First Edition Cycling News, May 23, 2009
Edited by Sue George
Cavendish: "Grazie" for "home" win
By Gregor Brown in Florence, Italy
"Ragazzi, grazie per tutto oggi," Cavendish told his friends and fans when asked by Cyclingnews to send a message after his third win in the three-week stage race. ("Guys, thanks for everything today.")
Cavendish recently bought a home in Quarrata, where he has lived and trained for the past few years. His fiancée led a large group of friends and fans to see the stage, only 35 kilometres away.
Cavendish won in Arenzano (Genova) on Wednesday and Milan on Sunday. Adding to last year's wins, it was his fifth Giro d'Italia stage win. Florence's win on Friday came easily, said Cavendish, thanks to strong team Columbia-Highroad support.
"I can say I have the best lead out man in Mark Renshaw. I can sit on his wheel safely. [The team] did not take on the sprint like we did in past days, but we let the other teams take control." That was true until the final meters, when Cavendish was launched to the line.
After success in the 176-kilometre stage, Cavendish and his American team decided it was best for him to abandon the race. There is only one possible stage left for the sprinters – Anagni – but it ends with a sharp finishing climb repeated twice.
"It would not be one for me, but one for the sprinters that are better all around riders than me," he said to Cyclingnews. "I would like to stay around as long as possible, but I have other objectives."
His next major objective is to train in preparation for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. Last year, Cavendish won four stages in the French Grand Tour.
Blockhaus: Soler's stomping ground?
By Gregor Brown in Florence, Italy
"If my health is good I will try," he said Cyclingnews Friday morning.
Soler's Giro d'Italia was hampered by his crash in stage two to Trieste. It failed to stop the mountain classification winner of the 2007 Tour de France from fighting for a win on the stage to San Martino di Castrozza, though. He made a last minute surge, but Danilo Di Luca caught him prior to the finish.
Soler wants to have another try in the race's second half for himself (his first win since the 2007 Vuelta a Burgos) and to give Barloworld its first win since Robert Hunter's Giro del Trentino win in April. There are three stages that could suit his chances: Monte Petrano (16), Blockhaus (17) and Vesuvio (19).
"The day of Petrano is very difficult and hard. If I have a good day, I can arrive with the front men and try for a stage win. I have a sore right knee, but every day I feel a little bit better."
Soler got some recent advice from Felice Gimondi, three-time winner of the Giro d'Italia and winner of one edition of the Tour de France. At a dinner after stage 12 with the Barloworld team, Gimondi talked about the toughness required to win at the highest level of racing. After describing his own epic battles with Eddie Merckx , Gimondi suggested Soler take a tougher approach at the end of stages.
"Mauricio should never look back to see what damage he has inflicted," said Gimondi. "That shows weakness and motivates the chasing rider. Hunger to win is what separates the good from the greats." That said, Gimondi expressed confidence in the Barloworld team and their ability to win one of the remaining stages of the Giro d'Italia.
After the remaining eight days of racing, Soler will travel back to Colombia and plan the rest of his season with team manager Claudio Corti.
Popovych ready for Giro fight, despite missing payments
By Gregor Brown in Florence, Italy
A win in the Italian three-week stage race could help the team secure additional funds to continue its season. The riders and staff are awaiting the payment of two months of salary from their Kazakh backers.
"With Lance [Armstrong] and [Johan] Bruyneel we are more secure. If I was in another team, with another manger then I would be afraid," Popovych told Cyclingnews.
Popovych added that he is not searching for other teams despite missing salary payments. He prefers to focus on the team's objective: helping Leipheimer make up the 40-second disadvantage on race leader Denis Menchov (and six seconds from Danilo Di Luca, in second overall).
"I am not afraid to work, this is not the problem. As long as I am good health I will be up there."
One problem is the loss of important mountain helper Chris Horner ahead of three difficult mountaintop finishes. Horner returned home to Oregon following a crash in stage 10 and a subsequent muscle strain in his left calf.
"Lance is going better and [Janez] Brajkovic is going better in these days. We have a strong mountain team."
Popovych is familiar with delivering a leader to the overall win. He helped teammates Armstrong and Alberto Contador win the 2005 and 2007 Tours de France, respectively.
Giro: Davis keeps going after another Cavendish defeat
By Gregor Brown in Florence, Italy
Allan Davis (Quick Step) faced another Giro d'Italia defeat to Mark Cavendish (Columbia - Highroad) Friday in Florence, five days after his close call in Milan.
"Once again, 'Cav' got a perfect lead out by Mark [Renshaw] and [Edvald] Boasson Hagen. A couple of other guys and I could probably beat any other sprinter in the world without a train of our own, doing our own sprint," Davis told Cyclingnews. But not Cavendish.
Quick Step helped lead out its Aussie sprinter in the last moments of stage 13's 175-kilometre run from Lido di Camaiore. Garmin-Slipstream and then Cavendish's Columbia team showed the strongest in the last kilometres, though.
"We haven't got our best lead out train here, but we have some good climbers here and opportunistic riders for breakaways. We are trying 100 percent. We have [Kevin] Seeldraeyers second on the young riders' classification and we are working for him as well.
"We are knocking on the door for a stage win."
Davis' chance may come next Saturday. Unlike Cavendish, who pulled out of the race Friday night, Davis plans to finish the centennial Giro d'Italia.
"Looking at the whole three weeks, my best opportunity is the second to last day."
The day is 203-kilometres long and includes two 177-metre climbs up to the Viale Roma in Anagni, the second time being the finish and Davis' chance for his third sprint win of the season.
The Giro d'Italia concludes the following day with a 14.4-kilometre time trial through Rome's historical centre.
Giro's Zomegnan warns of upcoming mountains
By Gregor Brown in Riomaggiore, Italy
"There are hard climbs and we will see on the night of Monte Petrano whether or not they are true mountains. Often there are critics that say rubbish about the Giro, but in the end those words are just that, rubbish," Zomegnan said to Cyclingnews.
The Giro d'Italia travelled south on Friday with a sprinters' stage to Firenze. It faces eight more days of racing, three of which are high-mountaintop arrivals: Monte Petrano, Blockhaus and Vesuvio. Two other stages – Bologna's San Luca and Faenza – should also shake out some of the top classification favourites.
The classification re-shaped on Thursday in Cinque Terre with a technical 60.6-kilometre time trial. Russia's Denis Menchov (Rabobank) won the stage and took over the leader's maglia rosa. He leads the race with 34 seconds on previous race leader Italian Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and 40 seconds on American Levi Leipheimer (Astana).
Zomegnan was pleased with the long time trial course that he revealed in December with race organiser RCS Sport. The stage, which included two mountain passes, weaved along the Ligurian coast and tested the over favourites.
"We imagined beforehand that it was going to be this way and the results of the day showed that were on the right track. It was an important bet and a winning bet."
The results showed big losses for pre-race favourites: 2006 race winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas) lost 2:17, 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) lost 2:18 and three-time world champion Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad) lost 2:46.
"I think there are still others within the race, like Basso, and not only the current top three riders [Menchov, Di Luca and Leipheimer - ed.]. Whoever wants to win the Giro will have to attack, while Menchov is now in a position to defend himself.
"The Giro is open, it is likely the true Giro started today [Thursday - ed]."
The Giro d'Italia ends next Sunday, May 31, with a 14.4-kilometre time trial through the historic centre of Rome.
Some boycott Armstrong's Twittering
Armstrong did not speak to the media after Thursday's 60.6-kilometre time trial stage in Cinque Terre. According to his team, Armstrong's silence is intended to allow him to focus on helping teammate Levi Leipheimer win the Giro d'Italia.
In contrast, some have claimed Armstrong was responding to the Italian media blaming him for his role in the peloton's protest in Sunday's criterium in Milan, which was neutralized and therefore did not end up counting toward the general classification after riders expressed concerns about the safety of the course.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia.
Trusov takes "greatest" career win
Team Katusha's Nikolay Trusov won stage five in the Volta a Catalunya in Torredembarra, Spain. The Russian winner. The former track pursuiter took a convincing victory over Thor Hushovd, Cervelo's proven sprint winner. Trusov, who lived in the region as an amateur, said he was familiar with the roads and this gave him an advantage in the finale.
"I am very happy. It is the greatest victory in my career!" he said. "Today, I was brought together my track experience and a very good physical condition to do my best sprint. I had good legs, and my team was superb."
Trusov's manager was complimentary of his rider's efforts. "Nikolai showed a very good tactical sense. He had good legs and a good mind."
The general classification did not change in the day's stage. Spaniard Alejandro Valverde retained his 15-second lead over Irishman Dan Martin by 15 seconds with two stages remaining.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage five of the Volta a Catalunya.
No changes in minimum wages for road pros
The Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), an association for professional cyclists, failed in its bid to renegotiate an increase in the minimum wages for male, professional road cyclists for 2010. Officials with the Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP), an organization of professional teams, dismissed the CPA's suggestion, citing the world economic crisis as the reason for not agreeing to an increase. The two organizations set rider minimum wages per a Joint Agreement.
Cyclists' wages were frozen from 2005 to 2008, and the 10% increase granted in 2008 for the 2009 year did not compensate for the increase in the cost of living during the four-year period, according to the CPA.
In 2009, the agreed-upon minimum wages were 33,000 euros for ProTour racers, 27,500 euros for Professional Continental racers, 26,700 euros for neo-professional ProTour racers and 23,000 euros for neo-professional riders in the Professional Continental ranks, with all numbers representing the riders' gross salaries.
The CPA had proposed an annual salary of 50,400 euros for ProTour racers and 36,000 euros for Professional Continental racers. The riders' organization cited concerns such as the length of a rider's pro career, teams generally owning the rights to its riders' images and the vocational or professional non-cycling education sacrified by many pro riders as reasons to increase the salaries of its members.
Fort Lewis hires new head coach
During his own racing career at Fort Lewis, he competed in mountain, cyclo-cross, and road races and won two individual collegiate national championships in the short track and cyclo-cross in 2004. He also helped his team to two collegiate time trial championships in 2005 and 2006 and contributed to nine collegiate team omnium national titles.
Shriver raced for the Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team on the road in the US and as a pro mountain biker and cyclo-cross racer in Europe and North America. He most recently competed as a member of the 2009 elite men's US team at the cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, where he finished as second American and 41st overall.
Fort Lewis is currently ranked second nationally. Shriver's focus as the new interim director will be to develop a more well-rounded women's team and to help the team defend its current mountain bike national championship.
Celebrate with Cyclingnews' Giro Sweepstakes
The centenary edition of the Giro d'Italia has started off with exciting finishes, beautiful terrain and great performances by the superstars of cycling. We're celebrating the Giro in the best way we know how - working the race to bring you daily race reports, photos, features and live coverage.
Thanks to our friends at BMC, you can share in the celebration - simply enter our BMC-Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia Sweepstakes for a chance to win.
One lucky Grand Prize winner will receive a BMC SLC01 Pro Machine road bike frame - the same frame ridden by the riders on the US-based BMC Racing Team - as well as an Assos-made BMC team jersey, cap and socks.
Enter the contest at http://contests.cyclingnews.com/BMCGiroDItalia.php. All you have to do is answer two questions and complete the entry form - you don't have to buy anything! Please only enter once and good luck!
Entries close May 31, 2009, at 11:59PM Pacific time.
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