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EuroTrash Monday!

It’s hard to know where to begin sorting out this over flowing Monday EuroTrash bag. Classics and stage races and lots of them with results and videos, you don’t miss a pedal rev. Great wins from Sagan, Cancellarra, Froome and the rest, but Dan Martin in Catalunya was good to see. Loads to read, so get the kettle on!

TOP STORY: Truth or Lies?
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica ran an article on drug trafficking to amateur cyclist in various regions of Italy; Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. The system is said to have a turn over of 425 million Euros according to “Libera” the assosiation against Mafia Don Ciotti. There has been six arrests so far in operation “Amateur” (four in prison and two under house arrest) and there are ten others under investigation by fifty police officers, which was launched in Florence in 2009. EPO, Cera, and even Retacrit, erythropoietin zeta (the latest generation), anabolic steroids and stimulants are being sold to amateur cyclist.

One professional cyclist has been referred to, not by name, the paper printed; “a professional cyclist, a Venezuelan mountain climber in Vacansoleil,” this can only be Josè Rujano. Rujano has rightly reacted to the article, he made a statement to the Pasados de Volta that “I know that the investigation comes from 2009, a year in which I didnt even race in Europe, but in the Govenment of Zulia team in Venezuela.” He added “I can not sit idly by malicious information now that I’m back in Europe and will ride for a big team.” The Vacansoleil-DCM team manager; Dan Luijkx said there would be an “internal investigation” and added that since the introduction of the passport system in 2008, Rujano has “no irregularities” and has “not used cortisone” at any time.

If these accusations are untrue it could finish a riders career, its easier to believe everything bad you read about riders, which concidering all the recent revilations thats understandable, but there are inocent riders out there and if cycling is going to survive as a spectator sport we have have some faith in the young riders who are winning races today, the ones who still had their trainer wheels on their bikes when Lance armstrong was making history of one sort or another.

Read the article here in La Repubblica.

Josè Rojano in the 2011 Giro d’Italia stage 13:

Gent – Wevelgem 2013
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) showed why he is the hottest thing in Pro cycling at the moment since…very hot friets at a road-side frituur shop in Flanders. After all the snow in Belgium on Saturday the course was clear, but the race missed out the first 50 kilometres and temperatures were low all day. The action really started when Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) attacked with around 80 kilometres to go, he was joined by Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) and Assan Bazayev (Astana), the three rode well together, but never reached a lead of 2 minutes. Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) jumped out of the chase group to be joined by Borut Bozic (Astana), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Bernard Eisel (Sky), Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Leopard), Andrei Amador (Movistar), plus the Cannondale pair of Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar. They joined up with the Flecha group to give us 13 out front with around 30 chasers. Bazayev was dropped and Debusschere punctured leaving 11 riders to fight it out as the chase was not making much headway. Coming into the last 5 kilometres and Vandenbergh made a bold move to be pulled back by Flecha which launched Sagan up the road on his winning move. The other escapees tried to close him down to no avail and the cocky Slovakian pulled a wheelie across the finish line 28 seconds ahead of Borut Bozic (Astana) in 2nd and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in 3rd. Favourites; Tom Boonen crashed and Fabian Cancellara climbed off at the feed zone.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) sprinted to third to match his career-best finish in a spring cobblestone classic. Van Avermaet, who also earned a podium finish in a cobblestoned race in 2008 when he was third at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, was out-sprinted by runner-up Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team) 23 seconds after Sagan crossed the line. “When Sagan went, I tried to follow him but it wasn’t possible,” Van Avermaet said. “I think Sagan is a bit stronger than the rest of us for the moment. But I don’t think I did a bad sprint, it gives me confidence. My condition was already good in Milan-San Remo and E3. After today, it is nice for me and the team to see I’m good. I needed (this result) today for my head.”

On a cold, windy day, the BMC Racing Team put seven of its eight riders in a front group of about 50 in one of the first decisive splits. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said the show of strength was a welcome change from E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke on Friday when only Daniel Oss made the front group, on the way to finishing third. “It was very satisfying to see so many of our guys in the front working together so well,” he said. “The plan was to protect Thor Hushovd because we were thinking we could arrive with 30 or 40 riders for a massive sprint and we also wanted to try to make the race aggressive.” Hushovd, who was next-best for the BMC Racing Team in 17th place, said he was feeling good but missing “a little bit” on the hardest moments. “I hope things will change a little bit for this upcoming weekend (Tour of Flanders) and at least for Roubaix,” he said.

Tom Boonen: “Everybody was looking for good position for the Kemmelberg,” Boonen said about the moments before the crash. “I was waiting in the group for the right and last moment to go to the front so I didn’t spend so much energy. At the moment I thought ‘OK, this is the time to go’, another rider passed me from the right, so I had to wait for a few seconds. In those few seconds the curb went from zero to 10 centimeters. The rider in front of me didn’t see it and he wanted to go. So, I had to react and didn’t have enough room to jump on it. I touched it with my front wheel and went down pretty hard. I touched first with my knee and then with the rest of my body. My knee is swollen, it hurts, but we’ll see how it reacts tomorrow. Now is important to keep calm now and don’t try to run before we can walk.”

“We started straight away very hard,” Boonen said of the race. “I was the first guy to put the speed up high and make it very hard. It split into five groups straight away. It was a tough day for everyone. Actually, at the moment of the crash we had the race perfectly under control. We wanted to have someone in the break after the Kemmelberg for sure. We tried to be there with one or two guys and then we could make a decision what to do. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side today.”

The crash of Tom Boonen:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Stijn Vandenbergh was 8th at Gent-Wevelgem today, making a select group that eventually produced race winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Stijn Vandenbergh: “In the final I just attacked as it was my only chance, so when they reacted and got on my wheel, they were a little bit fresher,” Vandenbergh said. “There was no chance for me to react to Sagan’s move.”

“Tom and Cavendish were the leaders today,” Vandenbergh said. “I just followed on the Kemmelberg but I did nothing because we had Cavendish in the back. To get a top 10 result is still good for the team, as we always want to try to go for a good result regardless of the race situation.”

Mark Cavendish: “It was a very cold day, a very fast day,” Cavendish said. “I felt good today but we were a little bit unlucky when we lost Tom in a key moment of the race. With Tom in the race we could have done something good after the Kemmelberg. Anyway, we had Stijn in the front, he had a great race once again. But Sagan is a machine. He deserved to win today.”

Jens Debusschere: “Sagan is Sagan, so I won’t say I could have beaten him, but in theory the others definitely weren’t faster than me. Because of that puncture I have lost a good result in a WorldTour race. It was the ideal situation: I was in front and four other guys of the team were behind me in the peloton. I could keep myself aloof and didn’t unnecessary have to waste any energy. I felt I could have ridden the final. Of course this gives me confidence for the Tour of Flanders, I want to work for the team and be satisfied about my contribution. I won’t ride the Three Days of De Panne – Koksijde, I’ll prepare myself quietly for Sunday.”

Gent – Wevelgem Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 4:29:10
2. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana at 0:28
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
4. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
5. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
7. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky
8. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard
10. Andrei Amador Bipkazacova (Crc) Movistar.

The last 4K’s:

E3 Harelbeke 2013
Fabian “Spartacus” Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) looks to be back to his old form as he won his third E3 Harelbeke in a solo attack from the Oude Kwaremont with 35 kilometres to go. The important split was made on the Taaienberg, with 62 kilometres left to race, Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) forced the action to take eight riders away including Cancellara, but without Peter Sagan (Cannondale). The race came together again for Cancellara to ride away from everyone on the Oude Kwaremont in a similar style to his Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix wins in 2010. He had a gap of around 15 seconds by the top of the climb and over 1 minute by the finish. Peter Sagan was second at 1:04 outsprinting Daniel Oss (BMC) and Geraint Thomas (Sky). Tom Boonen won the bunch sprint for 7th place at 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

Race winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard): “I did my job, I did what I had to do,” said Cancellara. “When you are in good condition you have to go for it because you never know what will happen next. It’s important to carry on and finish the job. With the crash last year this is a very special moment for me. A big thank you to my wife and family and to the entire team for supporting me during this time.”

“It was intuition to go on the Oude Kwaremont and just see if I could break down the group a little more. We knew the Oude Kwaremont was an important key in the race, as it will be in the Tour of Flanders, as we watched some days ago the finale of E3 of 2011 and 2012 on the computer. Also this is part of the preparation for the race.” Cancellara continued: “You have to take it when you can as you never know what tomorrow brings. After my crash in Flanders last year this was my first race on this special ground. I saw that there were many Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s in the front, so I decided to try something. I went alone and Dirk Demol kept telling me ‘keep on going’. It was a so hard but such a unique experience. Many things crossed my mind. This is a great win for me and for the team. Anything that will come now is a bonus. Also I send best wishes to Eddy Merckx who is in the hospital now.”

Cancellara will race again on Sunday in Gent-Wevelgem, followed the next week by Tour of Flanders. Fabian: “Will I be picked as the favourite now for Flanders and Roubaix? That’s life. The most important goals are indeed still coming but let’s celebrate first. We worked months for this. Now I can tackle the other races in a more relaxed way. I feel renewed confidence with this win but also renewed pressure as well. In the end it’s a victory and I know I’ve done my job.”

In 6th place, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today Cancellara was very strong,” Chavanel said. “Behind him we tried to chase. There was collaboration between us after the Kwaremont, but it wasn’t possible to catch him. The final was really fast due to the tailwind and it was a bit too late. As for my performance, I felt good today even if not super, but this is the first of a series of races where I can be a protagonist. Until Paris-Roubaix I will try to be there.”

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was 7th: “From the Taaienberg on we were ahead with that group and there was a lot of wind,” Boonen said. “We really had to push to get a gap and I didn’t have the luxury of feeling comfortable enough to eat. Then on the Kwaremont, the light went out for a few minutes. I had a very tough moment on the Kwaremont. I thought it was the end of the race for me. But after that I took some gels and a bottle, and recovered well after that. But of course, the other guys in the chase, they were gone. In normal conditions I would never drop from that situation. But today, I was already happy to be there. It was the first final I did for this season. It was a nice race for a start. I think at the end I am very happy with the results and also the feelings in the race. I think it shows I don’t have to worry that much.”

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) caught BMC’s Daniel Oss just before the line for the runner-up spot. “I felt good during the week and today I was also feeling good,” Oss said. “I waited until the moment in the race for the big men to make their move. Yesterday, I looked at the parcours so knew where I could go in front. I gave my best.” When one of the decisive moves was made on the climb of the Taaienberg with 62 of the 211 kilometres to go, Oss was the only BMC Racing Team rider who could follow it. “He made a good move when Cancellara and Tom Boonen went on the attack,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said. “I told him to stay quiet and stay on the wheels. I was hoping Greg Van Avermaet or Phillipe Gilbert would come back to the front.” Baldato said he was happy to see Oss rewarded for the work has done in service to others at other races. “He’s done good work to help his teammates and finally had his own opportunity to make a result himself,” he said.

Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol), couldn’t defend his chances because of a flat tyre on the Oude Kwaremont: “Like almost every year the Taaienberg is a crucial point in the race. That’s why I was riding in front and I felt very good. In the way up to the Paterberg I let myself push aside by Sagan for a moment, so I was too far behind. On the Oude Kwaremont I was in the chasing group on the leaders, but already in the first part of the climb I felt my front tyre was going flat. I saw rider after rider passing me by and then you immediately know that the race is over. Since the cars almost can’t pass by I kept on riding till the end of the climb, where I got a new front wheel from a mechanic. I have to admit that I couldn’t have followed an unleashed Cancellara, but on the Oude Kwaremont I certainly could have stayed in the group-Boonen. The result definitely is disappointing, but I got confirmation that the shape is still good.”

E3 Harelbeke Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack in 5:08:28
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 1:04
3. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
5. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:08
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:15
8. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
10. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar.

E3 Harelbeke highlights:

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2013
Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) showed his true class by dominating Stage 4 to the Summit finish on Port Ainé-Rialp, taking stage and overall. Over-night leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crashed during the stage and had to abandon, leaving the door open for a new leader, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) being the favourites, but Martin distanced the local Catalan and the Colombian by 36 seconds on the stage with a 10 seconds advantage on Rodriguez and 32 seconds ahead of Quintana in the overall battle.

Thursday’s stage was billed as “The Queen Stage” and lived up to expectations with a large group of 23 riders splitting off the front on the first climb of the day; the Coll de Merolla after 40 kilometres. the group included: Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Fabio Aru (Astana), Laurens Ten Dam & Steven Kruijswijk (Blanco), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Cristiano Salerno, the KOM leader (Cannondale), Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Pichon (FDJ), Alberto Losada Alguacil & Yury Trofimov (Katusha), Jurgen Van de Walle (Lotto Belisol), Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar), Gianluca Brambilla & Carlos Verona (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard), Danny Pate (Sky), Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM), David Arroyo Duran (Caja Rural), Yoann Bagot & Rudy Molard (Cofidis) and the Garmin-Sharp couple Ryder Hesjedal and Dan Martin.

The Movistar team were holding the leaders at under 3 minutes when Valverde and team mate Eros Capecchi crashed at around 120 kilometres out, both retiring. Sky chose to take up the chase, which seemed strange as Katusha had 4 and Movistar had 3 riders in what was left of the peloton.

On the Port del Cantó the lead group started to split with Dan Martin’s cousin; Nico Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacking and staying out until the last climb when he was caught by what was left of the escape, which was; Betancur, Santaromita, Losada, Herrada, Kiserlovski and Martin who had been perfectly protected by Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal. Martin put the pressure on to get rid of most of them leaving only Herrada and Kiselovski, who were also despatched with less than 10 kilometres to the summit finish for Martin to cross the line solo.

Behind the Irishman, Sky had ran out of steam and Katusha took control chasing Robert Gesink (Blanco) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) who had tried to escape on the stiff climb, Quintana to made a move to be joined by Rodriguez, they caught and passed Gesink and Van Den Broeck with 1k to go to finish 2nd and 3rd.

The crashed out Alejandro Valverde: “Now that my body has warmed down, the thing that hurts me the most is my hip. All my left side has damages, but since I crashed, apart from feeling a bit dizzy, that part was the one that I suffered the most from. We knew that it was a tricky descent, but we were at the front, pushing. Capecchi crashed and I couldn’t avoid hitting him. It was a pretty hard impact, even more for him, because I almost fell over him. It seems like I’m not a lucky man when it comes to my Volta appearances. It’s true that I was lucky enough to win it in 2009, but last year I also had to retire, and I really thought about it afterwards. I’m furious because I was feeling strong and had chances to win, but the important thing is that we have no injuries, plus our main goals are still really far away. Everything was going on track, but this is cycling. I’m sad about myself, but above all, about my team-mates, because they were sensational during all these days, and even though things had got a bit more complicated in the first kilometres, they were doing an excellent piece of work. At least, Nairo showed that he’s capable leading the team, and made it to the front again. It’s truly sad because we were making a strong duo, both feeling well, and today’s was the key stage.”

Nicolas Roche: “I was eager to push yesterday’s disappointment aside so I went out there focused on the stage win. On the top of the penultimate climb, the pack was only two minutes behind and I knew that wasn’t enough to last all the way. So I attacked on the descent and went full gas on the uphill finish. Daniel (Martin) was coming fast from behind and went right past me. He did a brave move there and surely deserved the win as well as the overall lead. Tomorrow, there’s another chance for us and we’ll do our best to hit the right breakaway.”

Lotto Belisol’s Jurgen Van den Broeck was 4th on the stage and is 10th overall: “The stage lent itself to attacking. I decided to join Gesink because I thought he would be the ideal companion. After Valverde had quit after his crash I was surprised that Sky and Katusha gave Martin such a big advantage. I attacked because I wanted to try to win the stage and wanted to improve my position in the GC. In every stage here in Catalunya I want to perform as good as I can. The time I lost on the first day I only have myself to blame for it, and I wanted to make up for that. That’s why I attacked yesterday, but the stage was less tough than I thought. The next stages are less hard, but in these stages there can still be modifications to the GC. I am definitely happy about today.”

Mario Aerts, Lotto Belisol sports director: “Today’s stage went very well for us. It was ideal that Jurgen Van de Walle was in the breakaway. Because of the nature of the course everyone arrived at the start of the final climb already pretty exhausted. That was good for Jurgen Van den Broeck, he decided to attack early. Jurgen did very well; only Rodriguez and Quintana passed him close to the finish. He proved he’s in very good shape, it’s a pity he almost lost halve a minute on the first day. The toughest stages are over, but we hope Jurgen can still move up in the classification.”

“I’m satisfied, considering that I battled against the top climbers and I’m still 5th in the overall classification,” Scarponi commented. “I felt good on the final climb and, since I still had energies, when Rodriguez attacked at 1500 meters to go, I followed him. I could pedal on his wheel for some hundreds of meters but, when he raised again the speed, I preferred not to exceed and so I reached the arrival with Wiggins. The 23 rider breakaway was dangerous, also because Movistar, who was controlling the race properly, stopped its action after Valverde crash.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 4 Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 6:02:40
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:36
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:47
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:51
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:02
7. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:08.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Overall After Stage 4:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 18:48:38
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:10
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:32
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:36
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:39
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:51
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:00
8. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:07
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:13
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:15.

Stage 4:

The 157 kilometre Stage 5 to Lleida came down to a bunch sprint won by the Canadian François Parisien of Argos-Shimano ahead of Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Stéphane Poulhiers of Cofidis. Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) broke away after around 50 kilometres, but were caught with 15 kilometres to go. The only excitement during the stage was at the intermediate sprint where overall leader; Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), got the better of second overall; Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) for 3rd place behind the two escapees for 1 second bonus. When the peloton entered Lleida with 5 kilometres to go, Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) went for it, but as soon as he was caught BMC’s Marcus Burghardt tried his luck also to no avail. Cannondale, Argos-Shimano and Cofidis were all trying to lead out their sprinter, but coming to the last, sharp, left hand bend with 300 metres to go, Stéphane Poulhiers (Cofidis) had the perfect position and looked to have the win. As the road straightened; Parisien jumped past the Cofidis rider, taking Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) with him, for his best ever win. Martin now leads Rodriguez by 14 seconds and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 42, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is dangerously close to the podium at 46 seconds, but then Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) is only 1 second behind the 2012 Tour de France winner.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 5 Result:
1. Francois Parisien (Can) Argos-Shimano in 3:32:02
2. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis
4. Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
5. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
6. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
10. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Overall After Stage 5:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 22:20:39
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:14
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:42
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:46
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:47
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:59
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:10
8. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:17
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:23
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:25.

Stage 5:

Simon Gerrans surprised as he shot out of the final corner ahead of the finish line to rocket past the sprinters for victory on Stage 6 of Volta a Catalunya. Taking his second win of the season, the 11th for ORICA-GreenEDGE, Gerrans was part of a 40-strong group that formed over the slopes of the second category Alt de Lilla.

“I’m really happy with the stage win,” said Gerrans. “It was a huge team effort today. Trav [Travis Meyer], Christian [Meier], Sam [Bewley] and Wes [Wesley Sulzberger] did a huge amount of work in the first couple of hours to cover the breakaway. They did a really fantastic job. After that, it was just a matter of Brett [Lancaster] and I taking care of our position ahead of the final.”

It took well over half the stage for a breakaway to slip up the road. The peloton finally allowed an eight rider escape group to build up a small advantage as the race approached the day’s first of two categorised climbs.

“The day unfolded pretty much according to plan although the race was a bit faster and harder than we had expected,” noted Gerrans. “The break didn’t establish until 100 kilometres, so it was super fast for the first two or three hours. The team was really good about covering moves until the break went away. They’re just about dead on their feet after such a big effort in the first half of the race.”
Lancaster helped Gerrans position himself on the approach to the second climb. The pace up the slopes of the Alt de Lilla splintered the peloton.

“The races split up the last climb,” explained Gerrans. “There was still a little breakaway just up the front. They had maybe 30” or so at this point. We rode quite fast from behind to bring that back.”

Inside the final five kilometres, the peloton had reeled in the break. Gerrans was alone in a select front group charging towards the finish. “In the build-up to the sprint, I positioned myself around the guys that I know are going quite well at the moment,” Gerrans said. “I was able to keep myself in a good place, and I came through that last left-hander in tenth wheel or so. I was far back, but I knew the guys in front of me were still lead out riders, so I had time to come around them.”

“I kicked quite hard out of the corner,” he continued. “This gave me the opportunity to move up and use my momentum to pop out in the last couple hundred metres. I had the legs to come from behind today. It’s fantastic to get another WorldTour stage win for the team.”

Gerrans wasn’t the only ORICA-GreenEDGE rider to make a podium appearance. Christian Meier snagged both the points leader jersey and the Tour de France 100 Sprint jersey on the first day of racing and has successfully defended both jerseys through today’s penultimate stage “Christian is the guy that you can always count on to help out the other riders,” said Gerrans. “He’s a hard worker, and his efforts are almost always for his team. I’m happy to see him get something for himself. It would be a big result for Christian to finish the race tomorrow in either one or both of those sprint jerseys.” Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) stretched his lead by 3 seconds on everyone by taking an intermediate sprint early in the stage.
Thanks to the Orica-GreenEdge team for the race info.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6 Result:
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 4:00:00
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
5. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
8. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Overall After Stage 6:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 26:16:22
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:17
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:45
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:54
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:55
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 1:07
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:18
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:26
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:28
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:30.

Stage 6 final:

The Final Stage 7 was no lap of honour for Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) as he had to contend with 8 laps of the Montjuic circuit after a ride down the coast from El Vendrell for a short, fast 122 kilometres. A group of 10 riders broke away before the circuit, but Katusha kept the speed high and the lead disintegrated and with 22 kilometres to go Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) with David Lopez (Sky) jumped from the peloton to pass what was left of the break, only Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) could keep with them. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Robert Kiserovski (RadioShack-Leopard) managed to get with them and they fought it out for the stage. Scarponi worked very hard with the leaders so he could jump over Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and into 3rd overall. Behind; Garmin-Sharp, Katusha and Blanco held the lead steady and were joined by Movistar to pull back Scarponi. Dan Martin’s lead was safe and the final was in the bag for the Girona based professional.

Christian Meier earned the points and TDF 100 sprint jerseys on the first stage of Volta a Catalunya. Following stage one, he shared his intent to hold onto them until the race finish in Barcelona. Mission accomplished. With the support of his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates, Meier heads home to Gerona having earned both jerseys. It is Meier’s second points jersey. His first came in 2009 at Vuelta Pais Vasco.
“I want to thank all of my teammates and the staff for supporting my goals with the jerseys throughout the week,” Meier said. “Chasing these types of jerseys isn’t always a priority for a team, but they showed faith in me to support my goal. All the guys were keen to help, and I really appreciate that.”

Meier earned the bulk of his points in both the points jersey and the TDF 100 jersey competition after spending stages one and two up the road. “When you look at the intermediate sprint jersey for a smaller race, it’s clear that it’s a jersey for the opportunists,” explained Meier. “The rider that’s willing to go up the road, usually more than once, is the guy that can take it.”

Although Meier had a secure advantage in both competitions following the first two days of racing, he remained attentive to both the intermediate sprints and TDF 100 sprints until the finish. “I still looked to get points wherever I could,” he explained. “The biggest thing was to keep an eye on the other guys that were close on points and make sure they didn’t get into a breakaway. I also took another one or two points out on the road that were leftover for the Tour sprints on days that only a small escape group was away.”

“For one of the Tour de France 100 sprints, Gerro [Simon Gerrans] led me out in the sprint,” continued Meier. “It’s not that often for me to get a role reversal like that. To have a rider like Gerro looking after my points shows the character of our team. Everyone is willing to do their part to help each other out.”

Meier was quick to emphasize that he is used to the helper role, and it’s one he relishes. “We all work for each other,” Meier said emphatically. “Some of us, it’s more of our job to do the working than the opportunity-taking. I’m more of a worker, and I really enjoy that job. To know at the end of the day that it’s appreciated and that the guy that I usually work for now wants to work for me, that’s something really special.”

Meier was thrilled to play an integral role in the team’s Catalunya campaign. “This was a highly successful week for the team,” said Meier. “At the beginning of the week, I said that if we could take a stage win, we could call the race a success. We obviously did that with Gerro yesterday. We put our mark on the race with the stage win. Brett [Lancaster] mixed it up in the sprints, and Travis [Meyer] had a great day today to finish eighth on the stage. The two jerseys are a big bonus.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 7 Result:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Final Overall Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 29:02:25
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:17
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:34
4. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:45
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:54
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 1:07
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:18
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:26
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:28
10. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:41.

Stage 7 on Montjuic:

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 2013
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) won Stage 2 on his own, 34 seconds ahead of Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli) and 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of his team mate; Damiano Cunego, he also took over the overall by 58 seconds from Rubiano. The hard climb of the La Ville Monte Tiffi whittled down the lead peloton down to 18 riders, and then on the final climb there were only 10 riders left to fight it out. Ulissi made his move and the race was split to pieces for the riders to finish in ones and twos.

Stage and overall leader Diego Ulissi: “I’m so satisfied I won such demanding stage and I’m very happy I could finally win, at the end of a period in which my shape was very good but I couldn’t win,” Ulissi explained. “The opposition teams made the race very tough, but Cunego, Pietropolli and me could manage the situation very well. Then, in the heated moments, I talked with Damiano and we decided to cooperate in attacking one after the other. Cunego’s attempt was good, but the other riders could complete the chase, then I performed my attack: I knew I had energy and so I could avoid the chase of the group. The classification situation is good for me and Damiano, but it will be important to recover energy and to pay attention in view of the next demanding stages.”

3rd on the stage and 3rd overall; Damiano Cunego’s words at the finish: “Lampre-Merida won and I could appreciate my increasing condition: that’s why I’m very happy today. During the race, I discussed with Ulissi and we decide to join our energies in order to hit the target. I attacked for first and I forced the opponents to make a huge effort to close the gap. Then it was Diego’s turn: his attack was very strong, no one could reply. I checked the situation among the chasers, waiting to rely eventually on my speed if someone could have brought our group to Ulissi’s wheel, but this did not happen. My performance was useful for the victory of my team mate, I’m sure I’ll get back the help when I’ll be racing in my main appointments, the Ardennes Classics.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 2 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:33:23
2. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:34
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:11
4. Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Adria Mobil
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Gourmetfein Simplon at 1:15
6. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat-Polkowice
7. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 1:16
9. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:20
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 1:38.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 2:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 7:08:55
2. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:58
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:17
4. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat-Polkowice at 1:40
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 1:42
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
7. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:46
8. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Gourmetfein Simplon at 1:52
9. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka at 2:06
10. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 2:12.

Stage 2:

The Lampre-Merida team carried on their domination of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali as Damiano Cunego won Stage 3 and Diego Ulissi maintained his overall lead. A ten-man group went off the front after 40 kilometres, with Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF), Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Polsat-Polkowice), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Klemen Stimulak (Adria Mobil), Chrisopher Jones & Keil Reijnen (Unitedhealthcare), Manuel Amaro & Filippo Savini (Flaminia-Fondriest) and August Jensen (Oster Hus-Ridley), after 30 kilometres Pirazzi left the break to lead by 2 minutes over the others and 4 to the bunch. As the race approached the climb of the Passo delle Centro Croci; Lampre-Merida started the chase to pull back the leaders. Up the road Pirazzi had been caught and passed by Felline before the top of the climb, who in turn was caught and dropped by Lucas Euser (Unitedhealthcare) who had come up from the bunch. The race hit the last ascent of the day; the Piane di Mocogno with Lampre pulling it all together with only 20 riders still in contention. After a few attacks on the climb Cunego won the sprint from Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia).

Cunego was very happy after the finish: “Very good legs, outstanding team mates, perfect bike: this is the secret of today victory. The team performed a very good race; I added my grind in the final kilometres. It was not so simple, since the opponents tried to attack Ulissi and me several times, but we managed the situation and so I could battle in the sprint. Santambrogio was a tough opponent, so the victory is even more valuable.”

“This morning, we left Zola Predosa with two goals: to defend my leader’s jersey and to win the stage thanks to Cunego. We got both,” Ulissi said. “We could do it thanks to the perfect performances by my team mates; Bono, Wackermann and Ferrari in the early part, Pietropolli and Malori in the final kilometres, they all gave Damiano and me the chance to be at the head of the race in the last moments. I tried to give my support to Cunego, meanwhile I was controlling Rubiano Chavez, but no dangerous situation occurred.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 3 Result:
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:10:18
2. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
3. Matej Mugerli (Slo) Adria Mobil
4. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp – Endura
6. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
7. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Gourmetfein Simplon
8. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Robinson Ed Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 3:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 11:19:13
2. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 0:58
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:07
4. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat-Polkowice at 1:40
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura at 1:42
6. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
7. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:46
8. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Gourmetfein Simplon at 1:52
9. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Esp) MTN-Qhubeka at 2:17
10. Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Adria Mobil at 2:49.

Stage 3:

Adriano Malori, Lampre-Merida team mate of overall leader; Diego Ulissi won the Stage 4 14.3 kilometre time trial in Crevalcore with a time of 16:14 beating Anton Vorobyev (Katusha) by 14 seconds and Moreno Moser (Cannondale) by 16. It was a good day all round for the Lampre-Merida team as Damiano Cunego moved into 2nd overall, jumping over Miguel Angel Rubiano (Andrioni Giocattoli).

“It’s never easy get to the victory when you’re the favourite, but today I was really willing to end a series of missed successes, some of them by only few seconds,” stage winner Adriano Malori explained. “Vorobyev, Under 23 time trial world champion, realized a very good performance, so I needed to be perfect: I started very well and I ended in an even better way. I thank also masseur Fabio Della Torre, who supported me using Tecartherapy in order to cure a sinusitis I had since Milano-Sanremo.”

MTN-Qhubeka’s Jaco Venter displayed pure power to finish fourth in the individual time trial. After official results were confirmed, Venter said, “I felt really good. I put it in a big gear and just checked my power the whole way and saw straight from the start that I’ve got good legs. Before the race started, I knew my best chance was the TT so I took it easy yesterday to save energy for today. I think it paid off.”

Sergio Pardilla put in a great ride to hold onto his ninth position on the general classification. One stage remains and the MTN-Qhubeka team will look to protect Pardilla’s position and put Kristian Sbaragli in contention for the stage win. “We will give it a real go for Kristian tomorrow as he is our best chance of a stage win,” Venter concluded.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 4 Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 16:14
2. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:14
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 0:16
4. Jacobus Venter (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:30
5. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:31
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:39
7. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:41
8. Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 0:42
9. Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana at 0:43
10. Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) Lokosphinx at 0:45.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 4:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 11:36:06
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:35
3. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 1:48
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 1:59
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Gourmetfein Simplon at 2:09
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 2:14
7. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 2:36
8. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat-Polkowice at 2:41
9. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka at 3:11
10. Fabio Taborre (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 3:19.

Great video of stage 4:

The weather played a small part in the last stage from Monticelli Terme to Fiorano Modenese (141,1 km) on Sunday causing the organisers to shorten the race to 125 kilometres. A break had formed early and Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso dropped the others for a solo win. There was no change in the overall with Diago Ulissi finishing 1 minute 35 seconds in front of Lampre-Merida team mate Damiano Cunego and 1:48 ahead of Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli). Cunego also took the points jersey.

This brings the Lampre-Merida victories for 2013 to seven, the same amount for the whole 2012. “My best compliments to all the 7 riders that raced for Team Lampre-Merida: Bono, Ferrari, Pietropolli, Wackermann and Malori gave their fundamental contribution to the double by Ulissi and Cunego in the overall classification,” sport director Maini pointed out. “The results for the team are outstanding and they’re important also considering the next appointments.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 5 Result:
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale in 3:00:13
2. Alessandro Mazzi (Ita) Utensilnord Ora24.eu at 0:13
3. Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) Lokosphinx at 1:28
4. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 1:33
5. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana at 1:37
6. Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:44
7. Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia at 2:29
8. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha at 2:32
9. Marco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 2:40
10. Simon Pavlin (Slo) Adria Mobil at 3:11.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Final Overall:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 14:15:12
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:35
3. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli at 1:48
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 1:59
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Team Gourmetfein Simplon at 2:09
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 2:14
7. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 2:36
8. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 2:41
9.Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN-Qhubeka at 3:11
10. Fabio Taborre (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 3:19.

The final stage:

Critérium International 2013
Stage 1 on Saturday morning finished in a sprint after the 89 kilometres from Porto to Vecchio on the island of Corsica in a sort of dress rehearsal for this year’s 10th Tour de France which will start on the French Island on June the 29th. Five riders escaped after 10 kilometres, they were: Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Romain Hardy (Cofidis), Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) and Antoine Lavieu (Le Pomme Marseille), they had a lead of over 3 minutes after 30 kilometres, but Argos-Shimano and Sky pulled them back to 1 minute 30 at the top of the only climb of the day, the Côte de Conca. The break was caught with only 3 kilometres to go and the bunch was set for a sprint where Theo Bos (Blanco) took the honours ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Jonathan Cantwell of Saxo-Tinkoff.

Critérium International Stage 1 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Team Blanco in 2:02:37
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
7. Kévin Reza (Fra) Euskaltel Euskadi
8. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Lampre-Merida
9. Fabien Schmidt (Fra) Sojasun
10. Justin Jules (Fra) Lampre-Merida.

Critérium International Overall After Stage 1:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco in 2:02:37
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ at 0:02
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:03
4. Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:04
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun at 0:05
7. Kévin Reza (Fra) Euskaltel Euskadi at 0:06
8. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Lampre-Merida
9. Fabien Schmidt (Fra) Sojasun
10. Justin Jules (Fra) Lampre-Merida.

Stage 1 report:

The Stage 2 time trial of 7 kilometres was won by Sky’s Richie Porte with a time of 9 minutes and 10 seconds, which was good enough to beat Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) by 1 second and his team mate; Christopher Froome by 2 seconds and take the overall lead going into Sunday’s mountainous last stage of 176 kilometres. Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) was 71st at 44 seconds just ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) in 74th at 45 seconds. Big loser was the stage 1 winner; Theo Bos (Blanco) who finished last but one at 1:31.

Richie Porte, Team Sky Rider: “It was quite a technical route this afternoon, and not my sort of a course, but I’ve done a lot of work […] on my time trial position, and that’s definitely paid dividends. We’re in a good position with me in the lead and Froomey sitting just a few seconds back. It’s going to be quite tight tomorrow because there’s a lot of good riders close to us.”

“We came in with Froomey as our leader and he’s a great friend, so if he’s got good legs tomorrow and I don’t then I’ll be more than happy to ride for him. Obviously, I’d like to finish the job off if I can, but as long as Team Sky win tomorrow it’ll be a great day and we’ll all be happy. Right now I just want to enjoy the moment, and the fact that I have one more lion to add to the collection (laughs). I’m really happy on this team and in a really good place. There won’t be much celebrating tonight because we’re all focused on tomorrow. We’ve got a great team here to defend and that’s what we’ll aim to do.”

BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen clocked the third-best time in the Stage 2 individual time trial Saturday at Critérium International and sits third overall and wearing the best young rider jersey heading into Sunday’s final stage.

Van Garderen was one second off the winning time of 9:10 by Richie Porte (Sky Procycling) and tied on time with runner-up Manuele Boaro (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) on the technical, 7.0-kilometer course. Saturday morning’s opening stage of the two-day race was won by Theo Bos (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). Sunday’s 176.0 km final stage features six categorized climbs, including a mountain-top finish that van Garderen said should favor him. “We go into tomorrow trying to figure out a way to win this race,” he said. “I’ve studied the last climb a little bit and we saw the first part of it in training the other day. It looks like a nice climb, steady, and not too steep. It looks like it suits me pretty well. I’m going to try to do what I can.” Defending champion Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team finished 74th in the time trial, 45 seconds off the winning time. “Cadel is a big champion, so he will have good motivation to help Tejay and the team tomorrow,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said.

Critérium International Stage 2 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 9:10
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:01
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:02
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:07
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard
8. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Leopard at 0:09
9. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis at 0:11
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco.

Critérium International Overall After Stage 2:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 2:11:53
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:01
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:02
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:07
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack-Leopard
8. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Leopard at 0:09
9. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis at 0:11
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco.

Overall leader Richie Porte had to give best to his Sky team (leader) mate Christopher Froome who attacked the leading group on the last climb of the day in the Final Stage, the Col de l’Ospedale, to pass and drop a break away on his way to winning both stage and overall. Porte came in 30 seconds later with Bauke Mollema (Blanco) in 3rd at 45 seconds.

BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen placed third overall at Critérium International and won best young rider honors after finishing fifth in the final rainy, mountainous stage Sunday.

Van Garderen’s performance added to his runner-up finish at the Tour de San Luis in January and fourth place earlier this month at Paris-Nice. “I wouldn’t say I had any real objectives coming into this race,” van Garderen said. “It would have been nice to get a stage win – maybe in the time trial – but I’m happy.” Van Garderen received good support from several teammates on the final climb – including Mathias Frank, who was in a three-man breakaway – but was unable to match several attacks in the last kilometers of the 176 km race. The first, by IAM Cycling’s Johann Tschopp, was followed by Chris Froome, who soloed to the stage win and the overall win. Froome’s Sky Procycling teammate, Richie Porte, who won the time trial, countered with an attack of his own to place second on the stage and second overall. Van Garderen wound up 54 seconds behind in the overall standings. “Sky is obviously very strong and we are obviously going to have to step our game up if we’re going to be competitive with them,” van Garderen said.

Chris Froome (Sky): “The stage panned out more or less how we expected. The plan was to control the race throughout the day. It was a huge job and we really put pressure on the other teams.

“Richie and I didn’t have to make any big efforts until right at the end there. The team did that work for us and all we had to do was finish it off.

“I didn’t really intend to attack on the climb, but when the gap widened between myself and Richie, I felt I could go on, so I went for it.”

“It was that quick thinking between us which brought about the victory and we couldn’t ask for any more than a one-two on the stage and GC.”

Richie Porte (Sky): “Tactically we were spot on today. The team were absolutely incredible and it’s just a shame you don’t get to see all the work guys like Joe [Dombrowski], Jon [Tiernan-Locke], Xabi [Zandio], Kosta [Siutsou] and Vasil [Kiryienka] do to get us to that point where Froomey and I can attack at the end.

“Froomey set a hard tempo after Kiryienka’s mammoth turn and I thought I’d let a small gap go to see what happened, and that was the last we saw of Froomey, he was gone (laughs).

“It wasn’t planned but it worked out perfectly. We ride together every day so we know each other so well, and when he went nobody reacted so he had to continue.

“As I said yesterday, the only important thing was that Team Sky won today. It’s always special to get a one-two on the podium, especially given the strength of the field we had here, and we’re super happy.”

Critérium International Stage 3 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 4:43:38
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:30
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:45
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:53
7. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:57
8. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:07
9. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ at 1:08
10. Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale.

Critérium International Overall Final Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 6:55:23
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:32
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:54
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 1:00
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:08
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:33
8. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ at 1:37
9. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:43
10. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:05.

The final stage 3:

Tour de Normandie 2013
Silvan Dillier earned the BMC Development Team’s first victory by winning the overall classification Sunday at the Tour de Normandie.

Crucial Teamwork Played A Part
Dillier took a three-second win over Alexandre Blain (Team Raleigh), whom he overtook for the lead after Friday’s stage of the seven-day French race. Blain made it close on the final, 137-kilometer stage by winning a three-second intermediate time bonus sprint, but Dillier earned one second himself by placing third. Tino Thömel (Team NSP-Ghost) won the last stage as Dillier placed 15th. Dylan Van Baarle (Rabobank Development Team) finished third overall, at eight seconds. “This is the greatest victory I have had so far for sure,” Dillier said. “It is also an overall victory and I have never won a stage race before, so this is really special. I am really happy. The team did a great job for me. They protected me the whole day. It was a really great job they did all week.”

First Objective Accomplished
Dillier, 22, also won the best young rider classification of the UCI 2.2 race. His young career already includes Swiss Under 23 national titles in the time trial (2010 and 2012), one on the road (2009) and Under 23 European track championship titles in the pursuit and the madison (both in 2012). Teammates helping Dillier earn the BMC Development Team’s historic first win were: T.J. Eisenhart (USA), Stefan Küng (SUI), Igniazio Moser (ITA), Jakub Novak (CZE) and Loïc Vliegen (BEL). BMC Development Team Manager Rik Verbrugghe said it would be hard to imagine a more perfect start to the season. “The team was really strong all week and rode perfectly,” he said. “This is the first year of our program, this was our first stage race, it was our first goal of the season and we came back with a victory. So it’s amazing.”
Thanks to Sean at BMC for the info.

Tour de Normandie Final Overall Result:
1. Silvan Dillier (Sui) BMC in 23:15:43
2. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Raleigh at 0:03
3. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Rabobank Development at 0:08
4. Fabio Silvestre (Por) Leopard-Trek at 0:25
5. Fredrik Ludvigsson (Swe) People4you-Unaas at 0:32
6. Jesper Hansen (Den) Cult Energy at 0:35
7. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar at 0:42
8. Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:43
9. Michael Olsson (Swe) People4you-Unaas at 0:49
10. Thomas Scully (Nzl) Raleigh.

The BMC boy’s in Normandie:

Eddy Merckx has Pacemaker Fitted
The greatest cyclist ever, Eddy Merckx, underwent surgery last Friday in Gent to have a heart pacemaker fitted due to cardiac arrhythmia. The 67 year-old Belgian super-champion will have to rest for ten days, but is expected to be back to normal soon.

Eddy Merckx and Stuart O’Grady share nutrition stories:

2013 Tour of Britain Route
The tenth Tour of Britain has a few new aspects for 2013, they include a woman’s race in London before the final stage, a 16 kilometre time trial and a 6 kilometre summit finish in Dartmoor. At the route launch last Thursday, race director Mick Bennett explained the route of the eight stage race beginning on the 15th of September in Peebles, ending in London on the 22nd, just over 1000 kilometres later. More details to follow.

2013 Tour of Britain Stages:
Stage 1: Sunday 15th September – Peebles – Drumlanrig Castle 201km.
Stage 2: Monday 16th September – Carlisle – Kendal 225km.
Stage 3: Tuesday 17th September – Knowsley Individual Time Trial 16km.
Stage 4: Wednesday 18th September – Stoke-on-Trent – Llanberis, Wales 190.9km.
Stage 5: Thursday 19th September – Machynlleth – Caerphilly 177.1km.
Stage 6: Friday 20th September – Sidmouth – Haytor 137km.
Stage 7: Saturday 21st September – Epsom – Guildford 150.4km.
Stage 8: Sunday 22nd September – London circuit 88km.

The Tour of Britain route announcement by MaxCyclingTV:

Ciolek returns to racing at Driedaagse De Panne
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will race VDK-Driedaagse De Panne – Koksijde from 26 – 28 March. The race is a three day, four stage event and Africa’s first ever UCI Professional Continental team will again be lead by Gerald Ciolek. The race will be the German’s first since his Milan Sanremo victory.

“I have been back on the bike since Wednesday so I only took two days off after Milan Sanremo,” Ciolek said.
“I recovered pretty quickly I’d say. I must admit that I didn’t celebrate that much either, so I had two relaxing days with my family and friends. Also, I had some really interesting interviews and press meetings.”

Asked if the victory in one of cycling’s Monuments means he will be taking it easy now, he replied, “As always, I try to be in the best possible shape for De Panne. Of course, a victory like MSR provides you with a certain degree of confidence, but then again I know that we should go to the races with the same attitude as before, and don’t put too much pressure on the team. At the same time, of course I am not going to sit back in the race,” he said with a smile.
The race features three road stages of 199km, 208km and 109km then will end with an individual time trial over 14,75km.
Thanks to the MTN-Qhubeka team for the info.

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne – Koksijde (Belgium) – (March 26-28/2.HC): Andreas Stauff (GER), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Martin Reimer (GER), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Youcef Reguigui (ALG), Jani Tewelde (ERI)
Jens Zemke (Directeur Sportif).

Gerald Ciolek wins Sanremo, in case you missed it:

Cycling Stars Join City’s Charity Fundraisers at Trois Etapes 2013 Launch
– Trois Etapes 2013 cycling Pro-Am has already raised $600k for charity, last year’s event raised $1.7 million.
– Launch attended by Olympic Gold medallist Ed Clancy MBE, Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and a host of senior figures from the financial sector.
– Plans to launch ‘Giro’ version of the event in 2014 announced.

Press Release: Sports stars joined forces with leading city figures last night [Tuesday 19th March] to pledge their support for the Trois Etapes 2013 cycling Pro-Am race, held 26-29th July in the French Alps.

The launch for the 2013 edition of the unique cycling event was held at global law firm, Reed Smith LLP’s, London headquarters on the 33rd floor of Broadgate Tower. It was attended by over 150 supporters from the world of sport, media, business and finance.

The Trois Etapes provides a fundraising platform for 15 charity teams and last year raised $1.7 million for their charity partners making it the largest pro-am charity cycling event of its kind and one of the largest in sport.

The event is designed to give riders the chance to experience team cycling under race conditions, with the full support that a pro cyclist would have in a race like the Tour de France; it includes a flat Prologue and three mountain stages. The event is designed to incentivise tactical team riding. Each team of 8 riders (7 amateurs and 1 pro) has its own team car and Directeur Sportif. Every rider has a radio link with their team car and the Race Director.

Organisers of the event, Cosaveli, not only officially launched the 2013 edition of the event, but also revealed plans for a 2014 version in Italy, and an expanded 2014 version of the event in the France.

Attendees from sport and media included double Olympic Gold medallist Ed Clancy MBE, former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and TV’s Zoe Hardman.

“I feel happy to be back for the second year, for me it’s beautiful to be here again and this is a magnificent place to be. Last year was fantastic and I think it’s a great event,” said Carlos Sastre.

He continued: “It’s a huge motivation to ride, a lot of money being raised for charity which is even more motivation for me. That’s money for the projects and it means a lot for those that really need it.”

“It’s incredible the difference in the awareness of cycling in this country,” explained Ed Clancy MBE. “It’s gone from strength to strength in the past few years and that’s down to the Olympics and riders like Bradley Wiggins. Cycling is booming and it’s great to see things like this really taking off too.”

Speaking from the 33rd Floor of the Broadgate Tower, he continued: “This is perhaps the nicest building I’ve ever been in; it’s certainly the nicest lift I’ve been in to get here. I think it just shows that cycling is popular with everyone at the moment, from all areas of life, and the fact that the people here are willing to put a bit back is cracking.”

The 2013 event will be televised by Channel 4 and British Eurosport.

For more information on the Trois Etapes, please visit: https://www.troisetapes.org.

Marianne Vos tests Toscana 2013 courses
The Dutch champion has just made her inspections on the Team Time Trial and the Fiesole circuit

Great sports champions usually become legends at the end of their career, when after many years of enterprises, people can look at the footprints they have left behind themselves. This is not the case of Marianne Vos, that next 13th May will turn 26 years; in fact she has already written indelible pages of the history of women’s cycling.

The Dutch champion, born in Wijken Aalburg (Netherlands) is now in Tuscany for training with her Rabo Woman Cycling Team. She has recently tried the UCI Road World Championships Toscana2013 courses: the Team Time Trial and the Fiesole circuit.

From Pistoia, where the Team Time Trial starts on Sunday 22nd September, she has ridden the 37,93 km leading to Mandela Forum in Florence, where she has inspected the final circuit of Fiesole, where there will probably be the women elite race on Saturaday 28th September.
“The final circuit of Fiesole is quite challenging – says the reigning female world champion – the first part, the Fiesole climb is linear and can be covered with ease, while especially the sprint of Salviati Street presents steep slopes, that I think will make the difference. All in all on the whole final circuit there aren’t many areas of recovery and it will be important to succeed in rationing out the energies in the best way ,in order to remain alert during the most crucial moment.”

Also the Rabo Woman Cycling Team Sports Director Koos Moerenhout has inspected the courses in the morning, and this is his analysis: “It’s the toughest Road Race of recent years and will select a lot. The Team Time Trial is also very fashinating even though free of danger from the point of view of the elevation. There are long straights that will allow the athletes to express thier maximum capacity.”

Marianne Vos started showing surprising athletic talents when she was a child and used to follow her brother, who was a cyclist, during his training. She used to practice roller-blading and speed-skating too, but she had to quit these activities at the age of 14 in order to dedicate herself completely to cycling. Vox is remarkably versatile. Class, willpower and perseverance are the main characteristics that allowed her to excel in road cycling: track race and cyclocross. A complete athlete, capable of breaking down record after record: in 2008 she won the gold medal in the points race at the Olympic Games in Beijing and in London in 2012 she put around her neck another gold medal, this time for the road race. In cyclocross she hasn’t got rivals: so far she has won 6 times (in 2006, 2009, 2013) and wore the rainbow jersey for the road race in 2006 and in 2012 in Valkenburg. She graduated World Champion also in Road Race in 2008 in Manchester and in 2011 in Apeldoom (Netherlands).
Thanks to the 2013 Toscana World championships organisers.

Marianne Vos in Toscana:

Chain Reaction Cycles back cyclist James Golding for World Record rides
Press Release: Chain Reaction Cycles has announced that they will support charity-fundraising sensation James Golding on his World Record attempts in 2013 and 2014.

James Golding has previously cycled across America, completing 3,473 miles in 24 days. His next challenge is to attempt to break the 7-day cycling world record of 1546.8 miles to raise funds for charity and become the first official person to break this record since 1940. He will head to Australia to do so.

Golding, 32, has amazed both the cycling community and medical professionals. In 2008, doctors found an 11.5cm cancer tumour wedged between his spine, kidney and bowel; he developed septicaemia and peritonitis and was given less than 5% chance of survival by doctors.

He dropped from 14st to 6st in weight, and after coming out of a coma, he defied the odds and embarked on an incredible and inspirational journey. It started with learning how to walk again.

In 2010, he set off to ride from LA to Miami to raise money for the people that helped him and his family during his time. On day 22, he was hit by a truck just outside New Orleans, which put him back in hospital. Not being one to give up, after he recovered he returned in 2011 and started again from the beginning, this time completing the 3,473-mile journey in 24 days.

In 2011, his cancer returned. But after more surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he was given the all clear by doctors.

Golding will use the support from Chain Reaction Cycles to attempt the 7-day World Record, the furthest distance cycled in a 7-day period; using the event as platform leading to 2014 where he plans to break the Round the World Cycling Record, currently set at 105 days.

He will raise funds for the Right To Play charity, whose vision is to create a healthy and safe world through the power of sport and play.

The agreement with ChainReactionCycles.com will mean Golding has access to the best support and the most comprehensive array of products available.

James Golding said: “Through my life I have been lucky enough to have some great people around me, supporting me to reach my ambitious goals. The support from Chain Reaction Cycles means that I can focus on raising money, raising awareness and showing people that there is so much you can do in life.”

Damien Duggan, Marketing Manager of Chain Reaction Cycles, said: “We’re delighted to support James in his efforts to raise awareness for these charities. It’s a fantastic cause and a huge challenge as he completes these two World record attempts. CRC are pleased to be a part of this project supporting James One Step at a time.”

For more information on James Golding, please visit: https://www.jamesgolding.org. For more information on Chain Reaction Cycles, please visit: www.chainreactioncycles.com.

Eurosport G4 Clothing
You have all probably seen the Eurosport journalists and ex-rider consultants like: Sean Kelly and Richard Virenque wearing the G4 brand of casual clothing at the Tour and other events on TV. Now you can buy it for yourselves. This year the G4 brand has designed a special Tour de France 100th year Anniversary range for the Eurosport staff as well as Grand Fondo, MTB and Ironman events. G4 is the cycling and casual clothing brand of French professional rider Geoffroy Lequatre. You can find more information on the G4 web-site here.

Geoffroy Lequatre at the end of 2011 before joining Bretagne-Schuller for 2012:

Giro d’Italia: A World First – The Montasio Twitter Stage
Press Release: For the first time in history, the Giro d’Italia will give fans of all nationalities the chance to have a Twitter message written on the road of a key mountain pass of the Corsa Rosa.

The race dedicates the 10th stage of Cordenons to Altopiano del Montasio, which takes place on Tuesday 14th May, to messages posted on the Twitter social network that are dedicated to the Giro.

The chosen “canvas” for the messages is one of the new uphill finishes of the 2013
edition: the climb to Altopiano del Montasio which has never been featured before. This will leave a reminder of the passing of the Giro, linking the great race to this climb and standing as a permanent monument to the Corsa Rosa.

In total, 200 tweets in either Italian or English will be chosen. In collaboration with the
Stage Committee, the Alpine Association and the Civil Protection, they will be written on the final two kilometres of the Montasio climb.

To be eligible for selection, the tweet must be posted between 21st March and 1st April and contain the hashtag #montasiostage.

In addition to the fans, the teams racing the 2013 Giro are also involved in the project: each one will submit a tweet for the climb.

One of the tweets will be reserved for the region that is hosting the project, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They will collect messages dedicated to the Giro using the Twitter profile @FVGlive

A trail of messages, written in pink paint, will remain forever etched on this climb as a
legacy of the Giro d’Italia 2013.

Great old Giro d’Italia retro from stage 17 in the 1949 race:

Sagan can do a Wheelie, but…
OK, so Peter Sagan can win Gent-Wevelgem and do a wheelie, but can he do it as long as the King of Wheelies; Ian Chant of Cycleution in Summerset, England did recently in Spain?

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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