Nibali’s Giro win a boost for Italian cycling

Vincenzo Nibali’s maiden Giro d’Italia triumph was feted in lavish fashion in pink-clad Brescia on Sunday, but there was more than one reason behind the fervour surrounding the Italian’s success.

In a doping-tainted era marked by the disgrace of several compatriots and, last year, the downfall of American Lance Armstrong, Nibali has been held up as a symbol of hope for the renaissance of Italian, and international, cycling.

So far, the 28-year-old Sicilian has avoided the kind of scandal to befall compatriots like Danilo Di Luca and Ivan Basso, both former Giro winners who went on to serve doping bans.

Giro d'Italia 2013 - La ventesima tappa

Nibali’s calm demeanour belies the “Shark” nickname given to him in the peloton, because of his aggressive riding — downhill as well as up — but sits comfortably with the general perception that he is a clean cycling champion.

Nibali says he has nothing to hide, but insists he’s not alone in the modern day peloton.

“Since I left Sicily for Tuscany as a 16-year-old to follow my dream, I’ve had very strong ethical values instilled in me,” Nibali said after sealing victory Sunday with a lead of nearly five minutes on Colombian Rigoberto Uran.

“I’m happy to be seen as one of the leaders of this new generation, but I don’t think I’m the only one in the peloton who holds these values.”

Click here to read the full story. Text via AFP.

Despite Giro success Nibali won’t ride Le Tour

Vincenzo Nibali’s maiden victory in the Giro d’Italia has confirmed his status as one of the world’s top stage racers, but the Italian said it won’t tempt him to line up at July’s Tour de France.

The Astana team leader, 28, secured his first ever victory in the three-week epic when he finished Sunday’s final stage into Brescia with a 4min 43sec lead on Colombian Rigoberto Uran of Team Sky.

Nibali, considered Italy’s best hope in the three-week Grand Tours as well as a symbol of the sport’s efforts to leave doping affairs of the past behind, pushed Bradley Wiggins all the way in last year’s Tour before finishing third overall as the Londoner triumphed.

Seeing Nibali line up alongside former winners like Wiggins (2012) and Spaniard Alberto Contador (2007, 2009), as well as Britain’s Chris Froome, the runner-up last year, would add extra spice to what is shaping up to be a thrilling ‘Grande Boucle’ in July.

Giro D'Italia 2013 stage-21

But the lure of the race’s 100th edition, and Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov airing the idea on Saturday, won’t change Nibali’s mind to miss the June 29-July 21 race.

“We haven’t spoken about it. The Tour isn’t in my plans or even in my thoughts,” Nibali said after his victory atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Italian Dolomites virtually secured the pink jersey on Saturday’s 20th stage.

“I started the season very early and have a lot of racing in my legs already. Right now, it’s hard for me to even imagine lining up for the Tour.”

Click here to read the full story. Text via AFP.

Rodriguez wins fourth US men’s National Road Race Championship

Freddy Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) has won his fourth US national road championships, sprinting to victory in the 165km road race ahead of Brent Bookwalter (BMC) and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare).

The 39-year-old won his first national championship back in 2000 when he was riding for the Mapei squad and it’s been nine years since he last won the race. At 39 Rodriguez becomes the oldest US Pro champion and also now has the most number of wins in the championships, ahead of George Hincapie with whom he previously shared the lead.

Phil Gaimon (UnitedHealthcare) continued his impressive season by taking off solo and gaining an advantage of around 30 seconds in the closing stages of the race. But Gaimon’s lead was shut down inside the final 2km before Rodriguez sprinted for victory.

Click here to read more.

Wilcokxon wins US women’s National Road Race Championship

Jade Wilcoxson (Optum) has soloed to victory in the inaugural women’s professional US Road Race Championships ahead of teammate Lauren Hall and Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS).

Wilcoxson made her move in the closing circuits of the 102km road race in Chattanooga, Tennesse and then soloed away from Exergy’s Kristin McGrath to take the win.

Click here to see the results.

Cancellara retains WorldTour rankings lead

Despite the fact he hasn’t finished a race since winning Paris-Roubaix in early April, Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard) still leads the WorldTour rankings thanks to a dominant early season.

The Tour of Flanders 2013

Cancellara is currently on 351 points and is followed by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) who now sits in second on 322 points after winning the Giro d’Italia and a couple of stages along the way. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) maintains his top three position with 312 points after a couple of stage victories at the Tour of California.

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r, 255 points) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp, 247 points) round out the top five. Colombia leads the national rankings ahead of Italy and Spain while Sky has a commanding lead in the teams rankings ahead of Katusha and Movistar.

Click here to see the full rankings as of this week.

Vos holds on to UCI ranking

With seven wins to her name this year and after finishing inside the top six in every professional road race she’s entered, it’s no surprise that Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) still heads up the UCI individual rankings for Elite Women.

Vos has accrued 1555.5 points ahead of Orica-AIS’s Emma Johansson whose string of podium finishes has her on 1214 points, and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) who is on 683 points after winning six races and managing another six podium places besides.

Waalse Pijl 2013 women's edition

Vos’ Rabo Women squad leads the teams rankings on 2493.5 points ahead of Specialized-Lululemon (2171) and Orica-AIS (1851.75). The Netherlands is dominating the national rankings with 3454.42 points, nearly double its nearest rivals in Italy (1879.67) and the US (1758.42).

Click here to see the full rankings as of this week.

Trek to take over sponsorship of Radioshack-Leopard?

CyclingNews is reporting that Trek is set to take of the title sponsorship of the Radioshack-Leopard team in 2014 and that Fabian Cancellara is likely to stay with the team next season.

Radioshack confirmed in March that it wouldn’t be continuing its sponsorship of the team beyond 2013 and since then the team’s management have been in talks to secure a title sponsor.

Tour Down Under 2013 - Stage 5 - McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill - 151.5KM

The team’s WorldTour license is currently owned by Luxembourg businessman Flavio Becca who is reportedly looking to sell the license to Trek to recoup some of the money he has spent in supporting the team.

Click here to read more.

Men and women racing on parity in US Nationals

This year’s US National Championships are unique for being the first time the US’s top women have raced alongside the men as part of the same race meet. It’s a great step in the right direction for women’s cycling in the US (and more generally), particularly given men and women were competing for equal prize money: $5000 for the time trials and $10,000 for the road races.

Alison Powers, one of the US’s top female cyclists told reporters after finishing third in the road race: “I’ve never done a press conference before and we get prize money. It’s like ‘Finally.'”

Click here to read the full story at Cycling News.

Hesjedal targets Le Tour after a disappointing Giro

After withdrawing from the Giro d’Italia with illness, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) has confirmed that he will line up at the Tour de Suisse next month before heading to the Tour de France.

2013 Giro d'Italia - Stage 1

The Canadian has revealed that he’s targeting a podium position in this year’s Tour and is confident of getting back to peak fitness after a forgettable Giro.

“I’m back training on the bike now and feeling pretty good”, Hesjedal told reporters. “The Tour is definitely the goal now. I want to challenge at the head of the race and then a podium, based on the field, would be an incredible result. After winning the Giro I know that a result in the Tour is possible. To stand on the podium in Paris is definitely an achievement. I’ve not really fixated on goals like that but the idea for now is to get in the best shape possible.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Giro quiz prize winners announced today

In the closing weeks of the Giro we invited you take part in a quiz for the chance to win a bunch of great prizes. Now that the Giro is over, the competition is closed and later today we’ll be announcing the winners. Stay posted.

Video: Brussels Express

Here’s something for you to check out in your lunch break; a documentary about bike messengers in Brussels, “the most congested city in Europe”, which apparently only has 4% bike traffic. It’s a reasonably lengthy video (19 minutes) but it’s well worth a look.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:

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