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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Date published:
May 15, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Vacansoleil taking positives out of California as uncertainty continues

    Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) on the front of the break.
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 5:48 BST
    Pat Malach

    Westra chasing another stage win

    Vacansoleil-DCM performance director Aart Vierhouten told Cyclingnews Tuesday that the team is still uncertain about the European campground chain's plans for sponsorship next year, but he hopes his squad's performance so far at the Amgen Tour of California will help convince the current title sponsor to stay on board.

    "The sponsorship itself, in one half month they should say yes or no," Vierhouten said before the stage 3 start in Palmdale. "Now it's still nothing, but I think the point was more that they said for themselves, 'We stop,' and now they have some doubts about stopping completely."

    The Dutch team was founded in 2009, first in the Professional Continental ranks before joining the UCI WorldTour in 2011. The team's three-year WorldTour license coincides with its two sponsors' three-year contracts, which expire this year.

    DCM, a Belgian fertilizer company, confirmed earlier this week that it would not extend its deal with the team. Vierhouten said Vacansoleil would like to move into the secondary-sponsor role and leave the title sponsorship to someone else.

    "What we know is that they don't want to be the big sponsor," Vierhouten said. "And maybe now they are discussing in the company if they will go further as a side sponsor of the team. So a step back, but not leaving the team. But we still don't know exactly what's concrete."

    The team grabbed headlines on stage 1 when Lieuwe Westra sneaked off the front with Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy/Kenda) and stole a stage win from the sprinters. Westra wore yellow through stage 2 but surrendered the lead to Jamis-Hagens Berman's Janier Acevedo after...

  • Matthews credits perfect leadout for second place in Santa Clarita

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wins Stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of California from Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 6:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge to "keep trying"

    Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) has bounced back of being forced to miss his Giro d'Italia debut through illness, finishing runner-up to Peter Sagan on Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California.

    Baden Cooke, former winner of the Tour de France green jersey, delivered Matthews to the last 200 metres with only the fast-finishing Sagan able to get in front of the Australian and by only half a wheel.

    "It was a bit chaotic with about 5km to go, but my team was amazing today," Matthews said after the Saxo-Tinkoff squad had emerged en masse at the front of the race. "I wouldn't have been in the top three without the perfect leadout from my whole team. I think everyone did their part today, and I think we got the result we deserved. Sagan was just a little too fast in the finish."

    Orica GreenEdge is two men down having lost both Michael Hepburn and Fumiyuki Beppu following the first stage where the pair finished outside the time cut. That and the sapping heat experienced on Stage 2 certainly putting the team on the back foot having arrived just two days before the race however it's been a determined showing from the Australian team so far with Cameron Meyer 10th in Palm Springs yesterday.

    "Yesterday was a long day, I think it was 45 degrees, and everyone was struggling," Matthews confirmed. "We had to drink water all day and we got through it, just. I think we're dealing with it alright."

    His second place behind Sagan was the second time that the 22-year-old has earned a podium in California, having finished third – again behind Sagan – on the stage to Clovis last year when he rode for Rabobank. Still chasing his first victory since moving to Orica GreenEdge this season, Matthews was optimistic for...

  • Txurruka earns first pro victory in Asturias

    Sprint classification leader Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 9:05 BST
    Fran Reyes

    Caja Rural rider obtains “better results with the same work”

    Despite having spent eight years as a professional rider and been recognized as Tour de France 2007 most combative cyclist, Amets Txurruka hadn’t won a race until last weekend, when he took the second stage of the Vuelta a Asturias. It was a success which didn’t came alone as the next day he took the overall classification in the Spanish two-days race.

    The Basque cyclist won on Saturday with an attack in the last kilometers which allowed him to stay clear and win in Pola de Lena. It was the culmination of a whole day of offensive riding by his team, Spanish Professional Continental outfit Caja Rural.

    The following and final day was a summit finish at historical Alto del Naranco. There, Txurruka stayed calm, trusting the work of his teammates to control the early attacks from Mikel Landa (Euskaltel) and Rubén Plaza (Movistar). On the final climb, the attacks of Javi Moreno (Movistar Team) were neutralized by Txurruka’s teammate Andre Cardoso, who was on his wheel every time he went hard,

    Txurruka praised Caja Rural as the key for his results.

    “We rode perfectly. Our team was strong enough as to have at least one man in the head of the race during the whole competition. That allowed us who were not attacking to just sit in the bunch and expect Movistar and Euskaltel to try and bring back the control of the competition. Also, we were the most represented team in the crucial moments, since we had three guys who could win here.”

    Txurruka was refering to himself, Andre Cardoso and Marcos García. “And having a majority over Movistar or Euskaltel in those moments of the race, definitely, rocks.”

    Winning Vuelta a Asturias is a highlight for Txurruka’s season, which has started well, with a ninth place in Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, fifth in...

  • Report: Belkin interested in sponsoring Blanco

    Team Blanco time trials
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 9:52 BST
    Cycling News

    US company said to be in discussions regarding Dutch team

    Belkin International Inc. is said to be interested in taking over sponsorship of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team. The American consumer electronics manufacturer is now discussing the project “at the highest level,” according to the Dutch media.

    Blanco is the former Rabobank team. The bank announced last fall that it was ending its name sponsorship. This year's budget is still being paid by the bank, and 18 riders are guaranteed through 2014. The team's UCI WorldTour licence runs through 2014, but a new sponsor is necessary to guarantee the team's survival in the future. Its yearly budget is said to be 15 million Euro.

    The team had no comment on the matter. “We (have) never announce(d) with what companies or brands we are negotiating,” spokesman Leon Brouwer told Cyclingnews. He also said that there would not be announcement made this week.

    Belkin's European headquarters are near the Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam, which is how the first contacts with the team came about, according to De Telegraaf. However, as the Dutch newspaper pointed out, a non-Dutch sponsor would bring about changes to the team, and it would need to be more of a global team.

    Founded in a garage in southern California in 1983, Belkin has grown to be a privately held company with more than 12,00 employees in 21 countries. It describes its products as ranging from “wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.”

  • Brailsford and Sky bite back at Altopiano el Montasio

    Rigoberto Uran (Sky) wins stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 10:59 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team boss pleased with Uran's stage win

    Dave Brailsford has revealed that he suffered with toothache for the first part of the Giro d'Italia but after a visit to a dentist on the rest day and a strong ride by his riders on the first mountain stage to Altopiano el Montasio, the Team Sky manager could smile happily after a good performance.

    "We had a tough first week as everybody saw and so we thought we'd come our and take the initiative," Brailsford explained.

    "We set a hard tempo on the second to last climb and the plan was that Rigoberto would attack to force Astana to chase. We hoped to isolate Nibali. That didn’t quote come off but it was a brilliant ride by Rigo to be fair."

    "I think Brad dug deep and hung on in there. I think he's pretty good now. I don’t think he's vulnerable on the descents. It was a very technical and steep descent. He came down it no problem."

    A change in leadership?

    With Uran seemingly climbing better than Wiggins, the Italian media jumped on a possible change in team leadership at Team Sky for the rest of the Giro.

    Brailsford was cautious but dismissed suggestions that any rivalry between Uran and Wiggins for team leadership at the Giro d'Italia could explode like the rivalry between Wiggins and Froome which began at last year's Tour de France.

    "Good leadership and good management is based on flexibility and I think you have to adjust the situation you find yourself in and not stick to a plan blindly. You let the emotions die down, take stock and get back with a plan for the next day," he replied.

    One Italian journalist asked: Could Wiggins work for a teammate in the Giro?

    Brailsford dodged the question but did point out that the team's interests come first.

    "It's not just about Brad. It depends on the team strategy. It's not a group of individuals, it’s a team," he said.


  • Pauwels steps up in Giro break on stage 10

    Thirsty work for Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) at the end of Stage 4 into Tanunda
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 12:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian caught inside final 10km

    Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma QuickStep) reminded everyone of his attacking qualities when he helped form part of the 13-man break on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia from Cordenons – Montasio. The 29-year-old jumped clear of the peloton during the opening kilometres of the race and established a lead in excess of 8 minutes.

    The stage marked the first Giro mountain skirmishes in this year’s race and QuickStep, which already have two stage wins in the bank courtesy of Mark Cavendish, were keen to start the second week on the front foot.

    When breakaway companion Jackson Rodriguez upped the pace on the Passo Cason di Lanza, Pauwels was unable to respond immediately but on the following descent the former Sky and Cervelo TestTeam rider made contact after Rodriguez was forced to change bikes.

    “I definitely wanted to be in the break,” Pauwels said. “The problem was it was headwinds in the beginning so it was a lot of attacking and the peloton always coming back. Then finally I got in the good break and OK, we took six or seven minutes. After the first climb, Rodriguez went and he took advantage but I came back with Gatto after the descent.”

    The pair headed to the bottom of the final climb with their advantage down to under two minutes as Sky set a frantic pace in the peloton and with under 10 kilometres remaining Pauwels and Rodriguez were swept up with the Belgian finishing a creditable 41st, 9’46 down on stage winner Rigoberto Uran.

    “Sky really put pressure on the rest. In the end we are dependent on what happens in the back, especially when the big GC riders start to pull. Because honestly I think Sky started to pull on the first climb to make up time for the descent. They were thinking also about the stage, but first objective was they wanted...

  • Hesjedal hoping to fight on in the Giro d'Italia

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) lost over 20 minutes
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 12:53 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp rider struggles for answers

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) has started stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia, promising to honour his status of 2012 winner, despite the evident physical problems that have seen him struggle since Saturday's time trial.

    The Canadian spoke to Cyclingnews and Gazzetta dello Sport before riding to the start of the 182km stage to Vajont. He looked tired and ashen-faced from the suffering on the bike and was naturally disappointed to have lost close to 20 minutes on stage 10 and so any chance of another overall victory at the Giro d'Italia.

    "I'm obviously disappointed for yesterday and the stage before that. Clearly something is not right but I'm trying to move through it and see what happens day by day," he said.

    "I want to honour the race, honour race number one, my team, the fans and all my supporters. I've had a lot of support as I've gone through the process of preparing for the Giro d'Italia as defending champion."

    Hesjedal and the Garmin-Sharp staff still have not managed to identify the reason for the rider's sudden collapse. He apparently went very deep as he fought to limit his losses in the time trial to Saltara and his body no longer seems to produce the power needed in the key moments of the race.

    "It's just frustrating when you're not really sure what the problem is. My condition was great, I felt great but all of a sudden after the TT, you could see that in the moments when I needed to go hard, it just wasn't possible," he explained.

    "I feel good on the bike and there's no sign of any problems until I have to go full gas. Then the body doesn't respond. If you have bad legs you feel bad all the time, not just in the hardest moments. That's telling me something is not right and my body is not quite functioning.

    Today's stage includes the 1790m high Sella Ciampigotto...

  • Sylvain Georges positive for Heptaminol

    2013 Paris-Camembert podium (L-R): Sylvain Georges (AG2R La Mondiale), Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 13:40 BST
    Cycling News

    AG2R rider out of Giro d'Italia

    Sylvain Georges (Ag2R La Mondiale) has returned a positive test for Heptaminol, according to the UCI. The sport’s governing body announced the news on the same morning that Georges failed to start stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia, with the results returned by WADA’s accredited lab in Rome.

    The positive test was collected in a routine test carried out on May 10 and Georges has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample. Heptaminol is on WADA's banned substances list and is used to relax muscles and to treat low blood pressure.

    The 29-year-old won a stage of the Tour of California in 2012 and finished second in Paris - Camembert earlier this season.

    The UCI Anti-Doping Rules do not impose a provisional suspension given the nature of the substance, which is a specified substance.

     The last professional rider to test positive for the stimulant was Dmitriy Fofonov in the 2008 Tour de France. He was handed a three-month suspension.

    Georges' team has yet to release a statement.