What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

The 2013 road season is well underway now. Australia and Argentina have had their crack at it and now Europe has kicked off with the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, all the results and video action is here. Armstrong is still with us, but not winning any fans. There’s lots of other news going on, so it’s Monday morning EuroTrash coffee time again.

TOP STORY: No USADA Confession for Armstrong
After his well publicised and talked about “confession” show with Oprah Winfrey it has been stated by Armstrong’s legal team that the Texan is willing to tell more, but it will not be to the United States Anti-Doping Agency. His legal team claim that USADA doesn’t have the authority to “investigate, prosecute or otherwise involve its self” and so Armstrong will only talk to WADA or the UCI, who his lawyer claimed to the AP has “overall authority.”

USADA has given Armstrong until the 6th of February to come forward with more information on his drug fuelled career, but his Lawyer, Tim Herman, has said “it is simply not possible to do so” as Armstrong has other things to do.

Meanwhile Travis Tygart, USADA CEO, appeared on the 60 minutes CBS TV programme on Sunday and stated his disgust at Armstrong’s claim that his drug taking made everyone on the same level and that he didn’t feel that he was any worse than the other cyclist at that time. Tygart does not agree as he sees Armstrong’s drug system at U.S. Postal as highly organised and that Armstrong had access to inside information that others didn’t. USADA’s legal team have stated that the investigation will move forward with or without Lance Armstrong.

“He didn’t name names. He didn’t say who supplied him, what officials were involved,” World Anti Doping Agency President John Fahey told the AP. “My feeling after watching the interview is that he indicated that he probably would not have gotten caught if he hadn’t returned to the sport,” Fahey explained. “If he was looking for redemption, he didn’t succeed in getting that.”

USADA are possibly not going to be too sympathetic with Armstrong, but maybe WADA will be the same, could this be why he would want to bare all to the UCI?

Charlie Sheen on Lance Armstrong:

Tour Down Under, Australia 2013
Andrй Greipel (Lotto Belisol) showed his sprinting form by taking another win in Australia at the end of Stage 4 in Tanunda after126.5 kilometres. The Blanco and Orica-GreenEdge teams were also up for the win, but they tangled on the run in causing a crash. Greipel had Greg Henderson to take him to the line safely, Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) was second and a lucky Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff) squeezed through for third. Earlier in the stage; World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Damien Howson (UniSA-Australia) escaped to hold a comfortable lead of around two and a half minutes, but were not allowed much more, their maximum being 3:10. The two were caught with 8 kilometres to go and it was down to the lead out boy to sort out the finish. Geraint Thomas held on to the Overall lead.

Lampre-Merida’s Roberto Ferrari said: “I’m satisfied; I think I performed a good sprint, considering that my condition is not at the top. Greipel has been too strong, but I’ll try to do something better on Sunday.”

Lotto Belisol lead-out man Greg Henderson commented: “What we do isn’t easy, but it is a job of regularity, training and 100 percent focus on our job. Everyone knows exactly what to do. You can’t really call it fun, we are risking our lives, but when you win it is of course fun then. Also today the final was hectic. There was wind from the left, so we had to stay at the right as much as possible, but all puzzle pieces fell into place again.”

“For myself the start of the Tour Down Under was only the first time to see my teammates. I was really looking forward to it; it was a very warm welcome. Everybody came to pick me up at the airport and we went to eat something on the beach, that was really magnificent. Tomorrow there is a tough stage with the Old Willunga Hill, but we will do everything we can to help Adam Hansen, who is standing on a good place in the GC. And Sunday we will go for a third victory. If this is an ideal preparation for the classics? Is Tom Boonen at the start here (laughs)? No, I think it’s an ideal race; the weather is good, the stages aren’t too long and we can battle for stage wins.”

Tour Down Under Stage 4 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 3:02:52
2. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
7. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco
8. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
10. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC.

Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 4:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 12:59:09
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco at 0:05
3. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
4. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Leopard at 0:08
5. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:15
6. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp
8. Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Leopard
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol
10. George Bennett (NZl) Radioshack-Leopard.

Stage 4:

Seven riders broke away after 20 kilometres of the 151.5 kilometres of Stage 5 from McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill. In the group was Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge), Calvin Waton (UniSA-Australia), Thomas de Gendt & Tomas Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM), Klaas Lodewyck (BMC), Manuele Boaro (Garmin-Sharp) and Koen de Kort (Argos-Shimano) and they managed to gain a lead of under 4 minutes before RadioShack, Blanco and Sky started to pull them back. When the race came back together, Sky wanted to be in control, but a break of four went away on the climb of Willunga; Eros Capecchi & Jose Herrada (Movistar), Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r- La Mondiale) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) to hold a small lead until Orica-GreenEdge put the pressure on in the bunch. After many attacks, Javi Moreno (Movistar) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) took their chance the last time up Willunga, young Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) shot out of the peloton and passed the Moreno and Gerrans, but the Australian had the measure of him and got his wheel and had time to push past him for the stage win. Geraint Thomas (Sky) finished 32 seconds back allowing Slagter to take 1st place overall.

“I was pretty disappointed to drop of out contention for the overall on stage two,” said Gerrans. “I had one chance to make up for it, and that was today. To win here on Australia Day was a fantastic feeling. A big thanks to my ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates. They laid it on the line for me today, so it was great to finish it off.”

“We needed to have someone in the break today,” explained Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We had hoped whoever made the break would make it over the climb the first time to help position Gerro up the second climb. Unfortunately, the break got caught a little early, but it still took the pressure off the rest of the team. They didn’t have to chase and were able to save their energy to help Simon in the last lap.”

“I never gave up until I was right to the line,” said Gerrans. “When the young Blanco guy [Slagter] jumped past us, I had to get on his wheel and come past him on the line. I was second here last year, and I won here today. It’s a nice way to round out the week.”
Storming to victory on Australia Day proved extra satisfying from Gerrans who said he drew extra motivation from the crowd.

“It was an absolutely fantastic crowd today,” he said. “It was bigger than any Tour de France stage. There were people around the whole course cheering us on. It was a great atmosphere.”

Wilson was elated that the team’s hard work paid off in such a huge way. “I’m just so happy after all the disappointment we’ve had here this week,” he said. “We came in with such good form and have had some unlucky moments. To win like this makes even more sweet than if we had no problems at all. The boys gave it their all every day. The win today is their just reward.”

Lampre-Merida’s Danieli Pietropolli who has moved up to 8th overall had this to say: “I was unhappy at the start, because I had pain and it was difficult to move my legs, explained Pietropolli. “During the stage, my team mates very perfect, giving me a great help that allowed me to be competitive on the two climbs on Willunga Hill. Tomorrow will be another demanding day, because few seconds separate the athletes in the top position of the classification and so the bonuses will be precious”.

Tour Down Under Stage 5 Result:
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 3:36:25
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco
3. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:12
5. Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Leopard at 0:13
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 0:16
7. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Leopard.

Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco in 16:35:33
2. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 0:13
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Leopard at 0:25
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:28
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:29
6. Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Leopard
7. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:32
8. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco
10. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ at 0:37.

Stage 5:

The Gorilla growled again, in fact for the 100th time in his professional career, at the end of Stage 6; a 90 kilometre stage around Adelaide City on a circuit of 4.5 kilometres. The Lotto Belisol team worked perfectly by allowing the Sky team to do most of the lead out and just come to the fore when it mattered, at the end. Sky had control until two kilometres to go, then Lotto Belisol moved to the front for Greipel with Greg Henderson poised for the launch pad when Mark Renshaw (Blanco) tried to ruin the party with a jump for the line. Greipel had the measure of the Australian and had the win comfortably, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) held on for third. Blanco’s Tom Jelte Slagter was happy to finish in the bunch to take his biggest career win to date. A great result for the young Dutchman and for the unsponsored ex-Rabobank team.

Second overall was Movistar’s Javi Moreno, he had this to say: “It wouldn’t have been possible; making the podium in such a race, a World Tour one, is a huge leap of quality in my career,” says Moreno from Aussie soil.” As well in the sporting side, since we earn some good points for me and the team, as in the moral side, because this will make me more confident for the remainder of the year.” The Movistar Team rider reflects on his attack just before the last kilometre of the Queen stage, which made him dream of the GC victory: “To be honest, there was some point when I thought I’d be winning. I knew that was the time to make my move and insist, because there was nothing I could have done in the sprint. They caught me really close to the finish, but they were better at the end and there’s nothing to object. It’s clear that this climb suits me well due to its length.”

He also thanked his team: “It wouldn’t have been possible without them. It’s something new to me, having such a great time at my side in a top-ranked race. They were always looking after me, so the wind did not affect me, keeping me protected… They were phenomenal and I don’t know how to thank them for that.” The Andalusian also reflects on his actual form status and his next goals: “I spent two months preparing myself for this after I got told in the first team meeting I had to be fit for this race, and I don’t know if I came 100%, but I reached a very good form level, partly because it was a good winter, neither injuries nor diseases affected me. Now I’ll stay for a few days at home before the Vuelta a Andalucнa; (Paris-Nice and Catalunya are set to be his next races) ahead of my homeland race, where I hope to get to the front thanks to the good form I’ll be carrying on from Australia.”

Tour Down Under Stage 6 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 1:52:59
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
4. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
7. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC
8. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Tour Down Under Final Overall:
1. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco in 18:28:32
2. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 0:17
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 0:25
4. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:32
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard at 0:34
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco
7. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:36
8. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Leopard at 0:38
10. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ at 0:41.

Stage 6:

Tour de San Luis, Argentina 2013
Canadian Sven Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) won the time trial Stage 4 over 19.2 kilometres, 2nd was Leandro Messineo (San Luis Somos Todos) and 3rd placed Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) moved into the overall lead. A good ride from Tejay van Garderen (BMC) in 7th place put him into second overall as Jurgen Van Den Broeck’s 10th place on the stage has moved the Lotto Belisol man up to third overall. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was 14 seconds down and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) lost just under 1 minute.

Stage winner Svein Tuft told the Orica-GreenEdge web-site: “This time of year, I’m not always sure what I’m going to get,” admitted Tuft. “I’ve had good feelings, but I was a little surprised at how hard it felt when I was out there. I forget every year how hard it is. I think that’s what allows me to keep doing it.”

Tuft credits ORICA-GreenEDGE trainer Marc Quod with giving him an extra edge. “I did a lot of strength and endurance in the off season,” Tuft said. “Working with Quod has been really good. It’s probably been one of the better winters for me. I’ve focused on things that I don’t normally work. We kept the training really simple and I think that helped.”

“Another fortunate thing is that I came down early to Argentina,” he added. “I was able to adjust to the heat and riding in the local climate. That’s definitely been to my benefit.”

The non-technical course suited Tuft’s strengths. “It was a wide open highway-type course,” he said. “It included two roundabouts and a couple corners. That’s it. It was really simple in that sense. The wind was a bit difficult going out, and the downhill sections were super fast. It’s definitely a course made for me.”

Tuft carefully metered his efforts during the first half of the time trial and flew home during the second half. “The sections with the gradient were tough,” he explained. “I had to really put myself out there without going too far into the red too early. It was definitely important not to lose any time on the way out. I pushed hard and recovered where I could with the momentum I had already built. I think that really paid off for me. There are strong guys here, and I had to give it everything I had.”

Tuft ticked off a few key time trials he plans to target during the remainder of the season – specifically mentioning both the team time trial and individual time trial at Tirreno Adriatico and the individual time trial at Circuit de la Sarthe. Halfway through his list, he stopped himself with the realization that he targets every time trial he starts. “I look to take advantage of every opportunity to time trial,” he said. “There’s never any guarantee of good form, so when I have it, I’m ready to make the most of it.”

Looking at Tour de San Luis as a whole, Tuft has been satisfied with his first experience racing in Argentina. “This is a really great race to start out the year,” said Tuft. “It’s not super high stress, but it is super high quality. Everyone is here to race their bikes. For January, it’s a really good race. I’m glad the team decided to race here this year.”

New overall leader; Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) said after the stage: “It was really hot today, maybe more than 30 degrees, I did two laps of the TT this morning and knew the course was really simple. It had maybe two corners and two roundabouts, nothing really hard. The first part, everybody was trying to ride as fast possible because the second was really, really fast. Tejay van Garderen will be, for sure, the guy who will try to go for the GC in the next days.”

“I didn’t see the GC results, so it’s hard to say who else is a contender at the moment. Contador and Nibali are great champions, so maybe they will try to win the stage tomorrow or attack for the GC.” He added: “I am just so happy I improved a lot from last year, and the team has supported me all the way to this season, I think if we go on like this, it will be very good to build the morale for the team.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “I would call myself rather satisfied than happy. First of all this race hasn’t finished yet, secondly it’s only January and finally there are still two feisty stages to come. On the other hand it is of course a fact that Lotto Belisol is performing well at different races, you shouldn’t underestimate the opponents, but it is a pity that only few want to make the race.”

“Yesterday in the first mountain stage I tried to attack a few times and also the next stages I expect some attempts, for example from the Brazilians. I look at it from day to day. I am here to see how my condition is in a race were a lot of big names are present. The aims will be to try to win a stage and have a nice classification. That Kwiatkowski is the leader doesn’t surprise me at all. He is a young, strong rider, but I am curious how he will get through the next two stages.”

Alberto Contador: “It was a good day in the sense that on these tests you squeeze more than training and the quality work done in the time trial I did not get chance to do too many times out of the year because the time trials are counted in stage Tours,” said Alberto at the end of the TT stage. “My condition is progressing little by little and that is the goal of the specific work in the time trial. Nor am not now in my weight in shape, so I’m happy, because I’m working and I think the condition facing the main goals of this year is going to be perfect,” he said. Thinking Of the race days remaining in the Tour de San Luis, Contador will be there. “I always like to enjoy the fight”, he said in reference to keep fighting for the race, “but there are riders better prepared than me to fight for the overall. The goal is to enjoy the race as I always do.”

Tour de San Luis Stage 4 Result:
1. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge in 22:14
2. Leandro Messineo (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:07
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:11
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:14
5. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:19
6. Jorge Giacinti (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:26
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:33
8. Eloy Teruel (Spa) Movistar at 0:34
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:47
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:52.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 12:30:37
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:23
3. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:42
4. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest at 0:45
5. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:54
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:10
7. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 1:12
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:24
10. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar.

Stage 4:

Emmanuel Geuvara from the home team; San Luis Somos Todo took the stage win on Stage 5 and his team mate Daniel Diaz was 2nd took over the overall at the end of a tough day. Guevara had made an early break with Vojitech Hacecky (ASC Dukla Praha) which was allowed a gap of nearly 18 minutes at its maximum. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step had to chase for the race leader Michal Kwiatkowski to the base of the final 10.5 kilometre climb of the Cerro el Amago where it was hoped he would retain his lead, this was not to be as Kwiatkowski was dropped. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacked with Daniel Diaz, but Contador didn’t have the legs and sat up to wait for Tejay van Garderen (BMC) behind Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli), Arnold Alcolea (Cuba) and Javier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) who were all trying to catch the two local boys at the front.

Tour de San Luis Stage 5 Result:
1. Emmanuel Guevara (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos in 4:17:48
2. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:15
3. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 1:17
4. Arnold Alcolea (Cub) Cuba
5. Javier Acevedo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 1:21
6. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
8. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 1:41
10. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2R-La Mondiale at 1:42.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 5:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos in 16:49:52
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:17
3. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest at 0:39
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:04
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:07
6. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 1:47
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 2:14
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:17
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 2:19
10. Javier Acevedo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 2:20.

Stage 5:

Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) maybe didn’t have the legs on stage 5, but on Stage 6 he showed a clean pair of heels to take the stage win.

Alberto Contador repeated last year’s victory in the Mirador del Sol, beating overall leader and virtual Tour de San Luis winner in the hardest final of the race, where he achieved his first podium place of the year. Contador said after the stage that it had been a good day and he was “very happy, especially for my team, who has worked hard for me in this race. Having companions as I have, that work without guarantees of whether you win or not is a luxury. I know they are a hundred percent for me, so I’m very happy.” Alberto said that this victory will allow him “to be a little more relaxed, because I am working very hard to get good, good form”. He also referred to the stage of La Carolina and the escape that has marked the race. “It was a break, but we cannot work every day”, he said, referring also that his preparation is not still the best. “The weight is not still with me, I have too much weight, but it can also be the heat, because all the team are equal. That limited me a little on the mountains, but I’m happy because we are doing a great job for the next few months.” Contador finished saying that this victory was the product of jokes at dinner. “I wanted to win because every day at dinner my team mates were joking and saying they worked for nothing, which eventually I burst. So I said, you’ll see tomorrow, and at the end it went well. The best thing is that we have an awesome atmosphere.” Alberto Contador confirmed yesterday that this year his calendar will focus on the Tour de France and not the Giro d’Italia. His next races will be Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Criterium International and Tour of the Basque Country.

Tour de San Luis Stage 6 Result:
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff in 3:47:34
2. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos at 0:02
3. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest
4. Arnold Alcolea (Cub) Cuba at 0:14
5. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:18
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:25
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2R-La Mondiale at 0:30
9. Joao Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:34
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:42.

Tour de San Luis Overall After Stage 6:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos in 20:37:28
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:33
3. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest at 0:39
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:02
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:47
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:29
7. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 2:34
8. Javier Acevedo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 3:00
9. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 3:14
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 3:17.

Stage 6:

The final Stage 7 of 154.7 kilometres from San Luis to Juana Koslay came down to a sprint with local hero, overall leader; Daniel Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) finishing in the bunch for a big victory against strong competition. Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) won the sprint from Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was going for the win but came in contact with Ventoso and pulled his foot out. Gavazzi was returning from a ban for cocaine, but didn’t look to have lost any speed as he was first to the line. Avery strong break of nine riders broke away early on, they were: Juan A. Lucero (San Luis Somos Todos), Adrian Kurek (CCC Polsat-Polkowice), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Alfredo Gutierrez (Argentina), Gustavo Hernandez (Clos de Pirque-Trek), Julian P. Gaday (Buenos Aires Provincia), Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Enzo Josue Moyano (Caja Rural) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). They were pulled back on the run to the finish with around 15 kilometres to go, their lead had only been allowed to go to 3 minutes and a sprint was always on the cards.

Tejay van Garderen finished second overall at the Tour de San Luis Sunday while the BMC Racing Team won the team classification of the week-long race.

Van Garderen compiled four top 10 finishes – including seventh in the Stage 4 individual time trial – on his way to finishing 33 seconds behind overall winner Ricardo Diaz (San Luis Somos Todos) and six seconds ahead of third-placed Alex Diniz (Funvic-Pindamonhangaba). A top finish overall was not his original goal, van Garderen said. “I was actually thinking I was going to get the stage win in the time trial and I wasn’t that keen for even going for the GC,” he said. “But (Directeur Sportif) John Lelangue and the team really motivated me to get it going. I was actually surprised at how up there I was – and how not up there I was in the time trial. My climbing legs feel really good and being able to gauge myself against some of the other competitors that I’ll be facing when I get to Europe was good. I think I’m stacking up pretty well.”

Lelangue said being recognized for winning the team classification was equally as satisfying as van Garderen’s runner-up finish. “It’s not so often that we win the team GC and we did it with help from two of our new guys: Daniel Oss and Dominik Nerz,” he said. “The idea was to build a team around Tejay with a few classics riders and some climbers working around the leader and going for the GC. This was really good training for them. When you can win the team GC of such a challenging race that has a long time trial, two mountain top finishes, one mountain stage and two sprint stages, it shows you can be regular during seven days.” Daniel Oss (14th) was the BMC Racing Team’s top finisher on the 154.7 kilometre last stage, which was won by Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli).
Thanks to Sean Weide for BMC race info.

Tour de San Luis Stage 7 Result:
1. Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli in 3:25:48
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Francisco Jose Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
5. Bartiomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
6. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Jamis-Hagens Berman
7. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Sebastian Tolosa (Arg) Buenos Aires Provincia
10.Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Tour de San Luis Final Overall:
1. Daniel Diaz (Arg) San Luis Somos Todos in 24:03:16
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:33
3. Alex Diniz (Bra) Funvic Brasilinvest at 0:39
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:02
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:47
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:29
7. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 2:34
8. Javier Acevedo (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 3:00
9. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 3:14
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 3:17.

Stage 7:

Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise 2013
Local boy; Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) won the French opener on his home ground at the end of 148 kilometres. He outsprinted 30 odd riders who had battled it out to the end, 2nd was Samuel Dumoulin in his first outing for Ag2r-La Mondiale and Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) was 3rd. Earlier in the day Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme Marseille) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) had built up a nice lead of nearly 8 minutes with 100 kilometres to go, the bunch began to pull them back and they only had 1 minute in hand with 30 kilometres to the finish. Cйdric Pineau (FDJ) and Benjamin Giraud (La Pomme Marseille) crossed to them but all four were caught with 15 K’s to go. After a few attacks it was altogether for the sprint. Unfortunately a police moto crashed in the finalй bringing down some riders, including the unlucky Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM).

Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise Result:
1. Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille in 3:40:05
2. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano
4. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
5. Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Argos-Shimano
9. Bjцrn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

No Giro for Contador?
Alberto Contador is at present riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina and he had stated his interest in riding both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this year, but his press office has said that Contador will be riding the Tour de France to win and then maybe ride the Vuelta a Espaсa. Contador confirmed on Saturday in a press release that this year his calendar will focus on the Tour de France and not the Giro d’Italia. His next races will be Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Criterium International and Tour of the Basque Country. So a Giro ride seems out of the question this year.

The best attacks of Alberto Contador:

Good News for Tom Boonen and OPQS
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has good news to report about rider Tom Boonen. The Belgian champion, who underwent surgery on Sunday, Jan. 20th because of a septic infection to his left elbow bursa, will leave the hospital of Herentals tomorrow, the 24th of January. The situation is now improving, as Boonen has no fever or pain anymore to his elbow. Tomorrow morning Boonen will pass another medical check, and then he will return home. Boonen has to then respect another three days of complete rest. On Sunday, he will return on his bike for a short ride. Unfortunately, Boonen will not take part in Tour of Qatar as he has in the past years.

“I’m happy the situation now is improving even if I am still weak,” Boonen said. “To have news released I can go home is good because it was a difficult moment for me and my family. Unfortunately I won’t be in Tour of Qatar, one of my favorites races, as I decided with the team that it is too early. I feel sorry for Eddy Merckx and the race organization there. Everybody knows how much I like this race, but I really can’t make it. First, I need to recover 100 percent physically and then start training again to see how things go. I will look into the best schedule to prepare for the Classics at the end of next week, and then I will decide with the team which will be the best approach.”

Tom Boonen 2013:

No Inquiry Suspension for UCI Independent Commission
The Commission will not suspend its inquiry and will meet on Thursday the 31st January in the hope that the UCI, WADA and USADA can agree on an amnesty process for witnesses who come forward to give evidence to the independent commission. At present under WADA regulations amnesty is not possible and the rules cannot be changes before their next meeting in May. Without an agreement it will be difficult for the investigation to move forward without witnesses. WADA recently stated that “this approach totally contradicts the purpose of an effective anti-doping program. Any federation that would do such a thing would leave itself open to criticism with regards to its impartiality and integrity.” This was after ex-UCI president Hein Verbruggen admitted to warning riders who showed suspect blood values.

Merry X-Muax!

Riders to Testify at “Operation Puerto” Trail
Doctor’s Eufemiano and Yolanda Fuentes, Manolo Saiz, Vincenta Belda and Josй Ignacio Labarta are to face charges of “endangering public health” in a Madrid court in the following weeks. Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Jцrg Jaksche will give video evidence on different day in February. Basso received a two year ban in 2007 because of the Puerto information and Jaksche also received a suspension and admitted receiving performance enhancing drugs, Contador ride for Saiz at the Liberty Seguros team in 2006. The fact that drugs were given to riders may not be in question and at the time was not illegal under Spanish law, from a legal stand point it has to be proved that the defendants endangered their health.

Operation Puerto doping scandal report:

Dr. Leinders Questioned by Belgian Federation
After members of the Rabobank team had said that doctor Geert Leinders was involved in the rider’s drug taking, he was questioned by the Belgian Cycling Federation for three hours. According to Het Nieuwsblad; the doctors attorney said there was no comment due the investigation being confidential. Leinders is no longer involved in cycling and has no licence, he last worked for the Sky team but was not rehired for this years.

Lotto Belisol: Preview GP la Marseillaise and Йtoile de Bessиges
Press Release: Riders have already been racing in Africa, South-America and Down Under, now it is time to start the European season. That will happen next Sunday with the French opening classic Grand Prix La Marseillaise, a race of 148,1 kilometers. On Wednesday 30th of January the Etoile de Bessиges begins, a five days stage race in the same region. The first four days the stages have some hills that are perfect to set up a breakaway. On the final day there is a morning stage of 69 kilometers, in the afternoon an individual time trial of 9,7 kilometers.

Dirk Bellemakers, Maarten Neyens and Frйderique Robert already rode the Tour du Gabon and will now have to race in totally different weather conditions. Robert won two stages in Gabon and is put forward by sports director Marc Wauters to shine in these French races. The team is aiming for a stage win in Bessиges.

Marc Wauters: “Frйderique Robert is riding very well, he’ll be overjoyed after his two stage wins in Gabon. We look forward to see him on European soil. With Francis De Greef and Jurgen Van De Walle he has got some experienced guys to assist him. Frйderique has started excellent and he will definitely try to show it wasn’t a one-off. The others have a free role and can go in the attack. We are also looking forward to the second pro year of Tosh Van der Sande, we know he isn’t slow.”

“The final day in Bessиges there is a time trial, it will determine for a big part who will become the overall winner. We don’t really have a specialist in time trials in our selection, so our guys will have to attack in the other stages and hope that their breakaway can make it to the finish. That way they can of course get a high place in the GC, but we are first of all aiming for a stage win. The course is inviting to set up a breakaway. On the hills someone who is feeling good can try to escape.”

Selection Lotto Belisol: Lars Bak, Dirk Bellemakers, Brian Bulgaз, Francis De Greef, Maarten Neyens, Frйderique Robert, Jurgen Van de Walle, Tosh Van der Sande
Sports director: Marc Wauters

Stages Etoile de Bessиges:
Stage 1: Wednesday 30/01: Bellegarde – Beaucaire (154 km)
Stage 2: Thursday 31/01: Nоmes-Saint-Ambroix – Les Fumades (157 km)
Stage 3: Friday 1/02: Bessиges – Bessиges (152 km)
Stage 4: Saturday 2/02: Sabran – Pont-Saint-Esprit (154 km)
Stage 5: Sunday 3/02: Alйs – Alйs(69 km)
Stage 6: Sunday 3/02: Alйs – Alйs, ITT (9,7 km).

Etoile de Bessиges 2012 – Stage 1:

Wiggle Announced as Headline Sponsor for Closed Road Etape Cymru
100 additional places available for the Wiggle Dragon Double: Guaranteed entry to the Wiggle Dragon Ride and the Wiggle Etape Cymru.

Press Release: Human Race, the UK’s largest organiser of mass participation sports events, have today announced that online retail giant, Wiggle, will be the new headline sponsor for the 2013 Etape Cymru which was voted the UK’s best sportive in 2012. This follows the exciting news that Wiggle will also be extending their partnership with the Etape Cymru’s sister event, the prestigious Wiggle Dragon Ride.

To celebrate the partnership, Human Race will be launching the Wiggle Dragon Double, a promotion offering guaranteed entry to both the sold-out Wiggle Dragon Ride and the Wiggle Etape Cymru for Ј110. There are 100 spots available and places will be available from 9am on Monday 28th January on a first come first served basis.

On Sunday 9th September the hugely popular Wiggle Etape Cymru takes place with the event being described by event ambassador and Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas as “gruelling” but “fantastic.”

The 92 mile route is once again taking place on closed roads, offering participants an unparalleled experience of riding in this spectacular area with full use of the course. Starting and finishing in Wrexham, the Wiggle Etape Cymru features some truly testing terrain, making it into one of the most challenging events on the sportive calendar.

The 10th edition of the legendary Wiggle Dragon Ride, which has sold out every year since its inception, takes place on Sunday 9th June 2013. The event will start once again from the picturesque Margam Park and includes two challenging route options, the Gran Fondo (206km) and the Medio Fondo (125km). An exciting addition to the event this year is the inclusion of a women-only Cycletta, which will replace the previous Corto distance.

Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race, said: “Following an award winning year in 2012 for the Etape Cymru and Wiggle Dragon Ride, we look forward to building on this success this year. We are delighted to have Wiggle on board as a partner for both events and believe their credibility will help to improve the event experience and make both events a huge success once again.”

Wiggle Sponsorship Manager, Andrew Whillas, said: “Wiggle is committed to supporting great cycling events and we really are excited to be involved with such a unique event like the Etape Cymru. Along with the Wiggle Dragon Ride we now have two of the UK’s most popular sportives on our event calendar for 2013 and are looking forward to being a part of these events for the next three years.”

Entries for the Wiggle Dragon Double open at 9am on Monday 28th January, costing Ј110, and are available on a strictly first come first served basis. To enter, please visit: https://www.wiggledragonride.com/.

Entries are now open for the Wiggle Etape Cymru, costing Ј59. More information on the Wiggle Etape Cymru can be found at: https://www.etape-cymru.co.uk.

Etape Cymru 2012 by Patrick Macdonald:

The Lovetrack Team from Europe Brings the Hottest Bicycle app this Spring!
Press Release: Lovetrack’s basic idea and focus is to give people the opportunity to share nice cycling experiences through pictures and show the route of their bike rides.

The main difference between existing sports tracking apps like Endomondo, Runkeeper etc. and Lovetrack is that other apps are for sports people and they collect all kinds of sports statistics, challenge people to exercise more which is not interesting for people who use bikes just for easy and nice bike rides. Take a look and see what you think:

Lovetrack from Lovetrack on Vimeo.

Big Respect to the Gorilla – Tour Down Under 2013
A great little video tribute to Greipel from Viral Verse for his work at the Tour Down Under. Nice one Vanessa.

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