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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 6, 2013

Date published:
May 06, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Evans unable to deliver on expectations in Giro d'Italia TTT

    Team BMC finishes up
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 5:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hilly and technical course not suited to BMC Racing squad

    Cadel Evans may have arrived at the Giro d'Italia lacking the physical condition to contest for the number-one spot in the general classification but that doesn't mean the 2010 points classification winner is racing the Italian grand tour without ambition.

    Evans' BMC Racing Team was expected to perform amongst the best in the team time trial on Stage 2 but after 17.4 kilometres of racing, the US-registered squad came up short. The team was to be guided by Taylor Phinney, a proven rider in tests against the clock but coming in with only the 12th-best time and 37-seconds down on the winning Sky team was not what the squad envisioned.

    "We had a lot of sprinter kind of guys and roulers, which normally in a team time trial is great," said Evans. "But this course was particularly hilly. Thirty-seven seconds is a little bit below what I had hoped or expected, but that's the way it is.

    "The guys put in everything. Someone like Klaas Lodewyck – he really gave it absolutely everything he had today, so I'm certainly not going to ask anything more of him," adde Evans of his teammate who sacrificed finishing with the six-man group including Phinney, Daniel Oss, Ivan Santaromita, Morabito, Cummings and the former Tour de France champion Evans.

    "That's the way it is. We'll keep going from here," he said.

    Team sports director Max Sciandri, who is reported to be taking up a more permanent position with the Italian National Team at some stage after the Giro, echoed similar sentiment to Evans. Sky brought a team of climbers to support Bradley Wiggins' bid to take the maglia rosa back to the UK and if the course had been a more traditional circuit, the end result...

  • Wiggins pleased with early impressions at Giro d’Italia

    Bradley Wiggins leads the Sky train
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 9:12 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Team Sky in charge after the team time trial

    The bigger picture of this Giro d’Italia, the final time gaps and the overall classification, are a long way from completion but Bradley Wiggins will have been pleased with the preliminary sketches that emerged from Sunday’s stage two team time trial in the scenic surrounds of Ischia, the striking volcanic island perched in the Gulf of Naples.

    Wiggins and his teammates powered to victory on the 17.4km course, putting 14 seconds into chief rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), 25 into defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and 37 into the BMC team of Cadel Evans.

    In the grand scheme of things, the time won and lost in Ischia ought to count for little come the high mountains of the third week but the very early brushstrokes of this Giro d'Italia are roughly in keeping with a pre-race form guide that pitted Wiggins directly against Nibali, and Team Sky against Astana.

    Little wonder then, that Wiggins was happy to stand back and enjoy the scene from the side of the podium area as he watched his young teammate Salvatore Puccio pull on the pink jersey. Wiggins, who lies in second place overall, was able to avoid the bulk of the post-race formalities, including the post-stage press conference and quietly caught the ferry back to the mainland like everyone else.

    “I’m so happy for him. He’s a really nice guy and a big talent,” Wiggins said while Puccio pulled on the maglia rosa to the strains of Prince’s “1999.”

    Much had been made of Team Sky’s pre-team time trial planning, which included sending an advance party to Ischia to film the course; the innovativeness of Team Sky’s approach is sometimes over-stated. All of the serious...

  • Giro d'Italia shorts: Trouble ahead, Dowsett in white, the sixth Sicilian

    Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) becomes the new race leader
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 11:51 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    News shorts from the Giro d'Italia

    Everyday during the Giro d'Italia we dig up the best the news snippets and inside information.

    After the team time trial on Ischia island, the race heads south down the Amalfi coast, with Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) in the pink jersey. 

    There could be trouble ahead

    Monday's 222km third stage could prove to be more testing that expected after the Giro d'Italia peloton awoke to cloudy skies and risk of rain on the Amalfi coast and the final climb overlooking the finish in Marina di Ascea.

    The Amalfi roads are notoriously smooth due to the constant traffic on the breathtaking coast road. However they become greasy when wet.

    The descent to the finish includes numerous hairpins and tight corners, which could be the perfect launch pad for a late attack.

    Puccio in pink, Dowsett in white

    There are four leader's jerseys in the Giro d'Italia, each designed by Paul Smith this year.

    Salvatore Puccio wears the maglia rosa during Monday's stage three from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea.

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) wears the red points jersey, while Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) wears the blue climber's jersey after picking up the points on offer during stage one in Naples.

    Alex Dowsett wears the white jersey thanks to his second place in the best young rider competition behind Salvatore Puccio.

    The power of the pink jersey

    Wearing the pink jersey carries extra responsibilities but also gives extra benefits and often secures special treatment from the race organisers.

    Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) had to speak to the media after pulling on the maglia rosa and then give a urine sample at anti-doping. It meant he missed the two ferries taking the riders to...

  • Brailsford names Froome as Team Sky's Tour de France leader

    Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome will lead Sky's attack on the Grand Tours
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 13:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    'We will go to the Tour with one leader"

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has named Chris Froome as the team's leader for the Tour de France, confirming that the plan for the 2013 season is that the Kenyan-born Briton, and not 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, will lead the British team at the Tour de France.

    Before heading to the Giro d'Italia, Wiggins insisted that he was ready to target the Giro-Tour, suggesting any decision about leadership would be made just before or even during the Tour de France by team management.

    That angered Froome with the Kenyan-born Briton quickly issuing a personal statement claiming that he was to be the leader in July and that he had the full backing of the team.

    In what seems like a move to diffuse speculation and avoid a possible damaging internal power struggle, Brailsford has named Froome as team leader, while also trying to appease Wiggins' ambitions.

    “As always the team selection is a management decision and it will be evidence-based. However it is crucial there is clarity of purpose and for that reason we will go to the Tour with one leader," Brailsford said in a statement published on the Team Sky website.

    “Taking that into consideration and given Chris’ step up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team."

    “With over seven weeks until the Tour and the Giro to focus on, our final selection of nine won’t be confirmed until after the Dauphine."

    100% focused on the Giro d'Italia

    Froome is currently studying the Tour de France mountain stages and rode Mont Ventoux on...

  • Dowsett: Movistar performed to expectations in Giro TTT

    Team Movistar in action
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 15:30 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spanish team second to Sky by 9 seconds

    Fastest at the mid-way checkpoint, and second at the finish in the Giro d'Italia stage 2 team time trial, Alex Dowsett says that he believes his Movistar squad's performance was in no way above-expectations, rather that "it's time people recognised we're good at these."

    Although Spain traditionally has not produced top squads for TTTs, Movistar won the technically difficult, if much flatter, opening team time trial in last year's Vuelta a España, and riders like Nairo Quintana have won races like the Vuelta al Pais Vasco this year as a result of their time trialling. Former British TT champ Dowsett, racing his first Giro, says yesterday's result was no fluke, either.

    "It suited us down to the ground, for sure, but I'm not sure we're counted as a surprise given the results we've had this year," Dowsett told Cyclingnews at the stage three start.

    "I think it's time we're considered one of the front runners in stages like these particularly when they're like yesterday's."

    Movistar could have been even closer had not 2011 Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo, no slouch against the clock, hurt his knee during the team time trial warm-up in a crash. Cobo dropped back early on, meaning the Spanish squad lost one of their key men. It also meant a big change of plan, Dowsett said.

    "I would have done my last turn on the flatter stretch of road before the last climb, and hung on, but if I hadn't it wouldn't have mattered, and if Cobo had been there then he would have been the man for the last climb. As it was, I was in quite a lot of difficulty on that last climb.

    "It was annoying, too, because I had two punctures on the recce and didn't get as good a...

  • Brailsford: "We’re sticking to the plan"

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in action during stage 3
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 18:00 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Sky Team Principal denies any changes in team plan for Tour

    Standing next to team soigneurs handing out bidons after stage three of the Giro d'Italia, Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford stated categorically that the squad’s statement that Froome would lead the Tour de France represented zero change to the team’s initial plan for 2013.

    “Go back and read our press releases in February, March, April, it all says the same thing,” Brailsford told a small group of reporters.

    Asked why they had then bothered to put out a new release reconfirming that Froome would be leading, not Wiggins, Brailsford replied “there was a lot of talk and chatter and whatnot, so I thought we should reiterate our plan.”

    He said it had nothing to do with Wiggins hints that he was contemplating a Giro-Tour double bid, saying instead “not really, no. There was a lot of chatter. We’re sticking to the same plan, I think it’s worth reclarifying that we’re still on track - and nicely so, I’d say.”

    “The key thing for us is to focus on this race” - the Giro - “and it requires a lot of focus, it’s requires a lot of that.”

    “As far as we’re concerned the plan is still going, we’re right on track. We’re sticking to what we’re doing. If you read Brad’s comments you’ll see he knew that everything is caveated by a management decision.”

    Reflecting on the loss of the pink jersey and the late attacks that caused that, Brailsford said “That descent was made for attacks, there’s more opportunities to be opportunistic in the Giro, it’s that sort of race. That’s what people were trying to do, it takes as much energy to ride on the front as it does on the back and it was great to see some real good bike racing.”

    ...
  • Crash dents Scarponi’s Giro d'Italia hopes

    Przemyslaw Niemiec paces Lampre-Merida captain Michele Scarponi as the pair try to regain contact with the leaders after Scarponi ripped off a rear derailleur in the stage finale.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 18:36 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian crashes on final descent

    What the Giro d’Italia giveth, it taketh away. In Ischia on Sunday, Michele Scarponi’s Lampre-Merida squad limited the climber’s losses in the team time trial to just 22 seconds. At Marina di Ascea on Monday – on rolling terrain where Scarponi hoped to recoup ground – a crash on the final descent cost him a minute and severely dented his podium hopes.

    With barely five kilometres left to race, Scarponi was sitting in third place in the chase group as Blanco pair Steven Kruijswijk and Robert Gesink led the chase behind eventual winner Luca Paolini (Katusha). When the two Dutchman almost overshot a right-hand bend, however, Scarponi tumbled to the ground as he tried to correct his own trajectory.

    “They skidded in front of me and I touched my brakes instinctively, and I ended up falling myself,” said Scarponi, who was quickly back on his feet but then had to endure a lengthy wait for a replacement bike, as his rear mech was broken during the crash. “I had to wait a bit for Simone Stortoni to get up to me, but that happens.”

    After Stortoni came past and handed over his machine, Scarponi was left to give desperate chase with just Przemyslaw Niemiec for company and they reached the finish some 44 seconds down on Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and the other overall favourites.

    “It was a very attacking stage and was going quite well for me. I think that we could even have got back up to Paolini but that happens. It’s just a pity that I had this accident,” Scarponi said. “It’s unfortunate too that I lost a bit of time.”

    On a sinuous finale that had seen Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) go on the offensive, Scarponi had managed to remain on level pegging his fellow overall contenders and was looking to...

  • Double win for late Giro debutant Paolini

    Luca Paolini (Katusha) enjoys his moment in pink
    Article published:
    May 06, 2013, 19:42 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Katusha veteran takes stage and overall lead

    At 36 years of age and in the twilight of a career that has stretched through one of the most turbulent periods in Italian cycling history, Luca Paolini (Katusha) is an unlikely Giro d'Italia debutant, but in his maiden corsa rosa the veteran hit the jackpot by claiming stage victory and the overall lead in Marina di Ascea at the end of stage 3.

    The canny Paolini was careful to follow the attacks but not contribute to them during the sinuous finale to Monday's stage, keeping a watching brief as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Vincenzo Nibali's Astana squad went on the offensive over the climb of Sella di Catona.

    Instead, Paolini waited for the calm after the storm, and when the lull arrived, he chose his moment perfectly, clipping off the front on the descent with a shade under seven kilometres still to race.

    "I suffered a lot when they attacked on the climb, but every time someone tried to stretch it out, I kept my tempo and I kept my head," Paolini said. "It was like what I tried to do at Milan-San Remo this year, when I hung in there on the climbs and had a go on the descent.

    "In the finale, they told me over the radio that I only had a few seconds on the chasers but I know I'm quite good descender and I managed to keep quite clear headed through the corners."

    Paolini held off the chasers, led home by Cadel Evans (BMC), to claim the win. Given Katusha's solid showing in Sunday's team time trial, Paolini knew that the 20-second time bonus for stage victory would also present him with the maglia rosa. "I told myself that today and tomorrow would be like two big classics for me," he said....