What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

Another fantastic week-end of racing, Paris-Nice finished on Sunday with a great win from Richie Porte, meanwhile Chris Froome is battling the Spanish Armada in Tirreno-Adriatico with only seconds to spare. We all suspected cycling wasn’t the only sport with doping problems, that’s today’s TOP STORY, but will it ever make main-stream media. OK lots to get through this EuroTrash Monday morning!

TOP STORY: “Football is 100% clean”
That’s what Cristiano Ronaldo said and listening to the average football (sorry soccer to you in the US) fan, they also believe that their hero’s would not take anything to help them play better, longer, faster and stronger just take a few more million €’s.

I don’t follow football that much, but I can see the advantage of being able to run faster than your opponents and at top speed for the full match and have some left over in case of extra time. If you look at the speed a footballer runs in short bursts and how often he does it in a game, you have to wonder how they manage it. OK there are athletes that were born with all the right natural abilities to play at the top, but not all of them.

In the article that’s linked bellow you can read all the quotes from ex-players and doctors about injections, pills, capsules and blood infusions.

You could say that’s its just rumours, loose talk etc. But three names come up in connection with football that you will have heard of before:

Dr. Luis del Moral was quoted by Tyler Hamilton as saying; “you guys take nothing in comparison to footballers.” It is also alleged by the Daily Telegraph that he also has connections to Barcelona and Valencia football clubs.

Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes from “Operación Puerto” fame. He told the French newspaper Le Monde: “I worked with Spanish first and second division clubs. Sometimes directly with the footballers themselves, sometimes by sharing my knowledge with the teams doctors. I had an offer from an Italian club but I turned it down.” He added that; “I can’t tell which clubs, I have received death threats. I was told that if I told certain things, my family and myself could have serious problems. There are sports against which you cannot go against, because they have access to very powerful legal means to defend themselves. And it could also cost the current chief of the sport his post.” The paper also alleges that it has evidence connecting Real Madrid and Barcelona to Fuentes, plus the smaller Spanish team, Real Sociedad has confirmed it used Dr. Fuentes’s services.

And lastly the Austrian Stefan Matschiner, he’s the guy who Michael Boogerd used to visit for his blood transfusions, he said: “Doping is just as much a problem in football as it is in tennis, athletics, swimming and cycling. It’s part of daily life. I’ve worked with footballers. They use Testosterone, EPO, Ephedrine and Stimulants.”

Footballs highest earner is supposed to be Samuel Eto’o who earns €376,134 or $489,050 a week, which is quite a lot of money. It’s rumoured that the top cyclists make around €2 to €3 million a year, that’s about a couple of month’s wages for Mr. Eto’o.

As to drug controls in football; Joey Barton, “My personal experience of drugs tests, as a professional athlete, is that they have only ever taken a urine sample from me. Only urine, in numerous tests over 10+ years of competing at elite level sport. Seems strange to me after reading about cycling’s procedures. Where they frequently test by taking blood from the athletes. Sometimes storing that blood for years. I have never had blood taken during my whole career!”

So why would a footballer not dope?

Check out the full article: Doping in Football: Fifty Years of Evidence on the 4DFOOT-Four Dimensional Football website.

Paris-Nice 2013
Young Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) held onto his overall lead as Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) won Stage 4 from Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) and third overall; Peter Velits (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Seven riders got together over the second climb of the day; the Col de Condet, they were Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Johann Tschopp (IAM Cycling), Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michael Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano). The group managed a lead of 4 minutes, but the Garmin-Sharp team drove hard in the chase, eventually helped by BMC. The leaders split on the climb of the Col de Talencieux due to Voeckler attacking, he was joined by Dupont and then Tschopp and Meersman, but the peloton was only around 30 seconds behind coming into the last 20 kilometres. The race was altogether when it hit the last climb of the day, the Côte de la Sizeranne with 14 kilometres to go. There were many attacks before the line in Saint-Vallier, but there were still 37 riders together, Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) gave a big jump and looked like he had the win, but Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) powered up to him and then past him for the win.

Michael Albasini sprinted to victory on stage four of Paris-Nice, the eighth win of the season for ORICA-GreenEDGE. “I actually wasn’t sure of my condition when I came here,” admitted Albasini. “I was feeling good, but we couldn’t race Lugano and my last race before that was three weeks ago last Wednesday. Without racing, it’s hard to understand what’s going on with your body. I’m super happy to start the season with an early, important win. I’m a bit surprised, too. It’s even nicer to win on a day when we also won with [Matt] Goss in Tirreno,” Albasini added. “It’s really perfect. It’s important to keep the wins going like we did last year.”

Third on the stage and third overall, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Peter Velits: “I’m happy about my legs and my condition, but have a bittersweet feeling with my result. I did a mistake in the final meters and lost my position in the sprint. I couldn’t contest the win because of this. But OK, overall I am happy with my condition and my position in the GC. I will try and fight for the position tomorrow, along with Chavanel.”

Fourth overall, Sylvain Chavanel: “Today I had really good legs. I’m happy about my race so far. Today I tried, but when I attacked there was headwind. So I decided to not really go deep. At the sprint I was a little bit too far, but it’s OK for the moment. The gaps between the riders at the top of the GC are really close. Tomorrow there will be another difficult stage, but I think the classification will be determined on the last TT at Col d’Eze.”

Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge in 4:55:41
2. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Leopard
10. Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp in 19:35:17
2. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 0:03
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:04
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:05
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:06
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:07
8. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana at 0:13
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:15.

Stage 4:

Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
Sky’s Richie Porte won Stage 5 to cloud covered La Montagne de Lure on Friday to take the top rung on the overall ladder from Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), who bravely tried to hold onto his lead, but didn’t have enough energy at the finish and lost 33 seconds to the Australian. The early break of the day went after just 15 kilometres, it included: Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Thierry Hupond (Argos-Shimano), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack) who started the move. They gained a near 7 minute advantage, but it was down to nothing on the final climb. Voigt tried to go it alone, but the Sky led pulled him back with 7 kilometres to go. Sky’s David López kept the pace high, although there were attacks from Robert Gesink (Blanco), Michael Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Christophe Le Mevel (Cofidis), Nico Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Talansky more than once, they were all neutralised by Sky. Denis Menchov (Katusha) attacked with 3 kilometres to go and Porte took his opportunity to leave Talansky, catch Menchov and pass him for the win and yellow jersey.

Richie Porte, Team Sky Rider: “It’s nice to win a stage of Paris-Nice and to take the jersey. I know full well that tomorrow is another day and there’s also the last stage. But I feel we have a good to team to defend yellow so fingers crossed.

“It all played into our hands in the finale, especially having López there as my wingman. He was so cool, calm and collected which was really helpful. So credit to him and the whole team today.

“I’ve done an apprenticeship if you like under Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and also before that Alberto Contador. You don’t always get the opportunity to ride for yourself in a team like this so when it comes you have to grab it with both hands. It’s just nice to get a big victory and I’ll take the rest as it comes.”

Lotto Belisol’s Bart De Clercq is now in 17th place at 1:35: “Today’s stage was disappointing, my legs were the worst of the whole week. The past days I felt really good on the climbs and today that wasn’t the case. During the last ascent I lost time. I think my legs were less good today because of the cold. It is a pity, I am a bit disappointed now. I simply wasn’t good enough.”

“At the start of this stage I was tenth and I would have liked to hold on to that position. On the final day there will be some re-arrangements, but I think I have lost my place in the top ten today. But we’ll see, I’m going to have a look tonight and tomorrow and see what’s still possible to gain some places. Tomorrow the last climb is too far from the finish, so that won’t make a difference for the GC. I rather expect that everything will be defined in the climb time trial on Sunday.”

Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 4:50:54
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 0:26
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:33
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
10. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 5:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 24:26:08
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:32
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:42
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:49
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:52
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:53
7. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:56.

Stage 5:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Sylvain Chavanel may be known for his stage hunting prowess and his time trial ability, but he showed on Saturday’s Stage 6 he can also win some bunch sprints. Chavanel bested World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), showing he had the legs to withhold a long sprint and win the 220km stage in Nice after a mountain stage with five categorized climbs.

Chavanel and OPQS rider Peter Velits also contested an intermediate sprint, which Velits won, at km 186. As a result of time bonus seconds, and the victory, Chavanel also moves into 3rd in the GC and reduces the time difference to 42 seconds. Furthermore, Chavanel takes back the Green Jersey.

“I am super happy,” exclaimed Chavanel after his win. “It’s the second time I won here in Nice, after my victory in 2008. It’s always a great emotion to raise the arms here. Today I decided to do the sprint because I was looking for some points for the Green Jersey. There was a head wind in the final, so I asked Kevin De Weert to stay near me. He did a great job and he left me in the perfect position on the wheel of Gilbert and Dumoulin. With the bonification fixation I took, I’m now 3rd. Tomorrow will be difficult for me, but I will try to do my best to stay in the top 10.”

“Today is a special day for the team,” Chavanel continued. “Kwiatkowski the new leader at Tirreno is great news. I’m happy for him and the team, and I hope he can keep the jersey as long as he can.”

Philippe Gilbert had all of his BMC teammates to help him – save for Brent Bookwalter, who had spent most of the 220-kilometer race representing the BMC Racing Team in the day’s breakaway of 11 riders that was reeled in with 40 km to go. “Dominik Nerz and Daniel Oss did a very big job, but we were missing one guy in the finale, so I did a very long sprint – about 300 meters,” Gilbert said. “To hold this effort is not easy. It’s a big disappointment because losing by that close is never good.” Gilbert’s runner-up placing was his best result of the season that also includes a third-place finish on Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Jose Rojas (Movistar) finished third as Richie Porte (Sky) kept the overall lead. Nine riders, including BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen (in sixth overall), are within a minute of Porte with only Sunday’s 9.6 km individual time trial to go.

Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the BMC Racing Team put forth its best effort to organize a lead-out train for the straight, flat run-in. “Attacking at one kilometre out made no sense because it was too far away and with a tailwind,” he said. “The sprint was pretty well done. We’re not a sprinters team, but we gave everything and Philippe give everything he had. We have no regrets.” Van Garderden said it will be a tough task to make up the 52 seconds he is behind Porte on the race against the clock up the Col d’Èze. “The podium is still within reach, but to bring back a minute on Porte in only a 20-minute effort, especially with the way he’s riding – is not possible,” van Garderen said. “All I can do is my best. I’ll go out there and focus on myself. If it turns out to be a victory, that would be great.”

Paris-Nice Stage 6 Result:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 5:14:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
10. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 6:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 29:40:31
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:32
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:42
4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:49
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:52
7. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:53
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 1:06.

Stage 6:

Richie Porte (Sky) consolidated his overall lead in the final time trial Stage 7 in the best possible way; by winning it. He also made history by being the first Australian to win the Paris-Nice stage race. On the climb up the Col d’Eze he beat Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) by 23 seconds to stretch his overall to 55 seconds over the talented young American.

Michael Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) put up a very good ride to take the lead with a time of 20:19, but then the little Movistar Colombian; Nairo Quintana slipped under the 20 minute mark with 19:43, then it was down to Talansky and then Porte to post faster times. Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Jean-Christophe Peraud was 4th on the stage with a time of 19:48 to move him onto the podium in 3rd place.

Richie Porte, Team Sky Rider told his team web-site: “I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice. For me personally I’ve never had a nice experience at this race so it’s a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it.”

“I woke up this morning and I knew that I had good legs. After the armchair ride that I got from the team yesterday – as well as on stage five and for the entire week – I knew I’d be in good shape. The guys were just incredible this race.”

“I don’t feel like I’m ready to lead at a Grand Tour yet. My goal is to go to the Tour and support Chris and Brad. Do that and maybe next year I could potentially lead Team Sky at the Giro.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Sylvain Chavanel keeps the Green points jersey, finishing 9th (+1’05”) in the 9.6km final time trial on the Col d’Eze on Sunday. He also finished 5th overall, and OPQS rider Peter Velits rounded out the top 10 of the GC. “I’m happy about the week I had here at Paris-Nice,” Chavanel said. “I finished 5th in the GC and won the Green Jersey. I won a stage and I was 2nd in the prologue. I did exactly what I was expecting from this race. Today in the TT I was able to limit the gap. My objective today was to remain in the top 10 of the GC and I reached my goal. Paris-Nice is the first of a series of races that count a lot for me. The condition is good and the morale is high. I’m really looking forward to the next races.”

“Today wasn’t the best day of my life,” Velits said. “I did not have a great feeling since the beginning. Sometimes it happens, but I’m happy that I managed to stay in the top ten. In general the week was good even if in one or two stages I could have done better. We came here with the goal to put me and Chavanel in the top 10 and win at least one stage. We reached our goals, and that’s important for the team. I think we had a good race, taking the responsibility when it was necessary.”
This is Lampre-Merida’s Michael Scarponi’s analysis: “Paris-Nice was another early step in the season, that’s why I’m happy for the results I obtained and the feelings I got. Of course the puncture damaged the situation in the overall classification, but today I reacted and I performed a very good time trial.”

“I’m satisfied for today’s performance and for the final result in the overall standing,” Diego Ulissi commented.” I’ve only one regret: in the 4th stage I could have compete for the victory, but I missed this chance and I was only 5th.”

Paris-Nice Stage 7 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 19:16
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:23
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:27
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:32
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:52
6. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:55
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:00
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:03
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:05
10. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1:06.

Paris-Nice Final Overall:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 29:59:47
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:55
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:21
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:44
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:47
6. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1:48
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:54
8. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 2:17
9. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard at 2:22
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:28.

Paris-Nice final TT:

Tirreno-Adriatico 2013
Stage 2 looked tailor made for a Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) battle, but the Orica-GreenEdge team and the weather had different ideas. The break of the day was pulled back before the real action took place in the last kilometres. Cannondale were very active for Peter Sagan, then Lotto Belisol for Greipel, but Cavendish seemed to only have Dutch National champion; Niki Terpstra to help him. Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) used the Lotto Belisol sprint train to his advantage and in the end so did everyone else. The Australian was by far the fastest, followed by Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and the on form Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka). Greipel was 7th and Cavendish a frustrated 5th, but he did hold onto the overall.

Matt Goss won his first race since his stage victory at the Giro d’Italia last May and the ninth victory for ORICA-GreenEDGE of the 2013 season. “This is the first road stage I’ve done in Europe this year,” said Goss. “To come away with the win is great. It’s huge for my motivation and confidence, and it’s hopefully great for the team as well. With the win also in Paris-Nice today, we’re all on a bit of a high at the moment. It’s a great day for ORICA-GreenEDGE.” Goss credits his teammates with following the pre-race plan to perfectly position him for the win. “We had specific markers,” explained Goss. “We wanted to come to the front at 1.8 kilometres before we went over an overpass. After the overpass, there was a right hand turn. It was the last corner at one kilometre to go. We knew if we weren’t in the top ten around that corner, we’d have no chance to win the race.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE had four riders in the top ten around the final corner. “From there, it didn’t matter how fast you were or how many teammates you had to help,” explained Goss. “Everyone is sprinting at the point, and it is vital to be at the front. We were there, and it set me up for the win. Big thanks to the team, especially to Lancaster and Docker, for helping me out today. It was a complete team effort.”

Goss sees his stage win as only the beginning. “We have a strong team here,” he said. “It’s not a team only suited to the sprints. We have guys that can go well in the time trial on the last day and guys that are targeting other stages later in the race. We got the win out of the way nice and early, and hopefully it sets the tone for the rest of the week.”

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was a little disappointed with his 5th place: “We planned for a sprint today, we wanted a sprint today. We controlled it from the beginning — Martin Velits and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck controlled it. We got some help after the feed zone. It was quite chaotic in the final laps because it was raining, there were a lot of risks. All the general classification teams were trying to stay up there and it became very hectic. I was 30 riders back in the last kilometre but I still fought and had a chance with 300 meters to go, even less than that. I came to the right but the peloton swung on the right at the same moment. I just had to slam my brakes with 200 meters to go and so that was the end of the chance of winning. I feel we could have got a lot more out of that race than we actually did today, but we will try again tomorrow.”

Gerald Ciolek riding for the first African team in a WorldTour event had a creditable 3rd place: “That was the perfect start in our first WorldTour race, “Ciolek rejoiced after the race. “We ride for a fantastic project to get African kids on bicycles. That is a great motivation for me and the team. I think the whole team, which works very hard for our goal.”

Roberto Ferrari of Lampre-Merida managed 4th: “It was quite a long time I did not take part in sprints, so today I was willing to realize a good performance,” Ferrari explained- “ I thank my team mates for the support that allowed me to be in the head of the bunch in the last kilometres. Maybe I spent too much energy, because my legs were not so powerful, anyway I decided to try to anticipate the sprint. I could not win, but the result is good.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Result:
1. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 5:48:41
2. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
10. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 6:08:02
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:02
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:03
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:14
7. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar
8. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar.

Stage 2:

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) beat the two top sprinters; Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) at the end of Stage 3 to Narni Scalo (190 kilometres). Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacked from the gun and they were joined by Francesco Failli (Fantini Vini-Selle Italia) to gain a lead of 9 minutes at one point. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step up’d the pace to pull them back and when Cannondale helped the race was all together with 20 kilometres to the line. Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) went for a solo, but Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) chased him down, next to go was Lars Boom (Blanco), but Orica-GreenEdge and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step wanted the race to finish in a sprint, so all escapes were for nothing. Greipel opened the sprint and looked like he had it, but Cavendish and more so Sagan was stronger. Cavendish held the overall for another day.

Sadly Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp) had to abandon with his ongoing problems, read his interview on PEZ here.

Stage winner, Peter Sagan (Cannondale): “It’s the first time I’ve beaten Mark (Cavendish) in my career. The conditions were difficult with the rain and the cold, and so I’m happy to have won,” he told the press after the stage. “Mark didn’t have men at that point, so he tried to get on Greipel’s wheel. We were fighting for Greipel’s wheel.”

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was fairly happy with his second place: “It was a difficult climb to be fair. Cannondale went hard and I lost a lot of position, I was just happy to hang on. The team went well considering the conditions and we can be happy with how it went, though obviously not the result.” As to his team’s performance; “the guys stayed with me and did an incredible job, just like yesterday. I think it was misinterpreted that there wasn’t 100 per cent commitment. There was and I was in a lot better position today.” He described how it worked out; “Gert (Steegmans) brought me up in the last 500 metres. I tried to get on Greipel’s wheel but Peter did a really good job of fighting me back for it, so I went on his wheel. But the road was narrow, just seven metres, and so if you don’t your sprint early, then you’re behind. We were already spinning out with the speed we were going. I gambled and stayed behind but I ran out of metres to come past Peter. He did it perfect.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5:15:12
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
4. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
8. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 11:23:08
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:07
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:09
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:18
7. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:20
8. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
10. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Movistar.

Stage 3:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski keeps the Maglia Azzurra by 4″, after finishing with a very elite group in the crucial Stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday.

Chris Froome (Sky) won the stage solo, attacking in the final kilometre and a half as he, and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) caught attackers Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) up the road on Prati Di Tivo. Santambrogio was 2nd, and Nibali finished 3rd. Kwiatkowski was 4th, 13″ back from Froome. His terrific effort kept the blue jersey with OPQS, as Mark Cavendish wore the jersey up to this important stage. Kwatkowski is ahead of Froome and Contador, two of the top GC riders in the WorldTour peloton.

HC climb Prati Di Tivo — 14.6km, and a 7.1% average gradient with a max ramp of 12% — is often where the GC is sorted out at Tirreno-Adriatico. Therefore, unsurprisingly, all the top GC contenders attacked, splintering the peloton and dwindling the elite group down to a few riders. Team Sky led the elite group with several teammates. Even as Contador, Nibali, Froome, and others were testing the group in the final kilometres, Kwiatkowski stayed with the group, visible with his White jersey for Best Young Rider.

Kwiatkowski and OPQS look next to another crucial mountain stage, 224km Stage 5, on Sunday. OPQS currently holds 3 of the 4 race jerseys: White and Blue are with Kwiatkowski, and Cavendish wears the Red.

“Tirreno-Adriatico was one of my main goals for the beginning of the season, but I couldn’t have expected before that I could take the leader’s jersey today,” Kwiatkowski said. “There a lot of big champions here like Contador, Froome, and Nibali. I didn’t believe that I could maybe stay with them before today. But my team did such a great job from the first stages into today, so that I could believe in myself and do my best on the final climb to keep the leader’s jersey in our team.”

“We have a really hard stage tomorrow and until now everything went good,” Kwiatkowski continued. “I don’t know what I can expect from the others, but I will do my best to try and keep the jersey. I think I can get a lot of help from my teammates and I will focus on not losing too much time tomorrow, or the day after. My goal here is to go for the White Jersey for best young rider. My speciality is with the time trial. I will try to gain some seconds in the final stage. There are a lot of strong riders, but we will all do our best as we have until now to achieve our goals.”

Chris Froome, Team Sky Rider: “I’m really happy with that victory it was a really good day for us. “I only ended up doing a kilometre in the wind myself. It really was an armchair ride. To have the guys there who were with me on the climb – Rigo, Sergio and Dario – to have them pulling for me when guys like Nibali and Contador are attacking is a really good feeling.

“I think everyone was hurting up at the top there. I had a little bit left to go in that last k and that was down to the work that was done by the rest of the guys during the day.

“It’s going to be a tough fight. Kwiatkowski is maybe a surprise leader but he’s definitely shown that he’s got the form to be up there in that leadership position. It’s going to be hard to prize that off him but we’ll take it one day at a time and do everything that we can.

“There is some great momentum behind the team at the moment with the guys doing so well at Paris-Nice. There’s a great buzz around the team and we want to try and carry that along. There’s a really great feeling over here and morale is high. Watching the guys do the business in Paris-Nice yesterday just motivated us all the more to do what we did today.”

MTN-Qhubeka’s Sergio Pardilla finished 13th on the stage and moved up to 17th overall, but he thought it could actually have gone better. “The 13th place amongst the top climbers is of course good for our team, but I am still not entirely satisfied with my performance,” he said after the stage. “At one point I had to let the others go and only later did I find my own rhythm. But tomorrow is another difficult stage. I want to be at the front again.”

Damiano Cunego lost the contact with the head group with 8 kilometres to go, finishing in 36th place, Cunego commented on the stage: “The final climb was a test for my condition and I immediately understood that the pace of the head of the bunch was too elevated. I know that I can improve my condition, I’ll work hard on this target, maybe trying in the next stages to take the chance to join some attacks.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 4:41:31
2. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:06
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:11
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:13
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 0:15
6. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:20
8. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:43
9. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:58.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 16:04:59
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky Procycling at 0:04
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:16
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:30
5. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:33
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 0:40
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:55
8. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar at 1:04
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:16
10. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha.

Stage 4:

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) showed his Giro and Vuelta form from last year by attacking to the finish of Stage 5 in Chieti on the short climb up the Via Salomone for a solo victory. Behind him Chris Froome (Sky) finished 8 seconds behind Rodriguez, but more importantly he finished 27 seconds ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) to take the overall lead from the Pole.

Nine riders; Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Michael Schär (BMC), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge), Stijn Devolder (Radioshack-Leopard), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) broke away after around 20 kilometres and had over 7 minutes after 70 kilometres. Cunego wanted to show he still could ride a good race and left the others on the climb of the Passo Lanciano, but this was too far out from the finish and a group of all the favourites caught him 6 K’s out, it was then up to Rodriguez to strut his stuff!

Chris Froome, Team Sky Rider: “Every day we come in with a pretty solid plan and it seems to keep coming off. That’s not a position you find yourself in too often so it’s a really cool feeling to be part of a team like this who can go out and not only stick to the plan but get a result out of it too.

“I had heard [Kwiatkowski] was slipping back which did motivate me a little bit more, but to be honest I was already going full gas.

“The team took it up with about 45-50km to go on the last couple of climbs and really ripped it apart. We put a lot of pressure on the leader’s jersey and I think it paid off at the end of the stage as he eventually cracked on that final climb and I was able to get a gap over him.

“It’s a great position to be in – defending. I’d rather be doing that then trying to gain time over some one. But tomorrow I’m expecting them to throw everything at us. I think the weather is going to take a turn for the worst too. The course is up and down all day so it’s not going to be easy for us.”

Alberto Contador: “It is important to see the working system of Sky.”
Alberto Contador took the red jersey of points classification. “That’s not the goal, but to fight for the general, but it’s good,” said Alberto. “Yesterday was not my best day and if I had done the race differently I could have more options now, but now we must think that tomorrow will be another day, and then on to the time trial.” For Monday, Alberto expects simply “go as far forward as possible”, while Tuesday will be “an important day in which you have to do well regardless of the overall. The differences are very small, and also with a very short time trial, can be seconds up or down”.

Contador said his fight for bonuses is because “every second is important. In the final maybe I could have gone with Joaquim, but he came out very strong and I preferred to be on the wheel of Froome, because I did not know how he was or if I could catch Joaquim. Anyway I’m happy with the result.”

Alberto also pointed the importance of this race regarding the Tour de France. “Whatever the result was, this race is really good for me because I had seen the working system of Sky on TV, but never live, seeing the numbers and the SRM. I think this will help me to plan the tactic in the Tour.”

Finally, Alberto Contador thanked the Italian public for the support, always with him. “On the road is amazing how people call out my name. From here I say “grazie a tutti per questo”. For me it is hard not to come to the Giro this year, but why not the next one,” he concluded.

MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung saw Sergio Pardilla bring in a top 30 finish in the second straight high-mountains stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. He finished 27th, which put him in 20th overall. The Spaniard said that he lacked the intensity in the climbs, they started so fast at the bottom and he struggled with the speed on the short steep climbs.

“The team rode really well today, they looked after Sergio and brought him to the front before the decisive climb and then Sergio did really well to finish top 30 on the stage and losing less than 2 minutes to the best stage race riders in the world,” said team principal Doug Ryder. “Every day the team has a goal and they work so hard to achieve it. Sad we lost Martin (Reimer) today but he is really sick and we hope he recovers quickly.”

Damiano Cunego went on a long break: “I was aware that I could not be as competitive as the top classification cyclists, so I tried to take advantage by a long breakaway,” Cunego explained. “I think my performance was very good, it’s a pity none of the breakaway mates could support me in raising the speed to Passo Lanciano.”

Lampre-Merida team mate Przemyslaw Niemiec was satisfied: “I understood that my regular pace on Chieti hills was useful in being in the head position, so I tried to be there with the best riders and I succeeded in doing it until Rodriguez attacked. I’m happy; it was a positive stage for me.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 Result:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha in 6:06:43
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:08
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:17
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 0:22
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:28.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 5:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 22:11:53
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:20
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:24
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 0:37
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:52
7. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:55
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:57
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:27
10. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 1:51.

Stage 5:

Ronde van Drenthe 2013
Alexander Wetterhall secured the first win of the season for Team NetApp – Endura in the Ronde van Drenthe. The 26-year-old Swede broke away from a leading group more than 30 kilometers before the finish and rode solo to his victory as if it were a time trial. Team colleagues Markus Eichler and Andreas Schillinger filled the other two places on the podium for NetApp – Endura.

“That was probably the perfect race for us. It was awesome – I’ve rarely experienced anything like it. The whole team was extremely good. The boys were always out in front and they stamped their seal on the race. The solo ride from Alex in typical classic weather is of course fantastic. It doesn’t get any better,” said a delighted Jens Heppner, Sport Director of Team NetApp – Endura after the race.

“I still haven’t realized that I won. I am so happy and of course I am pleased that we filled all spots on the podium as a Team”, says race winner Alexander Wetterhall.

In pouring rain and at temperatures around freezing, the 196-kilometer race was held in the Dutch region of Drenthe. More than 30 kilometers before the finish Wetterhall broke away from the 12-man leading group and extended his lead to up to 50 seconds. Team colleague Eichler routinely countered the attacks of the pursuers in the chasing group. Schillinger, who had actually already fallen back, fought his way forward again and closed up on the chasers around Eichler just before the finish. Wetterhall held his lead of 46 seconds across the finish line and his team colleagues sprinted onto the podium.

Ronde van Drenthe Result:
1. Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) Team NetApp-Endura in 4:56:47
2. Markus Eichler (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:46
3. Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
4. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:49
6. Elmar Reinders (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental at 1:03
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:21
8. Roy Sentjens (Bel) Cyclingteam De Rijke-Shanks
9. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:24.

Wildcard’s for Amstel Gold Race
NetApp-Endura had already been invited and Katusha’s invite had been changed to a definite when they became a WorldTour team (again). So the four team joining NetApp-Endura are Crelan-Euphony and Topsport Vlanderen-Baloise, both from Belgium, Europcar from France and the new Swiss IAM Cycling.

Retro action from the Amstel Gold Race in 1982:

Champion System Anxious For Amgen Tour of California
Press Release: Champion System Pro Cycling Team’s invitation to participate in the Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest professional stage race, is significant for Asia’s first and only pro continental team.

Champion System learned Thursday that it will be one of 16 teams contesting the Amgen Tour of California (May 12-19).

“We are very happy to be invited to America’s premier cycling event,” Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said. “At our team launch in Los Angeles in January, we saw that there is a lot of enthusiasm from the Asian-American community for the team and the sport and we are anxious to showcase some of our Asian athletes.”

Though Beamon has yet to name the roster, he said he plans to make it a dynamic combination of American and Asian riders.

“We will send an internationally diverse group that is focused on being aggressive,” Beamon said. “Of course, our Americans will be an important part of the lineup, but we also want a strong group of our Asian athletes to participate.”

Champion System is a leading Hong Kong-based custom cycling clothing manufacturer. In addition to being the title sponsor for the team, it is the exclusive clothing partner for the Amgen Tour of California. Champion System will provide custom race leader jerseys and an exclusive Amgen Tour of California co-branded high-quality tech apparel line featuring performance tops, casual pants, polo shirts, jackets and wind jackets.

“As Champion System continues to expand its custom clothing line and global marketplace, the team’s presence at the Amgen Tour of California offers a great opportunity for customers to see the highest quality performance wear up close and in competition,” Beamon said. “With several California based sponsors, we are also happy to represent brands like Herbalife and X-1 Audio in their home state.”

Champion System Vice President of Sales and Marketing Charlie Issendorf said providing the leader jerseys is a great opportunity to expose the company’s apparel to such a vast audience.

“As a leader in custom technical apparel it’s an honor to have our team compete in the Amgen Tour of California,” Issendorf said. “As the official race jersey and uniform partner of the event, the Amgen Tour of California is the ideal event to showcase our full line of high quality custom apparel on a worldwide stage.”

For the first time, the eight-day stage race will run from southern to northern California. The race will feature a time trial in San Jose, a mountain top finish on Mt. Diablo and a crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge before finishing in Santa Rosa.

GoPro HD: AMGEN Tour of California 2012:

Christina to get Hamburger!
Danish Continental team Christina Watches-Onfone have announced that ex-professional rider; Bo Hamburger will be a Directeur Sportif with the team replacing Søren Rasmussen who resigned. Hamburger was a pro for 16 years and admitted to doping for most of that time in his autobiography. Team owner, Claus Hembo said that; “I have no problem with Bo’s past. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Bo Hamburger wins stage 8 in the 1994 Tour de France:

Cape Rouleur 2013
The first stage of the Cape Rouleur, a 7.6km Prologue saw Team Bulls, the German-based professional mountain bike squad, dominate the majority of the top 10 positions. They were followed by three South Africans and two cyclists from Norway, who held the remaining positions. The Prologue, a time trial used to seed riders into three speed groups for the remaining three groups of the Cape Rouleur, saw the riders travel from Franschhoek to the Berg River Dam.

In a close battle for the Pro-Yellow Leader Jersey, Simon Stiebjahn from Team Bulls, Germany narrowly beat his fellow team member, Swiss rider Huber Urs. In the sweltering heat of 32 degrees Celsius, Steibjahn came in with a finishing time of 00:11:01, while Urs finished with a time of 00:11:02. Tim Boehme, also Team Bulls took third place, followed by teammates Stefan Sahm and Thomas Dietsch in fourth and fifth respectively.

Tim Carter, who came in sixth overall, was the first non-professional rider over the finish-line and starts tomorrow in the Amateur Yellow Leader’s Jersey. Carter (sixth), Nicholas Dlamini (seventh), and Neville Watt (eighth) did South Africa proud by claiming positions in the top 10. Ninth and Tenth place went to Norwegian cyclists Svein Hetland and Arne Rettedal. Vanessa Haywood starts in the Pink Leader’s Jersey tomorrow.

With Team Bulls seeding favourably after the 11-minute prologue, teamwork and camaraderie were evident, setting the tone for the upcoming event stages.

Historically, in the beginning of March each year, Cape Town becomes an oasis for cyclists from across the globe. As part of the entry to the Cape Rouleur, riders get a seeded entry to the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. This gives participants a full week of cycling.

4th March 2013: – HotChillee today announces its Development Rider Programme for the 2013 Cape Rouleur. As part of HotChillee’s commitment to investing in the communities it hosts events in, this programme provides sponsorship to two young, talented and disadvantaged South African riders during its 600km multi-stage cycling event.

As part of the programme, Wattbike will sponsor the entries and, along with Craft, provide both riders with kit. Bontrager will provide shoes, helmets and gloves and Ben Bikes will provide a bike for Development Rider Reyatile Mthakathi to use throughout the event.

The two riders are 21 year old Reyatile Mthakathi, from Pitlochie in the Eastern Cape, and 17 year old Nicholas Dlamini from Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Both are incredibly talented and have risen from adversity. Mthakathi was raised by his mother, a farm worker in Pitlochrie and has impressive cycling victories, including podium places on the Wartrail Mountain Bike Challenge, the Bonthoek Mountain Bike Challenge and the Rhodes Mountain Bike Challenge. His ambition is to make the South African cycling team. Dlamini started cycling at the age of 12 and has won almost every race he’s entered, including the under 13 WP Championships. In the Junior South African Championship he came tenth in the road race and 16th in the Time Trial.

South African film star, TV. personality and model, Vanessa Haywood heads up the HotChillee Development Rider Programme in South Africa. It is her job to scout the local, talented and disadvantaged riders. During the Cape Rouleur, Dlamini and Mthakathi will cycle next to exceptional riders who are fulfilling their aspirations and pushing boundaries, giving them hope and inspiration. It will also expose them to the global stage, professional riders such as the Team Bulls cycling team, 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche and 1988 World Champion Maurizio Fondriest and the Pro-Tour experience HotChillee’s Global Event Series creates.

During the past ten years, HotChillee has placed its CSR programme at the heart of everything it does. This not only includes forging successful charity partnerships and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, but also building direct and impactful relationships with promising cyclists from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa, the home of its newest event in the Global Event Series.

5 March 2013: Reigning French Champion and 2007 World Cup Winner, Thomas Dietsch of Team Bulls claimed victory in Stage One of this year’s Cape Rouleur, the first of HotChillee’s multi-stage rides in the Global Event Series 2013. Dietsch will wear the Pro Yellow Leader’s Jersey at the beginning of Stage Two.

Team Bulls continued to dominate the Pro leader board, with Huber Urs in second place, and Simon Stiebjahn in third. South African Development Rider, Nicholas Dlamini, was handed the Amateur Yellow Leader’s Jersey to wear at the beginning of Stage Two.

Well-known South African personality and avid cyclist, Vanessa Haywood held onto the Women’s Pink Jersey with fellow South Africans Evarne Rees in second place and Genelle van der Riet claiming third.

125 cyclists – split between three speed groups determined by the previous day’s Prologue – lined-up to start the 128km first stage of the Cape Rouleur under sweltering conditions. Despite the heat, the event was enjoyed by cyclists and supporters alike, with regular water stops and lunch hosted by Ridgeback Winery.

Team Bulls were the first to break-away in the Green Flagged Section for the Sprinter’s Jersey. Development Rider, Dlamini stayed hot on the heels of the pro riders, claiming second place to Karl Platt in the race, who will start in the Green Sprinter’s Jersey on Stage Two.

7 March 2013: Stage Three of HotChillee’s 2013 Cape Rouleur kicked-off in Franschhoek at 05:15 with riders in high spirits as they geared-up for the final 208km stage of the event. Team Bulls’ Urs Huber took first place at the end of Stage Three, earning him enough points to claim the Pro Yellow Jersey of overall winner. Tim Carter from Wattbike will take home the Yellow Jersey in the Amateur category. Evarne Rees retained her 2012 Women’s title, despite tough competition from Vanessa Haywood.

The event’s three speed groups departed simultaneously and cycled through the crisp early morning temperature that welcomed them at the start of the day. Stage Three’s route took them from Franschhoek along the coast, passing through Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Kleinmond with the refreshing smell of the sea accompanying them along their ride, and back to Franschhoek.

During the Red Flagged Climb Section at the 130km mark, South African Development Rider Nicholas Dlamini, who is riding for Wattbike, and Team Bulls’ Karl Platt and Tim Böehme broke-away. Böehme edged-out to claim prime position at the end of the third stage and the overall Pro Red Jersey. Geddan Ruddock, Franschhoek local from Team Oryx1 retained the Amateur Red Jersey at the conclusion of the event.

Platt was the overall winner of the Pro Green Jersey for the fastest sprinter, while Dlamini was named the winner of the Amateur Green Jersey at the end of the event.

Stage Three of the Cape Rouleur marks the finish of this year’s timed event. A festival ride is scheduled from Franschhoek to Mouille Point in Cape Town on Thursday, 7 March in celebration of the riders’ achievements over the past three days.

At the finish line, Founder of HotChillee’s Cape Rouleur, Sven Thiele praised the success of the event. “The 2013 Cape Rouleur was expertly organised and special mention must be made to all involved in this event, from local authorities to sponsors and to the riders themselves,” said Thiele. “The team spirit over the past four days has been superb, and we have also had the great privilege of riding some of South Africa’s most scenic cycling routes,” he added.

This year’s event attracted Pro and Amateur riders from all over the world – Europe, South America, Australia and North America – with most of the visitors choosing to stay-on and participate in the world’s largest individually timed cycling event, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour taking place on Sunday, 10 March.

“One of my bucket list items has always been to compete in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and after seeing the Cape Rouleur in 2012 I decided to participate this year and to do a full week of cycling,” said Alan Sales, one of the amateur cyclists from Canada. “I will be staying on for two weeks after the Cycle Tour to travel around the country and enjoy the beauty of South Africa,” he added.

The day was followed by a VIP dinner with dignitaries and press. 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche and 1988 World Champion Maurizio Fondriest presented the prizes and winners’ jerseys to the top performers of the event.

Riders on the Cape Rouleur will also be raising money for HotChillee’s three local charity partners, Christel House South Africa, JAG Foundation, and the LumoHawk Foundation. For a full set of results and ride info, visit: www.caperouleur.co.za.

OPQS Returns to Beautiful Cape Argus Cycle Tour with Keisse, Vermote, Vandewalle
OPQS Board Also to Participate Again

Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team happily returns as participants in the 36th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, set to take place on March 10th in Cape Town, South Africa. This year, OPQS brings an additional rider to not only enjoy the experience of “the Argus,” but to also try and get a good result. The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour attracts 35,000 two-wheel enthusiasts to Cape Town every year. Over the past 36 years, the Cycle Tour has emerged as one of the greatest cycling events on the planet, thanks to perfect organization and a 110-kilometre route that passes through fascinating places. This year, riders will ride along the False Bay Coast, past the Cape of Good Hope, and will also feature beautiful views of the Atlantic Coast on the way to the finish.

In 2012, OPQS accepted an invitation from team lawyer and board member Auret van Zyl. Van Zyl is a former resident who helped the team explore the race and examine possibilities for the team in South Africa. OPQS returns in 2013 with a good feeling and hopes to build on the 2012 experience.

OPQS riders participating in the 2013 edition include Belgian Time Trial Champion and recent Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen winner Kristof Vandewalle, the King of the 6-Days Iljo Keisse, and young Julien Vermote. Vermote rode for OPQS also in 2012. The team hopes to further understand the dynamic of such a big event as the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. However, it is not just the OPQS riders who will be attending.

“We will be there once again to participate in this event, as Team Owner Mr. Zdenek Bakala is a big fan of Cape Argus,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He participated in this event many times in the last number of years, and he also has general interests in South Africa, so we decided to go there. Further, the entire OPQS Board will be there, as well as Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag. Our approach last year was to explore this big event and really absorb the atmosphere of the race. We enjoyed the experience and that is why we are here again to do even better than last year.”

“Last year was a unique experience,” Vermote said. “We really had fun and enjoyed our time there. Last year we only came with two riders — Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and me. This year we have three riders, so we are a stronger group and we will do our best to try and take the final victory.”

“It is not the first time I will ride this race,” Keisse said. “I was there a few years ago and was impressed with the level of competition and the standards of the South African riders, as well as the race organization. I think it will be, as usual, a difficult race with a high pace. If I remember in my last experience, the scenario was we arrived in a small group, and we then battled for the victory.”

“For me, it is my first time going to South Africa,” Vandewalle said. “I am happy to be a part of this race. I am really looking forward to this, and hope to come back with a good result from here not long after my victory at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.”

About the riders:
Julien Vermote (Twitter: @JulienVermote)
Julien is one of the riders on the team to bet on for the future. The Belgian with a footballer’s past as a goalie caught everyone’s attention in 2012 when he won the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen at the end of a legendary final stage with brutally bad weather. For the first time in his career, Julien also participated in a major stage race, the Giro d’Italia, and he was an important support for Tom Boonen at the Belgian national championships. Born in Kortrijk but a resident of Harelbeke, he dreams of winning the E3 Prijs sooner or later.

Iljo Keisse (Twitter: @IljoKeisse)
When you think of Iljo you immediately think of the track, especially the one in Gent, where for the fourth time last November he won the 6-day race. But in 2012, Iljo proved to be a great rider on the road as well. At the beginning of the 2012 season he fulfilled his dream of riding Paris-Roubaix, the race he loves the most, and a few weeks later he starred in a spectacular and unforgettable victory after a mechanical glitch in the Tour of Turkey, where he showed remarkable self-control in fixing the problem and winning the race a few meters ahead of the group — definite poise under pressure. In 2013 Iljo will concentrate exclusively on road racing to “get a better idea of how far I can go.”

Kristof Vandewalle (Twitter: @VANDEWALLE_K)
The epitome of a team player, Kristof started riding at the age of 15 as rehabilitative therapy after he suffered a knee injury during a football match. From then on, he never stopped pedaling. 2012 was an unforgettable year for him, on both the sports and personal levels. In fact, in just over a month in which Kristof worked with the team’s staff on his particular skills, he first captured the title of Belgian TT champion and then became one of the “Magnificent 6” who conquered the World Championship TTT. Vandewalle carried the 2012 momentum into 2013, as he won the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Prologue and Overall, just a few races into his season.

Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour 2012 – Main Event:

Olympic superstars of cycling Jess Varnish and Lizzie Armitstead urge women to get on their bikes
Press Release: To celebrate International Women’s Day, British Cycling are proud to announce that two of Britain’s best-loved cyclists are lending their support to the biggest programme to get more women on their bikes for fun.

Lizzie Armitstead and Jess Varnish are to become British Cycling Breeze ambassadors.

Since its launch in May 2011, British Cycling’s Breeze has tackled barriers facing women and is providing as many fun and free opportunities to help them get back on their bikes.
Led by women, for women Breeze has already helped over 17,000 women feel confident and comfortable about going on a bike ride, but has also trained and supported over 400 Breeze champions to deliver over 3,000 local bike rides in across England.

Olympic silver-medallist Lizzie Armitstead is proud to be a Breeze ambassador.

Lizzie said: “Jess and I are encouraging as many women as possible to get on their bikes and go on a Breeze bike ride. Cycling is a big part of my life and I want as many women out there to experience the fun and social side of riding a bike.

“It’s not as scary as you think because Breeze is here to help you start your cycling journey. From advice on learning how to ride through to local bike rides, Breeze is fantastic and accessible.”

Jess Varnish said: “Cycling gives you a sense of freedom like nothing else. I’m proud to be involved in Breeze as it’s doing such a great job in breaking down the barriers and empowering women to get on their bikes.”

Breeze bike rides are local, friendly and informal. Majority of the rides are on traffic-free routes and are ideal for busy mums and anyone who hasn’t been on a bike for a while.

The rides usually start or end at a local café, where cake and friendly natter is served in abundance. Designed to suit all ages and abilities, they are the perfect excuse to get out into the great outdoors and explore the local area on two wheels.

Join the cycling revolution and find out how you can get involved in the Breeze network at breezebikerides.com.

The Three Peaks Of Lavaredo: The Final Great Challenge
Of The 2013 Giro

An historic stage finish in the heart of the Dolomites.

The Grande Partenza of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, on 4 May in Naples, is another week closer, and the latest of our weekly videos explores the history, mythology and prestige of a stage finish destined to be among the most decisive in this year’s race: stage 20, with the classic finish at the Three Peaks of Lavaredo (in Italian, the Tre Cime di Lavaredo).

Cycling history has been written at the Three Peaks. Some of the greatest climbers have honoured the Corsa Rosa with unforgettable performances there, withstanding, on occasion, extreme weather conditions. In 1968, in horizontal snow, indisputably the greatest rider of all time, Eddy Merckx, took what he still describes as the greatest mountain win of his career there.

The peloton of the 2013 Giro d’Italia will scale the Three Peaks of Lavaredo on Saturday 25 May (stage 20: Silandro/Schlanders – Tre Cime di Lavaredo).

The 3 Tenors: Sagan, Greipel & Cav!
Another great offering from Vanessa of Viral Verse; stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico and the battle between the 3 big sprinters set to the music of 3 big men. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet in Tirreno, but she soon will.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And there is the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.

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