What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

It’s Giro time, It’s Tour Of California time – it’s just a great time to be a bike racing fan! We have all the latest news for you from this insane weekend of racing plus news on new signings, new wheels and much more! It’s EuroTrash Monday time!

INSANE NEW WHEELS: Mad Fiber Launching

Mad Fiber may be a new name, but the name behind Mad Fiber is anything
but… Ric Hjertberg founded Wheelsmith, WheelFanatyk and was the man
behind FSA’s new product development for the past several years. He’s
teamed up with Max Kismarton (rocket scientist) and Russ Riggins to
create something you’ll notice as new…

We’ll tell you that the closer you get to these hoops and hubs, the
more you’ll slobber…

The basic specs are pretty slick and the build is obviously a new
twist on a few other carbon spoke to rim patterns so far.

60 MM Front and 66 deep rear. 12 front sticks and 18 out back.

1085 grams for the set (Tubular), Shimano/Sram/Campy comp freehubs
(White Industries Titanium, so lighter and no notching from your cog
sets). 15mm Axle.

Best of all, Mad Fiber have passed a battery of testing including CEN,
DIN and others. These wheels will come with no Rider Weight
restrictions and the list of tests passed would indicate that this
isn’t just the latest in over hyped and under built carbon.

We’ve frankly seen enough of 5000 dollar wheels (especially ones that
failed along with the company, only to be re-hyped). These will be a
more sensible $2599.

Right now our Tech Editor is removing a kidney with a spoon for sale
on ebay in order to get the first set (no word on who’s kidney…).

Check here for info on how to get the second set….

Vino On Top But Cadel On His Tail
Let’s kick off our EuroTrash this Monday morning with a quick look at the top 10 on GC after 8 action packed stages:

Giro d’ Italia Overall After Stage 8
1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 29hrs 01′ 26″
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC +1′ 12″
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas +1′ 33″
4 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas +1′ 51″
5 Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia +2′ 17″
6 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Saxo Bank +2′ 26″
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha +2′ 34″
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone +2′ 47″
9 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre + 3m 08″
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni + 3m 09″

Can the man that divides people’s opinions, Vinokourov hang on to the pink jersey? Or can Cadel Evans put all his bad luck behind him and use his pure strength to power his way to his first GrandTour win? Or perhaps could the Liquigas duo of Basso and Nibali recover their lost time from the muddy crazy day of crashes that was Stage 7 and reclaim the pink? I think at this stage it’s still too early to call and with a torturous final week ahead I wouldn’t be writing off Damiano Cunego yet either if he has his climbing legs with him. Whatever the case it should be a great race! Keep it tuned to Pez as the guys on the ground in Italy bring you the ‘Pez Take’ of each stage and the best photos of all the action!

Brothers In Arms
More on the Giro now with the Aussie brothers of Cadel Evans and Matthew Lloyd having a great time in Italy on Friday and Saturday with both celebrating a stage win in heroic style. Ok, so they might not be ‘real’ brothers but Cadel used to refer to Lloyd as his ‘little brother’ when they were teammates at Lotto and the two are close friends. It was often Lloyd and only Lloyd who supported Cadel in some races in fact……so Cadel was very happy to see his little brother get his first professional European win at the Giro on Friday and was one of the first to congratulate him.

The two Aussies are now riding on two seperate teams of course and have vastly different goals at the Giro 2010 but no matter what happens from here until Verona the ‘brothers’ have already had a successful Giro.

Almost An Aussie Clean Sweep!
Speaking of two Aussies at the Giro it wouldn’t be right of me as an Aussie myself if I didn’t bring your attention to the Aussie domination at the event……

14 Aussies competing at the Giro this year (a record)
2 stage wins with Cadel Evans and Matty Lloyd
3 current jersey holders (Lloyd KOM jersey, Richie Porte – Best young riders jersey, Evans – points jersey)
2 riders in the top ten, Cadel Evans 2nd, Richie Porte 6th.
1 day in Pink with Cadel

Not a bad Giro for the Aussies so far huh?? There would have been one more jersey held by the Aussies too but unfortunately the Giro organizers no longer award the black jersey that they did a number of years ago. Never seen the black jersey?? Well they used to award the black jersey for the last rider in the race! Unfortunately for the current leader in this ‘competition’, Aussie, Jack Bobridge (Garmin) there is no longer a prize. Jack currently has a ‘lead’ of 45″ over his nearest rival, Bbox’s Damien Gaudin. Can Bobridge take this title to Verona and Cadel win the classification game at the other end of the field to make an Aussie bookend? I wonder what the odds for that are…

Bruseghin Bums Out Of Giro
Sorry guys, but I couldn’t resist that headline to describe Mario Bruseghin’s untimely exit from the Giro. For those of you who didn’t see the results of one of Mario’s crashes earlier in the week I’ll explain. Poor old Mario went for a little slide on the pavement at the Giro last week and he used only his bum to slow him down. Unfortunately this braking technique caused a rather large hole in his shorts and this led to his bum to be on display for everyone watching. Certainly embarassing for Mario, but I actually felt worse for the poor guys who were on his wheel throughout the rest of the stage. Things were hard enough at the start of the Giro with the crosswinds and highspeeds, but to be suffering in the gutter at 50kph getting pounded by a roaring crosswind and you look up at the rider in front of you and all you see is a hairy bum? That’s just not right.

Back to poor old Mario though – amazingly for the Caisse d’Epargne tough man this was the first time that he has failed to finish a Grand Tour in his long career! Yes, the veteran has completed a staggering 19 Grand Tours (11 Giros, 7 Tour de Frances and 1 Vuelta). Let’s hope for Mario’s sake that his 21st GrandTour will go better than his 20th as he has spent almost as much time on the ground as he has riding at this Giro after being involved in a crash on almost everyday!

Bettini To Replace Ballerini
It was widely rumoured but this weekend it has finally been confirmed that Paolo Bettini will take over from the late Franco Ballerini as Italy’s national coach. Bettini was a great friend of Ballerini and has stated that he feels honoured by the position offered to him and hopes that he can have the same sort of success in the role that Ballerini had. A quick reminder of Ballerini’s success as coach – he had an amazing 4 World titles since his appointment in 2002 with Cipollini in 2002, Bettini in 2006 and 2007 and Alessandro Ballan in 2008! That’s an impressive record to say the least. Of course he had a great team to work with having some of the best riders in the world in his squad each year but Ballerini’s strength was developing those riders into a true team that worked together – not always the easiest thing to do.

Tour de Picardie
Young British Sky recruit, Ben Swift has had a great last 3 days in the Tour de Picardie in France winning the 2nd stage of this three stage race and in doing so taking the General Classification lead. The 3rd and final stage was another bunch sprint that Swift didn’t manage to win but he did enough to keep his GC lead thus winning his first ever overall title in the pros.

The Tour de Picardie was a true sprinter’s fest this year with each stage coming down to a bunch gallop but no one man was able to dominate the sprints with a different victor each day. The 1st stage was won by Skil Shimano’s Kenny Van Hummel, 2nd stage Ben Swift and the 3rd stage Jimmy Casper (Saur Sojasun).

With all the stages finishing in sprints it’s little wonder that the top ten on GC features all sprinters…..the only difference being the time bonuses on offer and the amazing leadout that SKY did on the 2nd stage. Their efforts literally split the peloton into little pieces all over the roads of Picardie in the last 10kms and gave Swift not just a perfect lead out for the stage but also for the GC……chapeau guys!

General Classification
1. Ben Swift (Sky)
2. Koldo Fernandez (Euskatel-Euskadi) @ 7″
3. Allan Davis (Astana) @ 10″
4. Russell Downing (Sky) @ 12″
5. Michael Van Stayen (Topsport) @ 16 ”
6. Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) st
7. Alexandre Pichot (Bbox) st
8. Steven Van Vooren (Topsport) 19″
9. Mikhaylo Khalilov @ 20″
10. Jimmy Casper (Saur Sojasun) 21″

Astarloza Officially Suspended
Euskatel’s Mikel Astarloza announced on Saturday that he has been suspended by the Spanish cycling federation until June 2011 for his positive doping control for EPO which was taken prior to last year’s Tour de France.
Astarloza’s case is an interesting one as his team continues to back him apparently believing his claims of innocence. Support from the team is one thing, but a positive test is a positive test and Astarloza publicly announced on the weekend that he has officially received a 2 year suspension. He is still claiming his innoncence and is intent on appealing the decision but innocent or not, he will not be returning to the peloton until the end of his suspension which finishes on June 26th 2011.

Sevilla Finds A New Home
Arguably Rock Racing’s best rider for the last two seasons, Oscar Sevilla has finally jumped off the sinking ship that is Rock Racing to join the Colombian team, Pinturas Bler-Nectar de Cundinamarca on a 1 year deal.

The ex Kelme, Phonak and T-Mobile rider will join another ex top flight rider in Freddy Gonzalez at the Colombian team (twice winner of the mountains classification at the Giro d’Italia). Sevilla of course was one of many riders disgraced after their alleged involvement in Operation Puerto and unlike his Spanish compatriot and also alleged Puerto man, Alejandro Valverde, he has not been able to return to Europe and race in the big leagues again. Sevilla however seems happy racing on the South American scene having won numerous races there in the last two years and is currently said to be enjoying living in Colombia with his family.

California Dreaming
Levi Leipheimer, Fabian Cancellara, Dave Zabriskie, Andy Schleck, Michael Rogers, Lance Armstrong? Who’s your favourite? Most money is on RadioShack’s Leipheimer to win the California title for an amazing 4th time with many predicting that the climbs are not hard enough to get rid of the little guy and the final time trial in Los Angeles seemingly made for Levi.

As they say though, ‘Anything can happen on the road’ and I’m sure we’ll have some great battles on the roads of California in the coming days. At the pre race press conference some of the big stars had a bit to say with most being quick to talk up the quality of the event and also just as quick to play down their chances;

Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack
“The Amgen Tour of California is a big race for us. It’s no secret that this is a huge priority for us. I might even take it a step further by saying it’s second only to the Tour de France.”

“Anything can happen at the Amgen Tour of California. We’re excited. We’re motivated. For me, it’s good to be back with a great group of guys. But from the team’s perspective, our best chance is Levi. We’re going in with the sole purpose of supporting him. But it depends on what the road dictates. I’m happy to be here as a team rider.”

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Three-Time Defending Champion Team RadioShack
“There’s a lot new about the Amgen Tour of California. It’s taking place in May as opposed to February. The whole feeling about it is different because it’s summertime. The riders of the peloton are much more fit. We’re going higher in the mountains, in Big Bear. I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what happens that day.”

“I’ve always said that riding into Santa Rosa with the world’s best riders in my hometown is really special. It’s not something that everyone gets to experience, especially wearing the Amgen Leader Jersey. It’s an overwhelming experience.”

Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team SaxoBank
“This is my first race after my break. I’m happy to come back to this race but how good am I? I don’t know. What I know for sure is I didn’t have the best preparation for coming here. What’s important is that I’m getting back. I think it’s important that I am relaxed and I’m looking forward to this beautiful race. Hopefully the weather will stay the way it is.”

Dave Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions
“I’m looking forward to racing in my new hometown, Los Angeles. But I’d be looking forward to it regardless if I was a resident or not.”

Cavendish Promises And Delivers
Pre race Mark Cavendish said he was the fastest and had ‘nothing to worry about’ when talking about his rivals and that proved to be true after a convincing sprint victory in Stage 1 at the Tour of California. Cavendish finished off some great work from his HTC Columbia team with a text book sprint after coming off Mark Renshaw’s wheel in the hectic final. One unfortunate loser today was Quickstep’s Tom Boonen who came down in a nasty crash in the last kilometre but from first reports will be ok to continue the race.

Second on the stage today was Saxobank sprinter JJ Haedo followed by BMC surprise, Alexander Kristoff who with his third place also secured the best young rider jersey. Neither Kristoff nor Cavendish are expecting to hold onto their leader’s jerseys after Stage 2 though as the race hits the hills of the Napa County. Keep it tuned to Pez this week for all the latest happenings from California!

Stage 1 Results:
• 1. Mark Cavendish HTC-Columbia in 4:04:46
• 2. Jose Haedo Juan Team Saxo Bank
• 3. Alexander Kristoff BMC Racing Team
• 4. Robert Hunter Garmin-Transitions
• 5. Jonathan Cantwell Fly V Australia
• 6. Marcus Burghardt BMC Racing Team
• 7. Guillaume Boivin
• 8. Andreas Stauff Quick Step
• 9. Nikolas Maes Quick Step
• 10. Thomas Leezer Rabobank

General Classification After Stage 1:
• 1. Mark Cavendish HTC-Columbia
• 2. Jose Haedo Juan Team Saxo Bank at 00:04
• 3. Alexander Kristoff BMC Racing Team at 00:06
• 4. Maarten Tjallingii Rabobank at 00:06
• 5. Marc De Maar at 00:07
• 6. Chad Beyer BMC Racing Team at 00:07
• 7. Paul Mach Bissell Pro Cycling at 00:08
• 8. Robert Hunter Garmin-Transitions at 00:10
• 9. Jonathan Cantwell Fly V Australia at 00:10
• 10. Marcus Burghardt BMC Racing Team at 00:10

ATOC Chalk It Up To Experience
Now just one more thing on the Tour of California and for those of you who may have missed EuroTrash Thursday last week, here’s a repeat story with some important info for those heading out to watch the race:

The organisers of the Amgen Tour of California are again sending out a plea to race fans to keep their Enthusiasm in check when it comes to decorating the roads that the riders will use while visiting California.

Medalist Sports’ Technical Director Chuck Hodge has asked us to help pass along the word that painting the roads “Euro Style” could very well put future editions of the race in jeopardy.

“As in the past we have some nervous counties and Caltrans people who don’t want to see any paint on the roads this year. As a matter of fact this was written into several of our permits,” Hodge said.
“Last year we actually did pretty well with the issue,” which Hodge attributes to a similar appeal he made through cycling media outlets before last year’s race.
So, here are the tips that the organisers have asked us to pass on. Yes they seem like common sense, but in the heat of the moment on a once a year chance to catch the Euro Pros in action, they might be forgotten.

– Please don’t use any paint on the roads
– Chalk is OK and encouraged, just be safe about applying it!
– Please be respectful of local residents, we are only borrowing their roads for the day. Park legally and pack out your trash.

Pez will be bringing you a double dose of racing action this week with the Amgen Tour of California coverage sitting right alongside our Giro reports. Why would you go anywhere else?

Chris Selden is an Aussie living in France who has lived the life of a bike rider racing around the world but now prefers to enjoy his bike racing, watching from the side of the road sipping a cold drink or from the press room with a cafй!

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