Wednesday 9 May 2012

Evening Cycling News 09.05.12

Giro d'Italia Stage 4 - Tour of Chongming Island Stage 1 - 2004 Olympic dope samples may be retested - Tchalykh wins controversial Azerbaijani TT - Best evidence yet for Contador return to SaxoBank - Other racing news (links) - Cycling:  Fahrradi Farfall FFX - News you might have missed - RIP 108

Giro d'Italia Stage 4
Ramūnas Navardauskas, now with
On Wednesday, the Giro returned to Italy for a 33.2km team time trial around Verona - another fast, flat course with only a little pimple of a hill shortly after the first time check and several long straights on the outward and return journeys, followed by a flat and a straight 800m section to the finish line.

Verona, a World Heritage Site, has a great deal of history and monuments even by the standards of ancient Italian cities. Not all of the history makes pleasant reading - it has been ruled by blood-thirsty tyrants, suffered an earthquake and numerous plagues and, in the Second World War, was the site of unspeakable horror when large numbers of captured enemy soldiers, anti-fascists, left-wingers and Jews were tortured at what was then a fortress and has since been converted into a church, the Santuario della Madonna di Lourdes.

Garmin-Barracuda, many fans' favourite today, performed sufficiently well to both win the stage and put their 24-year-old Lithuanian Ramūnas Navardauskas into the maglia rosa with an advantage of 10", bringing the four-day reign of BMC's Taylor Phinney - who is no doubt still in pain following the crash caused by Robert Ferrari in Stage 3 - to an end. Navardauskas' team mates Tyler Farrar, Robert Hunter and Ryder Hesjedal take 2nd, 3rd and 4th places behind him.

"The jersey is a very big thing for me," a smiling Navadauskas told the cameras during his post-race interview. "I really love this team. They take care of me."

Top Ten
1 Garmin-Barracuda 37'04"  
2 Katusha +5"  
3 Astana +22"  
4 SaxoBank ST  
5 Omega Pharma-QuickStep +24"  
6 Orica-GreenEDGE +25"  
7 Liquigas-Cannondale +26"  
8 RadioShack-Nissan +28"  
9 Sky +30"  
10 BMC +31"
(Full stage results and GC)

Stage 5 is the last flat parcours for a few days as 6, 7 and 8 all rate as medium mountain stages. Beginning in Modena, it's a strange sort of stage being 209km in length with hardly any corners - the first 172km looks rather like a massively scaled-up sprint with the only sizable deviation from the line being made necessary by the existence of Bologna. There's a little Category 4 hill at 172.1km, rising to 109m, then three gentle and uncategorised climbs in the 16km after it before the final 14km, which are as flat and as straight as the earlier part of the race all the way to the last kilometre when the terrain rises almost imperceptibly. (History along the route)

Stages 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21

Tour of Chongming Island Stage 1
It's funny, really, that the UCI pour so much money into their efforts to "globalise" cycling (which really means "globalising" the UCI) and refuse to put more into women's cycling, because women's cycling has been blazing a trail in the Far East ever since 2007 and the first Tour of Chongming Island - athree-stage event that has become one of the most important fixtures on the calendar and is followed by the Tour of Chongming Road World Cup.

Melissa Hoskins
Melissa Hoskins (Orica-GreenEDGE) faced stiff competition in the bunch sprint to the finish line with both Rochelle Gilmore (Faren-Honda) and Monia Baccaile (MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss) chasing her all the way, but proved the fastest of the three on the first of the three pancake-flat stages that are ideally suited to a sprint specialist such as herself - she also won the first intermediate sprint and took second place on the second, picking up useful points for her team.

Despite the near-inevitability of a sprint finish, Hitec Products-Mistral Home and AA fired off numerous attacks during the race. None got far as the teams with the best sprinters kept things under control, making sure the race ended how they wanted it to end. In the last couple of kilometres, as they got the sprinters into a position, a crash back in the pack threw Sarah Düster (Rabobank) high into the air and for a second looked horribly like a repeat of the crash at the 2010 Herald Sun Cycling Classic which left her with a broken pelvis. A rider from the Taiwan team also went down, creating a domino effect that saw several others also crash - fortunately, it appears that nobody was badly hurt; but as of yet there has been no confirmation.

Stage 2 (Stage 1 here)
"The girls positioned me out of the wind an they protected me extremely well," Hoskins said after the race. "Two kilometers out, they pushed it to front. Judith [Arndt] took the final left-hand turn and then handed things over to Jessie [MacLean]. Judith had taken us to the bottom of a small bridge, and Jessie took us over the bridge. Jessie gave a final push on the bridge, and then a MCipollini Giambenini attacked. I sat on her wheel for about 250-meters before stepping out of her draft with 150-meters to go. Once I was out front, I was able to hold on for the win." After bonification, Hoskins leads the General Classification with a 7" advantage over Baccaile.

There was some confusion after the race when the UCI accidentally published the General Classification results complete with bonification adjustments instead of the stage results.

Top Ten

  1.  Melissa Hoskins Orica GreenEdge 1h49'01"
  2.  Rochelle Gilmore Faren-Honda ST
  3.  Monia Baccaile MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  4.  Liesbet De Vocht Rabobank ST
  5.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-Lululemon ST
  6.  Marta Bastianelli MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  7.  Lucy Martin AA ST
  8.  Elena Cecchini MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  9.  Emilie Moberg Hitec Products-Mistral Home ST
  10.  Evgenia Romanyuta RusVelo ST
(Full stage result and GC)

2004 Olympic doping control samples may be re-tested
The International Olympic Council has announced that it may oblige WADA's request to re-test samples taken at the 2004 Games, utilising new procedures developed in the intervening time, prior to preserved materials being destroyed in August in line with the standing 8 year policy. The number of samples liable to be re-tested has not yet been set, but it is believed likely to between one hundred to several hundred chosen from athletes competing in what IOC medical commissioner Arne Ljungqvist terms "high risk" sports - which we can obviously assume to include cycling.

When samples taken at the 2008 Games were re-tested, five samples were found to contain traces of CERA, an EPO variant undetectable with tests available at the time. Since doping was widespread in cycling and other sports before the Operacion Puerto scandal of 2006, there's a high chance that more cases will come to light if WADA's request is successful.

Tchalykh wins in Azerbaijan
Tchalykh wins Azerbaijan TT
Elena Tchalykh (Dolmans-Boels) won the Azerbeidzjan de Heydar Aliyev Anniversary Time Trial, the first UCI women's event in Azerbaijan and one that has been controversial, not least of all because police and government authorities reportedly regular use rape (and threats of rape) against defendants and defendants' families as a means of coercing confessions from prisoners.

In fact, since the country's human rights record is extremely questionable overall (political prisoners are routinely imprisoned without proof of wrongdoing, prisoners are tortured and beaten, the media is strictly controlled by the authoritarian government, religious minorities suffer persecution despite token equality laws and thousands of citizens have been illegally evicted to make way for urban renewal in capital city Baku - more of this in the news in the coming weeks, since Baku is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest this month), organisations from any democratic nation shouldn't really be promoting anything in Azerbaijan except for popular uprising. Anyway, that's enough of that. Back to cycling...

Top Ten
  1.  Elena Tchalykh Dolmans-Boels 34'37"
  2.  Olena Pavlukhina +34" 15
  3.  Aleksandra Sosenko Vaiana-Tepso +1'00"
  4.  Maria Mishina +1'06"
  5.  Olena Sharpa +1'16"
  6.  Nicole Hanselmann +1'21"
  7.  Oksana Lesnyk +1'26"
  8.  Katarína Hranaiova +1'40"
  9.  Emma Trott Dolmans-Boels +1'48"
  10.  Katarzyna Sosna Vaiana-Tepso +2'10"
(Full result)

Daniel Navarro, now with SaxoBank:
"Alberto needs me"
Best evidence yet for Contador return to SaxoBank
According to Asturian newspaper Elcomercio, Alberto Contador - whose two-year backdated ban is due to end early in August - has confirmed that he plans to ride this year's Vuelta a Espana. What is more interesting is that SaxoBank rider Daniel Navarro told the same paper he won't take part in the Tour de France this year because: "Alberto needs me and I want to have good form for August."

Neither Contador nor SaxoBank have yet confirmed that he will return to the team, but he is widely expected to do so. Could Navarro's comments have been an accidental revelation of something he knows and we don't?

Other News
Ferrari apology a "clear PR exercise," says Cycling News

"Team Type 1-Sanofi secures repeat invite to the Tour de Suisse" (Velonation)

"Jody Cundy aims to inspire at London Paralympics" (British Cycling)

"French federation tests for corticoids at 4 Jours de Dunkerque, One rider did not start final stage as a result, says L’Équipe" (Cycling News)

"Garner happy with place on podium" (This Is Leicestershire)

Jelejah 1Malaysia - Jai Crowford wins Stage 2 as Yusup Abrekov takes GC (Bernama)

Fahrradi Farfall FFX is not what it seems
If you opened up the bonnet of the Fahrradi Farfall FFX, what would you expect to find? A V8? A V12? A W16? What you probably wouldn't expect is what's actually in there...

Road legal in Austria, the Fahrradi FFX cost £1.2 million to build - £200,000 more than it would cost to buy the Ferrari FXX that inspired it.

The news you might have missed
"Wales gets tough over green travel" (The Guardian)

"Give pupils more room on road, says cyclist Beaumont" (The Scotsman)

"'Britain's dumbest cycle lane' isn't actually a cycle lane at all" (

"Hotel installs bicycle-powered television" (Telegraph)

"Cyclofemme: A Global Day of Women's Cycling" (Huffington Post)

"Calgary hires its first cycling co-ordinator" (Calgary Herald, Canada)

"In Bibwewadi and Hadapsar, two-wheelers [motorcycles] zoom into cyclists’ space" (The Indian Express)

"New York’s Five Boro Bike Tour: We Hit the Road with 32,000 Happy Cyclists" (Wired)

"ABC 24 presenters are embroiled in controversy after claiming on Monday morning that car “doorings” of cyclists aren’t always solely the driver’s fault – they reckon sometimes the cyclist is at fault too" (Crikey)

Giorgia Bronzini ‏ @GiorgiaBronziniTime to relax :) (pic)
Cycleboredom ‏ @CycleboredomLocal pub radio piece on Bike to School Day (loosely): "Drive gently out there today." So, the rest of the time drive like asses? #phrasing

RIP 108

Wouter Weylandt - born 27th of September 1984, Ghent, Belgium; died 9th of May 2011, Mezzanego, Italy. 

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