Belkov solos to victory in Giro d’Italia stage 9

Katusha’s Maxim Belkov has pulled off a memorable victory on a rain-affected ninth stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, crossing the line solo after 150km in the breakaway and on his own.

After joining an early breakaway with 11 other riders, Belkov made his move on the wet and treacherous descent of the Vallombrosa with more than 50km remaining in the stage. Despite having the rest of the breakaway on his heels, and in spite of having two tough climbs still to go when he went solo, Belkov was able to hold on, eventually winning the stage by 44 seconds from Carlos Betancur (Ag2r), who celebrated as if he’d won the stage, and Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) who was a further two seconds behind Betancur.

Giro D'Italia 2013 stage-9

Belkov said of his win:

“From this morning at the bus I took a look to the altimetry and I realised it was a perfect stage for my characteristics: moreover I live next to here, in Prato, so I know these roads. I’m thrilled I won this stage: Katusha is proving to be a really strong team here in giro. Yesterday [in the ITT] I didn’t [do] a great job, but I decided to save my legs for today, a stage dedicated to breakaways: better a first position today than a tenth place yesterday.”

Belkov’s victory is his first professional win as an individual (he’s won three TTTs) and Katusha’s second win for the race so far, after Luca Paolini won stage 3 and earned himself four days in the maglia rosa.

Giro d'Italia 2013, nona tappa

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) retains the leader’s jersey with Cadel Evans (BMC) second, 29 seconds behind the Italian after a solid TT performance in stage 8. Wiggins’ imperfect start to the Giro continued last night when he lost touch with the main field on the wet descents, requiring a concerted and energy-sapping chase back to the field each time.

But perhaps the most surprising result among the GC contenders was that of reigning champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) who cracked uncharacteristically on the final climb and eventually finished more than 2 minutes behind Belkov. The Canadian now sits in 11th overall.

With nine stages complete in the 2013 Giro d’Italia, the riders will now have a rest day before tackling stage 10 on Tuesday which features two long climbs.

Follow the link to see the results from stage 9 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Evans off to an impressive start at the Giro

Former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) has silenced those who thought he would ride the Giro purely as a way of getting more race days under his belt. The Australian sits second on the general classification after nine stages, 29 seconds behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 46 second ahead of third-placed Robert Gesink (Blanco).

Evans also leads the points competition with 61 points, three ahead of dual stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and nine points ahead of Cannondale’s Elia Viviani.

Evans told reporters after the stage that he goes into the rest day feeling confident and content:

“I’m well placed now and I’m very satisfied with how things have gone so far. I want to do well in the Giro. When we decided five or six weeks ago that I was going to ride, I decided I was going to give it everything. I want to do as well as I can.”

Giro D'Italia 2013 stage-9

Evans secured his second place with a seventh-placed finish in the stage 8 individual time trial. Evans said of the stage “It was flat, fast, and technical, on fast open roads with technical descents, steep climbs and rolling climbs. So really every variation of terrain possible. It required something special in terms of an approach and equipment.”

While there’s still a long way to go in the race, Evans has looked impressive in the hills and in the time trials. As ever the high mountain passes will prove decisive and it remains to be seen if Evans will be able to stay with the other GC contenders when those stages arrive.

Click here to read Cadel’s online diary which he’s updating after every stage of the Giro.

Hansen’s stage 7 Giro victory, tweet by tweet

by Jono Lovelock

On stage 7 of his fifth grand tour on the trot Australian Lotto-Belisol rider Adam Hansen finally chalked up what we might consider a well-deserved solo victory, and it would appear that the twittersphere agrees. Here’s a selection of tweets showing that Hansen wasn’t only a deserving winner of the Giro stage, he’s also one of the most respected riders in the pro peloton:

Giro d’Italia quiz, coming soon

Later this week we’ll be launching a Giro d’Italia quiz which will give you the chance to test your knowledge of this beautiful race, and a chance to win some great prizes along the way. Stay posted for more information in the coming days.

Westra wins opening stage at the Tour of California

Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) has taken out stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, beating Franciso Mancebo (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda) in a two-man sprint in Escondido.

Amgen Tour of California

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) claimed the third step of the podium, leading the chase bunch to the line six seconds behind Westra despite a rear derailleur problem with roughly 5km left in the stage.

The first stage of the eight-day race was held in roasting conditions in southern California with the riders tackling the 16km climb of Palomar Mountain. A breakaway gained as much as 10 minutes over the peloton but that lead was eventually shut down before Westra and Mancebo attacked from the newly reunited peloton.

Tomorrow’s 200km second stage takes the riders from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs and features a 20km climb and a 6.4km stage-ending climb with an average gradient of 9.7%.

Follow the link to results from stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of California.

Ryabchenko wins Tour of Chongming Island World Cup

Ukraine’s Tetyana Ryabchenko (Chirio Forno d’Asolo) has won the one-day Tour of Chongming Island World Cup over the weekend, the first professional victory of her career.

Tour of Chongming Island women worldcup

The relatively flat fifth leg in the women’s World Cup was expected to end with a bunch sprint but Ryabchenko made a solo break with 15km to go in the race and was able to stay away from the surging peloton. The bunch was led to the line by the in-form Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda).

Marianne Vos (Rabobank) holds on to her lead in the World Cup after five races, despite not racing in the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup. The next race in the World Cup will be the Open de Suède Vargarda TTT in Sweden on August 16.

Follow the link to see the results from the 2013 Tour of Chongming Island World Cup. Click here to read a full race report.

Edmondson wins in Aussie 1-2 at the Tour of Chongming Island

Orica-AIS rider Nettie Edmondson won the three-stage Tour of Chongming Island on Friday after taking out a thrilling final stage criterium — her first professional victory.

Edmondson went into the final stage in second overall, behind compatriot Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products-UCK). In order to win the overall tour, Edmondson not only had to win the final stage but Hosking had to finish outside the top three. That’s exactly what happened at the finish.

Tour of Chongming Island stage 3

Chloe Hosking (left, 2nd), Nettie Edmondson (centre, 1st) and Lucy Garner (right, third).

The ORICA-AIS squad stuck by Edmondson’s side all the way to line to help bring home a great win. Rather than thinking about the finish at the start, the team went in with the mindset of taking each sprint as they came. The stage included two intermediate sprints ahead of the final sprint, and each offered bonus seconds.

Hosking won both the intermediate sprints, which opened her lead over Edmondson to 9”. But Edmondson won the final sprint and took the 10 bonus seconds that went along with it, winning the race overall by 1 second over Hosking. Britain’s Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano) finished third 17 seconds behind Edmondson after winning the opening stage of the race.

Follow the link to see the full results from the 2013 Tour of Chongming Island stage race. Click here to read more at the Orica-GreenEDGE website.

Earle wins the Tour of Toowoomba

Tasmania’s Nathan Earle (Huon Genesys) has claimed victory in the FKG Tour of Toowoomba, the third round in the Subaru National Road Series.

Earle’s win makes it three from three for the Tasmanian-based outfit who topped the general classification at both the Tour de Perth and Battle on the Border.

Earle clinched the leaders jersey on stage two of the Darling Downs tour (see video below), winning a sprint to the line at the summit of Mount Bunya before the team cemented their lead with a solid performance in the team time trial on Saturday.

Earle, 24, took out the tour eight seconds ahead of teammate and current Subaru National Road Series leader Jack Haig while teammate Ben Dyball finished third overall, 16 seconds behind.

The final day’s stage went to Search2Retain sprinter Neil Van der Ploeg who won a bunch sprint ahead of stage four victor Ben Grenda (Polygon Australia) and Josh Taylor (GPM Wilson). Van der Ploeg took out the 50 kilometre criterium around Queens Park in the centre of Toowoomba after a last ditch attack by William Walker (Drapac) was shut down inside the final lap.

The men’s Subaru National Road Series now heads to Adelaide for the inaugural Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour on May 24. The tour will also be run in conjunction with the women’s NRS.

Click here to read the full report and click here to learn more about the Subaru National Road Series.

Bobby Julich To Consult For BMC Racing Team

Former Saxo Bank technical director and Team Sky race coach Bobby Julich has been hired to consult for the BMC Racing Team in the areas of training, individual coaching, equipment testing and overall performance strategies, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Sunday.

Julich will work closely with BMC Racing Team Performance Manager Allan Peiper and the performance team as part of a temporary assignment that could eventually lead to a more permanent position. “We are excited to have Bobby join our performance team and look forward to working with him,” Ochowicz said.

Peiper said Julich brings a wealth of experience to the team at a crucial time of the season. “I am really excited with Bobby’s involvement and his ideas on coaching and on the streamlining of our training department,” Peiper said.

Julich, who has worked with a number of teams since his retirement in 2008, said he is anxious to lend his expertise. “I love the sport of cycling and feel I have a lot to offer,” he said. “I’m really happy and excited the BMC Racing Team is giving me an opportunity to pass my experience along.”

Click here to read the full story at the BMC website.

Behind Team Sky’s time trial warm-ups

Here’s an interesting video from the folks at Team Sky, showing how the team’s riders warm up prior to a time trial, such as the ITT held at the Giro d’Italia over the weekend.

Fuentes to reveal all?

by Jono Lovelock

There might be a few nervous non-cycling sports stars around the world in the next few days as Eufemiano Fuentes threatens to open the veritable Pandora’s box that Operation Puerto has become. There has been much derision over the half-hearted Spanish inquisition that has yet again left cycling as the whipping boy for world sports whilst tangible evidence of wrongdoing in other sports is ignored.

But it would appear that the drama is not yet over.

In other Puerto news the UCI has announced that it intends to appeal the decision by a Spanish court to destroy the blood bags at the centre of the investigation.

Amy Gillett Foundation pushes for one-metre law

The Amy Gillett Foundation has done a lot of great work in recent years to raise awareness about the need for motorists and cyclists to share the road safely and now they’re leading a push to get a one-metre-minimum-passing-distance law introduced in Australia.

Building on the Foundation’s “A Metre Matters” campaign, and following the death of a Brisbane cyclist who was hit by an overtaking truck recently, the Amy Gillett Foundation is urging cyclists to contact their local MP to demand a 1 metre minimum overtaking distance be made law.

In an email to cyclists last week, a Foundation representative wrote:

“Let’s make ‘a metre matters’ law. It already exists in countries in Europe and in 27 states in the US. The law is practical, enforceable, will reduce serious injuries and will save bicycle riders’ lives.”
A proforma letter to contact your local member of parliament can be found here.

Tiff Cromwell visits the Rocacorba

Ever since the Rocacorba Daily began, many of you have asked us where the name comes from. This tweet/Instagram post from Orica-AIS rider Tiffany Cromwell might give you a bit of a clue.




Through the eyes of a sprinter

by Jono Lovelock

Most cyclists in Melbourne that have done a bit of racing will have heard of Shannon Johnson and his story. If you haven’t, this recent Q&A with the motorcyclists-turned-cyclist will shed some light.

Over the weekend Shannon won the Phillip Island GP race, shelling his opposition on the drag to the line. Check out this handlebar cam movie from that sprint.


Video: The Spokesman

And finally, here’s a short video that’s well worth a look. To quote filmmaker Dean Saffron:

“I simply had to make this video after meeting ‘James’ a very enigmatic man who has taken it upon himself to collect one bicycle from each developmental epoch for future generations to enjoy , a kind of time capsule if you will!”

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