Dutch organizers still awaiting explanation of decision
The Netherlands will not host the start of the Vuelta a Espana in 2015. Race organizers have told the Dutch organizing committee of their decision without any explanation. Earlier, Vuelta organizer Javier Guillen had said that the Netherlands had a 99.9% chance of holding the start.
The organizing committee La Vuelta 2015 Holanda said that it was “disappointed” to receive the written notification, and is still awaiting the reasoning for it.
Fred Lubbers, head of the committee, blamed it on the fact that the Vuelta has been acquired by Tour de France organizer ASO. “They decided not to start in the Netherlands, we expect a statement this week,” he told ad.nl.
Former world champion finished 77th in Belgium ITT
There was no need for panic for Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) after he finished 77th in the individual time trial at the Tour of Belgium on Friday, nearly two minutes down on the winning time of world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).
Martin dominated the stage against the clock, finishing 40 seconds quicker than second-placed Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano).
The Tour of Belgium is Cancellara's first since his victory at Paris-Roubaix with his immediate program still to be decided and his focus firmly on the UCI Road World Championships in Florence in September.
"For me it was important to come to this race and be in a racing situation," the Swiss explained. "I need this race to get started again in racing. I will go back and do the Tour de Suisse next month and then things about the Tour will be decided later."
Directeur sportif Dirk Demol confirmed that there was a question mark over the 32-year-old's participation in the Tour de France which begins in Corsica on June 29.
"We decide that after Switzerland," he told Sporza. "Sponsors also have their say, but we'll see."
Earlier this week, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) confirmed that he would not be participating in this year's Tour de France despite the wishes of team boss Patrick Lefevere.
Vacansoleil rider's choice for the Giro d'Italia time trial
Ahead of the Giro’s 18th stage, a 20.6 kilometre mountain time trial, Cyclingnews received the low down from Vacansoleil on their choice of bikes for the individual race against the clock.
Vacansoleil rider, Rob Ruijgh, like the majority of the riders in the peloton, decided on a standard road bike, in his case the Bianchi Oltre, with a FSA plasma handlebar set up. The current Oltre XR was launched last summer and weighs in at under 900g. The frame utilizes X-TEX is cross-weave carbon technology.
In this exclusive video a Vacansoleil mechanic runs through the bike’s set up.
Seven-time US professional time trial champion Dave Zabriskie's unintended absence from this year's race has opened a wide berth of possibility for the rest of the US domestic peloton as 34 hopefuls take the line Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Zabriskie, who fractured his clavicle while warming up for the stage 6 time trial at the Amgen Tour of California, won't be in Tennessee to defend his title. And neither will the only other rider to win a stars-and-stripes skinsuit since 2005; BMC announced earlier this week that 2011 champion Taylor Phinney will also be sitting out this weekend.
Although the US time trial jersey has gone almost exclusively to WorldTour riders over the past decade - specifically Zabriskie - only RadioShack-Leopard's Matthew Busche and BMC's Brent Bookwalter will represent cycling's first division this year.
Busche finished third behind Zabriskie and Tom Zirbel on a different course in 2011, and he recently finished 15th in California's race against the clock, the second-best US rider behind winner Tejay van Garderen. BMC's Bookwalter, who finished third in the time trial championship last year and opened this season with a stage win at the Tour of Qatar, finished 38th in the recent California test.
The lack of some familiar WorldTour faces leaves the 2013 field wide open; combine that with a brand-new 30km out-and-back course that could favor larger, powerful specialists, and the domestic teams are ready to pounce on the opportunity.
With a roster that features two of the seven riders who have run second during...
Colombian edges Evans out of second place at Giro d’Italia
Falling snow and vertiginous slopes conspired almost to slow time on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and the final four kilometres of stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia seemed like something of a microcosm for the race as a whole.
For 1500 metres, Rigoberto Uran (Sky) succeeded in withstanding Vincenzo Nibali’s forcing but with a shade under three kilometres to go, the maglia rosa passed boldly into the curtain of snow ahead and into a realm of his own.
As has been the case since Nibali took flight on the Jafferau last weekend, Uran’s focus then quickly shifted from matching the pink jersey to edging away from Cadel Evans (BMC). Uran trailed the Australian by ten seconds coming into Saturday’s stage and the final kick up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo was his last chance to dislodge Evans from second place overall.
“It was a really difficult today especially with the weather, so I had to hang tough,” Uran said afterwards. “I was feeling good but not enough to stay with Nibali, so I followed my own rhythm to the finish.”
By the time Nibali launched his decisive attack, a struggling Evans was off the back of the leading group and already fading into a grey impalpable world behind, while Uran had an ally of circumstance in the shape of Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who was looking to divest Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) of the white jersey.
The two Colombians inched away from Evans, who put up fierce resistance to their advance until his hopes dwindled and then definitively dissolved in the final kilometre. By that point, as the snow swirled ever more furiously around the summit, Uran and Betancur had been joined by their fellow countryman Fabio Duarte (Colombia) and the trio collaborated...
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) sealed victory in the Giro d'Italia with a solo win in the snow at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. In doing so he showed his rivals and the world that he is the strongest rider in the race and that he deserves to ride into Brescia on Sunday in the maglia rosa.
While other big-name contenders crashed and faded during the three weeks of intense racing in the rain, cold and snow, the 28-year-old Sicilian rarely seemed to struggle, racing intelligently and within himself, and backed up by a strong Astana squad.
Speaking in the Rifugio Auronzo, further up from the snow covered finish line and tucked under the Tre Cime di Lavaredo rocky outcrop, Nibali mixed smiles, modesty and celebration, when talking about his victory in the snow.
"I've got a good lead and the Giro will finish with sprint tomorrow, so I'm overjoyed. I think it's epic, with a finish like today and with the heavy snow," he said.
"I'll need a bit of time to fully understand what I've achieved, that I've won the Giro and a Vuelta now. But all my places at the Giro and Tour de France made me believe that I'm a stage race rider. Winning the Giro makes me believe it even more."
Danilo Di Luca's positive doping test for EPO almost overshadowed Nibali's victory and despite being former teammates and friends in the past, Nibali has not been afraid to criticise him. However, he carefully avoided making any detailed judgment during his press conference.
"It's difficult to judge Danilo, I think we need to wait for the counter-analysis," he said.
"If there's something that pushed him to do what he did, we need to understand what it was. He seems to have lost sense of the ideals of life. There...
Evans suffered a mechanical problem in the final part of the climb to the finish, losing 1:11 to Uran and so slipped to third overall, 5:52 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 1:09 down on Uran.
Evans was livid when he stopped at the BMC minivan, just past the finish area, pushing away team staff to look at his gears and bike. His sprockets were covered in slushy snow and so perhaps stopped him from using his preferred gear.
He did not speak to the media waiting in the snow, switching to a more comfortable BMC Mercedes team car for the evacuation down the climb to the team buses.
Later the BMC team issued a press release confirming the mechanical problem that had cost Evans second place overall.
"I had a technical problem at two kilometers to go all the way to the finish and that cost me second place," is all Evans is quoted as saying.
BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz and directeur sportif Fabio Baldato were also forced to admit the problem had cost the team dear.
"He tried to resolve the technical issue, but the severe weather and the nature of the problem prevented him from doing so and it cost him valuable time," Ochowicz said.
Baldato tried to be more upbeat: "All day, Cadel had good legs. For sure, second was better than third. But we are still on the podium and tomorrow we need to control to make the race safe and then the goal is reached."
Colombian gains time on Majka to become best young rider
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) has been locked in a fight for the best young rider's white jersey with Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) during much of the Giro d'Italia but the aggressive Colombian rider finally distanced the Pole in the final kilometres of stage 20 in the snow at the finish.
Betancur now leads Majka by 41 precious seconds and celebrated setting up victory in the special classification by hugging his teammates, fellow Colombians and even throwing a few snowballs.
"The white jersey was my big objective and I got it. I am very happy. I want to thank everybody. It's great when you try as hard as you can and then things work out," he said, while speaking to Colombian radio.
"Today’s performance is a message of thanks to the young, the old and all the people who support us. We can take this sport forward, we can have a much better youth in our country, too, thanks to cycling if they get in interested in it, we can show everybody the real Colombia.
"With Uran second overall and me in the white jersey, that's Colombia's real class, we showed them what we can do."
Betancur risked losing the white jersey and fifth place overall after a puncture at the foot of the climb to the finish. He was not impressed that the Saxo-Tinkoff team attacked while he was forced to swap bikes and chase through the team cars.
"Saxo Bank tried to go hard when I punctured, that wasn’t fair at all but I got back to the race and I showed them what I was worth," he said.
"In truth I had a puncture, then my bike was broken, then my bike broke again, then I had to change the whole bike. But when you want to do well, there’s nothing that can stop you. This jersey really gives me a lot of motivation to do well in...