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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 21, 2011

Date published:
May 21, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Sutherland primed and ready for stage seven showdown

    Rory Sutherland would go on to make up time on his rivals in the time trial.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 7:38 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Australian to leave nothing on the mountain

    Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) is fully prepared to contest Saturday’s daunting second mountaintop finish this week on Mt. Baldy, the penultimate stage of the Amgen Tour of California. The Australian goes into the ‘queen’ stage in third place overall and is confident that he will maintain a podium position through to the event’s conclusion on Sunday in Thousand Oaks.

    "It will come down to how the legs are tomorrow," Sutherland told Cyclingnews.

    "You can have good days and bad days. Even when I had super legs two days ago, Horner still rode a minute away from us. I’m not saying I’m giving up on it and I’m going to try everything I can to get the time back. Is the [overall] win realistic? Probably not - but we are going to give it a really good throw down and a really good shot. It’s all or nothing."

    Sutherland rode into an impressive third place during the event’s first mountaintop finish on Sierra Road, stage four. Current overall race leader, Chris Horner (RadioShack) won the stage by over a minute to the nearest group that included Sutherland along with runner up in last year’s Tour de France Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) and three-time overall event winner Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack).

    "I came out in December and did the stage four by myself with Eric Greene, our directeur, behind just to get a feel for it and see what would happen," Sutherland said.

    "As a Pro Continental team, as opposed to the WorldTour Teams, we didn’t have four or five guys up there. I had to profit from the other guys as much as possible and let them do the bears work of it. I didn’t really expect my legs to feel so good and sometimes you underestimate how good you are at the end."

    "Could I have gone with Horner? I...

  • Rasmussen fits in the role of second lead-out man

    Lars Bak and Alex Rasmussen head out for a ride.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 7:50 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Dane aims at finishing first Grand Tour

    The clear victory of Mark Cavendish in stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia in Ravenna owed a lot to the way his teammate Alex Rasmussen put the whole peloton in one lane in the last two kilometres.  That led some riders to crash because they took too many risks trying to follow the former world champion for Madison on the track.

    "It's been a hard sprint because we've had to use the whole team for winning," Mark Renshaw told Cyclingnews at the finish. "We've taken the lead a long way to go!" As it was no secret that Renshaw and Cavendish were going to leave the Giro after stage 12 and before another 200km long transfer to the next hotel, with no stage left for pure sprinters on the map of the race, the HTC-Highroad team was keen to give everything once again.

    The only sprint that Cavendish lost to Alessandro Petacchi, another non-starter at Spilimbergo, in Parma at the end of stage two was partly due the lack of the second lead-out man that has been the trademark of HTC-Highroad in the past few years. But Rasmussen did it perfectly this time around.

    "I took the lead from a little hill with 1.8km to go because I felt I had very good legs," the Dane told Cyclingnews before being congratulated by the stage winner. "Everyone was fighting for position behind Cavendish's wheel, so it made it easy for me to stay in the front."

    Rasmussen isn't exactly the kind of sprinter like Matt Goss or Bernhard Eisel that HTC-Highroad has been used to recycle as a second lead-out man. "I can win some sprints," said the double stage winner of the 2010 Four Days of Dunkirk. "But I don't have the punch that...

  • Lewis on the attack in Giro d'Italia

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 9:26 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    American promises to show more aggression in the last week

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad) spent much of the first half of the Giro d'Italia working for Mark Cavendish but still had the legs to go on the attack during Friday's big mountain stage to Grossglockner.

    The break fell apart as riders began attacking each other and Lewis eventually finished 13 minutes down on stage winner Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) and race leader Alberto Contador. However he vowed to attack again in search of a stage victory before the Giro ends in Milan on May 29.

    "You might as well try." he told Cyclingnews as he put on multiple layers of clothing for the descent of the Grossglockner to the team bus parking.

    "We've had our success in the race and it's great to have Kanstantsin Sivtsov up there too. But the pressure is off, so that gives us the freedom to try something. I don't want to be just another guy sat in the peloton, there are plenty of those already.

    "It was nice to get to be up front and have a go for myself. You have to want to do it. It's not going to happen for you. But I've been recovering well and felt good, so I went for it. It was exciting to be up there."

    More attacks in the last week

    With his tempo riding over after Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw quit the Giro after a second sprint win in Ravenna, Lewis is hoping for more opportunities in the Giro. With Alberto Contador in control of the maglia rosa, Lewis expects he will let breaks go rather than use up his Saxo Bank-SunGard team to keep the peloton under control.

    "The GC is starting to shake out now and will do more so in the next few days. I think that will...

  • Busche gaining respect at Amgen Tour of California

    Matt Busche (Radioshack) works his way up the climb.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 10:03 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Second year pro on domestique duty

    RadioShack's Matthew Busche has been earning the respect of his peers with a show of selfless riding in support of his teammates at the Amgen Tour of California. Race leader Chris Horner praised the 26-year-old from Wisconsin after the stage to San Jose, where Busche was one of the riders on the team to up the tempo heading into the final climb to set up Horner and Levi Leipheimer to attack.

    Busche has had a meteoric rise to the top of the sport, as he only started to focus on cycling in 2008 after a successful college career in running. He was offered a contract with RadioShack in just his second year of racing and is now learning from one of the most experienced riders in professional cycling.

    "I feel honored to have Chris say those things about me, he's a veteran rider and a very good rider. He's been instrumental in my growth over the past two years," Busche told Cyclingnews. "He's helped me learn a lot of things, and he has tons of knowledge. He has helped me grow a lot as a rider, and it's great he felt positively about the work I did. I'm glad I could help him."

    It was one of Busche's biggest moments on the bike, coming in his first Amgen Tour of California, and it has helped him gain the attention of the American audience after a limited career of racing in the US.

    "In terms of work for the team, I had a really good day,” he said. “I'd like to think that I was helpful in setting Chris up to take the jersey and Levi to move up to second overall.

    "The team was good all day, we rode at the front and definitely put our mark on the race. Everybody was strong all day. It was only fitting that I do my part to help those guys. I felt bad at the beginning of the day and then coming through the stage I started to...

  • Vaughters talks tactics on Mt Baldy

    Jonathan Vaughters was one of the team managers adamant that the race should be called off.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 13:11 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Garmin-Cervélo boss expects fireworks on ‘queen’ stage finish

    Jonathan Vaughters is expecting his Garmin-Cervélo riders to animate the race on the lengthy finishing ascent on Mt Baldy, on the penultimate stage of the Amgen Tour of California. According to the team boss, the climb is one of the last chances to move onto the podium or maybe even into a position to win the overall classification.

    “We're definitely the underdogs for the next few days,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews. “Tomorrow, there will be fireworks. We'll put on a show tomorrow, I mean, you know, it's going to be tough. Horner is really strong right now. The overall classification will change. I'm optimistic to be on the podium, maybe even the second two places on the podium, but the top spot? That's going to be tricky. Horner's riding strong right now.”

    RadioShack’s Chris Horner is currently leading the overall classification ahead of teammate Levi Leipheimer in second and UnitedHealthcare’s Rory Sutherland in third.

    Garmin-Cervélo has stacked the top ten with Christian Vande Velde, who slid from third place into fourth place following the stage six time trial in Solvang. He is the team’s closest hope for an overall victory because he is sitting 1:39 behind Horner. Tom Danielson is next in line, sitting in fifth place, 1:44 back. Ryder Hesjedal is in eighth place, 2:27 down, followed by Andrew Talansky, eleventh at 2:56.

    “Horner is the strongest rider in the race right now,” Vaughters said. “Whether we can pull a Paris-Roubaix and swarm it or not remains to be seen. We put them under a lot of pressure during stage five with Dan Martin being off the front.”

    “In stage seven, we are going to have to try early and often and try to...

  • Talansky: white jersey a bonus, not a priority at Amgen Tour of California

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Cervélo) won the best young rider classification at the Tour de Romandie.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 14:57 BST
    By:
    Jen See

    Young American impresses on Sierra Road

    Andrew Talansky of Garmin-Cervélo finished ninth on Wednesday’s mountainous stage 4, just 1:50 behind winner Chris Horner. With his strong ride on the Sierra Road climb, Talansky took over the lead in the Young Riders competition at the Amgen Tour of California and climbed to ninth overall in the general classification. It was a big performance from the 22-year-old, who is a past U23 U.S. National Champion in the time trial and who finished second in the 2010 edition of the Tour de l’Avenir.

    Bad luck dropped Talansky down the classification during Thursday’s stage between Seaside and Paso Robles. “Ryder and I dropped back for a nature break, and I don’t know, I shifted and something happened, and I crashed. I spent 20 minutes chasing back in the cars,” he said. Unaware of his teammate behind him, Ryder Hesjedal continued riding. “Race radio would have been helpful. It’s the same for everyone, but something like that could have been avoided,” noted Talansky.

    Talansky’s bad luck continued when he got caught up behind a crash closer to the finish. “Some guys just crashed for no apparent reason. Lots of guys are getting tired. I could have avoided it by being closer to the front. I’m frustrated by that,” he said. “Losing 45 seconds because some guys crashed, that’s frustrating.”

    In Friday’s time trial, Talansky pulled back some of the time he lost. “I’ve been feeling good in the time trials this season. I...

  • Mountains jersey or time cut? Mt. Baldy could take a toll

    Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) is interviewed by Scottish filmmakers for a Tro Bro documentary.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 17:20 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth takes conservative approach

    The battle for the overall Amgen Tour of California title will take place today on the most difficult stage to ever be included in the race - stage 7 from Claremont to the top of Mt. Baldy, a 9km climb that rises over 700m. Overall race leader Chris Horner of RadioShack will have to continue to be the best on Mt. Baldy, but on the two category 2 ascents that precede it, the fight for the mountains classification will unfold.

    Spidertech Powered by C10's Pat McCarty leads the mountains classification with 23 points to Jesse Anthony's 17, but Anthony's Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth team director Jonas Carney said his team likely won't try to control the race to set him up to take the jersey.

    "It's more about how well Jesse feels," Carney said about going for the mountain sprints. "If he feels good and he can do it the other guys will try to help him.

    "We made the mistake last year of doing everything we could to defend Ryan Anderson's jersey and it backfired on us. We ended up blowing up the team and we lost four guys on the stage to the time cut.

    "Tomorrow it could be similar. The time cut is 11 percent - on a stage like that is really small. Much smaller than you would probably see in most races. So you can't just go and nuke yourself out of the blocks. You could easily get time cut if you don't take care of yourself."

    Mt. Baldy isn't the only challenge in the finale: the Glendora Road climb - an unrelenting 14.8km drag averaging about 5 percent - comes immediately prior to Mt. Baldy, giving little room to recover for the final push to the line.

    Carney predicted that if the riders contending for the overall start attacking early, as soon as the first...

  • Zomegnan attacks Giro teams and UCI after Crostis cut from stage 14

    Contador was worried about the Crostis descent
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 17:52 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Riiders not happy with mechanical support on the descent

    Angelo Zomegnan, the director of the Giro d'Italia, has lambasted the teams and the UCI after they insisted the Crostis climb was cut from Saturday's fourteenth stage.

    "On one side there are cowards and on the other side ineptitude," Zomegnan said on Italian television.

    "The directeur sportifs have carried out an ambush with the UCI. Some directeur sportif are used to driving in their cars with air conditioning while watching the race on television.

    "The problems were discussed last October, in March at a technical meeting, and before the Giro. This is a crazy decision. It has added more poison to the sport from people who should have been out of the sport a long time ago."

    It seems that five of the 23 teams were in favour of racing over the Crostis but 18 were against the idea. It has emerged that Liquigas-Cannondale, Lampre-ISD and Farnese Vini were all in favour.

    At the start of the stage in Lienz, the riders were largely in favour of cutting out the Crostis. They had accepted that the descent had been made safe but were angry that the sporting aspect of the race was lacking. They claimed a motorbike per team as mechanical support was not enough to make the racing fair for all the riders.

    "It's the sensible thing to do. There was no guarantee of assistance and the ambulances could not to get there if there was a problem," Alberto Contador said.

    Marco Pinotti agreed.

    "I think it's a wise decision. It's just a pity it was made so late," he said. "The idea of doing this road without guarantees of assistance for all riders is against what road racing is about. This is road racing, not mountain biking."