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by Matt de Neef
May 7, 2014
Good morning and welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest. In the headlines today: Adam Hansen set for a third Grand Tour triple; Astana members having Giro d’Italia visa problems; Richie Porte has a lot of work to do to regain form; Could Alessandro Petacchi become the oldest Giro d’Italia stage winner?; Organisers announce USA Pro Challenge route details; The Women’s Tour of Britain starts today; The Tour d’Azerbaidjan starts today;
If everything goes to plan and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) makes it through the Giro d’Italia in one piece, he will have completed a staggering eight Grand Tours in a row. The Australian has his sights set on completing the Giro-Tour-Vuelta trip for the third time this year.
Australian rider Adam Hansen will start his eight consecutive Grand Tour this Friday, continuing an uninterrupted sequence which began in 2011 with the Vuelta a España. Hansen won a stage in last year’s Giro d’Italia and he doesn’t hide the fact that this is once again a big ambition for him.
“For sure I would like to win a stage [in the Giro],” he told Cycling Tips in the above video interview conducted at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. “That is my goal of the year. I hope it goes to plan.”
“The Giro is my main priority and this [Turkey] is a buildup race and fine-tuning. I was feeling good on the climb [on stage six] and climbing very well, so I am happy with how everything is going.”
Click here to read more on CyclingTips.
Astana have become the latest team to experience visa problems ahead of the Giro d’Italia with Maxim Iglinskiy and Alexey Lutsenko failing to receive visas in time for the start in Belfast this Sunday.
“Maxim Iglinskiy and Alexey Lutsenko submitted passports for UK visas to the British embassy in Paris on April 17. They received no response after two weeks, nor were their passports returned – leaving them off the roster and then stranding them in Nice, away from their families in Kazakhstan,” Astana general manager Alexandr Vinokourov said on the team’s website. They will be replaced by Borut Bozic and Janez Brajkovic.
Astana aren’t the only team to have had issues getting visas in time for the opening stages of the Giro in Ireland. Colombian riders including Giro runner-up Rigoberto Uran have also had similar problems ahead of the Giro and Nicolas Roche said in his blog in the Irish Independent that fellow Saxo-Tinkoff riders Nikolay Trusov, Ivan Rovny and Edward Beltran are also without visas.
Read more on cyclingnews.
Andre Greipel has said that he believes a strong Tour de France is on the cards, with the big German rider confident that his current shoulder problems will be fully resolved before the Grand Tour gets underway in Leeds on July 5th.
Greipel was notably absent from the sprint finishes at this year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey, with the multiple previous stage winner avoiding the hustle and bustle of the sprints. The reason was his crash in Gent Wevelgem; he dislocated his collarbone there and while he was given a green light to get back to competition in Turkey, he was told that he had to be very careful.
“I have strictly-set goals from the doctors as regards when I can do what,” he told Cycling Tips. “The doctors said don’t risk anything, a crash could be the worst thing for you in preparation for the Tour.”
Read more here on CyclingTips.
This was supposed to be the year that Richie Porte stepped out of the shadows at Team Sky and challenge for his own Grand Tour win. But a spout of ill health has seen the Tasmanian’s form head in the opposite direction, and necessitate withdrawing from the Giro d’Italia.
At the Tour de Romandie last week Porte withdrew from the race early; the fourth race in a row that he has DNF’d. He appears to be suffering from the after effects of a virus that forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico and later saw him quite the Volta a Catalunya and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
“This illness is affecting him in the long term, he is getting better, he is well trained, but it will be very important to identify what we need to do to put things in the right direction,” Sky’s head of performance Tim Kerrison told L’Équipe.
“He still has a lot of work to do, but his motivation remains high,” said Kerrison. “He is not at the level where he should be and he knows it.”
Porte’s next race will be the Critérium du Dauphiné, starting on June 8, which Porte will use as a tune-up before riding in support of Chris Froome at the Tour de France.
With Mark Cavendish spearheading Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s campaign at the Tour of California, OPQS sprinting duties at the Giro d’Italia have been left to Alessandro Petacchi.
Should the veteran Italian win one of the eight stages that could suit the sprinters, he will become the oldest stage winner in the Giro’s 97-year history.
Petacchi has 22 Giro d’Italia stage victories to his name at present (he lost five via a doping suspension).
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
This year’s USA Pro Challenge will feature a mountain top finish for the first time in the four-year-old race after organisers yesterday announced the route details.
The race will feature an ITT and six road stages, including the unsealed descent of Kebler on day 2.
“Every year we strive to create a route that will challenge the riders in new ways, give spectators more opportunities to see some of the toughest athletes in the world and highlight new parts of Colorado,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge.
“The mountains are such a big part of the USA Pro Challenge and we always have incredibly enthusiastic fans packing the summits, so we’re adding a new test for the riders this year and a new viewing opportunity for our dedicated fans with the stage 3 mountaintop finish on Monarch Mountain.
The USA Pro Challenge runs August 18-24 and features the following stages:
Stage 1: Aspen Circuit Race
Stage 2: Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 3: Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
Stage 4: Colorado Springs Circuit Race
Stage 5: Woodland Park to Breckenridge
Stage 6: Vail Individual Time Trial
Stage 7: Boulder to Denver
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
It seems like forever ago that the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain was announced and today, finally, the race gets underway. Local favourite Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) go in as two of the favourites for the race that will be contested over five stages.
To find out more about what is sure to be a great race, check out these previews at Velofocus and Cycling Weekly.
Check out the startlist here.
Now in it’s third year the Tour d’Azerbaidjan kicks off in Baku today with the first of five stages. The race has just been upgraded to UCI 2.1 status and of the 17 ProContinental teams in the world, eight are in Azerbaijan for the country’s only UCI event.
Believe it or not, Australia is the country with the most riders represented at the race with 15. These include riders on the Drapac squad, the Australian National Team and a smattering of riders on other teams.
Favourites for the race include 2011 Vuelta a Espana winner Juan Jose Cobo and last year’s winner Serhiy Grechyn.
CyclingTips editor Matt de Neef is currently in Baku to follow the race, courtesy of the race organisers, and will be providing daily race updates in the Rocacorba, as well as other features throughout the race.
In the meantime, check out the race website and the startlist.
We’re not sure which race this was taken from, but does footage of Laurens ten Dam having a beer with Agostino Giramondo ever get old? We think not.
If you came here this morning wondering what the heck is going on and can’t find anything, it’s worth reading about all the website changes here.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: