Rocacorba Daily: Wednesday, May 1

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Good morning and welcome to the mid-week edition of the Rocacorba Daily. Today we report all the dramas going on in pro cycling before we head into the Grand Tours, the Operación Puerto verdict, Shimano’s new Ultegra groupet released today, and Danny MacAskill’s – Imaginate – part 2. Enjoy!

Petacchi sprinting towards Omega Pharma

Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish may link up for the Giro d’Italia starting Saturday in Naples. The Italian sprinter and team Omega Pharma requested to the UCI the possibility of the transfer.

Petacchi, 39, retired on April 23 to spend more time with his family. Former team Lampre-Merida obliged him, but now plans to appeal to cycling’s governing body if the transferred goes through.

Cyclists are typically only allowed to plan and announce their moves starting with August 1. Petacchi’s case is different as he became an former-cyclist over the last week.

Omega Pharma wants to beef up its sprint train for Mark Cavendish. Since signing over the winter, the train has suffered on several occasions, most notably in Scheldeprijs.

The UCI is expected to decide the matter today. If it rules in favour, it could potentially open the flood gates for more retirement-transfers.

Read more at Cycling Weekly.

Orica-GreenEDGE names Giro d’Italia startlist

Yesterday Orica-GreenEDGE named their nine man Giro d’Italia roster. Included in that list are: Brett Lancaster, Christian Meier, Jens Keukeleire, Jens Mouris, Leigh Howard, Luke Durbridge, Matt Goss, Pieter Weening and Svein Tuft.

There are 9 Aussies total starting the Giro with Luke Durbridge being the youngest rider in the race (out of all competitors). Italy has the most riders starting the Giro with 59 competitors.

Can Gossy deliver a stage win against the likes of Cavendish, Ferrari, and Degenkolb?

Read the full press release here.

See the full Giro d’Italia startlist here.

Operación Puerto’s Fuentes sentenced

Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Operación Puerto doping scandal, received a one-year prison sentence yesterday. A Madrid judge ruled Fuentes and former Kelme trainer, Ignacio Labarta, endangered public health.

The case stemmed from the 2006 raids, which produced around 200 blood bags and saw cyclists Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi, Jörg Jaksche and Alejandro Valverde serve suspensions.

The judge acquitted Yolanda Fuentes, Eufemiano’s sister, former Liberty Seguros GM Manolo Saiz and former Kelme DS Vicente Belda.

In addition to the one-year sentence, Fuentes received a fine of around $5700 (AUS) and lost his medical licence. However, under Spanish law Fuentes will not have to go to jail for a sentence of less than two years since he has no previous convictions.

Dr. Eufemiano-Fuentes. Image courtesy of

Spain’s State Anti-Doping Agency said it would appeal the ruling that the blood bags be destroyed and regretted that a new anti-doping law pending in parliament had not been in force at the time.

Read more about the Operación Puerto ruling here. Read the full English translation of the the Puerto Decision here.

Cycling Ireland schedules June meeting for McQuaid’s fate

UCI President Pat McQuaid must wait until June 15 to know his future. His national federation, Cycling Ireland announced yesterday that it would meet on the new date to vote on his candidacy.

Over the weekend, the national voided its original nomination to enable McQuaid’s ability to run for a third presidential term. The UCI will hold the elections in September at the Florence World Championships.

Froome’s girlfriend continues Wiggins row

Chris Froome’s girlfriend Michelle Cound is fed the controversy surrounding team Sky’s leadership for the Tour de France this July. One day after conflicting statements between last year’s winner Brad Wiggins and Froome, Michelle Cound said that she was fed up.

Cound’s comments came after Wiggins expressed his desire on Monday to defend his Tour title. Froome responded that the team gave him its backing to lead the Tour team.

Pope Francis blesses Giro d’Italia’s Maglia Rosa

Pope Francis gave his blessing to the Giro d’Italia and its pink leader’s jersey yesterday at the Vatican. The race takes off Saturday in Naples, with the jersey going to the winner of the first stage.

Photo courtesy RCS Sport

The newly elected leader continued the Holy See’s cycling tradition. Pope Pius XII welcomed the Giro in 1950 when it finished in Rome. Pope Paul VI visited the Giro in 1964 and 1974, the second time he saw it off from the Vatican City. More recently in 2000, Pope John Paul II met with cyclists ahead of the Rome start.

Ultegra 11-speed groupset released

Today Shimano released its new Ultegra 6800 groupset. The new Ultegra contains masses of trickle-down from Dura Ace 9000 which incorporates 11-speed gearing (with a better selection of cassette options), improved ergonomics on the hoods, better shifting response, tactile shifting feedback, improved braking, 4-arm crank-set design (choice of gearing 53×39, 52×36 , 50×34, 46×36), as well as their new WH-6800 road wheels which can accomodate tubeless tyres. If you’ve tried the 2013 Dura Ace you’ll know how good it is, and those on a tighter budget will be able to have the same technology in this new Ultegra groupset.

The published weights for the Ultegra 6800 groupset are as follows:

Shifters ST-6800 (set): 425g
Rear derailleur RD-6800 (SS):195g
Rear derailleur RD-6800 (GS): 207g
Front derailleur FD-6800 (brazed type): 89g
Front derailleur FD-6800 (band type, size : 104g
Chainset FC-6800 (53-39T with BB): 765g
Cassette CS-6800 (11-23T): 212g
Chain CN-6800 (114L): 253g
Bottom Bracket SM-BB72: 63g

We’ll be talking more about this with the guys at Shimano today to get more information. No word on RRP yet.

Danny MacAskill’s – Imaginate – part 2 ‘Taking shape’

Released today is the second installment of ‘MacAskill’s Imaginate’. ‘Taking shape’ sees Danny under a strict rehabilitation programme focused on getting the trials legend back on his bike so he is able to tackle his most ambitious project to date.

Whilst still recovering from back surgery, Danny commits to filming a new TV project, ‘Daredevils: Life on the edge’ which sees him meet and ride with one of his heroes, motorbike racer Guy Martin, who clearly shows that the respect is mutual “What Danny doing is rocket science to me because it is inch precision…”

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