Dumoulin: 'We don't know exactly what the problem was'

Dutchman shows no signs of distress on day after Umbrailpass toilet stop.

by By  /Cycling News

Suffice to say, Tom Dumoulin and his Giro d'Italia Odyssey is headline news in the Netherlands. Not even the presence of Ajax in a European final for the first time in 21 years seems to be detracting attention from the maglia rosa, whose crossover celebrity grew still further in the past 24 hours after an urgent toilet stop threatened to leave his challenge in tatters in the shadow of the Stelvio.

Having salvaged his overall lead with a measured lone pursuit on the Umbrailpass on Tuesday, Dumoulin enjoyed a rather calmer afternoon on stage 17 of the Giro, as the race made the long trek towards Canazei. He finished safely in the main peloton to retain his lead, 31 seconds clear of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and sat down to a press conference where his temporary crisis of the previous day was, of course, the primary topic of discussion.

"I'm not here to write history because I'm shitting in the bushes," Dumoulin deadpanned in response to yet another question on the incident, just about stifling a grin. "I want to write history by getting the pink jersey in Milan."

All eyes were on Dumoulin as he reported to the start in Tirano, and though the Dutchman showed no signs of distress as he went to sign on, he confessed afterwards that he had set out on the road to Canazei nursing a certain amount of trepidation. "I felt much better today. I was a little bit insecure in the morning," Dumoulin said. "I had to eat bars and food in the race and then I was a little bit worried that it wouldn't be ok but it was completely fine and I had no problems."

Dumoulin was fortunate, perhaps, that Wednesday's stage, though long, was the least demanding of the Giro's mountainous final week. Although the speed was high on the short opening climb to Aprica, there was precious little chance of an ambush on the maglia rosa with so much distance left to run. "I knew it was very long after the second climb until the finish, so I would have been very, very surprised if any GC riders attacked, especially with the hard days ahead, although Bahrain made it hard for us at the start," Dumoulin said.

The whys and wherefores of Dumoulin's enforced stop on stage 16 continue to be debated, though his performance on the Umbrailpass – where he conceded precious little ground to Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) et al once he had remounted – strongly suggests that it was not a symptom of an underlying illness. He dismissed the hypothesis that the pressing call of nature had been caused by stress, pointing out that he had suffered a similar issue at last year's Tour de France, where he rode with no general classification ambitions.

"We don't know exactly what the problem was, but we have some ideas. I think it was a combination of a few things but we don't know exactly," Dumoulin said. "I just have to be focused and sharp on my food intake – the right food at the right moment – and there we solve a lot of the problem already."

Into the Dolomites

Speaking in Bormio on Tuesday afternoon, a weary Dumoulin seemed relieved simply to have lived to fight another day in the maglia rosa. A day later, the Dutchman admitted to frustration at conceding such a large chunk of his hefty buffer in such bizarre circumstances. His lead shrank from 2:41 to 31 seconds, and though he still has the safety net of the final time trial in Milan, Dumoulin's margin for error in the days ahead has tightened considerably.

"I was very disappointed and angry with myself because I actually had good legs. I think with my legs yesterday I would have been up there with Nibali and Quintana at the top of the climb," Dumoulin said. "I would have had a big margin going into the last three mountain days. Now I've lost that because of a problem, not because I had a bad day. If I have a bad day or bad legs in the coming days, I'll lose jersey. That's the biggest setback from yesterday. But the fact I didn't lose any time on the climb when I was chasing alone was the biggest mental win from yesterday."

A man with designs on winning the Giro can ill afford to dwell on the regrets of yesterday, of course. Though the pink jersey on Dumoulin's shoulders is real, his place on the top step of the podium in Milan is virtual. All that matters is the day ahead, and Thursday's Dolomite tappone offers a further, formidable test. The Passo Pordoi, Passo Valparola, Passo Gardena, Passo di Pinei and final ascent of Pontives are crammed into just 137 kilometres of racing, though Dumoulin downplayed the idea that Quintana or Nibali (3rd at 1:12) might begin attacking his lead on the day's first ascent.

"We have to be ready for everything. Maybe the top 3 or top 5 will not attack on first climb – even if we have to be ready for that too – but definitely guys a little further away will try to jump away," Dumoulin said. "That will happen, so it will be a big fight from the first climb."

Watch the video here:


Ravena gets Paras on board for 3×3

By: Randolph B. Leongson -

Funny how a simple conversation between gym buddies escalated to a partnership for flag and country.

That was how led Kobe Paras came to be part of Chooks-Pilipinas 3×3 squad which will compete in the 2017 Fiba 3×3 World Cup in June.

“He was in our house and on our way to the gym when Anton (Altamirano) were discussing who has already committed,” shared Kiefer Ravena.

The two-time UAAP MVP broached the idea to the 19-year-old prodigy, who was vacationing in the country after transferring from Creighton to Cal State Northridge.

“It was only Jeron (Teng) and I who have stated our commitment and I told him, ‘Kobes, you’ll redshirt, right? Maybe you want to play for us?’ He said he’ll look at it and eventually got the green light,” he said.

Turning into some sort of an agent for the 3×3 crew, Ravena hoped to also get Raymar Jose onboard infuse some hustle and energy, but the team eventually settled for JR Quiñahan after the former’s obligations with Cignal in the PBA D-League.

Ravena, though, was still satisfied, saying that the NLEX big man can provide the same and more, particularly veteran smarts, for the young team.

“Kuya JR, fortunately, will bring us the same thing,” he said.

Seeing how talented the team is, Ravena knows that the one of the biggest concerns for the team is to form a strong bond which he believes shouldn’t be a problem under the guidance of coach Eric Altamirano.

“His presence is very important for us. He explained to us how the game is played and how we can mesh,” he said. “He just told us to enjoy this because this is a rare chance for us to be together. It’s not everyday that we can be in one team so we have to make the most out of it.”

PBA: Meralco, Star vie for solo lead


by Jonas Terrado(Manila Bulletin)

Meralco import Alex Stepheson (Rio Deluvio | Manila Bulletin)

The Meralco Bolts and Star Hotshots return from a two-week break with a chance at gaining the solo lead and a step closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals when they clash today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s victory over San Miguel last Sunday allowed Meralco and Star to share top spot at 7-2 going into the 7 p.m. contest, their first meeting since contrasting results last May 10.

Out to rebound is Meralco, which fell 94-86 to GlobalPort, while seeking to continue its winning ways is Star, a 107-97 victor over TNT KaTropa, thanks to an impressive debut by returning import Ricardo Ratliffe.

Bolts coach Norman Black certainly does not want to see another defeat, especially with his team and the Hotshots a half-game ahead of Ginebra and San Miguel – both at 6-2 – and TNT (7-3) as the elimination round nears its final week.

“It’s a bad feeling to lose especially since GlobalPort is one of the lower teams and we’re trying to get the twice-to-beat; that kinda puts a damper on our ability to do that especially since we have two really tough teams coming up in Star and Ginebra (on Sunday),” Black said.

“At the same time, every team has lost in the league, so your ability to bounce back from the losses will be the key to success,” he added.

Meralco is counting on import Alex Stepheson to dominate the shaded lane and for locals Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, Jared Dillinger and Cliff Hodge to deliver in the most important stretch of the elims.

Stepheson, who is averaging 17.8 points, 22.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this conference, will be up against Ratliffe, the returning Hotshots import who put up 37 points and 22 rebounds against the KaTropa in his first game since replacing Tony Mitchell.

In the 4:15 p.m. opener, Alaska seeks to snap a four-game skid against winless NLEX. The Aces have struggled after starting the conference with four straight victories.

Ending the losing run would enable Alaska to gain in the race for a playoff spot. The Aces are in seventh place at 4-4, one game ahead of the Phoenix Fuel Masters (4-6) and 1 1/2 from the Globalport Batang Pier (3-6).

NLEX will once again try to end its skid dating back to the Philippine Cup.


Melindo wrests crown in shocking 1st round KO

Milan Melindo, not known as a power-puncher, knocked out the iron-chinned Japanese Akira Yaegashi in the first round last night to crown himself the new International Boxing Federation (IBF) light-flyweight king before a stunned crowd at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.

Melindo sent Yaegashi to the floor midway through the opening canto with a perfect left hook and followed it up with the same blow moments later for the second knockdown.

Instead of retreating, Yaegashi opted to slug it out with Melindo after the second knockdown and paid dearly as the highly-skilled Filipino landed a left-right that put the Japanese down for the third time.

Referee Eddie Hernandez of the US didn’t bother to count and stepped in at 2:45 of the round, making Melindo the fourth reigning Filipino world champion after Manny Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas and ALA Boxing stablemate Donnie Nietes.

The victory raised Melindo’s win-loss card to 36-2 with 13 KOs, while Yaegashi’s eye-popping loss saw his mark drop to 25-6 with 13 KOs.

The crowd at the venue sat and watched in silence when Hernandez called a halt to the scheduled 12-rounder while Team Melindo erupted in cheers.

It was Melindo’s third crack at the world title following losses to Mexicans Juan Francisco Estrada in 2013 and Javier Mendoza in 2015.

It could not yet be determined when Melindo is going to make the first defense of the newly-won IBF 108-lb title although ALA Boxing chief Michael Aldeguer is expected to be at the forefront of staging it in the country with Manila or Cebu as candidate sites.

The shot at Yaegashi’s title was mandatory, meaning the Japanese camp doesn’t have an option or a right to promote Melindo’s next fight.


Ginebra regains composure in time to hold off San Miguel, clinch spot in PBA playoffs

BARANGAY Ginebra avoided another collapse, holding off San Miguel Beer, 107-99, to formally clinch a playoff berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.

Two days after giving up a 16-point lead in their loss to Rain or Shine, the Gin Kings saw their early 20-point cushion against the Beermen almost disappear again, but showed better composure this time in a Philippine Cup Finals rematch that lived up to its billing down the stretch.

Justin Brownlee shone on both ends as usual, while LA Tenorio bounced back from a so-so performance as the Gin Kings tied their victims at 6-2.

“We caught them flat at the beginning and we carried that throughout the game, but our bigs got into foul trouble and suddenly we were playing on our heels,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “Good perseverance for our guys tonight.”

“And San Miguel needs these losses every once in a while because that gets them going,” he added. “They get one less and then they’re awesome again.”

 Brownlee stuffed the stats sheet again, tallying 34 points, 12 boards, three assists, four blocks, and three steals in 42 minutes, bringing the Gin Kings home by scoring 15 of his output in the payoff period in the face of an SMB comeback.

Tenorio sparked the Gin Kings’ early breakaway, firing 13 of his 20 points in the first half where they built their biggest lead at 38-13 early in the second quarter before SMB embarked on its rally.

Scottie Thompson also came through for the Gin Kings, scattering 18 points, 11 boards, four assists, and three steals, while Joe Devance was the other double-digit scorer with 16 markers.

Charles Rhodes, Alex Cabagnot, and Arwind Santos led the fightback for the Beermen, who came to within three points, 90-93, following a Cabagnot triple with a little less than three minutes remaining in the game.

But Brownlee retaliated with five straight points, the first two on a left corner jumper before making three straight charities off a transition foul from Chris Ross, who complained that it should’ve been an offensive foul.

The scores:

GINEBRA 107 – Brownlee 34, Tenorio 20, Thompson 18, Devance 16, Aguilar 5, Ferrer 5, Mercado 3, Marcelo 2, Cruz 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 0

SMB 99 – Rhodes 26, Cabagnot 20, Santos 19, Fajardo 13, Lassiter 10, Ross 7, Espinas 4, Heruela 0, Semerad 0

Quarterscores: 31-15, 52-39, 80-65, 107-99


Fiery Blatche carries Gilas to Seaba sweep

Gilas Pilipinas made true to its word and punched a ticket to the Asian championships, beating Indonesia, 97-64, to sweep the 2017 Seaba Championship on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Andray Blatche paved the way for the Philippines’ successful title defense, going 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-7 from threes to finish with 21 points and 10 rebounds in just three quarters to lead the home team to the victory.

Undefeated going to the final game of the tourney, the Indonesians posed the biggest threat to the country’s throne.

But Blatche and Jayson Castro William were quick to bring Indonesia back to Earth as the duo buckled down to work early and anchored the Philippines’ offensive flurry, stringing 12 straight points to set the tone for the game with an early 22-point cushion, 34-12 late in the first quarter.

Though the offense seemed to have soured in the second frame, Gilas came out sniping anew in the next two periods, with Terrence Romeo and Matthew Wright soon finding their range to open the floodgates and cruise to its sixth straight win.

Castro wound up with 14 markers, seven boards, and five assists, while June Mar Fajardo saved his best offensive game for last with 13 points, four rebounds, and two blocks.

Gilas commanded the boards, 53-25, and dominated the paint, 40-22, which helped the squad extend the lead to as high as 38, 95-57, with the game already secured.

Coach Chot Reyes expressed glee with how his team responded to the challenge of the field as the Philippines brandishing once again its dominance in the region by winning by an average of 58.6 points.

“We knew we were going to be tested, and I felt we were ready for it,” he said.

With its eighth Seaba Championship in the bag, Gilas will now prepare for the Asia-Pacific heavyweights as it advances to the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup on August in Lebanon.

Arki Wisnu captained Indonesia with 11 points and four assists, while Mario Wuysang got 10 markers, five dimes, and two boards.

Naturalized player Jamarr Johnson was limited to just four points and two rebounds in his 17 minutes of play.

The Scores:

PHILIPPINES 97 – Blatche 21, Castro William 14, Fajardo 13, Wright 9, Rosario 9, Aguilar 6, Jalalon 6, Romeo 6, Pogoy 5, Abueva 5, Maliksi 3, Almazan 0.

INDONESIA 64 – Wisnu 11, Wuysang 10, Sitepu 8, Grahita 8, Pratama 8, Kurniawan 7, Sitorus 4, Johnson 4, Nugroho 2, Dhyaksa 2, Lakudu 0.

Quarters: 34-14, 51-30, 78-47, 97-64.


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