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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, May 5, 2009

Edited by Greg Johnson

Simeoni returns Italy jersey in outrage

National champion disgusted by Giro snub

Italian champion Filippo Simeoni (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italian national champion Filippo Simeoni has returned his red, green and white jersey to the national federation in protest over his squad's Giro d'Italia snub. Ceramica Flaminia was left out of the Giro d'Italia lineup after event organiser RCS Sport announced last week the Fuji-Servetto squad – which was asked to leave last year's Tour de France due to doping violations – would be awarded the final spot.

"It is unacceptable that the Italian champion cannot compete in the biggest event in his country," Simeoni told reporters on Monday.

Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone appealed to International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid over his team's exclusion from the Giro at the weekend. Marrone complained in a letter to McQuaid that selection to the Grand Tours and other important races are supposed to be by regulation, "based on pure merit and ethical sport".

"It is unacceptable that, despite being among the top 10 teams in the ranking of Europe Continental Tour and [having] received the Wild Card Label, our team is systematically excluded from most major competitions for the benefit of other teams that will not be more competitive than us," he said.

Columbia sets modest aims for Giro

Mark Cavendish with his coach
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Columbia-Highroad hopes to claim a stage victory at this year's Giro d'Italia with Mark Cavendish, although anything beyond that will be a bonus according to team manager Rolf Aldag. Cavendish is in top form having completed a successful Spring Classics campaign that included victory at Milan-Sanremo.

"If we come away from the Giro d'Italia with at least one stage win and some time in the overall lead, I'll be happy," said Aldag. "But we really want to make a big impact in the first week, so that we can head into the second part of the Giro without feeling too much pressure.

"We've got our eye on the team time trial in Venice, particularly after winning the same event in the Tour of Romandie, and then in the first couple of flat stages, we'll be going 100 percent all out with Mark [Cavendish] as well," he added.

Kanstantsin Siutsou will be Columbia-Highroad's main contender for the general classification. Siutsou finished 17th at last year's Giro.

"At the same time, we'll be looking to see what Michael [Rogers] can do. I spoke to him just after Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he's in good shape and he's fully recovered from the fever that prevented him racing in Flèche and Liège.

"I know he's been checking out some of the tougher stages and time trial stages in the Giro by himself, and I know he's enthusiastic about this race."

Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen will also make his Grand Tour debut at this year's Giro. The Gent-Wevelgem winner will celebrate his 22nd birthday mid-way through the Giro.

"Edvald's under no pressure at all, although it would be great if he could finish. As one of our younger riders, we want him to get as much experience racing as possible, in all sorts of situations. That's important for his future, and for the team's future, too."

Barloworld focused on Giro time trial

Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team Barloworld has its sights firmly set on the Giro d'Italia's stage 12 time trial. Both Mauricio Soler and Chris Froome have been completing reconnaissance of the route, which they believe is nothing like the time trials they are used to.

"It's a tough time trial," admitted Soler. "The road climbs right from the start and there aren't many moments where you can recover."

Barloworld staff also followed Soler and Froome over the route on Monday, recording the entire 61.7km course from Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore with a mounted video camera. The team will study the footage over the coming days in order to prepare for the race.

"Rather than a time trial, it's like a stage," said Froome. "It'll be very important to judge your effort right from the start and eat and drink enough."

Both riders paid particular attention to the descents of the Passo del Bracco and the Passo del Termine. Both are very technical, with many sharp and narrow corners.

"The riders should consider the stage more like a long breakaway rather than a time trial," said sport director Alberto Volpi. "They're going to have to stay focused and judge their effort very carefully."

See Cyclingnews' in-depth analysis of this year's Giro d'Italia route.

Quick Step counting on youngsters in Italy

Kevin Seeldrayers
Photo ©: Florian & Susanne Schaaf
(Click for larger image)

Belgian squad Quick Step will depend on its young riders at the Giro d'Italia, which starts later this week. The squad enjoyed a successful Spring Classics campaign, highlighted with Tom Boonen's Paris-Roubaix victory, but that success and its focus on Tour de France stage wins has left the Giro responsibilities falling on the team's younger riders.

"We're coming to the Giro with a young team, ready to attack," said sport director Luca Guercilena. "The average age of the team is 26. It's a great group with some strong individuals like Kevin Seeldraeyers, who wore the white jersey in the 2009 Paris-Nice. Our goal is to be ready to stand out at whatever moment the race will allow us to."

Seeldraeyers, contesting his second Giro, intends on staring on the climbs in this year's race. Baby Giro winner Dario Cataldo will also ride with the squad, joined by Giro debutants Kevin Hulsmans and Francesco Reda plus 21-year-old neo-professionals Mauro Facci and Davide Malacarne.

American Giro d'Italia stage winners

By Peter Hymas

A flying Greg LeMond
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Americans have been competing in the Giro d'Italia for 25 years, yet their exploits in Italy's Grand Tour are frequently overshadowed by the attention given to success in the Tour de France. As more riders from the US have made their mark however, the importance of the Giro d'Italia to the development of 'globalised' cycling cannot be discounted.

From the upstart American 7 Eleven squad, which was greeted in Europe with skepticism and occasional hostility, to Team CSC's American riders and the current Garmin-Slipstream outfit, professionals from the US have etched a place in the annals of Giro history.

The successes of American pioneers such as Ron Kiefel, Andy Hampsten and Greg LeMond were not fluke occurrences and their standing amongst cycling fans at home and abroad was enhanced by their success in Italy. They also paved the way for the new generation, which now enjoys a guaranteed seat at the Giro table for three weeks in May.

As the Giro d'Italia celebrates its centenary edition let's take a look back at the elite contingent of American professionals who have won stages in the Italian Grand Tour and have left their mark in the event's lengthy, storied history.

Click here to read the full feature.

Geelong scores another cycling event

The city hosting next year's UCI World Road Championships, Geelong, Australia, has launched a five day road race which will start this year. The first Tour of Geelong will be held from August 12-16 and is part of a three year deal with the City of Geelong.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor Cr. John Mitchell said today the Tour of Geelong would be a fantastic event for the region. "The Geelong Tour will complement Geelong's hosting of the 2010 UCI Road Cycling World Championships, but will also be an important on-going event in its own right," he said.

"Cycling is a booming sport and recreational leisure activity and the interest in the sport is unlikely to wane because of the cycling's obvious environmental credentials."

While the course is yet to be determined, the Tour of Geelong will join Australia's Scody Cup series. The event will also incorporate the Victorian Open Road Championships.

The tour will have seven stages – two each on the first two days and one each on the final three days. The last three days – made up of time trials, criteriums and road races, would be raced as Victorian championships. The final three days will have separate races for women as Victorian titles and criterium races will also be held for veteran riders.

Fire Relief Ride a success

Olympian Shane Kelly was just one of the
Photo ©: Charmion Phillips
(Click for larger image)

The Marysville-Lake Mountain Fire Relief Ride has been declared a success after $37,500 was donated to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund from the entry fees of the 1500 cyclists that took part. The cyclo-sportif was nearly cancelled after February's devastating bush fires, but after meetings with local government the event went ahead and raised funds for those affected.

Five-time Olympian Shane Kelly OAM said the event was a great way for cyclists to give something back to Victorian communities affected by the fires. "It was an honour to be the event ambassador and it's great to see cycling playing a part in helping the fire affected communities recover and rebuild" Kelly said.

Australian professional squad Savings & Loans also sent some of its riders to join those taking part in the event. February's fires claimed 173 lives and left a $1.02 billion insurance bill after entire towns were burnt to the ground.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Charmion Phillips

Images by Rick Robson

Images by Charmion Phillips

Images by Rick Robson

Images by Charmion Phillips

Images by Rick Robson

What's hot on the forum

It's been a week of madness as the Mellow Johnny boys smashed up America's Tour of the Gila, while others went to the traditional Giro d'Italia preparation event: Tour of Romandie. Readers have been impressed by the efforts of some, disgusted by the behaviour of others…all in a week of cycling!

Here's some of what's been said:

Tony Martin is VERY good

  • I'd call him a Grand Tour contender at this point.... What does the forum think? - BiBoat
  • That has to be one with a lot of ITT and no steep mountains. On a mountaintop finish like Alpe d'Huez or Joux Plane similar, he will lose too much time. I'm impressed by him also. But that is mostly as a time-trialist. - Jonjungel
  • I agree; maybe a next Jens Voigt? - il_fiammingo

Join the thread.

Official thread: Giro d'Italia

  • I'm hugely looking forward to it too.

    They've done a great job with this year's route. A team time trial to start (Garmin to win that!), a summit finish on stage four (?!), the Milan city centre stage and then the one I'm most looking forward to....... Blockhaus. Should be cracking stuff.

    I'm completely undecided so far on who will win...... I will come back on that in a few days with a prediction, no doubt a rubbish one. - Baggins27
  • I'm very interested in seeing what Thomas Lövkvist can do. Is this perhaps his chance to show he can last an entire 3 week tour? Last year Gustav Larsson finished 14th in the Giro and throughout their careers Lövkvist has been the bigger talent in my mind. He just need to grow into the role and perhaps that is now. - Ingsve
  • - I'm amazed how everyone now appears to be tipping Levi. A month ago, all the talk was of Levi taking it easy for the Tour. Domestique duties for his highness, only.

    What's changed? I'm guessing LA's lack of race prep. - Mellow Velo

Join the thread.

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