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EuroTrash Porte Monday!

Nice win for Richie Porte in Nice and Nairo Quintana leads in a snowy Tirreno, all the results, video and rider quotes from both races, plus all the action from the two races in Drenthe. In other cycling news: Bikes with motors, Larsson’s Hour, Giro Hall of Fame, WorldTour for Women, Wiggins for Yorkshire, no French money and music from Orica-GreenEDGE. A full EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Bikes with Motors (again)?
It looks like the French don’t trust anyone not to have a motor inside their bikes at Paris-Nice. Just like Fabian Cancellara didn’t have when he won Flanders and Roubaix in 2010. Thirteen rider’s bikes were tested, in fact the bottom brackets had to be taken apart on most of the bikes and the seat pins removed on a few others for a stage 6 inspection. Also the mechanics had to bring bikes at 11:45 on the morning of the final time trial for checking. Amongst those inspected were: Michal Kwiatkowski, Richie Porte, Tony Martin and Tony Gallopin… Nothing was found.

Here is the directive from the race organizers:

header-tirreno15-leftTirreno-Adriatico 2015
Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) won Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico in a bunch sprint into Cascina after a crash-fest finalé. The Belgian champion came in ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18).

Six riders escaped early, it included: Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Cristiano Salerno (Bora-Argon 18), Jorge Camilo Castiblanco & Carlos Quintero (Colombia), and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18). After 50 kilometers they had a lead of 6 minutes, but within 15 kilometers the lead was under 3 minutes due to the pressure from Etixx – Quick-Step and Tinkoff-Saxo.

At the start of the two finishing circuit the lead was down to just over 1 minute, but the peloton were happy to leave them out front. The first crash came as they crossed the finish line with two laps to go and then again with some 12 kilometers to go. On the run-in; MTN-Qhubeka was in control as no other team had a lead-out train. In the last meters Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) was winding up his sprint when his chain came off, he didn’t fall but his bike flicked to the right bringing down Elia Viviani (Sky) and others. The crash split the front riders with Debusschere taking the win.

Movistar’s Adriano Malori held on to the overall lead, Peter Sagan moved up to second place, on the same time as Malori as Fabian Cancellara (Trek) dropped to third.

Stage winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal): “The last kilometers were really hectic. We were racing at a really high speed and, just like the others, I was looking for my teammates. I knew Jürgen Roelandts had to be close to me, but didn’t notice him immediately. It was only with eight hundred meters to go I saw him next to me. He perfectly led me to the front and then I knew a good result was possible. The condition is good, so I thought of a top five place, I didn’t expect to beat the top sprinters in this race. Because of the circumstances it worked out for me and I take my first win of the season. I’m wearing the points jersey now, but it will be difficult to keep it with Peter Sagan in the peloton. Tomorrow he has a big chance of winning. We’ll see if I’m the leader in the team tomorrow or Pim Ligthart or Jürgen Roelandts. In the weekend I’ll try to assist our climbers as good as possible for as long as I can and on Monday there’s another opportunity for a bunch sprint.”

Overall leader Adriano Malori (Movistar): “All OK. The final 60 kilometers were stressful. We had to be ahead, like in all races. I had the jersey, but the important thing was that Nairo got through the day. I remember my first 2 or 3 years as a pro, the big riders seemed very remote. At the World Championships in Florence I realized I risked wasting my career, and I decided to start paying attention to details. I have managed to reach a high level, and I know I can improve further. One day I might be able to win short stage races with individual time trials, but Grand Tours are out of the question for me. Wiggins has a different physiology from me, and even he only did it for one year, then gave up.”

2nd overall at the same time as Malori: “I would like to thank the rest of my teammates because we showed we had a strong squad today. The peloton was nervous so we all stayed at the front for the last 40 kilometers of the stage. Unfortunately, I finished second in the sprint but I feel my form is getting better. I think my stage could come tomorrow. Today, it was very important to stay out of trouble and we had to be very attentive to avoid crashes and injuries. I will go into the third stage standing second overall and we will see what happens.”

5th on the stage Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka): “The team did really well today. I never experienced being lead-out by such experienced guys in my career, so I really have to thank all of them. I couldn’t turn it into a win today but I am sure that this will come. It feels good to receive such a support and to be able to spread Qhubeka’s message in this way.”

7th on the stage Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling): “I’ve never been in such a nervous and chaotic sprint. We managed to reorganize ourselves at the last minute after Matteo crashed. Again, we all worked really hard, and I finally found myself in an ideal position with the help of Aleksejs Saramotins and Matthias Brändle. It was a real team effort, and I slipped between the cracks when the major crash 200 meters from the line happened. My sensations were good yesterday after the prologue. That did not change today, and I am pretty sure I will still be feeling good tomorrow.”

KOM leader BMC’s Danilo Wyss: “The climbs were not so hard,” Wyss said. “It was a few hard kilometers at the beginning of the stage – two times on the same climb. It was more of a sprint than a real mountain, I would say. I had to fight with Carlos Quintero (Colombia), but I got it. It is a WorldTour race, so there is a good level here,” Wyss said. “It is nice to have a jersey and go on the podium.”

Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Everything was perfect, I was in good position to launch my sprint. But when I tried to go, my chain dropped off from the big chainring to the right, and the momentum from the sudden loss of torque caused me to move right. There’s nothing I could have done to avoid it, and it’s a miracle I didn’t crash. I watched the sprint after the stage in the team bus. I feel sorry for Elia Viviani who went down behind me, and the other guys involved. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida): “I’m sad because I could not exploit my good shape, this could have been a good opportunity. When I saw that a rider crashed ahead of me, I tried to brake because it was the only possibility to avoid to hit him, since there were the fences on my right. Unfortunately there was not enough space for stopping the bike, so I crashed. My wrist was aching so, agreeing with the team doctor, I prefer to undergo x-ray: tomorrow I’ll be at the start of the race and I’ll try to do my best because I really want to be protagonist when there will be the chance.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:30:18
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling
8. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18
10. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 2:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar in 3:36:22
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:01
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:02
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
6. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC at 0:04
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:05
9. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:06
10. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:07.

Tirreno stage 2 last 7K with crash:

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) won Stage 3 to Arezzo on Friday to move into the overall lead. On the slight climb to the finish line the BMC team led Van Avermaet to the front perfectly to beat Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step). The previous leader, Andriano Malori (Movistar) dropped to 3rd at 8 seconds and Sagan is 2nd at 2 seconds.

Today’s early break included: Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Carlos Quintero (Colombia), Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Danilo Wyss (BMC) and Rick Flens (LottoNL-Jumbo). Wyss boosted his KOM points by winning all the climbs to hold the jersey for another day. They had a maximum lead of 5 minutes with around 100 kilometers to go, but Tinkoff-Saxo wanted them back and their advantage was back to 3 minutes with 30 kilometers to go. The race was all together with 20 kilometers to go.

BMC riders moved themselves into position behind Tinkoff-Saxo as the peloton shifted focus to a bunch sprint. However, other teams were also on the hunt for a top stage placing including Team Sky and IAM Cycling, which worked their way to the mix during the last

Into the last 10 kilometers and BMC, Tinkoff-Saxo, IAM Cycling and Sky all wanted to be at the front on the twisty run in to the up hill finish. Tour winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), had a late puncture but managed to regain the bunch after some effort. Into the last 5K and Peter Sagan had one teammate to help him in the sprint, but Greg Van Avermaet had Oss and Quinziato who put the Belgian in a perfect position with 200 meters to go, although Sagan looked very fast in the last meters.

Stage winner and new overall leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “This is a special day for me. I looked at the road book when I knew I was coming to Tirreno-Adriatico, and I was confident about these two stages – Stages 3 and 4. Stage 4 will be a little bit harder, but I knew that today’s finish would really suit me. I looked at what happened last year when (my teammate) Philippe Gilbert was third. I knew it could be a good day for me, although there were some good guys to beat. I have come close a few times this year, so I am really happy that I could finish it off. The team worked really well for me, because on a stage like this it is really important to be well positioned. And, of course, I am really glad I could keep guys like Sagan off. It is important to me because I am leading the team here and you can only be a leader if you win races. I finished second or third a few times recently: in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Flanders last year, and in Qatar, Oman and Strade Bianche this year. I sprinted all the way to the line today – I didn’t raise my hands in case I didn’t win. If you celebrate and they come past you, it is even worse.”

KOM leader and break-away rider Danilo Wyss (BMC): “It was a tactic of the team to put a guy in the break so we did not have to work behind. We had Greg as a favorite for the stage, so it was good for the team to have someone in the break. I am really happy for him and of course for the team. It is good for the team to win a stage and take the lead. It is a perfect occasion for us.”

2nd on the stage and overall Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I’d like to thank all my teammates for their excellent work today. They pushed hard all day and gave their best to bring me in a good position for the final sprint. I was really looking forward to winning today and the team really deserved a victory. However, it didn’t turn out that way as I made a mistake. I entered the final corner too late and I was four or five positions down and had to overtake too many to get to the front. I finished in second place, I am sorry for the guys but that’s cycling.”

3rd on the stage Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Mark Renshaw brought me perfectly with Fabio Sabatini to the front. They were there all the time. Mark was amazing, he brought me to the front at the perfect time. On the final kilometer I knew I had to be in front so I moved up. I fought for position. Then when we hit the small cobblestones, I maybe hesitated a bit too long and it possibly cost me a bit in the sprint. But even then, considering I finished 3rd with such strong riders I am still happy. When we passed the finish the first time I knew it was a good finish for me. So we tried, and the team believed in me this morning until the finish. OK, I didn’t get the win, but I am really happy about my condition and I think we can try something again in the next stages with a strong team here. Tomorrow will be another good test. But I think for the moment, I can say my condition is heading in the right way for my objectives and also that our team did all the right things today in support of me for the finalé.”

Aleksejs Saramotins was the best IAM Cycling rider in 44th place: “The finish did not go as we had hoped. The pack was rolling really very fast in order to catch the break in the last laps within the city. Your placing was so important at that point, and to get back to where you wanted to be would take so much effort. We are still a little way from being able to win in a situation of this sort. In wanting to do well, we spent too much energy leading the pack near the end. But it is as important lesson that we will absorb and remember for later. The team was very supportive throughout. Pirmin Lang, Matthias Brändle and Roger Kluge did everything they could to make things easier for me, but I was not able to pull through and repay the effort with a great result. I just collapsed in the last flurry of attacks, when the best were there to show that they could win. I’m still not yet at 100% of my form. My plans are to be much better for the classics, and hopefully I will have timed it well.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 4:58:17
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek
6. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 3:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 8:34:31
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:02
3. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar at 0:08
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:09
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:10
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:13
7. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:14
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar at 0:16
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 0:17.

Tirreno – stage 3 last K:

Wouter Poels (Sky) solo’d victory in Castelraimondo on Stage 4 and took the overall lead from BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step) took 2nd place at 14 seconds with Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) in 3rd.

Stage 4 was the longest stage at 218 kilometers and had three classified climbs. Orica-GreenEDGE pair Luke Durbridge and Mat Hayman broke away together to a 7 minutes lead by the time they hit the climb of Poggio San Romulado with 80 kilometers to go. Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) and Carlos Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes) set up a counter attack with Walter Pedraza (Colombia-Coldeportes), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Miguel Angel Ruibano (Colombia) in turn chasing them, but neither of the groups could catch Durbridge and Hayman.

With 20 kilometers to go Durbridge cracked and left Hayman out front, but not for long. Next to attack was Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), he took Michele Scarponi (Astana) and Julian Arredondo (Trek) with him and then was joined by Daniel Moreno (Katusha) at the summit of the penultimate climb. But they were caught with 10 kilometers to go. Next to try was Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), but again the high speed pulled him back and jettisoned Sky’s Wout Poels on the last climb. He descended like crazy and built up a lead of 20 seconds which was 14 seconds by the finish line. Stage and overall for Poels.

Stage winner and overall leader Wouter Poels (Sky): “The plan today was to follow, lose no time, and stay with the best GC riders. We spoke before the stage about attacking if I had really good legs, but not too early in the stage. I had good legs, and I didn’t go too early, so the plan was perfect. I know Contador is also in really good shape, and the others too, but today I was the strongest on the final climb. It was a really good moment to attack and afterwards it was only downhill, so I was lucky. When you see your team-mates winning, you want to win yourself. I was the lucky one today. Having said that, I worked really hard this winter, and trained at altitude for the first time in my life. It is great to win a stage and take the lead at a really nice race like Tirreno Adriatico, and so early in the season. It was really disappointing for me that I couldn’t ride my first race with [Chris Froome], because I really want to go to the Tour de France with him to work. We have to see if I fit in the team. On the other hand, it was an opportunity for me to get a good result, and good for the team that they can win and get good results. Chris is also happy for me because we’ve done a lot of training together.”
Are you the favorite now?: “Yeah, maybe after today. I’m in really good shape, I feel really good, and normally the long climbs are not so bad for me. The jersey gives me confidence and I feel I can keep it. But there are still 3 more stages and a time trial, Urán is also in really good shape, Contador also. The gap is 17 seconds I think: not a huge amount but not a small advantage either. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The race is not done, and we will see.”

2nd on the stage and 2nd overall Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step): “First of all congratulations to Wout Poels,” Uran said. “He was really strong in the final kilometers and he deserved the victory. Concerning the other guys, in the second lap the riders for the GC in the group were focusing on controlling the race with each other, so Poels took advantage and he won the stage with a good tactic. As for myself, I have to say I am happy with my result. I felt good the entire day. I sprinted to try and minimize the gap. Tomorrow the queen stage will probably decide the GC. I’m doing well in this Tirreno-Adriatico, so we will see what can happen. Then we will decide what will be our strategy for the final two days of the race.”

8th overall Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “It was quite a tough and hard stage. We wanted the squad to work for Alberto and me, but at the end the climb turned out to be a bit too tough and I dropped back, crossing the finish line about 30 seconds behind the leaders. I didn’t have the force to stay with the group.”

New KOM leader Julian Quintero (Colombia-Coldeportes): “In the end, the work paid off and to wear this jersey brings me joy, especially because of this. I have to thank the team, which helped me on the two categorized climbs of the day. On the first one I tried to attack Wyss and I noticed that he could not answer. In that moment I realized that the jersey could be mine. On the second climb, Walter Pedraza and Miguel Rubiano helped me come on the top just behind the two escapees (Orica-GreenEDGE’s Hayman and Durbridge) and get enough points to keep this green jersey. Now I just have to defend it with all it takes. So far I’ve spent a lot of power, but this jersey will give me more energy, and I know that with the support of the whole team we can keep the green jersey.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) crashed during the stage: “Yes, it was unfortunate. I was braking a little and I lost the wheel on the water. Luckily it is nothing, only a superficial wound on the right hip and knee. I hope to recover quickly from this tomorrow and do well on the Terminillo stage, which suits me much better than the climb we had today. The seconds that Poels gained are always very important in a race like Tirreno-Adriatico, but it all depends on what happens on tomorrow’s stage. I think some of my rivals such as Nibali lost some seconds, but the final result will depend on what happens in both the Terminillo stage and in the final time trial. We’ll see tomorrow how I feel.”

Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling): “The stage was very long and everyone was nervous the entire time. I also was dreading the final circuit because I hate when the stages end after a fast descent. I’m not fond of that at all. So I was a bit stressed, but I still felt good the entire stage. Several times I was forced to put in a big effort to get back to the position I needed to keep, but I still managed to finish with the favorites. So I am happy with my day, knowing that we will have to do it all over again on Sunday. A big selection happened on the last two ascents. The favorites all turned on the gas on the last climb and I was sure there would be more attacks. But the headwind discouraged many. All the efforts really happened at the top on the toughest parts of the climb with the steepest percentages. Poels impressed everyone when he made his move.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Result:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky in 5:53:38
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:14
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 4:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 14:28:18
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:17
3. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:26
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:27
6. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:30
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:32

Stage 4:

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) solo’d to a snowy victory on the Queen Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico, 41 seconds ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek) and 55 seconds before Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) brought in a chase group of six riders including Rigoberto Urán (Etixx – Quick-Step). Quintana now has the overall lead by 39 seconds from Mollema and 48 to Urán. The previous leader; Wout Poels (Sky) lost 1:37.

The stage was run over 194 kilometers with four classified climbs concluding on the summit finish at Terminillo. The early break included: Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Matteo Monteguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), Angel Vicioso (Katusha) and Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and by the 60 kilometer mark had 7:12 on the bunch. In the cold conditions the bunch were quite happy to let the group get on with it, but at the bottom of the final climb they only had 2 minutes.

As the snow fell, the lead group fell apart leaving only Scarponi, De Marchi and Monfort out front. Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo were doing the work in the peloton until with 6.7 kilometers to go, Roman Kreuziger brought Alberto Contador to the front ready for any attacks. Into the last five kilometers and the snow was falling quite heavily. Quintana (Movistar) was the first to make a move, but Contador jumped after him bringing a group of 15 riders, including the overall leader Wouter Poels (Sky), but 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was in trouble.

Contador made a series of attacks, but no one was helping him with the chase work and in the end Bauke Mollema (Trek) rode away in pursuit of the Colombian. The chasers included Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Urán, Contador, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale). Quintana was not going to be caught and had a good gap of 41 seconds over Mollman and 55 on the group.

Stage 5 winner and overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I’m really happy. Claiming my first win of the season and doing it that way made me feel over the moon – that’s why I celebrated like that. It was a very fast stage, difficult to handle, especially with the cold conditions, but thanks to my team, who supported me all the way, always helping out, I could reach the final climb with the energy I needed and take my tactics to fruition with that final attack. I want to thank them immensely for their support and dedicate this victory to them, as well as my family, for all the joy they bring to me. There was an instant, with 5k to go, when I saw myself feeling especially well, looked around and couldn’t see anyone showing strong enough to follow me. I jumped away in those two occasions, I saw no one could follow me and kept pushing until the very end. There’s still one long road stage on our way – let’s hope we don’t come across any difficulties there, so we can fight into the TT to defend this jersey.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall Rigoberto Urán (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The queen stage today was difficult,” Uran said. “I felt good on the last climb of Terminillo. The team did a great job, especially Gianluca who did a great job setting the tempo for me on the last climb. But when Quintana attacked I doubted a little bit because I thought it was still far from the finish line, especially with the strong headwind, and we still had a good group of riders behind, so I figured it was too early. At one point we were about 50 meters from him, but he accelerated again and there was nothing we could do. Quintana deserved the victory today as he did a good attack and he resisted, and he crossed the line with an advantage. So congratulations to him. Today was also difficult because of the weather conditions. The snow in the final made it hard to pedal, and there were some tricky corners in the last kilometers where we had to stay focused as it was slippery. If we had arrived a few minutes later it would have been even more difficult as it started snowing really heavy. I feel bad also for the gruppetto, as their later arrival was when the conditions were far worse. Our guys who crossed at that time were really shivering because of the snow and cold. But, fortunately, everyone on the team finished the race. Concerning me, I am happy with my result. If I compare my performance this year with last year at this time at Tirreno-Adriatico, I have to be satisfied. Last year I had some stomach problems that immediately put me out of contention. This year, without that kind of complication I showed I can be there to contest the stages and possibly the GC. Now I am 3rd overall, but I can count on the time trial in the final day to try to improve my classification. It won’t be easy, as Mollema is a good time trialist and Quintana has almost a minute advantage. I have to be realistic, but in cycling you always have to try and see what may be the result.”

5th on the stage and 5th overall Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “The fact the finish was at the top of the climb meant it wasn’t much more difficult to reach it. I don’t like making excuses. Yesterday was a tough day due to my crash. Today, we performed quite well overall even though at the end we didn’t finish further ahead.”

“Quintana’s attack caught me a bit further behind in the group and I couldn’t react instantly. Everybody had eyes on me today and I was unable to limit the losses to Quintana, as there was nobody that wanted to pull at the front”, concluded Alberto Contador.
9th overall Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka): “The lead up to the climb was pretty regular. All the guys are going well so they were all up there protecting me and giving me the support throughout the stage. Edvald was even with me for the first 5km’s of the climb today as well. I tried to ride a clever race on the climb, not following the small climber’s attacks but rather measuring my effort and just trying to stay in contact. I think it worked out well in the end. We have a good chance for the stage win tomorrow and the guys are super motivated so this is our next objective before I try empty the tank on the final time trial.”

Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling): “The final was daunting and proved to be very difficult. Riding up to it, we were dodging the rain drops, but luck was with us because we had imagined we would experience wetter weather. I felt good on the first climbs, and even felt good at the foot of the Terminillo, where I was well placed among the favorites. Sky worked hard to increase the pace, but I was still very comfortable. Unfortunately, it started to snow more and harder, so my legs became heavy. I could not find the strength to respond to all the accelerations. In the midst of the snow storm, I finished as well as I could. It was a bit cold for me because I do really prefer dealing with the hottest days. You have to go through these sorts of days, though, because that’s how you learn.”

Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) crashed out of Tirreno-Adriatico after a slow-speed collision with the team car during the race. “Checks here at the hospital have confirmed what we suspected, that Simon has broken his right collarbone,” team Physician Anko Boelens told us. “We now need to assess whether or not he will need surgery before he can head home to recover.” Team coach Rudi Kemna explained how it occurred in detail: “Simon came back to the team car with a mechanical and as we were stopping he hit the back of the car, but at a very slow speed. Sometimes you come off worse in the small, slow crashes. He felt straight away that it was broken and now that has been confirmed we can start the recovery process with him to get back in the best possible way.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 5:26:03
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek at 0:41
3. Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha at 0:55
4. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Prezemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:05
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 1:10.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 5:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 19:54:45
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek at 0:39
3. Rigoberto Urán (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 Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha at 1:07
9. Steven Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:12
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky at 1:13.

The wet and cold stage 5:

header- paris-nice15Paris-Nice 2015
Team Sky were the arch-favorites at the start of this 73rd Paris-Nice and they amply delivered in Stage 4 with an impressive one-two at the top of the climb to Croix de Chaubouret on Thursday. Richie Porte, the 2013 winner, won the first major stage of this edition with team-mate Geraint Thomas on his heels, confirming the claim by the British team that they had two cards to play in the Race to the Sun. Yet their brave effort in the finale of the longest stage in this edition (204 km) was not quite enough to seize the overall lead as prologue winner Michal Kiwatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) hung on to take third place and claim the yellow jersey back, leading Porte by the slimmest margin. Thomas is now third, a further two seconds behind.

Three men moved on the gun: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Antoine Duchesne (Europcar), quickly joined by Chris Anker Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo). The peloton were happy to see them go and their lead increased steadily to reach 8:15 at Km 23. De Gendt made his intentions clear by sweeping the points on the first seven ascents of the day to dislodge Philippe Gilbert from the top of the mountain classification. Duchesne was dropped in the 2nd cat. Cote de la Gimond (km 152).

On the descent, AG2R seized their chance to shake off the peloton and raised the tempo, dropping several big names like Bradley Wiggins (Sky), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and several sprinters like Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) or Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr). The most serious contender trapped at the back was Poland’s Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) who suffered a front wheel problem at the worst possible time and had to change bikes twice.

De Gendt and Sorensen were caught with 13 kms to go as BMC riders took the reins. At the very start of the final climb, France’s Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) crashed as Astana and Team Sky took the reins. The British outfit steadily increased the pace, sorting out the leading contenders. While Majka and Bob Jungels (Trek) were among the first to lose ground, yellow jersey holder Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) faltered with six kilometers to go. Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) were done two kilometers further down the road.

Once Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Nicholas Roche had finished their team work, Geraint Thomas decided to part company with the rest of the pack three kilometers from the finish line. He was joined by Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (Katusha). The leading favorites slowly bridged the gap and on the junction, behind the red flame, Richie Porte struck back, taking Thomas with him. This last blow was too much to take for most of the other contenders, except Kwiatkowski. American Tejay Van Garderen is now 27 seconds adrift in fourth overall and Jakob Fuglsang 32 seconds off the pace in fifth.

Stage winner Richie Porte (Sky): “That was a great performance from the team. We took it on from the bottom of that last climb – it wasn’t easy on there, so to finish first and second is fantastic. We’ve got two more hard days coming up now and then a time trial on the Col d’Eze. I love that climb and I’d love to have a good ride there. I think I can, but as I said, there’s two very hard stages coming before it. I’m in a good position though, and having such a strong team here will definitely help. With Geraint and I up there on the general classification now, it’s good to have two cards to play. The dream is to hold the yellow jersey on Sunday evening. I love this race and I’d love to win it again. It’s not over until it’s over, and we’ll have to see how the next three days go.”

Overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step): “For the first time in competition on a mountain stage I felt good, and wanted to try to stay in the select group and fight for the GC. When Thomas went I was waiting for an action of Porte. When he first went in order to catch the three ahead I was with him. When he accelerated one last time to go over the top I tried to stay with him, but I couldn’t really follow. Porte and Thomas were both strong today, but at the same time I think I had a strong performance. I finished 3rd, only 8 seconds down, and I am so happy to have regained the yellow jersey after this difficult finish. As for the next stages, tomorrow will not be as tough as today, but for sure the stage on Saturday will be another demanding day. I will do my best to defend my race leadership with the support of my teammates, who also did a good job taking care of me today going into the last climb.”

6th on the stage and 7th overall Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “The result of today stage is good for me: the stage was long and we faced the first climbs of the race. For me, this stage was the first European mountains race I faced this year, because before today I only pedaled on climbs in Oman, so I judge my performance as satisfying and I’m also happy that Valls too is in a great shape.”

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “I always have a nice time when I am in a breakaway. I can choose my own tempo and the climbs gave distraction in the longest stage of this week. The goal was to take over the polka dot jersey. I succeeded, unfortunately the stage win was not possible. With only three riders the group was too small to make it till the end, especially after Duchesne was dropped with fifty kilometers still to go. Of course I had to continue to pick up KOM points. It should be possible to keep this jersey. The stage on Saturday is the most dangerous one, there are many points to gain. If I can join a breakaway again then, I can’t lose the jersey anymore. Tomorrow’s stage starts with a first category climb. If the situation is good, I’ll aim for the points but afterwards I’ll take it easy to save energy for the next day.”

Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “It was always clear that this was going to be the queen stage of the Paris-Nice. The whole team always tried to be right near the front. The guys really put me and Chava in a good position for the last climb. It’s a shame because I was feeling pretty good, but as always with this time of the season, I still am lacking that extra little bit. When the favorites attacked, I could not stay with them. It’s a shame because I wasn’t really that far back. Now we’ll just take the stages day by day; it’s not finished yet and there is still a very hard day on Saturday and then the time trial on Sunday. So definitely, the race is far from finished.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka has a bad day: “Today was not a good day for me, since I came here for the GC. My puncture happened at a very bad moment. After the second bike change I tried to get back into the front group again but I burnt a lot of energy in trying to do so, and I was also not at my best today. My teammates helped me a lot and we went full gas to close the gap, but the guys in the front group did the same. Now, we’ll take it day by day realizing that not all days are good and focus on our next goals.”

Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 5:18:39
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:08
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:17
6. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:24
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
9. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step in 19:44:11
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:01
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:03
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:27
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:32
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:38
7. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:41
8. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:44
9. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:50
10. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 0:51.

Paris-Nice stage 4 summary:

Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) surged in the final stretch to steal the show from more renowned sprinters in the 192.5-km Stage 5 of Paris-Nice in Rasteau. The 25-year-old Italian perfectly timed his effort to beat France’s Bryan Coquard (Europcar) on the line while stage 3 winner Michael Mathews (Orica-GreenEDGE) completed the podium to strengthen his points classification green jersey. The yellow jersey remained on the back of Poland’s Michal Kwiatkoswki, whose Etixx – Quick-Step team-mates perfectly controlled the race all day. A long break involving polka-dot jersey holder Thomas De Gendt was quashed in the last meters, setting the stage for another bunch sprint and an unheralded winner, who had not previously won a WorldTour race.

Bryan Nauleau (Europcar) was the first man out on the Col de la Republique. After several attempts, polka-dot jersey Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) went to collect the ten points on offer at the top, taking with him Romain Sicard (Europcar) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin), two riders eager to avenge a disappointing showing on stage 4. The three reached the top in that order, followed by Egor Silin (Katusha) and Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo), who caught up with them in the descent. The five received the peloton’s go-ahead and their lead stabilized quickly, but never exceed 3:40 (125km) over a pack led by Michal Kwiatkowski’s Etixx – Quick-Step team-mates.

Thanks to the tailwind, the speed was much higher than in previous days and De Gendt kept collecting points on the day’s hills as Cofidis joined Etixx – Quick-Step in the chase. Despite the sprinters teams effort, the five maintained their lead, which reached 2:20 at the second intermediate sprint in Cornas, won by Poljanski. Trek joined forces with Cofidis at the front, later helped by Sky and the gap came under the minute with 15 kms to go.

On the last climb, Cote de Buisson (184km), again led by De Gendt, Sicard and Poljanski were unable to stay in the leading group. Talansky also lost ground with three kilometers to go, leaving De Gendt and Silin to battle it out in front. The polka-dot jersey holder went on his own under the 1K banner, hoping to hold the peloton at bay but he was reeled in 500 meters from the line as Coquard boldly tried to force ahead. The Frenchman moved a little too early and could not find an extra gear when Cimolai upstaged him.

Overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) was 12th on the stage: “It was very fast today and nervous, we passed 190 kilometers in four hours and 15 minutes, so that is proof it was a fast stage. But I am really happy with how the team rode for me today. They rode all day in the front, controlling the gap between the breakaway and the peloton, and then they made sure I could safely arrive at the finish. I kept the Yellow, which was the goal, and I have to thank my teammates for their good work. Tomorrow is already a difficult parcours and they predicted bad weather. So it’s going to be tough. But, we are ready to defend the jersey and we will keep on fighting. We will see what we can do with the good team spirit that we have here. We will see where I will be in the GC after tomorrow’s stage. I will just try my best with whatever situation there is in the final tomorrow, and then we will see what I can do in the mountain TT on Sunday.”

KOM leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “Of course your disappointed when you’re so close to the victory. It’s a pity, but we can’t change anything. The plan was to take points on the first climb if possible. I easily escaped the peloton at a moment when lots of riders got dropped. I picked up the points and normally it was the plan that I would wait for the bunch. But I asked the sports directors if I could stay in front because I felt I had really good legs and there were four strong riders with me. There was a good cooperation between us and I could take the maximum of the points on every climb. Then I aimed for the stage win. I came close. With forty points lead on the second rider in the KOM classification it looks good, but it’s not sure yet. Tomorrow there are 51 points to gain, so all is still possible. We’ll have to wait for the first two climbs to see if someone will become a danger. If Gilbert or Sørensen attacks, I’ll have to follow, because they are my main opponents. If at least three riders take off, who don’t have any points yet, then I win the jersey.”

10th on the stage Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “Today I was expected to do the sprint since it had a false flat that usually suits my characteristics. I was very well placed, but when I review the video, I see that I am on the left side and forced several time to brake, which means I ended up doing three sprints. I do not have the pure fast-twitch capabilities of the sprinters. I did have the misfortune to be blocked today, but then I don’t have that acceleration, that required punch to get back up to full speed quickly. I need to have a good run for a long way. I do think that I could have done better than 10th place, though. I feel good overall. In the mountain stage yesterday, I could basically do what I wanted; that is to say, I was not too far behind the pure climbers and leaders. You never know what can happen on a stage like what we face on Saturday. I might have a perfect opportunity. So why shouldn’t we ride at the front of the race. These sorts of stages I am often near the front.”

Break-away rider Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo): “De Gendt and Talansky attacked early on in the first climb and we decided that I should go in the breakaway shortly after. I bridged the gap but spent some energy on it. Maybe I took too many turns at the front, but it helped maintain the lead over the peloton at the same time. So I couldn’t follow, when De Gendt attacked with about 8km to go. After yesterday, which was not a good day, we wanted to try and to be active. I felt good during the stage, so overall I’m satisfied with my performance. Still, we will try to improve the results we’ve had so far, so we should continue to ride actively, especially tomorrow, where we’ll face a very difficult stage.”

Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
1. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:12:09
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Daniel Mclay (GB) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 5:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step in 23:56:20
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:01
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:03
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:27
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:32
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:38
7. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:41
8. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:44
9. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:50
10. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 0:51.

Stage 5:

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) boldly took advantage of the rainy conditions and his knowledge of the terrain to seize the reins of Paris-Nice after a remarkable effort in the penultimate Stage 6 in the Nice hinterland on Saturday. The Frenchman, winner on his own on a rain-soaked Promenade des Anglais, will carry a 36-seconds lead over 2013 winner Richie Porte (Sky) into tomorrow’s time-trial up Col d’Eze with the hope of becoming the first local rider to win the event since Laurent Jalabert in 1997. Raindrops, attacks, crashes, the 192-kms ride between Vence and Nice was spectacular and the fierce battle between Porte, his Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas and yellow-jersey holder Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) finally favored Gallopin, now in an ideal position top to sweep the board.

Eager to secure his polka-dot jersey, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) surged after three kilometers, taking 13 other riders on his heels. The 14 were quickly chased by another bunch of 15, who caught up with them halfway up Cote de Vence. In the meantime, the few sprinters who were part of the break lost ground while another group of seven riders, led by Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) edged closer. De Gendt collected the ten points available in Vence and a regrouping of 31 riders took place in the descent at kilometer 48.

While De Gendt strengthened his KOM lead along the way, several sprinters like Bryan Coquard (Europcar) or Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) decided to call it quits not to take any chances on roads made slippery by the rain. The lead of the 31 topped at 2:55 after 80 kilometers. His polka-dot jersey secured, De Gendt eased off as the leading group started to split in the descent of Cote de Chateauneuf while Sylvain Chavanel raised the tempo.

At the foot of Cote de Coaraze (118 km), yellow jersey holder Michal Kwiatkowski launched a bold move with Etixx Quick Step team-mates Tony Martin, Julian Alaphilippe and Michal Golas in order to surprise his nearest rivals, Team Sky’s Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. They held a 40 seconds lead but were later reined in the climb. In the first category Col Saint-Roch, the leading group split, leaving only ten riders in the front: Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jon Izaguirre (Movistar), Gautier (Europcar), Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Edet & Mate (Cofidis), Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Bauer (Cannondale-Garmin).

Kwiatkowski again attempted to put pressure on Porte and Thomas by speeding down the descent along with Martin, Alaphilippe and Tony Gallopin. The four caught what remained of the break with 40 kms to go. At that stage, Porte, Thomas and the other favorites were 35 seconds behind the world champion. Ten kilometers later after a brave effort by Geraint Thomas, their group had quashed the world champion’s attempt once again.

The Cote de Peille sorted the men from the boys. Worn out by his two attacks, Kwiatkowski lost ground when Porte attacked, quickly followed by Thomas. With 25 kms to go, Tony Gallopin went on his own and rapidly took a substantial lead. At the top of the climb (158.5 km) he led a group including Rui Costa, Valls, Fuglsang, Porte, Thomas and Spilak by 25 seconds and the group featuring Kwiatkoskwi, Vichot, Izaguirre, Edet, Valgren and Chavanel by 40 seconds.

On the descent, as the yellow jersey looked set to change hands, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas both crashed in turn with 18 km to go and were chased down by the Kwiatkowski group. The fight for the yellow jersey had been intense but fruitless and it favored Gallopin, who increased his lead in the long descent to Nice with Rui Costa, Valls, Fuglsang and Spilak 25 seconds behind him and the three leaders of the GC nearly a minute behind.

Stage winner and new overall leader Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “I’m really happy with this stage win. It’s an incredible victory, I didn’t expect this scenario. Before the start I thought we would go to the finish line with a group of about fifteen riders and sprint for the win. The weather conditions made the race harder than expected and then there was the big break with Tim. That made the peloton nervous. It rained and it was very cold, but that didn’t bother me. In the descent of the Col Saint-Roch I followed Kwiatkowski and his teammates and we bridged to the leaders. Paris-Nice is my first goal this season and it’s marvelous that I win a stage here. It has been a successful stage race so far for the whole team with two stage wins, the polka dot jersey and me in the running for the overall victory. The legs felt great today. With five kilometers to go I realized that I was close to the stage win. I gave all I got till the end to have as much lead in the GC as possible. The people in the team car motivated me. I don’t know what to expect tomorrow. It will be difficult against those specialists, but I’ll do my best that’s for sure.”

3rd overall Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step): “As a team we were trying to make the race really hard, we were hoping to distance Thomas and Porte to have maybe have a time advantage going into tomorrow. But, Gallopin was the strongest today and he deserved to win the stage. I crossed the line with Porte and Thomas and OK, now I am 3rd in the GC. I am really happy with what the team did today. They were amazing today riding in the front, trying to always accelerate on the descent and really push it. I always had the advantage after the descents because of their efforts. At the end maybe I didn’t have the same energy I had in the middle of the stage, but it was good to try and see what we could do today and I can learn from this experience. This race is not over yet. A lot can happen in an uphill time trial, even if it is only 9.6 kilometers. I will try to finish strong and the race is still open.”

3rd on the stage and 6th overall Rui costa (Lampre-Merida): “It was such a demanding stage and the rain was so cold that it was so difficult to reach the arrival: Rafael and me realized a very good performance.”

6th on the stage Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I’m happy with my performance today. Of course it would have been better if we had closed the gap on the descent, then a top three on the stage would have been possible. But I felt strong during the stage, and I think that the bad weather was in my favor, as I’m normally good when it’s cold and raining. We tried our best today with four guys in the breakaway, however we rode to win but overall I feel good about my efforts. There were several parts, where I could really feel my legs, but I kept up the pressure and I was able to stay with the group of Porte and Kwiatkowski after they caught me. We tried to catch the first chasing group with Valls, Fuglsang, Costa and Spilak, but it was hard to bridge gap on the fast descent down to Nice. In the sprint for the secondary positions, I launched my sprint early with 250meters to go and I was able to keep them behind me.”

8th on the stage Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “I felt good on Saturday, It was a difficult stage, particularly in view of the weather conditions. I made my move just outside Vence because there were more than 20 riders in the boat to accompany. I really wanted to go out on this stage because the profile around the region really suits my strengths. I have already won here in the past, so I wanted to try to do something today. I finished eight on the stage, which has helped me climb back up near the top-10 again, and that was the main goal for the day, and for my Paris-Nice on the whole. So I am happy.” After having completed such an epic day, Chavanel will now have to turn his attention to his attack of the final stage; and as a time trial, it is a course on which he would like to do well. “Now we are facing a time trial up the Col d’Eze, we’ll have to give everything,” the French time trial champion said. “But compared to what we had to do today on the bike, it will be pretty easy. I would certainly like to finish in the top-10, but Sunday will be all about the legs after today, since we all expended a lot of energy. We’ll have to recover well to be able to apply ourselves effectively against the clock up to the Col d’Eze. As for the weather, even if it rains, it will not be as serious going uphill since there will be no risk of falling, so I will not be intimidated.”

Paris-Nice Overall Stage 6 Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal in 4:52:57
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:32
3. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
5. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 0:35
6. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:00
7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 6:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal in 28:49:42
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:36
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:37
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:38
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
6. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:42
7. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:53
8. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 1:01
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 1:19
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:00.

Stage 6:

The conditions were different, the competition as fierce, but Richie Porte remained the king of Col d’Eze, two years after becoming the first Australian to win Paris-Nice. Gusty winds and rainy spells were not enough to stop the Team Sky leader dominating the final Stage 7 9.6-km time trial on the classic pass overlooking Nice in 20 minutes and 23 seconds, 1:07 slower than in 2013. Tony Gallopin’s advantage of 36 seconds at the start was finally too slim for the yellow jersey holder to retain his garment. The Frenchman finished 1:03 short of becoming the first local rider to be crowned in the Race to the sun since 1997. In the final overall standings, Porte led World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step), Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (Katusha) and 2013 World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) by 30 seconds.

Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – Quick-Step), who did a tremendous work for his leader Michal Kwiatkowski all week, was the first rider in action but the first reference time was clocked by polka-dot jersey holder Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). The Belgian clocked 21:19 and rode the climb at full speed to take indications for leader Tony Gallopin. Runner-up to Richie Porte in 2013, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) clocked 21 minutes precisely, 1:21 slower than two years ago. He was dislodged from top spot by three-times time trial World champion Tony Martin, the first man under 21 minutes at 20:52.

As the top ten riders went into action, Simon Spilak (Katusha) set the barrier high by clocking 20:36. Only 2013 World champion Rui Costa came close at first in 20:47. But as soon as Porte and Gallopin were on course, the doubts quickly disappeared. After the first intermediate time (5.5 km), Tony Gallopin had already lost 58 seconds on the Australian champion. On the line, he had given 1:39 back to the 2013 winner, who triumphed for a second time on Col d’Eze and seized the yellow jersey on the last day after winning the queen stage at Croix de Chaubouret. A good fifth on the day, in the same time as team-mate Tony Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski was rewarded for a brilliant Paris-Nice by snatching second place overall, 30 seconds behind Porte, and the best young rider white jersey. Third-placed Spilak and fourth-placed Rui Costa both finishing in the same time. Gallopin had to be content with 6th place, 1:03 behind the Australian. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) retained his points classification green jersey.

5th on the stage and 2nd overall Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I had the yellow jersey for a while in this race, and I’m happy about what we did overall. We did what we could with this final uphill time trial. It didn’t work out for the victory, but I’m happy with my 2nd place. Richie Porte was the strongest guy in the peloton. He deserved this win and I’m happy to be on the next step below him on the podium. We tried our best yesterday, Etixx – Quick-Step was aiming for the win and we were aggressive, but I didn’t have the legs to go with Gallopin. So today I did a good TT, especially considering the hard stage of yesterday. I’m satisfied with my result at the end. This race gave me a lot of motivation for the next races, and great experience for the one-week stage races. Everything is going in the right direction. Competing on the climbs with the best climbers is something really nice that I discovered about myself and my skills. Every year I’m making little progressions and I hope I can continue in this way. I am also happy with my condition. We will see what I can show in the future. I am looking forward to Milano-Sanremo and then of course the Ardennes Classics.”

2nd on the stage Simon Spilak(Katusha): “It was my objective to reach the overall podium here in Paris – Nice, so I am really happy I did it today! I think our tactic yesterday was a good one. I took some important seconds, which helped me today to reach the podium. Today I was very motivated. I knew I could do well and on the distance I performed at 100%. I like this time trial in Nice. I think it is my third time I am here, and now I was able to get a podium place both in the stage and in the general classification. This result gives me even more motivation for my next goals – Vuelta al País Vasco and Tour de Romandie.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “At the end of a very demanding Paris-Nice, during which we ran in the cold and in the rain and my team and me realized good performances, it’s so strange to be fourth in the overall classification with the same timing to the second and the third place. This is cycling and this is sport, so I accept it and I prefer to focus my attention on the fact that my legs are in a good shape and that I realized a positive performance in the time trial. I hope to be luckier in the next appointments, so I’ll be able to give to the team and to the fans even better satisfaction.”

6th overall Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “I had a bad day, I knew it immediately after the start. I looked at the wattage and noticed it wasn’t sufficient to set a fast time. This is tough mentally. I was nervous because it was an important day; I had the opportunity to win Paris-Nice. But I don’t think that played a role. The legs just weren’t good enough. It’s difficult to explain, but this is cycling. I am sixth overall. If you had told me this in the beginning of the week I would have been satisfied with it. It is indeed a nice result, but after yesterday I hoped for more. Now I am disappointed. Tomorrow or the day after I will probably be able to put this in perspective and look back on a great week. Then I’ll make the switch, because Sunday I’ll ride Milan-Sanremo. That’s always a special race, I love it. It’s an open race, where lots can happen. That is my next appointment before the Ardennes classics.”

9th on stage 7 and 10th overall Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “I’m satisfied with the ninth place in the time trial, especially when you see the names in front and just behind me in the ranking. I came to Paris-Nice with the ambition to finish in top ten and I succeeded. If I had become eleventh I would have been disappointed. I’m positive about the past week. Last year I couldn’t have done what I did know. In yesterday’s situation for example I would have been dropped immediately after my group had been caught by the one with Gallopin. I feel that, compared to this time last year, I have set a big step forward. I’m much stronger than last year in Paris-Nice. It wasn’t planned to join an early breakaway yesterday. When I noticed that they let everyone go, I jumped away. In a stage with lots of ascents and descents and wet roads, it’s better to be in a breakaway. I could save energy, Thomas De Gendt did some of my turns at the front. That was the ideal situation. For a moment I believed we would stay in front with some riders, but soon the peloton started chasing and it was all about surviving as long as possible. I had a puncture after Tony had attacked, just like Thursday on a bad moment. But it didn’t have an influence on my result. To get back I needed to take some risks, because it was wet and I had a wheel from the neutral assistance, but I still finished on the seventh place.”

Paris-Nice Stage 7 Result:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 20:23
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha at 0:13
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:24
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:29
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:37
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:39
8. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:50
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:54
10. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:55.

Paris-Nice Final Overall:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky in 29:10:41
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:30
3. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
4. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:41
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 1:03
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:05
8. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 1:24
9. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:38
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:18.

The final stage 7 time trial:

header-rvdrentheRonde van Drenthe 2015
Bert-Jan Lindeman finished second in De Ronde van Drenthe. In his home region, the strong Dutchman formed a five-man lead group and rode free, but lost against Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) in the sprint.

The one-day race in the northeast of The Netherlands crossed a couple of cobblestone sections. Lindeman knew the roads well. He rode them during some of his training this week and arrived well-prepared for the race. On the last climb of the VAM-berg, the pack fell into pieces and only five riders survived with a chance to win.

“I set the pace on the VAM-berg,” Lindeman said. “That ensured that we had a chance to ride free. I felt good today and I’m glad that I pulled off a good result. It’s a pity that I finished second, but you know when you’re in a leading group with five riders, things aren’t always predictable. I made a choice to focus on the final sprint. I thought that would be my best chance to grab the victory.”

Sports Director Frans Maassen was satisfied with the performance of his team, who helped Lindeman to his result. Brian Bulgac gave him his wheel in the last cobblestone section and Lindeman finished it off by reading the race perfectly.

“You always prefer to win, of course, but we didn’t finish second that often this season, so far,” Maassen said. “The fact that someone else is faster in the final sprint isn’t a shame. I’m satisfied with the way we performed today. “I can say that it was a good race with a little bit of disappointment in the end,” Lindeman added. “My tactic didn’t pay off, unfortunately. Theuns was just faster than me.”
Thanks to the LottoNL-Jumbo for the race info.

Ronde van Drenthe Result:
1. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Balois in 4:49:20
2. Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Joey Van Rhee (Ned) Jo Piels
4. Jasper Asselman (Ned) Roompot
5. Scott Thwaites (GB) Bora-Argon 18
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast at 0:14
7. Tanner Putt (US) UnitedHealthcare
8. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
9. Walter Mol (Ned) Join’s-De Rijke
10. Nick Van der Lijke (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo.

Ronde van Drenthe:

Energiewacht Dwars door Drenthe 2015
Barry Markus (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished second in Dwars door Drenthe after starting his sprint late and making a strong surge in the last 100 meters. “A lot was happening in today’s race,” sports director, Frans Maassen said. “A leading group of ten men went free in the beginning of the stage. We had Timo Roosen in that leading group, and it was good that he was there. After that, four riders joined the breakaway, and we should have been there too, but we weren’t. That was a mistake. Another big group broke away later. We had only Nick van der Lijke with that group of 20 leaders. That was not enough. Mike Teunissen tried to reach the leaders too, but he got a puncture during his chase. Instead, we worked with some other teams who wanted to close the gap and we decided to go for Barry Markus’ chances.”

It became a bunch sprint in Drenthe and Markus, though first seeming out of the picture, fired. “I was a little too much on the outside,” the Dutchman explained. “As a result, I was only able to sprint in the last 100 metres. Fortunately, that was enough to for second place. Immediately after the finish, I was very fed up I didn’t win, but now, I feel satisfied all the same.”

It was good for Markus to grab a good result after a long period with little success in the sprints. His top form appears to be returning after some tough races in the Ardèche. “You have to do some tough races to gain some hardness,” he explained. “That pays off on moments like this. This second place gives me a lot of confidence.”
Thanks to LottoNL-Jumbo.

Energiewacht Dwars door Drenthe Result:
1. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast in 4:32:46
2. Barry Markus (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Michael Carbel Svendgaard (Den) Cult Energy
4. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Scott Thwaites (GB) Bora-Argon 18
6. Alexander Kamp Egested (Den) ColoQuick
7. Nik Van Der Lijke (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) SEG Racing
9. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Roompot
10. Johim Ariesen (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel.

The finish:

header-cult-leftLarsson Misses Hour Record
Gustav Larsson’s Hour Record attempt at the Revolution track series in Manchester fell short of the mark set by Rohan Dennis (BMC) by a distance of just over 2 kilometers, with a distance of 50.016 kilometers. The Dennis record is 52.491 kilometers.

Larsson is a former Swedish national time trial champion and has been a profession since 2001 and is now racing with the Cult Energy team after he broke several of his thoracic vertebrae in a training crash in June last year.

Gustav Larsson making his attempt:

header-girohalloffame-moserFrancesco Moser Inducted into the Giro Hall of Fame
Francesco Moser won the 1984 Giro d’Italia, 23 stages and the points jersey four times as well as a load of other races, including Paris-Roubaix three years in a row. The 63 year-old Italian will inducted into the Giro d’Italia hall of fame in Milan on March 20. Moser also won Milan-San Remo, Giro di Lombardia (twice), Flèche Wallonne, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Tours, Italian road champion (three times) and was World Champion in 1977.

Moser, a PEZ fan?

header-uci_edited-1UCI Women’s WorldTour in 2016?
At the first UCI Women’s Teams Seminar, amongst other subjects, a Women’s WorldTour to start in 2016 was discussed along with a two tier professional team system. The new WorldTour would replace the WorldCup with its ten races with the new WorldTour which would have more events taking in more countries all over the World.

More races for Marianne Vos to win?

header-sky-leftWiggins Cleared to Ride the Tour of Yorkshire
Bradley Wiggins will be allowed to ride the Tour of Yorkshire with his UCI Continental Wiggins team after his contract with the Sky team ends on April the 26th. The permitted transfer window is between the 1st and 25th of June, but the UCI have allowed the rule to be bypassed so he can compete in the new English event from May the 1st to the 3rd. The request came from the Wiggins team with the support of British Cycling and will allow the World TT champion to go from a WorldTour team to a Continental team over night. The Yorkshire race is part of Wiggins’ build up to his Hour Record attempt.

Wiggins on his way to the TT title:
ITT World Championships (Men Elite)

header-ffcNo 2014 French Prize Money yet
According to De Telegraaf, the French Cycling Federation has not paid out any prize money for races from the 2014 season. Vincenzo Nibali has not received his prize from the Tour de France. Apparently the French federation has put has put the money in a bank account and is waiting for the drug tests results so no doped riders will be paid. ASO, the Tour, Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Nice organizers, said that they have paid all the money to the FFC and it’s up to them to pay the riders. The FFC say they will pay the riders once a year. The interest on over two million Euro’s must be quite nice for over a year.

Vincenzo reading about his money:
TDFR 2014 - restday - 1

header-oricage15-leftOrica-GreenEDGE – Uptown Funk
The guy’s from Orica-GreenEDGE have done another music video, this time it is a tribute to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars with a South African twist on Uptown Funk. Filmed in Crystal Springs Mountain Resort, Pilgrims Rest and Graskop South Africa.

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