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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 19, 2014

Date published:
May 19, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Démare: I know how to beat Cavendish

    Another stage win for Arnaud Démare (FDJ)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 13:58 BST
    Peter Cossins

    FDJ sprinter is aiming to win a stage on his Tour de France debut

    After following up his recent overall victory at the Four Days of Dunkirk with another GC success, this time in his "home" Tour de Picardie, sprinter Arnaud Démare is turning his sights towards his Tour de France debut.

    The 22-year-old Frenchman says his goal in July will be a stage win and firmly believes he has the ability to pull this off. He has told L'Equipe that this will a difficult proposition, but added that he believes he knows how to beat Mark Cavendish.

    Asked about his chances of beating the British sprinter, Démare said: "It was only the start of the season, but at the Tour of the Algarve I was already aware that there is a way to beat him…"

    Démare's victory in Picardie, where he won two of the three stages as well as the overall, gave him further reason for optimism with regard to the Tour. Marcel Kittel won the title last year, while Kittel's team-mate John Degenkolb won it the year before. Both of the Germans went on to win multiple grand tour stages in the wake of their Picardie success, Kittel at the Tour and Degenkolb at the Vuelta.

    "They took this path and that gives me a huge amount of ambition. I will go to the Tour with the objective of winning a stage even though I will perhaps end up being disappointed because there will be such huge competition," said Démare. "You can't win sprints every day, but if there is an opportunity I know that it is feasible."

    He explained his self-belief has been boosted by his growing capacity in the mountains. “"They don't particularly frighten me. I could see at Tirreno that I had progressed when compared to the [2012] Giro. I'm even starting to recuperate when I'm in...

  • Gallery: Race photo highlights from the 2014 Tour of California

    Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) heading for his stage win at the Tour of California
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 15:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Wiggins, Phinney, Cavendish and Sagan shine

    Eight days of thrilling racing came to an end on Sunday with the 2014 Tour of California finishing up in Thousand Oaks. The 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) came away with the overall honours after building his campaign on a winning ride in the individual time trial and then fending off challenges in the mountains.

    The race was about way more than just one man and one team though with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep), Peter Sagan (Cannodale) carving up the sprint stages. There were breakthrough wins too with Esteban Chaves (Orica Greenedge) and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) both claiming impressive mountain stages.

    And the domestic teams played their part, too: constantly on the attack and making the race at critical stages, Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) came away with a memorable stage win on stage 4 and the king of the mountains competition.

    In the battle for the best young rider's  white jersey, Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) held off the challenge from Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge).

    Take a look back through the race with this stunning gallery.

  • Giro d'Italia: Rogers backs Majka’s podium chances

    Rafal Majka (Tinkoff - Saxo)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 16:12 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Pole lies in third overall at the end of opening week

    Few riders negotiated the pitfalls of a chaotic opening week of the Giro d'Italia as well as Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), who finds himself in third place overall, 1:10 off the maglia rosa of Cadel Evans as the race pauses for its second rest day in Modena.

    The Pole moved into the white jersey of best young rider over the weekend, and is the favourite to win the classification in Trieste after narrowly missing out to Carlos Betancur twelve months ago.

    This time around, however, Majka's ambition will hardly be limited to that competition. Seventh overall in 2013, the 24-year-old has designs on a podium place this year, and at Sestola on Sunday, his Tinkoff-Saxo team set out their stall by hitting the front of the pink jersey group on the final climb, with Michael Rogers particularly to the fore.

    "It was more or less to keep him out of trouble really because we knew it was quite steep and quite narrow," Rogers told Cyclingnews at the finish. "I think it worked, it was quite a good thing to do and he saved a bit of energy there."

    Before the stage, Majka admitted that he had made in error in launching a tentative attack at Montecopiolo the previous day, explaining that the effort had left him unable to follow Evans and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in the final haul to the line.

    "Maybe I used some energy there and for the final I lost five seconds on Evans and Uran," said Majka, who – like so many in the Giro peloton, including Nairo Quintana (Movistar) – is still feeling the effects of his fall during the mass crash at Montecassino on stage 6. "I feel a little bit the crash but I think I'll be much stronger in the coming weeks."

    On the final climb to Sestola on Sunday, Majka opted not to respond when Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) danced clear on the steepest section...

  • Moreno Hofland crashes in California

    Moreno Hofland (Belkin) wins ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) on stage 2 of Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 17:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch sprinter to remain in hospital for a week

    During the final stage of the Tour of California, Team Belkin's Moreno Hofland hit the deck hard. The Dutch sprinter sustained a fracture in his L2, lower back, vertebrae and multiple rib fractures. The 22-year old has to stay in a Californian hospital for a week before he can be flown home. The medical staff of Team Belkin predicts a full recovery from his injuries.

    In the first stage, from Sacramento to Sacramento, Hofland sprinted to third. He was beaten by Mark Cavendish and John Degenkolb but finished ahead of Peter Sagan and Danny van Poppel.

    Hofland has a breakthrough season in his second year with the pros. The 2012 national under 23 champion made his mark in October last year with three stage wins and the overall in the Tour of Hainan. He continued his winning ways with a victory in the Ruta del Sol, a stage in Paris-Nice and the Volta Limburg Classic.

    Recovery from a fractured vertebrae and broken ribs takes many weeks. It is unlikely that Hofland will be present at the Dutch national championships in Ootmarsum on the 29th of June. The course in the east of the Netherlands suits Hofland very well and it might have been a great opportunity to add another national jersey to his collection. 

  • Giro d'Italia shorts: Robert Millar's race analysis, the Flea and warm weather coming

    Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R - La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 17:45 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Early wake-up for Ulissi

    Robert Millar: A Giro d'Italia analysis in three parts

    Few former riders have the insight, analytical skills and sense of perspective to understand the subtleties of Grand Tour stage racing.

    Yet again Robert Millar, who was second overall behind Stephen Roche in the 1987 Giro d'Italia and won the climber's jersey, has captured the essence of the opening nine days of the Corsa Rosa in his latest blog for Cyclingnews.

    Millar describes the Giro d'Italia as "pure theatre" with the story of the race told in three parts: The visit to Ireland, the return to Italy and a story of nine lives. Read Robert Millar's analysis here.

    Pozzovivo: "Don't call me the Flea"

    The Italian cycling media loves to come up with nicknames for the biggest names in the Giro d'Italia. They often represent a rider's style of racing, his origins or his physique.

    In recent years Vincenzo Nibali was named the "Squalo dello Stretto di Messina" - the shark from the Strait of Messina, Paolo Bettini was "il Grillo" - the Cricket and Paolo Savoldelli was known as the "il Falco" - the Falcon, for his descending skills.

    This year Domenico Pozzovivo has been baptised as "il lupo dei Jonio" - the wolf of the Ionian (sea) and the "Pulce di Policoro" the flea from Policoro, for the way he attacked on the climbs.

    However, the pure climber from the south of Italy has made it clear he does not like the "flea" nickname. Pozzovivo revealed to Gazzetta dello Sport that he prefers a different nickname. Apparently he is very good at navigating and so instead of Tom-tom, he has become "Dom-dom".

  • BMC and Evans carry weight of race into second week of Giro d'Italia

    Cadel Evans (BMC) enjoying his day in pink
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 18:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Piva on risks of sending pink jersey out "on loan"

    Cadel Evans' 2011 Tour de France victory was a masterpiece in calculation, as the Australian never dropped out of the top four overall throughout the entire three weeks of racing but still managed to steer clear of the yellow jersey and its associated pressures until the penultimate day.

    BMC and Evans would doubtless have been glad to follow a similar template at this Giro d'Italia, but after gaining time on all of his overall rivals at Montecassino last week, he could hardly avoid taking possession of the maglia rosa on the first major mountain stage to Montecopiolo on Saturday.

    Indeed, when early escapee Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli-YellowFluo) moved in to the provisional overall lead on Saturday afternoon, it was the Movistar team of Nairo Quintana who led the chase in the peloton, almost as if they wanted to ensure that Evans and BMC would have to take the jersey and its responsibilities for the coming days.

    "It's not that we wanted to take it at any cost, and maybe at this point it might be better for Cadel not to have it and to leave him and the team calm," BMC directeur sportif Valerio Piva told Cyclingnews. "So it's not like we rode furiously behind to make sure we got the jersey, but we're still very happy to have it."

    Evans currently holds a lead of 57 seconds over Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and it would surely suit BMC to send the pink jersey "on loan" to a rider with no designs on the final general classification during the second week, given that controlling the peloton at the Giro for days on end is a notoriously taxing endeavour for a single team.

    In practice, however, finding a breakaway with the right composition will not be easy and could even prove risky. In 2010, for instance, an impasse...

  • Vicioso takes first steps after femur fracture

    Angel Vicioso takes his first steps after breaking his femur and having surgery to repair it.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 22:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Injury updates on Vicioso, Rodriguez and Caruso

    Two days after his successful operation in the Villa Stuart Hospital in Roma, Angel Vicioso (Katusha) was able to make his first steps with a walker in the hallway of the hospital. If Vicoso's health situation continues to evolve well, he is expected to be able to leave the hospital by the end of the week. At home, Vicioso will need to recover in the coming weeks from the surgical procedure, after which he can start his long rehabilitation.

    After his crash in Cassino, in the sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia, a complex threefold right femur fracture was diagnosed. One day later, on Friday May 16, Angel Vicioso underwent a 3.5-hour operation.

    Doctors were able to repair the thighbone through intramedullary fixation (nail insertion). Addional screws were used to fixate the femural neck as well as some loose bone material. Post-operational X-rays showed a succesful intervention as well as a good alignment of the femur.

    Vicioso's teammate Joaquim Rodriguez also underwent surgery on Monday, May 19 to fix his right thumb, which he broke in the same crash that injured Vicioso. Rodriguez underwent a succesful operation in Barcelona, where a pin was introduced in the phalanx to fix the fracture.

    Giampaolo Caruso, also involved in the stage 6 crash, was a little luckier in that X-rays revealed no new fractures for him. However, he's still complaining of pain in his left hip and will undergo an MRI scan on Tuesday. He's also still recovering from a broken scaphoid after a crash during the Giro d'Italia's opening days in Belfast.

  • Xenon added to banned substances list

    WADA President Craig Reedie
    Article published:
    May 19, 2014, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    WADA updates list of performance enhancers

    Xenon has been added to the list of banned, performance enhancing substances maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) according to The Telegraph.

    The agency's president, Craig Reedie, noted that studies have shown that xenon can stimulate the production of erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone and therefore has the potential to enhance athletic performance.

    The ban on xenon, which is not trace-able, is effective immediately. It came this weekend after there were earlier reports of Russian athletes inhaling xenon during the past 10 years and most recently ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

    Another noble gas, Argon, has also been banned.

    National anti-doping agencies were given a three-month window to adapt their policies and procedures.