Nairo Quintana wins epic stage of the Giro d’Italia, takes the overall lead

One day after saying that he believed his form was on the up and that it was still possible to fight for a podium place or even the overall victory in the Giro d’Italia, Nairo Quintana proved the accuracy of that assessment when he stormed into the race lead.

Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 16

The Colombian rider was one of several who went clear on the descent of the Stelvio, opening a gap at a time when some later claimed a go slow had been agreed due to dangerous conditions.

A twitter message from the Giro d’Italia itself said that the descent had been neutralised, although the same account later apologised for what it said was inaccurate information.

Quintana, 2012 race winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) were amongst the group that pushed ahead and this trio then reeled in lone leader Dario Cataldo (Sky) on the day’s final climb, the Val Martello.

Quintana did a lot of the work, dropping Rolland, and after briefly taking pulls with the Canadian on the flatter sections, pushed on alone towards the summit. He crossed the line eight seconds clear of Hesjedal and 1:13 up on Rolland; Wilco Kelderman (Belkin), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Fabio Aru (Astana) were first home from the group of main contenders, with this trio seconds apart and all three and a half minutes down.

White jersey Rafal Majka (Tinkoff Saxo) and race leader Rigoberto Uran (Movistar) were both just over four minutes back, with the latter slipping out of the race lead by 1:41.

It was also a very significant stage for Evans, who is now third, 3:21 seconds back and is less than ten seconds ahead of Rolland and Majka. He had hoped for much more but had to dig deep on the final climb to limit his losses.

The 139 kilometre stage was already certain to be one of the toughest of the race due to the saw-toothed parcours, with the day’s climbs including the legendary Passo Gavia, which reached 2,618 metres, the Passo dello Stelvio, which at 2,758 metres was the highest point of this year’s Giro, and the 2,059-metre Val Martello Martelltal.

The latter was set to conclude the stage but there were debates about whether or not the scheduled route would be covered due to very difficult weather conditions. It ultimately went ahead and Colombia’s Robinson Chalapud led over the top of the Gavia. He and the other riders out front were hauled back on the descent, then a larger group raced clear.

There are several tough stages ahead but, for now at least, Quintana appears to be in the driving seat and moving closer to the first Grand Tour win of his career.

Stage 16: Ponte de Legno > Val Martello/Martelltal - Stage Result

Tuesday 27th May 2014

1. co
QUINTANA Nairo
Movistar Team
04:42:35
2. ca
HESJEDAL Ryder
Garmin Sharp
0:08
3. fr
ROLLAND Pierre
Team Europcar
1:13

Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips.

Confusion reigns at the Giro over neutralised descent

Confusion over whether or not the descent off the Passo dello Stelvio was neutralised in last night’s stage of the Giro has caused consternation among some riders and team directors, with different messages reaching different teams.

Some riders (including Cadel Evans) stopped for warmer gear at the top of the Stelvio while others  continued on.

Some riders (including Cadel Evans) stopped for warmer gear at the top of the Stelvio while others continued on.

A message over race radio suggested motorcycles with red flags would guide riders down the mountain to indicate any dangers, combined with a tweet from the official Giro d’Italia Twitter account (“Stelvio descent neutralized due to snow”) led some to believe the descent had been neutralised.

Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman was just one rider who was upset about the confusion.

While climbing the Stelvio, I warmed up. At the top, I took my time to put on a raincoat as the jury had announced that the downhill would be neutralised. When I made my way back to the main group, however, Quintana, Hesjedal and Rolland were gone. Looking back on that, it’s a bit unfair because I wouldn’t have stopped if I hadn’t heard about the neutralisation. Rolland is now ahead of me in the overall. Normally, I think I could have followed him.

Meanwhile Omega Pharma-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevre spoke of Rigoberto Uran’s loss of the maglia rosa when he told Sporza:

“We lose the Giro by an error of the organization,” adding, “At one time it was the radio exchange and on Twitter reported that the descent of the Stelvio would be neutralised. Why did so many riders stop at the top? To put on warmer clothes… We would never have let Quintana ride if the descent wasn’t neutralised.”

Click here to read many more reactions in a piece at CyclingTips.

Brian Holm charged with sex offence

Omega Pharma-QuickStep director sportif Brian Holm has admitted to being charged with having sex with a child aged under 12. Several media outlets in Denmark reported the news yesterday and Holm decided to come forward to confirm the charges.

2011 - Tour de France 15e etappe

The age of consent in Denmark is 15 years and anyone convicted of having sex with someone below that age is liable for up to eight years jail. The 51-year-old was reportedly emotional during his press conference, saying:

“It’s a shitty situation, but I feel better already now by talking about it,” Holm said, adding that his family had already been affected. “My daughter came home yesterday from school and said that the children had said that her father was a criminal.”

Holm would not comment whether the allegations were true or not.

Click here to read more at Ekstra Bladet.

Campagnolo announces new mechanical groupsets

Campagnolo has revealed the latest iteration of its Super Record, Record and Chorus mechanical groupsets, emphasising in the marketing literature that the company believes mechanical shifting is far from obsolete.

Image: Campagnolo

Image: Campagnolo

The 2015 model groupsets come after the announcement in March of a Super Record RS groupset and some of the technology in the new groupset is derived from the RS setup.

The new front derailleur has a longer arm to increase leverage and, reportedly, reduce the amount of lever extension require to shift gears. The updated rear derailleur reportedly sits closer to the sprockets making for smoother shifts. And the new chainset sees Campagnolo switch to a four-arm design (much like Shimano’s Dura Ace and Ultegra setups).

Click here to read more at Road Cycling UK.

Behind the scenes of SBS’s Giro d’Italia coverage

Here’s a great behind-the-scenes look at SBS TV’s coverage of the Giro d’Italia put together by Todd “Norbs” Norbury for his Non Pro Cycling blog. Well worth a look with some descriptions of what goes on in the flurry of activity at the start of the show, plus some great photos.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Cycling Central music fired up and the intro package was on. I was excited. The intro finished, Mike is on TV and things started happening too fast for me to take in. The director was calling numbers that I assumed corresponded to cameras. The lady doing the switching was doing it all easy. I was freaking out.

All this stuff just happens when you watch TV. But there are people behind it all. I know that sounds like the bleeding obvious, but it really hits you when you see it all happening. It is so frantic, and I was so worried I might distract them, I edged out of the room slowly, so as not to draw attention.

Click here to get through to the article.

Danny MacAskill’s Epecuén

Back in 1985 the seaside town of Epecuén in Argentina was completely submerged. Its residents left but after 25 years underwater the city has now re-emerged and in this video we see Danny MacAskill light up Epecuén on his trials bike while exploring the streets of the forgotten town.

MacAskill

It’s an amazingly beautiful video with some typically stunning riding from MacAskill.

Click here to check out the video in full at the RedBull website.

Skylock: a next-gen bike lock

Here’s a new piece of technology which allows you to securely lock your bike and unlock it using a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. The lock also features crash detection, and will alert you if someone’s trying to steal your bike. Check it out.

Michael Creed’s reaction to the SmartStop one-two at the US men’s national road race championships

Yesterday the small US domestic team SmartStop Pro Cycling put in a stunning performance to finish first and second in the men’s road race at the US national road cycling championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Here’s a stirring video taken from inside the SmartStop team car, showing director sportif Michael Creed reacting to the news of the one-two.

A tilt-shift time lapse of the Audax Alpine Classic

This is a stunning tilt-shifted time-lapse video of the Audax Alpine Classic in the Victorian Alps earlier this year, put together by Nathan Kaso. Well worth your time.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips:


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