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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Date published:
May 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Gallery: At the start of the Giro team time trial

    Team Sky's Pinarellos are lined up and ready to go.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 15:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Giro peloton is in Italy for stage four

    After a rest day, the Giro d'Italia racers return to action on Wednesday morning for stage four, a team trial covering 33km from Savigliano to Cuneo. With the top 10 places in the general classification separated by just 16 seconds, today's stage promises to be a decisive one which will, perhaps, yield a new maglia rosa wearer.

    Team Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne starts down the ramp first while the Astana team of race leader Alexandre Vinokourov is the final squad to tackle the stage in which five-minute intervals separate each team.

    The stage four time trial is the first stage of the 2010 Giro to take place in Italy. For the first three stages, racers competed in the Netherlands, following the start in Amsterdam on Saturday.

    Favorite teams include Team Sky, Garmin-Transitions, HTC-Columbia, Saxo Bank and BMC Racing Team.

    After winning the team time trial in the Tour of Qatar, Team Sky has proven it can time trial and having favourite Bradley Wiggins on the roster only strengthens the team's chances.

    Garmin-Transitions will be racing without Christian Vande Velde after he crashed out of the race during stage 3 with a broken collarbone. David Millar and his teammates are motivated to put in a good performance dedicated to their fallen leader.

    The always strong HTC-Columbia won the team time trial at last year's Giro and will be aiming for a repeat while Saxo Bank wants to help its Richie Porte, now in second place overall, step up into the maglia rosa.

    Finally, don't count out BMC - Cadel Evans wore pink earlier in the Giro and would happily do so again.

    See Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand's photos from the start in Savigliano.

  • Abbott climbs into Women's Prestige series lead

     Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 15:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour of the Gila winner tops individual rankings

    Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) claimed the lead of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series after the Tour of the Gila, the second of four events for the season.

    Abbott's overall victory in the Tour of the Gila pushed her to the top of the individual rankings, where she leads by 66 points over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) and a further 33 points over Redlands Classic winner Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia).

    Abbott also leads the Best Young Rider (Under 26) classification and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 team is tops in the team category.

    The next event in the Women's Prestige Series will be the Nature Valley Grand Prix on June 16-20. The series concludes with the Cascade Cycling Classic in July.

    Individual Classification

    1 Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & CoTWENTY12) 319
    2 Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 253
    3 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) 220
    4 Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 175
    5 Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 165

    Best Young Rider (Under 26) Classification

    1 Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 440
    2 Rebecca Much (TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team) 231
    3 Chloe Forsman (Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus) 220
    4 Melanie Meyers (Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus) 209
    5 Alison Starnes (TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team) 198

    Sprint Classification

    1 Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light) 252
    2 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) 220
    3 Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 165
    4 Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 165
    5 Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light) 132

    Teams Classification

    1 Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12 873
    2 Team Vera Bradley Foundation 654
    3 Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light 475
    4 HTC-Columbia...

  • Vinokourov takes pink jersey loss in stride

    Overnight race leader Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) would surrender the pink jersey.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 17:25 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana rider puts more time into Evans in team time trial

    After losing the overall lead of the Giro d'Italia in the team time trial, Alexandre Vinokourov took the result in stride as his Astana team did enough to put time into some of the contenders. While he lost 38 seconds to Liquigas-Doimo's leaders Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, Vinokourov gained time on Cadel Evans (BMC).

    Astana was down to the minimum of five men as the team came into the final metres of the stage, but despite Vinokourov urging teammate Gorazd Stangelj to hold on, the Slovenian dropped off the pace and lost the team precious seconds because the time of the team was taken on the fifth man crossing the line.

    "The time lost isn't the fault of the fifth guy," said Stangelj. While his team captain expressed frustration as he crossed the line, shaking his head and pounding on his knee, within a few minutes he had regained his composure. "38 seconds behind Liquigas, it's not bad," Vinokourov said. "The good thing is that Liquigas will defend the pink jersey now."

    Despite the problems at the finish, the Kazakhstani captain was satisfied with the effort of the team. "I've done a lot in the turns but as a team we've worked well", Vinokourov told Cyclingnews. "We found a good rhythm. We did it flat out. We started quietly. For sure the bad weather penalised us and we've lost some time in the final hill but not too much."

    The winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège enjoyed his two days of glory – including one rest day – with the pink jersey but he wasn't devastated to lose it. He would have been happier with a deficit of 25 seconds rather than 38, but new race leader Vincenzo Nibali is only 33 seconds ahead of him and Ivan Basso 20.

    "My objective was to gain time over the climbers," Vinokourov explained. He mentioned Cadel Evans as he knew the Australian was 43 seconds behind but he hasn't gained anything over Carlos Sastre as the Cervélo TestTeam has scored the same time as...

  • Rain clouds Sky's team time trial

    Team Sky racers were soaked through during the rainy stage four Giro d'Italia team time trial.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 18:48 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Rain, puncture push British team to second behind Liquigas

    Team Sky fell just shy of taking its first Grand Tour team time trial on stage four of the Giro d'Italia today, with wet weather on the 33km route from Savigliano to Cuneo contributing to their loss to the Liquigas-Doimo team.

    The squad was eager to repeat their winning performance from the Tour of Qatar in February, one of its first victories as a professional road team. Yet they were missing 13 seconds because of the weather and a flat tyre under Chris Sutton that left the team with eight riders early on the stage.

    The Sky train was only at the exit of the starting town of Savigliano when the Sydneysider punctured going over the railways. There was some hesitation as to whether they should wait for him or continue with eight riders. "When CJ punctured we faffed around for a few seconds before we decided we either had to go for the stage or not. So we had had to leave him," team captain Bradley Wiggins said.

    "We couldn't have gone any faster. We rode as best we could as a unit. Everybody emptied the tanks but it's always disappointing when you lose a race like that."

    It's difficult to say how much the change in weather conditions may have modified the final result between Liquigas and Sky. "Apart from the rain we couldnt have gone any faster anywhere on the course," Wiggins said. At least we were lucky at the end and we didn't have any rain at the finish."

    Wiggins, the winner of the prologue of this Giro d'Italia had mixed feelings about the fortunes the team has had so far. They might have lost the race because of the rain but it could have been worse. "Actually I've been lucky. I've had three crashes in two days and didn't get injured.

    "On the track you get such a long time after an event to enjoy a win. In road racing it can all be different 24 hours later. You just have to remember the good times. We are not under pressure now, we can just enjoy the race and hopefully we will get some luck and things will...

  • Stevens ready to build at Tour de l'Aude

    In her first World Cup as a professional, Evelyn Stevens (HTC - Columbia Women) finished a creditable fifth
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 19:21 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    HTC-Columbia rider pleased with progress in sophomore season

    US rider Evelyn Stevens will commence the longest stage race of her professional career on Friday at French race, the Tour de l'Aude. Five months into her first season as a full-time professional, the HTC-Columbia rider is hopeful the ten-stage event will mark the next step in her burgeoning career.

    "I've spoken with [my team manager] Ronny Lauke about this, the thing about stage races they're day-after-day, so you can learn something one day and then apply it on the next stage," Stevens told Cyclingnews from France, where she will link up with her HTC-Columbia teammates this week. "I think it's really going to help with the steep learning curve I'm already on."

    Stevens was signed by HTC-Columbia following a breakthrough season in 2009. A guest rider for US domestic team's Lip Smackers and Webcor, she claimed the overall titles at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and Cascade Classic. Now a firm feature in the women's peloton, she is pleased with her progress so far and is looking forward to the challenge l'Aude represents.

    "It's been going well so far. I think the biggest change has been just being part of the HTC-Columbia set-up. It's just a really professional organisation for all the riders and staff.

    "I've raced in Belgium for the first time, Holland for the first time - my first race here was the Ronde van Gelderland - and I'm starting the Tour de l'Aude this week," she said. "I've never done a 10-stage race, so that's going to be a new experience, too. It will be hard, but we'll have a strong team. My goal is just to be the best teammate I can be, I'm sure it will be a great experience."

    While Stevens' personal ambitions for the Tour de l'Aude are modest, she heads into the race with good form. Her season began in the US, where she claimed a stage win at the Redlands Classic, her first for HTC-Columbia. She also contributed to teammate Ina Yoko Teutenberg's defence of her Redlands title.

    "Starting on...

  • WADA anxious for Valverde verdict

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) adjusts his collar after winning the 2010 Tour of Romandie
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 20:07 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Anti-doping authority hopes Spaniard's ban will become global

    The case of Alejandro Valverde, who has continued to race for nearly four years since first being pursued by anti-doping authorities over the Operación Puerto doping affair, could soon be at an end.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is due to rule this month on the appeal by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) to force the Spanish Cycling Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Valverde.

    The Spaniard was banned for two years in Italy starting last year after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) was able to procure blood evidence from Operación Puerto from the Spanish courts. They then matched the evidence to blood samples acquired from Valverde as part of doping controls during the 2008 Tour de France.

    DNA tests matched Valverde to bags of blood containing the banned blood booster EPO, and this evidence formed the basis of Italy's ban. An appeal by Valverde to the CAS was rejected, opening up the possibility that he will be suspended from racing world-wide.

    "We have a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirming that it is his blood, that it contained EPO, and confirms that Valverde is a cheater. And, despite all this, he is still racing," said Olivier Niggli, WADA's legal director, to AFP.

    However, even if the anti-doping agencies win the CAS decision and Spain is forced to ban Valverde, he could be back to racing as early as 2011 if the sanction mirrors the two-year sentence which began in Italy in May, 2009.

    "This is the biggest risk we face in this case," said Niggli. "This case is frustrating. It's really unbearable to see Valverde winning the Tour de Romandie while he has been banned."

    The UCI and WADA are pushing to make Valverde's global ban, should it be enacted, begin on the date of the CAS decision and not the same start date as his Italian ban. But if they get their way,...

  • Nibali, Basso lead Giro d'Italia GC battle

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) took over the Giro lead on the first day of racing in Italy.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 20:21 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Sastre, Evans have minutes to make up on maglia rosa

    Aside from the fantastic performance of Liquigas-Doimo that promoted Vincenzo Nibali to the top of the overall classification of the Giro d'Italia, the Cervélo TestTeam is probably the squad that took the best benefit of the team time trial as they finished in fifth position with an equal time as Astana.

    Carlos Sastre was the next best GC contender, along with Astana's Alexander Vinokourov at 38 seconds behind Liquigas-Doimo captain Ivan Basso on the stage. "The team did a wonderful team time trial today," Sastre said after the stage. "The course was a really hard one, with the straight uphill. It was windy on the side and also at the back. The guys showed today they were so strong, they were really fantastic."

    As he wore the pink jersey on that day, Vinokourov added 43 seconds to his lead over Giro d'Italia hot favourite Cadel Evans who actually limited the damages. His BMC team was in the situation to fear a bigger loss than 1:21 from stage winners Liquigas-Doimo.

    BMC lined up without Alessandro Ballan, who is provisionally suspended by the team pending a doping-related Italian inquiry. They also lost Martin Kohler who abandoned due to injury on Monday.

    Team manager John Lelangue was satisfied with his riders' performance "considering the conditions we rode in," he said.

    "We got a pouring rain on the way. It was cold as well," commented Jeff Louder who was one of the two BMC riders who lost contact in the first part of the race, the other being Florian Stalder.

    "We lost two guys pretty quickly", Evans mentioned. "One is in low condition, the other one isn't a time trial specialist but [Danilo] Wyss, [Mauro] Santambrogio, [John] Murphy, they really surprised me."

    The world champion was stressed by the team time trial since the same exercise was at the origin of his fall out with Silence-Lotto during the 2009 Tour de France. He seemed relieved to have limited the damages. "You're talking to someone...

  • Porte and Millar miss out on pink jersey

    David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 20:52 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Australian and Briton slip to eighth and ninth

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) and David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) started the team time trial just a second away from the pink jersey but ended the day down in eighth and ninth place, both 45 seconds behind new race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

    Both their teams rode well in the 33km team time trial, with Garmin-Transitions finishing eighth at 49 seconds and Saxo Bank ninth at 50 seconds. But their dreams of pulling on the pink jersey are now over. Millar will now target a stage victory, while Porte will focus on the best young rider's white jersey.

    "We were hopeful we could win but it wasn't perhaps realistic," Millar admitted to Cyclingnews.

    "I think we were a little bit unlucky with the weather. We had a bad spell for five minutes because we got caught in the rain. It was windy and really heavy rain and that's what slowed us down."

    "We were also perhaps lacking a bit of power in the team. We were very good technically. We've got two young riders who are world track champions but a team time trial is a little different. That's cycling. Liquigas were really strong, they were the best so you can only say 'chapeau'. Now I'm going to have some fun in the next few days, I'm going to target some stage wins."

    Porte also lost the best young rider's white jersey to Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Doimo), slipping to third behind Matt Goss (HTC-Columbia).

    "I guess I thought I had a shot at the pink jersey. Historically Saxo Bank is a strong team in team time trials. We did out best and so we're still happy," Port told Cyclingnews.

    "We were nice and smooth. We had pretty heavy rain at the start but I think it was the same for everybody so it's not an excuse. We rode really well and other than the rain it was perfect."

    "It's no stress losing the white jersey. It's a long race. I hope to get it back later on. The white jersey is now my big goal."