VeloNews.com » News http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Sun, 24 May 2015 23:12:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Gritty Alberto Contador ‘just wants to win’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gritty-alberto-contador-just-wants-to-win_371598 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gritty-alberto-contador-just-wants-to-win_371598#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 23:12:50 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371598

Contador collected bonus seconds en route to the finish and padded his lead over Aru. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alberto Contador looks at his best when the odds are against him, and Sunday in the Dolomites proved no exception

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Contador collected bonus seconds en route to the finish and padded his lead over Aru. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (VN) — Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) looks at his best when the odds are against him. On Sunday in the Giro d’Italia’s 15th stage, with the snow-covered Dolomites as the backdrop, it was no different.

The Giro’s race leader handled himself against Astana’s full force and several other rivals. One by one, he followed accelerations and attacks, and even threw a punch of his own. This, one should not forget, comes after two weeks of racing that saw him crash twice.

“He just wants to win,” said Tinkoff teammate Michael Rogers at the Madonna di Campiglio ski station.

“He has an innate kind of ability to set high goals and work at them. He is really one of a kind.”

Contador’s plan to win the Giro d’Italia appears to be enhanced by misfortune. He crashed in stage six in the south of Tuscany and dislocated his shoulder. Spanish reporters were worried that they were going to have to pack their laptops and head home early with their injured countryman. Instead, they had more copy to write.

When he fell Friday in Jesolo, losing a handful of seconds and the pink jersey, followers hardly blinked. Contador popped back up, rode to the bus, spoke to the press, and iced his leg for the next day’s time trial. For “El Pistolero” it appears to be all in a day’s work.

Throughout the two weeks, Contador has lost little, but gained a lot. He strengthened his lead to a healthy 2:35 minutes over Italian Fabio Aru (Astana).

Only the Dolomites looked bigger than Contador on Sunday. He gracefully managed Astana’s attempts to break him. The blue train revved up the 15.5km climb and sent its captains Aru and Spaniard Mikel Landa to do the rest. Each played his cards in the final 3km, with Landa eventually going free for the stage win.

Contador gave Landa, who sits fourth overall, his space for the stage. His eyes are on a much bigger prize. Rogers is not surprised at his captain’s capacity.

“He is the toughest fighter you will ever meet,” Rogers said. “You can count the people who have come and gone since he has been at the top. And he will probably be there for another couple more years.”

Since turning professional in 2003, Contador racked up eight grand-tour wins, though a doping suspension in 2012 reduced that tally by two.

For Astana and the rest trying to win the Giro when it ends on May 31 in Milan, Contador’s presence is bad news.

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Heavy hitters and a 1-2 punch: 2 teams to watch at pro nats http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/heavy-hitters-and-a-1-2-punch-2-teams-to-watch-at-pro-nats_371591 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/heavy-hitters-and-a-1-2-punch-2-teams-to-watch-at-pro-nats_371591#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 22:48:15 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371591

Who will wear the stars and stripes after Monday's road races in Chattanooga? Well, that depends. ... Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (file)

Pressed to name favorites for Monday's U.S. pro road championships, most would begin with two teams: Boels-Dolmans and Cannondale-Garmin

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Who will wear the stars and stripes after Monday's road races in Chattanooga? Well, that depends. ... Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (file)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (VN) — In the end, the U.S. national time trial championships boiled down to just two dominant teams. For the women it was Twenty16–Sho-Air, whose Kristin Armstrong and Carmen Small each crushed the course record en route to a one-two finish. For the men, Cannondale-Garmin dominated the field, with Andrew Talansky securing his first professional TT championship and teammate Ben King finishing only seconds behind.

Could we see a repeat of sorts as the domestic peloton takes to the road on Monday at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships in Chattanooga? A pair of dominant teams who command the day?

It’s difficult to say, of course. With 73 men and 82 women registered for the Memorial Day showdown, the stars and stripes could very well end up in the hands of a dark horse like SmartStop’s Dr. Eric Marcotte, the 34-year-old Arizona chiropractor who shocked the field with his surprise win in 2014.

But pressed to name Monday’s race favorites, most would begin with Boels-Dolmans and Cannondale-Garmin.

Women: Boels-Dolmans’ one-two punch

The 69.3-mile women’s road race will begin with three starting circuits through downtown Chattanooga. After two long laps over nearby Lookout Mountain, it will conclude with three additional downtown closing circuits. With 2014 winner Alison Powers now retired and 2015 Tour of the Gila winner Mara Abbott sitting the race out, Monday’s smart money is on Boels-Dolmans’ one-two punch of Evelyn Stevens and Megan Guarnier.

Stevens, the stockbroker turned cycling phenom, is a powerful all-rounder whose well-earned reputation as a time trialist is well-balanced by her hard-charging style on the road. The 32-year-old from Claremont, California, won the recent women’s invitational time trial at the Amgen Tour of California and is one of three women already selected to represent the United States at the UCI’s world time trial championships in Richmond, Virginia. Equally adept on the road, Stevens is the 2012 winner of the women’s Fleche Wallonne.

After splitting the earliest years of her career between HTC-Columbia and Specialized-lululemon, Stevens signed with the Dutch Boels-Dolmans team for 2015, becoming the second American to join the squad, alongside 2012 U.S. women’s road champion Megan Guarnier.

Guarnier, a 30-year-old native of Glen Falls, New York, began her career in 2010 with Team Tibco, before converting her national championship into a role supporting the sport’s biggest female star, Marianne Vos, as a member of the Rabo Liv women’s team. In 2015, Guarnier took the biggest win of her career, riding away solo to capture the inaugural women’s Strade Bianchi.

Between their two American powerhouses, a Boels-Dolmans-packed podium is hardly outside of the realm of possibility. Last year, Guarnier and Stevens took second and third, respectively, prior to becoming teammates.

Guarnier – who has been forced to race nationals without team support for each of the past two years — told VeloNews that the addition of Stevens will be a breath of fresh air.

“Now we have more horsepower on the bike,” she said. “Having Evie on the team is huge. It gives our team a lot more cards to play.”

Guarnier, who races almost exclusively in Europe, says she will depend on Stevens’ knowledge of the domestic peloton to help shape team tactics.

“This is typically the only race I do in the United States, so I haven’t been racing against these girls. I don’t know how they climb, or how they sprint. Or how their attacks go. Or when they will come,” she said.

“I have a feeling for that in Europe. I race against those girls all the time. But here I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage. Evie has much more experience racing with the girls in the U.S. So she’ll be able to help me a ton.”

Stevens agrees, noting that the two – while strong – are going to use their heads Monday.

“We’re going to have to play to one another’s strengths,” Stevens told VeloNews after Saturday’s time trial. “There are some really good riders in the field and some teams that have way more riders. So we’re just going to have to be a little crafty and ride smart.”

For both women the prospect of taking the U.S. champion’s jersey back to Europe is a dream worth fighting for.

“I really want those stars and stripes back,” Guarnier said. “Wearing it is really a great feeling, because I’m an American in Europe full time. So to bring that jersey back over there as a racer on one of the top teams, I think that would be really special.

“It’s an honor to represent the United States whether I’m wearing that jersey or not, but having it is just amazing. And don’t forget we’ve got the world championships in Richmond this year too, and so to wear that jersey there? That would be incredible.”

Men: Cannondale-Garmin brings five heavy hitters

At 111.4 miles, the men’s race is a longer version of the women’s course, featuring four starting laps, four long laps, and three finishing circuits through the streets of Chattanooga.

This year’s lineup lacks the WorldTour firepower of some years past, with only six UCI WorldTeam riders scheduled to appear. Of these, five represent Cannondale-Garmin: Talansky, King, Joe Dombrowski, Ted King and pre-race favorite Alex Howes, who placed third in Chattanooga in 2014.

After abandoning the Amgen Tour of California earlier in the month, Talansky has clearly regained his form, winning Saturday’s national TT title. Expected to be his team’s GC leader at the Tour de France, Talansky is a complete rider, more than capable of becoming the first American man to capture the nation’s professional road and time trial titles concurrently.

That said, Talansky is clear that Monday’s race will be a team affair.

“The road race is a race where we have options,” he told VeloNews. “We have Joe Dombrowski and you saw what he did on Mt. Baldy [at the Amgen Tour of California]. We have Ted King, who’s always just strong all around. We have myself and Ben King. But maybe most importantly we have the person who doesn’t mind being called a favorite and taking responsibility for that in Alex Howes.”

Howes, a 27-year-old native of Golden, Colorado, is himself a capable all-rounder, who packs a powerful finishing punch.

“This race has been on [Alex’s] bucket list for a long time,” said Ben King, a former national road champion. “And since it’s a one-day race, it’s all or nothing and he’s probably our fastest guy here. So if it comes to the line in a group then Alex is certainly our guy.”

Added Talansky: “He’s been right up there several times [at nationals]. Alex really gets motivated about the race and I think more than anybody, you can see Alex’s excitement about nationals.”

Howes has been in Chattanooga for the better part of a week scoping out the course, but downplayed expectations to VeloNews Sunday.

“I managed to get through California unscathed and flew straight to Chattanooga to adapt to the heat and the time zone,” Howes said. “My spring campaign has been one to forget and to be honest, my legs and confidence coming into nationals are not what I was hoping they’d be. But for me, nationals is always a huge target and to wear the stars and stripes for a year would be an absolute dream come true.”

Like his teammates, however, Howes emphasized that Cannondale-Garmin has many options for Monday.

“We have a small but strong squad here and honestly if any one of us changes from green and black to red, white and blue, I’ll be a happy man.”

Talansky concurred.

“It doesn’t really matter how it happens, but our goal is definitely to get a team win.”

Editor’s note: VeloNews’ Dan Wuori will be in Chattanooga all weekend. For updates on the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Gallery: 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 15 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-15_371493 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-15_371493#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 22:07:25 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371493

Race leader Alberto Contador took everything Astana threw at him on Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Tim De Waele captures the action in stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia

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Race leader Alberto Contador took everything Astana threw at him on Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Ryder Hesjedal chases solo, edges up Giro GC http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/ryder-hesjedal-chases-solo-edges-up-giro-gc_371476 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/ryder-hesjedal-chases-solo-edges-up-giro-gc_371476#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 21:05:08 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371476

Ryder Hesjedal battles solo to within striking distance of the top 10. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Good legs, bad luck: Ryder Hesjedal chases alone to 13th overall after a late crash splits the Giro d’Italia peloton

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Ryder Hesjedal battles solo to within striking distance of the top 10. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

It was another case of good legs and bad luck for Ryder Hesjedal on Sunday as the Cannondale-Garmin rider was forced to chase alone up the Madonna Di Campiglio after a late crash split the heavily reduced Giro d’Italia peloton.

Hesjedal, who won the 2012 Giro, clawed his way up to 13th overall on stage 15, 11:17 back from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), by launching off the front of a chase group at the base of the day’s final climb. The peloton had split following a crash that Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers blamed on Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal).

“I was up near the front, I could see the pink jersey and the Astana guys no problem,” Hesjedal said of the incident after the finish, pulling on a long sleeve jersey for the short descent down to his team’s rest day hotel. “I just came around a corner and I could tell guys had gone off the road. But I was still on guys’ wheels, can’t really see, then all of a sudden there was quite a big gap.

“When we got off the descent there was a gap there, and it was a little unorganized. When those guys are going fully committed up front … we never regained contact.”

Hesjedal attacked out of the chase group and pulled his advantage out to over a minute. But he never caught on to the front of the split, eventually finishing 12th on the day, 3:11 behind stage winner Mikel Landa (Astana).

“It was one of those (climbs), it’s pretty steady, I’d have liked to been playing up in the front today. I think I had the legs to do that,” Hesjedal said. “I did the whole climb by myself.”

The split left race leader Alberto Contador adrift in a sea of Astana jerseys. The team had used its men early in the stage and left Rogers for the finale, but he was also caught behind the crash.

The Tinkoff-Saxo riders left in the second group were not capable of bringing an Astana-led front group back.

“They couldn’t do anything,” Hesjedal said. “No one in that group was going to help.”

Sunday’s stage also saw Cannondale’s young Italian phenom Davide Formolo have his first off day. Formolo, just 22 and already a Giro stage winner, finished 8 minutes down and is now 21st.

Teammate Tom Danielson succumbed to a knee injury that has plagued him since a crash on stage 2, and pulled out of the race.

Hesjedal’s effort did pull him within spitting distance of the top 10, with his preferred climbs still ahead. He sits 1:14 out of 10th, and less than five minutes outside the top five. With a hard week of racing ahead, anything is possible, but Hesjedal wouldn’t set any particular place as his goal.

“I’m just going to ride well,” he said. “At the end of the day you can look and say yeah, it if you didn’t lose that silly time, blah blah blah, but it’s about the performance and the actual result doesn’t always reflect that.

“We’ll see at the end of the race, but I already know I feel good and consolation is I’ve won this race before.”

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Results: 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 15 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/results-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-15_371482 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/results-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-15_371482#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 20:36:53 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371482 Astana gets a stage win but fails to dislodge Alberto Contador from the top of the standings in the Giro d'Italia

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  • 1. Mikel LANDA MEANA, ASTANA PRO TEAM, in 4:22:35
  • 2. Yury TROFIMOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at :02
  • 3. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, TINKOFF-SAXO, at :05
  • 4. Fabio ARU, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :06
  • 5. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at :38
  • 6. Andrey AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :42
  • 7. Leopold KONIG, TEAM SKY, at 1:00
  • 8. Tanel KANGERT, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 1:10
  • 9. Alexandre GENIEZ, FDJ, at 1:49
  • 10. Damiano CARUSO, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:13
  • 11. Maxime MONFORT, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:18
  • 12. Ryder HESJEDAL, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 3:11
  • 13. Giovanni VISCONTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 3:48
  • 14. Paolo TIRALONGO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:50
  • 15. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 4:46
  • 16. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM CYCLING, at 5:05
  • 17. Sylwester SZMYD, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 5:10
  • 18. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, TEAM SKY, at 5:11
  • 19. Amaël MOINARD, BMC RACING TEAM, at 5:14
  • 20. Igor ANTON HERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 5:14
  • 21. Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 5:14
  • 22. Jonathan MONSALVE, STH, at 5:20
  • 23. Roman KREUZIGER, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 5:33
  • 24. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 5:47
  • 25. Hubert DUPONT, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 6:17
  • 26. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, TEAM SKY, at 6:32
  • 27. Sebastian HENAO GOMEZ, TEAM SKY, at 6:32
  • 28. Darwin ATAPUMA HURTADO, BMC RACING TEAM, at 6:55
  • 29. Diego ROSA, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 7:21
  • 30. Przemyslaw NIEMIEC, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 7:50
  • 31. Fabio FELLINE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 7:50
  • 32. David DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 8:00
  • 33. Damiano CUNEGO, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 8:00
  • 34. Rigoberto URAN URAN, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 8:00
  • 35. Grega BOLE, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 8:00
  • 36. Davide FORMOLO, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 8:00
  • 37. Mauro FINETTO, STH, at 8:00
  • 38. Stefano PIRAZZI, BARDIANI CSF, at 8:00
  • 39. Francis MOUREY, FDJ, at 8:00
  • 40. Andre Fernando S. Martins CARDOSO, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 8:55
  • 41. Edoardo ZARDINI, BARDIANI CSF, at 9:36
  • 42. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 11:18
  • 43. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 12:05
  • 44. Luca CHIRICO, BARDIANI CSF, at 14:02
  • 45. Alessandro BISOLTI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 14:02
  • 46. Ivan BASSO, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 14:02
  • 47. Axel DOMONT, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 14:02
  • 48. Dario CATALDO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 14:02
  • 49. Michael ROGERS, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 14:02
  • 50. Sergey LAGUTIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at 14:02
  • 51. Davide VILLELLA, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 16:34
  • 52. Gianfranco ZILIOLI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 16:34
  • 53. Clement CHEVRIER, IAM CYCLING, at 16:34
  • 54. Davide MALACARNE, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 16:34
  • 55. Maxime BOUET, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 16:34
  • 56. Pavel KOCHETKOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 16:34
  • 57. Franco PELLIZOTTI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 16:37
  • 58. Simone STORTONI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 16:37
  • 59. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 16:49
  • 60. Bertjan LINDEMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 17:17
  • 61. Marco FRAPPORTI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 17:17
  • 62. Nick VAN DER LIJKE, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 17:17
  • 63. Julien BERARD, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 17:17
  • 64. Francesco Manuel BONGIORNO, BARDIANI CSF, at 17:17
  • 65. Nathan BROWN, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 17:17
  • 66. Fumiyuki BEPPU, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 17:17
  • 67. Martijn KEIZER, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 17:17
  • 68. Marek RUTKIEWICZ, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 17:17
  • 69. Andrey ZEITS, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 17:17
  • 70. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM CYCLING, at 17:17
  • 71. Kévin REZA, FDJ, at 17:17
  • 72. Ruben FERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 17:17
  • 73. Dayer Uberney QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 17:17
  • 74. Francesco GAVAZZI, STH, at 17:48
  • 75. Vasil KIRYIENKA, TEAM SKY, at 17:55
  • 76. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC RACING TEAM, at 19:35
  • 77. Philippe GILBERT, BMC RACING TEAM, at 19:35
  • 78. Maxim BELKOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 19:35
  • 79. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 19:35
  • 80. Louis VERVAEKE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 24:05
  • 81. Sander ARMEE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 24:05
  • 82. Adam HANSEN, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 24:05
  • 83. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ, at 24:05
  • 84. Matteo MONTAGUTI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 27:04
  • 85. Giacomo BERLATO, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 27:04
  • 86. Patrick GRETSCH, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 27:04
  • 87. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 27:04
  • 88. Richie PORTE, TEAM SKY, at 27:04
  • 89. Pier Paolo DE NEGRI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 27:04
  • 90. Elia FAVILLI, STH, at 27:04
  • 91. Lukasz OWSIAN, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 27:04
  • 92. Sergei CHERNETSKI, TEAM KATUSHA, at 27:04
  • 93. Ivan ROVNY, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 27:04
  • 94. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 27:04
  • 95. Enrico BATTAGLIN, BARDIANI CSF, at 27:04
  • 96. Branislau SAMOILAU, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 27:04
  • 97. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 27:04
  • 98. Matteo BUSATO, STH, at 27:04
  • 99. Maciej PATERSKI, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 27:04
  • 100. Gang XU, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 27:04
  • 101. Sonny COLBRELLI, BARDIANI CSF, at 27:11
  • 102. Alan MARANGONI, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 27:20
  • 103. Diego ULISSI, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 27:33
  • 104. Manuele MORI, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 27:33
  • 105. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 27:33
  • 106. Petr VAKOC, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 27:33
  • 107. Juan Jose LOBATO DEL VALLE, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 28:11
  • 108. Fabio SABATINI, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 31:38
  • 109. Alessandro MALAGUTI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 31:38
  • 110. Enrico BARBIN, BARDIANI CSF, at 31:38
  • 111. Moreno HOFLAND, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 31:38
  • 112. Tobias LUDVIGSSON, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 113. Tsgabu Gebremaryam GRMAY, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 31:38
  • 114. Michael HEPBURN, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 115. Eugenio ALAFACI, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 116. Salvatore PUCCIO, TEAM SKY, at 31:38
  • 117. Riccardo STACCHIOTTI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 31:38
  • 118. Eduard Michael GROSU, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 31:38
  • 119. Alexander PORSEV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 31:38
  • 120. Jan POLANC, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 31:38
  • 121. Brett LANCASTER, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 122. Maarten TJALLINGII, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 31:38
  • 123. Sam BEWLEY, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 124. Rick FLENS, TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO, at 31:38
  • 125. Rick ZABEL, BMC RACING TEAM, at 31:38
  • 126. Calvin WATSON, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 127. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 128. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM CYCLING, at 31:38
  • 129. Bartlomiej MATYSIAK, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 31:38
  • 130. Anthony ROUX, FDJ, at 31:38
  • 131. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ, at 31:38
  • 132. Luke DURBRIDGE, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 133. Janier Alexis ACEVEDO COLLE, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN, at 31:38
  • 134. Elia VIVIANI, TEAM SKY, at 31:38
  • 135. Pieter WEENING, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 136. Tom STAMSNIJDER, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 137. Matteo TOSATTO, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 31:38
  • 138. Lars Ytting BAK, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 31:38
  • 139. Heinrich HAUSSLER, IAM CYCLING, at 31:38
  • 140. Manuele BOARO, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 31:38
  • 141. Hugo HOULE, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 31:38
  • 142. Fabio SILVESTRE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 143. Eugert ZHUPA, STH, at 31:38
  • 144. Christopher JUUL JENSEN, TINKOFF-SAXO, at 31:38
  • 145. Nikolay MIHAYLOV, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 31:38
  • 146. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at 31:38
  • 147. Simon CLARKE, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 31:38
  • 148. Serghei TVETCOV, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 31:38
  • 149. Marco COLEDAN, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 150. Cheng JI, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 151. Stig BROECKX, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 31:38
  • 152. Boy VAN POPPEL, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 153. Murilo Antonio FISCHER, FDJ, at 31:38
  • 154. Bernhard EISEL, TEAM SKY, at 31:38
  • 155. Roberto FERRARI, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 31:38
  • 156. Iljo KEISSE, ETIXX-QUICK STEP, at 31:38
  • 157. Jussi VEIKKANEN, FDJ, at 31:38
  • 158. Simon GESCHKE, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 159. Arnaud COURTEILLE, FDJ, at 31:38
  • 160. Chad HAGA, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 161. Luka MEZGEC, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 162. Caleb FAIRLY, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 31:38
  • 163. Luca PAOLINI, TEAM KATUSHA, at 31:38
  • 164. Davide APPOLLONIO, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 31:38
  • 165. Sacha MODOLO, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 31:38
  • 166. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 31:38
  • 167. Aleksejs SARAMOTINS, IAM CYCLING, at 31:38
  • 168. Nicola BOEM, BARDIANI CSF, at 32:02
  • 169. Marco BANDIERA, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 32:05
  • 170. Bert DE BACKER, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 32:11
  • 171. Roger KLUGE, IAM CYCLING, at 32:11
  • 172. Nikias ARNDT, TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN, at 32:11
  • 173. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, LAMPRE-MERIDA, at 32:57
  • 174. Alessandro PETACCHI, STH, at 33:06
  • DNF Nicola RUFFONI, BARDIANI CSF
  • DNF Stef CLEMENT, IAM CYCLING
  • DNF Thomas DANIELSON, TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN
  • DNS Oscar GATTO, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
  • DNS Kristof VANDEWALLE, TREK FACTORY RACING

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Gallery: 2015 USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gallery-2015-usa-cycling-professional-road-and-time-trial-championships-2_371443 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/gallery-2015-usa-cycling-professional-road-and-time-trial-championships-2_371443#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 17:18:59 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371443

Armstrong powers her way to another national championship.
Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Casey B. Gibson and his Nikons were at the ready on Saturday during the U.S. professional time trial championships in Tennessee

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Armstrong powers her way to another national championship. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

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Andrew Talansky can’t wait to take stars and stripes to the Tour http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/andrew-talansky-cant-wait-to-take-stars-and-stripes-to-the-tour_371436 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/andrew-talansky-cant-wait-to-take-stars-and-stripes-to-the-tour_371436#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 16:50:36 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371436

Andrew Talansky says it will be an honor to wear the U.S. champion's colors at the start of the Tour de France

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (VN) — The stars and stripes of the U.S. national time trial champion will return to Europe in 2015 on the back of Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky.

The 26-year-old bested a field of 21 domestic riders at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships on Saturday, covering the 19.2-mile course in 38 minutes and 48 seconds.

Talansky’s Cannondale-Garmin teammate Ben King finished second at 10 seconds slower with David Williams (Jamis-Hagens-Berman) third at 12 seconds.

The win comes on the heels of a disappointing Amgen Tour of California, where Talansky was forced to abandon during the first stage due to a lingering respiratory infection.

“I left the Tour of Californa pretty sick,” he told VeloNews.

“I stopped and just couldn’t continue. I made the decision out on the road that I wasn’t doing anyone any good even trying to make it through the rest of the stage. The good thing was that I live in Napa, which isn’t very far from Sacramento, so I went straight home.”

Asked about his recovery regime, Talansky spelled out a conservative approach.

“Basically there wasn’t much to it. I slept a lot and didn’t ride my bike for five days. You know, the main priority was getting myself healthy. I had nationals in the back of my mind, but the first priority was just getting my health back and getting back on the bike and feeling like a cyclist again.”

Talansky’s form in Chattanooga was clearly much improved.

“After a setback, especially after an illness, it’s always hard to get back on the bike,” he said. “You tool around for an hour or so and feel like a shell of your former self. But thankfully after a few days of riding everything comes back pretty quickly.

“For me the most rejuvenating thing is just being home and spending time with my wife. That helps me get things back on track.”

Talansky, who took the biggest win of his career at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2014, told VeloNews that his nationals win now ranks right up there among his biggest moments in the sport.

“It’s totally different emotions,” he said of the two races. “I love time trials because it’s you against the clock and everything is under your control. I’m very proud of it. Winning the Dauphiné was a totally different experience. It was my first WorldTour stage race win. But together, this and the Dauphine are definitely the two highlights of my career thus far. I’m very proud of both.”

But when it came to pride, Talansky saved a heaping portion for the teammate who stood beside him on the podium.

“I have to say that being up here with Ben King is really special. I’m really proud of him and I think that we’re building some good momentum as a team for [Monday’s road race].”

Cannondale-Garmin will field the national road race’s largest contingent of WorldTour riders Monday, with Ted King, Joe Dombrowski and race favorite Alex Howes joining Talansky and King.

With the national champion’s skinsuit locked down for a year, Talansky also reflected on the opportunity to represent his nation in Europe this summer.

“Obviously I’m very, very proud to win today. I’ll have a chance to wear [the stars and stripes] at the Dauphiné first, but getting to wear this in the opening prologue of the Tour de France? That will be a huge honor. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Asked whether his planned design would mix red, white and blue with his team’s green-and-black argyle, Talansky evoked the team’s notoriously well-dressed manager.

“I’m pretty sure [Jonathan] Vaughters already has that outfit in his closet.”

Editor’s note: VeloNews’ Dan Wuori will be in Chattanooga all weekend. For updates on the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Mikel Landa wins stage 15 as Alberto Contador defends Giro lead http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/mikel-landa-wins-stage-15-as-alberto-contador-defends-giro-lead_371397 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/mikel-landa-wins-stage-15-as-alberto-contador-defends-giro-lead_371397#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 15:19:51 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371397

Astana did its best for Fabio Aru on Sunday, but had to settle for a stage win as their team leader lost more time to the maglia rosa, Alberto Contador. Photo: AFP

Astana rode itself inside out for Fabio Aru on Sunday, but Alberto Contador remained unruffled and extended his lead at the Giro d'Italia

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Astana did its best for Fabio Aru on Sunday, but had to settle for a stage win as their team leader lost more time to the maglia rosa, Alberto Contador. Photo: AFP

Mikel Landa proved the beneficiary of Astana’s attempts to dislodge Alberto Contador from the lead in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.

Landa and his team tried to shake the Tinkoff-Saxo captain on the mountainous 165km stage 15 from Marostica to the ski resort at Madonna di Campiglio. But instead, the unruffled Contador grabbed bonus seconds en route and at the line, finishing third on the day, to extend his lead over Astana’s Fabio Aru on the overall.

Landa took the stage win ahead of Yury Trofimov (Katusha), but Aru found himself unable to take any advantage over the race leader, who was completely isolated in the final kilometers, without teammates.

Indeed, Contador now leads Aru by two minutes and 35 seconds going into Monday’s rest day, with Movistar’s Andrey Amador sitting third at 4:19.

Contador’s Tinkoff team had shouldered the burden of setting the pace on the penultimate climb, the 8km-long Passo Daone, a strategy that left two-time race runner-up Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick-Step) struggling to keep pace.

“It was a brutal day,” said Uran. “On the first climb I was struggling to stay with the first group. When they accelerated on the Passo Daone I really couldn’t follow. I couldn’t dig deep, I couldn’t even breathe properly. I tried my best to hang on, but I couldn’t. After today the fight for a high position in the GC is out of my grasp. I will do my best to get a good result for my team.”

Tinkoff’s tactic burned through the team and left Contador isolated among several Astana riders. However, the race leader acquitted himself handsomely on the final climb to Madonna di Campiglio, the scene of Italian Marco Pantani’s infamous exclusion from the race in 1999.

Contador, who is bidding to become the first man since deceased Pantani in 1998 to complete the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double in the same year, did not have to fret until the final 3km, when an acceleration by Landa sparked the hostilities.

Contador caught his wheel, and Aru and Trofimov fought back up to the two with just over 2km remaining.

Landa tested his fellow Spaniard with another burst of speed but, again, Contador countered the move.

Trofimov then launched a futile attempt for the stage win, racing away at the red kite, but the Russian did not have the legs to open up a telling gap.

With Trofimov tiring and the finish line in sight, Landa seized his chance and accelerated past in the last few hundred meters to claim his maiden grand-tour victory.

“It’s an important win for me and the team, because when you work the way we have today, a win like this belongs to everyone,” said Landa. “There were three of us, we had numerical superiority, and we couldn’t let the stage win get away.

“Our objective is to put Aru in the best possible position in GC. We want first place with him, but we know it is difficult. Second place looks fairly safe, and we’ll try to win this Giro using our superiority in numbers.”

As for Contador, he tipped his hat to the stage winner, and to Astana.

“Astana were very strong today: It was like a team time trial with me on their wheel,” he said. “But my legs were good today and I would have liked to win the stage, thinking of [Marco] Pantani, who was an inspiration for me. But there were lots of attacks and counterattacks and it was impossible to control all of them.

“I didn’t speak to Landa, but there was no need to. He’s a great rider, he’s riding a great race, and I’m very happy for him.”

Tuesday brings what could be the hardest stage of this year’s 98th Giro d’Italia — a 174km, six-climb grind from Pinzolo to the summit finish at Aprica.

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Richie Porte starts stage 15 of Giro despite lingering aches http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/richie-porte-starts-stage-15-of-giro-despite-lingering-aches_371394 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/richie-porte-starts-stage-15-of-giro-despite-lingering-aches_371394#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 12:29:25 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371394

Stage 13 may have been the day that Richie Porte (Sky) gave up hope on contending for the overall in the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Despite lingering aches and pains from a spill on Friday, and sitting well down on the overall, Richie Porte continues in the Giro d'Italia

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Stage 13 may have been the day that Richie Porte (Sky) gave up hope on contending for the overall in the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (VN) — Richie Porte pushed ahead into the high mountains of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday despite initial doubts due to injuries.

Sky’s Australian captain hit the deck on the wet roads Friday near Venice, and suffering from a sore left hip and knee, lost more than four minutes in Saturday’s individual time trial to overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

After watching teammate Vasil Kiryienka win the time trial and slurping down a recovery smoothie in silence, Porte expressed doubts about continuing his Giro.

He conceded that his classification hopes were over and that he might even pull out to recover in time for the Tour de France, where he should ride alongside 2013 winner Chris Froome.

But on Sunday he started the 15th stage to Madonna di Campiglio.

“I was prepared for a fight. If anything the last few days made me want to fight harder,” Porte told VeloNews. “It’s just one of those things — as soon as I started the time trial, I could feel the hip and knee. I just couldn’t push my bike.”

Porte sits 17th overall at 8:52 minutes with seven more days to race, including five summit finishes.

After the 59.4km time trial, Porte walked quietly to a hotel where the team set up and showered. He sat and watched Kiryienka win the stage, but did not say much. The silence was appropriate given Porte had aimed to win or at least gain time in the stage to fight for the overall classification. Instead, it went the other way.

“I came in [to the Giro d’Italia] as good a condition as I could, I was motivated as ever, it felt that it was a massive opportunity, but it hasn’t worked out,” said Porte on his way to the team car.

“I know what I need to do physically and mentally to prepare for this race.”

Porte thought back over the two weeks. He said he wished he had not taken the wheel from his friend and rival Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) on stage 10. The jury docked him two minutes for that illegal assist.

He kept his head up, but it was hard to do so after crashing and losing a further two minutes in Jesolo on Friday.

The blow was felt even harder because this was his Giro d’Italia to win after taking victories in three smaller stage races this year and missing his chance to lead Sky to victory in last year’s grand tours.

On Sunday, Porte continued towards the Madonna di Campiglio summit finish. But quitting is on his mind. He could have a chance to win a stage if his injuries do not hold him back, but if he pulls out, he can rebuild toward the Tour de France start July 4.

“In some ways it might make sense and get out of here and look forward to the Tour,” Porte said.

“It’s massively disappointing. I don’t think I did anything wrong, I’ve just been unlucky.”

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Tech Gallery: Aerodynamics and gearing for the Giro’s long time trial http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/tech-gallery-aerodynamics-and-gearing-for-the-giros-long-time-trial_371288 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/tech-gallery-aerodynamics-and-gearing-for-the-giros-long-time-trial_371288#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 11:33:31 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371288

Paint-stripped bikes, wide gears, and extreme integration for the Giro's long time trial

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Armstrong secures worlds slot, airs frustration with USA Cycling http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/armstrong-secures-worlds-slot-airs-frustration-with-usa-cycling_371377 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/armstrong-secures-worlds-slot-airs-frustration-with-usa-cycling_371377#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 01:02:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371377

Kristin Armstrong shows off her fourth stars and stripes jersey.
Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Kristin Armstrong wins the 2015 women's national time trial title, earning the final available place in the Richmond worlds ITT squad

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Kristin Armstrong shows off her fourth stars and stripes jersey. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Kristin Armstrong has secured her place at September’s UCI world time trial championships in Richmond, Virginia after capturing her fourth U.S. national TT title in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Twenty16-Sho-Air rider delivered a course record time of 42:08 over 19.2 miles at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships.

Armstrong’s Twenty16 teammate Carmen Small — who won the national title in 2013 — placed second at 13 seconds back, with Visit Dallas Cycling’s Amber Neben scoring the final podium spot 18 seconds off the winner’s pace.

“I felt like I had a really solid ride today,” Armstrong told VeloNews. “I have to give it to Chattanooga. This is a true time trial course. It has a little bit of everything. It has flats, it has a hill, it has technical parts, and it has the speed. It was a good day on a really fair course.”

Now one of the sport’s most veteran riders at age 41, Armstrong pointed to both fitness and experience as determining factors in her win.

“The thing is that when you have a 42-minute race, you look back and say, ‘Maybe I could have gone harder [in a particular spot].’ But when you go harder in one place, sometimes you end up going slower on a climb, for example. So today was one of those days where I think experience really may have made a difference.”

For Armstrong, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, the win was a critical step on the road to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — with a strong showing at worlds likely to lead to a place on Team USA.

But Armstrong’s road to Richmond has been circuitous. With two of the nation’s three spots already locked down, Saturday’s national championships were very nearly “do or die” for the Boise, Idaho resident.

“Personally, there was a need to win. [Today] was a very high priority,” Armstrong explained after the race.

Boels-Dolmans’ Evelyn Stevens (who placed fifth on the day in Chattanooga at 43:06) secured the first of three spots with a third place finish at the 2014 world championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Carmen Small (Twenty16-Sho-Air) secured the second with a win at the recent Pan American championships in Leon, Mexico. As national champion, Armstrong automatically qualifies for the third.

“Coming into Chattanooga I knew that I wanted to win,” Armstrong explained of her situation. “Carmen and Evelyn already had spots for Richmond, so if either of them won I knew I’d still have a chance [as a coaches’ selection], but I knew that the route I really wanted to take was to get an automatic [spot on the world’s team] so it wouldn’t become a question of discretion.”

USA Cycling originally named Armstrong as a member of the nation’s Pan Am squad. But shortly thereafter, the governing body reversed course, naming Velocio-SRAM’s Tayler Wiles to the team after reverting to a previously published set of selection criteria.

At Saturday’s press conference, an emotional Armstrong made her unhappiness with the selection process clear.

“I saw an opportunity to participate at Pan Am through the criteria that were published by USA Cycling. And when I saw that I qualified under those criteria I decided to put my name in to be selected. [After my selection] the criteria changed. They reposted the old criteria and I was not qualified any longer.”

For Armstrong the issue was one of fairness.

“The last thing I wanted was anything handed to me. I didn’t want any favors. But I’m going to tell you that I know the process to get into important races. I can recite the criteria. So I’m really happy that I was able to come to Chattanooga and show — on my own, on the road, and with my team and husband fully behind me — that I could do it without being selected as a discretionary [choice].”

Armstrong was also critical of USA Cycling’s decision not to start her among the race favorites. In a field of 40 riders, the two-time world champion was the day’s third rider out of the start house — a placement typically reserved for lesser riders.

“When I got my number last night, I was really disappointed,” Armstrong told VeloNews. “When a like group of competitors are up against one another and a world championships spot is on the line, I really and truly feel strongly that we should have been placed against one another. And I don’t think there’s any doubt who the top 10 riders are in America. [The placement] was a mistake. But as a competitor all you can do is take what you’re given and go for it.”

For now, however, Armstrong is putting her frustrations in the past.

“My next goal is Richmond and I have to keep that right in front of me,” she explained.

And as for Rio?

“Everyone always asks me, ‘what’s next?’ And this might sound strange or funny but I didn’t even know what was next today until [the race was over]. I’m just really happy it worked out.”

VeloNews’ Dan Wuori will be in Chattanooga all weekend. For updates on the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Gallery: 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 14 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-14_371347 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-14_371347#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 23:58:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371347

Scenes from an impactful race against the clock in the Giro's 14th stage

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Andrew Talansky takes national TT title in Chattanooga http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/andrew-talansky-takes-national-tt-title-in-chattanooga_371337 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/andrew-talansky-takes-national-tt-title-in-chattanooga_371337#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 20:13:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371337

Andrew Talansky will wear a new jersey next time he races against the clock, now that he has won the men's national time trial championship.
Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

26-year-old Andrew Talansky earned himself a year in the American TT champion's jersey, while his teammate Ben King took runner-up honors

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Andrew Talansky will wear a new jersey next time he races against the clock, now that he has won the men's national time trial championship. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky blazed to his first national time trial title Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships. Talansky’s time of 38:48 was enough to best the second-place time of teammate Ben King by 10 seconds. David Williams of Jamis-Hagens Berman took third place at 39 minutes.

“It’s fantastic,” Talansky told VeloNews. “I’m really proud of the effort today. It’s definitely miles away from how I was feeling a couple weeks ago in California and I’m really proud to bring the jersey back to Cannondale-Garmin.”

VeloNews will update this story throughout the dayDan Wuori will be on-site at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships all weekend. For updates, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Time yet to talk Contador Giro-Tour double? http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/time-yet-to-talk-contador-giro-tour-double_371324 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/time-yet-to-talk-contador-giro-tour-double_371324#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 19:59:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371324

Contador is back in the pink jersey thanks to a strong performance in the Giro's stage 14 time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Contador says he's taking the Giro day by day, but will his healthy lead in the GC have him looking toward July's Tour de France already?

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Contador is back in the pink jersey thanks to a strong performance in the Giro's stage 14 time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

VALDOBBIADENE, Italy (VN) — With Alberto Contador’s Giro d’Italia lead sitting at a comfortable 2:28 after a decisive stage 14 time trial, it’s possible that he might start holding back for July’s Tour de France. In Saturday’s 59.4km race against the clock, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider cruised to third place on the stage in Valdobbiadene, putting in a time 2:47 minutes faster than his nearest GC rival Fabio Aru (Astana).

Contador wants to become only the eighth cyclist in history to win the Giro-Tour double. After already winning most every stage race in the sport, he made the double his goal this winter. The last cyclist to do so was Marco Pantani in 1998.

To achieve his lofty goal, Contador has to not only stay in charge of the Giro over the next week as it races towards Milan, but also come out with enough gas in the tank for the Tour de France. At the Tour, he will face fresh rivals – like Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) – who did not race in Italy.

“It would be a mistake to hold back,” Contador said in a press conference after taking the leader’s pink jersey back from overnight leader Aru.

“I have to take Giro day by day to the finish, and then I can start to think about the Tour de France.”

Contador has already won six grand tours, or eight if you count the ones that were stripped from his palmares due to a doping suspension. He is skilled enough to know how to break down and attack his rivals, taking small bites out Aru over the last two weeks, but he is also wise enough to know how to hold off and save energy heading towards a goal.

On the horizon are five more summit finishes in the Alps, beginning with tomorrow’s climb to Madonna di Campiglio at 1715 meters. The ski resort finish Sunday will give Contador a chance to gauge his rivals one more time.

Despite spending a day in the pink jersey, Aru appears to be suffering more and more as the race continues due to a stomach bug and time off before the Giro. Sky’s Richie Porte crashed Friday on his hip and knee and is suffering. Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick Step) is improving, but may not be doing so fast enough to bridge to Contador before the race ends May 31 in Milan.

Contador’s biggest rival could be misfortune in the form of a mechanical or a crash. In yesterday’s sprint stage, a massive pile up with 3.3 kilometers remaining also pulled him down. He jumped up quickly, but lost 36 seconds and the pink jersey.

“I didn’t lose too much time, I was able to grab another bike after I saw mine didn’t work, but same thing could happen again.”

His dominant performance in the long time trial saw him put the jersey right back on a day after losing it. The more Contador tightens his grip on a second Giro d’Italia win, the more followers will wonder how much he is holding back in hopes to put his name along the selective group of seven riders that have achieved the Giro-Tour double.

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Results: 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 14 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/results-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-14_371329 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/results-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-14_371329#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 19:33:42 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371329

Results from the Giro's 14th stage, a 59.4km individual time trial

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  • 1. Vasil KIRYIENKA, TEAM SKY, in 1:17:52
  • 2. Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :12
  • 3. Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :14
  • 4. Patrick GRETSCH, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :23
  • 5. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 1:09
  • 6. Tanel KANGERT, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 1:17
  • 7. Jurgen VAN DEN BROECK, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 1:25
  • 8. Fabio FELLINE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 1:26
  • 9. Tobias LUDVIGSSON, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 1:27
  • 10. Luke DURBRIDGE, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 1:36
  • 11. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM CYCLING, at 1:41
  • 12. Kristof VANDEWALLE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 1:41
  • 13. Leopold KONIG, TEAM SKY, at 1:44
  • 14. Stef CLEMENT, IAM CYCLING, at 1:45
  • 15. Andrey AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:48
  • 16. Ryder HESJEDAL, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 1:58
  • 17. Jon IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:08
  • 18. Martijn KEIZER, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 2:16
  • 19. Chad HAGA, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 2:28
  • 20. Maxime MONFORT, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 2:37
  • 21. Nikolay MIHAYLOV, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 2:40
  • 22. Sébastien REICHENBACH, IAM CYCLING, at 2:43
  • 23. Rigoberto URAN URAN, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 2:45
  • 24. Alexander PORSEV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 2:47
  • 25. Kanstantsin SIUTSOU, TEAM SKY, at 2:49
  • 26. Christopher JUUL JENSEN, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 2:52
  • 27. Manuele BOARO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 2:53
  • 28. Maarten TJALLINGII, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 2:59
  • 29. Fabio ARU, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:01
  • 30. Pavel KOCHETKOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 3:08
  • 31. Davide MALACARNE, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:12
  • 32. Michael HEPBURN, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 3:13
  • 33. Damiano CARUSO, BMC RACING TEAM, at 3:17
  • 34. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 3:18
  • 35. Maxim BELKOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 3:22
  • 36. Diego ULISSI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 3:27
  • 37. Mikel NIEVE ITURALDE, TEAM SKY, at 3:32
  • 38. Dario CATALDO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:34
  • 39. Lars Ytting BAK, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 3:42
  • 40. Rick FLENS, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 3:45
  • 41. Hugo HOULE, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 3:45
  • 42. Philippe GILBERT, BMC RACING TEAM, at 3:45
  • 43. Roman KREUZIGER, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 3:52
  • 44. Stefano PIRAZZI, BARDIANI CSF, at 3:54
  • 45. Diego ROSA, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:56
  • 46. Giovanni VISCONTI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 3:57
  • 47. Alexandre GENIEZ, FDJ, at 4:00
  • 48. Marek RUTKIEWICZ, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 4:09
  • 49. Elia VIVIANI, TEAM SKY, at 4:12
  • 50. Giacomo BERLATO, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 4:13
  • 51. Maxime BOUET, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 4:14
  • 52. Mikel LANDA MEANA, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 4:14
  • 53. Serghei TVETCOV, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 4:17
  • 54. Yury TROFIMOV, TEAM KATUSHA, at 4:19
  • 55. Richie PORTE, TEAM SKY, at 4:20
  • 56. Brett LANCASTER, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 4:23
  • 57. Branislau SAMOILAU, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 4:25
  • 58. Mauro FINETTO, STH, at 4:28
  • 59. Anthony ROUX, FDJ, at 4:28
  • 60. Sergey LAGUTIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at 4:30
  • 61. Stig BROECKX, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 4:30
  • 62. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 4:34
  • 63. Nathan BROWN, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 4:35
  • 64. Damiano CUNEGO, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 4:37
  • 65. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at 4:54
  • 66. Marcus BURGHARDT, BMC RACING TEAM, at 4:56
  • 67. Matteo MONTAGUTI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 4:57
  • 68. Andrey ZEITS, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 4:57
  • 69. Przemyslaw NIEMIEC, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 5:03
  • 70. Maciej PATERSKI, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 5:04
  • 71. Louis VERVAEKE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 5:11
  • 72. Murilo Antonio FISCHER, FDJ, at 5:15
  • 73. Nick VAN DER LIJKE, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 5:15
  • 74. Jérôme PINEAU, IAM CYCLING, at 5:24
  • 75. Axel DOMONT, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 5:35
  • 76. Davide FORMOLO, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 5:39
  • 77. Franco PELLIZOTTI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 5:40
  • 78. Paolo TIRALONGO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 5:41
  • 79. Davide VILLELLA, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 5:43
  • 80. Rinaldo NOCENTINI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 5:53
  • 81. Simon CLARKE, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 5:57
  • 82. Amaël MOINARD, BMC RACING TEAM, at 6:01
  • 83. Sebastian HENAO GOMEZ, TEAM SKY, at 6:04
  • 84. Francesco GAVAZZI, STH, at 6:06
  • 85. Jonathan MONSALVE, STH, at 6:06
  • 86. Alan MARANGONI, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 6:12
  • 87. Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 6:13
  • 88. Eduard Michael GROSU, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 6:17
  • 89. Jan POLANC, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 6:23
  • 90. Salvatore PUCCIO, TEAM SKY, at 6:23
  • 91. Marco FRAPPORTI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 6:32
  • 92. Gianfranco ZILIOLI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 6:33
  • 93. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING TEAM, at 6:35
  • 94. Tom Jelte SLAGTER, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 6:36
  • 95. Bertjan LINDEMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 6:38
  • 96. Matteo TOSATTO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 6:39
  • 97. Fumiyuki BEPPU, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 6:39
  • 98. Heinrich HAUSSLER, IAM CYCLING, at 6:46
  • 99. Darwin ATAPUMA HURTADO, BMC RACING TEAM, at 6:50
  • 100. Ivan ROVNY, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 6:55
  • 101. Hubert DUPONT, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 7:00
  • 102. Calvin WATSON, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 7:00
  • 103. Grega BOLE, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 7:01
  • 104. Matteo BUSATO, STH, at 7:02
  • 105. Francis MOUREY, FDJ, at 7:05
  • 106. Elia FAVILLI, STH, at 7:06
  • 107. Jussi VEIKKANEN, FDJ, at 7:06
  • 108. Juan Jose LOBATO DEL VALLE, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 7:13
  • 109. Ivan BASSO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 7:14
  • 110. Manuele MORI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 7:17
  • 111. Iljo KEISSE, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 7:19
  • 112. Michael ROGERS, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 7:22
  • 113. Marco COLEDAN, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 7:27
  • 114. Lukasz OWSIAN, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 7:29
  • 115. Fabio SILVESTRE, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 7:30
  • 116. Sergio Miguel MOREIRA PAULINHO, TINKOFF – SAXO, at 7:40
  • 117. Clement CHEVRIER, IAM CYCLING, at 7:40
  • 118. Sergei CHERNETSKI, TEAM KATUSHA, at 7:41
  • 119. Moreno HOFLAND, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 7:45
  • 120. David DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 7:46
  • 121. Julien BERARD, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 7:49
  • 122. Eugenio ALAFACI, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 7:56
  • 123. Tom STAMSNIJDER, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 7:56
  • 124. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 8:08
  • 125. Pieter WEENING, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 8:13
  • 126. Boy VAN POPPEL, TREK FACTORY RACING, at 8:14
  • 127. Benat INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:19
  • 128. Simon GESCHKE, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 8:20
  • 129. Enrico BATTAGLIN, BARDIANI CSF, at 8:24
  • 130. Janier Alexis ACEVEDO COLLE, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 8:25
  • 131. Arnaud COURTEILLE, FDJ, at 8:27
  • 132. Sander ARMEE, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 8:27
  • 133. Edoardo ZARDINI, BARDIANI CSF, at 8:32
  • 134. Sacha MODOLO, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 8:35
  • 135. Pier Paolo DE NEGRI, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 8:37
  • 136. Fabio SABATINI, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 8:43
  • 137. Eugert ZHUPA, STH, at 8:44
  • 138. Ruben FERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:45
  • 139. Adam HANSEN, LOTTO SOUDAL, at 8:47
  • 140. Alessandro BISOLTI, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 8:56
  • 141. Bert DE BACKER, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 9:08
  • 142. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 9:12
  • 143. Thomas DANIELSON, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 9:15
  • 144. Alessandro MALAGUTI, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 9:15
  • 145. Bartlomiej MATYSIAK, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 9:16
  • 146. Riccardo STACCHIOTTI, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, at 9:19
  • 147. Oscar GATTO, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 9:24
  • 148. Petr VAKOC, ETIXX – QUICK STEP, at 9:25
  • 149. Rick ZABEL, BMC RACING TEAM, at 9:32
  • 150. Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 9:37
  • 151. Cédric PINEAU, FDJ, at 9:38
  • 152. Luca PAOLINI, TEAM KATUSHA, at 9:39
  • 153. Sylwester SZMYD, CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE, at 9:39
  • 154. Kévin REZA, FDJ, at 9:43
  • 155. Simone STORTONI, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 9:48
  • 156. Luca CHIRICO, BARDIANI CSF, at 9:48
  • 157. Nicola BOEM, BARDIANI CSF, at 9:49
  • 158. Enrico BARBIN, BARDIANI CSF, at 9:53
  • 159. Cheng JI, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 9:54
  • 160. Andre Fernando S. Martins CARDOSO, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at 9:58
  • 161. Francesco Manuel BONGIORNO, BARDIANI CSF, at 10:08
  • 162. Tsgabu Gebremaryam GRMAY, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 10:09
  • 163. Sonny COLBRELLI, BARDIANI CSF, at 10:10
  • 164. Nikias ARNDT, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 10:14
  • 165. Caleb FAIRLY, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 10:16
  • 166. Alessandro PETACCHI, STH, at 10:18
  • 167. Davide APPOLLONIO, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 10:23
  • 168. Marco BANDIERA, ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI, at 10:29
  • 169. Roger KLUGE, IAM CYCLING, at 10:34
  • 170. Roberto FERRARI, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 10:39
  • 171. Igor ANTON HERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 10:41
  • 172. Gang XU, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at 10:57
  • 173. Dayer Uberney QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 11:21
  • 174. Sam BEWLEY, ORICA GreenEDGE, at 11:41
  • 175. Aleksejs SARAMOTINS, IAM CYCLING, at 11:56
  • 176. Kenny ELISSONDE, FDJ, at 12:21
  • 177. Nicola RUFFONI, BARDIANI CSF, at 12:34
  • 178. Bernhard EISEL, TEAM SKY, at 12:48
  • 179. Luka MEZGEC, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at 14:29
  • DNS Greg HENDERSON, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNS André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL
  • DNS Tom BOONEN, ETIXX – QUICK STEP
  • DNS Michael MATTHEWS, ORICA GreenEDGE

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Armstrong wins national TT championship, lands Richmond spot http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/armstrong-wins-national-tt-championship-lands-richmond-spot_371321 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/armstrong-wins-national-tt-championship-lands-richmond-spot_371321#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 18:10:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371321

Kristin Armstrong qualifies for the world championships in Richmond by winning the women's national time trial title in Chattanooga. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Olympic gold medalist and former world champion Kristin Armstrong takes national time trial title in Chattanooga

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Kristin Armstrong qualifies for the world championships in Richmond by winning the women's national time trial title in Chattanooga. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong broke the course record at today’s Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, riding the 19.2 mile course in a time of 42:08 to take the victory. The win qualifies Armstrong as the third and final American woman to compete in September’s world championship time trial in Richmond, Virginia, and it comes as a particular relief to the 41-year-old, who was selected and then unselected by USA Cycling as a representative to this month’s Pan American Championships.

“It’s been hard,” Armstrong told VeloNews at the finish. “I’ve been into the depths of the politics and nothing has been handed to me. I earned it today and I’m on the top step. I had to stay focused and not let people get me down.”

Armstrong’s Twenty16-ShoAir teammate Carmen Small took second at 42:21. Amber Neben of Visit Dallas Cycling placed third at 42:26.

“I look at this as the next step. Now I go to Richmond and hopefully then to Rio,” said Armstrong.

VeloNews will update this story throughout the day—Dan Wuori will be on-site at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships all weekend. For updates, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Greipel, Boonen, Matthews abandon Giro as race approaches high mountains http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/greipel-henderson-abandon-giro-as-race-nears-high-mountains_371287 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/greipel-henderson-abandon-giro-as-race-nears-high-mountains_371287#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 17:23:13 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371287

Greg Henderson's leadout and André Greipel's finishing kick earned Lotto-Soudal a victory on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Avoiding a challenging final week in the mountains, several sprinters are leaving Italy to recuperate in preparation for later season goals

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Greg Henderson's leadout and André Greipel's finishing kick earned Lotto-Soudal a victory on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

With a challenging week of high mountains on the docket, several fast-finishers have called it a Giro after two weeks of racing.

Lotto-Soudal’s designated sprinter André Greipel and his leadout man Greg Henderson came to the Giro d’Italia with a stage win in mind and Greipel’s stage 6 victory in Castiglione della Pescaia, his third career victory in the Giro d’Italia, achieved that goal. Now, as the race approaches a stretch of climber-friendly days, the speedy duo will look to recover some strength for July’s Tour de France, an event in which Greipel has taken six individual stage wins so far. Neither rider was at the startline for the stage 14 individual time trial.

“I’m happy we won one stage, but I had hoped for one more,” Greipel said.

“The next stages are for GC riders. Considering the goals that are still coming we decided to quit the Giro. The Giro itself was definitely a nice experience. Now it’s time for recuperation. The Tour de France is of course the next big goal. To prepare [for] that I’ll probably start in the ZLM Toer and possibly the Tour de Luxembourg.”

Fast-finishing Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step) was another DNS for the stage 14 time trial, abandoning the Giro after making his first ever start in the race two weeks ago, as was Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), who wore the pink jersey early on in the race. With Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) also out of the Giro following an earlier crash, the list of sprinters in attendance has thinned considerably since the riders set out from San Lorenzo al Mare.

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Contador powers back into Giro lead in stage 14 ITT won by Kiryienka http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/kiryienka-wins-stage-14-time-trial-contador-retakes-giro-lead_371275 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/road/kiryienka-wins-stage-14-time-trial-contador-retakes-giro-lead_371275#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 15:26:52 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371275

Albert Contador is back in the maglia rosa after a strong performance in the Giro's 59.4km individual time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Richie Porte falters in Giro time trial but teammate Vasil Kiryienka earns stage win, while Alberto Contador retakes pink from Fabio Aru

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Albert Contador is back in the maglia rosa after a strong performance in the Giro's 59.4km individual time trial. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

A mark of 1:17:52 on the 59.4km time trial course was enough to give Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) a victory on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. The 33-year-old Belarusian started midway through the afternoon and set a time that stood its ground against the challenges of the other time trial specialists and the GC contenders that followed. Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez came closest to unseating him, claiming runner-up honors for the stage with a time 12 seconds slower than Kiryienka’s.

Sanchez’s Astana teammate Fabio Aru, wearing the pink jersey to start the day’s racing, did his best to limit his losses to his rivals, but 2008 Giro d’Italia winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) put in a very strong ride, taking third on the stage. His performance allowed him to claw back 2:47 on Aru, earning him the right to retake the pink jersey after loaning it out for a day.

The road from Treviso to Valdobbiadene was a wet one, and the riders spent the day pedaling through ever-changing weather conditions. A shift in wind direction worked against the later starters, and that, coupled with a knee injury he suffered in a crash on stage 13, may have contributed to a poor outing from Kiryienka’s Sky teammate Richie Porte, who finished 55th on the stage, and lost 4:06 to Contador. Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick-Step), who crashed earlier in the race as well, was also unable to put in the sort of ride expected of him, setting a mark 2:31 slower than Contador’s. With his rivals faltering on the day, Contador now holds the general classification lead in the Giro d’Italia by 2:28 over second-placed Aru. Andrey Amador (Movistar) put in a strong enough time to climb to third on the GC leaderboard, with Urán sitting behind him in fourth overall.

“It just seemed like one of those days where it was raining and it wasn’t going to go well, but I was lucky in the end. Of course, we’re not very lucky in this Giro with Richie [Porte],” stage winner Kiryienka said.

“It seems it’s a bit difficult for the overall now but in the next few days we’ll all be there and we’re going to try to fight for wins.”

Contador was surprised how much time he was able to put into his rivals. “I knew I could make a difference today, but I didn’t expect the time gaps to be so large,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the crowd, they’ve been fantastic, especially as it will likely be my final Giro d’Italia.”

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Armstrong’s road to Rio runs through Chattanooga http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/armstrongs-road-to-rio-runs-through-chattanooga_371266 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/armstrongs-road-to-rio-runs-through-chattanooga_371266#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:57:13 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371266

Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air) finished third in the Amgen Tour of California women's time trial. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Kristin Armstrong hopes to earn a ticket to the Rio Olympics with a national championship title in Saturday's time trial in Chattanooga

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Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air) finished third in the Amgen Tour of California women's time trial. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Retirement doesn’t agree with Kristin Armstrong. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has twice stepped away from competitive cycling, “retiring” after both the Beijing and London Olympic Games. But with 2016 just around the corner, the 41-year old has again set her sights on gold in the women’s time trial.

Whether the Twenty16-Sho-Air rider takes the start in Rio could well be decided Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, were she will compete in the Volkswagen USA Cycling professional road and time trial championships.

“It’s important. Very important,” admits the Boise, Idaho native.

For Armstrong there is much more at stake than the national champion’s skinsuit. That’s because Saturday’s time trial champion stands to become the last of three American women to participate in September’s UCI world time trial championships in Richmond, Virginia. A podium place in Richmond would, in turn, almost certainly nail down one of two possible spots on the Olympic team.

With a third-place finish at the 2014 world TT championships in Ponferrada, Spain, Boels-Dolmans’ Evelyn Stevens has already secured one of three American slots in Richmond. Twenty16-Sho-Air’s Carmen Small will fill a second, having won the Pan American Championships earlier this month. The third and final slot will go to Saturday’s national champion.

“That’s why there’s so much riding on this weekend,” explained Armstrong. “Carmen is super-excited [about racing in Chattanooga], but she still has a spot. The same is true for Evie. But for me the pressure is really on. Believe me, there are other great riders gunning for that spot.”

Should Stevens or Small win Saturday, the third spot will become a coaches’ selection, which may or may not favor Armstrong. So, she’s got her sights set squarely on Chattanooga.

“You’d better believe I’m looking for the win. I want to go to Richmond, and I want to go to Rio,” she told VeloNews.

After three years away from the sport, Armstrong made her return to competition at last week’s Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial, where she placed third, seven seconds behind behind Stevens. Team Tibco-SVB’s Lauren Stephens placed second at 0:04.

For the fiercely competitive Armstrong — also a two-time world champion — a lesser podium placement was not a cause for celebration.

“When you’ve been on the top step before, that’s where you want to stay,” Armstrong explains. “So I won’t pretend that I was satisfied with California. When you leave the sport on top, it’s easy to come back after three years and feel like nothing should be different — though of course it is.”

Upon reflection, however, Armstrong has come to view the result as a blessing of sorts.

“After the initial disappointment, you start thinking, ‘Okay Kristin, let’s get real here.’ I haven’t raced in almost three years. And these girls I’m racing against, Evie [Stevens] and Lauren [Stephens], they’re racing all over the world. When you look at who was in California, it was really the ‘who’s who’ of time trialing. So you can be disappointed. But you also have to be realistic. You have to take stock of where you are.”

Just where is Armstrong? Since retiring from competition in 2012, she has split her time between work as the director of community health at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, coaching with team Twenty16 (which she will ride for this weekend), and raising her four-year-old son. But just as the Olympian was settling into a post-cycling life, she encountered a new set of challenges.

“After London, I stopped training as much,” she explained. “I went for hikes and went for mountain bike rides and just tried to do more normal things. I made the transition from cyclist to exerciser. But the following August, I noticed that I couldn’t really ride for more than an hour or 90 minutes without my hips just killing me.”

Armstrong has since been diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition for which she has now undergone a series of surgeries. Though weight-bearing exercise brings her considerable pain, she has discovered one surefire method of relief.

“As funny as it might sound, the only thing I can really do pain-free is ride my bike. I had a procedure in December 2014 that has helped to take the edge off, but again I’m most comfortable in the saddle. Eventually I’ll need a new hip. But they suggest that I don’t get one today because the recovery can take so long.”

Whether Armstrong achieves her dream of racing for gold in Rio remains to be seen. And that’s just the way she wants it.

“If I’m not the best American, I don’t want to represent the country,” she told VeloNews. “I don’t want to go simply to participate or to race for a top-10 finish. I want to be the winner. So here I’ve got a couple chances to go head to head and just give it my everything. Hopefully it will turn out for the best. If others are stronger then they deserve it.

VeloNews’ Dan Wuori will be on-site at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships all weekend. Saturday’s women’s time trial begins at 11 a.m. eastern time. For updates, follow Dan on Twitter at @dwuori.

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Contador’s pink jersey gone, but for how long? http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/contadors-pink-jersey-gone-but-for-how-long_371261 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/contadors-pink-jersey-gone-but-for-how-long_371261#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:25:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371261

Stage 13 was unlucky for Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) who suffered his second crash this Giro and lost the GC lead. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Alberto Contador loses overall lead, but it seems likely he'll soon return to the maglia rosa with a long, difficult time trial looming

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Stage 13 was unlucky for Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) who suffered his second crash this Giro and lost the GC lead. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

JESOLO, Italy (VN) — Alberto Contador lost the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia Friday due to a crash on the wet roads near Venice, but it could just be a small hiccup in his ride to Milan.

The Spanish captain of team Tinkoff-Saxo fell at 3.3 kilometers to race as part of a maxi-caduta involving Richie Porte (Sky). He jumped on his bike quickly, but saw his lead slip away to Italian Fabio Aru (Astana).

Aru sat second overall at 17 seconds before the stage, but with Contador’s 36-second loss, he took over the pink jersey by 19 seconds.

“There’s never a quiet day in the Giro,” Contador said on the steps of the Tinkoff bus.

“I didn’t even bother to check myself for injuries, I just tried to just pick up my bike and go as fast as I could. The time loss is not that bad.”

It appears that Contador will keep riding as smoothly as he has done so far this Giro d’Italia. The crash Friday next to Jesolo’s beachfront will probably slow him down as much as the one did eight days ago in southern Tuscany — which was not much.

Team doctor, Piet de Moor explained Contador dislocated his shoulder in the crash last week, but in the days after, he looked like his normal ‘El Pistolero’ self, dancing on the pedals.

He not only retained his lead, but he extended it, thanks to time bonuses and smart riding. Yesterday, he shot away for second place on the short hilltop finish above Vicenza and nabbed six bonus seconds.

Friday’s fall en route to the Jesolo finish where Italian Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) won was the only hiccup since.

“I know that it’s hard to get those seconds back that I lost today,” added Contador.

“What really worries me is the contusion in my left leg due to a chainring. That was not even my bike, but someone else’s. I hope it’s only superficial.”

When the neon yellow Tinkoff bus left Jesolo, Contador already had his leg propped up and iced. It appears this setback could be just as small as his tumble in Tuscany and the 24-year-old Sardinian Aru could just be the overnight leader in a Giro that looks more and more like Contador’s.

“Alberto is a big champion who’s won everything in this sport, I’m nothing compared to him,” Aru told press after slipping into the leader’s maglia rosa. “Anything can happen. I just have to stay alert.”

The 59.4-kilometer time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene in Italy’s Prosecco hills Saturday is the longest since 2009. After the stage, there are still five more summit finishes in the north before the race wraps up in Milan on May 31.

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