Visconti wins stage 15 of the Giro, Nibali retains overall lead

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) has taken out a freezing 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia, crossing the line solo atop the Galibier as snow fell heavily around him.

Visconti had been part of a small group of riders that moved off the front of the peloton near the summit of the Col du Mont Cenis, roughly 58km into the 149km stage. The group increased its lead on the descent and on the approach to the double climb before the finish: the Col du Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier.

Visconti attacked from the breakaway on the Telegraphe and was able to maintain his lead as conditions got steadily worse towards the end of the stage, which had been brought 4km down the mountain as a result of heavy snow.


Carlos Betancur (Ag2r), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre) and Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) finished in that order 42 seconds behind Visconti with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Cadel Evans (BMC) a further 12 seconds behind. Nibali holds on to the leader’s maglia rosa 1:26 ahead of Cadel Evans and 2:46 ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Sky).

The riders will now enjoy a second and final rest day before Tuesday’s 16th stage which takes the riders 238km from Valloire and Ivrea.

Follow the link to see the results from stage 15 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Horrendous weather mars the Giro

It’s been a cold and wet weekend of racing at the Giro with both Saturday and Sunday’s stages affected by inclement weather. After a reasonably sunny stage 13 — which Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick-Step) won, notching up four wins for this year’s Giro — stage 14 was shortened to remove a snow-covered Sestriere climb and, more importantly, a treacherous descent.

The conditions were so bad on stage 14 that broadcast helicopters were grounded and the only live TV pictures available for the stage were from 300m from the finish. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini-Fantini) won the mountain-top finish to Bardonecchia in freezing conditions.


And as mentioned already, last night’s 15th stage was shortened by 4km to avoid the summit of the Col du Galibier and even that was a good result — there had been much talk of removing the Galibier from the race entirely, or even cancelling the stage.

No doubt the riders will be hoping for some warmer weather when they return to racing after today’s rest day.

Tejay van Garderen wins Tour of California, Sagan wins final stage

Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who finished fifth in last year’s Tour de France, has won the 2013 Tour of California, sealing his first career stage-race triumph in the final stage.

Van Garderen, a 24-year-old American, continued a superb start to the year that has seen him finish fourth in the Paris-Nice and second at the Tour de San Luis ahead of his breakthrough victory.

“It’s a big relief. It’s a weight off my shoulders, a monkey off my back,” van Garderen said. “Hopefully this gets the ball rolling and we get a few more.”


Slovakia’s Peter Sagan won the eighth and final stage, which took the riders out of San Francisco via the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to a finish in Santa Rosa. It was Sagan’s second stage win of the week after capturing the third leg, and notched the 10th Tour of California stage win of his career.

His Cannondale squad led the peloton in the final 10km, closing in on Bontrager’s Antoine Duchesne, who was the last survivor of an early break.

The Cannondale riders turned back a challenge from Garmin and Sagan launched his sprint to the finish with 200 meters to go, winning the 130.6km stage in 3:04:07 ahead of Austrian Daniel Schorn and American Tyler Farrar.

Van Garderen, meanwhile, finished safely in the pack to secure the win. He had first donned the yellow jersey after Thursday’s fifth stage and strengthened his hold on the lead with victory in Friday’s individual time trial.


Van Garderen finished third in Saturday’s penultimate stage, one spot ahead of Australian rider Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) who would go on to finish second overall. Colombia’s Janier Acevedo finished third in the GC.

Follow the link to see the results from stage 8 of the 2013 Tour of California. Text via AFP.

Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass: Tour of California stages 5 and 6

Since the last edition of the Rocacorba, Dan Jones and the folks at Orica-GreenEDGE have published another two Backstage Pass videos from the Tour of California. Check them out below and stay posted for further editions.

McConnell wins men’s MTB World Cup in Germany

Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) has become the first Australian to win a MTB World Cup race since Cadel Evans in 2000, taking out a sprint finish in Albstadt, Germany ahead of Sergio Mantecon Guiterrez (Wildwolf Trek) and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) who chased for third.


“I’ve only been top 20 once. All of the sudden, I come out and win. It’s going to take awhile to sink in,” said McConnell to after the race. “It’s ridiculous. I’m just speechless.”

You can watch the full race here.

Henderson wins women’s U23 MTB World Cup in Germany

And Australian MTB champion Bec Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) has won the U23 women’s MTB World Cup race in Germany, taking the lead in the final of four laps in Albstadt, Germany and never letting go. Henderson had started the day a little cautiously, staying in fourth wheel before making her move.

“Everything just went perfectly. It’s unbelievable. My goal this year was to win a World Cup; I never thought it would be the opening round”, Henderson said. “It’s a privilege to wear the leader’s jersey.”

Boassen Hagen wins second consecutive Tour of Norway

Edvald Boassen Hagen (Sky) has taken out the Tour of Norway for the second year running, after winning a reasonably hilly stage 4 into Lillehammer and finishing third on the final stage.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the bunch sprint on the final stage, making it three victories from five stages for the Norwegian — stages 1, 2 and 5. Dutchman Theo Bos (Blanco) took out a flat stage 3 — the only stage that didn’t go to a Norwegian.

See the video below for the final kilometres of the final stage.

Follow the link for full results from stage 5 of the 2013 Tour of Norway.

Fabricio Ferrari crashes after elbow to the face

With roughly 12.5km remaining in the final stage of the Tour of Norway, Caha Rural’s Fabricio Ferrari copped an elbow to the face from a fellow rider and crashed heavily to the ground. It’s unclear if the incident was deliberate or accidental, and we can’t work out who the rider who hit Ferrari is, but it doesn’t look entirely innocent.


Click here to see a video of the incident.

Bronzini wins Tour of Zhoushan Island

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini has claimed her first overall stage race victory in the 2013 Tour of Zhoushan Island, holding on to her overall lead on the hilly final stage.

With only second place overall Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) to worry about in the general classification, the two-time former World champion managed to stay with the Trofeo Binda World Cup race winning climber on the hilly course, and finished one place ahead of her at the finish.

The stage was won by Longo Borghini’s teammate Cecilie Johnsen, taking her second straight stage, after the Norwegian escaped from a five-woman breakaway in the closing kilometres. Elena Kuchinskaya (RusVelo) finished second, four seconds behind Johnsen, while Meng Lang (China Chongming-Giant) took fourth, ahead of Bronzini and Longo Borghini, 16 seconds behind.


Having successfully contained the threat from Longo Borghini, Bronzini confirmed overall victory in the race, taking Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s first ever stage race as well as her own, with her compatriot 14 seconds behind her. Johnsen’s second stage victory lifted her to third in the final general classification, one minute and six seconds behind.

Having taken the lead with a breakaway victory on stage one, where she beat Longo Borghini in a two-up sprint, Bronzini held on to the leader’s yellow jersey from start to finish. Second place in a chaotic bunch sprint on stage two meant that Bronzini increased her lead over her compatriot and, with the rest of the peloton more than a minute behind, only had one rider to worry about on the final, hilly stage.

Follow the link for results from the 2013 Tour of Zhoushan Island.

Nishitani wins stage 1 of the Tour of Japan

The Tour of Japan got underway in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture yesterday, with Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing) winning the 2.65km(!) individual time trial. The Tour is six stages long with stage 4, an 11km mass start hill climb up the brutal Mt. Fuji, being one of the defining stages.

Today’s 161km second stage includes seven laps of a 21km course which features one decisive climb.

Check out Cycling IQ for more information about the Tour of Japan and some stunning photos of the race so far. Check out the highlights from stage 1 in the video below:

Follow the link for full results from stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Japan.

Flakemore Flies the Flag in Holland

by Jono Lovelock

Fresh off a strong performance in the prologue it was Campbell Flakemore riding for the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy who took out the win in the 5th stage of the Royal Smilde Olympia’s Tour (2.2) over the weekend. You can hear an interview with Flakemore and watch some brief highlights in the video below.

Flakemore who rides for the Huon-Genesys team whilst in Australia is part of the Jayco-AIS WTA squad currently in Europe gaining experience and results at an impressive rate of knots. The time trialing depth of the squad was affirmed with Damien Howson (SASI) coming in 2nd, Adam Phelan (Drapac) in 8th and Alex Clements (Huon-Genesys) in 13th.

For those watching the Giro and worrying about the inclement weather you can also send your empathy to riders racing elsewhere in Europe. Some brief highlights from stage four shows that this tour is certainly conditioning our next generation should they ever face something that resembles this year’s Milan-San Remo.

Riders Left Languishing at Languedoc

by Jono Lovelock

“What we have experienced here, absolutely can not happen at this level.”- Koos Moerenhout, directeur sportif of Rabobank-Liv/Giant.

Languedoc protest pic

Little has been said in the mainstream press about the debacle currently unfolding in France. Women’s cycling is teetering on the edge of a governance crisis and the situation currently faced by many of the top female cycling teams in the world is less than adequate to say the least.

Late last week teams arrived, at their own expense, in France for the Tour of Languedoc-Roussillon. It was clear upon arrival, however, that the organisers were in complete disarray. A lack of sponsorship meant that the police required to run the event safely would not be in attendance and upon learning this many of the teams began to question their own attendance.

In brief, the first stage was cancelled, pushed back and in an ‘on again off again’ fashion, and racing finally got underway a day late albeit without many of the headline teams. For those that remained a sit-down protest was their way of demanding more respect and, at the least, better communication.

For more coverage you can read a complete account at Velonation, at Pro Women’s Cycling or get a feel for what it’s like on the inside with this opinion column by Bridie O’Donnell at Cycling Central.

Climbing and descending the Galibier … on a track bike

Last night we saw the riders in the Giro d’Italia climb the Col du Galibier, or at least most of the way to the top. Here’s a short film in which a Swiss bloke climbs the Galibier on a track bike. It’s a beautifully shot film that’s well narrated. Here’s one particularly striking line:

“I’m going to climb the Telegraphe and the Galibier on my track bike, with just one gear, 47×17…I’ll go through hell, I’ll crawl through several layers of hell”.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally, here are a couple of things from the past few days that you might have missed:

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