Stefano Pirazzi wins Giro stage 17 after well-timed attack

Italian rider Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani CSF) has notched up his team’s third stage victory in this year’s Giro d’Italia, launching his move just before the final kilometre and benefiting from the indecision of his breakaway companions.

Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 17

The 2013 Giro King of the Mountains showed strong instinct with a jump at the perfect time, and hit the line in Vittorio Veneto ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo), Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale). It was Pirazzi’s first win as a professional.

“It had become a five-year obsession. I always knew a win would come, and I was sick of the criticism: ‘Pirazzi gets it wrong, Pirazzi’s attack comes to nothing’,” he said. “Everyone has his way of riding. I’ve always tried to put on a show. I turned pro very young and I had to learn the ropes.”

The day’s big move comprised 20 riders and went clear early on, opening a lead of over 12 minutes with 60 kilometres remaining, ensuring that it would stay clear. De Gendt attacked on the day’s final climb and opened a gap but he was later joined by Pirazzi, McCarthy, Wellens and Montaguti and these five opened up what would be a decisive gap on their former breakaway companions.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished in the main field, more than 15 minutes behind the leaders, but he still holds a 1:41 advantage over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and 3:20 on Cadel Evans (BMC) plus Pierre Rolland (Europcar).

Click here to read a full stage report at CyclingTips.

Heinrich Haussler wins stage 1 of Bayern Rundfahrt

It had been more than a year since Heinrich Haussler (IAM) last won a race, but the Australian-born rider is back on the winners’ list after claiming stage 1 of the Bayern Rundfahrt. Haussler edged out Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Australia’s Steele von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) in the opening day of Germany’s biggest stage race.


The day’s main escape formed when three riders got away after 15km of racing and while they got as much as 6:10 ahead of the peloton, the teams of the sprinters started to chase, reducing the deficit.

It took until 2km to go for the last of the escapees to be rounded up but when they were it was just in time for the sprinters to get organised for the final kick.

The battle for the general classification starts tomorrow with the race’s first ever summit finish.

Stage 1: Vilshofen > Freilassing - Stage Result

Wednesday 28th May 2014

1. au
HAUSSLER Heinrich
IAM Cycling
05:11:38
2. by
HUTAROVICH Yauheni
AG2R La Mondiale
-
3. au
VON HOFF Steele
Garmin Sharp
-

Click here to read more at Cycling Quotes.

Tom Boonen takes stage 1 of the Belgium Tour

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has outsprinted his more fancied rivals, including Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), to win the opening stage of the Belgium Tour.

Baloise Belgium Tour cycling race stage 1

Boonen benefited from a solid lead-out from his teammate Gert Steegmans who delivered Boonen perfectly to the front, allowing the Classics specialist to jump away and take his fourth win of the year.

The flat opening stage was off to a very fast start with several attacks going early, but it wasn’t until 24km that three riders were able to get away. While the breakaway got nearly six minutes clear after 55km of racing, the peloton always had them in control and as the business end of the race approached, the peloton started tugging on the string.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was one of several riders to launch a late attack but he was soon caught by the surging peloton ahead of the bunch kick.

Tomorrow’s second stage of the five-stage race is also likely to end in a bunch sprint.

Stage 1: Lochristi > Buggenhout - Stage Result

Wednesday 28th May 2014

1. be
BOONEN Tom
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
03:51:43
2. de
GREIPEL André
Lotto Belisol
-
3. nl
BOS Theo
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
-

Click here to read more at Cycling Quotes.

Acquarone: Giro controversy is a mess and should have been rectified right away

Former Giro d’Italia chief Michele Acquarone has spoken about the controversy of Tuesday’s 16th stage of the race, saying that he believes clearer decisions should have been made at the time and that it is very difficult to correct the situation at this point in time.

MicheleAquaroneGiro

The stage to Val Martello was marked by drama due to the attack by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and others on the descent of the Stelvio. The trio later pushed on from their group and Quintana took the stage plus the Maglia Rosa.

Acquarone told CyclingTips on Wednesday that organisers and commissaires need to be clear in their decisions and then implement what has been stated. “What happened on the stage is quite crazy. If you say every group has to stay behind a red flag, you have to stay there. You cannot move,” he said. “If you move, you are disqualified or something. You have to be clear in the moment.”

“For sure it was not clear, and when rules are not clear of course it is a big mess. Now we have a new pink jersey. Probably Quintana would be in the same position, in the pink jersey, because he was really good on the last climb. But it is a very important race and it cannot be [decided] like that.”

During last year’s race similarly severe conditions led the organisers to cancel the 19th stage, which was due to go over the Stelvio. Acquarone said that this decision was taken after discussions with various parties.

“Last year what we did was quite easy – we were talking a lot with the teams and with their management, as well as Lucc Eisenga of AIGCP [the teams’ association]. It was one person representing the organisation, one person from the teams, one person from the riders. If three of them agree that we can ride, we ride. If the three of us don’t agree that we can ride, we don’t ride.”

Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips.

Calls ignored for Giro stage 16 descent time differences to be deducted

Before yesterday’s stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, the team managers in the race gathered to discuss what action (if any) should be taken with regards to the confusion of stage 16.


Despite not speaking to the waiting media after their impromptu meeting, the team managers later released a statement through AIGCP (the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams) saying: “on behalf of ALL teams, the AIGCP has specifically demanded a neutralisation of the time differences at the bottom of the descent of the Stelvio of yesterday’s stage.”

While RCS Sport (organisers of the Giro) and the UCI did not release official statements on the matter, the AIGCP’s request was denied and the overall standings remained unchanged.

Click here to read the full AIGCP statement.

Chris Froome calls for more doping tests in Tenerife

Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) has called for anti-doping agencies to increase the number of out-of-competition tests riders go through after he and several others weren’t tested during a recent training camp on the island of Tenerife.

Tour de France 2013 stage-15

Froome recently spent nearly two weeks at Tenerife and initially voiced his disappointment about the lack of testing, via Twitter:


The other TdF contenders on the island at the time were Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo).

“Alberto, Vincenzo, we’re all up here with our respective teams and at the end of the day we’re the ones that have to stand in front of the television cameras in July and justify performances”, Froome told Cycling News. “All three of us are GC contenders and the probability is that whoever is in the yellow jersey in July is going to have to answer questions and if we’re not getting tested that doesn’t look good on any of us.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Sergio Henao could return by the Tour de France

After a six-week investigation into anomalous doping test results in Colombia, Sergio Henao (Sky) has returned to Europe.

Henao was taken off the team’s racing programme after the team expressed concern over doping results. The team subsequently alerted the UCI after which Henao returned to Colombia to take part in a research study to determine whether the results were due to the fact Henao lives at high altitude.

Henao will now undergo further testing in Nice, France.

A Team Sky statement read: “Within the next two weeks, the independent experts will conclude their analysis and produce a final report. The team will then determine the right steps to take. Team Sky will also make all data and findings from the research programme available to WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency], the UCI and CADF [Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation].

“No decisions will be taken until the scientific research is completed and has been properly assessed. A full update will be given at that time.”

With the Tour de France still more than five weeks away it’s possible that Henao will be back racing and ready to help Chris Froome defend his title.

Click here to read more at Sky Sports.

Lucas Euser provides details of Taylor Phinney’s crash

Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) was descending with Taylor Phinney (BMC) during the US nationals road race when the latter crashed, badly breaking his leg in the process. Euser has now confirmed that an official on a motorbike was to blame for the accident.

“The last thing I remember seeing was the moto swerving back left-to-right, and then Taylor having to go inside on the corner, and then crashing,” Euser said. “I recognised there was no way I could get through the corner with everything that was going on. I had to scrub as much speed as I could and then try to minimize my damage.”

Euser crashed into a wall on the opposite side of the road, severely damaging his bike but escaping with limited injuries of his own. Phinney wasn’t so lucky.

“I was just trying to get him to not move, trying to get the spectators to slow the other riders down, trying to get somebody to radio for a medic to get them there as soon as possible, and trying to get some cars to pull over, all while trying to make him lay still, because he kept trying to get out from underneath the barrier,” Euser recalled.

“At first [Phinney] was in a pretty bad place, and then I think the shock starts to settle in,” Euser said. “I know the feeling where you don’t even know where you are, and at that point you are so vulnerable you have to just trust the people around you. I think we all know that, and we all know how scary that situation is. There was a moment, I remember reaching out and grabbing his hand, and him saying ‘Thank you.’ Probably the most sincere thank you I’ve heard in a long time.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Oleg Tinkov, stirring up more trouble

Here’s a funny tweet from Team Sky mechanic Gary Blem that caught our eye:


Tinkov has reportedly been riding most of the stages of the Giro, before the riders come through, and according to the Tinkoff-Saxo Facebook page, he’s getting into “a frightening strong shape”.

Meanwhile in Japan …

While some of us are slaving away back here in Melbourne, CyclingTips founder and publisher Wade Wallace is currently over in Japan riding his bike with a handful of mates for a Roadtripping piece. Wade tells us he’s actually working over there as well but judging by some of the photos coming through on Instagram we’re not so sure.

Cover the Tour de France for CyclingTips

During this year’s Tour de France we’re providing two lucky people with the ultimate job — the chance to cover Le Tour for CyclingTips. We’ve had some great entries so far — and we’ll be sharing some of them with you a little later on — but this is just a reminder that entries close at 11.59pm (AEST) tomorrow night (Friday). Don’t miss out!

Click here for everything you need to know.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and was taken during stage 17 of the Giro.