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EuroTrash Sanremo Monday!

Milan-Sanremo might be long, but it was no ‘snoozefest’ and we have the video, race report and rider quotes to prove it. It’s not all Sanremo: Nibali’s tax problems, Zeeland, Handzame, GP Nobili, plus we preview Catalunya, Vuelta Wildcards, Moser’s Giro fame, and watch Sagan make a commercial. All in a full EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Tax Problems for Nibali
Vincenzo Nibali seems to have forgotten to pay €290,000 tax in 2010 and 2011, he has admitted it and will pay a fine of €45,000, it was reported by the Corriere della Sera. It appears that the “Shark of the Strait” did not declare all his earnings in 2010 and 2011. It was reported that Nibali forgot to declare €772,000 on which he should have paid €290,000 tax.

In 2010 he failed to declare a taxable income of €148,500 of which €119,300 was payment for image rights, €3,300 from rents and €10,800 for prizes, as well as €15,200 compensation resulting from crashes. Which resulted in €63,800 unpaid tax for 2010. The following year he forgot €523,600 of which €491,400 was from image rights, €3,500 from rents, €22,600 in compensations and €6,000 resulting from other payments. Total unpaid tax of €225,000 for 2011.

As the amounts evaded are above the threshold of €50,000 there is the crime of tax evasion. Nibali has already admitted the mistake and asked that the prison sentence be commuted from six months to a fine of €45,000.

Maybe no Champagne for Vincenzo for a while:
TDFR 2014 - stage -21

header-sanremo15-leftMilan-Sanremo 2015
After a wet and cold 300 kilometers, John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) out-sprinted last years winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) from a group of 26 riders.

The break of the day was made up of 11 riders: Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18), Sebastian Molano (Colombia), Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) Andrea Peron (Novo Nordisk), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka), Julien Berard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tiziano Dall’Antonia & Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli). They escaped in the first 20 kilometers, but were never allowed more than a 10 minute advantage.

With 100 kilometers to go the lead was still 5 minutes, but the peloton was shifting gear. By the time they hit the Cipressa; Bono had gone solo, but behind; crashes where splitting the peloton and a Sky trio of Rowe, Thomas and Swift had ridden clear as riders hit the road behind them. As riders jumped across to the Sky 3-man TTT, the break were all pulled in, but Thomas and BMC’s Oss got away before the Poggio and then Thomas was on his own on the mythical climb and looking good.

Trek, Katusha, BMC were working hard to pull him back and sent their top men to the front. Over the top and a big crash takes out Ciolek, Stybar, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski and others leaving a group of just over 20 to fight out the win. Luca Paolini was the strongman in the group and towed his Katusha leader, Alexander Kristoff, to sprinting distance of the finish line, but not close enough and John Degenkolb was fast enough to get past him.

Race winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin): “I still can’t believe it. Today was amazing. It was really fast on the Poggio and I had to dig in and suffer there but my shape was good and the hard work over the past weeks and months paid off here. I managed to make it into a good position over the top of the Poggio and avoid the crashes and then in the final two kilometers it was just fighting for position and relying on instinct. Everything came together today. The whole team were great today in keeping me out of the wind and making it as easy as possible from it. Then at the end Tom [Dumoulin] did a great job in getting me into position for the Poggio. I’m really proud of the result today.”

2nd Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “I think I started too early, maybe I needed to wait 50 meters later to start my sprint, but I had no other solution because I was in first position. Luca was really great today and he did impressive work on the Poggio and later in the final. I could not ask more from him. Honestly in one moment I thought I could win, but John was too fast in the end and I could not answer. I was on the limit. The finish was on a small uphill and in the end I was too tired. The team was really great today. I thank all of the guys, and of course Luca. It was a hard day. I did not feel like I did last year but anyway I was still strong. On the Cipressa was a hard moment for me but the team supported me well. Later on the Poggio Luca went in front and provided me the rhythm I needed to get past those feelings. Of course I am a little bit disappointed but it is normal since I was very close to the win. But maybe later I will be happy, because it is 2nd place in Milano-Sanremo.”

3rd Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “It was a pretty cold and wet day today but we did what we had to do, the ORICA-GreenEDGE team supported me really well. As you could see on the Cipressa and Poggio climbs I had really good legs today so I am a little bit disappointed in the final. I guess I have got to believe that it’s Milano-Sanremo and it’s my first attempt at going for a result here, so I have to be positive about that. I’m really thankful for the team in believing in me and helping me deliver this result.”

4th Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “It was a tough race, also due to the rain. But at least the weather was better than last year and in the final part of the race, the roads dried and the sun came out. I would like once again to thank my teammates because they worked really hard during the race. But at the end, although I was feeling very well and in form, I think I made a mistake, when I approached the final sprint too far down in the pack”, says Peter Sagan, who adds that his starting position made it difficult. I was too far down after the last corners, which meant that I had to overtake too many to be successful at the end. However, now I focus on the Cobbled Classics ahead and I must admit that I feel well and in good form. We will see how the next races play out.”

5th Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida): “The fifth place is a good result for me, I’m happy I succeeded in being a protagonist in this race, that covers the roads I cover every day during training. The approach to Sanremo was perfect for me, I avoid the crashes that characterized the final part of the race and I still had energies, so I was ready to support Cimolai in view of the sprint. I was in the front position but, when we covered the last bend, I lost the contact with Cimolai and, when I realized what had happened, it was too late to try to be come closer, so I decided to go on in the sprint.”

9th Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “I had a good feeling during the race. We were strong as a team and had different riders who could play a role. On the Cipressa and Poggio we could attack, after the Poggio we would see if we still had a sprinter with us. That wasn’t the case. Just before the end of the Poggio descent I wanted to attack, but I realized it would be too difficult with the sprint teams that were getting organized. The sprint didn’t go smoothly for me. I got hindered twice, so I had to accelerate again each time. I have mixed feelings. Just like the past two weeks I’ve proven that I’m good, but I don’t have a top result. Now I’m continuing my preparation for the Ardennes classics.”

10th Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was really cold in the start but it got better after the Turchino. I managed to be up there in 10th place. I didn’t do a great sprint but I was happy to still secure a top 10. Serge did a really good job to be up in the front and it helped us in not having to chase from behind. It was a pity our team was affected by so many crashes, it maybe would have been a better day if this did not happen.”

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etix – Quick-Step): “Let’s hope tomorrow morning when I wake up from bed I won’t feel anything, but as of now I am feeling OK and I have to be happy about that. Bad luck today, especially that both of us were on the ground. The race looks different than what it could have been if that didn’t happen. We did it perfectly today, my teammates did a great job putting us into good position. For the first time at Milano-Sanremo I was there on the Poggio. We felt really comfortable. It was still a big group. When I heard Cavendish was no longer with us, I knew we both still felt good and who knows what can happen in this kind of race. Maybe we could try an attack or make the sprint ourselves. But again, bad luck, and not much I can do in this situation other than feel happy with my condition and that the crash was not worse.”

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “The 2015 edition resembled the past two in terms of weather. We suffered a lot of rain and cold and when it came time for us to turn on the gas on the three capi, the muscles were paralyzed. Everyone had big legs. I managed to stay with the first group, but on the Poggio, there was no chance for me to try anything other than follow the pace, which was very fast. I tried to make a go of it in the final thrust for the line. Unfortunately I do not have the burst of speed that was needed to get close to the sprinters.”

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Today I was really unlucky,” Stybar said. “I crashed twice. The first time I crashed on the downhill of the Capo Berta when other riders went down in front of me and I couldn’t avoid them. But I was fortunately able to get up and ride immediately. Then I crashed for the second time on the descent of the Poggio when someone crashed in front of Kwiato and I. At that point my race was over. It’s a pity because despite the first crash, the idea was to ride to the end of the downhill of the Poggio and see what we could have done. I had good legs today and it’s a shame I couldn’t get to the finish and we couldn’t play all our cards, even if because arriving in Via Roma after 300 kilometers of riding the sprint is always strange and anything can happen. But OK, that’s cycling. I have a few scratches on my knee and ribs, but nothing serious. So after today we just need to turn the page and see what we can do at the next races.”

Break rider Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka): “The cold made it really hard today, for most of the day it was only 6 degrees and some parts only 4 but I was happy to be out front. It was maybe better to be in the break as you had to pedal all day and that was probably the best way to not get too cold. The plan was to be in the break if more than 10 riders went clear. First 5 guys attacked and then another 5 were making a move, when I saw this I jumped across. At least this way our guys were protected by having someone in front. I was happy to make it to the finish after a hard day.”

John Degenkolb’s Giant-Alpecin teammate Roy Curvers: “Yesterday we laid out a good plan for the race, and everybody was behind this to fight for the best possible outcome. All the guys kept their focus even when the weather was really bad and there were lots of crashes to avoid, but we stayed focused and everyone contributed. We wanted to keep John and Tom [Dumoulin] as fresh as possible until the Cipressa and from there Tom did a great job to look after John and guide him through the bunch before the end. Then at the finish it’s really awesome how he finished it off. It’s a classic that suits John and it’s great to take this opportunity.”

Read the full race report on PEZ by Ed Hood.

Milan-Sanremo Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin in 6:46.16
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek
8. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka.

Sanremo ’15:

header-zeelandRonde van Zeeland Seaports 2015
Etixx – Quick-Step dominated Ronde van Zeeland Seaports on Saturday. Niki Terpstra, Iljo Keisse, and Lukasz Wisniowski left no doubt about their intent to go 1-2-3, when the Etixx – Quick-Step trio attacked out of a big group with 100 kilometers to go. They built a 1:50 advantage over about 15 riders left chasing, including their own teammates Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Nikolas Maes, Matteo Trentin, and Yves Lampaert, with 70 kilometers remaining.

The trio went on to decide the race as they held almost a 5 minute advantage going into the last two laps of the race. The riders left on the road at that point was down to just 18 riders, including several others of Etixx – Quick-Step. The chasers behind the trio split into small groups, and Yves Lampaert was in the first chase group with Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen- Baloise) going into the final kilometers.

The victory went to Keisse, with Terpstra 2nd, and Wisniowski 3rd.

Lampaert was able to finish 4th over Theuns, confirming both the podium sweep and the 1-2-3-4 finish. Van Keirsbulck also finished 8th.

Race winner Iljo Keisse (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I’m so happy with this win. What a great result today! It’s a really nice favor from Niki Terpstra and Lukasz Wisniowski to let me win. The hard work I did in the past years finally paid off and I’m thankful my teammates thought of me in this way. Niki did tell me as long as I still have good legs in the next races to help him win, so I will try my best to repay his good deed (laughs). Of course this isn’t a Classic, but the teamwork demonstrated today really gives us a huge morale boost and shows the winning atmosphere we have among all 27 riders and all our staff. Also, to attack with three riders at 100 kilometers to go in a race is never an easy decision to make, but thanks to our collaboration as teammates we made it. When it comes to teamwork, this is a perfect example.”

Troels Vinther (Cult Energy) finished 15th: “It’s a Dutch semi-classics at its best. Rain, cold, wind and cobbles and this cocktail proved deadly to most of the peloton and you just have to give it to Etixx – Quick Step, they were better than rest of the pack today and for the rest of the day, it was an elimination race. However, this is solid training for Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, which I’m looking forward to.”

Tom Steels Etixx – Quick-Step Sport Director: “It was a very hard race today with a lot of wind, rain, and it was pretty cold. After 30 kilometers the guys were in the breakaway with a group of 23 riders. Yves Lampaert eventually bridged to the group of 23, giving us seven Etixx – Quick-Step riders in the group At 100 kilometers to go three of our guys — Niki Terpstra, Iljo Keisse, and Lukas Wisniowski — accelerated and our three riders established a good gap. For the team we decided that Iljo Keisse could win this race. We were actually in a luxurious position. We only needed to choose who finishes where on the podium, so the decision wasn’t hard to make. As a sport director you can only dream of a scenario like this! I must say that they didn’t just get this win as a gift. They really fought hard for this scenario to happen. This is such a nice feeling and a great win!”

Ronde van Zeeland Seaports Result:
1. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:34:36
2. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:10
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:56
7. Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 3:02
8. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Lotto Soudal at 3:31.


header-handzame15Handzame Classic 2015
Gianni Meersman was led-out perfectly by his Etixx – Quick-Step team to win the Handzame Classic on Friday ahead of Antoine Demoitie (Wallonie-Bruxelles) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal).

An early break of four built up a lead of 6:25 by 70 kilometers, it included: Alex Kirsch (Cult Energy), Conor Dunne (An Post-Chainreaction), Tom Wirtgen (Leopard) and Dries Hollanders (Metec). When the bunch started to chase the lead group fell apart leaving Alex Kirsch out on his own. Vegard Breen (Lotto-Soudal) joined Kirsch, but with 15 kilometers to go Etixx – Quick-Step took control and pulled the race together. Iljo Keisse and Matteo Trentin finished the job off for Meersman who had no problem taking his third win of the season.

Race winner Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a pretty fast race,” Meersman said, “There were 4 riders in the breakaway, but it was very cold today and they didn’t get too much of an advantage. Once we reached the local laps Etixx – Quick-Step really took the initiative to close the gap. Martin Velits and Pieter Serry were in the front riding, while the other guys saved themselves for the final six kilometers to bring me to the front for the bunch arrival. The guys really pulled hard to make to perfect sprint for me possible. I’m very grateful for the work the team did for me and that I could finish it. It also feels super special to win as a Belgian rider in what is basically a home race for me.”

3rd Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “I saw Kenny hit the ground. I stopped to see how he was doing, it was soon obvious that he couldn’t continue the race. We changed our tactics. At the end Tosh, Sean and Vegard could attack. I had to help Boris Vallée take a good position for the sprint. In the last three kilometers Sean and I rode behind the guys of Etixx – Quick-Step, with Boris Vallée just behind us. With one kilometer to go I saw Boris lost my wheel. It was too late to search for him, so I took my own chance. If I hadn’t done the efforts at the end, I might have finished higher.”

Break rider Alex Kirsch (Cult Energy): “My job was to participate in breakaways from the gun so naturally I did my best to be in the right place at the right time and just like Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to hit the crucial move. I think we went a little too fast in the beginning but I had some fuel left in the tank on the penultimate lap so I took a chance and went for it. Generally, I feel strong and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Lotto Soudal’s Kenny Dehaes, winner of the Handzame Classic in 2013, crashed on a hill. The race was over for him after ninety kilometers. It was immediately clear that it was serious. After his crashes in Tour Down Under and Three Days of West-Flanders this is another set-back for Dehaes. He went to the hospital of Herentals for further tests before surgery.

Handzame Classic Result:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
2. Antoin Demoitié (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Andrè Looij (Ned) Team Roompot
5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Roompot
6. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Team Cibel
8. Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
9. Dries de Bondt (Bel) Verandas Willems
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC.

Handzame final kilometers:

header-nobiliGP Nobili Rubinetterie 2015
Giacomo Nizzolo won the Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie on Thursday, winning from a reduced bunch sprint that arrived after 187.5 kilometers. It was his first victory this season and a much-needed win for the Italian sprinter who is often knocking on the door with numerous top three results to his name, but not the desired top podium step.

The first half of the race saw a stubborn peloton refusing to let any escape up the road until finally 27 riders detached after almost 90 kilometers had been pedaled. An attentive Trek Factory Racing snuck four men into the large breakaway with Eugenio Alafaci, Calvin Watson, Marco Coledan, and Laurent Didier all represented in the move. The leading group gained over three minutes advantage before all but seven were tagged back on first ascent of Massino Visconti climb with around 55-kilometers left.

The seven leaders rallied out front until the second time up Massino Visconti where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) attacked and quickly assumed new leadership of the race. After the descent the duo had over 25 seconds gap on a decimated peloton, but with some 20 kilometers still to race they stood little chance, and at seven kilometers from the end the peloton was united again and headed for a bunch sprint. Only 50 riders arrived to contest the finish, where Nizzolo out-kicked all to notch a long-due victory.

Race winner Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) explained the finalè: “In the end I took the wheel of Valverde who was helping take Lobato to the front, but I was left with 300 meters to go and I had no choice but to go long. It was a long sprint and I was scared I would be passed in the last meters. The first lap I was suffering more over the climb and I was feeling better the second time. I must say a big thanks to all my team. Fabian [Cancellara] was a big help to pace me over the two climbs and then Fabio [Felline] was there at the end; I don’t want to miss naming anyone because everyone on the team played a big part of this win today. Today the race was crazy, we went over the fastest average speed they predicted, I think we did something like 46km/h and the fastest time was for 44km/h. It was really hard and fast from the start. I was not worried when Valverde and Rebellin were off the front – with these two riders I expect this – and they were only two and two teams were pulling full gas behind.”

Trek director Adriano Baffi summed up what the win means for the team: “In the end we have the win, which is fantastic, but it was even more important for Giacomo. It’s also a nice victory for the team ahead of Milan-Sanremo, which of course is our big objective.”

GP Nobili Rubinetterie Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek in 4:01:30
2. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast
3. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha
4. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
5. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Iuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Antonio Parrinello (Ita) D’Amico-Bottechia
10. Francesco Reda (Ita) Team Idea 2010.

GP Nobili Rubinetterie:

logo-catalunya15Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2015
Volta a Catalunya presents the riders of the 95th edition with various kinds of terrain. Being a prestigious World Tour race, Catalunya will see participation from an array of stars looking to secure important points for their teams. The first opportunity comes on stage 1 from and to Calella with three categorized climbs along the way. However, looking at the outcome of the past year’s similar stages, both stage 1 and the much flatter stage 2 will end in bunch sprints.

The road kicks up and the mountains kick in, although gently, on stage 3 with five categorized climbs and a downhill finish to Girona – one of the pro cycling cities of Europe, where numerous riders reside. The all-important queen stage is up next, as the riders must tackle two first category climbs and a HC climb before the cat. 1 climb to La Molina, 1,725m high in the Pyrenees.

Stage 4 to La Molina

Stage 5 and 6 are ideal for riders looking to take stage glory in a breakaway. However, with a category 2 climb within the absolute finale of stage 5, punchy GC riders might make an effort to create a selection.

Stage 7 in Barcelona sees the riders tackling the traditional city circuit around the Montjuic Park with 8 bursts up the Alto de Montjuic before finally settling the race and the general classification.

Race website: https://www.voltacatalunya.cat

Stage 1: Monday 23rd March: Calella – Calella (191.1 km)
Stage 2: Tuesday 24th March: Mataró – Olot (195 km)
Stage 3: Wednesday 25th March: Girona – Girona (159.6 km)
Stage 4: Thursday 26th March: Tona – La Molina (191 km)
Stage 5: Friday 27th March: Allp – Valls (197 km)
Stage 6: Saturday 28th March: Cervera – Port Aventura (197.7 km)
Stage 7: Sunday 29th March: Barcelona – Barcelona (123.5 km).


header-lottosoudal15Louis Vervaeke is looking forward to race in Spain after one month without competition
The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is the next scheduled stage race at WorldTour level. From Monday 23rd March until Sunday 29th March the peloton will ride over the Spanish hilly roads. Joaquim Rodríguez took the victory last year.

The first stage with start and finish in Calella is treacherous with a climb of the first, second and third category. The third category climb is the Alt de Collsacreu. The climb is situated at eighteen kilometers from the finish line and can cause a possible decimation. The second stage contains two third category climbs. Although the final is a lot tougher. The final 25 kilometers are uphill. Stage three is the first important day for the climbers. Two climbs of the first category, one of the second category and two climbs of the third category will be the setting of this 159 kilometers long stage. The finish line is drawn after a descent of thirteen kilometers.

Queen stage on day four
There is no room for rest on the fourth stage, it is the queen stage. The riders will strive for the win at La Molina, a first category climb. Earlier in the stage the peloton also has to cover two first category climbs and a climb hors category. The stage on Friday contains only one second category climb. Nevertheless it will be hard for the sprinters because the top of the Alt de Lilla is only ten kilometers away from the finish line. The fast riders do get their chance in the sixth stage, in Port Aventura. Halfway the stage there is a first category climb and at 36.5 kilometers from the finish there is a third category climb. The closing stage on Sunday will guide the riders through Barcelona. At the end of this stage there are eight local laps waiting for the riders. The winner of the overall standings will be known Sunday.

One of the eight riders in the Lotto Soudal selection is Louis Vervaeke. In February the 21-year-old Belgian had to abandon the Ruta del Sol because of a crash. Yesterday he rode Nokere Koerse, his first race in a month.

Louis Vervaeke: “I had a mild concussion after I crashed in the Ruta del Sol. The team doctor immediately said I should abandon the race. I was really disappointed because it was a race I had looked forward to and had trained for. For a whole week long I still had headaches. Then I started training again. The first week I trained in Belgium, twice in the Ardennes, then I went to Alora to prepare for the Volta a Catalunya. I trained a lot in the mountains. The trainings I did were really intensive because I had to cover a month without competition.”

Good feeling after Nokere
“I have a good feeling after Nokere Koerse, my first race in a month. The first hour and a half I tried to escape. Eventually I didn’t get in the breakaway, the riders of our team didn’t get much space. In the final I took the teammates to a good position with five kilometers to go. It was great the team won and I am pleased with my own performance. This weekend I’ll leave for the Volta a Catalunya. I don’t know the area, but the course seems pretty tough. This race should suit me.”

Sports director Mario Aerts talks about the ambitions of the team.
Mario Aerts: “Just like in Tirreno-Adriatico Jurgen Van den Broeck aims for a top ten spot in GC. That way he wins WorldTour points. In the mountains will have the support of Bart De Clercq, Sander Armée and Louis Vervaeke. Apart from a good result in the overall classification we hope to get a stage win as well.”

“There is no time trial in Catalunya. That can be an advantage for Jurgen. In the previous editions the time differences were always rather small at the end of the race. There is a summit finish at La Molina, just like last year. It’s the only summit finish this year, but the time gaps weren’t too big in 2014. Hopefully Jurgen doesn’t lose any seconds on the other days.”

Three fast men
“With Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande and Greg Henderson we have three fast men in our selection. We rely on Tosh to sprint in the stages with a hill a few kilometers before the finish. In the stages that are more flat Boris Vallée can have a go as well. Greg Henderson is the perfect pilot. Finally we have Thomas De Gendt in the team, who is in a really good shape. He gets a free role, like in Paris-Nice. Thomas can try to win a stage. He already did that two years ago in the final stage.

Selection: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Greg Henderson, Boris Vallée, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande and Louis Vervaeke.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Thomas De Gendt:
Cycling: Team Lotto-Soudal 2015

header-lottonl-jumboleftKelderman wants to re-establish himself in Catalunya
Wilco Kelderman will be Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s leader in the 95th edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya next week. The Dutchman hopes to bounce back in Spain, where he will be assisted by a strong group.

Sports Director Frans Maassen is clear about the team’s ambitions. “Wilco is our man for the overall. We want to do well in the general classification, that’s our goal. We want to finish as high as possible. It’s hard to say a specific number.

“Wilco wasn’t bad in Paris-Nice, otherwise he wouldn’t have finished 15th, but of course we want to do better.”

Wilco Kelderman
Kelderman agrees. “I was inconsistent in Paris-Nice, unfortunately. I hope to leave Paris-Nice behind me in Catalonia and show that I was on the right track. “I am aiming for a good overall. It is difficult to predict what is possible because the field is very strong, but I’m looking forward to some nice uphill battles.”

Pleased with support
Kelderman is pleased with the support he will receive in Catalonia. “We travel to Spain with a strong team. A bit of a free-spirited team, we have quite a few guys who know how to attack. “Moreover, Steven Kruijswijk got better and better by the day in Paris-Nice. He’s full of confidence.” The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya starts on March 23 in Calella. Seven days later, the race finishes in Barcelona.

Team line-up:
George Bennett, Brian Bulgac, Laurens ten Dam, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Nick van der Lijke & Timo Roosen.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen & Mathieu Heijboer.

Laurens ten Dam:

header-colombia15Spain calling: World Tour streak continues in Catalunya
They barely had the time to celebrated the much cherished Vuelta a España wild card, but it is already time for Colombia-Coldeportes to pack their luggage again for the third World Tour fixture in the space of two weeks. Ironically, Spain is the new destination of the Escarabajos: another top-level challenge expects them at the Vuelta a Catalunya (March 23-29), featuring some of the strongest stage racers of the moment.

While it is way too early to think about Vuelta a España dress rehearsals, it is all but sure that the Colombian team will be in the thick of the attention, particularly after the good news released yesterday by Unipublic. The race has seven stages and plenty of climbs in store, and Team Colombia-Coldeportes will tackle it with a climbing-devoted team, with Oscar Pellicioli and Oliverio Rincon calling the shots from the team cars.

Leading the team will be Alex Cano, back from Tirreno-Adriatico, and Rodolfo Torres, fresh off his Tour of Langkawi 8th overall place, in spite of the “cut” of Genting Highland decisive finish. Walter Pedraza, Edward Diaz, Cayetano Sarmiento and 18-year-old Daniel Martinez will be on hand to give support on the mountains, while experienced Leonardo Duque and Jonathan Paredes will round out the starting line-up in Calella on Monday, March 23rd.

“The Vuelta a España wild card gives us further motivation for this prestigious race,” Alex Cano told. “Tirreno-Adriatico was crucial to really understand what it means to race in Europe, and doing it at such a high level: it was a very important lesson, and I hope to put it to good use at the Vuelta a Catalunya.”

Line-up: Alex Cano, Edward Diaz, Leonardo Duque, Daniel Martinez, Jonathan Paredes, Walter Pedraza, Cayetano Sarmiento, Rodolfo Torres.
Sports Directors: Oscar Pellicioli & Oliverio Rincon.

Leonardo Duque:

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, a UCI WorldTour stage race of 1255.4km, which takes place from Monday, March 23rd until Sunday, March 29th.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is one for the climbers, with no true flat stages throughout the race. The race opens with a stage that includes a Category 2, Category 1, and Category 3 climb before descending into the finish. Stage 2 features a Category 3 climb to open the race, and a Category 3 climb (2.1km, 4.5% average gradient, 7% max ramp) just before the arrival that could reduce the field that contests the stage win if a breakaway does not survive to the finish. Stage 3 includes four climbs, including a Category 1 climb just 13km before the finish. Stage 4 features the first summit finish. The La Molina climb is 5.6km at 5.8 percent. Stage 5 includes a Category 2 climb at about 10km from the arrival in Valls, and the descent is technical. Stage 6 provides some relief from the climbing near the end of the stage, but still includes a Category 1 and Category 3 climb. Finally, Stage 7 finishes in a circuit with Category 3 Montjuic (2km, 5.7% average gradient, max ramp 8%).

Rigoberto Uran will be the leader of Etixx – Quick-Step at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, and the team has surrounded him with climbers, and also riders who can help him in the flatter sections, in support of his GC aspirations. The riders in support of Uran: Carlos Verona, Petr Vakoc, Maxime Bouet, David De La Cruz, Gianluca Brambilla, Pieter Serry, and Julian Alaphilippe.

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Maxime Bouet (FRA), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Pieter Serry (BEL), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Carlos Verona (ESP).
Sports Director Brian Holm (DEN) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Rigoberto Uran to lead Etixx – Quick-Step in Catalunya:

header-katusha15Joaquim Rodriguez to defend title in Catalunya
The Russian Team Katusha is ready for the prestigious UCI WorldTour stage race Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, which will be held from March 23rd to 29th. Katusha’s leader Joaquim Rodriguez will defend his 2014 victory in this race.

The full Team Katusha roster:
*Joaquim Rodriguez*, Giampaolo Caruso, Sergei Chernetckii, Pavel Kochetkov, Egor Silin, Iurii Trofimov, Eduard Vorganov and Anton Vorobyev.
Sports directors are Dmitry Konyshev and Xavier Florencio.

***Joaquim Rodriguez will not be riding as he has a stomach virus.***

No Purito in this years race!

header-wanty-leftVolta a Catalunya: Eijssen starts with ambition
The Volta a Catalunya is the first WorldTour stage race of the season for Wanty-Groupe Gobert. It’s the second time the team had received a wildcard for this seven-day race in the northeast of Spain.

The race consists of 1,238 kilometers and is never flat with 26 categorized climbs. Wanty-Groupe Gobert starts in Spain with Enrico Gasparotto, Francis De Greef, Marco Minnaard, Yannick Eijssen, Jérôme Baugnies, Tim De Troyer and Jan Ghyselinck.
Sports directors are Steven De Neef and Sébastien Demarbaix.

“If I look at the roadbook there might be three chances for a sprint. Danilo Napolitano returns from a collar bone fracture and Jérôme Baugnies can finish well on rough terrain. He proved that in races in Italy and Switzerland last season,” says De Neef.

“Furthermore we want our riders to make the final step to reach peak form so we are ready for the important races in April.”

One of the key riders for Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be Yannick Eijssen. The Belgian already finished Ruta del Sol as 25th and completed two hard races in the south of France.

“I was happy about those races as were the sports directors. I now just returned from a week of training in Spain where I did a lot of altitude meters.”

Eijssen rode the Volta a Catalunya in 2013 and 2014 as well. This year will be the first year he can ride the race for himself, and not as a domestique.

“The depth of the entry list makes it a hard race. Froome, Contador, Valverde are all there. The hardest stage will be the fourth one where we’ll climb to 2,000 meters. I feel I am stronger than previous years in Catalunya and therefore I start with ambition. I hope to reach the top-20 in the overall classification,” he concludes.


header-tinkoffsaxo14-leftTinkoff-Saxo with strong names to support Contador in Catalunya
Volta a Catalunya is once again shaping up to become an attraction for the big stars of stage racing. With only one day in the high mountains but numerous GC contenders, stage 4 to La Molina should see sparks fly. Tinkoff-Saxo sends a team of climbers spearheaded by team captain Alberto Contador, who continues his preparation ahead of the Giro.

Off the back from a week of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico, Alberto Contador hopes to have a successful race backed by a strong team.

“I’m coming to Volta a Catalunya after a few days of rest following Tirreno. I’ve caught a little cold from the two wet stages in Italy with snow and rain, but I hope that I will able to start the race fully recovered. My ambition is to secure a good result, while continuing to build my form ahead of my first main objective, which is of course the Giro”, comments Alberto Contador, who recognizes the fact that the difficulty of the race route is not overwhelming.

“First off, I’m very happy with the team we have for Catalunya. But we will have to wait and see how hard and decisive the mountain stage to La Molina will be. In any case, I think that the bonus seconds will play a key role. There’s strong competition but the whole team is here to fight”.


Alberto Contador will be joined by Ivan Basso, Michael Rogers, Rafal Majka, Robert Kiserlovski, Jesús Hernandez, Michael Valgren and Sergio Paulinho.

According to Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Steven de Jongh, the team is fielding a strong squad with the ambition of fighting for the GC. However, with only one real mountain stage, it might prove difficult.

“On paper we have a very strong team, but several of our riders are not in top shape yet. Rafal Majka and Robert Kiserlovski weren’t at their best in Paris-Nice but we expect them to continue building their shape at Catalunya. Sergio Paulinho has shown good form and Alberto will of course fight for the win, but he was not super at Tirreno – however it’s not the intention that he peaks yet”, says Steven de Jongh.

“Alberto had time to recover but it will be hard to win overall in Catalunya due to the parcours with only one mountain finish. It could become difficult to make the decisive split but we will of course seek to create opportunities. We’ll also welcome Michael Rogers back in action, which I look forward to. He has been training well and he’s definitely heading in the right direction. However, it’s his first race since Tour Down Under, so it will be a matter of finding the race rhythm”, adds Steven de Jongh.

Monday will see the start of the 95th running of Volta a Catalunya, the second biggest stage race in Spain. With 7 days in versatile terrain there’ll be a bit for everybody except the time trial specialists. After several days in rolling terrain, an array of top contenders will fight for overall triumph on the queen stage to La Molina. Conversely, Steven de Jongh notes that Tinkoff-Saxo will not necessarily take to the front of the field like in Tirreno-Adriatico.

“There are other teams with higher expectations than us, so we don’t see ourselves as the team that will take control from day one. We’ll see what happens on La Molina and then evaluate the situation. But of course we look forward to getting started”, finishes Steven de Jongh.


header-bmc15-rosterRoster: Volta a Catalunya
The BMC Racing Team’s roster for Volta a Catalunya includes Tejay van Garderen, last year’s third-place finisher and the winner of Stage 4. The seven-day race begins Monday.

Darwin Atapuma (COL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Manuel Senni (ITA), Peter Stetina (USA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Darwin Atapuma:

header_movistar-leftValverde leads Blues in Catalunya
2009 overall winner, 2013 race leader set to take start in Calella just one day after racing Milano-Sanremo.

Less than 24 hours after taking part in the 106th Milano-Sanremo, Alejandro Valverde will join his Movistar team-mates in Calella to start the 95th Volta a Catalunya (2.UWT), over seven stages from Monday 23 to Sunday 29. José Luis Arrieta and José Laguía will be the telephone squad’s sports directors in a race where the Blues will bring another Catalan rider, four years after the late Xavi Tondo: neo-pro Marc Soler will be present.

Colombian Winner Anacona, Australian Rory Sutherland and Spaniards José Herrada, Pablo Lastras, Javi Moreno and José Joaquín Rojas complete the roster for a race full of difficulties and including a hard mountain stage on Thursday 26, over four rated climbs and a hilltop finish in La Molina (Cat-1).

Alejandro Valverde:

header-iamcyclingVolta Catalunya – Mario Chiesa: “We are not the top names in the pack but we have goals”
The IAM Cycling team is returning to Spain, and once again will be tackling the steep climbs of the Iberian mountains. Having recently competed in the Ruta del Sol where the Swiss professional team managed to make some waves, IAM Cycling will now move its attentions to Catalonia, again with their own ambitions. “Perhaps we are not among the top names in the pack, but we will still have definite goals,” directeur sportif Mario Chiesa confirmed. “The riders are coming off a block of races where they experienced harsh climatic conditions, so everything will depend on how is their form, first and foremost. But we certainly have the talent to try and ride for a top-10 position with Jérôme Coppel for example. We also have Jarlinson Pantano for the summit finishes as well as Clément Chevrier, who is a very young rider, so we can see how he performs. And then finally we will also have Matteo Pelucchi who will be our man for the sprints, and the rest of the group will be there to give him a hand.”

Bringing both climbers and sprint specialists, the IAM Cycling crew for the Tour of Catalonia will be very eclectic. But the hardest sections may not even be the climbs or the sprints exclusively; rather the troubles can come from the course’s variation of profile over many days. “It is true there are very hard stages,” Chiesa noted. “But sometimes the biggest challenges come in the middle stages, for example. In those moments, the key will be to conserve energy for the finishes.”

Clément Chevrier (Fr), Jerôme Coppel (Fr), Martin Elmiger (S), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), Simon Pellaud (S), Matteo Pelluchi (It), Larry Warbasse (USA), Marcel Wyss (S).
Directeurs sportif: Mario Chiesa & Thierry Marichal.

Martin Elmiger:

header-wanty-leftWanty-Groupe Gobert for the Volta a Catalunya – Spain

Jérôme Baugnies, Francis De Greef, Tim De Troyer, Yannick Eijssen, Enrico Gasparotto, Jan Ghyselinck, Marco Minnaard, Danilo Napolitano.

Francis De Greef:
degreef-version 2-620

header-europcar15-leftEuropcar at the Tour de Cataluna
Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Cyril Gautier, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Julien Morice, Perrig Quemeneur, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard.
Directeurs Sportifs: Andy Flickinger & Ismaël Mottier.

Romain Sicard:

Lampre Merida Team f_chiariIn the first part of the season, LAMPRE-MERIDA have not yet raced in Spain
This lack will be solved soon thanks to the participation in Volta a Catalunya, World Tour event that will take place from 23 to 29 March. The blue-fuchsia-green team, that will be directed by Orlando Maini and Simone Pedrazzini, will rely on Mattia Cattaneo, Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Tsgabu Grmay, Ilia Koshevoy, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Jan Polanc and Rafael Valls.

The courses in Catalunya will be demanding, so the sprinters won’t have a simple way to try to reach good results. However, in LAMPRE-MERIDA there will be Roberto Ferrari, whose qualities will grant him to be competitive in the 5th and in the 6th stage. The sport directors will ask to Koshevoy, Cattaneo and Grmay a lively approach to the race, with high attention to the breakaways and with the necessary support to the captains. In the mountain stages Niemiec, Durasek and Valls will be protagonist and they also take into account to battle for the overall classification. No pressure on Polanc, who’ll be back to races after he recovered from the fracture of the scaphoid bone that he suffered in a crash that occurred in Dubai Tour.


header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin for Volta a Catalunya
Racing returns to the warmer climates of Spain next week, following a cold and wet past few days in Italy and France, with the seven-day WorldTour Volta Ciclista a Catalunya starting on Monday.

In 2014, Luka Mezgec (SLO) took a trio of stage wins here, and the Slovenia sprinter returns again this year but his form lies in the unknown after pulling out of Tirreno-Adriatico on the penultimate stage.

Warren Barguil (FRA) is another rider heading into the race with a slight shadow over his shape at the race, depending on how well he recovers from his fall at Paris-Nice. All being well he will be looking to challenge for a strong position overall, and on the tougher uphill stages.

“The plan ahead of this past weekend was to go for the sprints with Luka and challenge for the GC with Warren but after both suffered at Tirreno and Paris-Nice we will assess our goals depending on how they recover this week,” explained coach Addy Engels (NED).

“There are opportunities for these two but also to go on the offensive so even if one of the two isn’t fully recovered by the race we will have different options. It will also be good to see Lawson [Craddock] return to racing here.”

The line-up is completed by road captain Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Carter Jones (USA), Daan Olivier (NED) and Georg Preidler (AUT) who will provide strong support in the hills as well as on the flats with Tom Stamsnijder (NED).

Warren Barguil (FRA), Lawson Craddock (USA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Carter Jones (USA), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Daan Olivier (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Warren Barguil:
Tour of Spain 2014 stage - 15

header-vuelta-leftLa Vuelta a España 2015: Teams invited by the organization
The organization of the race announces the teams that have been selected to participate in La Vuelta a España 2015 that will take place from 22th August to 13th September and will begin in Puerto Banús (Costa del Sol. Málaga).

2015 UCI WorldTeams:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA), Astana Pro Team (KAZ), BMC Racing Team (USA), Etixx – Quick-Step (BEL), FDJ (FRA), IAM Cycling (SUI), Lampre – Merida (ITA), Lotto Soudal (BEL), Movistar Team (ESP), Orica GreenEdge (AUS), Team Cannondale – Garmin (USA), Team Giant – Alpecin (GER), Team Katusha (RUS), Team Lotto NL-Jumbo (NED), Team SKY (GBR), Tinkoff – Saxo (RUS), Trek Factory Racing (USA).

Five other teams have been invited by the race organizer:
Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (ESP), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (FRA), Team Colombia (COL), Team Europcar (FRA), MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA).

header-MTN14-leftTeam MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung delighted with La Vuelta a España return
The Vuelta a España organization committee announced the 5 wildcards for the 70th edition of the Vuelta a España. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were delighted to receive the vote of confidence from the race organizers once again, as they extended an invitation to our African team.

After our debut Grand Tour appearance at last year’s La Vuelta a España, it is fantastic that we will be able to return to the Spanish grand tour this year. The minute the announcement was made, the amazing memories from last years’ experience came flooding back to the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung camp.

As was proved last year, the Vuelta a España is the grand tour which suits our African riders perfectly. The soaring temperatures allowed our riders to come into their own and animate the race on a daily basis. We look forward to going back to this special and beautiful race, improving on our previous results and further establishing our team as a major player in world cycling.

The 2015 Vuelta a España will commence on the 22nd August, starting once again with a team time trial. Riders will tackle 21 stages in total, covering a total distance of 3 374km’s before finishing in the Spanish capital of Madrid on September 13th.

Louis Meintjes – Rider: “It is absolutely great. The Vuelta is one of the races that really suits us African riders quite nicely. The terrain and weather are conditions we are accustomed to. To go back there is great because we will have the experience from last year so we will hope to grow and improve on our results. We also have great depth in our team this year so it is exciting that we have the opportunity to represent Qhubeka at two grand tours this year.”

Douglas Ryder – Team Principle: “La Vuelta will be a race we will always remember as it was our first grand tour for our African team. To be able to go back this year gives us an incredible opportunity to improve on our performances from a year ago, it gives us the opportunity to give more African riders a chance to race a grand tour and experience one of the most beautiful races in the world.”

Brian Smith – General Manager: “This team is growing from strength to strength and we are pleased that the organizers of La Vuelta have realized that we are not just about the numbers but more about what we can bring to the party. Last year we started and finished with a full team. This year we have very ambitious plans. We are so looking forward to going back to La Vuelta.”

2015: A busy year for the MTN-Qhubeka team:

header-colombia15Colombia-Coldeportes jubilant about Vuelta a España wild card
The Spanish Grand Tour will mark another important cornerstone in the team’s history. Almost three decades since Lucho Herrera took an emphatic win, becoming the first Colombian to triumph in the Vuelta a España, an all-Colombian team will take part in the Spanish race again, after Unipublic, the company that runs the Grand Tour, has decided to give Team Colombia-Coldeportes a wild card for the 70th edition, thanks to which the South-American squad will line-up in Puerto Banus, on August 22nd. Cofidis, Caja Rural, Europcar and MTN-Qhubeka were the other teams to have been granted an invitation.

Ever since José Antonio Agudelo Gomez won on the Alto Campoo (April 30th 1985) ahead of Robert Millar, Colombia became a constant presence in the Vuelta of España, the riders lighting-up the race on the mountains, to the joy of cycling fans, who discovered the fireworks constantly provided by the Colombian cyclists on the uphills, thus becoming fond of them. So over the years, beside the great win of Luis Herrera – the first rider from South-America to win a Grand Tour – they could see more memorable moments in the Vuelta, like the stage wins of Fabio Parra, Oliverio Rincon or Felix Cardenas.

For a couple of years now, a new golden era of Colombian cycling has started, with more and more riders coming from the country and establishing themselves as some of the best in the pro peloton. Created in 2012, Colombia-Coldeportes had a major role in this resurgence, after becoming the first Colombian Pro Continental team, which allowed it to take part in some of the most important World Tour events, one-day and stage races.

Claudio Corti, the team’s general manager, was overwhelmed when hearing the news: “It is a great day for us as a team, and we will be honored to bring the Colombian flag at the start of the Vuelta a España. For us, it is another big step ahead in our team’s evolution: after racing the Giro twice, we have now managed to earn the confidence of Unipublic, something we cannot wait to pay back with three weeks of aggressive racing in August and September.”

Coldeportes’ Director and Colombia’s Sports Minister Andres Botero also sounded his pride in seeing an all-Colombian team return to the Vuelta: “The Spanish stage race has had an incredible role in our cycling’s history, becoming the first Grand Tour ever conquered by an Escarabajo in 1987, and the whole Nation is excited at the perspective of seeing Colombia-Coldeportes battling on the Spanish climbs. It is an exciting day for our sport, and I wish to thank Javier Guillen and Unipublic for the confidence shown in this project. I am sure the team will live up to the expectations.”

The 70th Vuelta a España starts on August 22nd in Puerto Banus and will cover 3,374 kilometers before the finish in Madrid on September 13th. The three-week race includes nine summit finishes, an individual as well as a team time trial.

In an all-time standings of Vuelta stage wins, Colombia lies on 8th place, with 29 victories, ahead of many European countries with a big tradition in cycling. Later in the season, Team Colombia-Coldeportes’s riders will be keen to add to this tally and make an entire nation proud.

Team Colombia rode the Giro and now the Vuelta:

header-giroFrancesco Moser Enters the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame
1984 Giro winner and 1977 UCI Road World Champion joins Merckx (2012), Gimondi (2013) and Roche (2014).

In a ceremony at Milan’s Upcycle Bike Café this afternoon, Francesco Moser was inducted into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame. One of Italy’s greatest professional cyclists, Moser sealed his victory in the 1984 Giro d’Italia in dramatic circumstances: on the last day of the race, in the magical setting of Verona’s extraordinary Roman amphitheatre, the Arena, he sped across the finish line at the end of a 42km individual time trial to win the stage and take the final Maglia Rosa from his closest rival, Laurent Fignon.

Born at Palù di Giovo, near the city of Trento, on 19 June 1951, Moser turned professional in 1973. His 273 victories on the road (quite apart from his brilliant track career) make him the Italian rider with the greatest number of wins, and place him third in the world rankings behind Eddy Merckx and Rik Van Looy).

Ciclismo: Giro d'Italia Hall of Fame; Francesco Moser

In celebration of his magnificent career, Moser was presented with the beautiful Infinite Trophy, reserved for winners of the Giro d’Italia. After the ceremony, he said:

Trophy: “To receive this beautiful trophy is special because I have a history with trophies: the famous cobblestone trophy at Paris-Roubaix was my idea, and I was the first winner ever to receive one. This trophy is unique too because the design means that they can inscribe the names of all of the winners in it. It’s nice to see your own name among all the previous winners, and all those who came afterwards. It’s going to be a big trophy a thousand year’s from now!”

Memories of the last stage of the ’84 Giro d’Italia: “I knew I had a big chance: in the time trials at Lucca and at Milan, I had gained more than three secs per kilometer on Fignon. And I had a special bike, similar to the won I had used to set the world hour record. That morning, when I went to reconnoitre the course, I didn’t know whether to use lenticular wheels or not. My team-mate Palmiro Masciarelli advised me to use them, and I did. The crowds that day were huge. I could hear them during the race. The news from the team car were good and, when I finished, I knew I had an advantage. I had to make up 1 minute 21 seconds on Fignon. I ended up beating him by more than two and a half minutes. The applause from the crowd inside the Arena was unforgettable.”

Milano Sanremo: “It’s a race with an enormous importance for the public, but also for the riders. It can work many ways: if the peloton falls asleep, it can be even be won from a long distance breakaway. When the finish was on the Lungomare Calvino, it was easy to lose position on all those semi-curves, so it favored the true sprinters. On Via Roma, the race is more open because the road is long and straight. My favorite for Sunday is [Alexander] Kristoff: you have to be fast, but you have to get over the Poggio first. Then again, whenever there has been bad weather, the results have worked against the favorites. And there is talk of bad weather…”

Greatest Wins: 1975 Italian road champion in the Matteotti Trophy; 1975 and 1978 Giro di Lombardia; 1975 Yellow Jersey for the first 7 stages of the Tour de France (after beating Merckx in the Prologue at Charleroi) and Best Young Rider overall; 1976 UCI Individual Pursuit World Champion; 1977 UCI Road World Champion at San Cristóbal, Venezuela; 1978 – 1980, 3 consecutive Paris – Roubaix wins; 1984 Giro d’Italia, Milano-Sanremo and World Hour Record at Mexico City.

Nicknamed The Sheriff for his decisive leadership, Moser was also a Six Days habitué with many victories around the world. He rode the last race of his career in September 1987 at the Baracchi Trophy.

Today, Francesco Moser is a major wine producer in the Trentino region.

Giro d'Italia 1984 - Francesco Moser (Gis) - BettiniPhoto©2011

header-saganPeter S4GAN
Peter Sagan and the making of the Slovak Telecom (T-Mobile) commercial.

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