Rocacorba Daily: Tuesday April 30

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Good morning and welcome to the Rocacorba Daily. After a big weekend of racing things have died down somewhat as everyone prepares for the start of the Giro. But there’s still plenty of interesting stuff around the place, not least about Team Sky’s leadership at the Tour de France, the upcoming Battle on the Border in the National Road Series and plenty more. Enjoy!

Mixed messages from Sky over Tour leadership

With the Giro d’Italia just around the corner you’d think speculation about Team Sky’s leadership at the Tour de France would have died down a little. Not likely. In the past 24 hours we’ve read that:

– Brad Wiggins is looking to do the Giro/Tour double (“The Tour de France is my focus”)

– Chris Froome is going to be leading Sky at the Tour (“I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing, and at no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question.”)

– no-one has really decided who will be leading Sky at the Tour (“It’s the three days before it that Dave [Brailsford, Team Principal] will make a decision as to who we go with.”)

It’s all a little bit confusing and we wonder if there might be a little bit of tension within the Team Sky ranks at the moment. But at least it’s clear who’s leading Team Sky at the Giro: Froome won’t be there.

Nibali the one to beat at the Giro: Wiggins

And speaking of the Giro (which starts this weekend), Brad Wiggins might be one of the hot favourites but the reigning Tour de France champion has suggested that Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will be the one to watch.

“This race is more suited to him and it’s his pride and joy,” Wiggins told reporters. “There’s a lot at stake for him in this race, he’s the big Italian favorite, he’s trained for this and he’s not doing the Tour afterwards, it’s his one.”

Click here to read more on VeloNews.

Dissecting Mustafa Sayar’s fairytale ride

Mustafa Sayar’s victory at the Tour of Turkey has raised a couple of eyebrows, including those of Alex Hinds over at CyclingCentral. In an article published yesterday, Alex suggests it’s reasonable to question Sayar’s performance and that such questions aren’t the same as those asked by NBC commentators of Nairo Quintana’s victory at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Here are a few quick facts about Sayar:

1. It’s not the first time Sayar has competed well in a stage race: he was first overall at the Tour Of Isparta, second at the Tour d’Algérie (2013), second at the Tour de Blida (2013) and second at the Tour Of Victory (2010).

2. Last year Sayar’s teammate Ivailo Gabrovski went positive after riding clear of the field on Stage 3 and taking the overall win of the Tour of Turkey.

3. On stage 6 of this year’s Tour of Turkey, Sayar rode away from the field on the 6km climb to win the stage and take a lead he would hold until the end of the race. Marcel Kittel said on Twitter:

Click here to read Alex Hinds’ article on CyclingCentral and let us know your thoughts.

McQuaid’s UCI presidency nomination declared void

An extraordinary turn of events over the weekend has thrown doubt on Pat McQuaid’s chances of securing a third term as UCI President.

On April 12 McQuaid was nominated by the board of Cycling Ireland for the role of President but that nomination has now been declared void after Anto Moran, the only CI board member to vote against McQuaid’s nomination, questioned the “validity of the meeting”, according to Cycling Weekly.

The CI board met over the weekend and had the option to re-vote on the nomination, but chose not to, instead deciding to leave the decision to an “extraordinary general meeting”, a date for which hasn’t yet been released.

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly. And click here to get some perspective on the McQuaid situation courtesy of The Inner Ring.

Operation Puerto ruling to be announced

(AFP) – The Operation Puerto doping trial involving Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and four co-accused is set to conclude on Tuesday with Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria set to give her ruling on whether the five were guilty of endangering public health.

Fuentes is on trial with his sister and fellow doctor Yolanda as well as Manolo Saiz, Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta who held various positions in the Liberty Seguros and Kelme cycling teams.

The latter three are accused of facilitating Fuentes’ involvement with riders in their teams, whilst it is claimed that Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes performed blood transfusions and stored and transported blood bags in a manner that represented a health risk to those undergoing the treatment.

Click here to read the full story.

Doping and cycling bodies announce Tour deal

(AFP) The International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Monday that it has agreed to cooperate fully with the French anti-doping body at this year’s Tour de France.

The two bodies had been at loggerheads since March’s Paris-Nice race but have now found common ground ahead of the sport’s glamour event.

“The UCI and the independent Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) have announced a continuation of their partnership with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) to conduct anti-doping tests at the major races held in France in 2013,” said the UCI statement.

Click here to read the full story.

How do ‘Our’ Caleb and Howson stack up?

by Jono Lovelock

We Aussies quite like getting obsessed with up-and-coming sports stars and the interest in Caleb Ewan is no exception. Although, you could argue that Ewan is already a star in his own right.

A recent article in Espoirs Central — a fan’s tribute to all of the up-and-coming superstars in our sport — compares Ewan to some of the other tall poppies currently flourishing in cycling’s developmental ranks.

Take a read of the piece and make sure you remember the names: the next Sagan or Cavendish is surely among them, and you might make a killing at sportsbet before every other punter catches on!

Click here to read the article at Espoirs Central.

The Battle on the Border begins tomorrow

The Battle on the Border, the first combined men’s and women’s event in the 2013 Subaru National Road Series, begins tomorrow with riders taking in four (women) or five (men) stages near the Gold Coast.

The men’s race features three road races, an individual time trial and a criterium and the women’s race features two road races, an individual time trial and a criterium.

Startlists for both the men’s and women’s races are now online and you can stay up to date by following the #nrs13 and #battleonborder hashtags on Twitter.

Highlights from the Mersey Valley Tour

The first women’s event in the 2013 Subaru National Road Series finished over the weekend and as we reported yesterday, the overall classification in the Mersey Valley Tour was won by Katrin Garfoot of Pensar SPM racing.

Cycling Australia and the folks at the National Road Series have put together a terrific highlights video for each stage of the three-stage Tour and you can see the first of the three below. Click here to see the other videos from the Tour and other videos from the 2013 NRS season so far.

Western Australia completes world’s longest bike track

With the completion of the 1000km Munda Biddi Trail east of Perth, Western Australia can now boast the “world’s longest off-road continuous cycle track”, according to the WA Today.

The trail was opened at the Festival of Cycling in Mundaring over the weekend after the first cyclists to complete the full trail crossed the finish line of the Munda Biddi Epic 1000 which took three weeks.

Click here to read the full story at WA Today.

Motorcyclist crashes into two cyclists

We posted this yesterday but in case you missed it, here’s a video of a motorcyclist taking the wrong line around a corner near Malibu, California and cleaning up two cyclists. Scary stuff, but luckily the cyclists were ok.

Click here to see the video.

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