Sunday 6 May 2012

Cycling Evening News 06.05.12

Giro d'Italia (video) - Two Days of Bedford - Tour of the Gila - The 100mph bike designed in the bath and made from genius - Nibali to leave Liquigas - US start for future Giro? - Other News (links) - Cycling

Giro d'Italia Stage 2
Sunday brought the first road race stage, a 206km loop from Bjarne Riis' hometowen Herning up to the Limfjorden (an enormous, brackish fjord that cuts off the north of the country rom the south, effectlively turning it into an island) north of Holsterbro, then south along the western coastline including a ride along the 13.2km Bøvling Klit isthmus separating Nissumfjord from the North Sea. Having travelled as far as Ringkobingfjord, they headed inland again for a straight 50km run back to Herning. This being Denmark, the parcours was flat all the way - a situation that looked likely to encourage the likes of Mark Cavendish (Sky), Theo Bos (Rabobank) and the other sprint specialists to show what they're capable of doing at the long, straight final section to the finish line.

The first half of the race was ruled by a three-man break consisting of Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol), Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia.) and Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), who managed to push their lead up to thirteen minutes for a while and had the race have been a few days further in, they might have been allowed to get away with it. However, with the teams seeking to assert their authority at this stage of the proceedings, they were all caught with 40km to go. Taylor Phinney, who gained the pink jersey yesterday with his individual time trial win, had a lot of work to do today to hang onto it - and he'll be more surprised than most that he still gets to wear it tomorrow after his chain came off with 8km to go leaving him with around half a minute to make up if he was to remain in contention. That he did so is testament to just how fast he is, and just how useful Danilo Wyss, who dropped back to assist him, can be.

We all knew that, barring disaster, this stage was going to end in a sprint and so the teams had already got their sprinters into position before the final corner with around 150m left. That proved fortunate because at that point Bos touched the wheel of the rider in front of him and then collided with Alexander Kristoff, who hit the barriers and finished with a bleeding face. Of course, the accident had no influence on the eventual outcome because the end of this stage might as well have been made for the Manxman, and he was the first of a bunch of sixteen over the line. Orica-GreenEDGE's Matt Goss followed him while Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ-Bigmat) hung on or dear life and an unexpected third. Cav's Sky team mate Geraint Thomas took tenth.

Cav - could it have been any different?
Top Ten
  1.  Mark Cavendish Sky 4h53'12"
  2.  Matthew Goss Orica-Green Edge ST
  3.  Geoffrey Soupe FDJ-BigMat ST
  4.  Tyler Farrar Garmin-Barracuda ST
  5.  Roberto Ferrari Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela ST
  6.  Mark Renshaw Rabobank ST
  7.  Thor Hushovd BMC ST
  8.  Daniele Bennati RadioShack-Nissan ST
  9.  William Bonnet FDJ-BigMat ST
  10.  Geraint Thomas Sky ST
(Full results and GC when available)

On Monday, Stage 3 (map, profile) is the last in Denmark before a "rest day," actually spent traveling down to Italy for the remainder of the race. 190km in length, starting and ending in Horsens on the east of the country, it's another flat parcours liable to finish once again with a sprint. The riders will pass through Horsens three times along the way.

As far as the weather goes on Monday, the factor that will most cheer the riders is a notable drop in windspeed between morning and afternoon - from 22kph down to around 10kph, which is insufficient to give any problems. It's enough to take the edge off the temperature early in the day - with 4C in sheltered spots near the start feeling more like 2C. When it drops, the maximum 11C will be unaffected. There's a 30% chance of rain, but if it comes it'll be in fast-moving showers that will end almost as soon as they begin.

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

Two Days of Bedford
Giro got you in the mood for some hardcore bike action? Craving the sweet scent of chain oil and the thrill of lycra flashing past your face at 45kph? Can't quite stretch to filling up the tanks on the Gulfstream IV for a jolly over to Denmark? Well then - if you live anywhere in the British South-East or southern part of the Midlands, you might be interested to know about the Two Days of Bedford.

The long-running event consists of four stages over two days (6th and 7th of May) with a 7.4km team time trial followed by an 80km road race on the Sunday, then a 6.4km individual time trial and an 85km race made up of nine laps of the Milbrook Vehicle Testing Facility - and believe me, you will not get more excitement for what it'll cost you to get to this race anywhere in the country (and you won't even have to change your pounds for krone). (More information here)

Sarah Storey crashed with 2km to go, landing in a patch of nettles which she said prevented her from losing skin. On Twitter after the race, she blamed the crash on the rider in front of her after turning "left+right on herself to avoid a tiny hole in the tarmac," then thanked well-wishers:
Sarah Storey ‏ @MrsSarahStorey
Thanks for the messages peeps,I'm fine just shocked at amount of unnecessary swerving+hard braking going on by a v small minority of riders.
Nikola Butler also crashed:
Nikola Butler ‏ @nik_tweet
one minute I was trying to sprint up the hill and the next minute I was on my face. Someone rode into my back wheel :-( sore 
Nikola Butler ‏ @nik_tweet
no idea whose fault it was. Just one of those bunch sprint things maybe
Stage 1 (Team Time Trial)
  1.  Node 4-Giordana 10'08"
  2.  For Viored +1"
  3.  Scott Contessa Epic +8"
  4.  Matrix Fitness-Prendas +14"
  5.  Abergavenny RC +30"

Stage 2 Top Ten
  1.  Amy Roberts Scott Contessa Epic  2h09'30"
  2.  Ciara Horne Node 4-Giordana ST
  3.  Lucy Garner Node 4-Giordana +15"
  4.  Sarah Reynolds Matrix Fitness-Prendas ST
  5.  Corrinne Hall Node 4-Giordana ST
  6.  Emily Kay Scott Contessa Epic ST
  7.  Laura Massey Vivelo Bikes ST
  8.  Lauren Creamer Abergavenny RC ST
  9.  Tamina Oliver Abergavenny RC ST
  10.  Harriet Owen Node 4-Giordana ST

Tour of the Gila
Stage 4 was an urban criterium race around a 1.74km square Silver City parcours with three bonus sprints and course hazards that include, according to the race bible, "rough pavement and errant pedestrians." The Pro Women completed 25 laps to make a total of 43.5km, the Pro Men 40 laps for 69.5km - precisely the sort of race in which a rider such as Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty12), who at 38 specialises in the sort of endurance athleticism necessary on long stages (and which has seen her win the three stages prior to this one) might lose time to the younger women.

Loren Rowney
That turned out to be the case, though far less so than expected: while Armstrong came ninth, she was only 4" behind winner Loren Rowney (FCS Rouse presented by Mr. Restore, loaned by Specialized-Lululemon) and thus sees her General Classification lead only drop to 4'46" (from 5'01" after Stage 3) once bonification times have been taken into account. She was at the front for the first half of the race but, perhaps realising that she stood little chance of winning, chose to work for her team by chasing down attacks - not an entirely selfless decision, as it also enabled her to save some juice for the final Gila Monster stage. FCS Rouse guessed what she was up to,  simply waited until the final part of the race when they knew she'd be tired and made sure they had a rider ready to respond each and every time it looked like someone might make a break for the line. The plan was to tag along with an Exergy or Now and Novartis sprint train and see what they could do, but when Rowney found herself six riders back at the final corner she thought her chance was lost. Then, in a turn of good luck, the seven leaders took a fraction of a second longer than she'd expected to launch, allowing her to the velocity she'd carried through the bend to power into the lead and hold them off to the line.

Top Ten
  1.  Loren Rowney FCS Rouse p/b Mr. Restore 1h04'45"
  2.  Carmen Small Optum p/b Kelly Benefit ST
  3.  Christina Gokey-Smith Now & Novartis for MS ST
  4.  Alison Powers Now & Novartis for MS ST
  5.  Joanie Caron Colavita-ESPNW ST
  6.  Olivia Dillon Now & Novartis for MS ST
  7.  Jade Wilcoxson Optum p/b Kelly Benefit ST
  8.  Emma Grant Optum p/b Kelly Benefit ST
  9.  Kristin Armstrong Exergy Twenty12 +04"
  10.  Janel Holcomb Optum p/b Kelly Benefit ST
(Full results and GC)

Alejandro Borrajo
Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Colombia-Comcel) pleased his team's sponsors and the spectators alike with a superb solo break, attacking the peloton and getting away only a few minutes from the start and then riding alone with an advantage hovering about the minute mark until Bissel decided enough was enough and got their hooks into him with twelve laps to go - he finished 65th in the end, but he's the man the fans will have been talking about on the way home. As the race neared its conclusion, Jamis-Sutter Home took the opportunity to show us all how a lead-out train ought to be conducted with all their men at the front of the pack protecting their top sprinters, brothers Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo, and getting them into perfect position - Alejandro proved fastest of a bunch of 21 while Anibal was right behind him for second place. Afterwards, Anibal dedicated the victory to an older brother who died a few days ago. Rory Sutherland took eleventh place and retains his GC lead, his overall advantage now up to 33" from 26".

Top Ten
  1.  Alejandro Alberto Borrajo Jamis/Sutter Home 1h33'40"
  2.  Anibal Andres Borrajo Jamis/Sutter Home ST
  3.  Luca Damiani Kenda/5-Hour Energy ST
  4.  Eric Young Bissel ST
  5.  Francisco Mancebo Competitive Cyclist ST
  6.  Weimar Roldan GW-Shimano ST
  7.  Avila Vanegas Edwin ST
  8.  Chad Beyer Competitive Cyclist ST
  9.  Gavin Mannion Bontrager Livestrong ST
  10.  Shawn Milne Kenda/5-Hour Energy ST
(Full results and GC)

Sunday brings the climax of the race, and what a climax it is - the 170.1km Gila Monster (map and profile) is almost certainly the toughest stage in North American professional cycling with two Category 4 climbs (16.1km, 2,070m; 166km, same), two Cat 2s (Anderson Vista, 83km, 2,284m; Wild Horse Mesa/Meadow Creek, 89km, 2,278m) and a Cat 1(Anderson Vista climbed from the opposite direction, 120km).

The 100mph bike - designed in the bath and made from genius
The remarkable Graeme Obree
Anyone who knows the story of Graeme Obree's Hour Record will know that the bike upon which he broke it, Old Faithful, used washing machine bearings. Anybody who knows a little more will know that the Scotsman later regretted telling anyone that, because it was all the newspapers cared about.

Obree is now planning to set a new record by becoming the first man to travel on a bicycle - on road and without pacing - at 100mph (161kph) aboard a new bike which, in characteristic Obreean style, he dreamed up while lying in the bath and later sketched out on bits of wallpaper. Once again, the ever-resourceful Obree has used items found about the house: this time, the rests that will support his shoulders as he lays prone on the carbon fibre-skinned machine have been made from an old saucepan. Hence Sunday's Telegraph headline: "The 100mph bike – designed in the bath and made from an old saucepan."

Hopefully, this time around, more people will look beyond that one single fact and remember that Obree is a remarkable engineer who builds his bikes from a wide range of remarkable materials, not only old washing machines and pots and pans; the most important being ingenuity and genius.

Nibali to leave Liquigas
Tuttobiciweb reports that Vincenzo Nibali has chosen not to sign an extended contract with Liquigas-Cannondale - said to be worth 1.8 million euros per year. According to rumour the 27-year-old, who already has one Grand Tour under his belt after winning the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, is being courted by BMC and Astana, both of which are said to be offering him 2.5 million euros per year.

"We made an offer, we gave him time to think it over, he has not responded. For us, the matter is closed," says Liquigas directeur sportif Paolo Dal Lago.

Giro may start in USA - one day
Organisers of the Tour de France looked seriously into the possibility of taking the race to the USA in the past but concluded that, at the time, the expense of doing so was simply too great. Nevertheless, it's an idea that has remained on a back-burner ever since. After all, American companies have been pouring sums of money into the sport that make the majority of European contributions look relatively puny, and American and Canadian riders are a fixture in the Grand Tour pelotons - in fact, it sometimes looks as though the old prediction that the USA would turn out to be the future home of cycling might eventually prove true.

Michele Acquarone
Now Giro d'Italia director Michele Acquarone has turned up the heat, because he wants his race to be the first Grand Tour to cross the Atlantic.

"To do this would be very expensive - at the present time, with the world's economy in the state it is, it's simply not an option," he admitted to Sportwereld. "But cycling is now global, increasingly so, and the Giro should be a driving force in that evolution. When we're through the financial crisis and cycling has dealt with its problems, this dream should be achievable. Imagine: we start in the US, have a few stages on Amercian soil, then the riders fly buiness class overnight to Italy... I really think this is possible."

Other News and Features
"Stephen Roche: Triple Crown 25 years on" (

"Irish Para-cycling world champion Colin Lynch reveals dazzling new gold prosthetic" (Inside World Parasport)

"Top collegiate cyclists make their move in Ogden" (Standard-Examiner, Utah)

"Rwanda: Soras Boost Ascension De Mille Collines Cycling Tour" (AllAfrica)

"Cyclist knocked down on Gosport to Fareham bus route praises driver for saving his life" (The News, Portsmouth)

"Cycling in Leicester is just too dangerous" (This Is Leicestershire)

"Cyclists gear up for cross-Canada trek" (Times Colonist)

"A blessing for those who brave city streets on two wheels" (New York Times)

"Kids join the cycling fun at bike rodeo" (Silver City Sun-News)

"Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to Honor Three Women for Cycling Volunteerism" (NoozHawk)

"It's wedding bells and bikes for this couple" (AsiaOne)

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