Thursday 10 May 2012

Evening Cycling News 10.05.12

Cav wins Giro d'Italia Stage 5 - Crash at Tour of Chongming Island Stage 2 - Tour of California to host women's TT - FFC boss confirms Dunkirk drug tests - Ullrich has a blog - Other news - Cycling - The importance of locking in earnest - The news you might have missed

Giro d'Italia Stage 5
Mr. Inevitable, Mark Cavendish
Stage 5 (map, profile) was the last flat parcours for a few days as 6, 7 and 8 all rate as medium mountain stages. Beginning in Modena, it was a strange sort of stage, 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 was 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 where the terrain rose almost imperceptibly to the finish line in Fano. (history along the route).

As such, there was no surprise that the race was once again hotly contested by the sprinters. Sky, who got things badly wrong on Stage 3 when Mark Cavendish was separated from lead-out man Geraint Thomas in the last 300m and left Matt Goss to take the win unmolested, made certain they didn't make the same mistake again. This time, Ian Stannard led the team into the last stretch before handing over to Thomas, who positioned the Manxman with surgical position 150m from the line before letting him go. When the team gets this right, Cav is unbeatable under these conditions and while Goss gave it his all he simply didn't stand a chance, taking second place with a bike length between them. Partner Peta Todd and their four-week-old daughter Delilah were at the finish to see him in action.

Skychology? Fausto Coppi was well-known as a party animal, often drinking enormous quantities of champagne the night before obliterating his rivals. Or was he? There's quite a bit of evidence that what he really did was paid for the party, bribed party-goers to swear blind he'd been there all night and then got a good night's sleep, knowing that defeat at the hands of a man suffering a terrible hangover is worse than one at the hands of a man in the best of health. Mario Cipollini used a similar technique, and so have several others. 
"We weren’t that bothered whether it was a sprint or not as I didn’t feel great three days after the crash," Cav claimed after his Stage 5 victory. "I was a little bit tired and we did really what the other teams have done and let the others do the work."
So - can Cav quite literally thrash the best of the rest even when he's not feeling his best? Or is he using Coppian psychology?

Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol), riding his first Giro, repaid his team's faith by forming a quarter of a sponsor-pleasing break that attained a lead of 5'40" for a while and even looked like it might last to the end - until what appeared on the altimetry profile to be little more than speed bumps in the final 30km turned out to be far more difficult than anybody (with the exception of the route planners, who probably had a good old laugh as the riders ground their way up) had expected. Once again, crashes took out a few riders as the average speed began to rise. Taylor Phinney(BMC), still bruised as a result of Robert Ferrari's Stage 3 idiocy, was the highest-profile victim. Fortunately he wasn't badly hurt but struggled to make up lost time.

Ramūnas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), having kept himself well out of the way of danger in the peloton, retains his General Classification lead as the Giro enters Stage 6.

Top Ten
  1.  Mark Cavendish Sky 4h43'15"
  2.  Matthew Goss Orica-GreenEDGE ST
  3.  Daniele Bennati RadioShack-Nissan ST
  4.  Robert Hunter Garmin-Barracuda ST
  5.  Sacha Modolo Colnago CSF ​​Bardiani ST
  6.  Alexander Kristoff Katusha ST
  7.  Elijah Favilli Farnese Vini-Selle Italia ST
  8.  Manuel Belletti AG2R-La Mondiale ST
  9.  Arnaud Demare FDJ - BigMat ST
  10.  Jonas Aaen Jorgensen  SaxoBank ST
(Full stage results and GC)

Stage 6 (profile here)
Stage 6 is of similar length at 210km, but with three Category 3s and a Cat 2 it's a different sort of race entirely. The parcours begins in Urbino, a remarkable walled city on a hilltop that, under the patronage of the forward-thinking Federico da Montefeltro (more on him - and his nefarious enemy Sigismondo Malatesta - here), became one of the driving forces behind the European Renaissance. Protected by World Heritage Site status, Urbino remains a spectacular sight with the Duomo Cathedral, the University, the Palazzo Ducale and Albornoz fortress almost succeeding in drawing the eye away from the ugly carparks and modern buildings that have grown up around the base of the hill. The first climb, an uncategorised ascent to 433m, lies 26km to the south-east and is followed by a series of smaller hills, then a 431m uncategorised climb at 78km and the first Cat 3 beginning at 89km as the race reaches Cingoli (birthplace of Pius VIII, who became Pope in 1829 when he was 68, in very poor health and little more than a puppet for Cardinal Giuseppe Albani). The Cat 2 starts at 110km - at 772m, it's much smaller than those still to come but, known as the Passo dello Cappella, it's officially the first col of the 2012 edition. After passing through Treia (where Egyptian statues, unique in this part of Italy, have been discovered by archaeologists) Cat 3 Montelupone (251m) begins at 152km and is followed by two uncategorised hills leading to a final Cat 3, Montegranaro (241m), at 170km. There are two more uncategorised climbs ending with 11km to go, then a slightly downhill section into Porto Sant'Elpidio (where Cipolini won Stage 4 on the 28th of May in 1992, suggesting a sprint finish may be on the cards) and the finish line.

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 2
Monia Baccaille
Chongming Island is pancake flat, which means that races almost inevitably end with bunch sprints; a fact that has led some to accuse the Tour of being boring. However, while the majority of today's parcours might not have been to everyone's tastes, the conclusion was anything but boring with a crash (caused, says the official Rabobank race report, by the " wild and uncontrolled sprinting" of the Asian riders) splitting the bunch. 

According to reports, an unspecified number of riders were taken to hospital with suspected broken collarbones and Evgenia Romanyuta (RusVelo) was airlifted to hospital, raising worries that she may be badly injured. Stage 1 also saw a crash shortly before the finish line, which does rather suggest that organisers need to look at making the routes more selective to avoid riders approaching the finish in such a large group.

Winner Monia Baccaille (MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss) was fortunate to be in front of the crash, but won't feel proud that it was the main reason she now leads GC. Chloe Hosking (Specialized-Lululemon) was second and Shelly Olds (AA-Drink third. Baccaille now leads the General Classification by 3" and AA takes the Team classification leadership from MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss with an advantage of 7".

Stage 3
Top Ten

  1.  Monia Baccaille MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss 2h57'28"
  2.  Chloe Hosking Specialized-Lululemon ST
  3.  Shelley Olds AA ST
  4.  Melissa Hoskins Orica-GreenEdge ST
  5.  Rochelle Gilmore Faren-Honda ST
  6.  Romy Kaspar RusVelo ST
  7.  Jessie Maclean Orica-GreenEdge ST
  8.  Mei Yu Hsiao Axman Team Taiwan ST
  9.  Jutatip Maneephan ST
  10.  Marlen Johrend ABUS - Nutrixxion ST
Friday's Stage 3 consists of eleven laps of a 7.2km urban parcours at Shanghai East Beach.

Stages 1 / 2 / 3 / World Cup

Tour of California to hold women's time trial
After a successful experiment in 2011, the organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have confirmed that they will again hold a women's time trial on the 17th of May - the same day and same 29.6km Bakersfield parcours as the men's Stage 5 race.

The event is by invite only and boasts a $10,000 prize fund, considerably greater than is on offer in most European women's races. After her stunning performance at the Tour of the Gila, last year's winner Krisitin Armstrong will be favourite for victory.

Provisional Start List
  1.  Alison Tetrick Exergy Twenty12
  2.  Tayler Wiles Exergy Twenty12
  3.  Kristin Armstrong Exergy Twenty12
  4.  Emilia Fahlin Specialized-Lululemon
  5.  Loren Rowney Specialized-Lululemon
  6.  Bridie O'Donnell Vanderkitten-Focus
  7.  Janel Holcomb Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies
  8.  Jade Wilcoxson Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies
  9.  Alison Powers Now and Novatis for MS
  10.  Robin Farina Now and Novatis for MS

FFC boss David Lappartient confirms Dunkirk corticoid tests were performed
More sources are claiming that Anthony Charteau (Europcar) fell foul of an unannounced anti-doping control at the Four Days of Dunkirk. L'Equipe broke the news, saying that officials carried out tests for corticoids before the final stage and that one rider had been prevented from starting after suspicious values were found. The rider's identity and team has not been officially revealed, but as Chartreau was the only ride not to start it would appear to have been him - though Europcar manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau claims he abandoned due to a knee problem.

Ullrich: "There is no denying that several doping cases in recent years have hurt cycling. I too have made mistakes"
Jan Ullrich, retroactively banned
for two years in 2012
Jan Ullrich, the rider who became the first German to win a Tour de France and was later stripped of results after a messy doping investigation, has a new blog hosted by Yahoo - and the first subject he discusses is, rather unsurprisingly, doping.

"The time of hiding and retreat is over. I have received my punishment. Even if I do not intend to return to professional cycling, cycling will remain love of my life," he begins, then goes on to say that today's young riders should not be tarred with the same brush as he was simply because they are cyclists. "I leave it to each individual reader to decide whether he and she thinks that I deserve a second chance. Cycling has lost nothing of its fascination. There are many young drivers who will not make the same mistakes as the old generation. They deserve support."

Other News
"PICTURE SPECIAL. Family and friends visit the place where Wouter Weylandt died" (Sportwereld)

Cambridge Police discover stolen bikes
Cambridge Police recovered a vast haul of stolen bikes when they raided a property on the city's Coldham's Lane after Police Community Support Officer Amanda Turnell spotted them hidden behind a shed while investigating another theft. In all, sixty bikes, cutting equipment (used to remove locks) and sections of sawn-off bike racks were removed by officers. A teenager has been arrested in connection with the discovery.

It doesn't matter how good your bike lock is if you don't pay
attention to what you lock it onto!
Investigating officer PC Martin Pinyoun said that the bikes will be on display at Parkside Police Station between 5-7pm on the 17th of May. "We are keen to find out if these bikes were stolen but never reported," he added "I urge anyone who has had a bike stolen during the past year to come to Parkside to see if they can identify their bicycle."

The presence of sawn-off sections of racks is a reminder that cyclists need to be careful not just to lock their bikes but also to make sure they're locked to something secure - it's very common to see a bike locked to a chainlink fence or other fixture that can be cut far more easily that the lock; allowing thieves to cut it free and take the bike so that the lock can be removed at their leisure. Unfortunately, many council-provided bike parking facilities are not up to the job.

Newswire - the news you might have missed
"Worth £2m a day, cycling gets seriously sexy" (The Scotsman)

"Reinventing the wheel: The most inventive cycling innovations" (The Independent)

"Graeme Obree, The Flying Scotsman, to Inspire Cyclists in Highland Perthshire" (AllMediaScotland)

"Safe cycle lanes to be made law in Wales" (The Times)

"Cycling on New Tracks" (IBN, Malaysia)

"Cyclist killed after riding off edge of street was drunk - coroner" (NZHerald)

"Montreal to try new type of intersection for cyclists and motorists" (The Gazette)

"In Cycling: Vancouver bamboo bikes up the green commuting ante" (Vancouver Courier)

"Cycling's exciting trend" (Huffington Post)

"Many Tokyo cyclists unaware of rules" (Daily Yoimiuri)

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