- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 11:07
- Cycling News
Farnese Vini-Selle Italia injured in Monday's crash
Filippo Pozzato has fallen victim to the crash he caused in the finale of Monday's ninth Giro d'Italia stage. The Farnese Vini-Selle Italia captain has a micro-fracture in the scaphoid in his right hand and will not be at the start Tuesday.
Pozzato made a weak attack on the final climb, but was unable to get away. He was still in the mix going into the complicated lead-up to the closing sprint. On the final corner, he slid into Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), sending both of them flying, and taking down a number of other riders as well.
“His hand is so swollen that it is better to give up,” the team said. “Pippo cannot even close his hand and has a lot of pain. If he continued riding, there was too much risk that the situation could deteriorate.”
He will now return to his home in Monaco. The injury is not expected to require surgery and Pozzato said that he is hopeful of being fully fit for the Olympic cycling at the 2012 Games in London this summer. He also revealed that he had chatted to Sky's Mark Cavendish about his role in Monday's crash.
“It’s a pity to leave the Giro, I had the form for winning a stage," Pozzato told Cyclingnews. "Yesterday evening I went to hospital. A fracture was diagnosed on my scaphoid. But I still tried to ride my bike this morning. As I realized that I couldn’t use my brakes or my derailleur, it appeared that I shouldn’t try to continue the Giro. I would have become a danger in the peloton, for myself and for everyone else.
"Speaking with the doctor, I understood that I’d better stop now for the bones to set. It’s also the best way to come back faster. There is an important appointment in August that I wouldn’t like to miss: the road race of the Olympic Games [on July 28]. I yet have to wait for the selection by [Italy’s national coach] Paolo Bettini but we did speak about it and London is a goal. With the directeurs sportifs Luca Scinto and Serge Parsani, we sat down this morning to revise my race program: I’m likely to add the Tour of Slovenia before the Tour of Austria and the Tour of Poland that I already had on my agenda.
"Yesterday after the finish, I took the responsibility for the crash but looking at the images later, it’s Alexander Kristoff who bumped into me and hit my hip on the left. This morning I went to the bus of Team Sky to talk to Mark Cavendish about how it happened really. Crashes happen in our sport.”
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 11:22
- Cycling News
Giro d'Italia, Tour de Picardie and Tour of California movers
The month of May is arguably the busiest of the season in the professional cycling calendar and the hectic schedules of the world's top riders is reflected in some big changes this week to the IG Pro Cycling Index.
Belgium's Philippe Gilbert is still clinging on to top spot, but Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has taken second place from Gilbert's countryman Tom Boonen following his fourth place in stage 7 and third in stage 8 at the Giro d'Italia. Other riders who have performed well in the Giro in the last few days have also seen their ranking improve: Domenico Pozzovivo is up to 66th after his stage 8 win; Ivan Basso is up to 82nd; and current race leader Ryder Hesjedal has climbed 39 places up to 116th. Team Sky's Mark Cavendish added a stage 5 win to his victory in stage 2 last week and is up into the top five.
Elsewhere, Germany's John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) picked up two stages and the overall win at the Tour de Picardie and has climbed 15 places up to 26th position, while Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan won the opener at the Tour of California and has leapfrogged his teammate Vincenzo Nibali into seventh place.
With lots to play for in Italy and California over the next seven days, it will be interesting to see where the riders stand next week.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12 month rolling ranking system designed answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” We teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. We source results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by our expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans and put into four tiers in three different categories.
The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: Races are tiered depending on history, importance and calibre of field rather than UCI Class. So winning the Tour of Beijing will not give you the same points as winning Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. Wins carry much greater weight and are rewarded more than placings. Bonus points are awarded for multiple victories in the top races, winning the most prestigious stages at the Grand Tours or winning multiple classics.
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 13:03
- Jean-François Quénet
Young gun close to stage win at Giro d'Italia
Other than Matt Goss and Mark Cavendish crashing prior to the final sprint of stage 9 at the Giro d'Italia, the enduring image from Frosinone – where Baden Cooke was closed down by Paolo Bettini during the last visit of the corsa rosa seven years ago – was the one of Fabio Felline hammering his handlebar with his right fist. The 22-year-old from Turin was not impressed after coming second to Francisco Ventoso in the crash-marred finale.
"It's not a bad result to be second in a stage of the Giro d'Italia in my first participation, but it's still frustrating to come so close to the win", Felline told Cyclingnews on the finish line. "We always want the maximum result but okay - second is better than nothing."
Androni Giocattoli team manager Gianni Savio suggested: "History is not made of 'if' or 'but', however, had the finishing line been drawn 20 metres further, I believe that Fabio would have won it.
"We're happy with the result though. It confirms – if needed for some people but not for us – that he has a great talent. It's nice to see him expressing his disappointment with his fist after the line. It shows his determination to succeed. I'm convinced that he'll become a great champion. We want to make him improve slowly but surely."
Felline is on a two-year contract with Androni Giocattoli after the dismissal of his former team named successively Footon-Servetto and Geox-TMC. Under Mauro Gianetti, he started the Tour de France at the age of 20 in Rotterdam in 2010 but withdrew the day after crashing on stage 8. Before starting in the Giro d'Italia, he won the Giro del Appennino, so it's not surprising that he's got good form.
After all those years of breeding South American climbers, it's Savio's dream to help develop a rider from his home town, Turin.
"As much as it was the case with Miguel Angel Rubiano who won three days after we took him from nowhere, there's a human aspect in supporting Felline," Savio said. "It's different though. No one was interested in signing Rubiano but Felline would have found a team no matter what."
Felline expressed another regret after the stage: "Maybe I shouldn't have reacted behind Joaquim Rodriguez after he attacked on the last climb," said the Piedmontese. Savio agreed but noted with great hopes for his protégé's future that "experience is the addition of the mistakes."
"He might have other occasions to try and go for a stage win," 'the Prince' added.
Felline has one more dream for this year after the Giro d'Italia: he wants to conquer a spot on the Italian national team for the London Olympics. "It's very difficult but not impossible", he told Tuttosport earlier this year.
"The course of the road race will suit versatile riders. In 2006, I was a torch-bearer for the winter Olympics in my home town of Turin. Running with the torch in my hands has made me realize how big the Olympics are. When I did it, I imagined myself on the podium with a medal."
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 13:54
- Cycling News
Luxembourger may "surprise us all" says Lampre DS
Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) may not have started the Giro d'Italia at his own will, but after more than one week of racing the Luxembourger is widely seen as one of the big favourites for the overall win. On Saturday's stage to Rocca di Cambio, Schleck finished third, only three seconds behind Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), and Italian team directors have started to admit their fear that he could have enough form after all to rival with their team leaders in search of the maglia rosa.
"There are two possibilities," Lampre directeur sportif Orlando Maini told L'Equipe. "Either he took this Giro as a punishment, in which case he will one day or another undergo a loss of of power, or he bluffed us and in this case he will surprise us all here because there is no boss in the peloton right now - the seat is vacant."
The elder of the Schleck brothers was called to the Italian grand tour at the last minute, and while it was obvious that the sudden change of race programme somewhat disturbed him, the Luxembourger's form and morale have continuously improved. "I had some difficult days in Denmark, because riding a grand tour is something that you also prepare in your head," he admitted. "But I'm following my father's advice and I'm trying to take this Giro as an opportunity now."
The 32-year-old finished Sunday's stage to Lago Laceno with the other GC contenders, and added that "the only one who really impressed me" during the final climb was the later stage winner Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) - a comment that shows his change of stance, and that did not go unnoticed.
"Of all the favourites, he [Schleck] is the most serene, as he has the least to lose," said Giuseppe Martinelli, Roman Kreuziger's mentor at Astana. Serge Parsani of Farnese Vini already sees the Italian GC contenders at risk of neutralising each other to Schleck's advantage. "He has something extra on the climbs, so if he manages to take the pink jersey, the Italians will not insist and will fight it out for second place."
Schleck currently sits ninth behind overall leader Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 48 seconds down and within just a few seconds of all the other GC contenders. But, as he said himself, the Giro's decisive stages are yet to come and anything can happen even before the third week of racing.
"I don't forget that my brother lost the Tour for 39 seconds [in 2010], so I prefer to remain prudent, alert on every opportunity because everything will count here," the RadioShack-Nissan leader said.
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 14:57
- Pat Malach
Injuries to Sutherland and Jones in stage 2
UnitedHealthcare suffered a setback on Monday during stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California when Chris Jones and team leader Rory Sutherland hit the ground on the climb up Bonny Doon about 120 kilometres into the race.
Team doctor Michael Roshon said Jones suffered a deep laceration to his knee and is questionable for the start of stage 3 Tuesday, while Sutherland dislocated his ring finger but is expected to take the line for the start in San Jose.
“We were riding up the climb and some idiot decided to fall off on the outfill,” Sutherland said. “There seemed to be a lot of crashes today. I don't know what it is, but there doesn't seem to be the confidence where certain riders can take control and have confidence. It seems to be a bit of where everyone is waiting for someone to do something. We race into the corner at Bonny Doon with 80k to go and then we ride tempo up the climb, and that's where crashes happen.”
Sutherland and Jones, who took the brunt of the damage in the relatively slow-speed crash, remounted quickly, caught back onto the lead group and then went to the front on the next climb.
“We took over on the last climb because I said to Chris Jones it's better that we just ride the front, do the climb and stay safe and then we just move back on the descent,” he said. “And now two of us are heading off to the hospital to get X-rays.”
Radioshack-Nissan's Matthew Busche also went down hard behind two BMC riders in the final kilometres, a crash Sutherland missed by going to the front for safety. The move launched the Australian into the lead for short run at the line.
“I was feeling sorry for myself the whole last 10k hitting every bump with my hand,” he said. “And then as we turned the corner with 3k to go I moved up to stay out of trouble and went up a slight rise and thought, well, I'm going a bit quicker than some of them, I might as well keep going.
“We held it off for quite a while,” he said. “So it makes a good day for the team, even though we had some bad luck. We'll come back tomorrow. The boys are riding well and my legs are great, so it should get better everyday.”
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 17:35
- Peter Hymas
Men's race distance reduced, public gran fondo added to events
The 28th edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship, taking place June 3, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, will feature some changes which Pro Cycling Tour CEO David Chauner is confident will be an improvement for both the professional cyclists as well as the cycling public.
For the first time in the esteemed history of the men's professional race, extending back to 1985 when Eric Heiden won the inaugural event, the distance will be reduced from 156 miles to 124 miles. The route for the UCI 1.HC-ranked men's race will remain the same, but for 2012 there's a change in the amount of main laps and finishing circuits.
As in previous editions, the men's race opens with parade laps on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway around Logan Circle, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, before tackling the 14.5-mile main circuit that heads north on Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River toward the Manayunk district.
In Manayunk awaits the race's signature feature, a steep, 800-metre hill known as "The Wall", followed by a descent back onto Kelly Drive for a return trip along the Schuylkill, with detours for the climbs of Strawberry Mansion and Lemon Hill, before rounding back onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The men's race concludes with short, three-mile laps around Lemon Hill and Logan Circle.
The first change to the race format is the reduction in the number of main circuits, from 10 to seven, while the number of finishing circuits has been increased from three to five resulting in a new race distance of 124 miles.
The format to the UCI 1.1-ranked women's Liberty Classic, which starts 10 minutes after the men's race and runs concurrently on the same course, will remain unchanged from previous editions with the riders completing four laps of the main circuit for a distance of 58 miles.
New for 2012 is the creation of a gran fondo event for amateur riders and the general public, consisting of three laps of the main circuit, which takes place Sunday morning prior to the start of the professional races.
"We are very excited about the partnership with Bicycling Magazine to create the first Bicycling Open which lets amateur and recreations cyclists take to the course while it's closed, prior to the pros, for three laps, which we've never been able to do before," Chauner told Cyclingnews.
"In order to enable us to do that as well as keep within the time frame we have for the streets, we opted to shorten the pro race by three big loops, so there's seven instead of ten, and we're adding finishing circuits between Lemon Hill and the Parkway. This drops the distance from 156 miles to approximately 124 miles.
"In addition to the reasoning to allow the amateurs on there and still keep the same time frame, we really believe this is going to make the race more exciting, particularly by adding more closing circuits, but also the lesser distance is, we think, going to make for a more competitive race and more even match. From what I've heard from the team directors most of them feel the same way. It sounds like it will be a good improvement."
The gran fondo ride begins at 7:00am on Sunday, followed by the men's race at 10:45 am and the women's race at 10:55 am.
The 2011 edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship was won by Denmark's Alex Rasmussen while Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to the victory in the women's Liberty Classic.
For more information on both the amateur and professional events go to procyclingtour.com
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 18:39
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Canadian says he's still in the big picture
Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) slid to second overall after Joaquim Rodriguez's devastating late acceleration at Assisi, but the former mountain biker says he's feeling satisfied with his Giro d'Italia performance so far and hints there may well be a lot more to come.
"I'm still close to the top and still in the big picture," the Garmin-Barracuda rider, sixth on the stage, said as he warmed down after the stage.
"I'm happy at the way I rode in the final, and without the time bonuses [on the stage], I'd still have the jersey. I'm not losing any time on the other rivals."
As he pointed out, Rodriguez is the best in the world at uphill sprints, and had already shown he was in good form on previous stages, most recently prior to Tuesday with his late attack on stage 9.
"It's been an overwhelming three days [in the lead]," Hesjedal said before insisting his underlying form is exactly where he wants it to be.
"I felt good, it was a hard climb, but I was there pretty comfortably and there is still a long way to go to Milan. I can hope for more in the third week."
On top of that, as Hesjedal pointed out, with him either in the lead or battling to take it, Garmin-Barracuda has "done a lot of work and it's good to put that responsibility onto the shoulders of another team".
- Article published:
- May 15, 2012, 21:03
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Spaniard clinches full house of Grand Tour stage wins
Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) took a landmark stage win at the 2012 Giro d’Italia on Tuesday that not only means he now has stage wins in all three Grand Tours, but he also has the lead of cycling’s second biggest stage race in his grasp.
At 33, Rodríguez claimed the stage in trademark fashion - the same kind of devastating uphill acceleration that has netted him victories at La Fleche Wallone this season and twice in the Tirreno Adriatico’s infamous Montelupone climb. Today’s win, though, was in Italy’s number one stage race and on a climb that he did not know.
“[Katusha sports director] Valerio Piva warned me that it had two parts and I had better wait for the second half,” the Catalan climber said in a press conference.
“So although I followed that Rabobank climber [Tom Slagter] when he started accelerating, I thought to myself, 'Hey, Valerio knows this race, his experience counts for something', so I hung back and didn't accelerate hard until 200 metres to go. And it was the right choice.”
Fifth in the 2011 Giro [later promoted to fourth after Alberto Contador’s disqualification - ed], and fourth in the 2010 Vuelta, Purito - as he is nicknamed - is focused on at least making the podium in Milan. And he has not ruled out winning. But whilst the armchair theorists amongst the Italian media argued that making such an early bid for the pink jersey was unwise for an overall contender, his reply was “if I lose it, I lose it, but I’ll have at least one maglia rosa in my suitcase.” Not to mention victory number five of this season, starting with a stage win in Tirreno and including two stages of the Tour of the Basque Country, as well as Fleche.
Although his final lunge for the line was a lone effort, Rodríguez paid tribute to his team, too, “for working so hard all the way through the stage. They raced really hard, keeping me in contention and pegging back the break.”
Will his team be there in the Alps and Dolomites too? “I won’t be the only climber, we’ve got [Alberto] Losada, Angel Vicioso and Dani Moreno” - already a winner on last year’s mammoth climb of Sierra Nevada in the Vuelta. “But I’m sure Liquigas and Astana will be on the front, it’s their way of racing. I’m thinking about riders like [expert Polish climber] Sylvester Szymd (Liquigas) in particular.”
Rodríguez has been on a roll all season. Looking back at his palmares he has wins in everything from the Tour of Catalonia to the Spanish Nationals and the tiny Subida a Urkiola hill-climb. But why has he suddenly managed to come so good in Grand Tours?
As Rodriguez points out, that’s not exactly the case, just that in previous teams he’s had other “stronger riders in GC races to work for” - Abraham Olano in ONCE, Valverde in Caisse d’Epargne. He already came close in the Vuelta 2010. Now, finally, as undisputed GC leader at Katusha, it could be Purito’s turn to shine in Italy. But he’s keeping his feet on the ground.
“We have the jersey and we will fight to keep it. But we won’t kill ourselves to do that," he said, with an eye, clearly, on keeping his powder dry for the third week. For now, in any case, at least one maglia rosa will be heading back to Spain after May 27. Will more follow?