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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 19, 2012

Date published:
May 19, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Weather could be a factor at Cervinia, warns Rodriguez

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 3:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Pink jersey holder looks to defend lead in the Alps

    After two weeks of sparring, some heavier blows should be landed at the Giro d’Italia as the race enters the Alps on Saturday. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is a narrow leader on the scorecards after the opening rounds, but the Spaniard maintains that the contenders for the maglia rosa can only truly begin to be assessed on the road to Cervinia on stage 14.

    “Tomorrow is the first tough climb,” Rodriguez said. “Up to now we haven’t done any especially hard climbs, so until tomorrow it’s hard to know who is going well or who is going badly. My sensations are good right now but that could all change tomorrow.”

    Indeed, Rodriguez was at pains to point out that the Saturday’s Alpine stage may yet turn out to be something more than a mere prelude to the anticipated slugging match in the Dolomites next week. With the forecast predicting plummeting temperatures and even snow, the road to Cervinia could prove a tougher proposition than originally envisaged.

    “For now, the stage I fear the most is tomorrow’s,” Rodriguez said. “Logically the stage that will make the biggest difference is the Stelvio, but tomorrow is what I have in mind right now, especially because with the possibility of rain and snow, it could be really difficult.”

    Rodriguez took hold of the pink jersey by bounding to victory on the hilltop finish at Assisi on stage 10, but he appeared happy to loosen his grip on the overall lead on the road to Sestri Levante two days later. However, a timely stint of pace-making from Liquigas-Cannondale ensured that Rodriguez would carry the jersey and the attendant daily podium protocol into the Alps.

    “We’ve got a bit of margin on the defensive a little...

  • Renshaw quits Giro d'Italia

    Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) is chasing sprint victory.
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 10:19 BST
    Cycling News

    No wins, but Rabobank sprinter satisfied

    Mark Renshaw has joined the list of sprinters leaving the Giro d'Italia. The Rabobank rider, who has not finished higher than third in the race, will now prepare for the Tour de France.

    Renshaw's highest finish came in Friday's thirteenth stage, where he finished third behind winner Mark Cavendish (Sky). “My third place on Friday has given me confidence for the future," he said.

    The Australian successfully set up sprints for Cavendish during the three years they were together at HTC, but they parted ways this year after the American team folded. Renshaw has struggled to establish himself in the sprint elite this season, with only one stage win at the Presidential Tour of Turkey.

    "I've finished a busy schedule this year, but my biggest goal is still to come and that is the Tour," he said, according to "I am satisfied with my performance here at the Giro.”

    He is now looking to the Tour, where, he said, the sprints are different than in the Giro. “In the Tour, the speed for the sprint is much higher speed. If you can get a good position, then it is easier to hold onto. That suits me better."

    Another former HTC teammate, Matt Goss, has also stepped out of the Giro. The Orica-GreenEdge sprinter won the third stage and finished second twice behind Cavendish. Cavendish, who has won three stages and leads the points ranking, has said he will try to stay in the race until the finish in Milan in eight days.

  • Mountains battle hots up at Tour of California

    The day's break included Sebastian Salas (Optum Pro Cycling), Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Colombia-Coldeportes) and Jeremy Vennell (Bissell).
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 11:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Salas extends lead but not without a fight

    The Amgen Tour of California's stage 6 to Big Bear turned into a battle royale for the King of the Mountains jersey when the top two riders in that competition made it into the all-day breakaway that also launched stage winner Sylvan Georges.

    KOM leader Sebastian Salas (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and second-placed David Boily (Spidertech-C10) joined Georges, Salas' teammate Andrew Bajadali, Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano), Gregory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan) and Jeremy Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) in a move that started immediately after the field passed the neutral roll out for the 186.3km stage from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake.

    The KOM fireworks started about 22km into the race with the category 4 climb up Mt. Emma. Boily drew first blood, grabbing maximum points ahead of Salas, Bajadali and Rast. But Salas responded by winning the next three sprints to close out his competitor.

    “I panicked there and led him out,” Salas said of the first KOM. “So the following sprints I took it from a couple kilometres out. I have more of a diesel, so I don't have that punch.”

    Salas got a lot of help from Bajadali, who not only denied Boily the second spot on the next KOM, the category 1 ascent to the tiny
    mountain town of Wrightwood, but also played water carrier for his teammate in the polka dot jersey.

    “That was really good,” Salas said. “Having Bajadali getting some more points was really good and really helpful. Having him there today was instrumental. He took longer pulls, brought me bottles, really turned himself inside out to help me out today.”

    Optum team director Jonas Carney said the team plan at the beginning of the day was for Salas and Bajadali to infiltrate the breakaway, and in...

  • Video: Beppu discusses his love of the Giro d'Italia

    Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 16:02 BST
    Cycling News

    GreenEdge rider also reflects on withdrawal of Goss

    In an exclusive chat with Cyclingnews at the start of this morning's fourteenth stage at the 2012 Giro d'Italia, Orica-GreenEdge rider Fumiyuki Beppu revealed that the Giro d'Italia is one of his favourite races of the season because of the fans.

    The 29-year-old from Japan joined GreenEdge from RadioShack in the offseason and is very happy in his new surroundings, as he explains on the video. Beppu also discusses the retirement from the race of teammate Matthew Goss.


  • Amador puts nightmare behind him with Giro d'Italia stage win

    Andrey Amador (Movistar) rejoices at his stage win
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 18:56 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Movistar rider makes history for his native Costa Rica

    Up until today, Andrey Amador (Movistar) was mostly known for the accident he had on his last training ride of the year 2010 at the end of December in his country. Now he has become the first cyclist from Costa Rica to win a stage in a grand tour, as he beat Czech Jan Barta and Italy’s Alessandro De Marchi at the top of Cervinia, two days after finishing third in Sestri Levante behind Lars Bak and Sandy Casar at the Giro d'Italia.

    He was mugged while training and believed that the offenders were only interested in stealing his bike, so he tried to run away from them. But they stabbed him till he became unconscious and he was left for dead for six hours next to a river. He still had his phone in his pocket when he regained consciousness and called his family to get a ride back home. A kidney was paralyzed and his lungs were affected and it took him several months to recover. He managed to get back in the saddle in time for his debut at the 2011 Tour de France but rode with an injured ankle. In his first pro season with Caisse d’Epargne in 2009 he broke a collarbone on the last day of Paris-Nice.

    “This year for the first time, my preparation for the Giro has been excellent,” Amador said in a press conference after stage 14. “I had a good calendar of races. I’ve changed my training methods and it works well. Our team Movistar is doing very well at the Giro - we already have two stage wins [with Francisco Ventoso at Frosinone] and we are highly placed on GC [with Benat Intxausti seventh at 1.07]. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the team members, my girlfriend Laura, my family and all the people who support me for their great help....

  • Video: Giro d'Italia performances boost Slagter's confidence

    Tom Jelte Slagter (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 19:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch neo pro has been mixing it with best climbers

    Rabobank's Tom-Jelte Slagter has gained plenty of attention with his performances up to now at the Giro d'Italia, and the 22-year-old Dutchman is ready for more challenges as the race enters its tough final week.

    On the start line ahead of stage 14, Slagter told Cyclingnews that his performances in the last week or so have given him confidence that he can compete effectively with the world's best riders on smaller climbs - and that he was looking forward to finding out where he stands on the longer and steeper climbs that are still to come.

    Slagter also stated that he expects Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) to be the men to watch over the next few days.

  • Cunego’s illusion fades on road to Cervinia

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 20:14 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Hesjedal must not be underestimated warns Scarponi

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) briefly threatened to open up the fight for the pink jersey on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia when he jumped clear of the group of favourites on the Col de Joux with 48km still to race, but his effort petered out on the final climb to Cervinia. While he ultimately conceded a minute to the main overall contenders, his teammate Michele Scarponi was at the heart of the tense, tactical battle in the finale.

    In keeping with the tenor of the race to date, Cunego’s audacious move was in fact born out of caution. When José Rujano (Androni-Venezuela) careered away 3 kilometres from the summit of the Col de Joux, Cunego was smartly across to his wheel to police the break, but little did he realise that the Venezuelan was simply attacking in order to avoid losing ground on the treacherous descent that followed.

    “I followed Rujano because I thought he might try and make a dangerous action, but once I went over the top, I found myself alone after practically two bends,” Cunego said on crossing the line. “I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew that being out there would be an additional worry for our rivals and I think that they had to pull very hard to bring us back.”

    As Cunego chugged clear of the group of favourites, one was briefly reminded of the lengthy solo raid to Falzes eight years ago that gave him both the maglia rosa and the upper hand in the bitter internal struggle with Gilberto Simoni for leadership of Saeco. Cunego’s advantage never stretched beyond a minute on this occasion, however, and he insisted that his attack was for the collective good rather than any attempt to mark his...

  • Hesjedal's return to pink at Giro d'Italia was unplanned

    Thumbs up for race leader Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Barracuda)
    Article published:
    May 19, 2012, 21:10 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Canadian back in lead after first Alpine stage

    After he abandoned the pink jersey to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at the end of the uphill finish to Assisi on stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) took it back from the Spaniard at the top of Cervinia in stage 14 on Saturday.

    With nine seconds of advantage over Rodriguez, the lanky Canadian reinstated the hierarchy in the GC that followed the team time trial in Verona on stage 4, in which Garmin-Barracuda and Katusha went one-two while Astana was third.

    Hesjedal rode away from the group of the favorites with 4km to go. "I just felt good," the British Columbian said. "I felt comfortable all the way up. I wanted to see how the legs would respond. The pink jersey was there to be taken, so I went for it. To be honest, I felt a little sad when I lost it. My first thought was that I'd never have it again, and I feel fortunate to pull it back on now."

    "The favorites were taking control of the race," he said. "I didn't really see anyone today from behind. Roman Kreuziger was very strong when his team [Astana] took control in the downhill, but it's difficult to pick a favorite. They are still the same: Rodriguez, [Ivan] Basso, [Michele] Scarponi, [Domenico] Pozzovivo, Hesjedal!"

    For the first time, albeit quietly, Hesjedal mentioned himself as a favorite for the Giro. "With a time trial to finish, yeah, I can take time on anyone on GC," he said.

    "I'm looking forward to that. But I don't know if I can be a surprise winner of the Giro. I'm not thinking that far ahead. I'm where I'm at and that's how I approached...