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EUROTRASH Podium Thursday!

The good and bad of cycling: Sondre Hols Enger celebrates winning the final stage of the Tour of Croatia and the accusations of sexism in British Cycling. Dancing on the podium (see video bellow) and bringing the fun back or a dark side of the sport, I know which I prefer. Other cycling news: Race reports with video from Romandie and Turkey and we look at the Tour of Yorkshire, Giro d’Italia, BMC, Trek-Segafredo, Tinkoff and Dimension Data. Star of the day has to be Sondre Hols Enger.

TOP STORY: Shane Sutton Resigns
Technical director of British Cycling, Shane Sutton, has resigned after it was alleged that he had made sexist and derogatory comments about the women and Paralympic cyclists. It is claimed that he said to female cyclist, Jessica Varnish, that she should “move on and go and have a baby” as she was too old. Varnish also claims that Sutton told here “with an ass like mine I couldn’t change position within the team sprint.” Varnish has since been backed up by other British women who had been on the National team; Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke.

It was then reported in the British press that Sutton had referred to Paralympic cyclists as ‘gimps’ and ‘wobblies’, according to gold medallist Darren Kenny. He also said that other athletes were “not being allowed on the track and not being given time to prepare for competitions.”

Sutton denies all the allegations, but had been suspended by British Cycling on Tuesday and now he has announced his resignation. The independent review is said to still go ahead, but will it find anything? Both Pendleton and Cooke said that sexism was prevalent in British Cycling, will that be proven?

Shane Sutton:
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Celebration Time!
Sondre Hols Enger (IAM Cycling) epic celebration on the podium of the Tour of Croatia after his stage 6 win. There should be more guys like this. (video HRT Sport):

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Tour de Romandie 2016
Ion Izagirre has shown again why he’s considered one of Spain’s biggest talents in cycling by claiming a convincing win in the 2016 Tour de Romandie Prologue, a 3.95km up-and-down course in La Chaux-de-Fonds with a tricky descent, some serious ramps and unmerciful weather. The 27-year-old Basque allrounder managed like no other in that situation, with a sensational descent following his 2nd quickest time through the intermediate point at the Côte de la Route de la Montagne – only beaten by Belgian youngster Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal) – that turned into an impressive 5:33, out of reach for all his rivals. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) was the nearest contender at 6 seconds, with Michael Kwiatkowski (Sky) rounding off the podium at 7 seconds.

The fantastic opening day for the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía was complete with four of its members into the day’s top 20: Gorka Izagirre was 5th; Andrey Amador came in 13th spot at the beginning of his last pre-Giro contest and Nairo Quintana, 4th over the intermediate, still managed to claim the 18th place despite going as safely as he could through the wet downhill.

Tour of Romandie - prologue 2016

Stage winner and overall leader, Ion Izagirre (Movistar): “I knew my condition was still great after the classics and this result is a happy confirmation of that. We checked the course at noon today and I really liked it, with that short, sharp climb followed by the technical descent, through the small houses before the finish. It all turned out well and we’re so happy to get this win. I was doubtful about which bike should I bring into this course, the road race one or the TT one – but I saw Gorka doing great on the Speedmax and I took a last-minute change, when I was already set to start with the traditional one. To be honest, my brother played a big part in this victory, with those good time checks – he was fantastic. Now its time to enjoy this victory; we don’t know how the week will go. We’ve got a strong team, with Nairo always on good form, Andrey testing his legs before the Giro… Let’s hope we can keep this jersey!”

2nd, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “I did a good prologue, but unfortunately it was not enough for the win as the winner was superior today.”

3rd, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): “It was a very difficult day for us in tough conditions. I chose to ride a road bike for safety reasons because it was such a technical parcours, and I did my best. I want to congratulate Izagirre because he did a really great time trial. I felt more confident descending on the wet roads on my road bike and I knew I could gain some time on the technical parts. I’m happy that I managed to do it so quickly and so smoothly. I will be committed to helping Chris for the rest of the week. He had some bad luck today with even worse conditions than I endured, but he will be there, and the whole team will be ready to help him get the victory.”

7th, Reto Holstein (IAM Cycling): “My start was in a lucky time slot, the road had dried. I had a fright at the bottom of the hill because my visor had all misted over. Then I just gave it everything on the run into the finish. Now we are ready to do everything possible to help Mathias Frank play a leading role in the overall.”

Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “I rode the prologue with a normal road bike, and I do not regret the decision. I felt comfortable, and I managed to negotiate the most technical parts of the course without problems, in spite of the difficulties presented by the poor weather. I am not far behind the guys who will likely be playing for the general classification.”

Tour de Romandie Prologue Result:
1. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar in 5:33
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:06
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:07
4. Gearing Thomas (GB) Sky
5. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
6. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:09
7. Reto Holstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:11
8. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:12.

Tour de Romandie Overall After The Prologue:
1. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar in 5:33
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:06
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:07
4. Gearing Thomas (GB) Sky
5. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
6. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:09
7. Reto Holstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:11
8. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:12.

Romandie Prologue:

Due to the foul weather that continued to hamper the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday, the organizers had no other option than to shorten Stage 1 of the race and alter the course. The overnight snow meant that the start from La Chaux-de-Fonds was off the table, so after Col d’Etroits was removed, the riders went by car to Mathod, a small town in the canton of Vaud, from where the bunch took off for a reduced 100.5 kilometer long stage.

Only one rider went into the break – Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) – and he opened a gap of 4 minutes before the peloton reacted and began to reduce his advantage as the finish line was getting closer and closer. On the last ascent, Movistar and Orica-GreenEDGE went full gas and stretched out the peloton in order to drop the sprinters, and although it wasn’t an easy task, Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) managed to stay there and make it over the top.

Then, as soon as the day’s lone escapee was caught inside the final 14 kilometers, it became obvious that the stage would end in a bunch sprint. As a result, Etixx – Quick-Step moved to the front of the peloton with two kilometers remaining and with the likes of Maxime Bouet, Bob Jungels and Lukasz Wisniowski pushed a very hard tempo in order to bring Marcel in an excellent position and to make sure there wouldn’t be any late attacks.

With 400 meters to go, Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) tried to anticipate the sprint in Moudon, but Kittel didn’t give the Swiss any chance and opened his trademark sprint, which helped him outpace both Albasini and Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo). For Kittel it was the first career win in the Tour de Romandie and number eight of the season, while for Etixx – Quick-Step it was the 23rd victory since the beginning of the year.

Cycling: 70th Tour de Romandie 2016 / Stage 1

Stage winner, Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I am very happy for getting this win, but also for having good legs today and staying with the peloton when Movistar and Orica-GreenEdge began to ride hard on the climb. The team was with me there and helped me find my rhythm. Then, in the final kilometers, I had four guys with me, and although it isn’t my regular team for the sprints, the guys did a fantastic job for which I can only thank them. Albasini attacked with 400 meters left and I decided to go immediately and overtook him; then, after noticing Bonifazio came from behind, I sprinted to the line and got this victory which gives me a lot of confidence for the Giro d’Italia.”

Lone escapee, Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal): “Because the stage was shortened today, I thought that I might possibly have a chance in a breakaway. So from the start of the race, I decided to go for it. However, no one ended up joining me. After a few kilometers, some other riders managed to escape from the peloton, but by that time, I already had a one minute advantage on them. I thought I would go at my own speed from then on, and see if they could catch up with me, however they never managed to do that. So I ended up riding on my own. At 40 kilometers to the finish, I thought that perhaps I was in with a chance, if the peloton wasn’t able to organize itself well. However, Orica-GreenEDGE started to come to the front with Movistar, and they went all out for the sprint, so in the end it was impossible to stay ahead by myself. Particularly due to the headwind, my speed wasn’t as high anymore towards the end of the stage, and riders in a large bunch can of course always reach higher speeds than a rider who is by himself, so I was ultimately caught. However, I picked up the combativity award as well as the king of the mountains jersey today, so my efforts were rewarded, and now we have a nice jersey to wear on tomorrow’s stage.”

9th, Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data): “It was a good stage but it was cut short because of the snow and this made it a lot easier. Kittel got dropped on the last climb but he was able to come back to the main group. Honestly I am not happy with my result but I know I am looking ahead to the Giro. Romandie is great preparation so I am staying focused.”

Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling): “The choice to shorten the stage was a wise decision,” commented Dries Devenyns while he was recuperating from his day’s efforts. “The cold and snow had already disrupted the prologue. The forecasts were very bad for the first kilometers of today’s stage. And even at the finish, the conditions were changing every five minutes.”

Illness Forces Porte Out of Tour de Romandie
Richie Porte has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de Romandie on the morning of stage 2 due to illness.

BMC Racing Team Dr Dario Spinelli provided the following update on Porte’s condition. “Richie has developed some gastrointestinal problems and a fever overnight and is not fit to start today, particularly given the difficulty of stage 2. He is showing symptoms of a virus and hasn’t had an appetite so it’s not in his best interest to line up for a mountain stage with no fuel in the system,” Dr Spinelli said.

Given the importance of the Tour de Romandie, Porte is disappointed to have to withdraw. “Of course it’s disappointing to have to stop but I trust the medical team’s advice that it’s the right decision,” Porte said.

Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 2:27:46
2. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale
6. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
10. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar in 2:33:19
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:06
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:07
4. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
5. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:09
6. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:11
7. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
9. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:12
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.

Romandie Stage 1:

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Presidential Tour of Turkey 2016
At the end of a hilly and windswept Stage 2 in stunning Cappadocia, Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) won the Salcano Kapadokya – Kapadokya Stage (154.1 km), of the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) was isolated on the final climb, but defended his lead valiantly. He conceded 10 seconds but preserved his SporToto turquoise race leader’s jersey by 6 seconds.

An early breakaway of three riders formed: Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Eugert Zhupa (Southeast Venezuela) and Nicolas Baldo (Team Roth). The trio achieved their maximum advantage of 4:20.

Despite buffeting winds and some steep sections, the leaders completed 104 km in the first 3 hours of racing. However, with 50 km to go, Unieuro Wilier, Astana City and Lotto Belisol moved to the front of the peloton, hitherto led by Lampre-Merida. The increase pace neutralized the breakaway, which was caught at km 108, with 45 km to go in the stage.

On the steep section exiting Göreme, with 40.6 km to go, Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attacked. Vilela lay 17th in GC at 16 seconds. He was soon caught, but the move signaled the intent of a team with 6 riders at 16 seconds. Vilela was soon caught, and Lluís Mas then made a darting attack. The peloton split into a number of groups, with Mas forcing the pace at the front and 6 Caja Rural team-mates behind him, at the head of a leading group of about twenty-five, that included the race leader Niemiec and a number of CCC riders. At the second mountains prize, Rémy Di Gregorio passed first, followed by three Caja Rural riders. Di Gregorio now led that competition with a total of 9 points, and would keep the red King of the Mountains jersey.

After four hours of racing, the leaders had covered 140km. With 5.9 km to go, Vilela attacked again for Caja Rural. Niemiec set his team-mate Koshevoy to chase. Di Gregorio accelerated, and led the group past Vilela. Six riders then rode off the front of the leaders. Four of them Caja Rurals. Inside 3km, that leading group of six had become four. Niemiec was isolated with three Cajar Rural riders – Bilbao, Gonaçalvses and Arroyo – in the leading group of four. Pello Bilbao then attacked. Gonçalves and Arroyo stayed on Niemiec’s wheel. Niemiec raised the pace to contain Bilbao’s attack, but too late. Nonetheless, Niemiec defended his lead valiantly, conceding 9 seconds but preserved the race lead by 7 seconds. Gonçalves and Finetto (Unieuro-Wilier) finished just ahead of him in second and third. For Gonçalves, his second second place brought the consolation of the green sprints jersey.

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Stage winner, Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I said before coming here that I was really motivated, this is a special race for me and for the team. Last year we did a great job and we wanted to do the same thing this year. We came here to fight for the overall, although we needed to go day by day and to do a good job today because it was a great opportunity for me, after Elmali, which may be too hard, I don’t know. The team did a really great job today, I could be alone int eh last 2 km and maybe, if it wasn’t me, Arroyo or another team mate could have been in my place. One of the team mates had to go to the front to put the leader in a complicated situation to force Lampre to work, and it went fantastically. I want to thank all the team. This is for all the team. Last year at Elmali, I faced a difficult situation because I think, 50 or 60 km from the finish, there were crosswinds and the group was going really, really fast, and in the worse moment I had a puncture and I couldn’t do anything to get back into the group, so that day I had to say goodbye to the overall, and I started thinking of the Selkuk stage, and I did a good job there. Maybe If I had been fighting for the overall I wouldn’t have been able to win there. One year on, I see that the leader is in a very good moment, he’s preparing the Giro so we have to use a team strategy because maybe one by one we can’t do the best work. We have to use the team to go for victory. In the first two laps we had an opportunity to see the landscape. It is a really beautiful place. I came to Istanbul three years ago, and I wanted to come here, so today was a great opportunity to see Cappadocia. It is a really interesting and different landscape. You can’t see in many places like it in the world.”

Race leader, Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida): “It was hard today, because of Caja Rural on the final lap. They were frightening. They caused some damage. There were 14 or 15 riders in the group and 6 of them were from Caja Rural. At that point, I decided to work with them. If I tried to stay behind in safety, I ran the risk of losing my place in the echelons because the wind was very strong. Today my team was good. Fortunately, a group of 3 got away early and stayed away until the final lap, when Caja Rural set fire to the race. I knew that there’d be attacks from them on the final lap. It was hard to cover them all. I stayed on the wheels and my team mate Koshevoy, closed down the first few attacks then pulled for me until 500m, when I sprinted for 2nd place. I’ve achieved the goal I started the stage with this morning. I wanted to keep the jersey, and I have. For me, it is important: the last time I was in a race leader was in 2009, at the Route du Sud in France, which I won. So it’s a great pleasure to lead a race after seven years. It would have been much better if I’d still had Petilli on the final kilometers, but he dropped out of the group in the wind. Koshevoy was really good today to close down so many moves. I have to thank him today, especially, he rode very well. Tonight I’ll buy him a beer.”

2nd, José Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “Today was one of the hardest stages of the TUR. We knew that we had to increase the rhythm in order to break the main group. Our objective was to win the stage, knowing that we also had several possibilities on GC, mainly with Pello. We’ll see day by day but we’re racing well so far.”

3rd Mauro Finetto (Unieuro-Wilier): “It’s always good to make the podium even though it would have been better to win but after all the work they’ve done, Caja Rural deserved to win. They have made the decision. [team-mate Giovanni] Carboni helped to stay in the group when I was in difficulty with 3km to go. Then I sprinted for second place and Gonçalves passed me. It was a day of suffering with the wind and strange feelings in the peloton after traveling last night.”

KOM, Rémy Di Gregorio (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM): “When I realized the [3-man] breakaway was caught, I went for the KOM price because the opportunity was there but my main focus was on winning the stage. However, with six riders from Caja Rural out of fifteen in the front group, it was a difficult task. As a team, they’re superior in this race. I still contributed to their work because of the crosswinds. I attacked with 3km to go but it didn’t work out. The red jersey is good for my team though.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Result:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 4:18:51
2. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:10
3. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Unieuro-Wilier
4. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
5. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:13
6. Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida at 0:17
10. Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 2:
1. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida in 7:29:19
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:06
3. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:11
4. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Unieuro-Wilier at 0:16
5. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:19
6. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana City at 0:28
10. Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:35.

Turkey Stage 2:

At the end of a straight, flat, very wet and, above all, windy Stage 3, after which the winner would say, “The wind was so strong that at times, it was hard just to stay on the bike”, Germany’s André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the Vestel Aksaray to Konya Stage (158.9 km), of the Presidential Tour of Turkey. It was Greipel’s 11th win at the Tour of Turkey, a new mark for the record number of stage wins that he already held. Challenging weather conditions early in the stage led to a split in the peloton. Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), 2nd in GC, and three of his team-mates, made the lead group. Race leader Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) missed the split, and conceded both the race lead and more than 25 minutes. Three Caja Rural-Seguros RGA now fill the top three positions in the General Classification. When Pello Bilbao crossed the line 2:14 after Greipel, it was to take the leader’s jersey. Former race leader Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) finished at more than 25 minutes.

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Stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “It’s great to take the victory after such a strong race of the team. This win is also good for the head after all the bad luck I had this season. I am not one hundred per cent yet, my calf is still swollen and a bit stiff after crashing on Sunday, but it didn’t keep me from winning today. The team performance was quite impressive. It would have been nice as well if one of the teammates had won. Kris Boeckmans deserved it for sure as it was so impressive that he was part of the front group. It would have been emotional if he had won, but we stuck to the plan and I did the sprint. It may have looked easy on TV but it was a hard race with a speed of up to fifty kilometers an hour in the beginning. We addressed our echelon skills today and it couldn’t have ended better than it did.”

Overall leader, Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “We thought that it would be a dangerous stage because of the weather and the wind, but we didn’t expect that we would start like that. Lotto started the race really aggressively, and all the race was full gas to the end. They did an impressive job and I have to give them my congratulations because they did really impressive work. At first we didn’t have the information because the radio wasn’t working really well, so we wanted to go in a rhythm not to lose too much time in the front group, and when we knew there was no one dangerous there, we went more calm. But there was some team-mates whop had too much gas and they wanted to go really fast. I would have preferred to go more easily, but in the end we did 160km full gas. Looking at today’s stage, we can never say that GC is done because until the last day anything can happen. We have to continue like that. We have a great responsibility now. We have to go day by day, control the race, and we hope that in the 6th stage, we can be there in the top, and at least one of us can be with the jersey. Today was a really hard day. We didn’t expect such a hard day and we know that tomorrow we are going to have sore legs. We expected to do a more relaxed stage tomorrow. We’ll see if the wind is weaker. Then the next two days, we hope to have a sprint day with no surprises.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 3 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 5:45:54
2. Alberto Cecchin (Ita) Team Roth
3. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Nicola Toffali (Ita) Team Roth at 0:02
5. Greg Henderson (NZ) Lotto Soudal at 0:09
6. Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:13
10. Riccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 3:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 11:20:12
2. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:05
3. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:13
4. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana City at 0:22
5. Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:14
6. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 2:22
7. Greg Henderson (NZ) Lotto Soudal at 3:21
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 5:41
9. Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 7:34
10. Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 8:34.

Turkey Stage 3:

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took the third Tour of Turkey stage win of his career in Stage 4, the Türk Hava Yolları Seydişehir-Alanya Stage (187 km), which took the race over the western Taurus Mountains to Alanya on the Mediterranean coast. After strong sidewinds in Cappadocia on Stage 2 and yesterday, with pouring rain to boot, the peloton finally enjoyed a day of gentle Turkish sunshine, and then a stage finish beside an astonishingly turquoise sea: the trademarks of the race and the country.

It all ended in a bunch sprint, in which Italians filled the top five places through Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Marco Zanotti (Parkhotel Valkenburg), and the two Southeast-Venezuela riders Manuel Belletti and Jakub Mareczko.

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Race leader, Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “Today was easier than yesterday. The start was really fast, we tried to control it and not to form two big groups. We worked together with Lotto, because they wanted the same as us, and I think we did a good job and, afterwards, in the last km, we were at the front of the group in order not to put ourselves at risk, and it was a great day for us. We are in the same place as yesterday, which is our goal until the 6th stage we want to maintain the situation, and then we’ll see. As for Niemiec, I think he has forgotten about the GC overall and now he has other goals. It think he was trying to get into the break or get the mountain points. I think it’s nothing personal, he has no reason to look for revenge.”

Stage winner, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida): “Today’s win took a bit of slyness, because we left it late. We all thought Lotto would come through, but they didn’t. With 700m to go, we almost stopped. One of the Zanotti’s team went through, and I got onto his wheel. At 400m he stopped, and I thought it was all over, then Belletti went, and took two bike lengths, then I got back to him, and sprinted. It was non-linear, chaotic. It was very nervous, after yesterday, which was a horrible stage.
“I needed a win. I thought I was very strong this year. I couldn’t win in Dubai: I got a 4th, and 5th, and a 2nd, 4th, behind Viviani. At Qatar, I was beaten by Cavendish. At Tirreno, I was always in the top 10. At Sanremo, I thought I’d do OK, but I fell on the Poggio. In the northern classics, I was strong but I didn’t get a win. Then I came here and fell on stage 1. My morale wasn’t the best. My knee hurt, especially on St 2. Yesterday it felt better, but I was angry with myself because someone like me shouldn’t be getting dropped in echelons. I made the second group, and I was a bit annoyed. I needed a win, especially now, because I have been preparing for the Giro. Today, tomorrow, the penultimate stage, then the Giro to do well.”

2nd, Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini): “It was a hard stage because the rhythm was high from the flag. In the finale, Greipel and Modolo were the riders to watch for the sprint. With 2.5km to go, my team-mates Stacchiotti and Grosu did an excellent work taking me to the front. At the end, maybe there was a way for me to beat Modolo. I came back to him but I couldn’t do more. I was at the maximum of my possibilities.”

3rd, Marco Zanotti (Parkhotel Valkenburg): “It’s nice to be part of a fully Italian podium. My team has helped me all day. Sven [Van Luijk] was in the breakaway and the others protected me before they put me in the best position for sprinting. Even though I don’t often win races, they trust me. There are great sprinters here. It’s not easy to beat them. But every day we try and maybe one day they’ll make a mistake so we’ll take the top price.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 4 Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:26:26
2. Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
3. Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela
5. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela
6. Andris Smirnovs (Lat) Alpha Baltic-Maratoni.Lv
7. Alberto Cecchin (Ita) Team Roth
8. Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Unieuro-Wilier
10. Vadim Galeyev (Kaz) Astana City.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 4:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 15:46:38
2. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:05
3. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:13
4. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana City at 0:22
5. Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:14
6. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 2:22
7. Greg Henderson (NZ) Lotto Soudal at 3:46
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 5:41
9. Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 7:34
10. Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 8:59.

Turkey Stage 4:

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Tour de Yorkshire 2016
The 3 day English stage race makes its return in 2016 with a mix of WorldTour, ProContinental and Continental teams. The race wanted to extend to four days, but British Cycling rejected their request. The first Tour de Yorkshire was won by Sky’s Lars Peter Nordhaug.

Stage 1: Friday, April 29, 184km Beverly – Settle
Stage 2: Saturday, April 30, 135.5km Otley – Doncaster
Stage 3: Sunday, May 1, 196km Middlesbrough – Scarborough

Race website: Tour de Yorkshire.

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Giant-Alpecin to the men’s Tour de Yorkshire
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the United Kingdom this week to compete in the Tour de Yorkshire. The second edition of the three-day race will be held on hilly roads with the first two stages expected to end in a reduced bunch sprint. Stage three is where the race will be decided with six ascents and a final climb less than 10km from the finish.
Coach Luke Roberts (AUS) said: “The Tour de Yorkshire was a very successful and well-received event last year, boasting huge crowds similar to those seen at the Tour de France depart in Yorkshire. We are very much looking forward to competing in the race. The course can be quite brutal, with small roads and some very steep climbs throughout the stages.

“We are heading there with Warren Barguil, who is showing some good form at the moment after his 6th place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and will be looking to test his legs on the harder stages. Also, Nikias Arndt is in his final preparation phase leading up to the Giro and will be a real contender for a stage win in the sprints. The general classification is not a specific focus for us in Yorkshire.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Bert De Backer (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Carter Jones (USA), Lars van der Haar (NED).
Coach: Luke Roberts.

Warren Barguil:
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Liv-Plantur for The Women’s Tour de Yorkshire
Team Liv-Plantur will be in action this weekend with the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire Race. The women’s race will be held on the same course as the men with a parcours of 136km long that is expected to end in a bunch sprint but with tricky weather conditions it could end up being a really hard race with a reduced group of riders making it to the finish.

“It is the first time we are competing in Yorkshire and we are really looking forward to taking part in this edition,” explained coach Rudi Kemna (NED). “Leah is going to be our leader and she will have strong support from the team. We will aim to put Leah in a good position before the key moments of the race but we have to aware of the weather conditions, which can be tough in Yorkshire.

“The parcours contains a lot of hills and narrow roads making it a difficult finale. If the race comes back together for a sprint we will go for Leah who is in good shape at the moment and can aim for a podium finish.”

Line-up:
Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Sara Mustonen (SWE), Riejanne Markus (NED), Carlee Taylor (AUS), Molly Weaver (GBR).
Coach: Rudi Kemna.

Molly Weaver:
photoshoot training stage women team Liv - Plantur 2016 in Calpe

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Direct Energie for Yorkshire
Coureurs:
Thomas Boudat, Lilian Calmejane, Jérémy Cornu, Romain Guillemois, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Brian Nauleau, Perrig Quemeneur, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportif: Jimmy Engoulvent.

Thomas Voeckler:
Paris - Nice stage 4

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BMC Racing Team Looking for Success at Tour de Yorkshire
BMC Racing Team will be looking to replicate previous success when the seven-rider team lines up at the Tour de Yorkshire from 29 April to 1 May.

“We have a diverse team of riders who can definitely go for both the General Classification and stage wins, including Ben Hermans who won a stage in the inaugural edition in 2015,” Sports Director Jackson Stewart said.

Hermans is looking forward to returning to the race.

“Having won a stage in 2015 it will be nice to have the opportunity to return to Tour de Yorkshire, especially with the strong team that we have. My focus has been on the one-day Classics recently so it’s a good chance to get back into stage racing,” Hermans confirmed.

Tour de Yorkshire will also be the first race back for both Rohan Dennis and Michael Schär who have been recovering from illness and injury respectively.

Rider roster:
Rohan Dennis (AUS), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Allan Peiper (AUS).

Rohan Dennis:
Santos Tour Down-Under  2015  stage - 3

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Tour de Yorkshire
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka looking to race from the front in Yorkshire

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will take part in the Tour de Yorkshire which gets underway on Friday 29 April and concludes after 3 stages, on Sunday 1 May.

This year, it will be the 2nd edition of the Tour de Yorkshire and our African Team are happy to be returning to Yorkshire after being part of the inaugural edition of the event as well. It is a race our team really enjoyed, with great crowds and good racing over the 3 road stages.

On paper the route does not look too difficult, with each of the 3 road stages being moderately undulating. As was evident last year though, aggressive racing coupled with some testing weather conditions can make each stage seem like a mini spring classic. Taking the race on from the front will be key in achieving a top result.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will send a team with a number of in-form riders capable of riding into a high position overall. Steve Cummings and Serge Pauwels showed throughout the Ardennes classics that they are going well and the duo will be key riders over the course of the weekend. Bernie Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Nathan Haas and Nic Dougall are all coming off the back of a good Tour of Croatia while Johann van Zyl and Mekseb Debesay also start for our African Team.

Bernie Eisel – Rider
I am quite excited to race again in Yorkshire especially after taking part in the Tour de France when it started with 3 days in Yorkshire. I am really looking forward to the crowds again, they were crazy at the Tour. It’s certainly going to be a hard race and at the moment I’m not in the greatest shape as I picked up a cold after the Tour of Croatia. I still hope I can recover by Friday for the first stage and be ready to race well. We have a strong group on the start line so let’s see what we can bring home. Something else I am looking forward to is finishing the final stage in Middlesbrough, my brother raced the junior world championships there back in 89 I think it was so it a memorable place for my family.

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The line-up for Giro 2016
The Classics have come to an end and the first Grand Tour of the year is just around the corner. The Giro d’Italia (6 May – 29 May) will start next week in Apeldoorn on Friday 6 May. Lotto Soudal has selected these nine riders: Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

For Sean De Bie (24) this will be his first Grand Tour, quite a difference with Adam Hansen (almost 35) for whom this Giro is the fourteenth consecutive Grand Tour and the eighth Giro ever. Also for Lars Bak (36) it’s going to be the eighth Giro. Jürgen Roelandts (30) has experience when it comes to riding Grand Tours, but it will be the first time that he rides the Giro. For Tim Wellens (almost 25), who has his birthday during the Giro just like Adam Hansen, this will be his second Giro participation. Pim Ligthart (27) and Jelle Vanendert (31) will take part in the Giro for the second time as well, while it will be the fourth Giro for André Greipel (33) and Maxime Monfort (33).

André Greipel:
turkey16st3-greipel-win-920

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Giro d’Italia Line-Up Confirmed
Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce its final nine-rider line-up for the first Grand Tour of the 2016 season, the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Apeldoorn on May 6.

The team announced last week that Tom Dumoulin (NED) would definitely be lining up for his first Giro d’Italia, and he will be joined by a strong team with riders who can take their chances in the sprints and also in the breakaways if and when the opportunities arise.

“I am really looking forward to the Giro d’Italia this year,” Dumoulin said. “It will be my first Giro and with the start in The Netherlands, it is going to be extra special. I think it is going to be a fantastic race to participate in. I will be focusing primarily on the time trials, as they provide a greater opportunity for success.”

Team Giant-Alpecin will also be targeting the sprints with Nikias Arndt (GER), where in the first week there should be different opportunities for a bunch sprint. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and Georg Preidler (AUT) who are all capable of getting in the breakaways and fighting for a stage victory as well as proving their strength against the clock.

Speaking about the line-up for the Giro, coach Marc Reef (NED) said: “Our target is to go for a stage victory. We’ll have different opportunities in the time trials and the sprint stages. On top of that, we will apply an offensive strategy to aim for stage results from possible breakaways that survive until the finish.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef.

Chad Haga:
Santos Tour Down-Under  2015 - 1

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The Gazprom-RusVelo Team at the Giro d’Italia
The Gazprom-RusVelo Team has announced the team composition for the Giro d’Italia race that starts on May 6th in the Dutch Apeldoorn and ends on May 29th in Italian Turin.
The decision on who will defend the team colours in this fabulous race was taken by the management and sports directors based on the results of long preparation period. Key competitions for defining the team were Giro del Trentino and Croatia Tour of last week.

The Gazprom-RusVelo Team for the Grand tour consists of: Sergey Firsanov, Alexander Kolobnev, Ivan Savitsky, ArtyomOvechkin, Alexander Serov, Artur Ershov, Alexander Foliforov, Andrey Solomennikov, Alexey Rybalkin.

The team leader is Sergey Firsanov who has already demonstrated perfect condition on the recent Coppi e Bartali, Giro dell’Appennino and Giro del Trentino races. He will be supported by the experienced team riders as well as young talented mountain riders. Ivan Savitsky is the team’s main hope for the sprint race and Alexander Kolobnev is the front-runner for the mixed race.

Worth mentioning is the fact that the upcoming Giro d’Italia will be the first ever Grand Tour for the Gazprom-RusVelo Team. Earlier, it was only Alexander Kolobnev and Alexander Serov who participated in the supermarathons.

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Teuns to Continue with BMC Racing Team
BMC Racing Team today announced the extension of Dylan Teuns’ contract beyond the 2016 season.

Teuns, who is a graduate of the BMC Development Team, is an excellent rider to retain in BMC Racing Team’s roster, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“It was an obvious decision to keep a rider like Dylan Teuns in the team. Since transitioning from BMC Development Team to BMC Racing Team and spending the past two seasons with us, he has proven time and time again that he has a strong ability to ride in a WorldTour team. He’s a very capable rider and is still coming into his own form and finding his place in the peloton alongside his teammates,” Ochowicz said.

“He has showed very good results, especially lately in the Ardennes Classics, and he has a great future ahead of him in BMC Racing Team. As one of six riders who have graduated from BMC Development Team to BMC Racing Team, Dylan is a fantastic example of how these riders not only make it into the professional peloton, but also excel.”

For Teuns, the decision to remain with BMC Racing Team was a natural one.

“I have been within the BMC family for quite a few years now and feel at home in the team. I have really developed as a rider in the past two years since turning pro and I think that I can continue to develop well with the team and get good results in bigger races,” Teuns said.

“It was a really natural decision because I have a lot of support from the BMC Racing Team management and my teammates, which I felt during the Ardennes Classics, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and beyond.”

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other terms or conditions of the contract were released.

Dylan Teuns’ Recent Results:
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – 17th
La Flèche Wallonne – 30th
Amstel Gold Race – 18th
De Brabantse Pijl – 28th
Volta Limburg Classic – 10th.

Dylan Teuns:
stage 7 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

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Stuyven extends contract with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce that Jasper Stuyven has extended his contract for two more years.

Stuyven, 24, recently completed a successful Classics campaign, winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in a dramatic style, before turning his full attention in supporting Fabian Cancellara in the remaining cobbled races.

The talented Belgian, highly coveted for his expertise in the cobbled Classics, signed his first professional contract in 2014 with Trek-Segafredo (formally Trek Factory Racing) and will continue with the team through 2018.

Stuyven: “I’m very happy to stay with Trek-Segafredo. I feel super good with this team, and I don’t want to go anywhere else. I am glad to have had the trust to be a leader in a semi-classic this spring, and I’m proud that I was able to prove it in Kuurne with a win.

“I am thankful to Dirk (Demol, director) and Luca (Guercilena, general manager) for their trust in me. The victory in Kuurne gave me extra confidence towards my ambitions for 2017 to take the next big step from the semi-Classics to the Classics.

“I want to be better in the finals of Monuments – play a bigger role there and ‘make’ the race. And, aside from the Classics, I want to develop further and play a part in other races, especially for the rest of 2016. I am confident in my sprint, and I am motivated to have a very good second part of the season.”

Trek-Segafredo hurried to renew Stuyven’s contract after his achievements this spring.

Luca Guercilena: “Re-signing Jasper was a priority for us, and I’m glad we came to an agreement so easily. I was very pleased with his performance in the Classics and of course his impressive solo win in Kuurne. I am convinced he’s ready for the next step.

“Jasper is really suited for the Classics, in terms of his physiology and in his capacity to lead a team. Besides that, he is fast in tough sprints, like he proved last year in the Vuelta. He is competitive in many types of races, and we are thrilled he will remain with Trek-Segafredo for another two years.”

Stuyven will next line up in the Tour of California in May.

Jasper Stuyven:
Kuurne - Brussel - Kuurne 2016

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Tinkoff maintains top spots in team and individual UCI WorldTour rankings after Ardennes Classics
The curtain came down on the spring classics on Sunday with the fourth of the season’s ‘monuments’ in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Tinkoff squads in the Ardennes fought hard to maintain the team’s top spot in the UCI WorldTour rankings.

At the end of Sunday, a look to the UCI WorldTour rankings showed the team still in a commanding position in both the UCI Individual and Team WorldTour rankings. As a team, Tinkoff sits 94 points ahead of Team Sky in second and 199 points ahead of BMC Racing Team in third. In the individual classification, Peter Sagan still leads teammate Alberto Contador in first and second respectively.

In the final three races of the spring campaign, the best result for the team came at Amstel Gold Race where Michael Valgren raced to second place, made even more impressive by the fact that it was just his first WorldTour podium.

The result came after a strong performance from the team at Amstel, with Roman Kreuziger playing his part in setting up the finish for Michael with a powerful attack in the final 10 kilometers. After the end of the cobblestone classics and a change to both the type of terrain and the rider line-ups, this early strong performance was a great start to the Ardennes Classics, as Sport Director Steven De Jongh explained. “The boys worked hard, did all they could to support Roman & Michael. With all the climbs and the technical route today it’s easier said than done. There were no crashes also on a hectic day, which was good. Now we look ahead to Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne.”

Adding to his director’s comments, Michael was pleased to be part of Tinkoff’s strong performance in the season so far. “The team’s on a good streak. We’re first in the WorldTour and then first and second in the rider classification. I think we did something right this winter with the training, so we can be really proud of ourselves.”

After Amstel came La Flèche Wallonne mid-week, but with the incredibly steep final ascent of the Mur de Huy sure to decide the race, on paper the Tinkoff line-up wasn’t going to be the most combative at the finish. The team put in a strong performance regardless with Roman finishing 11th, adding to his 12th at Amstel.

The final of three races in the week was Liège, and one run under atrocious weather conditions. The team were once again focused on Roman and Michael, with the addition of Rafal Majka who returned from high-altitude in Cyprus. Rafal was to come unstuck in a crash, leaving just Roman and Michael to fight in the closing stages with Roman coming away with a strong seventh place despite being disappointed with the outcome. “On the new climb with cobbles, in the first half I couldn’t find my rhythm and couldn’t follow the other guys that attacked so I’m disappointed with this because nobody wanted to pull and really make the race to help catch the break. I’m very disappointed, as I saw in the last 500m that even into a head wind I was making up ground. I expected more than seventh, but that’s how the one-day races go – you need some luck.”

Although both Peter and Alberto are currently in build periods for their next season objectives, the upcoming Tour de Romandie presents another chance to score points for the team classification with Rafal Majka leading TInkoff before starting the assault on the first Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia in May.

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Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Brian Smith part company Smith will leave his position as General Manager

Brian Smith will step down from his position as General Manager of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka effective 1 May.

Smith was announced as Interim General Manager during 2014 with the task of recruiting marquee riders and restructuring the team’s operational procedures. This was in order to take our African Team to the highest level of the sport with the vision of joining the UCI World Tour. With the added support of our partners, we have been able to establish ourselves at the highest level of the sport.

“Brian has contributed to the success of our African team from a rider and performance point of view and we thank him for his involvement and support”, says Douglas Ryder, Team Principal. “We have put a great team in place to move forward and progress into the future.”

“I’ve had a great time with the team and have many fond memories to take away with me”, Smith adds. “I would like to thank the team for the opportunity and wish them every success for the season and beyond.”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka thanks Brian Smith for his contribution and wish him all the best for his future.

Steve Cummings and Brian Smith:
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