VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Sun, 24 May 2015 17:40:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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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Chad Haga Giro Journal: The hazards of racing in the rain http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/rider-journal/chad-haga-giro-journal-the-hazards-of-racing-in-the-rain_371382 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/rider-journal/chad-haga-giro-journal-the-hazards-of-racing-in-the-rain_371382#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 01:46:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371382

Spray from the Giro's rainy roads can deliver some nasty bugs that make the riders sick. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Haga tries to stay healthy in rainy weather and delivers a solid time trial despite facing a course longer than any other he's raced

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Spray from the Giro's rainy roads can deliver some nasty bugs that make the riders sick. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Parents, if your kid tries to eat dirt, let them. Someday they might want to be a professional bike racer, and they’re going to need an immune system that can handle the Giro’s whimsical weather patterns. I wasn’t kidding in my last journal when I implied that we’d be drinking a lot of road water. As proof, consider these stats: In Friday’s three-hour, rainy, stage 13 from Montecchio Maggiore to Lido di Jesolo, I drank only 1.5 bottles but needed three nature breaks. That fluid has to come from somewhere, and the answer is easier than the question of where to expel it — spectators lining the road for miles is great until you really need a nature break, and I was unwilling to do the ‘lazy man.’

That’s enough about urine, though, let’s talk about number two now.

Just kidding.

Not really. On one of yesterday’s roads, the scent of manure was quite strong, and I thought, “The trucks that brought that manure to the farm had to drive on this road … maybe now is a good time to close my mouth.” Which brings me back to my original point: It’s easy to understand why some guys start to feel under the weather after a string of rainy days. Our tires are a delivery service of myriad substances that we really shouldn’t be ingesting, especially in our fatigued state with vulnerable immune systems.

The biggest issue with rain, however, is staying on one’s bicycle. Traction can be difficult enough to come by on greasy roads, but in rain-slick sprint stages, the leading cause of pile-ups is brake lag. For those who have never raced in a rain-soaked peloton with carbon wheels, brake lag is the terror-filled half-second between hitting the brakes and slowing down. So when the sprinters start bashing around and something goes awry, nobody’s brakes work, and we all come tumbling down. That’s why rainy stages are so stressful — sprinters want the stage win, GC riders want to stay with the group and out of trouble, and nobody can slow down. The fear of crashes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as everyone stresses out about it and fights for position to avoid the crashes that the fighting causes.

We again missed out on a result yesterday, but our lead-out is becoming more fine-tuned and today saw the non-start of a few fast finishers. Our odds are looking even better in the few remaining opportunities; we just have to survive a bit of climbing in the interim.

With all this disdain for the wet weather, you might think that I would dread a nearly 60km stage 14 time trial in the rain, but you would be wrong. I’ve taken enough heat transfer courses to fully appreciate how beneficial rain is for cooling during really hard efforts. Even though the descents posed a bit of a hazard, I knew that my legs would be good because I could set my own pace and the rain would keep me efficient.

They say that the shortest time trials require the longest warm-up, so I figured that the inverse was also true; I did 15 minutes of easy high cadence on the trainer before rolling to the start, just enough to wake my legs up and get the blood flowing. After the way the road stages have been starting here, I was not concerned at all about a comparatively easy time trial start. The only issue was the pacing for such a long effort. I consider myself a time trialist, but I was unproven at such a distance. And by unproven, I mean that my longest-ever solo time trial was 40km, and that was in 2010. Team Giant-Alpecin’s data guru laid out a pacing plan for the effort, one that I considered quite ambitious until my legs actually delivered. I should know better than to doubt the man with the data.

In the end in Valdobbiadene, my efforts were good enough for a top-20 placing, which I’ll happily accept for my first foray into the world of long-distance grand tour time trials, and especially considering how many power records I had to set to get it. Now that I’ve typed ‘power records,’ I have the urge to do a bit more data analysis before bed. Data dorks unite!

With the completion of Saturday’s stage, we have entered into the final week of the Giro, and suddenly it seems much less daunting even though there are still some crazy stages to come. I simply must forget the first two weeks and approach it as a normal week-long race. I’ve done plenty of those. Hashtag mind tricks. Did I do that right?

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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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Video: Kiel Reijnen packs for U.S. road nationals http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/video/video-kiel-reijnen-packs-for-u-s-road-nationals_371374 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/video/video-kiel-reijnen-packs-for-u-s-road-nationals_371374#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 00:45:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371374

Kiel Reijnen packs for USA Cycling pro road nationals.

How do the pros pack for important races? Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) shows us what's in his travel bag for nationals

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Kiel Reijnen packs for USA Cycling pro road nationals.

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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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Video: Aerial view of Squaw Peak climb http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/video/video-aerial-view-of-squaw-peak-climb_371258 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/video/video-aerial-view-of-squaw-peak-climb_371258#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:54:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371258

Get a birds-eye view of the ride up Squaw Peak in Utah.

Get a birds-eye view of this scenic, switchbacking climb just outside Provo, Utah

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Get a birds-eye view of the ride up Squaw Peak in Utah.

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Gallery: 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 13 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/gallery/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-13_371228 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/gallery/gallery-2015-giro-ditalia-stage-13_371228#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371228

It is day for the sprinters, albeit a rainy, treacherous one that shook up the GC standings with a crash late in the race

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Richie Porte’s Giro di disaster http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/richie-portes-giro-di-disaster_371249 http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/news/richie-portes-giro-di-disaster_371249#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:36:19 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=371249

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

Richie Porte injures knee in crash at the end of stage 13, effectively ending his hopes to contend for the Giro d'Italia overall

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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

JESOLO, Italy (VN) — Richie Porte’s Giro d’Italia dream took what could have been the knockout blow Friday as the race sped toward its finish at the vacation resort near Venice.

Instead of sun, rain hammered the Giro’s cyclists and helped cause a crash at 3.3 kilometers remaining in the 147-kilometer stage. Many fell, but Porte and Alberto Contador caught the most attention.

Team Tinkoff-Saxo’s Contador lost 36 seconds and the leader’s pink jersey to Italian Fabio Aru (Astana). Porte took a much bigger hit. TV cameras showed him standing on the road for some time and slowly getting going on the bike of teammate Vasil Kiryienka.

He crossed the finish line 2:08 behind stage winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and slipped to 19th in the classification at 5:05 behind Aru.

At the bus, he looked at his white time trial bike that had been brought out for his warm down ahead of Saturday’s 59.4-kilometer stage. What he said next to the mechanic indicated that this Giro d’Italia might be another missed grand tour opportunity for the 30-year-old.

“I’m not doing any pedaling,” Porte said. “My knee’s f—ked.”

Porte came into the Giro, which began on May 9 in San Lorenzo al Mare, as the top favorite with Contador. In his lead-up, he placed second in the Tour Down Under, fourth in the Volta ao Algarve, and won Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Giro del Trentino.

“I’ve done it all year this year, and I’m really enjoying it,” Porte said at the start. “This race is a big motivation for me. It’s my dream race.”

The Giro was Porte’s chance to win a grand tour after missing that opportunity in the 2014 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. He was unable to start the former and suffered a bad day in the Tour and never recovered.

The costly hold-up was the latest mishap for the friendly Australian. On the first day, his team lost 20 seconds to Contador’s in the opening time trial. He remained in the hunt and appeared ready to strike in the time trial or high mountains, but then suffered two blows: a 47-second loss due to a puncture and, because he received a wheel from a rival, a two-minute penalty.

Unlike the slowly sinking city of Venice across the bay from Jesolo, Porte’s Giro hopes went down quickly Friday. He and the team could now take aim at stages, starting with Saturday’s time trial, if Porte recovers enough.

“Let’s see if we are still going for the classification,” Sky sport director Dario Cioni said when asked about Porte gaining enough time on the race leaders in the time trial to pull himself back into the fight.

“Right now, we are going to try to win the stage and then decide. With the penalty and everything, the classification gap is big.”

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