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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 18, 2013

Date published:
May 18, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Wiggins departs Giro with eye on full tilt return to Tour de France

    Sky's Bradley Wiggins had a rough day in the saddle during stage 12
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 9:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider looks to long term after disappointment in Italy

    Bradley Wiggins' withdrawal from the 2013 Giro d'Italia came as little surprise to most after the designated Sky leader slowly but surely dropped down the standings after crashes, illness and subsequent time losses ended his dreams of overall victory in the Italian three-week race.

    Wiggins left Italy after making the decision to withdraw that was backed by team management and medical staff following his struggle to finish with the main group on Stage 12 - won by compatriot Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick Step). The 2012 Tour de France champion crossed the line 3:17 behind his former teammate on what should have been a relatively standard finish for the Sky leader.

    His worsening condition meant that he was forced to make a tough decision; to continue racing the Giro without any hope of challenging for the overall title and risk longer-term health damage or to quit, head home for treatment and refocus on defending his Tour de France crown. He chose the later despite the heart-breaking feeling of leaving the race he had expected to challenge for the win.

    "I'm disappointed, but some things you can't control," Wiggins told Sky Italia before flying back to the United Kingdom. "It's really disappointing to stop in this way because we came here for so much more.

    "It's how long you can keep fighting for before you say the GC has gone now," he added.

    Continuing at the Giro when not at full strength and with the weight of expectation on one's shoulders is not an easy battle to win and if Wiggins had any chance of defeating the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Cadel Evans...

  • Breaking news: Sestriere cut from stage 14 Giro d’Italia route

    Sestriere profile
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 11:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Route changed due to weather

    An hour before the start of Saturday’s 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia, race organisers have announced that the climb to Sestriere has been cut from the route due to bad weather.

    The stage has been lengthened by 12km with a summit finish still expected at Jafferau. The riders will now race for 180 kilometres, taking in the Val di Susa valley before the final climb to the finish.

    Taylor Phinney, competing in his second Giro d'Italia was quick to praise race organisers RCS for their decision, taking to Twitter to say, "Must thank @rcssport for having the riders' backs and altering today's route. Finish in Bardonecchia is the same but no Sestriere. #giro".

    The stagel started as planned at 12:45 C.E.T.

    At the start this morning in Cereve, Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni was at least hopeful of saving tomorrow's stage from Cesana Torinese to the Galibier, telling reporters that "we're still waiting on confirmation from French authorities but at least we' hope to save the stage."

    The riders started the stage wrapped up for another wet day in the saddle.

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) summed up the general feeling in the peloton about cutting the climb to Sestriere from today's stage and the probability that Sunday's stage will be reduced to just 50km and finish above Valloire after climbing the Col du Télégraphe.

    "We take enough risk as it is already and for us to go up there and stop the race and get in buses would be stupid. I think the race organisers are smart in doing the right thing because it's apparently snowing a lot at Sestriere," Vande Velde said, while sheltering...

  • Tygart: UCI hasn't taken any decisive anti-doping action since Armstrong case

    USADA chief Travis Tygart (R) shakes hands with Senator Arlen Specter at a 2009 hearing in Washington, DC about screening dietary supplements for illegal steroids.
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 12:36 BST
    Cycling News

    All those involved in the sport “deserve more”, USADA head says

    Travis Tygart has said that the UCI has not taken any “decisive action” against doping since the Lance Armstrong and US Postal scandal.

    “We have seen nothing. It has been over seven months since our report and their declaration that they needed to take decisive action,” he said. “So, of course, we are frustrated.”

    Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, spoke at a meeting in Brussels with European Union sports officials. with UCI president Pat McQuaid also in attendance. “All those who cherish the Olympic values, particularly fair play and a level playing field, deserve more,” Tygart said, the AP reported.

    Tygart said that the only noteworthy action by the UCI was to close down its independent commission which was to examine the UCI's role in the Armstrong case. “They disbanded the independent commission that was set up at the very time it began to actually act independent,” Tygart said.

    He also called the Spanish judge's ruling to destroy the blood bags in the Operacion Puerto blood-doping case an “obvious setback,” but was encouraged by the appeals of that decision.

  • Neben suffers broken hip in women's Tour of California time trial

    Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon) completed the team podium sweep
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 13:35 BST
    Laura Weislo

    No championship defense after dramatic crash

    Both of the reigning USA national time trial champions will be unable to defend their titles when the 2013 championships take place in Chattanooga, Tennessee next week. David Zabriskie crashed in the warm-up for the Amgen Tour of California time trial in San Jose on Friday, and women's champion Amber Neben went down in a dramatic wreck during the women's race.

    Neben told Cyclingnews that she has been diagnosed with a broken hip and ribs, and has major contusions to her shoulder.

    The Pasta Zara-Cogeas rider was on a fast, twisty descent in the middle of the race when she appeared to be caught in some gusty crosswinds, and headed into a tight left-hand bend too quickly. After locking up the rear wheel, she ran off the road and clipped the rocky cliff on the left side of the road with her shoulder before being spun around and thrown to the ground.

    "I was going well, really well," she said of the race. "Bummer. This hurts literally and figuratively. I'll recover, though. God is always with me as I go through the fires. He doesn't say the road is going to be easy, but he does promise to walk with us and hold us when it gets hard."

    The crash comes after a difficult start to the season, which began with a severe case of dysentery at a race in El Salvador. She's had to overcome a case of skin cancer and fought back from numerous injuries throughout her long career.

    "Cycling and sport is a microcosm for life. These lessons I learn, these experiences I have can be transferred to business, school, life or other sports. Believe it or not, there can be positive stuff that comes out of adversity. Yes, it stinks... No doubt about it. I do have a big picture perspective that keeps me grounded."

  • Galibier, Mont-Cenis out of Giro d'Italia Stage 15

    Giro d'Italia stage 15 profile
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 15:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Continued snowfall too much for the race

    Snow and bad weather is set to eliminate both the Col du Galibier and the Mont-Cenis from Sunday's stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia, according to a report from AFP.

    The prefecture of the Savoie region has ruled that the road over Mont-Cenis will be closed on Sunday due to the threat of avalanches and the race will also be unable to finish at the summit of the Galibier as originally planned.

    A formal announcement from organisers RCS is expected after Saturday’s stage 14, but AFP reports that stage 15 will take place on a shortened parcours, beginning after Mont-Cenis and finishing at Valloire, rather than atop the Galibier.

    Race director Michele Acquarone said, “Tomorrow is rather complicated as there’s snow throughout the region. We’re in contact with the French authorities and with Luuc Eisenga of AIGCP to find the best solution for the safety of the riders and for the race. The ideal would be to do the whole stage but we’ll see.”

    A statement from the prefecture of the Savoie region to AFP said: “The common aim of the prefecture of the Savoie region and the organisers of the Giro is to allow the stage to go ahead, in spite of conditions that are still uncertain, by adapting to them to so as to allow for the maximal level of security.”

    Cyclingnews will have more on this story as it develops.

  • Tour of California time trial widens classification gaps

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) welcomes his new daughter onto the big stage
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 16:50 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Domestic teams switch goals to stage wins

    With the gaps in the general classification widened after the 2013 Tour of California time trial in San Jose, and BMC's Tejay van Garderen a virtual shoo-in for the overall victory, the domestic teams who were chasing a final podium spot are now left fighting for the remaining scraps: two more stage or maybe a minor podium placing.

    Van Garderen extended his lead by winning the time trial, and now holds 1:47 on Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), with Orica-GreenEdge's Cameron Meyer in third at 2:57. BMC has its Swiss climber Mathias Frank in fourth, 24 seconds off the podium, while former race leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) is in fifth a further 10 seconds back.

    Acevedo's directeur sportif Sebastian Alexandre thinks it will be impossible to unseat van Garderen, and it is unlikely Acevedo can get ahead of Rogers, but he is still aiming for either a stage win, a podium for Acevedo, or both.

    "It's going to be very difficult to change the GC lead. Tejay has proven he's climbing very well, and unless something strange happens, he will win.

    "We will probably think more about the stage and moving Janier up to the podium. He's only 34 seconds down on third place, and we are confident in him, and he is very motivated."

    The stage from Livermore to Mt. Diablo won't just be about the final climb, however. At least one team, the 5-Hour Energy squad led by Frankie Andreu, is willing to push its chips in and go all in to move Francisco "Paco" Mancebo up in the classification. Mancebo is down 4:26, which is a big deficit to make up, but sometimes teams will give a rider more leeway if they think they can control the gap.

    "I hope they'll give him some leash. We plan to be aggressive," Andreu said. "We can't wait until the final climb. It's not just up to us, though....

  • Video: Kessiakoff on the belief Astana has in Nibali

    Fredrik Kessiakoff and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 17:20 BST
    Cycling News

    "We know he can win the Giro" says rider.

    At the start line of the Giro d’Italia’s 14th stage in Cervere, Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) was one of the few riders displaying a positive demeanour. The forecast of rain and cold temperatures, coupled with 13 stages of already back-breaking effort, had started to take a toll on the peloton but the Swedish time trialist appeared to almost relish the scenario.

    It probably helps that Kessiakoff is riding in support of race leader and number one favourite Vincenzo Nibali and that Astana have so far asserted a level of control and confidence over the race that has almost become untouchable.

    “We know Nibali can win,” declared Kessiakoff in this exclusive video for Cyclingnews. “He has done a fantastic race so far and we’re all here to support him. The weather has been pretty bad but that’s just part of racing in May I guess.”

    "But it’s easier to go all in for someone when you know he can really perform and really win."

  • Galibier stage of the Giro d'Italia to end at the Pantani monument

    Fifteen years after Marco Pantani attacked on the Galibier (pictured) to set up his 1998 Tour de France victory, the Giro d'Italia pays tribute with a summit finish on the Galibier.
    Article published:
    May 18, 2013, 19:01 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    RCS Sport ready to make further changes if the weather worsens

    Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport has announced that Sunday's 15th stage will not finish at the summit of the Col du Galibier but 4.25km further down the climb at the Marco Pantani memorial.

    Rumours of changes to the stage have be swirling for 48 hours, with the French authorities ready to cancel or drastically cut the stage, moving the finish down the valley to Valloire, after the Col du Télégraphe.

    However after long negotiations with French authorities it has been agreed that the stage will finish at the Pantani monument, 10km further up the Galibier, at an altitude of 2,295m. The Pantani monument marks the spot where Italian rider attacked in the rain to secure victory in the 1998 Tour de France.

    RCS Sport confirmed the news via the official race Twitter feed and then issued an official statement.

    They confirmed that the stage will follow the start as planned in Cesana Torinese and climb the Col du Mont Cenis after 58km because there is no alternative route over the Alps into France. The stage will start at 1:00pm local time instead of 12:30 as scheduled.

    RCS Sport said they will continue to monitor the weather during the night and be ready to change the route to protect the safety of the riders and the Giro d'Italia caravan.