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EuroTrash Down Under Thursday!

The season is off and we have race reports, quotes and video from Australia and Argentina. Lot’s of other cycling news: Tom Meeusen might miss the World cross champs, Flakemore out of TDU, Wild Card’s for the big Italian races, Tour de Yorkshire, rider news and who is Fernando Gaviria? EuroTrash coffee time.

TOP STORY: No Worlds for the Meeusen?
The Belgian Cycling Federation (RLVB/KBWB) has not picked Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) along with Laurens Sweeck (Corendon-KwadrO) and Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea) for the World cyclo-cross championships in Tabor in the Czech Republic on the on January 31.

Meeusen, Sweeck and Wellens are linked to an investigation into Dr. Chris Mertens who was giving ozone therapy to athletes, including cyclists. Meeusen has been questioned, but claims he is innocent. Meeusen was second in the Belgian National championships and was hopeful of a good performance, saying: “This is frustrating. We are a week before the World Championships. I believed in my chances. I was depressed after the news was announced in 2013 and I was not allowed to participate in the Worlds in Louisville. I then cycled a year against my will. Now again, I cannot ride the World Championships. This is hard to accept. My first reaction was to stop because they took the joy of cycling away but I’m not going to quit. I’m going to fight for rehabilitation. Most of all I want to prove as soon as possible that I am right. For more than two years I am no longer with the doctor and now I’m riding better than ever. I have nothing to fear.”

The Belgian Cycling Federation has said that Meeusen, Wellens and Sweeck can take their case to the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sport. The case has been running since 2013, two years of indecision does seem a little long.

Tom Meeusen wins the Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde:

header-TDU15Santos Tour Down Under 2015
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) took Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under on Tuesday in Campbelltown after he jumped away from a group of four with the peloton charging up behind them. His sprint from 200 meters out got the better of Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha). Lampre-Merida’s Niccolò Bonifazio won the sprint for fifth.

Durbridge, Westra and Belkov escaped in the opening kilometers and were joined Bobridge (UniSA) to make the break of the day which went all the way to the line in Cambelltown. The maximum lead was 2:30 after 15 kilometers, but Sky and Giant-Alpecin decided controlled the gap, later helped by BMC, and with 50km to go they were back to 2:05. After 100 of the 133 kilometers the leaders only had 30 seconds and it looked like the bunch would pull them back before the sprint. Into the last 10km and the four still had 25 seconds as first Etixx – Quick-Step and then Giant-Alpecin led the peloton, but the speed dropped and it was too late.

Stage winner Jack Bobridge (UniSA-Australia): “I’ve always been aggressive, but to take out the first stage and wear the leader’s jersey tomorrow – I’m speechless. To be honest, coming through Williamstown half way was, I think it was down to 30 seconds or 40 seconds and we thought, all the guys had pretty much given up out there. Again it’s always games you know, breakaway vs bunch. All day a game. We planned it perfect. We kept our cool when they were playing games with us and then we played the big game at the end and stayed away.”

Second on the stage, Lieuwe Westra (Astana): “I’m not yet at 100 percent, but second place in a World Tour race is a very good result.”

Fifth lampre-Merida’s Niccolò Bonifazio: “I had good feedbacks from my legs during the race, I’m aware I can aim to obtain top results. Today we missed the chance and it makes me sad because my team mates had given me an amazing help.”

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Chris Juul-Jensen was happy with his ‘day at the office’. He explained: “We were positioned well in the peloton showing off our sparkling team colors. We all positioned ourselves next to Michael Rogers and I also stayed with him on the fast hills of the finale and in the sprint. Generally, we’re all excited to race for Michael. He seems ready and he’s such a great guy to ride in support for. There will come harder days than today and that’s where the team has to show that we are all ready to take responsibility. Today we enjoyed being back to racing at full speed.”

David Tanner of IAM Cycling: “For the Tour Down Under, we really need to take the stages one day at a time. Checking out the stages, the second day is one that is good for me personally, and Heino can do great things too. The second stage will be tougher than today, so we will have to be strong on the front and we will be there.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Jack Bobridge (Aus) UniSA-Australia 2:59:44
2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana
3. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha
5. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Steele von Hoff (Aus) UniSA-Australia
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jack Bobridge (Aus) UniSA-Australia in 2:59:31
2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana at 0:04
3. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:06
4. Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha at 0:10
5. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:13
6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Steele von Hoff (Aus) UniSA-Australia
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Stage 1:

Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) won the up-hill sprint into Stirling at the end of Stage 2 ahead of Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) and his Movistar teammate Gorka Izagirre Insausti. Jack Bobrdige (UniSA-Australia) finished in 20th place in the same time as Lobato and held the overall lead.

After numerous failed attacks; Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) jumped away to be joined by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and eventually Campbell Flakemore (BMC) and after 20 kilometers the three had 1:35 over the Sky led bunch. The advantage went up to over 2 minutes, but with 30 kilometers to go of the 150 kilometers the lead was back down to 1:30. Onto the finish circuit and it was the IAM Cycling team making the pace for the peloton and with 25 kilometers to go the race was all together. Tinkoff-Saxo, LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM Cycling and Sky, with Neil van der Ploeg of UniSA covering for overall leader Bobridge were at the head of the peloton.

With 4K’s to go, BMC brought Cadel Evans to the front as Orica-GreenEDGE had Clarke and Impey to the fore, but Cannondale-Garmin swamped them to put Nathan Haas on the front with 300 meters to go. The uphill finish was too much for Haas and Impey and Meersman shot past with Lobato poised to come past them all for the win.

Stage 2 winner Juanjo Lobato (Movistar): “I’m super happy. I had a small incident in the finale with a flat tire during the last lap, and that’s why I didn’t came in the best position into the final slopes. Fortunately, the team has always been there supporting me, helping me out with that trouble, and I’m really excited to offer them a victory to pay back after their efforts. It’s not really like the rivals have ‘stopped’ in the final meters; the ramp was steep and difficult for all of us, the pace was incredible and I was timing my effort to launch the sprint. I didn’t care if my ‘distance’ would grant me a top-10 place or a victory: I just wanted to give everything from where I could push at full steam, and fortunately, I could take this win. I work every day to perform strongly into sprints of every condition: uphill, like today’s, flat or high-speed ones in slight downhill like Sunday’s criterium. It’s true that these finishes are bringing me victories, but I don’t want to focus exclusively on them. I think I did my best offseason training this winter, working really hard, several days behind the motor to come here with racing form. I just hope the streak has only started with this victory. Tomorrow’s finish is pretty hard – I’m more confident about Friday, which suits me well. However, the most important thing now will be fighting for the GC, with both Gorka and Rubén, and we will work hard to help them out.”

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) was in the break and received the KOM jersey: “We definitely wanted to have someone of our team in the break, because it was possible that it would survive. I tried three times and then I was part of the breakaway. I did think we could make it, but the peloton soon started the chase. The three of us tried to make a hard race of it. Eventually the peloton caught us quite early. At the start of the first local lap of 20 kilometers we had about 2’20” advantage and I still believed in it. Then Flakemore didn’t help anymore, probably for his leader Cadel Evans. Then the peloton got closer really fast and at the end I didn’t push anymore. Tomorrow I’ll start in the KOM jersey. At 500 meters of the finish there are sixteen points to gain. If I ride top five, I can keep my jersey. After today that won’t be easy. In the other stages there are definitely other opportunities. In the fourth stage I’ll have to be in the break and probably best in the fifth one as well. It will be difficult to win the KOM jersey, but it’s possible. I will do everything I can.”

Luis León Sanchez (Astana) 6th: “The strategy was to control the race and attack in the final. In the sprint I was behind Cadel Evans but we found ourselves a little closed.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar in 3:42:24
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
6. Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Astana
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky
8. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin
10. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jack Bobridge (Aus) UniSA-Australia in 6:41:55
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana at 0:04
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:07
5. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:09
6. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:13
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC.

Stage 2:

On the strength of a vicious attack on Torrens Hill BMC Racing Team’s Rohan Dennis soloed to victory and into the race lead at the end of Stage 3 at the Santos Tour Down Under. His BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans finished second.

Dennis crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of Evans and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Although the hour record contender had to switch plans in the final, he is very satisfied with his win and the overall lead. “The plan for me was to attack at the bottom of the Torrens Hill climb to put the pressure on Richie Porte (Sky) and the other contenders and let Cadel just sit back”, Dennis said. “Obviously I was too far behind to actually follow that plan.” Winning in front of his home country’s crowd Dennis also takes the first BMC Racing Team’s win of the season.

The 143.2 km stage that was marked by a four man breakaway that gained a freedom of maximum 3 minutes 30 seconds. The last remaining attacker was caught heading to the 1.2 km final climb. BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans who is now second overall, 7 seconds behind his teammate Dennis, is happy how it worked really well for the BMC Racing Team today. “We had a plan on covering on two bases, but of course I also want to be able to lend a favor to my teammates where I can and where it’s favorable”, Evans said. “We had Rohan and Peter ready to do an attack anywhere where they could and it worked out really well for us.” With three more days to go Evans remains the team leader Dennis said: “Obviously we are both protected riders but Cadel is still a leader in my eyes.”

Besides the overall classification (Ochre jersey), Dennis also leads the Subaru King of the mountain and the Cycle Instead young rider classification. While his BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans, second overall, tops the Iinet sprint classification. The BMC Racing Team leads the Virgin Australia winning team classification after stage 3 in Santos Tour Down Under.

Third overall Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “The final was really hard, it was a real GC stage. The front group, those are the guys that do the grand tours, so it was a very demanding stage. I am really happy you be there, and I can be happy with third. I think I can make the podium. Never say never for the victory, it will be hard, but we will fight for every second here.”

Fourth overall Richie Porte (Sky): “We’ll have to see how it plays out up on Willunga. They’re (BMC) a man down, and that’s not easy, they’re going to have to control the race, which they haven’t done thus far. I know I am climbing well. It was a bit of a shame, it was a bit too much stop-start for my liking. The team put me in a great position at the bottom of the climb. I am really happy with how the team is riding. It’s not ideal, but it’s still not over.”

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) was 14th: “I am obviously very happy with my result today, but I would have liked to do better and get into the top 10. Of course I also know that an explosive final like this is not really what is best for me. Even more importantly, I must remember that my good result comes mostly from all the excellent work that the team did for me all day. However, I know that Saturday I can really play my game because I feel very good and the profile of the finish will be more to my advantage.”

Drapac’s William Clarke was the stage’s ‘Most Competitive Rider’: “I wanted to go pretty early today. I felt good and we got rolling nicely as a group. I am pleased with today and I gave what I had. It was good to open the legs up a bit and go up the road and I am happy about getting the sprints.”

Luis Leòn Sanchez (Astana): “Today was the first really hot day with nearly 35° and this has affected the performance of many riders. I made the final climb with the best and I arrived a few seconds behind the winner.”

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC in 3:35:08
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:03
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
4. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:05
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky
7. Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8. Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:13.

Santos Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC in 10:17:06
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:07
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:09
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:15
5. Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA-Australia
6. Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:22.

Stage 3:

header-sanluis15-leftTour de San Luis 2015
Etixx – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish, in the first road race of the season for the team, finished 2nd to Fernando Gaviria (Team Colombia)in a tense 186.8km Tour de San Luis Stage 1 on Monday. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) was 3rd in the stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes.

Etixx – Quick-Step had to control the front of the peloton for much of the race, which had an original escape group of three riders that was neutralized inside 15km to go. While the team had all six riders on the front in support of Cavendish, riders from opposing teams went on the attack all the way until the final few kilometers in hopes of preventing the bunch sprint Etixx – Quick-Step was working hard for. At one point the pace was so high in a lined out peloton that gaps were temporarily created.

As the peloton went into the flamme rouge UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Fabio Sabatini remained in the lead-out for the Manx Missile. But Gaviria was able to get the victory to open the race in Argentina.

Etixx – Quick-Step looks next to a 185.3km stage from La Punta to Mirador del Portero. The stage includes an uphill finish of 4.8km at 6.7% average gradient. The summit finale of Stage 2 is considered one of the less steep and challenging of all the summit finishes in the stage race.

“My teammates did a perfect job to keep me in front,” Cavendish said. “We were in front for the last 50 kilometers. They did an incredible job, and that’s why I am disappointed that I was unable to pay them back for their work. We have a neo-pro in Lukasz Wisniowski here, and we have Fabio Sabatini in his first race with us. Considering this and that we had six guys I think we did more than a perfect job going into the sprint. But Gaviria got the first jump and he deserved the win today. I saw 300 meters to go, it was a real small sign. I waited for 200, I didn’t see 200 and then he jumped. He went super fast. I saw the line, I didn’t see 200 yet, but at that point I knew I just had to go. It was too late to catch up with him. But we did all we could going into this race and I know we will keep working hard, as we did today, in the next stages to try and get a good result.”
Thanks to the Etixx – Quick-Step team for the race report.

Tour de San Luis Stage 1 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Colombian National Team in 4:40:13
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Sebastian Tolosa (Arg) Buenos Aires
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar
8. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
9. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Italy
10. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Colombian National Team in 4:40:13
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Sebastian Tolosa (Arg) Buenos Aires
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
8. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
9. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Italy
10. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement.

Stage 1:

Argentinian champion Daniel Diaz (Funvic Brasilinvest-Sao Jose dos Campos) jumped away from his escape companion Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) on the summit finish to the Mirador del Potrero to win the stage and take the overall lead at the end of Stage 2.

Carlos Quintero (Colombia), Mauricio Muller (Team SEP San Juan), Sebastian Tolosa (Buenos Aires), Romain Guillemois (Europcar), Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) escaped early and built up a lead of 8 minutes. But with Movistar, Katusha and Etixx – Quick-Step chasing hard the lead group fell apart and by the bottom of the climb the race was all together.

Daniel Diaz and Rodolfo Torres attacked with 3 kilometers to go after Movistar had shattered the peloton, they worked well together until they hit the steep 1K to go and Diaz was away for a 6 second win over Torres and 27 seconds over what was left of the bunch.

Stage winner Daniel Diaz (Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos): “The pace was really very fast on the climb today with a lot of attacks at the bottom, especially because San Luis Somos Todos were trying to force a selection. It was the attack from the Colombian that helped to make the final selection and I was able to follow him. “It’s true that I’m in a good position but there’s still a long way to go. I’ve taken a bit of time today but I think Nairo, Dani Moreno and the Colombians are still very much in contention.”

Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished 7th on the stage: “When Diaz got away I decided to climb at my own tempo. At this point, Diaz has shown that he’s stronger than us. Me? I’m only at 50 per cent of my condition.”

Tour de San Luis Stage 2 Result:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos in 4:33:26
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia at 0:06
3. Kleber Da Silva (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos at 0:24
4. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement at 0:27
5. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
6. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
8. Sergio Godoy (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:29
9. Daniel Jaramillo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:36
10. Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Colombian National Team.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 2:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos in 9:13:39
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia at 0:06
3. Kleber Da_Silva (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos at 0:24
4. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:27
5. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
6. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
8. Sergio Godoy (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:29
9. Daniel Jaramillo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:36
10. Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Colombian National Team.

Stage 2:

In a copy of stage 1; Stage 3 was won by Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) from Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) with Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) taking third. Cavendish was annoyed about something, gesticulating as he crossed the line, but it was for nothing.

Six riders broke away: Ismael Laguna (Argentina), Guido Palma (Buenos Aires), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Lucas Lopardo (Team SEP San Juan), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) and Jose Rodríguez (Chile) and built up a lead of 5 minutes before being caught with about 20 kilometers to go. Others tried to escape, but Etixx – Quick-Step were in control with the Colombians, Lampre-Merida and Nippo-Vini Fantini close by. There was a crash on the run-in, but Cavendish looked to have the win in hand. Fernando Gaviria was the first out of the last corner with a good gap on Cavendish and the win was in the bag. The overall stayed the same.

2nd Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a fast finish, and I felt super good. The team rode incredible again all day. But the Colombians went super, super fast the last few hundred meters. I think we just hesitated a bit and that’s a shame because it was the exact opposite of what we did the first stage when I let the team down that day. I had too much ground to make up today, which is too bad because the team really did ride great today going into the finish. The last kilometer slipped away a little bit. But Gaviria deserved the win again today. He’s a track rider, so he’s very fast and he can go super long. Being able to sprint from a distance like that is a sign of a track rider. It’s very impressive. As for me, I’m happy with my form and the team is riding well overall. I’d still like to try and win a stage here at Tour de San Luis and it would be nice to get the first victory of the year out of the way. I said it after the first stage, we have a couple new guys here with Lukasz Wisniowski and Fabio Sabatini and they’re doing a great job. This is also Sabatini’s first race as the final leadout man, so the first race of the season is an important time for all of us to get this right and I’m confident we will.”

Third Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida): “I’m riding quite well, especially considering that the season has just begun, and the two podium confirm this. I thank Filippo and especially Maximiliano, who has given me the usual help despite he was racing with grazes on his legs after the crash he got involved during the first week.”

Tour de San Luis Stage 3 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Colombian National Team in 3:48:44
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
5. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
6. Nicolas Marini (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
7. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
8. Julian Gaday (Arg) Buenos Aires
9. Emmanuel Guevara (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos
10. Diego Milan (Dom) Inteja-MMR.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 3:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos in 13:02:23
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia at 0:06
3. Kleber Ramos (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos at 0:24
4. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic-Sao Jose dos Campos at 0:27
5. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
6. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
8. Sergio Godoy (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:29
9. Daniel Jaramillo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:36
10. Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Colombian National Team.

Stage 3:

header-BMC14Flakemore Crashes Post-Race; Breaks Collarbone
BMC Racing Team’s Campbell Flakemore crashed and broke his left collarbone while riding back to the team hotel after the finish of Wednesday’s stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Flakemore said the accident happened while he was negotiating a turn on a descent. “We were going pretty quickly – maybe 55 or 60 kilometers an hour,” he said. “It was a left-hand turn and on the shoulder there was gravel or I maybe hit a bit of a groove. The next thing I knew I was on the ground. As soon as I got up, I knew something in my shoulder or collarbone was pretty bad.”

BMC Racing Team’s Dr. Scott Major said Flakemore will undergo surgery Thursday in Adelaide. “It was a clean break in the middle part of the clavicle, which is the best place for a fracture to occur,” Dr. Major said. “It is also most amenable to fixing it surgically.”

In Wednesday’s stage, Flakemore had been part of a three-man breakaway with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Cameron Meyer (ORICA-GreenEDGE) for more than 120 kilometers of the 150.5-km race. He went on to finish 113th on the day, 5:48 behind the stage winner.

Teammate Cadel Evans, who finished fifth on the day to climb into 10th overall, said Campbell’s loss amounts to much more than simply being without a teammate for the remaining four days of the race. “As Campbell showed in the national championships and as he showed today, he is a fantastic guy for the race,” Evans said. “Just to get in that (breakaway) move was really clever and observant. He was really showing his maturity and looks like a rider to me who has the capabilities to utilize his physical potential, which is a pretty rare combination. It is really unlucky for him after what he did today and in the national championships. I was just thinking after the race what a good job he is doing.”

Flakemore – the reigning Under 23 world time trial champion – finished fourth in the Australian national road race and sixth in the time trial earlier this month. New to the BMC Racing Team for 2015, he was riding in his second Santos Tour Down Under after finishing 128th overall last year while riding for UniSA-Australia, the national team squad.

Sport Director Fabio Baldato said Flakemore will definitely be missed as Evans tries to better his runner-up finish – by one second – at this race a year ago. “It is a big loss because we saw today and yesterday that Campbell was one of the strongest riders,” Baldato said. “He is a great teammate and a great worker. The other guys are really upset about what happened. Now we will need to be more attentive. But we still have five strong riders next to Cadel.”

Campbell Flakemore in the 2014 Tour Down Under:

header-RCS‘Wild Card’ Teams for the 2015 WorldTour Races Announced
RCS Sport has formalized the wild cards choices for it’s four UCI WorldTour races: Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia. These are in addition to the 17 eligible WorldTeams. As in past years RCS Sport has given notice in January to allow all teams to better organize their season.

Here is the list of the teams that will participate in the four races:
UCI WORLDTEAMS – 17 (eligible)
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA), ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ), BMC RACING TEAM (USA), ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL), FDJ (FRA), IAM CYCLING (SUI), LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA), LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL), MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP), ORICA GREENEDGE (AUS), TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA), TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN (GER), TEAM KATUSHA (RUS), TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED), TEAM SKY (GBR), TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS), TREK FACTORY RACING (USA)

UCI PROFESSIONAL CONTINENTAL TEAMS (wild cards)

GIRO D’ITALIA (9 – 31 May) – 5 wild cards (22 teams of 9 riders each):
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA), BARDIANI CSF (ITA), CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL), NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA), SOUTHEAST PRO CYCLING TEAM (ITA) – the right was acquired for winning the Italian Cup.

TIRRENO – ADRIATICO (11-17 March) – 5 wild cards (22 teams of 8 riders each):
BARDIANI CSF (ITA), BORA – ARGON 18 (GER), COLOMBIA (COL), MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA), TEAM EUROPCAR (FRA).

MILANO – SANREMO (22 March) – 8 wild cards (25 teams of 8 riders each):
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA), BARDIANI CSF (ITA), BORA – ARGON 18 (GER), CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL), COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (FRA), COLOMBIA (COL), MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA), TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA).

IL LOMBARDIA (4 October) – 8 wild cards (25 teams of 8 riders each):
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA), BARDIANI CSF (ITA), BORA – ARGON 18 (GER), CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
COLOMBIA (COL), NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA), SOUTHEAST PRO CYCLING TEAM (ITA), UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA).

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Head of Cycling, commented: “As per every previous year, we reflected deeply on the wild card choices; an increasingly meticulous process thanks to the quality of the teams that want to participate in our races. I would like to thanks, on behalf of RCS Sport, all the teams that have advanced their candidacy. This year’s choices, especially for the wild cards of the Giro d’Italia, were dictated by the opportunity to support the Italian cycling movement, giving continuity to an overall process without ever losing sight of the goal of international development in strategic territories”.

Giro d’Italia 2015 promo:

header-bora-agon18BORA – ARGON 18 invited to Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia
Italian race organizer RCS has invited German cycling team BORA – ARGON 18 to Tirreno-Adriatico as well as the classics Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia. Manager Ralph Denk’s team will be racing its Italian dream schedule with a particular focus on the “race of the two seas”.

“I am pleased that RCS has once again completely taken our wishes into consideration. We received wildcards for every race for which we applied. Tirreno-Adriatico is our most important tour in the spring. The race is suited to sprinters and climbers as well as rouleurs and time trial specialists. We will certainly use it to test the core of our possible Tour de France selection,” said Ralph Denk, Team Manager of BORA – ARGON 18.

“Being cycling monuments, Milan-San Remo in the spring and Il Lombardia in the fall are the cornerstones of our classics calendar. It will be only our second start in Milan, and we are therefore particularly keen to make a good impression. We have improved every year in Lombardy, and we want to take it up a notch this time as well,” continues Denk.

Tirreno-Adriatico includes seven stages from Lido di Camaiore to San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic, from March 11 to 17. After an initial team time trial over 22.7 kilometers, the sprinters will take over. The queen stage on the fifth day, with a mountain finish on the Pian de Valli (1,614 m), will provide a preliminary result for the overall ranking. A subsequent sprint finish and short individual time trial will then round out the race.

The last 10K’s of the 2013 Milano-Sanremo:

header-MTN14-leftTirreno Adriatico and Milan Sanremo wildcards for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung
Today RCS Sport announced the wildcard recipients for their respective 2015 World Tour events. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are delighted that for the 3rd year running, they have been included in both the Tirreno Adriatico and Milan Sanremo events. We would like to thank RCS Sport for extending these invitations to our team.

We don’t think anybody could forget our debut appearance at the 2013 Milan Sanremo. It was the race in which our African team was announced to the world as Gerald Ciolek triumphed, giving our team its biggest victory to date. Obviously this victory has a special place in our teams history and so we are delighted to be going back to “La classicissima di Primavera” this year where once again, we will contest for the victory.

The Tirreno-Adriatico will be our first World Tour stage race of the 2015 season and as guests to the race we hope to put on a great show. We will look to better our stage podium placings we have received in previous years and be visible throughout the race. The Tirreno-Adriatico has treated our team well in preparing our riders for the classics and so we are grateful to have such a high quality event on our calendar once again.

The Tirreno Adriatico will take place from the 11th – 17th March while the 296km Milan Sanremo Monument will be held on the 22nd March.

Brian Smith – General Manager: “It’s important for our team to receive the best invitations to help promote our project and also to give our riders the best chances. Today is another great day with confirmation that we will ride both Tirreno Adriatico and Milan Sanremo. With 2 previous winners of MSR in the team, I think we can go there with confidence. We will be super motivated to perform well in both of these RCS Sport races.”

Gerald Ciolek – Rider: “I am very happy we have got wildcards for Tirreno and Milan Sanremo. The Tirreno is a race I really enjoy and it always gets me into good shape for the classics. I hope to be able to deliver a good result at Sanremo like I have in previous years. It will be great to show of our stripes at both these races so look out for the big yellow flying Q in the finale.”

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header-colombia15Corti: “Too bad, we deserved the Giro as well”
It was a peculiar day at Team Colombia-Coldeportes’ headquarter in Adro (Italy). The much-expected decision on the Wild Cards by RCS Sport saw the Team directed by Claudio Corti earn the invitation for Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and il Lombardia, but miss out on the Giro d’Italia, after the Escarabajos had taken part with pride and valuable results in the last two editions.

Claudio Corti is an experienced manager, and certainly not prone to controversy, but his disappointment can be clearly perceived: “We are very sorry, because we believe we deserved to race the Giro, and our performance in 2014 and 2013 stands to prove it clearly. On the other hand, we are receiving many demonstrations of esteem and consideration, and a huge wave of comments in the social media confirms – if needed – the enthusiasm and affection our team managed to raise.”

“Our goal was always to win a spot for the Giro and the Vuelta. RCS selected us for the other races, but left us out of the Giro; we are hopeful to get bigger consideration from the Vuelta a España. Less deserving teams – either from an ethical, competitive or professional point of view – were picked instead of us. I think the history of a sports club, and of its managers, should also be a factor”.

“I have the utter respect for the organizers, and a relationship of real esteem and friendship with Mauro Vegni.” Corti continued, “Mauro said he wanted to sustain Italian cycling while also targeting the international development in strategic territories. Still, our team has been regularly registered in Italy for all our four years, complying to every regulation, and certainly represents a strategic target for the Giro – as a Country and as a Continent… For all those reasons, it is hard to me to understand this decision.”

“In addition – Corti concluded – respectfully speaking, I believe a Country like Colombia, that is bringing a lot to cycling, would have deserved greater attention and consideration. We will continue on our own path, with our head held high.”

Pan_Cha_Qui-BettiniPhoto_big

Team NN simple stacked.pdfTeam Novo Nordisk set to compete at first World Tour event
Team Novo Nordisk is set to compete in its first World Tour event with the invitation to Milano-Sanremo, which was announced by RCS Sport earlier today. Reactions from Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland and General Manager Vassili Davidenko below:

Team Novo Nordisk CEO Phil Southerland: “Competing in our first World Tour race is a major milestone for Team Novo Nordisk and speaks to the hard work and dedication of this entire organization. It’s also the result of a tenacious and inspirational group of athletes, who are proving every day that they can race alongside the world’s best. Racing at such a high caliber event will also enable us to reach even more people around the world and show what may be possible with diabetes.”

Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko: “Since we started Team Novo Nordisk two and a half years ago, our goal was to participate in a World Tour event in 2015. We’ve been working very hard to bring the team to this level and we’ve done it. Milano-Sanremo is going to be the first major test for this young team. We want to do well and we want to be invited to World Tour events in the future. We thank RCS for this opportunity.”

2015 Team Novo Nordisk

header-TdeYorkshire15Tour de Yorkshire Route Announced
Famous Yorkshire cyclists past and present unveiled the route of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire today in Bridlington, the town where the race will start in May. Ben Swift, Team Sky pro rider and Brian Robinson, the first British man to win a stage of the Tour de France, were in Bridlington to celebrate the international cycle race, a direct legacy of the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ, which will take place in 100 days time on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of May 2015. The race has three stages and includes a women’s event on 2nd May, a mass participation sportive on 3rd May and a cultural festival.

Stage one on Friday 1st May will start in seaside town of Bridlington and 174km later finish further up the coast in Scarborough. The riders, from all over the world, will pass through spectacular coastal scenery and the iconic North York Moors landscapes. From the start line in Bridlington the riders will head along the Flamborough Head Heritage Coast before turning away from the coast into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest and towards Pickering. They’ll then take a spectacular journey back to the coast at Whitby, and then south to Robin Hood’s Bay with the ultimate race to the finish line on the seafront at Scarborough. The last section of this stage will be particularly tough, especially the climb out of Robin Hood’s Bay, which is 1.5km long and has an average gradient of 10.3%.

Stage two on Saturday 2nd May is one for the sprinters, and will see the race start outside the imposing Selby Abbey. The route takes in much of the Wolds, and from Selby will take the peloton towards Market Weighton, through North Newbald and on to Beverley, where they will turn north to Malton, then on to Stamford Bridge. Spectators will have the chance to see a circuit of York and organizers are hoping for a dramatic finish in the town, which of course witnessed incredible scenes during the 2014 Grand Depart.

As part of the legacy of the Tour de France to get more women cycling there will also be a dedicated women’s event on a circuit through York.

The final day, Sunday 3rd May will see the peloton make a return to some of the roads raced in the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France, only with a twist; starting in Wakefield, riders will travel south to Barnsley before heading to Holmfirth where they pick up the Grand Départ route in reverse, racing to Ripponden before riding the iconic Cragg Vale – which in the Tour de France was the country’s longest continual climb and now becomes the longest continual descent. The riders will then make their way to Hebden Bridge, Oxenhope and through the famous cobbled streets of Haworth, one of the most iconic images of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. This is definitely a stage for puncheurs and climbers and a series of short, sharp climbs punctuate the entire route; riders should expect a similar race to the second stage of the 2014 Tour de France. After a steep climb at Goose Eye the riders will once again see Ilkley, with the famous climb up the Cow & Calf before a sprint point at Arthington and then what is expected to be a hugely popular finish line in Roundhay Park in Leeds.

The race will be shown live on television in the UK and across Europe and a huge television audience is expected, once again shining a spotlight on Yorkshire.

The race is being organized by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.), with support from British Cycling and local authorities throughout the county, especially the start and finish towns and cities; Bridlington, Leeds, Scarborough, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding Council.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at A.S.O., said; “After the grandest of Grand Départs of the Tour de France, we were keen to return to Yorkshire. With it’s stunning landscapes, iconic cities and tough climbs, Yorkshire offers all the ingredients needed for a great cycling race. The welcome we received in Yorkshire in July 2014 was simply spectacular and I am very much looking forward to returning there in May for the Tour de Yorkshire”.

The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire route takes in places predominantly in areas which missed out on the Tour de France as it passed through Yorkshire. Thierry Gouvenou, Tour de France’s Sports Director, who designed the race route, said; “Yorkshire offers so much with its huge variety of landscapes. For this first edition we have three quite different stages, each with their own challenges and, seen as a whole, a very exciting addition to European racing. This first edition will suit a strong all-rounder rider. In the following years we will change the routes, taking in new places and offering something new each time”.

The Tour de Yorkshire Ride is a mass participation bike ride which promises to be one of the most challenging and popular sportives in the British calendar. Organized by Human Race, it will take place before the pro race on the morning of the final day, Sunday 3rd May and thousands are expected to take part.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said; “Before the Grand Départ had even finished people all across Yorkshire were asking when we can have more cycling! The Tour de Yorkshire will bring back many of the world’s top cycling teams and there will be an opportunity for ordinary people to ride the same roads on the same day in the sportive. And this is a free event to watch so there is an opportunity for everyone in the county to be part of Tour de Yorkshire in one way or another.”

Welcome to Yorkshire is also organizing a month long Tour de Yorkshire Festival, to showcase the country’s rich and diverse cultural offering. The Yorkshire Festival, which accompanied the Tour de France Grand Depart, will be held in 2016.

The Tour de Yorkshire will be annual event and the organizer hope it will grow year on year to be one of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and position Yorkshire as the heartland of cycling in Europe.

The stages of the Tour de Yorkshire 2015:
Friday 1st May, stage 1 : Bridlington – Scarborough, 174 km
Saturday 2nd May, stage 2 : Selby – York, 174 km
Sunday 3rd May, stage 3 : Wakefield – Leeds, 167 km

More information on the Tour de Yorkshire: www.letouryorkshire.com

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Lampre Merida Team f_chiariDecision about Diego Ulissi
On Monday the January 19, the athlete Diego Ulissi informed the team that he has received from the Swiss Olympic Association notification of the disqualification for nine months, with effect starting from 25 June 2014 and the possibility of return to competition as from 28 March 2015.

The Team takes note of the decision, and would like to stress the fact that it has been confirmed by the Swiss anti doping that the athlete acted negligently without having any intentions of improving his athletic performance. In light of this, the team would like to expresses their support to the athlete, while at the same time take a few days to evaluate the situation with more precision together with the medical staff.

Diego Ulissi has expressed his comment to the team on this decision: “Finally a decision has come today after a long and difficult period for me.I feel it is important to underline the recognition that I have not acted with the intent to improve my athletic performance, but it has been established that I committed negligently, which of course I regret, especially for the corresponding damage which has been caused to the team. I have always received great support from the team as well as from my Family who have constantly stayed close to me throughout these difficult times. I am pleased that, in the light of this decision, my victories and results obtained remain unchanged. I can now start to concentrate and look forward to planning my return to racing”.

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header-lottosoudal15Tiesj Benoot: The Youngest Member of the Team
Last season 20-year-old Tiesj Benoot was one of the guys who could do a traineeship in the pro team. He learnt a lot as a rider in the U23 team under the guidance of Kurt Van de Wouwer and he’s a product of the talent project which is very important to main sponsor Lotto. Now Benoot can make his real début in the pro team. Together with De Bie, Vallée, Broeckx, De Buyst, Vervaeke and Wellens he’s one of the youngsters who get the chance to turn from talent into a professional.

Tiesj Benoot: “Because of my traineeship the WorldTour team isn’t entirely new to me. In the youth categories I rode with Broeckx, Vervaeke and De Bie. You notice this is another level. The U23 team is an international top team. But the guidance, the material… of the pros is even better organized. Nonetheless I learnt a lot from Kurt Van de Wouwer. Compared to some other U23 teams he has the expertise to really make younger riders better.”

Choice for Lotto Soudal
“It’s true that several teams asked me if I wanted to make a transfer, and it sounds like a cliché when I say that Lotto Soudal is an obvious choice. I talked with those other teams, but the conversations I had with Marc Sergeant convinced me. It’s in this environment that I see the most opportunities to develop myself, to feel at home and to get certain opportunities in the long run.”

Period of development
“I signed a two-year contract, but it’s not easy to set concrete goals of where I want to stand in two years. I look at this as a period of development, in which I have to discover where I can perform best. In the U23 category I could perform well in almost every classic and even in certain stage races I didn’t set bad results, but that’s less easy with the pros. In first instance I’ll get the chance to have a taste of the Flemish races, a region where I often train because I’m from Ghent. Then there’s still enough time to get to know the other races.”

Cycling: Team Lotto-Soudal 2015

header-sanluis15-leftWho is Fernando Gaviria?
The very fast Colombian Fernando Gaviria has now beaten Mark Cavendish two times in bunch sprints in the Tour de San Luis. Fernando who? I can hear you say:


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