Rocacorba Daily: Friday May 3

Welcome to Friday morning and to the final edition of the Rocacorba for this week. As you’re no doubt aware by now, the Giro d’Italia is about to start and we’re just a little bit excited. This morning we’ve got a couple more items previewing the 21-stage race as well as some other race results and interesting tidbits from the world of cycling. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Photo: BrakeThrough Media

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Welcome to Friday morning and to the final edition of the Rocacorba for this week. As you’re no doubt aware by now, the Giro d’Italia is about to start and we’re just a little bit excited. This morning we’ve got a couple more items previewing the 21-stage race as well as some other race results and interesting tidbits from the world of cycling. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Grechyn wins stage 2 at the Tour of Azerbaijan

One day after losing race favorite Mustafa Sayar, Turkish team Torku Seker Spor triumphed at the end of stage 2 in the Tour d’Azerbaidjan in Ismayilli as Ukraine’s Sergiy Grechyn claimed an impressive solo win. He also became the new race leader at the expense of Christoph Schweizer who didn’t make the front group of 22 riders.

140 riders started stage 2 of the 2013 Tour d’Azerbaidjan at the new Velo Parc of Baku near Crescent Beach. The first four attackers, Henning Bommel (Rad-net Rose), David van Eerd (Start), Daniel McLay (Lotto-Belisol U23) and Robert-Jon McCarthy (Australia) didn’t get the green light from the bunch but after half an hour of racing, 22 riders took the command as they managed to split the bunch in the crosswinds.

They reached an advantage of four minutes at the first intermediate sprint located at kilometre 67 which was won by Surutkovytch in front of Bizhigitov and Asadov.

Unhappy with the big advance of the breakaway, Fabio Silvestre (Leopard-Trek), Tilegen Maidos (Astana) and Luke Davison (Australia) counter-attacked after 70km of racing. Surutkovytch also won the first King of the Mountain points at kilometre 72, where he preceded Monier and Vilela. Surutkovytch kept his winning mood atop the second KOM point at kilometre 119.

The front group split into pieces on the main climb of the day the summit of which was situated 30km before the finish. With 15km to go, Monier and Grechyn rode away. The Ukrainian from Torku Seker Spor believed the Frenchman was not efficient enough despite his pedigree including a stage win at the Giro d’Italia. Grechyn went solo with 10km to go and crossed the line with a big advantage that makes him the hot favourite for the overall victory now.

“Last winter I’ve lost about twelve kilos, and that helps me a lot to climb now”, added the winner of the mountain price at the Tour of Turkey. “I hope to be able to keep the leader’s jersey now, but it’s a big task. There are some more hard stages to come.” Grechyn enjoys a comfortable lead.

Click here to see the results from stage 2 of the 2013 Tour of Azerbaijan. Click here to see highlights videos from the race.

Grand wins controversial stage 2 at the Tour of the Gila

Controversy marred the finish to stage 2 of the Tour of the Gila (UCI 2.2) in New Mexico overnight after race officials upheld a protest by BMC Development Team’s Arnaud Grand. Grand complained that Melbournian Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) sprinted irregularly when the breakaway group of three they were in was sprinting for the line ahead of the surging peloton.

Grand was given the victory with Clarke relegated to second. Max Jenkins (5-hour Energy/Kenda) finished third.

Janie Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) finished in the field to hold on to his overall lead with three stages to go.

Click here to see provisional results from stage 2 of the 2013 Tour of the Gila.

Haig wins stage 1 of the Battle on the Border

Huon Salmon-Genesys’ Jack Haig has snared the opening stage of the Battle on the Border, the second men’s race in the 2013 Subaru Cycling Australia National Road Series.

Haig finished strongest up a demanding hilltop finish in the picturesque rainforest surrounds of Mount Warning, finishing the 111km course in a little over 3 hours.

Team Polygon’s Ben Grenda made the first significant move of the day, going solo to open up a 30-second lead. The racing began in earnest though at around the 78km mark when a group of 14 riders put distance between them and the peloton.

A series of small attacks from within the break saw it string out over the final few kilometres, as the climb became tougher and heavy rain began to fall, but in the end it was Haig and his teammate Jai Crawford that handled the challenge best. Crawford finished 22 seconds behind Haig to grab second place, with search2retain’s Eric Sheppard rounding out the podium.

Stage 2 of the men’s Battle on the Border is a road race starting in Murwilumbah which will see the riders cover 137.3km before returning to Murwilumbah. The women’s Battle on the Border starts today with a 93.9km course that covers the same roads as the men’s race, minus one lap of the final loop of the day.

Click here to see the results from stage 1 of the 2013 men’s Battle on the Border. Click here to see some photos from the race and click here to read more about the Battle on the Border.

Giro d’Italia preview

In this video for the Global Cycling Network two former pros, Daniel Lloyd and Simon Richardson, chat about the upcoming Giro d’Italia and consider which riders are worth watching, which GC riders the course will benefit most, and more.

10 things you need to know about the Giro d’Italia

There’s been so much published about the Giro in the lead-up to the race and it’s often hard to separate the insightful from the rest. But this short and sweet piece by Simon Richardson and Gregor Brown for Cycling Weekly does a good job of highlighting the main things you should know about the race.

Click here to read the article at Cycling Weekly.

Cyst forces Basso to withdraw from the Giro

Two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso has been forced to pull out of this year’s edition two days before the start due to a serious saddle sore that has become a cyst, the Italian’s Cannondale team announced on Thursday.

The cyst was discovered Wednesday and despite efforts to cure the problem Cannondale said Basso would not be participating. “This morning, upon waking, after a further evaluation of the lesion it was clear that there was no chance of Ivan pedalling during the next days,” said a team statement from Cannondale.

Click here to read the full story.

Petacchi to appeal UCI’s QuickStep decision

The UCI might have prevented him from joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the Giro after retiring from Lampre in recent weeks, but Alessandro Petacchi isn’t about to give up on his chance to join Mark Cavendish’s lead-out train just yet.

The 39-year-old Italian plans to visit the UCI to convince them to overturn their decision.

“To stop like this just because [the UCI] didn’t allow me to do the Giro d’Italia… I don’t see the sense in that,” Petacchi told Cycling Weekly. “There’s this chance and it’s only right to try, to try to talk some more with UCI to see if they change their minds.”

Meanwhile Cavendish and the rest of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad appear resigned to the fact Petacchi won’t be joining their ranks when they take the startline at the Giro tomorrow night (Melbourne time). When asked about Petacchi Cavendish told reporters: “Obviously, it’s a big thing to have a big rider in the team, but we’ve got a strong team for the Giro d’Italia and we’re motivated to do well”.

Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Rujano dropped by Vacansoleil as precaution

(AFP) – Venezuelan climber Jose Rujano has been dropped from the Vacansoleil team for the Tour of Italy, which starts in Naples on Saturday, as a precaution due to his implication in a doping case.

Spain's Alberto Contador, left, leads Venezuela's Jose Rujano on his way to win the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia, from Messina to Etna in 2011.

Rujano, who finished third at the Giro in 2005, was named in an inquiry into a doping case in Italy relating to 2009 and 2010.

Vacansoleil say he has not taken a banned substance but they preferred to play it safe.

“The products concerning Rujano are not on the banned list. If we stick to the rules, he could race, but we preferred not to take a risk,” the Dutch team’s manager Daan Luijkx said.

The 31-year-old has been replaced by Belgian debutant Willem Wauters.

Meanwhile, former top-five finisher in the Tour de France Robert Gesink will lead the Blanco team.

The 26-year-old climbing specialist, who has finished in the top 10 three times at the Tour of Spain, has been given a goal of finishing in the top five in Italy, his team said.

Cycling is the new golf

People have been saying it for years and it’s become a bit of a cliche, but cycling probably is the new golf. This article in The Economist is fairly similar to other articles along the same lines, including the first paragraph, the likes of which we must have read five times before:

“Traditionally, business associates would get to know each other over a round of golf. But road cycling is fast catching up as the preferred way of networking for the modern professional.”

Still, it’s an interesting topic of discussion and any article in the mainstream press that portrays cycling in a positive light (and hopefully gets more people riding!) is a win in our books.

Click here to read the article at The Economist.

Cool bike racks

Here’s something a little different. A Norwegian architectural firm was given the brief of creating parking spaces for 200 bikes in a 10m by 90m urban space and they fulfilled the brief by designing new stainless steel bike-shaped bike stands.

The stands look great and presumably function just like a normal bike stand would … although we can’t confirm that because the photos don’t actually show a bike being locked to one of the stands. Still, cool design.

Click here to see the article and the images at

The Bike Lane

And in case you missed it, here’s this week’s episode of The Bike Lane, which features a preview of the Giro d’Italia, the second part of Matt Keenan’s interview with Charlie Pickering, and more. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Click here to watch the video and leave a comment.

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