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EuroTrash Monday!

Milano-Sanremo! What a crazy race, but wasn’t it great…to watch from the warmth of the settee. Maybe the race should have been cancelled like in Kuurne, but I think as bike fans we are very happy it wasn’t. Lots of team news for the Volta Cyclista a Catalunya starting today, plus tons of other news and loads of videos. So, feet up, coffee in hand and get a fill of EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Should Milan-Sanremo even have Started?
The organisers of Sunday’s Milan-Sanremo knew there was snow on the hills between Milan and the coastal town of Sanremo, but they elected to start the race and then neutralise it to remove the climbs of the Turchino and La Manie and then have the usual climbs of the Cipressa and Poggio before the normal finish in the Mediterranean town.

Some riders, like Tom Boonen, decided not to make the re-start, but his probable biggest adversary in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix; Fabian Cancelarra elected to race and came 3rd, but was that the best thing to have done under the circumstances of freezing temperatures, snow and ice? I’m sure we can all understand the need to win a Classic but at what cost to the rest of the season. There was the crash that took out Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar, both these riders have a long season ahead of them, a broken bone at this time would not be the best preparation. Was Sunday another case of the organisers not thinking of the rider’s safety, an accusation that has been thrown at race organisers in the past?

The riders have the choice, but if you had the chance of winning a Classic would you stay in the bus? Only time will tell if the frozen riders that crossed the line in Sanremo made the right decision, there is a long season ahead.

Reminds me of the climb of the Gavia in the 1988 Giro d’Italia:

Milano-San Remo 2013
Gerald Ciolek made history today by winning one of cycling’s monuments, Milan Sanremo. The race is the longest in the world at 298km. Today was especially hard as weather conditions forced organisers to stop the race after nearly two hours of racing because of snow and very low temperatures. The snow forced the organisers to miss the Turchino and La Manie climbs to start the race again in Cogoleto with the run in to the finish via the Cipressa and Poggio staying the same.

Video of when they stopped:

Before the transfer a break had formed soon after the start, it included: Diego Rosa (Androni-Venezuela), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Francesco Fortin (Bardiani-CSF Inox). They built up a lead of over 10 minutes after 40 kilometres, but by the time they were stopped their lead was 7 minutes 10 seconds.

After the re-start many riders abandoned, including Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) who said he couldn’t get warm and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) who didn’t get out of the bus. The leaders were down to 3 riders; Rosa, Belkov and Bak when they hit the Capo Berto. Sky took hold of the race but their men Geraint Thomas crashed and Edvald Boasson Hagen was dropped, with many others. The Sky move did put British National champion; Ian Stannard in the front group.

Ciolek made it to the Cipressa, the second last climb of the day, in a select peloton. World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was the first to attack causing several riders to go off the front. As they crested the Poggio, the day’s final climb, Ciolek followed the two pre-race favourites, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard).

This formed what would be the winning move of the day. Ciolek outsprinted Sagan (2nd) and Cancellara (3rd) for what is the African team’s first victory at a WorldTour level.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Ciolek after crossing the finish line. “This is an unbelievable success for us and just an incredible day. We just came here as a wildcard and now we’re standing here with the trophy. This is great. I knew I had to follow all the best riders on the Poggio and it worked out perfectly.

“When I chose this team, people wondered why I would join a Pro Continental team but it’s just been unbelievable. The coaching and staff on this team is so professional. I have never seen management care so much for the riders. I am happy to be on this team,” an elated Ciolek concluded.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is the first ever Professional Continental team from the African continent and thus gained a wildcard entry into the race, to compete against the top 19 teams in cycling.

“To win the first major classic ahead of Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara through these weather conditions is amazing,” said team prinicipal Douglas Ryder. “We were coming into the race hoping for a top 20 but every rider gave everything they could to help Gerald.

“I think the dedicated coaching and support he gets is what he has needed in his career. He needed to be the number one rider and have a team built around him and we are incredibly fortunate that he chose our team. He knew when he chose our team that he would race for Qhubeka and that’s greater than just winning races. He is really inspired to race and help others.”

“It was a really hard race,” said 4th placed Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Sylvain Chavanel. “Super fast, and with the stop and restart, it was pretty strange. This morning at the start I was really motivated, then when we had to start again the motivation was a little gone. But then once I got back on the bike, the pressure started again and I felt immediately good. So I decided to attack. I had really good legs today. The problem was in the last part of the Poggio I had cramps. It was really hard for me to push on my pedals due to the cramps. But I think all riders had the same problem because today we were really at the limit. It was impossible to do more than this. In the final I tried to start my sprint a little early, but the legs were empty at that point. But OK, I was 4th. It’s bittersweet when you are so close to winning a big moment as Milano – Sanremo and then you don’t win. I’m a little bit disappointed, but at the same time feel really good for the job I did. It shows in the last weeks my hard work is paying off. I am very happy about it. I have also the surprise to be number one in the WorldTour rankings. It’s quite nice, a new sensation for me and a new feeling. Only now after the race and a shower, that I realize it’s not so bad to be number one in the world even for a week. I am so happy that I’ve reached my maturity at this time in my career. I feel really good, and I like my job and love riding my bike. As for what’s next, we have another World Tour race on Friday, Harelbeke. I will try my best there. We have a strong team, and we will do our best to win the race.”

“As for what I did during the race neutralization, I slept,” Chavanel said about the race stoppage. “I tried to sleep to recover. Also, I think all of the riders that finished are a little bit heroic. The conditions were really extreme, so I am happy to say I’ve done it and finished.”

“It was cold, but I was OK,” Cavendish said. “It wasn’t easy to get back on the bike again, but it was the same for everyone who started. What kept me going was the possibility of winning Milano – Sanremo. We started and we gave everything. I had support from everyone, including Chava. I mean, we went with the plan. We didn’t come away with the win, but I’m happy with how we stuck to the plan of Chavanel going off the front. Ciolek winning wasn’t surprising. He’s the Under 23 World Champion, one of the most talented bike riders I know. He’s definitely come back this year. He’s won a few races and he’s right back up there. He’s a super guy and I’m really happy for him.

Break away rider Lars Bak: “Before the start we had decided that someone of us had to join a big breakaway, now we were only six but I still went along. In the breakaway you can stay warmer, that was important because it was unbelievably cold. After 60 kilometers they told us the race would be stopped, we wanted to get as much advantage as possible before the neutralization. In the bus I took a warm shower, because I was completely benumbed. Afterwards I kept going in the breakaway because I wanted my team to be at ease in the peloton and maybe I could survive the Cipressa and still help in the final. But I was completely exhausted! The whole day it was between zero and four degrees and although the race was shortened it was still 250 kilometers long. I think we’ll sleep well tonight (laughs). Everyone has to stay healthy now, because all important Belgian races are coming up and we’re all in good condition, so we will have a good future the next three weeks. My condition is good, I was surprised in Paris-Nice that I was getting better every day. But also with my injury I trained really hard to keep my condition. My biggest goal is Paris-Roubaix, then I want to be in maximal shape.”

Milano-San Remo Result:
1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka in 5:37:20
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Leopard
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
6. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:14
9. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky.

The last kilometres:

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung also made history when Songezo Jim became the first black South African rider to race a WorldTour event. In this video you can find out more about Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and riding to mobilise people on bikes in Africa:

Handzame Classic 2013
Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) came out on top in the sprint at the end of the Hanzame Classic in Belgium on Friday. He out-sprinted over seventy other riders for his second win this year, second was Kenny van Hummel and third Danny van Poppel, both Vacansoleil-DCM. William Clarke (Argos-Shimano), Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto Belisol), Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), Sean De Bie (Leopard-Trek Continental Team) and Kess Heytens (Team 3M) broke away with around 120 kilometres to go and had a lead of 4 minutes at one time. The chase started and they only had 2 minutes lead with around 40 kilometres left. As they came into the last 16 kilometre lap they only had 22 seconds and were down to four riders. Coming into the last 10 kilometres the race was all together and any escape attempts were brought back by Lotto Belisol or Vacansoleil-DCM for the sprint. Dehaes won, crossed the line then crashed, but was unhurt.

Handzame Classic Result:
1. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 4:49:12
2. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
5. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team Netapp-Endura
6. Robert Thomas Wagner (Ger) Blanco
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano
8. Roy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
9. Jo Kogstad Ringheim (Nor) Team People4You-Unaas Cycling
10. Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

The finish and the crash by Kenny Dehaes:

G.P. Nobili 2013
Bob Jungels brought home his first professional win and first team win for 2013 in the 16th GP Nobili Rubinetterie in Stresa, Italy on Thursday. Jungels, part of a four-man break that went clear after 11km of racing, attacked his group on the climb of Massino Visconti and rode solo to the finish line, claiming the biggest victory in his young career by a wide 53-second margin.

Jungels: “It was a really hard day. Everyone on the team kept trying to go in the breakaways and I finally made it with Haller (Katusha), Teruel (Movistar) and Avila (Colombia). We worked well together most of the day and got over nine minutes. When we went on the climb the first time we still had seven minutes and I saw that I was the strongest in the group. We were three guys by the second time on the climb and I attacked at the bottom. That was my only chance so I time trialed to the finish against a strong headwind. I kept hearing Kim’s voice in my ear piece and I couldn’t believe how long those 15k felt.”

Jungels averaged 41.199km/h on the 187.5km course at just over four-and-a-half hours. Joining him on the podium were Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Simone Ponzi (Astana).

Jungels, 20, hails from Rollingen, Luxembourg and came to RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK after a sterling year at LEOPARD TREK saw him winning the Paris-Roubaix U23, Flèche du Sud and U23 National TT Championship for Luxembourg.

Jungels: “This was a race where we had no real leader so (director) Kim told us to try something. It’s an amazing feeling. I was hoping to have a win some time this year but I never expected this. I am overwhelmed. It’s good for the team and I am so happy.”
Thanks to RadioShack-Leopard for the race info.

G.P. Nobili Result:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Radioshack-Leopard in 4:33:04
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:52
3. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana
4. Marco Zamparella (Ita) Utensilnord
5. Francisco Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar
6. Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
7. Simone Campagnaro (Ita) Team Nippo-De Rosa
8. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
10. Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox.

The last K’s:

Gilbert Doped at Lotto?
NRC Handelsblad has reported that an anonymous ex-Lotto rider claims that Philippe Gilbert used Cortisone between the year 2009 and 2011 when he rode for the Belgian team. It is alleged that cortisone was given to the anonymous rider and Gilbert by the team doctor; Jan Mathieu. Both Mathieu and Gilbert denied any wrong doing, Mathieu said to Sporza; “With my hand on heart I can say that I would only give a cortisone treatment for medical reasons. So it is indeed 100 per cent legal because it is not on the WADA list. Cortisone is in ointment, nasal spray, eye and ear drops, in many products. Why should an athlete not use this prescription?” Gilbert wrote to the Dutch newspaper; “I’ve always done my job in a serious manner and in the best way possible,” he said. “I won big races both before and after my years at Lotto, and for the most part in the same fashion. I hope that says enough about it.” Let’s hope that is the end of it.

Gilbert in 2011:

Team Blanco Volta Cyclista a Catalunya Line-up
Press Release: Blanco Sports Director Merijn Zeeman knows which eight riders will start the 93rd Volta Cyclista a Catalunya next week but because of injuries and sickness, he must wait before determining the strategy for the Spanish stage race.

The Blanco Pro Cycling Team will line up on 18 March at the start in Catella with Stef Clement, Robert Gesink, Robert Wagner, Laurens ten Dam, Steven Kruijswijk, Jetse Bol, Jack Bobridge and Moreno Hofland.

The last two named in the team will replace Juan Manuel Gárate and Marc Goos. The Spaniard is still recovering from a nasty bout with the flu whilst the young Dutchman has recently had surgery on a broken collarbone.

With Gesink, Kruiswijk and Ten Dam, Zeeman has three leaders all of whom can do well in the general classification. Zeeman remarked, “With Robert, the big question is how well he has recovered from Paris – Nice as he had to abandon the race there. The same goes for Steven who took a spill. Laurens was in preparation for the Tour of the Basque Country and the classics and did not ride for three weeks. In the meantime, he has also been sick. As usual, we’re aiming for a good finish in the final standings, but in this case, we have to take a wait and see approach. Sunday, we’ll see how fit the guys are and what expectations are therefore realistic.”

Volta a Catalunya 2012 stage 1 final:

RadioShack-Leopard-Trek’s line-up for the Tour of Catalunya
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – UCI WorldTour (March 18-24).
George Bennett, Matthew Busche, Chris Horner, Robert Kišerlovski, Tiago Machado, Nelson Oliveira, Thomas Rohregger & Haimar Zubeldia.
Directors: José Azevedo & Josu Larrazabal.

In His Own Words: Christian Meier Previews Catalunya
ORICA-GreenEDGE had a fantastic start and successful finish of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya last year. Michael Albasini won the opening stage, thereby taking the leader’s jersey, followed up the first win with another win on stage two and, with the unwavering help from his teammates, carried the leader’s jersey all the way to the finish in Barcelona.

The seven day stage race is the longest running race in Spain and the fourth oldest stage race in the world – the first edition was held in 1911. With the race now run in March, Catalunya has become a race where the Grand Tour contenders can test their legs in preparation for the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Cadel Evans (BMC) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will be kitted up on the start line in Calella.

Similar to last year, the strongmen from ORICA-Green EDGE will focus less on the overall and more on individual stage wins. More than half of the ORICA-GreenEDGE squad lives in Gerona and spend many hours training on the roads over which the race is run. Racing in and around their European base gives Catalunya a home race feel for the team. In his own words, Christian Meier, one of the Gerona ‘locals’, previews his fourth start of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
We came to this race looking at stage wins, and we have several options. There are at least three stages well suited for Alby [Allan Davis] and Michael [Matthews] in the form of sprints. Brett [Lancaster] and Sam [Bewley] will add good horsepower to the lead outs. Other stages could suit someone more like Gerro [Simon Gerrans] or we could see a break stay away until the finish.

Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] and I will handle any work on the front if we decide to bring the race back together for a field sprint. We’ll also try to get into any breakaways on the hillier days. Trav [Travis Meyer] is coming off a bit of illness but when he feels good he will most likely have a similar role to Wes and me.

With the exception of the two big mountain stages, we have a chance on any other day. We have sprinters who can climb very well and Gerro for the days that may be a bit too much for them. We’ll definitely use our fast guys on the first two days to see if we can’t repeat on Alba’s [Michael Albasini’s] success from last year.

This race feels very much like a home race to me. Knowing the roads allows us to be calmer throughout the race and more selective when we pick our moments to attack. We know the crucial sections of the stages to time our moves appropriately. That being said, Catalunya is a very big region of Spain, and even the local guys haven’t ridden on every road included in the race. It’s nice to see new parts of the region that would normally be out of range on a regular training ride. Finishing the race in Barcelona, racing around Montjuic, is pretty cool, too.

To call this race a success, we’ll need to come away with a good stage win. It’s also important that Gerro finishes the race feeling stronger as he builds towards the Ardennes Classics.
Thanks to Christian Meier & Orica-GreenEdge.

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Volta Ciclista a Catalunya:
Allan Davis,
Brett Lancaster,
Christian Meier,
Michael Matthews,
Sam Bewley,
Simon Gerrans,
Travis Meyer,
Wesley Sulzberger.

2012 stage 2 final:

Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour of Catalunya
On Monday the Tour of Catalunya will start, a feisty WorldTour stage race in Spain from the 18th of March till March 24, where Lotto Belisol will line up with Jurgen Van den Broeck. Last year the Lotto Belisol rider became third. Jurgen stood on the podium next to winner Michael Albasini and Samuel Sanchez. This year there are again some well sounding names at the start apart from Van den Broeck like Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez and Michele Scarponi. These last three riders won the Tour of Catalunya in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

None of the seven stages is flat. The third stage arrives on Vallter 2000 after a 12 kilometers long climb with an average gradient of 7,8%. The day after it’s time for the longest stage, 217,7 kilometers long, with finish on Port Ainé. On the course five climbs are waiting for the riders with the last two climbs of the highest category, called the “special category”. On the final day the peloton goes to Barcelona where the finish lies on the Alto de Montjuïc. In Barcelona 8 local laps will be ridden, in which each time the Montjuïc has to be climbed. In this Tour of Catalunya are definitely chances for Jurgen Van den Broeck to show himself and he can further build up his condition for his main goal: the Tour de France.

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “I am looking forward to the Tour of Catalunya because I performed well here last year. Apart from that stage races like this are important to collect WorldTour points. But I think I am ready for it. In the beginning of March I went two weeks to Tenerife to train. If you have to compete against riders that are stronger and live in countries where the weather is better, it is necessary that you escape the Belgian climate to become stronger yourself. The past few years that training camp in Tenerife pleased me a lot.”

“The season’s start was pretty okay. Now Catalunya, Pais Vasco and Romandy are coming up, three beautiful stage races. Then I take a break to build up further afterwards to the Tour. The stages look difficult and it is waiting to see what the weather conditions will be like. Last year those had a lot of influence on the development of the race. That third place in 2012 doesn’t guarantee me new success but it gives confidence, although this year there are a lot of strong riders at the start.”
Thanks to the Lotto Belisol team.

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Brian Bulgaç, Francis De Greef, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Joost Van Leijen and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts en Jean-Pierre Heynderickx.

Stages Tour of Catalunya
Stage 1: Monday 18th of March : Calella – Calella ( 159, 3 km)
Stage 2 : Tuesday 19th of March : Girona – Banyoles (160,7 km)
Stage 3: Wednesday 20th of March: Vidreres – Vallter 2000-Setcases (180,1 km)
Stage 4: Thursday 21st of March: Llanars-Vall de Camprodon – Port Ainé-Rialp ( 217,7 km)
Stage 5: Friday 22nd of March: Rialp – Lleida (156,5 km)
Stage 6: Saturday 23rd of March: Almacelles – Valls (178, 7 km)
Stage 7: Sunday 24th of March: El Vendrell – Barcelona (Montjuïc) (122,2 km).

2012 stage 4 final:

BMC Volta A Catalunya Preview: Burghardt Returns
The BMC Racing Team’s versatile squad for Volta a Catalunya will include Marcus Burghardt, who will be making his first start in a stage race in 2013 when the week-long event begins Monday.

Season Delayed By Sickness
Burghardt said a nearly two-week illness after the team’s training camp in Spain in January is to blame for delaying the start of his ninth professional season. “Now I’m feeling better,” he said, “but I have been training for more than four weeks. I don’t think I have ever trained that long.” Assistant Director Max Sciandri said with a mix of riders for the general classification, field sprints and breakaways, the BMC Racing Team will have plenty of options. “I don’t want to put big expectations out there, but what we want to see are the guys moving forward in their natural progression of improvement,” he said. Steve Cummings, who is coming off a difficult edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, said mountainous stages and a lack of a time trial mean more chances for breakaways. “We just need to ride smart and make the best of the days that suit us and look for opportunities,” he said.
Thanks to the BMC Team.

Download the official race sheet (PDF with roster, bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/15QBh3c.

BMC Racing Team Volta a Catalunya roster (March 18-24):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Steve Cummings (GBR), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Steve Morabito (SUI), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Larry Warbasse (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA) & Jackson Stewart (USA).

Stage 6:

OPQS to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

The 93rd edition features 26 categorized climbs. The first two stages favor a bunch sprint. Stage 3 is when the course gets challenging as it heads into the high mountains of the Pyrenees. Stage 4 features five categorized climbs. Two are HC — Port del Canto may only average 5%, but it is a distance of 25km.

Stage 5 offers another chance for a bunch sprint, and Stage 6 is a tribute to Catalun cyclist Xavier Tondo. The stage has two climbs: Category 1 Prades (11km, 4%) and Category 2 Lilla (6.1km, 4.8%).

Stage 7 is a shorter stage at 122.2km, and features an eight lap circuit, including the Alt de Montjuic (1.3km, 4.8%).

Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Andrew Fenn (GBR)
Michal Golas (POL)
Gianni Meersman (BEL)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Julien Vermote (BEL)
Carlos Verona (ESP)
Sports Director Jan Schaffrath (GER) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Stage 7:

Lampre-Merida at Catalunya & Coppi e Bartali
Merida bikes will cover Volta a Catalunya roads from 18 to 24 March.
In the World Tour race, the blue-fuchsia-jerseys jerseys will be worn by Durasek, Lloyd, Mori, Niemiec, Richeze, Scarponi and Stortoni. Sport director Vicino will be supported by colleague Joxean Fernandez. In the staff there will be masseurs Bertolone, Bolzonaro, Napolitano and Redaelli, mechanics Baron, Carminati and Romanò and doctor Pollastri.

“The recent good performances by Niemiec and Scarponi allow us to approach Volta a Catalunya with the aim of being protagonist, especially in the summit finish stages in Vallter 2000 and Port Ainè,” sport director Vicino explained. “Anyway, the whole race will be demanding, so the team reliability will be important. Durasek and Mori already showed they could be key riders and we’ll rely also on Stortoni, who performed good trainings after he had quit Tirreno-Adriatico because of the temperature. We’re very interested in the European debut by Lloyd and Richeze: each one for his own characteristics could be very useful for us.”

From 20 to 24 March, Coppi e Bartali will be the Italian test for LAMPRE-MERIDA. Sport directors Maini and Piovani will rely on Bono, Cunego, Ferrari, Malori, Pietropolli, Ulissi and Wackermann.

“I chose to race Coppi e Bartali as final step in the approach to Vuelta al Pais Vasco,” Cunego explained. “The course is suitable for my qualities in order to enrich my fitness. I’d like to try to compete for the overall classification: the second stage and the third one, that both are characterized by demanding climbs, will be important for the final ranking.”

Ulissi is ready to support Cunego: “After two tough appointments such Paris-Nice and Milano-Sanremo, I’ll take part in Coppi e Bartali with huge spurs. I’ll be happy to support Cunego in reaching his goal.”

Coppi e Bartali:

New Challenges for Movistar in Catalonia & Flanders
Movistar Team continues with their busy schedule in March with the Volta a Catalunya (from Monday) and three classics in Belgium on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Press Release: With no rest after their participation in Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and classics GP Nobili and Milano-Sanremo this Sunday, Movistar Team keeps tackling hard races into its 2013 calendar and will face no less than ten days of competition next week: the seven-stage Volta a Catalunya –one of the four Spanish World Tour races-from Monday and three Flemish classics in Belgium –Dwars door Vlaanderen, GP E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem- on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, respectively.

For the 93th edition of the Volta, José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía will lead a strong squad that features Alejandro Valverde, together with Nairo Quintana, Rubén Plaza, Vladimir Karpets, Sylwester Szmyd, Imanol Erviti, José Herrada and Eros Capecchi. The Catalan race will not have any time trials and includes two mountain-top finishes on Wednesday (Vallter 2000) and Thursday (Port Ainé). In turn, the trio of classics preceeding the legendary Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will see Movistar Team represented by Fran Ventoso, José Joaquín Rojas, Andrey Amador, Alex Dowsett, Enrique Sanz, Eloy Teruel, Jesús Herrada and Giovanni Visconti, with Chente García Acosta on the team car as DS.

The Tour of Flanders in Oudenaarde 2012:

Cycling on Universal Sports Network
Press Release: With more than 135 hours of cycling programming this year, Universal Sports Network is firmly established as the leader in cycling coverage on American television. In 2013, Universal Sports presents a robust schedule of 21 cycling events, including the final grand tour of the season, the Vuelta a España. Other marquee events covered are the Tour of Basque, USA Pro Cycling Championships, BMX World Championships, Tour of Britain, the Road Cycling World Championships from Italy and the Mountain Bike World Championships from South Africa.

Universal Sports Network Schedule: March 18-28, 2013-Cycling: All times ET – Subject to change
Mon., Mar. 18: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 1
Tues., Mar. 19: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 2
Wed., Mar. 20: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 3
Thu., Mar. 21: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 4
Fri., Mar. 22: 11 AM – 1 PM ET-Grand Prix E3 Harelbeke
Fri., Mar. 22: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 5
Sat., Mar. 23: 8-9 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 6
Sat., Mar. 24: 1-2 PM ET-Volta a Catalunya: Stage 7
Tue, Mar. 26: 5-6:30 PM ET-Three Days of De Panne: Stage 1
Tue, Mar. 27: 5-6:30 PM ET-Three Days of De Panne: Stage 2
Tue, Mar. 28: 5-6:30 PM ET-Three Days of De Panne: Stage 3

Universal Sports Network Schedule: 2013 Cycling Schedule:
Jan. 21-27: Tour of San Luis, Argentina
Feb. 20-24: Track Cycling World Championships, Belarus
Feb. 24: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurnne(Cancelled), Belgium
Mar. 18-24: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Spain
Mar. 22: Grand Prix E3 Harelbeke, Belgium
Mar. 26-28: Three Days of De Panne, Belgium
Apr. 1-6: Tour of the Basque Country, Spain
May 1: Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop, Germany
May 1-5: Four Days of Dunkerque, France
May 12-19: Tour of California, California, U.S.A.
May 22-26: Tour of Belgium, Belgium
May 25-27: USA Pro Cycling Championshionships Chattanooga, TN, U.S.A.
July 25-28: BMX World Championships, New Zealand
Aug. 12-18: Eneco Tour, Netherlands/Belgium
Aug. 19-25: USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Colorado, U.S.A.
Aug. 24-Sept. 15: Vuelta a España, Spain
Aug. 26-Sept. 1: Mountain Bike World Championships, South Africa
Sept. 1: Grand Prix Plouay, France
Sept. 15-22: Tour of Britain, Great Britain
Sept. 18: Grand Prix Wallonie, Belgium
Sept. 24-25, 28-29: Road Cycling World Championships, Florence, Italy.

For up-to-date broadcast and online streaming schedules, please visit: https://universalsports.com/cycling/.

Sciandri: No Offer From Italian Cycling Federation
Press Release: BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said Sunday Assistant Director Max Sciandri is under contract with the team and is not leaving to pursue a position with the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana (Italian Cycling Federation).

Team Supportive Of Sciandri
Sciandri said he has not received any offer from the FCI. “I have no official offer from the national federation,” Sciandri said. “Until there’s an offer, my obligation is with the BMC Racing Team.” Ochowicz said no one from the FCI has contacted the BMC Racing Team about Sciandri’s current or future employment. “Should he be offered a position with the Italian Cycling Federation, we would be happy to support his decision,” Ochowicz said.

A surprise for Sciandri:

Sky Countdown to the Classics
Team Sky’s Classics riders have spent 12 days working hard at altitude training in Tenerife to give themselves the best possible chance of success in the upcoming one-day races – starting with Milan-San Remo.

We join the squad at the top of the Teide volcano to capture our latest behind-the-scenes video which takes you inside one of their most intense training rides and features insights from Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

Contour cameras were fitted to the front of the team car, Ian Stannard’s helmet, Gabriel Rasch’s handlebars, and had Digital Manager Nick Howes shooting directly from the passenger seat.

Here is the video:

Gimondi Enters the Hall of Fame
Felice Gimondi has been awarded with the Trofeo Senza Fine and will enter in the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame. RCS Sport awarded Gimondi at Corriere della Sera at La Gazzetta dello Sport headquarter. The TX Active-Bianchi President was beaten by Eddy Merckx in the list of honour. “He overcame me once again” Gimondi joked, and then added: “I feel satisfied and really happy because I have been awarded in the presence of my former teammates and the fellows I shared the fantastic cycling world with”.

Former Gimondi’s teammates and cycling world’s personalities, such as Vittorio Adorni, Marino Vigna and Massimo Ghirotto took part at the ceremony, attended by Gazzetta dello Sport’s editor Andrea Monti as well.

Enjoy this video with his best moments at the Corsa Rosa…

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