A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Sports court to hear the case June 6 to 8, three weeks before Tour de France
Alberto Contador now knows when he will have his hearing in court. His case will be pleaded from June 6 to 8 at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, three and a half weeks prior to the start of the Tour de France.
The CAS announced the hearing schedule on Friday. The hearings in the two separate cases of UCI v. Contador and the WADA v. Contador will be hold on those three days.
The UCI and WADA are appealing the decision of the Spanish Cycling Federation not to take action against Contador for his positive test for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. The Federation dropped the doping charge against him, saying it was not proven that he had purposely ingested the substance.
The UCI decided to appeal that decision after a review of the file left it unconvinced that Contador had proven the positive doping control stemmed from eating contaminated meat. WADA did not explain its reasons for appealing.
CAS has already said that it hopes to be able to issue its decision by the end of June and therefore before the start of the Tour de France.
Injuries and illnesses force riders to quit
Several riders have had to abandon the Amgen Tour of California during and after Thursday's stage five to Paso Robles. Amongst them was world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin Cervélo), still out of luck this season wearing the rainbow jersey.
"I haven't been feeling well since I arrived and today I just felt empty," he said in a press release. "I couldn't continue. I'm very disappointed to leave the team and the race. I would have liked to finish because the last day was a goal for me. I wish the team luck. I'm proud of what we have done here so far."
The stage was equally unlucky for the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, which saw three riders hit the ground: Nick Nuyens, Lucas Sebastian Haedo and Gustav Erik Larsson. The latter was unable to continue the race as he suffered serious injuries to his face. Larsson was taken to hospital, where he received several stitches around his eyebrow.
Nuyens and Haedo were also examined in hospital but said to able to take the start again in Friday's time trial in Solvang.
German Jens Voigt did finish the stage, but then had x-rays in hospital, too. His wrist had been hurting since his crash in stage four, and finally doctors diagnosed a fracture of his scaphoid bone, which will require an operation, the Leopard Trek team announced.
13 women invited to compete in Amgen Tour of California time trial
AEG Sports, organizers of the Amgen Tour of California, will host 13 of the strongest female time trialists in the world at the inaugural California Women's International Time Trial Challenge on Friday, May 20 in Solvang, California.
The race is held in conjunction with stage 6 of the professional men's eight-day stage race at the Amgen Tour of California. The 24-kilometre time trial course has something for every type of rider including a predominantly uphill battle on the way out, followed by a pass over Ballard Canyon and descent back into the finish line.
Cyclingews spoke with several participants including time trial world champion Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) from Great Britain, former two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty 12) from the US, US time trial national champion Evie Stevens (HTC-Highroad) and track world champion Tara Whitten (Tibco-To the Top) from Canada.
The remaining riders include HTC-Highroad teammates Charlotte Becker, Amanda Miller, Amber Neben and Emilia Fahlin long with Heather Jackson, Janel Holcomb of Colavita Forno D'Asolo, Jessica Phillips, Alison Starnes of Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 and Rhae Shaw.
Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo)
"I think the time trial is great for women's racing," Pooley said. "It is really cool to have a race alongside the guys' race where people actually notice. Also, it looks like Andrew [Messick] has put on a classy event with a very strong field. There aren't that many riders but they are all very strong."
"Personally, I don't get that many opportunities to wear my jersey and I just really want to do a time trial," she said. "This is my first time in the US and it is important to show my sponsors...
HTC-Highroad rider looks forward to time trial and Mt. Baldy
Tejay van Garderen entered this year's Amgen Tour of California hoping to win. At the opening press conference, the young American spoke confidently of his chances. Asked if he thought he belonged among the favorites he said, "I would agree, I would put myself as one of the favorites too, that is definitely the goal. The goal could either be to do well or to win and I'm going to try to win. If I fail, then I fail."
The 22-year-old van HTC-Highroad racer suffered a significant set-back to his ambitions on Wednesday's climbing stage between Livermore and San Jose. On the final climb, he could not hold the wheels of the lead riders, and slipped down the standings. "I felt good until the last part when the favorites went," he said. Van Garderen crossed the line 2:05 after winner Chris Horner, and slipped to 10th in the general classification.
In retrospect, van Garderen felt he misjudged the climb and his legs. "I think towards the bottom I tried to stay too long with some of the favorites. There was a Garmin guy up the road, so no one was working. I tried to do it myself and I don't think that was smart, because I used too much energy and started to fade." With Ryder Hesjedal up the road, van Garderen could not hope for help from Garmin-Cervélo riders Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky, who finished close on time with him.
Though he may have misplayed his hand on Sierra Road, van Garderen correctly anticipated that Chris Horner would ride well in this year's race. Before the race start, he called Horner the hardest rider to beat, and sure enough, Horner proved unrivaled on Wednesday's steep finishing climb.
"We all knew [Chris] Horner was going to be good. He skipped the Ardennes Classics to prepare for this...
Italian now second overall but three minutes behind
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) seemed in shock after he crossed the line at the summit of the Grossglockner on stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia. He finished 1:36 behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) and the Spaniard gained a further 12 seconds thanks to the time bonus for second place on the stage. Nibali moved past Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad) into second place overall but is now 3:09 behind Contador.
Italian television pundits have already started asking if Liquigas-Cannondale should have opted for Ivan Basso as team leader. Nibali was mobbed by the Italian media, who are trying to understand why he is unable to even respond to Contador's attacks. But Nibali struggled to come up with some real answers.
"There was nothing I could do against Contador. I tried to hang on to Contador but he had an extra gear and it was impossible," he said after he had pulled on some warm clothes.
"We tried to do what we could but it was pointless. I think everyone saw that. I don't think there is much else to say. Scarponi tried to attack him a few times and I tried to follow him but neither worked and he just rode away from us."
Nibali is on the ropes after taking several body blows from Contador. He appears close to accepting defeat but knows he has to try and bounce back because Saturday's stage includes the climb (and descent) of the Crostis and finishes on the very steep Zoncolan. Sunday's stage is a 229km marathon across the Dolomites to the Gardeccia with another five major climbs.
"We've got to try and come up with something but what?" he asked with a hint of desperation.
"I'm not giving up yet. But we can only hope he cracks but he didn't today and this turned out to be a tough stage after all the climbing, the cold and the rain."...
Revised medal placings yet to be determined
One day after news of Tyler Hamilton's confession of doping during his cycling career, the 2004 Olympic Games time trial winner was reported to have already returned his medal. Hamilton voluntarily surrendered his gold medal to the United States Anti-Doping Agency according to the New York Times.
"The I.O.C. has been in touch with USADA, which indicated that the athlete has already rendered his gold medal - Athens 2004 time-trial race - and that they are currently pursuing an inquiry," Emmanuelle Moreau, a spokeswoman for the IOC, wrote in an e-mail according to the New York Times. "The I.O.C. has taken note of Hamilton's confession and will, of course, study any potential Games-related implications."
USADA confirmed the return of the gold medal and said it would continue its joint investigative work with the IOC and US Olympic Committee.
Hamilton tested positive for homologous blood doping at the 2004 Vuelta a España, which followed the Olympic Games. In fact, Hamilton's "A" sample from the Olympic Games time trial had also tested positive for a blood transfusion, but mishandling of the backup sample meant the result could not be confirmed with the "B" sample, and therefore, Hamilton had been allowed to keep his Olympic medal.
Hamilton had won the 2004 Olympic Games time trial ahead of Viatcheslav Ekimov (Russia) and Bobby Julich (United States of America) and Michael Rogers (Australia). In theory, the new assignment of medals could be Ekimov - gold, Julich - silver and Rogers - bronze.
A previous joint appeal by the Russian and Australian Olympic Committees to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in...
Spaniard refuses to accept the Giro is won
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) finished in the slipstream of Jose Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) at the top of the Grossglockner but his attack on the steepest section of the Austrian climb was again too fast and too strong for his overall rivals at the Giro. He extended his overall lead to more than three minutes with two further mountain finishes to come on Saturday and Sunday.
Contador makes stage racing look easy and makes his rivals embarrassingly inadequate. Yet he is careful not to appear over confident when speaking to the media.
"It might look easy form the outside but it is not easy at all. Today was incredibly hard and nothing has been decided yet in the race," he said in the press conference in a mountain refuge close to the finish on the Grossglockner.
"My rivals are very strong but on the two mountain stages I felt very good and took advantage of that, while my rivals were a little bit doubtful of attacking."
"I'm in good shape because I worked hard before the Giro. The results are thanks to that. Today I wanted to gain as much time as possible on my overall rivals. Winning was secondary this time. It was a hard stage and I suffered so gaining time was important."
Contador raced intelligently on the long climb to the finish. He let Scarponi launch the first real attack and only made his own move when he saw Nibali in trouble. It was clinical racing.
"When other riders attacked, I waited a bit but then Scarponi went and Nibali was behind. I knew it was the right moment to go," he explained.
"I knew this was an important day and in this Giro you never know if you can have a bad day, you could lose 15 minutes really quickly.
You've got to take advantage when you can."
It was put to Contador that he is trying to wrap up victory in the Giro as soon as possible so that he can throttle back and save himself for the Tour de France.
He has to overcome the UCI and WADA appeals...
UCI claim sporting aspect of the race was at risk
The UCI commissaries at the Giro d'Italia have announced that the Crostis climb has been cut from Saturday's fourteenth stage because the measures put in place by organiser RCS Sport do not adequately protect the sporting aspect of the race.
RCS Sport had issued a detailed protocol for the teams to follow during the stage, with only a team motorbike carrying wheels allowed to follow the riders on the very technical descent. This was deemed insufficient to guarantee the sporting aspect of the sport and so failed to respect UCI road racing rules.
"Although the Organizer has put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the riders’ safety, following the complaints of the Team Managers because of the impossibility to ensure an optimal sport management at the end of the stage (as the team cars cannot operate normally by following the race course for 37,2 km) and after an analysis of the proposal done by the Organizer to solve this problem, the Panel of Commissaires does not judge this proposal sufficient," the official communiqué reads:
"Consequently, the Panel of Commissaires make the following decision :
"Not to authorize the entire unfolding of the stage as it was defined in the Technical Guide of the Giro. The ascent of Monte Crostis and the following descent are therefore eliminate from the race route."
There had been long and detailed negotiations between the riders, teams and organisers, especially in the light of the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt on stage three. Everyone accepted that the descent had been made safe but it seems complaints were made to the UCI by team managers. A final decision was only made at 9:00pm after Friday's stage to Grossglockner.
Race director Angelo Zomegnan was forced to accept the decision of the UCI judges but was left with egg on his face after vehemently insisting the Crostis would stay in the race....