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by Shane Stokes
May 27, 2015
Photography by Kristof Ramon, Cor Vos and Gian Mattia D'Alberto / lapresse
In today’s Daily News Digest: Landa soloes to second mountain stage win on Giro d’Italia’s 16th stage as Aru fades; Contador refrains from criticising Astana’s attack after he suffers puncture; Landa declines to speculate on whether he should have been Astana leader all along; Savio: ‘Ochowicz missed a good opportunity to keep his mouth shut’; Hesjedal frustrated by Tinkoff-Saxo’s chasing; Roommate rules: how to share a hotel room like a pro; Seven talking points from the second week of the Giro d’Italia; The GCN Show Ep. 124: Changing fortunes at the Giro D’Italia and does dehydration really slow you down?; Former national rowing champion sets Raleigh Chopper hour record; Team3M in An Post Ras – Stage 1
Profiting on a controversial day which saw the Astana team work to distance Alberto Contador after the race leader had a rear wheel puncture, Mikel Landa soloed to victory on stage sixth of the Giro d’Italia and took over second place in the general classification.
The Basque rider hit the line in Aprica 38 seconds ahead of Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), with Yury Trofimov (Team Katusha) and Andrey Amador (Movistar Team) two minutes and three seconds back.
Former race winner Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) was out front for much of the stage and hung on for a determined sixth place, two minutes and ten seconds down.
As for Landa’s team-mate Fabio Aru, who had started the day second overall to Contador, weakened badly after his Astana team pushed forward on the penultimate climb, the legendary Mortirolo, and was dropped before the top. He trailed in two minutes and 51 seconds back and may well have lost his chance of winning the race overall.
Landa readily admitted that Astana had sought to take advantage of Contador’s mishap.
“It was a beautiful day for me, even more than yesterday [Sunday],” he said. “We saw that Contador had a problem. Katusha rode full gas and we collaborated with them. On the Mortirolo. Fabio didn’t feel very good and he told me to go with Alberto and Kruijswijk.
Click here to read the full report on CyclingTips.
Although it has long been held that it is a no-no to attack the race leader when he has suffered a crash or another misfortune, Alberto Contador favoured diplomacy over criticism in the aftermath of Tuesday’s 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia.
Perhaps holding back because of his own attack on then-Tour de France race leader Andy Schleck in the 2010 Tour, a surge which at the time Contador explained away by saying he didn’t realise Schleck had dropped his chain, the Spaniard declined to blast the Astana team.
It and Katusha accelerated after Contador suffered a rear wheel puncture on the descent of the Aprica climb during Tuesday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia. The acceleration put Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team under real pressure and ensured that he started the Mortirolo ascent almost a minute behind his main rival Fabio Aru (Astana) and under real pressure.
“Cycling isn’t mathematics,” said Contador, showing restraint. “I had a puncture on the descent, Ivan Basso gave me a wheel because he has the same gear as me, but ahead they were going at full speed, and it was impossible to close the gap immediately.
“On Mortirolo I was focused on keeping my speed, it was like a time trial, I couldn’t lose the morale and I had to keep calm and focus on the road ahead”.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
While he has clearly held back on several occasions to help his better-placed team-mate Fabio Aru, Mikel Landa was finally let off the leash on Tuesday’s 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia and duly took his second stage win of the race and jumped up to second overall.
The Basque rider will begin Wednesday’s stage four minutes and two seconds back. He almost certainly would be a lot closer to Contador had he not had to wait on previous stages. Still, questioned about that on Tuesday, he refrained from complaining.
“If I’d come as a leader, it’s possible I wouldn’t have achieved anything at all,” he said, responding to a question about whether he could have been leading this race had he been given a green light sooner. “You never know. This situation is new for me, what’s happened has happened, and we’ll see how it ends.”
One complication for Landa is that he is Basque, while Aru is Italian. That makes the latter a more ideal winner for his team in what is the biggest Italian cycling event. Aru may well have to ride for Landa now, although the latter wouldn’t bite when asked if the younger rider must now work for him.
“I don’t know yet,” he answered. “I still haven’t seen the General Classification. We have to see how my legs are. I’m know I’m second overall, but I don’t know the times with respect to Contador. We’ll see how Fabio recovers: it would be good if the two of us could work together against Contador.”
Gianni Savio, manager of one of the teams which regularly receives a wildcard invite to the Giro d’Italia and other events has come out swinging in response to a call by BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowicz to limit the number of teams in WorldTour races.
“When you speak of an elite cycling, a true elite, not of hypocrisy, the facts reveal that in this Giro, and I will not mention names, that several WorldTour teams are completely anonymous,” said the displeased Androni team manager to VeloNews.
“More than that, they are almost invisible. Maybe the ‘big teams’ fear the ‘medium’ teams can take their place. Because many of the WorldTour teams who come to the Giro bring riders who are not motivated, who are not in good condition, whereas the ‘invited’ teams give the spectacle, they attack, they are protagonists in the race. That’s what the public appreciates.
“We always honor the Giro. We ‘medium’ teams are honoring the Giro much, much more than several ‘big’ WorldTour teams. How can you be a ‘great’ team when you are like a ghost?”
While Savio didn’t say if he was talking about the BMC Racing Team – it won a stage in the Giro with Philippe Gilbert – he didn’t refrain from making a dig at the team’s president.
“We have an expression in Italy, ‘Ochowicz missed a good opportunity to keep his mouth shut,’” Savio said. “I have always appreciated Jim Ochowicz, whom I have always considered a good manager, but in this case, he should have kept his thoughts to himself.”
Click here to read the full story at VeloNews.
The 2012 race winner Ryder Hesjedal is out of the running for the overall title this year but is intent on trying to take a stage. However he has been unsuccessful in that goal thus far and, having been out front for much of Tuesday’s sixteenth stage before finishing sixth, two minutes and ten seconds back, he expressed his frustration shortly after crossing the line.
The object of that frustration? The Tinkoff-Saxo team of race leader Alberto Contador.
“Alberto chased me down by himself over the first climb. I guess that’s another sign of respect,” he said. “But I’m at 11 minutes, what do they think? Let the break go.
“Otherwise, look what happens. Saxo just annihilates themselves. Maybe it’s all good in the end, Alberto wins, but I just don’t understand. Let a break get five, six, seven, eight minutes. What’s it to them?”
Hesjedal believes that such hard work exposes Contador later in the stage, with his main rivals able to attack because his team has burned itself out.
“They decide to keep it close and then it’s easy to Astana to take over … and inflict pain on everybody,” he said.
Click here to read the full story on VeloNews.
by Loren Rowney
As a professional cyclist, I spend a large majority of my existence on the road and, by default, hotel-hopping. I am currently in the middle of what I would call epic hotel-hopping all over the United States.
I’ll stop there for a second.
Are you reading this now and imagining that I’m living it up while on the road? Let’s get one thing clear from the start. Both male and female professionals will undoubtedly experience some real dives. Some of the funniest memories I have had with my teammates have come from staying in the worst hotels in Europe.
The only exception to this rule is Qatar. In Qatar, we are treated to five-star ritzy accommodation that we never went to leave. This is the only time in the season that this happens – for the women anyway.
All right – now that we’ve got that cleared up, on to the real topic at hand. Roommates. Hotel-hopping means sharing space with roommates. Teammate roommates to be exact. There are good roommates and there are bad roommates. I’m sure you’ve encountered both. I certainly have.
Click here to read the full feature on Ella CyclingTips.
by Matt de Neef
After 15 stages of the 2015 Giro d’Italia, the riders have had the opportunity to enjoy a second and final rest day. The second week of the race has provided no shortage of excitement and drama and with six stages still remaining, there is sure to be more to come.
Here’s what we’ve been talking about after the second ‘week’ of racing at the Giro.
Even the most straightforward stage can yield plenty of drama at a Grand Tour
Stage 10 was shaping up to be one of the most predictable stages of the Giro thus far. A long flat stage, a five-rider breakaway, and the inevitable chase by the sprinters’ teams to catch the escapees just before the line. Only it didn’t work out like that.
Giro d’Italia 2015 stage – 10
Lotto Soudal, riding for stage favourite Andre Greipel, got barely any support with the chase, while up in the break the five Italians were working brilliantly together. Against all the odds, the breakaway survived, with Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF) taking the win. And that was just the beginning of the drama.
Click here to read the full feature on CyclingTips.
There have been a spate of hour record attempts since Jens Voigt took on and beat the long-standing record last September. However a far more unusual one took place on May 23. Matt Richardson, who gained internet attention last year when he rode up Mont Ventoux on his Chopper bike, used an earlier 1969 version to take on the record.
While he didn’t trouble Alex Dowsett’s mark, he nevertheless clocked up an impressive 31.87 kilometres on the machine, setting an official mark on that type of bike.
“I was in so much pain, I could barely see, and every muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop,” he said.
The 49 year old former national rowing champion took on the challenge to raise funds for bone cancer.
Click the video above to watch a promotional video about his bid. You can read more about this story on Cycling Weekly.
A look inside Team 3M’s race on the opening day of the recent An Post Ras in Ireland.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: