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EuroTrash Stybar Monday!

Double World cyclo-cross champion, Zdenek Stybar, showed his class on Saturday taking the top spot in the Strade Bianche, we have the result, report, video and rider quotes. We also have a quick look at the CIRC report, results from Paris-Nice and the 3 Days of West Flanders and preview Tirreno-Adriatico and news from Trentino, Turkey and Fly6.

TOP STORY: The CIRC Report
The long awaited CIRC report was made live at 00:01 CET Monday morning, but wasn’t great bed-time reading, but if you want a history lesson on doping it’s worth a look.

Read the report and make up your own mind and not listen to anyone else. If you want the fast answer to what the report holds; there isn’t one, except that during the time of Hein Verbruggen as head man of the UCI, he was the boss and ruled absolute and it carried on during Pat McQuaid’s time. McQuaid could not cut the ties between himself and Verbruggen as the Dutchman had put McQuaid in the job. During this time the rules were maybe bent to assist Lance Armstrong and some riders were treated leniently, there were no cases of bribery found, but there was a fair amount of back scratching. The misuse of the TUE system also comes under close scrutiny.

Is there anything new? No, there is nothing we haven’t heard before, but it is perfectly documented and well laid out.

Is there an answer to cycling’s problems? The Commission says “there is no straight forward solution to doping in cycling” but it does have a long list of suggestion to change the way the UCI should work.

There is a lot of reading in the report, but you should give it a chance, find it here.

Hein and Lance:
verbruggen-armstrong-620

header-strade-bianche15Strade Bianche 2015
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step) took his biggest road win in Saturday’s Strade Bianche by matching a strong attack from Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) on the final climb on the Via Santa Caterina in Siena and then jumping past the Belgian to win by 2 seconds. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was with the pair, but cramped-up on the last ascent to finish third.

The early break of the day headed off in the first 10 kilometers, it included Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Giacomo Berlato & Daniele Colli (both Nippo-Vini Fantini), Giuseppe Fonzi (Southeast), Artem Ovetsjkin (RusVelo), David Lozano (Novo Nordisk), Julian Arredondo (Trek) and Ilya Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida), they built up a maximum lead of 7:30. With 100 kilometers to go their lead had been reigned in to 4:25 under the impetus of Movistar and Katusha.

A crash in the escape left only Arredondo, Colli, Ovetsjkin and Fonzi up front and heading towards the Monte Sante Marie, with 53 kilometers to go, all the top riders had moved forward and the lead was doomed.

Lars Boom (Astana) split the peloton to be joined by Stybar, Valverde, Sagan and eventually Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Van Avermaet, Diego Rosa (Astana), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-GreenEDGE), Daniel Oss (BMC) and Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin). Oss rode away from the others before Monteaperti, which allowed his teammate Van Avermaet let the others do the work. Vanmarcke jumped after Oss which saw off Sagan, Cort Nielsen and Rosa, setting up the winning break.

Into the final 20km; Van Avermaet, Vanmarcke, Cancellara, Stybar and Valverde had the race in their hands, but Cancellara cracked when Valverde put in a strong effort on the Colle Pinzuto. Next it was Van Avermaet who put in an attack which was countered by Stybar and Valverde, but Vanmarcke could not follow. Behind; Cancellara, Rosa, and Oss were over 30 seconds down. Valverde, Stybar and Van Avermaet were then left to fight out the finish.

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) crashed during the Strade Bianche fracturing his elbow in his first race back after breaking his collarbone in December.

Strade Bianche winner Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Of course I am absolutely thrilled about this victory, but what made this win even sweeter is that in the technical meeting this morning, Davide Bramati and the team put their trust in me and I was deemed the race captain. It was a big responsibility and I’m happy I proved to be worthy of the honor. It was a great race. I love this kind of technical, up-and-down parcours. I can handle my bike well, so I was really in my element here in Italy today. At 50 kilometers to go were in the front of the peloton with Sagan and Valverde, but it was too early. So we waited and then we finally went with eight or nine riders. It was a bit of a natural selection as you could see who the strongest riders were already. When we remained with three riders, I was afraid of Valverde but also Van Avermaet because he didn’t pull a lot in the last 5 kilometers before the last clime to Siena. He was on my wheel and I expected his attack, but not so early on the bottom of the climb. My ‘finish line’ was at the top of the climb, so I really gave everything to catch him and then when I did, I was able to pass him there. When I turned into Piazza del Campo it was a dream. When the sun is in your face in that beautiful location, with such a passionate public, and you know you are the winner with no one able to catch you, it is like an explosion of joy. It was truly incredible. This win is also uniquely important for me because it comes after a period of struggle after crashes at Eneco Tour and my one and only cyclocross race of the winter. It was a long way back to this level of condition, so I appreciate this victory even more. I want to dedicate this win to my wife, Ine, and my family. They have been such great supporters always. I think we have some really nice objectives in front of us, I’m still improving my condition, so even Tirreno will be an important step to get ready for MSR and the Classics. But I want to enjoy today first. When I came back from Mallorca on Thursday, everybody saw my images on Twitter. I had to fix my temporary teeth replacements, which I received due to my crash at Eneco Tour. The temporary teeth were moving, so I had to find a dentist in Italy to take them out and then put them back in, because I was afraid of losing them. I am happy I did it, because I didn’t know I’d have such a big smile the next day with this victory!”

2nd Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “There were a lot of side wind on many of the sections and it was pretty dangerous because you don’t have the grip on the front wheel and then you start to slip and it’s really dangerous then. So there were some tricky moments on the race, but I survived it and I was always in a good position in the race and in the end I had the legs to do the final and I’m really happy with my race. I attacked from behind as I knew it would be hard to beat Valverde on a climb like this, but I tried to give it a go and surprise him a little bit with a good effort. I was surprised I was first to the top there. Then I saw Stybar and he was passing me and I didn’t have the legs at the moment to get his wheel. For me this is one of the nicest races of the year, that’s why I don’t do Paris-Nice, but come here just to ride this race because it’s on these roads and the climbs are really nice and the landscape is really nice and always the strongest riders come to the front. It’s a nice race for us and it’s a nice Classic. I’ll stay in Italy to prepare for Tirreno and also take some time to look at my case, my lawyer will represent me and we will try to cancel it, to get another date because we only had ten days to prepare ourselves and in this kind of case it’s not enough.”

3rd Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I tried to show that attitude the fans ask us to bring to the races, and that’s why I’m super happy with my performance today. The work from the start by the whole team was fantastic. The gusty winds today made important to stay in good position all the time, and as we started all sections of ‘sterrato’ on front, we gained much confidence. I took command of the race far from the finish, always going for all the moves and creating some myself, and that might have made me reach the finish not as strong as I’d have liked to. Surely I might have taken a bit too much of an effort, but on the other hand, we have to value what Van Avermaet and Stybar did. They’re tremendously talented, they’re specialists in these race and they might even come in better condition than I did, considering they’re supposed to peak on De Ronde and Roubaix and they rode an important race like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last Saturday. I took some gels at 5k to go, hoping I would recover a bit as I was feeling empty, but I wasn’t able and I also started to cramp – I really had to stay content with 3rd place. Still, I’m really happy with my job and all the team’s – I really feel great. Now it’s time for some days of rest and building up a bit more so we can reach the Volta a Catalunya, my next race, in better condition.”

4th Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo): “I came close, a lot closer than I had thought I would,” Vanmarcke said. “It went better than expected. It is unfortunate that I ended up just outside the podium, but I’m pleased to see that my climbing has improved a lot compared to last year. I feel ready for the spring classics.”

You can read the full race report here.

Strade Bianche Result:
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step in 5:22:13
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:02
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:18
4. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:46
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 0:56
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:59
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek at 1:02
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:03
10. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha.

Strade Bianchi final K’s:

header- paris-nice15Paris-Nice 2015
Road World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) showed he also had a huge talent against the clock when he upset most of the favorites to win the 6.7-km prologue of Paris-Nice and take the lead of the Race to the Sun in his first participation. The 24-year-old Polish rider outshone such riding machines as Australia’s Rohan Dennis (BMC), the hour world record holder, who finished inside the same second, or his team-mate Tony Martin, a three-times time trial world champion, who was seven seconds slower. Given the strength of his Etixx – Quick-Step team, the man his director Wilfried Peeters describes as “the ideal rider for a one-week race” will be a difficult leader to dislodge. In any case his rivals are warned.

Van Baarle sets the tone
The first reference time was clocked by Dutchman Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin), whose 8:04 stood for a while until a perfectly timed effort by Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek), who clocked 8:02, at exactly 50 kph. The Italian’s leading mark did not last very long as Portugal’s Tiago Machado (Katusha), starting immediately behind him, upstaged him at just over eight minutes.

Dennis leads for an hour
The first real specialist in action was world hour record hold Rohan Dennis, who smashed Machado’s time by 20 seconds, at exactly the same average speed as his world mark of 52.4 kph. The only rider to come any close in the first half of the field was Spain’s Luis-Leon Sanchez (Astana), who finished ten seconds off the pace but showed he was back in promising form on a race he clinched in 2009.

Beware of Degenkolb and Matthews
Tom-Jalte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin), winner of two stages a year ago, also showed he had good legs by completing the course under the eight minute barrier, a feat also achieved by two leading sprinters, John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE). Sixth and 8th respectively, they will be among the men to watch in the next couple of stages.

Porte slightly below-par
Arch-favourite Richie Porte (Sky), the 2013 winner, also rode under eight minutes but his 7:55 were not enough to secure a place in the top ten. The Australian time-trial champion finished 13th, almost in the same time as teammate Bradley Wiggins (Sky), the world champion, who was never really in contention. Geraint Thomas was the best-placed rider of Team Sky in 10th, just ahead of American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)

Talansky disappoints
Among the leading big names to have performed under par were American Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin), Porte’s runner-up two years ago, who lost 25 seconds to Kwiatkowski. France’s Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) fared even worse, squandering 35 seconds on a course that did not suit him. Italian climber Fabio Aru (Astana) will also have 33 seconds to recover on this week’s climbs.

Stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I knew at 500 meters that it was going to be really close. I had the split times of Tony, which was a really big advantage for me to pace myself along the parcours. It was key to start as one of the last riders, on such a strong lineup of Etixx – Quick-Step. I’m happy that I had those great split times of a champion like Tony. At 500 meters I just tried to do my best sprint possible and that helped me get the win. I’m really happy about this victory with such strong competitors, but in the end it is just 6.7 kilometers of about a thousand kilometers before the finish line in Nice. It’s going to be a week of hard racing. But the one-week races can suit my skills, so we will see what can happen. The main goals are still ahead. I’m excited about what I did today, but I’m looking forward to the rest of Paris-Nice, defending the yellow jersey with a strong team here. We will do our best day-to-day. I’m still a young guy, turning 25 this year, so I am still developing as a rider even with the success like today. I am looking forward to the experience of Paris-Nice the rest of this week. I just had a quick chat with our CEO Patrick Lefevere a minute ago. Patrick is very happy with what we’ve done until now. We had a great winter collectively, with no big complications for anyone with their training for the 2015 season. We had good training camps too. Our lineup for 2015 is just great, and it helps that everyone is motivated including me. This is my first victory of the year. It’s an accomplishment to be one of eight riders who has contributed to the 16 victory total on the road so far. I’m happy to be one of the guys who has won. But really, there is a team spirit among these 27 riders and that is really important. I don’t think it’s the end of the story here, either. I think our best races are ahead of us and we are all still getting into our best condition.”

2nd Rohan Dennis (BMC): “The goal the rest of the week is to try and find my legs and do as well as I possibly can for the team. I am pretty sure Tejay has some good form after Oman. He has been looking at this race for a while now.”

3rd Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I’m more or less happy with my performance and I’m also happy for Michal winning today. Michal was super strong and he deserves this victory. I’m happy the yellow jersey is with Etixx – Quick-Step after the first day. As for me, I’m not just here for the prologue. I am also ready for the mountains. I didn’t make a special preparation just for the prologue. So, we will see. But I was happy with my power and the result. We will now focus on the next stages. The flat stages are first and at Paris-Nice there is always a risk of crosswind and crashes. So, even the flat stages are not so easy. I am then looking forward to the mountain stages. I’m curious how I can perform there. Also, of course, with Michal as race leader we have two riders who can do well in this Paris-Nice overall. We’ll see what we can do but morale is high with two of us on the podium today.”

7th Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “I am satisfied with my prologue; overall I did my best. I have no regrets because I did everything as well as I could. Perhaps, at the foot of the climb, I did not want to go too hard, but that probably helped me to be able to accelerate going over the top. Overall, I had good feelings, so it was a good day. The goal was to be as consistent as possible. I’m not worried, a prologue often comes down to hundredths of seconds. By the end, it was clear that the first two were a cut above the rest of us. Just look at the times and you can see for yourselves. Behind them, the times are tight enough, but really I have no regrets. Over short distances like this, we all did the same thing, essentially, so the time differences are very small.”

Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) 11th, 14 seconds back: “I think today was a success. I feel bad for Rohan, missing out on such a narrow victory. That would have been a nice win for him. But as far as both of us are placed, we are right there with some of the GC (general classification) guys and we even put a lot of time into some of the contenders.”

Paris-Nice Prologue Result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step in 7:40
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
3. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:07
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:10
5. Lars Boom (Ned) Astana
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:12
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:13
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:14.

Paris- Nice Overall After the Prologue:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step in 7:40
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
3. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:07
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:10
5. Lars Boom (Ned) Astana
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:12
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:13
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:14.

Prologue winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step):

header-3dagsWVDriedaagse van West-Vlaanderen 2015
In only the second professional win of his career, Anton Vorobyev earned the top spot on the podium in Friday’s opening Prologue at the 3-day Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. As the only rider to break the 8-minute mark, Vorobyev used his strong time trial skills on the 7 km course in Middelkerke to go clear with a time of 7:57. With the win Vorobyev took the first leader’s jersey as well.

Anton Vorobyev, 24, is the 2014 Russian ITT champion, former U23 World champion (2012) and a member of the Russian National Team. He came to Katusha from the continental team ITERA-Katusha in 2013. Joining Anton Vorobyev on the podium were Jesse Sergent (Trek) at 8.01 and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) with 5 seconds behind Katusha rider.

Prologue winner Anton Vorobyev (Katusha): “Of course, I am very happy with this victory! I was very motivated, because I was able to achieve good form and I wanted very much to get a result. I knew this route because I’ve ridden it previously. In the morning I had a chance to see the route again and to understand how to ride it, how to divide the power on the distance. In the first part it was a strong head wind, so it was important to pass it with a good speed. Normally, I like long time trials, but I worked hard to improve my abilities in short distances, because I know I have to ride both long and short TT’s. Now, I am the leader in GC and I am motivated for fighting in this race until the end. We have a very strong team here in Belgium and all of the guys are really motivated to support me and to help me in next two days. We will see what will happens, but I am sure for 100% we will do our best!”

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Prologue Result:
1. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha in 7:57
2. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:04
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:05
4. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:08
5. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:09
6. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC at 0:12
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
10. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:13.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Overall After Prologue:
1. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha in 7:57
2. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:04
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:05
4. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:08
5. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:09
6. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC at 0:12
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
10. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:13

Stage winner Anton Vorobyev (Katusha):
voro-620

Yves Lampaert earned his first victory in an Etixx – Quick-Step jersey on Saturday, winning the 174.1km Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 1 out of a five rider breakaway. The Belgian rider also finished 5th in the prologue, leaving him just 8 seconds outside the race lead going into the stage and because of his stage victory he also is the new race leader. Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) was 2nd, and Sander Cordeel (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) finished 3rd.

Lampaert and his four break mates formed the selection out of a much larger group, including Etixx – Quick-Step teammates Lukasz Wisniowski and Martin Velits. The large group had an advantage with 57km to go in the race, and then were brought back. But the five riders then went away on the first lap of a 4-lap circuit of 9.9 kilometers. Lampaert also has the lead in the points classification, and best young rider competition. Etixx – Quick-Step leads the team classification.

Stage winner Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I’m very happy I won in Harelbeke. It’s 5 kilometers from where I live, so it’s a really big moment for me. It was a tough race. When we passed on the Oude Kwaremont we were on the front pushing the pace and we entered a breakaway with 14 or 15 riders. I was there with Wisniowski and Velits. We tried to stay in front but the peloton caught us just before the final circuit started. But on the first lap I went for the bonification and as a consequence of this acceleration we were in front with five riders. So at that point we started pulling. I thought it would be hard to pull off, but we made it to the end. In the last kilometer Cordeel attacked. Van der Sande then started his sprint really early to close the gap, and I was on his wheel. I started my sprint at 200 meters to go and was able to pass him. This is also a special day because I want to dedicate this victory to Philippe Van Dorpe, who died not long ago. He was the race organizer but also one of my sponsors as an Under-23 rider. He was even a good friend of the team. So this win is for him. Concerning tomorrow, we will try to do everything to keep the leader’s jersey. It won’t be easy with an unpredictable race on a parcours that includes climbs like the Kemmelberg, but the goal is to defend my as the overall leader.”

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 1 Result:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:54:52
2. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Sander Cordeel (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
4. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:04
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
10. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Overall After Stage 1:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:02:45
2. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:08
3. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:12
4. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:13
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:14
6. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:17
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:19
8. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:20
9. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:21
10. Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R-La Mondiale.

BELGIUM CYCLING DRIEDAAGSE VAN WEST-VLAANDEREN  STAGE 1

Danny van Poppel (Trek) took out the Final Stage 3 of the 3 Days of West Flanders from a bunch sprint. Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) and Michael Van Staeyen (Cofidis) completed the stage podium. Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) secured the overall race victory.

The early part of the stage saw seven riders jump clear of the peloton and forge out a 4 minute lead on the peloton. With a challenging final circuit though; Katusha and Etixx – Quick-Step really ramped up the pace in the hope of splitting things up over the circuit cobble sectors and Hellingens. With 40km to go, 17 riders rode across a small gap to join the initial break. Four Etixx riders were represented at the front and this looked like a dangerous move.

The chase from the peloton was organized and persistent and with 25km to go the big break was caught. Over the final 11.5km circuit the pace was relentless heading toward the final cobble sector. Coming out the other side, only 50 riders were left in contention for the final bunch sprint.

Stage winner Danny van Poppel (Trek): “I am very happy! Last year I won the first stage, and now this year I win the second. In the beginning [of the race] I did not feel so good. It was a very hard race! In the end I felt better, but then there was a crash on the cobblestones and I was caught behind that and I could not follow when the break went. It was not easy to bring the break back, and on the local laps we could see [the breakaway] the whole time and I said to some of the guys to wait, and not work too much, and just let Stijn [Devolder] pull. On the last lap the GC teams helped and we got them back. On the finale the guys did a great lead out, especially Boy [van Poppel] at the very end. This is a dream for two brothers! I am very happy!”

Overall winner Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step): “After 25 kilometers there were seven guys in the front, but we controlled the race very well with Iljo Keisse and Petr Vakoc working hard on the front. We were in control the entire day, it was impressive. There was an echelon for a certain moment in the front with several of our riders in good position, but when we came into the local lap they eventually caught us. So we tried to organize a bit the sprint for Gianni. But OK, he was 5th after a long day of defending my leadership. I’m really happy for the win. When you consider what we did over a three-day period, it was excellent. The team worked really well and I am proud to be able to finish their job. For me it’s the first time I won a stage race. Last night I slept really well. I was confident in the team. But you never know what can happen in cycling and we have respect for every rider and team. So today we were attentive and motivated. We did our best to win the race and I think this is a team victory more than just my victory. The team did so well and I want to thank them for supporting me. We are thrilled as a group, and can look to the next races with optimism and satisfaction with what we did here.”

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 2 Result:
1. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek in 4:21:52
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
5. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
7. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Final Overall:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 8:24:37
2. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:08
3. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:12
4. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:14
6. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:16
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:17
8. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:20
10. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:21.

Danny van Poppel:
Danny Van Poppel wins Stage 2 of the 2015 Tour of West Flanders

header-fly6Got Your Back!
With on board cameras becoming more and more popular these days there’s lots of great footage of racing, traffic accidents, close calls and more online – many of which have been captured by the Fly6 camera. Cycliq are the makers of the Fly6 rear camera/light that Chris tested here on Pez last year and in between designing their new front camera/light/alarm, the Fly12 that has recently been funded through a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign they also managed to put together this cool video of various riders’ Fly6 incidents from around the world – including footage from our very own Chris at 2m19s. Thankfully he was not the victim of some of the more gnarly hits seen in the vid but instead just captured a couple of guys falling behind him during a training spin in France. Check out the video for more!

Riding Shotgun with Fly6 from Cycliq on Vimeo.

header-tirreno15-leftTirreno-Adriatico 2015
Contador, Froome, Nibali & Quintana an Unprecedented Line-up at the Tirreno Adriatico.
The four dominators of the recent Grand Tours have not all met before in a WorldTour stage race. Cavendish, Kittel and Viviani will challenge in the sprints. Sagan leads the stage hunters’ list with Cancellara, Rodriguez, Daniel Martin and Pozzato.

***Chris Froome (Sky) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) both announced on Monday morning that they would not be starting***

Also Stage 1 Change-
Due to the extreme weather conditions that have affected Tuscany and in particular the area around Versilia, in recent days, RCS Sport has found it necessary to modify the first stage of Tirreno Adriatico, scheduled for Wednesday 11 March.

The changes affect both the route and the type of stage. The announced Team Time Trial will be replaced by a 5.7km Individual Time Trial. The positions of the start ramp and the finish line will be as published for the Team Time Trial.

It has never happened before that the dominant four Grand Tour winners have all raced in a WorldTour stage event.

Alberto Contador (Giro d’Italia 2008, Tour de France 2009, Vuelta a España 2008, 2012, 2014), Christopher Froome (Tour de France 2013), Vincenzo Nibali (Vuelta a España 2010, Giro d’Italia 2013, Tour de France 2014) and Nairo Quintana (Giro d’Italia 2014) guarantee an unprecedented spectacle for the 50th edition of the Tirreno Adriatico, organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport and held from 11 to 17 March.

The Main Protagonists:
Contador is the reigning champion of the Tirreno Adriatico also known as the “Race of the Two Seas”; Nibali won two consecutive editions (2012 and 2013) and is looking for his hat trick; Froome, second in 2012, is looking for his first victory in this race; Quintana, second in 2014 and reigning Giro d’Italia champion, is also a favorite to succeed at the “Race of the Two Seas”.

The stellar line-up continues outside of the GC. Another great challenge is expected to take place between the fastest wheels of the peloton, where Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani will be the major protagonists in the bunch sprints.

And Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Joaquim Rodriguez, Daniel Martin and Filippo Pozzato are all expected to fight for the finisseur stages, such as the Arezzo one, where Sagan triumphed last year.

Alberto Contador, Tirreno Adriatico 2014 winner, said: “I am really looking forward to returning to this race because I had fantastic sensations there last year, and it gives me another opportunity to meet the Italian fans, who have always made me feel at home.”

Team List:
22 teams, each made of 8 riders, will race. The teams and their main riders are:
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA) – Pozzovivo, Betancur
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) – Nibali, Cataldo
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) – Battaglin, Pirazzi
BMC RACING TEAM (USA) – Van Avermaet, De Marchi
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER) – Huzarski, Bennett
COLOMBIA (COL) – Duarte, Rubiano Chavez
ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL) – Cavendish, Uran
FDJ (FRA) – Pinot, Roy
IAM CYCLING (SUI) – Brändle, Pelucchi
LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA) – Pozzato, Modolo
LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL) – Van Den Broeck, Roelandts
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) – Quintana, Malori
MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA) – Boasson Hagen, Ciolek
ORICA GREENEDGE (AUS) – Durbridge, Yates
TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA) – Martin, Hesjedal
TEAM EUROPCAR (FRA) – Rolland, Arashiro
TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN (GER) – Kittel, Mezgec
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) – Rodriguez, Moreno
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED) – Gesink, Vanmarcke
TEAM SKY (GBR) – Froome, Viviani
TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS) – Contador, Sagan
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA) – Cancellara, Mollema

The Stages:
The race will start from Camaiore’s renowned Lido, in the Italian Versilia region, with a 22.7km Team Time Trial.

The second stage, starting from Camaiore and finishing in Cascina (153km), is mostly flat and is likely to see the fastest wheels in the peloton sprint for the finish.

Cascina will be the starting location of the 203km third stage and, as per last year, will end up in Arezzo on the same climb that saw Peter Sagan win.

Saturday the 14th will see a deceptively challenging 226km fourth stage, held predominantly between the Umbrian and Le Marche regions. The stage will start from Indicatore (Arezzo) with four King of the Mountain climbs: Foce dello Scopetone, Poggio San Romualdo and the final Crispiero climb twice just before the short descent towards Castelraimondo.

The 197km Queen stage will be held on Sunday 15th, starting from Esanatoglia and finishing at the summit of Monte Terminillo (1,675m), with two KOM climbs in the initial and central phases of the day (Passo Sallegri and Le Arette climbs).

The 210km penultimate stage, which is ideal for sprinters, will bring the peloton from Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio.

The 50th edition of the “Race of the Two Seas” will again come to a close in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a final-day 10km Individual Time Trial crowning the winner of the Tirreno Adriatico.

You can download maps and altimetry profiles from the website www.tirrenoadriatico.it

Race Jerseys & Sponsors:
The jerseys worn by the leader of each race classification will be four. The jerseys have been designed by Maglificio Santini which has created a special logo in honor of the 50th year of the race.

BLUE JERSEY – BANCA MEDIOLANUM, General Classification leader’s jersey
RED JERSEY – ACQUA FIUGGI, Points Classification leader’s jersey
WHITE JERSEY – SELLE ITALIA, Young Rider General Classification leader’s jersey
GREEN JERSEY – SPRANDI, King of the Mountain Classification leader’s jersey.

tirreno-map15

header-sky-leftSky team for Tirreno Adriatico
Riders:
Peter Kennaugh, Leopold König, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels, Salvatore Puccio, Ian Stannard and Elia Viviani. Plus a replacement for Chris Froome.

Peter Kennaugh:
1st stage of 60th Tour of Andalusia

header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin team for Tirreno-Adriatico
With Paris-Nice underway on French roads, over in Italy Tirreno-Adriatico rolls out this Wednesday, starting with its usual team time trial before tackling various different terrains over the course of the week.

Team Giant-Alpecin will head to the seven-day race with a team ready to challenge on different fronts, including Nikias Arndt (GER) and Luka Mezgec (SLO) for the sprints, and also Simon Geschke (GER) to attack the tougher finishes.

For the sprints the team has strong support riders experienced in the lead-outs, including Bert De Backer (BEL), Albert Timmer (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED). The line-up is completed by Chad Haga (USA) and Thierry Hupond (FRA) who both line up for their first Tirreno-Adriatico.

The team was meant to be present with Marcel Kittel (GER) at the race, however following the decision of the team’s physicians he was replaced in the line-up in order to fully recover from early season illness.

“Despite the late change in line-up we will still focus on the sprint opportunities and we have a strong line-up for this,” explained coach Marc Reef (NED). “Luka has been ill recently but he’s fit to start the race and depending on whether he’s fully recovered we’ll make the decision to sprint with him. For the rest of the race we will look to be opportunistic and to push for stage results with Simon on the harder stages.

“I also hope that we can get the race underway with a strong team time trial, and to continue with the progression that we have made in this discipline as a team in the past few seasons.”

Riders:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Albert Timmer (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

Luka Mezgec:
giro14st21_mezgec

header-tinkoffsaxo14-leftContador and Sagan join forces at star-studded Tirreno-Adriatico
Italian WorldTour race Tirreno-Adriatico is set to host an array of big names. Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing a prominent squad headed by Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan, who will race together for the first time. According to Team Manager Bjarne Riis, Contador is reporting for GC-duty, as he looks to defend his title against strong rivals.

Accompanying Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan into action is Ivan Basso, Roman Kreuziger, Daniele Bennati, Maciej Bodnar, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Matteo Tosatto. It’s a squad that comes with the clear ambition of making an impact on both stages and in the GC, tells Team Manager Bjarne Riis.

“We’re sending a strong lineup to Tirreno-Adriatico just like we are in Paris-Nice, where Rafal Majka is leading the team. It’s obvious that we’re heading to Tirreno with ambitions, when you look at the squad. Alberto and Peter are of course very prominent but names like Kreuziger, Basso and the entire list of riders shows that we’re here to play a part”, says Bjarne Riis upon the announcement of the squad.

Alberto Contador, who’ll be at the start of the race in Lido di Camaiore as defending champion, is also on-route to Giro d’Italia. However, Tirreno-Adriatico will not just be a quick stopover for the Spaniard.

“Alberto is in good shape and we, like him, believe that he can target the overall win. He’s of course using the race to build shape ahead of the Giro, but for a rider like Alberto it doesn’t mean that you can’t target Tirreno as well”, comments Bjarne Riis, who looks forward to seeing the team perform in different terrain:

“It’s a versatile route, where some of the days definitely suit Sagan. We have a strong team, so I see it as a great opportunity to have Alberto and Peter in the same race”.

Stellar GC battle
Tirreno-Adriatico will mark the first ever clash between the so-called “Fantastic Four” consisting of Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana, who have never gone head to head in a prominent World Tour stage race before. Bjarne Riis reckons that this will have an effect on the race.

“It will definitely mean that we’ll see the intensity of the race increase, not least from the media. It will be interesting for everyone to follow, but you can’t compare it to the Tour, where they’ll all meet again, as they are in different stages of their preparations”, says Bjarne Riis.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2015 features a slightly less mountainous route than last year’s edition. And with a team time trial alongside the queen stage to Terminillo, the benefit from a strong team could prove decisive.

“It’s a versatile parcours, where there’s terrain for different kinds of riders. It, of course, requires a strong rider to win, but also a strong team. We’re focused on the team time-trial, as this is an important discipline for us in general and it could also prove decisive for the GC, if the time gaps are small on Terminillo”, concludes Bjarne Riis.

Basso: we’ve put in a lot of work
Alberto Contador will get valuable support from Ivan Basso, who was also at the captain’s side in Vuelta a Andalucia in late February. The Italian reports that his shape is on the ascendency and he looks forward to fighting for the win.

“I felt really strong in my last race GP Lugano. That gives me great confidence, as I have to be in top shape for Tirreno-Adriatico, where we will have to provide support to our team leader, Alberto Contador”, Basso says and continues:

“The Tirreno-Adriatico is similar to the quarter finals of the Champions League. It’s as if you had to confront Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United. We will have to go head to head against some of the best teams but we’ve put in a lot of hard work during the last few months and we are convinced it will pay its dividends. We are ready to fight and take Alberto to victory at Tirreno”.

tinkoff-tirreno15-620

header-MTN14-leftMTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung to target stage wins
The Tirreno-Adriatico will once again be MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s first World Tour appointment of the season when racing gets underway this Wednesday, 11 March. The event will run over 7 stages, concluding next Tuesday with a 10km ITT.

The race will also play host to possibly the strongest startlist we will see in world cycling this year, bar the Tour de France. Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali are the main GC contenders lining-up while Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan will be the top sprint contenders.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will send a powerhouse roster of riders to Tirreno-Adriatico to compete against the world’s best, with stage wins being the main focus. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Kristian Sbaragli, Tyler Farrar, Gerald Ciolek, Matt Goss and Steve Cummings give our team multiple options for the race with each one of them capable of winning one of the 5 road stages.

Louis Meintjes will be our man for the stage 5 summit finish though. As Louis continues his development as a GC rider, it will be a good gauge for him to go up against the world leading GC climbers. The two time trials (stage 1 23km TTT & stage 7 10km ITT) will be a good test for our African team and a solid start in the team time trial is a goal. Steve Cummings and Edvald Boasson Hagen both hope to go well in the individual test against the clock.

African supporters will be able to watch MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung at the Tirreno-Adriatico live on SuperSport. To see the broadcast schedule you can visit the SuperSport website: www.supersport.com

Louis Meintjes – Rider
I am pretty nervous but at the same time happy to do my first World Tour race of the year. It is nice to be racing here in Italy, especially because the race is starting to so close to where I live. The Tirreno-Adriatico must also be one of the races with the best quality start lists I have ever started in so it will be a great challenge.

Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
It is a pleasure to return to our first World Tour race and we bring 2 former winners of the Milan Sanremo to the event this year. We are no longer underdogs anymore and we will be in the rumble for stage wins. The team time trial is close to our base in Lucca and our riders love the Italian lifestyle and passion for cycling so they will be motivated. The long winter period with all the preparation races has to come to an end now and we are ready to compete against the best riders.

mtn-tirreno15-620

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Tirreno-Adriatico
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Tirreno-Adriatico, a one week stage race from March 11th until March 17th.

Due to adverse weather conditions involving high wind, the opening TTT has been replaced by a 5.7km ITT in Lido di Camaiore.

“Of course this change to an ITT alters our strategy at the beginning of the race,” Sport Director Davide Bramati said. “We will do our best even with the adjustment. Of course we have three anticipated sprint finishes and two difficult arrivals, particularly the one in Terminillo. That summit finale will probably be decisive for the GC. We go into this race with a good team, even if we know we have complications with Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw who are still dealing with a stomach virus they both suffered with in South Africa this past weekend. This virus has weakened them and will affect their performances at least at the beginning of this race. But they will be at the start and we will see day-by-day about their individual situations. As for the GC, we can count on Rigoberto Uran. Individual time trials are something he loves, even if the distance is not so long. It is no secret he is also a good climber. So we will race for him in the overall. He’s surrounded by a good team that already showed its potential at the last races. The team is motivated after the victories and are ready to do their part in this race.”

Riders:
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA) & Brian Holm (DEN).

Mark Cavendish:
Cycling: 67th Kuurne - Brussels - Kuurne 2015

header-lottosoudal15Jurgen Van den Broeck aims for top 10
The Italian WorldTour stage race Tirreno-Adriatico starts on Wednesday 11th March and ends on Tuesday 17th March. Last year’s winner, Alberto Contador, is one of the favourites again.

Queen stage on day five
For the fifth year in a row, the ‘Race of the two seas’ starts with a team time trial. The teams will ride 22.7 kilometres along the coast of Lido di Camaiore. Stages two and three, with finish lines in Cascina and Arezzo, should be bunch sprints. The fourth stage contains four climbs, from which the last one tops at six kilometres from the finish line. The favourites should create the first differences there.

Nevertheless, the big differences will be made the day after. The queen stage on day five contains four climbs and ends at the Terminillo. It’s a sixteen kilometres long climb with an average gradient of 7.3% and sections of 12%. The next day the peloton covers rather flat roads from Rieti to the coast of Porto Sant’Elpidio. The Tirreno-Adriatico ends with a ten kilometres long individual time trial along the coast line of San Benedetto del Tronto.

The ambition of Jurgen Van den Broeck
Last year Jurgen Van den Broeck had to combine his rehabilitation with his preparation for the season. This year, the rider from the Kempen, had a normal off-season. Van den Broeck knows that the competition in the Tirreno is very strong, but also knows the ins and outs of the WorldTour.

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “In races like the Ruta del Sol the results are not that important, but especially the feeling of the race is important. Because of my crash in the first stage I lost a lot of time, but I could ride relaxed in the other stages. I was three times second in the Ruta, but that wasn’t important. This is different in the Tirreno, it’s a serious test. It’s also a WorldTour race where there are a lot of points to gain and I set myself the goal to be good here for the first time in the season. It’s true that this is one of the races with the best riders at the start, but it’s not clear what their ambitions are.”

“I have tried to work towards this race as good as possible. Before the Ruta I did a high-altitude training camp for two weeks. Afterwards I rested for three days followed by a hilly training in Spain to improve my shape. Of course I would like to go for a top ten spot in the overall standings, it’s also the goal of the team. The route isn’t that selective, but with a team time trial, a finish uphill, a finish after a descent, and a finish at the top of a small climb there are enough possibilities to make time differences.”

Apart from Jurgen Van den Broeck seven other Lotto Soudal riders will start in Tirreno-Adriatico as well. Sports director Bart Leysen talks about the team’s ambitions.

Bart Leysen, sports director: “This year, we want to win a stage but also go for a good GC. Pim Ligthart, who commenced his season very well, and Belgian champion Jens Debusschere will strive for a stage win. In normal conditions, Jens would be our leading man, but we won’t put him under too much pressure. Pim can have a go as well.”

Roelandts back in competition
“Jens and Pim can count on the support of Jürgen Roelandts for the bunch sprints. After his flu during the Flemish opening weekend, he will resume his season here. It’s important to regain his good shape from before and to survive these seven days. The team time trial on the first day isn’t important for our sprinters. Both Jurgen Van den Broeck and Maxime Monfort will have to lead the team there. Hopefully they can set a pretty good time.”

“With Froome, Contador, Quintana and Nibali starting it won’t be easy to go for a win in the harder stages. Although I expect Jelle Vanendert to strive for the victory in stages four and five. Jurgen Van den Broeck and Maxime Monfort are two riders who can go for a good GC. It’s important for them to lose as little time as possible in the fifth stage. In the Ruta del Sol Froome and Contandor showed that they’re almost untouchable, that goes for Nibali too. A top five spot in the overall standings would be great.”

Selection Lotto Soudal:
Stig Broeckx, Jens Debusschere, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Dennis Vanendert and Jelle Vanendert.
Sports directors: Bart Leysen and Mario Aerts.

Jurgen Van den Broeck.
tdf14st16-VDB

Lampre Merida Team f_chiariThe Two Seas Race: international selection for LAMPRE-MERIDA
Tirreno-Adriatico 2015 will give opportunities to a large range of riders: time trialists, sprinters, climbers and attackers will have their chances to be protagonist.

Considering the characteristics of the course of the Two Seas Race (11-17 March), the sport directors Maini and Scirea selected these riders for LAMPRE-MERIDA: Tsgabu Grmay, Sacha Modolo, Manuele Mori, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Luka Pibernik, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze and Josè Serpa.
Six Nations will be represented in the blue-fuchsia-green team (Argentina, Colombia, Ethiopia, Italy, Poland and Slovenia) and three continents (Africa, Europe and South America).

In the team’s staff there will be the doctor Beltemacchi, the masseurs Capelli, Della Torre and Del Gallo and the mechanics Pengo, Romanò and Viganò.

“The top quality riders who will be in our selection will grant us to be protagonist all along the race,” sport director Maini explained. “In the first stage, the team time trial in Lido di Camaiore, we’ll check the results of the trainings we made under the direction of Mario Scirea. Our aim is to be in the main breakaways and, in the more demanding stages, to support Niemiec, who’ll try to be as close as possible with the top climbers: Grmay and Serpa will give him the necessary help. Modolo will receive the support from Richeze and Pozzato for the sprint and Pozzato will check his shape in the arrivals of Arezzo and Castelraimondo.”

Sacha Modolo:
modolo-bettiniphoto

header_movistar-leftNairo Quintana Back into Racing
Solid Movistar Team to join Colombian at Tirreno-Adriatico for first clash of top international GT specialists in 2015.

While eight of its riders battle in France in Paris-Nice, the Movistar Team will take the start on Wednesday of the other big WorldTour stage race in the beginning of the cycling spring: The 50th Tirreno-Adriatico. The Italian event features, just like in previous years, two time trials – an opening TTT in the Lido di Camaiore (23km) and the traditional, closing ITT in San Benedetto (10km) – together with as many mountain stages: The one to Castelraimondo (Saturday 14), with two climbs of the Crispero hill, and the tough finish of Monte Terminillo (Sunday 15).

Nairo Quintana will be back into racing, after his GC podium in the Tour de San Luis and a crash sustained late into the Colombian road race championships, with a powerful roster by his side. Costa Rica’s Andrey Amador, Italians Giovanni Visconti and Adriano Malori – the latter victorious in the San Benedetto TT in 2014 – and Spaniards Javi Moreno, Jonathan Castroviejo, Fran Ventoso and Jesús Herrada complete the eight-man group by the telephone squad, with José Luis Jaimerena and Chente García Acosta as sports directors.

Nairo Quintana to lead Movistar:
power2max-quintana

header-iamcyclingTirreno-Adriatico – Serge Beucherie: “The team’s objective is to win a stage”
Attending their second consecutive Tirreno-Adriatico, the IAM Cycling team arrives at one of the most important stage races of the season bringing a group of eight very versatile riders. All-rounders, climbers, rouleurs, puncheurs, and sprinters will all be among the professionals to be competing against the best racers in the peloton, considering riders as strong as Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador as well as Christopher Froome and Nairo Quintana have announced they will be at the start of the event.

Manager sportif, Serge Beucherie keeps his feet firmly on the ground when speaking of this race that is like no other. “In every race we participate, we are committed to do our best to influence the race, to try and animate it. That will not change this coming week in Italy. Last year, Matteo Pelucchi surprised everyone by winning our first WorldTour race. Since then, IAM Cycling’s Italian sprinter has had more pressure and grown more sure of himself. And we hope that Matteo will be able to repeat his feat. In any case, the goal of the team is to win a stage. We will also do our utmost to perform well in the team time trial. There will be several more team time trials to race this year, including at the Tour of Romandie, the Giro, the Tour de France, and the Tour of Spain, not to mention the World Championships. And then for Sébastien Reichenbach, who currently has very good form, this will be a perfect opportunity for him to gain some valuable experience in such a difficult race.”

For Serge Beucherie, Tirreno-Adriatico will also prove important in helping him refine his selection of the eight riders who will compete at Milan-San Remo. “Both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico are the routes to La Primavera. IAM Cycling knows this. And we will wait until the last days of the “Race between Two Seas” before we announce the names of the guys who will represent our team at Milan-San Remo on Sunday, March 22nd.”

Riders:
Marcel Aregger (S), Matthias Brändle (Aut), Stef Clement (Ned), Pirmin Lang, Roger Kluge (Ger), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Sébastien Reichenbach (S), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat).
Manager sportif: Serge Beucherie. Directeur sportif: Marcello Albasini, Rubens Bertogliati, Kjell Carlström.

Matthias Brändle:
brandle-hourrecord-620

header-bmc15-rosterBMC Roster: Tirreno-Adriatico
The BMC Racing Team announced its roster Monday for Tirreno-Adriatico. The seven-day, WorldTour race in Italy begins Wednesday with an individual time trial instead of a team time trial, as originally scheduled.

Riders:
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Valerio Piva (ITA).

bmc-tirreno15

header-colombia15Tirreno-Adriatico marks World Tour season first for Colombia-Coldeportes
Colombia-Coldeportes is ready to make its World Tour season debut in Italy, at Tirreno-Adriatico (March 11-17). The “Race of the Two Seas” will mark its 50th edition, which starts with a team time trial in Lido di Camaiore, continues with a couple of flat stages and two difficult days packed with many climbs, before finishing with the traditional ITT in San Benedetto del Tronto. The highlight of the event will be stage five’s Monte Terminillo, a 21-km long ascent with a 6,6% average gradient, definitely one that will sort things out in the overall classification.

With an impressive field of top-class riders announced at the start in Camaiore, Sports Directors Oscar Pellicioli and Marco Corti have assembled a solid team to live up to the very strong competition. After racing the Gran Premio di Lugano on March 1st, Alex Cano, Fabio Duarte, Carlos Quintero and Miguel Angel Rubiano will line-up for the “Race of the Two Seas”, where they will be joined by Edwin Avila, Camilo Castiblanco, Walter Pedraza and Brayan Ramirez.

Although this is going to be the team’s first World Tour event of the year, General Manager Claudio Corti hopes his riders will make themselves noticed, no matter what the terrain will be, and deserve the trust of RCS Sport organizers: “Tirreno-Adriatico is a very prestigious and demanding race, and the start list is impressive, so it will be an important experience for the whole team. We will be looking to honor the invitation in every stage, as we have a well-rounded team that will look to be in the very thick of the action on a daily basis.”

Line-up:
Edwin Avila, Alex Cano, Camilo Castiblanco, Fabio Duarte, Walter Pedraza, Carlos Quintero, Brayan Ramirez, Miguel Angel Rubiano.
Sports Directors: Oscar Pellicioli, Marco Corti.

Fabio Duarte:
Colombia 2015

header-europcar15-leftEuropcar team for Tirreno Adriatico
Riders:
Yukiya Arashiro, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Tony Hurel, Vincent Jerome, Yannick Martinez, Maxime Mederel, Perrig Quemeneur and Pierre Rolland.
Directeur Sportifs: Dominique Arnould & Ismaël Mottier.

Look at the camera Yukiya:
tdu14st6_arashiro

header-lottonl-jumboleftRenewed ambitions for Team LottoNL-Jumbo in Italy
LottoNL-Jumbo Sport Director Erik Dekker had to change his plans for the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, March 11 to 17, since Robert Gesink will not be able to travel to Italy. The overall classification is no longer a goal, but Dekker said, “We have other plans.”

“Our goal was top ten with Robert, but that’s going to be difficult now,” Dekker explained. “However, we are flexible and we’ll start the race with new ambitions. With Tom Van Asbroeck we aim to be in the sprints. Winning is going to be hard with Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan, but to get in the mix for a third or fourth place is a good goal.”

Robert Gesink
Gesink will not compete due to a distressing period. “I’m glad my son Bram will leave the hospital today. The last couple of weeks, I was only concerned about my family. That’s why I won’t be able to reach my desired level in Tirreno-Adriatico. I made a false start in the Tour of Algarve and I didn’t gain the intensity I wanted. Now, with Bram back at home, I don’t have to worry that much anymore and I can focus on bike riding again. I’m going to prepare myself for the Tour of the Basque Country via other races.”

Tom Van Asbroeck
Tirreno-Adriatico is Van Asbroeck’s first WorldTour race for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The Belgian gained confidence on Sunday by finishing fourth place in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. “Last weekend was pretty good, although winning is better, of course,” Van Asbroeck said. “My fourth place felt a bit like a consolation prize.”

The fast man from Aalst does not know what to expect in Tirreno-Adriatico. “It’s my first time, a whole new world is opening up for me. The level of racing will be very high with all the top sprinters involved. It’s going to be a good opportunity to learn new things and become stronger.”

Challenge for everyone
Dekker sees a challenge for all of his riders. “Sep Vanmarcke needs to stay fit and prepare as well as possible for the classics. For Laurens ten Dam and Kevin De Weert, it’s important that they end the race better than they started. Rick Flens, Tom Leezer and Robert Wagner need to assist Tom in the sprints. Finally, there are some stages in which Paul Martens will have his freedom.”

Team line-up Tirreno-Adriatico:
Tom Van Asbroeck, Laurens ten Dam, Rick Flens, Tom Leezer, Paul Martens, Sep Vanmarcke, Robert Wagner and Kevin De Weert.
Sports Directors Tirreno-Adriatico: Erik Dekker and Nico Verhoeven.

Sep Vanmarcke:
Kuurne - Brussel - Kuurne 2015

header-katusha15Team Katusha for Tirreno-Adriatico
The Russian Team Katusha is ready to start in another UCI WorldTour stage race, Tirreno – Adriatico, being held in Italy from March 11th to 17th.

Tirreno – Adriatico or the Race of the two seas starts with a team time trial of 22,7 km in Lido di Camaiore and ends with the traditional individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The race consists of 7 stages with a total distance of 1010 km.

The team’s line-up:
Giampaolo Caruso, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Luca Paolini, Aleksandr Porsev, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alexey Tsatevich and Angel Vicioso.
Sports directors are José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.

Joaquim Rodriguez:
katusha-purito-620

header-trentino15Cassani to field Italian National selection at Giro del Trentino Melinda

“A perfect test for the climbers”, says the manager who will field a roster of emerging talents

At the start of the Giro del Trentino Melinda (April 21-24) we will see also an Italian National Team. After he discovered the parcours of the race, Davide Cassani, the manager of the squad, has confirmed the presence of a team on the roads of the race organized by the GS Alto Garda.

The course of the race that leads the way to the Giro d’Italia is a perfect mix for the project the manager is developing: sending a team of emerging talents in some of the most important races in the calendar, all this while wearing the national kit. The purpose of this action is to give young riders the opportunity to gain experience and also allow the group to have more cohesion. For these reasons, the Giro del Trentino Melinda is a perfect test, with its team time trial, hard and lesser known climbs, like the one to Monte Velo in stage two, and a nervous parcours, that doesn’t let the riders catch their breath since the start from Riva del Garda until the finish in Cles.

“We will soon make public the roster of the National Team”, said Davide Cassani. “I wanted to line-up a team for the Giro del Trentino Melinda, because I consider it a very challenging test from a technical point of view, but also due to the quality of the riders that will be there. It’s the best opportunity to test cyclists and their skills on the climbs.”

Race website: www.girodeltrentino.it

39th Giro del Trentino Melinda program (April 21st-24th):
Stage 1 (Tuesday, April 21st) – Riva del Garda-Arco 14,3 km (TTT).
Stage 2 (Wednesday, April 22nd) – Arco-Brentonico 168 km.
Stage 3 (Thursday, April 23th) – Ala-Fierozzo 183 km.
Stage 4 (Friday, April 24th) – Malè-Cles 164,9 km.

Davide Cassani confirmed the presence of the Italian National Team at Giro del Trentino:
sanluis15-italiateam-cassani-620

PrintPresidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Enters its Second Half-Century Stage Route Announced: Traditional Balance Maintained
Among the most beautiful stage races in the international calendar, but also one of the most relaxed and enjoyable, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (or TUR, for short: 2.HC) celebrated its 50th edition in 2014 and this year enters its second half-century.

Announced in Istanbul today, the route of the 2015 race retains its essential charm, while combining tantalizing stages for the sprinters with sumptuous mountain stages where the overall general classification will, in all probability, be decided.

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Sprinters’s Paradise
TUR has become a magnet for the world’s great sprinters – Mark Cavendish won 4 stages in 2014, and Marcel Kittel won 3 stages the year before, Andrei Greipel won 9 stages since 2010. True to form, this year’s edition offers no less than six possible sprint stages.

But TUR has also seen unforgettable breakaway victories in recent years, the greatest of them Iljo Keisse’s exhilarating win at Izmir in 2012 after a fall on the final corner and a breathless recovery in front of the charging peloton, led by Marcel Kittel, who finished in the same time – centimeters behind the triumphant Keisse.

Breathtaking Mountain Stages
For the decisive mountain finishes, TUR 2015 will return to the natural, mountain top amphitheater at Elmalı, and to the wooded slopes at Selçuk. At these locations, Adam Yates of Orica – GreenEdge finished second and first respectively to seal the first stage race victory of his career in last year’s TUR.

For the first time since 2011, the race returns to the World Heritage Site of Pamukkale (meaning ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish), where, over the millennia,hot springs have created extraordinary travertines, brilliant white terraces of carbonate minerals.

The evening after the traditional stage into Izmir, the third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara, a logistical operation of vast proportions transfers the entire race entourage to Istanbul for one of the most magnificent final stages in cycling.

Iconic Final Stage
TUR 2015 closes with a final stage through Istanbul that starts between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, in Sultanahmet Square, over the Bosphorus Bridge that connects two continents – the European land mass and Asia – and then 8 final circuits before the final sprint in Bagdat Street.

In recent years the President of Turkish Republic himself has attended the final stage to award the prizes and give his stamp of approval to a race that is now a favorite among some of the world’s finest cyclists.

Turkish Beauty
Every year, TUR explores roads lined with the Roman amphitheaters, early Christian sites, Islamic splendours and storybook bays and beaches that make Turkey an enticing destination for international visitors.

Among myriad other sites of profound historical and cultural interest, this year’s race route returns to the stunning coastlines around Alanya and Antalya, the church in Myra where St Nicholas (Santa Claus) presided as Bishop of Myra (modern-day Demre), stunning Marmaris beside its vast bay of pristine turquoise waters, and the House of the Virgin Mary on Mt. Koressos (Turkish: Bülbüldağı, “Mount Nightingale”) where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived out her final years in Ephesus.

The stages in the 2015 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey are as follows:
Stage 1, 26 April: Alanya-Alanya
Stage 2, 27 April: Alanya Antalya
Stage 3, 28 April: Kemer – Elmalı
Stage 4, 29 April: Fethiye-Marmaris
Stage 5, 30 April: Muğla – Pamukkale
Stage 6, 1 May: Denizli – Selçuk
Stage 7, 2 May: Selçuk-İzmir
Stage 8, 3 May: Istanbul-Istanbul

A Festival of Sprints – With Two Stunning Mountain Finishes
First held in 1965, the TUR joined the international professional calendar in 2008 as 2.1 stage race. It quickly became one of the great sprinters’ races in of the year, regularly deploying the world’s fastest finishers who later appear in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. Stage winners In the past three years alone include Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish, André Greipel, Elia Viviani, Sacha Modolo, Andrea Guardini and Theo Bos.

Since 2009, the progressive introduction of mountain stages has attracted some of cycling’s most promising stage race contenders: last year, the likes of Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qubeka) and Davide Fromolo (Cannondale) took on the outstanding young British rider Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), who was coming back after health problems.

tourofturkey14-sea-620

header- paris-nice15Near crash in Paris-Nice
During Bradley Wiggins’ ride in the Paris-Nice prologue, his nice rainbow striped team car nearly had a TV camera moto on the bonnet. Don’t watch Wiggins, watch the motorbike.


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