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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 11, 2013

Date published:
May 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • King talks Sagan, Tour of California and Tour de France

    He is Ted King
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 11:41 BST
    Ben Delaney

    Domestique hopes TOC ride will earn him a Tour berth

    “Yeah, I stopped eating in March.”

    Team Cannondale domestique Ted King is always quick with a wisecrack, this time in response to how thin and fit he’s looking.

    Just ahead of the Amgen Tour of California, Ted King spent a couple of weeks in Colorado, training with his friend and former teammate Timmy Duggan. Cyclingnews caught up with the 30-year-old American to talk racing, training, Peter Sagan and the Tour de France.

    King kicked off his season in Argentina with the Tour de San Luis, then headed to Europe for Paris-Nice and then the classics.

    “Our season thus far has been very good. Team Cannondale had podiums in virtually every classic barring Paris-Roubaix,” King said.

    This spring Cannondale’s Peter Sagan won Gent-Wevelem — riding a wheelie as he crossed the finishline alone — took second to Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders and then outsprinted World Champion Philippe Gilbert to win Brabantse Pijl.

    “I’ve been racing with Peter a lot, which is a good thing,” King said. “He is a very good rider to work for. For one, he is successful. He just makes your job easier.”

    “Also, Peter’s a good kid. He’s 23 years old. He has a very pulled-together perspective,” King said. “He recognizes his potential, and you see him striving for more. That translates off the bike. It’s humbling and inspiring, really, as a 30-year-old working for a 23-year-old.”

    “Everything between ‘the go’ and the ‘1k to go’”

    King came to Team Cannondale when the title sponsor was Liquigas....

  • Bobridge takes rough with smooth at Giro d'Italia

    Australians Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) spent most of stage 6 on the attack
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 13:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian working for Gesink in corsa rosa

    As temporary holder of the maglia nera, Jack Bobridge (Blanco) was the first starter in the stage 8 time trial at the Giro d’Italia. In spite of his strong pedigree against the clock, the Australian opted to save his resources during the undulating 55 kilometre test with an eye to his duties in support of team leader Robert Gesink in the next two weeks.

    “I just wanted to finish but that last climb was tough… I don’t know why it had to finish up there,” Bobridge told Cyclingnews after negotiating the final haul up to the Villa del Balì. “I was just riding to get through it, I didn’t go full on at all. It’s more important for Robert that I’m as fresh as possible for the two weeks to come.”

    Bobridge’s Giro to date has been one of ups and downs. Like many, he struggled during the two testing days in Italy’s deep south that followed the Ischia team time trial, but he enjoyed a foray off the front in the company of fellow countryman Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) on stage 6 to Margherita di Savoia.

    “It wasn’t the plan to get in the break but it just happened that way and it was good to have a roll and a stretch with another Aussie,” Bobrdige said. “We didn’t go too deep it was a fairly consistent effort so I didn’t feel too bad after the stage.”

    Friday’s rugged stage into the heart of the Abruzzo region was a different matter, however, as the peloton split to pieces over a final 50 kilometres that featured scarcely a metre of flat road. With heavy rain making the descents especially treacherous, for those caught behind it was simply a matter of exercising due prudence and making it to the finish to fight another day.

    “I had a bad day yesterday and I was in the gruppetto and there were a lot of crashes because those roads are like...

  • UnitedHealthcare focused on stage wins at Tour of California

    Phil Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) puts pressure on the front group.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 15:35 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Pro Continental team fields well-rounded roster

    UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling will field a well-rounded roster at this year's edition of the Amgen Tour of California. According to manager Mike Tamayo, the US-based Pro Continental team is "100 percent focused on stage wins."

    Tamayo put together a successful team of sprinters for the flatter stages; stage 3 from Palmdale to Santa Clarita, stage 4 from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara, stage 5 from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach and the finale stage 8 from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. Those sprinters are Aldo Ino Ilesic, Jake Keough and John Murphy.

    He also built a team of proven climbers to showcase during stage 1 over Mt. Palomar, stage 2 at the finish in Palm Springs and stage 7 at the finish on Mt. Diablo. Those riders include Phil Deignan, who recently won the overall title at the Tour of the Gila, Marc de Maar, Lucas Euser and Chris Jones.

    The eighth rider is Jeff Louder, a strong time trialist for stage 6 in San Jose, and an opportunist during difficult stages.

    "This year's Tour of California has a little for everyone," Tamayo told Cyclingnews. "I felt it was important to have a well-rounded team. We should see sprints, mountaintop finishes and an extremely hard time trial."

    Tamayo placed a priority on course recon and drove every stage of this year's parcours in February. "It was important for some of my athlete selections," he said. "Course recon is essential to knowing what's coming next in the race. It gets the rider's mindset right and it helps me visualize what may happen during the stages."

    Tamayo pointed to stage wins as his team's number one target during the week-long event. His riders have had an abundance of success during the early season, winning Tour of the Gila,...

  • Giro d'Italia: Disappointment for Wiggins in Saltara time trial

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 18:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Puncture costs Sky man stage win as Nibali moves into pink

    Bradley Wiggins’ words have been at a premium at the 2013 Giro d’Italia and at the finish of the stage 8 time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara, observers were once again left to read the runes of his silences.

    Before the Giro started, the 55-kilometre test was expected to mark the beginning of Wiggins’ spell in the maglia rosa. After losing almost 90 seconds in a crash the previous day, it was then expected to herald the beginning of the Wiggins fight back.

    Instead, the performance was inconclusive. Wiggins completed the time trial in second place, 10 seconds down on Alex Dowsett (Movistar), and was quickest over the final kilometres of the course, but he only clawed back a scant 11 seconds on chief rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who assumes the overall lead.

    An early puncture upset Wiggins’ rhythm and offered mitigation of sorts, but instead of holding a healthy advantage over Nibali ahead of the mountains, the Englishman now lies in 4th place overall, 1:16 down.

    At the end of his effort, Wiggins seemed less a knight of the realm than the Grand Old Duke of York: he marched a string of journalists up the hill past the finish line and he later marched them back down again without uttering a word, save to agree with a Gazzetta dello Sport journalist who asked if he felt the puncture had cost him stage victory.

    “A team who is sponsored by a communications company should perhaps advise its champions to behave differently,” Silvio Martinello would later quip in the RAI studio by the finish line later on.

    As has been the norm at this Giro, it was eventually left to Sky’s management team to communicate with the press, with performance manager Rod Ellingworth looking to draw the positives...

  • The Giro d’Italia isn’t over yet, says Nibali

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lost time on the final climb to the line
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 18:48 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian moves into pink after time trial

    After limiting his losses to Bradley Wiggins and taking the pink jersey at the end of the Giro d’Italia’s stage 8 time trial, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) moved on to his next challenge – downplaying home expectations.

    On the technical, demanding and long (54.8km) course from Gabicce Mare to Saltara, Nibali came home 4th behind winner Alex Dowsett and, more importantly in terms of the bigger picture, finished just 11 seconds behind Wiggins.

    That showing leaves Nibali with 1:16 in hand on Wiggins in the overall standings at a point when he surely expected to be trailing the Englishman and looking to make up ground in his favoured terrain of the mountains.

    “You can’t say that I’ve got the Giro in the bag,” Nibali said in his post-race press conference. “Nothing’s a given. I don’t underestimate [Michele] Scarponi, [Cadel] Evans, [Ryder] Hesjedal or even Wiggins. He’ll be there fighting until the end.”

    While Evans lies just 29 seconds back and Scarponi has moved himself up to 5th overall at 1:24, Wiggins was widely viewed beforehand as the man most likely to prevent Nibali from winning the Giro. After all but breaking even with Wiggins on his favoured terrain, the pendulum has surely swung in Nibali’s favour but the Astana man was keen to point out that the undulating nature of the time trial course had levelled the playing field.

    “This was a hard time trial with a lot of changes of rhythm and there were parts of it that favoured lighter climbers, in particular the opening sections,” said Nibali, who even held the best time at the first intermediate check after 26km. “I wouldn’t say that Wiggins was a disappointment today, it just that it wasn’t...

  • Schleck not counting himself as favorite for Tour of California

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack) climbs the Mur de Huy
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 19:19 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Form still on the rise for Luxembourger

    RadioShack Leopard's Andy Schleck is the only Grand Tour winner at the Tour of California this year, but even so he isn't counting himself among the favorites for the overall victory.

    The 27-year-old is still trying to regain the form that propelled him to the 2010 Tour de France title (after the disqualification of Alberto Contador) following a broken pelvis sustained in a crash nearly one year ago.

    Much criticized in the media for several false starts in his comeback, Schleck is hoping to complete his first week-long stage race since his injury after dropping out of first the Tour of Beijing last fall, and then the Tour Down Under, the Tour Méditerranéen, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco earlier this year. He showed some spark of his old self in the final Ardennes Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he had his best result in a year in 41st place.

    "I think I did a good race in Liège, which is a hard race. I was ready there, not to win, but I was in the final, which gave me a lot of motivation for the coming races. That was the goal I had in my head, and it was the first goal I reached this year, so [the form] is going up," Schleck told Cyclingnews.

    Although he's had good training since the Ardennes Classics now that the dismal weather that plagued the European spring finally turned to sunshine, Schleck isn't putting any expectations on himself for the Tour of California.

    "I don't count myself among the GC favorites. I'll see how I am in the race. It's different here than in Europe: I know I will suffer, but if I'm not so bad I'll be up there."

    Because of his injury, Schleck said he hasn't...

  • Giro d’Italia: Evans moves up to second overall

     Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 20:20 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian finishes time trial with a flourish

    After calmly negotiating the frenetic opening week of the Giro d’Italia, Cadel Evans (BMC) continued his quiet progress and moved up to second place overall with a solid performance in the testing stage 8 time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara.

    Evans took 7th place on the 54.8km course, 39 seconds off stage winner Alex Dowsett (Movistar), but limited his losses to new maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins (Sky). The Australian now lies just 29 seconds behind Nibali and 47 ahead of Wiggins on general classification.

    “I think I’m shaping fairly well on classification at this point but we’ll see from here on in: I think the Giro changes from here on in,” Evans told reporters through the rolled-down window of the BMC team car after the finish. “I think a time trial always shows everyone’s cards. It’s a good position to be in at this point but the real Giro is just starting.”

    Since winning the Tour de France in 2011, and especially over the opening months of this season, Evans has sometimes struggled against the watch, but his showing in the Marche on Saturday was a sign that he was drawing closer to solving that particular conundrum.

    “Compared to the other guys I’ve been riding reasonably well during the week, which was a good sign but for one reason or another I hadn’t had a good time trial this year but it’s started to come together now,” he said. “It gives us a bit of a yardstick to look towards the rest of the Giro.”

    The Saltara time trial was an exacting one, as demonstrated by the winning average speed of just over 43 kilometres per hour, and Evans acknowledged that it was difficult to gauge his...

  • Video: Dowsett says Giro stage win sends message to fellow haemophiliacs

    Alex Dowsett (Team Movistar) on the podium
    Article published:
    May 11, 2013, 21:30 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    "If I hadn't been diagnosed as a haemophiliac, I wouldn't be here now"

    Reigning British national time trial champion Alex Dowsett says that his breakthrough victory in the Giro d'Italia's stage nine can contain an important message for haemophiliacs like himself.

    "In a roundabout way if it wasn't for the haemophilia" - which means his blood doesn't clot properly - "then I wouldn't be here," Dowsett, who was diagnosed at 18 months, said.

    "The NHS, whom I can't thank enough, told me to go swimming and I was like a fish when I was a kid, swimming there five or six times a week. That fitness made me fast on the bike, and if I can send a message to young haemophiliacs, it's that there's a common misconception, that they should be wrapped in cotton wool."

    "It's true that if I crash, then everyone panics a bit more or if I break a bone, then I need to go to hospital. But if it's just skin then I should be alright."

    Dowsett defined himself as "fundamentally a time trialist. That's how I got into the sport, I always liked the purity of it and the technology, but i certainly wasn't expecting a result like this one, particularly as there was so much climbing. Really, I would have been content with a top ten."

    While Sky might have seemed like a "natural home" for British riders, according to one journalist, Dowsett defended his decision to move on to the Spanish Movistar squad, which is forging a strong reputation in the team time trials in particular in recent years, such as when they took their win in the Vuelta's opening TTT last August in Pamplona.

    "It wasn't a difficult decision for me, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Sky...but then I saw I was not getting the rides in big races, and I didn't get the opportunities because I lacked the experience."

    He broke out of that particular...