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EuroTrash Nairo Thursday!

Nairo Quintana is the first Colombian to win Tirreno-Adriatico and he’s put himself in the driving seat with the other Grand Tour hopefuls. In EuroTrash Thursday we round up the action from Tirreno, the Nokere Koerse and look ahead to Sanremo, plus the Wiggins transfer, Tour’s of Britain and Yorkshire and a look back at Paris-Nice. Café au lait?

TOP STORY: Special Dispensation for Wiggins?
Since publishing the story of Bradley Wiggins being allowed to move from Sky to his Wiggins team outside of the permitted transfer window, we have received comments from readers drawing similarities between the Wiggins case and Lance Armstrong being allowed to ride the Tour Down Under. In a way the cases are similar in that Armstrong’s attendance in Australia helped the race and cancer charities. In the case of Wiggins; he will ride the inaugural Tour of Yorkshire which should bring out the fans. But there is one big difference; Wiggins has been part of the biological passport system for many years now, as part of a WorldTour team, and is moving down to Continental level. In the case of Armstrong he was coming from being a retired rider without a biological passport to WorldTour level and had not been in the passport system long enough.

Yes, the rules have been bent, but it looks like there is nothing sinister going on. I hope that’s a bit clearer?

Yorkshire weather in Italy!
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header-tirreno15-leftTirreno-Adriatico 2015
Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 was won by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) for his first win of the season. Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) was second and Belgian road champion Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) was third. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) held onto his overall lead of 39 second over Bauke Mollema (Trek) with the final time trail to come.

The early break of Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) and Alessandro Vanotti (Astana) attacked in the first 20 kilometers, but were pulled back for Vanotti to try again with Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) in the last 40 kilometers, but Tinkoff-Saxo and Lotto Soudal pulled the race together in the last 5 kilometers for the sprint.

MTN-Qhubeka took control of the lead-out work for Gerald Ciolek with Matt Goss and Edvald Boasson Hagen, but Sagan was glued to the German wheel until the final 100 meters where he shot past at full speed for the much wanted first win of the season.

Stage winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I’m extremely happy and I would like to thank the entire Tinkoff-Saxo team because today they did a great job. They all helped me, including Alberto Contador who in the last two climbs pulled as hard as he could to break the group. We managed to drop a number of sprinters and pulled for the last 80km of the race until the finish. I’m very happy to have won such a tough stage. It’s a great victory for both the team and myself. Today’s stage couldn’t have gone better.”

2nd on stage 6 Gerald Ciolek (IAM Cycling): “It was a long, rainy and cold day. I was feeling good, even on the climbs. The team worked great throughout the whole stage and then did a world class lead-out in the finale. Sagan just had the better kick in the end. I am really happy to see the whole team going well and working so well together.”

Overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “It was a hard day, in a different way to what we saw yesterday, but demanding all the same. There were those attempts into the climb by Alberto and his team, wanting to test us and see if any time gaps could be created, but our team stayed mostly compact, the bunch didn’t really break up much and we got over the day well. I felt well over today’s course and tomorrow’s TT, should everything go as I plan, without any incidents, it shouldn’t be extremely hard for me to defend this jersey. It’s not a bad TT course for me, either, not a long one at all, and the wear and tear from the last two days wasn’t only for me, but for everyone. I think I’m in good condition and I’ll give my very best tomorrow for the overall.”

KOM leader Carlos Julian Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes): “It was another tough stage, with rain from the start until the finish. Tinkoff-Saxo wanted to make the race hard, so that Sagan would arrive at the end in the best possible conditions. Personally, I was very nervous, because you always fear that something unexpected can occur and you can crash, thus wasting the effort made by the team. Actually, when the peloton split on the climb, I managed to stay within the top-15, and even if Wyss had tried something, I would have been ready and able to respond. This result was important for us, and the team worked all day long to make sure the riders in the break poses no threat. I’m very happy to bring such joy to the group and our supporters. Now there’s only one step left to be made.”

Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling): “In spite of all my best efforts, I was not able to deal with the cold in the final circuit. It was raining from the start of the stage, and when we crossed the summit of the first climb, the thermometer had dipped to just 5 degrees. I fought hard so that I wouldn’t lose out because of the cold, but it was just impossible. I changed my gloves three times. Then I changed my rain jacket. I ate more than usual to try and keep some heat in my body and also forced myself to drink tea on the road. But none of this was enough. And in the end, I couldn’t even feel my hands on the brakes. That’s when it was becoming dangerous. And despite the fact I couldn’t really feel any other part of my body because of the cold, I could still feel the pain in my knee from my crash on Saturday. Now I’ll go home and repair my body and prepare as well as possible for my next race in Corsica.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo in 5:04:13
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
3. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
9. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin
10. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 6:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 24:58:58
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek at 0:39
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:48
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:57
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:03
6. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:04
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:06
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 1:07
9. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:12
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 1:13.

Stage 6:

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) won the Final Stage 7 and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) fought off Bauke Mollema (Trek) for the overall win with an 18 second advantage.

Fabian Cancellara beat prologue winner Adriano Malori (Movistar) by 4 seconds in a speed of over 52kph fro the 10 kilometer test against the clock along the seafront in San Benedetto del Tronto for his third win on this course. Third was Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) at 9 seconds. Cancellara and Malori fought head to head with Malori having a 1 second advantage at the intermediate time check, but on the return section the Swiss champion lifted his speed for the 4 second win.

Overall leader Nairo Quintana finished 55 seconds down on Cancellara, but he did have 39 seconds to play with over Bauke Mollema. The Colombian lost 20 seconds to the Dutchman, but it was enough to keep his blue leaders jersey for the final win. Third was Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step) at 31 seconds, but Uran was closely followed by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and only held him off by 4 seconds in the overall with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) a further 4 seconds back. 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished 16th overall at 2 minutes, but has confirmed he will ride Milan-Sanremo on Sunday.

Points leader and stage 6 winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the slowest rider of the day, with a time of 14:24, nearly 3 minutes down on Cancellara. He did manage to finish within the time limit and held onto his points red jersey.

Overall winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I couldn’t take things easy because it was a pretty demanding time trial, a bit longer to last year’s and harder. The rivals had a bigger advantage over me in that terrain and I had to go on full steam; fortunately, things went ‘normal’, as good as I needed to keep the jersey, and I’m really happy. This victory was also needed for my morale: after the crash in the Vuelta a España, I had spent a long period without living a moment of joy like today’s, one for which you prepare yourself and spend so much time working hard. Fortunately, we didn’t suffer any incidents nor mechanicals this week, and the whole team performed at an impressive level, really strong. Fran [Ventoso] was a bit ill and feverish, but despite not having his best form, he always helped us out, did really well – and the rest were incredible, did their work really, really well. And not only my team-mates, but the whole group: the sports directors, carers, mechanics… they are always taking care of me, helping me out, and this victory is dedicated to them and my family. Now, I’ll take some days of rest before the cobbled classics next week and then, País Vasco.”

Stage winner Fabian Cancellara (Trek): “I am happy with the performance, for sure. I had the feeling that I was going fast to the first split time, because it was slightly down, and the way back is false flat up and with the speed bumps…I knew it was harder coming back. On way out it was easier to push the big gears, and on the way back you had to push more. I got pushed from the car that I had to go over 60km/h [at the end] to get what I should. In the prologue I made some mistakes, and I was determined not to repeat that today. The biggest mistake was to come out of the aero position too early [in the prologue] and I kept that in mind today. I gave all-in today and I am really happy and satisfied to have another victory in the pocket, but more so for the larger and bigger picture on the weekend, and the next few weekends after. I can say my last day of being 33 has been a good omen to going into 34! I also did not make everything today that I usually do before a TT. I slept one half hour after lunch and only 25 minutes on the bike cruising around after I woke up this morning. Then a few minutes on the rollers and a few efforts for warm up, and then go on. I really tried to not do too much before hand because the body is weak and fatigued from the week – the effort to bring Bauke back in the rain and cold yesterday, and we did 850k in 4 days and that is actually a lot. I knew with experience that less is better and 100% in the race.”

2nd overall Bauke Mollema (Trek): “I am tired, I didn’t feel like I was going really well, but maybe that’s the feeling you need. A flat TT like this is hard for me, but I am really happy that I kept second place. I didn’t expect to be so close to Quintana, only 18 seconds in GC and that’s really good; I am really satisfied with my level. The first part went really will, the wind was still, and I heard that at 2kms I was almost at the same time as Fabian so that gave me a lot of morale to push even harder. When I heard I was four seconds faster than Uran at the intermediate split that was a good feeling, of course. I knew then I had a difference of 12 seconds on Uran to lose in the second part, and I knew I was not going to lose so much because I kept some energy for the way back. We started working on my time trial in December and I am really happy with my position on the bike now, and with the bike itself. It gives me motivation to train harder and make another step this year, because you can see that if you do a good time trial you can really fight for the podium and fight for victories in the biggest races. Now I want to continue this in the other stage races, too.”

3rd overall Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step) at 0:31 seconds: “It was a beautiful week with the team, I think considering everything we did a good job. Tirreno-Adriatico this year was hard because of the parcours, but also weather conditions. Finishing 3rd overall at this race is something I am happy about, as Tirreno-Adriatico was the first goal of my season, the first race where I needed to be in good shape and among the protagonists. I accomplished my first goal. I’m on the podium, so I’m satisfied. I’m especially happy when comparing this result to last year when I was suffering with stomach problems and I couldn’t really show myself. I’ve taken the first step of the season. Concerning today, I didn’t perform as expected, probably also because of the fatigue of the last days. But I tried to defend myself, I gave my all in the final ITT, and I preserved my 3rd place. Even if I have to say this morning I kept an eye for maybe moving up to 2nd, during the race, when you feel you cannot go full gas, you have to reconsider your priorities and be happy with what you have. Mollema also had a strong TT today and he deserves to finish on the 2nd step of the GC podium. I want to thank my teammates for the big support I had this week. The guys were super and helped me in all the key moments. I want to thank them and dedicate this podium placing to them. Now I will go to Catalunya with a goal to do well there like I did here. For my second step in anticipation of the Giro d’Italia I pass through Catalunya, and then Tour de Romandie before the big race. I am looking forward to the next appointments to improve my condition over these upcoming few weeks.”

KOM Carlos Julian Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes): “After yesterday’s tension, today was a way quieter day. Today, I had more time to enjoy the people smiling at me, congratulating or calling my name, and the words of so many people from the cycling world. Taking home a jersey from an international event like Tirreno-Adriatico, with such prestigious opponents, is something really big. To me, it is a reward for all the work done, all the training hours, all the sacrifices a professional athlete has to make: now, more than ever, I am sure it is really worth it. My special thanks go to my whole team, riders, sports director and staff, who backed me up at their best during my whole adventure. After this display, we are waiting with greater confidence the news on Vuelta a España’s wild cards, but more important tests are waiting for us already this week, with Sunday’s Milan-Sanremo and the Volta a Catalunya starting on Monday.”

5th on the stage Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I finished off well today with a fifth place, which is a good result for me, since I’m normally better in time trials a bit longer than we had today. Overall, I feel that I’ve worked well for the team this week at Tirreno-Adriatico. I feel confident about my current shape and it will be exciting to start looking ahead to the next important races, such as the Classics. I have seen some good teamwork and I’m also confident that the team will perform well in the next races.”

28th at 42 seconds Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling): “I definitely felt the efforts of the cold during this time trial. These last two days I really had to force myself to finish. And then today, I did not have the legs to have a successful ride. My muscles were heavy, but it was necessary to push the pedals very hard. With long straights and two or three curves, it was important to develop maximum power in order to hope for a win or even a podium.” The former hour record holder, though, was not wasting his time in Italy. “This race was important to help me get fit in time for the upcoming classics, which are among my primary objectives for this season. I’ve had very good feelings, and I will continue my preparation knowing that I am on time.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek in 11:23
2. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar at 0:04
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky at 0:09
4. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar at 0:12
5. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:16
6. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:17
8. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:23
9. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar at 0:25
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:26.

Tirreno-Adriatico Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 25:11:16
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek at 0:18
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:31
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:35
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:39
6. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:56
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:59
9. Adam Yates (GB) Orica GreenEDGE at 1:09
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:11.

The final TT:

header-nokerekoerse15Nokere Koerse Danilith Classic 2015
In Last year’s edition of Nokere Koerse was won by Lotto Belisol’s Kenny Dehaes. On Wednesday, Lotto Soudal’s Kris Boeckmans won the 70th edition. He sprinted rather easily to his third victory of the season.

It race lasted two hours before there was a breakaway. It consisted of five Belgians: Alphonse Vermote (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), Jonas Rickaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), David Boucher (FDJ.fr), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), and Dieter Bouvry (Roubaix Lille Metropole). The escapees had a maximum gap of five minutes. They didn’t stand a chance against the chasing peloton. The breakaway got caught in the eight local laps. Then a new attempt of four riders: Dylan Teuns (BMC), Stef Van Zummeren (Verandas Willems), Rick Ottema (Colba-Superano Ham) and Vergard Stake Laengen (Team Joker) tried to form a breakaway, but couldn’t prevent a bunch sprint. With very strong preparation work from the Lotto Soudal team was finished perfectly by leading man Kris Boeckmans. Justin Jules (Veranclassic-Ekoi) and Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18) finished second and third at several yards.

Race winner Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal): “As a WorldTour team it was our plan to take control of the race and strive for the victory. We kept control during the race and the team kept me in the front of the peloton. Tiesj Benoot and Kenny Dehaes rode a perfect lead out in the final kilometer. Thanks to them I could win my third one of the season. This win is good for my confidence. I hope to keep this shape until Sunday and be good in La Primavera. The days before the race my role in the team will become clear. But I will be satisfied if I can I ride on the same level like to today.”

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Mads Pedersen: “I broke my bike during the race close to the finish so I spent en entire lap bridging the gap to the front and when I finally made it back up to the tail of the peloton, the bunch exploded and I had to spent another lap bridging to the front group. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the way it was. I’m feeling strong and this really gives me an appetite for more so I’m looking forward to the races this weekend, says Pedersen.

Nokere Koerse Danilith Classic Result:
1. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:26:50
2. Justin Jules (Fra) Veranclassic-Ekoi
3. Scott Thwaites (GB) Bora-Argon 18
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
5. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
6. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
7. Barry Markus (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Remco Te Brake (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel
10. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step.

The final kilometers of the Nokere Koerse:

header-sanremo15-leftMilan-Sanremo 2015
‘La Primavera’ is the first ‘proper’ Classic of the season and is always a hard fight for first blood. The near 300 kilometer course has changed from last year, The finish returns to the Via Roma for the first time since 2007. The climb of Le Mànie is out, but the Capi, the Cipressa and the Poggio are all in before Sanremo.

The top favorites for the win should come from Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and if it comes to a bunch sprint then Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) could be the man.

Check out Ed Hood’s preview on PEZ.

Race Website: www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/MilanoSanremo/en/

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msr-planimetria2015

The 1922 Milan-Sanremo:

header-etixx-qr15Milano-Sanremo: Kwiatkowski & Golas Explore the Course!
Etixx – Quick-Step riders Michal Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas performed reconnaissance of 70km out of the 293km within the 106th edition of Milano-Sanremo, which takes place on Sunday, the 22nd of March.

Milano-Sanremo marks the fourth UCI WorldTour race of the season, and is a cycling monument known as “La Primavera.”

Kwiatkowski and Golas performed recon of the key later climbs of the race including Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, and of course the Cipressa. They performed recon of the Poggio two times.

The Polish duo also checked out the arrival of Via Roma, which was brought back for 2015 as opposed to a finish by the sea.

“It was a really nice experience,” Kwiatkowski said. “I participated twice in Milano-Sanremo, but due to different circumstances I was unable to finish the race, including extreme weather conditions in the last couple years. I am happy I was able to take profit of the fact I was already in the area after my 2nd place overall finish at Paris-Nice. This kind of recon is important not only to memorize the parcours, but to also understand the atmosphere of the race to be fully motivated. I like to be completely involved emotionally in these kinds of races, and breathe the history of the race. This is a race with big tradition for more than 100 years and it is so important to be prepared with all the details, and check everything.

Kwiatkowski said he loved the 70 kilometers of roads he explored with Golas.

“The final of this race will be really emotional, so I know the Poggio will be a little bit harder. I also know that after 280 kilometers of racing this climb will become an obstacle to pass, a key part of the race. But that is the charm of Milano-Sanremo and the part I actually loved most was the downhill of the Poggio. I did it twice and I love it. Technically it’s super nice. As for the arrival in Via Roma, I cannot compare it with past experience as I never finished the race. But I will be sure to talk about it in detail with my teammates. I do know that from the top of the Poggio until the finish, everything can be decided in a fraction of a second. Every rider has to stay focused, and that makes this race the most unique in the world.

“At the team level we will of course do our best to earn the first race monument of the season for Etixx – Quick-Step,” Kwiatkowski continued. “Our team is strong. Cavendish is a guy who won this race in his very first participation. He is a guy who has a great feeling for this race and the experience that is useful for all of us. On a personal level I want to discover this finale, considering I didn’t finish my first two attempts. I want to honor the race by finishing it, first and foremost.”

A top finish in Sanremo for the World champion this year?
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header-lottonl-jumboleftLottoNL-Jumbo takes experienced and young riders to Milano-Sanremo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo will start Milano-Sanremo, the first monument of 2015, with targets: seek out opportunities and provide its youngsters a chance to learn.

“We don’t have favorites, but with Moreno Hofland, Bert-Jan Lindeman and Paul Martens, we have three riders who should be able to compete with the best,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker.
“For Moreno and Bert-Jan, it will be the first time that they participate in this classic. That’s why we will make an extended reconnaissance on Thursday. We will try to focus on the future with them. In training, it’s always easier to explore a race than it is in the race itself. You look at it in a very different way. That can be useful for the young guys.”

Super compensation
Hofland puts Milano-Sanremo on top of his list. He hopes that he can return at his normal level after a small setback. “I didn’t start Paris-Nice in form,” he explained. “I improved during that race, but after the fifth stage, I didn’t have anything left at all. I think it was a good decision to go home after that day. I feel that I recovered a little better afterwards and those extra days off feel like a super compensation. I hope that I’m good enough to cross the Poggio with the first group. I will talk with Paul Martens a lot about that. He is an experienced rider, who has competed in the front in Milano-Sanremo in the last years. He can help me.”

Enforce
“They predict good weather for this weekend,” Dekker added. “That will help this edition of Milano-Sanremo to be a traditional one. I think that a group of 50 to 100 riders will arrive at the foot of the Poggio. We have to try to be there, too. Moreno is able to play a big role in this race in the future. He can try to do that already this year. If there are chances for us this year, we surely want to take them. The only way we can enforce that is to bring Moreno, Bert-Jan and Paul in a good position for the final.”

Team Line-up:
Rick Flens, Moreno Hofland, Tom Leezer, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii & Robert Wagner.
Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

Bert-Jan Lindeman:
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header-colombia15Colombia-Coldeportes to be aggressive at ‘Classicissima’
Just a couple of days after Tirreno-Adriatico has ended with Carlos Julian Quintero winning the green jersey, Team Colombia-Coldeportes is immediately on its way to a new World Tour event, one also known by the name of “La Classicissima”: Milan-Sanremo (March 22nd).

The 106th edition will be decided as always in the closing stages of the 293 km Classic, which makes it the longest one-day race in the international calendar. Once again, the Poggio climb will provide the attackers the last opportunity to distance the sprinters and thus avoid a bunch finish on the Via Roma, in Sanremo.

Led by Sports Director Valerio Tebaldi, the Escarabajos are prepared for an aggressive race, with Carlos Julian Quintero in the first line, galvanized by his result in Tirreno-Adriatico and eager to banish the memory of a bad fall in his first Sanremo, three years ago. The team will also include the experienced Fabio Duarte, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Juan Pablo Valencia, youngsters Brayan Ramirez and Carlos Mario Ramirez, as well as Edwin Avila and neo-pro Sebastian Molano, the fast men of the squad.

“Quintero comes here with huge confidence”, Tebaldi said, “and he really wants to take advantage by his form and be a protagonist in this great classic. Milan-Sanremo is a very tough race, much harder than the altimetry lets you think, and not even the sprint finish on the Via Roma is a child’s game. Both Avila and Molano will make their debut in this race. Sebastian showed some promising signs in Malaysia, but considering he’s just 20-years-old and the race has 300 kilometers, we can’t put him under a huge pressure.”

“There’s no doubt about it” – Tebaldi continued – “we will try to put ourselves into the spotlight from the very beginning, and we have more than one option to do this. We are grateful for the wild card RCS Sport has provided us, and we want again to honor the race in the best possible way.”

Line-up:
Edwin Avila, Fabio Duarte, Sebastian Molano, Carlos Julian Quintero, Brayan Ramirez, Carlos Mario Ramirez, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Juan Pablo Valencia
Sports Director: Valerio Tebaldi.

Fabio Duarte:
Colombia 2015

header-MTN14-leftMTN-Qhubeka: Milan-Sanremo
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung eager to change lives
The first monument of the year, Milan-Sanremo, takes place this Saturday and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will be lining up at La Primavera with high hopes once again.

With two past champions as part of our roster, Gerald Ciolek and Matt Goss, the top step of the podium is our teams ultimate goal come Sunday. The team has also started to come into form at just the right time, Gerald’s 2nd place on Monday’s Tirreno stage and Steve Cummings overall 6th place at the Italian race has ensured a high morale ahead of the 295km classic.

Essentially the Milan-Sanremo was the event that put MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung on the world cycling radar after Gerald’s emphatic victory in 2013. Last year the German strongman was again in contention for the victory, eventually ending off his title defence with 9th place in the sprint finish. These good memories are not only a motivating factor for our riders but for all our staff as well.

This year, Gerald and Matt both return to the roads of Milan-Sanremo with a powerhouse line-up of team members alongside them. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Kristian Sbaragli, Serge Pauwels, Steve Cummings and Jaco Venter will be the other chargers on duty for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung.

African fans will be able to catch the action live, on SuperSport 6 this Sunday with coverage starting at 15:20. This year’s Milan-Sanremo is also a special race for our team as we aim to fund 295 Qhubeka bicycles from our participation in the event, that is 1 bicycle per kilometer of the race. For more information on how you can assist us, please follow this link: teammtnqhubeka.com/msrQhubeka

Gerald Ciolek – Rider: “I have enjoyed some good results at Milan-Sanremo winning the race two years ago and placing in the top 10 last March. This year we come back with a very strong team. We showed at Tirreno-Adriatico that we can play a lot of cards and we’re definately looking forward to it. We want to perform well, also because we’re trying to fund one bicycle per kilometer for the Qhubeka charity on Sunday.”

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header_movistar-leftSearching for more victories in Italy
Alejandro Valverde, Juanjo Lobato both back into racing for GP Nobili (Thursday), Milano-Sanremo (Sunday); Sutherland and Dowsett return after injuries as Anacona makes European debut.

Still over the moon after Nairo Quintana’s success in Tirreno-Adriatico, the squad’s first after almost four decades of history, the Movistar Team will stay in Italy this week with two top-level races: the GP Nobili (Thursday 19th), now ranked Hors Category in the Europe Tour, over 187km with two climbs of the Massino Visconti hill; and the Classicissima, the 106th edition of Milano-Sanremo (Sunday 22nd), back to its traditional final on the Via Roma after 293km which include the Passo del Turchino, the Cipressa and the Poggio, as well as the ‘Capi’ near the Riviera Ligure.

José Luis Jaimerena will be the sports director in both races as Alejandro Valverde and Juanjo Lobato lead the group. German Jasha Sütterlin and Briton Alex Dowsett, debuting in 2015 after his injury in January, will also take part in both competitions, with Rory Sutherland, also recovered from his fracture in the Mallorca Challenge, Winner Anacona, in his first European race of 2015, Igor Antón and Enrique Sanz joining them on Thursday while Adriano Malori, Ion Izagirre, José Joaquín Rojas and Giovanni Visconti replace them on Sunday.

Alejandro Valverde looking for a win in Sanremo:
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header-katusha15Alexander Kristoff leads Team Katusha in Milano – Sanremo
Alexander Kristoff and Team Katusha are ready to defend the title of the 2014 victory in the monumental classic Milano – Sanremo. “La Classicissima” will be held on Sunday March 22nd for the 106th time.

The full team’s roster is: Alexander Kristoff, Luca Paolini, Jacopo Guarnieri, Marco Haller, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alexander Kolobnev, Gatis Smukulis and Sergey Lagutin.
Sports directors are José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.

Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff: The 2014 winner in Sanremo:
Cycling: 105th Milan - Sanremo 2014

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Milano-Sanremo
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Milano-Sanremo, the 293km Italian Monument, which takes place on Sunday, March 22nd. The 2015 edition includes a finale in Via Roma, which hadn’t been featured in the race since 2007 and replaces a seaside finale. The Capi, Cipressa, and Poggio are the final climbs before the Via Roma arrival.

Weather has been a factor in Milano-Sanremo in the past few years, with sprinters winning the race in five of the past six editions including Mark Cavendish in 2009, in his first career participation. Cavendish is among the Etixx – Quick-Step riders who will be at the start, along with Zdenek Stybar, who just won Strade Bianche, and UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski, who finished 2nd in the Paris-Nice overall last Sunday. Stijn Vandenbergh, Julien Vermote, and Michal Golas will be key supporting riders after doing great work in the recent races on the front of the peloton. Mark Renshaw and Fabio Sabatini, two of the top lead-out riders on Etixx – Quick-Step, will also participate.

“As every year Milano-Sanremo is the first great one day race of the season,” Sport and Development manager Rolf Aldag said. “It’s a race with a great history, one of the five Monuments in cycling. A team who values tradition like we do, it’s always motivating for a race like this even if this time we are not the biggest favorite. Our strength is that we have so many riders at a high level. We cannot hide that we have talent on our team and that we can be protagonists in each race situation, from ‘I Capi’ until the finish in Via Roma. We have guys like Stybar that can fire up the race, Kwiatkowski, who showed all his talent at Paris Nice, and Mark Cavendish, that from our group is the only one who has already won ‘La Primavera.’

“But Milano-Sanremo is an unpredictable race,” Aldag continued. “That’s what makes it special. At the start at least 100 riders dream about a victory in Via Roma. Also the weather conditions can drastically change the race. The objective in these days before the race is to recover as much as we can from the hard race we had in Paris-Nice and from a few days of bad weather at Tirreno-Adriatico. Especially Mark Cavendish, who was not 100 percent going into Tirreno because of a stomach virus. He will benefit from these days for a good recovery. The team is ready, and we look forward to next Sunday.”

Riders:
Mark Cavendish (GBR), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

Can ‘Cav’ do it again?
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header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin for Milan-Sanremo
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to the first ‘monument’ of the season with a team focused around a very motivated John Degenkolb (GER) who is looking to make up for missing out on a shot at victory at this race in 2014.

The race route is back to its normal parcours, with no planned additional climb, meaning that the key points of the race will once again fall on the Cipressa and the Poggio.

Degenkolb will be joined by Nikias Arndt (GER), road captain Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), who starts his first monument, his final lead-out man Koen de Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED) and Zico Waeytens (BEL).

“We have had some bad luck in preparation to this first monument with crashes and sickness but we will still come here with a strong line up ready to go for our goal – to get a strong result with John,” explained coach Marc Reef (NED).

“The support includes Chad who will line up for his first ever monument and is very excited to give his all for the team. With a good team performance, we should be able to make an impact on this race.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

Degenkolb could be a winner:
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header_trekfrt-leftTrek team for Sanremo
Trek Factory Racing has announced its roster for Milan-Sanremo via its Twitter account. The squad that will work to deliver Fabian Cancellara to the top step of his 13th monument podium is as follows:

Fabian Cancellara, Giacomo Nizzolo, Fabio Felline, Hayden Roulston, Eugenio Alafaci, Yaroslav Popovych, Grégory Rast, Julián Arredondo.

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header-iamcyclingMilan – San Remo – Kjell Carlström: “With Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler we have two assets that can be used in different ways”
The first major spring classic is at the door, just in time for the weather to become very temperamental. In the past week of racing, the riders both at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico experienced horribly cold days. And the weather conditions that are forecasted for the 2015 edition of Milan-San Remo are not deluded with optimism. Nevertheless, that has not deterred many of the favorites for the race to prime their form at one or the other of the two stage races organized in France and Italy.

IAM Cycling was also at both events to prepare as carefully as possible for the upcoming Primavera as well as for the rest of the major races still to come in the season. According to Kjell Carlström, the Swiss professional team has multiple cards to play for Milan-San Remo. “In everyone’s eyes, whether we are talking the riders or the fans, Milan-San Remo remains the first and most important appointment for the season. And IAM has the weapons that will allow us to play in the big league. With Sylvain Chavanel and Heinrich Haussler we have two assets that can be used in different ways. For Milan-San Remo, you must consider several factors and develop a strategy accordingly. Rain and even snow can sometimes disrupt the race, and the wind also plays a big role along the Ligurian coast. And finally, there are the famous capi, the small climbs that do the job of making the first selection before the riders get to the main event climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio.”

Without divulging the tactics the team has devised to facilitate the objectives of IAM Cycling, Carlström is happy to admit to the hard work that the entire team will do in order to protect their leaders for la Primavera. “In a race like this, the most important thing is to ride as much as a group as possible, especially during the difficult moments. For a Classic, just as with the stage races, there is at least one rider committed to protecting Chava and Heino. If the leader has to stop for a nature break or change a wheel, the teammate will be there ready to help him chase back onto the peloton with as little fuss as possible. Of course, he will also be there to protect the captain from the wind or to go back to the cars to retrieve a water bottle or a rain jacket. Most importantly, in the final, the team will be collected to put Chava and Heino in a good position before entering the first major difficulty, the Cipressa. That is where the fight for position is so essential, because you have to stay near the front to have a chance. But it is also where that is most difficult because everyone wants to do exactly the same thing. For the lieutenants, that’s about where their race ends, while for the leaders their job is only just beginning.”

Riders:
Sylvain Chavanel (Fr), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Roger Kluge (Ger), Jérôme Pineau (Fr), Vicente Reynes (Sp), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat), David Tanner (Aus), Jonas Van Genechten (Bel).
Directeur sportif: Marcello Albasini & Kjell Carlström.

Heinrich Haussler:
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header-bmc15-rosterBMC Milan-Sanremo Roster
The BMC Racing Team has announced its roster for Sunday’s edition of Milan-San Remo. The 293-kilometer race in Italy is the first classic on the WorldTour calendar.

Riders:
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).

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Lampre Merida Team f_chiariA funny video for presenting the team for the Classicissima
Sunday the 22nd of March, the day of the Classicissima: 106th edition of the Milano-Sanremo, 293 km from Milan to the traditional arrival in Via Roma.

LAMPRE-MERIDA’s goal is to add a second victory to the only one success that the team obtained, in his history, in the Italian Classic: 1993, Fondriest.

A brand new video that is published on the official website of Team LAMPRE-MERIDA (Video Milano-Sanremo 2015) shows to all the cycling fans the riders that will take part in the race wearing the blu-fuchsia-green jersey.

This is the list: Niccolò Bonifazio, Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai, Manuele Mori, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze, Rui Costa, Josè Serpa.

On the Mitsubishi team car there will be Mario Scirea, who’ll receive the support by the mechanics Pengo and Viganò, by the masseur Capelli, Della Torre and Redaelli and by the doctor De Grandi.

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header-tinkoffsaxo14-leftTinkoff-Saxo rallies strong team headed by Peter Sagan at Milano–Sanremo
Milano-Sanremo, the first of the big five cycling monuments, is the next great challenge that awaits Tinkoff-Saxo and the professional peloton. For the favorites there’s no denying the Spring Classic that presents the possibility to enter the history books at the end of the 293km hilly parcours. Tinkoff-Saxo is at the start in Milan with a proven lineup led by former runner-up Peter Sagan.

Sagan’s form is on the ascendency after a week of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico and the team captain does not hide the fact that he has ambitions to do well on the way to San Remo.

“I’m heading to Milano-Sanremo to deliver a top result just like at any other race. When the team or I start a race, the ultimate goal is to win. But in cycling you never know and you have to be realistic. My competitors have the same goals and sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. But Milano-Sanremo is special and I’ll naturally be at the start with big ambitions”, says Peter Sagan before elaborating:

“It’s difficult to point out a favorite. In the last three years, we haven’t seen the favorites taking the victory and instead it has been outsiders, who crossed the finish line first. It’s a special and unpredictable race due to many factors such as the length of the race and the tactical situations. All I can do is to try my best knowing that I’m backed by a strong and motivated team”.

Peter Sagan will be accompanied by Matti Breschel, Daniele Bennati, Roman Kreuziger, Maciej Bodnar, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Manuele Boaro and Matteo Tosatto. When asked about the team ambitions, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Bruno Cenghialta comments.

“We could say we are one of the favorite teams, although this doesn’t mean at all we will be racing alone. With Peter Sagan as our leader, we clearly are one of the favorite teams. Milano-San Remo is a distinct race to win and there will be many of the big names at the start all hoping to finish first, so it will not be very easy”, comments Bruno Cenghialta.

“I believe that we enter the race with a strong and quite versatile squad, which is important if we want to have a saying in the different sections of the race. Overall, It’s crucial not to spend too much energy during this very long parcours, but I trust that we have a team in good shape ready for some very hard 293 kilometers”, adds Cenghialta

Longest race of the season
With its 293 kilometers of undulating and punishing racing, Milano-Sanremo demands perseverance combined with a punchy and sustained attack or a fast sprint from the final winner of the race. After leaving Milan and climbing the Passo del Turchino at km 143, the riders continue along the Tyrrhenian cost on the way to Sanremo, with the race entering its most crucial section some 27km from the home stretch. Here the riders will tackle the famous Cipressa and Poggio that, according to Cenghialta, serve as a takeoff ramp for any rider not looking to decide the race in a sprint.

“A key point is the Cipressa, where we will have to be in the front and handle the climb attentively – it’s here the first attacks take place. We have to be in control but without the necessity for us to intervene. We then have to be careful on the descent, where at times we see crashes. From there the race becomes quite fast, and then we hit the big finale with the Il Poggio climb, where we’ll also see attacks from any non-sprinters trying to create a selection”, explains Bruno Cenghialta, who adds that Milano-Sanremo can be lost in the blink of an eye despite being the longest race of the season.

“Being a big Classic, this race has to be approached with great caution. Despite its length, everything is at stake in a very short period and it’s very easy to make mistakes. There is a segment of 7-8km between Il Poggio, the descent and the finish, where the race is nearly always decided. The final stretch is extremely important and it will be crucial to correctly manage every single meter in order to set up Peter Sagan. It’s very easy to enter into tactical deadlocks in the final kilometers, especially if the group gets fragmented, so we will have to be very attentive with a strong team controlling the race”, finishes Bruno Cenghialta, who’ll be leading Milano-Sanremo from the team car together with team manager Bjarne Riis.

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header-lottosoudal15Lotto Soudal previews Milan-Sanremo
Sunday 22nd March it’s the 106th edition of Milan-Sanremo. Lotto Soudal starts this WorldTour race with a strong team. La Primavera is 293 kilometres long. Just like last year Le Manie and Pompeiana aren’t on the route. As usual, the Cipressa and Poggio are crucial points in the final. For the first time since years the finish line is drawn on the Via Roma.

The Lotto Soudal team has several strong riders in the selection. Two days before the start sports director Herman Frison, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and Tony Gallopin give their preview of the race. They all agree, it’s unpredictable.

Herman Frison: “The finish line is drawn on the Via Roma again. According to me that doesn’t make much difference. The descent of the Poggio has always been important. Maybe now fewer riders get the chance to return to the front, but they probably wouldn’t be able to win anyway. The strongest riders are always present in the front. It is a big difference that Le Manie and Pompeiana aren’t part of the route. The group that gets to the Poggio will be bigger than if the Pompeiana had been an extra obstacle just before that climb. The Cipressa and Poggio remain crucial. Some teams will have to take control of the race. The strongest riders will attack. There are many who think they can make it till the end, but few who succeed. Often it ends with a sprint of fifteen to thirty riders. Milan-Sanremo is always a special race. It’s difficult to predict and to win.”

Positive signs
“It’s an open race. The moment of truth starts at the Cipressa. We have to have as many riders in front as possible. If the moment is right we can let someone attack or join a breakaway. We have several opportunities. Wellens or Vanendert can escape. Greipel is our man for the sprint, but also Roelandts and Gallopin aren’t slow. Boeckmans is in top condition. The signs are positive for us. The recent performances of the team have given us a boost. It’s important that we have won with several riders. You feel it motivates the group. They stimulate each other. We can race without any pressure. We would be happy with a podium place, but of course we prefer to win.”

André Greipel: “Sunday I rode the last sixty kilometres of Milan-Sanremo. Of course I knew the final already, but it’s always good to see it again before the actual race. In any case it’s a good preparation. Every year there are attacks on the Cipressa and Poggio. That will be the same again this year. Last year I survived the Poggio, but because of cramps I didn’t get to participate in the sprint. I know now that I am able to get in the final. Mentally it was important, knowing that I am able to get over the Poggio with the best. The finish is closer to the Poggio now, that doesn’t help the sprinters. It will change the tactics. Anyhow, in Milan-Sanremo anything can happen.”

Challenge myself
“I have never been close to a good result in Milan-Sanremo. I never proved that I am able to win, but I am motivated. It would be great to add this race to my record. I’ll keep trying and challenging myself. I have a good condition and the team is strong. It would be fantastic if any rider of Lotto Soudal would get a good result. It also depends on the condition of the day of the race. If that’s fine you can give all you got in the final. I hope I will be up there at the end and can battle for the victory.”

Jürgen Roelandts: “I don’t think it’s a big disadvantage that I missed the Belgian opening weekend due to illness. The most important races of the season are yet to come. When you haven’t been on your bike for eight days, you always have to wait how your level of condition will be. As expected, the first day in Tirreno-Adriatico wasn’t great. The day after I could help Jens Debusschere to get in perfect position for the bunch sprint. Thanks to his victory the atmosphere in the team was good for the entire week, that helps. I finished Tirreno-Adriatico with a very good feeling, that’s important for the classics.”

Roelandts looks forward to Sunday
“Milan-Sanremo is a weird race. I want to be good on Sunday and ride the final. Lots can happen from the Poggio on. It’s the first time for me as a rider that the race finishes on the Via Roma. I don’t think it has an influence that the last part to the finish is a bit shorter now. On the Poggio the best riders come to the front anyway. Although punchers have a slightly bigger chance now. Last year I stayed with André after the Poggio, this year I can have a go of my own. I’m looking forward to it.”

Tony Gallopin: “ Last Sunday I was really disappointed after the time trial in Paris-Nice. I won’t say I already forgot about it on Monday, but I could put it behind me. I can look back on the Race to the Sun with satisfaction. This week I completely focused on Milan-Sanremo. First I took some rest, because I was tired after Paris-Nice. Then I trained as planned and it all went smoothly.”

A race that makes me dream
“Milan-Sanremo is a unique race because of the distance and course. The race has its place in the history of cycling. It’s a prestigious race; one of the five monuments. Of course this race makes me dream and I want to win it. I do not immediately think about a solo scenario like in Paris-Nice. You never know what happens in Milan-Sanremo. You have to adapt your plan to the situation in the final. I think it’s an advantage the finish is closer to the Poggio. There is less chance sprinters can get reorganized or that riders bridge to the front. The position after the Poggio will be even more important now.”

Selection Lotto Soudal: Kris Boeckmans, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

André Greipel:
Munsterland Giro 2014

header-oricage15-leftOrica-GreenEDGE team for Milan-Sanremo

header-TdeYorkshire15Star Line up for First Ever Tour de Yorkshire
Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel have been confirmed as two of the stars who will take part in the first ever Tour de Yorkshire. The 2012 Tour de France winner will lead his own Team WIGGINS developmental squad while the German sprinter will return to Yorkshire a year after wearing the first yellow jersey in Harrogate at the Tour de France 2014.

At Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y15 annual conference in Scarborough the race organizers, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and Welcome to Yorkshire, announced the teams which will be taking part. It was revealed that the new race has attracted significant interest from teams, following the massive crowds and challenging terrain which combined in July last year to make it a spectacular Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

Under UCI regulations as a 2.1 stage race, the Tour de Yorkshire has selected a field from five WorldTeams, six Professional Continental Teams, four Continental Teams and a Great Britain National Team.

In total, seven of the teams who raced in the Tour de France are returning to Yorkshire’s roads, and will be joined by an exciting mix of European and home-grown talent. British cycling fans are expected to be delighted at the inclusion of top teams such as Team Sky and brand new Team WIGGINS.

The WorldTeams making a return to Yorkshire following the Tour de France, are: Team Sky, Team Giant-Alpecin, BMC Racing Team, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, and IAM Cycling.

The Professional Continental Teams are: Cofidis Solutions Credits, Team Europcar (who both raced in July 2014), MTN-Qhubeka, Cult Energy Pro Cycling, Roompot Oranje Peloton, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Continental level teams are: Team WIGGINS, NFTO, ONE Pro Cycling and Madison Genesis. The GB National Team will also field eight riders.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, said: “We will be glad to return to Yorkshire after the huge success of the Tour de France 2014 Grand Départ, the grandest ever. The first ever Tour de Yorkshire will be another occasion to showcase the outstanding landscapes of the county, especially of the coast which we didn’t visit last year with Le Tour. Tour de Yorkshire will be a great opportunity to review young talents among British riders and enable them to ride with top Tour de France professional teams and cycling stars like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marcel Kittel.”

It is now up to teams to decide their 8 riders for the race, over a route which was unveiled by Jean Etienne Amaury from ASO in Bridlington in January. The three stages are each quite different, with a punchy route for 174km of Stage One from Bridlington to Scarborough; a tactically important sprinter’s day on Stage Two from Selby to York over another 174km, and a return to some of the climbs and challenges of the Grand Départ as the third day takes riders 167km from Wakefield to Leeds on 3 May.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said; “Today is a landmark moment for Yorkshire and it is a credit to every single person who played a role in the Grand Départ – whether they were a spectator, a rider, a Tour Maker – that we have attracted such a high calibre of teams to this first edition of our new race. The start and finish towns for the Tour de Yorkshire and everybody who has already picked out where they will watch on the day, and now, every member of these teams, will experience one of the greatest sports events in the UK in 2015.”

Riders will be selected by the teams and announced in April. Stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire, on Friday 1st May, will start in Bridlington and finish in Scarborough. Stage two, on Saturday 2nd May, will start in Selby and finish in York and stage three, on Sunday 3rd May, will start in Wakefield and finish in Leeds.

The Tour de Yorkshire will be shown live on television in the UK, on British Eurosport and ITV, as well as to 70 countries around the world with a huge television audience expected.

Maps of the routes, timings and information for spectators can be found at; letouryorkshire.com/routemaps

A woman’s race of four 20km laps of a York circuit will be held on day two of the race, Saturday 2nd May. Team and riders will be announced in April and one of the first major names confirmed as taking part is Dame Sarah Storey, one of Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympians in history having won 11 Gold, eight Silver and three Bronze medals across six Paralympic Games. In 2014 Sarah and her husband established women’s team Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, which dominated the UK domestic racing scene in their first season and, it has been announced today, will be racing the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire.

The stages of the Tour de Yorkshire 2015:
Friday 1st May, stage 1 : Bridlington – Scarborough, 174 km.
Saturday 2nd May, stage 2 : Selby – York, 174 km.
Sunday 3rd May, stage 3 : Wakefield – Leeds, 167 km.

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header-tobTour of Britain 2015
The 2015 Tour of Britain was unveiled in London on Tuesday night. The start is in North Wales, and the finish is in London with stages in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Ipswich, Colne and Blyth, visiting the Scottish borders, the Lake District and Wales. The race will be run from the 6th to the 13th of September.

For more information visit the race website.

Tour of Britain stages:
Stage One Sunday 6 September Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham, 177km.
Stage Two Monday 7 September Clitheroe to Colne, 162km.
Stage Three Tuesday 8 September Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso, 216km.
Stage Four Wednesday 9 September Edinburgh to Blyth, 218km.
Stage Five Thursday 10 September Prudhoe to Hartside Fell, 171km.
Stage Six Friday 11 September Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham, 189km.
Stage Seven Saturday 12 Septmber Fakenham to Ipswich, 225km.
Stage Eight Saturday 13 September London stage presented by TfL, 93km.

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header-tinkoffsaxo14-leftAlberto Contador receives customized Specialized S-Works Tarmac AC’15 bike
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Shortly before the start of Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico, Tinkoff-Saxo’s leader, Alberto Contador received his Specialized S-Works Tarmac with new colors that will accompany him throughout the 2015 season.

To celebrate Alberto’s legendary 2014 Vuelta a España win, not to mention cementing himself as one of only six riders to have won all three Grand Tours, Specialized has created a limited production S-Works Tarmac AC’15 Frameset. The theme of the exclusive frame features a stylized “pistolero” design that incorporates the three colors associated with the leader’s jerseys of the three Grand Tours. Coupled with an elegant black and white color scheme, additional Grand Tour color flourishes can be found adorning both the fork and seat stays as well.

In addition to the eye-catching design, the AC’15 Frameset has all the Rider-First Engineered performance you’d expect from a Tarmac. It’s the same bike Alberto will use to conquer the steepest climbs and fastest descents the Pro Tour has to offer and serves as a reminder of his place in Grand Tour history.

“Today I received my new Tarmac and I really like it. We talked for some time about a bike representing the Triple Crown colors, from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España. Now it became a reality. It will be an inspiration and a motivation for me throughout the 2015 season. Thank you very much, Specialized, for this special gift,” said the 2014 Vuelta a España winner before facing the 153km long stage from Camaiore to Cascina.

The event was linked to the delivery of Alberto’s 2014 Vuelta a España Tarmac to its new owner, Steve Bennett. Steve won the bike in an auction in which the proceeds were donated to the Matonyok orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania that the Tinkoff-Saxo members visited after reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The project was commissioned by the Tinkoff-Saxo Team and supported by Specialized.

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header- paris-nice15The Best of Paris-Nice 2015
If you missed any of the action from Paris-Nice, the nice people at ASO/Le Tour de France have made a ‘Best of’ video from this years race. Enjoy.


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