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Bernard Hinault en Greg lemond op weg naar Alpe D'Huez. foto Cor Vos©1998

EUROTRASH Badger Thursday!

Badgers and snow make the headlines in today’s EuroTrash. Bernard Hinault has said he will step-down from the podium after this year’s Tour duties and Paris-Nice had to abandon stage 3 due to the weather. All the results, reports, rider quotes and video from Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the GP Industria & Artigianato. In other cycling news: The Deutschland Tour to return, Giro del Belvedere and Giro del Trentino up-dates, Israel’s first Pro team pay tribute to Gino Bartali and the new Giro website. A full trash bag!

TOP STORY: Good-bye Badger!
The podium at the Tour de France (and other ASO events) will not look the same after this year’s French Grand Tour as Bernard Hinault (Le Blaireau, Badger) will not be there. He has announced that he will leave his public relations position with ASO at the end of the Tour. Hinault was the last Frenchman to win the Tour de France and one of four riders who have won the French race five times. He was also World champion in 1980, French National road race champion in 1978, Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1977 and 1980), Giro di Lombardia (1979 and 1984), Flèche Wallonne (1979 and 1983), Paris-Roubaix (1981), Gent-Wevelgem (1977) and Amstel Gold Race (1981).

The tough man from Brittany plans to spend more time with his family, he explained to AFP.com: “I will be 62 in November. I have a grandson who is 16 months old, and I was never there for my own kids, so I want to be there for my grandson. I will leave the Tour in good hands. I will still be around, I just won’t be doing the 140 days a year I am doing now.”

He also said that he had “less passion for professional rider’s stereotypical tactics.” He does plan to make an exception to retirement for the start of the 2017 Grand Tour in Düsseldorf (Germany). “If they want me, well,” he said. “The Presentation of the Grand départ was earlier this year and it went super well. For me it is a little way to thank them.”

Hinault: A hard man on the podium and the road:

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Paris-Nice 2016
Arnaud Demare avenged a season of struggle when he surged in the final stretch of a snowy Stage 1 of Paris-Nice to out-sprint Ben Swift (Sky) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) and snatch his first major victory since his French champion title two years ago. Australia’s Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE) kept a close watch on his main GC rivals to retain his leader’s yellow jersey, even collecting a few seconds in the last intermediate sprint of the day before the final battle started on the gravelly lane that was the main ingredient on the day’s menu.

A minute of silence was observed at the start in memory of French rider Romain Guyot, recently killed in a training accident. Light snow fell before the start. Almost on the gun, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Perrig Quemeneur (Cofidis), Steven Tronet (Fortuneo) and Thierry Hupond (Delko Marseille) attacked for the long break of the day. After 14 km, the four led the peloton by 7 minutes. The lead of the four escapees reached a maximum of 9:30 after 70 km. Given the cold temperatures and a slight tailwind, the average speed remained steady at 44 kph.

After the sprint of the day (104km) won by De Gendt in Bonneval, the peloton started reacting and after 150km, an echelon took place at the initiative of Sky and Etixx – Quick-Step. Most of the favorites were in the first part of the peloton, to the exception of Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Simon Spilak (Katusha), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), ace sprinter Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and a sick Philippe Gilbert (BMC). With 20km to go, as the race tackled the gravel sector of Chemin de Tourteline for the first time, the break was reeled in, Thomas De Gendt being the last man to resist.

In the sector of Chemin du Tertre de la Motte, France’s Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo) broke clear on his own and collected mountain points as well as the intermediate sprint in Vendome. Race leader Michael Matthews out-sprinted Sky leader Geraint Thomas to collect two seconds while the Welshman grabbed one. While Perichon was reined in, Sky kept leading the way, Luke Rowe taking a solid share of the work.

On the final climb, Jon Izaguirre (Movistar), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) were leading the way, but a small bunch regrouped in the final 3 kilometers. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) attacked before the red flame, but he was finally brought back with 400 meters to go as the sprint started. Ben Swift (Sky) surged early, followed by Nacer Bouhanni, but Arnaud Demare had the last kick and the last word to snatch his second win of the season after a stage in La Méditerranéenne.

Paris - Nice - stage 1

Stage winner, Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr): “I’m super happy, it was a hard day with the snowflakes. It was tiring, especially the little lanes in the finale. We were not that many in the end. It’s a victory I had been waiting for a long time. The team did a good job. Everybody is smiling. Last year was a struggle and it’s nice to be able to prove I can still win a big one. For me, the last big one I won was my French title in 2014. In the days ahead, it will be different. This wasn’t a normal sprint and things could have worked out differently because I was badly placed. I launched it from afar. I had decided to focus on Nacer (Bouhanni) as he had two team-mates left with him. I was lucky to be able to overtake him in the last stretch and to retain enough strength to upstage Swift. There is no petty rivalry between the French. I’m glad to win against anyone. I was misplaced and I had to start too early with 250 meters to go. I focused Nacer (Bouhanni) because he had two team members with him and then I had to catch Ben Swift. It was not easy. My Paris-Nice is actually already a success.”

3rd, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “It was a very difficult race. There was a lot of movement but I was always at the front. It’s a shame not to win in the end because the sprinters were not all there and it was a good opportunity to win today. Unfortunately, it did not work out. I was clearly boxed in. When I wanted to start my sprint, Arnaud passed me on the right. I was sandwiched, and it was over. I tried to get back. I got back to Swift but it was over. It was too later when I launched my sprint. It was not a pure sprint today. We rode hard to be in a good position for the gravel. The condition is here, that’s what I remember. It was an opportunity to win, but I did not succeed, it’s like that, that’s racing. Now I will focus on the next stages that should really be decided in a bunch sprint.”

Luke Rowe (Sky): “I think it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship with something like that. Sometimes you hate it when you’re out there but looking back it was good fun. I think there was a bit of everything today. We had probably a good half-hour to an hour of full-on snow. It was starting to settle on the ride of the road. We were a bit worried that the race might have to get stopped but then it cleared up and the race began. It was something we decided before the race even started – that we were going to try and commit at that point. It was always going to be quite a big fight going into those gravel sections, so if we could narrow the peloton down it would make our lives easier. We definitely gave it a go and went for it. The gravel sections weren’t actually too bad. The race organizers had filled in all the potholes and craters. It was quite messy and a bit of crosswind on them – but in terms of the roughness and the dangerousness of them they weren’t too bad at all. There were a few punctures which is to be expected but I don’t think there were any crashes and there were no massive splits on the sections. On a personal note I feel good. It’s an important part of the season for myself and a few of the guys here. I think I’m where I need to be and I’m looking forward to a good week of solid racing. G is in really good form so we’ll do our best to give everything for him. Let’s see where he is in a week’s time.”

Overall leader, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “It was a hard day all day, I’m glad we had a super strong Orica-GreenEDGE team today to take care of the race and bring back the four escapees. The main focus today was on defending the jersey. It would be nice to win a stage but the jersey was the main focus. It’s great to hold it for one more day especially as I managed to take two seconds in the last intermediate sprint. The final lap was tougher than I expected. I saw that some of the general classification guys were up there so I had to make the effort to chase them. Maybe it took away some of my energy for the sprint. I tried to take bonus seconds. It was not easy but good for the general classification. The weather? The stage was not easy. It was cold. When it snowed, we talked a bit about it in the bunch, but you could see that the sky was clearing up. Personally, I’m not afraid of extreme conditions. With the yellow jersey, I do not ride in the same way. My team worked all day and I found myself a little isolated in the final. I had to keep an eye on the GC riders while the sprinter can wait. It was very hard. I suffered today because it was a long race of 200 kilometers and it’s been intense. The cold did not facilitate our task even though I’m still pretty good in these conditions. At first, with the snow, we were at the limit of the protocol but we knew it would not last. If it had snowed from start to halfway, we would have talked about it in the peloton. I had planned to go for bonus seconds. It was hard but it was a good bonus. I want to be leader of the race as long as possible. With the yellow jersey, I have to ride like I did. The situation is different from what I usually do because I was obliged to respond to attacks from my direct competitors while the sprinters had time to sit in. My team has done a lot of work, I finished up there and I did the job to keep the jersey, also on those gravel sectors that I loved. It’s different and it’s nice to see it in cycling. Despite the rain, there were no security problems, it was really interesting.”

9th, Jonas Vangenechten (IAM Cycling): “In the last kilometer Dries Devenyns dropped me into position perfectly. But I was limited because we had spent a lot of energy trying to keep the wheels after Sky and Orica-GreenEDGE forced an echelon. I was not able to do much more as a result. This is definitely a missed opportunity, but I can tell that my condition is there, and I’ll try again tomorrow.”

22nd, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “The squad was incredible today, providing support at all times. Getting into the finals sections was tense and the breeze made it more complicated. We were well positioned, we didn’t encounter any problems or mechanicals, we stayed out of trouble and I’m satisfied with the way it played out. It’s on days like this that you can lose the Paris-Nice. You might not win it but you can definitely lose it. So, overall, it was a positive day, we finished safely and we ticked one stage off.”

Break rider, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “The team said it was a good opportunity to be in the break today because there was a big chance that echelons would be formed. In that way I could play a role for the team, especially for the riders who were present in the first echelon. I’m not so keen on riding in echelons myself, I probably would have been in the second or third group and then I’m not useful at all. By riding in the front group I was able to do some useful work. We rode away in the beginning of the stage and there was a smooth cooperation, we got a lot of advantage from the peloton. When our lead was more than nine minutes, I started to think that perhaps something was possible. As long that it was snowing, the peloton rode at a slow pace. From the moment that it was dry, the men of Orica, Astana and Sky started to pull at the front of the peloton so the gap decreased fast. I tried to attack in the final 30 kilometers but I didn’t make it to the climb. I took some clothes from Tim Wellens and then I was dropped. If I’ll join another break during this Paris-Nice will depend on how the race will evolve in the coming days.”

Paris-Nice Stage 1 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 4:29:53
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
6. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
9. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 1:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 4:37:30
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:03
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale at 0:04
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana at 0:09
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:10
8. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:12
9. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:14
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:15.

Paris-Nice Stage 1:

Résumé – Étape 1 (Condé-sur-Vesgre / Vendôme… por tourdefrance

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) tightened his grip on Paris-Nice on Stage 2 with his second victory in three days after a contentious sprint in Commentry at the end of the longest stage of this 74th edition, a 213.5-km flat ride in the cold from Contres. The insatiable Australian surged in the last stretch in the wheel of France’s Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who crossed the line ahead of him but was later disqualified for failing to hold his line. Italy’s Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) was third in the same time. Matthews now has a 14 second lead over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin ahead of the crucial stage 3 finishing on top of Mont Brouilly.

From the start four men broke clear: Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Mathias Brandle (IAM Cycling), Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo) and Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence). Their lead quickly grew and reached 10:15 shortly before the first intermediate sprint in Chabris (25km), won by Siskevicius. The peloton, led by Matthews’s Orica-GreenEDGE team-mates and Marcel Kittel’s Etixx – Quick-Step, raised the tempo and the gap stabilized at around 6 minutes at around 50 kilometers.

The peloton continued to play cat and mouse with the four, who still retained a 2:40 lead at the top of the only climb of the day, the third category Cote d’Estivareilles (164km), which saw Anthony Delaplace collect four points. But as the sprint trains got organized, the gap kept diminishing and the lead was down to 50 seconds with 30km to go, shortly before Grmay was dropped by his breakaway companions. At the first passage on the finish line in Commentry, as Siskevicius picked up three more seconds, the peloton were 35 seconds adrift. Delaplace lost ground in turn with 15 kms to go.

Siskevicius and Brandle shook hands as the peloton mercilessly passed them with 12 kilometers to go. The sprinters trains seemed to struggle in the last ten kilometers, Kittel’s Etixx – Quick-Step team-mates disappearing from view as Cofidis were the most active in the finalé. Then Orica-GreenEDGE seized the reins in the last 2 kilometers, unveiling their leader’s intentions. Sensing the danger, Bouhanni launched the sprint with 250 meters to go but paid the toll for the hardship of the day’s long ride when he changed his line, blocking Matthews along the barriers. After checking the finish on video, the race jury awarded victory to the Australian.

Paris - Nice stage 2

Stage winner and overall leader, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “He (Bouhanni) changed his line a little bit in the sprint. When you’ve opened up your sprint after a hard stage like that it’s hard to sprint in a straight line. I think I probably would have come past him in the sprint, but it’s racing. It’s unfortunate it needs to be like that but it is what it is. As you could see I had a lot of speed when I was coming past, so it would have been a win either way. It’s definitely amazing to get another stage win – that’s two out of three now. It was an uphill sprint so it suited me a lot better than yesterday. I made ​​my sprint on the left, Nacer was in the middle. He changed his line, too, and pushed me against the fence. I made no mistake, Nacer did. I sprinted to the left, Bouhanni came from the middle all the way to my side and almost pushed me into the barrier. It was dangerous. Luckily I stayed upright. Without it I would have won. I came out of Nacer’s wheel and I was at full speed fifteen meters from the line. Without that move, I would probably have won quite easily. After the 2 seconds taken yesterday, those 10 seconds can really help me keep the yellow jersey tomorrow at Mont Brouilly and maybe to the end of Paris-Nice. Those 12 seconds are very important!”

2nd, Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo): “The final was really hard it was up and down all the time, and there were a lot of turns,” said Bonifazio. “The team worked really hard for me, and I could go into the last corner in third position. Then, of course, I tried to win the stage, and I came close finishing third behind Matthews and [Nacer] Bouhanni. I was moved to second when Bouhanni was relegated. I like these longer stages because I can handle the distance very well, and still arrive at the finish fresh to do a good sprint.”

3rd, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “This is nonsense! It was very hot in the final. I moved to the left and I went back towards the barriers. He (Matthews) was next to the barriers. We touched each other in the last twenty meters. It was him who touched me first. It was him who came in contact with me with 20 meters to go. This is nonsense, that’s all.”

4th, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “We were trying to set up our lead out, but maybe we waited just a little bit too late so when we came to the last corners we were not in the front. We were a little bit off the front, so while we made it around the corner OK, we had to brake and lost some positions. We moved up again, but I ended up on the right side while making a right corner, so I came out of the corner to start my sprint with less speed than some other guys. I still wanted to sprint and I did the best I could but it wasn’t enough. We tried, but our timing was not perfect to take complete control of the front before the last corner. There are other strong teams here trying to do the same thing. It was a very difficult final, actually.”

10th, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “We were able to show the jersey at the front all day, and then in the final Vicente Reynes and Oliver Naesen succeeded in placing me well. Unfortunately, we don’t really have the sort of train to compete with the big sprinters teams. After that final bend, I managed to gain a few places, but I also had to deal with a lot of riders who were tailing off after finishing their lead-out chores.”

Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a long day, which became crazy in the final 40 kilometers. The final was difficult and it was pretty hard to stay in the right position. We tried to come to the front, as that was the plan, but we couldn’t move up anymore in the last 5 kilometers. I am a bit disappointed, also because I didn’t feel good today, but that’s cycling: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Despite this, I remain upbeat, because there’s one more chance for sprinters on Thursday. I cannot tell that much about it. It was a tough finale and it was not easy to stay in front. It’s unfortunate. I must admit that I did not have a good day and am disappointed with my result. I was hoping for more, but it just was not possible today. Thursday gives a new opportunity and I want to try again.”

Break rider, Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling): “I was happy to be back in front. We worked well together to get the sort of advantage we needed to be at the front. Unfortunately, we didn’t put enough time between us and the peloton to reach our goal of being able to go for the stage win. I have no regrets because I was able to put in a very good day’s work on the bike.”

Paris-Nice Stage 2 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 5:04:26
2. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:01
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
9. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
10. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 9:41:46
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:14
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale at 0:19
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana at 0:24
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:25
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 0:27
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC.

Paris-Nice Stage 2:

Résumé – Étape 2 (Contres / Commentry) – Paris… por tourdefrance

The 168-km Stage 3 of Paris-Nice between Cusset and Mont Brouilly was cancelled on Wednesday after snow forced organizers to halt the race after 97 kilometers. Five riders – Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alexy Lutsenko (Astana), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Jesus Herrada (Movistar) – were leading the main pack by 3:30 when the race direction and the race jury decided to call it a day. The race was on the third climb of the day, Col des Echarmeaux, when it was judged too dangerous to go ahead.

The points collected in the intermediate sprint of Chauffailles (84km) and in the first two climbs of the day, Cote de Verney (59.5km) and Cote de Chateauneuf (79.5km) will be taken into account into tomorrow’s fourth stage to Romans-sur-Isere.

Seven riders broke clear after 10 kilometers and were joined by seven others two kilometers later. The fourteen were Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida), Ben Swift (Sky), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), Yury Trofimov (Tinkoff), David De la Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step), Kevin Reza (FDJ.fr), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Alexandre Pichot (Direct Energie), Delio Fernandez (Delko-Marseille Provence). They were joined by Roy Curvers (Giant-Alpecin) and Paul Martens (LottoNl-Jumbo) after 31 kilometers.

The lead of the 16 quickly went over 4 minutes, but the peloton raised the tempo to keep them within two minutes. The break started scattering on the first climbs of the day and Gougeard, Lutsenko and Didier parted company from the group at the 72 kilometer point. They were joined by Herrada on the descent of the Cote de Chateauneuf as the peloton split after Movistar raised the speed. Their lead remained steady at around 1 minute until they received the support of Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) after 89 kilometers. The snow kept falling steadily on the course and France’s Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) was forced out of the race after crashing at 80 kilometers.

The conditions deteriorated and forced the race direction to stop the stage after the ascent of the Col des Echarmeaux, which De Gendt rode crossed the summit in the lead. It was first decided to try and restart it further down the road in Villié-Morgon but it also proved impossible. “The road was extremely slippery and the safety was no longer guaranteed. We are sorry. That’s Paris-Nice. We promise we’ll come back to Mont-Brouilly. It’s a pity but the riders will start again tomorrow from Julienas,” said ASO cycling director Christian Prudhomme.

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) will start the 195.5-km 4th stage to Romans sur Isere with an unchanged lead of 14 seconds over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

stage 3 of the 74th Paris - Nice

Sport Director, Steven De Jongh (Tinkoff): “It’s disappointing. Yesterday when we looked at the forecast and that you go up to this height you can expect some bad weather but we had been looking forward to today’s stage. Yuri was in the early break to be there for the team. Then from there four guys went away. We started to hear from ahead that it was snowing and then they neutralized it before cancelling. For the moment we’re disappointed as we were looking forward to this mountain finish. It’s hard not to have the fight we wanted today. Tomorrow we do the climb of today early on, it’s a lumpy day but the weather should be better – but we will have to see.”

Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data): Yesterday we already knew the weather was going to be quite horrific today, it turned out exactly like that with rain from the start. We didn’t think we were going to get snow but then on the 3rd king of the mountains climb it started snowing. It was really snowing heavily and they had to cancel the stage because even the tarmac was covered in snow so it was quite dangerous. With it being so cold, raining and always wet it wasn’t ideal conditions for racing. The plan for today was to get a good result with Nathan Haas and then Serge Pauwels and myself were also going to see what we could do. I actually felt quite good and so did Serge. Nathan was also up there but they cancelled the stage. It is good that they cancelled the stage but it shouldn’t come to the point where we are riding wet in minus one-degree snow.”

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 3:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 9:41:46
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:14
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale at 0:19
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana at 0:24
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:25
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 0:27
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC.

Paris-Nice Stage 3:

Résumé – Étape 3 (Cusset / Mont Brouilly… por tourdefrance

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Tirreno-Adriatico 2016
The 22.7km long Stage 1 team time trial of the 51st Tirreno-Adriatico NamedSport has become the fastest in the history of the race with World champions, BMC Racing Team coming home at the average speed of 56,947km/h.

The first blue jersey went to Daniel Oss (BMC) who was the first man of the American-registered team to cross the line, but he was prompt to explain that he’s an interim race leader with the aim of passing the baton onto Tejay van Garderen later on. In the press conference Oss dedicated the jersey to now injured Adriano Malori, who won the opening time trial last year in this race.

BMC were 2 seconds faster than Etixx – Quick-Step led by Tony Martin, while the surprise of the day came from French outfit FDJ.fr who clocked the third best time, only nine seconds adrift. This is a strong indication of Thibaut Pinot’s ambitions for the Race of the Two Seas.

With a deficit of only 11 seconds, Tinkoff (4th) has positioned Peter Sagan close enough to the blue jersey, should he make the best of stage 2 which is set to suit him with a hill comprising sections with gradients between 14% and 15% in the finalé. A crash involving Rigoberto Uran and Ramunas Navardauskas explains the deficit of the Cannondale team (2:03) who finished last.

Tirreno Adriatico 2016 - stage 1

Overall leader, Daniel Oss (BMC): “It’s an amazing feeling. It was the first goal for us here at Tirreno-Adriatico. We have an amazing team here with some great climbers and riders to support Tejay van Garderen for the General Classification. Now we have the jersey but we are here for Tejay. Tomorrow is another day and it looks like a good stage for us with Greg Van Avermaet so hopefully we can continue with this momentum.”

2nd overall, Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “It’s incredible. It’s a great start to the week. We gained time on some rivals for the GC and a nice stage victory so the morale is good. We didn’t really know how close it was. We paced it perfectly and as long as you come out on top you can’t really complain. It’s definitely motivating to have the jersey in the team with Daniel. We also have Jim Ochowicz and Andy Rihs here so it’s great to win in front of them. We’re just excited and happy to go forward.”

Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff, 4th team): “It was a time-trial where we wanted to give our best. We prepared thoroughly and took care of every detail. In addition, we rode past the home of our team owner, Oleg Tinkov, so it was important to perform well. There is still a long way in the Tirreno-Adriatico and we now focus on the stages ahead. We have two strong leaders, Peter Sagan and Roman Kreuziger and we will all work hard to support them.”

Adam Blythe (Tinkoff, 4th team): “The performance of the team was fantastic – I think the team did a super good job and we did a good time. I wanted to pull a bit harder towards the end and take longer but didn’t have the legs.”

Stef Clement (IAM Cycling, 5th team): “I am happy with what we have accomplished. We stayed together as eight riders for a long time. Everyone took his relay exactly as he was supposed to. The plan was followed to the millimeter. I don’t think that we made any mistakes. We have made progress in this discipline, which can be complicated and technical. Our fifth place attests to this. We have finished in our rightful place and we do not have to be ashamed of this result.”

Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling, 5th team): “The first stage was definitely an important day for the final classification. Of course these 22 kilometers will not determine everything, but it was important to be among the best. And we were. We have been able to place our leaders Frank and Pantano in a good position ahead of the next two stages. The team time trial is far from my favorite event, but on Wednesday I was able to use my experiences and strengths that I have acquired from racing on the track. I am happy and proud to have been able to help the team in this event today.”

Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data): We were motivated for today’s team time trial. I saw the results now at the finish and it was not what we had expected. We have already lost time which will affect our general classification but we are looking forward to the week, aiming to win stages. Obviously today did not go according to plan but it is not every day that things will always work out, we keep on going from here as there is a lot to race for this week.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 Result:
1. BMC in 23:55
2. Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:02
3. FDJ.fr at 0:09
4. Tinkoff at 0:11
5. IAM Cycling at 0:12
6. Astana at 0:15
7. Trek-Segafredo at 0:17
8. Sky at 0:21
9. Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:25
10. Movistar at 0:29

Tirreno-Adriatico overall After Stage 1:
1. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC in 23:55
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
4. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC
5. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
7. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:02
8. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Tirreno Stage 1:

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GP Industria & Artigianato 2016
Ramunas Navardauskas set the scene for a Cannondale Pro Cycling Team victory in Larciano when he made the early selection. The Lithuanian champion flew the Green Argyle flag in an escape of 20 riders at the start of the 200-kilometer day.

“The guys were not working together,” explained sport director Fabrizio Guidi. “Four from that group went away, and we had Ramunas inside. The bunch catch the rest, and Ramunas and his group get the lead with four minutes.”

The peloton struggled to catch the breakaway riders when they began to chase. It took a concerted effort by Astana to close the gap. With the breakaway’s advantage waning, Ramunas set off alone.

“The climb is really steep in the first half and the second half is quite flat, false flat, like two or three percent,” explained Clarke. “We got to the last 100 meters of the really steep part to get to the false flat, and I saw Ramunas in the front. I looked around, and we still had five guys from the team in a very small group. I know it’s better to be in front of a race than trying to play catch-up, and that’s when I decided to jump across to Ramunas.”

By that point, Navardauskas has spent nearly 200-kilometers at the front, but Clarke was confident in his teammate’s ability to help him get a gap over the reduced bunch.

“We all know how strong Ramunas is,” Clarke said. “If he saw me coming across, even though it was in the break all day, I knew he could give me a couple more strong turns. It’s exactly what he did.”

Clarke had 20 seconds over the peloton at the top of the climb. There were 6km remaining – a 4km descent followed by a 2km flat run-in.

“I only needed to hold it to the finish,” said Clarke.

Clarke didn’t just hold the gap, he stretched it out even further, crossing the finish line 33-seconds ahead of a trio of riders including teammate Rigoberto Uran.

“I knew if I was given the opportunity, if I saw the opportunity, I could deliver,” said Clarke. “The team’s just had a really good camp in Tenerife. We all worked really hard over there. I did everything I thought was right these last couple weeks, and I knew I had good condition.”
Thanks to the Cannondale team for the race report.

GP Industria & Artigianato Result:
1. Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale in 4:59:45
2. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela at 0:33
3. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:43
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale
7. Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 18
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Italy
9. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Simone Petilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Winner Simon Clarke (Cannondale):

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Ground-breaking agreement between the BDR and A.S.O. including the revival of the Deutschland Tour
The German Cycling Federation (BDR) and Amaury Sport Organization – owner and organizer of the Tour de France – have struck an agreement for the sustainable promotion of cycling in Germany with the return of the Deutschland Tour as the centerpiece of the strategy.

The announcement that the 2017 Tour de France will start in Düsseldorf, together with the amazing achievements of a new generation of German professional cyclists in the world’s biggest races, provide fertile ground for the love of cycling to continue growing in Germany. ASO and the BDR, eager to support its expansion, have signed a long-term agreement to revive the Deutschland Tour and establish it as a top event over a ten-year horizon. Both partners are aiming to put the Deutschland Tour back on the calendar over the coming two years, as soon as all the key assets for a great stage race and a top-notch organization are put in place.

While the ribbon for the start of this “new generation” of the Deutschland Tour will only be cut within the next two years, its route will certainly play to the strengths of German riders and give them an opportunity to shine in front of their home crowds: sprints and courses inspired by the great classics will be included in the stage designs and deliver a thrilling race. The event also aims to become the ideal springboard for the biggest German talents, including the next generation of “Grand Tour” riders as well as an essential date in the calendar for the stars of the international peloton.

“This is a pivotal agreement for the BDR. The new Deutschland Tour will help spread the love of cycling in Germany and increase the popularity of all its facets. 27 million Germans already ride their bicycles regularly, and many German cities have recognized the importance of cycling in their mobility strategies. This is why the Deutschland Tour will not only be a pure sporting event, but a huge celebration of cycling,” explains Rudolf Scharping, the President of the German Cycling Federation.

ASO General Manager Yann Le Moënner adds: “We share with the BDR the goal to make the Deutschland Tour attractive to wide swathes of the population and use the race to show them just how much fun cycling can be. As well as the elite competition, featuring the biggest champions from Germany and abroad, we will include rides for the thousands of dedicated amateurs and draw up an exciting program for the fans and the wider public in the host cities.”

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André Greipel about the Deutschland Tour
Today, was announced that there will appear a renewed Tour of Germany on the cycling calendar. Tour de France organizer ASO (Amaury Sports Organization) and BDR (the German cycling union) have set up a cooperation. The last edition of the Tour of Germany took place in 2008, since then the race was cancelled due to some sponsorship issues. Cycling regains its popularity in Germany, a good example is the start of the Tour de France of 2017 in Düsseldorf. The first edition of the renewed Deutschland Tour will take place in 2017 or 2018. Lotto Soudal has two German riders in the team, André Greipel and Marcel Sieberg. They’re both very happy with this announcement.

André Greipel: “As a German rider I’m very happy that a renewed Tour of Germany will take place of course, it was an important race in the past. For the moment it’s not clear whether the first edition will be held in 2017 or 2018 and where and when the race will be organized. Germany offers a varied landscape, several types of stages are possible. The hotels are good accommodated as well.”

“Germany has a strong economy, this new organization is good for cycling. It gives a chance to the smaller teams to race against the bigger teams and riders, this can only be an advantage for the quality and interest of the sport. Big steps are being set at this moment in what I call the ‘comeback’ of cycling in Germany. The German riders are performing well, the media shows a lot of interest, with Bora there’s a team with a long-term perspective, several sponsors with interests in Germany – like Soudal – engaged themselves and next year the Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf. I’m looking forward to be a representative for German cycling the next few years.”

André Greipel:
Mallorca Challenge 2015 - 4

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40 teams and Mads Würtz to line up for Giro del Belvedere
The ITT World Champion leads the international peloton at the Easter Monday classic: the official teams’ list includes 21 foreign outfits, with 17 Countries represented.

A strong and very International field is set to animate the 78th edition of the Giro del Belvedere on Monday, March 28th in Villa di Cordignano (Treviso, Northern Italy). Forty teams have been announced at the start, including 21 non-Italian outfits, representing all the best of Under 23 Cycling: the challenge to succeed to Italian Andrea Vendrame in the winners’ list will be open between home favorites and international stars.

With 20 days to the race, the start-list is shaping up, and featuring big guns such as Dane Mads Würtz Schmidt, who shone at the 2015 World Champs in Richmond, USA. The 21-year-old of Team Tre-For claimed the rainbow jersey in the Under 23 time trial, but his Tour de l’Avenir stage 4 success also demonstrates his strong credentials in road races.

“Competition is always strong – as the Easter weekend will be very busy for the U23 teams with UCI Nations Cup’s opening round and other races of the international calendar – so we feel very satisfied with our field, well-balanced between Italian and international teams,” said Gianfranco Carlet, head of the organizing committee.

Teams from 17 different countries will take part in the 78th Giro del Belvedere: Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia, Azerbaijan and USA. The riders will face a 166 Km route, characterized by two different circuits: the first (12 Km to be repeated 11 times) including the Conche hill, whilst the final circuit (17,3 Km to be repeated twice) is characterized by the classic Montaner climb in Borgo Canalet and Via delle Longhe hill, a new short and steep ascent in the final kilometers.

78th Giro del Belvedere’s Teams:

Italian:
A.S.D. Cycling Team Valcavasia, Cipollini Iseo Serrature Rime, Cycling Team Friuli, D’Amico Bottecchia, Delio Gallina Colosio Eurofeed, Fly Cycling Team, Futura Team-Rosini, Gaiaplast Maglificio Bibanese, GFDD Altopack ASD, Hopplà Petroli Firenze, Marchiol-San Michele Vetri, Norda-MG. K Vis-Vega, Selle Italia-Cieffe-Ursus, Team Colpack, Team Palazzago Amaru, Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani, US F. Coppi Gazzera, Vejus-TMF-Cicli Magnum, Zalf Euromobil Desirèe Fior.

International:
Great Britain National Team, Lithuania National Team, Poland National Team, Russia National Team, Aldro-Team (BEL), Axeon Hagens Berman (USA), BMC Development Team (USA), Klein Constantia (CZE), Lotto-Soudal (BEL), Metalac Quick Kraljevo (SER), Sava Kranj (SLO), Sinergy Baku (AZB), Team Basso-Bikes (GER), Team Felbermayr (AUT), Team Giant Scatto U23 (DEN), Team Ljubljana Radenska (SLO), Team Ringeriks-Kraft (NOR), Team Tre-For (DEN), Tyrol Cycling Team (AUT), WPGA Cycling Amsterdam (NED), Zappis Racing Team (GBR).

Mads Würtz in action at 2015 World Championships in Richmond:
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Riva-Torbole TTT Kicks-off the 40th Giro del Trentino
This year’s anniversary edition of the Giro del Trentino Melinda will start on Tuesday, April 19th, with a team time trial, following a three-year deal with Garda Trentino.

The opening team time trial (TTT) has become a tradition of the Giro del Trentino Melinda, who this year celebrates its 40th edition (19-22 April) and will begin for the fifth year in a row with such a stage, which will set off for the third consecutive year from Riva del Garda.

On Tuesday, April 19th, in the afternoon, the first of the four stages will feature a high-speed challenge, which will conclude in Torbole (Trento), after 12.1 kilometers. Last year’s team time trial, which finished in Arco di Trento (Trento) saw the German outfit Bora-Argon 18 win, and Cesare Benedetti get the first cyclamen jersey, which rewards the GC leader.

Following the Riva del Garda start, the course designed by the GS Alto Garda organizers continues along Lake Garda, then turning towards Arco and finally back to Torbole finish, with the arrival due to take place in the Colonia Pavese park, which overlooks the spectacular lake scenery.

Until 2018, the towns of Riva del Garda, Arco di Trento and Nago/Torbole will host the start and the arrival of the Giro del Trentino Melinda inaugural stage, following an agreement between the race and Ingarda, along with local municipalities.

“The bike is a key component of our territory’s DNA – Ingarda President Marco Benedetti said – and therefore the collaboration we have agreed on with the organizers of the Giro del Trentino Melinda is particularly important. The organizing company, GS Alto Garda, is based in Arco and is the solid reference point of a cycling tradition which we hope will continue with increasing success.”

The preliminary operations of the Giro del Trentino Melinda will take place on Monday, April 18th, at the Arco di Trento Casino event’s headquarters. The Casino will also serve as permanence of the TTT stage that will give the first leader of 2016 edition.

Team Astana in action in 2015 Giro del Trentino Melinda’s opening TTT:
GIRO DEL TRENTINO MELINDA

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Israel’s first Pro Cycling team embarks on a special tribute ride to the Legendary Italian champion Gino Bartali
On Sunday, March 20th, the team pro riders will ride along his same smuggling route.

Israel’s first and only Pro cycling team is planning to embark on a special ride in honor of legendary Italian cycling champion Gino Bartali along the very Mythical route he took secretly during the II world war to save the lives of Jews escaping from the Nazis holocaust.

The Israeli based Team which consist of 13 riders coming from 10 different countries, including the Israeli, Canadian and Namibian champions were invited this year for the first time to race in one of Italy’s most prominent races: “The Settimana Coppi & Barttali” named after the two Italians most famous Cycling Legends of the era: Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi. The race will take place between the March 24th and 27th.

4 days prior, on March 20th, The Team including 4 of its Israeli Riders, will set upon a special ride to honor Bartali. “We feel that as an Israeli team it’s an honor, commitment and even obligation to show how grateful we all are and forever in debt to this man and all Italians who risked their lives in that darkest of periods to help fellow Jews” said Team founder and chairman Ron Baron.

Bartali, who was honored in 2013 as a Righteous among the Nations by the Yad Vashem institute, used his bike to save more than 800 Jews during the Holocaust.

During the war, the Italian Champion, who won multiple editions of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance. Cycling from Florence, through Tuscany, pretending to being “training,” he hid the secret documents inside his bike frame, risked his life, and in doing so helped save over 800 Jews.

Years later, it was announced that Bartali hid a Jewish family in his cellar, and kept them away from the Nazis. Yet, Bartali never talked about his great deeds during the Holocaust. “il bene si fa, ma non si dice” he used to say: “Good is something you do, not something you talk about.”

The ride will begin at Florence and will Finish in Assisi (Tuscany).

It will cover the historic route that Bartali rode on his bike, while delivering the documents for Italy’s Jews. The Team has invited Bartali’s family members to take part of the ride and will welcome anybody who feel to take part in this honorary ride.

Gino Bartali:
Gino Bartali

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The Brand New WWW.GIRODITALIA.IT Website is Live
The Corsa Rosa site has a new interface benefitting both from significant functionality development and a graphic restyling – to ensure that all visitors enjoy intuitive and effective navigation and superior content. www.giroditalia.it can be accessed easily from both desktop and mobile, capitalizing on the maximum level of platform optimization. Launch testimonials are Vincenzo Nibali, with an exclusive interview, and Giorgia Palmas, Giro d’Italia Madrina, with a dedicated video.

The Giro d’Italia website has benefitted from a major update. The new Corsa Rosa site is live from today, with a fresh graphic design, significantly improved functionality under the skin, and cutting-edge accessibility.

Homepage/Live
Fundamentally, more space is dedicated to race contents. The high priority news feed is updated every day with the latest news from the Giro, and there is plenty of space for videos and images so visitors can immediately experience the spectacle and emotions from the best seat in the house. During the race, all the most important and timely information will be available live, with updates and classifications from each stage.

The journalism of La Gazzetta dello Sport plays a fundamental role inside the new Giro d’Italia website. During May the homepage will host an information area specially dedicated to interviews and insights.

A significant amount of space will also be dedicated to the user-generated content created by Giro aficionados and fans: the new-look website will have a social wall entirely devoted to posts created with the hashtag #giro.

Route Section
Users can discover every detail of the Giro d’Italia route thanks to this special section. It is designed with an interactive wheel, that guides them through the many locations touched by the Giro, with technical and tourist information for each of the 21 stages.

Video/Images Section
The multimedia section within the new Giro d’Italia site hosts playlists for each day of the event, packed with highlights, interviews and lots more colour to bring the fullest coverage of each stage.

Live the Giro
This section is for everyone who wants to experience the Giro d’Italia live. It includes information and offers from all the tour operators and many other resources for those who want to enjoy the Corsa Rosa in person, from a unique point of view.

Extra Giro
The Giro d’Italia is not only a race, but is the catalyst and hub for many projects, such as Biciscuola, Gazzetta Cycling Cup etc. All the special initiatives during the Giro d’Italia, and other associated projects are presented and updated in the Extra section.

Teams and Riders Section
This section, dedicated to teams and athletes, is significantly updated in the new Corsa Rosa website – both graphically, and in terms of material available. All the details of the champions participating at the race will be available here for all users.

The Other Races
In addition to the Giro d’Italia, RCS Sport organises many other major cycle races throughout the calendar. From this new website section, important information about these other races can be accessed. Starting from the March classics, each race will have a dedicated section with news, information and results that will keep visitors fully up to date with all the important racing action.

The new digital platform of Giro d’Italia and other RCS Sport races renewal has been developed in collaboration with Havas Sports & Entertainment, Havas Media Group brand engagement agency.


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