Rocacorba Daily: Monday March 18

In this morning's Rocacorba Daily we bring you up to speed on last night's truly epic Milan-San Remo, we share the results from a handful of other races over the weekend, we preview a couple of races that start today, and more. As ever, if you've got something you think we should include in the Rocacorba, please let us know:

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In this morning’s Rocacorba Daily we bring you up to speed on last night’s truly epic Milan-San Remo, we share the results from a handful of other races over the weekend, we preview a couple of races that start today, and more. As ever, if you’ve got something you think we should include in the Rocacorba, please let us know:

Ciolek wins Milan-San Remo in horrendous conditions

Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) has won the 2013 Milan-San Remo in a race that was dramatically shortened due to horrendous weather. The German sprinter followed a move by Luca Paolini (Katusha) on the Poggio, the final climb of the day, before outsprinting race favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and 2008 winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard Trek) in the dash to the line.

A group of six riders formed with 3km to go and Ciolek rode the final section of the course to perfection, allowing others in that group, including race favourite Peter Sagan, to do most of the work. When Sagan wound up his final sprint he appeared to be already fatigued, leaving Ciolek able to pass the Slovak in the closing metres.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Gerald Ciolek (Mtn Qhubeka), and Fabian Cancellara (Team Radioshack Leopard) sprinting for the finish during an atrocious Milano-San Remo

Earlier the day heavy snow saw the climb and descent of the Passo del Turchino removed from the course, with riders being ferried across the unsafe section by team bus. The nearly-5km-long “Le Manie” climb was also removed with riders skipping the climb on their way along the coast.

Click here to see the full results from the 2013 Milan San-Remo and an extended write-up of the race. Photo gallery will be updated later today.

Cameron Meyer wins men’s Oceania Road Championships

Cameron Meyer (WA) has held on to a lengthy breakaway to secure the Elite Men’s Road title at the Oceania Championships in Canberra.

Under blue skies at Tidbinbilla, Meyer led from almost the start alongside a breakaway that slowly saw its number diminish from 14 to two over the challenging 153km course.

Fellow West Australian Damien Howson was with Meyer from start to finish, and crossed the line second to secure the U23 crown. Jack Anderson (QLD) recovered after dropping from the front midway through the race to finish second in the Elite category, while Neil van der Ploeg (VIC) rounded out the podium.

The riders were tested early with a trip along Paddys River Road heading towards Mount Stromlo, before circling back and entering the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to complete six laps of the loop section.

Cameron Meyer crossing the line to secure the 2013 Elite Men's Oceania Road Championship. Image CA's Facebook.

Click here to see full results from the 2013 Men’s Oceania Road Cycling World Championships. Click here to read a full race report at the Cycling Australia website.

Garfoot wins women’s Oceania Road Championships

Queensland’s Katrin Garfoot has seized victory in a sprint finish at the Oceania Road Cycling Championships in Canberra. After claiming fourth in Thursday’s Time Trial, Garfoot clinched the Elite Women’s road race crown over a difficult 102km course, while Amy Bradley (VIC) edged out 2009 national champion Carla Ryan (QLD) for second.

In sunny conditions the field battled its way through a testing course in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Starting from the Namadgi National Park Visitor Centre, 37 riders worked their way along smooth undulating roads in beautiful countryside.

The sprint finish from the Elite Women's Road Race on Saturday in Canberra. Photo via CA's Facebook.

After staying with the group up into the looped section of the course, Lucy Coldwell (VIC) broke and found herself with a 30-second lead at the top of the hill. The Victorian retained her lead for the ensuing seven loops, increasing the gap to more than a minute at one stage, but she was caught going into the final lap.

A bunch of six riders then headed for the finish line, led by Queenslanders Garfoot, Ryan and Ruth Corset (QLD), who powered home for a photo finish.

Click here to see the full results from the 2013 women’s Oceania Road Cycling World Championships. Click here to read the full race report on the Cycling Australia website.

Bronzini takes out Classica Citta di Padova

Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) has claimed her first win of the 2013 season, sprinting to victory at the Grand Prix Città di Padova in north-east Italy over the weekend. The Italian two-time world champion crossed the line several lengths clear of second place Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) and third place Marta Tagliaferro (Cipollini-Giordana).

1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 2. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) 3. Marta Tagliaferro (Cipollini-Giordana)

The 126km race was made up of a 26.8km opening loop, followed by eight laps of a 12.4km circuit to the east of the city of Padova. There were several attempts by riders to escape the peloton on the mostly flat course with one group — featuring Be Pink duo Alena Amialyusik and Noemi Cantele — managing to get 35 seconds clear on the penultimate lap.

But the two riders were chased down by the peloton and caught with just over a kilometre to go. The race was all together as it arrived at the finish before Bronzini powered away to take the win.

Click here to see full results from the 2013 Classica Citta di Padova.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya starts tonight

The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya WorldTour race kicks off tonight with a 159km stage that starts and finishes in the city of Calella, roughly 60km north east of Barcelona.

The seven-stage Spanish race features a lumpy parcours including two mountain-top finishes: on stage three, which ends with a 12km-long climb to the Vallter 2000 ski resort, and on stage four — the queen stage — which features five notable climbs, the last two of which are hors categories climbs.

It will be an exciting battle for the general classification with many big names expected to duke it out, including Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez and Michele Scarponi. These last three riders won the Tour of Catalunya in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Last year’s race was won by Michael Albasini, set up by victories on the first two stages of the race. The 2012 edition will be remembered for it’s controversial queen stage which included the climb of Port-Ainé. After the final climb was snowed out, the race organisers decided to shorten the stage which was won by Janez Brajkovic but no GC time was counted.

Click here for more information and for provisional start lists for the 2013 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Stay posted to CyclingTips for further news in the coming days.

Tour of Taiwan starts today

The UCI2.1 Tour of Taiwan gets underway today with a 156km stage that comprises 13 laps of a 12km course around Dapeng Bay in the country’s south west. While most of the tour is raced on flat roads, stages 2,3,4 and 5 all finish with climbs, the biggest of which comes on stage 5 with the category 1 climb to the finish in Kanpanzan.

The seven-stage race features a mix of ProContinental, Continental and National teams, with Drapac Cycling and Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers (both Continental teams) making the trip from Australia. Drapac rider Rhys Pollock won last year’s tour by just two seconds.

Click here to read more about the 2013 Tour of Taiwan.

Gilbert denies cortisone use while at Lotto

Reigning World Champion Philippe Gilbert has denied allegations published in a Dutch newspaper overnight that he took cortisone when racing for the Lotto team between 2009 and 2011.

The article, published in NRC Handelsblad, quotes an anonymous former teammate of Gilbert’s:

“Gilbert often raced on cortisone and I know that from [BMC team doctor] Jan Mathieu himself. I received cortisone from Mathieu, supposedly on prescription and he told me that he did the same thing with Gilbert.”

The use of cortisone is forbidden unless the rider holds a therapeutic use exemption stating he is taking it to treat an injury.

Click here to read more on Cycling News.

Could lie-detectors be used to catch doping riders?

The head of UK Anti-Doping has told reporters that his organisation would support the use of lie-detector tests in the fight against doping in sport. Andy Parkinson made his announcement following the demonstration of a testing machine at a Tackling Doping in Sport conference in Twickenham, UK.

The “lie-detector” works by monitoring how stressed an individual becomes when answering questions. While Parkinson didn’t suggest the use of lie-detector tests in lieu of regular testing, and while the technology would need to be approved by WADA before wider implementation, Parkinson told reporters he could see the technology’s potential:

“The lie detector could provide some assurance when you ask a banned athlete if they are doping over the period of their suspension,” he said. “It might give you additional assurance that the athlete is taking that ban seriously.”

Click here to

What’s the steepest gradient you can get a road bike up?

You might remember last week’s brutal stage of Tirreno-Adriatico that featured a hill so steep that a bunch of the Pros had to dismount and walk up it. Well, riffing off a tweet that Mark Cavendish sent out about that stage, Rhett Allain from has had a go at working out just how steep a road has to be before it’s simply not possible to ride a road bike up it. We won’t spoil it for you — go and read the article for yourself.

Inside the Team Sky bus

And finally, here’s a video posted last week that features Dario Cioni showing us around the Team Sky bus (also known as the “Death Star”). I suspect a few riders would have been glad to have seen the inside of that bus (twice) during last night’s Milan-San Remo.

I’ve been on a few team buses, and you know what makes a Pro cycling team bus so special? The fact that the general public is hardly ever allowed on a team bus. It’s just a bus with a shower and fridge!

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