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Third Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 12, 2012

Date published:
May 12, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Cavendish and Eisel finish just inside time cut

    Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 11:29 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Sky riders and Phinney make it with a minute to spare on sapping day

    “There were times when I really thought we were on the plane home,” is how Bernhard Eisel described his and world champion Mark Cavendish tough day through the Apennines on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia on Friday, which saw the Sky riders, together with Taylor Phinney (BMC) and five others finish just a minute inside the time limit.

    Cavendish and Eisel lost contact with the main bunch in the first hour of racing on a stage which featured 3,000 metres of climbing in baking hot conditions. Add to that the knock-on effects of Monday’s pile-up for Cavendish – and he crashed again yesterday – and it made for a very tough day at the office indeed.

    “At a certain point we were on the plane back home. I mean, I will never give up, if I’m out of time, I’m out of time. But it was tough. I told Cav twice just to keep thinking about [his daughter] Delilah.”

    “Yesterday he was on his hands and knees, and then he crashed as well, he was tired.”

    “And I was like ‘that’s it, we’re not going to make it’. There were these long, long roads into a headwind and I was just giving it everything and I was like ‘just keep going.’”

    “Then Jez [Jeremy Hunt] came back [from the bunch] and I was thinking ‘if he’s come back, that’s three of us going to go home.’”

    “But Cav was recovering really well, he was on the wheel for 20k and then he started dropping me because I was empty. And I just killed myself trying to get through on the last part.”

    Eisel was critical of what he felt was an unnecessarily tough stage. “It was...

  • Video: Malori on earning the Giro d'Italia leader's jersey

    Adriano Malori (Lampre - ISD) enjoys his time on the podium
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 15:12 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    The greatest day of my life, says Italian

    After six days of "stranieri" (foreigners) wearing the pink jersey, as Ramunas Navardauskas succeeded inaugural time trial winner Taylor Phinney, Italian tifosi made a lot of noise to welcome new Giro d'Italia leader Adriano Malori in the charming town of Recanati at the start of stage 7. Italy's famous poet Giacomo Leopardi wrote "The Infinite" from that village overlooking the Adriatic coast from a hilltop.

    It was a celebration of the greatness of Italian cycling but the 24-year-old Italian from Parma is well aware of the worldwide impact of the Giro d'Italia, so he kindly answered questions in English while attending "casa Gazzetta" – the booth of the sports newspaper printed in pink every day.

    Malori made it clear that he wasn't going to defend the maglia rosa, as he considers today's uphill finish of Rocca di Cambio too steep for him. He hopes to keep the jersey within the Lampre-ISD team, however, as the squad's leaders Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego are both in contention for the overall victory in the Giro d'Italia.

  • Gallery: Tour of California press conference

    Teejay Van Garderen (BMC) explains some of the upcoming highlights of racing this week.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 17:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Photos of the main contenders

    The teams of the Amgen Tour of California were presented in Sonoma County on Friday night in a VIP gala at the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards.

    The 16 teams who will take the start in Santa Rosa on Sunday were introduced by television commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin as guests enjoyed a colourful bounty of foods produced by local farmers and, of course, sampled the winery's products.

    Enjoy this gallery by our photographer Jonathan Devich.

    1.) RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)

    Christopher Horner (USA)
    George Bennett (NZL)
    Matthew Busche (USA)
    Markel Irizar Aranburu (ESP)
    Benjamin King (USA)
    Tiago Machado (POR)
    Grégory Rast (SUI)
    Jens Voigt (GER)


    2.) Garmin-Barracuda (USA)

    Thomas Danielson (USA)
    Nathan Haas (AUS)
    Heinrich Haussler (AUS)
    Alex Howes (USA)
    Thomas Peterson (USA)
    Jacob Rathe (USA)
    Andrew Talansky (USA)
    David Zabriskie (USA)


    3.) Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)

    Levi Leipheimer (USA)
    Tom Boonen (BEL)
    Gerald Ciolek (GER)
    Dries Devenyns (BEL)
    Bert Grabsch (GER)
    Frantisek Rabon (CZE)
    Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)
    Peter Velits (SVK)


    4.) BMC Racing Team (USA)

    Tejay van Garderen (USA)
    Brent Bookwalter (USA)
    Stephen Cummings (GBR)
    Yannick Eijssen (BEL)
    George Hincapie (USA)
    Steve Morabito (SUI)
    Thimothy Roe (AUS)
    Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)


    5.) Rabobank Cycling Team (NED)

    Robert Gesink (NED)
    Paul Martens (GER)
    Wilco Kelderman (NED)
    Michael Matthews (AUS)
    Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (ESP)
    Bram Tankink (NED)
    Laurens Ten Dam (NED)
    Maarten Tjallingii (NED)



  • Scarponi reinstates himself as sole team leader

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD) leads Paolo Tiralongo (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 18:56 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Malori describes his emotions in pink jersey

    Michele Scarponi gave a clear answer to those who doubted his state of form on stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia to Rocca di Cambio by finishing second behind Paolo Tiralongo (Astana). The Lampre-ISD team has lost the lead as Adriano Malori was unable to hold the speed on the final climb, but they have gained serenity with Scarponi showing that he’s the most incisive of the favorites in an uphill finish. The official defending champion has also justified his leadership over Damiano Cunego.

    “I didn’t think I’d go for something in this stage but I found myself at the front of the bunch with [Przemyslaw] Niemec,” Scarponi explained. “It gave me the idea to try and win the stage. I didn’t make it but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything. The important thing is that Lampre has ridden well.”

    Scarponi was reassured of the hierarchy within the blue-fuchsia team. Following stage 6, La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that Cunego was racing for GC. “He never went away from Scarponi’s wheel, he was racing like a team captain,” wrote leading journalist Luca Gialanella, who had expected the winner of the 2004 Giro d’Italia to ride for the stage victory, as requested by Italian national selector Paolo Bettini.

    Malori took a lot of attention away from the two stars of his team. “At the start, I’ve had the feeling that it was the first race of my career,” the wearer of the pink jersey told Cyclingnews on the finishing line. “I was well aware that the final uphill was hard, therefore it wasn’t a terrain for me to defend the lead. I felt very tired after all the efforts I...

  • Tiralongo dedicates second Giro stage victory to Contador

    Tiralongo gets a little payback from Alberto Contador for his service in 2010
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 19:50 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana domestique reiterates belief in his friend’s innocence

    Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) had never won a race in his twelve-year career until he imposed himself with the benediction of Alberto Contador one year ago at the end of stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia in Macugnaga. Unexpectedly, he doubled up at Rocca di Cambio to give a different meaning to his career as a domestique.

    “The change for me is the freedom,” said the Sicilian rider who served Damiano Cunego for many years prior to joining Contador at Astana. “In the past, I’ve always given the maximum to the riders I’ve worked for. Today I got the green light. I had studied the course for three days, I knew this stage suited me and I told my team: I’m feeling well, I want to try.

    "I did what I had to do. I held on to Scarponi who was strong. He took ten or twenty metres of an advantage. As soon as he sat on his bike, I gave even more than what I had. It was an enormous effort. After the finishing line, you’ve seen me collapsing. I didn’t understand where I was. I was exhausted.”

    Italian reporters supposed that Tiralongo’s second win at the Giro d’Italia was nicer than the first one because he didn’t owe it to anybody’s favor this time around whereas Contador clearly let him win in Macugnaga. “No! Last year it was nicer,” he insisted. “Alberto let me win but to have him behind me on the results sheet was a huge thing. He is my friend and he’s a fuoriclasse [extraordinary rider]. I dedicate today’s victory to him as well. I know what he is enduring at the moment. For a true champion like...

  • Hesjedal becomes first Canadian to lead Giro d'Italia

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) leads overall.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 20:37 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Former MTBer continues Garmin-Barracuda’s run of Giro success

    Three years after he claimed Canada’s first ever Vuelta a España stage victory, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) made history again on Saturday when he became his country’s first ever leader of the Giro d’Italia.

    In 2009, Hesjedal outsprinted David García Dapena of Spain at the summit finish of Velefique on an insanely hard Vuelta stage which contained more than 6,000 metres of climbing. Fast forward three years, and the Canadian’s fifth place on another taxing mountain stage netted the 31-year-old former MTBer the Giro lead.

    As Hesjedal pointed out, he had come painfully close to taking the lead on Friday, but had fallen short by a tiny margin. On Saturday, he was able to put that right.

    Although former double Giro stage winner Tyler Farrar’s abandon due to injury has been a major blow for both the American sprinter and Garmin-Barracuda, Hesjedal’s taking pink is another highpoint in an exceptionally successful first week.

    Even before Hesjedal moveded into pink, Garmin-Barracuda had taken the team time trial and led the race for two days with Ramunas Navardauskas. At the moment Garmin-Barracuda also head the teams classification and the young riders competition with Peter Stetina.

    “This is just incredible, yesterday was very frustrating, there were really unfortunate events like Tyler crashing. We did what we could at the end but I couldn’t get the jersey by 17 seconds. It was hard to take and I was pretty upset,” Hesjedal said.

    “But the team has really kept its confidence and they were fantastic today. Peter and Christian [Vande Velde] were never...

  • Danielson, Garmin-Barracuda gunning for first Amgen Tour of California win

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Barracuda) looking fit and ready for the week.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 21:45 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Talansky the team's not-so-secret weapon

    Garmin-Barracuda has a gaping hole in its palmares: it has never claimed the overall victory at the Amgen Tour of California. This year, team manager Jonathan Vaughters is determined to fill that gap with a two-man assault on the general classification with Tom Danielson and Andrew Talansky.

    Danielson, 34, had an epiphany last year when he placed third here, and with this new-found confidence as a stage race contender he made the top 10 at the Tour de France.

    Talansky, in his second year at Garmin-Barracuda at 23, had his break-out performance in the Tour de Romandie when he took second overall and came within 12 seconds of the race victory.

    These two riders will be sharing the race leadership in the Amgen Tour of California.

    "I think our odds are better to win the race this year than ever before," said Vaughters. "In previous years our focus has been diverse; try to get a stage or in the race lead for a day. Our focus is more compact this year and we're really going to focus on the general classification."

    Danielson is looking down the road to July, when he will try and better his performance in a Tour de France which features more than 100km of time trialing. The focus on the race of truth will come in handy in California, where the Bakersfield test will be one of two truly key stages.

    "I'm definitely coming to this race having given it my all in training leading up to it," Danielson told Cyclingnews. "If I'm not as good as the best guys, then I have more work to do before July. If I am, then awesome, I'll pat myself on the back. I'm focused on July, but to meet those goals I have to make goals here and meet them.

    "Time trialing has been a strength of...

  • Van Garderen targeting Amgen Tour of California podium

    Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 12, 2012, 22:30 BST
    Laura Weislo

    BMC rider bounced back from branch attack

    BMC's Tejay van Garderen should be considered one of the top contenders for the overall Amgen Tour of California victory: after all, he placed fifth in Paris-Nice and was in contention for the overall Tour de Romandie until a flying branch struck him in the face and took him out of the race. But the 23-year-old American is being conservative in his pronouncements, saying he would be happy to get on the podium in Los Angeles.

    Unlike his teammate Taylor Phinney, who stated definitively he would win the Giro d'Italia prologue and then did just that, Van Garderen has learned to be more cautious with his ambitions. He was Phinney's age when he placed third overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and he heaped pressure on himself to live up to his promise as a general classification contender. With several strong results, including a stint in the leader's jersey at the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, that failed to pan out, he's come to learn to take a little pressure off.

    "I was stoked for Phinney out there in pink. It was such an impressive ride from such a young guy. I was really excited to see him deliver on his promise in the prologue," Van Garderen told Cyclingnews, but explained his own statement that a podium finish would be satisfying."If you come into a race saying you're going to win, you leave yourself with no way out. Even second place and two stage wins that's not enough. It's hard to be happy with that.

    "The goal for me is to win, and I'm going to race every day like I'm trying to win - I'm...