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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 27, 2010

Date published:
May 27, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Dauphiné: four teams invited

    It was picturesque racing in the French Alps.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 10:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Wildcards for pre-Tóur event are official

    The organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré have released their wildcard invitations for this year's race. In addition to the 18 ProTour teams, four Professional Continental teams have received an official invitation: Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cervélo TestTeam, Cofidis and Saur-Sojasun.

    There will thus be 22 teams to line up at the start of this year's Dauphiné, taking place from June 6-13, in Evian-les-Bains. The parcours will take the riders into the Alps and includes such prestigious climbs as L'Alpe d'Huez, the summit finish of stage six.

    This year's race will again be used as a major preparation event for the Tour de France in July and will feature the Tour's defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana), as well as Dauphiné Libéré 2009 victor Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). Further top contenders include Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

    American Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) has instead chosen to finalise his prep at the Tour de Suisse. The Schleck brothers at Saxo Bank, Andy and Fränk, will also be in the Swiss event, as well as Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Jakob Fuglsang (also Saxo Bank).

    Other Tour de France favourites such as Cadel Evans (BMC), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) will not race any of these June events as they are currently participating in the Giro d'Italia.

  • Two years for De Bonis

    Diquigiovanni's Francesco de Bonis hung on tenaciously, but could not stay with Voigt and Bellotti on the steep parts.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 13:40 BST
    Daniel Benson

    First Biological Passport case to result in suspension

    Francesco De Bonis has been handed a two-year suspension and fine by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). The Italian was one of the first five cases opened by the UCI last year with the backing of its Biological Passport. The suspension runs from June 18, 2009, to June 17, 2011.

    De Bonis has also been handed a fine of 13,750 Euros and 3.500 Swiss Francs for the costs of the UCI.

    “It was an important case as it was the first. It sets the precedent and it’s important for world sport. There are more in the pipeline,” Pat Mcquaid, head of the UCI, told Cyclingnews on Thursday.

    “We prepared a case that the experts signed off. It’s a classic doping case that goes to the national federation and in this case the Italian federation passed it to CONI. That case was heard this morning and De Bonis was sanctioned for two years.”

    The UCI published the first results of the Passport study on June 17, 2009, releasing the names of De Bonis, Pietro Caucchioli, Ricardo Serrano, Igor Astarloa and Rubén Lobato.

    De Bonis became a professional with Gerolsteiner in 2008 and rode for Diquigiovanni last year.

  • Liquigas extends cycling sponsorship

    The Liquigas-Doimo team controls the peloton during stage 6.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 15:57 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Basso and Nibali commit for two more years

    The President of Liquigas Sport, Polo Dal Lago, announced that Liquigas will continue to sponsor and own a team for two more years and confirmed that both Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali have re-signed with the Italian ProTour team for another two years.

    "We're very happy to announce the renewal of our sponsorship. We think cycling is the best means to promote our brand," Dal Lago said.

    Liquigas-Doimo Team Manager Roberto Amadio confirmed that Basso and Nibali represent the future of the team.

    "They're the two riders that best represent our vision of athletes. They're the first two bricks that we've laid to rebuild the team so that we can remain one of the elite teams in cycling," Amadio said.

    During the press conference, both Dal Lago and Amadio said they still have total faith in Franco Pellizotti despite the UCI asking the Italian Cycling Federation to investigate him following suspicious values discovered under the UCI Biological Passport system.

    "If Pellizotti's case is archived, he will race with us for the Italian national championships and the Tour de France. We'll have 15 riders at a training camp at the Passo San Pellegrino next week and Franco will be there. He is not suspended and is still part of the team," Amadio said.

    Dal Lago and Amadio criticized the UCI regarding the Biological Passport, without going into specific details, and defended the medical staff of the Liquigas team.

    "We believe the Biological Passport is poorly managed, and I'm not afraid to say that. It's very clear how they've managed it," Dal Lago said.

    "We're not going to go on a crusade but we will defend our investment, be it Beltran or the UCI."

  • Dean tries to anticipate Greipel in Brescia sprint

    Andre Greipel (HTC - Columbia) outsprints Julian Dean (Garmin - Transitions) and Tiziano dall'Antonia (Liquigas - Doimo) for the stage win.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 18:06 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Kiwi Guy takes second in final bunch sprint of the Giro

    Julian Dean got pats on his back from his Garmin-Translations teammates as he talked to Cyclingnews outside the team bus in Brescia. He didn't win the sprint, but second place behind Andre Greipel was an excellent result after 18 days of hard racing at the Giro d'Italia.

    Dean began his sprint early to try and anticipate Greipel during the fast downhill finish. The tactic didn't work perfectly because Greipel had the power to surge past Dean but "Kiwi Guy" wisely got in the German's slipstream and held on to take a deserved second place. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Liquigas-Doimo) was third and Greg Henderson (Team Sky) was fourth.

    "It would have been nice to win but I'm still happy with my Giro," Dean said to Cyclingnews.

    "We did all the other sprints for Tyler (Farrar), and we got the results. I did one sprint for myself and got it pretty right. I did what I could."

    The finish in Brescia was the last chance for the sprinter in this year's Giro d'Italia. The next two stages include the Passo del Mortirolo and the Passo di Gavia, while Sunday's final stage is a 15km individual time trial.

    Dean did not want to miss out on a last chance for victory and so hit out early.

    "It was pretty slow coming into Brescia until Sky took over. I decided to go early because Greipel is the kind of guy you don't want to leave in front of you until the last 50 metres because he's very explosive and you won't get him back."

    "I chose the right tactic but he was just faster than me. It was good that he finally did one for himself. He deserved it," Dean added sportingly.

  • Greipel finally delivers at Giro d'Italia

    A happy and relieved Andre Greipel (HTC - Columbia) after his victory on stage 18.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 18:46 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    German sprinter wants to ride Tour de France and stay with HTC-Columbia

    It wasn't until stage 18 that sprinter Andre Greipel got a Giro d'Italia stage win, which was also his 12th victory of the year. The tenacious, German sprinter said that his HTC-Columbia team had been instrumental in keeping him in the race while many other sprinters like Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) were pulling out.

    "This is a good end of the Giro for me," Greipel said after the stage. "I've had to wait for a long time. Today was the last chance for a bunch sprint finish. We took the responsibility of chasing the breakaway down with Sky. At the end [Marcel] Sieberg and [Frantisek] Rabon kept me in the front and got me a good position for the sprint.

    "We experienced different weather conditions today with sun, rain and wind, but the course had wide roads, with no dangerous corners, so it went well."

    Following his four stage wins at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in April, Greipel looked like the best sprinter on the roster for the Giro d'Italia, but he lost some battles against Farrar and Wouter Weylandt at the beginning.

    "I hadn't won so far simply because I'm not a machine but a human being," he said. "It happens that everyone gets sick at some point. I got sick two days before the Giro. I couldn't eat or drink and I lost three kilos. That's why I couldn't do well in the first stages."

    "There were breakaways that we couldn't chase and stages with a lot of corners like in Bitonto, where Farrar won for the second time but the whole team kept supporting me: the soigneurs, the mechanics, the directeurs sportifs and my colleagues. I'm proud of my team."

    Greipel didn't mention the tensions within his HTC-Columbia squad, in which he was the number one sprinter although his lead-out man Matt Goss was in a better form than him in the south of Italy. The Tasmanian was smart enough to play his own chances in the final 400 metres of stage 9 to Cava de' Tirreni. It gave the American team their only stage win until...

  • Arroyo to face Mortirolo for first time

    Maglia rosa David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) defended his lead in stage 18.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 19:40 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spanish Giro leader confident in himself and team

    With only 388 kilometres remaining in the 2010 Giro d'Italia, David Arroyo Duran of Caisse d'Épargne looks more and more like a solid leader of the corsa rosa. The 30-year-old Spaniard didn't hide his happiness in Brescia, although he's not used to the game of acting in front of the media.

    "It was a pretty quiet stage," he said. "After the first hill 5km after the start the situation was pretty much under control. We've just finished two days of transition and the hard part of the Giro d'Italia is yet to come. We'll see what happens tomorrow. We don't want to let [Vincenzo] Nibali, [Ivan] Basso and [Cadel] Evans go. We'll defend the jersey."

    It will be Arroyo's fifth day in pink, the same amount of time Alexandre Vinokourov spent in the maglia rosa, while Bradley Wiggins, Evans, Nibali and Richie Porte have enjoyed the pleasure for fewer days since the start in Amsterdam on May 8.

    "Every day that passes, I have the feeling that Verona is getting very close," said Arroyo about the Sunday's very last finishing line on the famous Arenas of the city that hosted the world championships twice recently (in 1999 and 2004). "More and more I have the feeling that the dream can come true," the Spaniard said.

    "I'm realistic though," Arroyo said. "I live it day-by-day, with no fear. I know the coming stages are extremely difficult. I have never done the Mortirolo before. I think it's going to be very hard and a key point in the remaining three stages.

    "It's going to be vital to calculate the efforts for the last part of tomorrow's stage. I'm more afraid of the Mortirolo than the Gavia on Saturday, which is a climb more similar to the ones of the Tour de France."

    Arroyo remembers well that he lost 3:50 to Basso on the Monte Zoncolan, so the 2:27 lead he has now over the Italian might not be enough, but he also has some good reasons to believe in his chances of winning. "I normally recover well," Arroyo...

  • Vinokourov hopes for bad weather

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 19:42 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana rider stays quiet but remains in contention for Giro win

    Since Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and Cadel Evans (BMC) bravely battled elbow-to-elbow on the Monte Zoncolan on Sunday at the Giro d'Italia, the Italian media have been focusing on a duel between the two riders personally coached by the same man, Aldo Sassi. With the spotlight on how much time Basso (2:27) and Evans (3:09) have to recover to take the GC from current leader David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has been almost forgotten.

    The Kazakhstani had the pink jersey for five days but lost it when he gave up the chase behind the large breakaway on stage 11 to L'Aquila. At the start of stage 18 in Levico Terme, Vinokourov was very relaxed. He was happy to receive the handshake of UCI president Pat McQuaid who warmly greeted the Astana rider after conducting serious discussions near the teams' busses with Jim Ochowicz and Matt White, perhaps about the doping-related allegations of Floyd Landis'.

    "I like my current situation in the Giro d'Italia," Vinokourov told Cyclingnews after hearing that many media outlets had forgotten about him. The Astana rider is seventh on GC, 5:12 down on Arroyo.

    Evans is only 2:03 ahead of him and Vincenzo Nibali is just 19 seconds ahead. In Italian media, "the shark from the strait" is mentioned as a possible winner of the Giro d'Italia and gets interviewed accordingly, so what about Vinokourov?

    "My health is good and my form as well," Vino said. "I hear that bad weather is expected on Saturday. If so, we'll have some fun. There could be some damage. When the weather is bad, half of the riders are automatically out of contention."

    This doesn't apply to Vinokourov, obviously. The harder it is, the better it is for him.

    Regardless of the weather, Vinokourov has been enjoying the freedom from the responsibilities of the Giro d'Italia race leadership.

    "My goals have remained the same since the start in Amsterdam: to win a stage, to wear the pink...

  • Basso ready for Giro showdown in the mountains

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) finished 6th on Plan de Corones and moved into 2nd overall.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 21:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian hopes to gain more time on Evans before final time trial in Verona

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) proved that he was the best climber at the Giro d'Italia on the steep slopes of Monte Zoncolan, but as two key mountain stages loom large on the horizon of the Giro d'Italia, and the moment for a final showdown approaches, he has admitted that the 42-second advantage he currently has on Cadel Evans might not be enough to guarantee victory in Verona after Sunday's time trial.

    According to physiological calculations based on strength to weight ratio and VAM done by Aldo Sassi, who coaches both Basso and Evans, the two should be able to gain enough time on David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) and then go on to fight for overall victory.

    Basso is 2:27 behind the tenacious Spaniard, with Evans fourth, at 3:09. Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) is third overall at 2:44 but like Arroyo, he is expected to crack on the Passo del Mortirolo and the Passo di Gavia and be satisfied with holding onto the best young rider's white jersey and a place in the top 10 overall.

    "Forty two seconds might not be enough. I know I need to gain some more time on Evans, but it's difficult to start making calculations," Basso said.

    "Things might be totally different after tomorrow and then change again after the stage over the Gavia. We've got to get rid of Arroyo first and then who knows? Perhaps, Cadel will drop me on one of the big climbs. I've got a lot of respect for him. This Giro isn't over yet."

    Basso seems relaxed as the tension mounts. Whatever happens in the next three days, he has proved that he can compete for overall victory at the Giro and the doubts of last year, his first season since his doping ban, have disappeared.

    The Liquigas-Doimo team announced that it will continue on with its sponsorship for another two years on Thursday, and Basso will share the team leadership with Vincenzo Nibali in 2011 and 2012. He will probably end his career with the best team in Italian cycling and knows he has the best support...