Friday 11 May 2012

Evening Cycling News 11.05.12

Latest - Velonation: "After weeks of deliberation, @LeviLeipheimer will take start of @AmgenTourofCali. Official announcement later today."

Giro Stage 6 - Tour of Chongming Island Stage 3 - Halfords Tour and Johnson HealthTech GP - Ex-Astana boss: "Alberto rode the 2010 Tour de France clean" - Armstrong interview can be interpreted however you want - Lincoln Festival of Cycling - Box Hill graffiti - Other news - Cyclists angered as bike locks cut in Cambridge - Glos. police seek help in cyclist assault case - The news you might have missed - Tweets

Miguel  Ángel Rubiano
Giro d'Italia Stage 6
Stage 6 was the 2012 Giro's first medium mountain stage, the three Category 3s and single Cat 2 meaning that while the stage looked likely to end with a sprint, the climbers got their first chance to demonstrate form. The parcours began in Urbino, a remarkable walled city on a hilltop, then moved on to the first climb 26km to the south-east - an uncategorised ascent to 433m, followed by a series of smaller hills. Another uncategorised climb of similar height waited at 78km, then the first Cat 3 began at 89km as the race reached Cingoli. The Cat 2 started at 110km - at 772m, it was much smaller than those still to come but, known as the Passo dello Cappella, it was officially the first col of this year's race and saw a crash for Mark Cavendish, who was fortunately unhurt and continued with the race. After passing through Treia, the rider tackled Cat 3 Montelupone (251m) at 152km, then two more uncategorised hills leading to the final Cat 3, Montegranaro (241m), at 170km. There were two final uncategorised climbs in the 29km after Montegranaro, then with 11km to go the race reaches 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.

Fifteen riders broke away 29km into the stage and managed to get a lead of 8'35" before the Cappella took its toll, leaving Miguel Ángel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) on his own at the front of the race until another seven riders joined him. Despite his hard work, he remained the strongest on Monteluppone and took the King of the Mountain points.

Thor Hushovd was Stage 6's highest-profile victim
Cav was lucky to come out of his crash unharmed, but several others were not as fortunate when the stage turned out to be much harder than it looked on paper. Thor Hushovd (BMC) abandoned the race after 84km, much to the consternation of fans as this sort of parcours usually suits him well. A BMC spokesperson said that she had no details other than that the rider had reported feeling exhausted and that he had been concerned about his current form - after a disappointing Classics season, it looks like the Norwegian is going to need to do a lot of preparation over the coming seven weeks in order to be ready for the Tour de France. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) also abandoned, apparently for similar reasons. Pablo Lastras (Movistar) crashed and looked to have damaged his collarbone after trying to take a corner too fast. Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda) also crashed and seemed in some pain, but fortunately escaped more serious injury; then his team mate Tyler Farrar went down and out later in the stage with an injured hand while Ramūnas Navardauskas was dropped and ended up riding alone.

Rubiano, still at the front, became the first Colombian to win a stage since Luis Felipe Laverde in 2007 when he crossed the line alone to record a time of 5h38'30". He also earned twenty bonification seconds and now leads the King of the Mountains, while Adriano Malori, in second place, picked up a 12" bonus that sees him take the maglia rosa from Navardauskas after escaping and riding solo over the last 30km.

Meanwhile, Cav's luck very nearly ran out as the climbs drained the strength from his legs. He - along with Theo Bos, Graeme Brown and Dennis van Winden (all Rabobank), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Jeremy Hunt (Sky), Sebastien Rosseler (Garmin-Barracuda) - finished the stage 33'12" behind Rubiano, dangerously close to the 33'51" limit that would have seen him disqualified.

Top Ten
  1.  Miguel Angel Chavez Rubiano Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela 5h38'30"
  2.  Adriano Malori Lampre-ISD +1'10"
  3.  Michal Golas Omega Pharma-QuickStep ST
  4.  Alexandr Dyachenko Astana ST
  5.  Cesare Benedetti Team NetApp ST
  6.  Daryl Impey Orica-GreenEDGE +1'51"
  7.  Filippo Pozzato Farnese Vini-Selle Italia ST
  8.  Fabio Sabatini Liquigas-Cannondale ST
  9.  Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi Movistar ST
 10.  Michal Kwiatkowski Omega Pharma-QuickStep ST
(Full stage result and GC)
Holly Blades ‏ @lifeofhollyToday's virtual Pink Jersey Adriano Malori was the Lantern Rouge in the 2010 Tour de France.
Stage 7
Stage 7 (are we really a week into the Giro already?) extends over 205km between Recanati and Rocca di Cambio (the highest village in the Apennines, where evidence of an earthquake in 2009 can still be seen despite the wealth the Campo Felice ski resort has brought). Like Stage 6, it's rated as a medium mountain stage, but the Cat 3 and Cat 2 along the way are far more like proper mountains than Friday's hills - the Cat 3 rises to 1,190m and the Cat 2 to 1,392m (British fans should remember that this "medium mountain" is 48m higher than Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles). Recanati was established as a city in 1150CE, growing up from villages that formed around three castles and became an independent republic 140 years later, but two necropolises dating from Neolithic times are evidence that the region was inhabited long before that. After a short downhill section over the first 5km, most of the first half of the race heads upwards with five hills leading to Cat 2 Col Galluccio beginning at 96.1km. A fast descent leads into a long climb up an uncategorised mountain topping out at 1,152m 142km into the parcours, then it's downhill for the next 46km to a little hill that comes just before the 800m climb to the final few kilometres. The final 3km of this stage is difficult and makes a sprint finish extremely unlikely: the first 1.38km descends around 70m, then the remainder swings steeply upward and climbs 92m in a little over 1.6km and hits a gradient of 10% over one 100m section 0.5km from the finish line. (Profile, final 3km)

The weather for Stage 7 will be very warm at around 25C with light winds of around 7kph. There's is very little chance of rain anywhere along the parcours and even at altitude the temperature will drop no lower than 15C in the late afternoon.

Tour of Chongming Island Stage 3
Melissa Hoskins

Friday's Stage 3 consisted of eleven laps of a 7.2km urban parcours at Shanghai East Beach, a tricky parcours with a number of tight corners including two leading up to the finish line. Melissa Hoskins won two of the three intermediate sprints, then also won the stage to take back the General Classification lead from Monia Baccaille (MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss) thanks to first-rate team work by Orica-GreenEDGE who dominated the race from start to end, only allowing Baccaille to take the third intermediate sprint in order to prepare for stage victory when it became apparent that Hoskins needed to win it if she was to win the GC. With 10km to go, they took full control of the peloton and got Hoskins precisely where she needed to be to beat Baccaille, Liebet de Vocht (Rabobank), Shelley Olds (AA and others to the line. After bonification, she wins overall by one second and will now go into Sunday's Chongming World Cup round as a favourite.

Stage 3 Top Ten

  1.  Melissa Hoskins Orica-GreenEDGE 1h58'212
  2.  Monia Baccaille MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss ST
  3.  Liesbet De Vocht Rabobank ST
  4.  Shelley Olds AA ST
  5.  Rochelle Gilmore Faren-Honda ST
  6.  Jessie Maclean Orica-GreenEDGE ST
Chongming World Cup
  7.  Jutatip Maneephan ST
  8.  Xin Liu China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling ST
  9.  Romy Kasper RusVelo ST
  10.  Emilie Moberg Hitec Products-Mistral Home ST

Overall General Classification Top Ten
  1.  Melissa Hoskins Orica-GreenEDGE 6h44'49"
  2.  Monia Baccaille MCipollini-Giambenini-Gauss +1"
  3.  Liesbet De Vocht Rabobank +26"
  4.  Shelley Olds AA +27"
  5.  Rochelle Gilmore Faren-Honda +30"
  6.  Jutatip Maneephan +36"
  7.  Emilie Moberg Hitec Products-Mistral Home ST
  8.  Xin Liu China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling ST
  9.  Romy Kasper RusVelo ST
  10.  Jessie Maclean Orica-GreenEDGE ST
(Full GC results)

Halfords Tour and Johnson HealthTech GP
The third Halfords Tour Series gets underway next week, once again bringing exciting short-course criterium cycling into the heart of several British cities. The format is simple: set out a tight, fast urban parcours and then have the ten teams (CyclePremier-Kovert Racing, Endura Racing, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes, Hope Factory Racing, IG-Sigma Sport, Metaltek-Scott, Node4-Giordana, Raleigh-GAC, Rapha-Condor-Sharp and UK Youth, guest teams to be announced) battle it out and declare the team with the lowest cumulative score for their first three riders over the finish line the winner. That this works is made evident by the fact that not only has the series has been extended from eight races last year to twelve for 2012, television coverage proved popular last year with an average of almost a quarter of a million viewers for each race; which has encouraged ITV4 to provide a one-hour highlights programme for each meet this year.

Halfords Tour Series
1. Tuesday, May 15 - Kirkcaldy (ITV4 May 16 10pm)
2. Thursday, May 17 - Durham (ITV4 May 18 8pm)
3. Tuesday, May 22 - Oxford (ITV4 May 23 8pm)
4. Thursday, May 24 - Redditch (ITV4 May 25 8pm)
5. Friday, May 25 - Aberystwyth (ITV4 May 28 8pm)
6. Tuesday, May 29 - Peterborough (ITV4 May 30 8pm)
7. Thursday, May 31 - Canary Wharf, London (ITV4 June 1 8pm)
8. Tuesday, June 5 - Torquay (ITV4 June 6 8pm)
9. Thursday, June 7 - Colchester (ITV4 June 8 8pm)
10. Tuesday, June 12 - Woking (ITV4 June 13 8pm)
11. Thursday, June 14 - Stoke-on-Trent team time trial (ITV4 June 15 10pm)
12. Thursday, June 14 - Stoke-on-Trent (ITV4 June 15 10pm)

In 2011, the four-round Johnson HealthTech Women's GP Series was run alongside the Halfords Tour, using the same infrastructure and parcours. It too proved enormously successful and has been extended to five rounds this year as a result. Helped enormously by TV coverage (again provided as part of ITV4's Halfords Tour programmes for 2012), the series has done an excellent job of raising the profile of women's racing and the athletes who took part, so much so that Johnson HealthTech managing director Jon Johnston is proudly able to claim that the series encouraged the formation of several new teams. So there we go - proof that if men's and women's races work together, everyone wins. Get to it, Tour of Britain.

A full list of teams competing in the GP has yet to be published, thus far For Viored, Node4-Giordana and Matrix Fitness-Prendas are confirmed.

Johnson HealthTech GP Series
1. Tuesday, May 22 - Oxford
2. Tuesday, May 29 - Peterborough
3. Thursday, June 7 - Colchester
4. Tuesday, June 12 - Woking
5. Thursday, June 14 - Stoke-on-Trent

Ex-Astana boss: "Alberto rode the 2010 Tour de France clean"
Ex-Astana manager Yvon Sanquer, who left the Kazakh-registered team in 2010 at the same time as Alberto Contador left for SaxoBank, is convinced that the Spanish rider did not dope at the Tour de France that year.

"I had paid a lot of attention to the doping issue at Astana," he told Cycling News. "Alberto rode the 2010 Tour de France clean. From where we started in October 2009 until the win in July, a lot of good work was done.

Lance Armstrong: "In my mind, I’m truly done. You can interpret that however you want."
In an interview with Men's Journal, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong says that he will not fight any future doping investigations - which has inspired at least one website, Velonation, to ask in a roundabout way if this could be indication that the Texan is tired of lying.

Far be it from this blog to defend Armstrong - who, while I happen to dislike the man, has never been proved to have doped and is therefore in my opinion innocent unless anyone ever produces reliable evidence to suggest otherwise - but, as is almost invariably the case, reading between the lines reveals nothing blank space into which can be inserted any sort of meaning that takes the reader's fancy. When asked, for example,  how he would feel were he to be stripped of his seventh Tour victory, he answers: "I wouldn't be unhappy." Does that mean he knows he doesn't deserve it? Not necessarily - it can also be read as simply meaning that he's tired of fighting (as he says, "I’m done fighting. I’ve moved on") and would be content with a place in history as a six-time Tour winner.

"We all want to be loved, we all want to be respected, we all want to be thought of as fair and ethical and admirable men," he adds. "But very few people are unimpeachable. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there are always going to be questions."

These sound more like the words of a man who can no longer be bothered with the battle rather than one about to make a confession.

Lincoln Festival of Cycling
818 riders have already signed up to take part in Lincoln's Grand Prix Sportive, with more expected to join on the day - not bad going, considering last year's edition was the first time the event had ever been held.

The sportive is followed on Sunday by the Grand Prix race, now in its 57th year, in which riders complete thirteen laps of a circuit beginning at Yarborough Sports Centre and ending 164km later by the cathedral at the top of the cobbled Michaelgate climb, which rivals the climbs of the Flanders Classics with its maximum gradient of 16.2%. (More sportive details and entry forms)

Box Hill hit by graffiti "artist"
Shock! Horror! Some ne'er-do-well crept up Box Hill last night with a can of white paint and painted a big - er - male reproductive organ on the road! The crudely depicted genitalia appears to be about six metres in length, probably in an attempt to make it unmistakable for the helicopters filming the Olympic road race. Police say they have no idea who the culprit may have been, but confirm that having had a look at the crime scene they've ruled absolutely anyone with any artistic talent out of the investigation.

British cycling fans, well-used to seeing the sort of things that those uncouth Continental types scrawl over the roads at the Grand Tours, are not particulary offended - in fact, most are more surprised that it doesn't seem to have been done using LOCOG-approved graffiti paint (available from official suppliers throughout Britain for only ten times the price of any other sort of paint*).

Of course, it might also be a comment on the recent announcement that anyone wishing to see the race from the best spots on the hill will have to pay. Tickets priced at £10-£15 are, not unexpectedly, available from LOCOG - the money-grabbing cocks.

(Related: "Surrey Police warning over London 2012 cycle race tickets" BBC / "Cycling is free. Someone forgot to tell the Olympic organisers" The Guardian)

*Thanks, @redster73 ;-)

Other News
"Bedford 2-Day round up" (On The Drops)

"Cycling Derby calls for urgent help to save city's planned velodrome" (

"Welcome to the Hope Show" (Kathryn Bertine, ESPNW)

"Geox to return to cycling?" (Cycling News)

"John-Lee Augustyn takes indefinite break from pro career" (Velonation)

"Howe and Atkins dispute events after Speed Week crash, USA Cycling to investigate alleged deliberate take down" (Cycling News)

"Cyclists call for 250-metre track" (NationNews, Barbados)

"Cycling: Shepley cyclist Leon Gledhill wins gold in London Schools Games" (Huddersfield Examiner)

Bike locks cut at Cambridge station
Cambridge's train station has been crying out for new bike park facilities for years - the sheer number of bikes used daily in the city means that very often all the spaces are filled with riders having to search out lamp-posts on nearby streets, blocking paths and creating friction with pedestrians - so the news that things would be improved with the multi-million pound CB1 redevelopment of the area was very welcome indeed. Therefore, the recent installation of new bike racks - including two-tier models, which vastly increase capacity - was not before time.  However, the installation of the new racks, which was carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council on behalf of rail operator Greater Anglia, has been called into question by several cyclists who returned to where their bikes had been left and discovered that their locks had been cut and their machines placed into storage. Among them was Cambridge's Liberal Democrat MP, keen cyclist Dr. Julian Huppert.

"My bike was left in the section of racks to be removed, although of course I had no idea of this, as there were no signs facing the direction of the bike racks," Dr. Huppert told the Cambridge News. "I came back to see the new racks being put together. I then went to get my bike – and realised that where I’d left it was no longer a bike rack. I did get my bike back, but had to buy a new lock."

"Advance publicity was provided at the station to warn rail passengers of the installation of the new racks and we also consulted with local stakeholders to inform them of the work," a spokesperson for Greater Anglia said - anyone who has ever had to use the city's currently woefully inadequate station (CB1 includes its biggest revamp since 1845) during peak times will be well aware that it becomes so crowded that any sort of publicity could easily be missed. "Any customer who has encountered any problems regarding this matter should contact the station manager at Cambridge, who will be happy to help."

Dr. Huppert: "I am very pleased that the new bike racks are being installed – we desperately need the extra capacity, and I have been working to push this scheme ahead for some time – however, it is a great shame that because not enough signs were put up, people did not realise what would happen, and so needlessly locks had to be cut."

Were you affected and had to buy a new lock? You can contact Greater Anglia via this webpage - make sure you request that they phone you (rather than you phoning National Rail Enquries' rip-off... er... revenue-sharing 0845 customer services number) - and you might just be able to get them to buy you a replacement.

Glos. Police appeal for help in cyclist assault case
Gloucestershire Police are trying to trace a woman who reported on the 28th of January that she had been assaulted by a cyclist who was holding traffic, but didn't leave a name. Seems straightforward so far, doesn't it? The investigation started to get strange when they discovered footage on Youtube, which they believe shows the incident - and reveals that in actual fact, the woman appears to have first assaulted the cyclist, chasing him and trying to push him off his bike and then kicking him after he retaliates.

The incident is thought to have occurred at 12.25pm on the B4425 at Ampney Coln near Bibury. If you recognise the woman or believe you know who may have filmed the incident, Gloucestershire police would like to hear from you - you can contact them by dialing 101 or speak to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Newswire - what you might have missed
"Your Pictures - Cycling" (BBC)

"Staff and pupils at Crombie, Elrick and Westhill primary schools are celebrating after receiving a national award in recognition of their commitment to cycling" (Donside Piper)

"Local cyclist’s death prompts call for release of provincial cycling strategy" (The Record, Canada)

"Bike thefts feed a vicious cycle" (The Gazette, Canada)

"Aichi school's 'cyclist's license' keeping kids safe" (Japan Times)

Hannah Walker ‏ @spannawalkerVery nearly just got wiped out by some tw*t driver. When I got to her at the lights, her excuse was because I dont pay roadtax! #ButIDoIdiot
Not Pat McQuaid ‏ @UCI_OverlordFINALLY. @markcavendish begins the backwards trek to the pastry wagon. I thought we were going to see MountainCav hang with the peloton.
Josh Owen Morris ‏ @JoshOwenMorrisSrsly, Geox's marketing types need a proper slap. Canning so many people's jobs then waltzing back in with another lover a year later?
Marianne Vos ‏ @marianne_vosHow to end up offroad in a road training, part 3874... Note to self: don't take roads not on the map. Note to self 2: watch out for goats;-)

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