'Italia

    The peloton on stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 11:24 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Correction: Milk churn bomb probably unrelated to race

    Police in Dublin have seized and disarmed a bomb discovered just hours before the Giro d'Italia finished in the Irish capital, the Irish Independent has revealed.

    A car apparently contained a 50lb milk churn bomb in a car park near the Finnstown Country House hotel in Lucan, to the west of the city. The bomb was made from fertiliser, armed and ready for use with a timer attached.

    While the intended target remains unclear, the bomb was seized just hours before the third stage of the Giro d'Italia between Armagh and Dublin. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the race route and packed the centre of Dublin to see the race.

    According to the Irish Independent's security editor, Tom Brady, the device was likely intended for a target in Northern Ireland, and unrelated to the Grand Tour's appearance on Irish soil.

    "It was a homemade, fertilizer-based bomb with all the components for detonation, except that the timer was not set," Brady said. "It's reckoned it contained about 30 kilos of fertilizer and other ingredients. That would have been enough to flatten a building.

    "It's likely it was going to be collected there and brought to Northern Ireland for a security target in the North."

    Security sources said that the device was disarmed by an Army Bomb Squad. It is understood that a Dublin man who was later arrested has close links to the Real IRA. Irish police located the device after receiving a tip-off, and a major security operation was launched.

    A security source revealed to the Irish Independent that dissident Republicans may have been planning an attack, in the hope that it would be blamed on another terrorist group. Other sources suggested the bomb was more likely linked to a feud between dissident republicans and a local businessman.

    "It cannot be ruled out that it may have been intended to disrupt the Giro...

  • Dan Martin has surgery on broken collarbone

    Daniel Martin sits stunned on the ground after crashing in the Giro d'Italia team time trial
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 12:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Sharp rider begins road to recovery

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) has undergone successful surgery in Dublin, after breaking his collarbone on the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia, according to Irish cycling website Stickybottle.com.

    Cyclingnews spoke to Garmin-Sharp, who confirmed that Martin had surgery on Sunday. They also said that no decision had been made on whether Martin would ride the Tour de France in July, despite previous suspicions. "There have been no decisions on his schedule at all. The top priority is his recovery," team spokesperson Marya Pongrace told Cyclingnews. "This is his first broken bone and his first surgery and he (and we) needs to take it day by and focus solely on his recovery. Absolutely no decisions about race schedule have been made."

    Martin hit the tarmac at the end of the Newtownards Road in Belfast, after he lost control of his bike as he road over a wet manhole cover. He stayed sat in the road for a long time clutching his shoulder and was later diagnosed with a ‘displaced fracture of the right collarbone.’

    With the race starting in Northern Ireland and moving down into the Republic of Ireland, Martin was a crowd favourite and a potential contender for the top ten once the race reached Italy. He will now have to change his race calendar and decide with the Garmin-Sharp team if he will be able to return to racing in time to be competitive at the Tour de France. An alternative objective could be the Vuelta a Espana that begins in late August. 

    After recovering from his operation Martin is likely to soon begin training on the rollers but the risk of further injury in the case of a crash on open roads could delay his return to full training and racing.

  • Giro d’Italia back on home soil with first of three rest days

    The Lotto Belisol team on the transfer
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 14:12 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Riders fly from Ireland to Italy Monday morning

    The Giro d'Italia made its 2700 kilometre return trip from Ireland to south-east Italy on Monday morning, with the riders taking a chartered flight for the three-hour flight. They landed in Bari at lunchtime, and were met by warm temperatures and their team buses on the tarmac.

    Sunday evening was far from straightforward for the team personnel, with mechanics and staff rushing to take bikes and logistical equipment to the team hotel and then on to the airport for a separate cargo flight to Italy.

    "It's all got to be done as soon as possible," Garmin-Sharp head mechanic Geoff Brown told Cyclingnews on Sunday morning before the stage three start.

    “We'll have to pack them in the transport bags, load them on the team truck and take them to the cargo area, for the flight to Italy." (For the record, each Garmin-Sharp rider has two bikes, with team leader Ryder Hesjedal having three.)

    "I think we're on a cargo flight, and every team has a designated time period, it’s like five teams every 30 minutes have to drop their stuff off. It's gong to be a really busy time."

    "People are saying ‘oh, have a nice glass of Guinness in Dublin' and I'm like 'OK, maybe around five to midnight!'" the experienced mechanic laughed.

    The logistical operation from Ireland to Italy is similar to when Denmark hosted the opening three stages of the 2012 Giro d'Italia and then flew to Italy. "It's not like we haven't done it before, but it's a stressful situation," Brown said.

    Most of the WorldTour teams had their second team bus and a second group of staff waiting for the riders when they landed in Bari airport around midday local time.

    "It's a question of using almost two entirely different sets of vehicles and staff," Garmin-Sharp sports director Charly Wegelius told Cyclingnews.

    "We have just one vehicle driving from here to Italy....

  • Giro d'Italia shorts: Birthday club, winners' club and the real GC classification

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) celebrates his win in Belfast
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 16:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kittel joins Berzin, Bouhanni and Ferrari clash, Astana's day of pain

    GC winners and losers in Ireland

    At first glance, the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia should have been an easy few days for the general classification riders. It was anything but. The weather, tight roads and a nervous peloton made for a tough start.

    We all know about Garmin-Sharp’s disastrous weekend - as Dan Martin crashed out and Ryder Hesjedal lost a hat-full of time on stage one, but how did the other GC contenders fair in Northern Ireland?

    Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is sitting pretty at the moment, after his team’s performance in the team time trial. The Colombian arrives in Italy as the top general classification rider, 19 seconds behind the leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge).

    BMC's Cadel Evans can also breathe a sigh of relief as he managed to avoid the big crashes on the wet roads of Ireland. He lost a little time on stages two and three, but is only a couple of seconds behind Urán, while Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) had a pleasingly uneventful trip to his home country and is still in contention for a strong result, 18 seconds behind Uran. Michele Scarponi (Astana) had a mixed weekend, his Astana team put in a solid result in the opening stage but the Italian came down with several of his teammates on stage three and sits 22 seconds down on Uran.

    The...

  • Optimism about Tour of Ireland comeback rises after Giro success

    The Giro d'Italia peloton takes in the Northern Ireland coast
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 18:55 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan & Alasdair Fotheringham

    Ongoing discussions with sponsors for return of race

    As the dust settles on the Giro d'Italia's three stages in Ireland, a major effort is being made by local organisers to use the momentum gained to revive the professional Tour of Ireland.

    The Tour of Ireland ran between 2007 and 2009, but was cut from five to three stages by the third edition of the event. An earlier iteration, the Nissan Classic, had existed between 1985 and 1992, coinciding with the apex of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche's careers.

    The key middleman in the organisation of the Giro in Ireland, Darach McQuaid, has said that he is hopeful of an imminent announcement about sealing a sponsor deal to get the race back on the road, and he said that the Giro d’Italia’s success has represented a big boost to his prospects.

    "We are following several leads and are very hopeful of announcing something very soon. We think that the Giro start here in Ireland shows what sort of support there is for the sport," McQuaid said in a press conference on Sunday evening.

    McQuaid said that the Northern Irish Tourist Board (NITB), which reportedly provided much of the financial traction for the Giro d’Italia in Ireland bid, could well play a key role again in a revived Tour of Ireland because, like Giro’s three-day visit, the race would take place on both sides of the Irish border.

    "That is very likely but we are looking to be backed by a commercial brand as well," McQuaid said of NITB’s proposed involvement.

    The title sponsor of the last Tour of Ireland was Fáilte Ireland, the Irish tourism board, but the effects of the global economic downturn contributed to the withdrawal of funding from the government body, although Ireland’s national postal service An Post continues to sponsor both the An Post Rás – a UCI 2.2 event – and the An Post-Chain Reaction continental team, as well as a series of sportive events...

  • Hofland impresses with third in Tour of California opener

    Moreno Hofland (Belkin) winner of the Volta Limburg Classic
    Article published:
    May 12, 2014, 19:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch rider holds off Sagan for final podium spot

    Moreno Hofland (Belkin) continued his strong season with a third place in the opening stage of the Tour of California.

    With Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) duking it out for the victory, the race was on to take the minor places. The Belkin rider held off Peter Sagan (Cannondale) - who has the record for the most number of stages wins in California - to take the final spot on the podium.

    The day was marked by crosswinds that caused the peloton to break up. Hofland found himself without any teammates midway through the stage when they failed to follow him into front group of 22 riders when the peloton split in the crosswinds. The peloton did eventually come back together, with Lars Boom assisting Hofland in his sprint. It was a tough day all-round, but the 22-year-old was pleased with how it panned out.

    "It was a war zone from the start. Everybody was nervous, but I felt really good today and, when team Sky and Omega Pharma-QuickStep attacked in the crosswinds, I was at the front," Hofland said after the finish. "But I didn’t spend too much energy there. In the final, Lars helped me and set me off at the front. I’m very happy with my third place today. It’s a nice present for our sponsor Belkin."

    The young Dutch rider has had a solid start to his second year as a professional, with stage wins at the Vuelta a Andalucía and Paris-Nice and finishing second to Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. This year’s Tour of California is the first time that Hofland has raced in the United States. Needless to say, the team were happy with his performance

    "When Sky and QuickStep attacked in the crosswinds only Moreno was...