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MILAN (VN) — Astana must put away its Giro d’Italia celebrations and buckle down for the Tour de France over the next month. However, team selection and even starting the race has become harder for some after a training crash over the weekend.
Three riders — Jakob Fuglsang, Assan Bazayev, and Andriy Grivko — hit the deck while training at altitude in Tenerife, Spain, Sunday. Bazayev and Grivko fell first, and Fuglsang, the team’s GC leader, was unable to avoid them.
The Dane has the green light to start the Tour. Bazayev and Grivko, however, are in a race just to make it to the Grand Départ in Corsica June 29.
“You are already behind and facing an uphill battle if you start the Tour de France in bad shape,” Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli told VeloNews this morning via telephone. “If they start, the first week will truly be a [mess] for them.”
Martinelli celebrated the team’s Giro win with Vincenzo Nibali, who made his rounds in Italy and to the team’s home in Kazakhstan. He did not expect to receive a call from the sports director, Dmitriy Sedoun, saying that three of his Tour candidates suffered a high-speed training crash.
“We were only 30 minutes into the training ride when it happened,” Fuglsang said Monday in a press release. “We were going about 50k per hour and I couldn’t avoid the crash, but I was luckier than the other two. I am sore all over, but I feel OK to train and am still very motivated to continue.”
Bazayev’s face absorbed most of the crash. He has scrapes on his chin and nose, and road rash down the side of his body. Grivko has a broken scaphoid bone in his wrist, but it is in place. With it in a cast, the Ukrainian is able to train and race the national championships.
“They are important helpers to Fuglsang,” added Martinelli. “‘Baza’ is important because he’s Kazakh, and given we are a national team it’s important to have him at the start of the Tour. However, he has to be truly well.
“Grivko has experience. He works well on the flats and is able to protect Jakob. He has a micro-fracture, but we want to see how he goes in races. OK, in training he’s fine, a little sore, and he can ride but in a race it’s different.”
Astana will wait until after the various national championships on Sunday to select its nine-man team.
“We want to go to the Tour and do well. We achieved our goal at the Giro, now in the Tour we want to have a team around Jakob and try to win a stage. Why not? We have riders who have the ability to win,” Martinelli continued.
“The podium of the tour is [almost written], but there are a lot of riders who can finish in the first 10 or 20. Our goal is to take Jakob to the top 10, and maybe he can even place fourth or, how knows, in third place. Let’s hope.”
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USA Pro Challenge expands to amateur events
USA Pro Challenge organizers announced Wednesday that the Colorado stage race would expand in 2013 to include two ancillary amateur events. A mass-participation ride, the Pro Challenge Experience will take place in stage 7 host city Fort Collins on Sunday, August 11. A running race, the 9K Sprint Challenge will take place in Downtown Denver on Sunday, August 25.
“By growing the Pro Challenge to include these amateur events the whole family can get involved,” CEO Shawn Hunter said in a release. “The 9K Sprint Challenge and the Pro Challenge Experience give fans the opportunity to get in on the action and race on part of the course the professional athletes will utilize just days or hours later during the Pro Challenge.”
With 30-, 52-, and 108-mile options, the Pro Challenge Experience will take in a number of northern Colorado climbs and dirt roads, including a run into the remote Cache la Poudre Canyon. Registration for the ride is available at the Pro Challenge Experience website.
The 9k Spring Challenge will precede the final-stage circuit race in Denver and will award not only prizes for fastest times, but also for best costumes. The route will start at Civic Center Park and take in Capitol Hill and a lap of City Park, near the Museum of Nature and Science. Registration is available at the 9K Spring Challenge website.
“We’re investing in the future of the sport and we want people to not only have the opportunity to witness the action of the USA Pro Challenge, but also experience it for themselves,” said Hunter. “We’re looking forward to bringing these and other events, in association with the Pro Challenge, to our fans for years to come.”
Mancebo, Hausler lead NRC standings
Claudia Häusler (Tibco-To the Top) took over the lead in the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar standings this week on the strength of her fourth-place finish at the Nature Valley Grand Prix on Sunday. Häusler displaced Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS), who trails by 52 points and was not present in Minnesota.
Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy-Kenda) lost Canada’s Tour de Beauce over the weekend, but continues to lead the men’s NRC standings, 254 points ahead of Chad Haga (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies).
Tibco leads Optum by 352 points in the women’s team standings. Optum leads 5-hour Energy by 538 points in the men’s team standings with three events remaining in the series.
Men’s Individual Standings
1. Francisco Mancebo, 5-Hour Energy-Kenda), 674 points
2. Chad Haga, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, 420
3. J.J. Haedo, Jamis-Hagens Berman, 336
4. Joseph Rosskopf, Hincapie Sportswear Development, 328
4. Tom Zirbel, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, 328
Women’s Individual Standings
1. Claudia Häusler, Tibco-To the Top, 822 points
2. Alison Powers, NOW-Novartis for MS, 730
3. Shelley Olds, Tibco-To the Top, 688
4. Joelle Numainville, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, 648
5. Mara Abbott, Exergy Twenty16, 490
Men’s Team Standings
1. Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, 1,506 points
2. 5-Hour Energy-Kenda, 968
3. Jamis-Hagens Berman, 966
4. UnitedHealthcare, 628
5. Hincapie Sportswear Development, 598
Women’s Team Standings
1. Tibco-To the Top, 1,918 points
2. Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, 1,566
2. NOW-Novartis for MS, 1,182
4. Exergy Twenty16, 778
5. Specialized-lululemon, 738
Christoph Strasser won the men’s individual category in the Race Across American Wednesday in Annapolis, Maryland. Strasser, now a two-time winner, finished in record time, logging an unofficial result of 7 days, 22 hours, and 11 minutes, with an overall average speed of 15.56 mph.
Strasser’s record ride bested the 15.4-mph speed mark set by Pete Penseyes in 1986 and Rob Kish’s record time of 8 days, 3 hours (set on a different course).
Dani Wyss was second on the road on Wednesday, trailed closely by Swiss countryman Reto Schoch.
The American Allied Forces team was setting a record pace in the eight-person team category on Wednesday, ahead of CEO Challenges and Team O’Side.
- The U23 riders in USA Cyclingand#39;s National Development Program earned the white jersey at the Internationale Thanduuml;ringen-Rundfahrt U23 in Germany while the mountain bikers continue to ride well with a strong performance in Italy.