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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Date published:
May 02, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Sky extends link-up with British Cycling

    Sky's sponsorship extension with British Cycling will benefit the UK's leading pros
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 11:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    TV and comms giant signs new partnership deal until 2016

    Sky and British Cycling have announced that they have reached an agreement to extend their partnership for another four years. The British television and communications company has been the principal partner of British Cycling since 2008 and in those four years interest and participation in the sport has increased dramatically. With this new multi-million pound deal running until 2016, the next four years are likely to be just as significant in the development of the sport in the British Isles.

    A year after the initial link-up was announced Team Sky was launched, and immediately gained a UCI WorldTour licence for its first year of competition in 2010. Since then the team has married together leading British riders with overseas stars as they attempt to become the first British team to win the Tour de France.

    In addition Sky provides support and funding to Great Britain's track stars, such as Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, and the country's MTB and BMX riders as they chase gold medal success in the Olympic cycling events at the London 2012 Games.

    Grass roots support also plays a huge part in the partnership between Sky and the national governing body. Between them they are aiming to get one million British people riding bikes at least once a month by the end of 2013 through initiatives like Sky Ride and Go Ride, and with the figure currently standing at close to 700,000 after a period of unprecedented growth, they appear well on target to reach that goal.

    "I'm delighted that Sky has committed to working with us for a further four-year period. The unique nature of our partnership with Sky has been a key factor in cycling's phenomenal success...

  • Nibali: Basso is on the right track for Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) can't hide his delight at winning Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 12:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Liquigas rider considering offers for 2013

    Vincenzo Nibali is confident that his Liquigas-Cannondale stablemate Ivan Basso has turned a corner after a troubled start to his 2012 campaign, and he expects the veteran to be among the chief contenders for overall honours at the Giro d’Italia.

    Such was Basso’s poor form in the early part of the season that he considered forgoing the Giro altogether, but Nibali said that he saw a marked improvement in his teammate’s condition during a training camp on Mount Teide, Tenerife in April. A podium finisher in each of the past two editions of the race, Nibali will this year return to the Tour de France at the behest of his team, while Basso leads the line in Italy.

    “I saw Ivan when we did the training camp in Tenerife. He wasn’t in the greatest of condition because he had a series of bad luck but there in Tenerife, he wanted to get back on the right track by training hard, as he only he can,” Nibali told Radio Sportiva. “I have to say that in those days he already improved a lot, and then I could see at the Giro del Trentino and the Tour de Romandie that his condition was really growing, so I’m certain that at the Giro d’Italia he can do great things.”

    Whereas the 2011 Giro had one outright favourite in the shape of Alberto Contador, this year’s race boasts a cluster of riders who have genuine aspirations of carrying the pink jersey to Milan. Like many observers, Nibali has noted his former Liquigas stablemate Roman Kreuziger (Astana) as a dark horse for victory.

    Fifth overall and best young rider last year, Kreuziger has been pedalling smoothly in recent...

  • Banned Contador following 2012 season closely

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) gets in one last race before his CAS verdict is announced.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 13:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard misses thrill of competition, praises Boonen and Gerrans

    As he serves out the remainder of his suspension for clenbuterol use, Spanish rider Alberto Contador has revealed that he is desperately missing the thrill of competition and the edge that it provides, but is training harder than ever and has been keeping a close eye on the 2012 season from the comfort of his living room.

    Contador was sanctioned by CAS in February after one of cycling's most high profile and protracted doping investigations, and he is banned from competing until August. He will miss the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympics but is scheduled to return at the Eneco Tour ahead of a tilt at the Vuelta a Espana. He is reportedly closing in on a new deal to ride for Saxo Bank, who have struggled without him, when he returns to racing - something that he admits can't some soon enough.

    "My days are full," the 29 year-old told Eurosport. "I train maybe even more than usual as I have to compensate for the lack of races. In a squad you can sometimes relax, but when you train on your own you must always work hard. I miss the competition enormously. Of course I like bikes anyway, but it is the competition that drives me. I need it."

    In between training sessions, Contador revealed that he has been obsessively following the 2012 season unfold on television, which has given him extra motivation and has been useful in terms of gathering tactical information on his rivals. He also singled out some riders for special praise in light of their performances so far this year.

    "Training of course has priority, but if I can, I follow the races on television," he said.

    "It is very instructive to study the competition. Two riders...

  • Phinney targets "life-changing" win in Giro d'Italia opener

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) in the pink jersey at the Giro del Trentino.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 14:57 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American rider looks ahead to Saturday's time trial

    Pulling on the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa is a prestigious moment in any rider's career and Taylor Phinney believes that if he succeeds in wining the race's opening time trial on Saturday, his life will change forever.

    The BMC rider lines up as one of the favourites to win the race's 8.7km time trial in Denmark, with a pancake flat course ideally suited to his style of riding. However, with a number of strong rivals, the American is well aware of how difficult the test will be.

    "I know that I can potentially change my life on Saturday. I can change my year, my career in a way and post my biggest result to date in just 10 minutes of racing. That's just extra motivation for me," Phinney told Cyclingnews.

    "I'm looking forward to this time trial. It's been a huge goal of mine for the whole year. I'm in a really good place to tackle it and I really want to win it.

    "There are going to be some guys there that will put up strong opposition: [Alex] Rasmussen being from Denmark and being a prologue specialist; I know [Geraint] Thomas is coming off of a win in Romandie and rolling on some good track from; I've also seen that Daniele Bennati is also keen on it. But I'm super excited for my first Giro."

    Phinney believes that his fitness and mentality to race have never been better but the opening time trial only marks part of the American's mission. The main goal is for Phinney to complete his first Grand Tour. Last year he survived part of the Vuelta a Espana before retiring but eight months on from his three-week debut, completion is the task.

    "The biggest goal for the Giro is to try and finish it and tough it out for three weeks, but I just know I can win this...

  • The SRAM Tour of the Gila enjoys first year UCI status

    2011 Tour of the Gila, Stage 5, Gila Monster road race, 105.7 miles.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 16:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Five day stage race begins today, runs through May 6

    The SRAM Tour of the Gila kicks off on Wednesday, and the edition marks the first time that the event has designated as a UCI 2.2 stage race. Consequently, the grueling five-day stage race has attracted professional racers from Pro Continental teams UnitedHealthcare, Team Type 1 and Champion System - a Hong-Kong based sports apparel company. This team of eight adds to the already strong field of international participants from Belgium, Spain, Columbia, and Mexico.

    The race features five stages; a criterium, time trial, and three road stages, with approximately 15,000 feet of climbing, making it one of the most challenging stage races in the US.

    US-based Competitive Cyclist Racing Team will likely be placing high hopes on their captain Franciso Mancebo to nab his second win at the SRAM Tour of the Gila.

    UnitedHealthcare plans to start Tour of Spain stage winner and Olympian Jason McCartney, NRC Calendar winner Rory Sutherland and climbing specialist Jeff Louder. Team Type 1 – Sanofi’s roster includes Rubens Bertogliati, past Tour de France stage winner.

    In the women’s pro/1/2 field, all eyes will be focused on US Olympic gold medallist Kristen Armstrong. Racing for the Exergy TWENTY12 Pro Women’s Cycling team, Armstrong will be using the five-day stage race to prepare for the London Olympics, where she will defend her 2008 time trial gold medal.

    Team TIBCO's stand-out Megan Guarnier will look to repeat her success from the Redlands Classic, while the always aggressive NOW and Novartis team will be racing for Sea Otter Stage Race winner Alison Powers.

    Cyclingnews is assisting with the live coverage, you can follow the ticker below or at the Tour...

  • Download your free copy of Cyclingnews HD

    Issue one of Cyclingnews HD is now available at the App Store
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 16:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Weekly digital magazine for iPad launched today

    Cyclingnews has today launched its brand new weekly digital magazine for iPad users, and you can download your free copy of issue one from the App Store now.

    Cyclingnews HD offers a brand new user experience, with aggregated news and features from Cyclingnews and Procycling magazine running alongside original content and stunning photography.

    Released every Wednesday, each digital issue will review the major races and talking points from the previous week and will look ahead to what is coming up in the world of professional cycling. There will be detailed guides to major events and regular interviews with the sport's biggest names.

    Issue one previews the first three stages of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, which starts this weekend, and looks back on the Tour of Turkey and the Tour de Romandie. The latter was won by Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, who enhanced his Tour de France credentials, and in issue one you'll also find an interview with the British star.

    For more information, and to order your free copy of issue one, visit the App Store here

     

  • Martin pleased on his return to action

    Tony Martin didn't lose too much form after his crash with the car, and went on the attack.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 17:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German back at the front after training accident

    Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) marked his return from injury with a fine fourth place finish at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on Tuesday. The German had sustained fractures to his cheekbone, jaw and eye socket after he was struck by a car whilst training near his home in Switzerland on April 12.

    Less than three weeks later, however, Martin was back in the saddle in Frankfurt, and he admitted that he was himself surprised to have performed so well on his comeback. He sparked the winning move with an attack 45km from the line and his contribution helped the four escapees hold off the peloton behind, even if he couldn’t track Moreno Moser’s (Liquigas-Cannondale) acceleration in the final kilometre and had to settle for fourth place.

    “I had already felt pretty good in training the last few days, but I didn’t expect to do so well,” Martin said, according to radsport-news.com.

    In the finale, Martin admitted that he had expected Dominik Nerz to be the danger man rather than his Liquigas teammate Moser. “I was concentrated on Nerz’s rear wheel, I hadn’t expected that Moser would be the one to attack,” he said. “I thought he would lead out the sprint for Dominik.”

    Although Martin is still feeling the effects of some of his injuries – “Luckily the sun made my energy bars softer, because I’m still finding it hard to eat,” he quipped to Het Nieuwsblad – he was pleased with his return to action on home roads.

    “My performance probably has a lot to do with motivation,” he said. “This is my home race and I had a lot of support. My family was there, and...

  • Emotional Benedetti ready for Giro d'Italia

    Cesare Benedetti (Team NetApp)
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 18:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Debut for Italian in NetApp colours

    For any Italian pro cyclist, his first taste of the Giro d'Italia is always an emotional one. The passion of the home fans - the tifosi - and the race's standing in his country's sporting heritage takes the anticipation levels up into the stratosphere. It's something that Team NetApp's Cesare Benedetti is feeling just as much as any of his illustrious predecessors as the race, which starts on Saturday in Denmark, edges closer.

    Italians have won 67 of the 94 stagings of the race so far, and 13 of the last 15. It wasn't until 41 years after the race's inception in 1909, that a foreign rider walked away with the iconic pink jersey as overall winner, and the names of Alfredo Binda, Gino Bartali and [Fausto Coppi are still whispered with a hushed reverence by fans all over the country. The Italians generally look on an overseas victory as an affront to the nation as a whole, and with the likes of Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego approaching the autumn of their careers, the adoring Italian public are looking around eagerly for the next generation of standard bearers.

    Whether Benedetti will ever be able to class himself in such exalted company can only be answered in time. For now, the 24-year-old is supremely focused on his Giro debut and is thankful for the opportunity to match his skills against one of the toughest and most famous races in cycling.

    "I am feeling good," he said. "I'm heading to the start from the Giro del Trentino, which I mainly used to get some climbing time. I needed a specific workout. Obviously starting off at the Giro will be very emotional and will be great experience for me. Three weeks is really long."

    Benedetti is the only Italian rider in the German-based