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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Saturday, May 23, 2015

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Racing Today

Three races today: The Giro d'Italia's fourteenth stage and the Tour of Norway's (HC) fourth stage.

Plus, the first stage of the two-day World Ports Classic.

Bike Business News

Do you take bike frame pumps seriously? Really seriously? Well, here's a test. Silca is coming out with a new $165.00 frame pump.

Here's what Silca has to say about its new pump:

For 2015 we are thrilled to introduce Impero Ultimate, the merging of high tech modern materials and manufacturing with the full aluminum construction and durability that was a hallmark of the original Impero. Impero Ultimate features a high tech head gasket with unique 2-stage seal to provide ultimate sealing and holding even when compared to lever chuck designs.  Solid aluminum head with brass check valve ensures a lifetime of flawless use, and fully aluminum barrel, handle and piston rod result in a pump that is both competitive in weight with plastic designs while being significantly stronger, smoother and more durable

Unique FlexWing Silicone bumpers on the head and handle tip are designed to handle tubing diameters from 1" (25mm) to 2.5" (64mm) using a unique flexible outer wing which adjusts under pressure.  An additional Silicone bumper on the main barrel protects paint, eliminates vibrations and noise, and also acts as a compression lock against the pump handle to keep it from moving unless you want it to.

Impero Ultimate is Manufactured in the USA using Alcoa Aluminum extrusions and bar stock.  Impero uses a 19mm diameter leather piston custom manufactured by the same supplier in Milan who has supplied SILCA leather since 1947, and the brass check valve is a modified version of the check valve used in the SuperPista Ultimate. 

Chairman Bill's note: If you are of a certain age, this picture of Silca Impero frame pumps should bring back memories. Mine are of standing by the side of the road with a rear flat tire, inflating a cheap Vittoria Mondiale tubular with a Silca pump. I still have several Silcas with Campagnolo heads. I know I'm not alone.

Silca Frame pumps

This is not a picture of Silca's new super pump. These are classic plastic frame-fit Imperos. The top pump has a Campagnolo head and the bottom one has the far inferior Silca plastic head.

Giro d'Italia News

Tinkoff-Saxo's Contador lost the Giro's GC lead. Here's their report:

A crash near the finish of stage 13 brought Tinkoff-Saxo’s team leader Alberto Contador to the ground. Contador who has worn the pink jersey since stage 5, lost 36 seconds to main rival Fabio Aru, who assumes the lead ahead of the crucial ITT. Despite a blow to the leg, Contador underlines that he remains motivated and will fight to recover quickly.

Alberto Contador was unwillingly relieved from his podium duties for the first time since he took the race lead on stage 5. Meeting the press outside the Tinkoff-Saxo team bus, the Spaniard says that the crash unfortunately happened just 200m from the point of neutralization.

“We were well positioned in the stage and we could see the crash coming. We were waiting for the 3km mark but, unfortunately, the crash took place 3,200 meters from the finish and as a result there was no neutralization. My first reaction, before checking if I was ok, was to try to get a bike as soon as I could in order to make it to the finish line”, comments Alberto Contador and adds: “The time I lost wasn't extraordinary, about 36 seconds, but it will be quite difficult to recover. However, what worries me more is the blow I received on my left leg because it seems I got hit by the chainring of another bike. This is what could potentially harm me the most. Hopefully, it's nothing more than superficial wounds”.

Alberto Contador finishes stage 13

Alberto Contador finishes stage 13.

Despite being dragged down by a late crash for the second time in this Giro d’Italia, Alberto Contador underlines that he will remain motivated: “Nevertheless, I won't lose my fighting spirit and I will keep a positive attitude. I will try to recover as soon as I can, put ice on my leg in order to limit the inflammation and then see what happens tomorrow”.

The 147km stage 13 from Montecchio Maggiore to Lido di Jesolo once again presented the riders with a day in the wet. Just before the 3km marker, the peloton split due to a crash in the first third of the field. A greatly reduced peloton of some 30-40 continued on, with Sacha Modolo (LAM) taking the win.

Roman Kreuziger moved up a spot to fourth overall, while both Contador and rival Richie Porte were caught behind the crash and had to forfeit time to both Aru and Uran. Contador is now 2nd, 19 seconds behind Aru. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh underlines that the crash was unfortunate but adds that quick reactions from the team minimized the loss.

“We were caught by an unfortunate incident at the end of a very good day. We were waiting for the 3k mark to be safe but, unluckily, it took place 200 meters before that. Fortunately, we had Tosatto close by and thanks to his fast reaction, Alberto got his bike so that he could cross the finish line, minimizing the time loss as much as he could”

“Fortunately, Alberto's shoulder wasn't affected by the fall and we are very happy with that. His left leg was hit but tomorrow we have a very long time-trial and we can get some time back. We will see what happens but I feel confident today's incident will not be a big issue”, concludes Steven de Jongh.

Lotto-Soudal reports Greipel and Henderson have quit Giro:

The Giro is over for André Greipel and Greg Henderson. Both riders won’t start in today’s individual time trial. The German sprinter came to the Giro to win a stage, which he did in stage six after a perfect sprint preparation.

Andre Greipel wions Giro stage 6

Winning Giro stage six (shown here) was enough for André Greipel and his team.

André Greipel: “The day after the team time trial I had a first chance, but on the uphill finish I started too soon and I got beaten. Last Tuesday there was a new opportunity, but the escapees stayed ahead and yesterday the chaos in the finale was so big that I didn’t get to the front in time to do a good sprint. I’m happy we won one stage, but I had hoped for one more.”

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

LottoNL-Jumbo had this to report about the Giro's 13th stage:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo gave everything they had to lead-out Moreno Hofland in the 13th stage of the Giro d’Italia in Jesolo. Its work helped the Dutchman place seventh behind winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida).

Due to continued heavy rain in the north of Italy, Team LottoNL-Jumbo was constantly in the front of the peloton.

“The men were where they needed to be.” Sports Director Frans Maassen explained. They profited from that since a crash happened with 3.3 kilometres remaining. Almost all of our riders were able to pass without any damage, only Rick Flens crashed. A chainring got him. He is suffering because of that, but he is a tough one, so I expect that he will be able to start again tomorrow.”

Moreno Hofland wasn’t impeded by the chaos and was able to prepare for the sprint. “He was well placed,” Maassen said. “I only think that he made a little mistake in the last turn. He was boxed in. If he would have been able to push through, he could have finished in the top four.”

“I tried to move up in a roundabout,” Hofland added. “I should have done that earlier. I was held back as a result because a gap with the first five riders arose. That’s a pity, I could have done better.”

On Saturday, the riders face a 59.4-kilometre individual time trial. Team LottoNL-Jumbo is well prepared.

“Mathieu Heijboer explored the time trial a month ago,” Maassen said. “We have the images and detailed profiles. We have to wait for Rick’s recovery, but he and Martijn Keizer should be able to deliver a good time trial.”

And of course, Lampre-Merida was happy with Sacha Modolo's stage win:

Sacha Modolo shouted in the rain: his joyful screams are for his first victory in the Giro d'Italia, the third obtained by Lampre-Merida in the 2015 edition of the Pink Race.

In the rain, the riders covered a short (147 km) and flat stage, with start in Montecchio Maggiore and arrival in Jesolo.

The sprinters, on the contrary of what had happened in Forlì, did not miss the opportunity to fight for the victory in the sprint, chasing and neutralizing in time the breakaway of three riders (Pineau, Frapporti and Zabel).

At 3 km to go, Lampre-Merida took the head of the bunch and Ferrari and Richeze demonstrated once again to be the best lead-out train: the Italian-Argentinian duo led Modolo to the final straight and gave him the best possible opportunity to win the race. Sacha's sprint was very fast and full of power and he deserved the victory, obtained preceding Nizzolo and Viviani.

Sacha modolo wins Giro stage 13

Sacha Modolo wins the Giro's thirteenth stage.

"It's something amazing obtaining the first victory in the Giro d'Italia on the roads close to my hometown, everything is so perfect - Modolo said - At the end of a long chase, finally I got the succeess: I missed it in Genoa, I was close to it in Castiglione della Pescaia, while I lost a good chance in Fiuggi. In Forlì, the breakaway anticipated the sprints, so today arrival was the last chance for the sprinters before Milan: I did not miss it, thanks to an amazing support I received from my team mates. Richeze and Ferrari were impressive, they led me to the final straight where I could perform the ideal sprint.

This is the best victory in my career".

A crash occurred with 3,200 meters before the finish changed the overall general classification: Aru is the new pink jersey.

Tour of Norway Reports

This happy note came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Jesper Hansen soloed to victory on stage 3 of Tour of Norway after dropping his rivals on the final climb of the mountainous stage to Rjukan. The young climber won the stage by a significant margin and leads the race before the last two stages. A great way to win, says Jesper Hansen, while DS Nicki Sørensen notes that the team is already contemplating on a strategy to keep the jersey.

As Jesper Hansen crossed the finish line of stage 3, he took the first win of his professional career spanning two years on Tinkoff-Saxo. “It was indeed a fantastic feeling to cross the line taking my first professional win. It’s a great feeling to be the first on the line and the way I won means a lot to me. I’m really happy and would like to thank the entire team for their effort. They controlled the break and Chris Anker helped me a lot on the final climb”, says Jesper Hansen and adds:

“Of course, now I’ll do everything in my power to secure the jersey and the overall win. Fortunately, my rivals need more than bonus seconds and with Boasson Hagen 38 seconds from me as second in the GC, I’ll need to pay special attention to him, while the team in general must try to control the events”.

Jesper Hansen wins Tour of Norway stage 3

Jesper Hansen wins the Tour of Norway third stage.

Stage 3 spanned 185km from Skien to Rjukan in mountainous terrain with a 1st category climb followed by a fast descent just before the finish line. After Tinkoff-Saxo had worked to control the breakaway, Jesper Hansen responded to an attack from David Lopez (SKY) on the final climb. Hansen bridged the gap and later dropped Lopez before the summit followed by a strong performance in the headwind into Rjukan.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Nicki Sørensen admits that he’s impressed by the effort of the young Dane. “Jesper was in the group of favorites and Lopez attacked. So he accelerated and bridged the gap of 20 seconds in no time. Then he increased the tempo on the steep part and rode away alone over the top. At some point he had one and a half minute and did a very good job as well on the descent, while Chris Anker controlled the chasing group. He lost a bit of time in the headwind towards the finish line, but it was a very prominent win”, states Sørensen and adds about the effort made.

“I see it as a breakthrough in fact. It was some very strong competitors like Mollema and Schleck that he rode away from and he was clearly the strongest on the climb. Actually it’s not often that you see a race, where the time gaps are this big after a final 1st category climb. So it was a fantastic day for Jesper, for the whole team and also for me in the car”

With two stages left at Tour of Norway, Nicki Sørensen underlines that the team will do everything to keep the leader’s jersey. “That jersey needs to be defended. We are celebrating but at the same time contemplating on how to preserve the lead. This evening we’ll sit down and create a plan but the most important factor is that the guys are motivated and ready to work together like they did today”, finishes Nicki Sørensen.

And here's Cult Energy's Norway Tour report:

The first adventure in the Norwegian mountains took its toll on the peloton during today’s 185 kilometer long third stage of Tour of Norway from Skien to Rjukan where an exciting battle between the Scandinavians waited for the viewers. Eventually, Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) took both stage and overall lead while Cult Energy Pro Cycling's Gustav Larsson flashed the colors in the chase group.

An early breakaway lasted to the foot of the final and more than ten kilometer long climb within the final 30 kilometers of the stage. Hitting the ascent, riders instantly attempted to break clear and it didn’t take long before the leading rider, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was dropped and the leader’s jersey was now up for grabs.

In the front and halfway up the climb, David Lopez (Sky) and Tinkoff-Saxo Dane, Jesper Hansen now formed the front duo while being chased by a small group including Cult Energy Pro Cycling Swede, Gustav Larsson. A few kilometers from the summit, Hansen pushed the pace hard enough to leave Lopez behind. On the wet descent, Hansen increased the gap while Larsson was chasing with Edvald Boasson-Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) but they weren’t able to catch the young Dane who took his first professional win after a long solo ride.

In the hard chase, Boasson-Hagen eventually dropped Cult Energy’s Gustav Larsson who was swept up by the third chase group but the big Swede finished sixth on the stage and is now 3rd overall.

DS, Michael Skelde says: "I'm deeply impressed by the way, Jesper Hansen takes the win today. It must have been a nail-bitingly thrilling finale to watch. Gustav gave what he had on the long climb, excelled on the descent but paid the price a few kilometers from the finish line where he had to let go of Hagen's wheel. He finished 6th, which is a good result and I'm content with our overall standing at this moment. Having said that, we have another shot tomorrow. The stage is concluded with a short, steep ramp and this kind of finale should be a treat for both Rasmus and Fabian."

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