Patrick Dempsey rides with the Giro d'Italia - News shorts

Minguez says Bergen Worlds not for Valverde, Vandenbergh out of intensive care, Txurruka announces retirement

Hollywood visited the Giro d'Italia on Friday morning, with actor Patrick Dempsey riding with the BMC team and the peloton during in the five-kilometre neutralised section before the start of the 224km stage.

Dempsey is a keen cyclist and often visits the Tour of California. This year he headed to the Giro d'Italia as a brand ambassador for race timekeeper Tag Heuer. He lined up with BMC, who are also sponsored by the luxury watch brand, wearing a vintage wool pink jersey.

"Breaking Away was a great movie when I was growing up and it was how I became aware of cycling. It'd be nice to do another movie," he said, revealing his knowledge of the sport.

"Cycling always gave me a sense of freedom and going somewhere. The intensity is high at this level but it's special to be part of it and around it. Cycling is a great way to stay in shape.

"It's great to be in Italy and be part of this wonderful event. Celebrating 100 years is spectacular, it's an epic race."

Bergen not a world championships for Valverde says Minguez

Spanish national coach Javier Minguez studied the route of the world road race championships this week and quickly played down Alejandro Valverde's chances on the tough circuit.

Valverde has enjoyed a second spring after returning for his ban for doping but has never managed to win the world title. The Norwegian city has opted for a tough circuit in the city that is expected to suit climbers and Grand Tour riders. Valverde won Liege-Bastogne-Liege but Minguez played down his chances.

"Bergen is a city like Bilbao," Minguez said. "I don't think it suits Valverde. It is going to be very hard, because we are talking about a circuit with corners, climbs and descents, without hardly a section of flat and at 277 kilometres, it's a distance for real professionals. However the type of finish is good for Alejandro. The last climb is more than ten kilometres away from the finish. We'll have to see who is in control in the final part of the race. There will be many attacks and probably a small group of two, four or six riders. Somebody will have to chase the attacks."

Txurruka announces retirement

Amets Txurruka has retired from cycling, unable to find a team this year. The 34-year-old rode professionally for 11 years.

In a statement, he said that “this last period has not been easy.”

He said, "I have continued to struggle and work as I have always done to be at the highest level, but the professional field demands the most and some physical problems have created in me even more doubts.”

Txurruka's first team was Barloworld in 2006, and he then moved to Euskaltel-Euskadi. While with the Basque team, he won the most combative rider award in 2007 Tour de France. In 2013 he moved to Caja Rural, where he won the overall titles at the Vuelta a Asturias of 2013 and the Tour du Gévaudan Languedoc-Rousillon. He joined Orica-Bike Exchange for the 2016 season.

Vandenbergh out of intensive care

Stijn Vandenbergh has been moved out of intensive care but remains hospitalized in Valenciennes. The AG2R-La Mondiale rider suffered severe concussion in the mass crash in the opening stage of the 4 Jours du Dunkerque on Tuesday.

He was knocked unconscious in the crash and was bleeding from the nose and mouth. He remained in intensive care until yesterday.

There is no word as to when he might be released from hospital.

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