Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia set to be raced as planned, despite threat of snow
by Shane Stokes
Playing down concerns that stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia might have to be cancelled due to the threat of snow, organisers have said that they expect today’s race to go ahead undisturbed, but will make a final decision on Tuesday morning (European time).
While it is just 139 kilometres in length, the stage is one of the toughest in this year’s race and crosses three major peaks. Each are over 2,000 metres; the Passo Gavia is the first and reaches 2,618 metres, while the subsequent Passo Dello Stelvio is 2,758 metres and the highest point of this year’s Giro. The third climb is the lowest of the three, although at 2,059 metres the Val Martello Martelltal is still a very considerable test.
The Gavia copperfastened its place in legend in 1988 when it was the site of Andy Hampsten’s famous ride into the pink jersey in atrocious conditions. Many of the riders suffered hypothermia due to the freezing temperatures and snow, but Hampsten coped better than most and took hold of a Maglia Rosa he retained until the finish of the race.
Giro organisers said on Monday that forecasts suggested warmer conditions and possible rain, assuaging fears that fresh snow could fall. However a final decision will be made in the hours leading up to the stage. Providing it goes ahead, the Colombian riders are aiming to make the most of the high altitude. They are accustomed to living far above sea level and will hope to take time out of their rivals.
Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma Quick Step) is leading the race while 2013 Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana is sitting fifth overall. Uran is one minute and three seconds ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and one minute 50 up on Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Nairo Quintana believes his best form is returning
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has said he hopes to finish on the podium, if not take the overall victory in the Giro d’Italia, saying he believes he is returning to the type of form he started the race with.
The Colombian rider finished second in last year’s Tour de France, but thus far hasn’t seemed like the same rider. However Saturday and Sunday’s stages showed flashes of strong form and he lopped 25 seconds off his compatriot Rigobert Uran’s lead.
He is sitting fifth overall heading into the final third of the race, but still needs to make up two minutes and 40 seconds to get level with the Maglia Rosa.
Quintana said that the problems he had earlier in the race complicated things for him and put him in his current situation.
“I can’t compare my physical level to the one I had in the Tour last year. I had got to the Giro in very good form, willing to do well, in perfect weight, with good training… but a problem came by after another, with the crash, the flu,” he explained during Monday’s rest day.
“They played a massive effect on my condition. With all problems I had, it was a situation more to go home and recover than staying here. I had high fever in many stages… Despite everything, I never thought of withdrawing. I always fought to recover and fight for what we came for, especially because I have a strong team behind, which helps me out to carry on.”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Taylor Phinney suffers broken leg in US road race nationals
Just days after winning the ITT at the USA national road championships Taylor Phinney (BMC) has crashed out of the nationals road race and will undergo surgery on a badly broken leg.
Big shame to see Taylor Phinney has badly broke his leg in US nationals. And just a month before the start of the Tour De France #rough
— Ian Court (@iancourtracing) May 26, 2014
It is believed that Phinney crashed on the first descent of Lookout Mountain, roughly 45km into the 166.7km held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Phinney was reportedly aiming to ride the Tour de France this year in support of his compatriot Tejay van Garderen while also eye off the ITT in the race. Phinney now faces a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
Michael Hepburn on Orica-GreenEdge’s ever-shrinking team at the Giro
A series of crashes and illnesses has seen the Orica-GreenEdge squad at the Giro reduced to just three riders going into the final week of racing. Here’s Michael Hepburn speaking to Cycling News about the team’s depleted stocks, just before Mitch Docker withdrew from the race due to illness:
Races are lies
This is a great little piece from Fat Cyclist about the fact that racing bikes “is a total sham”. The concept is simple: “Every single win — every single moment on the podium — is predicated not on our own speed and racing prowess, but on faster people not showing up.”
It’s an interesting little argument, and one that’s somewhat addressed by the use of grading in races, but it’s still largely true. Check out the article — it’s worth a read.
Bayside Council motion to introduce cyclists licenses ‘smashed’
There have been plenty of vexed discussions in recent months (normally in the comments sections of articles on tabloid newspaper websites) about the fact cyclists should have to be licensed like drivers. Now, a motion put forward by the Bayside Council in Melbourne to introduce cycling licenses has been “smashed” by other councils.
The motion was recently put forward at a Municipal Association of Victoria meeting where it was swiftly voted down.
“The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected and even looked like struggling for a seconder until the Knox delegate reluctantly agreed,” said Councillor Stephen Mayne, a member of Melbourne City Council.
“It was the most opposed motion out of the 55 debated at state council and there was a very long queue of people lining up to speak against it.”
Bayside Council, which overseas Melbourne’s most popular cycling location, Beach Road, believed registration or licensing would help identify cyclists involved in an accident or breaking road rules.
Click here to read more at The Weekly Review Bayside.
Bicycle Network calls for $7.5 billion in cycling infrastructure
Meanwhile cycling advocacy group Bicycle Network has appealed to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in the wake of the recent federal budget, to set aside nearly $8 billion in funding for bike infrastructure throughout Australia.
The “Please Tony!” campaign seeks to appeal to the fact Mr Abbott is himself a cyclist and points to the cost of inactivity.
“Inactivity costs us $13.8 billion a year and Tony’s tough budget will lead to even more inactive Australians”, Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said. “Getting around by bike is the smart way to get Australia moving. Riding swaps inactive travel time for active travel time and reduces costs to the economy and health system.”
Bicycle Network is urging Australian cyclists to send a letter to Prime Minister Abbott asking that funding be set aside for cycling infrastructure projects.
Click here to read more at the Bicycle Network website.
Cycling in Sydney – is it riskier than it used to be?
There have been a series of cycling-related accidents reported in Sydney in recent weeks, which led Jennifer Lang to do some research to find out if cycling’s getting riskier in the NSW capital.
She looked through a series of reports and surveys to find out if there was a trend toward a greater number of accidents and wrote a piece at her website, Actuarial Eye.
“Judging by the number of deaths, cycling does seem to have got a bit riskier in NSW in 2013 and 2014 than it was in the previous couple of years. But overall, it is still safer than it was when I started [20 years ago].
Click here to read the full article at Actuarial Eye.
Score the ultimate job: cover the Tour de France for CyclingTips
On Friday we published an article calling for applications for possibly the coolest job assignment ever: covering the Tour de France for us. We’ve had some great entries so far and we’re hoping that we’ll get a whole lot more before entries close at 11:59pm Friday night (AEST).
So, if you reckon you’ve got what it takes to spend two weeks covering the Tour de France for us, get in touch! You’ll find all the information you need here.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: