Sunday, May 31, 2009

Olds Wins, Team Type 1’s Hanley Seriously Injured In Tulsa Pile-Up

Tulsa, Okla.Monique Hanley fractured three vertebrae and dislocated her shoulder Saturday during the Brady Village Criterium on the second day of the Tulsa Tough cycling series in Tulsa, Okla.

The Team Type 1 rider was one of at least three dozen riders who were involved a crash early on in the women’s professional race.

“I had nowhere to go but to be catapulted,” Hanley said.

The Australian has full range of movement in her arms and legs, Team Type 1 Team Director Jack Seehafer said.

“That’s the good news,” he said. “But her dislocated shoulder will require surgery,”

In addition to her broken bones, Hanley also has scrapes on her back, a bloody knee, swollen wrist and sore neck.

Even eventual race winner Shelley Olds (PROMAN Women's Cycling Team) was caught up in the crash.


“I’ve never been in that big of a pile up,” Olds told the Tulsa World newspaper.

Hanley is one of two women with Type 1 diabetes on the Team Type 1 professional women’s squad. The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 19 but quickly took up cycling as a way to stay active. She twice was a part of Team Type 1’s eight-rider squad for the Race Across America and last year won a bronze medal at the Australian National Track Championships.

Konovalovas Takes Rome, Menchov Italy - Stage 21 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

With their landmark destination, the Colosseum, in the background of the time trial start house, the remaining gladiators of the 100th Giro d'Italia set out on a 14.4km sojourn around the Eternal City to determine a champion.

What many expected to be one final shootout, similar to the finish of the 1989 Tour de France that saw Greg Lemond counting down the seconds as a fatiguing Lauren Fignon barreled toward the line, turned out to be more like water pistol fight as only one of the General Classification contenders finished in the top ten.

Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo Test Team) wearing the colors of the Lithuanian Time Trial Champion, would edge out Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream) by 1 second and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia - Highroad) by 7 seconds for victory on the final stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.


Despite a crash in the final kilometers, Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would take tenth on the day and the final maglia rosa as the 2009 Giro d'Italia Champion. It is the Russian's third Grand Tour title, having won the Vuelta a Espana in 2005 and 2007.

Results
1. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Cervelo Test Team
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad


Final General Classification Standings
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Other Notables
12 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
19 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
24 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
63 Jason McCartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank
78 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
111 Ted King (USA) Cervelo Test Team
144 Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
152 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

Other Jersey Winners
maglia ciclamino (points) - Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
maglia verde (KOM) - Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
maglia bianca (best young rider) - Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step

Classic Finish, Gilbert Triumphs – Stage 20 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

With a showdown at the Colosseum to follow, Stage 20 was any ones to take.

In the end, Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) found the parcours suited to his Classics style and claimed the stage over Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) and Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo.

Results
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo

The General Classification stayed as is, which can only mean one thing headed into the finale; this is Denis Menchov's (Rabobank) title to lose.

General Classification After Stage 20
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 21 - Individual Time Trial, Roma, 14.4km
A quick trip around the Eternal City ends where gladiators once did battle, at the Colosseum.

Sprightly Sastre Nimble Up Vesuvius – Stage 19 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

After his proclamation to fight for the title, the reigning Tour de France Champion's legs misfired on Stage 17 up Blockhaus. But Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) would once again show his mettle as a climber on the final mountain stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

With only a transition stage and the final time trial to go, Stage 19 would be the final attempt for the climber/contenders to state their case for the overall. As such, the attacks came quickly once the riders reached the slopes of the infamous Mt. Vesuvius.

Ivan Basso
(Liquigas) and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) were the first to have a go. But neither could maintain their torrid pace. The expected battle for the General Classification also fell short as the top three contenders marked each other all the way up the dormant volcano.

Sastre would be first to summit the historic climb, which had only been used two other times in the race's history. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) would take second, and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) third.

Results
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

For his efforts, Sastre would move up a spot to fourth overall.

General Classification After Stage 19
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 20 - Napoli - Anagni, 203km
Dare I say it...the penultimate stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Team Type 1’s Hanson Runner-Up at Clarendon Cup

Arlington, Va. – Ken Hanson of Team Type 1 nearly spoiled the victory celebration by Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) Saturday at the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup.

Hanson overcame poor positioning out of the final turn to come within inches of overtaking Borrajo at the finish of the 100-lap race in Arlington, Va. Karl Menzies (OUCH presented by Maxxis) finished third.

“It was a total fight to get on Barrajo’s wheel because he had a teammate leading him out,” Hanson said. “I planned to sprint back onto his wheel before the second-to-last corner, but I got pushed out and had to slow down to avoid a crash. It was frustrating to lose by an inch or two, especially since I came out of the last corner behind so many people.”

Hanson was part of an eight-man breakaway that absorbed Chad Gerlach (Amore & Vita McDonald’s) with about 35 laps to go and held off the field to the finish. Up until that point, it appeared Gerlach was going to be the spoiler, soloing off the front early on and coming within 14 seconds of lapping the field near the halfway point.

“Guys started attacking and we brought the gap down, but then a few laps later, he (Gerlach) was about to lap us again,” Hanson said.

When a break that had two riders each from Colavita-Sutter Home and Kelly Benefits Strategies represented – along with one from Rock Racing and Menzies – it was Hanson’s teammate, Shawn Milne, who came up big at the right time. Milne turned himself inside out for two laps to tow the reigning elite national criterium champion up to the six escapees, who were closing in fast on Gerlach.

“Shawn did a great job to get me up there and look after me,” Hanson said. “I think tomorrow we have a good chance and I’m definitely motivated to take a win home for the team.”

Sunday’s race is the Air Force Cycling Classic in Crystal City, Va., a 109.2-mile (175 km) circuit race.

Hanson’s runner-up finish at the National Racing Calendar event follows a victory by Aldo Ino Ilesic at Wednesday night’s Ricola Twilight Grand Prix in Basking Ridge, N.J.

“The guys are really coming onto form at the right time, with the Philadelphia International Championship just around the corner,” Team Type 1 Director Sportif Vassili Davidenko said. ““The guys raced well, covering moves and keeping things together. Our idea was to have this race come down to a sprint and have our sprinters be in position. At the end, it happened just like that.”

Air Force Cycling Classic



Winner Erica Allar (BMW-Bianchi) is flanked by Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Team Verducci Breakaway) on the left and third-place finisher Nicky Wangsgard (Colavita).
Photos by Steve Klein

I'm keeping an eye
on the Air Force Cycling Classic Saturday and Sunday in Clarendon and Crystal City. Here are the results from Saturday's Clarendon Cup.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Scarponi Back for Seconds - Stage 18 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Like a starving man who is set down in front of a table full of food, Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli ) did not need an excuse to come back for seconds. Scarponi proved to be the strongest of the remnants of a break that numbered as many as twenty-five at one point to take Stage 18 of the 100th Giro d’Italia. Felix Carendas (Barloworld) and Danny Pate (Team Garmin-Slipstream) would finish in second and third, respectively.

As I had mentioned previously after his victory on Stage 6, it has proved difficult to cheer for Scarponi, but I certainly wasn’t rooting against him either. Scarponi’s genuine joy after winning another Giro d’Italia stage perhaps speaks volumes over any of his past indiscretions. Repentance and redemption are, after all, part of the human condition.

Results
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Félix Cardenas (Col) Barloworld
3. Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

General Classification After Stage 18
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 19 - Avellino - Vesuvio, 164km
The third to last stage may well be the decider. After a stroll along the Amalfi Coast, the race heads up the infamous Mt. Vesuvius.

Franco Reigns – Stage 17 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

Any consternation emanating from the Liquigas camp leading up to Stage 17 of the 100th Giro d’Italia was put to rest as Franco Pellizotti led an Italian sweep of the day’s podium and literally climbed his way into third place on the General Classification (GC). Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) would finish in second and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini) in third.

On a day where the attacks came fast and furious on the final climb, Blockhaus, Pellizotti’s stamina and skill proved unmatched. Whether by design or in an attempt to grab the reigns of team leadership, Pellizotti’s victory served to momentarily soothe the boisterous tifosi whose grumblings over team tactics and leadership only grew louder as the race wore on; with many believing Liquigas was squandering any opportunity it had to win the race by not pulling for one man.

With both Pellizotti and Ivan Basso, the designated team leader of Liquigas heading into the race, now sitting third and fourth, respectively on the General Classification it may prove a tough pill to swallow for any Liquigas fan when imagining what might have been.

Results
1. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

A late attack by “the killer” garnered him some valuable seconds over Denis Menchov (Rabobank) who looked every part of the stoic champion shadowing his closest competitor.

General Classification After Stage 17
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 18 - Sulmona - Benevento, 182km
A stage that sets up for the sprinters turned out to be a breakaway's delight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heart of a Champion - Stage 16 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) was listed as one of the pre-race favorites, but it seemed more out of respect for his past accomplishments, which of course includes winning the 2008 Tour de France, rather than for his desire to win the 100th Giro d’Italia. After all, bigger fish, namely countryman Alberto Contador (Astana) and the Tour de France, are up the road.

But with the racing mindset that was fostered during his days riding under Bjarne Riis firmly entrenched, Sastre refused to bypass the opportunity to take another grand tour title. On the final climb of Stage 16 from Pergola to Monte Petrano, Sastre fully made his intentions known and put forth a vicious attack reminiscent of his Tour winning ride.

He would put time into the current leader on the General Classification, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), and pull himself up to third at the expense of Levi Leipheimer (Astana) who could not keep up with the accelerations on the climb. Menchov would take second on the stage, with his shadow, Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini) taking third.

Results
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 16
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale

Next: Stage 17 - Chieti - Blockhaus, 83km
It may only be 83km, but most of it is up hill.

Ilesic Caps Big Weekend For Team Type 1

Somerville, N.J. – Aldo Ino Ilesic’s third-place finish at Monday’s Lantus Tour of Somerville put the finishing touches on a successful weekend of bicycle racing for Team Type 1.

During four days of competition in and around Somerville, N.J., Team Type 1 scored three victories – including two by Development team rider Adam Driscoll – while earning six podium finishes.

The impressive results were particularly satisfying for sanofi-aventis, the team’s primary sponsor. Its U.S. headquarters are in nearby Bridgewater, N.J., and its long-acting insulin, Lantus, was branded as the title of the event that has been part of the American cycling scene for 66 years.


Ilesic led Team Type 1 to the finish line of the Kugler-Anderson Memorial, the 50-mile (80 km) men’s race that was won by Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light). Haedo scored his second straight victory at Somerville ahead of Jake Keough (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and a hard-charging Ilesic.

“With 300 meters to go, Colavita still had three guys up in front,” Ilesic said. “I started to sprint, but Haedo was just too fast today.

“I’m happy for the team and our sponsor, sanofi-aventis. They made a great event. We’re still a new team with new riders. We need to get a little more experience, but I’m confident for the upcoming races that we’ll get it to come together.”

Team Type 1 set up its sprint train by putting five riders at the head of the race on the penultimate lap, bringing loud cheers from the partisan crowd of sanofi-aventis employees and their families who were lining the 1.35-mile rectangular course in Downtown Somerville.

“We knew it was probably going to come down to a bunch sprint in the end,” Team Type 1 Director Sportif Vassili Davidenko said. “We may have gone a little too early in the sprint, but overall our guys did a great job. There were some really fast guys here and some very good teams.”

In addition to Ilesic’s third place finish – his second straight podium placing at a National Racing Calendar event – Team Type 1’s Ken Hanson finished sixth.

In the women’s 20-mile (32 km) Kugler Open, Kori Seehafer (not pictured) led Team Type 1 with a seventh-place finish as Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) scored her fourth victory (and second straight) in the event that is popularly referred to as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling.”


Driscoll’s wins came in Friday night’s Category III-IV Manville Madness criterium, the opening race of the Lantus Tour of Somerville series, and Sunday’s Bound Brook criterium. Matt Wilson earned the men’s professional team’s 18th win of the year the same afternoon by soloing away from a pair of breakaway companions late in the 40-mile (64 km) race.

Materials used for this post, courtesy of Team Type 1

Photo: Marco Quezada Photography

Wilson Solos To Win Bound Brook Criterium


Bound Brook, N.J.Matt Wilson of Team Type 1 slipped a pair of breakaway companions with two laps to go en route to a solo victory in Sunday’s Bound Brook Criterium.

Wilson’s win in the second-to-last event of the Lantus Tour of Somerville series was Team Type 1’s third victory of the Memorial Day weekend. Adam Driscoll, who has Type 1 diabetes, won the Category III-IV race Sunday, as well as Friday night’s Manville Madness criterium.

Lantus is a long-acting insulin manufactured by sanofi-aventis, Team Type 1’s primary sponsor that has its U.S. headquarters in nearby Bridgewater, N.J.

As rain began to fall in Bound Brook, N.J., Sunday afternoon, Wilson made his escape from the field with Nathaniel Ward (Spooky/NCC/Kenda) and Vincent Quirion (Garneau Club Chaussures). Fourteen laps remained in the 40-mile (64 km) race.

“As soon as it started raining, I decided I didn’t want to be in the bunch,” Wilson said. “It helps a breakaway a lot on a wet circuit in a criterium because you can pedal through the corners and get a good rhythm through the corners. The bunch is a bit more sketchy and erratic in the rain.”

As the trio increased its lead from a handful of seconds to half a minute, Wilson began sizing up his options to go after the win – his first since capturing the second stage of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic last July.

“I didn’t know the other two guys but I was feeling pretty strong out there,” the 2004 Australian national road champion said. “I was pretty confident I could do it.”

Team Type 1’s Aldo Ino Ilesic won the field sprint for fourth and teammate Ken Hanson, the 2008 U.S. elite criterium national champion, was fifth.

Both the Team Type 1 men’s and women’s professional teams will be in action Monday in the final event of the Lantus Tour of Somerville. The afternoon of races culminates with the 50-mile (80 km) Kugler-Anderson Memorial criterium, more popularly referred to as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling.” The 20-mile (32 km) Women's Kugler Open precedes the men’s race.

The 1.35-mile (2.1 km), four-corner criterium has been a fixture on the U.S. racing scene for more than 60 years. More than 20,000 people are expected to turn out to watch the event, which is part of the National Racing Calendar.

Materials used for this post, courtesy of Team Type 1

Photo: Iri Greco (BrakeThrough Media)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giro Stage 15 post-race: The longest, hardest day


lance and levi after stage 15 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Leonardo's Work of Art - Stage 15 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Another day, another breakaway. On a day which featured temperatures suitable for mid-summer rather than late spring, and a route with multiple climbs and a flat finish, a healthy group of 16 would survive until the final climb before being pared down to seven strong.

At the end of a long, hot, and grueling day, Leonardo Bertagnolli (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) would prove to be the most earnest and strongest. Serge Pauwels (Cervelo Test Team), who on the year has yet to see a break he doesn't like would slot into second, while Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia-Highroad) would come in third.

Results
1. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervelo Test Team
3. Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - Highroad

Mulitple attacks by a pair of former champions, Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and Stefan Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) on the final slopes failed to produce the desired result as the gruppo maglia rosa would evntually work their way back and finish with the same time.

General Classification After Stage 15
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 16 - Pergola - Monte Petrano, 237km
Another mountain-top finish would reveal the true contenders for the General Classification.

Galloping Gerrans - Stage 14 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

It seems a bit ludicrous on my part, standing at 5' 6", to refer to Simon Gerrans (Cervelo Test Team) as diminutive, but at 5' 7" Gerrans is one of the smaller riders in the professional peloton. But what the 29-year old Australian has lacked in stature, he has more than made up for in riding skill.

To date, Gerrans' most significant victory was on Stage 15 in the 2008 Tour de France, which he won after out-sprinting his breakaway partners. Gerrans would once again repeat the feat and add to his grand tour victory total by bagging the 172km Stage 14 from Campi Bisenzio to Bologna of the 100th Giro d'Italia. Rubens Bertogliati (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) would finish second and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - N.G.C.) would round out the podium.

Results
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervelo Test Team
2. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Although he remained in third, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) would lose time to both Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini).

General Classification After Stage 14
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 15 - May 24: Forlì - Faenza, 161km
A flat finish after several climbs sets up for another breakaway.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Lance and Levi Show

Livestrong.com has been providing video throughout the Giro d'Italia. This one, recorded from the back of the Astana bus on Friday, was fun, especially toward the end.


Lance and Levi Before Stage 13 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cavendish-ing It Out – Stage 13 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

After a grueling 60.6km Individual Time Trial on Thursday afternoon, the peloton used every bit of the 176km Stage 13 from Lido di Camaiore to Firenze as a reprieve.

The sprinters took full advantage of the relatively flat course as their relegation to the back of the peloton is more than a certainty with more big mountains on the horizon. The two dominant sprinters, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini), of the race renewed their burgeoning rivalry. Having learned from his mistake on Stage 2, the rider from the Isle of Man took out the sprint earlier and was never seriously challenged at the line, winning by about a bike length. Petacchi would hold on for second from the hard charging Allan Davis (Quick Step).

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step

General Classification After Stage 13
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 14 - Campi Bisenzio - Bologna (San Luca), 172km
A return to the mountains and an uphill finish can only mean one thing, another opportunity for “the killer.”

Mechov Unrelenting - Stage 12 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

There was a reason Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) had looked so dominant during the early going of the 100th Giro d'Italia, he had to be.

The Individual Time Trial, often referred to as the "Race of Truth," is the proverbial mirror that reveals any and all of a contender's flaws. There is no escaping it during a three week stage race. Those contenders who excel at the discipline are never out of running for the General Classification, while those who under perform in it often have to employ creative means to stay in contention.

Yesterday, Denis Menchov validated his role as Rabobank’s stage race leader and as a serious contender to wear the rose-colored tunic in Rome. He was the veritable picture of effort and concentration for an endurance athlete in covering the undulating 60.6Km distance in a time of 1.34.29.

Another one of the pre-race favorites, Levi Leipheimer, on the other hand, laid the foundation to become the first American since Andy Hampsten in 1988 to win the Tour of Italy. Perhaps Leipheimer’s greatest strength is the knowledge of who he is and who he isn’t as a rider. As such, he has let the race come to him rather than forcing the issue. With an ITT on the final day, the remainder of the course sets up beautifully for his skill set.

Results
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo

A reshuffling of the General Classification sees Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in the maglia rosa with DiLuca slipping only one place because of the lead he built up in the mountains.

General Classification After Stage 12
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 13 - Lido di Camaiore - Firenze, 176Km
A relatively flat transition stage provides the perfect respite after today's time trial and a return to the mountains on Stage 14.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy

When last we spoke with Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team), she had just returned from her Gold Medal performance at the Beijing Olympic Games. What was originally scheduled as a 15 minute interview, soon turned into an hour long discussion about her winning ride, her career, and the nature of Women’s cycling.

And though Kristin remains on top of her game, winning today’s 104Km Stage 5 in arguably the toughest race on the Women’s circuit, the Tour de l’Aude, throughout the course of the interview, she also revealed what truly excites her now in cycling.

“I have in my mind...to continue working with and having my little camps for women cyclists…What I’ve learned over the last 6 or 7 years, I would love to teach people. I still have a lot to share with people and especially within the US.”

As such, she has embarked on a new venture, the Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy.


“Hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong and the best coaches in women’s cycling, Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy is the premier race training opportunity in North America for female riders ages 15 - 18.”

The first camp, a Junior Development Camp sponsored by USA Cycling, starts on July 14th and runs until the 19th. To register, or for more information, visit the Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy website.

Photo: Leonard Basobas

Manxman Ups The Score – Stage 11 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

On paper, Stage 11 of the 100th Giro d’Italia looked to be your classic transition stage; a day where those in General Classification contention would be motivated to stay clean and upright, and where either sprinters’ teams would look to move forward or a long and protracted breakaway might occur. In actuality, we got all three.

The sponsors of the Spanish based continental team, Xacobeo-Galicia, had something to be proud of as three of their riders animated the day's events. Gustavo Cesar Veloso would make the initial selection of the day, a breakaway at the 65km mark with Cameron Meyer (Garmin - Slipstream), Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD) and Alessandro Donati (Acqua & Sapone), but a fairly attentive peloton would reel them in before lunch.

Xacobeo teammate, Vladimir Isaichev, would be the next to go off the front with a solo effort. Although the Russian would build a substantial lead of approximately 8 minutes, he would suffer the same fate as his predecessors.

The final Xacobeo-Galicia rider to throw caution to the wind was Marcos Garcia, who was quickly swallowed up by the highly motivated peloton at that juncture of the race.

Untimately, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia – Highroad) took the stage ahead of the ever-improving Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin – Slipstream) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini. Cavendish’s win ups his personal tally to two, while giving his team its 5th win during this historic Giro d’Italia.

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 11
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli

Next: Stage 12 - Individual Time Trial; Sestri Levante - Riomaggiore, 60.6km
Can the time Danilo DiLuca has banked in the first week of the 100th Giro d'Italia hold up to the first onslaught by the time trialists? Time, quite literally, will tell.

Vande Velde Injury Update

Christian Vande Velde continues his recovery as additional injuries surface


Christian Vande Velde (Team Garmin - Slipstream), who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia during stage three, continues to undergo medical evaluation and as anticipated, additional imaging studies have revealed the extent of his injuries. Conclusive results show that he sustained a total of six fractures, including three vertebrae fractures (spinous processes), a pelvic fracture and two rib fractures.

“Christian sustained a significant impact and the additional imaging results uncovered more fractures, which is not uncommon,” said team physician Prentice Steffen. “The good news is, we now know the extent of his injuries and are working with him on his recovery. He just needs to take it day by day.”

Vande Velde, who was going about 62 kilometers per hour when he crashed, remains cautiously optimistic: “I feel better every day,” he said. “I understand that it is going to take a lot of work to come back from this, but I’m feeling positive. It is too soon to say when I’ll be racing again but I am incredibly motivated by my family, my team and our supporters.”

Vande Velde will continue to undergo treatment at his home in Girona. Please check the Team Garmin-Slipstream Web site for continued updates on his progress.

Photo: Leonard Basobas (Vande Velde called to the line at Downers Grove)

Cold Blooded, DiLuca States His Case - Stage 10 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

On the designated Queen stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia, the cold blooded killer stood on his pedals and stated his case to a jury of his peers. Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) did not attempt to hide from his past. He boldly stated, without any remorse or feeling, and with the steely gaze to which we had all grown accustomed that what he was still capable of doing what he once did in 2007.

As the day wore on and the slopes kicked upward, DiLuca only seemed to grow more adamant in his argument and unleashed another vicious attack. The remaining jurors, all incredibly competent men in their own right, listened but simply had no answers.

In the end, DiLuca would have his day. But though his peers conceded the argument, they know opening salvos rarely determine the outcome of a three week case.

Results
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
3. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank

General Classification After Stage 10
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli

Next: Stage 11 - Torino - Arenzano (Genova), 214km
Your classic transition stage before a ITT. Look for the sprinters' teams to come forward or a long protracted breakaway.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Manxman Four Milan; Safety Dance - Stage 9 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Thwarted by LPR's Alessandro Petacchi during Stage 2, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia - Highroad) finally got it right and claimed Stage 9 of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Manxman bested Allan Davis (Quick Step) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) in what proved to be one of the most controversial endings to grand tour stage ever. His victory gave Team Columbia - Highroad its fourth win overall, one more than DiLuca's LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini team to close out the first week of the three week race.

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

General Classification After Stage 9
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Is It Safe To Dance
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine

The stage billed as the Milano Show was to be one of the more memorable of the 100th Giro d'Italia. And while it proved to be newsworthy, it wasn't exactly what the organizers had hoped.

Riders, en masse, predetermined that it wasn't safe to "dance" on the streets of downtown Milano and effectively neutralized the race, saddling up at top speed for only the final kilometers, unbeknownst to race organizers and the rabid onlooking tifosi.

The reported ring leader of the protest was Lance Armstrong, who was already at odds with the race's organizers and warranted no further favors for his actions.

Whether this was simply a power play by Armstrong, signaling that the patron of the peloton has indeed returned, or riders finally exercising their collective muscle as some de facto union, it is difficult to say. But the infuriated organizers had to know this type of action was a possibility.

Cycling history is littered with stories of riders crashing horrifically on Italian streets, in some of their biggest races (Milano-San Remo comes to mind), because of unsafe conditions that at times have included choosing incredibly tight cornered parcours and not clearing the roads of parked cars.

Next: Rest Day, Monday, May 18th; Stage 10 - Cuneo - Pinerolo, 262Km; Tuesday, May 19th
Designated at the Queen stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia, the stage includes climbs up the venerable Sestrière and the Colle del Monginevro. Although the finish comes well after the final day's climb, look for a possible shake up in the General Classification order.

Columbia's Belarusian Horse - Stage 8 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

With two riders, Thomas Lövkvist and Michael Rogers, in the top five of the General Classification, a Team Time Trial win on Stage 1, another victory on Stage 7 (Edvald Boasson Hagen), two second places (Stage 2 & 6), and a third place finish on Stage 5 (Thomas Lövkvist), Team Columbia - Highroad has already experienced a dearth of success at the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Kanstantsin Siutsou's win on Stage 8 from Morbegno to Bergamo made it an embarrassment of riches for the American team based out of San Luis Obispo, California. The 26-year old from Belarus would solo to victory ahead of his teammate, Boasson Hagen, and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) for Columbia's third stage win overall, and two consecutively.

Results
1. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 8
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 9 - Milano Show 100, 165km
Usually the finishing city for the Giro d'Italia, Milano provided some fireworks of a different kind.

Norway's Other Boss - Stage 7 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

It only seemed fitting that a stage that began in the Austrian town of Innsbruck, which twice hosted Winter Olympic Games, would have as its victor a Norwegian. The country that has produced Winter Olympic greats such as Johann Olav Koss and Bjørn Dæhlie, now boasts a pair of accomplished cyclists, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia-Highroad).

Although Hushovd is the better known and more decorated of the two, Boasson Hagen can now boast of a Giro d'Italia stage victory as he took home the 244km Stage 7 from Innsbruck to Chiavenna. Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took second and Pavel Brutt (Team Katusha) rounded out the podium.

The 22-year old from Lillehammer, a former two-time Norwegian Time Trial Champion, seems to have arrived early for Bob Stapleton's bunch. After having won this year's Gent-Wevelgem, he most certainly will be looked to in the Classics in the near future.

Results
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
3. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha

The top ten in the General Classification remained unchanged.

General Classification After Stage 7
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 8 - Morbegno - Bergamo, 209km
What looked like a classic breakaway stage turned out to be just that.

Measured Redemption, Scarponi Solos- Stage 6 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli ) took the victory in Stage 6 of the 100th Giro d'Italia well ahead of Team Columbia - Highroad's Edvald Boasson Hagen and a rejuvenated Allan Davis (Quick Step).

But seeing Scarponi cross the finish line to take the monstrously long stage into Austria was somewhat bittersweet. The self-confessed client of Operacion Puerto's Dr. Fuentes, Scarponi had just accomplished what few ever had; made it all the way back from the required two year doping suspension to not only compete at the highest level of cycling but also to take a stage in one of it's greatest races.

But that, unfortunately, is the current and confusing nature of our sport. Life, is at best gray. But, the introduction of performance enhancers in sport has shown us that even gray has different shades. Why are Alessandro Petacchi's recent victories extolled, while Scarponi's win begs for further investigation?

Scarponi's victory should be viewed as a sort of redemption, but because of the rampant and varying degrees by which riders have attempted to cheat in cycling's past, we, as fans, are left in a state of ambiguity, deciphering who to believe in and when to believe in them. Superlatives, once thrown out with excited regularity, now should be withheld until further testing.

Results
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step

General Classification After Stage 6
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 7 - Innsbruck (Aut) - Chiavenna, 244km
On a stage that began in the Austrian town that twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games, it was only fitting for a Scandinavian to take the win.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Russian Roulette - Stage 5 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would lead a host of favorites to the finish line at the Alpe di Siusi in taking the Stage 5 victory of the 100th Giro d'Italia. Both Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini), and Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) would confirm their form and their place among the favorites to win this year's race by coming in second and third, respectively on the day.

The 31-year old Russian, an all-rounder who climbs and time trials well, is a perennial favorite to win any of the grand tour races. But for the most part, his accomplishments have largely gone unnoticed. A legitimate two-time winner of the Vuelta a España, the Rabobank leader often gets slotted into the second tier of favorites when the Tour de France rolls around. Depending on his season's goals and aspirations, Menchov possesses enough talent and determination to take the trophy in Rome. If, however, his eyes are on the Tour, then his name will slide quickly down the General Classification.

Results
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

As a result of his second place finish, Danilo DiLuca pulled on the maglia rosa for the first time this year.

General Classification After Stage 5
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

What's In A Name
For the boys of Astana, the name on the front of the jersey has nothing to do with the names on the back (that is if cyclists had their last names printed on their backs to identify themselves). In solidarity and in a sign of protest for not being paid for the better part of this year's cycling season, the entire Astana team rode the stage sans their main sponsor's logo anywhere on their person.

The missing payments could have serious implications for the team moving forward on the season as the UCI has suspended teams with unstable management in the past. I doubt anything or anyone could prevent arguably the greatest assembled stage race team from competing in the Tour de France and beyond, but a May 31st deadline for the riders to receive some payment looms large.

Most likely, another as yet to be named sponsor(s) will keep Armstrong, Contador, and Leipheimer riding well into the 2009 season.

Next: Stage 6 - Bressanone/Brixen - Mayrhofen (Aut), 248km
A monster of a stage in length looked to produce another sprint finish, but several riders had other thoughts in mind.

The Italian Job, Killer Makes Three - Stage 4 Giro d'Italia

Lance Armstrong once said that in order to win a race one must eventually come to the table and slam down their fist. Although the 100th Giro d'Italia was only 4 days old, "Il Killer di Spoltore," the cold-blooded killer, Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) came to the table on Stage 4 and clearly made his intentions known. His victory made it three in a row for the LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini team.

The 2007 Giro d'Italia champion seemed to capture the hearts and minds of his competitors with his relentless attacking style on the first mountain stage of this year's Giro. He would lead an Italian sweep of the podium with Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) coming in second, and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) taking third.

When DiLuca is on form, his accelerations on the slopes are as deadly has his teammate's, Alessandro Petacchi, are on the flats. If there were any questions as to whether DiLuca was a serious contender to win the Giro, he certainly dispelled any such notion.

Results
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas

Despite a resounding victory, DiLuca would slot into second on the General Classification with Thomas Lövkvist being the latest Columbia rider to benefit from their sterling Team Time Trial ride.

General Classification After Stage 4
1. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
6. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
8. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team

Next: Stage 5 - San Martino Di Castrozza - Alpe di Siusi, 125 km
Another day in the mountains brought out some of the other favorites who either held something back on Stage 4 or are still working themselves into form.

Return Flight, Ale-Jet Doubles - Stage 3 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

As if to prove his Stage 2 victory was no fluke, Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) once again showed the way to the finish line at the 100th Giro d'Italia. His victory marked his 21st (five stage wins from the 2007 Giro d'Italia were forfeited due to a non-negative for the asthma medicine, Salbutamol) Giro d'Italia career win.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - NGC) would round out the day's podium.

In this hypersensitive world of doping and discovering the next drug cheat, it would be easy to dismiss the recent accomplishments of the man known as Ale-Jet simply as a result of his return to or use of a new and undetectable performance enhancer; once a drug cheat always a drug cheat. And while my own views on the subject have definitely hardened over the years because of the never ending cavalcade of doping news stories, it would be equally unjust not to give credit when credit is due.

Peatcchi's back-to-back victories signal a return to a previous version of his dominant self. Now whether it is good enough to elevate him back into the pantheon of the greatest sprinters ever remains to be seen. In his time away from the spotlight, younger riders have amply picked up the speed mantle and delivered it with impressive results. But like his predecessor, Mario Cipollini, it would be a great mistake to underestimate Petacchi's sprinting prowess in the grand tour he has virtually owned.

Results
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

General Classification After Stage 3
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
5. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
6. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
7. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
9. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 4 - Padova - San Martino di Castrozza, 162km
The Giro d'Italia has played second fiddle to the Tour de France for a number of years, but the organizer's creativeness in choosing the parcours in recent years has certainly brought the race back into the forefront. The first mountain stage comes after only two relatively flat stages.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Olds Wins, Team Type 1’s Hanley Seriously Injured In Tulsa Pile-Up

Tulsa, Okla.Monique Hanley fractured three vertebrae and dislocated her shoulder Saturday during the Brady Village Criterium on the second day of the Tulsa Tough cycling series in Tulsa, Okla.

The Team Type 1 rider was one of at least three dozen riders who were involved a crash early on in the women’s professional race.

“I had nowhere to go but to be catapulted,” Hanley said.

The Australian has full range of movement in her arms and legs, Team Type 1 Team Director Jack Seehafer said.

“That’s the good news,” he said. “But her dislocated shoulder will require surgery,”

In addition to her broken bones, Hanley also has scrapes on her back, a bloody knee, swollen wrist and sore neck.

Even eventual race winner Shelley Olds (PROMAN Women's Cycling Team) was caught up in the crash.


“I’ve never been in that big of a pile up,” Olds told the Tulsa World newspaper.

Hanley is one of two women with Type 1 diabetes on the Team Type 1 professional women’s squad. The 31-year-old was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 19 but quickly took up cycling as a way to stay active. She twice was a part of Team Type 1’s eight-rider squad for the Race Across America and last year won a bronze medal at the Australian National Track Championships.

Konovalovas Takes Rome, Menchov Italy - Stage 21 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

With their landmark destination, the Colosseum, in the background of the time trial start house, the remaining gladiators of the 100th Giro d'Italia set out on a 14.4km sojourn around the Eternal City to determine a champion.

What many expected to be one final shootout, similar to the finish of the 1989 Tour de France that saw Greg Lemond counting down the seconds as a fatiguing Lauren Fignon barreled toward the line, turned out to be more like water pistol fight as only one of the General Classification contenders finished in the top ten.

Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo Test Team) wearing the colors of the Lithuanian Time Trial Champion, would edge out Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream) by 1 second and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia - Highroad) by 7 seconds for victory on the final stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.


Despite a crash in the final kilometers, Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would take tenth on the day and the final maglia rosa as the 2009 Giro d'Italia Champion. It is the Russian's third Grand Tour title, having won the Vuelta a Espana in 2005 and 2007.

Results
1. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Cervelo Test Team
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad


Final General Classification Standings
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Other Notables
12 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
19 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
24 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
63 Jason McCartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank
78 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
111 Ted King (USA) Cervelo Test Team
144 Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
152 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

Other Jersey Winners
maglia ciclamino (points) - Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
maglia verde (KOM) - Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
maglia bianca (best young rider) - Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step

Classic Finish, Gilbert Triumphs – Stage 20 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

With a showdown at the Colosseum to follow, Stage 20 was any ones to take.

In the end, Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto) found the parcours suited to his Classics style and claimed the stage over Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) and Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo.

Results
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Silence-Lotto
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo

The General Classification stayed as is, which can only mean one thing headed into the finale; this is Denis Menchov's (Rabobank) title to lose.

General Classification After Stage 20
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 21 - Individual Time Trial, Roma, 14.4km
A quick trip around the Eternal City ends where gladiators once did battle, at the Colosseum.

Sprightly Sastre Nimble Up Vesuvius – Stage 19 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

After his proclamation to fight for the title, the reigning Tour de France Champion's legs misfired on Stage 17 up Blockhaus. But Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) would once again show his mettle as a climber on the final mountain stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

With only a transition stage and the final time trial to go, Stage 19 would be the final attempt for the climber/contenders to state their case for the overall. As such, the attacks came quickly once the riders reached the slopes of the infamous Mt. Vesuvius.

Ivan Basso
(Liquigas) and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) were the first to have a go. But neither could maintain their torrid pace. The expected battle for the General Classification also fell short as the top three contenders marked each other all the way up the dormant volcano.

Sastre would be first to summit the historic climb, which had only been used two other times in the race's history. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) would take second, and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) third.

Results
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

For his efforts, Sastre would move up a spot to fourth overall.

General Classification After Stage 19
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 20 - Napoli - Anagni, 203km
Dare I say it...the penultimate stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Team Type 1’s Hanson Runner-Up at Clarendon Cup

Arlington, Va. – Ken Hanson of Team Type 1 nearly spoiled the victory celebration by Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) Saturday at the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup.

Hanson overcame poor positioning out of the final turn to come within inches of overtaking Borrajo at the finish of the 100-lap race in Arlington, Va. Karl Menzies (OUCH presented by Maxxis) finished third.

“It was a total fight to get on Barrajo’s wheel because he had a teammate leading him out,” Hanson said. “I planned to sprint back onto his wheel before the second-to-last corner, but I got pushed out and had to slow down to avoid a crash. It was frustrating to lose by an inch or two, especially since I came out of the last corner behind so many people.”

Hanson was part of an eight-man breakaway that absorbed Chad Gerlach (Amore & Vita McDonald’s) with about 35 laps to go and held off the field to the finish. Up until that point, it appeared Gerlach was going to be the spoiler, soloing off the front early on and coming within 14 seconds of lapping the field near the halfway point.

“Guys started attacking and we brought the gap down, but then a few laps later, he (Gerlach) was about to lap us again,” Hanson said.

When a break that had two riders each from Colavita-Sutter Home and Kelly Benefits Strategies represented – along with one from Rock Racing and Menzies – it was Hanson’s teammate, Shawn Milne, who came up big at the right time. Milne turned himself inside out for two laps to tow the reigning elite national criterium champion up to the six escapees, who were closing in fast on Gerlach.

“Shawn did a great job to get me up there and look after me,” Hanson said. “I think tomorrow we have a good chance and I’m definitely motivated to take a win home for the team.”

Sunday’s race is the Air Force Cycling Classic in Crystal City, Va., a 109.2-mile (175 km) circuit race.

Hanson’s runner-up finish at the National Racing Calendar event follows a victory by Aldo Ino Ilesic at Wednesday night’s Ricola Twilight Grand Prix in Basking Ridge, N.J.

“The guys are really coming onto form at the right time, with the Philadelphia International Championship just around the corner,” Team Type 1 Director Sportif Vassili Davidenko said. ““The guys raced well, covering moves and keeping things together. Our idea was to have this race come down to a sprint and have our sprinters be in position. At the end, it happened just like that.”

Air Force Cycling Classic



Winner Erica Allar (BMW-Bianchi) is flanked by Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Team Verducci Breakaway) on the left and third-place finisher Nicky Wangsgard (Colavita).
Photos by Steve Klein

I'm keeping an eye
on the Air Force Cycling Classic Saturday and Sunday in Clarendon and Crystal City. Here are the results from Saturday's Clarendon Cup.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Scarponi Back for Seconds - Stage 18 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Like a starving man who is set down in front of a table full of food, Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli ) did not need an excuse to come back for seconds. Scarponi proved to be the strongest of the remnants of a break that numbered as many as twenty-five at one point to take Stage 18 of the 100th Giro d’Italia. Felix Carendas (Barloworld) and Danny Pate (Team Garmin-Slipstream) would finish in second and third, respectively.

As I had mentioned previously after his victory on Stage 6, it has proved difficult to cheer for Scarponi, but I certainly wasn’t rooting against him either. Scarponi’s genuine joy after winning another Giro d’Italia stage perhaps speaks volumes over any of his past indiscretions. Repentance and redemption are, after all, part of the human condition.

Results
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Félix Cardenas (Col) Barloworld
3. Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

General Classification After Stage 18
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 19 - Avellino - Vesuvio, 164km
The third to last stage may well be the decider. After a stroll along the Amalfi Coast, the race heads up the infamous Mt. Vesuvius.

Franco Reigns – Stage 17 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

Any consternation emanating from the Liquigas camp leading up to Stage 17 of the 100th Giro d’Italia was put to rest as Franco Pellizotti led an Italian sweep of the day’s podium and literally climbed his way into third place on the General Classification (GC). Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) would finish in second and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini) in third.

On a day where the attacks came fast and furious on the final climb, Blockhaus, Pellizotti’s stamina and skill proved unmatched. Whether by design or in an attempt to grab the reigns of team leadership, Pellizotti’s victory served to momentarily soothe the boisterous tifosi whose grumblings over team tactics and leadership only grew louder as the race wore on; with many believing Liquigas was squandering any opportunity it had to win the race by not pulling for one man.

With both Pellizotti and Ivan Basso, the designated team leader of Liquigas heading into the race, now sitting third and fourth, respectively on the General Classification it may prove a tough pill to swallow for any Liquigas fan when imagining what might have been.

Results
1. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

A late attack by “the killer” garnered him some valuable seconds over Denis Menchov (Rabobank) who looked every part of the stoic champion shadowing his closest competitor.

General Classification After Stage 17
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 18 - Sulmona - Benevento, 182km
A stage that sets up for the sprinters turned out to be a breakaway's delight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Heart of a Champion - Stage 16 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) was listed as one of the pre-race favorites, but it seemed more out of respect for his past accomplishments, which of course includes winning the 2008 Tour de France, rather than for his desire to win the 100th Giro d’Italia. After all, bigger fish, namely countryman Alberto Contador (Astana) and the Tour de France, are up the road.

But with the racing mindset that was fostered during his days riding under Bjarne Riis firmly entrenched, Sastre refused to bypass the opportunity to take another grand tour title. On the final climb of Stage 16 from Pergola to Monte Petrano, Sastre fully made his intentions known and put forth a vicious attack reminiscent of his Tour winning ride.

He would put time into the current leader on the General Classification, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), and pull himself up to third at the expense of Levi Leipheimer (Astana) who could not keep up with the accelerations on the climb. Menchov would take second on the stage, with his shadow, Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini) taking third.

Results
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 16
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale

Next: Stage 17 - Chieti - Blockhaus, 83km
It may only be 83km, but most of it is up hill.

Ilesic Caps Big Weekend For Team Type 1

Somerville, N.J. – Aldo Ino Ilesic’s third-place finish at Monday’s Lantus Tour of Somerville put the finishing touches on a successful weekend of bicycle racing for Team Type 1.

During four days of competition in and around Somerville, N.J., Team Type 1 scored three victories – including two by Development team rider Adam Driscoll – while earning six podium finishes.

The impressive results were particularly satisfying for sanofi-aventis, the team’s primary sponsor. Its U.S. headquarters are in nearby Bridgewater, N.J., and its long-acting insulin, Lantus, was branded as the title of the event that has been part of the American cycling scene for 66 years.


Ilesic led Team Type 1 to the finish line of the Kugler-Anderson Memorial, the 50-mile (80 km) men’s race that was won by Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light). Haedo scored his second straight victory at Somerville ahead of Jake Keough (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and a hard-charging Ilesic.

“With 300 meters to go, Colavita still had three guys up in front,” Ilesic said. “I started to sprint, but Haedo was just too fast today.

“I’m happy for the team and our sponsor, sanofi-aventis. They made a great event. We’re still a new team with new riders. We need to get a little more experience, but I’m confident for the upcoming races that we’ll get it to come together.”

Team Type 1 set up its sprint train by putting five riders at the head of the race on the penultimate lap, bringing loud cheers from the partisan crowd of sanofi-aventis employees and their families who were lining the 1.35-mile rectangular course in Downtown Somerville.

“We knew it was probably going to come down to a bunch sprint in the end,” Team Type 1 Director Sportif Vassili Davidenko said. “We may have gone a little too early in the sprint, but overall our guys did a great job. There were some really fast guys here and some very good teams.”

In addition to Ilesic’s third place finish – his second straight podium placing at a National Racing Calendar event – Team Type 1’s Ken Hanson finished sixth.

In the women’s 20-mile (32 km) Kugler Open, Kori Seehafer (not pictured) led Team Type 1 with a seventh-place finish as Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) scored her fourth victory (and second straight) in the event that is popularly referred to as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling.”


Driscoll’s wins came in Friday night’s Category III-IV Manville Madness criterium, the opening race of the Lantus Tour of Somerville series, and Sunday’s Bound Brook criterium. Matt Wilson earned the men’s professional team’s 18th win of the year the same afternoon by soloing away from a pair of breakaway companions late in the 40-mile (64 km) race.

Materials used for this post, courtesy of Team Type 1

Photo: Marco Quezada Photography

Wilson Solos To Win Bound Brook Criterium


Bound Brook, N.J.Matt Wilson of Team Type 1 slipped a pair of breakaway companions with two laps to go en route to a solo victory in Sunday’s Bound Brook Criterium.

Wilson’s win in the second-to-last event of the Lantus Tour of Somerville series was Team Type 1’s third victory of the Memorial Day weekend. Adam Driscoll, who has Type 1 diabetes, won the Category III-IV race Sunday, as well as Friday night’s Manville Madness criterium.

Lantus is a long-acting insulin manufactured by sanofi-aventis, Team Type 1’s primary sponsor that has its U.S. headquarters in nearby Bridgewater, N.J.

As rain began to fall in Bound Brook, N.J., Sunday afternoon, Wilson made his escape from the field with Nathaniel Ward (Spooky/NCC/Kenda) and Vincent Quirion (Garneau Club Chaussures). Fourteen laps remained in the 40-mile (64 km) race.

“As soon as it started raining, I decided I didn’t want to be in the bunch,” Wilson said. “It helps a breakaway a lot on a wet circuit in a criterium because you can pedal through the corners and get a good rhythm through the corners. The bunch is a bit more sketchy and erratic in the rain.”

As the trio increased its lead from a handful of seconds to half a minute, Wilson began sizing up his options to go after the win – his first since capturing the second stage of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic last July.

“I didn’t know the other two guys but I was feeling pretty strong out there,” the 2004 Australian national road champion said. “I was pretty confident I could do it.”

Team Type 1’s Aldo Ino Ilesic won the field sprint for fourth and teammate Ken Hanson, the 2008 U.S. elite criterium national champion, was fifth.

Both the Team Type 1 men’s and women’s professional teams will be in action Monday in the final event of the Lantus Tour of Somerville. The afternoon of races culminates with the 50-mile (80 km) Kugler-Anderson Memorial criterium, more popularly referred to as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling.” The 20-mile (32 km) Women's Kugler Open precedes the men’s race.

The 1.35-mile (2.1 km), four-corner criterium has been a fixture on the U.S. racing scene for more than 60 years. More than 20,000 people are expected to turn out to watch the event, which is part of the National Racing Calendar.

Materials used for this post, courtesy of Team Type 1

Photo: Iri Greco (BrakeThrough Media)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giro Stage 15 post-race: The longest, hardest day


lance and levi after stage 15 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Leonardo's Work of Art - Stage 15 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Another day, another breakaway. On a day which featured temperatures suitable for mid-summer rather than late spring, and a route with multiple climbs and a flat finish, a healthy group of 16 would survive until the final climb before being pared down to seven strong.

At the end of a long, hot, and grueling day, Leonardo Bertagnolli (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) would prove to be the most earnest and strongest. Serge Pauwels (Cervelo Test Team), who on the year has yet to see a break he doesn't like would slot into second, while Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia-Highroad) would come in third.

Results
1. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervelo Test Team
3. Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - Highroad

Mulitple attacks by a pair of former champions, Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and Stefan Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) on the final slopes failed to produce the desired result as the gruppo maglia rosa would evntually work their way back and finish with the same time.

General Classification After Stage 15
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 16 - Pergola - Monte Petrano, 237km
Another mountain-top finish would reveal the true contenders for the General Classification.

Galloping Gerrans - Stage 14 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

It seems a bit ludicrous on my part, standing at 5' 6", to refer to Simon Gerrans (Cervelo Test Team) as diminutive, but at 5' 7" Gerrans is one of the smaller riders in the professional peloton. But what the 29-year old Australian has lacked in stature, he has more than made up for in riding skill.

To date, Gerrans' most significant victory was on Stage 15 in the 2008 Tour de France, which he won after out-sprinting his breakaway partners. Gerrans would once again repeat the feat and add to his grand tour victory total by bagging the 172km Stage 14 from Campi Bisenzio to Bologna of the 100th Giro d'Italia. Rubens Bertogliati (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) would finish second and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - N.G.C.) would round out the podium.

Results
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervelo Test Team
2. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Although he remained in third, Levi Leipheimer (Astana) would lose time to both Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini).

General Classification After Stage 14
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 15 - May 24: Forlì - Faenza, 161km
A flat finish after several climbs sets up for another breakaway.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Lance and Levi Show

Livestrong.com has been providing video throughout the Giro d'Italia. This one, recorded from the back of the Astana bus on Friday, was fun, especially toward the end.


Lance and Levi Before Stage 13 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cavendish-ing It Out – Stage 13 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

After a grueling 60.6km Individual Time Trial on Thursday afternoon, the peloton used every bit of the 176km Stage 13 from Lido di Camaiore to Firenze as a reprieve.

The sprinters took full advantage of the relatively flat course as their relegation to the back of the peloton is more than a certainty with more big mountains on the horizon. The two dominant sprinters, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini), of the race renewed their burgeoning rivalry. Having learned from his mistake on Stage 2, the rider from the Isle of Man took out the sprint earlier and was never seriously challenged at the line, winning by about a bike length. Petacchi would hold on for second from the hard charging Allan Davis (Quick Step).

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step

General Classification After Stage 13
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 14 - Campi Bisenzio - Bologna (San Luca), 172km
A return to the mountains and an uphill finish can only mean one thing, another opportunity for “the killer.”

Mechov Unrelenting - Stage 12 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

There was a reason Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) had looked so dominant during the early going of the 100th Giro d'Italia, he had to be.

The Individual Time Trial, often referred to as the "Race of Truth," is the proverbial mirror that reveals any and all of a contender's flaws. There is no escaping it during a three week stage race. Those contenders who excel at the discipline are never out of running for the General Classification, while those who under perform in it often have to employ creative means to stay in contention.

Yesterday, Denis Menchov validated his role as Rabobank’s stage race leader and as a serious contender to wear the rose-colored tunic in Rome. He was the veritable picture of effort and concentration for an endurance athlete in covering the undulating 60.6Km distance in a time of 1.34.29.

Another one of the pre-race favorites, Levi Leipheimer, on the other hand, laid the foundation to become the first American since Andy Hampsten in 1988 to win the Tour of Italy. Perhaps Leipheimer’s greatest strength is the knowledge of who he is and who he isn’t as a rider. As such, he has let the race come to him rather than forcing the issue. With an ITT on the final day, the remainder of the course sets up beautifully for his skill set.

Results
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
3. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo

A reshuffling of the General Classification sees Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in the maglia rosa with DiLuca slipping only one place because of the lead he built up in the mountains.

General Classification After Stage 12
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

Next: Stage 13 - Lido di Camaiore - Firenze, 176Km
A relatively flat transition stage provides the perfect respite after today's time trial and a return to the mountains on Stage 14.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy

When last we spoke with Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team), she had just returned from her Gold Medal performance at the Beijing Olympic Games. What was originally scheduled as a 15 minute interview, soon turned into an hour long discussion about her winning ride, her career, and the nature of Women’s cycling.

And though Kristin remains on top of her game, winning today’s 104Km Stage 5 in arguably the toughest race on the Women’s circuit, the Tour de l’Aude, throughout the course of the interview, she also revealed what truly excites her now in cycling.

“I have in my mind...to continue working with and having my little camps for women cyclists…What I’ve learned over the last 6 or 7 years, I would love to teach people. I still have a lot to share with people and especially within the US.”

As such, she has embarked on a new venture, the Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy.


“Hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong and the best coaches in women’s cycling, Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy is the premier race training opportunity in North America for female riders ages 15 - 18.”

The first camp, a Junior Development Camp sponsored by USA Cycling, starts on July 14th and runs until the 19th. To register, or for more information, visit the Kristin Armstrong Cycling Academy website.

Photo: Leonard Basobas

Manxman Ups The Score – Stage 11 Giro d’Italia Centoanni

On paper, Stage 11 of the 100th Giro d’Italia looked to be your classic transition stage; a day where those in General Classification contention would be motivated to stay clean and upright, and where either sprinters’ teams would look to move forward or a long and protracted breakaway might occur. In actuality, we got all three.

The sponsors of the Spanish based continental team, Xacobeo-Galicia, had something to be proud of as three of their riders animated the day's events. Gustavo Cesar Veloso would make the initial selection of the day, a breakaway at the 65km mark with Cameron Meyer (Garmin - Slipstream), Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD) and Alessandro Donati (Acqua & Sapone), but a fairly attentive peloton would reel them in before lunch.

Xacobeo teammate, Vladimir Isaichev, would be the next to go off the front with a solo effort. Although the Russian would build a substantial lead of approximately 8 minutes, he would suffer the same fate as his predecessors.

The final Xacobeo-Galicia rider to throw caution to the wind was Marcos Garcia, who was quickly swallowed up by the highly motivated peloton at that juncture of the race.

Untimately, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia – Highroad) took the stage ahead of the ever-improving Tyler Farrar (Team Garmin – Slipstream) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes – Farnese Vini. Cavendish’s win ups his personal tally to two, while giving his team its 5th win during this historic Giro d’Italia.

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 11
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli

Next: Stage 12 - Individual Time Trial; Sestri Levante - Riomaggiore, 60.6km
Can the time Danilo DiLuca has banked in the first week of the 100th Giro d'Italia hold up to the first onslaught by the time trialists? Time, quite literally, will tell.

Vande Velde Injury Update

Christian Vande Velde continues his recovery as additional injuries surface


Christian Vande Velde (Team Garmin - Slipstream), who crashed out of the Giro d’Italia during stage three, continues to undergo medical evaluation and as anticipated, additional imaging studies have revealed the extent of his injuries. Conclusive results show that he sustained a total of six fractures, including three vertebrae fractures (spinous processes), a pelvic fracture and two rib fractures.

“Christian sustained a significant impact and the additional imaging results uncovered more fractures, which is not uncommon,” said team physician Prentice Steffen. “The good news is, we now know the extent of his injuries and are working with him on his recovery. He just needs to take it day by day.”

Vande Velde, who was going about 62 kilometers per hour when he crashed, remains cautiously optimistic: “I feel better every day,” he said. “I understand that it is going to take a lot of work to come back from this, but I’m feeling positive. It is too soon to say when I’ll be racing again but I am incredibly motivated by my family, my team and our supporters.”

Vande Velde will continue to undergo treatment at his home in Girona. Please check the Team Garmin-Slipstream Web site for continued updates on his progress.

Photo: Leonard Basobas (Vande Velde called to the line at Downers Grove)

Cold Blooded, DiLuca States His Case - Stage 10 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

On the designated Queen stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia, the cold blooded killer stood on his pedals and stated his case to a jury of his peers. Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) did not attempt to hide from his past. He boldly stated, without any remorse or feeling, and with the steely gaze to which we had all grown accustomed that what he was still capable of doing what he once did in 2007.

As the day wore on and the slopes kicked upward, DiLuca only seemed to grow more adamant in his argument and unleashed another vicious attack. The remaining jurors, all incredibly competent men in their own right, listened but simply had no answers.

In the end, DiLuca would have his day. But though his peers conceded the argument, they know opening salvos rarely determine the outcome of a three week case.

Results
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
3. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank

General Classification After Stage 10
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
8. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
9. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli

Next: Stage 11 - Torino - Arenzano (Genova), 214km
Your classic transition stage before a ITT. Look for the sprinters' teams to come forward or a long protracted breakaway.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Manxman Four Milan; Safety Dance - Stage 9 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Thwarted by LPR's Alessandro Petacchi during Stage 2, Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia - Highroad) finally got it right and claimed Stage 9 of the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Manxman bested Allan Davis (Quick Step) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) in what proved to be one of the most controversial endings to grand tour stage ever. His victory gave Team Columbia - Highroad its fourth win overall, one more than DiLuca's LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini team to close out the first week of the three week race.

Results
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream

General Classification After Stage 9
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Is It Safe To Dance
We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine

The stage billed as the Milano Show was to be one of the more memorable of the 100th Giro d'Italia. And while it proved to be newsworthy, it wasn't exactly what the organizers had hoped.

Riders, en masse, predetermined that it wasn't safe to "dance" on the streets of downtown Milano and effectively neutralized the race, saddling up at top speed for only the final kilometers, unbeknownst to race organizers and the rabid onlooking tifosi.

The reported ring leader of the protest was Lance Armstrong, who was already at odds with the race's organizers and warranted no further favors for his actions.

Whether this was simply a power play by Armstrong, signaling that the patron of the peloton has indeed returned, or riders finally exercising their collective muscle as some de facto union, it is difficult to say. But the infuriated organizers had to know this type of action was a possibility.

Cycling history is littered with stories of riders crashing horrifically on Italian streets, in some of their biggest races (Milano-San Remo comes to mind), because of unsafe conditions that at times have included choosing incredibly tight cornered parcours and not clearing the roads of parked cars.

Next: Rest Day, Monday, May 18th; Stage 10 - Cuneo - Pinerolo, 262Km; Tuesday, May 19th
Designated at the Queen stage of the 100th Giro d'Italia, the stage includes climbs up the venerable Sestrière and the Colle del Monginevro. Although the finish comes well after the final day's climb, look for a possible shake up in the General Classification order.

Columbia's Belarusian Horse - Stage 8 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

With two riders, Thomas Lövkvist and Michael Rogers, in the top five of the General Classification, a Team Time Trial win on Stage 1, another victory on Stage 7 (Edvald Boasson Hagen), two second places (Stage 2 & 6), and a third place finish on Stage 5 (Thomas Lövkvist), Team Columbia - Highroad has already experienced a dearth of success at the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Kanstantsin Siutsou's win on Stage 8 from Morbegno to Bergamo made it an embarrassment of riches for the American team based out of San Luis Obispo, California. The 26-year old from Belarus would solo to victory ahead of his teammate, Boasson Hagen, and Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) for Columbia's third stage win overall, and two consecutively.

Results
1. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini

General Classification After Stage 8
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 9 - Milano Show 100, 165km
Usually the finishing city for the Giro d'Italia, Milano provided some fireworks of a different kind.

Norway's Other Boss - Stage 7 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

It only seemed fitting that a stage that began in the Austrian town of Innsbruck, which twice hosted Winter Olympic Games, would have as its victor a Norwegian. The country that has produced Winter Olympic greats such as Johann Olav Koss and Bjørn Dæhlie, now boasts a pair of accomplished cyclists, Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia-Highroad).

Although Hushovd is the better known and more decorated of the two, Boasson Hagen can now boast of a Giro d'Italia stage victory as he took home the 244km Stage 7 from Innsbruck to Chiavenna. Barloworld's Robbie Hunter took second and Pavel Brutt (Team Katusha) rounded out the podium.

The 22-year old from Lillehammer, a former two-time Norwegian Time Trial Champion, seems to have arrived early for Bob Stapleton's bunch. After having won this year's Gent-Wevelgem, he most certainly will be looked to in the Classics in the near future.

Results
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
3. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha

The top ten in the General Classification remained unchanged.

General Classification After Stage 7
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 8 - Morbegno - Bergamo, 209km
What looked like a classic breakaway stage turned out to be just that.

Measured Redemption, Scarponi Solos- Stage 6 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Michele Scarponi (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli ) took the victory in Stage 6 of the 100th Giro d'Italia well ahead of Team Columbia - Highroad's Edvald Boasson Hagen and a rejuvenated Allan Davis (Quick Step).

But seeing Scarponi cross the finish line to take the monstrously long stage into Austria was somewhat bittersweet. The self-confessed client of Operacion Puerto's Dr. Fuentes, Scarponi had just accomplished what few ever had; made it all the way back from the required two year doping suspension to not only compete at the highest level of cycling but also to take a stage in one of it's greatest races.

But that, unfortunately, is the current and confusing nature of our sport. Life, is at best gray. But, the introduction of performance enhancers in sport has shown us that even gray has different shades. Why are Alessandro Petacchi's recent victories extolled, while Scarponi's win begs for further investigation?

Scarponi's victory should be viewed as a sort of redemption, but because of the rampant and varying degrees by which riders have attempted to cheat in cycling's past, we, as fans, are left in a state of ambiguity, deciphering who to believe in and when to believe in them. Superlatives, once thrown out with excited regularity, now should be withheld until further testing.

Results
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step

General Classification After Stage 6
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

Next: Stage 7 - Innsbruck (Aut) - Chiavenna, 244km
On a stage that began in the Austrian town that twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games, it was only fitting for a Scandinavian to take the win.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Russian Roulette - Stage 5 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would lead a host of favorites to the finish line at the Alpe di Siusi in taking the Stage 5 victory of the 100th Giro d'Italia. Both Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini), and Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) would confirm their form and their place among the favorites to win this year's race by coming in second and third, respectively on the day.

The 31-year old Russian, an all-rounder who climbs and time trials well, is a perennial favorite to win any of the grand tour races. But for the most part, his accomplishments have largely gone unnoticed. A legitimate two-time winner of the Vuelta a España, the Rabobank leader often gets slotted into the second tier of favorites when the Tour de France rolls around. Depending on his season's goals and aspirations, Menchov possesses enough talent and determination to take the trophy in Rome. If, however, his eyes are on the Tour, then his name will slide quickly down the General Classification.

Results
1. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad

As a result of his second place finish, Danilo DiLuca pulled on the maglia rosa for the first time this year.

General Classification After Stage 5
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas
7. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team
8. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
10. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

What's In A Name
For the boys of Astana, the name on the front of the jersey has nothing to do with the names on the back (that is if cyclists had their last names printed on their backs to identify themselves). In solidarity and in a sign of protest for not being paid for the better part of this year's cycling season, the entire Astana team rode the stage sans their main sponsor's logo anywhere on their person.

The missing payments could have serious implications for the team moving forward on the season as the UCI has suspended teams with unstable management in the past. I doubt anything or anyone could prevent arguably the greatest assembled stage race team from competing in the Tour de France and beyond, but a May 31st deadline for the riders to receive some payment looms large.

Most likely, another as yet to be named sponsor(s) will keep Armstrong, Contador, and Leipheimer riding well into the 2009 season.

Next: Stage 6 - Bressanone/Brixen - Mayrhofen (Aut), 248km
A monster of a stage in length looked to produce another sprint finish, but several riders had other thoughts in mind.

The Italian Job, Killer Makes Three - Stage 4 Giro d'Italia

Lance Armstrong once said that in order to win a race one must eventually come to the table and slam down their fist. Although the 100th Giro d'Italia was only 4 days old, "Il Killer di Spoltore," the cold-blooded killer, Danilo DiLuca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) came to the table on Stage 4 and clearly made his intentions known. His victory made it three in a row for the LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini team.

The 2007 Giro d'Italia champion seemed to capture the hearts and minds of his competitors with his relentless attacking style on the first mountain stage of this year's Giro. He would lead an Italian sweep of the podium with Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) coming in second, and Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) taking third.

When DiLuca is on form, his accelerations on the slopes are as deadly has his teammate's, Alessandro Petacchi, are on the flats. If there were any questions as to whether DiLuca was a serious contender to win the Giro, he certainly dispelled any such notion.

Results
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas

Despite a resounding victory, DiLuca would slot into second on the General Classification with Thomas Lövkvist being the latest Columbia rider to benefit from their sterling Team Time Trial ride.

General Classification After Stage 4
1. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
6. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
8. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.
10. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team

Next: Stage 5 - San Martino Di Castrozza - Alpe di Siusi, 125 km
Another day in the mountains brought out some of the other favorites who either held something back on Stage 4 or are still working themselves into form.

Return Flight, Ale-Jet Doubles - Stage 3 Giro d'Italia Centoanni

As if to prove his Stage 2 victory was no fluke, Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) once again showed the way to the finish line at the 100th Giro d'Italia. His victory marked his 21st (five stage wins from the 2007 Giro d'Italia were forfeited due to a non-negative for the asthma medicine, Salbutamol) Giro d'Italia career win.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre - NGC) would round out the day's podium.

In this hypersensitive world of doping and discovering the next drug cheat, it would be easy to dismiss the recent accomplishments of the man known as Ale-Jet simply as a result of his return to or use of a new and undetectable performance enhancer; once a drug cheat always a drug cheat. And while my own views on the subject have definitely hardened over the years because of the never ending cavalcade of doping news stories, it would be equally unjust not to give credit when credit is due.

Peatcchi's back-to-back victories signal a return to a previous version of his dominant self. Now whether it is good enough to elevate him back into the pantheon of the greatest sprinters ever remains to be seen. In his time away from the spotlight, younger riders have amply picked up the speed mantle and delivered it with impressive results. But like his predecessor, Mario Cipollini, it would be a great mistake to underestimate Petacchi's sprinting prowess in the grand tour he has virtually owned.

Results
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

General Classification After Stage 3
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Slipstream
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad
4. Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad
5. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
6. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini
7. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
9. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C.

Next: Stage 4 - Padova - San Martino di Castrozza, 162km
The Giro d'Italia has played second fiddle to the Tour de France for a number of years, but the organizer's creativeness in choosing the parcours in recent years has certainly brought the race back into the forefront. The first mountain stage comes after only two relatively flat stages.