Sky dominant in Giro stage 2 TTT

Team Sky executed a virtually perfect team time trial on the second day of the Giro d’Italia overnight, completing the 17.4km course on the island of Ischia in 22:05, nine seconds ahead of the Movistar team and 14 seconds ahead of Astana.

Blanco Cycling had set the pace earlier in the stage with a time of 22:33. Katusha, Lampre-Merida and Movistar all then mounted serious challenges posting competitive intermediate split times, but all struggled to sustain their efforts in the latter half of the course.

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Sky’s victory gives the British squad the first five positions on the general classification, with Salvatore Puccio wearing the maglia rosa, Bradley Wiggins in second and Sergio Henao in third.

Tonight’s third stage takes the riders 222km from Sorrento to Marina di Ascea with a 2nd and 3rd category climb along the way.

Click here to see the full results from stage 2 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Cavendish wins stage 1 of the Giro

Mark Cavendish (Omega-Pharma QuickStep) has opened his 2013 Giro d’Italia campaign in style with a sprint victory on stage 1 ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ).

A crash with roughly 3km to go split the field and only a dozen or so riders were in a position to contest the final sprint. The lead-out trains of Cannondale (for Viviani) and Orica-GreenEDGE (for Goss) looked to be in a good position and Cavendish was stuck in fifth wheel with about 250m to go. But on the final straight, the Manx rider leapt out of the paceline and powered up the right-hand side of the road to take a narrow victory.

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It’s the 11th time Cavendish has won a stage at the Giro d’Italia and while he appears to be in terrific form, he’ll get limited opportunities for sprint victories in this year’s race. There are arguably only three stages that suit pure sprinters like Cavendish, which much of the race’s route being particularly hilly.

A breakaway formed on stage 1 as soon as the race began with seven riders moving clear of the main field. Tasmanian rider Cameron Wurf (Cannnondale) put in one of the best rides of the day, taking his place in the breakaway before launching solo. Wurf enjoyed a lead of 2 minutes at one point but was eventually reeled in with 19km to go, having spent more than 110km off the front.

Cavendish’ win put him in the maglia rosa heading into last night’s second stage team time trial.

Click here to see the full results from stage 1 of the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Corset wins the women’s Battle on the Border

Ruth Corset (Pensar SPM Racing) has taken out the 2013 women’s Battle on the Border after taking the leader’s jersey on stage 2 with a fourth-place effort in the individual time trial.

With the stage 3 criterium cancelled due to a crash, Corset only needed to defend her lead in the final stage, a 77km road race starting and finishing at Salt Village.

Corset finished third on that final stage behind Chloe McConville (VIS) and Rebecca Wiasak (Suzuki Bontrager) but with the same finishing time held on to win the overall title by 13 seconds. Miranda Griffiths (Holden Women’s Cycling) was second overall with Wiasak in third, a further 18 seconds back.

Corset now leads the women’s NRS aggregate with 25 points after two races with teammate Katrin Garfoot on 24 points and Miranda Griffiths in third on 17 points.

The next race on the women’s NRS calendar will be the Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour from May 24-26.

Click here to see the final results from the 2013 women’s Battle on the Border. Click here to learn more about the Subaru National Road Series.

Haig wins the men’s Battle on the Border

Jack Haig (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) has won the 2013 men’s Battle on the Border, holding on to the lead he claimed in the opening stage of the five-stage race.

Haig finished strongest up the demanding final climb in the picturesque rainforest surrounds of Mount Warning on the opening stage. Strong results in the remaining three stages (stage 4 was cancelled due to fading light after a crash in the women’s race) ensured Haig took out the win, 39 seconds ahead of his teammate Jai Crawford and 45 seconds ahead of Adam Semple (Satalyst Giant).

The final stage was won in a bunch sprint yesterday by Scott Law (GPM Data#3) with Drapac riders Bernie Sulzberger and Robbie Hucker second and third respectively.

Haig’s win was enough to give him the overall lead in the Subaru National Road Series after two events. The next men’s NRS race will be the Tour of Toowoomba which begins this Thursday.

Click here to see the final results from the 2013 Men’s Battle on the Border. Click here to learn more about the Subaru National Road Series.

Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass: Giro stage 2 team time trial

Check out the latest Backstage Pass video from the folks at Orica-GreenEDGE. This episode is all about the team time trial at the Giro d’Italia, not least the logistical issues that need to be overcome to make it happen. Click here to see the video.

Matt White doping confession

Yesterday evening Cycling Central (SBS TV) aired an excerpt from an interview with Matt White in which the former US Postal rider (and Orica-GreenEDGE director sportif) opened up about his use of performance enhancing drugs. White is now free to return to work, having served a six-month ban.

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You can watch part one of the full interview below but in the meantime, here are some points that came out of last night’s teaser:

- Matt White had a phobia of needles but he got over that pretty quickly once he started using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)
- The first injection he gave himself was for vitamins
- He was using PEDs before he rode with US Postal
- He never spoke to Lance Armstrong about doping
- White stopped using PEDs in the final year of his career
- He is disappointed with the lack of action on the part of the UCI — seven months have passed since USADA’s reasoned decision and “nothing’s happened”
- He believes that until there’s an amnesty, nothing will change — “We need to recognise the past before we can move forward.”
- He suggests that the mistakes of his generation shouldn’t affect the riders of today.

Click here to see the interview at Cycling Central.

Drapac seeks to rejoin the ProContinental ranks

Michael Drapac has announced that his Drapac Professional Cycling team is aiming for ProContinental status in 2014.

In a press release, Drapac said: “The team has been working for 18 months on returning to a Professional Continental License. It’s just been a matter of picking the right time and that is now.”

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If Drapac is granted the second-division license, the squad will be looking to feature at the Tour Down Under and Tour of California, while continuing to feature heavily at Asian races.

Click here to read the Drapac Professional Cycling press release. Click here to read the story as broken by Rupert Guiness for Sydney Morning Herald.

Full story about the Kimmage defence fund

Last week we touched briefly on the confusion about the missing funds in the Paul Kimmage Defence Fund, and it certainly seemed like there was more that was going to emerge. Check out this long but interesting piece in VeloNation about the whole debacle.

Cavendish email to teammates leaked

It’s probably just as well that Mark Cavendish won stage 1 of the Giro because, if this leaked email is anything to go by, he was just about ready to pull the pin on Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

Ok, yep, the email isn’t actually really from Cav — it’s a tweaked version of a hilariously scathing email from a sorority sister a few years back — but you could almost believe Cav wrote it. Almost. This might be obvious but the piece does contain a whole lot of profanity. That said, have a read here.

Cadel on new BMC prototype?

by Jono Lovelock

Is Cadel Evans racing the Giro to win? Maybe BMC are giving him this last chance to prove he deserves to lead instead of Van Garderen. Or perhaps, they just wanted him to test out a new bike! We’d love to be a fly on the wall in the BMC team meetings, but for now, let’s just gawk at his new rig.

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Click here on BikeRadar to see and read more.

Cameron Wurf blogs about his Giro stage 1 breakaway

by Jono Lovelock

Tasmanian Cannondale rider Cameron Wurf was out getting some TV time on stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia, riding as part of the 100km+ breakaway. So what does it take, mentally and physically, to blast off the front of the peloton at the start of a three-week Grand Tour? Well, 130km at an average of 330 watts for starters. Not bad for a guy just going ‘tempo’. Read the post here.

No. 108 at the Giro officially retired

If you cast your eye down the list of riders in this year’s Giro, and particularly down the list of FDJ riders, you’ll notice that the race numbers go 106, 107 then 109. Why?

Two years ago, on stage 3 of the 2011 Giro, Wouter Weylandt, who was wearing number 108 at the time, crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco and lost his life. It was one of the saddest moments in world cycling in recent memory and as a tribute to the young Belgian, #108 has been retired from the Giro. Stirring stuff.

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