As the 92nd Giro d’Italia heads into its second week, Lance Armstrong will find himself racing on terrain he knows very well, even though this is the first time he has raced the Italian grand tour. The Texan is still in training mode at the Giro, but knowing many of the road he’ll be racing on through Wednesday should help him in his quest to bid for a stage win later in the race — perhaps as early as next Thursday’s 60.6km time trial along the Cinque Terre coast.
The connections with Armstrong are intense and frequent over the next five stages of the Giro.
The sun hasn’t set on Astana yet, but the glow of the team’s sponsors has certainly dimmed.
Following a long-running row over the non-payment of the team’s wages, eight of nine riders on the Kazakhstan-sponsored squad started the Giro d’Italia’s seventh stage Friday wearing race jerseys and shorts Friday with the names of the team’s major sponsors virtually faded out.
Astana manager Johan Bruyneel said the protest is the team’s way of demonstrating its frustration that Kazakh sponsors are not fulfilling its contract obligations to the team.
Mechanics need the right tools to do their jobs. While of course their trucks are stocked with myriad good bike tools, sometimes they choose to use tools they made themselves. Or they appropriate a tool that was made for a different purpose. And the truck itself is a tool that is critical to doing their job.
Lance Armstrong will target a stage win in the Giro d'Italia after falling off the pace in the overall standings, race leader Danilo Di Luca claimed on Thursday.
"You mustn't forget that he stopped competing for three years and fractured his collarbone a month and a half before the race," the Italian said after completing the sixth stage.
"I saw the footage of the Alpe di Siusi stage (on Wednesday) on television and he gave everything," Di Luca added. "He's doing his best, he's honoring the Giro. I think he'll focus on a stage victory."
Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) soloed home an impressive victory Thursday to leave the chasing peloton in his rear-view mirror in the 2009 Giro d’Italia’s first successful breakaway.
Despite a frenetic chase by Quick Step and Katusha, the sprightly Italian held out after 198km in a five-man move in the 248km sixth stage over two rated climbs to the posh Austrian ski town of Mayrhofen. He won by 32 seconds clear of an impressive Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad).
Lance Armstrong just wants everyone to calm down.
Some over-eager fans and media accustomed to watching Armstrong crush the climbs were dismayed Wednesday at the sight of him being dropped on the 24.9km summit finish to Alpe di Suisi, but on the day after, Armstrong was keen to put things in context.
Under a strict interpretation of UCI rules, teams are only allowed to ride with “a single design for clothing (colours and layout) which may not be altered for the duration of the calendar year.”
However, teams have made changes in the past, with the prior approval of the UCI. The UCI approved, for example, the Discovery team’s switch to a green-themed team kit for the 2007 Tour de France, a change designed to highlight an initiative undertaken by its title sponsor.
Team Astana will wear a new kit in either Thursday or Friday's stage of the Giro d'Italia to signal upcoming changes at the team, sources told VeloNews.
The team's special kit will include the names of all of the current sponsors, but the design itself will be changed.
"There is no sponsor change, just changes to how the jersey looks to represent the significant changes that are ahead for the team," said a source who is in close contact with the team.
Wednesday’s short but explosive climbing stage across the heart of the Dolomiti lived up to its dramatic backdrop at the Giro d’Italia.
The serpentine 24.9km climb up the snow-choked Alpi di Suisi summit at the end of the 125km fifth stage played executioner for some big names and culled the list of would-be winners down to a baker’s dozen.