Trek Factory Racing riders on the family feel of the team
Trek Factory Racing have been active throughout this year's Giro d'Italia and with Julian Arredondo wearing the blue climbers jersey, there have been several trips to the podium although a stage win has proved elusive so far after 13 attempts.
Cyclingnews caught up Arredondo and his taller Italian teammate Eugenio Alafaci for an exclusive interview at the team bus before the Giro begins its mountainous third week.
The team is backing Robert Kiserlovski for a high GC placing and through Alafaci's translations, Arrendono explained how he will help out in the mountains.
"The first objective is to support Robert for the GC but for sure I want to fight for this jersey," Arrenondo said through Alafaci's translation.
For Alafacci, he will try to help Arredondo and Kiserlovki before the roads head upwards. When the climbs start, Arrendondo's role is to be with Kiserlovksi and find out how he is feeling and when the time to attack or to hold back is.
With a large part of the day spent off the bike, the team is 'like a big family" for Arredondo as Alafaci explained; "despite the language, we try to spend as much time as possible together."
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Staying concentrated from kilometre zero to the finish line
Team Sky's Bernhard Eisel sat down with Cyclingnews during the Giro d'Italia to explain his role as a road captain. As he explains, his role is to ensure a clear line of communication between the riders and the team's sports directors in the car and keeping everyone updated on how the race is unfolding.
"It's someone who should take responsibility in the race as it's not always the sport director who makes the call," Eisel explained of his specific role. "Sometimes it's the road captain in the race who tells the boys, 'stay together, stick together, stay at the front.'"
Being the road captain isn't just about pulling the strings during the race but also knowing the parcours and the weather for example as this knowledge is key to making the right decision and winning races which Sky is more than accustomed too.
"Doing his homework, reading the road book and being there from kilometre zero — doesn't matter if the road goes uphill or downhill — he has to be at the front," Eisel explained.
"Pretty much overlooking everything and at the same time, small things like telling people to go for bidons, keeping the sports director updated on whose riding on the front and which teams came up to talk to us."
But how does the role change when they aren't race radios?
"You probably have more to do," Eisel said of the differences. "It feels like the responsibility is higher, but at the same time you have to do the same job when you have radios but you can always blame somebody then."
And what are Eislel's top tips for the neo-pros? Watch the video below to find out.
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Cyclingnews caught up with the 2014 winner of the Tour of Cameroon to talk about how his move to Europcar came about, his hopes for African racing, and his racing plans for the rest of the season.
Cyclingnews: How did this signing come about?
Dan Craven: In 2011 I raced the Tropical Amissa Bongo (Tour of Gabon) with an African mixed team from the UCI Africa centre. I won the KOM jersey (on my Steel Condor/ Steely Dan), came 7th overall and met Jean Rene Bernadeau along the way. Even though my French was horrific, the two of us had a very good understanding from the start. By the time I saw him again at the Tour of South Africa in February he started talking to me about becoming a part of the team - and riding the Vuelta. We tried but there was no space in the roster for me in 2012. In January I saw Jean Rene in Gabon again and the conversation went further. Having been in the business for so long and getting my hopes up so many times in the past I didn't get too excited but on 31 March I received an email from Jean Rene saying there was a chance to add me to the team mid- season.
I'll always remember the date because by the time I could tell anyone it was the next day, the first of April, and no one would believe me. Not that I told anyone. Tried to keep it as quiet as possible as, once again, I've been excited - and then been let down too often in the past. Now we're a few days away from June - when I will officially change teams and it is indeed becoming a reality.
Cyclingnews: What is your race programme in the coming months? First race in new team colours?
Having confirmed that he will miss Team Sky's defence of their Tour de France title, Ian Stannard has told Cyclingnews that he will focus on returning to full heath and fitness in the coming weeks and months. The British rider crashed in Gent-Wevelgem this spring and his injuries were misdiagnosed with further scans revealing more serious damage. Now fully aware of the extent of his health, the winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, is pain free but taking small and steady step ins his rehabilitation.
"I've been doing a lot of work. I was quite keen to be in that Tour team. I was on the turbo and doing a lot of core work to get my strength back in my back, we got another opinion and we found out that it was actually more broken than they thought," Stannard told Cyclingnews.
"It was actually a burst fracture rather than a compressed fracture. So it was quite a bit worse than we actually thought. It was massively disappointing, but what can you do? It was quite nice to have a clear decision that I couldn't ride and I just had to take my time to let it heal properly."
"I'm pain free, I haven't got any restrictions and I'm moving well on it. I haven't got any implications. It all feels fine. I think that the biggest problem if I go out on my bike, even if I slip on a bit of gravel and end up on my arse a little bit heavy, not even a massive fall, that I could do some pretty major damage. It's more from that side that I have to be careful. It's a bit frustrating, because I can't go out, I can't train, but it's one of those injuries that you've got to be mindful of. I think cyclists push through a lot of injuries to come back as quickly as possible, but I...
Defending champion looks to worlds as a major season target
Carmen Small admits that she is not as physically prepared as she would like to be heading into the USA Cycling Professional Championships time trial on Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The defending champion is realistic about her chances of success and has instead targeted a top performance at the time trial world championships on September 23 in Ponferrada, Spain.
"My circumstances are different than they were last year," Small told Cyclingnews. "My preparation over the winter, heading into this season, wasn’t the best. My big goal this year is the time trial world championships. I already have that spot and I don’t necessarily need to peak twice during the season."
At this time last year, Small had focused on top performances in the time trial at the 2013 Pan American Continental Championships and the Chrono Gatineau, two international events where she could showcase her ability against the best time trialists. It also gave her a chance to prepare for a winning performance at nationals in order to qualify herself to compete at worlds.
"I was on a different level with my fitness last year," Small said. "Nationals was crucial to solidifying my Worlds spot, so I put more emphasis on it than I have this year. Having said that, I will still go out and try my hardest."
Despite not being in her best time trial form, she has had a successful season with recent wins at the Tour of the Gila’s second stage and Tour of California women’s circuit race. Her seventh-place performance at the Tour of California time trial, however, wasn’t of the caliber expected of a national champion.
Cadel Evans (BMC) gained five seconds on race leader Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the climb to the Oropa Sanctuary, cutting his deficit to just 32 seconds on the Colombian. It was a huge effort for little time on the first day in the Alps but the seconds are worth far more when calculating Evan's chances of overall success and no doubt boost his morale and undermine Uran's confidence.
Evans appeared happy with his performance after he left anti-doping and made an effort to say hello to Afghanistan refugee Nur Halimi and other friends from the Don Guanella association.
"It might have been a few more second but it was a bit of a …. What do you call it? A wave in front of me," Evans told journalists, including Cyclingnews, at the finish, describing how he weaved past several riders in sight of the finish.
"It wasn't my best day. It wasn't my worst. I wanted to see how the team was and how everything went. It’s nice to put the responsibility of the race on another team in these finishes."
Evans appeared unable to go with Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) when they attacked on the climb but he opted for a calculated ride and finished only 20 seconds down on Quintana and 16 seconds behind Pozzovivo. Evans acknowledged they are a threat but knows they are still 2:32 and 1:39 behind.
"I think if Pozzovivo and Quintana want to get themselves back into a better position at the Giro, they need to utilize every opportunity like this that they can. But if they keep climbing like this and taking back time, well, they might be in a very good position to take back time."
Evans explained why he and most other riders did not have teammates with them during the key moment of the race on the final climb. Steve Morabito finished three minutes...
Garmin-Sharp leader goes on the attack and climbs GC
Ryder Hesjedal's aggressive rider on the first mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia gained him just 30 seconds on race leader Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) but lifted him to twelfth overall and made it clear to everyone that he intends to fight his way back into the top ten and fight all the way to Trieste.
Hesjedal started the Giro d'Italia with a three-minute handicap after Garmin-Sharp crashed in the opening team time trial. He lost a further 49 seconds because of the crash at the foot of the climb to Montecassino and lost three minutes to Uran in the Barolo time trial. The 2012 Giro d'Italia winner started the key mountain stages almost seven minutes down overall but refused to be discouraged.
When Pierre Rolland and his Europcar teammate Bjorn Thurau jumped away on the Bielmonte climb, 50km from the finish, he went after them, with teammate Nathan Haas giving him a vital hand to get across. Hesjedal then helped establish a gap and gave it everything on the climb to the finish in Oropa.
He and Rolland could have gained several minutes if the big-name contenders had not raced hard. In the end their pain was worth little gain but Hesjedal was buoyed by his strong performance.
"It was a perfect scenario for me. They were committed and I was able to sit on and not go super deep. That showed in the way me and Pierre (Rolland) were able to ride the climb (to the finish)," he said praising the Europcar attack.
"Every time Pierre moves, he's pure class. I let them get going first to see what would Uran would do. I felt comfortable and it was a huge effort by Nathan (Haas) to help me get across. I really made the difference when I connected to those guys. I was able to contribute, get over the climb and establish a bit of a gap. Europcar did...
On the day the Giro d'Italia recalled Marco Pantani's oft-eulogized fight back at Oropa, Nairo Quintana signalled the beginning of his own, steadier rimonta by clawing back 25 seconds on fellow countryman Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the summit finish overlooking Biella.
Uran began the stage in a commanding position atop the overall standings following his emphatic victory in the Barolo time trial on Thursday, and the maglia rosa seemed wholly untroubled on the lower slopes of the final climb. When the bobbing figure of Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) danced clear four kilometres from the top with Quintana in tow, however, Uran was unable to follow.
More surprisingly, Uran was found wanting when the group of favourites splintered in the last two kilometres, and he lost time on all of his direct rivals - 25 seconds to Quintana, 21 to Pozzovivo, 17 to Wilco Kelderman and 5 to Cadel Evans, who passed him on the final kick to the line.
That day back in 1999, Pantani's rivals looked the other way when the Italian was stalled by a slipped chain at the base of the climb and simply kept racing, and in his post-stage press conference, Uran was happy to overlook the minute details of the day's stage and focus on the bigger picture.
"There was no problem, everything went regular," Uran said. "We had a man in the break and we wanted the break to go the distance so it gained a lot of time. I've done the Giro four times and I've always been consistent in those Giri. I've lost 25 seconds today but that's no problem. Poels was going very well. He was with me when Quintana and Pozzovivo attacked with five kilometres to go."
Although his overall advantage has tightened slightly, Uran remains 32...